Monday, February 29, 2016

Beauty in Ruins chats with Kristi Charish (Owl and the City of Angels)

February 29th only comes around once every four years, so I figure let's celebrate in style by having the one-and-only Kristi Charish stop by for a chat!

Thanks for taking the time to stop by today, Kristi. Hard to believe that you’ve been our guest three times, but have yet to do an interview! For those who haven't yet had a chance to meet Owl or Kincaid Strange yet, please tell us a little about yourself.

Hi Bob (And readers). Hmmm, about me. Well, I’m a cell biologist and a geneticist. I have my Masters in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry and a PhD in Zoology. I worked on fruit flies for years looking at cell division and the genes involved in making barriers between cells- basically the things that prevent fluids from passing between a sheet of cells like your skin. Think of fruit flies as the high performance Ferrari’s of the genetic engineering world…the genes we can run in those little guys. :)

Any who, while I was writing up my PhD I started writing fiction. It started off as a hobby to get through my thesis writing. Thesis writing isn’t nearly as fun as doing the experiments so I bribed myself with an hour of fun, fiction writing for every hour spent on my thesis. The hour of fiction quickly turned into two…and by the time I was ready to defend I had a novel. Owl was the first novel I finished and I figured why not see if I could get it published? I sent it out to agents who repped authors I liked, heard back the next day from Carolyn who liked the book, and now I’m a full time writer. A strange career path for someone who spent a long time in the sciences, but there you have it.

Let’s start with Owl for a moment, who enjoyed her second outing last year in Owl and the City of Angels. Following in the footsteps of Lara Croft and Sydney Fox (Relic Hunter), Owl is a kick-ass Indiana Jane. How did her story come about?

I’m so happy you know who Sydney Fox is- I used to watch Relic Hunter on weekends. Basically I was working on a straight forward fantasy novel and needed a break. I decided to try something else, and had been reading Ian Hamilton’s Ava Lee crime series about a forensic accountant. I loved the book and decided I wanted to write a first person narrative novel about a thief – maybe a bit more Indiana Jones adventure than crime, but that was one of my big inspirations. Totally normal, no monsters, just a good old thief who stole artifacts…that lasted all of about 20 pages when I realized I’d written a dragon into the novel. I gave up on the whole straight fiction and went with an adventure urban fantasy. I’ve mentioned before that I love 80s action adventure movies and once the first chapter was done, that’s when the adventure genre influences came in. I basically wrote what I wanted to watch- more Indiana Jones and The Mummy (the first one - only ever the first one) style adventures.

Actually, I quite enjoyed first two Mummy adventures, but it wasn't the same when Rachel Weisz left. Anyway, you have your BSc and MSc in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, along with a PhD in Zoology, so I have to ask – where does the archaeology come in?

My first year of university I was actually in the Archaeology/Anthropology program. It only lasted a year but I enjoyed my time. Like most first year archaeology undergrads, I dreamed of being Indiana Jones…they get rid of that dream pretty quickly and I found myself drifting towards the biology side. A couple years later I’d switched into Molecular biology. I figure writing about Archaeology is the way to live out my undergrad fantasies.

You definitely have a flair for odd or eccentric supporting characters, but the ghost of a dead grunge rocker in Kincaid Strange take things to a whole other level. What can you tell us about Nathan Cade?

Nathan Cade is a ghost- and that means he’s got all the issues that go along with being dead in Kincaid’s world- little to no impulse control, an inability to learn from his mistakes, occasionally drinking too much and forgetting to pay his bar tab…the grunge scene was actually a pretty good training ground for him.

Nathan is Kincaid’s on and off roommate and the two of them run séances up at the University for students who have more money than sense and are desperate for guitar lessons. He plays heavily into the novel – he’s really Kincaid’s best friend – which says something since he isn’t alive anymore.

Naturally, I have to ask – will we ever get to see Owl and Kincaid meet?

Ha! Great question but no. The novels are set in different worlds, which becomes apparent quite fast- where Owl is in the adventure genre vein of UF, Kincaid Strange is over in the mystery/crime vein. Kincaid is a bit darker as well, more serious. But I won’t lie - while writing Kincaid and designing that world it did occur to me.

You’ve listed Ernest Cline, Kim Harrison, Jim Butcher, Patricia Briggs among your favorite authors. Who do you turn to when you need a break from writing?

They’re always changing because I’m always finding great authors to try. Often I’ll go for a Sci-Fi or an urban fantasy – two that I’ve read recently are Peter Clines The Fold (HIGHLY recommend- about a man with pedantic memory and a door that folds through time and space) and Faith Hunter’s Urban Fantasy series Jane Yellowrock, which I have been loving. I also read every Ian Hamilton Ava Lee book that comes out – it’s like a 24 hour binge for me- new book downloads on kindle and I must finish – and those are crime novels about a forensic accountant who chases bad debts in Asia. I also have been reading Patrick Weekes Rogues of the Republic which reminds me a lot of Terry Pratchett’s Disc World novels as far as the humor is concerned (for gaming buffs, you’ll recognize Patrick as one of the Bioware writers for Dragon Age).

Weekes has been on my must-read list for too long - I'll have to make time for a read soon. In the year a half since Owl’s been on the shelves, what are some of the strangest or weirdest reactions you’ve had from readers?

The oddest reaction from readers has been way less about the book and more around a general trend in genre fiction concerning what’s acceptable behavior for a female protagonist. When I wrote Owl, I just wanted to write an adventurer who was a bit rough around the edges and drank beer. I didn’t really think about the fact that she was a woman and whether there was a behavior expectation. I wouldn’t say that any one reaction has stood out, it’s been the conversation that’s happened where people bring up the fact that they didn’t think Owl was ‘likeable’ (totally valid response from readers btw!).

The conversation that occurs around whether a character is ‘likeable’ is a requirement that is almost exclusively thrown around female characters. Rarely do we critique Han Solo or James Bond for being ‘unlikable’ and not nice – we might critique the amount of violence, the characters specific actions, and the plot, but we don’t demand that the male protagonists be ‘likeable’ or ‘nice’. I think there is a ton of discussion happening around what we expect from a female character in genre and there is a question being asked of whether we’ve replaced one unattainable and unrealistic checklist (the Mary Sue or damsel in distress) with an equally unattainable and unrealistic one when demanding a ‘strong female protagonist with agency’ (There is a fantastic article up on Tor that asks that question- When Mary Sue Failed the Bechdel by Erin Lindsey). Owl certainly didn’t start the conversations by any stretch, but as more and more authors are writing women that don’t have ‘nice and likeable’ as priority traits, the conversation will keep going and though it’s strange (I just wanted to write a female adventurer!) I’m happy to be part of it.

