Magic for Liars, a Review

Magic for Liars by Sarah Gailey

a review by Lisa Freitag

Magic for Liars takes place in a world where magic is something you are, or are not; part of a person’s identity rather than something you can or can’t do. Unlike Gailey’s earlier magic novel, When We Were Magic, which begins with a girl who has just accidentally exploded a boy’s penis with magic, this one is not marketed for teens. It tracks high school identity formation and angst into middle age with a forty-something, magicless detective who must investigate a magical death at the privileged high school where her twin, magic sister teaches. 

Gailey gifts her first-person narrator, Ivy Gamble, with a keen understanding of the way identities formed (or lies told) in high school translate into lifelong biases or barely-healed emotional wounds. As a detective, Ivy is almost magically observant, and describes her world in beautiful prose. The books in the Theoretical Magic section of the library where a death has just occurred are heard “murmuring to each other like a scandalized congregation of origami Presbyterians.” The books cease their whispering only after Ivy reveals the truths behind the death. 

Ivy is at once wise and damaged, a properly cocky noir private detective who doesn’t really believe she is competent. She does, however, believe her own lie that she doesn’t resent her sister for being magic. At the high school, she weaves her own net of lies around students and faculty as she attempts to unravel the lies that led to the magical death. And, of course, she must face her past high school self and her relationship with her privileged sister in order to solve the mystery she’s been given. 

Dragonfell, by Sarah Prineas: A Review

Dragonfell by Sarah Prineas

Another review from Lisa Freitag!

Sarah Prineas has a gift for writing for kids without compromising either plot or language by unnecessary simplification. As a mom who has read a lot of books out loud, I have appreciated her straightforward and respectful prose since her first novels (The Magic Thief series). Dragonfell is for slightly older readers, aimed at 8 to 12 years old, but could be read aloud to younger kids. 

Rafi, the boy whose chief talent seems for getting into trouble, and Maud, the somewhat clueless and unexpectedly brave girl scientist, do, indeed, find the dragons, as stated on the cover copy. But they do not find them in the usual fantasy places, or by the usual magical means. Adults who have read a lot of fantasy will find it fairly predictable, but kids will love it.

Shakespeare For Squirrels: A Review

Hi folks! Lisa Freitag has been kind enough to do some book reviews for us and if you’re curious about Christopher Moore’s latest, here is what she had to say about it.

Shakespeare for Squirrels by Christopher Moore

When my kid was in middle school, I caught him watching a video stream of a random comedian whose act seemed to consist only of endless repetition of the f-word. I figured my son already knew that word, and decided to criticize the comedian, not for his language, but for his total lack of creativity in using it. This is probably not the only reason my son later fell in love with Shakespeare and his brilliant language. Like Shakespeare, Christopher Moore is not lacking in creative abilities. Shakespeare for Squirrels is packed with inventive language, mostly in the form of sexual innuendos and verbal obscenities, each funnier than the last.

The story is a very loose—or perhaps totally inaccurate–retelling of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The substitution of Moore’s first-person narrator, Pocket of Dog Snogging, for Puck–because the story doesn’t need two fools–is only one of the ways in which the story goes wrong. There are also Amazons under the command of Hippolyta, a fifth fairy named Fluffer-Nutter, goblins loyal to Oberon, and a cast of rude mechanicals ready for a class war with Duke Theseus of Athens. Not to mention the squirrels. 

Pocket has also starred in two previous novels, Fool (apparently a send-up of King Lear) and The Serpent of Venice (draw your own conclusions). Like most good fools, he can get away with nearly any criticism, as long as he hides it with clever, obscene jokes. He is obnoxious, cocky, and keenly observant, as he makes his way through the “very mythical fourteenth-century forests” outside of Athens. (What? No olive trees?) He is hilariously inventive in his profanity, farming every lewd suggestion that can be made within Shakespeare’s tale. “Fuckstockings!” These shadows have indeed offended! Delightfully so. 


Mid-September update!

Hello, out there! Hello? Is anybody out there?

Okay, I’m exaggerating. Things have gotten a little quieter as they always do at this time of year, but we’re still open and doing business. And we’ve been continuing to get things fixed up around here. We finally have the last of the door repair/replacements finished, and yesterday we repaved the parking lot! With luck, we should be able to park in it by this coming weekend.

