Gerrard Cowan – The Machinery

gerrardcowan-themachineryFor ten millennia, the leaders of the Overland have been Selected by the Machinery, an omnipotent machine gifted to their world in darker days.

The city has thrived in arts, science and war, crushing all enemies and expanding to encompass the entire Plateau.

But the Overland is not at ease, for the Machinery came with the Prophecy: it will break in the 10,000th year, Selecting just one leader who will bring Ruin to the world. And with the death of Strategist Kane, a Selection is set to occur…

For Apprentice Watcher Katrina Paprissi, the date has special significance. Life hasn’t been the same since she witnessed the kidnapping of her brother Alexander, the only person on the Plateau who knew the meaning of the Prophecy.

When the opportunity arises to find her brother, Katrina must travel into the depths of the Underland, the home of the Machinery, to confront the Operator himself and discover just what makes the world work…

Gerrard Cowan’s The Machinery is an interesting debut novel. It is also one that took me longer than usual to read. When I first started this last year I had just hit my reading slump, which meant that I got stuck at about page 42 and didn’t pick it back up until somewhere this summer. And even on my second try it took me a bit to get really grabbed by the narrative. However, I liked the writing immediately; Cowan writes in an easy manner which has you reading on without noticing the passage of pages. It’s worth noting that the title and cover of the book were somewhat misleading as they come off as SF, but The Machinery very definitely isn’t that, it is far more high fantasy—up to and including a prophecy narrative.  Read More …

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Author Query – Edward Glover [Blog Tour]

edwardglover-amotifofseasonsToday’s Author Query has a very distinguished guest. Edward Glover is a decorated diplomat who after ending his service turned his hand to writing historical fiction. This shift and the setting and subject of his novels, a young British gentlewoman and a German officer in the eighteenth century, intrigued me and I was happy to have to opportunity to ask Edward some questions about his writing process, how his career influenced his writing and the origin of his Herzberg trilogy, the final book of which A Motif of Seasons was published this month.

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Let’s start with the basics. Who is Edward Glover?

A former career diplomat: but I haven’t put my feet up. I sit on several boards and I go to the Foreign Office twice a week. Most enjoyable of all, I have begun a new career as a writer of novels, drawing material from my long experience of the vagaries of human nature and my love of history. The next novel is already on the stocks. Noel Coward once said that working is more fun than fun. I certainly agree with that.  Read More …

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Review Amnesty – Hugo Novella Edition

reviewamnestyWelcome to another Review Amnesty. This time with some of the novella nominees for this year’s Hugo’s. I’ve already reviewed Daniel Polansky’s The Builders and the winner Nnedi Okorafor’s Binti, but here are the remaining three. I’ve developed a fondness for the novella format, because I’ve found it is a great way to get acquainted with an author’s writing without feeling as if you’re committing yourself to a huge time investment. Especially if you’re dealing with a very established author such as Lois McMaster Bujold, who have written a gazillion books and it is hard to know where to start. Conversely, it’ll leave you wanting to read even more books if you like an author. *looks mournfully at to-be-read shelves* All of these novellas were part of the Hugo Voter Packet 2016.  Read More …

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Review Amnesty: Space Edition

reviewamnestyWelcome to another edition of Review Amnesty. As I explained earlier this week, I’ve been playing review catch up all year and it is now time to actually catch up. Today I’m starting off the latest round of Review Amnesties with a Space edition in which I review to space novels (sort of), namely Lavie Tidhar’s Central Station and Yoon Ha Lee’s Ninefox Gambit, both of which I loved for different reasons.  Read More …

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Global Affairs and Housekeeping

book-316411_6402016 has been a year, hasn’t it? And it is not even over.

I know that last week’s events have thrown many people’s lives into turmoil, both within and without the US. It was the capstone to a year that seems to only bring us horrible news, though as one of my friends reminded me it also brought us new (small) people to love and other joyful things. But it is hard to hold on to those when faced with the grim reality of news reports and to not feel despondent. Ana and Thea over at The Book Smugglers had this amazing post, which says all I’d want to say much better than I ever could. As they said, we’re stronger together. Let’s remember that and be there for each other.

So much for global affairs, now for some housekeeping. Read More …

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Guest Post: J.M. Frey’s The Untold Read-Along Part 6

tft-tour

Today I have something completely different for you. As part of the blog tour for J.M. Frey’s latest novel The Forgotten Tale I’m part of a read-along of the first book, The Untold Tale. This part of the read-along was written by Cal Spivey and covers chapters 13 and 14. You can read the interview I did with J.M Frey last year hereRead More …

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Author Query – Ivar Leon Menger

15-10-02-aud-monster1983-updatedI love listening to podcasts and audio fiction. In fact, most of my short fiction consumption is through the podcast versions of various magazines, such as Clarkesworld, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, and the Escape Artist podcasts. I also love serialised fiction podcasts, such as TANIS, The Black Tapes, Archive 81, Ars Paradoxica, and Sheep Might Fly. Ivar Leon Menger’s Monster 1983 seemed to be a hybrid between a full audiobook and the serialised fiction I enjoy. I was really pleased to get the opportunity to ask Ivar some questions about the release of his first audio novel in English. I hope you enjoy this interview and that you check out Ivar’s work.  Read More …

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TBR Confessional

SadbookcaseSo last week Renay tagged me in a game of book tag about out To Be Read piles and I thought it would be fun to fill it out. I had somewhat of a hard time with some of the questions, but in the end I came up with answers for all of them. And it’s made me even more desperate for a time turner so I can catch up on my reading. So here are my answers:

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Author Query – Peter C. Harley & Giveaway

petercharley-underherumbrellaLast month Austin Macauley published Peter C. Harley’s debut novel Under Her Umbrella. It looked like an interesting thriller and I was curious to ask the author some questions. Peter agreed to be interviewed and you can find the result below. Additionally, the publisher has made it possible for me to run a giveaway for my readers, which you can find at the bottom of the post. Enjoy this Author Query!

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Let’s start with the basics. Who is Peter C. Harley?

Peter C. Harley has a degree in Surveying and works in the residential property development sector. He lives alone and has one daughter who is severely autistic. Under Her Umbrella is his first novel, although he has plenty more ideas and his second is well on the way. His main interest is writing about the interconnections, intersections and interrelationships of the journey through life.  Read More …

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N.D. Gomes – Dear Charlie

ndgomes-dearcharlieEngland, 1996.
Death should never meet the young. But it did. Thanks to my brother, death made fourteen new friends that day. Maybe even fifteen, if you count Charlie.

At sixteen, Sam Macmillan is supposed to be thinking about girls, homework and his upcoming application to music college, not picking up the pieces after the school shooting that his brother Charlie committed. Yet as Sam desperately tries to hang on to the memories he has of his brother, the media storm surrounding their family threatens to destroy everything. And Sam has to question all he thought he knew about life, death, right and wrong.

School shootings are a sad phenomenon of our time and have been the subject of numerous YA novels in the past years. I’ve read two of those, Matthew Quick’s Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock and Marieke Nijkamp’s This is Where It Ends. Both are gripping, emotional novels, each dealing with different points of view on the matter. Quick’s book is written from the point of view of the shooter, while Nijkamp’s novel shows us differing perspectives of teens involved in a school shooting. Dear Charlie takes a very different tack, though its story is equally compelling and emotional. N.D. Gomes focuses her novel on the aftermath of a school shooting and what happens to the family of the culprit.  Read More …

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