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Review

The Moonlight War

The Moonlight War

So a ninja, a highwayman, a witch, and a princess walk into a bar….wait, no, that’s not how it starts (my bad). So a ninja, a highwayman, a witch, and a princess decide to join a merchant caravan across terrain known to have killed experienced soldiers. Cuz adventure is out there! Or something like that.

Actually, it’s more complicated than that. The powerful Lord Myobi has decided–for reasons known only to him–to travel to a neighboring city, despite knowing that the most recent caravans have disappeared. When local merchants, desperate to reach said city with their goods, decide to join Myboi in the hopes that his elite entourage would provide the protection they need, he decides to ask the king for a caravan leader and escort. The king provides his niece, the princess Setanna, who takes charge, and must hire on cooks, muscle, and wrangle the groups into a semblance of order.
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Review

Martians Abroad

Posted: January 26, 2017 by Vanessa in Books We Like Meta: Carrie Vaughn, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Martians Abroad

To Polly’s dismay, her mother–the administrator of Mars Colony–has signed up Polly and her brother Charles to the earth school Galileo Academy where the teens will rub shoulders with the progeny of the solar system’s elite. Polly and Charles were born on Mars and have lived there all their lives; but while Charles considers schooling on Earth as useful, Polly knows she’ll miss Mars and doesn’t want to give up her own plans.

Here at EBR we love us some Carrie Vaughn. We’ve reviewed several of her Kitty Norville books as well as a couple of her standalones, DISCORD’S APPLE (EBR Review) and AFTER THE GOLDEN AGE (EBR Review). Now her newest book, MARTIANS ABROAD is another standalone in the vein of Heinlein’s Young Adult books (such as CITIZEN OF THE GALAXY — EBR review) mixed with a little STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND–only our protagonist is a teenage girl.
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Review

The Mermaid’s Secret

Posted: January 19, 2017 by mtbikemom in Books We Like Meta: Katie Schickel, Urban Fantasy, Books for Chicks
The Mermaid’s Secret

Are you in the mood for a breezy, uncomplicated read? Would you like to capture a bit of summer as winter digs its angry claws in for another bite? Did you love the movie Splash? Do you or would you like to speak “surf?”  (It’s an identifying language, just like all other sub-cultures possess.) Good news: I have a sweet, entertaining story for you! Turn off your analytical brain and enjoy.
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Review

The Path of Flames

The Path of Flames

Asho was born into a race of slaves, but by sheer force of will has become the squire of the warrior Lord Kyferin, and in the opening pages of THE PATH OF FLAMES by Phil Tucker, our young hero finds himself on the field of battle. Unfortunately, his side loses, his lord is killed, and he must return home to face Lady Kyferin.

Kethe Kyferin, the daughter of the now-dead lord, wants more than anything to be a knight, even going so far as to make her own chain mail and take secret lessons from one of the castle guards. But she’s only a teenage girl, and there’s no guarantee that even though her mother is desperate for more knights, the question is if a girl will be accepted as one of them.

Tharok, a highland kragh (kinda like an orc), is on the run from the clan that wiped out his clan and killed his father. He heads deep into the mountains to make a last stand. He unexpectedly survives, and stumbles onto the remains of a kragh legend that will give him the means for his revenge.

Their worlds are about to change completely.
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Review

Confluence

Posted: December 20, 2016 by Vanessa in Books We Like Meta: S.K. Dunstall, Space Opera
Confluence

Here we are on book three of S.K. Dunstall’s Linesman series, CONFLUENCE. Our friends seem to be barely hanging on because now the Emperor of Lancia, Michelle’s father, has decided to assert his influence in the New Alliance, which includes marrying her off for political gain. Emperor Yu also wants his cousin, Ean’s trusty bodyguard Dominique Radko, to marry to one of Yu’s trusted (and nefarious) advisors–to Ean’s dismay. But Michelle and gang are crafty and begin their own maneuverings in order to maintain as much control of events as they can.

Unfortunately, the humans aren’t taking the sentient alien ships into account. The ships want a crew now, whether the New Alliance factions are ready to supply crews and linesmen or not. And that may mean the ships start choosing crew without input from the humans.

