29 November, 2011

Excuses - I Should Be Reviewing

Sorry for the lack of posts so far this week. Got back from Florida really sick and then had to immediately go back into preparing for my first hearing. After cutting my teeth on that (all day long), I'm worn out...possibly for two days.

I should get a review up this week and some other stuff going too, I just need a breather.

25 November, 2011

Giveaway Winner: The Black Sun's Daughter, Books 1-4 by M.L.N. Hanover

Hope you're getting some great deals this Black Friday. This is also the day you're finally allowed to start playing Christmas music - no sooner...or something very bad will happen...possibly even to your mother.

Wait, it's Black Friday...there was something I was supposed to do today... something to do with a giveaway with a similar name... Okay, I'll stop being coy. Here's our giveaway winner for The Black Sun's Daughter Series, books 1-4, which happens to be announced on Black Friday for no other reason than it's another day of the week.

The winner of the Black Sun's Daughter, books 1-4 is:

Connor Sullivan

Congrats to the winner and thanks to all who participated.

We had a bit of snark I have to mention (one from the winner himself even). Keep in mind the subject line for this giveaway was "Black Friday's Daughter keeps trying to sell me stuff":
  • Would Black Friday's Daughter involve some hot ultra-low-price everything-must-go cut-to-the-bone sale action between the legendary post-Thanksgiving shopping holiday and, like, Boxing Day in the UK? What other occasion of ludicrously excessive consumerism could possibly presume to mate and spawn with Black Friday? And what would it look like? Best Buy and JC Penny screwing in a parking lot? (Connor Sullivan)
  • I generally steer clear of fantasy books with a tough looking woman with a visible belly button on the cover, but I hear that MLN Hanover is like Daniel Abraham's biggest fan or something. (Josh Wertheimer)

Each will receive two free entries into the next giveaway of their choice. I know, some people just get everything.

24 November, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving from OTBSFF

Wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving from Only the Best. Hope you're getting some much-deserved rest and relaxation.

22 November, 2011

Review - Theft of Swords (Riyria Revelations) by Michael J. Sullivan

Theft of Swords [US] [UK] [Kindle] is an omnibus of the first two books in the Riyria Reveleations, The Crown Conspiracy and Avempartha. It's also somewhat the story of an independently published author turned major publishing success as is nicely explained here by Iceberg Ink.

The first thing that comes to mind when I think of Theft of Swords is that it's "traditional" fantasy. It deals with good guys versus bad guys, questing, and there are even elves, dwarves, and a wise wizard.

But when I really think about it, "traditional" doesn't quite explain it, or really even get close.

Traditional, at least recently (I realize the irony), has come to mean Farmer boy becomes king or even a bloated and long-winded series that will never end.

In that sense, Theft of Swords is anything but "traditional." Even the elves aren't your typical elves, they're considered to be the lowest of the low, slaves even in some parts of this world called Elan. And then again, is it really good versus evil? We're dealing with a couple of thieves as the protagonists, each of whom has killed their fair share.

Then, there's the fact that this is fantasy without all the bloat. Sullivan fills you in as we go without getting bogged down in describing every last thing. The story moves forward and you can't help but get sucked into the narrative. And I haven't even begun to talk about the characters.

Royce and Hadrian. They're a mysterious duo who are much more than they seem and who make up the inexplicable group known as Riyria. The Crown Conspiracy begins with the duo steeling an incriminating letter back from the person they were paid to steel it for in the first place.

Of course, they're not always scoundrels and end up doing the right thing at least most of the time. Add to that their amusing banter and even mockery, they're really hard not to love.

Now that I've sung it's praises a bit, I'll break this omnibus down into the two stories that it contains, starting with a portion of my review (from almost 2 years ago) of The Crown Conspiracy:

The Crown Conspiracy

There is much to be said about a novel that reads well. I've mentioned this before on my own blog, but a book that keeps you reading ranks high for me. Not only is it entertaining, but you look forward to getting back into the book each and every time you pick it up, if you have the self-control to ever put it down.

