Monthly Musings – January 2015
Monthly Musings / January 31, 2015

This is a where I look back at what I read (or tried to read) during the past month. I also plan on highlighting my experiences in any book club reads I from the month as well. I will always start with any books I would label as a surprise find/under-read books so if anyone missed my reviews for them, and don’t make it to the end of this post, they’ll be easy to find.   January was a great month for me. I hosted my first author interview AND my first giveaway! A number of people asked about PromoSimple, the tool I opted to use instead of the more common Rafflecopter. I will say I really liked it. Since I have never used Rafflecopter, I can’t give you any kind of comparison though. It was extremely easy to set up and work with and has two different styles you can choose from (each of with has several color schemes). If you pay for it, you get complete control over the colors, but for what I am doing the free version is great. And, if you check out their plans, they don’t actually mention the free version. There is a…

Backlist Burndown Review: Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay
4.5 Stars , Reviews / January 30, 2015

If you have not read anything by Guy Gavriel Kay, I really encourage you to. His prose is beautiful without being flowery or ostentatious. It just flows and and leaves both wonderful images and reflections in its wake. And to make the deal even sweeter, the audiobook is narrated by Simon Vance. If you haven’t listened to a book narrated by Simon Vance, your life is just not as fulfilled as it could be! His voice is just magic, and pair that voice with Kay’s prose? The result is an audible heaven. Seriously. Tigana is a magical exploration of history and memory. A grieving sorcerer casts a spell in vengeance, causing everyone from Tigana to be caught in the middle. It is the story of a land that has been erased from everyone’s memory, and the even then name Tigana is not able to be heard or understood by anyone from outside of Tigana. Whoever you are, wherever you are from, imagine not being able to speak the name of where you are from much less speak of its history. It’s a sad loss that most of the world is unaware of. In addition to that, it’s also a story that causes you to pause and think…

Waiting on Wednesday: The Fifth Season
Waiting On Wednesday / January 28, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday is a meme hosted by Breaking the Spine to let us share our excitement for books coming out soon. I read my first book by N.K. Jemisin earlier this month and am eager to read more. While I know there are a number of published books I need to catch up on, I am also quite looking forward to this one. It sounds dark and exciting (and likely a bit emotional). Plus, I love a story where there’s a female protagonist looking to fight to overcome what ever odds and obstacles are thrown her way.   Title: The Fifth Season Author: N.K. Jemisin Expected publication: August 4th, 2015 Publisher: Orbit This is the way the world ends. Again. Three terrible things happen in a single day. Essun, a woman living an ordinary life in a small town, comes home to find that her husband has brutally murdered their son and kidnapped their daughter. Meanwhile, mighty Sanze—the world-spanning empire whose innovations have been civilization’s bedrock for a thousand years—collapses as most of its citizens are murdered to serve a madman’s vengeance. And worst of all, across the heart of the vast continent known as the Stillness, a great red…

Top Ten Tuesday – Ten Books I Loved Reading with Book Club (plus some I wish I had)
Top Ten Tuesday / January 27, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme by The Broke and the Bookish This feature gives a weekly Top Ten list. We all love lists, right? This week’s theme: Ten Books I’d Love to Read With My Book Club/If I Had A Book Club (or you could pick a specific kind of book club — like if you had a YA book club or an adult book club or a science fiction book club etc.) It’s late on Tuesday, but when I saw the theme, I decided I had to do the list. I’ve been running the book clubs at Fantasy Faction for a couple of years, and I help organize the Book of the Month for r/Fantasy’s Goodreads group, so when it comes to book club choices, yes! I have an opinion, and yes! I can make some lists!! I decided to break this one up though and do two sets of 5. The first was going to be my 5 favorite book club choices that I have already done, the other is 5 books I have read, but would have LOVED to do with a book club. But I got carried away with my first list, and decided to make…

Half the World by Joe Abercrombie
4.5 Stars , Reviews / January 26, 2015

What can I say? Abercrombie continues to know how to draw me in to a story. Half the World was absolutely no exception, and it has the added bonus of having a completely kick-ass female POV. When I ended Half a King, I had thought the next book would continue to center on Yarvi. While he is a critical character in this book, Half the World does not tell his story, it focuses more on Brand and Thorn with Yarvi still visible in the background. Thorn is fascinating. I have to admit to wondering if she is similar to what Monza (from Abercrombie’s other books, particularly Best Served Cold) might have been like as a young woman. Thorn’s one of those girls that just doesn’t fit the mold of what she is expected to be. Her father was a great warrior, Chosen Shield to a King, and her spirit and drive (and not to mention temper) put her very much in his footsteps. She is also set on avenging her father’s death. Thorn knows fighting and quite honestly, not much else. She is hyper-focused on that one area that it can make her blind and incredibly naive in some ways (as…

Flashback Friday Review: Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman
4 Stars , Reviews / January 23, 2015