Also, as most of you know, Batman retired as guardian of the sidewalk earlier this summer. Well, Captain Marvel (or as some of the younger folks know him, Shazam) has volunteered to take his place and now stands proudly outside, suitable for photo ops or reading books in the sunshine.

We continue to put new things on the shelf and website for you. If you don’t see it, drop us a line and ask. We would love to carry all the new titles, but don’t have the space or time to keep track of them all. We will happily order them for you, though!

Here’s hoping you all continue to be well and we get to see you sometime soon!

Independent Bookstore Day

Hello, everybody! This Saturday is not only supposed to be sunny and cooler, but it is also the rescheduled Independent Bookstore Day. Now, we’re still at a stage where we don’t particularly want to encourage hordes of people to descend on the store, even if they are going to buy things from us. But what sort of event can we do and still be responsible?


We didn’t do a bag sale this spring like we wanted to, but we’re determined to get one in this fall, so what better way to celebrate Independent Bookstore Day? We won’t have the garage open like past sales, but we’re going to be bringing out tables of goodies for everyone to take home.

Buy a bag, take home a bag full of books and comics! Fill up your Little Free Library, stock up on your reading material for the winter…heck, insulate your house! So come and join us this Saturday. We’re open from noon – 6, the bag sale will be going on from noon to 5 pm.

An almost-July update

Hi all! It’s now the end of June and I thought I’d put together a post with lots of little things you probably already know about.

We have re-opened since the break-in and are keeping the hours Monday – Saturday, Noon – 6pm. Except, of course, this coming Saturday will be the Fourth of July, and we will not be open. Here’s hoping we all have an excellent holiday weekend.

We are requiring masks in the store. City of Minneapolis says so, and it’s a good idea anyway. We need a healthy customer base!

A new bit of news – we’ve been getting a lot more single-item orders via the website than we used to, so Greg has decided to lower the flat rate for shipping from $7.50 to $5.00.

We’re now putting lists of upcoming releases onto the website as well. Just look at the menu on top of the home page, and select “Upcoming Releases”. Release dates have been changing a lot over the last few months, but we’ll try to keep on top of them. If you see anything you want to make sure we order, just let us know. We don’t have room for everything, but we’re always glad to order something for you.

Update: Fundraising

Hi everybody!

2020 has been rough on everybody, and retail has been a series of ups and downs. Covid-19 cancelled conventions we go to, closed our stores, and interfered with our supply chains. And then DreamHaven got broken into and smashed up.

After a lot of thought, Greg has decided to start a Go Fund Me campaign.

Check it out. His words are better than mine. Thank you.

June 2020 Update

Hi, everybody. Hope you’re all doing well. Thank you so, so much for all your good wishes and offers of help. We wanted to update you on what was going on with the store.

To recap: around 1 am Saturday Morning (May 30) four people (Young? Male?) stopped at DreamHaven in a car and smashed the glass in the front door. They destroyed our cash drawer, smashed a lot of glass and a computer, cut into boxes ready to ship, threw books around, and set a book on fire. At some point, they were interrupted by neighbors and ran for it with electronics and some merchandise. The neighbors boarded up our door and contacted us online.

Saturday Greg came in and discovered the mess, and called for help online. People were wonderful, and came and helped us clean up and board up the store. Again, THANK YOU!

A lot of folks have been asking if we are going to set up a GoFundMe. We haven’t ruled it out yet, but Greg is still going over things with the insurance company and if we do something, it will probably be after he knows how much the repairs are going to cost.

We’ve also been asked when we are going to re-open. Right now, we’re not sure. Greg says we’ll do it as soon as it feels safe. We’ll update you here when we do. For now, we’re back to online sales. Website, ABEbooks, eBay, or drop us a note at We’re happy to do special orders for you, as long as we can get the books! – Wendy

May 2020 Update

Are we having fun yet?

Well, I have some news. DreamHaven will be opening its doors to the public once again, starting this Monday, the 18th.

HOWEVER – Read the rest of this, as the details are important and we can only do this with your help.

