Tag Archives: fantasy

Book Giveaway: A Book of Spirits and Thieves

Courtesy of Penguin Young Readers, I have a copy of A Book of Spirits and Thieves by Morgan Rhodes 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 July 24. I’ll draw a name on July 25, and notify winner via email.

ENTER DAILY TO INCREASE YOUR CHANCE OF WINNING!

Good luck!

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Fantasy Book Review: The Originals: The Resurrection

The Originals: The Resurrection by Julie Plec

Synopsis:
Klaus, Elijah and Rebekah Mikaelson had won it all, only to lose it again by 1788. Control of New Orleans is split between the vampires and the werewolves, much to Klaus’s displeasure. In a dangerous attempt to reclaim his home, Klaus decides to build a vampire army to take out the werewolves once and for all. If he can’t have love, then he’ll settle for power. Elijah lets his brother take the reins as he turns his attentions to a beautiful and mysterious woman. But Rebekah has had enough of her brothers’ love of bloodshed and begins a journey to find her first home and the key to her family’s immortality. As the battle rages on, the siblings must come together and fight for what they believe in most: family.

Review:
More time has passed since the last novel. Elijah has stepped back and become less emotionally involved, and lets Klaus take control as he likes. And Rebecca has run off with yet another beau, in search of a tree that has the means to end her and her brothers. Meanwhile, someone seems to be manipulating the relationship between Klaus and the uneasy truce with the werewolves.

The Resurrection is the third novel in this first (but hopefully not last) Originals trilogy, a novelization of the hit tv show. This final installment may be my favorite of the three. Full of twists and surprises, new villains, and magic – it’s thoroughly captivating from beginning to end. I’d love to see The Originals visit a new city next time and explore new stories.

Fantasy Book Review: Cold Burn of Magic

Cold Burn of Magic by Jennifer Estep

Synopsis:
It’s not as great as you’d think, living in a tourist town that’s known as “the most magical place in America.” Same boring high school, just twice as many monsters under the bridges and rival Families killing each other for power.

I try to keep out of it. I’ve got my mom’s bloodiron sword and my slightly illegal home in the basement of the municipal library. And a couple of Talents I try to keep quiet, including very light fingers and a way with a lock pick.

But then some nasty characters bring their Family feud into my friend’s pawn shop, and I have to make a call–get involved, or watch a cute guy die because I didn’t. I guess I made the wrong choice, because now I’m stuck putting everything on the line for Devon Sinclair. My mom was murdered because of the Families, and it looks like I’m going to end up just like her.

Review:
Lila is a smart, independent young woman who has lost a lot. When she’s offered the job of bodyguard for a family she despises, her first instinct is to leave. But she’s an orphan without much of a future, and it’s hard to pass up the money. And she definitely excels at the job.

Cold Burn of Magic is the first in a new YA fantasy series, by a favorite author. If you haven’t read the Mythos Academy series, stop right now and go pick it up. This latest series debut feels like a teen version of her Elemental Assassin series – a bit dark and full of action, suspense, fun characters, and unique magical abilities. I thoroughly enjoyed this story from beginning to end. There is a big, exciting finale with plenty of twists along the way. I look forward to the next in this engaging new series.

Author Guest Post: Gail Z. Martin

I&B final cover

Gail Martin, Dreamspinner Communications
Gail Martin, Dreamspinner Communications

Mary Sue Must Die!
By Gail Z. Martin

Imagine a character who is extremely attractive, in excellent physical condition, has but to look at a member of the opposite sex to successfully seduce that person AND is an expert with weapons, covert operations, all forms of martial arts. Everyone wants to either be this character or sleep with this character.

A real ‘Mary Sue’–right? Must be the writer projecting onto a character, living vicariously, building a fantasy alter-ego instead of crafting a realistic character.

Wrong. The name is Bond. James Bond. And I’ve never yet heard anyone describe Bond as a ‘Gary Stu’ (the male equivalent of Mary Sue) even though Bond’s creator, Ian Fleming, was a former spy and had a lot in common with good ol’ 007.

The term ‘Mary Sue’ gets used a lot, and most of the time, it’s used improperly, even by book reviewers, in ways that are overwhelmingly, if not exclusively, aimed at female writers and female characters. Maybe that’s because there are three meanings for the term, only one of which is technically correct. Too often, the term is used incorrectly and translates into a generic put-down of any interesting and talented female character written by a female author.

