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Guest Post: Adam Christopher on "The Masked Men of Empire State"

>>Friday, December 30, 2011

I'm pleased to introduce Adam Christopher, author of the newly released Empire State, published by Angry Robot. You know I love me some superhero fiction and Adam is here to talk about the superheroes in Empire State.

Adam Christopher was born in Auckland, New Zealand, and grew up watching Pertwee-era Doctor Who and listening to The Beatles, which isn't a bad start for a child of the 80s. In 2006, Adam moved to the sunny North West of England, where he now lives in domestic bliss with his wife and cat in a house next to a canal, although he has yet to take up any fishing-related activities. Adam's short fiction has appeared in Pantechnicon, Hub, and Dark Fiction Magazine, and has been nominated for the British Science Fiction Association, British Fantasy Society, and Parsec awards. In 2010, as an editor, Adam won a Sir Julius Vogel award, New Zealand's highest science fiction honour. When not writing Adam can be found drinking tea and obsessing over DC Comics, Stephen King, and The Cure. He is also a strong advocate for social media, especially Twitter, which he spends far too much time on avoiding work.

You can visit Adam on the web by clicking here.

The Masked Men of Empire State
When the cover for my novel Empire State was revealed (created by the magnificent Will Staehle), a few people wondered – apparently genuinely – whether the book was going to star Wesley Dodds, aka the Golden Age version of the DC Comics superhero, The Sandman. Of course the answer was no, but I did wonder how they might have reacted had seen an early version of the cover which featured (purely to test figure positioning) the profile of Batman rather than the Skyguard…

Empire State is a science fiction noir with added superheroes – “Raymond Chandler meets The Rocketeer in Gotham City”, and given the strong comic book/graphic novel influence, I had a lot of visuals I wanted to work into the novel. One thing I’ve always loved about pulp fiction and comic books of the 1930s is their compelling, dramatic imagery: lots of scowling men in fedoras, guns at the ready, while bizarrely costumed superheroes flew through the air – and more often than not both types of character would even appear on the same cover.

There were some Golden Age superheroes who were slightly more subdued than, for example, the Golden Age Green Lantern. The Spirit wore a hat and trench coat with just a domino mask for disguise, as did the Crimson Avenger, albeit in bright red. Wesley Dodds – the Sandman – went a little further, adding a flowing cape over his double-breasted suit (later switched for a regular trench coat in the mid-90s Vertigo revival, Sandman Mystery Theatre) to go with the gas mask under his hat. But at least with Dodds, the gas mask had a purpose – he was armed, after all, with a gun full of sleeping gas.

In Empire State, Mr Grieves and Mr Jones wear gas masks, trench coats and fedoras, and one of them even wields a strange, fat-barrelled revolver not entirely dissimilar to the Sandman’s gas gun. But while the gun was an affectionate – and deliberate – nod to Mr Dodds, the mask, hat and trench coat actually came from somewhere else entirely.

Years ago I had a book, the title of which escapes me, about life on the home front in Britain during World War II. I found it fascinating, particularly the photographs which showed people going about their lives in as normal a way as possible. One such image leapt out at me, showing a man casually walking down the street, trench coat flapping and fedora at a jaunty angle… and gas mask firmly in place. It’s tempting to say this image, or one very like it, inspired writer Gardner Fox and artist Bert Christman to create Wesley Dodds in the first place, but as The Sandman first appeared in 1939 it’s hard to say for sure.

That wartime snapshot – which I discovered years before I started reading comics and knew anything at all about The Sandman – was so striking I knew I’d have to use it one day. And when Empire State came along, it fitted perfectly; I had two characters that needed some very special equipment, but being a period piece and the noir nature of the story, their gear couldn’t be too outlandish or it would be laughable. The remarkable juxtaposition of fedora and gas mask came to mind immediately, an image so powerful that it even made it to the book’s cover.

Wesley Dodds, eat your heart out.