Until further notice, we will be open noon-6 pm, Monday through Saturday.

This is the part we need your help with – we will only be allowing 10 people in the store at a time, and we ask that you put 6 feet of distance between yourself and other people. This means that you may need to exercise some patience, and bringing the whole family may not be as good an idea as it used to be.

Masks are optional, but encouraged. Staff may or may not be wearing them. We are going to attempt to have some masks available as well as hand sanitizer. Some high-contact surfaces will be cleaned regularly, and Greg says he has installed a clear barrier at the counter (which I am looking forward to seeing, as our counter can’t have made it easy).

And as before, we are taking orders by phone, e-mail or on our website for mail or pickup. If you don’t know if we have something in stock, just ask.

Stay safe! We look forward to seeing you soon.

April Update

Still Alive! That goes for the store and the people working in it. We’re still healthy and we’re still working to get things out to you.

Since you’re here, you’ve probably noticed the bright green disclaimer banner up above. Because of how our website is set up, it can be difficult for us to keep on top of what we have in stock vs. what we have on the website. And right now, with fewer people keeping fewer hours in the store, it’s more difficult than ever. Add to that shipping delays, more orders than normal coming in…it got a bit messy. And we really hate to get an order and then have to turn around and tell the person eagerly awaiting their book that we don’t have it and probably can’t get it for weeks. So we’re taking drastic measures. It won’t solve everything, but we hope it will help.

We have marked everything on the website posted prior to Jan 1, 2019 “Out of Stock”. Everything posted after that date is still easily available as usual. We hate to do this as it means people will be less likely to order something if they can’t just click a button and send off the order. I want you to know that we will still have much of this in stock, and you can still feel free to drop us a note here or at and we will still be happy to sell you the books once we have made sure they are in stock. And we have so many other titles in stock that have never made it anywhere near the website!

Thank you for all your support during these interesting times. We will keep doing what we can to get you the books you need/want!

March Update

Wow. I guess this is what they mean by “interesting times”? Just when I thought it couldn’t get interesting-er….

No gloom. We are happy, healthy and open! Greg, Ryan and I (Wendy) intend to keep the store open as long as we can get the books and ship them back out. Crowds certainly aren’t being an issue, and between the trickle of orders coming in and things that are finally getting done around here, we’re keeping occupied. (Did you hear about Ryan finding a case of toilet paper in the basement that Greg had ordered and forgotten two years ago? Seriously. The basement needs work.)

But we miss you, and we worry that you might be running out of books. That’s why I’m putting more books on the website, and why we’ve put together a $10 care package option. If you haven’t seen it already, it’s here.  You can order it here online and we will send a package of lightly-used books anywhere in the US. If you’re local and would rather swing by and pick one up, you can get a slightly larger bag for the same price. We have a few different bags to choose from: science fiction, fantasy, Star Trek, adventure/thriller, western (I did do western, I think…nobody has picked one yet), and random. No kids’ books or young adult, I’m afraid, as we just don’t have enough of them. And “random” might get you a bag full of crazy, but Greg says I can’t go too extreme and have to mix some SF&F in as well.

Don’t forget that most of our stock is not online! If there is something you’d like to order, just give us a call (612-823-6161) or drop us an e-mail ( and we’ll see if we have it or can get it for you. We ship everywhere!

More Holiday hours updates!

DreamHaven will be closing early on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, as well as being closed on Christmas and New Year’s Day. So if you’re going to be doing some last-day Christmas shopping (or any other shopping here on December 24th), remember to do it before 3 pm!

Revised times:

Tuesday, Dec 24  Noon – 3 pm
Wednesday, Dec 25 CLOSED
Tuesday, Dec 31  Noon – 5pm
Wednesday, Jan 1 CLOSED

Happy holidays, everybody!

Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Holiday Hours

And now, the post you’ve all been waiting for! “What’s on sale for Black Friday?” I’ve heard you ask. Well, I’ll tell you. But first, our holiday hours!

We will be CLOSED on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day (November 28, December 25, January 1). But as well as our usual schedule (Tuesday – Saturday, noon – 6:30pm), we will also be open every Sunday between Thanksgiving and Christmas from noon – 5pm.

