Admittedly, I’m not so big a fan of Jane Austen or Austen-inspired fiction that I would normally pick up any book with a title that begins with “Pride and…”, but there was just something irresistible about John Kessel’s novel that called to me. Of course, the added element of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein didn’t hurt. Still, although it may draw inspiration from one of two of the most beloved novels of classic literature, it would be a disservic...

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The Stone in the Skull kicks off strong with a unique and visual scene of a group of mercenaries featuring two of the main characters. Gage is an automaton and the other one? He is called The Dead Man. OK, it got my attention! Then when the setting changes, I honestly became more invested and quickly preferred the perspectives of Sayeh and Mrithuri, two powerful women who are each ruling their own kingdoms. Gotta love a book that features not ...

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The year is 1939, and aboard a ship bound for North America on the eve of World War Two, a young Oxford student named Cade Martin watches in horror as a sea monster drags his parents to their watery grave right before his eyes. Alone and stranded at sea, Cade is eventually rescued by a mysterious cabal of sorcerers led by a charming old Scotsman named Adair MacRae. With the Soviets on the Eastern Front and England on the Western Front, Adair c...

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The Hazel Wood is a book that is a combination of quest, redemption and dark fairy tale all rolled into one. I thoroughly enjoyed it.  The writing was really good but more than that the book actually spoke to me, and I realise that probably sounds a little bit sentimental but this was about change, coming of age, discovering who you are and having the courage to alter those things that seem set in stone.  It also gave me a serious case of the ...

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In 2017 I placed the first volume of this trilogy, Age of Assassins, among the best debuts of the year and also my favorite reads, so I had great expectations for this follow-up novel: let me say up front that those expectations were more than exceeded by Blood of Assassins, that is not only a worthy sequel but also an amazing story on its own. Five years have elapsed since the end of the first book, and they have not been easy years either fo...

When I read the first book in this series, I had no expectations, just thought it sounded like a great concept and so picked it up. It pretty much blew me away. I loved the entire concept of the the Library being evil, controlling (and often destroying) knowledge. It set a ridiculously high bar for the series, but even though next in the series (Paper and Fire) did not have quite that same level of magical reading experience, there was still p...

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Now that the Invisible Library series has become firmly established, the storylines are just getting better and better. Thematically, The Lost Plot is more mysterious and adventurous, drawing heavily from Dragon vs. Fae politics, and there are also strong attempts to involve as many world-building elements as possible. That said though, I do feel this installment takes a step away from series arc that has been developing for the last three boo...

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I’ll be honest, I read The Valiant by Lesley Livingston pretty much on a whim last year. It wasn’t a book that was on my radar until after it was released, which is unusual. I read a couple of glowing reviews for it for that essentially made me set my review books to the side because it sounded so good. I was glad I did because it just happened to have everything I love and in just the right amounts. I am very happy to tell you tha...

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For a debut novel Nick Clark Windo has come up with an impressive and thought provoking story with a post-apocalyptic world that comes scarily close to believable. Set in a possible near future Windo brings to us a world where people are so obsessed with their ‘feeds’ that they’re practically incapable of functioning when everything comes crashing down. Many of us live our lives pretty much glued to the internet with mobile p...

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One of Us Will Be Dead by Morning is not a book for the squeamish! The body count rises at an astronimical rate, and details are not spared. I enjoyed it, and have to admit, parts were certainly unexpected, always a good thing. It takes place on a remote island that is currently home to an adventure group that does team building exercises. The current group of coworkers on a retreat to the island find themselves trapped there as their ferry ho...

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9/10
Review: Skyborn by David Dalglish
Reviews / December 31, 2015

Look at me. This is my stunned face. As in, I could not believe how good this book turned out. Granted, the story was a little slow to take off (sorry, unavoidable pun), but the momentum gradually built up so that everything culminated into one of the most incredible and jaw-droppingly explosive endings I’ve ever read. In fact, if I had to rate this book based on just its second half alone, it would have been an easy 5 stars. But the...