Atypical of many current series, The Crown Conspiracy does not contain much in the way of grittiness, yet it remains inventive. With twists and turns, you won't know who to believe. The plot moved quickly and even though some traditional fantasy archetypes show up, it is not in the usual way; including a wizard who provides little in the way of guidance as well as elves that are despised.

This is not your typical epic as has already been mentioned especially when looking at the size of the novels and yet Sullivan is able to make the characters come alive. The relationship between Royce, the thief, and Hadrian, the brawn, is great fun and still provides great mystery. Who are these people and how do they have such talents?

In terms of world-building, there is not an enormous amount, but I thought it fit the story very well. The reader is filled in by characters mostly through dialogue while the plot continues to move forward.


While I heartily enjoyed The Crown Conspiracy, Avempartha was even harder to put down. Here, we have an ancient monster, we find out more about our "heroes," and get a better grasp on the history of the elves and the world of Elan. The narrative starts to expand and we're let in on some BIG things that are yet to come.

The story is continued about a year after The Crown Conspiracy and Royce and Hadrian are called in to help a village that has been ravaged by a monster that has taken residence in the area.

At this same time, the church of Nyphron has been setting its own plan in motion, calling for a secret competition, of which no one even knows the location.

With all the mystery and suspense, there was not a point of view I wasn't dying to read, I'm not joking when I say I couldn't put it down. I did wish, however, that there was more told about the competition, as if we had an inside man competing, but it was understandable with where the author was taking us in the end.

Why Read Theft of Swords?

Theft of Swords is exactly what it purports to be. It's light-hearted fun and it will have you reading your eyes out. The characters, especially Hadrian and Royce, will have you coming back for more.

4 out of 5 Stars

Stay tuned for a guest post in the next week from the author himself.

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher

21 November, 2011

I'm Outta Here...on Vacation

I'm headed to Florida and more specifically Disney World for a big family trip this week. I know, it sounds glamorous, but keep in mind we get to fly with a 16 month old. Last time we flew we seriously had 8 bins worth of stuff, not including the stroller and other carry-on bags.

I have some posts scheduled, like a timely review of Theft of Swords by Michael J. Sullivan, but I might not have internet access, so I apologize in advance for any glaring problems that won't be fixed until I get back next Monday.

19 November, 2011

Some Reviews I've Enjoyed This Week

There's already too much in my "To-Read" pile and it's growing every day, especially thanks to people like these:

17 November, 2011

It's News To Me #29 - Online Articles I've Been Reading

I read a bunch of good articles this week, but decided to gather together the best ones...or possibly the only ones I could remember enough to find the link again. There's at least some possibility it's the first one. :)

YetiStomper reviews the Kindle Fire: I was so close to getting one of these, but decided against it for two reasons. 1. I'm easily distracted and I need an eReader that doesn't have a million things to keep me away from actually reading. 2. I've decided I need eInk especially because I want to be able to do LOTS of reading on this device. I'm going with the Kindle Touch.

Speaking of eReaders, the Nook Tablet reviewed: Jeff, at The Tattered Scroll, has been my go to for all eReader devices. He's reviewed most if not all and I really trust his opinion. He's actually the one who made me decide against the Fire, as you can see in the comments.

An Open Letter to Simon & Schuster: Seems like the publishing industry needs to get its act together. I'm sure it's hard to change bad habits when people are tripping over each other to get published and will bend over backwards to do what you decide.

25 Reasons Why Readers Will Keep Reading Your Story:
I've become pretty addicted to terribleminds.com, the author Chuck Wendig's blog, lately. He seems to know what he's doing, or at least he's entertaining enough for me not care either way.

Angry Robot's new YA Imprint, Strange Chemistry: and a fellow blogger, Amanda Rutter, is out of the blogging game (to head said new imprint).

