Reviews by Writer Dan

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!
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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.
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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.
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Review

Dark Orbit

Posted: March 20, 2020 by Writer Dan in Books We Like Meta: Carolyn Ives Gilman, Science Fiction
Dark Orbit

Despite my constant frustrations with the Science Fiction genre, I keep finding myself pulled back into its orbit. I can’t help but love all of the things that make great Science Fiction great. I tried to start this one a number of times, and just wasn’t ever able to get into it. But, instead of passing on it altogether, I’d stick it back in the TBR pile for another chance. I even tried to listen to the audiobook but bailed on that pretty quickly because I felt like I seemed to be missing a lot of the story. And then, as I did once long ago with Memories of Ice (EBR Archive), I decided to just push through and do it. Feels good to be on this side of the divide. Only took me five years to get here…
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Review

Alice

Posted: March 13, 2020 by Writer Dan in Books We Like Meta: Christina Henry, Dark Fantasy, Fantasy
Alice

After reading Christina Henry’s THE GIRL IN RED (EBR Review), I couldn’t wait to find out what other tales she’d been telling that I didn’t yet know about. That first one was a brilliant take on the simple tale of Red Riding Hood, and I was hoping to find more of the same in this one, which is obviously pointed at the classic tale Alice in Wonderland. There have been enough versions of both these tales told that it might seem as if we really don’t need another. One of the great things about storytelling though is that even if the ideas and plots are pillars of stability in our minds, a new tale can still be just as invigorating and fun to read as if everything were brand new. And these stories? They’re pretty new. There’s enough of both the familiar and the new that they end up being really great reads. But here I am getting ahead of myself a bit.
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Review

Ivory Apples

Posted: February 28, 2020 by Writer Dan in Books that are Mediocre Meta: Lisa Goldstein, Fantasy, Young Adult
Ivory Apples

At this point in my “reading career” it is often somewhat easy to look at a book cover, read the first couple pages, and then determine whether a particular book is going to be “my type”. This time I didn’t even have to read any pages. Just the cover alone gave me a pretty good idea that this book wasn’t exactly going to land in my wheelhouse. And that’s exactly why I decided to read it. This is me trying to branch out. Although, truth be told, I’m branching out within the context of the books that get sent to us by publishers/editors/etc. Still, you never know what you’re going to find when it comes to reading a new author. May just end up reading a book that was nothing short of fantabulous.

Spoiler alert: this one wasn’t.
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Review

Kalanon’s Rising

Posted: February 19, 2020 by Writer Dan in Books that are Mediocre Meta: Darian Smith, Fantasy
Kalanon’s Rising

So it’s been a minute since we were involved with the Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off run by Mark Lawrence, and I constantly find myself torn over the fact that we aren’t involved anymore. This annual contest is doing sooooo much good in finding some really good authors that have taken the self-publication route. Whether they plan on sticking to their guns for the long term or are hoping to gain the attention of a traditional publication house, you can’t deny the fact that the efforts Mark Lawrence (and all of the online review houses involved) is making for these authors is nothing but pure gold. Recently, we were approached by the author of a finalist in the current incarnation of the contest for a review, and I couldn’t help but accept.
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Review

Permutation City

Posted: February 7, 2020 by Writer Dan in Books that are Mediocre Meta: Greg Egan, Hard SF, Science Fiction
Permutation City

I’m reaching way back into the vault for this one: 1994. Yeah. I was still in high school and nowhere near mature enough of a reader to pick up half of what science fiction was offering at the time. Sometimes I wonder if I’m a mature enough reader these days to understand some of the stuff that science fiction is bringing to the table. A lot of it just makes me go cross-eyed with annoyance and leaves me wondering why story and character are so often pushed to the back burner in favor of presenting ideas that the author thinks are important. Why do they need to present these ideas in the form of fiction? Why not just fill out encyclopedias with these awesome ideas and essays, if the presented construct doesn’t really matter? Still, there are some really cool ideas that get flung around here and there, and I guess authors aren’t exactly going to stop presenting their ideas in these ways. So, we might as well read them, if we can handle them, and try to get what we can out of them. Yes? Yes.
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Review

The New Voices of Science Fiction

The New Voices of Science Fiction

I’ve been looking for something from Hannu Rajaniemi for some time now. At least, it feels like it’s been a long time since I read something from him. Year-and-a-half maybe? So, even though none of the stories in this anthology was by him, I was still pretty excited to read it when it got dropped into my TBR pile. It is, unfortunately, the last bit of short fiction that I’ll be getting to for a while. Nothing else on the near horizon anyhow.
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Review

Blood Heir

Blood Heir

I was fairly surprised when I saw this book displayed on a wall at my local library. Some of you may be familiar with or remember some of the mess that rose up around this book back in 2018. This is the author’s debut novel, and when it went out for early reviews, there was a bundle of people that started complaining quite loudly about how the book was racist and condoned slavery, and there was a big ruckus about it. By the time I’d even heard about it though, the book had been pulled from publication, by request of the author, and it was no longer available for review. Color me excited though when I saw that the book had quite obviously been published after all, and I was going to get a look at what all the hubbub was about.

Turns out, there wasn’t much to get excited over.
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