Nnedi Okorafor – Binti

nnediokorafor-bintiHer name is Binti, and she is the first of the Himba people ever to be offered a place at Oomza University, the finest institution of higher learning in the galaxy. But to accept the offer will mean giving up her place in her family to travel between the stars among strangers who do not share her ways or respect her customs.

Knowledge comes at a cost, one that Binti is willing to pay, but her journey will not be easy. The world she seeks to enter has long warred with the Meduse, an alien race that has become the stuff of nightmares. Oomza University has wronged the Meduse, and Binti’s stellar travel will bring her within their deadly reach.

If Binti hopes to survive the legacy of a war not of her making, she will need both the gifts of her people and the wisdom enshrined within the University, itself — but first she has to make it there, alive.

Nnedi Okorafor’s Binti was the first of this year’s Hugo reading, besides those works I’d already read. And I started with Binti because I’ve actually owned it since it came out and I’d heard such wonderful things about it. And, of course, I loved Okorafor’s Lagoon. Binti definitely delivered, even if I would have loved it to be longer. I would have loved to have spent more time with Binti and Okwu and see how they adjust to life at Oomza University.  Read More …

Podcaster Query – Stefan Rudnicki

lightspeed73Lightspeed Magazine edited by John Joseph Adams is one of my favourite short fiction venues. I have to admit though that I mostly consume their stories in audio format. And if you do so too, you’ll know that one of the main voices of the podcast is Stefan Rudnicki, easily one of the most distinctive and fantastic voices in audio narration. While John Joseph Adams is the one who makes the selection for the stories to be narrated (most often the original fiction), Stefan is the one who does the production. I was really pleased that he was kind enough to agree to be interviewed for the blog. If you haven’t yet listened to the Lightspeed Magazine podcast I highly recommend you do so, both for the awesome stories and the excellent narration.  Read More …

Quick Review: Tansy Rayner Roberts – Kid Dark Against the Machine

tansyraynerroberts-kiddarkagainstthemachineBack when he was called something else, Griff knew everything about superheroes, sidekicks and the mysterious machine responsible for creating them. Now, Griff is just an average guy, minding his own business. A volunteer handyman at the Boys Home—his former home—Griff spends his days clearing out gutters and building clubhouses for the orphans at the Home. Nothing heroic or remarkable about that, right?

But all of that changes when one of the Home kids starts having weird dreams about another Machine—an evil version that churns out supervillains. Griff remembers the call of the Machine, and reluctantly decides to help the kid on his mission.

And then they waltz back into Griff’s life. Those bloody heroes. Including him—The Dark—one of Australia’s mightiest and longest-running superheroes.

What’s a retired secret superhero sidekick to do?

In 2014 I read the YA anthology Kaleidoscope, which I loved. One of my absolute favourite stories in the book was Tansy Rayner Roberts’ Cookie Cutter Superhero. My first reaction on finishing it was to take to Twitter and ask whether Roberts was planning more in this world. She answered in the affirmative, and Kid Dark Against The Machine is her making good on that promise. And it was everything I could have hoped for.  Read More …

Author Query – Yoon Ha Lee

yoonhalee-ninefoxgambitI love Yoon Ha Lee’s short fiction. I even nominated his story The Contemporary Fox Wife for a Hugo last year. So when Solaris announced they had acquired Lee’s first trilogy of novels I was excited. Ninefox Gambit has an intriguing premise and going by what I’ve read so far — I’m a third of the way in — it promises to be a great read, as long as I don’t get blinded by maths ;) I was lucky enough to ask Lee some questions and he provided fascinating answers. I hope you enjoy the interview  below and do check out Ninefox Gambit. Look out for a review of the book here in the near future.  Read More …

Author Query – Paul Krueger

paulkrueger-lastcallatthenightshadeloungeLast Call at the Nightshade Lounge was a lovely surprise. Prior to receiving a review copy, I hadn’t actually heard about it (or its author) before. Yet when it arrived the flap text and the cover — not to mention the accompanying vodka — grabbed my attention and I couldn’t wait to start this book. It was a great read and I wanted to know more about its author, so I was pleased to be able to ask Paul Krueger some pressing questions. Most importantly, will there be more books set at the Cupbearer Court (a hopefully yes!) I had a lot of fun with Paul’s answers, I hope you will too. Please check out Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge and if you need more convincing, do check out my review of the book from earlier in the week.  Read More …

Ripley Patton – Ghost Hope

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000037_00039]Olivia Black does not feel safe. Nightmares plague her sleep and haunt her days. If she has to endure one more minute stuck in a safe house in rainy Portland, she’s going to lose it. When Mike Palmer sneaks off to find her sister Kaylee without her, it’s the last straw. She has to do something.

