fireun: (wordslinger)
New review up over at the book blog!

Looking for some magnificently creepy horror/urban fantasy? Like some cajun on your ghost stories? Give this one a shot!
fireun: (wordslinger)
Remember that time I lost my house to a flood last year?

I evacuated with one book in my arms, and 'Dragon Virus' was it. It came out in eBook format Today over at Book View Cafe, and I would highly recommend snagging a copy.

Review and utterly shameless fangirling behind the cut.

“They say the end is nigh. I think we’re living in the aftermath already" )
fireun: (wordslinger)
In the time since Rowan said goodbye to her at the Crossroads Theater Maggie has had a fascinating time adjusting to the new Board of Directors and the view of the theater from Rowan’s shoes as she plans and runs the theater season. But Rowan is a hard act to follow, and between missing him and trying to be him, Maggie is tying her own life in knots. When Rowan reappears late one night, a battered human he recovered from the Borderlands between the human and Faerie worlds in tow, Maggie's world is again turned upside-down. And again it will take Faerie magic and human hearts and hands to put things back together.

Rest of the review is here!
fireun: (wordslinger)
"They are the people you pass on the street, sit next to on the bus. They are the heroes of personal triumphs, victims of personal tragedy. This is a book of little things- small casts, snippets of lives- but the way Carroll writes them makes them so very grand. The fantastic is woven so adeptly into the mundane that you don’t even know it is there until you meet the Minotaur at the center of the Labyrinth, shatter a luck curse, hatch a fairy egg, or deal with the Devil at midnight."

Rest of the review can be found here!
fireun: (wordslinger)
“My name is Sunny Nwazue and I confuse people (Akata Witch, pg 3).”

Sunny is a young girl who is a kaleidoscopic of impression and definition. She was born in America, though the rest of her family was born in Nigeria, where they relocated back to when she was nine. She has African features covered with an albino’s complexion. She loves soccer, but can only play at night with her brothers, her skin far too sensitive for the sun and other boys her age would not let her join in regardless.

Rest of the review is located here!
fireun: (wordslinger)
Author Nerine Dorman has a new book, 'What Sweet Music They Make' out January 23 from Lyrical Press. I have her at the book blog for a guest post. Drop over to see what she has to say about her writing, her love of music, and comment for a chance to win a copy!
fireun: (wordslinger)
I fear this book may have been written for me. I have a dreadful soft spot for well done alternate histories, and The Inquisitor's Apprentice is a perfect blend of early immigrant New York City and all of the mythologies and cultures that migrated in with Her people. The city is perfectly entangled, each street has its own personality, each block feels like city in itself. And the characters Moriarty has peopled her book with...They are all so wonderfully, hilariously human. It makes the book a pleasure to read.

rest of the review can be found here!
fireun: (wordslinger)
Pilgrim of the Sky is a trip through the looking glass and down the rabbit hole for a new audience of readers. It is a ethereal mirage of splintered gods, improbable magic, and the threads of humanity that weave us all together. Above all it is a story about love, in each of its aspects and all of its possibilities.

Rest of the review can be found here!
fireun: (wordslinger)
A black drake coils through Jan Xu's days and dreams, threatening her family, her pack, her land. It is a difficult choice, whether or not to involve her people in a blood feud from her Gang of Four days. But as blood is shed and even the Ancestral Forest is violated, Jan Xu will bring the ferocity of the Lang into play.

Rest of the review can be found here!
fireun: (wordslinger)
"We are all just humans, and most of us fools, and all of us longing for more than we have, to know more than we know- and yet even that is not enough, for if we knew everything we would only be disappointed that there was not one more secret to uncover." -Catherynne Valente, The Folded World, pg 170

Review can be read here!

fireun: (wordslinger)
"My fascination with the Vineart War (Flesh and Fire, Weight of Stone, The Shattered Vine) is with watching its characters grow. The grand quest of a fantasy novel carries the story onward, but it is the strength of the characters fumbling their way through what the world is throwing at them that makes the Vineart War so compelling."

Rest of the review can be found here!
fireun: (Default)

I am a fan of covers when it comes to music. I enjoy mash ups- one artist being inspired by another, taking bits and pieces here to tell another story, to expand upon the original idea. It allows everything involved to grow and become so much more. I have similar tastes when it comes to writing. I love shared worlds as well as retellings. And I really, really, enjoy re-imaginings of Alice in Wonderland. This makes me both the target audience for(re)Visions Alice, as well as one of its more difficult customers. 