Neverwhere was my first book by Gaiman and honestly, I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect. What I found was a an atmospheric and magical exploration of the bowels of London. That may sound a bit odd, but really, I think it may be suiting because the book does have an odd edge to it (in a good way). The characters in this book were great. They don’t have complicated back stories, but given the story and the way its told, I think that it works very well because that leaves them seeming a bit more mysterious.  Richard in the beginning of the book is passive and Richard’s girlfriend is shallow and superficial and treats Richard like a doormat. And of course, Mr. Croup and Mr. Vandemar were just as disgusting as Richard’s girlfriend was shallow. Door is a wonderfully mysterious girl that turns out to be Richard’s ticket to falling through the cracks and discovering the strange world of London Below. “You’ve a good heart,” she told him. “Sometimes that’s enough to see you safe wherever you go.” Then she shook her head. “ But mostly, it’s not.” And then the Marquis, who is best described but just quoting the book: The marquis de…

Karen Memory by Elizabeth Bear
3.5 Stars , Reviews / January 19, 2015

In the beginning, the book introduces the reader into the life of Karen Memery. We get a great sense of her inner strength and drive and her personality. Karen is definitely a passionate person full of fire. She’s fun to read about and even more fun to root for (which is good, because there are plenty of opportunities in this book where Karen could use someone in her corner rooting for her to make it through). We also come to understand how she wound up working in Madame Damnable’s bordello in the Wild West (with a steampunk twist). Karens voice and dialect did much to add to her character and the setting. However, I have to admit (as much as I hate to) to having a hard time getting into it, particularly in the beginning. Since I can see that it added value, and quite frankly I can’t imagine Karen speaking any other way I feel a bit guilty for saying anything. But I can’t help it, I struggled to adjust to all the “ain’t”s and such. There are also places where I just didn’t get the colloquialisms. Maybe that just means I should get out more, not sure, but even after I adjusted…

Interview with Brian Staveley, Author of The Providence of Fire
Author Interview / January 16, 2015

Today, I am excited to share an interview with Brian Staveley, the author of the Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne. Last year, there was much talk about his debut with the first book The Emperor’s Blades. As great as that one was, The Providence of Fire, which released on Monday, takes it to a new level.  It is addictive and exciting, and everything else I said about it in my review. Pretty much, I can’t wait for the next one to see how the trilogy concludes. And, to make the day even sweeter, I have three copies of this incredible book to giveaway (many thanks to Tor) . Be sure to enter below the interview. [interview_id][/interview_id][interview_q] Welcome Brian! I have really enjoyed reading The Emperor’s Blades and The Providence of Fire and am excited for you to join us today! I saw you teach some fascinating subjects: history, religion and philosophy. Did your foundation and interest in these areas help shape your book or lead you down any interesting paths for world building?[/interview_q] [interview_a]Absolutely! My brain is a feeble, unreliable organ. If I didn’t have the wondrous riches of the read world to draw on, I’m not sure I could write a pamphlet,…

Tough Traveling – Messiahs

Nathan over at Fantasy Review Barn is the mastermind of Tough Traveling. What’s Tough Traveling? Pretty much, it’s a weekly feature on Thursdays where we dig around to come up with examples of common tropes in fantasy, using Diana Wynne Jones’ The Tough Guide to Fantasyland as our inspiration and guide. Nathan has invited one and all to join in the fun, so feel free to come up with your own lists and add the link on Nathan’s weekly post, which will also contain (unleash) the next weeks theme. So let the fun begin … This weeks theme? MESSIAHS If the world needs saving who are you going to call?  Perhaps there is someone out there destined to save everything?  It sounds like you need…a Messiah.  (Thanks Rabindranauth for the topic).   I had a harder time with this than I expected. A couple came to mind immediately, clear as day. But, then I struggled with “Is this a Hero? Or is this a Messiah?” I dunno. But, here’s what I came up with: The Deliverer (or Shar’Dama Ka) from The Demon Cycle Books by Peter V. Brett This is a fun one because there are a couple of contenders for the role. Is it farm boy turned powerful…

Waiting on Wednesday – Flex
Waiting On Wednesday / January 14, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday is a meme hosted by Breaking the Spine to let us share our excitement for books coming out soon. I’ve been waiting for Angry Robot books to start hitting the shelves again, and this one in particular caught my eye. NetGalley has a number of blurbs from authors for it, but this one? This is the one that really caught my eye: “Half part Breaking Bad and half part urban fantasy, Flex is an enthusiastic romp through a world of ingenious magic accessed by geeky, obsessive projection. Tremendously entertaining rule-tinkering and loophole-hunts abound. A terrific read.” – Robert Jackson Bennett, author of American Elsewhere I absolutely love Breaking Bad and the thought of putting that type of a spin on an urban fantasy is so appealing. Title: Flex Author: Ferrett Steinmetz Expected publication: April 2nd, 2015 Publisher: Angry Robot  A desperate father will do anything to heal his daughter in a novel where Breaking Bad meets Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files…FLEX: Distilled magic in crystal form. The most dangerous drug in the world. Snort it, and you can create incredible coincidences to live the life of your dreams.FLUX: The backlash from snorting Flex. The universe hates magic and tries to rebalance the odds; maybe you survive the horrendous accidents the Flex inflicts, maybe…