It feels like everything is on the verge of blowing up.
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Review

Red Right Hand

Posted: December 15, 2016 by Writer Dan in Books We Like Meta: Levi Black, Urban Fantasy
Red Right Hand

For the last few weeks I’ve been binge listening to the new Metallica album after finishing my last audio book. In amongst the new brilliance from this, one of my favorite bands, is a song called Dream No More that’s all about Cthulhu awakening from the deeps in which he resides. So, when I got this next book in the mail and checked out the Acknowledgements page that included a shout out to Lovecraft and the necessity of his Mythos to this book, it felt like I was already on board, strapped into my seat, and yanking on the whistle chain. Just couldn’t wait to grab it and go, go, go.
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Review

Belle Chasse

Posted: December 8, 2016 by Vanessa in Books We Like Meta: Suzanne Johnson, Urban Fantasy
Belle Chasse

I’m not sure if DJ can handle much more of this. I’m not sure I can handle much more of this. Seriously this woman needs to get her life back in order. Too bad it’s her sense of loyalty to her friends that her boss can’t seem to appreciate. Fortunately, she’s chosen well in her friends, because they may be all she has between her and those trying to kill her.

DJ has found herself on the run after the events of PIRATE’S ALLEY, her own wizard First Elder has determined her a criminal for simply wanting to protect her best friend, Eugeine. Fortunately her friend, the undead pirate Jean Lafitte, is harboring the fugitive and Eugeine at his home in Old Barataria. The result is a lot of sneaking around if DJ wants to figure out how to solve her current problem.
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Review

Too Like the Lightning

Posted: December 6, 2016 by Shawn in Books We Like Meta: Ada Palmer, Science Fiction
Too Like the Lightning

You know, I’ve read quite a bit of Science Fiction in my time. I’ve read near-future thrillers, and I’ve read far-future alien stories. I’ve read first contact stories, and stuff that feels more like it’s at home in Fantasy than Sci-fi. I’ve read big, fat hard science fiction stories and I’ve read quick, lite page turner actioners. I’ve gone back and read almost all of the Hugo award-winning novels and I’ve read all of the Hugo nominees of the past 10 years, as well. So when I say I’ve read a lot of Science Fiction, I really mean it.  And yet in all of that, I’ve never read a novel quite like TOO LIKE THE LIGHTNING by Ada Palmer.
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Review

Seriously Shifted

Posted: November 29, 2016 by Vanessa in Books We Like Meta: Tina Connolly, Fantasy, Young Adult
Seriously Shifted

Not long ago Cam rescued potential-boyfriend Devon from being possessed by a demon, saved the town from a phoenix resurrected by her witch mother Sarmine, and was still able to pass Algebra. Such is the life of a teenage witch.

It seems that trouble continues to find her, because now her mom’s old college buddies have descended on the hapless town and decided to make a bet that involves making Cam’s friends miserable–her job is to thwart them.
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Review

The Doll Collection

Posted: November 17, 2016 by Writer Dan in Books We Like Meta: Ellen Datlow (Ed), Horror, Short Fiction
The Doll Collection

Dolls can be creepy. We’ve been telling horror stories about dolls for ages. Usually, it’s only through the darkened glass of adulthood though that these constructions of plastic, wood, cloth, and porcelain become anything more than the facimilies of infantile life they represent. That’s why evil dolls and the innocent youngsters that tote them around so often find themselves brought together. Occasionally though, a story, or a doll, comes along that lacks these boundaries. Just ask my toddler-aged niece about the sunken-eyed “Scary Doll” that haunts the hallways of my own house. These are the kinds of stories that I expected going into this collection, based solely on the very creepy front cover of the book. And there were definitely some of those that I found within.
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Review

Cloudbound

Posted: November 4, 2016 by Vanessa in Books We Like Meta: Fran Wilde, Fantasy
Cloudbound

In UPDRAFT, Kirit changed the status quo in her city above the clouds, now in the second book, CLOUDBOUND, it’s up to Nat to help deal with the resultant fallout. For all that’s changed since Kirit became a Singer, there’s still so much more change to come.

If you read UPDRAFT, you have reason to be excited about this next installment where we get so many questions answered. But don’t think you’ll understand what’s going on in CLOUDBOUND if you haven’t–in fact you’ll be completely lost from page one. So go read the first book and then come back for the next installment. You won’t be disappointed.
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Review

Song of the Deep

Posted: October 25, 2016 by Vanessa in Books We Like Meta: Brian Hastings, Fantasy, Middle Grade
Song of the Deep

Young Merryn and her father live by the sea, where her father fishes for his living. Merryn’s mother is dead, so it’s just the two of them living in the shack by the sea–at a time when being a fisherman grows more and more difficult, there are fewer fish being caught every time he goes out to sea.

