I love reading ARCs. I love that glimpse before anyone else gets a chance to read the book. And normally it’s a good book and I get a nice little story and I leave a fun review. But then Jasmine Walt posted in her fangroup that she wanted readers for her new novella, Forsaken by Magic.
The prequel to her upcoming book, Fugitive by Magic, Forsaken lays the background of Polar ar’Tollis, who the readers of the Baine Chronicles know better as Fenris.
The book jumps right into the action with the reader joining Polar in his office as Head Mage as he attempts to finish paperwork and is accosted by Gelisia Dorax, his minister of finance. The reader is informed about their background, but Polar isn’t too sure he wants to continue their relationship. He moves onto dinner with his parents and then the action really picks up.
I don’t want to give away the entire storyline here, but most of the time an author’s work declines a bit as a series continues. This hasn’t happened with Ms. Walt. Each book by her has gotten more exciting and raised more questions so readers eagerly await the next book.
I opened Forsaken intending to read a couple of pages before bed… that didn’t happen. I was immediately sucked into Polar’s world and needed to know what happened next. I read the entire thing in one night!
For all the readers who want to know how Polar became Fenris and became Iannis’s advisor; this fills in a lot of the questions. For someone who is just stepping into the world of Nebara, it’s a great introduction.
My advice? Buy Forsaken by Magic. Preorder Fugitive by Magic, then go back and start at the beginning of the Baine Chronicles with Burned by Magic. You won’t regret it.
I was talking with a friend (We’ll call her B for sake of… well everything) about anniversaries recently. Writing anniversaries to be specific. She had a semi-important one coming up (her one year anniversary in a specific fandom) and was working on hitting a milestone number of stories written and posted in that fandom in time for it.
I commented that I didn’t think I’d ever marked my writing anniversary like she and another friend tend to. In fact, off the top of my head I couldn’t even remember when any of my writing anniversaries are. The more I thought about it though, the more I wondered when my writing anniversary (anniversaries) are.
The date I joined my writing group is easily discoverable and actually I do sort of celebrate that every year, although the group calls it a “birthday”. I simply needed to log into my account and access my information. I’ve been a proud member of my writing group since May 28, 2003.
My other two anniversaries are a little more difficult to discover. Not because I’m trying to hide them, but because the information isn’t online. One part was never online and the other has been removed for the time being.
So my next step was to discover my fanfic anniversary—the day I published my first fandom story. That took a little hunting through jump drives since I’m in the process of changing computers and moving my stories between sites. The first day I published a fanfic story was August 6, 2007.
There was one more anniversary I was interested in finding. The day I started writing my very first novel. While that novel will never see the light of day, that day is very important to me. Luckily the actual day was not just the day I started my novel, but also the first day of Operation Desert Storm: January 17, 1991. Now this isn’t the day I started writing, just the day I started my first novel.
So how about you? Do you celebrate writing anniversaries? Do you do anything special? I don’t normally, but I’m considering doing something this year. I’ll be hitting my 14, 10, and 26 year anniversaries this year. So at least one milestone this year!
Normally when an author offers up a novella, I worry that some of the story will get lost in the rush for keeping it within word count. That didn’t happen with Jasmine Walt’s offering Tested by Magic. The first “short” story in Ms. Walt’s Baine Chronicles, Tested by Magic is a fabulous introduction to the heroine, Sunaya Baine, and does not require reading of any other book in the series (which isn’t to say you shouldn’t read the others.)
Tested by Magic gives us a glimpse into Sunaya’s start as an Enforcer, showing a different side to the girl readers might have met in Burned by Magic and allows us to see what she was like before she begins her journey. It’s a slightly different Sunaya (but not really) who starts her first day as an Enforcer: making friends with Annia (another enforcer) and searching for a lost little girl.
Sunaya struggles with her morals in this book, which underlays a nice little bit to things that will come up later in the series and characters that will be major players are introduced, but for the most part, this is a nice little introduction. For readers who aren’t quite ready to dive into the whole series, this is a nice little toe dip.
Me? I’ve read the first book and have the second book ready to cue up on my Kindle. You? Can rush over to your favorite eBook retailer right now and snag a pre-order of Tested by Magic. I highly recommend this one!