The collection starts with a visit by Lewis Carroll himself, setting the mood, reminding us all of that first time we ran across a White Rabbit, a Queen of Hearts, and a horrifyingly beautiful world of talking animals and relentless riddles. From there, it is like picking up pieces of a puzzle and trying to decipher the hidden bit of Wonderland that lingers and languishes throughout each of the contained stories.

They are not all obvious- (re)Visions is refreshingly devoid of bland recitations of a familiar plot. We have a runaway who finds out he is more than he ever imagined and is fumbling his way through a city caught in the terrifying grip of Jack the Ripper. We have a shadow of Wonderland that is cast in film noir. The Queen of Hearts is given a history and a fearsome opponent. We have a mouse that would rather be a man. Through it all there are glimpses of the Wonderland we all remember, and that recognition brings to the reader a sort of fascination that keeps them reading, looking for more of the pieces they can remember being played. 

It is a wonderful collection- each story sings out strongly and stands well on its own. They are all memorable and mesmerizing. As I finished the final page, I found myself grasping for more- not of any of the stories I had read as they all stood their ground quite well- but I wanted the collection itself to continue. It will appeal to avid fans of Wonderland, as well as those who merely remember it fondly from childhood stories or movies.

(re)Visions Alice will be available in October 2011 from Candlemark & Gleam. Keep your eyes on this one- you will not want to miss it!


fireun: (wordslinger)
 “They say the end is nigh. I think we’re living in the aftermath already (Dragon Virus, pg. 69).”

It looks like such a small book- unassuming, taking up so little shelf space. But it is a trick. As soon as you start to read it will spread through your brain, unavoidable as the spread of the virus the book tracks. It is a cascade in six parts, a staggering move through religion and science before settling firmly into a desperate dig at humanity itself.

Rest of the review can be found here.
fireun: (wordslinger)
 New review up over on the book blog!

"It is obviously a sign from above that Maggie needs a change of scene when she is not only fired, but the ceiling of her bathroom collapses on top of her while she tries to take a consolatory bath. She packs a bag and leaves New York City for Vermont, intent on finding a Bed and Breakfast. What she finds instead is the Crossroads Theater and it's enigmatic director Rowan.

Spellcast is a fairy tale, and like all the best fairy tales it is dark and dangerous, and examines all of the things about ourselves we would rather not look at. It also glimmers with wide eyed wonder and rustles with restless energy. It is impossible to put down."


Read the rest of the review over here!
fireun: (wordslinger)
The wonderful thing about reviewing books is you often get to have fascinating conversations with authors. I am especially fond of getting in touch with newer authors to talk about their work and see what I can do to signal boost their releases. I was fortunate enough to run into Ms. Damask and merrily subjected her to a handful of questions.

Me- What has it been like, trying to publish an urban fantasy book in Singapore? What sorts of walls did you run into?

J. Damask- Brick wall. Singaporean publishers are more fixated on things that sell: recipe books, self-help books, poetry books and children's books. Add in horror - Singaporeans seem to like local horror. As for SF/F, nadah. I ended up publishing out of Singapore. I would say that there are many walls. Cultural wall and wall of ignorance. Not sure how we are going to change that - there are small presses/publishers who dare to publish genre fiction... but they are catering to a niche market.

Me- You have produced a good number of short stories, and now a novel, since having your daughters. How hard is it to find some good 'writing time' with children?

J. Damask- Very hard, especially when my girls are still young, my youngest being just one plus. They want my attention all the time. But I write at night, when they are in bed. It's do or do not, as Yoda would day. In this case, I do - I make the decision to write at night (or when I have some free time).

Me- Tell us about the World of the Lang

J. Damask- The Lang are Chinese wolves. They are Chinese and wolves. Their world is interwoven with Chinese traditions and traditions of the hunt. They celebrate all the lunar festivals as well as honoring their wolf nature. On the surface, they look like any ordinary Singaporean Chinese - but wolf hearts beat beneath their skin. The wolves co-exist with the humans, like two worlds intersecting. They are organized in family clans or packs.

