Category Archives: Book News

Book Giveaway: Gunpowder Moon

Courtesy of Harper Voyager, I have a review copy of Gunpowder Moon by David Pedreira for one (1) lucky winner!

Contest is open to US residents only. No PO Boxes please. To enter, just fill out the form below. Contest ends December 22. I’ll draw a name on December 23, and notify winner via email.


Good luck!

Continue reading Book Giveaway: Gunpowder Moon

Book Giveaway: The Nine

Courtesy of Pyr, I have a copy of The Nine by Tracy Townsend for one (1) lucky winner!

Contest is open to US residents only. No PO Boxes please. To enter, just fill out the form below. Contest ends December 1. I’ll draw a name on December 2, and notify winner via email.


Good luck!

Continue reading Book Giveaway: The Nine

Received in October

The following are the books, movies, television shows, etc. I received in September for review and/or giveaways:

Westworld Season 1 4K Blu-Ray Edition

Mystery Boxes:
Bam Box

Avon Books:
Immortally Yours by Lynsay Sands

Del Rey:
Strange Music by Alan Dean Foster

First Second:
Ali-A Adventures: Game On! by Cavan Scott and Aleksandar Sotirovski

Harper Collins / William Morrow:
Strange Weather: Four Short Novels by Joe Hill

Harper Voyager:
Breach of Containment by Elizabeth Bonesteel
Gunpowder Moon by David Pedreira
Markswoman by Rati Mehrotra
The Feed by Nick Clark Windo
Blood of the Four by Christopher Golden
The City of Brass by S. A. Chakraborty
The Rift Frequency by Amy S. Foster

Pyr / Prometheus Books:
Blockbuster Science: The Real Science in Science Fiction by David Siegel Bernstein

Ink by Alice Broadway

Shadow Mountain:
Adventurers Wanted: The Axe of Sundering by M. L. Forman

Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers:
The Empress by S. J. Kincaid

St Martin’s Press / Wednesday Books:
Sun Warrior by P. C. Cast
Moon Chosen by P. C. Cast
Year One by Nora Roberts
Joe Ledger: Unstoppable by Bryan Thomas Schmidt

Subterranean Press:
DJStories: The Best of David J Schow
The Tea Master and the Detective by Aliette de Bodard

Titan Books:
Star Trek The Next Generation: The Art of Juan Ortiz by Juan Oritz
The Autobiography of Jean Luc Picard by David A. Goodman
Assassin’s Creed: Reflections Vol. 1 by Ian Edginton

Steal the Stars by Nat Cassidy
Blade of Empire by Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory
Valiant Dust by Richard Baker
Deadhouse Landing by Ian C. Esslemont

Tor Teen:
Enhanced by Carrie Jones
The Dark Intercept by Julia Keller

Days of the Dead Blog Tour: Gail Z. Martin Guest Post

Swords & Shotguns: Epic and Urban Fantasy
By Gail Z. Martin

What’s the difference between epic fantasy and urban fantasy?

Generally speaking, epic fantasy happened long ago, often in a medieval time period, with swords and castles. The stakes are big, often the fate of a kingdom or dynasty at risk. Urban fantasy usually means books set in present-day or at least Twentieth or Twenty-First Century, where it’s our world but with magic and the supernatural.

I think the lines are blurrier than that. I could envision a story in a medieval setting that deals with supernatural goings-on within a city that saves the world but never has the epic Lord of the Rings-style big battles. And I’ve written stories set in a modern city where the fate of the world hangs in the balance because of paranormal problems.

I write epic fantasy, urban fantasy and steampunk. (And as far as I’m concerned, Steampunk is often Victorian urban fantasy with cool gadgets.) So while the sub-genre categories are handy on Amazon and to tell booksellers where to shelve novels, they matter less to me as an author, because I come up with the story first, and then figure out which bucket it best fits.

Epic fantasy is fun because I get to put my degree in medieval history to use and research fun things like trebuchets and garderobes, and what kind of explosives were available in the 1400s. Oh, and I’m gaining the ability to swear with words no one’s bandied around since before Shakespeare.

Urban fantasy means I can use pop culture references and modern slang, and I have to research the history of the cities in which I base stories, because people live there and can catch me if I’m wrong about something. I look up stuff on guns and modern explosives and probably have a file at the FBI for questionable internet searches.

