Review: The Last Day of Jack Sparks by Jason Arnopp
4 Stars , Reviews / March 28, 2016

The Last Day of Jack Sparks is the story of a successful pop culture journalist, who made his fame writing books that focus on his experience as he explores a given topic. Books like Jack Sparks on Drugs, where he throws himself into the world of drugs and experiments to his heart’s delight, all in the name of research for his book. Not surprisingly, his books can be controversial, they are type of thing people will read to find out why everyone else is talking about them. For his latest book idea, he decides to delve into the world of the supernatural. There is definitely some humor in places as Jack Sparks clearly does not believe in the supernatural, but for the benefit of his book, he has to give things a try. The interesting thing about this book, is you know going in that Jack Sparks is dead (it’s right there in the title!), and he died in some mysterious way while writing this book on the supernatural. It definitely casts a little darker edge to things as Jack is very honest in that he finds the idea of there being truth in the supernatural as being rather ridiculous….

Stacking the Shelves – March 26, 2016
Stacking the Shelves / March 26, 2016

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly feature all about sharing your good luck in book acquisitions! So here’s what came my way since my last post! It’s been another couple of great weeks for book additions! Received for Review     Spira Mirabilis by Aidan Harte – I read the first in this series, but managed to let the second one slip by me. I may need to go get a copy so I can catch up and read the conclusion to the trilogy! Many thanks to Quercus/Jo Fletcher for sending this my way! Masks and Shadows by Stephanie Burgis – I read an early copy of this one and really enjoyed it! (Watch for my review of it on The Speculative Herald on Monday!). Many thanks to Pyr for sending me this finished copy!   Snakewood by Adrian Selby – I have seen a number of people struggle with this book, but really want to read it to see how it works for me, especially as some have said it pays off in the end. I decided that maybe audio might work better for me, so fingers crossed! Many thanks to Hachette Audio for the review copy! Nightshades by Melissa F….

Backlist Burndown Review: The Winter King by Bernard Cornwell
4.5 Stars , Reviews / March 25, 2016

So Bernard Cornwell is one of those authors that I have wanted to read for a while, but when comes time to pick my next read, I tend to be terribly biased towards speculative fiction. So, when I was trying to scrounge up a book to fit my last square (Arthurian Fantasy) for r/fantasy Bingo, I saw a number of people recommend Cornwell’s The Winter King, I thought it was a great chance to cross off an author I’ve been meaning to try as well as cross off my final Bingo square. Now, here’s the thing. I almost feel like I can’t give a fair review for how this book holds up in relation to Arthurian legend, namely because I feel shockingly ignorant about it. I would love to be able to provide some detailed analysis about how the characterizations hold up to or contrast with stereotypical legends on the topic, but seeing as how I’m clueless and all, it’s not going to happen. I may recognize a name here and there (like, oh say Merlin or Lancelot or King Arthur), but I really don’t have a foundation past name recognition. So, what I can tell you is what I…

Review: Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine
4.5 Stars , Reviews / March 24, 2016

Paperback Release Update: The paperback of Ink and Bone will be released on April 5, 2016   For those of you that missed my review originally, I absolutely LOVED this book! And now to celebrate the paperback release on April 5th, 2016, I have giveaway share for Throwback Thursday! If you haven’t read the book yet, you can read all the reasons I love it in my review. And don’t forget to enter the giveaway below! It’s a great chance to catch up on the series before the second book comes out this summer.   Ink and Bone is an addictive, intense read that shares a love for books with the reader.  In the world of Ink and Bone, knowledge can sometimes be viewed as a virus, if left to spread, it can cause corruption. So, what do you do with something infectious? You try to contain and control it. That is what The Great Library does. All physical books are possessed and controlled by the Great Library (does that sound “great” to you??). Owning books is illegal. Like, very illegal. There are automatons that will seek out and destroy not just people caught in possession of a book, but any…

Review: The Lyre Thief by Jennifer Fallon
4.5 Stars , Reviews / March 21, 2016

The Lyre Thief by Jennifer Fallon is packed full of all my fantasy favorites. Assassins, thieves, undesirable arranged marriages, scandalous secrets, switched identities, bandits, magic. Oh, and dragons. It checks lots of boxes, and honestly, it does it all quite well. I quickly became engrossed with the characters. The story is told through numerous POVs, but all are done well and all provide clearer insight to the overall picture. Quickly you can identify a pair of sisters as being central to the story. Rakaia is a princess of Fardohnya, which on the surface sounds like a pretty good life. Until you learn the real details. She is one of scores of daughters of the King who has a harem, so lots of wives, lots of children. In addition to his wives, the harem also includes court’esa. These are men and women who are experts in the art of sexual pleasure. Somehow of out of all the children born to the King from his legitimate wives, only one of them is a son. The rest? Daughters that he can use for political or economic advantage as they are traded off as wives to secure some advantage for the king. Pretty much,…

Review: Arkwright by Allen Steele
4.5 Stars , Reviews / March 15, 2016

Rarely can a book captivate me so strongly so quickly, but Arkwright hooked me from the very first page. I literally could not put the book aside until I got through the first section. It is a story of vision, aspiration, determination, progress, changing the world and it’s expectations and it is also the story of family, friendships and loyalties. It is a story of genre and evolution that includes the loss of the previous masters of genre as time goes by as readers move on and start to neglect reading the household names of generations past. This story takes generations to tell, but after a gripping opening, it starts with a character named Kate reading incomplete memoirs left by her recently deceased Grandfather. Kate was not close to him, I’m not sure she new much about him beyond the fact that he was a very successful Science Fiction author whose series launched TV spinoffs, catapulting him to genre’s most recognized authors. The same facts anyone of her generation would know about him. The memoirs illustrate the life and aspirations of a young aspiring author named Nathan Arkwright. It outlines his life, his friends, his successes and then most importantly,…

Audiobook Review: The Immortals by Jordanna Max Brodsky
4 Stars , Reviews / March 14, 2016

The Immortals is a gripping urban fantasy, where the protagonist is more than just a woman trying to help solve a horrendous murder. She is also the Huntress, a Greek goddess dedicated to protecting women and children. I’ll be honest, this is a story that I felt might not work for me, but after hearing rave reviews, particularly for the audiobook version, I had to give it a shot. And my trusted fellow reviewers did not steer me wrong! I have to mention, the author is actually one of the narrators for this book, and she did a superb job! I love when you get an author narration that proves they are just as talented in narrating as writing because no one understands the nuances and characters of a book more than the author. So, you know she nailed the performance. While walking her dog along the riverbank, Selene discovers the mutilated body of a women who is crowned with a laurel wreath. Being the defender of women she is, she won’t rest until she solves this mysterious death, especially as she suspects it was not an isolated case of violence, but a ritualistic killing that may indicate more killings are yet…