Me- Tell us a bit about Jan Xu. How does Marianne fit into the picture?

J. Damask- Jan Xu belongs to one of the major wolf packs in Singapore. She is a bit of an anomaly in urban fantasy - she is married with two kids, juggling the roles of wife, daughter and wolf.
Marianne is her younger sister. As we know, there are always problems between sisters.

Me- What books or authors have influenced you the most? Are there any books you have utterly worn out from reading?

J. Damask- Anne McCaffrey, Robert Heinlein, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Octavia Butler, Charles de Lint ... to name a few. Books I find myself going to back and back again are The Mists of Avalon and Forests of the Heart.

Me- Who is your favorite lycanthrope/shifter?

J. Damask- I would guess Lady Hawk. Oz from Buffy is a geeky werewolf. The black werewolf in Van Helsing. ;)
 

Wolf At the Door will be released Monday, April 4th, through Lyrical Press in digital format (.epub, .pdf, .lit, .prc)
http://www.lyricalpress.com/store/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=1_71&products_id=308

The official book blurb-

"Being an ex-teen vigilante comes with its own set of problems.

Housewife, ex-teen vigilante…and shape-shifting wolf…Jan Xu has enough problems without adding her sister’s to the mix. Marianne is returning to Singapore and she’s filled with strange ideas. She’s also not alone. She’s coming home with a new boyfriend who has a dark agenda of his own.

With sibling rivalry threatening the inevitable: a battle-to-the-death with fang and claw, Jan and Marianne must overcome their issues if they’re ever going to find peace within their troubled relationship."


 
fireun: (wordslinger)
Haven't you always wanted to read an entire anthology dedicated to a bar? If you haven't you may be reading the wrong journal...

All silliness aside, After Hours- Tales from the Ur-Bar released today. Nowhere else can you find a finer collection of people weaving stories that span time, all containing one very special bar. 

Benjamin Tate sets the scene in his "An Alewife in Kish". Here we meet Gilgamesh, and find out how exactly he came into possession of the bar. Immortality always come with a price and bargains seldom are without a catch.

S.C. Butler lays out just "Why the Vikings Had No Bars". Odin sees an opportunity to gather a good handful of warriors in Gil's bar. Drinking and hailing and berserking ensues.

Jennifer Dunne reminds the reader of the dangers in dealing with Gods in "The Emperor's New God". Mars is not a deity to be trifled with.

"The Tale that Wagged the Dog", by Barbara Ashford, is a brilliant look at Tam Lin and his selkie lover. I would suggest not drinking while reading this one. The biting humor will most likely lead to choking.

Maria V. Snyder writes a darker tale about a woman's place in Japanese society in "Sake and Other Spirits".

In "The Fortune-teller Makes Her Will" Kari Sperring moves us to 17th Century Paris and weaves a haunting story involving an innocent young girl who speaks with the voices of angels and the Poisons Affair.

"The Tavern Fire", by D.B. Jackson gives us a possible explanation for the fire that started at Boston's Brazen Head tavern in 1760, and its lack of casualties.

Patricia Bray reflects on the dangers of unicorn vomit as well as how rough a life of hunting the supernatural actually is in her story "Last Call".

In Seanan McGuire's "Alchemy of Alcohol" we meet the King of Summer and his Lady and their very unique problem.

"The Grand Tour" by Juliet E. McKenna walks the reader through the tensions of pre-World War Europe, through the eyes of two youths who experience the worst and the best strangers have to offer.

Dreams of glory are not all that they seem in "Paris 24" by Laura Anne Gilman.

"Steady Hands and a Heart of Oak" by Ian Tregillis looks at a talented sapper in WWII London and his drive for recognition (and penchant for womanizing).

"Forbidden" by Avery Shade is an eerie look at the 1980's from a far future point of view.

In "Where We Are Is Hell" Jackie Kessler somehow managed to roll a story about loss and redemption into a couple thousand words without leaving anything out. (And managing a very 'Lady or the Tiger'- style ending.)

Anton Strout winds up the anthology with "Izdu-Bar"- a cunning combination of alcohol and zombies.
fireun: (wordslinger)
 Looking for something that is a perfect mix of beautiful and horrifying and completely different from anything else you have ever read?