16 November, 2011

(Audiobook) Review - Shadow of the Hegemon (Shadow #2) by Orson Scott Card

The War is over, won by Ender Wiggin and his team of brilliant child-warriors. The enemy is destroyed, the human race is saved. Ender himself refuses to return to the planet, but his crew has gone home to their families, scattered across the globe. The battle school is no more.

But with the external threat gone, the Earth has become a battlefield once more. The children of the Battle School are more than heros; they are potential weapons that can bring power to the countries that control them. One by one, all of Ender's Dragon Army are kidnapped. Only Bean escapes; and he turns for help to Ender's brother Peter.

Peter Wiggin, Ender's older brother, has already been manipulating the politics of Earth from behind the scenes. With Bean's help, he will eventually rule the world.

I enjoyed Shadow of the Hegemon [US] [UK] [Kindle] but not nearly as much as Ender's Shadow, the first in the Shadow series.

I don't know, and I had this same problem after finishing Speaker for the Dead (Book 2 in the main Ender series), but I just feel like this series is getting beat to death. I'm not the only one right? As good as these sequels are, I still think Ender's Game (with possible addition of Ender's Shadow) should have been left that way, on its own, no sequels. I know, now I'm beating a dead horse.

I still have to admit this is a good book. It's well done as always, and Bean is a great character. In Shadow of the Hegemon, we learn more about Petra Arkanian and Peter Wiggin and guess who's back, Achilles (pronounced in the French way - Asheel).

I know Achilles has only been the "bad guy" for two books, but I was already getting tired of him to be honest. His motivations for his evil are explained, but I'm tired of it and ready to move on to another threat.

Now that the alien threat is over, earth once again turns to its old ways - countries are back at each other and the best military minds in the world, the battleschool kids, are the prime currency.

Other than great plotting and highly believable characters, Hegemon delves into some deep topics from time to time that I found quite interesting to ponder; notions such as, What is living without children? and, What does it really mean to live? Card makes some good arguments about our duty to the future.

One last thing regarding the audiobook - it's extremely well done, if you're into that sort of thing. The typical voice actors come back (like Stefan Rudnicki and Scott Brick) for another Ender installment and they're superb as always.

Why Read the Enders Shadow Series?

So far it's been a great series, on the same level as the original series (at least as much as I've read - to Speaker). The characters are extremely well drawn and easy to care about especially since they're so intelligent - you just feel smarter yourself. I'm looking forward to Shadow Puppets.

4 out of 5 Stars

15 November, 2011

Exclusive - Demon Squad 3: At the Gates by Tim Marquitz chapter 3

I've said it before and I'll say it again, author Tim Marquitz is the man. From zombies to demons to skulls and even epic fantasy, he delivers when it comes to dark fantasy. He's also been kind enough to let me post chapter three of the next installment of the Demon Squad series, At the Gates (Demon Squad 3).

Find Chapters one and two and the new short story Betrayal at the respective links.

Chapter Three

My breath huffed like a freight train as I rounded the corner where the
figure had disappeared. There was nothing but open space. I let my senses
loose and pushed them to their limit, a billion-legged octopus freed to
wiggle its receptive tentacles into every nook and cranny, seeking the
shadowy figure. Again, they could find no one. Whoever had been watching
us was gone.

Frustration boiled over into a scream, my throat ripped raw with its
intensity, an acid bath of emotion. My chest tightened as my lungs cried
out for air. A cyclone of ugly thoughts whirled inside my head, begging to
be unleashed on whoever had masterminded the storm, and on the voyeur
whose cheap thrill came at the expense of innocent lives.

Katon and Scarlett dashed around the corner and stopped cold when they saw
me. Michael brought up the rear, coughing as he struggled to breathe. I
could see the worry on their faces and could only imagine what I looked
like to them. It didn’t really matter right then.

Finally, when I could scream no more, I let my voice trail off. I took a
minute to regain my composure before joining them.

“We’re in way over our heads. Let’s go talk to Abe.”

His expression wary, but agreeable, Katon nodded.