And now, to the sales….

BLACK FRIDAY we will be open our normal hours, but EVERYTHING will be 20% off all day.

SMALL BUSINESS SATURDAY we will be open our normal hours, with

20% off new books
25% off used books
30% off bagged comics

And special items will be sale priced up to 75% off!

Was it worth the wait?

2019 Hugo Award Winners

The 2019 Hugo Awards were announced Sunday, August 18th, at the World Science Fiction Convention in Dublin, Ireland. And the winners are….

Best Novel

The Calculating Stars, by Mary Robinette Kowal (Tor)

Best Novella

Artificial Condition, by Martha Wells ( Publishing)

Best Novelette

“If at First You Don’t Succeed, Try, Try Again,” by Zen Cho (B&N Sci-Fi and Fantasy Blog, 29 November 2018)

Best Short Story

“A Witch’s Guide to Escape: A Practical Compendium of Portal Fantasies,” by Alix E. Harrow (Apex Magazine, February 2018)

Best Series

Wayfarers, by Becky Chambers (Hodder & Stoughton / Harper Voyager)

Best Related Work

Archive of Our Own, a project of the Organization for Transformative Works

Best Graphic Story

Monstress, Volume 3: Haven, written by Marjorie Liu, art by Sana Takeda (Image Comics)

Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, screenplay by Phil Lord and Rodney Rothman, directed by Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey and Rodney Rothman (Sony)

Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form

The Good Place: “Janet(s),” written by Josh Siegal & Dylan Morgan, directed by Morgan Sackett (NBC)

Best Professional Editor, Long Form

Navah Wolfe

Best Professional Editor, Short Form

Gardner Dozois

Best Professional Artist

Charles Vess

Best Art Book

The Books of Earthsea: The Complete Illustrated Edition, illustrated by Charles Vess, written by Ursula K. Le Guin (Saga Press /Gollancz)

Best Semiprozine

Uncanny Magazine, publishers/editors-in-chief Lynne M. Thomas and Michael Damian Thomas, managing editor Michi Trota, podcast producers Erika Ensign and Steven Schapansky, Disabled People Destroy Science Fiction Special Issue editors-in-chief Elsa Sjunneson-Henry and Dominik Parisien

Best Fanzine

Lady Business, editors Ira, Jodie, KJ, Renay & Susan

Best Fancast

Our Opinions Are Correct, hosted by Annalee Newitz and Charlie Jane Anders

Best Fan Writer

Foz Meadows

Best Fan Artist

Likhain (Mia Sereno)

John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer

Jeannette Ng (2nd year of eligibility)

Lodestar Award for Best Young Adult Book

Children of Blood and Bone, by Tomi Adeyemi (Henry Holt / Macmillan Children’s Books)

Welcome to DreamHaven!

Welcome to DreamHaven Books and Comics!

It has come to my attention that a lot of folks are finding us online these days rather than walking in through the front door, so I thought I should tell you something about the store.

DreamHaven is a good old-fashioned bricks-and-mortar bookstore that opened its doors for the first time on April 1st, 1977. Since then it has been in several different locations in Minneapolis under a couple different names, but always under the same ownership. That’s 42 years! We’ve been in our current location at 2301 E. 38th Street for about 11 years.

The store stock has changed a bit over the years, but the core of it has always been science fiction, fantasy and horror; books and comics; new and used. We’re one of the oldest science fiction specialty shops in the country. That said, we also have a great art section, film books and posters, and vintage paperbacks.  Add to that all the odds and ends that have wound up in the store over the last 42 years and we have a very eclectic stock!

Sadly, only a very small percentage of it winds up on our website. We have a small staff, and the amount of time that would be required to get all of it on the website would probably require hiring six more people. Right now the items that get onto our website tend to be significant new titles or older items that get posted on a whim because I had some free time. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t order them online! If you have a wishlist, feel free to send it along to me at Depending on what you’re looking for it may take me a bit, but I’ll give a search through our stock and see if I can hook you up with what you want.

Some of the more collectible books we do get posted on, and we regularly have a selection of things on – that’s good for all sorts of things. But our online stock is only the tip of the iceberg.