Looking forward, I know you have 2 more Owl books coming. When will we see Owl’s third adventure?

The ebook is slated for this summer but in publishing that can always change depending on lots of things. I have learned from experience to use it as a guideline, not a rule… It is on the way! I’m hoping it will be worth the wait.

Awesome - looking forward to it. Thanks again for taking the time to stop by!

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About the Author

Kristi is a scientist and science fiction/urban fantasy author who resides in Vancouver, Canada. Kristi writes what she loves; adventure heavy stories featuring strong, savvy female protagonists with the occasional RPG fantasy game thrown in the mix. She is also a co-host on the popular Adventures in Sci-Fi Publishing Podcast.

The first installment in her debut urban fantasy series, OWL AND THE JAPANESE CIRCUS (Simon & Schuster) is out and available in bookstores and through online ebook retailers. The second in series, OWL AND THE CITY OF ANGELS, is out Jan 2016. Her second series, KINCAID STRANGE (Random House Canada), about a voodoo practioner living in Seattle, is out May 2016.

She received her BSc and MSc from Simon Fraser University in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, and her PhD in Zoology from the University of British Columbia. She is represented by Carolyn Forde at Westwood Creative Artists.

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About the Book

Owl and the City of Angels (The Adventures of Owl #2)
by Kristi Charish

The wild second adventure for unforgettable antiquities thief Owl—a modern-day “Indiana Jane” who reluctantly navigates the hidden supernatural world—from the pen of rising urban fantasy star Kristi Charish. For fans of Kim Harrison, Jim Butcher, Jennifer Estep, Jenn Bennett, and the like. The series also includes Owl and the Japanese Circus and Owl and the Electric Samurai.

Alix Hiboux, better known as Owl, international antiquities thief for hire, is settling into her new contract job for Vegas mogul Mr. Kurosawa, a red dragon with a penchant for ancient, supernatural artifacts. And now he has his sights set on some treasures of the mysterious Syrian City of the Dead that are sitting in a recluse’s private collection.

There’s just one wrinkle. To stop the resurrection of an undead army that could wreak havoc on Los Angeles, Owl must break into a heavily guarded archaeological sight in one of the most volatile regions in the world. A detour through Libya and a run-in with Somali pirates sends the clock ticking hastily toward total paranormal disaster.

Meanwhile, Alexander and the Paris vampires have stopped stalking Owl’s apartment, but they have by no means forgotten their death grudge against her. To top everything off, Owl finds out the hard way that there is nothing heavenly about the City of Angels...

Saturday, February 27, 2016

From the Shelf to the Page: This Week in the Ruins

In case you missed any of it, here's what happened in the Ruins this week . . .


Cover Reveal of The Ghost Rebellion by Pip Ballantine and Tee Morris

Sci-Fi Review of The Ultra Fabulous Glitter Squadron Saves the World Again by A.C. Wise

Waiting on Wednesday with The Wall of Storms by Ken Liu

Sci-Fi Review of Miasma by Greg Cox


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Stacking The Shelves and Mailbox Monday are a pair of weekly memes that are about sharing the books that came your way over the past week, and which you've added to your shelves - whether they be physical or virtual, borrowed or bought, or for pleasure or review.

For Review:

Fall of Light by Steven Erikson
Expected publication: April 21st 2016 by Bantam Press

It is a bitter winter and civil war now ravages Kurald Galain, as Urusander's Legion prepares to march upon the city of Kharkanas.The rebels' only opposition lies scattered, bereft of a leader since Anomander's departure in search of his estranged brother, Andarist. The last brother remaining, Silchas Ruin, rules in Anomander's stead. He seeks to gather the Houseblades of the Highborn Noble families and resurrect the Hust Legion in the southlands, but is fast running out of time.

The officers and leaders of Urusander's Legion, led by Hunn Raal, want the Consort, Draconus, cast aside and Vatha Urusander wedded to Mother Dark, taking his place on a throne at the side of the Living Goddess. But this union will be far more than political, as a sorcerous power has claimed those opposing Mother Dark - given form by the exiled High Priestess Syntara, the Cult of Light rises in answer to Mother Dark and her Children.

Far to the west, an unlikely army has gathered, seeking an enemy without form, in a place none can find, and commanded by a Jaghut driven mad with grief. Hood's call has been heard, and the long-abandoned city of Omtose Phellack is now home to a rabble of new arrivals. From the south have come Dog-Runners and Jheck warriors. From the Western Sea strange ships have grounded upon the harsh shore, with blue-skinned strangers arriving to offer Hood their swords. And from the North, down from mountain fastnesses and isolated valleys, Toblakai arrive, day and night, to pledge themselves to Hood's impossible war. Soon, all will set forth - or not at all - under the banners of the living. Soon, weapons will be drawn, with Death itself the enemy.

Beneath the chaos of such events, and spanning the realm and those countless other realms hidden behind its veil, magic now bleeds into the world. Unconstrained, mysterious and savage, the power that is the lifeblood of the Azathanai, K'rul, runs loose and wild. Following its scent, seeking the places of wounding where the sorcery rushes forth, entities both new and ancient are gathering. And they are eager to feed.

Comprehending the terrible risk of his gift of blood, a weakened, dying K'rul sets out, in the company of a lone guardian, to bring order to this newborn sorcery - alas, his choice of potential allies is suspect. In the name of order, K'rul seeks its greatest avowed enemy.


Kindle Freebies:

In Situ by David Samuel Frazier
Published April 28th 2013 by KDP

When paleontologist Alexandra Moss ventures into the high deserts of Utah in search of a rare dinosaur fossil she gets more than she bargained for: she inadvertently discovers a highly intelligent species from the late Cretaceous that has been in hibernation since the great K-T asteroid disaster--and he is alive!

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It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is another weekly meme, this time focused on what books are spending the most time in your hands and in your head, as opposed to what's been added to your shelf.

War God Rising by Tim Marquitz
Monty Python meets Gladiator!

Sand is destined for greatness. Or so a pair of two-bit criminals would have him believe.

After rescuing him from certain doom, Bess and Kaede embark on a scheme to game the War God Tournament. It’d be easier if Sand wasn’t an alcohol-soaked twit with a disturbing interest in mutton.

Pitted against monsters, magic swords, and murderers galore, they soon realize winning the tourney is the least of their worries.


