30 December, 2014

Review - Prince of Fools (Red Queen's War #1) by Mark Lawrence


Three times.

That's how many times I attempted this book before it stuck. Three. (Could I be more annoying?)

Each time I picked up the book, I couldn't stand the main character, Prince Jalan. Hated him in fact. Yes, it was written superbly, it's Mark Lawrence for crying out loud. Yes, he was witty and hilarious and I already wanted to write down 10 quotes in just as many pages.

Such as this brilliant social commentary:
“We all practice self-deception to a degree; no man can handle complete honesty without being cut at each turn. There's not enough room in a man's head for sanity alongside each grief, each worry, each terror that he owns.”

But I HATED the main character. I couldn't make it past the first chapter or two.

But then I realized, this is not Lawrence's first run around with a dislikeable character. Jorg, the eponymous Prince of Thorns, was terrible. I hated him too! But at least I agreed with his mentality ... somewhat. He had the kind of attitude that I love. He wouldn't stand down to anyone though 11 years old. He wanted the world kneeling before him and would take nothing less. And he was a brilliant character, quite possibly one of the best put to the page, especially in terms of his growth.

What's different about Prince Jalan is that he's pretty much the opposite. He's an admitted coward, who prefers running from problems rather than sorting them out. I couldn't get behind him until I remembered Lawrence's magic with Jorg. 

I knew I had to push past my initial dislike for the character ... and you guessed it ... but wait, there's more! 

I mean, I'm glad I did.

Seriously, get on the bandwagon already. Mark Lawrence continues to solidify himself as one of the great new voices in fantasy. What's brilliant about this coward/womanizer is that it sets him up for all kinds of great one-liners that are riddled throughout the book. I love quotes, a bit too much sometimes, and Prince of Fools is chock-full of them.

Couple him with an honorable Viking who loves to smash things and need I say more? 

And honestly, I think the reason I disliked Jalan so much is that it probably hits a little close to home. I have to admit to a certain amount of coward in me. I try to psych myself up to stand up to wrongs and injustices, but too often I run away just as Jalan does. 

And many times, Jalan stumbles into a situation where he appears honorable and allows others to believe it. I don't know if that's all bad and it could be true even though he doesn't even believe it himself. However, I know I'm guilty of the same, not all the time but sometimes, and I don't like it.

Lawrence has written another winner and I'm excited for the rest of the trilogy. The only real complaint I have is that I guess I was expecting Jalan and Snorri to not get along more because of their differing takes on honor (one having it and one not) and it wasn't like that at all. But I realize that was a failing of my own, not the author.

The Broken Empire was one of my favorite trilogies of late and Mark Lawrence has hit another one out of the park. If there were any doubt he's on my "must-buy" list, there's definitely no question now. 

4 out of 5 Stars (highly recommended)

P.s. I've got the title of Mark Lawrence's next series ... The Prince of Princes. You can view the contact info above for all the royalty checks. Thanks.

22 December, 2014

Review - Retribution Falls (Tales of the Ketty Jay #1) by Chris Wooding

What happens if you combine The Lies of Locke Lamora with air ships, then add some Pirates of the Caribbean? This. This is what happens. Chris Wooding nailed it in Retribution Falls.

I'll get this out of the way. I've been told it's a lot like Firefly. You may have to take away my geek card here ... but I've never seen Firefly. The movie, Serenity, was excellent, but I'm still looking forward to checking out the show. This means I can't confirm or deny the comparison. 

I apologize for any non-Firefly comparisons. I've been reprimanded before.

Darian Frey and a rag-tag crew of misunderstood and much-maligned individuals seeking a place where questions are few engage in smuggling operations, but decide to take on piracy even though it hasn't worked well for Frey in the past. The price, however, will make him set for life, especially if he fails to share the proceeds with the rest of the crew. 

Thus sets off the events that follow in a rip-roaring, page-turning, blast of a read. I hate to use such cliche's (as if I'm innocent of their use in plenty of other reviews), but in this case there is no better way to describe this book.