Through the gate at my house, we arrived at DRAC after just a few minutes.
We appeared in the secure entry room that every portal into the main DRAC
headquarters is funneled. A silver pentagram was inscribed on the floor,
its points surrounded by the summoning circle we’d use to port in. Carved
into the walls was a massive array of defensive wards designed to take out
most any supernatural threat. I’d never known their specific use, and
would happily live my life without seeing the business end of them.

Hidden alongside the wards were a number of jets that could fill the room
with poisonous gas in seconds. To top it all off, the ceiling was a thirty
ton weight, powered by a massive system of hydraulics, designed to be
dropped on unsuspecting enemies, turning them into jelly. That one always
made me nervous.

My focus was on the roof until the security scans finished, and the door,
set flush with the walls, swung open with a whoosh to let us into DRAC
proper. Chivalry and consideration saved for when I wasn’t at risk of
being smooshed, I hightailed it out of the chamber as fast as I could,
nudging past the security officer standing outside.

“I’m with him.” I pointed to Katon and kept walking. The officer sighed
and stepped aside, not bothering to argue. He knew me.

Through the labyrinthine halls, we made our way to Abraham’s office, sans
Michael. He’d gone off to rally his men. Given the widespread nature of
the strange storm, he was gonna have his hands full trying to keep this
one under wraps.

Having spent a while sleeping on the couch in Abraham’s office while my
house was rebuilt, it felt almost like coming home. I barged in without
knocking. The decadent scent of old knowledge wafted out to greet me. Rows
upon rows of old books stood neatly arranged on a handful of shelves along
the back wall. They ran the gamut from magical tomes to historical texts,
encyclopedias to archaic religious works. Many of them were so rare as to
exist only here, in this room. They were Abraham’s pride and joy.

Unlike his desk, which looked like an orphan from Clutterville, dozens of
stacks of manila folders and papers littered its face. His computer was
covered in a colorful assortment of sticky notes. Tiny black slivers of
his monitor showed through between them, here and there.

Abraham peeked out from behind the piles and gave us a grim nod, mustering
a weak smile for Scarlett. His glasses amplified the green of his eyes and
he stared at us with subtle apprehension twitching across his face.

He’d taken to shaving his head. Most of his white hair having gone to
pasture already, it made him look younger, more vital. The consummation of
his relationship with Rachelle Knight, the third member of DRAC’s
triumvirate of power, a powerful mystic in her own right, had helped, no

“Judging by the looks on your faces, this isn’t a social call.”

With a huff, I dropped into one of the large chairs out in front of his
desk as Scarlett sat in the other. Katon stood behind her, his posture
uncharacteristically protective. While a bit surprised by Katon’s show of
propriety, I put it out of my head. There were more important things to
worry about.

“Is it ever?” I answered.

Abraham shook his head, forced to agree. We caught him up on everything,
starting with Scarlett showing up at my door and ending with the storm.
When we were done, he slid his glasses off, dropping them on the desk, and
sat back in the chair with one hand rubbing at his temple.

“This isn’t good.”

That, ladies and gentlemen, is why he’s in charge.

“Ever hear of anything like that?”

“No. It’s an anomaly we’ve yet to encounter.” He motioned beyond the door.
“Rachelle sensed a mysterious building of energy minutes before you say
the storm struck, though she had no idea what had created the flux. Your
information might help us determine its cause and at least now, we’ll know
when one is building.”

“For all the good it’ll do us. That thing took out four city blocks in the
time it took me to scratch my ass, Abe. A minute or two isn’t gonna give
us time to evacuate anyone, let alone defend against it.”

“Some warning is better than none, Frank. We’ll take what we can get.” He
waved me to silence, turning to look at Scarlett. “Could this have
something to do with Gabriel’s assault upon Eden?”

She sat silent for a moment, and then shrugged. “It’s possible, though I’m
not sure how. He and Michael are on the front lines, and have been since
the attack began. Uriel and Forcalor would crush their forces should
either of the archangels withdraw from the field.”