The Last Mortal Bond by Brian Staveley
The trilogy that began with The Emperor's Blades and continued in The Providence of Fire reaches its epic conclusion, as war engulfs the Annurian Empire in Brian Staveley's The Last Mortal Bond

The ancient csestriim are back to finish their purge of humanity; armies march against the capital; leaches, solitary beings who draw power from the natural world to fuel their extraordinary abilities, maneuver on all sides to affect the outcome of the war; and capricious gods walk the earth in human guise with agendas of their own.

But the three imperial siblings at the heart of it all--Valyn, Adare, and Kaden--come to understand that even if they survive the holocaust unleashed on their world, there may be no reconciling their conflicting visions of the future.


What's topping your shelves this week?

Friday, February 26, 2016

Cover Reveal: The Ghost Rebellion by Pip Ballantine and Tee Morris

The Ghost Rebellion
The Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences
Book Five
Pip Ballantine and Tee Morris

Genre: Steampunk

Publisher: Imagine That! Studios

Date of Publication: 6/10/16
Word Count: about 100,000

Photography by Michael D. Ward of Go ForWard Photography

Design by Starla

The chase is on! After the destruction of the Diamond Jubilee, Agents Eliza D Braun and Wellington Books are in hot pursuit of Dr Henry Jekyll. While he continues his experiments on the aristocracy of Europe, he leaves a trail of chaos and despair in his wake. However when Eliza and Wellington run him to ground in India, they are forced to come face to face with ghosts from the past, and the realities of empire.

Meanwhile Brandon Hill and Bruce Campbell travel deep into Russia hunting down ingredients to save Queen Victoria's life. Amid the cold they uncover a new threat from the revitalized House of Usher .

All the agents of the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences will find their allegiances in question, and their mettle tested as a new dastardly era of international intrigue dawns.

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Chapter One: Wherein a Delightful Luncheon Is Cut Short 

Wellington Thornhill Books took in a deep breath, sparing just a moment to collect his wits. Otherwise he risked not living to see dessert.
The archivist-turned-agent dabbed at the corner of his mouth with his snow-white napkin, and draped it carefully over his lap. Outside the window the gleaming Atlantic rolled under their ocean liner the African Sunset, but that was not the view that held his attention.  His focus remained with the dandy in front of him. Since their first meeting, the bombastic Lord seemed rather taken with the sound of his own voice, which was why the change in his dining companion's demeanour came as such a shock.
If an attack should come Wellington still had his dinner knife and fork. He was also in possession of a glass of wine, half finished—a pity to use, since it was a delightful vintage and paired perfectly with the duck—that could blind his opponent for a few valuable moments.
His lunch date kept a hard glare fixed on him, the monocle digging into the folds of his cheek. Rather unexpected to Wellington, Lord Hieronymus Featherstone had run out of things to say, and was now giving him his undivided attention.
 Wellington thought he had shown unending fortitude while being subjected to Featherstone's eternal droning on about his recent excursions across Africa, India, and Siam. He now knew to what far reaches Lord Featherstone had traversed in the name of Her Majesty—which might be useful.
Yet now Featherstone sat before him, no longer the awful, droning chatterbox. The gentleman's jaw twitched as he kept his ice-chip blue eyes trained on Wellington, demanding satisfaction.
"Well," the lord spoke, his voice booming from his barrel chest, "answer me, man."
Sod it, Wellington thought as he picked up his glass. At the very least, I will finish this excellent wine.
"You obviously mentioned her name during one of your riveting stories when crossing the Serengeti," Wellington replied, taking in a good, long sip of his wine.
"My dear Bernice does not care for heat."
"Then perhaps you mentioned her joining you as you crossed the Canadian Rockies?"
 "Nor does she care for the cold."
Mrs. Bernice Featherstone did not sound either lovely or agreeable, a perfect match for her husband, it seemed.
Nodding in resignation, Wellington cast another quick glance across the table, taking note of the knife and fork. Both hardly suited for close-quarter combat, but still useful. "M'lord, we could speculate for the entirety of the afternoon on how I came to know your lovely wife's name, but why don't we just cut this clever banter short and try a more direct form of engagement."
"Which would be?"

"The truth." With a final dab at of the corners of his mouth, Wellington dropped the napkin on the table, swiping up the fork and placing it in his lap. He positioned the silverware for a quick thrust as he began. "Lord Featherstone, it is no lie when I say your company has been enlightening. I have genuinely enjoyed our spirited and scintillating discussions whilst we journey around the Ivory Coast. However, to say we 'met you' by chance would be disingenuous." His grip tightened on the fork as he said, "My associate and I have been tracking you since your boarding in Conakry."

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About the Authors

Philippa (Pip) Ballantine
Born in Wellington, New Zealand, Philippa has always had her head in a book. For this she blames her father who thought Lord of the Rings was suitable bedtime reading for an eight year old. At the age of thirteen she began writing fantasy stories for herself.

She first earned a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and Political Science and then a Bachelor of Applied Science in Library and Information Science. So soon enough she found herself working in the magical world of libraries where she stayed for over a decade.

Her first professional sale was in 1997, and since then she has gone on to produce mostly novel length fiction. In 2006 she became New Zealand’s first podcast novelist, and she has voiced and produced Weaver’s Web, Chasing the Bard, Weather Child and Digital Magic as podiobooks. Her podcasts have been short listed for the Parsec Awards, and won a Sir Julius Vogel award.

Philippa is the author of the Books of the Order series with Ace- Geist and Spectyr and Wrayth out now, and Harbinger to follow. She is also the co-author of the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences series with Tee Morris. Phoenix Rising debuted in May 2011 and The Janus Affair came out in May 2012. She also has the Shifted World series with Pyr Books, with the first book Hunter and Fox out now. When not writing or podcasting, Philippa loves reading, gardening, and whenever possible traveling. With her husband, Tee and her daughter, she is looked after by a mighty clowder of three cats.

Tee Morris
Tee Morris began his writing career with his 2002 historical epic fantasy, MOREVI The Chronicles of Rafe & Askana. In 2005 Tee took MOREVI into the then-unknown podosphere, making his novel the first book podcast in its entirety. That experience led to the founding of Podiobooks.com and collaborating with Evo Terra and Chuck Tomasi on Podcasting for Dummies and its follow-up, Expert Podcasting Practices for Dummies. He won acclaim and accolades for his cross-genre fantasy-detective Billibub Baddings Mysteries, the podcast of The Case of the Singing Sword winning him the 2008 Parsec Award for Best Audio Drama. Along with those titles, Tee has written articles and short stories for BenBella Books’s Farscape Forever: Sex, Drugs, and Killer Muppets, the podcast anthology VOICES: New Media Fiction, BenBella Books’ So Say We All: Collected Thoughts and Opinions of Battlestar Galactica, and Dragon Moon Press’ Podthology: The Pod Complex.