I've read Wooding before, his middle-grade books Malice and Havoc, and I learned his ability to plot is up there with Matthew Woodring Stover for me. Add the ability to make the pages blur by and Wooding (not to be confused with Woodring) is another author to add to the buy-new-releases-immediately list.

I had tons of fun from the first page, which btw throws you right into some action, and I can't recommend this enough. Airships and piracy and a main protagonist as clever as Locke Lamora. You can't lose.

4.5 out of 5 Stars (very highly recommended)

18 December, 2014

(audiobook) Review - The Legend of Drizzt: The Collected Stories by R.A. Salvatore

And yet another review has made it up, this is some kind of record for me. Here's the review (a short one) for The Legend of Drizzt: The Collected Stories by R.A. Salvatore and read by the following:
Dan Harmon, Danny Pudi, Melissa Rauch, Wil Wheaton, Felicia Day, Sean Astin, Michael Chiklis, Greg Grunberg, Tom Felton, Ice-T, David Duchovny, and Weird Al Yankovic
Yeah, that's right, celebrities reading words like Zaknafein and Menzoberranzan. I don't care if these are the worst stories in the world, it's worth your time. Also, they're not. The worst that is.

17 December, 2014

eBook Deals - McIntosh, Clarke, Rothfuss, Sanderson

Great deals going on right now. Enjoy!

[$1.99] Soft Apocalypse by Will McIntosh
[$1.99] Reach for Tomorrow (Short Stories) by Arthur C. Clarke

[$2.25] The Name of the Wind (Kingkiller Chronicles #1) by Patrick Rothfuss
[$2.50] The Wise Man's Fear (Kingkiller Chronicles #2) by Patrick Rothfuss

[$5.75] Mistborn Trilogy by Brandon Sanderson

(audiobook) Review - Ilium (Ilium #1) by Dan Simmons

Wow, more my reviews are making their way up on sffaudio.com. Check out my review of the brilliant Illium (book 1 of 2 in the Ilium duology) by Dan Simmons here:
If someone were to describe this book to me (if they even could), I don’t know if I would believe how much I absolutely enjoyed it. Dan Simmons is a mad genius.

12 December, 2014

(audiobook) Review - Impulse (Jumper #3) by Steven Gould

As you know, all my audiobook reviews go to sffaudio.com. I've submitted a couple just this week, but it always depends on what the blog owners' schedule as to when they get posted. Luckily, and despite the holidays, here's my review of Impulse, book 3 in the Jumper series by Steven Gould.

Progression of the Jumper series:

Book 1, Jumper: Let’s take a simple concept and weave a cool story that’s brilliant in its simplicity.

Book 2, Reflex: Let’s take that simple concept and add to it by restraining it, but while also pushing boundaries. Also, let’s add a cool mystery and some spies.

Book 3, Impulse: Let’s take all the great things we’ve built up so far … and add teenage angst! A forced romance! A holier-than-thou attitude for all the characters!

11 December, 2014

Guest Post & Giveaway! - "Opposites Attract - Characters Who Don't Hate Each Other but Probably Should" by Kenny Soward, Author of the GnomeSaga

Not too long ago, I read and reviewed Rough Magick by Kenny Soward. This was the first book I'd ever heard of that focused on Gnomes and it was a great read. Here's my review in fact. Well it's been retooled by the amazing people behind Ragnarok Publications, and it's ready for an eBook giveaway. Not only that, Soward's got a sequel out this month and a great guest post below. Let me know if I can fit any more into a single post!

Opposites Attract – Characters Who Don’t Hate Each Other but Probably Should

By Kenny Soward

I was minding my own business one day, when Joe Martin, Creative Director at Ragnarok Publishing, sent me a private message giving me props for a particularly powerful scene in Tinkermage, the second book in my GnomeSaga series. 

The scene in question involves my main character, Nikselpik, and his cleric acquaintance, Fara. Fara could easily be characterized as neutral good on the D&D spectrum of alignments. And Nikselpik ... well, he’s a dark little fellow. In the scene, Fara intends to guide Nikselpik in the art of healing, and she brings along a wounded snow bird to test his skills. 