Pledge by Christiana Gardner (Book One in the Witches of Coventry House) seems at first glance to be a story about a group of sorority sisters starting out on a new adventure. But secrets lurk within the walls of Coventry House; not just with the new pledges, but also among the sisters and the house mother.
The story mostly follows the group of pledges: Eden, Sarah, Hannah, Rebecca, Paige, Talia, Lexi, and Julie. Although you also see a lot of the pledge leader, Alex, and the house mother, Carolyn. Just as you are getting to know the girls, they start failing the “tests”. There is no hazing in Coventry House, but everything is a test. And failing means removal from Coventry House.
Although the idea of the story was interesting, I found myself wanting to get to the meat of the story. There was a lot of buildup and false “mystery” in the story and the only reason to keep reading was to find out what was happening, not why it was happening. Ms. Gardner seems to want to leave her reader craving more. Although this can be a good thing, too much leaves the reader frustrated. And I reached that point.
I got to the point where I was starting to make guesses on what Eden’s “problem” was and predicting Sarah’s reactions to things. I also guessed things like the true meaning of Coventry House long before the characters in the book which left me with an almost unfilled feeling. (I didn’t read the subtitle so that didn’t clue me in.)
Taking the story at face-value, it’s a nice little college romp that happens to have some paranormal elements. While it’s probably not something I’ll continue reading (it’s the first book in a series), I don’t regret trying this one.
I’ve been reading Laurell K Hamilton’s books since I got the first omnibus from the Science Fiction Book Club. These books were focused on Anita Blake and her hunting of vampires. It also focused on her work with the police and the cases she solved with them. Of lesser focus was her rising of zombies, although it did have a lot to do with why she was needed by the police.
The last couple of books have been quite the departure from the first few though. Many of the more recent books have focused on Anita’s relationships and her “men”. I recently picked up Crimson Death, Hamilton’s most recent book, and was hoping it was a return to the prior books when I saw how thick it was.
Unfortunately I was sorely disappointed. Instead of a book focused on a case and the evil vampire… it was almost 650 pages of Anita’s relationships and emotional problems and metaphysical issues (again). I say 650 pages because they did spend about 50 pages on the actual case. While at first I was thrilled to see Edward back, I was quickly disappointed because so much of the book was devoted to Anita and her relationships and the actual case was pushed aside. Seriously, it took over 350 pages to even get her to Ireland! Honestly I’m just tired of all the drama.
I enjoy erotica in the right place and in the right situation, but I started reading these stories because I liked how badass Anita was. She’s not quite so badass anymore and all the characters I enjoyed have because simply sex-fodder. While I like porn without plot as much as the next person, that wasn’t what I was looking for when I started this series.
I won’t be reading another one of her books.
I have a problem. I will fully admit it. I subscribe to free Kindle books emails. And I have a habit of “buying” whatever strikes my fancy. If a cover catches my eye, click. If a description looks mildly interesting, click!
But then, the books just languish on my Kindle.
That doesn’t mean I don’t read books on my Kindle. I do.
But I’m more likely to read something an author sends me and asks me to read.
Or a book by an author I’ve already read.
Or a book that will “get” me something.
Still I keep pressing buy on those free books. And then? I find I’ve purchased that book in the past. Or I’ve already read it. And I feel silly. Or I feel pleased that at least my tastes haven’t changed. But I still don’t read the book!
So I’m going to work in the next few months, not just on editing my own stories and getting them ready for all of you to read. (I’ve made some significant progress there.) But I’m also going to stop buying free Kindle books. And start working my way through the books already on my tablet.
One down… and 1000 to go. *pages through* What should I read first?
Magic Born by Caethes Faron
[I received an electronic ARC of the book in return for a fair and honest review.]
Kat Thomas doesn’t want much out of life. To play her online game, keep her college scholarship, and maybe figure out what she wants to do when she graduates. She’s mourning her parents who recently died and has taken refuge in Wizards and Fae. Her only real friend is one of her online gaming partners.
Then a package is delivered to her door by a mysterious stranger (which honestly this pinged every stranger danger warning I have, but Kat clearly hadn’t gotten that memo as she took the box from him.) Despite his insistence, she didn’t let him in or have more than a brief conversation with him though.
The stranger turns out to be Alex, a panther shifter, and the son of Kat’s birth mother’s protector. He’s been sent by his father (and Kat’s mother) to deliver the amber necklace and Kat’s legacy.