Tee brought all these skills to the award-winning Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences series which he wrote with his wife, Pip Ballantine. When he is not writing, Tee enjoys life in Virginia alongside Philippa Ballantine, his daughter, and three cats.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheMinistryOfPeculiarOccurrences

Twitter: https://twitter.com/BooksandBraun

Tumblr: http://ministryofpeculiaroccurrences.tumblr.com

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/pipballantine/the-ministry-of-peculiar-occurrences/

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Thursday, February 25, 2016

Sci-Fi Review: The Ultra Fabulous Glitter Squadron Saves the World Again by A.C. Wise

While it initially appears to be nothing more than a pulp adventure tale filled with comically flamboyant superheroes, The Ultra Fabulous Glitter Squadron Saves the World Again is actually a book with a surprising amount of diversity and depth. A.C. Wise has crafted a layered series of interconnected stories with as much heart and soul as action and drama.

The Ultra Fabulous Glitter Squadron itself is a group of women from across the spectrum of gender and sexuality. It's a level of diversity that should feel awkward and forced, but Wise pulls if off smoothly but giving each of them - with the exception of the mysterious pain loving M - a heartfelt origin story. Outcasts, loners, and victims one and all, they've found a common cause in embracing the glitter and glam of drag, choosing to become the kind of heroes the world so desperately needs.

As for that heroism, it pits them against everything from gorilla men on Mars, to tentacle monsters from beneath the sea, space eels, killer scarabs, winged harpies, demons, ghosts, and massive monstrous beetles from deep beneath the Earth. There are mad scientists along the way, a crisis aboard Air Force One, run-of-the-mill bullies at a roller rink, and even a gang of superhero strippers known as the G-String Men. It all sounds silly, pulpish, and over-the-top, but the strength (and depth) of the characters keeps it all grounded.

Beneath all the monstrous mayhem and superhero silliness lies a heart of shared pain, suffering, and hurt. Wise makes us care about these women, sympathize with their struggles, and root for their personal triumphs as much as their professional ones. It's not in-your-face, but the message here about accepting and embracing your true identity is one that I'd hope any reader can relate to. My only complaint would be that the collection ends just as Wise introduces some real tension within the group, putting Bunny and Penny at odds with one another, but that just means I'll be on the hook for the next chapter.

Paperback, 290 pages
Published October 20th 2015 by Lethe Press

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary ARC of this title from the author in exchange for review consideration. This does not in any way affect the honesty or sincerity of my review.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday: The Wall of Storms by Ken Liu

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

The Wall of Storms by Ken Liu
Expected publication: October 4th 2016 by Simon & Schuster 

The much anticipated sequel to The Grace of Kings which NPR called “A magnificent fantasy epic.” returns with Kuni Garu, now known as Emperor Ragin, running the archipelago kingdoms of Dara and struggling to maintain progress while serving the demands of the people.

But when an unexpected invasion force from the far distant east known as the Lyucu Empire comes to shores of Dara, chaos erupts from fear.Emperor Ragin cannot go and lead Dara against the threat himself as he has a recently healed empire fraying at its weakest seams, as conflict within rival faction, even with the Emperor’s own family threaten the raw peace that he has established.

Amidst traitorous rebellion and false accusations the emperor’s grown children rise to face the invaders, some with armies, and one with the guile and savvy intuition to empower the unlikely genius that surrounds her, his eldest daughter Théra.

The Wall of Storms is a breathtaking sequel that builds with a towering diversity of action and tragedy that embodies the best of epic fantasy.


The Grace of Kings was, hands down, one of my favorite reads of last year. It was a a huge, sprawling epic that possessed the same epic grandeur, intelligence, and dignity of a Guy Gavriel Kay novel. You can bet I'll be reading this the moment it arrives on my doorstep!

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Sci-Fi Review: Miasma by Greg Cox

When it comes to media tie-ins - whether it be movie, television, or comic book - one name that consistent comes to mind is Greg Cox. Winner of 3 Scribe Awards from the International Association of Media Tie-In Writers, Cox has adapted everything from The Avengers, Batman, and Buffy, to Xena, The X-Files, and X-Men. He is also the author of two dozen novels and short stories in the various Star Trek universes, with Miasma being his first Star Trek e-book.

The plot itself is simple, with Spock, McCoy, Chekov, and a few red-shirts sent to investigate an alien signal coming from an unexplored planet. Things begin to go wrong from the start, when their shields produce an explosive reaction in the atmosphere, and then quickly get worse when they crash their shuttle craft in the middle of a swamp. As if that weren't enough, their phasers are just as dangerous as the shields in the planet's atmosphere; their communicators are useless; and there are massive, man-eating leech-like monsters hunting them in the mist.

In many ways, this plays like an sci-fi horror story, more akin to the Alien or Predator franchises than Star Trek, but Cox's mastery of the characters, the mythology, and the humor of the series makes it work. It seems like an entirely helpless situation, with a pair of red shirts getting eaten early on, but clever touches - like weaponizing Spock's coppery blood - remind us of the optimism and camaraderie of Gene Roddenberry's vision. Captain Kirk is really a secondary character here, although there is one tongue-in-cheek reference to his old womanizing ways, while Saavik is used exceptionally well.

Although it originated as an idea for Star Trek: Voyager, Miasma works even better as a Star Trek: The Original Series story. Not only does it give us a chance to revisit the cast of the original (i.e. pre-Abrams) series, but it allows Cox to weave in characters and story elements from the original movies. In addition, as a relatively short novella of approximately 100 pages, it makes for a more concentrated and intense story, which is perfectly suited to be consumed (much like an episode of the original series) in a single sitting. Fun, action-packed, intense, and humorous all at the same time, Miasma reminds of what Star Trek can be, when it's in the right hands.

Published February 22nd 2016 by Pocket Books/Star Trek

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary ARC of this title from the publisher in exchange for review consideration. This does not in any way affect the honesty or sincerity of my review.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

From the Shelf to the Page: This Week in the Ruins

In case you missed any of it, here's what happened in the Ruins this week . . .


Fiction Review of The Dig by John Preston

Waiting On Wednesday with Dancer's Lament by Ian C. Esslemont

#SPFBO Review of Priest by Matthew Colville

#SPFBO Review of The Thief Who Pulled on Trouble's Braids by Michael McClung

Horror Review of The Passenger by F.R. Tallis


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Stacking The Shelves and Mailbox Monday are a pair of weekly memes that are about sharing the books that came your way over the past week, and which you've added to your shelves - whether they be physical or virtual, borrowed or bought, or for pleasure or review.