I wonder if there’s a joke in there somewhere – a necromancer, a cleric, and a wounded snow bird enter a bar ...

Nikselpik is of course reluctant to learn anything new, but he thinks Fara is pretty hot, so he’s going to play along and see what happens. Fara, on the other hand, is quite aware of Nikselpik’s shortcomings as a god-fearing gnome, but wants to expose him to something a little more positive than the necromantic arts.

Well, you can probably imagine how it ends ... a lot of disappointment and hurt feelings. The disappearance of any light at the end of the tunnel for them. All in all, the makings of some good friction.

At the heart of this scene was a very simple idea – two people who feel deeply bonded to one another want to share things with one another, sometimes to the detriment of their relationship. 

When I discover something funny or cute on FaceBook, I want to share it over to my girlfriend’s page because I want her to laugh like I did. I want to share other things with her, too. All the cool movies she never saw, like Big Trouble in Little China and Mad Max and The Thing, or some new band I recently discovered. Because that’s what makes up me, and I want her to like me. Music is a big part of her life. She’s a huge GWAR fan, so she wants to include me in all the fun and adventures of being a GWAR fan for those very same reasons; I’m pretty sure she wants me to like her too, although you’d have to ask her to be sure.

We’re not complete opposites, but neither are we completely the same, and it’s those degrees of separation that bring spice to our relationship. I get to go to gore spattering GWAR concerts and she gets to have a lot of fun snuggling up in front of the TV with me and viewing all those old culturally iconic movies so important and influential to the SFF and Horror communities. 

But what happens when those degrees of difference are just too far apart, too irrevocably distant? Sharing can turn into a disaster, shock at the other person’s belief system, disappointment, and pain. It can even tear people apart when something so core to one person’s being is considered vile or even blasphemous to another’s. These feelings can be strongest when questions of faith and spirituality are explored. And when the two people are physically attracted to one another – or even attracted by those very differences – it can lead to confusion and resentment. 

And that’s why it seemed completely logical that Fara, a good cleric of Evana, would want to share portions of her faith with someone she sees as exotic and dangerous ... someone she can fix. And the same goes for Nikselpik. He thinks Fara will one day understand his deadspeak even though her faith is so deeply rooted in life and light. They come together with the best of intentions, only to discover their feelings for one another may not be strong enough to bridge the divide between them, to span the distance between their core beliefs.

Will they see past their differences to reach a level of sharing that does not evoke those disaffecting emotions? Or will they suffer apart, never to be reclaim their friendship?

Either way, I knew I had the makings of a great little scene, and I ran with it. Or rather, they did. If you want to know how it all ends, you can check out my GnomeSaga series published by Ragnarok Publications. Also, stop by my Author FaceBook page to get updates on what I’m writing next. 


Giveaway Rules for an eBook copy of Rough Magick:

1) Send an email to onlythebestsff[removethis]@gmail.com with the subject: "Get some Gnomes in your Homes"  
2) Include your name and physical address where you want the book sent.
3) This giveaway is international!
4) Snark increases your chance of winning on the next giveaway you enter (extra entries depending on the snark!) 
About the Author:

Kenny Soward grew up in Crescent Park, Kentucky, a small suburb just south of Cincinnati, Ohio, listening to hard rock and playing outdoors. In those quiet 1970's streets, he jumped bikes, played Nerf football, and acquired many a childhood scar.

Kenny's love for books flourished early, a habit passed down to him by his uncles. He burned through his grade school library, and in high school spent many days in detention for reading fantasy fiction during class. 

The transition to author was a natural one for Kenny. His sixth grade teacher encouraged him to start a journal, and he later began jotting down pieces of stories, mostly the outcomes of D&D gaming sessions. At the University of Kentucky, Kenny took creative writing classes under Gurny Norman, former Kentucky Poet Laureate and author of Divine Rights Trip (1971). 

Kenny's latest releases are ROUGH MAGIC (GnomeSaga #1) and THOSE POOR, POOR BASTARDS (Dead West #1) with Tim Marquitz and J.M. Martin. 