And that’s when Kat finds out the truth. The game she’s been play? Not just a game… it’s a way for mages from Elustria to find latent mages on Earth. The creator, Casper Rothian, is actually from Elustria and knew Kat’s mother.
And when she puts on the necklace that Alex delivered to her, her world opens up in ways she never imagined.
I received this ARC on a Friday and I’m really glad I had the weekend mostly free because I was just going to read a couple of chapters each day. I did just that Friday night and then picked the book up again Saturday morning and finished it. Ms. Faron keeps you on the edge of your seat, turning pages and waiting to see what’s next. I’m eagerly awaiting the next installment!
Beyond the Veil by Pippa DaCosta
Charlie Henderson seems like an average girl at first glance. Granted an average girl that can “read” items and makes weapons for a living, but just an average girl.
But Charlie Henderson doesn’t exist. She’s actually Muse, a half-demon who is hiding from her demon master and trying to have a normal life. Until an assassin walks into her life and she is forced to return to the one man (demon) she never wanted to. The Prince of Greed.
Akil Vitalis in the human world (Mammon on the other side of the Veil); the Prince of Greed will stop at nothing to wrench Muse from her normal world. Against him is Stefan, who Muse is not sure if she can trust or not. At first she’s not even sure what he is.
To complicate matters, there is a group of humans who kidnap Muse and attempt to get her to fight with them (while blocking her demon side which doesn’t really endure her to them).
If you’re a fan of urban fantasy, I would recommend picking this one up. It’s currently free on Amazon for Kindle. And the rest of the series is already available so there’s no waiting for the next book!
Brotherhood of the Wheel by RS Belcher
As a fan of the Knights Templar history, I picked up Brotherhood of the Wheel by RS Belcher on a whim when someone on one of my lists recommended it. I was leery at first because I’d attempted his Six-Gun Tarot and hadn’t gotten past the first chapter.
But Brotherhood surprised me. It’s gritty, horror filled, and keeps the reader on the edge of your seat until the last page. Now I’m not typically a horror reader (my love of Dean Koontz and SyFy’s Haven aside), but Brotherhood really reached out and grabbed me. The characters struggle not just with the supernatural, but the harsh realities of life.
The novel mainly focuses on Jimmie Aussapile, the “knight” of the story. In actuality, he’s a trucker trying to keep house and home together as he travels the Road. He’s joined by Heck, a biker, with a past that I’d love to find out more about (it’s hinted towards the end, but the author definitely leaves you wanting more) and Lovina Hewitt, a Louisiana State Police officer.
Of course you can’t have a White Knight without the dark or black knight and Belcher gives the reader one that will keep you up at night (no pun intended) with the Pagan. Beautifully drawn and imagined, the Pagan is one of the best villains imagined in a while.
If you go into this expecting sweeping battles and Knights Templar, you will be half disappointed. Belcher only briefly touches on the history of the Templars, but the battles are generously written and described.
Overall, definitely one I will be on the lookout for a second book of. The author left it open to write a sequel or two.
C is for Chimera is the third book in the Alphabet Anthologies series (following A is for Apocalypse and B is for Broken), edited by Rhonda Parrish.
Starting with A and working all the way through Z, authors share a variety of stories all based around the theme of chimeras.
With twenty-seven stories, there’s worry that the book could be overly long, but each of the stories is short, no more than a couple of pages. There are a few that are a bit longer, but I don’t think any go over five or seven pages (I read the book on a Kindle so page counts may vary). The best part is it allows a reader to meet new authors that they may not otherwise encounter. (Or in my case come across the surprise of an old friend I was not expecting.)
The stories are mostly science fiction in genre, although they range from fantastical to historical to steampunk. It was an easy read and for the most part I was happy to move to one story to the next although a couple of times, I got to the end and went “Wait. What?” wondering what happened in the story. It was almost as if the author had a word count and couldn’t quite get the entirety of the idea into the required space.
What it all comes down to those is C is for Chimera is an enjoyable read and I look forward to seeing what happens with D and the rest of the Alphabet.
You can get your very own copy starting on April 19th.
[I received an electronic ARC of the book and I know the editor and one of the contributors, in interests of full disclosure, but that did not influence my review… especially since I didn’t know the one contributor had contributed until I reached her story.]