More on Adam's book, Empire State:

The Empire State is the other New York. A parallel-universe, Prohibition-era world of mooks and shamuses that is the twisted magic mirror to our bustling Big Apple, a place where sinister characters lurk around every corner while the great superheroes that once kept the streets safe have fallen into dysfunctional rivalries and feuds. Not that its colourful residents know anything about the real New York… until detective Rad Bradley makes a discovery that will change the lives of all its inhabitants.

“Adam Christopher’s debut novel is a noir, Philip K Dick-ish science fiction superhero story… As captivating as a kaleidoscope… just feel it in all its weird glory.” – Cory Doctorow, New York Times bestselling author of Little Brother

“Stylish, sinister, and wickedly fun, Empire State is not your average sexy retro parallel universe superhero noir.” – Lauren Beukes, award-winning author of Zoo City

A big thank you to Adam for stopping by!


Waiting on Wednesday: Libriomancer by Jim C. Hines

>>Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Welcome back to another installment of Waiting on Wednesday, hosted by Breaking the Spine. Any books about books or libraries has got to be awesome. Can't wait for this one!

Title: Libriomancer
Author: Jim C. Hines
Publication Date: August 7th, 2012
Publisher: DAW Books

From Goodreads:

Isaac Vainio has spent the past two years working at the Copper River Library in northern Michigan, secretly cataloguing books for their magical potential, but forbidden from using that magic himself . . . except for emergencies. Emergencies like a trio of young vampires who believe Isaac has been killing their kind, and intend to return the favor. 

Isaac is a libriomancer, brilliant but undisciplined, with the ability to reach into books and create objects from their pages. And attacking a libriomancer in his own library is never a good idea. 

But vampires are only the beginning. This was merely the latest in a series of attacks against members of Die Zwelf Portenære, a secret organization founded five centuries ago by Johannes Gutenberg to protect the world from supernatural threats. Among the casualties is Ray Walker, Isaac’s friend and mentor in magic. 

Complicating matters further is the arrival of a dryad named Lena Greenwood. Lena packs a pair of wooden swords and proves to be quite adept at helping to beat down various magical threats. She also seems to be a little too interested in Isaac . . . not that he minds. Yet Lena’s nature could make her a greater threat than any vampire. 

Along with a neurotic fire-spider named Smudge, Isaac and Lena set out to find and stop whoever is behind the attacks. But things are worse than Isaac imagined. An unknown killer of unimaginable power has been torturing and murdering humans and vampires alike. And Gutenberg, now more than six hundred years old, has disappeared. 

As Isaac searches for Gutenberg and the murderer, hoping they aren’t one and the same, he uncovers dark secrets about magic’s history and potential. Secrets which could destroy Die Zwelf Portenære and loose a magical war upon the world. If Isaac is to have any hope of preventing that war, he will have to truly master the magic of libriomancy. 

Assuming he doesn’t lose control and wipe himself from existence first.


Review: The Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson

>>Thursday, December 22, 2011

Title: The Alloy of Law
Author: Brandon Sanderson
Series: Mistborn #4
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 320
Genre: Fantasy. Steampunk
Publication Date: November 8th, 2011
Publisher: Tor Books
Rating: A-

From Goodreads: Three hundred years after the events of the Mistborn trilogy, Scadrial is now on the verge of modernity, with railroads to supplement the canals, electric lighting in the streets and the homes of the wealthy, and the first steel-framed skyscrapers racing for the clouds.

Kelsier, Vin, Elend, Sazed, Spook, and the rest are now part of history—or religion. Yet even as science and technology are reaching new heights, the old magics of Allomancy and Feruchemy continue to play a role in this reborn world. Out in the frontier lands known as the Roughs, they are crucial tools for the brave men and women attempting to establish order and justice.

One such is Waxillium Ladrian, a rare Twinborn, who can Push on metals with his Allomancy and use Feruchemy to become lighter or heavier at will. After twenty years in the Roughs, Wax has been forced by family tragedy to return to the metropolis of Elendel. Now he must reluctantly put away his guns and assume the duties and dignity incumbent upon the head of a noble house. Or so he thinks, until he learns the hard way that the mansions and elegant tree-lined streets of the city can be even more dangerous than the dusty plains of the Roughs.