Until one day when her father doesn’t return.
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Review

Alliance

Posted: October 20, 2016 by Vanessa in Books We Like Meta: S.K. Dunstall, Space Opera
Alliance

Ean Lambert changed the way people understood the lines that ran spaceships in LINESMAN. Now he and his friends must live with the resultant fallout: the alliances between planets have been shaken up; the Confluence has revealed its true contents; and instead of only ten lines that run spaceships, there are actually twelve.

Who knew some nobody from the slums of Lancia would end up being the instigator of amazing changes in space travel?
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Review

The Motion of Puppets

Posted: October 15, 2016 by Vanessa in Books We Like Meta: Keith Donohue, Fantasy
The Motion of Puppets

Theo and Kay are newlyweds livings in Quebec while she spends the summer working as a performer at the cirque and he’s on sabbatical to finish a translation for a book. They’re a sweet couple, each with their own pursuits and personalities, but their relationship works.

And by the end of chapter 2 Kay has been turned into a puppet.
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Review

The Stolen Child

The Stolen Child

When Henry Day was seven years old he was stolen by hobgoblins, one of their own changlings taking his place in the real world, while he joined the band of children living in the forest. They are both interlopers in their respective worlds, the real Henry Day now known as Aniday, and the changling Henry Day being raised by parents not his own, his parents long dead

Changling Henry Day was abducted 100 years previously, and spent the intervening years learning the ways of the hobgoblins, surviving the forest with eleven other children of various ages, waiting his turn until he could take the place of another child and return to the real world. As Henry Day grows up he is constantly reminded of his origins, while everyone around him is oblivious to his inner turmoil, his resentment that the hobgoblins have stolen his past. While another lives the life he should have, Aniday must learn the ways of the forest and how to survive among a band of wild children who are older than they look.
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Review

The Family Plot

Posted: September 30, 2016 by Vanessa in Books We Like Meta: Cherie Priest, Horror
The Family Plot

Cherie Priest has written YA steampunk (BONESHAKER — EBR review), zombie fiction (MAPLECROFT — EBR review), historical horror (WINGS OF THE KINGDOM — Amazon), and Urban Fantasy (HELLBENT — Amazon). Now she takes on… the salvage business? I admit, I’m a fan of the TV show Salvage Dawgs, and it turns out Priest is, too, because of course people who tear down old houses for a living must run into ghosts now and again. This time, however, the salvage crew of Music City Salvage run into a poltergeist with a vendetta.

Dahlia is heading up this salvage operation for an old Victorian that’s slated to be demolished. When she arrives she sees a house that’s been neglected, but should be fixed back to its former glory. Unfortunately its owner can’t get rid of the house fast enough. Dahlia and her crew have a week to get their money’s worth out of the house, or else the family business may go under. The pressure is on Dahlia to get her cousin Bobby to cooperate despite his well-known laziness, Bobby’s son Gabe and new employee Brad up to speed in a kind of work they’re not used to.

It doesn’t help that not long after they arrive at the estate, they start seeing ghosts.
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Review

The Obelisk Gate

Posted: September 6, 2016 by Vanessa in Books We Like Meta: N.K. Jemisin, Epic Fantasy
The Obelisk Gate

We first met Essun in THE FIFTH SEASON, as she discovers that her husband has murdered their son and kidnapped their daughter. Of course Essun must follow, because her daughter Nassun is a magic-wielding orogene like her mother–and that was the reason her husband killed their son in the first place.

If you haven’t read the first book, there are all sorts of revelations I’ll be talking about here, so you may want to spare yourself spoilers. THE FIFTH SEASON (EBR review) is worth reading, and I don’t think THE OBELISK GATE will make much sense unless you do. You’ve been warned.
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Review

Vendetta

Posted: August 16, 2016 by Vanessa in Books We Like Meta: Gail Z. Martin, Urban Fantasy, Books for Chicks
Vendetta

Cassidy has magic: the emotion and events in which items are involved give them a history she can see. Her friend and co-worker Teag uses his magic to weave power into fabric or other items. They are employed by the vampire Sorren and are part of a larger magical community of good guys called the Alliance. Cassidy and Teag’s job is to find magical items they encounter during their work as antiques dealers in the heart of Charleston and take care of the dangerous items. Of course the nature of their work means they sometimes go up against some nasty things.

