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Author Archive: "Kara"

The Rathbones

Like so many other literary works, The Rathbones is about family secrets and their discovery. What Janice Clark does with this ubiquitous theme puts the magic in magical realism. Dreamlike yet surprisingly vivid, you will feel the spindrift on your face and taste the salt air on your lips as you journey with Mercy and Mordecai — the last descendants of a once-proud whaling dynasty — on their quest to find Mercy's father, inadvertently learning the secret history of the Rathbone clan and the cause of their eventual downfall. Utterly captivating, Clark's debut novel succeeds where so many others fail, marrying disturbingly beautiful prose with deeply engaging storytelling.

Hidden History of Portland, Oregon

As a fan of local history, I found this volume to be a fascinating and enlightening collection of vignettes on the subject of civil rights in Portland and Oregon at large. These are stories you have probably never heard — stories about the displacement, mistreatment, and murder of the native population, the isolation and domestic violence endured by pioneer women, the struggles of black Portlanders against "socially accepted" racial segregation, the Chinese Exclusion Act, and more. If you enjoy learning about local history or if you have a passion for civil rights, you will find this book immensely gratifying.

Broken Open

This is the most useful book I have ever read that pertains to the subject of dealing with grief. It helps. Really.

The Mad Scientist’s Daughter

"I believe I'm one of a kind."

In a world full of sentient robots exploited by humankind, Cat knows there is no one else like her childhood tutor, Finn.

The tapestry of her life is woven with uncertainty and loss as she makes increasingly poor decisions in her struggle to conform to the expectations of society. Can she find an acceptable way to express what she feels for Finn? And can he truly return those feelings?

This literary S-F romance is atmospheric, sensual, and sad, full of smoke and longing, putting to the reader the question: Can androids really love, or is it always just a program?


Imagine... a vividly crafted world in which dragons and the veneration of saints figure prominently. Tight, evocative prose. A stoic, thoughtful, and wise heroine who just wants to make music, torn between the world of humans and the world of dragons. Now imagine that this story has been marketed to the young-adult crowd. Surprised? So was I! If you have a weakness for richly detailed fantasy, Seraphina will make you swoon. Give it a chance — even if you've never picked up a young-adult title before!

The Magicians

As a diehard Narniaphile and fantasy addict, I think it would have been impossible for me not to fall in love with The Magicians. Taking a page from C. S. Lewis, Grossman introduces Fillory, a charming and uncanny alternate world created by a fictional author, whose books play a role in the lives of Grossman's characters. At the same time, Grossman's Brakebills College seems a nod to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Yet, despite these allusions to children's books, this is definitely a story for adults, rife with sexual tension, deceit, and self doubt.


Immaculate world-building, lush landscapes, and colorful, complicated characters all contributed to Green being the most worthwhile fantasy I read in 2009. Green's world possesses the beauty and intricacy of Jacqueline Carey's Terra D'Ange while Green herself proves a fascinating and complicated character with a stubborn and unbreakable will rival to no other fantasy character I've read. Comparisons to the Kushiel series and Patrick Rothfuss's The Name of the Wind are not unfounded, but Lake's vision is uniquely his own.

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