Why did I read this book? Sanderson's Mistborn series is probably one of my all-time favorite fantasy triologies. When I heard that a fourth novel was being published I squeed, then promptly requested the book from the publisher.

Source: Publisher

My Review
One of the most intriguing things about this fourth Mistborn novel is that it’s set about three hundred years in the future from the last book, Hero of the Ages. The characters of the trilogy we’ve come to know and love are legends, myths or religious figureheads (sometimes all three). I wanted to see what Sanderson did with this since one of my favorite things about his stories is the religions he creates and how they integrate into the society. I’m not disappointed with this; there are many nods towards the previous books through the new culture.

The Mistborn world has advanced since the events of Hero of the Ages and now there are trains, guns, and other steampunkish technology. This makes for great entertainment since the magic systems are all based on metals. We see two of the systems featured prominently, Allomancy and Feruchemy. Allomancy is the ability to burn certain metals (by ingesting them) and each metal has its own effect. For instance, burning steel gives the Allomancer the ability to push on metallic objects. Feruchemy uses metal to store power (it’s not consumed in the process). You could use gold to store health, so when you really need it, you can heal yourself.

That’s right, the Mistborn series has not one awesome magic system but three! Although the third isn’t mentioned that much in The Alloy of Law.

Aside from the setting and magic systems, I really enjoyed the plot. It follows Wax and his friend Wayne (yes, that’s really their names), who worked together in the outskirts of town keeping the peace. There’s a very western feel to this story, with hats, dusters, guns and shootouts. It fits the setting very well. Wax and Wayne inadvertently come across a series of robberies and they team up with a character named Marasi to solve the crimes. Wax is definitely the exalted hero type and Wayne was the snarky sidekick. I think I would like to see more of these characters to give them more time to develop, but I feel like the purpose of this novel was to give us more Mistborn and also tell an exciting action-packed story.

Rating: A-
I really loved it. There were so many awesome tidbits such as the references to the past books and even newspaper prints placed throughout the book. It really added to the western feel. I'm not a Wheel of Time fan, so when this came out I was super excited to read it, since I don't know when there will be more Mistborn books. I don't think this is the end though. I loved what Sanderson did with the setting and he created a fun mystery packed with Allomancy and Feruchemy to satisfy me until the next book comes out.

This book is also available by Macmillan Audio, and you can listen to an excerpt by clicking here.


Waiting on Wednesday: Touchstone by Melanie Rawn

>>Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Welcome back to another installment of Waiting on Wednesday, hosted by Breaking the Spine. I love me some good ol' fantasy and this looks like a great new release.

Title: Touchstone
Author: Melanie Rawn
Publication Date: February 28th, 2012
Publisher: Tor

From Goodreads:

Cayden Silversun is part Elven, part Fae, part human Wizard—and all rebel. His aristocratic mother would have him follow his father to the Royal Court, to make a high society living off the scraps of kings. But Cade lives and breathes for the theater, and he’s good—very, very good. With his company, he’ll enter the highest reaches of society and power, as an honored artist—or die trying. Cade combines the talents of Merlin, Shakespeare, and John Lennon: a wholly charming character in a remarkably original fantasy world created by a mistress of the art.

Although Touchstone can stand alone, it is the first book of a brilliant, utterly engaging new fantasy series from the author of the bestselling Dragon Prince series.


In My Mailbox #24

>>Sunday, December 18, 2011

Welcome to another edition of In My Mailbox hosted by The Story Siren! The past couple weeks have been quiet in terms of receiving books, but I wanted to make an IMM post before the holidays anyways. I'll be going away to visit relatives and probably won't be making another IMM post until 2012! So here goes:

For Review
The Thirteen Hallows by Michael Scott and Colette Freedman - I'm super excited to have received this book as it was on my want list. I'm going to be participating in something of a blog tour in January with an interview with the authors. Look for my review then!

