Saturday, May 22, 2010

Podcast #10: Interview #4: Lucy A. Snyder, and Book Giveaway #1

Lucy A. Snyder

Lucy A. Snyder is the Bram Stoker Award winning author of the poetry collection, Chimeric Machines, and Sparks and Shadows, and her first novel, Spellbent. She has a B.S. in Biology and an M.A. in journalism and is a graduate of the Clarion Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers' Workshop. Born in South Carolina, she grew up in the cowboys-and-cactus part of Texas and currently lives in Worthington, Ohio.

Here's the full interview with Lucy: Podcast #10: Interview #4: Lucy A. Snyder

MoCon Binge Book Giveaway #1

Hey all, here's your first chance to win a free book signed by the author. If you'd like the chance to win a free copy of Lucy A. Snyder's remarkable book Spellbent, then send an e-mail to: with your name and address. You may only enter your name once for this book.

This contest will run for two weeks, starting today (May 22nd), until June 5th at midnight (EST).



Sunday, May 16, 2010

The MoCon Binge


I've been so excited for so long now about sharing all of the goodness that is MoCon. If there was one thing that I was looking forward to the most this year, it was definitely MoCon V. It was also a big event for the site: I got the chance to interview Lucy A. Snyder, Gary A. Braunbeck, and Brian Keene (more about this later in the post), as well as prospects for even more author interviews, as well as a handful of books to give away (also explained later in this post).

My first encounter with MoCon was two years ago, when I was browsing Brian Keene's website and noticed that he'd be signing, as well as reading and participating on several of the panels being held at the convention. There I met Maurice Broaddus, Kelli Dunlap, Bob Freeman, Michael West, Alethea Kontis, D. Harlan Wilson, Geoffery Girard, Brian Keene, as well as Gary A. Braunbeck, his lovely wife Lucy A. Snyder, and Wrath James White.

Unfortunately I wasn't able to attend last year, but I did this year.

It was incredible. This years theme was the incorporation of faith in writing. They had several panels that were brilliant, funny and insightful. There was amazing food, good fellowship (including a few games of Magic), and some damn fine art, with Steven C. Gilbert as the Art Guest of Honor.

I hope you'll understand and forgive me, when I say that beyond that description there isn't much more that I can expound on. Everything went by so quickly, and sort of blurred together, but in a good way.

So, with that being said, here's how this Binge thing will break down:

Book Reviews

At my first MoCon -- strapped for cash but craving for more books --I promised Wrath James White that I'd pick up more of his books when I had more cash. Well, this year I just happened to have enough to pick up some of his other titles, that I've been really looking forward to reading.Therefore about half of the forthcoming reviews will include some of Wrath's novels, but they will be interspersed evenly throughout.

Interview Podcasts

While at MoCon I was lucky enough to interview and record, Lucy A. Snyder, Gary A. Bruanbeck and Brian Keene, as stated before. I'll be post each author's interview seperately, probably in three or four day intervals.

Book Giveaways

I've procured several different titles while at MoCon, all signed by the authors, that I'll be giving away within the next several days. I'll be posting more information when I make the official post.

For now, hang tight, and enjoy the binge!


Saturday, May 15, 2010

Vanilla Ride Book Review

Title: Vanilla Ride
Author: Joe R. Lansdale
Publisher: Doubleday
Pages: 256
ISBN: 9780307270979

Vanilla Ride is the eighth book in author Joe R. Lansdale's fantastically popular Hap and Leonard Series.

I've only recently discovered Lansdale, and within the short period of time since my finding, I've quickly devoured all of the Hap and Leonard novels, and am now well on my to finishing the rest of his surprisingly long bibliography. When I got to the end of Captians Outrageous, I started jonesing for more, and to my surprise found that there was still one more book in the series to go before I had to officially begin the agonizing wait for another adventure with Hap and Leonard.

Hap Collins, -- a smart ass who has an affinity for southern women (also his one true weakness) -- and Leonard Pine -- a gay, black Vietnam Veteran whose still looking for the right man -- aren't your typical duo. And although they might not see eye-to-eye on everything, they both share the same passion for causing trouble and making things right, even if it might be wrong.