For Review:

Hex by Thomas Olde Heuvelt
Expected publication: April 26th 2016 by Tom Doherty Associates 

The English language debut of the bestselling Dutch novel, Hex, from Thomas Olde Heuvelt--a Hugo and World Fantasy award nominated talent to watch

Whoever is born here, is doomed to stay 'til death. Whoever settles, never leaves.

Welcome to Black Spring, the seemingly picturesque Hudson Valley town haunted by the Black Rock Witch, a seventeenth century woman whose eyes and mouth are sewn shut. Muzzled, she walks the streets and enters homes at will. She stands next to children's bed for nights on end. Everybody knows that her eyes may never be opened or the consequences will be too terrible to bear.

The elders of Black Spring have virtually quarantined the town by using high-tech surveillance to prevent their curse from spreading. Frustrated with being kept in lockdown, the town's teenagers decide to break their strict regulations and go viral with the haunting. But, in so doing, they send the town spiraling into dark, medieval practices of the distant past.

This chilling novel heralds the arrival of an exciting new voice in mainstream horror and dark fantasy.


Drop Dead Gorgeous by Donald Allen Kirch
Published February 5th 2016 by Double Dragon Publishing

"Would you like to hear a story?"

The man couldn't help himself. His captor was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. Her powerful eyes held his attention and made him forget that she had him confined in a basement; his hands and feet bound with duct tape. His heart raced as he meekly nodded his head 'yes' to the question.

After getting past the terror and discomfort, he reasoned that there was nothing to worry about. He would be missed. He had loved ones who would call the police. All he had to do was wait. Letting this woman tell him a story was as good a stall as any.

The mysterious woman weaved a tale of betrayed love and unwanted, unnatural experiments placed upon her. Of a loving wife, working on a top secret government program. Of a husband searching for love in all the wrong places. The prisoner couldn't believe what he was being told. A descent into insanity, fueled by a jealous rage, ended with using the tools of science for torture and revenge.

With every blink of her lovely eyes, licking of her full lips, and heaving of her perfect breasts, the captor entertained a story most bizarre. Of a woman bent on teaching her cheating husband a lesson.

The prisoner wondered...."Am I


The Revelation Code: A Novel by Andy McDermott
Expected publication: April 26th 2016 by Dell

For fans of James Rollins and Matthew Reilly comes the next exciting, globe-trotting adventure in Andy McDermott’s explosive series featuring American archaeologist Nina Wilde and ex-SAS bodyguard Eddie Chase.

The book of mankind’s creation holds the key to its ultimate destruction.

In the heart of Iraq, on the eve of Operation Iraqi Freedom, a CIA special forces unit meets with Arab rebels near long-hidden ancient ruins, a place from which the Americans are direly warned to stay away. But team member Ezekiel Cross doesn’t listen and makes an astounding discovery—one worth killing for.

Now Cross is a ruthless cult leader on an ominous mission. Convinced that he’s unlocked the secrets of the Bible’s Book of Revelation, he’s determined to gather four stone angels that will trigger God’s promised End of Days. And he’s not alone. A former U.S. president, with a vision of all-out religious warfare, plays a role in the dark plot. But while Cross may have the clues to tracking down the remaining angels, he hasn’t been able to match them to real-world locations. For that he has coerced famed archaeologist Nina Wilde into assisting him, using her husband, ex–special forces soldier Eddie Chase, as collateral.

With Eddie held hostage, Nina is forced to recover relics of untold power from Rome to Israel. But she must find a way to halt Cross’s mad quest. Because the last piece of the puzzle is at hand—and with it comes the most terrifying revelation of all.


Invaders: 22 Tales from the Outer Limits of Literature edited by Jacob Weisman
Expected publication: July 12th 2016 by Tachyon Publications

The invasion of the future has begun.

Literary legends including Steven Millhauser, Junot Diáz, Amiri Baraka, and Katharine Dunn have attacked the borders of the every day. Like time traveling mad-scientists, they have concocted outrageous creations from the future. They have seized upon tales of technology gone wrong and mandated that pulp fiction must finally grow up.

In these wildly-speculative stories you will discover the company that controls the world from an alley in Greenwich Village. You’ll find nanotechnology that returns memories to the residents of a nursing home. You’ll rally an avian-like alien to become a mascot for a Major League Baseball team.

The Invaders are here. But did science fiction colonize them first?

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It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is another weekly meme, this time focused on what books are spending the most time in your hands and in your head, as opposed to what's been added to your shelf.

War God Rising by Tim Marquitz

Monty Python meets Gladiator!

Sand is destined for greatness. Or so a pair of two-bit criminals would have him believe.

After rescuing him from certain doom, Bess and Kaede embark on a scheme to game the War God Tournament. It’d be easier if Sand wasn’t an alcohol-soaked twit with a disturbing interest in mutton.

Pitted against monsters, magic swords, and murderers galore, they soon realize winning the tourney is the least of their worries.


The Last Mortal Bond by Brian Staveley

The trilogy that began with The Emperor's Blades and continued in The Providence of Fire reaches its epic conclusion, as war engulfs the Annurian Empire in Brian Staveley's The Last Mortal Bond

The ancient csestriim are back to finish their purge of humanity; armies march against the capital; leaches, solitary beings who draw power from the natural world to fuel their extraordinary abilities, maneuver on all sides to affect the outcome of the war; and capricious gods walk the earth in human guise with agendas of their own.

But the three imperial siblings at the heart of it all--Valyn, Adare, and Kaden--come to understand that even if they survive the holocaust unleashed on their world, there may be no reconciling their conflicting visions of the future.

What's topping your shelves this week?

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Fiction Review: The Dig by John Preston

I actually picked up a tattered paperback copy of The Dig several years ago after seeing it referenced online in a discussion about books that do a good job of portraying an archaeological dig. It wasn't until I was offered an ARC of the new edition, however, that I finally made time for John Preston and his literary treasure hunt.

To be honest, if I didn't feel obligated to give it a review, I likely would have discarded this to the DNF pile. There was some interesting history behind it, and an impressive amount of detail in some of the excavations, but the narrative itself was painfully dry, and the characters tediously English. I mean, there is some very cool stuff going on here, and some really exciting things being revealed from the mysterious mounds, but there is absolutely no emotion to the book. Everyone in it takes such pains to be prim and proper, and Preston himself seems compelled to similarly reign in his enthusiasm.