Mary Sue #1–The Original. The term ‘Mary Sue’ comes out of Star Trek fan fiction, and describes an early story with Lt. Mary Sue who was braver than Kirk, smarter than Spock, better at everything than anyone, loved by everyone and desired by every man on the ship. It was a charicature, not a real character, and a cautionary example of bad writing by an fan author. I’ll argue that this–and only this–is the way the term ‘Mary Sue’ or ‘Gary Stu’ should be used.

Mary Sue #2– The Put-Down. As already noted, men can create superheroes and ace detectives, fearless warriors and super-spies with nary a charge of wish fulfillment. But too often, when professional female writers have characters who are 1) exceptionally good at anything, 2) good at more than one thing and 3) not ugly (horrors!) there’s likely to be charges of Mary Sue-ism. Why? Who says that a woman can’t be an astrophysicist and good at martial arts and be pretty? Or any other combination of accomplished, awesome and attractive? How does it add up that if a female writer creates such a character, she is obviously living out her fantasies as opposed to just writing an interesting protagonist?

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Fantasy Book Review: Witches with the Enemy

Witches with the Enemy by Barb Hendee

Synopsis:
When seers Céline and Amelie Fawe fled Shetâna under threat of death, they vowed never to return. Yet, less than a year later, they are summoned back—to aid the man who once tried to kill them.

The cruel prince Damek is on the verge of closing marriage negotiations with the powerful family of a young noblewoman when his intended’s sister is murdered. To keep the engagement from falling through, Damek must expose the killer quickly—and he needs the seers’ powers to do so. Though the Fawes’ patron, Prince Anton, fears that bringing Céline and Amelie to Shetâna places them in grave danger, he is honor-bound to help his brother Damek.

Only none of them is prepared for the peril that awaits them at Castle Kimovesk—for someone in the court is determined to prevent the marriage from happening, no matter how deadly the cost.

Review:
Céline and Amelie are needed to solve a murder at prince Damek’s castle. Damek is a psychopath, often referred to as something is “broken inside of him.” It’s very surprising that Anton would agree to Damek’s request, knowing that the sisters may be in danger. But, to both princes, their future as ruler comes first in all decisions.

Witches with the Enemy is the third installment in the Mist-Torn Witches series. Though, each can be read as a standalone mystery. There is character development throughout the series, but no embedded story arc that prevents them from being read out of order. I absolutely love Hendee’s characters, especially Céline and Amelie – two very different sisters. They each have some romantic interests too, though that is only touched upon briefly at times. Full of suspense, drama, intrigue, and eccentric characters – this mystery is inventive and captivating. And as always, I look forward to the next in this highly enjoyable fantasy series.

Book Giveaway: The Liar’s Key

Courtesy of Ace, I have a copy of The Liar’s Key by Mark Lawrence 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 July 17. I’ll draw a name on July 18, and notify winner via email.

ENTER DAILY TO INCREASE YOUR CHANCE OF WINNING!

Good luck!

Continue reading Book Giveaway: The Liar’s Key

Fantasy Book Review: Summoner: The Novice

Summoner: The Novice by Taran Matharu

Synopsis:
He can summon demons. But can he win a war?

Fletcher is working as a blacksmith’s apprentice when he discovers he has the rare ability to summon demons from another world. Chased from his village for a crime he did not commit, Fletcher must travel with his demon, Ignatius, to an academy for adepts, where the gifted are taught the art of summoning.

Along with nobles and commoners, Fletcher endures grueling lessons that will prepare him to serve as a Battlemage in the Empire’s war against the savage Orcs. But sinister forces infect new friendships and rivalries grow. With no one but Ignatius by his side, Fletcher must decide where his loyalties lie. The fate of the Empire is in his hands

Review:
Fletcher is an orphan with a rare gift. He’s a Summoner, able to summon a powerful creature on his first attempt, untrained. Though, most Summoners are nobility, and Fletcher is looked down upon from many fellow students.

The Novice is first book in The Summoner series. This fantasy debut was engaging from the start was nearly impossible to put down. It reminded me of a cross between The Golden Compass meets a Role Playing Game. The addition of mana (energy) levels is a nice take on a familiar fantasy genre with elves, dwarves, and orcs. Though, there is plenty of unique and fascinating worldbuilding. The story was well-paced with suspense, intrigue, drama, and (of course) plenty of magic. I look forward to the next in this impressive new series.

Book Giveaway: The Darkling Child: The Defenders of Shannara

Courtesy of Del Rey, I have a copy of The Darkling Child: The Defenders of Shannara by Terry Brooks 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 July 10. I’ll draw a name on July 11, and notify winner via email.

ENTER DAILY TO INCREASE YOUR CHANCE OF WINNING!

Good luck!

Continue reading Book Giveaway: The Darkling Child: The Defenders of Shannara