When an old buddy asks Leonard to rescue his daughter from an abusive, low-life drug dealer, he agrees. Inviting Hap along for the ride, the duo heads out on a wild quest. One that will pit the two men against the Dixie Mafia, which elusive, sexy and dangerous Vanilla Ride.

Although this wasn't my favorite Hap and Leonard novel, it was one hell of a ride! The storyline was slightly recycled from some of the duo's past experiences, but Lansdale makes up for this by mixing it up just enough to keep me hooked. I was really excited to learn just what exactly Vanilla Ride was, and after learning what it was, I'm looking forward to seeing what Lansdale does with it.

However, naturally, I have a few issues with Vanilla Ride. Firstly, it seemed as though it took forever for anything major to take place. Lansdale does a marvelous job with building the story, but nothing really happens until you've read a third of the book. However, from there things do pick up and it's a typical Hap and Leonard adventure: edge of your seat, no holds-bar, nonstop ass kicking, wisecracking romp that doesn't let up until the final page.

The second issue that I have with Vanilla Ride is probably the reason for my first problem with it, which is that there seemed to be large amounts of talking between the infamous duo. Maybe it's Lansdale's way of showing the reader that no matter how much the reader doesn't want Hap and Leonard to be getting older, -- a feeling I'm sure the duo shares with the reader -- they really are.

And the most ridiculous of my issues with Vanilla Ride -- even though it minute -- is that Leonard, whose known to have an affection for sawed-off shotguns, doesn't obtain said firearm until well near the end of the book.

In reality, all of these issues are probably ridiculous and minuscule, but they're things that I've come to expect from these characters, and from the author, therefore I'm giving Vanilla Ride 8.0 TARDIS's out of 10.

If anyone is interested in starting from the beginning of the series, you can pick up a copy of Savage Season here, and here.



Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Brine Book Review

Title: Brine
Author: Adrienne Jones
Publisher: Creative Guy Publishing
Pages: 204
ISBN: 9781894953511

Brine is one of the most inventive, luring, brilliant and thought-provoking books I've read this year.

I have to admit that the first thing that caught my attention when I was browsing through Creative Guy Publishing's book catalog (whose site I would highly recommend visiting), was the beautiful and bizarre cover of Brine. I know that you're not supposed to judge a book by it's cover, but after seeing the cover for this one, I couldn't help myself: I had to make sure it was as kick ass as the cover led me to believe.

Good thing I was quick to judge this book by it's cover!

Not only is the cover bizarre, but so is the story: it follows a year in the life of Elliot Newton, an up and coming painter, whose life is changed forever after waking up one morning from a drunken painting streak the night before. Nursing a hangover Elliot quickly realizes that he's not alone. In fact, he finds that over night his Cape Cod property has become occupied with several creatures not of the human world, but rather of the human mind. With the help of his friend Bobby, the two slowly begin to unravel the truth behind the painted inhabitants. From there the story goes from weird to weider, and ends at extremely weird.

Jones does a marvelous job with keeping the pace smooth, and quick, filling it full of memorable characters, and a kick ass plot that keeps you guessing with each page. I really loved the concept of the first third of the novel, and although it at first reminded me of Stephen King's Duma Key, I was happy to find that it far surpassed anything that King could ever write. And that goes for the remaining two-thirds of the book as well.

Have you ever cracked a book open, begun to read, and hours later realized that you've spent all your time absorbed by the pages in front of you? Well, that's exactly what happened to me with this book. At 204 pages, it's a quick read -- which was a good thing, considering I read it in one sitting -- but the story is so well written that after reading it, it feels like you've just finished reading a 350 page novel. There's so much going for it at once, that even if the characters ridiculous and shoddily written, it would still be one hell of a novel.

Brine was absolutely amazing, and surpassed my expectations by many miles, and then some! That's why I'm giving it 9.5 TARDIS's out of 10.

I absolutely loved Brine, and I can't wait to see and read what kind of other weirdness Jones stirs up and commits to the page in the future. With a few more re-reads, I have a feeling that Brine will quickly become one of my favorite all-time novels.