I'm sure there are literary merits that I'm glossing over, and I'm sure cultural aficionados could pick apart the words and the sentences to reveal a whole other layer, but as adventures go . . . as archaeological discoveries go . . . The Dig was just a wholly underwhelming read.

Paperback, 272 pages
Expected publication: April 5th 2016 by Other Press (first published May 3rd 2007)

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary ARC of this title from the publisher in exchange for review consideration. This does not in any way affect the honesty or sincerity of my review.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday: Dancer's Lament by Ian C. Esslemont

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

Dancer's Lament by Ian C. Esslemont
Expected publication: April 21st 2016 by Tor Books

Taking Malazan fans back to that troubled continent's turbulent early history. the opening chapter in Ian C. Esslemont's epic new fantasy sequence, the Path to Ascendancy trilogy.

For ages warfare has crippled the continent as minor city states, baronies, and principalities fought in an endless round of hostilities. Only the alliance of the rival Tali and Quon cities could field the resources to mount a hegemony from coast to coast -- and thus become known as Quon Taili.

It is a generation since the collapse of this dynasty and regional powers are once more rousing themselves. Into this arena of renewed border wars come two youths to the powerful central city state that is LiHeng. One is named Dorin, and he comes determined to prove himself the most skilled assassin of his age; he is chasing the other youth -- a Dal Hon mage who has proven himself annoyingly difficult to kill.

Li Heng has been guided and warded for centuries by the powerful sorceress known as the "Protectress" and she allows no rivals. She and her cabal of five mage servants were enough to repel the Quon Tali Iron Legions -- what could two youths hope to accomplish under their stifling rule?

Yet under the new and ambitious King Chulalorn the Third, Itko Kan is on the march from the south. He sends his own assassin servants, the Nightblades, against the city, and there are hints that he also commands inhuman forces out of legend.

While above all, shadows swirl oddly about Li Heng, and monstrous slathering beasts seem to appear from nowhere to run howling through the street. It is a time of chaos and upheaval, and in chaos, as the young Dal Hon mage would say, there is opportunity.


With 6 side entries in the Malazan series under his belt, filling in gaps and fleshing out the main story from Steven Erikson, it's Esslemont turn to reach back and introduce more of the backstory/history behind the Malazan Book of the Fallen.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

#SPFBO Review: Priest & The Thief Who Pulled on Trouble's Braids

Well, the end is nigh, the final reviews are rolling out, and soon we'll know the winner of Mark Lawrence's Great Self-Published Fantasy Blog-off. It's been an interesting experience, and I'm as curious as anybody to see who comes out on top, but before we get there . . . I have a final pair of reviews to share.

I really expected to enjoy Priest more than I did. Based on everything I'd read about it, I just thought Matthew Colville and I would click a little better. It's a serviceable tale, and there were some moments that made me smile, but overall it just left me with a feeling of strained deja vu rather than genuine nostalgia.

The biggest issue for me comes down to Heden, the titular priest. I just didn't like the guy. He didn't engage me, didn't appeal to me, and didn't inspire me as a protagonist to follow. I gave him every benefit of the doubt, but we just never clicked. It didn't help that he seemed to discover himself at just the right time, and that his power was so over-the-top, it drained his quest of all tension.

In terms of narrative, I've seen some people complain about its episodic nature, but I had no issues with that. In fact, I suspect it made for a better read. There was some strong dialogue at times, and some of the monsters/villains were painted upon the page very well. Ultimately, though, it was more hard boiled detective novel than epic fantasy, with a priest/gumshoe who didn't quite do it for me.
[6.0]

Kindle Edition, 370 pages
Published 2010


At just over 200 pages, The Thief Who Pulled on Trouble's Braids is the perfect length for a revenge-driven sword-and-sorcery tale. It's just long enough to tell its tale, but not so long that it overstays it welcome. Like the Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser adventures of the 70s, Amra gets in, gets good, and then gets on her way with both charm and wit, before scurrying away with sarcasm and cynicism intact.

Packed into those 200 pages is some great character building - Amra, Holgren, Kluge, and Bosch especially - and some solid world building. Michael McClung doesn't waste a lot of time setting the scene or building up the grandeur of Lucernis, but manages to establish it all through actions, observations, and conversations along the way. I came away from this with a fantastic grasp on the geography, the history, and the politics of the town, and I understood exactly how everyone fit in.

This is a fast-paced tale with its moments of both magic and violence, starring a young woman who is very much your typical rogue - a foul-mouthed, rather plain, tomboy with a strong moral center. She's not a hero, but she's also not a victim. Amra is her own person, and with the help of Holgren, she's determine to do what needs doing, no matter what the larger cost may be. On that note, there are big stakes here, but not too big for the story McClung has established. I was growing a bit concerned at one point, as more characters came in and more plots became apparent, but every city has its share of stories, and ignoring that would have made this a one-dimensional tale.
[8.5]

Kindle Edition, 210 pages
Published November 28th 2012 by Michael McClung 

Monday, February 15, 2016

Horror Review: The Passenger by F.R. Tallis

I don't know what it is about them, but submarines have always fascinated me. I'm not sure if it's their clandestine nature, their inherent claustrophobia, or the impending sense of doom, but there's a massive (fictional) appeal there for me. I remember staying up way too late to watch Das Boot as a child, and I recall being quite content to sit alone in a nearly empty theater to enjoy The Hunt for Red October, but I think it was Clive Cussler who sealed the fascination for me with Raise the Titanic.

Given all that, The Passenger: A Novel would have caught my eye regardless, but toss a Gothic sort of ghost story into the mix and there was no way I could pass it by. To his credit, F.R. Tallis uses the ghost story element sparingly, allowing the real horror of submarine warfare to carry most of the plot, but there's an underlying thread of anxiety and superstition that magnifies the sense of dread throughout. It's a subtle sort of supernatural flavor, one that allows for a lot of doubt as to what's really going on. The whole story is carefully crafted so as to never come right out and declare that there are ghosts on board or that the boat is really cursed, leaving us to wonder what's real and what's imagined.

It's a small cast of characters who carry the story here, and they're all well-developed. Not necessarily the most likable of men, but admirable in their own way. Even though these are German sailors counting the tonnage of allied ships they've sunk, there's a humanity to them . . . and even a sense of mercy for their victims. In fact, the futility of war and the psychological cost is a huge part of the horror here, adding yet another layer to the story. With the exception of a prolonged section of the book where the men are on furlough with the ship in dry dock, it's a fast pasted novel that races from one near-disaster to the next. It seems like everything that can go wrong for them does, and there were more than a few times I didn't expect the U-330 to rise again.