The Hallows. Ancient artifacts imbued with a primal and deadly power. But are they protectors of this world, or the keys to its destruction?  A gruesome murder in London reveals a sinister plot to uncover a two-thousand-year-old secret. For decades, the Keepers guarded these Hallows, keeping them safe and hidden and apart from each other. But now the Keepers are being brutally murdered, their prizes stolen, the ancient objects bathed in their blood. Now, only a few remain.
With her dying breath, one of the Keepers convinces Sarah Miller, a practical stranger, to deliver her Hallow—a broken sword with devastating powers—to her American nephew, Owen.  The duo quickly become suspects in a series of murders as they are chased by both the police and the sadistic Dark Man and his nubile mistress.  As Sarah and Owen search for the surviving Keepers, they unravel the deadly secret the Keepers were charged to protect. The mystery leads Sarah and Owen on a cat-and-mouse chase through England and Wales, and history itself, as they discover that the sword may be the only thing standing between the world… nd a horror beyond imagining.  
The Thirteen Hallows is the beginning of a spellbinding new saga, a thrilling tale of ancient magic and modern times by a New York Times bestselling author and an award-winning playwright.

Chasing the Moon by A. Lee Martinez - I received this as an early Christmas present. I saw a review for this on The Book Smugglers and it promptly made it onto my wishlist.

Diana's life was in a rut - she hated her job, she was perpetually single, and she needed a place to live. But then the perfect apartment came along. It seemed too good to be true - because it was.
As it turns out, the apartment was already inhabited - by monsters. Vom the Hungering was the first to greet Diana and to warn her that his sole purpose in life was to eat everything in his path. This poses a problem for Diana since she's in his path...and is forbidden from ever leaving the apartment.
It turns out though that there are older and more ancient monstrous entities afoot - ones who want to devour the moon and destroy the world as we know it. Can Diana, Vom, and the other horrors stop this from happening? Maybe if they can get Vom to stop eating everything...and everyone.


Waiting on Wednesday: The Rook by Daniel O'Malley

>>Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Welcome back to another installment of Waiting on Wednesday, hosted by Breaking the Spine. This one has a pretty interesting concept: changing bodies? What's all that about? I really want to find out!

Title: The Rook
Author: Daniel O'Malley
Publication Date: January 11th, 2012
Publisher: Little Brown & Co

From Goodreads:

"The body you are wearing used to be mine." So begins the letter Myfanwy Thomas is holding when she awakes in a London park surrounded by bodies all wearing latex gloves. With no recollection of who she is, Myfanwy must follow the instructions her former self left behind to discover her identity and track down the agents who want to destroy her.

She soon learns that she is a Rook, a high-ranking member of a secret organization called the Chequy that battles the many supernatural forces at work in Britain. She also discovers that she possesses a rare, potentially deadly supernatural ability of her own.

In her quest to uncover which member of the Chequy betrayed her and why, Myfanwy encounters a person with four bodies, an aristocratic woman who can enter her dreams, a secret training facility where children are transformed into deadly fighters, and a conspiracy more vast than she ever could have imagined.

Filled with characters both fascinating and fantastical, THE ROOK is a richly inventive, suspenseful, and often wry thriller that marks an ambitious debut from a promising young writer.


Review: Theft of Swords by Michael J. Sullivan

>>Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Title: Theft of Swords
Author: Michael J. Sullivan
Series: The Riyria Revelations #1-2
Format: ARC
Pages: 649
Genre: Epic Fantasy
Publication Date: November 23rd, 2011
Publisher: Orbit
Rating: B-/C+

From Goodreads: Royce Melborn, a skilled thief, and his mercenary partner, Hadrian Blackwater, make a profitable living carrying out dangerous assignments for conspiring nobles—until they are hired to pilfer a famed sword. What appears to be just a simple job finds them framed for the murder of the king and trapped in a conspiracy that uncovers a plot far greater than the mere overthrow of a tiny kingdom.

Can a self-serving thief and an idealistic swordsman survive long enough to unravel the first part of an ancient mystery that has toppled kings and destroyed empires in order to keep a secret too terrible for the world to know?

And so begins the first tale of treachery and adventure, sword fighting and magic, myth and legend.

When author Michael J. Sullivan self-published the first books of his Riyria Revelations, they rapidly became ebook bestsellers. Now, Orbit is pleased to present the complete series for the first time in bookstores everywhere.

