Audiobook Review: Stolen Songbird by Danielle L. Jensen
4 Stars , Reviews / May 25, 2015

In Stolen Songbird, there is a race of individuals, trolls, that have been cursed to remain confined to their city, Trollus, below the Forsaken Mounts. A witch cast this curse 5 centuries ago, so the humans above rely on rumors and folklore for knowledge of trolls. And lets just say, there is nothing very favorable known or mentioned about either trolls or Trollus. I mean, they are trolls, they live underground, and have been cursed to stay there for 500+ years. The witch likely did the human race a favor. So, imagine the horror when Cécile is abducted, ripped from her current life, to be sold to the trolls. It would be frightening enough to be taken from your current life by force, but then to be taken to a strange underground city, lacking all of the natural beauty and sun and stars of your world, to be sold to these fearsome creatures would be an even worse nightmare. And to top it off, they expect her to marry one, their prince. When little girls dream of growing up to become a princess, it is usually not via marring an underground troll prince. I really enjoyed this one. It is a a sweet…

Review: Flex by Ferrett Steinmetz
4.5 Stars , Reviews / March 2, 2015

Reading Flex is like ingesting a solid dose of some seriously bad-ass magic. The world comes to life, possibilities that you hadn’t thought of suddenly present themselves, you find yourself immersed in words that portray a familiar, but yet much more magical world. Flex is in some ways, reminiscent of Breaking Bad with a Ready Player One slant but with an added twist all it’s own. Our protagonist, Paul, is an interesting character. He is a rule abiding, ex-cop who was injured in the line of duty against a ‘mancer. There are definite shades of grey morality as he is forced to make some very hard choices and re-evaluate his previously black and white view of the world. I debated about how much plot detail to go into with this. There are some stories that I think are much better experienced straight from the author, and I suspect this is one of them. So, I am going to focus on the world and magic in this review and hope you get a good enough feel for what makes this story such a great read. Imagine magic that that does not go to a predetermined set within the population, but a magic that stems from the pain…

Backlist Burndown Review: Zoo City by Lauren Beukes
4 Stars , Reviews / February 27, 2015

Author Lauren Beukes has a gift for relaying information to the reader in a way that just flows and reads natural, not forced. All of the sudden you realize how much you have learned about the world without ever having felt like you had to sit through long sections of world building “information” or “background”. And keep in mind, there is a good amount of world building and information getting across to the reader, it is just seamlessly integrated with the story. Animal companions are kind of a scarlet letter, marking those that have committed crimes serious enough to warrant them. They can also grant their assigned human unique abilities. Our protagonist (Zinzi), while she seems to be a good person, had some misfortune that resulted in being prosecuted and her being paired with a sloth, named “Sloth”. Thanks to her sloth, Zinzi now has the ability to locate lost things. It is an interesting aspect to be so clearly marked as someone who has committed a crime. If you are a criminal and have been paired with an animal, people will refer to you as a “Zoo”. Strangers have no idea of a person’s circumstances, their actual criminal record or how remorseful they may or…

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…

Fantasy-Faction Book Club has a Giveaway for Mirror Empire
News / November 10, 2014

I apologize in advance for my cheesy book club sales pitch 🙂 For those that don’t know, I run the book clubs over at Fantasy Faction forum, but have kept my book club activities rather separate from my blogging. But I felt like this was a great opportunity to spread the word a bit. Maybe it will reach someone in the blogging world that hasn’t really considered the book club, that might be interested. Sooo …. Ever thought about joining an online book club? Like free books? Interested in The Mirror Empire by Kameron Hurley?? Well, then, I think you should check out the current giveaway (made possible by the incredibly generous people at Angry Robot), offered by Fantasy Faction in connection with their book club: Giveaway – The Mirror Empire by Kameron Hurley. This book is a great choice for discussion, there’s so much going on, and there’s likely to be some varying opinions and takes on things. And FREE BOOKS!! (It is open internationally!) I’d love to see someone I know win one of the copies 🙂 And I’d love even more to see some new members join in our discussions. 🙂