Abraham exhaled slow as he clearly pondered everything he’d learned. “I’ll
gather what forces we have available, but they will hardly be adequate for
Uriel’s purpose. I’m sorry. I wish I could tell you otherwise.”

“I understand,” Scarlett replied with a fractured smile, her voice little
more than a whisper. Katon gave her shoulder a gentle squeeze, smiling
down at her.

“What about Baalth?” Abraham asked me.

“He’s got the power for sure, it’s just whether there’s something in it
for him. He’s not gonna jump to save Heaven unless it advances his
interests, especially considering the history there. I don’t see him being
excited enough to pitch in on this one.”

“It can’t hurt to ask.”

I chuckled, thinking about just how much it could hurt to ask. “I’ll see
what he says.” Or throws, or kicks, or burns. Just recently free of all my
obligations to Baalth, I wasn’t looking forward to mortgaging my ass to
him again.

“Find out what you can about the Nephilim,” Abraham said, turning to
Katon. “Their gathering near Eden cannot be a coincidence. Perhaps they
know something that will aid us.”

Katon slowly reclaimed his hand, nodding to Scarlett who returned a wan
smile. He looked reluctant to leave. After a moment of tense silence he
did, closing the door loudly behind him.

Abraham raised an eyebrow Spock-like, but said nothing. He didn’t have to.
He was king when it came to speaking without words.

“This can’t all be a coincidence, can it?”

Abraham shook his head. “I don’t believe so, but without more information,
there’s no way to be sure. I’ll start gathering our people. Perhaps by the
time we’re ready, we’ll know more.”

Frustrated that we were just as much in the dark as we were when we’d
arrived, I said goodbye to Abraham, intent upon scampering off to Old
Town. Scarlett tagged along looking like a lost puppy dog.

After we’d scrounged her up some clothes to wear, I stopped off at the
armory and re-equipped myself, swiping a pair of guns and plenty of
ammunition—the DA slayers—and made for the portal room.

It was never a bad idea to have an arsenal when going to visit Baalth.

14 November, 2011

New Hunger Games Trailer and Brandon Sanderson Twitter Chat Update

I read (well, listened) and enjoyed the trilogy (not my favorite ever, but still fun) and the movie looks pretty true to form to be honest. Even some of the voices sound the same as the audiobook. I love when they use the same people or at least keep things unified.

Also, did you get a chance to visit Brandon Sanderson's Twitter Chat?

I got one question in (a really lame one I concede), but there's lots of good stuff in there if you want to check it out. Just go to Brandon's profile to see the whole thing.

Here's my question and answer:

Michael J. Sullivan Round-Up

Since I just finished reading Michael J. Sullivan's Theft of Swords (Books 1-2 of the Riyria Revelations), I thought I'd gather up not only some reviews of the book, which share my sentiment, but also some of the great articles Mr. Sullivan's been writing around the blog-o-station.

(This will give me time to put together my review for next week and no one will be the wiser - heeheeheeheehee)

Article: Doing it All Wrong at Graeme's Fantasy Book Review

Article: Cinderella Story: From Self to Traditional Publishing at Falcata Times


Falcata Times

Publisher's Weekly

Civilian Reader

EDIT: I meant to mention this a while ago. Here's a great audio interview with Michael J. Sullivan and here's a completely different text interview on Moses Siregar's site.

11 November, 2011

Twitter Chat with Brandon Sanderson

I couldn't resist this bit of news from Tor. (Speaking of Twitter, follow me if you don't already: @seaksstamp or Alec at: @bloggerat)

From the Press Release:


November #TorChat lineup revealed!

You guessed right…it’s Brandon Sanderson month

New York, NY – Friday, November 11thTor Books (@torbooks) is thrilled to announce November’s #TorChat, part of a monthly series of genre-themed, hour-long chats created by Tor Books and hosted on Twitter.