By day, Kenny works as a Unix professional, and at night he writes and sips bourbon. Kenny lives in Independence, Kentucky, with three cats and a gal who thinks she's a cat.

TINKERMAGE by Kenny Soward

THE ENEMY EXPOSED. Nikselpik Nur has become the city of Hightower’s staunchest—albeit unwilling—ally. He’s hardly learned to cope with his debilitating bugging addiction, much less take on the duties of being the city’s First Wizard. Can he embrace this new path? And will he? 

Meanwhile, Stena Wavebreaker is pulled from her seafaring duties by the Precisor General and given command of a raggedy airship to scout the ultraworldly enemy from the perilous skies above the Southern Reaches. Her mission: gain the support of the unpredictable ‘swamp elves,’ the Giyipcias. 

Lastly, Niksabella Nur has set off from Hightower at the behest of the grim stonekin leader, Jontuk. The gnomestress must unlock the full potential of her invention, the recursive mirror, and her own powers, to bear what might be the heaviest burden of all. What will she discover along the way? And will Jontuk be able to keep her alive long enough to save them all? 

This is GnomeSaga Book Two.

20 November, 2014

Quick Review - The Deaths of Tao (Lives of Tao #2) by Wesley Chu

Wesley Chu came out of nowhere last year and rocked my socks off. I really enjoyed these books about an alien race that inhabits humans while fighting a secret war against each other in James Bond fashion. 

The Deaths of Tao was only a slight let down after The Lives of Tao, though not by much, and really only because of my own biases. I tend to enjoy the first of a series more than the rest. There's something about experiencing all the newness, all the clever ideas and magics, for the first time that really sells me. Couple that with a training montage type book and it's hard to beat.

Sometimes I think cliches are only for me. Everyone else on the internet hates them. :)

When you think too hard, it's barely science fiction, which is amazing that I still enjoyed it as much as I did. It's not like the aliens do all that much to enhance the host other than impart millennia of knowledge.

Anyway, Deaths of Tao was on the same level as Lives - tons of action, great dialogue, and non-stop pace. I'm looking forward to more in this series (The Rebirths of Tao and a just -announced new trilogy) and the other thing Chu's got cooking.

4 out of 5 Stars (highly recommended)

19 November, 2014

Review - Half a King by Joe Abercrombie

I do not believe it is possible for Joe Abercrombie to write a bad novel. Short or long, I'm glued to the page from the very first one. Half a King is much shorter than all his other novels, but that hardly diminishes the effect. 

I usually read multiple books at a time (cause I'm insane I know) and I found myself putting down others in favor of this one. REALLY good others too. 

Here, Abercrombie takes the point of view of only one character, Yarvi, and explores his world, his story. Yarvi is a prince and a cripple. His left hand has been cleft since birth and in a savage, medieval world that's more than enough to ridicule someone, even a noble such as he.

With plans on escaping the political life and joining the celibate Ministry, Yarvi's plans take a 180 degree turn when his father and elder brother die and the kingdom is thrust upon him.

Betrayal and hard times follow and Yarvi's life is anything but desirable. This is the story of Yarvi's growth into himself, despite his weakness.

And like I said, I was glued to the page from the beginning. There's barely a chance to come up for air as the events compound. Yarvi is a fascinating character, full of Abercrombie's wit and charm. 

In a world where we take so much for granted, especially sacrifice and hard work, it's nice to see a character like Yarvi who suffers real learning and growth, especially due to his one great weakness, his crippled hand. 

I couldn't put Half a King down. It's typical Abercrombie through and through - he'll charm you while he's pulling your guts out. 

4.5 out of 5 Stars (very highly recommended)

18 November, 2014

Review - Veil of the Deserters (Bloodsounders Arc #2) by Jeff Salyards

Veil of the Deserters is one of those sequels I've been dying to get my hands on. Salyards created this captivating world through the eyes of his protagonist, Arkamandos (Arki), and then made us wait two years to see more! Not only that, Scourge of the Betrayer, book one of Bloodsounder's Arc, was relatively short. It gave us a number of answers, but it left so much untold. I just knew the sequel would take this series to the next level ... or kill it. 