Sorren has been around for about 600 years and as a result of his work has made his share of enemies. And after a strange series of events where Charleston ghosts are acting strange and random people are disappearing, Cassidy and Teag begin to think that an old nemesis of Sorren’s may be the culprit.
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Review

Destiny Blues

Destiny Blues

Life was going just fine for Mattie when on her meter-maid route she discovers that a demon is following her. This is bad news, since the FBI considers demon masters potential terrorists. She’s desperate to find someone to get rid of the stinky little guy when…another one seems to attach itself to her. That’s impossible, isn’t it?

Mattie feels like she messes up everything: she gets put on probation from her job, hurts herself and totals the moped she uses on her rounds, misses her demon-banishing appointments, and now has to babysit her niece for a few days while her brother Lance is out of town. Friend Karen takes her out for lunch and helps Mattie get some much-needed perspective–and a potential date from the hunky waiter. But then Mattie discovers that Lance is up to his old gambling problems again, more demons start following her around, and she learns that the FBI wants to talk to her.

DESTINY BLUES by Sharon Joss is one of the books from Mark Lawrence’s Blog-Off given to EBR. LARCOUT (EBR Review), which I finished before this book, is a better novel overall, so alas DESTINY won’t make it to the next round here at EBR, but I wanted to point out that despite its failings, this book was fun to read and it’s easy to see this author’s potential.
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Review

Larcout

Larcout

Vadrigyn is a demi-god. Kind of. I’m not really clear on that, but I am clear on one thing: she can kick your butt.

Being raised by a brutal (inhuman Morsam) father and an insane (human witch from the Jeweled Nation) mother in a harsh environment has made her stronger than the usual human. It helps that fire courses through her veins instead of blood, she’s physically stronger, and venomous parasites inhabit her body and instantly kill anyone who touches her.

But what differentiates Vadrigyn from the other Morsam is that she tries to perform the will of the gods and avoids killing indiscriminately–in an attempt to secure her freedom from the Morsam lifestyle. As a result the gods have decided to test her in the Jeweled Nation where she will undergo her Trial of Identity, and in the process learn about her magic and challenge her innate need for death and destruction.
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Review

Time Salvager

Posted: July 12, 2016 by Shawn in Books We Like Meta: Wesley Chu, Science Fiction
Time Salvager

I’m sure you couldn’t tell from the title of the book, but TIME SALVAGER by Wesley Chu, is a time travel book. Crazy right? I’ve read some time travel books in my time. Connie Willis has gotten about a million Hugos for her takes on time travel — TO SAY NOTHING OF THE DOG, DOOMSDAY BOOK, BLACKOUT (EBR review), ALLCLEAR (EBR review]).  Michael Critchton took us back into the dark ages in TIMELINE. There are books that go back to dinosaurs (BONES OF THE EARTH by Michael Swanwick) and just about anywhere you can think of. In most of those books the story revolves around going back to some time period and either a) getting stuck back in time and needing to get back, or b) accomplishing some goal in the past to fix the present.

Chu does none of those things.
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Review

Rising Tide

Posted: July 4, 2016 by Vanessa in Books We Like Meta: Rajan Khanna, Urban Fantasy
Rising Tide

Ben Gold is in serious trouble. After the events in FALLING SKY, he now finds himself imprisoned on a ship captained by a man named Malik who would like to see Ben dead. Fortunately, Ben has the brilliant Miranda, who negotiates for Ben’s life by offering her medical skills in a post-apocalyptic world where such a resource is in short supply. The question is: standoffs don’t last forever, so how will they escape?

Ben has spent his life as a scavenger in a world where only the clever and strong survive, which means Ben has talents of his own. So he negotiates for his life in exchange for scrounging up ship parts Malik needs to keep his boat afloat. But Malik has Miranda, which doesn’t give Ben much leverage.
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Review

Revisionary

Revisionary

Isaac Vainio, once-librarian and now major player on the world stage, helped reveal magic to the world along with certain Porters and allies. The Porters are an organization of magic-users founded by none other than Johannes Gutenburg himself. Libriomancy, discovered by Gutenburg, is magic using books and “libriomancers” are able to pull things out of books, things that real authors have imagined and in which a certain amount of belief exists from readers, which fuels the magic. These items–weapons and magic cloaks and healing elixirs–and even characters, have a profound effect on the real world, with mixed results and sometimes dire consequences. Jim C. Hines has taken this idea and developed it in a most satisfying way. He often references favorite sci-fi and fantasy classics, even some obscure geek favorites, and also simply makes books up when he needs them. These are some of the best, especially when they parody bad speculative fiction.
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Review

Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen

Posted: June 3, 2016 by Vanessa in Books We Like Meta: Lois McMaster Bujold, Science Fiction
Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen

Cordelia is a widow, but has a good forty-year life expectancy remaining. If you had that long to live after a beloved companion dies, how would you live it?