November marks one of our most anticipated releases of 2011: The Alloy of Law, the new standalone Mistborn novel by #1 New York Times bestselling author Brandon Sanderson. While Brandon (@brandsanderson) is on tour for the new book this week, he offered to join us from the road for our monthly chat on Monday, 11/14 from 1 – 2 PM (EST) to answer questions from fans and talk Mistborn, Wheel of Time, Way of Kings, and his obsession with Magic the Gathering…

Monday also comes along in the middle of the second annual “Great Hunt,” a digital scavenger hunt for the codes to unlock an exclusive secret piece of content relating to the final WoT novel, A Memory of Light, hosted on an encrypted page on Brandon’s website

(www.brandonsanderson.com/greathunt). As fans find and enter each of the 35 codes, secreted in books along Brandon’s tour or handed out in answer to his cryptic hints (follow along with the twitter hashtag #wotgh), the page will slowly unlock its secret. And if you’re lucky, he just MIGHT announce when that first draft of A Memory of Light will be ready to hand-in…

The chat will be loosely moderated by Justin Golenbock (@jgolenbo), Brandon’s publicist at @torbooks, and Laura Fitzgerald (@Laura_FitzG) of Tor’s digital marketing department, who claims to know a thing or two about Ter’angreal.

Come join us on Monday at 1 PM!

About the Author

Brandon Sanderson (@brandsanderson) grew up in Lincoln, Nebraska. He teaches creative writing at Brigham Young University and lives in Utah with his wife and children. He is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Alloy of Law, Towers of Midnight, The Way of Kings, The Gathering Storm, Warbreaker, Elantris, the Mistborn trilogy, and the middle grade “Alcatraz” series. In December of 2007, Brandon was chosen to complete Robert Jordan's bestselling Wheel of Time series. He is now hard at work on the final volume, A Memory of Light, which is due out in November 2012.

For fascinating behind-the-scenes information on Brandon Sanderson’s work, visit him at www.brandonsanderson.com.

“I have never had the pleasure of returning to a universe in quite the same way as Brandon Sanderson has managed in his book, ‘The Alloy of Law’...This book stands on its own, and is a wonderful read that kept me reading well into the early hours of the morning. If you’ve read the series, then you’ll love this; if you haven’t, then I can almost guarantee you that you’ll want to after having read this…9.8 out of 10.”

Fantasy Book Review

An engaging and fun romp of a read. The characters really shine in this book.”

Romantic Times

The Alloy of Law is one of the finest Fantasy novels of the year. For fans of Sanderson, or neophytes just discovering his work, it’s an enjoyable adventure with wonderful characters, a unique, believable setting and all the hallmarks that make Sanderson one of the genre’s most exciting young writers… The Alloy of Law is the best Mistborn novel since the first volume and comes with my highest recommendation.”

A Dribble of Ink

“Wholly, exuberantly, non-stop, entertaining….The action was briskly paced throughout, the fight scenes filled with energy and cinematic flair…If you’ve read the MISTBORN series, you’re in for a treat; it’s rare I get this freshly enjoyable a feel for revisiting a fantasy world.”

Fantasy Literature

The Alloy of Law is enthusiastic and energetic… if you like Sanderson’s books, particularly Mistborn, this will probably turn out to be one of the better books you’ll read this year.”


Contains the fast-paced, adventure-filled elements that fans of the original series, particularly Mistborn itself, enjoyed mostThe Alloy of Law certainly is one of Sanderson's two best novels in terms of its action and that will be more than enough to sate the appetites of those who enjoyed his earlier Mistborn offerings.”
Of Blog

Brandon Sanderson makes it all work seamlessly.”

—SFF Audio

The pacing is brisk and made for and exciting, page-turning read.

—SFF World

Filled with amusing Rough frontier banter in a realm in which early twentieth century technology and science competes with magic, fans will enjoy this action adventure caper. Brandon Sanderson brilliantly provides a refreshing guns and sorcery thriller.”
—SF Revu

“Sanderson has skillfully woven together an intricate plot with new complex, imperfect heroes…a fresh view of how a world can grow, building new dimensions into the best of the old. Sanderson continues to show that he is one of the best authors in the genre.”