Veil of the Deserters killed it ... wait, I mean took it to the next level by killing it in the best way possible. 

In Scourge (book 1), we only just find out the smallest bit about the Syldoons and their mission. In Veil, things are opened up wide and suddenly the story is completely different. The Syldoon are pulled out to return to the capital, but their mission is nowhere near completion. Facing the undesirable question of losing all their progress or angering the Emperor Cynead is only the beginning of their problems.

Veil is yet again told through the eyes of Arki, who also happens to be curious to a fault. This gives us answers as readers, but also leaves us in his shoes to flounder through mystery after mystery.

One of the best parts of this sequel was that we not only get to see more of the world as the Syldoon head back home, but we get a look into the magics. The Memoridons are a force all their own and independently powerful, with a form of mind magic. It's hard to tell where their loyalties lie and they bring a lot into the story.

In the end, I'm dying to read more of this series. I've even written a letter to Jeff full of nothing but truth.

To Herr Jeff Salyards,

Jeff, you're work called me and said you're fired. No, don't ask why they called me, they just did. Oh, and so did all employers everywhere, which means there's nothing else for you to look for. There's just no chance, I already heard from them. What's with all the questions? Trust me.

So ... I guess you have to make ends meet solely through writing. Please write more, right now. I can't get enough.

4.5 out of 5 Stars (very highly recommended)

13 November, 2014

eBook Deals - Barnes, Sykes, Ness, Westerfeld, Wurts, Sakey, King, Williams, Preston Jr.

I have a couple reviews I need to post and a couple (20 falls into a "couple" right?) reviews to write, but in lieu of that, here are some eBook Deals. A number of these are taken from the SF Signal list of ebooks, which you can find here. I like to go through and take out what's interesting to me.

[FREE] Code Breakers: Alpha by Colin F. Barnes

[$1.99] The City Stained Red by Sam Sykes
[$1.99] The Knife of Never Letting Go (Chaos Walking #1) by Patrick Ness - It's a long story, but I read the conclusion to this trilogy and it was really good.
[$1.99] More Than This by Patrick Ness
[$1.99] Leviathan (Leviathan #1) by Scott Westerfeld
[$1.99] Curse of the Mistwraith (Wars of Light and Shadow #1) by Janny Wurts

[$2.00] Brilliance (Brilliance Saga #1) by Marcus Sakey
[$2.00] A Better World (Brilliance Saga #2) by Marcus Sakey

[$2.99] Everything's Eventual by Stephen King - short story collection
[$2.99] Pet Sematary by Stephen King
[$2.99] Bag of Bones by Stephen King
[$2.99] Star Wars: The New Jedi Order: Ylesia by Walter Jon Williams

[$3.00] Romulus Buckle & the City of the Founders (The Chronicles of the Pneumatic Zeppelin #1) by Richard Ellis Preston Jr.
[$3.00] Romulus Buckle & the Engines of War (The Chronicles of the Pneumatic Zeppelin #2) by Richard Ellis Preston Jr.

23 October, 2014

Catching Up On Reviews - Kinda - Among Others, Bitter Seeds, The Crown Tower

There's no arguing I've been slacking lately. Suddenly my schedule blossomed and I've got hearing after hearing in court the last couple weeks and the next couple as well. I do family law and I have a really hard time turning anyone away and everyone's got a story.

Anyway, here are some catch up reviews. It's ... been a while since I read them. I've been on a good roll the last couple days and I plan on keeping it up for a bit. This will not be the last of these.

Among Others by Jo Walton

This book got rave reviews when it came out, even won the Nebula Award, which I can see. However, I didn't absolutely love it as seems to be the norm.

What I loved:

I did love a few things. I loved that I really wanted to go back and read all the classics of science fiction and fantasy. Walton writes with such a love of the genre that you can't help but become enamored yourself. 

