Thursday, September 26, 2013

Love Minus Eighty

Rating: 3 stars
Length: On the long side (403 pages in trade paperback)
Publication: June 11, 2013 from Orbit Books
Premise: In the year 2133, people are connected to each other constantly via systems that bring them all the information they could ever want and then some. They also flee the fear of death by buying cryonic insurance, which ensures that their corpses will be frozen and others will have the option to revive them in the future. It's a narrow chance, but some women are offered an uncomfortable and different way out.
Warnings: implied sexual coercion, coerced marriage as indentured servitude
Recommendation: The interpersonal relationships are all over the map, but no one gets either a perfectly happy ending or a simple helping of just desserts. I suspect that the novella was better, but this was an intriguing read.

Spoilers for about the first fifty pages of the book, but the point I'm discussing tends to make it into any detailed summary text. 

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Sixty-one Nails

Rating: 3.5 stars
Length: Hefty with detail (519 pages)
Publication: November 2009 in the UK; August 31, 2010 in America from Angry Robot Books
Premise: Niall Petersen is living an altogether ordinary life until he almost dies in a tube station. When he dazedly tells a strange woman who calls herself Blackbird that he's from London and not "the other lands," he wakes up to stream of things he can't quite believe: most importantly, he's descended from the Feyre and has to start running before members of the Seventh Court hunt him down and kill him. He's thrown into a new world only a breath away from the one he's always known, and he may even learn to appreciate it if he can live past next week.
Warnings: magical horror (nothing too graphic)
Recommendation: If you're looking for more magic in London or have a soft spot for Fae types, this may be your thing. It doesn't carry as much tension as it could with the exposition-heavy pacing, but for the most part it's an enjoyable read. 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Shifty Magic

I received a free review copy of the book from Judy Teel, the author, in exchange for an honest review; she was gracious about how long it took to produce the review, and I'm excited to be working from my first author-provided copy.
Rating: 2.5 stars
Length: Compact (252 pages)
Publication: May 21, 2013 from Golden Angel Books
Premise: Addison Kittner has been struggling to make ends meet starting out as a PI/bounty hunder when she stumbles into a case far above her normal pay grade. She finds herself caught between the vampires, the Weres, the FBI, and darker forces that she's only beginning to understand....all while trying to grasp her own identity.
Warnings: gore, sexual harassment
Recommendation: While a few genuinely interesting moments set Addison apart, for the most part Shifty Magic doesn't have much that you can't find somewhere else. It samples from urban fantasy, paranormal romance, and YA-- the pieces work fairly well on their own, but they don't always blend.

Thursday, September 12, 2013


Rating: 3 stars
Length: A touch dense (431 pages)
Publication: June 4, 2013 from Poisoned Pen Press
Premise: Medea, princess of Colchis, has been raised to the worship of Hekate and loves the goddess's dark mysteries, even though other ways of life draw her interest. When Jason comes to Colchis in search of the Golden Fleece, she must struggle to choose the right course amid tangled loyalties. Her life becomes a myth even as she lives it, wrapping her truth in fear and mysteries
Warnings: rape, attempted rape (incestuous in one instance), gore, mutilation, murder of children
Recommendation: The premise really isn't bad, and if you like ancient Greek mythology or overt examination of gender roles, this may be your thing. It's light on fantasy, but that helps humanize Medea; the problem is that it sticks closely enough to earlier material to be choppy, not giving any individual scene enough time to develop.

Spoilers for things that are in the Euripides play of the same name. If you're looking to be surprised by material that is literally thousands of years old, you don't want to bother with this book in the first place. There are also spoilers for a big non-Euripides romance in the red pen section, but it's obvious almost immediately how that's going to go. Note: some of these spellings may not be ones you've seen before, but they match the instances in the book. 

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Dreams and Shadows

Rating: 3 stars
Length: On the long side of average (464 pages)
Publication: February 26, 2013 from Harper Voyager
Premise: Ewan Thatcher and Colby Stevens both found themselves in the Limestone Kingdom when they were children and became friends immediately. Their meeting should have just been an adventure, but when Ewan is in danger, Colby tries to save him and finds himself irrevocably changed. Both of them are living out half-lives as adults in Austin years later when they find themselves facing dangers that they'd thought long forgotten.
Warnings: gore, graphic suicide, emotional abuse and attempted blood sacrifice of children
Recommendation: If you're desperate for fairies in America, you might enjoy this one, but it doesn't really seem to take off until the climactic final battle. There's so much promise in the tone and setting and narrative circles, but then it just gets too choppy to maintain that flow. 

Minor spoilers for Colby in adulthood and an edge of a hint about the conclusion of the book, but nothing that isn't common in summary text or other reviews.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Underwater release

Today I'm taking a look at the first self-published book I've edited to actually make it to the self-publishing stage (that I know of). If you're interested in self-publishing or in freelance editing stuff that isn't shooting for a publishing house, take a look behind the curtain. 

And check out Julia McDermott's post for the writer's view!