Review: “Roman Holiday” (Chronicles of St. Mary’s short story) by Jodi Taylor

Roman HolidayOne of the best things about these extra short stories that fit into the overall Chronicles of St. Mary’s world is that you can enjoy them without worrying about where they fit into the larger context of the story. They’re a short peek into the many, many other time travel trips that the historians have to take to keep up their funding, and are written to good effect as quick escapism. Continue reading

Review: THE DYING OF THE GOLDEN DAY (Heartfriends Trilogy #1) by Carrie Gessner

dying of the golden dayDisclaimer: I attended the same graduate program as the author and consider her a friend; however, I purchased my hardcopy version of this novel for full price.


I spend a lot of time reading urban fantasy these days, so it had been a while since I dove into a more traditional epic fantasy. Starting this novel felt a little bit like coming home. However, this novel is an epic fantasy for the modern age, filled with familiar elements of detailed world-building and political intrigue, but with surprising twists regarding characterization and other story elements. Continue reading

Review: DAILY GRIND (Takeover #4) by Anna Zabo

daily grindDisclaimer: I consider the author a friend and have promoted her projects on my blog. However, I purchased this ebook for full price.


This novel was sweeter than the others in the series, but certainly no less hot for it. Brian and Rob go through a much more traditional meet-cute and love story, with the added twist that this is the first time Brian is going through these steps with another man. Watching his character explore new things, both in life and business, was rewarding as a reader. That’s not to say I didn’t want to smack him upside the head a few times! But the promised happily ever after is still delivered.  Continue reading

Review: DUE DILIGENCE (Takeover #3) by Anna Zabo

due diligenceDisclaimer: I consider the author a friend and have promoted her projects on my blog. However, I purchased this ebook for full price.


This next novel ties into the Takeover series by featuring one of the engineers in Sam’s new consulting firm. While it was lovely to be reunited with Eli as a secondary character, my personal favorite so far and much, much happier and more relaxed these days, Fazil stole the show with everything that made him stand out as a leading man. Zabo has not shied away from diversity in this series, and she uses it deftly and sensitively as a source of characterization and conflict. Continue reading

Review: PRISON MADE OF MIRRORS by Jennifer Loring

If that author’s name sounds familiar, it’s because I interviewed her yesterday about a completely different project! Jennifer is one of the most prolific authors I know, and I was honored to receive an advanced copy of her latest fantasy novella to review. This story debuts today, and I highly recommend snagging a copy of your own if my (spoiler-free) review intrigues you.


prison-made-of-mirrorsABOUT THE BOOK

Aithne is a warrior kidnapped from her homeland during a Viking invasion and forced to marry her captor. Shortly before the raid that claims his life, she becomes pregnant with a child whom she believes cursed. Spurred by the dark sorcery she learns from relics her late husband’s mother left behind—including a magic mirror—Aithne descends into a madness that threatens not only her child’s life but also the lives of everyone around her.

Exiled by her mother, Brenna is taken in by a clan of dwarves who treat her like their own. They soon learn that no one is immune to Aithne’s lunacy—not even the prince to whom Brenna was once betrothed. Brenna must face and conquer death itself if she is to save the land that rightfully belongs to her, and to break her mother’s terrible spell on the man she loves.

Amazon


REVIEW

Disclaimer: I have promoted this author’s projects on my blog, and I received an electronic copy of this novella in exchange for an honest review.

This is not a fractured fairy tell so much as a retelling of the familiar Snow White story set within the realm of a new culture and environment. The level of research Loring did for this story is stunning, and fully immersed me into the world of Vikings during their era of plundering Britannia. The realistic details of running a chieftain’s longhouse intertwined seamlessly with the larger fantasy elements of magic, werewolves, and dwarves tailored specifically for the world the author created. Continue reading

Review: TAKEOVER by Anna Zabo

takeoverDisclaimer: I consider the author a friend and have promoted her projects on my blog. However, I purchased this ebook for full price.


I’ve had this book on my Kindle forever, and while had previously read and greatly enjoyed another novel by Zabo, I wasn’t sure whether my love of her urban fantasy would translate to love of real-life romance. However, I recently interviewed her on my blog and one of her answers piqued my interest. A main character from the first book in this series also shows up each of the subsequent books, and I just had to see how that happens. Continue reading

Review: THE EIGHTH by Stephanie M. Wytovich

eighthDisclaimer: The author and I share a publisher for her poetry collections and I consider her a friend. However, I purchased a hardcopy version of this novel for full price.


I hate starting reviews with “I don’t usually read this genre, but…” In this case, however, it’s 100% true. I’m not a horror reader (or viewer). It’s not my chosen form of escapism. However, I’ve been in love with Dante’s Inferno since the first time I read it in high school, and I because I’m lucky enough to know this author personally, I was intrigued by Wytovich’s version of Hell.

I could have easily devoured this book in mere hours, but I took my time in order to stop and reflect on a regular basis. Comparing The Eighth to Inferno does both books a disservice, because they both serve very different purposes. In Inferno, you shadow Dante and Plato through a sterile museum tour filled with curiosities and historical tidbits. In The Eighth, Wytovich drags you kicking and screaming in Paimon and Arazel’s wake, thrusting you into the gory trenches, forcing you to be a participant rather than a spectator. Not only is it a different view of Hell, but it’s a more visceral experience that provides its own agony and depth. Continue reading

Review: “28 Teeth Later” (a PRISON DAD short) by Cristin Kist & Jeffrey Gritman

28-teeth-laterDisclaimer: I am friends with the authors of this short story. However, I purchased the ebook version for full price.


I  have not yet had a chance to read either of the Prison Dad collections that I own, but this short story was a delightful introduction to the world. I was promised ridiculousness, speculative fiction references, humor, and vague body horror, and that’s exactly what I got. This short read flew by, inspiring both giggles and “geeps!” Continue reading

Review: “When A Child is Born” (Chronicles of St. Mary’s #2.5) by Jodi Taylor

when-a-child-is-bornThis short story set in the Chronicles of St. Mary’s universe is a great way for a new reader to dip their toe into the series without committing to a full novel. It highlights my favorite trio of time travelers (Max, Peterson, and Markham — with bonus Maj. Guthrie) on a relatively simple mission that obviously goes disastrously wrong.

For readers more familiar with the series, this short story does a wonderful job of showing just how picky and malleable History really is, and perhaps the rules that the historians ascribe to it aren’t really rules after all.

For those curious, the child referred to in the title is not a religious figure. In fact, he’s not the one who leaves his mark on history whatsoever, leaving me to give author Jodi Taylor major props for her subtle reminder to readers that history might be written (mostly) by men, but it survives because of women. Continue reading