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 …

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 …

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 …

Author Query – Kate Forsyth

Rebirth-of-RapunzelI first read Kate Forsyth’s Bitter Greens in 2013 and I fell in love with the story, its characters and Kate’s writing. Reading her next novel The Wild Girl only strengthened that love. Her previous book, The Beast’s Garden has only been published in Australia (get on that, UK publishers!) and as such I haven’t yet managed to get my hands on a copy, because it’s really expensive to order books from Australia. But I plan on getting my hands on it somehow in the future. All of this goes to say that I was really interested in reading Kate’s non-fiction collection, The Rebirth of Rapunzel, which I reviewed yesterday, and which left me with some questions to ask Kate. Luckily, she’d already agreed to be interviewed and you can find the results below. Can I just say I can’t wait for Beauty in Thorns? It sounds amazing! If you haven’t read Kate’s work before and you love fairytale retellings or historical fiction, I highly recommend checking out her writing.  Read More …

Kate Forsyth – The Rebirth of Rapunzel

Rebirth-of-RapunzelA unique collection presenting Kate Forsyth’s extensive academic research into the ‘Rapunzel’ fairy tale, alongside several other pieces related to fairy tales and folklore.

This book is not your usual reference work, but a complex and engaging exploration of the subject matter, written with Forsyth’s distinctive flair.

I’ve read and loved Kate Forsyth’s Bitter Greens and The Wild Girl, though I still need to get onto reading her last novel The Beast’s Garden, a retelling of Beauty and the Beast. When The Rebirth of Rapunzel arrived in my inbox I was really excited, since it was the non-fiction component to Forsyth’s MFA of which Bitter Greens was the fiction part. I love learning about the development of stories throughout the ages and The Rebirth of Rapunzel delivered exactly that for the story of the maiden in the tower.  Read More …

Author Query – Matthew Jobin

skelethMatthew Jobin’s Nethergrim books, The Nethergrim and The Skeleth sound like fun. Additionally, they’ve also been translated into Dutch, so hopefully I’ll be able to share them with Emma sooner rather than later, as I won’t have to teach her English before reading them to her! That aside, I really did like the sound of the books and wanted to know more about them and their author. Matthew kindly answered my question and you can find the resulting interview below. Check out the Nethergrim books and for my Dutch readers, you can go meet Matthew at the Grijze Jager Dag in Alphen on the 15th!  Read More …

Author Query – Alan Smale

alansmale-eagleinexileAlan Smale’s Clash of Eagles series combines some of my favourite things: fantasy, historical fiction, and Romans. So one day, one day when I finally get my time turner, I definitely want to read them. Until that time though, I decided to settle for the second best option and that was to ask Alan for an interview. He obliged and had some great answers about the research he has done for the book, whether his work for NASA influences his writing, and promoting science through song. Check out Alan’s latest novel Eagle in Exile from Titan Books, out now.  Read More …

Genevieve Cogman – The Masked City

genevievecogman-themaskedcityIrene is working undercover in an alternative Victorian London. for this librarian spy, it’s business as usual – until her assistant Kai is abducted. Kai’s dragon heritage means he has powerful enemies, and this act of aggression could trigger a war between his people and their greatest rivals. As they each represent the forces of order and chaos themselves, matters could turn unpleasant.

Irene’s mission to save Kai and avert Armageddon will take her to a dark, alternate Venice where it’s always Carnival. Here Irene will be forced to blackmail, fast talk, and fight. Or she’ll face mayhem – at the very least.

Genevieve Cogman’s The Invisible Library, the first book in the series with the same title, couldn’t have been a book better suited to my tastes if the author had asked me what I wanted in my book. Alternate magical London, secret librarian spies, a witty and kickass heroine and a lovely assistant. That book had it all. And as such it was a tough act to follow. The Masked City had a lot to live up to and I certainly had some things I really wanted to see in there, not least more on Kai’s dragon heritage, but also more about Irene parentage. So did the book deliver what I was hoping for? Not exactly, but it delivered so much other awesomeness that it didn’t matter that I still don’t know more about Irene’s parents. The Masked City is a fantastic sequel to The Invisible LibraryRead More …