The Shadow Master by Craig Cormick
2.5 Stars , Reviews / May 19, 2014

The Shadow Master by Craig Cormick was a different read for me. It is a bit steam punk with some humor thrown in, and a central romance of star crossed lovers. The central premise of the story is interesting. The land has been ravaged by plague, with no one safe or immune from its devastating effects. No one that is, outside of the Walled City. Within these walls they hold the secret to keeping the plague at bay, so the fortunate people within live unmarred and healthy. But of course, that does not mean they live in harmony. Within this oasis from the plague, the people are divided between two households (the Medicis and the Lorraines) to the degree that a brief glimpse at a man’s facial hair will speak of his allegiance, which house he supports. Oh, and of course, this is a Romeo/Juliet love story, so our star-crossed lovers are from the different houses. (Brief confession here, I kept expecting to hear songs from West Side Story break out while reading). Lorenzo (our Romeo) is an apprentice to Galileo, the Medicis most powerful alchemist and inventor. Lorenzo has a brilliant mind and is eager to solve problems and create…

The Corpse Rat King by Lee Battersby
4 Stars , Reviews / April 7, 2014

  Corpse Rat King by Lee Battersby is full of wonderfully macabre atmosphere and attitude. Marius don Hellespont makes his gory living by wading through battlefields, liberating the dead of their valuables (in other words, he is a corpse rat). Our story begins as Marius and his lackwit assistant Gerd are interrupted as they are making their latest collection. I’ll skip over any spoilers here and just say it results in Marius being sucked into the underworld where he is mistaken as a dead king. Once the army of dead realize the mistake, they send Marius on a journey to find them a dead king (I guess they are in serious need of a deceased monarch). As incentive, the dead are able to hold his life ransom, so while he is making this journey, he does so as a walking corpse. As Marius travels, we get to see him stammer through many different situations, obstacles, setback and such, all of which are made more interesting and disgusting because of his lack of life. And some of which would never be possible otherwise. One thing that I need to make clear about this book, is Battersby writing skills are top notch….

The Book of the Crowman by Joseph D’Lacey
3.5 Stars , Reviews / February 23, 2014

  If you read my review of Black Feathers by Joseph D’Lacey, or saw it listed as one of my favorite books of 2013, you won’t be surprised to know that I I was eagerly awaiting The Book of the Crowman (the second half of the Black Dawn Duology). It can be hard to read a follow up to a book that you thought so highly of. There is always concern that if the second book doesn’t live up to your expectations, how to handle an honest review without sounding so negative that the entire series sounds unworthy of being read To get to the point, what I found was a bit more of a mixed bag for me than Black Feathers was. I wish I could write another gushy review and tell everyone they must go read this book, but I can’t quite do that. To be fair, I had high expectations, so there was a lot to be accomplished to live up to them. I’ll start with what worked very well. Gordan’s character has grown and developed. I love that D’Lacey did not turn him into some faultless hero. Even in the beginning of the book, Gordan’s pursuit…

Blades of the Old Empire by Anna Kashina
Reviews / January 29, 2014

*** UPDATE – I just found out my review copy was missing an entire chapter. I hope to get a chance to look at the complete book and evaluate if that could have impacted my opinion/review. Many of my comments and observations will stand, but even if the book has faults, I feel bad that the author’s work, particularly in regard to its resolutions, since I understand this chapter is towards the end, is being judged on an incomplete version. ***   I enjoyed reading Blades of the Old Empire by Anna Kashina, but I’ve debated how to go about writing this review. So, what I’ve decided on is to explain why this is a hard one for me to write. I think the process should get across what I want to say about the book. So firstly I’ll start with saying that my mood and how well a book fits it at the moment can impact my enjoyment level of a book. Sometimes I think it may make the difference between a 3 star and a 4 star or a 4 star and a 5 star rating.  Maybe that is not a fair thing to admit. I have actually…

The Prince of Lies by Anne Lyle
4 Stars , Reviews / November 20, 2013

The Prince of Lies is the concluding book of Anne Lyle’s Night’s Masque trilogy. Merchant of Dreams left us with an almost picturesque ending, Mal and Coby married, headed off to start a new life with Kit, their adopted infant son who is also host to Kiiren. As you can imagine, it wouldn’t be much of a book if things stayed that happy and settled, so they don’t. Not even close. Once again, I find Anne Lyle’s prose to be an enjoyable read. Her stories are not the action packed, read as fast as you can style, but rather, sit back take in the setting and time period and enjoy. It’s a book where the story flows rather races. In this book, the guisers have set their sights on the throne and are getting disturbingly close. Enter Mal, who must unravel their plan and find a way to put a stop to it. The book covers a large time frame, rightfully skipping over years where nothing relevant happens. We find Coby has a much more back seat and domestic role in this. I always really enjoy Coby’s character, so it was strange seeing her adjust to the life of a lady….