I think the hardest thing about writing in both epic and urban fantasy is switching mindsets. My urban fantasy characters have largely experienced the same world I live in, with some paranormal twists. But the epic fantasy characters are going to see the world differently because of how people back then understood science, medicine, rank and class. They’ll pay no attention to things like abysmal sanitation or take for granted the pecking order of a hereditary nobility, but fail to understand disease transmission or infection. Not only is the wording different, the world view is different. This is important, because if you don’t write about characters who are products of their times, then you’ve just got modern people dressed up in costumes.

So the trick with urban fantasy is to make people believe that there are ghosts in Charleston, SC, vampires in Central Park, or fae riding motorcycles through West Virginia. You’ve got to get readers to suspend what they know about the world and make room for magic and the supernatural, which suddenly makes the familiar into new territory.

And the difficulty with epic fantasy is creating characters who are true to their world and the limitations of the knowledge and cultural failings of their time and make them sympathetic and relatable to modern readers. To be realistic, they’re going to have some of the biases and blinders common to their era, and that becomes a growth opportunity for them to overcome. They’re going to view the world through scientific fallacies and since-disproven theories. Yet for the reader, those assumptions and the actions that follow have to make sense and not get in the way of the story. They may be progressive or enlightened in some ways, and very much a product of their times in other ways.

Believe it or not, this is the fun stuff for an author. People in the past had incredibly clever ways of dealing with the world around them in lieu of the technology we take for granted, and ferreting those details out makes the world come alive. Likewise, when I can find a bit of history or a detail about a modern city that supports the case I’m building for a supernatural threat, I celebrate, because the plot then becomes even more tangled up with the setting.

I’ve written three epic fantasy series so far, including the new Darkhurst series (Scourge) and the upcoming Assassins of Landria series. I’ve also written or co-written two urban fantasy series (Deadly Curiosities, Spells Salt & Steel) with three more new series forthcoming. There’s lots of territory left to explore!

My Days of the Dead blog tour runs through October 31 with brand new excerpts from upcoming books and recent short stories, interviews, guest blog posts, giveaways and more! Plus, I’ll be including extra excerpt links for my stories and for books by author friends of mine. You’ve got to visit the participating sites to get the goodies, just like Trick or Treat! Get all the details about my Days of the Dead blog tour here:

Let me give a shout-out for #HoldOnToTheLight 2017, back for more with new authors and fantastic new posts! 130+ Sci-Fi/Fantasy authors blogging about their personal struggles with depression, PTSD, anxiety, suicide and self-harm, candid posts by some of your favorite authors on how mental health issues have impacted their lives and books. Read the stories, share the stories, change a life. Find out more at

Book swag is the new Trick-or-Treat! All of my guest blog posts have links to free excerpts—grab them all!

Rafflecopter giveaway—enter for a chance to win a copy of Spells, Salt and Steel!

An excerpt from our new Spells, Salt, and Steel: A New Templars Novel—

And an excerpt from my friend Jean Marie Ward’s ‘Fixed’ from The Modern Fae’s Guide to Surviving Humanity:

About the Author:
Gail Z. Martin writes epic fantasy, urban fantasy and steampunk for Solaris Books and Orbit Books. Vengeance: A Darkhurst novel, is the second in a new epic fantasy series for Solaris (coming April, 2018). Her Deadly Curiosities urban fantasy series set in Charleston, SC has a new novel, Vendetta, and a new collection, Trifles and Folly. Spells, Salt, and Steel is the first in another new urban fantasy series set in upstate Pennsylvania.

Other work includes the Chronicles Of The Necromancer series, the Fallen Kings Cycle, the Ascendant Kingdoms series, the Deadly Curiosities urban fantasy series, and Iron & Blood (co-authored with Larry N. Martin)

Find her at, on Twitter @GailZMartin, on, at blog and on Goodreads

Book Giveaway: Moon Chosen

Courtesy of Wednesday Books, I have a copy of Moon Chosen by PC Cast for one (1) lucky winner!

Contest is open to US residents only. No PO Boxes please. To enter, just fill out the form below. Contest ends November 17. I’ll draw a name on November 18, and notify winner via email.


Good luck!

Continue reading Book Giveaway: Moon Chosen

Book Giveaway: Don’t Cosplay With My Heart

Courtesy of Scholastic, I have a copy of Don’t Cosplay With My Heart by Cecil Castellucci for one (1) lucky winner!

Contest is open to US residents only. No PO Boxes please. To enter, just fill out the form below. Contest ends October 20. I’ll draw a name on October 21, and notify winner via email.


Good luck!