Readers looking for a more straightforward horror story are likely to be turned off by the amount of detail surrounding submarine warfare, maintenance, and survival, but it's those elements that drive the story home. Tallis makes us share the dread, the fear, and the hopelessness of the situation on multiple occasions, until we're almost wishing he'd wave it all away with a ghostly explanation and give them men their rest. Who and what The Passenger may be is, of course, the mystery that drives the novel, providing Kapitänleutnant Siegfried Lorenz with reasons to question both his superiors and himself. As much as part of me was hoping for a bit more of the supernatural going into it, I think the balance here is perfect, with the subtlety making for a much more effective story.

Hardcover, 400 pages
Published February 1st 2016 by Pegasus

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary ARC of this title from the publisher in exchange for review consideration. This does not in any way affect the honesty or sincerity of my review.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

From the Shelf to the Page: This Week in the Ruins

In case you missed any of it, here's what happened in the Ruins this week . . . actually, considering how sick I've been, I managed a pretty decent schedule.


WTF Friday review of Raping the Gods by Brian Whitney

Fantasy Review of Dragon Hunters by Marc Turner

Waiting On Wednesday with Children of Earth and Sky by Guy Gavriel Kay

Cover Reveal of Hound's Bite by E.J. Stevens


Coming up later in the month, I'll once again be playing host to Kristi Charish as part of her Owl blog tour.


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Stacking The Shelves and Mailbox Monday are a pair of weekly memes that are about sharing the books that came your way over the past week, and which you've added to your shelves - whether they be physical or virtual, borrowed or bought, or for pleasure or review.

For Review:

The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories by Ken Liu
Expected publication: March 8th 2016 by Saga Press
Bestselling author Ken Liu selects his award-winning science fiction and fantasy tales for a groundbreaking collection—including a brand-new piece exclusive to this volume. With his debut novel, The Grace of Kings, taking the literary world by storm, Ken Liu now shares his finest short fiction in The Paper Menagerie. 


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It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is another weekly meme, this time focused on what books are spending the most time in your hands and in your head, as opposed to what's been added to your shelf.

Interior Darkness: Selected Stories by Peter Straub
Peter Straub has spent forty years at the forefront of modern literary horror. The stories assembled here represent his astonishing range and his ability to terrify, transport, and hold a reader hostage. Each story cracks the foundation of our reality and opens our eyes, taking us further and further into the darkness that normally remains deeply, and safely, hidden. Interior Darkness is the gold standard of literary horror. 

Miasma by Greg Cox
Star Trek continues its fiftieth anniversary celebration in 2016 with an all-new enovella from New York Times bestselling author Greg Cox, set in the popular and blockbuster Original Series era!


What's topping your shelves this week?

Friday, February 12, 2016

WTF Friday: Raping the Gods by Brian Whitney

Every once in a while, as the mood strikes me, I like to indulge in those titles that are a bit odd . . . a bit different . . . a bit bizarre . . . and a bit freaky. These are books that don't always get a lot of press, and which rarely benefit from any prominent retail shelf space.



They're often an underground of sort of literature, best shared through guilty whispers, and often with embarrassed grins. These are our WTF Friday reads!

Do you like plain vanilla sex, sobriety, and a sense of normalcy? Then this book isn't for you.
Raping the Gods comes billed as a bizarre black comedy, as told through a drug-addled stream-of-consciousness narrative. It's a book I normally wouldn't have picked up - even David Cronenberg couldn't save Naked Lunch for me, and Natural Born Killers is one of the few movies I've ever walked out of - but Brian Whitney and I had chatted about another book a couple of years ago, and I was intrigued by the concept.

Yes, it's a really weird read. Yes, the narrative tried my patience on a regular basis. Yes, there's a lot of illicit substances involved. And, yes, it often makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. What separated it from those art-trash films, however, was its sense of humor. Whitney isn't out to make some grand artistic statement here. He knows how bat-shit crazy his story is, and he's damned well going to have fun with it. The entire thing is like an inside joke, where so long as you buy into the self-aware, self-depreciating humor, you're going to feel compelled to keep reading.

There were a number of passages that made me shake my head, some that made me question what the hell I was reading, and many more that had me laughing out loud. Brian as author/narrator conveys the perfect tone of desperation to make it all work, and Dylan has just the right amount of dark undercurrents to him to make his insanity compelling. The whole negotiation between them to start the book is uproariously funny, with Dylan's rambling, incoherent, nonsense missives so full of arrogance and self-importance that they're almost painful.

At the same time, Brian's pitiful life, washed up, drunk, broke, and relying on aging porn stars to pay the bills, couldn't scream tortured writer any louder if he danced naked through the desert with fireworks exploding from between his legs. That's one of the few things that doesn't happen in the book.

Somehow, despite all the insanity, Whitney manages to keep the adrenaline level high throughout, never faltering under the weight of his own expectations. It's dark and a it's violent; it's kinky and it's perverse; and it's so asinine in parts that it approaches genius. I really wondered where it was going, and wasn't sure I ever wanted to see Brian Raping the Gods, but their final scene atop the cliff was absolutely perfect in its simplicity, and the final throw-away line about the leash at the airport just tied everything together.


Kindle Edition, 135 pages
Published March 2nd 2015 by Strawberry Books

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Fantasy Review: Dragon Hunters by Marc Turner

Don't forget to check out my interview with Marc over at The Speculative Herald.

If you were a fan of When the Heavens Fall, then be prepared for an abrupt change with Dragon Hunters.  For the second book of The Chronicle of the Exile, Marc Turner shifts location, characters, and story line. It’s still the same recognizable narrative voice, and the mythology ties the two books together, but it makes for a very different read . . . one that takes on a entirely new flavor. Having said that, if you’ve yet to encounter Turner’s work, then that same shift means this second book is just as accessible to new readers as the first.

Personally, I found this second volume a little more difficult to get into than the first. Call me old-fashioned, but I like my darkened alleys, haunted forests, and subterranean lairs. It’s classic (perhaps even clichéd) epic fantasy, but those elements were largely responsible for me celebrating the first as something of a throwback fantasy. That’s not to say there’s anything wrong with this second volume, or that it doesn’t grow on you, it just the sunny seaside setting didn’t have the same initial impact - although it does prove to have some very cool, very dark, very underwater secrets.