0
8/10
Review: Drake by Peter McLean
Reviews / December 30, 2015

Just finished reading Drake, a new urban fantasy written by Peter McLean and set in a gritty London underground where gambling and gangsters, demons and other ancient creatures stalk the shadows.   Don Drake is essentially a hitman, he calls himself a ‘Hieromancer’ but basically, in his own words, he ‘summons and sends’ demons and other nasties to do the dirty work he’s been contracted to do by the local mob. He has a little hel...

Under Appreciated Books of 2015
Book List / December 29, 2015

So amidst all the lists at the end of the year, we wanted to focus on some of the books we’ve read that we really think need a bit more love and attention. I asked each of our contributors to highlight a few of their favorite reads of the year that they feel fell under the radar. Some of these rated high enough to make our Best of 2015 list, and some of them were nominated/ranked in the list we used for the Best Of list, but ju...

1
8/10
Review: Barsk: The Elephant’s Graveyard by Lawrence M. Schoen
Reviews / December 28, 2015

We’re just about nearing the end of the year, but apparently 2015 had one last big surprise for me. It came in the form of Barsk: The Elephants’ Graveyard by Lawrence M. Schoen. I confess, I had absolutely no idea what to expect when I started this book because I dove in blind, and that’s actually the way I wanted it. When I first looked upon this novel in my hands, I was struck by this feeling that the less I knew about it, the more...

0
10/10
Review: Beyond Redemption by Michael R. Fletcher
Reviews / December 25, 2015

R. Scott Bakker. Steven Erikson. Peter Watts. When you think of dark, epic, mind-bending genre fiction from north of the 49th parallel, these gentlemen are the undisputed masters. It may be uncharacteristically bold and presumptuous to demand that a new name be added to that list so soon in his career, but I’ll be damned if Michael R. Fletcher hasn’t earned it. Seriously, Beyond Redemption really is that good. If our worl...

Guest Post and Giveaway: Romance in Speculative Fiction by Anna Kashina
Giveaway , Guest Post / December 24, 2015

Today we’re pleased to welcome Anna Kashina to talk about Romance in Speculative Fiction! Also be sure to check out our giveaway for the first two books in her Majat Code series. The third one, Assassin’s Queen, releases this June. Hope you enjoy!       Romance plays a big role in our everyday life. Because of that, I find it to be a very natural element of fiction as well. In fact, I have been writing for ...

0
10/10
Comic Review: Monstress by Marjorie M. Liu and Sana Takeda
Reviews / December 23, 2015

Monstress is absolutely stunning comic with a dark story and artwork that is simply gorgeous. I really can’t stress enough how much I loved all the imagery. I will readily admit to being a complete novice when it comes to comics, having read pretty much just Saga and Locke and Key, but even as a novice I feel secure in saying that this is one comic that you just can’t miss. Even if you are not into comics, it is worth pic...

0
10/10
Review: Nightwise by R.S. Belcher
Reviews / December 22, 2015

I loved the first two books in Rod Belcher’s Golgotha series, and I was curious to see what else he could do. And boy am I glad I picked up this book! I was blown away by his fascinating magic system, not to mention the characters. Best of all, Belcher has some mad writing skills, in case you appreciate that sort of thing, which I do. While his Golgotha books contain multiple points of view, this story is told in first person from th...

1
9/10
Review: The Grace of Kings by Ken Liu
Reviews / December 21, 2015

The Grace of Kings really is a work of epic proportions.  A story of rebellion and war, victory and defeat, friend and foe and ultimately an incredibly poignant and sometimes sad look at friendships.  The story is dripping with issues of trust, deceit and betrayal whilst also telling some incredibly moving stories of love and loyalty. I’ve only read one of Liu’s short stories before The Grace of Kings and on the strength ...

0
5/10
Review: Dead Ringers by Christopher Golden
Reviews / December 17, 2015

The concept behind Dead Ringers is definitely a bit creepy and as you get further into the book, there are some seriously haunting scenes. The thought of suddenly coming across another person that is so identical to yourself, to the point that even close family can not tell the difference is strange. I will admit at times something about this tested my willing suspension of disbelief, I think because it happened to a number of charac...