Continue reading Book Giveaway: Don’t Cosplay With My Heart

TO GUARD AGAINST THE DARK Excerpt and Giveaway!

Excerpt from To Guard Against the Dark:

Chapter 1


Fingers interlaced, her hair stroking his cheek, they’d walked the nights of ninety-nine worlds. Floated in space to watch planets spin. Lain naked on mossy ground, lost in one another, under so many stars—

Those had been real. These couldn’t be. The ceiling lay be¬neath a covering of formed concrete, plas, and a significant amount of natural stone, a roof he’d built to keep out more than the night sky. Could be a dune curling overtop as well, it being sandstorm season.

Yet, still, stars twinkled overhead, wheeling in formation as if he watched them through time.

A dream. That was it. He shut his eyes, fingers straying to the cool metal band around his wrist. Touch seemed odd, for a dream.

He opened his eyes. Looked up. Surely only in a dream could a segment of that starry scape flex . . .

Bend . . .

Lean down, closer and closer, those stars about to crush him—


For the— “No more!” he shouted, furious. “Get out of here!”

A heavy arm—something arm-ish— lopped across his chest and slid away. Jason Morgan squirmed in the opposite direction. “On! On full!”

The portlights obeyed, blazing into every corner of the room.

He was alone.


Continue reading TO GUARD AGAINST THE DARK Excerpt and Giveaway!

Received in September

The following are the books, movies, television shows, etc. I received in September for review and/or giveaways:

Wonder Woman Blu-ray Edition
Wonder Woman 3D Blu-ray Edition

Mystery Boxes:

Chain of Command by Frank Chadwick
The Spark by David Drake

To Guard Against the Dark by Julie E. Czerneda

Del Rey / Bantam:
Journey to Star Wars: The Last Jedi: Phasma by Delilah S. Dawson
The Core by Peter V. Brett
Star Wars: From a Certain Point of View by Renée Ahdieh
The Book of Swords by George R. R. Martin
A Plague of Giants by Kevin Hearne

Disney Hyperion:
Journey to Star Wars: The Last Jedi Leia, Princess of Alderaan by Claudia Gray
Rapunzel and the Lost Lagoon: A Tangled Novel by Leila Howland
Star Wars: Join the Resistance Escape from Vodran: (Book 2) by Ben Acker
The Percy Jackson Coloring Book by Rick Riordan
Tales from Adventureland The Keymaster’s Quest by Jason Lethcoe
Mistress of All Evil: A Tale of the Dark Fairy by Serena Valentino
Lockwood & Co., Book Five The Empty Grave by Jonathan Stroud

Star Wars Made Easy by Christian Blauvelt

Gallery Books:
Star Trek: Discovery: Desperate Hours by David Mack

HMH / Mariner:
The City of Lost Fortunes by Bryan Camp
Your One & Only by Adrianne Finlay
Machine Learning: New and Collected Stories by Hugh Howey

Little, Brown:
Gunslinger Girl by Lyndsay Ely

Macmillan Teen / Feiwel and Friends / Imprint / Swoon:
The Greed by Scott Bergstrom
Losing Leah by Tiffany King
Pitch Dark by Courtney Alameda
White Rabbit by Caleb Roehrig
Let’s Talk About Love by Claire Kann
Ink, Iron, and Glass by Gwendolyn Clare

Pocket Books:
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Original Sin by David R. George Iii

The Genius Plague by David Walton

Random Houses Children’s / Schwartz and Wade / Knopf / Delacorte Press:
Ben Franklin’s in My Bathroom! by Candace Fleming
Murder, Magic, and What We Wore by Kelly Jones
Everything You Need to Know About NIGHTMARES! and How to Defeat Them by Jason Segel

The Scarecrow Queen by Melinda Salisbury
Don’t Cosplay With My Heart by Cecil Castellucci
Have Sword, Will Travel by Garth Nix

Simon Teen / McElderry Books / Simon Pulse:
Freefall by Joshua David Bellin
Last Star Burning by Caitlin Sangster

St Martin’s Press:
Black Star Renegades by Michael Moreci

Subterranean Press:
Penric’s Fox by Lois McMaster Bujold

Star Wars Necklace

Titan Comics:
Assassin’s Creed Uprising Volume 1: Common Ground by Alex Paknadel

Horizon by Fran Wilde
The Midnight Front by David Mack
The Tiger’s Daughter by K Arsenault Rivera
Children of the Fleet by Orson Scott Card
Deadlands: Boneyard by Seanan McGuire
The Stone in the Skull by Elizabeth Bear