Review: Skullsworn by Brian Staveley
5 Stars , Reviews / April 10, 2017

It may have taken a few months, but I am finally ready to hand out my first 5 star rating for 2017. And as much as I loved the Unhewn Throne trilogy, Skullsworn has taken seat for my favorite of Staveley’s book. One thing Staveley did well in Unhewn Throne was create fascinating secondary characters that you wish had more page time, and even without knowing everything about them, you just love them. Well, Staveley has now proven he can take one of those intriguing secondary characters and create a very rich and full story that makes you understand and appreciate the character on a whole other level. Pyrre stood out in Unhewn Throne as one of those intriguing secondary characters that really added to my enjoyment of the series. This book is the story of her trial to become a priestess of Ananshael, the God of Death and really gives us an amazing background on her to understand how she became the character we met earlier. One would expect her trial to be full of death (which, it was), but it is love, not death, that really takes the spotlight. To complete her trial, Pyrre must take the life of…

Stacking the Shelves – February 11, 2017
Stacking the Shelves / February 11, 2017

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   Skullsworn by Brian Staveley – I felt like the Unhewn Throne trilogy got better with each book, and Pyrre was one of the secondary characters that I wanted to know more about. Thrilled to get this prequel story focused on her. Thanks to Tor Books!   The White Road by Sarah Lotz – When it comes to horror, Sarah Lotz kills it. Her previous two books, The Three and Day Four, I rated 5 stars. So excited to have a copy of her latest book. Many thanks to Mulholland Books for the review copy!   The Empire’s Ghost by Isabelle Steiger -This is easily one of my most anticipated debuts for 2017, a new epic fantasy series that sounds, well, epic! Many thanks to Thomas Dunne Books for the early copy!   Phantom Pains by Mishell Baker – Borderline was an amazing read! For those not familiar, the protagonist is a parapelegic due to a suicide attempt. I was afraid the book…

2017 New SFF Series and Standalones
Lists / December 12, 2016

Once again, it’s time to look ahead and get excited for what the new year has in store for us. Here’s a list of upcoming releases that I think are worth keeping track of, all either first and series or standalones. I read predominantly Fantasy, particularly epic fantasy, and my list definitely reflects that. This list wound up twice as long as I aimed for, and I know there are still more great books coming out not listed.   Looking forward to something you don’t see on the list? Share it in the comments!   EPIC FANTASY         FANTASY          SCIENCE FICTION           HORROR   EPIC FANTASY       Sins of Empire by Brian McClellan An epic new fantasy series from Brian McClellan, set in the same world as his wildly popular Powder Mage trilogy. The young nation of Fatrasta is a turbulent place – a frontier destination for criminals, fortune-hunters, brave settlers, and sorcerers seeking relics of the past. Only the iron will of the lady chancellor and her secret police holds the capital city of Landfall together against the unrest of a suppressed population and the machinations of powerful empires. The insurrection that threatens Landfall must be…

Review: The Last Mortal Bond by Brian Staveley
4.5 Stars , Reviews / March 7, 2016

Haven’t read the series yet? Check out our giveaway of all three books over at The Speculative Herald!     The Last Mortal Bond is a truly epic conclusion to the The Unhewn Throne trilogy. I just can’t stress enough how much I feel Staveley has grown as a writer since Emperor’s Blades. I felt the first book, The Emperor’s Blades, was unfairly over hyped, setting a level of expectation that I just didn’t feel like the book could live up to. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely enjoyed it or I would not have read on, but it was not without its issues. Providence of Fire set a new level of standard for the series, it was a fantastic second installment and the real test was going to be if that level of story telling could be maintained in the third and final book. I’m happy to say it succeeded. Easily. This series as a whole undoubtedly lives up to the expectations that were set for Staveley’s debut novel. This is a thrilling book that really ties up so many things, and was still able to deliver unexpected twists. All three of the Malkeenian siblings have changed tremendously since that first…

Tough Traveling – Flying Rides

  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? FLYING RIDES Because honestly? Horses just got boring. (Thanks to author Anne Leonard for the suggestion). I was tempted to include science fiction, because well, spaceships! But, I decided to limit myself to fantasy and see what I could come up with 🙂 But I did include steampunk, which, well might be kind of science fiction. But whatever, here’s my list! Kettral from Emperor’s Blades by Brian Staveley What kind of ride would you give a highly trained team of warriors? A kettral. This huge bird type creature can carry your team, travels fast, and can get to the most inhospitable territories. And added bonus? This thing can…

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,…

GIVEAWAY: The Providence of Fire by Brian Staveley
Giveaway / January 9, 2015

Thanks to the generosity of the good folks at Tor, I have not just 1, but 3 copies of Brian Staveley’s latest book: The Providence of Fire. That’s 3 readers that I get to make happy by sending them a copy of this amazing book. It is fun and exciting, and just did not stop. In case you missed it, you can read my review of how much I loved it. Some more exciting news, I have an interview with Brian Staveley, so be sure to check it out! (There’s bonus giveaway entries for taking the time to read the interview) The giveaway is open to US and Canada. [promosimple id=”66d0″]    

The Providence of Fire by Brian Staveley
4.5 Stars , Reviews / January 5, 2015

This. Book. Does. Not. Stop. It is continuous action, tension, suspense and WTF now??  moments. Needless to say, it very hard to put down, and to me that is a huge indicator of a great read. It may not have been what I expected, but it was exactly the type of book I wanted to read and my only gripe is that I have to wait for the final book. I enjoyed the first book in this series, The Emperor’s Blades, but if you read my review, despite really enjoying it, you know I unfortunately didn’t feel it quite lived up to the hype (which I felt was unfairly high, maybe working against the book a bit). It was a good book, especially for a debut and a really fun read.  I also felt the series had amazing potential. But because of some of my complaints, I will admit, much of my opinion of the series was contingent on the second book. I am quite happy to say, The Providence of Fire built on the strengths of Emperor’s Blades, and really smoothed out the parts of the books I felt held it back from a higher rating. I will not hesitate to recommend this…

The Emperor’s Blades by Brian Staveley
3.5 Stars , Reviews / January 4, 2014

The Emperor’s Blades by Brian Staveley has been getting a lot of attention through social media and blogging sites. As soon as I read about it, I thought it sounded amazing and when I listed in my “books that caught my eye” post on my blog, I wrote: The blurb of The Emperor’s Blades suggests it has epic potential. I love the mention of “murky politics”, the fact it will have multiple POVs, and yes, I do like that one of the major POVs is female… and a female in a powerful position described as “master politician”. So, now that I have read it, where does it stand? Well, unfortunately not quite as high as I had hoped. It was a fun read and I loved some aspects about the world and the story, but it just didn’t quite live up to my expectations. Perhaps you shouldn’t take this as too harsh of a criticism, because my expectations were fairly high; after all, I’ve heard it said that ‘this will be the best fantasy novel of 2014′. First I will explain why it didn’t meet my expectations: Staveley’s writing style features an extensive amount of ‘explaining’; not as much as some books I…