Review: Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke

jonathan strange mr norrellThis year, many of the contributors to my other blog, Speculative Chic, all set New Year’s Resolutions together. Some of them were to catch up on movies, others were to revisit an old favorite video game. Mine was to finally tackle the giant hardcover that had been anchoring my “to be read” pile since I picked up a used copy at a convention over 10 years ago.

And like all best-laid plans, some things work out, and some don’t. I finally got around to purchasing the ebook (because there was no way I was lugging that hardcover around), but despite this book being everything I love on the surface, I couldn’t make my way through it.

For a more in-depth review of how I felt about the first 25% of the book that I did read (much of which is actually quite positive), you can check out my thoughts over at Speculative Chic.

Per my review policy, I have marked this book as “abandoned” on Goodreads without a starred review. There is no review on Amazon.


Currently reading: Shattering the Ley by Joshua Palmatier

Currently writing: 23.5k/30k words

Author Interview with Brenda Cooper

silver ship and the seaTo celebrate the re-release of her first novel, The Silver Ship and the Sea, and promote the Kickstarter project for her connected short story collection, Stories of Fremont’s Children, author Brenda Cooper was kind enough to answer some questions I had about the world of these stories.


ABOUT THE BOOK

Prisoners of a war they barely remember, Fremont’s Children must find a way to survive in a world that abhors their very nature. Or they must discover a way to leave it…

Brenda Cooper’s Fremont’s Children series launches with her award-winning novel The Silver Ship and the Sea. Cooper explores what it means to be so different that others feel they must oppress you.

Six genetically enhanced children are stranded on the colony planet Fremont in a war between genetic purists and those that would tinker with the code. Orphaned, the children have few remnants of their heritage other than an old woman who was left for abandoned at the end of the war, and a mysterious silver ship that appears to have no doors.

To keep themselves alive, the children must leave the safety of the insular community and brave the beautiful but dangerous wilds of Fremont. Is it an echo of their own natures, or a proving ground of their genetic worth?

In this battle of wills and principles, what does the future hold for Fremont’s Children?

Amazon


What inspirations from Earth’s landscape did you use for the alien world of Fremont?

Fremont is more dangerous to humans than Earth. It’s a water world, with less landmass than we have, but with air that its inhabitants can breathe and land for them to walk on. So in some fundamental ways it is similar — frankly, more similar than any real alien worlds are likely to be. It’s younger than Earth, and less impacted by humans. For example, we’ve hunted the Earth down to smaller predators, but once there were sabre-toothed cats. On Fremont, there are pawcats, who are larger than our lions and more aggressive. There are demon dogs who hunt in packs and are larger than wolves and more dangerous to humans than wolves. The grass is sharp enough to draw blood. There are active volcanoes, many earthquakes, and periodic meteor strikes.  Continue reading

Love Across the Universe Blog Tour: What’s next?

Love Across the UniverseI’m pleased to host the authors of the new science fiction/romance anthology, Love Across the Universe, which came out on August 1. Now that their stories have been released into the wild, it’s time to find out what all of them are working on next!


Elsa M. Carruthers: “All B+ut You”

I have a few essays to write and novel revisions.

 M.T. DeSantis: “The Princess of Sands”

I’m currently collaborating on a rather epic fantasy novel, which is very near completion. It’s about an old wizard and a blind warrior who are working to save their corner of the world while telling bad jokes. Hoping to start shopping that around soon. There’s also the Stars and Stone Christmas anthology story, which has a rough plot outline, if not character names or a title yet.  Continue reading

Con Report: Confluence 2017

signing at Confluence 2017I was thrilled to once again be invited to Confluence, the annual SF/F literary convention hosted by Parsec. I have a ton of fun, and this year was no exception.

FRIDAY

Road trip company is the best, and this year a friend drove to my place outside of Baltimore on Friday night to join me for the weekend. With her company, the 4.5 hour drive to Pittsburg was a breeze. We arrived in time for a late lunch at a bagel place up the street from the hotel, then I dove into my three panels for the afternoon and evening.  Continue reading

Review: Heart of the Dragon (Supernatural #4) by Keith R.A. DeCandido

heart of the dragonI usually avoid reading other reviews of books before writing my own, but for some reason I scrolled down when getting the links for this book. While it looks like the majority of the ratings are positive, the top few reviews that showed up on Goodreads absolutely trashed this book, which is unfortunate. You might take this to mean that I have poor taste in books, but I’d like to think that I really enjoyed this novel because it takes risks and breaks the mold of what is expected from most media tie-ins.

If you’re looking for a book about just Sam and Dean Winchester, you’re going to be disappointed (as, apparently, many reviewers were). The Winchester brothers certainly appear in the book, and they definitely save the day (as they ought to), but this book is also about their family. I genuinely enjoyed this triptych of stories that include not just Sam and Dean, but also their father, mother, and grandparents.   Continue reading

July Wrap-Up & August Goals

Steel-Blood-Jacket.inddWe are officially at two months in a row where I manage to accomplish everything on my list of goals (sort of). Obviously the biggest accomplishment this month was the publication and launch of my third novel, book 3 in the Steel Empires series. If you haven’t yet gotten your copy of Steel Blood, it’s available here:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Raw Dog Screaming Press

If you have a copy, awesome! I really hope you enjoy it.

If you’ve already ready, and you did enjoy it, this is my first and only annoying author plea to please consider leaving a rating someplace like Amazon or Goodreads. Even a review as simple as “I liked it!” goes a long way toward helping indie authors published by a small press like me. Thank you.

Now, let’s get to work.

July Wrap-Up

  • I completed the first 15k words of Steel Shadows!
  • The Steel Blood blog tour was a huge success! If you missed any of the guest posts, excerpts, or interviews, I’ve added a page to my blog where you can find the full round-up of links.
  • I did not manage to have a local launch party for this book (that’s the “sort of” caveat from above). My mother was out of the country for most of July, and my husband will be out of the country for most of August, and I’d be sad to not have either of them in attendance.

July Book Reviews

July Speculative Chic Contributions

This month, we celebrated our one-year anniversary at Speculative Chic! Don’t forget that this cool blog features a lot more than the movie reviews and commentary that I link to here. There are also book and video game reviews, a cool monthly column on the history of feminist science-fiction, and much more. For a taste, just search for the #OneChicYear on your social media of choice and check what our columnists shared on for our anniversary celebration.

August Goals

  1. Write the next 15k words for Steel Shadows, bringing my total to 30k words.
  2. Attend Confluence in Pittsburgh.
  3. Build my Saturn V LEGO set while my husband is away. 🙂
  4. Organize and promote a fun contest to celebrate Steel Blood‘s one-month birthday! (If you didn’t think I was a huge nerd before, you’ll definitely know I’m one when you see what I have planned.)

Currently reading: Heart of the Dragon (Supernatural #4) by Keith R.A. DeCandido

Currently writing: 15,035/30k words