I loved that if you are a fantasy nerd like me and the main protagonist Mori (and it may be safe to assume, Jo Walton), then you can completely relate to living two lives. One in a fantasy land you never want to leave and one in the "real" world where you don't quite completely fit in ... whatever that means.

What I thought was more three stars out five:

This was really a love note to SFF with a story at the far background, if any. It's obviously there, but only mildly mentioned and then all of a sudden some stuff happens in the end. 

I think I expected more of a blend of the two; references to classic SFF stories and a story itself as opposed to more of the former and less of the latter. 

It's still a decent story, but not really a classic. I see why it won the Nebula, it's essentially a love letter to the Nebula Award and, therefore, a dead-ringer from the get-go, but it didn't quite work for me.

I'll leave with a couple great quotes for your nerdy heart:
"Interlibrary loans are a wonder of the world and a glory of civilization."
"Glory Road is deeply disappointing ... I love Heinlein but he clearly doesn't get fantasy. It's just stupid." (I felt the exact same way reading Glory Road. Starship Troopers is amazing, but I don't know if I'll attempt his fantasy again)
3 out of 5 Stars (Recommended with reservations)

Bitter Seeds (Milkweed Triptych #1) by Ian Tregillis

I don't always get behind alternate histories. There's something in me that screams for the truth. These are definitely not the truth, look in a history book.

Yeah, that's from the guy who reads 99 fantasy books out of 100.

Oh and one of my favorites is Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell (though that's much more magical and fairyland-ish). But once you change the past, that just throws me off too much. I don't know why. Still haven't read a thing by Harry Turtledove.

But throw superheros into an alternate World War Two and for some reason that just clicked with me.

I had a great time with this book. I guess it doesn't hurt that I lived in Germany for a while, speak German and all that. It did kill me during a part where the English-speaker gets by speaking flawless German (which is just close to impossible without speaking it as a child), but otherwise, I enjoyed this from start to finish.

I got this as a review copy on audio, but publishers have this problem with not sending the sequels ever. I know, wo is me, I have to buy a book, but that explains why I haven't made it any further. Got sidetracked with other books while waiting for the sequel.

Kevin Pariseau did an excellent job on the narration, did a fine German accent, which is what really counted in this one. :)

4 out of 5 Stars (highly recommended)

The Crown Tower (Riyria Chronicles #1) by Michael J. Sullivan

I love Michael J. Sullivan and this book's no exception. Before The Crown Tower was released, I'd read that Michael was wary going into a prequel series, because let's face it, they rarely go well, but that he would only do it if there was something good there to write about. I.e., he didn't want to beat a dead horse.

I'm so glad he went for it. The Crown Tower ranks up there with the best of the original series (that I've read, still two more if you can believe it!). Michael writes fun fantasy that's hard to put down. What more could you ask for? There's always room for more of his work. What need I say more? Definitely no more of these questions?

4 out of 5 Stars (highly recommended)

08 October, 2014

Review - The Fortress in Orion (Dead Enders #1) by Mike Resnick

Review #1:

"Hey guys, who wants to go to an impenetrable fortress on an impossible mission where everyone will certainly die?" says Coolguy.

"Me!" says Muscles.

"Me too!" says Thief.

"Of course! I don't need reasons for going on missions where I will certainly die!" says Powers.

"Even though you cloned me and I have no actual reasons for believing your society is better than my alien one, I too can't wait to go die!" says Clone.

Spaceship time.

"Wow, it's really dangerous out here, but somehow things are going really easy," says Coolguy, "we made it all the way here with not even a minor hiccup, but remember about the danger!"

Impenetrable fortress time.

"I can't believe how easy this is going, how is it so easy? we got into this impossibly impenetrable fortress without even one problem and we already got our badguy, but watch out for all the danger!"

Leaving impenetrable fortress.

"You guessed it, it's dangerous out here guys! How did we make it back to safety with what can barely be described as a slight stir? We're one crazy team of course!"

Review #2:

How this story should have been written: 
A group of people with different, yet exceptional talents are given a mission, which they perform flawlessly and without incident. 
In other words, the events of this book could be summed up in the beginning of the first page of another book, possibly making up an entire prologue, though that's stretching it still. I'm honestly not joking when I say this.