Why did I read this book? I always wanted to read this series. I actually own the first two novels in paperback form, from before they were being published by a major publisher.

Source: ARC from BEA 2011

My Review
Theft of Swords is aptly named; it is the first two tales of the Riyria Revelations and both center around the job of stealing swords. They follow two main protagonists, Hadrian, a kind-hearted soldier who can't be matched in combat, and Royce, the stealthy rogue who doesn't always share his partner's sentiments. In The Crown Conspiracy (book one), they are hired to steal a sword but are framed for a king's murder. In Avempartha they are again hired to steal a sword but must face a magical beast that threatens their lives.

The Crown Conspiracy
I really enjoyed this debut. It's highly action-packed and contained all the things I like in epic fantasy: politics, adventure and plenty of twists and turns. In fact, I couldn't believe Sullivan had me fooled on more than one occasion. Where the book faltered for me wasn't the plot, which was deftly crafted and paced, but the characters and the tendency towards info-dumping. There is really only one female character, the princess Arista and I felt while she was a decent character, I needed more representation from women. Also, with the other characters, I felt like I was always trying to connect to them, since there seemed to be many and therefore hard to connect to. My favorite was actually the prince, Alric; I felt he had a good story arc and growth through the story.

This was another enjoyable read for me. It's set a few years after The Crown Conspiracy and I was happy to see the story moving along. Unlike the first book, I thought Avempartha suffered from a slow start and it wasn't until halfway through did I really get interested in the plot. I noticed that when the plot involved the overreaching story of the series, it was more interesting to me than dealing with the episodic nature of the book's plot. Fortunately, another female character is introduced, but I found myself connecting more to Arista even so. She really grows in this book and I liked following her development.

Rating: B-/C+
I think I'm in the minority here where I say I thought The Crown Conspiracy (B-) was the most enjoyable for me. I really liked the even pacing, the action, and most of all, the mystery. Avempartha (C+) was good, but slower and ending on a big cliffhanger. One thing I can say is that while Sullivan uses common epic fantasy tropes (there's a wizard, a rogue, a princess, a fighter), he does know how to craft a story and keep you interested. I was able to overlook any misgivings I would normally have in favor of a good plot and addictive storytelling. There's an overall story arc to this series that gets touched on in each book as we go and I find I am really dying to see what happens. I would definitely recommend this to fantasy fans, but be warned, it's not super unique, but it's going to grab you from the beginning and not let go.


Interview: Sarah Beth Durst, author of Drink, Slay Love

>>Friday, December 9, 2011

In October I had the chance to read a book called Drink, Slay, Love (review) about a vampire who gets stabbed in the heart with a unicorn horn and starts to develop a conscience, despite wanting to stay evil.

Here's the blurb from Goodreads:

Pearl is a sixteen-year-old vampire... fond of blood, allergic to sunlight, and mostly evil... until the night a sparkly unicorn stabs her through the heart with his horn. Oops.

Her family thinks she was attacked by a vampire hunter (because, obviously, unicorns don't exist), and they're shocked she survived. They're even more shocked when Pearl discovers she can now withstand the sun. But they quickly find a way to make use of her new talent. The Vampire King of New England has chosen Pearl's family to host his feast. If Pearl enrolls in high school, she can make lots of human friends and lure them to the King's feast -- as the entrees. 

The only problem? Pearl's starting to feel the twinges of a conscience. How can she serve up her new friends—especially the cute guy who makes her fangs ache—to be slaughtered? Then again, she's definitely dead if she lets down her family. What's a sunlight-loving vamp to do?

Naturally, after reading this fun novel I had to ask the author to stop by for an interview!

Sarah Beth Durst is the author of young adult novels Drink, Slay, Love, Enchanted Ivy, and Ice from Simon & Schuster, as well as middle grade novels Into the Wild and Out of the Wild from Penguin Young Readers. She has twice been a finalist for SFWA's Andre Norton Award, for both Ice and Into the Wild.

Sarah lives in Stony Brook, New York, with her husband, her two children, and her ill-mannered cat. She also has a miniature pet griffin named Alfred. Okay, okay, that’s not quite true. His name is really Montgomery.