Senar Sol, Guardian, is our first real POV character in the novel. He’s as much a challenge as he is a mystery, trapped far from home, with rather murky loyalties. In terms of narrative, he allows us to view the events surrounding the Storm Lords with a critical eye, and in terms of character, he slowly emerges to reveal himself as a hero of note. Karmel Flood, Chameleon, is probably the most intriguing character in the novel, a woman who is  both a thief and an assassin, with her loyalties divided rather than murky. She has a magical ninja-like quality to her, but she’s also intelligent and witty. Agenta Webb, Gilgamarian sailor, is a bit more of a mystery, but she’s strong-willed, independent, and more powerful than appearances would suggest.

Kempis Parr, Watchman, serves as the moral center of the novel, a good man who is perhaps too aware of his place in the world. He’s self-assured and sarcastic, but he’s also a good leader and an even better investigator. I’m not sure what it is about the kinds of city guards, but they often make for the best, most reliable, most admirable characters. Mazana Creed, Storm Lord, is the exact opposite, but far-and-away the most entertaining character in the book. She struck a chord in me from her first verbal sparring with Imerle Polivar, and I found myself hoping she’d have a significant role to play as the story progressed. She’s also the character who grows and evolves the most, although there were moments I doubted her motives (as I suspect we’re meant to). As was the case in the first novel, it takes a while for their individual stories to merge, but that's part of the charm.

The sea dragons are, of course, the main attraction here, and it’s well worth the wait for them to appear on the scene. They’re brutal killing machines, water-borne monsters who are fully prepared to amass a massive body count. Turner crafts the geography almost as carefully as he does the plot, ensuring that the dragons aren’t just something on which to hinge the story, but a legitimate part of a very water-borne story. Their presence has mythological as well as political implications, and in a book where political schemes are almost as serpentine as the dragons themselves, that leaves them a large role to play.

All in all, Dragon Hunters feels a bit more grounded than the first book, and swaps some of its almost-Gothic horror for pulp-adventure, but it still maintains the same dark sense of humor and epic scope of imagination that made it so enjoyable.

Hardcover, 496 pages
Published February 9th 2016 by Tor Books

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary ARC of this title from the publisher in exchange for review consideration. This does not in any way affect the honesty or sincerity of my review.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Waiting On Wednesday: Children of Earth and Sky by Guy Gavriel Kay

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

Children of Earth and Sky by Guy Gavriel Kay
Expected publication: May 10th 2016 by NAL

The bestselling author of the groundbreaking novels Under Heaven and River of Stars, Guy Gavriel Kay is back with a new novel, Children of Earth and Sky, set in a world inspired by the conflicts and dramas of Renaissance Europe. Against this tumultuous backdrop the lives of men and women unfold on the borderlands—where empires and faiths collide.

From the small coastal town of Senjan, notorious for its pirates, a young woman sets out to find vengeance for her lost family. That same spring, from the wealthy city-state of Seressa, famous for its canals and lagoon, come two very different people: a young artist traveling to the dangerous east to paint the grand khalif at his request—and possibly to do more—and a fiercely intelligent, angry woman, posing as a doctor’s wife, but sent by Seressa as a spy.

The trading ship that carries them is commanded by the accomplished younger son of a merchant family, ambivalent about the life he’s been born to live. And farther east a boy trains to become a soldier in the elite infantry of the khalif—to win glory in the war everyone knows is coming.

As these lives entwine, their fates—and those of many others—will hang in the balance, when the khalif sends out his massive army to take the great fortress that is the gateway to the western world…


Far and away my most anticipated novel of the new year!

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Cover Reveal: Hound's Bite by E.J. Stevens

I am excited to reveal the cover for HOUND'S BITE, the fifth full-length novel in the Ivy Granger urban fantasy series by E.J. Stevens.  We also have a giveaway and a sneak peek book excerpt to share!

Cover Reveal: Hound's Bite


Hound's Bite (Ivy Granger, Psychic Detective #5) by E.J. Stevens

Ivy Granger thought she left the worst of Mab's creations behind when she escaped Faerie.  She thought wrong.

In a cruel twist of fate, Ivy has unleashed a powerful horde of Unseelie beasts upon her city, turning her homecoming into a potential slaughter of innocents.  Now Ivy must gather her allies to fight a reputedly unstoppable force—The Wild Hunt.

Will the training Ivy received in her father's court be enough to save her city, or will Harborsmouth be forced to kneel before the Lord of the Hunt?  She is willing risk her own life, but some sacrifices come at a cost worse than death.  When an ally is bitten by one of The Wild Hunt's hounds, Ivy must face the possibility that winning this battle may mean killing the one person she has come to
love most.

Release Date: July 12, 2016
Genre: Paranormal, Urban Fantasy
Add to Goodreads.

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Hound’s Bite Book Excerpt

     “Are you saying we should run?” I asked, eyebrows raised.  “Because you should know me better than that.”
     “What he’s saying, Princess is that you woke up something too big for the three of us to defeat alone,” Torn said.
     That made me pause.  We’d fought faerie queens, pyro demons, a lovesick necromancer, and a psychotic lamia, to name a few.  I may not have come through those battles unscathed, or with all my guts still on the inside, but with my friends at my side, and a new arsenal of wisp powers at my fingertips, I felt nearly invincible.  
     I looked to Ceff, hoping he’d grab his trident and join me for some quick monster cleanup.  I may not be on the clock for this one, but I didn’t let hungry fae prowl the streets of Harborsmouth.  And if Torn was right, I’d somehow let this one follow us out of Faerie.  No way was I turning tail, no matter how tired I was.
     But Ceff didn’t reach for his weapons.  
     “We need allies,” he said.
     “And larger weapons,” Torn said, with a wink.  
     The cat sidhe looked excited, which was a clue that I wasn’t going to like the answer to my next question.
     “And what monster do we need to gather our allies and weapons against?” I asked.
     “Haven’t you guessed yet, Princess?” Torn asked, eyes gleaming.  “We’re not just facing one howling beast.”
     Ceff turned to me, closing the space between us.  In the moonlight, I could see my reflection in the dark pools of his kelpie eyes—eyes that were tight with worry.
     “What are they?” I asked.
     Ceff’s voice was low and reverent, and tinged with the taint of fear.
     “The Wild Hunt.”

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About the Author
E.J. Stevens is the author of 14 works of speculative fiction, including the Hunters' Guild urban fantasy series, the Spirit Guide young adult paranormal series, and the award-winning Ivy Granger urban fantasy series.  She is known for filling pages with quirky characters, bloodsucking vampires, psychotic faeries, and snarky, kick-butt heroines.

Connect with E.J. Stevens by following her on TwitterFacebookNewsletterBlogGoodreads, and Amazon.

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Hound's Bite Cover Reveal Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

What do you think of the cover?