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Showing posts from July, 2015

Free today (July 27th): Phoenix Contract by Melissa Thomas

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Title: Phoenix Contract Author: Melissa Thomas Genre: A New Adult paranormal fantasy Published on:  June 15, 2015
Blurb: Centuries after the fallen angels left heaven to live among humans, their Nephilim descendants dwell in secret, hidden from the modern world. Once, a charismatic leader known as the Phoenix led their people, but he vanished centuries ago. The few surviving Great Houses are in decline, bickering over petty rivalries while a handful of faithful warriors battle to keep the forces of evil at bay. Eighteen-year-old Aiden McLachlan devotes her life to her studies and pursues her lifelong goal to become a full-fledged Watcher. But everything she knows of her life is a lie and everyone a liar. Through a strange twist of fate, she finds herself caught up in an ancient prophecy. The stars predict the rebirth of the Nephilim leader, but the mystery must be unraveled or the Phoenix cannot rise. With a soul-eating demon, a coven of ancient vampires, and a hardheaded Celtic warrior co…

Book Review: The Boleyn King

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The Boleyn King by Laura Andersen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A beautiful piece of historical fiction following from a clever premise: what if Anne Boleyn had a son who lived? The story follows that son, William, and others of his court including his friend Dominic, and royal ward Minuette. Surrounded by the struggles of power, can the three retain their integrity and friendship?
The details of the Court are beautifully drawn, and the invented history blends seamlessly with the true past to create this compelling first instalment in a trilogy. I look forward to reading the other two books - my only annoyance was the feeling that the ending was just a little too inconclusive in order to leave the way open for the sequel.

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Skin Deep (Flash Fiction)

This story was written in response to Chuck Wendig's flash fiction challenge.  The random phrase generator gave me 'pencilled collarbone' and 'Skin Deep' was the result. 
The first time I saw Lydia, I thought she had tattoos. A dragon snaked down her left arm, its tail disappearing under the sleeve of her surprisingly ladylike summer blouse. On her right forearm, a sailing ship danced over the waves, and a fairy forest grew up her calves. “That'll be four ninety-five.” Her voice was as delicate as her wrists. I handed over a fiver, then smiled my thanks as she returned my change. I took my tray to the nearest table and listened as the next five customers complimented the designs. She smiled at each one as if it was the first time she'd heard the comment. The Copper Cauldron wasn't the kind of place people went back to. On the road from somewhere to nowhere in particular, it scraped by on passing trade, while the occupants of the few local of…

One Giant Leap for a Writer?

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Who doesn't love a good robot story?  I wonder if anyone else remembers those yellow-jacketed Gollancz editions of Asimov's short stories?  I used to borrow piles of them from the school library along with my Chalet School and Sweet Valley High books (I was always an eclectic reader).  So when I saw the call for short stories for Darkhouse Books' anthology of science fiction stories based on the future imagined at the 1939 World's Fair, I knew I had to have a go.  The result was 'The Robot who Smoked', my homage to 'I, Robot', 'AI' and all the other robot stories that have made me think hard about what it means to be human. 

Originally I thought the anthology was coming out in June, so I've been twitching with impatience since then to see the other stories.  (Believe me, those I've read so far were worth the wait).  Editor Andrew MacRae has been a pleasure to deal with, and has finally picked the best possible launch date for our leap i…

Book Review: The Paper Magician

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The Paper Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I downloaded The Paper Magician on a whim for no better reason than that I was short on fantasy reads and liked the title. I started reading and was instantly addicted. Ceony is a wonderfully kind, funny, likeable heroine. She's feisty and independent (traits which cause her no small difficulties) yet with plenty to learn from magician Thane, to whom she is apprenticed. Being forced to be a Folder (paper magician) when she wants to be a Smelter (iron magician) is maddening, and her attempts to make the best of the situation are both endearing and humorous.

As Ceony gets to know magician Thane and becomes more involved in his life, the secrets which emerge lead to some thrilling adventures, as she quite literally explores Thane's heart. I found those scenes the least convincing of the book, but then Charlie Holmberg set herself a huge challenge with them and I still thoroughly enjoyed this very strong first…