I’ve always loved Connie Willis. She’s the kind of writer who makes reading fun, whose stories engage her readers and really makes them think. Her stories are full of the whimsical, absurd, and humorous with endearing characters, clever prose, and witty dialogue. Connie’s collection of Christmas-themed short stories was first published in 2000, but lucky us, this year we get an updated and expanded edition in A LOT LIKE CHRISTMAS. Connie writes Christmas with heart and delight, hope and joy, but still with her signature twisty elements that take you where you don’t expect–and to a better story. I love The Washington Post‘s quote from the flyer insert the publisher included: “A novelist who can plot like Agatha Christie and whose books possess a bounce and stylishness…” What better way to read about Christmas than with “bounce and stylishness” because that implies a joy for the process of telling a story.

All of the short stories are great because she’s not afraid to mix faith and science fiction, allowing religion center stage without forcing it on readers. Here are some of my favorites from the collection. Read the rest of this entry »

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Giveaway: A Lot Like Christmas

Posted: November 16, 2017 by Vanessa in Giveaways
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Up for grabs in time for the holidays is Connie Willis’ beloved (updated and expanded!) collection of Christmas short stories, A LOT LIKE CHRISTMAS. EBR will send you our spare copy of this book to read for yourself or for you to give to your special someone who loves good Sci Fi. To enter this giveaway:

1. Email us at elitistbookreviews@gmail.com

2. Include the following on the subject line: CHRISTMAS GIVEAWAY

3. In the body of the email include your name and mailing address. This giveaway is only available to U.S. addresses.

Giveaway rules can be found here. Entries will be accepted until midnight of November 23 and the winner will be posted on November 24th. Good luck!

See Vanessa’s review here: A LOT LIKE CHRISTMAS

The eagerly awaited continuation of Brandon Sanderson’s Stormlight Archive series has arrived. OATHBRINGER is everything you want it to be. It’s big (1233 pages!) and continues the amazing stories from THE WAY OF KINGS and WORDS OF RADIANCE. Buckle in your seat belts, folks.

For those of you who need a refresher about what came before, check out Tor.com’s “Before Oathbringer” article. Read the rest of this entry »

Strange Dogs

Posted: November 9, 2017 by Writer Dan in Books We Love
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When originally planning out my review for this one, I thought about beginning with a strongly-worded letter to the publisher about ebooks in general, but decided against it. Instead, I’m going to opt for writing a strongly-worded letter to all publishers of ebooks with the purpose of letting them know about my little beef with the way they’re doing things. So, here we go. “To Whom It May Concern: I am a huge fan of reading awesome books, and I read many of them on the e-reader of my choice. At the bottom of every page of every story I receive for my e-reader is a little percentage scale, which I quite frequently reference while reading, that let’s me know just how far I am into the story and how much goodness I have left to go. This tool has become a staple for me when reading books for the purpose of reviewing them. While reading this book, however, I came to a point that my e-reader’s scale said was about 65% of the way through the book when I found these unexpected words on the next page: THE END. I was incredibly perturbed by finding that the story I was reading was inexplicably over, and that the remaining 35% of the file was filled with sample chapters I had no interest in reading whatsoever. Hrm. How to say this nicely? Please do not do this to me again. There. If you want to give me sample chapters, which I am usually quite amenable to receiving, please instead include a link to said sample chapters on your website or other online location so that I do not feel cheated when suddenly finishing the awesome stories I expected to get in the first place. Thank you. Sincerely Yours, Your Somewhat-Disgruntled Yet Still Mostly-Friendly Neighborhood Team of Elitists”
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Weylyn Grey isn’t like other people and he knows it. He’s a kid living with wolves in the woods when Mary first meets him. His parents are dead and his wolf family needs him, but he’s also painfully aware that he doesn’t quite fit in with the rest of the kids his age. He wants to try to fit in, but every time he attempts to become a functioning member of human society, there’s always something that goes awry, so he ultimately returns to the wild. And yet, it’s his connection with Mary and a few other people he meets along the way, that reminds him about the power of human relationships.

But it takes him a long time to understand, and we spend the book learning about how different he really is. Read the rest of this entry »

If you read Elizabeth Bear’s The Eternal Sky series (RANGE OF GHOSTS starts the trilogy), then you’ll love her new The Lotus Kingdoms series (which takes place in the same universe) starting with THE STONE IN THE SKULL. However, even if you haven’t read her before, if you like clever and beautifully written novels, then you should be reading more Elizabeth Bear.

From the dustjacket: “The Gage is a brass automaton created by a wizard of Messaline around the core of a human being. His wizard is long dead, and he works as a mercenary. He is carrying a message from a the most powerful sorcerer of Messaline to the Rajni of the Lotus Kingdom. With him is The Dead Man, a bitter survivor of the body guard of the deposed Uthman Caliphate, protecting the message and the Gage. They are friends, of a peculiar sort.

“They are walking into a dynastic war between the rulers of the shattered bits of a once great Empire.” Read the rest of this entry »

Giveaway: Bone Universe Trilogy

Posted: October 27, 2017 by Vanessa in Giveaways
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This giveaway is closed.

Updated 10/27/17:  The winner is Jennifer from Magnolia, Texas. Congrats!

You guys are so lucky! The publisher of Fran Wilde’s fun Bone Universe trilogy has agreed to a giveaway for all three of the novels! I highly recommend this series for your YA readers or adults who love something different and clever–they’d make a fantastic Christmas present.  You will receive all three novels to read the series without having to wait for the next to come out, as HORIZON was recently released. Read the rest of this entry »