Reviews by Writer Dan

Review

Signal

Posted: September 7, 2018 by Writer Dan in Books We Hate Meta: Tony Peak, Science Fiction
Signal

A couple weeks ago, a public relations specialist from Audible contacted us about possible interest in reviewing a new book slated for immediate release. Publishers contact us quite frequently to review their books, but this was the first one that I could remember coming directly from Audible. The book was Science Fiction, so naturally I picked it up. What with me loving Science Fiction and all. 🙂 My first surprise of many came when I found out that this book wasn’t going to get any kind of print version. Meaning no physical book and likely not even an ebook. This understanding gave me the immediate feeling of a very tiny dagger stabbing me in the heart. How could someone do that to a story? Especially if it’s a good one. I mean, doesn’t everyone love the feel and the smell of the paper? The heft of the bound pages? Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a good audio book (Simon Vance is a voice-talent god). I listen to them quite often actually, so I felt fairly qualified to give Signal a go. Thus, I dove in.

And that’s when I got my second surprise.
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Review

The Moons of Barsk

Posted: September 5, 2018 by Writer Dan in Books that are Mediocre Meta: Lawrence M. Schoen, Science Fiction
The Moons of Barsk

BARSK: THE ELEPHANTS’ GRAVEYARD (EBR Review) was such a pleasant surprise that I can’t help but smile every time I think about the experience of reading that book. And feel bad, of course, because it took so long to finally make its way to the top of my reading queue. It was fun and engaging and intelligent without feeling like it was pandering in any way. So, when I saw that there was going to be a sequel… I determined that I was going to do right by it. To mention nothing of the fact that I was actually quite excited to hear that we’d be getting more from the world of Barsk. In fact, I can still feel that excitement in the slightest bit, even on this side of my reading experience.

Which is somewhat interesting, because it’s been a long time since I’ve been quite so disappointed with a sequel.
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Review

Sparrow Hill Road

Posted: August 30, 2018 by Writer Dan in Books We Like Meta: Seanan McGuire, Urban Fantasy, Ghost Stories
Sparrow Hill Road

Most of you should remember my post from a few weeks ago. One, two, three, four… okay, well, seven IS more than a few, I’ll grant you that. Anyhow, my post was about Seanan McGuire’s book being uploaded to one of those free download websites before it had even been released. If not, you can go read it. (EBR Post). Hearing about what happened really bothered me. Like, a lot. At the end of my short rant, I said I’d pre-ordered the book and would be following up with a review of it. Well, the book that got hijacked was the second book in the series. So, I bought the first as well, and this is the review for that one. The next is still in the works though and will be coming soon.
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Review

Summerland

Summerland

Mr. Rajaniemi has been on my watch list for a while now. Although I missed reading his Jean le Flambeur series (EBR Archive), I did read a collection of his short stories (EBR Review) back in 2015 and LOVED it. Then I didn’t hear from him for a long time. Not even a phone call, you know? 😉 But as soon as I saw this book in our pile, I was all over it. Didn’t want to pass up a read like I expected this one to be.
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Review

Brief Cases

Brief Cases

I was a late comer to this series, and I have to thank my boss Steve for pushing me to read past the second book in this series much like he pushed me to read past the second Malazan Book of the Fallen novel. So it was, that I found little moments, mostly nights and weekends (whenever I found a spare “extra” reading opportunity) to creep through the main sequence of books as quickly as I could. Jim Butcher has done an amazing job of this series. Guy knows his stuff. Thus it was, about six months ago, that I finally finished reading Skin Game and went looking for the next entry of one of my favorite addictions: Harry Dresden stories. At last update, Jim is still working on “Peace Talks” (Book 16), but until we get that one (can’t wait can’t wait can’t wait can’t wait) there is some new short fiction to be had, and it is absolutely brilliant.
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Review

Tales of Ruma

Tales of Ruma

RPGs are for nerds.

