Posts Tagged ‘fantasy’


Mock Caldecott Review: The Antlered Ship

by Casey Maynard on January 12th, 2018

Related imagePrepare to go on a quest seeking the answers to Marco the fox’s world of questions. The journey may be tough, and you may go hungry. But in the end you’ll be much wiser, though the questions have changed and many have gone unanswered. The Antlered Ship serves as a lovely reminder that the journey is just as if not more important than the destination.

As lyrical as it is visually stunning The Antlered Ship delivers a narrative packed with multiple juxtaposed tones. Humor and gloom walk hand in hand, existentialism meets realism and whimsy, danger. The art and text perfectly compliment each other with the Fan brothers bringing great emotive depth to their otherwise non anthropomorphic animal characters.

Be sure to check out the Terry and Eric Fan’s works from 2016, The Night Gardener and The Darkest Dark and if The Antlered Ship is your favorite be sure to vote in our Mock Caldecott awards by January 31st. Related image

Image result for the antlered ship

ICPL Staff Top Picks for 2017: Best of the Best

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on December 31st, 2017

It’s here: the Iowa City Public Library’s Top Picks for 2017!

Staff members nominated nearly 100 books released in 2017 as their favorite reads of the year. Those that made this list were nominated by more than one person, which truly makes them the Best of the Best.

  • Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
  • The Most Dangerous Place on Earth by Lindsey Lee Johnson
  • The Women in the Castle by Jessica Shattuck
  • Golden Hill by Francis Spufford (published in Britain in 2016; released in the U.S. in May of 2017)
  • Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu
  • La Belle Sauvage by Philip Pullman
  • The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
  • Maya Lin: Artist-Architect of Light and Lines by Jeanne Walker Harvey
  • Here We Are: Notes For Living On Planet Earth by Oliver Jeffers
  • Full of Fall by April Pulley Sayre
  • Beyond the Bright Sea by Lauren Wolk
  • Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz
  • Glass Houses by Louise Penny
  • Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman
  • What Happened by Hillary Rodham Clinton
  • Hunger by Roxane Gay
  • Vacationland: True Stories from Painful Beaches by John Hodgman
  • Janesville: An American Story by Amy Goldstein
  • Pashmina by Nidhi Chanani
  • My Favorite Thing Is Monsters, Volume 1 by Emil Ferris
  • Real Friends by Shannon Hale

Our Best Book Overall for 2017 is The Hate You Give by Angie Thomas.

This debut novel was nominated by more staff members than any other book this year, which makes sense given all the other Best of 2017 lists it has appeared on this month. If you haven’t read it, be sire to check out a copy before the movie is released!

Best of the Best 2017: Science-Fiction/Fantasy

by Amanda on December 27th, 2017

ICPL BEST SCIENCE-FICTION/FANTASY BOOKS OF 2017

 

Science-fiction and Fantasy are both subgenres of Speculative Fiction, but they’re pretty different! Sci-fi is a much newer genre than fantasy, with some critics pointing to Mary Shelley’s 1818 Frankenstein as the first sci-fi book. Fantasy, on the other hand, has been around pretty much forever. These genres often push the envelope and can be very subversive!

  • The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden
  • Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman
  • Red Sister (Book of the Ancestor #1) by Mark Lawrence
  • The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi
  • All Systems Red: The Murderbot Diaries by Martha Wells

Nightlights

by Casey Maynard on August 18th, 2017

nightlights-coverNightlights by Lorena Alvarez is a delightfully creepy and beautiful graphic novel. Part fairy tale, part nightmare with an ending open enough for sequels, this is journey you won’t want to miss. While the visuals are enough of a hat tip to other artists to catch and enjoy–Cartoon Saloon, Vera Brosgol, Emil Carroll etc.–Alvarez’s use of color, negative space and overall pacing are unique and memorable.

 

Nightlights is Alvarez’s first graphic novel, so be sure to watch for more from her in the future!Nightlights

 

Fresh Picks: Middle Grade Medley

by Morgan Reeves on April 11th, 2017

booksThere’s something for every interest on the New Juvenile Fiction shelves. I’ve collected a few standouts for middle grade readers to showcase today. Fantasy, mystery, sci-fi, adventure, realistic fiction, and even a novel in verse. Check out one of these terrific titles today.

 

 

 

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ICPL Top Staff Picks for 2016: Science Fiction/Fantasy

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on December 27th, 2016

Science fiction and fantasy novels are known for transporting readers to fantastic locations, taking them on amazing adventures, but they can also serve as a reminder or warning of what could happen. As Ray Bradbury once said, “You don’t have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading.”

Fight the power! Read a book! Here are some titles to get you started.

