Corinne Duyvis – On the Edge of Gone

corinneduyvis-ontheedgeofgoneJanuary 29, 2035

That’s the day the comet is scheduled to hit—the big one. Denise and her mother and sister, Iris, have been assigned to a temporary shelter near their hometown of Amsterdam to wait out the blast, but Iris is nowhere to be found, and at the rate Denise’s addicted mother is going, they’ll never reach the shelter in time.

Then a last-minute encounter leads them to something better than a temporary shelter: a generation ship that’s scheduled to leave Earth behind and colonize new worlds after the comet hits. But each passenger must have a practical skill to contribute. Denise is autistic and fears that she’ll never be allowed to stay. Can she obtain a spot before the ship takes flight? What about her mother and sister?

When the future of the human race is at stake, whose lives matter most?

To start with full disclosure: I know the author personally, which is one of the reasons I was excited to read the book. Also I loved Corinne Duyvis’ debut Otherbound and I couldn’t wait to see her take on apocalyptic SF. So to be honest, I was already primed to like this book. But that aside, even if I hadn’t been, On the Edge of Gone blew me away and gave me insight into things that went far beyond the scope of the story.  Read More …

Sarah Hilary – Tastes Like Fear

sarahhilary-tasteslikefearYou’ll never be out of Harm’s way

The young girl who causes the fatal car crash disappears from the scene.

A runaway who doesn’t want to be found, she only wants to go home.

To the one man who understands her.

Gives her shelter.

Just as he gives shelter to the other lost girls who live in his house.

He’s the head of her new family.

He’s Harm.

D.I. Marnie Rome has faced many dangerous criminals but she has never come up against a man like Harm. She thinks that she knows families, their secrets and their fault lines. But as she begins investigating the girl’s disappearance nothing can prepare her for what she’s about to face.

Because when Harm’s family is threatened, everything tastes like fear…

I love DI Marnie Rome and it is always a treat to read her next adventure. Sarah Hilary’s third entry into the series, Tastes Like Fear, builds on the foundations laid in the first two books and builds the overarching story out while delivering a chilling and fascinating mystery to be unraveled in this book. There is an art to delivering a standalone experience while rewarding return readers that is especially important for crime series, which often run really long and need to be accessible at any point for new readers. Sarah Hilary manages this brilliantly with Tastes Like FearRead More …

Stephanie Burgis – Masks and Shadows

stephanieburgis-masksandshadowsThe year is 1779, and Carlo Morelli, the most renowned castrato singer in Europe, has been invited as an honored guest to Eszterháza Palace. With Carlo in Prince Nikolaus Esterházy’s carriage, ride a Prussian spy and one of the most notorious alchemists in the Habsburg Empire. Already at Eszterháza is Charlotte von Steinbeck, the very proper sister of Prince Nikolaus’s mistress. Charlotte has retreated to the countryside to mourn her husband’s death. Now, she must overcome the ingrained rules of her society in order to uncover the dangerous secrets lurking within the palace’s golden walls. Music, magic, and blackmail mingle in a plot to assassinate the Habsburg Emperor and Empress–a plot that can only be stopped if Carlo and Charlotte can see through the masks worn by everyone they meet.

I’ve been aware of Stephanie Burgis’ writing for years through the rave reviews I’ve read of her middle grade books, yet I’ve never actually read them. It did make me pay extra attention whenever her name popped up as the author of a story featured on the short fiction podcasts I listen to. And from what I’d heard I really liked Burgis’ writing. Reading the synopsis for her first fantasy novel for adults made me perk up immediately as it blends a lot of my favourite things: fantasy, history, mystery and conspiracy. And Masks and Shadows delivers on all of those things with the added bonus of a pinch of supernatural and a dash of romance thrown in.  Read More …

Alex Bell – The Haunting

alexbell-thehauntingSome curses grow stronger with time…

People say that all Cornish inns are haunted, but the Waterwitch’s history is particularly chilling. Built from the salvaged timber of a cursed ship, the guest house’s dark secrets go further back than anyone can remember.

Emma is permanently confined to a wheelchair after an accident at the Waterwitch which took place when she was ten. Seven years later, she decides to return to the place where the awful event occurred. But the ancient inn still has its ghosts, and one particular spirit is more vengeful than ever…

A chilling new title in the Red Eye horror series from the author of Frozen Charlotte.

Last year Stripes Publishing launched a new series called Red Eye. The books published in this series were all YA horror novels and while I loved some of them more than others, overall the series had a successful launch year in my opinion. One of my favourites in the series last year was Alex Bell’s Frozen Charlotte, so I was quite excited to get stuck into her latest offering, The Haunting. Set in Cornwall and featuring a purportedly haunted inn, Bell captured my attention with the setting alone, but it was further piqued by the fact that one of its main characters is in a wheelchair, as I’ve been wanting to read more books featuring disabled characters as part of my more diverse reading diet.  Read More …

Author Query – Trevor Hoyle

trevorhoyle-thelastgaspSince 2014, Jo Fletcher Books has been slowly but surely bringing back to print the entirety of Trevor Hoyle’s oeuvre, culminating in yesterday’s publication of a new edition of perhaps his best known work The Last Gasp. What fascinated me about this book, was that despite having been first published over thirty years ago, its themes and topics remain relevant. Not only that, but the author has been able to revise and update the text not once, but twice, reflecting the changes in what we known about climate change and how it is viewed between 1983 and 2016. I was glad to have the opportunity to ask Trevor some questions about this process and about The Last Gasp. I hope you find Trevor’s answers as interesting as I did.  Read More …

Kate Elliott – The Beatriceid

kateelliott-thebeatriceidBefore Andevai, the waking of dreaming dragons, the war for Europa, and the cruel treachery of the Wild Hunt, cousins Catherine and Beatrice Hassi Barahal were novice students at the Academy. Here, Cat and Bee learned of mathematics and politics, history and storytelling. But not all stories are told or remembered in the same way–particularly where the tale of Dido and Aeneas, and the fate of Carthage and Rome are concerned.

