Reviews by Writer Dan

Review

The Lessons Never Learned

The Lessons Never Learned

Okay, so yes. I admit it. I’ve been putting off writing this review. In case you might have somehow missed my response to the first book in this series, ALONG THE RAZORS EDGE (EBR Review), it absolutely left me gasping for more. That story is easily one of the best dark fantasy stories I’ve read in the last year, and I haven’t only been noodling around in the self-published arena during that time. I’ve read some authors that I consider to be some heavy hitters. So to say that I was super excited to get into this book would be a pretty powerful understatement. I absolutely couldn’t wait. Like fingers twitching and stuff, grasping for more of The War Eternal. It stands to reason that there will be some spoilers here. So, if you haven’t read that first one yet… seriously, go buy it and read it and then you can come back for my thoughts on this one.
Read the rest of this review »

Review

Of Mice and Minestrone

Of Mice and Minestrone

I love reading speculative fiction. So much so, that I hardly ever read anything that isn’t at least somewhat speculative in nature — at least not by choice — but when I do read something that is just “fiction” I always find myself pining for that little bit of made-up tomfoolery. So this read was a bit out of the ordinary for me, because there really wasn’t anything to do with the speculative in it. However, when we got the book, I couldn’t help but jump at the chance to read it because of how much Steve enjoys this guy’s stuff. We have pretty similar reading tastes, Steve and I. And so even though this was straight-up fiction, I was surprised in the least to find that I *really* enjoyed reading it. There’s something to be said for masterful story-telling, and these stories are completely riddled with it.
Read the rest of this review »

Review

The Gutter Prayer

Posted: June 5, 2020 by Writer Dan in Books We Like Meta: Gareth Hanrahan, Dark Fantasy, Fantasy
The Gutter Prayer

This one sat on my shelves for way too long. Being fair, after I first got it, I read the opening chapter and was totally turned off by what I found. Put it back on the shelf and forgot about it for a while. After seeing some buzz about it though, I decided to pick it back up. Still hated that opening chapter (a prologue that really wasn’t a proper prologue), but after that it got pretty decent and didn’t bother me again until the end of chapter 1. 🙂
Read the rest of this review »

Review

Of Honey and Wildfires

Posted: May 19, 2020 by Writer Dan in Books that are Mediocre Meta: Sarah Chorn, Fantasy, LGBTQ+
Of Honey and Wildfires

So this is another of those self-published reads that I picked up during my recent bout of “Ooh. Shiny” that came while reading Rob J. Hayes’s ALONG THE RAZOR’S EDGE (EBR Review). The connection is that the author of this book, Sarah Chorn, edited Rob’s book. In fact, she edited his entire series and then, post editing, proceeded to gush about it on social media, and I just couldn’t say no to it after all the good things she had to say. In addition, I’d come across her previous (first) book, Seraphina’s Lament, multiple times before, but never read it. I’ve since picked that one up as well and stuck it into my TBR pile. This one was hot on the radar though because of the nearness of its publication date, and so I picked up a review copy from her and dove in.
Read the rest of this review »

Review

Blood Song

Posted: May 15, 2020 by Writer Dan in Books We Like Meta: Anthony Ryan, Dark Fantasy, Fantasy
Blood Song

Seems like forever ago that we had someone comment on the site that we should check out this series. (Bonus points to anyone that knows where that suggestion is located…) So it’s been sitting at the back of my head ever since then, just worrying away at my sanity, while I watched my TBR pile ebb and flow. In fact, I’d all but forgotten about it when I came across an available audio book copy at my local library. Public Libraries ftw yet again.
Read the rest of this review »

Review

Shorefall

Posted: April 23, 2020 by Writer Dan in Books We Don't Like Meta: Robert Jackson Bennett, Fantasy
Shorefall

This book is one of the 2020 releases that I have been most excited to get to read. Short of the next Expanse book or the next (two!) Dresden Files books, this was it. After reading FOUNDRYSIDE (EBR Review) this guy’s stuff again rocketed to the top of my list. The only problem with that? You may be familiar with the phrase, “The bigger they are the harder they fall”? Yeah. It fell hard. This reading experience is going to stymie me for a while.
Read the rest of this review »

Review

The Girl and the Stars

Posted: April 8, 2020 by Writer Dan in Books We Like Meta: Mark Lawrence, Fantasy
The Girl and the Stars

Mark Lawrence’s Book of the Ancestor trilogy (EBR Archive) was easily one of my favorite fantasy reads of recent years. The time I spent with Nona in the world of Abeth was some seriously good reading. So when I heard that the author was doing another series on the same world and that he was cruising through the writing (have already heard of significant work being accomplished on book 3 of the series), I was uber excited to get into it.
Read the rest of this review »

Review

Magic for Liars

Posted: April 3, 2020 by Writer Dan in Books We Don't Like Meta: Sarah Gailey, Fantasy, Urban Fantasy
Magic for Liars

I used to just stop reading a book when I figured out I wasn’t going to like it. Ah, those were the days. These days, I find myself not only rationing toilet paper by the square and thinking more than twice about dashing over to Walmart for a single item, but also that I feel like I just have to finish everything I start reading. It’s a scarcity mentality. There just isn’t time anymore to go around reading 20 or 30 percent of a book and then bailing on it just because it doesn’t fit my fancy. How to find a way to know *ahead of time* whether I’m going to like a book or not though? Read other reviews before reading any books? That won’t exactly work out in my favor. Then I’m behind all the time. Any ideas? Any suggestions?

Not like it’ll help me now though. 🙂 Here we go!
Read the rest of this review »

Review

Along the Razor’s Edge

Posted: March 27, 2020 by Writer Dan in Books We Love Meta: Rob J. Hayes, Dark Fantasy, Fantasy
Along the Razor’s Edge

So here I stand with another self-published fantasy novel at the completed end of my reading schedule, ready to write a review for you our reading public. What ho! you might say, “knowing” that we here at EBR would never deign to dip into the slush pile of self-publication by choice and thus thinking, perhaps, either us liars or yourselves the subject of a slip in the space-time continuum. But don’t worry your pretty little heads. There’s a part of me that is, as well, equally surprised to be bringing you my thoughts and feelings about such a book, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Because more than anything else, I like to be pleasantly surprised. Only problem is that this read was anything but a pleasant surprise. Instead…

It was a bloody brilliant evolution of sheer story-telling genius.

And now I get to share that experience with you.
Read the rest of this review »

Review

Black Stone Heart

Posted: March 24, 2020 by Writer Dan in Books We Like Meta: Michael R. Fletcher, Dark Fantasy, Fantasy
Black Stone Heart

I don’t often go out wandering amidst the self-published story crowd, but I was vaguely not-paying-attention on Twitter a while ago and ended up making a request for an eArc without realizing from whom I was making said request. That story is not this one (you have to wait until Friday for that one), but after making that first request and paying attention to what that author was doing, I ended up making a couple of other requests from self-published authors that were in his circle, and this is one of those.

Without being too specific, I can definitely say that I have been pleasantly surprised with both of those I’ve read so far. Count me lucky, but more likely blame the buzz about this year’s instance of Mark Lawrence’s Blog-Off for steering me in the right direction. Because otherwise, I likely wouldn’t have ever come across this author or his book anytime soon. And can I give some kudos to the artist of the cover art? Was totally one of the things that made me take the plunge and read this one. Check it out.
Read the rest of this review »