GENTLEMAN JOLE AND THE RED QUEEN takes place three years following the events of CRYOBURN (EBR review) and the stunning endnote that would leave longtime fans of the series shocked and saddened. But Lois McMaster Bujold still has plans for our beloved Cordelia; these plans may surprise you, but if you really know Cordelia then perhaps they won’t.
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Review

Karen Memory

Posted: May 31, 2016 by Vanessa in Books We Like Meta: Elizabeth Bear, Steampunk
Karen Memory

If you haven’t read anything by Elizabeth Bear you are seriously missing out. This woman can write anything. Anything I tell you. Norse mythology? (Amazon) Check. Vikings and telepathic wolves? (EBR Review) Yep. Magic in the Steppe? (EBR Review) You bet. And now she’s written a book that takes place in a steampunk version of a port city in the Washington Territory post-Civil War with a Jack the Ripper serial killer on the loose.

It’s as awesome as it sounds.
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Review

The Shards of Heaven

The Shards of Heaven

Cleopatra and Antony rule Egypt via Alexandria. Octavian rules Rome. THE SHARDS OF HEAVEN follows the real people and events that lead to the Roman conquest of Alexandria and the end of the Ptolemic line.  But according to Michael Livingston, there’s more to the story.

And it involves magic.

Enter Juba, the orphaned prince of Numidia and adopted son of Julius Ceasar. Desperate to find vengeance for the death of his father, he seeks magical objects so he can have enough power to bring down Rome. At the start of SHARDS he finds what he believes to be the trident of Poseidon and discovers it’s as powerful as he hoped. But Juba is a mere teenager to Octavian’s experienced ambition and soon discovers he’s in over his head.
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Review

Central Station

Posted: May 10, 2016 by Vanessa in Books We Like Meta: Lavie Tidhar, Science Fiction
Central Station

Tel Aviv, Israel, is the hub for the space elevator called Central Station. It’s an unusual place, a conglomeration of travelers, refugees, discarded robots, and modified humans. Miriam runs a small shebeen near the space port with the boy Kranki, whom she took custody of when his mother died of a drug overdose. She has no idea where his father is. Kranki is an unusual boy, capable of manipulating the world around him and listening in on the Conversation, the stream of data all around them, between people, between machines/robots, and the artificial intelligences that exist in the data stream. He’s always been a little odd.
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Review

Fall of Light

Posted: May 6, 2016 by Steven in Books We Like Meta: Steven Erikson, Epic Fantasy
Fall of Light

I’ll be honest, Steven Erikson’s novels have become increasingly difficult to review. Not because they are bad–on the contrary, Erikson’s works are consistently excellent in my opinion–but because I feel like I end up making many of the same comments. Well, here we go again.

Another Erikson novel, another fantastic read.
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Review

Less Than Charming

Posted: May 2, 2016 by Vanessa in Books We Like Meta: Rebecca A. Demarest, Fantasy
Less Than Charming

What if there were a world where fictional characters lived? What would that world look like? Would the science of our world work there? Would magic?

Sophie is the 12th princess from the fairytale “12 Dancing Princesses,” and as a result of her story being told for hundreds of years, her sense of character is pretty strong. Do you remember her? The curious one who was suspicious of someone sneaking behind her and her sisters? Imagine how many times her story has been told and re-told in its various forms and how it affects her personality and sense of self. Where would a girl like that work?

A newspaper, of course, because a girl that curious is bound to want to be an investigative journalist.

LESS THAN CHARMING is Rebecca A. Demarest’s most recent novel, and takes place in a world there every character ever created lives. Yes, Edward Cullen, Gandalf, and Pinkie Pie all exist in the same world. And interact. Oh imagine the possibilities.
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Review

The Devil You Know

Posted: April 26, 2016 by Writer Dan in Books We Like Meta: K.J. Parker, Fantasy
The Devil You Know

This is yet another novella in the numerous offerings that have been dropped recently from the infamous K.J. Parker. I’m a sucker for these kinds of stories from him. (See that? I’m getting better at this whole K.J.-Parker-is-a-guy-thing.) His short fiction is some of my favorite. It’s his writing, I think, that just lends itself to the short form so well. Sharp. Witty. Sarcastic. Always something to entertain and make me laugh.
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Review

Truthwitch

Posted: April 22, 2016 by Vanessa in Books We Like Meta: Susan Dennard, Fantasy, Young Adult
Truthwitch

Safi and Iseult live in a world of witches. They are “Threadsisters,” tied by bonds of friendship and magic–and mischief. But after spending their youth under the guidance and training by other witches, they are ready to strike out on their own.

