Fortune’s Pawn: a book review

image from http://www.goodreads.com
Devi Morris isn’t your average mercenary. She has plans. Big ones. And a ton of ambition. It’s a combination that’s going to get her killed one day – but not just yet.
That is, until she just gets a job on a tiny trade ship with a nasty reputation for surprises. The Glorious Fool isn’t misnamed: it likes to get into trouble, so much so that one year of security work under its captain is equal to five years everywhere else. With odds like that, Devi knows she’s found the perfect way to get the jump on the next part of her Plan. But the Fool doesn’t give up its secrets without a fight, and one year on this ship might be more than even Devi can handle.
If Sigouney Weaver in Alien met Starbuck in Battlestar Galactica, you’d get Deviana Morris — a hot new mercenary earning her stripes to join an elite fighting force. Until one alien bite throws her whole future into jeopardy.

Overview

Devi Morris wants nothing more in life than to become a Devastator – the elite personal guard of the King of Paradox himself. So when an opportunity comes knocking to drop ten years from the wait, Devi follows it, and becomes security detail on the Glorious Fool. The only problem is, the Fool is notorious for being cursed. Crewmen don’t live long on her jobs, despite her being a trading ship. Still, nothing is more stubborn than a mercenary’s ambition (or at least this mercenary) and Devi’s dream is on its course – until she starts hearing screams that short out her powered armour, screams cried by invisible tentacled monsters and killed only by vacant little girls and faceless black aliens. But Deviana Morris is nothing if not adaptable, and these things she can overlook.

That is, until she starts seeing glowing, translucent, many-legged bugs immune to time, space, and atmosphere.

Bugs that no one else can see.

This is one job that’s going to stretch her to the limit, unlike any other. Continue reading

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Wizard’s First Rule: a book review

Image from http://sot.wikia.com/
Image from http://sot.wikia.com/

In the aftermath of the brutal murder of his father, a mysterious woman, Kahlan Amnell, appears in Richard Cypher’s forest sanctuary seeking help … and more. His world, his very beliefs, are shattered when ancient debts come due with thundering violence.

In their darkest hour, hunted relentlessly, tormented by treachery and loss, Kahlan calls upon Richard to reach beyond his sword– to invoke within himself something more noble. Neither knows that the rules of battle have just changed … or that their time has run out.

This is the beginning. One book. One Rule. Witness the birth of a legend.

Overview

Richard Cypher is a man on a mission: after the curious murder of his father, he sets off on a personal quest to find the killer, despite all misgivings. The only evidence he has is a branch of thorn that he soon finds in the forests near the boundary – carnivorous, semi-sentient thorn. On his way home, not much closer to finding out his father’s killer, he encounters a beautiful woman hiking through the woods in clothes not at all appropriate for hiking: and she is being followed by four men.

With Kahlan’s help, Richard saves her from the men and they hurry home. Soon, Richard and Kahlan both are swept up in a dangerous adventure out of their control, and together they must save the land from evil reminiscent of dark magic from many years before, with the help of eccentric wizard Zedd and boundary warden Chase.

Wizard’s first rule: People are stupid. Continue reading

My Head Is An Animal, an album review

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My Head Is An Animal

OF MONSTERS & MEN

Dirty Paws
King and Lionheart
Mountain Sound
Slow and Steady
From Finner
Little Talks
Six Weeks
Love Love Love
Your Bones
Sloom
Lakehouse
Yellow Light
Numb Bears

My Head Is An Animal is the debut studio album by the Icelandic group Of Monsters & Men. You, like me, might have heard their song Little Talks all over the radio for the past year and a half. And, like me, you probably got it stuck in your head a thousand times before finally finding out what it was called and who it was by.

After finding out what it was and listening to it several times on YouTube, I decided that I needed it for myself.

Now, I’m one of those rare few who still prefers to buy music than to download it. Not just for ethics’ sake – though I do genuinely want to support artists, as I am one myself – but because I like having my own copy and because I’m paranoid about getting viruses on my beloved computer. I considered for a moment ripping the song off YouTube – then decided, without research, hey, the rest of the album must be good, too.

So off to iTunes I went, in search of glory.

And, boy, did I find it. Continue reading

Through the Door, a book review

through the door

Celtic mythology and the modern world collide in Through the Door, the first book in the new urban fantasy series The Thin Veil.

Cedar McLeod lives an ordinary but lonely life, raising her six-year-old daughter Eden on her own while trying to balance the demands of her career and the expectations of her mother. Everything seems normal until the day Eden opens her bedroom door and finds herself half a world away – and then goes missing. Suddenly, Cedar realizes her daughter is anything but normal. 