So, if you're into reading weirdness, I would highly suggest picking up a copy of Brine as soon as possible. You can buy a copy over at Barnes&, and at, and while your at it, pick one up for a friend. They'll thank you for it later!


Monday, May 10, 2010

And Now, Back to Your Regularly Scheduled Programming...

This last week has been a killer, with school and life in general getting in the way, there hasn't been much time for reading, which means no time for writing reviews. I haven't even been able to give updates of all the neat things that are going on right now, which disappoints me. But don't be discouraged! Starting today and continuing all through this summer, (until sometime in mid-August) expect regular posts, including book reviews, author interviews, book and publishing news, as well as some special book giveaways and "Book Binges."

The first Book Binge will be announced next Monday, and will run until the specified set of books are finished. Until then, keep checking for more reviews, the first of which will be Adrienne Jones's Brine. Look for it sometime tomorrow, or the next day.

Also, for those both new and old to the site, check out the poll that's currently up on the right hand of the screen. The poll consists of 12 different series varying in genres. My goal with this poll is to get feedback from you -- the reader -- as to what series I should crack open. Right now, Dan Abnett's Gaunt's Ghosts Series is in the lead with 1 vote.

For those who are interested, here's how the poll works: visitors to the site are aloud to vote once a day for a series. I'll leave the poll up until the end of June. July 1st, I'll announce the winning series, and will have a review for the first book in the winning series posted by the end of the month, and will continue to post reviews, once a month until I've finished reading the series.

After that, I'll post the poll back up, with the finished series replaced with a new one.

So keep tuning in to the site, and don't forget to vote!


Saturday, May 1, 2010

The Empire In Black and Gold Book Review

Title: Empire in Black and Gold
Author: Adrian Tchaikovsky
Publisher: Pyr
Pages: 414
ISBN: 9781616141929

Empire in Black and Gold is the first novel in the "Shadows of the Apt" series by Adrian Tchaikovsky;a new and ambitious fantasy series published by Pyr.

The city-states of the Lowlands have only known peace for the past several decades. These great city-states are bastions of civilization protected by treaties, they share trade with their fellow neighbors.

But while the people of the Lowlands go about their comfortable lives, a tide of black and gold soldiers are consuming, demolishing and enslaving countries from afar, quickly making their way towards the smug and comfortable inhabitants of the Lowlands. Highly trained and born with the killing Art, these are the soldiers of the Wasp Empire.

As the tide spreads, and more countries are consumed, the leader of a once small band of truth speakers emerges once again to raise the warnings. He is Stenwold Maker: Beetle-Kinden, statesmen, artificer, spymaster and teacher. With a cadre of his best students, and a few friends from years past, he and his small band of rag-tag heroes are the only thing standing in the way of the Wasp Empire and the remaining countries that have not fallen under black and gold shadows.

Empire in Black and Gold is a brilliant read. For those looking for a different take on fantasy, this is what you've been looking for. And if you don't believe me, then you only have to look at the marvelous and beautiful cover that Pyr has given to this tome of a book. They seem to always be on the mark when it comes to their covers, and this one doesn't disappoint.

Tchaikovsky does a marvelous job with world building, and drawing the readers attention in from page one. From the various races, to their different cultures and beliefs, this world reads like an already established shared universe in that there's so much going on. But unlike some of the shared universes, there's only one mind behind Empire in Black and Gold: Tchaikovsky. His characters are real; hero and villain begin to blur the more the book progresses.

What I find truly remarkable about this series is the fact that Tchaikovsky has added elements of Steampunk into such a marvelous world. Doing so, hasn't taken anything away from the world that he's created, but in fact, I think it's only made it stronger and more unique.

Fight scenes are abound in this novel as well. Brilliantly described and easy to imagine, Tchaikovsky has a remarkable mind when it comes to writing such scenes. He has kick-ass characters that help to elevate the fight scenes, promising the reader more in the following books as tensions between characters build, and the Wasp Army continues to demolition all that stands in their way.

Although it felt slow in several parts, for the most part the story flowed smoothly, and kept me wanting to read more. And since it's his first novel, I'd have to say that overall this is a damn fine debut. That's why I'm giving Empire in Black and Gold 9.0 out of 10 TARDIS's.