ICPL’s BEST SCIENCE FICTION/FANTASY BOOKS OF 2016scifi-fantasy

  • Morning Star: Book III of The Red Rising Trilogy by Pierce Brown
  • Dark Matter by Blake Crouch
  • The Forgetting Moon by Brian Lee Durfee
  • Death’s End by Cixin Liu
  • A Gathering of Shadows by Victoria Schwab
  • Join by Steve Toutonghi
  • Smoke by Dan Vyleta
  • Invasive by Scott Wendig
  • The Guns of Empire by Django Wexler

Pugs of the Frozen North

by Shawna Riggins on March 9th, 2016

pugs of the frozen northThe temperature may be warming up outside but Pugs of the Frozen North written by Philip Reeve and illustrated by Sarah McIntyre will transport you to the magical cold of True Winter and the Great Northern Race. After an unusual weather phenomenon leaves young ship-hand, Shen, alone in freezing temperatures with 66 cold and hungry pugs, he finds friendship, support, and a once-in-a-lifetime adventure in a nearby city.  Throughout Shen & his new friend Sika’s journey as participants in the Great Northern Race, they work with each other, their goofy yet gallant pugs, and even (most of) their competitors. If after reading this book your thoughts are not lingering on the excitement of the race and the antics of the adorably odd pugs, you might be mulling over the message that people (and dogs) can overcome expectations and reach their dreams.

pugs page 1

Though certainly enjoyable for readers of all ages (especially for pug-lovers like myself), the exciting illustrations paired with text makes this a great book for children transitioning to chapter books. If you or your child liked the illustrations in Pugs of the Frozen North, try out McIntyre’s tutorial to draw your own puggy pups!

If this wacky adventure sounds right for you or a reader you know, check out other books from Reeve and McIntyre’s series of Not-So-Impossible Tales.

My pug Fifi wasn't so keen on the idea of pulling a sleigh.

My pug Fifi wasn’t so keen on the idea of pulling a sleigh.

The Goblin’s Puzzle by Andrew S. Chilton

by Morgan Reeves on February 29th, 2016
The Goblin’s Puzzle by Andrew S. Chilton Cover Image

Diversity in middle grade fantasy is hard to come by, particularly high fantasy featuring dragons, goblins, princesses, and kings. The Goblin’s Puzzle by Andrew S. Chilton provides all of these, as well as a good dose of humor and plenty of logic puzzles.

A dark-skinned slave boy with no name finds himself suddenly free, and for the first time in his life able to choose how to live his life. His choice to free a similarly enslaved goblin may provide him with more adventure than he bargained for, as goblins are notoriously tricky creatures. When the goblin tells him that it was not the boy’s fate to be a slave, he sets off to find his true destiny. With the goblin in tow, he learns many things along they way, including how to catch bats with a sling.

At the same time, a dragon has kidnapped Plain Alice, a case of mistaken identity, as he meant to capture Princess Alice. As the dragon goes off to rectify his mistake, Plain Alice begins doing what she does best, thinking. The soon-to-be-captured Princess Alice is at the center of a royal mess, as her father is trying to make her his heir to skip over the obviously evil Duke Geoffrey. To pay for the costly process, Princess Alice is to be married to a suitably wealthy person, to be decided upon by everyone but Princess Alice. All of these plans go literally out the window when Princess Alice is captured by the dragon. If ever there was a need for a nameless hero in search of his destiny, it is here in the Kingdom of West Stanhope.

The boy volunteers to rescue both Alices, though finds he needs their help just as often as they need his. The multiple threads of the story are finally and carefully woven together in a rooftop duel, a royal declaration, and one last trick from the goblin. In another rarity in recent middle grade fantasy, the story ends without a cliff-hanger to lead us to a sequel. Final word: A fantastic, thought-provoking, stand-alone fantasy adventure.

ICPL Staff Top Picks for 2015: Science Fiction and Fantasy

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on December 27th, 2015
ICPL Staff Top Picks for 2015: Science Fiction and Fantasy Cover Image

In past years, we combined our picks for the best mystery books of the year with our best science fiction books. This year, however, we’re following the Library’s catalog system, which groups science fiction and fantasy books together. scify

We have no idea why this didn’t occur to us sooner. We’d say it was a mystery, but we already shared one groan-worthy mystery joke yesterday. It would be wrong to go for two.

ICPL’s BEST SCIENCE FICTION AND FANTASY OF 2015

  • Uprooted by Naomi Novik
  • Welcome to Night Vale by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor
  • Dead Heat by Patricia Briggs
  • Voyage of the Basilisk: A Memoir by Lady Trent (A Natural History of Dragons) by Marie Brennan
  • Of Noble Family by Mary Robinette Kowal

What it’s like to read Janet Evanovich for the first time

by Melody Dworak on October 30th, 2015
What it’s like to read Janet Evanovich for the first time Cover Image

Okay, I’m using the term “read” here liberally as I’m really listening to her audiobooks. But the sentiment is the same: after a long aversion to mainstream romance and mystery, what do Janet Evanovich’s stories have for me?

Caving in to one of OverDrive’s auto-generated recommendation that I should try out Wicked Business, I listened to a sample of the book and discovered a familiar voice. Lorelei King, talented performer of my beloved Mercy Thompson series, reads Evanovich’s Wicked books too. I have really enjoyed King’s tender interpretation of the Mercy Thompson books–she has whisked me up in wistfulness before–so I was tickled to find that her voice narrates more stories in our collection. (You never think to search by reader, do you?)  Read the rest of this entry »