She Dreams of Fire (The Hammer of Witches #1)
09, Jun

SHE DREAMS OF FIRE is probably my all time favorite novel from M.K. Gibson and that's impressive since I absolutely loved VILLAINS RULE and the TECHNOMANCER series. I think my reasons for liking it are due to the fact it takes place in the modern world and manages to do a Dresden Files-esque world of fairies, magic, and demons. Indeed, M.K. Gibson's writing style is naturally similar to Jim Butcher's so it is really hitting the sweet spot as I wait for the release of PEACE TALKS or BRIEF CASES.

The Finder of the Lucky Devil (The Lucky Devil Series #1)
06, Jun


THE FINDER OF THE LUCKY DEVIL is probably my favorite discovery of 2018. I love it when a new author, especially a self-published one, manages to impress me. This novel is probably the best urban fantasy I've managed to read since the last of the Dresden Files and the early Mercedes Thompson novels. It's not a genre breaker ans follows a lot of familiar tropes but it does them well, has likable characters, creates a believable world, and sets up the sequels without flubbing anything. I could easily believe this is a book I'd find on the shelves of a bookstore and wouldn't have any trouble believing it had been released by one of the larger publishers.

04, Jun


DRONES by Rob J. Hayes is a big departure for the writer. Normally, he is a writer of dark fantasy and grimdark epics. His IT TAKES A THIEF books were light steampunk fantasy but still very much in the magical genre. So, I was interested when he said he was doing a work in a sci-fi cyberpunk setting rather than a faux-Renaissance or Hyborian-Age era. Would he be able to write with his usual trademark wit in a entirely new environment?

The Lies of Locke Lamora (Gentleman Bastards #1)
02, Jun

THE LIES OF LOCKE LAMORA by Scott Lynch is one of my three current favorite unfinished series. It is up there with A Song of Ice and Fire and The Kingkiller Chronicles. Mind you, the first book has a benefit of being perfectly able to stand upon its own and if you wanted to just read it then you wouldn't really be depriving yourself of a vast unfinished mystery. Scott Lynch also has his reasons for delaying his publication of the 4th book which I certainly can't fault him. Still, I'm going to say this is a must-read for both fantasy as well as grimdark fantasy fans. It is not only brilliantly written but horrifying as well as gut-bustingly funny.

The Rise of the Nazil (The Rise of the Nazil #1)
31, May


THE RISE OF NAZIL is an epic fantasy novel depicting the conflict and relationships between the pale white-haired Nazil race with the more diverse human population around them. The Nazil are a racist, imperialist, and corrupt slave-holding race which all other people live in terror of. However, not all of them are without honor and a chance encounter (or perhaps not so chance encounter) between a young woman named Brahanu and the First Chosen of the Nazil changes the destiny of the nation forever.

Hack/Slash Omnibus volume 1 (Hack/Slash #1)
25, May


I should make a confession before I begin this review that I love slasher films. I have a somewhat twisted perspective on them, though, which is the fact they're actually quite intelligent when done right as well as proto-feminist. They are, after all, among the first movies where the heroine can and does kick the ass of the monster. Jaime Lee Curtis, Sigourney Weaver, and Linda Hamilton all got their start taking down a monstrous killer that had backed them into a corner. Buffy the Vampire Slayer was based on Joss Whedon's desire to have the usual victim of a monstrous stalker rebel and kill the creature attacking her.

Melokai (In the Heart of the Mountain #1)
24, May


MELOKAI is a novel which I was surprised by in more than one way. I was intially attracted to the book by the cover and was even more interested once I read the synopsis. It claimed to be inspired by Game of Thrones and Kushiel's Dart, both series which I was familiar with. They had very different feels, though, and I was curious where the story would take me.

The Sword of Destiny (The Witcher #2)
20, May

4.5/5 noticeably made a big screw up when they decided to release Andrzej Sapkowski's The Witcher series stateside. While they did a decent enough translation of the text, taking cues from the video game, they made the mistake of assuming the anthologies were not actually part of the saga. They released the first anthology, The Last Wish, but then skipped to the third book in the series The Blood of Elves because they didn't realize its story picks up directly after the events of this book. As such, The Blood of Elves confused a lot of fans who read it as it refers to events and characters we haven't read about.

Crystal Lake Memories: The Complete History of Friday the 13th
20, May


FRIDAY THE 13TH is one of the most successful horror franchises of all time. It dominated the 80s horror movie phase and was one of the first series to become a staple of video stores (which for younger viewers were magical places to get movies before Amazon or streaming delivered them straight to your house). It began as a shameless cash-in on the success of John Carpenter's Halloween but gradually evolved into a more successful spin-off that pretty much all slasher films imitate to this day.

The Blood of Whisperers (The Vengeance Trilogy Book 1)
19, May


Non-Medieval fantasy is something which remains as rare as rooster teeth. Despite the fact we love samurai, kung fu heroes, and ninjas--the simple fact is we mostly set our stories in the High Middle Ages rather than deviate from that practice much. Steampunk and urban fantasy have somewhat alleviated it but we're still dominated by stuff which takes place in variations of Europe. This isn't bad, mind you, but it's nice when someone breaks the patterns and sets a story in mythological China. Well, what seems to be a mythological China which conquered Europe as there's a lot of mashup going on.