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

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 excerpt: STEEL BLOOD Blog Tour Stop #14

It’s been a whirlwind two weeks, but today is the last stop of the Steel Blood blog tour! If you missed any stops along the way, you can find the full roster at my Guest Blog page. For our final stop, author Weston Kindcade was kind enough to discuss his thoughts about Steel Empires Book 1: Steel Victory and host a short excerpt from Steel Blood for me.

[The Brit] raised one hand and bit a thumbnail, then flicked his thumb at the robed Qin. He didn’t get the insult, but his friend did. The man in pants threw the first punch, snapping the Brit’s head to the side. But the Brit recovered at once and tackled his aggressor. They both crashed to the street in a mess of limbs, leaving the robed Qin shouting above them.

It was like watching a train wreck, exactly the sort of political bullshit Victory had been concerned about dealing with. But she had expected pointed jibes over state dinners and cocktail parties, not brawling in the streets. This was embarrassing for everyone. She passed Mikelos her overnight bag and waded into the fray….

Head over to Kincade’s blog to see the rest and make sure to check out his fiction while you’re there. I hope you’ve enjoyed taking this journey with me!

Steel Blood is available in hardcopy and ebook formats at the following online retailers:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Raw Dog Screaming Press


Seriously, it’s the end of the tour. What are you still doing here? I have cats to snuggle and writing to get back to.

Oh, you want more?

Check back here on August 21st (or better yet, subscribe to this blog so you don’t miss anything) for a fun contest announcement! You’ll have a chance to win a hardcopy or ebook of your choice from the Steel Empires series!

Not your typical vampire: STEEL BLOOD Blog Tour Stop #13

Author Jennifer Loring asking me the ever-important question about writing in the fantasy genre. What makes my vampires and other supernatural creatures stand out from the crowd? How did I put my own spin on the mythology while still making my characters recognizable? Take a quick look:

My vampires fit the mold in that they’re essentially immortal creatures who drink blood to sustain themselves and can’t be out in direct sunlight. They are apex predators who have evolved to be humanity’s greatest hunter. But rather than slathering monsters, for the most part my vampires are part of a civilized society that would much prefer a cold beer to the hot blood of an unwilling victim.

Along with vampires, I also discuss werewolves, who have been a part of this series since the first book, and weredragons, a recent newcomer to the pantheon on the Steel Empires. I hope you check it out.

While you’re there, take a look at some of Loring’s available work! She’s a prolific author who writes in a variety of genres, so there’s sure to be something for everyone.


Tomorrow is the LAST STOP of this blog tour!! It’s been a wild ride, and I appreciate everyone who’s joined for the fun. We’re closing things out at Weston Kincade‘s blog, with a final book excerpt. Obviously a Romeo & Juliet pastiche has to have the requisite “No, sir, but I do bite my thumb, sir” scene!

But I’m not a horror writer!: STEEL BLOOD Blog Tour Stop #11

Yesterday, we got a look at the more “human” side of my main character, the vampire Victory (over here, if you missed it). And while I love that scene, it’s not unique — being a vampire is just part of who Victory is, which also includes being a partner, a mother, a politician, a mercenary, etc. Today, fellow RDSP author Maria Alexander asked me to talk about why I write urban fantasy for a primarily horror publisher. Well, it’s because I think the monsters are people, too. A quick look:

Urban fantasy allows me to explore that sense of “otherness” using the supernatural, just as science-fiction has been teaching us about humanity through the lens of alien races for decades. Though still incorporating elements of monstrousness, supernatural creatures can be an equal part of society in open-world urban fantasy. That unique facet draws me in, and challenges me to create well-rounded characters no matter their species.

While you’re there, be sure to check out BOTH of Alexander’s award-winning RDSP novels, Mr Wicker and Snowed. She’s also much better at using her blog as an actual blog than I am, and there are some great gems. (Not that any of you have complained about my book reviews, thankfully.)


Tomorrow, author Jacob Baugher asked me to answer some interview questions about both my writing and Steel Blood!

Book excerpt: STEEL BLOOD Blog Tour Stop #10

Author Anna Zabo offered to host a short excerpt from Steel Blood on their blog for this stop of the blog tour!

The scene takes place near the beginning of the novel, when Victory and Mikelos have arrived in the Qin Empire’s colonial city of Jiang Yi Yue. As a vampire, Victory was prepared to wait on the ship until night fell to safely transfer to the palace and begin her mercenary contract as a bodyguard to the Qin princess. But the British delegation would have none of that, and arranged for alternative transportation.

Sound interesting? Click the link above to get the full story!

While you’re there, I highly recommend checking out Zabo’s work. I literally devoured one of their entire series in less than a week, and they are definitely one of the reasons I have to claim to be a romance fan now!


If you thought this excerpt humanized Victory, tomorrow I’m stopping by fellow RDSP author Maria Alexander‘s blog to talk about why I think monsters are people, too.