1. Thank you for taking the time for this interview! Firstly, I'm dying to ask: where did you come up with the idea of sparkly unicorns and a vampire turned good for Drink, Slay, Love? 

So there I was, an ordinary Saturday night, sitting on the couch, eating tortilla chips, thinking about unicorns...  Yeah, that's pretty much a Saturday night for me.  Anyway, it suddenly occurred to me, "Unicorns have a built-in stake!  They're natural vampire hunters!"  And that's the moment when Drink, Slay, Love was born.

As for the idea of a vampire-turned-good...  I'd read about vampires who try to be good, and I wondered what would happen to a vampire who didn't want to be good but had to be... an evil vampire who LIKES being evil.

2. With so many other vampire young adult novels out there, how did you want this one to be different (if you did at all)?

I actually didn't intend to write a vampire novel, though I love them.  But once I had the idea of unicorns as vampire hunters...  It felt so right that it would have been wrong not to write it!

I also knew that I wanted it to be funny -- there aren't enough funny vampire/unicorn books out there.  I knew I succeeded when a friend that I've known for at least a decade and a half said, "Wow, Sarah, I didn't know you had a sense of humor!"  *facepalm*

3. Are you team were-unicorn or team vampire and why?

Team were-unicorn.  They're less likely to eat me.

4. Could you tell us about any upcoming projects you might be working on?

I am putting the finishing touches on VESSEL, my next YA fantasy novel.  It's coming from Simon & Schuster in September 2012, and I'm really, really excited about it.  I recently posted the cover art on my blog, along with this description:  In a desert land where serpents made of unbreakable glass fly through the sky and wolves made of only sand hunt within storms, Liyana is destined to be a vessel, to sacrifice herself so that her clan's goddess can inhabit her body... but her goddess never comes.

Thanks so much for interviewing me!

Thanks so much for stopping by!


Book Geeks Gift Exchange Haul!

>>Thursday, December 8, 2011

Hey everyone! I'm glad to be posting my Book Geeks Gift Giveaway haul, since it arrived today! Book Geeks Gift Exchange was set up by Janice of Janicu's Book Blog and Ocelott of Genrereviews!

Drum roll...

I got Coronets and Steel by Sherwood Smith, Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly and a tin of magnetic bookmarks! These came wrapped in brown paper. I have to say these book choices were spot on and I don't think I made it easy because I didn't give a list! Now, I couldn't find any hint of identity of who my secret santa was, so if I missed it, go ahead and mention it! If not and you want to be anonymous then that's fine too! THANK YOU!

EDIT: There IS a note in the book that I missed! I even shook them out in case there was, but this note was stuck in there quite well. Anyways, my Secret Santa is Alexandra! Thanks so much!


Waiting on Wednesday: Sins of the Son by Linda Poitevin

>>Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Welcome back to another installment of Waiting on Wednesday, hosted by Breaking the Spine. This is an especially anticipated release for me, the second book in the Grigori Legacy series! I read and reviewed the first book, Sins of the Angels, not too long ago and enjoyed it! I think this is another great cover for the series: a woman who's a cop and actually looks like one!

Title: Sins of the Son
Author: Linda Poitevin
Publication Date: March 27th, 2012
Publisher: Ace

From Goodreads:

A detective with a secret…

When homicide detective Alexandra Jarvis sees a photo of Seth Benjamin on a police bulletin, she knows that Heaven’s plan to halt Armageddon has gone terribly wrong. As the only mortal aware of Seth’s true nature, only she can save him.

An exiled angel turned assassin…

Aramael was a hunter of Fallen Angels until a traitor forced him into earthly exile. Now, with no powers and only a faint memory of Alex, his mortal soulmate, he will stop at nothing to redeem himself—even if it means destroying Seth in the name of the Creator.

A world with little chance of redemption…

As Alex’s need to protect Seth sets her on a fiery course with the determined Aramael, the coming conflict between them may push the world over the edge—and into the very chaos they’re trying to prevent.