In a desperate search for answers, Cedar tries to track down Eden’s father, who mysteriously disappeared from her life before Eden was born. What she discovers is far beyond anything she could have imagined. As she joins unlikely allies in the hunt for her daughter, Cedar finds herself torn between two worlds: the one she thought she knew, and one where ancient myths are real, the stakes are impossibly high, and only the deepest love will survive.

Facebook was actually the one to recommend this book to me, by advertising along the sidebar telling me that it was similar to my favourite book in the whole world and beyond, Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. High praise indeed, so I clicked the link and decided to wait until the day came that I would own a Kindle. Then I would buy it and revel in Celtic lore. This is something that has always fascinated me, partially because of my love for history, partially from Outlander, and partially because I’m Celtic (my father was born in Wales). The other day, in order to test how Purity looked in format, I downloaded the free Kindle app to my smartphone. I remembered how I wanted to read Through the Door, and here we are. I read it in about two days.

Through the Door follows the story of Cedar McLeod, who is an ordinary woman from Halifax only trying to be happy. When she finds out she’s pregnant, she is anxious to tell her baby daddy, Finn, the good news. But before she can even get the words out, he vanishes from her life without a word. Fast forward seven years, and their daughter, Eden, is coming into some very strange powers, and these powers get her into trouble when she vanishes. In order to explain the inexplicable, Cedar hunts down Finn’s family and finds herself in a world beyond imagining. Continue reading

The Spirit Thief: a book review

Aaron_Spirit-Thief-MM

Eli Monpress is talented. He’s charming. And he’s a thief.

But not just any thief. He’s the greatest thief of the age – and he’s also a wizard. And with the help of his partners – a swordsman with the most powerful magic sword in the world but no magical ability of his own, and a demonseed who can step through shadows and punch through walls – he’s going to put his plan into effect.

The first step is to increase the size of his bounty on his head, so he’ll need to steal some big things. But he’ll start small. He’ll just steal something that no one will miss – at least for a while.

Something like a king.

I work at a bookstore, which means every day I am able to see just what books are coming out, popular, etc. One of the many perks of working in said bookstore is the discount – and the free books. I encountered the Spirit Thief, and subsequent novels, this way, when I saw the Spirit Thief on the new release mass market wall and decided to give it a go. It was one of my best decisions to date.

The Spirit Thief follows the story of Eli Monpress, a legendary thief with the power to speak with the spirits of nature. Though all wizards are able to communicate with spirits, Eli’s gift is unique, and his charm in the spirit world keeps him one step ahead of bounty hunters after his growing prize. When he goes to the kingdom of Mellinor to, well, steal the king, he is pursued by Miranda Lyonette, a Spiritualist wizard, and her ghosthound Gin, as well as a mysterious, scarred bounty hunter and a wronged prince. Continue reading

Tome of the Undergates: a book review

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Adventurer. The term has long been synonymous with cutthroat, murderer, savage, zealot, and heathen. And Lenk, an errant young man with only a sword and a decidedly unpleasant voice in his head, counts all five among his best and only associates. Loathed by society and spurned by all merciful gods, he and his band are recruited for only the vilest of jobs.

Denaos, a lecherous thug; Asper, the cursed priestess; Dreadaeleon, the pubescent wizard; Gariath, the psychotic dragonman; and Kataria, the savage shict who farts in her sleep, have all followed Lenk out of necessity. But as their companionship increases, so too does their enmity for each other. Thrown together by necessity, motivated by their distrust for each other, it falls to Lenk to keep them from murdering each other long enough to allow something more horrible the pleasure of killing them.

When an esteemed clergyman hires them to track down a missing book stolen by a zealous foulness risen from the depths of the ocean, intent on using the tome to raise its abyssal matron from her hell-bound prison, Lenk finds his skills put to the test. Faced with titanic, fishlike beasts, psychotic purple warrior women, and the ferocity of an ocean that loathes him as much as his own people do, the greatest threat may yet be the company he keeps.

Full of razor-sharp wit and characters who leap off the page (and into trouble) and plunge the reader into a vivid world of adventure, this is a fantasy that kicks off a series that could dominate the second decade of the century.

I first encountered this book after stumbling upon Sam Sykes’ Twitter page through a retweet of writerly wisdom. After perusing a bit, I discovered that the wisdom he could share was lost between bouts of animal photos and cruel but hilarious jabs at his friends. I came for the wisdom, stayed for the pigs. Continue reading

Controlled, by Elisa Nuckle

My pal Elisa Nuckle has written an amazing short story for Fiction Vortex. It’s called Controlled, and it’s about dragons.

Not only is that badass already, but after having aforementioned short story published with Fiction Vortex, she won their July contest by a landslide. So that’s kind of a big deal.

So, hey, maybe go read Controlled, because you’re awesome and it’s awesome and together you’ll just be perfect.