You know it. I know it. They know it. Erm… well, I guess technically I should say “we” know it, because there ain’t no way I’m gonna skirt the issue on this one: we’re pretty much ALL nerds here at EBR. 🙂 And you know what? I think if more “non-nerdy” people would put their petty pride aside for one freaking minute and let themselves get lost in the imagination, adventure, and sheer brilliance of some of the good RPGs out there, the ranks of the RPGers would quickly swell. Because RPGs aren’t just a story; though indeed they are that. And they’re not just a game; though indeed they are that as well. They’re imagination and spontaneity and characterization in a form that you just can’t find anywhere else.

So don’t let anyone sway you from standing up for the oft-berated RPGs and RPGers alike. For it’s from those very annals that Steven Erikson gave us the Malazan Book of the Fallen. And Misters Abraham and Franck gave us the wide tapestry of The Expanse. And for all of you “non-nerdy” people: is there any way you’re going to nay-say the awesome goodness of Stranger Things?

<<crickets>>

I didn’t think so.
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Review

Purple and Black

Posted: August 4, 2018 by Writer Dan in Books We Love Meta: K.J. Parker, Fantasy
Purple and Black

So I’m in the middle of updating all of our old reviews and disentangling the hard-coded links to the old blog. Not particularly a lot of fun. But it has been cool to be reminded of all those old reviews, and see how far the site has come since the early days. While doing so, I realized something that really bothered me: we didn’t have a review up for this book.

And I just couldn’t let that pass.
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Review

Mockingbird

Posted: July 26, 2018 by Writer Dan in Books We Love Meta: Chuck Wendig, Horror
Mockingbird

I’ve been waffling for a long time over whether to read these books or not. I don’t know why. You see, there’s this moment when you’re reading a review–even when it’s a review from the very site that you write for–that you just know you’re going to read the book. That happened to me when our illustrious reviewer, Nickolas, reviewed BLACKBIRDS by Chuck Wendig (EBR Review). Because, you see, I go in pretty hard for a good character. Especially a good tortured character, and once you’ve read Nick’s review and the actual book, you can almost see the torture spread across that skein of words. They rend you and twist you, and after you leave those pages behind, they haunt you with the understanding that not only is Ms. Miriam Black a real person under all of that grime and grit, but she also might as well be you, or me, or anyone else for all the good it does her. Because Miriam’s life is like none you’ve ever seen, and anyone, given her life, might have understandably made the same choices as she.
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Review

Black Goat Blues

Posted: July 10, 2018 by Writer Dan in Books We Like Meta: Levi Black, Urban Fantasy
Black Goat Blues

There was a part of me that was really kinda pumped to get this book in the mail for my TBR pile. Granted, it was the dark, twisted, macabre and grotesque side of me, but a side of me, nonetheless. Levi Black’s first book, RED RIGHT HAND (EBR Review) caught me at a very opportune moment, and as I dove into the next offering from this author that so brazenly takes his mythos from that containing Cthulhu, I found myself digging through my music downloads to find that song by Metallica that had hit just the right spot the first time around. It was a good way to start my week.

And finishing this book was a great way to end it.
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Review

Writers of the Future, Volume 34

Writers of the Future, Volume 34

I find it somewhat unsettling how quickly I tend to look past the art associated with this annual anthology. Well, if I’m being truthful, I tend to naturally look past most of what is offered in these anthologies other than the stories from the winners. Because it’s those stories that most have the chance of speaking to my soul, as an aspiring author myself. And yet, this time around, I’ve made it a goal to give special attention to those “extras”. After all, it’s the winners of the “Illustrators of the Future” that will be penning the future covers that will catch my attention enough to get me to pick up books and give the first handful of written pages a chance at catching my mind afire. As well, it is the extra writings–the essays and sometimes stories from the judges of the contest–that represent what they admire and enjoy in fiction. There is indeed much more to this anthology than just a simple collection of stories by a bunch of newbie, but not always unskilled, writers of fantastical fiction.
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