In My Mailbox #24

>>Sunday, December 4, 2011

Welcome to another edition of In My Mailbox hosted by The Story Siren! I received some goodies in the past couple weeks, so here they are!

For Review
Endurance by Jay Lake - this is one I wasn't expecting, but am pleasantly surprised as it has fantastic cover art. It's actually the second in a series (the first being Green) but I hope to start from the beginning in the future.

Green is back in Copper Downs. Purchased from her father in sunny Selistan when she was four years old, she was harshly raised to be a courtesan, companion, and bedmate of the Immortal Duke of Copper Downs. But Green rebelled. Green killed the Duke, and many others, and won her freedom. Yet she is still claimed by the gods and goddesses of her world, and they still require her service. Their demands are greater than any duke&’s could have been.

Godslayers have come to the Stone Coast, magicians whose cult is dedicated to destroying the many gods of Green’s world. In the turmoil following the Immortal Duke’s murder, Green made a God out of her power and her memories. Now the gods turn to her to protect them from the Slayers.

Jay Lake brings us an epic fantasy not “in the tradition of Tolkien,” but, instead, sensual, ominous, shot through with the sweat of fear and the intoxication of power.

Shaedes of Gray by Amanda Bonilla - an anticipated new release for me. Can't wait to read this one!

In the shadows of the night, Darian has lived alone for almost a century. Made and abandoned by her former love, Darian is the last of her kind—an immortal Shaede who can slip into darkness as easily as breathing. With no one else to rely on, she has taught herself how to survive, using her unique skills to become a deadly assassin.

When Darian's next mark turns out to be Xander Peck, King of the Shaede Nation, her whole worldview is thrown into question. Darian begins to wonder if she's taken on more than her conscience will allow. But a good assassin never leaves a job unfinished...

The Placebo Effect by David Rotenberg - this one grabbed my attention with its promise of an action packed plot. It's also by a Canadian author, so that's a bonus!

Decker Roberts has the dangerous gift of detecting the truth (synaesthesia). But when his carefully compartmentalized life starts to fall apart he has to go on the run and figure out why he’s being targeted. There’s also a government agency hunting him down who seems to know everything about him and other people of “his kind.” How will Decker find out which truth was endangering his life? Who betrayed him and revealed all his secrets? Decker needs to find answers quickly, before knowing the truth turns from a gift into a deadly curse.


Review: If Wishes Were Horses by Anne McCaffrey

>>Saturday, December 3, 2011

Title: If Wishes Were Horses
Author: Anne McCaffrey
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 96
Genre: Fantasy
Publication Date: October 1st, 1998
Publisher: G P Putnam's Sons
Rating: B-

From Goodreads: Young Tizra and her twin brother Tracell find their world abruptly changed when their father is unexpectedly called to fight in a war which promises to last much longer than the usual three-day skirmish. Their mother--the village healer--enlists her children to assist her in caring for the many refugees left wounded and homeless by the conflict. Inspired by her mother, Tizra learns never to surrender hope even in a time of fear and uncertainty.

Why did I read this book? I found this book on sale online a while back and decided to buy it because I loved the title. Then, as some may know, Anne McCaffrey passed away a couple weeks and I wanted to feature one of her books in memory of her.

Source: Bought

My Review
When I received this book I was quite surprised, it's a small, cute square hardcover with such pretty artwork. It's quite short, at 96 pages, and even then the pages are quite small.

If Wishes Were Horses is a glimpse into a fantasy world and is driven by the characters. It centers on Tizra, a twin whose father goes off to war to support their prince. This is shortly before her and her brother’s 16th birthday, and when she is supposed to receive a (magic?) crystal from her mother and her brother a horse. We see Tizra's mother through her eyes, how she rallies the people left in the town while the men go off to war. Although it sounds pretty bleak, it's actually a heartwarming story. There's just a touch of magic throughout, and I liked how it was focused around Tizra's mother and the strength of character she has.

Rating: B-
The story was entertaining and the ending was definitely gratifying. McCaffrey's prose takes you off into this land and provides just enough magic to be entranced. I definitely recommended this for someone looking for a feel-good fantasy that you can enjoy in a single reading.



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