Zen Cho – The Perilous Life of Jade Yeo & The Terracotta Bride

zencho-perilouslifeofjadeyeoFor writer Jade Yeo, the Roaring Twenties are coming in with more of a purr — until she pillories London’s best-known author in a scathing review. Sebastian Hardie is tall, dark and handsome, and more intrigued than annoyed. But if Jade succumbs to temptation, she risks losing her hard-won freedom — and her best chance for love. 

Zen Cho’s novella The Perilous Life of Jade Yeo isn’t actually an SFF story. In fact, it is a romance told through diary entries. And it is delightful! Set in 1920s London, our main character is a young  Malaysian woman who went to university in Britain and now is trying to make it as a writer. One of her gigs is writing reviews, so that immediately created a connection obviously, but Jade is wonderful in lots of ways. She’s funny, snarky, independent and prepared to defend her independence fiercely.  Read More …

A.F.E. Smith – Goldenfire

afesmith-goldenfireAyla Nightshade has ruled Darkhaven for three years. With the help of Tomas Caraway, her Captain of the Helm, she has overcome her father’s legacy to find new confidence in herself and her unusual shapeshifting abilities.

Yet three years ago, a discovery was made that could have profound consequences for the Nightshade line: a weapon exists that can harm even the powerful creatures they turn into. And now, that knowledge has fallen into the wrong hands.

An assassin is coming for Ayla, and will stop at nothing to see her dead.

Darkhaven, the first book in this series, was a surprise. Billed as a secondary-world fantasy with a murder mystery, I was all-in by the end of the synopsis and A.F.E. Smith delivered on the promise of the blurb and the cover of the book and I was completely smitten with the world and the characters. As such, Goldenfire had a lot to life up to. And it did, bringing back characters I love, introducing new ones and once again centring on a mystery, this time more on who will do it, than on whodunnit.  Read More …

Review Amnesty: Reprise

reviewamnestyIt’s the return of the review amnesty. Once again I’m behind on reviewing books I’ve read and I really want to get through this backlog, so I won’t just keep staring at it mournfully and then freeze up trying to write the reviews. So I’ve decided to to write another batch of shorter reviews and I might do another one in the near future, just so I can start fresh after the summer.  Read More …

Angela Slatter – Vigil

angelaslatter-vigilVerity Fassbinder has her feet in two worlds.

The daughter of one human and one Weyrd parent, she has very little power herself, but does claim unusual strength – and the ability to walk between us and the other – as a couple of her talents. As such a rarity, she is charged with keeping the peace between both races, and ensuring the Weyrd remain hidden from us.

But now Sirens are dying, illegal wine made from the tears of human children is for sale – and in the hands of those Weyrd who hold with the old ways – and someone has released an unknown and terrifyingly destructive force on the streets of Brisbane.

And Verity must investigate – or risk ancient forces carving our world apart.

Welcome to Brisneyland! The story Angela Slatter presents us with in her debut solo-novel Vigil is a departure from her previous work, which I have heard people raving about for the past few years really. As such it was the perfect place for me to start my first Angela Slatter story, since it is the beginning of a series and the start of this new urban fantasy direction for the author. And I loved it. Vigil is a fantastic read, with a heroine who captured my heart.  Read More …

Author Query – Angela Slatter

angelaslatter-vigilFor the past few years I’ve heard people rave about Angela Slatter’s writing and due to that I was familiar with her name. When Jo Fletcher Books announced they’d acquired two books by her in an urban fantasy series I was intrigued, as it was a departure from her dark fantasy and horror work. I read Vigil earlier this week and it was awesome—I may have a teensy book crush on Verity Fassbinder. I’ll be posting my review for the book later today, but for now here is an interview with Angela on Verity, the inspirations for Brisneyland, and whether a tourist could find their way to places in the book.  Read More …

Author Query – Chris Husberg

christopherhusberg-duskfallChris Husberg’s debut Duskfall sounded pretty cool to me when I read the synopsis and I’m looking forward to getting stuck into it later this summer (is it my vacation already? I need time off to read!) I also had several questions I wanted to ask and Chris was kind enough to answer them for me. His answers have only made me look forward to Duskfall more, so look for a review of it later this summer.

***

Let’s start with the basics. Who is Chris Husberg?

Fantasy author (and reader!). Desultory blogger. Dota 2 pubstomper extraordinaire. Zombie apologist. Buffy scholar. Basically, I’m a HUGE NERD! But my nerdy self has done other stuff, too—I grew up in Alaska, where I learned to love the outdoors, hiking, camping, all that stuff. I’m a stay-at-home parent to an amazing little girl, which is probably the coolest thing I’ve ever done. I love films, TV, running, hanging out with my wife. That’s me in a nutshell!  Read More …

Edward Lazellari – Awakenings

edwardlazellari-awakeningsCal MacDonnell is a happily married New York City cop with a loving family. Seth Raincrest is a washed-up photographer who has alienated even his closest friends. The two have nothing in common—except that they both suffer from retrograde amnesia. It’s as if they just appeared out of thin air thirteen years ago, and nothing has been able to restore their memories. Now their forgotten past has caught up to them with a vengeance. 

Cal’s and Seth’s lives are turned upside down as they are stalked by otherworldly beings who know about the men’s past lives. But these creatures aren’t here to help; they’re intent on killing anyone who gets in their way. In the balance hangs the life of a child who might someday restore a broken empire to peace and prosperity. With no clue why they’re being hunted, Cal and Seth must accept the aid of a strange and beautiful woman who has promised to unlock their secrets. The two must stay alive long enough to protect their loved ones, recover their true selves—and save two worlds from tyranny and destruction. 

When it was first published in 2011, I heard good things about Edward Lazellari’s Awakenings, but I never actually managed to pick up the book. So when the offer of a review copy landed in my inbox, I wasn’t slow to say yes. Going by my vague memories of reviews, the cover and the flap text, I was expecting an urban fantasy/crime story, but does Awakenings do what it says on the tin?  The short answer is no.  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 – 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 …