Library Journal Starred Review

Don your leather duster, and hold onto your bowler hat. Sanderson takes us on a grand old adventure in the latest Mistborn novel…rife with laugh-out-loud moments, religious and philosophical ponderings, and plenty of crime-fighting action, this book fits nicely in any gun-holster.”


“Sanderson gives the world of Scadrial the Wild West treatment in this rollicking adventure tale set 300 years after the popular Mistborn epic fantasy trilogy…part Sherlock Holmes, part X-Men, this exciting stand-alone adventure is full of close shaves, shootouts, and witty banter.”

Publishers Weekly

Sanderson’s fresh ideas on the source and employment of magic are both arresting and original.”

Kirkus Reviews

About #Torchat

#TorChat is a genre-themed, hour-long chat series created by Tor Books and hosted on Twitter. Guest authors join fans in lively, informative and entertaining discussions of all that’s hot in genre fiction, 140 characters at a time, from 4 - 5 PM EST on the third Wednesday of every month. Each #TorChat revolves around a different genre topic of interest, often of a timely nature, and strives to provide a new media opportunity for readers to connect with their favorite authors.

About Tor Books

Tor Books, an imprint of Tom Doherty Associates, LLC, is a New York-based publisher of hardcover and softcover books. Founded in 1980, Tor annually publishes what is arguably the largest and most diverse line of science fiction and fantasy ever produced by a single English-language publisher. In 2002, Tor launched Starscape, an imprint dedicated to publishing quality science fiction and fantasy for young readers, including books by critically acclaimed and award winning authors such as Cory Doctorow, Orson Scott Card, and David Lubar. Between an extensive hardcover and trade-softcover line, an Orb backlist program, and a stronghold in mass-market paperbacks, books from Tor have won every major award in the SF and fantasy fields, and has been named Best Publisher 24 years in a row in the Locus Poll, the largest consumer poll in SF.

It's News To Me #28 - Alyth (Marysvale #2) by Jared Southwick

I realized I hadn't heard any news about the next volume in Jared Southwick's Marysvale series so I went on a hunt through the interwebs.

Luckily it took all of about 30 seconds to find out that the sequel, Alyth, is already out on the Amazon Kindle and B&N Nook as of the first of this month.

I really enjoyed the first one (here's my Marysvale review) and as the article in the link mentions, you can get both Marysvale and Alyth for $8.99.

10 November, 2011

Review - Summer Knight (Dresden Files 4) by Jim Butcher

Jim Butcher's Summer Knight [US] [UK] [Kindle] is the fourth book in Jim Butcher's much-loved Dresden Files. I realize I'm a bit behind, but I have good reasons for this...well, maybe...

I read the first 3 a couple years ago, all back to back and I really enjoyed them at the time...the only problem was the repetition. I was getting a bit tired of hearing the same reasoning behind everything Harry does. It made sense at first...then it made less sense the more volumes I kept reading with the same descriptions.

Maybe I'm too used to the opposite in Steven Erikson, but I had to take a bit of a break. One thing's for sure, you can wait as long as you need to pick up another volume of the Dresden Files.

Well, volume one, Storm Front, deals with magicians; volume two, Fool Moon, deals with warewolves; volume three - demons. So, what then does Summer Knight deal with? Faeries. (Obviously this isn't a perfect summary)

There are two main faeries, summer and winter, and they're not friends. The summer knight, an officer in the summer court of faeries, is found dead and Harry Dresden is called in to investigate.

Of course nothing is as it seems and through Harry's cynical sense of humor and constant battery (in which Harry is beat to a pulp on numerous occasions...as per usual), we have ourselves one fun story. The cards keep getting stacked against Harry, especially now that the Red Court is after him after the fiasco in Grave Peril (Book 3) and his own wizard's White Council has their own problems with him as well.