Review #3:

What started out grabbing my attention, literally from the first page, quickly had me completely baffled. This group of characters seemed cool and fun and then nothing happened. At first, I thought it was the author trying to quickly get from A to B because all the good stuff was going to happen at B. But then it didn't ... literally nothing happened.

Why would anyone need or want to read a whole novel about the lives of these people and this event that literally went off without a single hitch? That's not something for the history books ... for any books. It's obviously an important moment ... to capture in a blip, an epigraph, something besides a whole book.

Luckily it's less than 300 pages, but like I said at the beginning of this review #3, I kept thinking that finally something would actually happen. Something! Please, Mike Resnick fans, please tell me this isn't representative. I don't know if I can read any more of his work that's won Hugos and stuff. How, if this is the product? Let me know.

2 out of 5 Stars (I finished it so I guess that's something)

06 October, 2014

Halloween Giveaway - The Legend of Sleep Hollow and Other Stories by Washington Irving with Introduction and Notes by Elizabeth L. Bradley

I thought this would be a nice way to get into the holiday spirit, run a giveaway for a creepy book! Who doesn't love the tale of Ichabod Crane and the Headless Horsemen found in The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. Enough someone's made a popular television show about it I guess.

This new addition to this classic, which was just released last month, not only includes other stories from Washington Irving, but has notes from Elizabeth Bradley, who wrote Knickerbocker: The Myth Behind New York and who's literary consultant to the caretakers of Irving's Tarrytown, New York home. She may know a thing or two about the author and the legend.

If you'd like a chance at this newly fancified version of the classic The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Other Stories, here's what it takes:

1. Please include your name and physical address (you know, where the books goes)
2. Also make sure that physical address is in the US or Canada (because I obviously hate the rest of the world ... no, you know I don't mean that, sorry!! **ducks fruit**)
3. Email the above to onlythebestsff@[remove this]gmail.com
4. Snark increases your chance of winning, and I mean really good snark. Let me have it. It's not hard, I suck at lots of things.

30 September, 2014

Review - American Elsewhere by Robert Jackson Bennett

I gotta get this out of my system right off the bat. I don't like the cover to this book. It doesn't stand out, it's only mildly representative of the story, which is rich and vibrant (i.e., bland and boring), and it's just plain blah. Hate it.

Whew, that felt good. Now back to our regularly-scheduled review.

Other than the cover, this novel, American Elsewhere, was brilliant. This was not unexpected after reading only one other book by Robert Jackson Bennett. That book, The Troupe, happened to be my favorite book of 2012 as well and he does not disappoint in this instance.

I hesitate to make comparisons, but there are elements of H.P. Lovecraft and Neil Gaiman. But the problem is, no one compares to Bennett's imagination. That's what I learned in The Troupe and what's reinforced in American Elsewhere.

The prologue grabs you right away, I recommend reading it asap. I'm sure it's free somewhere, just keep your wallet ready. Then the mysteries keep building up until about 200 pages into this 660 page book, when suddenly the reveals begin and the whole entire two third plus of the book is one crazy ride. It's compelling from page one and though large, this book doesn't let up.

I've strayed from actually describing events. I guess I'll leave that to the description on Goodreads (linked above) because if I told you, I'd have to kill you ... erm ... actually, I really have no clue how to describe this book without giving way too many spoilers.

Suffice it to say, go read it, it's creepy, weird, gross, creepy, and super creepy. And awesome. Oh, and it's stand-alone.

4.5 out of 5 Stars (very highly recommended)

20 September, 2014

eBook Deals - Way of Kings FREE, plus more...

You've probably seen this already, but I thought I'd post it here too. Apple is promoting its iBooks app and has a number of books for free for download including books by Brandon Sanderson and Brandon Mull, plus a DC Comic. Check them out below.