Then Palmer’s hackers find the Dome on a satellite feed: dark, abandoned and smack in the middle of the Oregon desert three hundred miles from where it started. If they can reach it before anyone else, they can crack the computer systems and access every piece of information on PSS the CAMFers and The Hold have ever collected.

But in order to do that, Olivia must return to the origin of her fears in a race against all the forces that have ever pitted themselves against her. She must unravel decades of deceit to reveal the true origins of Psyche Sans Soma to the world at last.

With Ghost Hope Ripley Patton brings her PSS Chronicles to a close. Patton’s series is one that has to be read in order to really get the entirety of it and discussing the last book of the series without giving any spoilers for prior books is impossible. So take this as your spoiler warning.  Read More …

Paul Krueger – Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge

paulkrueger-lastcallatthenightshadeloungeBailey Chen is fresh out of college with all the usual new-adult demons: no cash, no job offers, and an awkward relationship with Zane, the old-friend she kinda-sorta hooked up with during high school.

But when Zane introduces Bailey to his monster-fighting bartender friends, her demons become a lot more literal. It turns out that evil creatures stalk the city streets after hours, and they can be hunted only with the help of magically mixed cocktails: vodka grants super-strength, whiskey offers the power of telekinesis, and rum lets its drinker fire blasts of elemental energy. But will all these powers be enough for Bailey to halt a mysterious rash of gruesome deaths? And what will she do when the safety of a “real world” job beckons?

When Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge arrived at my house, it came accompanied by a mini bottle of vodka and an invitation to cocktail hour. I was intrigued and the book sounded really good. Paul Krueger’s debut novel was a lovely surprise and has turned out to be one of my favourite reads of the year so far.  Read More …

K.A. Tucker – He Will Be My Ruin [Blog Tour]

katucker-hewillbemyruinTwenty-eight-year-old Maggie Sparkes arrives in New York City to pack up what’s left of her best friend’s belongings after a suicide that has left everyone stunned. The police have deemed the evidence conclusive: Celine got into bed, downed a bottle of Xanax and a handle of Maker’s Mark, and never woke up. But when Maggie discovers secrets in the childhood lock box hidden in Celine’s apartment, she begins asking questions. Questions about the man Celine fell in love with. The man she never told anyone about, not even Maggie. The man who Celine herself claimed would be her ruin.

On the hunt for answers that will force the police to reopen the case, Maggie uncovers more than she bargained for about Celine’s private life—and inadvertently puts herself on the radar of a killer who will stop at nothing to keep his crimes undiscovered.

He Will Be My Ruin is K.A. Tucker’s latest novel and the first time I’ve encountered her writing. And I had a fantastic time with this standalone mystery. From the first fraught pages of the prologue, where we find Maggie in desperate straits, until the final pages, this book grabbed me and didn’t let me go.  Read More …

Author Query – Andrew Buckley

Hair In All The Wrong PlacesHair in All The Wrong Places is a very funny werewolf novel with a twist, which I reviewed on the blog yesterday. I also got to ask the author, Andrew Buckley, some questions about the book, writing funny novels, and whether his alter ego Jane D. Everly will be striking out in the middle grade market too. It turned out to be a fun interview, largely thanks to Andrew’s great answers. So I hope you enjoy it and check out Andrew’s work!

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Let’s start with the basics. Who is Andrew Buckley? 

Where do I begin? I’m happily married to a wonderful redhead, have three adorable children, work full time as a writer, and have been a traditionally published author of rather silly books since 2012. Oh, I’ve also lived in Canada for the past 18 years. Everyone should live here. The entire country is remarkably polite.   Read More …

Andrew Buckley – Hair in All The Wrong Places

Hair In All The Wrong PlacesWhat has he done?

What’s happening to him?

And what on Earth is that smell?

For Colin Strauss, puberty stinks. Blackouts, hallucinations, and lapses in memory are the perils of growing up werewolf.

Worse than that, Colin worries he might have had something to do with the recent attacks on the townspeople. He may have eaten a person. It doesn’t matter that it’s someone he doesn’t particularly like. What kind of boy goes around eating people?

Foolishly, all Colin can think about is how Becca Emerson finally kissed him for the first time. Yep, hormones are afoot. Yikes!

But girls will have to wait. Collin better get himself under control before someone else ends up hurt or worse . . . dead.

So, werewolves… Between vampires, zombies and werewolves, which are sort of the staple monsters of the week in genre, werewolves have always been my favourite. Zombies generally give me nightmares, vampires are okay I guess, but meh. Werewolves, however, are super cool. I don’t know whether it is the “only be monstrous once a month thing” or the fact that it’s freaking wolves, but I’ve always liked them as monsters. As such, agreeing to read Andrew Buckley’s Hair in All The Wrong Places wasn’t hard, especially as it sounded like it would be a tremendously fun read. And that first impression proved to be correct, with the added bonus of some great main characters who it was easy to love.  Read More …