This was a hard book to put down, especially for the first and last hundred pages. The middle was a little slow, especially since Harry still has no clue what he's doing, but overall it's a quick read. As of this point, Summer Knight has been my favorite in the Dresden Files, but I don't think I'd be saying this if I'd have read it directly after Grave Peril.

Why Read The Dresden Files?

Harry Dresden is a hard character not to like. He gets knocked down and he always gets back up. He tries to do what's right no matter the situation and no matter who gets hurt...and he's just an all around fun guy to be around.

Add to that a well-planned and realized magic system and it's one great series...as long as you take it in stride.

4 out of 5 Stars

08 November, 2011

Giveaway: The Black Sun's Daughter Series by M.L.N. Hanover

With the release of the fourth volume of M.L.N. Hanover's urban fantasy series, Black Sun's Daughter, Simon and Schuster is offering a set of all four books, including the yet to be released, Killing Rites.

This giveaway will be announced on Black Friday, November 25th. See what we did there? With the Black Sun's Daughter series?

Killing Rites will be released November 29, 2011 and by the way we've planned it, the winner should hopefully receive his or her copies just around the release date.

I'm really looking forward to this series especially as Daniel Abraham (I don't think he's hiding that) is one of my favorite authors, I just need more time in the day. Anyone have any to spare?

Giveaway Rules

If you are interested in getting your hands on the entire Black Sun's Daughter series (up to this point), then follow the exceedingly simple instructions below.

E-mail me your name and address at onlythebestsff@[removethis]gmail.com, with "Black Friday's Daughter Keeps Trying to Sell Me Stuff" as the subject of the email (or at least something that lets me know what the email is about). This goes without saying, but double emails get you disqualified.

Snarky comments increase your chances of winning and win bonus entries for future giveaways. Open in the US only (sorry yet again) as long as delivery doesn't require the mounting of an expedition into remote wilderness.

06 November, 2011

Duck and Cover: At the Gates (Demon Squad 3) by Tim Marquitz

The next installment in the Demon Squad series, At the Gates, just got a new cover and below find a link to a free short story Tim has written as a precursor. This book will be a doozy, can't wait.

Later this month we will be exclusively hosting a chapter from At the Gates in preparation for the final release on December 1, 2011. I'll keep you posted. :)

The Blurb:

A revolt in Heaven, angels fighting angels. Who better to mediate a peaceful resolution than the Devil’s nephew, Frank “Triggaltheron” Trigg?

Don’t answer that.

When Scarlett arrives at his door, beaten to within an inch of her life, Frank finds himself in the middle of a war as the Nephilim arrive to finish the job. With only Eden still standing, the battle for Heaven spills over and ravages the Earth with deadly storms. Amidst the chaos, Frank must find a way to end the war before the battling hordes of half-breed angels, vampires, and lycanthropes reach Eden and bring about the end of existence.

No pressure.

Tim is warning people not to read the short story, Betrayal: A Demon Squad Story, unless you've read Armageddon Bound and Resurrection as it may spoil some things. Click on the link above to get to the short story download.

04 November, 2011

It's News To Me #27 - Writing Advice and Game of Thrones

There's more that I found this week, but I can't seem to remember where I placed them. I really need to write things down. :)

Writing advice: Lauren Beukes gives links to some really good writing advice (so I hear) including this interesting/hilarious article by Chuck Wendig.

Why Game of Thrones is the best: Goes without saying...

10 Debut Science Fiction and Fantasy Titles that Took the World by Storm: Interesting who the newest addition is (Hint: Not JSaMN).

7 Publishers choose their top 5 of 2012: Fantasy Faction got together with top publishers and the result is a great article.

02 November, 2011

Giveaway Winners: Ashes of a Black Frost by Chris Evans

Not much in terms of snark for this giveaway, I guess it was all worn out with the Alloy of Law giveaway. :)

So, without further ado, let's announce some winners of Chris Evans' Ashes of a Black Frost:

1. Lorrie from Lockport, Illinois

2. Melissa from Adamsburg, Pennsylvania

They have already been notified via email. Congrats to the winners and thanks to everyone who participated.