I added a couple more deals I saw too.

iTunes link:
[FREE] The Way of Kings (Stormlight Archive #1) by Brandon Sanderson
[FREE] Wild Born (Spirit Animals #1) by Brandon Mull
[FREE] Justice League: Origin by Geoff Johns and Jim Lee

[FREE] Bitterwood (Bitterwood #1) by James Maxey
[$0.99] Dragonforge (Bitterwood #2) by James Maxey
[$2.99] Dragonseed (Bitterwood #3) by James Maxey
[$2.99] Dawn of Dragons (Bitterwood #4) by James Maxey

[$2.99] 11/22/66 by Stephen King
[$2.99] Annihilation (Southern Reach #1) by Jeff VanderMeer

[$3.99] Ready Player One by Ernest Cline - I will include this as long as it's a decent deal. Love this book.

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[$1.99] Bluebeard by Kurt Vonnegut

11 September, 2014

Promotion - Sacred Wind by Andy Coffey

I get quite a number of submissions for promotion on the blog. If you've emailed me, I can tell you I've taken at least a mild look, but I'm the absolute worst at responding to pretty much anyone. I'm seriously amazed anyone talks to me at all. I just have no time. Anyone want to field emails to OTBSFF? The pay is .... bad, well, non-existent actually.

But every now and then something gets me. I didn't make any promises for review because, as you probably noticed, I've been a terrible reviewer of late. Too much time and so little to do ... yeah. I warn you, I actually have no clue how good this book is, I can't read everything that comes in to the blog, sadly, but it does look hilarious.

Which brings us to the following: Sacred Wind by Andy Coffey. He had me at Black Adder, Terry Pratchett ... and Spinal Tap. Here's his introduction:

Sacred Wind – by Andy Coffey

‘Sometimes there are tales that must be told, songs that must be sung, and farts that must be farted. And sometimes the spirit of these great adventures, heroic deeds, songs of glory, and flatulent blessings is powerful enough to touch the hearts, ears and nostrils of the gods. And so it is with Sacred Wind.’

King Beef Vindaloo-Boiled Rice III

Welcome to the world of Sacred Wind, a tale set in an alternative reality, featuring conscious curries, headbanging sheep, telepathic cats, magic cheese, an evil Baron, some very sexy faeries, and a Welsh Viking Flatulence Rock band…

Sacred Wind is a hilarious and wacky new book, by Andy Coffey. If you can imagine Black Adder, Shrek, Douglas Adams, Monty Python, Terry Pratchett, David Eddings and Spinal Tap meeting for a few pints of fine ale and a good game of charades… well, I think you get the picture.  Here’s a very short synopsis…

‘It’s safe to say that the last thing Aiden Peersey expected when he began his trip to Llangollen was to meet a bunch of Welsh Vikings who played in a rock band called Sacred Wind. It’s also safe to say that the technology geek and part-time sound engineer didn’t expect to be catapulted into a quest to win a music tournament, to save the faerie queen, to win freedom for their land, to be able to fart freely, and to win the right to their cheese. Nevertheless, that’s exactly what happened…’

So, if you want to delve into a book where curries will make you laugh, where sheep will make you cry, where no-one sniggers when your first name is 'Oldfart', where you'll cheer quite a lot at the bits that have obviously been written to incite cheering, where you'll think about faeries in ways you really shouldn't, where you'll be even more scared of Traffic Wardens than you ever thought possible, where possessed vacuum cleaners can get pretty nasty, where Welsh Vikings can have platonic relationships with English sheep, and where you’ll finish reading the story with a smile on your face and warmth in your heart, then Sacred Wind is the book for you…

Alongside the Sacred Wind book there’s also a complete album of rock music! This is the debut album by the band in the book, Sacred Wind. This critically acclaimed album, described as ‘a true metal Monty Python sketch’, has not only been getting great reviews in UK and international rock magazines but has received a ton of radio plays on stations in the UK, Europe and the US, including the prestigious UK national station, Planet Rock.

Sacred Wind, the book, is available in paperback from Amazon, and also as a trilogy of eBooks (and as The Complete Trilogy) in all good download stores including Amazon and iBooks. Sacred Wind, the album, is also available to download via Amazon, iTunes, Spotify etc.