Laura Anne Gilman's 'Dragon Virus' is up for order, my friends, and it is well worth the purchase. It straddles that fine line between science fiction and horror and in the process looks very hard at humanity as a whole.

Order link (with fantastic cover art!) is here.
fireun: (wordslinger)
Every now and then I somehow forget how much I love the character of Miles Vorkosigan. The wonderful thing is this never lasts for long.

Cryoburn was an unexpected present. I knew it was out, and I knew I was going to enjoy it just as much as the rest of the series, but seeing as I picked up The Warrior's Apprentice back when I was just starting high school it was more like getting back in touch with an old friend then reading another book in a series. I grew up, in all the important adult decisions sort of way, on this fellow. I may not have accidentally ended up owning a mercenary fleet, but there were experience parallels.

I didn't know what to expect from Cryoburn. So much has happened and changed throughout the series. What I read was perfect. It is quintessential Miles- manic and brilliant. There are kidnappings, misplaced bodies, dirty politics and sketchy economics. The whole of the book may have taken place planet-side, but as with everything that involves Miles, it feels so much bigger. And the ending was executed flawlessly. I am ever fascinated with a series that manages to come to a natural end. Cryoburn settles everything- not neat and tied with a bow- but there is enough resolution that when I finished the last page I was utterly content with how things were.

Now, I need to go grab my copy of Shards of Honor and merrily start the annual reread.
fireun: (wordslinger)

Imagine an eternal bar managed by Gilgamesh himself. It has existed everywhere and when, and always has exactly what its patrons need on tap (which sometimes differs from what they think they want). What started as an idea a group of authors came up with while in their cups translated magnificently into a collection that is the perfect combination of humorous and haunting. Each story has something new to offer- a bit of insight, a cunning use of Gil and his bar- and they all come together to build a beautiful look at humanity as a whole, the good and the bad. Snatches of life from a barkeeps eyes, without all of the cliché. It was a fun, often surprising, read from a very talented group of authors.

Benjamin Tate sets the scene in his "An Alewife in Kish". Here we meet Gilgamesh, and find out how exactly he came into possession of the bar. Immortality always come with a price and bargains seldom are without a catch.

S.C. Butler lays out just "Why the Vikings Had No Bars". Odin sees an opportunity to gather a good handful of warriors in Gil's bar. Drinking and hailing and berserking ensues.

Jennifer Dunne reminds the reader of the dangers in dealing with Gods in "The Emperor's New God". Mars is not a deity to be trifled with.

"The Tale that Wagged the Dog", by Barbara Ashford, is a brilliant look at Tam Lin and his selkie lover. I would suggest not drinking while reading this one. The biting humor will most likely lead to choking.

Maria V. Snyder writes a darker tale about a woman's place in Japanese society in "Sake and Other Spirits".

In "The Fortune-teller Makes Her Will" Kari Sperring moves us to 17th Century Paris and weaves a haunting story involving an innocent young girl who speaks with the voices of angels and the Poisons Affair.

"The Tavern Fire", by D.B. Jackson gives us a possible explanation for the fire that started at Boston's Brazen Head tavern in 1760, and its lack of casualties.

Patricia Bray reflects on the dangers of unicorn vomit as well as how rough a life of hunting the supernatural actually is in her story "Last Call".

In Seanan McGuire's "Alchemy of Alcohol" we meet the King of Summer and his Lady and their very unique problem.

"The Grand Tour" by Juliet E. McKenna walks the reader through the tensions of pre-World War Europe, through the eyes of two youths who experience the worst and the best strangers have to offer.

Dreams of glory are not all that they seem in "Paris 24" by Laura Anne Gilman.

"Steady Hands and a Heart of Oak" by Ian Tregillis looks at a talented sapper in WWII London and his drive for recognition (and penchant for womanizing).

"Forbidden" by Avery Shade is an eerie look at the 1980's from a far future point of view.

In "Where We Are Is Hell"  Jackie Kessler somehow managed to roll a story about loss and redemption into a couple thousand words without leaving anything out. (And managing a very 'Lady or the Tiger'- style ending.)

Anton Strout winds up the anthology with "Izdu-Bar"- a cunning combination of alcohol and zombies.

After Hours is released March 1st. Go forth and pre-order a copy. It is well worth the read.

March 2015

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