Unfortunately, everyone else seems to have plans for them, and none of those plans include the girls being able to make their own choices.
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Review

The Boy Who Wept Blood

Posted: April 15, 2016 by Alan in Books We Like Meta: Den Patrick, Fantasy
The Boy Who Wept Blood

The THE BOY WHO WEPT BLOOD is the second book in Den Patrick’s Erebus trilogy. I had a lot of praise for the first one, even going so far as to tell Steve the boss, “It’s a better Locke Lamora.” Sounds like a tall order, huh?

Here’s the honest truth: the second book is not as good as THE BOY WITH THE PORCELAIN BLADE (EBR review). Much like Scott Lynch, Patrick fails to deliver a truly satisfactory second book.  But not all is lost.
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Review

Wings of Sorrow and Bone

Posted: April 13, 2016 by Vanessa in Books We Like Meta: Beth Cato, Steampunk, Young Adult, Short Fiction
Wings of Sorrow and Bone

Rivka loves machines, but she’s a girl in a man’s world. She’s moved to the city to be with her grandmother, whose social circle involves the rich and famous. During a social event, Rivka makes a new friend, Tatiana, and as mischievous girls are wont to do, they find themselves somewhere they don’t belong–in this case it’s a basement room. It’s not any basement room, however. Owner of said basement, Mr. Cody, is financing the creation of a chimera from mechanical parts and pieces of recently living gremlins.
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Review

Linesman

Posted: April 11, 2016 by Vanessa in Books We Like Meta: S.K. Dunstall, Space Opera
Linesman

Humans have been traveling the stars for hundreds of years, and use alien technology in order to do it. The alien ship they originally found all those years ago was empty of aliens, but the ship was able to travel faster than light, so humans reverse-engineered the technology. They call the energy the ships use to travel through space “lines,” but there’s a catch: very few humans can actually repair ship lines.

LINESMAN, by the Australian sister-duo S.K. Dunstall, is the first of a new series about main character Ean Lambert, who is trained as a linesman, but whose strange methods make him a second-class citizen among the linesmen. Traditionally trained linesmen use their minds and will to do the repair work, but Ean can hear the lines and sings to them–much to the derision of his peers.
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Review

The Nameless City

Posted: April 6, 2016 by Vanessa in Books We Like Meta: Faith Erin Hicks, Middle Grade, Graphic Novels
The Nameless City

THE NAMELESS CITY by Faith Erin Hicks is about a city that has changed hands so many times from invading armies that it has several names–so really has no name. The city is a mix of natives, conquerors, and everything in between; currently it’s held by the Dao. Kaidu has traveled to the city from his rural home so he can train to be a solider in the Dao army, and to be closer to his father who is an advisor to the general.

Upon his arrival Kaidu discovers some important things early on: he doesn’t really like fighting, his father doesn’t have much time for him, and the city’s natives don’t much like their conquerors. On his visit outside the palace to the city he meets a girl who calls herself Rat. Kaidu doesn’t understand her hostility, so is intent on getting her to talk to him. Then she steals the knife his father gave him.
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Review

Tower of Thorns

Posted: March 29, 2016 by Vanessa in Books We Like Meta: Juliet Marillier, Fantasy
Tower of Thorns

You got to know Blackthorn and Grim in the first novel, DREAMER’S POOL (EBR review), and now their story continues in TOWER OF THORNS, starting not much later than where it left off in the first book. From the cover:

“Disillusioned healer Blackthorn and her companion, Grim, have settled in Dalriada to wait out the seven years of Blackthorn’s bond to her fey mentor, hoping to avoid any dire challenges. But trouble has a way of seeking out Blackthorn and Grim. Lady Geiléis, a noblewoman from the northern border, has asked for the prince of Dalriada’s help in expelling a howling creature from an old tower on her land—one surrounded by an impenetrable hedge of thorns. Casting a blight over the entire district, and impossible to drive out by ordinary means, it threatens both the safety and the sanity of all who live nearby. With no ready solutions to offer, the prince consults Blackthorn and Grim.”
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Review

Dreamer’s Pool

Posted: March 22, 2016 by Vanessa in Books We Like Meta: Juliet Marillier, Fantasy
Dreamer’s Pool

From the cover: “In exchange for help escaping her long and wrongful imprisonment, embittered magical healer Blackthorn has vowed to set aside her bid for vengeance against the man who destroyed all that she once held dear. Followed by a former prison mate, a silent hulk of a man named Grim, she travels north to Dalriada. There she’ll live on the fringe of a mysterious forest, duty bound for seven years to assist anyone who asks for her help.

