Twin sisters Melina and Iris aren’t your typical teenagers. For one, they are half-Japanese (a father they never knew) living in a village in modern-day Montenegro. They’re exceptionally beautiful and talented, Melina with music and Iris with color and art. And they have magic.

Some might call them witches. Their mother calls it the “gleam” and when they do magic together it’s called “eating the moon.” Whatever it is, they are otherworldly women living in a village where they hopefully won’t get too much attention.

However, after accidentally exposing their magic in front of a neighbor their mother Jasmina forbids the girls from doing their magic–especially Iris, whose flashy magic is the most noticeable. And they must never, under any circumstances, fall in love.

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As I’m sitting down to write this review, I’m reminded of a card game that my oldest child taught us one night. It’s very similar to Uno, only played with a deck of face cards, and there are a whole lot of rules that the “director” of the game gets to make up. The rest of the players then spend the rest of the game trying to figure out what those rules are by watching the director abide by them and then trying to decipher what the rule governing the director’s actions might be. And then obviously duplicate all of them in such a way as to win the game before the director does. It is a wholly frustrating and ridiculous game, and I’ve forever banned it from being played at my house if I have to be involved. What can I say? I guess I just like knowing what the rules are when I get involved in something. That goes doubly for my reading experiences.
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Giveaway: Bannerless

Posted: July 17, 2017 by Vanessa in Giveaways
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Updated 7/17/17

This giveaway is closed.

The winner is: Johnathan from Thousand Oaks, CA. Congrats! Your book will be on its way soon.

The publisher of Carrie Vaughn’s newest release BANNERLESS has given EBR a copy to give away to one of our readers. If you love Carrie Vaughn’s stuff, dystopian novels, and mysteries, this book is for you! To enter this giveaway: Read the rest of this entry »

So I was reading a book with my daughter the other day and she skipped half a line, mid-sentence. There were two “ands” in a single line and she went from one “and” to the other “and” without a beat. Just kept reading without realizing what she’d done. So, I called her on it. “How in the heck do you even do something like that?” I wondered aloud. We both had a good laugh over it. It was only considerably later that I realized while reading the book for this review I felt EXACTLY like I had when my daughter had skipped half the line while reading: like I was missing a ton of story that should have been there, but just wasn’t. No surprise on the rating then, eh? Yeah. This one was kind of a rough go. Okay, maybe not kind of.
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From the cover: “Decades after economic and environmental collapse destroys much of civilization in the United States, the Coast Road region isn’t just surviving but thriving by some accounts, building something new on the ruins of what came before. A culture of population control has developed in which people, organized into households, must earn the children they bear by proving they can take care of them, with symbolic banners awarded to demonstrate this privilege. In the meantime, birth control is mandatory.”

Our main character, Enid, is from the community called Haven, and works as an investigator–she mediates disputes and investigates offenses against those living along the Coast Road. In her mid-twenties, she’s considered young for the job, and her first big case is to investigate the suspicious death of a young man treated as an outcast.

Strangely enough, in the post-apocalypse life murder is rare. Strict controls of being able to prove your worth as a contributing member of the community means people are focused on surviving and earning the right to have offspring. While for the most part this concept works, too many chafe at the restriction, hence the need for investigators. Read the rest of this entry »

Once upon a time Misery was a holy warrior who came between humanity and evil. But eight years ago she left the Sentinels and since then has been using her earth magic to do odd jobs to pay the bills and stay one step ahead of her old boss. She currently finds herself in Denver and is finally starting to feel like life could be normal again, even if her roommate is eccentric. Finally, Misery thinks she might get ahead with a lucrative job for the Chimera Lord of Denver–and it may take every friend, resource, and bit of luck she has left to pull it off.

But something is rotten in the city of Denver when she discovers that lesser fae are going missing, and instead of skipping town when a Sentinel hunter tracks her down, she decides that sticking around is the only option. She just hopes pursuing the kidnappers won’t get her killed…again.

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This one comes as yet another in a long line of short-story anthologies that have fallen into my lap. Most of the others up to this point have been fantastical (urban, heroic, horrific), but this one instead is of the science-fictiony variety. More specifically, it tries to deal with how humanity might change when, not if, interstellar travel becomes possible. Was hoping for some goodness out of this bunch of stories. Unfortunately, I didn’t find much.
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