To the victors go the spoils–only this time, it is the gilded-tongued Bee and the quick-footed Cat who will collect the winnings.

Set before the start of Cold Magic, The Beatriceid is a brand new, standalone short story written in Iambic Pentameter that reimagines The Aeneid in a feminist, Phoenician light.

It’s no secret that I’m a Kate Elliott fangirl. I loved her Crown of Stars series, and last year I raved about both her short story and non-fiction collection The Very Best of Kate Elliott and her YA novel Court of Fives. And I absolutely loved Black Wolves, though I still need to review it—I just need to get past the JUST READ IT impulse and be able to talk about coherently before I do. Anyway, when I saw the announcement for The Beatriceid, I had an immediate case of want; the cover by Julie Dillon was amazing and the concept of a retelling of the Aeneid in iambic pentameter made me curious. I’m not necessarily a poetry person, but I loved reading the Classics in high school, though admittedly I took Greek not Latin, so I’m more familiar with the Iliad and the Odyssey.  Read More …

Guest Post: Ben Peek on Multiculturalism in Leviathan’s Blood

benpeek-leviathansbloodIn 2014 Ben Peek published his big fat fantasy novel The Godless. I really enjoyed the characters and world the story is set in. But the thing that drew my interest initially, and which made it of interest to a lot of people, was the fact that The Godless was peopled with a super diverse set of characters. The second book in the series, Leviathan’s Blood promised to be as diverse. So when I got to pick a topic for a guest post, I immediately jumped on the chance to have Ben talk about the multiculturalism in his book and how his fictional world mirrors his everyday world. Enjoy and remember to check out Leviathan’s Blood tomorrow when it is published.  Read More …

Susan Jane Bigelow – Broken

susanjanebigelow-brokenIn a post-war, future world, where first contact has been made with intelligent life and humans are colonizing the stars, the nations of Earth have been united under a central government. Extrahumans, those possessing supernatural abilities such as flight and strength, are required by this government to belong to the Union, where they can be trained, monitored, and weaponized.

Michael Forward is cursed with the ability to see the future – every possible future – when he gazes into another person’s eyes. All he has ever wanted is to escape the grim destiny he sees when he looks in the mirror, but when he is tasked with a mission that will define the course of human history, Michael finds he cannot refuse. Now, he needs the help of a homeless ex-superhero to save a baby who may become the key to humanity’s freedom.

Broken figured she was done with heroics when she lost the ability to fly and escaped the confinement of the Extrahuman Union. But then the world started to fall apart around her, and a desperate teenage prophet with a baby entered her life, offering her the possibility of redemption and a chance to fly once more.

In a time of spreading darkness, when paranoia and oppression reign, can these unlikely allies preserve a small ray of hope for a better, brighter future?

I’ve only gotten into the whole superhero thing in the last five years. Yes, I watched cartoons when I was a kid and of course, I watched all the X-Men films in the cinema, but I never really thought of them as anything other than popcorn fodder. In the past few years, that has somewhat changed. Yes, through the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but mostly through books and short stories. There were the Union Dues short stories at Escape Pod, the Secret World Chronicle, Tansy Rayner Roberts’ Cookie Cutter Superhero and Lavie Tidhar’s amazing The Violent Century to name a few. Susan Jane Bigelow’s Extrahuman Union books fit right in that line up, which made me very excited to read the first book in the series, Broken. It did NOT disappoint in the slightest.  Read More …

Author Query – Susan Jane Bigelow + Giveaway

susanjanebigelow-brokenSusan Jane Bigelow’s Broken and the further books in the Extrahuman Union series are being republished by Book Smugglers Publishing, with Broken having been released this Tuesday last. I have already finished the book and it is amazing; more details on that in my review next Monday. I loved the book, so I was really excited to ask Susan some questions about it and the other books in the series. You can check out her answers below. To be in with a chance to win a copy of Broken, check the giveaway at the bottom of this post.  Read More …

Guest Post: Brian Staveley – Hitler’s Sister

brianstaveley-thelastmortalbondBrian Staveley burst onto the SFF scene with his debut novel The Emperor’s Blades in 2014 and I loved it. But I was even more impressed with the sequel The Providence of Fire. As such, it is no surprise that I’m really looking forward to seeing how the story ends in The Last Mortal Bond. What fascinated me most about the series is the intricacy of the sibling bonds in The Chronicles of the Unhewn Throne. The dynamics between Kaden, Adare, and Valyn are fascinating; there is so much love, anger, jealousy, and loyalty that complicates their relationships. I asked Brian about why the sibling bond can make for such a great narrative driver. You can find his answer below.  Read More …