This Week’s Mine Shaft–Upcoming Reviews

Coming this week…

Advance Review of Snuff by Terry Pratchett (Street Date Oct 11, 2011). I’ve been sitting on this book for over a month, and it’s almost time to let this advance review fly. Fly review, fly!

H.E. Ellis, author of The Gods of Asphalt, will be talking about her all-time favorite read–and that one book that deserves to be taken out back and beaten up–in our guest series, Best and Worst.

JediCanary will be taking us on a tour of the 20th Anniversary Edition of Heir to the Empire by Timothy Zahn and all the reasons it’s a must have.

Robin has told you all about it, but now, we’ll be giving you our side of the story. This Friday’s Pitch Slapped article will be a peek behind the scenes at our revision process.

If you’d like a heads up when we post, subscribe to The Canary Review or follow us on Twitter!

What are we reading?

JediCanary: The Hunger Games Trilogy (YA, Dystopia)

CanaryTheFirst:  Beka Cooper: Terrier by Tamora Pierce (YA, Fantasy) and Infidel by Kameron Hurley (Fantasy)

TheOtherCanary:  Maine by J. Courtney Sullivan (Lit Fic)

What’s on your reading list?

[Book Review] Sometimes an Elephant is Just an Elephant

Meg’s Review: Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

(If you feel like hacking a canary, then 3.5.)

My mother’s not an avid reader, but when she finds something she likes she proceeds to force it upon everyone. And by everyone, I mean me. The format has worked well in the past (I may not have ever read Harry Potter had she not bought the books and locked me in my room to read them), so when she started harping on about Water for Elephants, I assumed it would be another terrific find.

And it might be. Or it might not. I can’t decide. Water for Elephants has got my feathery panties in a twist; I still can’t figure out if it was a good book or simply a fluff book hiding under the cape of capital-L Literature.

The story is narrated by the 90-something Jacob Jankowski, as he recalls his twenties. The majority of the plot revolves around the sudden death of his parents, which indirectly leads him to join the circus. The words ‘joining the circus’ should send up red flags; after all, nothing but ridiculous shenanigans (or crazy killer clowns) have ever followed the phrase. But I will say one thing about Gruen’s writing: she keeps things grounded. When big, over-the-top events are happening, the narrative is so firmly controlled by Jacob’s thoughts and emotions that the story never runs away from the author completely.  That’s quite a feat considering the ending, which caught me by delightful surprise.

However, I have issues with said narrator. Continue reading

About Us

TheCanaryReview is an independent online reviewer with a focus on a variety of genres, including Fantasy, Paranormal Romance, Science Fiction, and Young Adult fiction. We post regular articles and spoiler-free advance reviews.

Who are we?

CanaryTheFirst, Editor-in-Chief:

Naiya got lost reading and still hasn’t managed to clamber back to the land of the living. She has two degrees worth of literature, speaks three languages, and wants to be even more yellow and fluffy when she grows up. Her weaknesses include library cards, Mango Lassi, and amnesia plot twists.

Preferred genres: Fantasy, Science Fiction, Paranormal, Romance.

theothercanary, Senior Managing Editor

Science journalist by day, canary by night, Meg lives with a cat named Dragon and a computer named Steve. She has a writing degree from John Hopkins and a Nook that she plans to utilize to its full capacity the next time she needs to escape zombie raptors.

Preferred genres: Young adult, Fantasy, Literary Fiction, Science Nonfiction.

Past Canaries:


MoonblindCanary, Reviewer Extraordinaire

This canary wrote her first 100,000 words when she was in middle school. One cat, a degree, and many cups of coffee later, Kat has several manuscripts and a fantasy series to her name. She spends her free time feeding the army of squirrel minions that live beyond the sliding glass door and traveling in her white car with panda markings.

You can find her personal blog at

Preferred genres: sword and sorcery, dark fantasy., Reviewer Extraordinaire

A born pirate, this canary was crossing oceans and commandeering her parents’ books since she’d barely hatched. These days she’s still flying from editing to youth work to grad school. In her free time, she spends as much time by the ocean or in the pages of a great book as she can. She’s planning to set up a nest with another dashing bird with the same swashbuckling spirit. Someday she will finish the entire stack of books by her bed. Yarr.

You can find her personal blog at

Preferred genres: Literary fiction, dark fantasy, magical realism, really good YA (really good anything).

A Stray Canary, Reviewer Extraordinaire

This California Canary is a born wanderer. After studying English and Russian Literature at Cal, she migrated to the Northeastern United States and set up nest in Philadelphia. She spends her days reading, writing, and rebuffing her loved ones’ attempts at domesticating her. You can follow her personal blog at

Preferred genres: 19th C. Russian, black humor and satire, Postmodern


If time and money were no issue, this canary would spend all day in the library. She has written poetry and fiction with banana slugs at UC Santa Cruz, taught English to high school students in France, and is currently completing an MFA in poetry. Catch up with her at

Preferred genres: Literary Fiction, Young Adult Fiction, Speculative Fiction


When she was six, Jennifer discovered the force and put her yapping pet dog on the roof. She was never the same after that, and neither was the dog. Her favorite drink is Tazo Refresh in a stainless steel thermos and her secret superpower is making students cry. She owns a light-saber and knows how to use it. Favorite authors include Peter David, David Sedaris, and Jim Butcher.

Preferred genres: Science Fiction, Star Wars, Fantasy.


Once upon a time, this canary decided she was gonna grow up to be a nurse.  Then she got side tracked by the catalog of Lit courses and ended up with a degree in English Lit, Education and too many minors. A self-professed romantic, she will read anything that strikes her fancy, Robin McKinley to Bill Bryson.

She has two adorable children and a loving husband and works at a full time job that is so horrible it is driving her back to Jesus. She gets to read all she want while biking or walking at the gym:  “You’ll know I’m working out if I have reviews posted.”

Preferred genres:  Fantasy, Fiction, Nonfiction, Nifty Fiction…


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Do you think you’ve got what it takes to be a canary? Send us an email with your reading preferences, a writing sample, and why you want in on our feathery team.