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

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

Review: WILDFIRE (Hidden Legacy #3) by Ilona Andrews

WildfireThis was a thrilling conclusion to a major part of the Hidden Legacy story line. Nevada Baylor’s family and her interactions with them are my one of my favorite parts of this series, and it was exciting to see plot progression on that front.

For some reason, I had it stuck in my head that this was a trilogy. Once I got to about 50 pages in the book left, I panicked, sure there was no way for everything to get tied up in that short space. The epilogue made it obvious, however, that things in this world are far from over.  Continue reading

Book Spotlight & Review: HOUNDS OF THE UNDERWORLD (Path of Ra #1) by Dan Rabarts & Lee Murray

Hounds of the UnderworldToday is release day for the newest Raw Dog Screaming Press authors: Dan Rabarts and Lee Murray! I read this book ages ago, and I’ve been so excited to share it with all of you.


ABOUT THE BOOK

On the verge of losing her laboratory, her savings, and all respect for herself, Pandora (Penny) Yee lands her first contract as scientific consult to the police department. And with seventeen murder cases on the go, the surly inspector is happy to leave her to it. Only she’s going to need to get around, and that means her slightly unhinged adopted brother, Matiu, will be doing the driving. But something about the case spooks Matiu, something other than the lack of a body in the congealing pool of blood in the locked room or that odd little bowl.

Matiu doesn’t like anything about this case, from the voices that screamed at him when he touched that bowl, to the way his hateful imaginary friend Makere has come back to torment him, to the fact that the victim seems to be tied up with a man from Matiu’s past, a man who takes pleasure in watching dogs tear each other to pieces for profit and entertainment.

Hounds of the Underworld blends mystery, near-future noir and horror. Set in New Zealand it’s the product of a collaboration by two Kiwi authors, one with Chinese heritage and the other Māori. This debut book in The Path of Ra series offers compelling new voices and an exotic perspective on the detective drama.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Raw Dog Screaming Press


REVIEW

Disclaimer: The authors and I share a publisher. I received a hardcopy version of this book as a thank you for proofing an earlier version of the text.

On the surface, this book doesn’t seem to have a lot that would appeal to me as a reader. In an alternate universe, I probably bought a copy to support the fellow authors who write for the same indie press that I do and quietly left it on a shelf with a promise to read it “someday” (sadly, true for some books in our own universe). Instead, my editor asked me to read an earlier version of the submitted text with the promise that I’d make it through the horror bits okay.

I’m glad I did. I loved so much about this book.  Continue reading