“Oran, crown prince of Dalriada, has waited anxiously for the arrival of his future bride, Lady Flidais. He knows her only from a portrait and sweetly poetic correspondence that have convince him Flidais is his destined true love. But Oran discovers letters can lie. For although his intended exactly resembles her portrait, her brutality upon arrival proves she is nothing like the sensitive woman of the letters.”
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Review

Dead Heat

Posted: March 2, 2016 by Vanessa in Books We Like Meta: Patricia Briggs, Urban Fantasy
Dead Heat

Anna and Charles have been married a few years now, and here we are in book 4 of Patricia Briggs’ Alpha and Omega series and it finally feels like these two are hitting their stride. They’ve had several bumps in the road over the years as Anna has learned about herself and her rare abilities as an omega werewolf. To Charles’ surprise, he’s found happiness and a contentment with someone who sees him for what he really is. And it’s because they’ve come so far that they’re able to face their greatest challenge yet: deciding whether to have a child together.

Oh, and facing a powerful fae Grey Lord.
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Review

Doctor Sleep

Posted: February 25, 2016 by Writer Dan in Books We Like Meta: Stephen King, Horror
Doctor Sleep

Stephen King is one of those authors I continue to pick up despite the fact that I’m frequently frustrated by the way his books end. There’s just too much good he does right to completely sign off and avoid reading his stuff. This is most especially true when it comes to the way his books begin. This book was one that I was really intrigued with and considerably interested in reading because it’s a sequel to THE SHINING (Amazon), which is probably one of the most preeminent ghost stories ever written. A really creepy book. Was hoping for much the same from its sequel.
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Review

Black Wolves

Posted: February 22, 2016 by Vanessa in Books We Like Meta: Kate Elliott, Epic Fantasy
Black Wolves

BLACK WOLVES starts with Kellas, one of the king’s Black Wolves, an elite military unit designed to hunt down the remaining demons and enforce the king’s law. Dannarah is the king’s daughter who yearns for a life other than the one where she will be married off to a foreign prince. We are introduced early on to a world rich with details, politics, religion, and a varied landscape. All within the first 90 pages.

And then all of the sudden Kate Elliot propels us 40+ years into the future.  Yes, I howled in frustration. I was just getting to know these characters and now they’re…. old? Turns out, that’s exactly when the real story begins.
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Review

Riders

Posted: February 16, 2016 by Vanessa in Books We Like Meta: Veronica Rossi, Urban Fantasy, Young Adult
Riders

Gideon is the Incarnation of War. Yes, one of the horsemen of the apocalypse. One day he was in Army Ranger training, doing a routine parachute jump… only, the impossible happens. Neither his chute nor his back up deploy like they’re supposed to and Gideon hits the ground, dies, and is miraculously resuscitated. But that’s not the only inexplicable event to happen. Despite severe injuries, he’s back on his feet a week later, a new cuff on his arm seems to be part of his body, and then demons show up at his sister’s college party.

Daryn, a strange girl who convinces him that the demons are after him, gets him to safety and explains what’s going on. Some renegade demons want a key to a realm where they can escape Hell and set up their own purgatory. One such key was nefariously stolen and now the four horsemen–or at least four teenage boys who can currently wield their powers–are summoned to protect the key until it can be returned to its rightful angelic owner.

Phew. Did you catch all that? In RIDERS we are taken on a wild ride–and not just because Gideon is afraid of his crazy war horse.
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Review

Blood Kin

Posted: February 12, 2016 by Writer Dan in Books We Like Meta: Steve Rasnic Tem, Horror
Blood Kin

I don’t mention cover art all that much in my reviews. It’s likely a failing of mine, but for some reason or another it only very seldomly comes up when I’m putting together my thoughts on a book. This time around though, I really have to mention it because it not only introduced the setting of the novel just perfectly (worth a thousand words and more), but also gave me a solid image to build upon while reading the beginning of the book, which was quite good all on its own, but brilliantly set when paired with the cover.
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Review

The Unfortunate Decisions of Dahlia Moss

Posted: February 9, 2016 by Vanessa in Books We Like Meta: Max Wirestone, Mystery
The Unfortunate Decisions of Dahlia Moss

Our heroine’s life is currently a sad state of affairs. She’s been unemployed for a year, living off the generosity of a roommate who doesn’t demand rent. Her boyfriend cheated on her with his dental hygenist. And now Dahlia’s bank account is so depleted she’s even considering accepting a job as a private detective–and is hired to discover who stole the Bejeweld Spear of Infinite Piercing from an MMORPG character’s account.

It sounds like an easy $2000. A fool and his money are easily parted and all that. Alas, it doesn’t turn out so simply, especially when said fool Jonah turns up dead.
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Review

Mystic

Posted: February 1, 2016 by mtbikemom in Books We Like Meta: Jason Denzel, Fantasy
Mystic

You’ve read this story before, maybe dozens of times. Setting: Teenaged girl in backwoods village is overlooked and taken for granted. Secretly gifted in magic (which in this world involves manipulating the Myst), she ventures off to save her feudal world from the big baddies and triumph against all odds. Pursued and thwarted by cruel adversaries, aided by a faithful friend, she is thrown into one dangerous and unlikely scenario after another until reaching her destination only to find…  At this point the story begins to follow more original ideas. The girl, Pomella AnDone from the island of Moth, is chosen to compete against noble-born challengers for the privilege of apprenticing under her island’s High Mystic, much to her surprise and to the absolute amazement of the villagers and nobles who have known her since birth. Pomella is anything but noble, and not even remarkable in her village. The High Mystic is a powerful and wise woman, the premier magic-worker for that region, and its defender. Only one candidate will prevail and Pomella’s decision to compete carries with it the added consequence of banishment from her community, becoming a literal untouchable if she does not win. Pomella struggles against impossible odds and you can probably guess the rest. Or can you?
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Review

The Fifth Season

Posted: January 12, 2016 by Vanessa in Books We Like Meta: N.K. Jemisin, Epic Fantasy
The Fifth Season

The Stillness is a world of magic, where the power of the earth is used to create but also destroy and kill. Those who can wield earth magic are called orogenes, and when we first start THE FIFTH SEASON by N.K. Jemisin we are introduced to one orogene in particular: Essun, a woman hiding in plain sight.

You see, orogenes are held in suspicion by the normal people of The Stillness, and for obvious reasons: they can use the earth as a weapon. For this reason all orogenes are sent to Yumenes, the capital city, where they attend the Fulcrum and learn to harness their powers, but most of all how to control it. Because any orogene who can’t control themselves or their power cannot be suffered to live.

Back to Essun, who lives a quiet life in a remote village, with her husband, two small children, and a past full of pain. A past that catches up with her just as the world begins to end.
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Review

Last First Snow

Posted: January 5, 2016 by Vanessa in Books We Like Meta: Max Gladstone, Fantasy
Last First Snow

It’s no secret that we love Max Gladstone around here. His debut novel, THREE PARTS DEAD (EBR review), was refreshingly creative with his unique approach to magic and the laws that bind it. Since then he’s produced consistently excellent stuff, books worth your time for their interesting characters, fascinating settings, and exciting stories. I really enjoyed TWO SERPENTS RISE (EBR review) with the intriguing main character Caleb and the creative ways he solved his problems.

LAST FIRST SNOW (Amazon) is the prequel to TWO SERPENTS RISE, about events several decades earlier when the city was in an uproar and the skeletal King in Red had to put down a rebellion that included Caleb’s father Temoc.
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Review

Airships of Camelot

Posted: November 13, 2015 by Vanessa in Books We Like Meta: Robison Wells, Steampunk, Young Adult
Airships of Camelot

The title AIRSHIPS OF CAMELOT (Amazon) pretty much gives away what this book is: a King Arthur and steampunk mashup. Usually I’d hesitate reading something like this, but since it was written by Robison Wells of VARIANT (EBR Review) fame, I was actually excited.

Turns out it’s a really fun read.
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Review

Half-Resurrection Blues

Posted: October 27, 2015 by mtbikemom in Books We Like Meta: Daniel José Older, Urban Fantasy
Half-Resurrection Blues

Me to Vanessa: “I can’t wait to find a real gem, a diamond in the rough, some unknown phenom.” Ding, ding, ding! I’ve think I’ve found one in HALF-RESURRECTION BLUES (Amazon), Daniel José Older’s first in a new series of dark urban crime fantasy, Bone Street Rumba. This ghost story diamond has plenty of polish, its facets expertly cut within the dirt and grit of its setting.
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