More inexpensive ebook goodies!


You can now get your hands on the digital edition of Susanna Clarke's Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell for only 2.99$ here. There is a price match in Canada.

Here's the blurb:

Two magicians shall appear in England.

The first shall fear me; the second shall long to behold me...

The year is 1806. England is beleaguered by the long war with Napoleon, and centuries have passed since practical magicians faded into the nation's past. But scholars of this glorious history discover that one remains: the reclusive Mr Norrell whose displays of magic send a thrill through the country. Proceeding to London, he raises a beautiful woman from the dead and summons an army of ghostly ships to terrify the French. Yet the cautious, fussy Norrell is challenged by the emergence of another magician: the brilliant novice Jonathan Strange. Young, handsome and daring, Strange is the very opposite of Norrell. So begins a dangerous battle between these two great men which overwhelms the one between England and France. And their own obsessions and secret dabblings with the dark arts are going to cause more trouble than they can imagine.

Tuf Voyaging


I've been meaning to finally read George R. R. Martin's Tuf Voyaging ever since Bantam Books re-issued the book in trade paperback format in 2013. I had my first taste of Haviland Tuf when I read GRRM's collection Dreamsongs, Volume 2, and was intrigued enough to want to find out more about that character and his adventures in outer space.

However, as is often the case, other authors, novels, and series have gotten in the way over the years and Tuf Voyaging sat on my shelf, all but forgotten. Yet when the time came for me to pick up reading material to bring with me on my two-week hiking trip in the French Alps, I recalled that this book had been awaiting my attention for quite a while and I decided to bring it with me.

Here's the blurb:

Long before A Game of Thrones became an international phenomenon, #1 New York Times bestselling author George R. R. Martin had taken his loyal readers across the cosmos. Now back in print after almost ten years, Tuf Voyaging is the story of quirky and endearing Haviland Tuf, an unlikely hero just trying to do right by the galaxy, one planet at a time.

Haviland Tuf is an honest space-trader who likes cats. So how is it that, in competition with the worst villains the universe has to offer, he’s become the proud owner of a seedship, the last remnant of Earth’s legendary Ecological Engineering Corps? Never mind; just be thankful that the most powerful weapon in human space is in good hands—hands which now have the godlike ability to control the genetic material of thousands of outlandish creatures.

Armed with this unique equipment, Tuf is set to tackle the problems that human settlers have created in colonizing far-flung worlds: hosts of hostile monsters, a population hooked on procreation, a dictator who unleashes plagues to get his own way . . . and in every case, the only thing that stands between the colonists and disaster is Tuf’s ingenuity—and his reputation as a man of integrity in a universe of rogues.

The problem with older science fiction works is that they don't always age well. This was a cause for concern, for the stories comprising this book were originally published between 1976 and 1986. The genre has evolved quite a bit these last few decades. The idea of an eccentric biogenetic engineer that moves from one world to the next in a giant spaceship, both solving and creating ecological problems along the way, may have been original thirty or forty years ago. But in 2017? Suffice to say that these stories didn't work as well as I had hoped. Not that Tuf Voyaging is a boring read. It kept me entertained while I was reading it, but these short fiction pieces definitely lack the unexpected, kick-you-in-the-balls when you least anticipate it, shock value moments and plotlines that have become the hallmark of GRRM's tales. Indeed, they're not something that stays with you once you're done reading and some of them are downright forgettable.

One of the main problems is that Haviland Tuf is not that compelling of a protagonist. Sure, it's kind of fun to follow the adventures of this quirky, fussy, extremely formal giant of a man. Pale and bald, vegetarian and cat-lover, Tuf sure is an oddball. Trouble is, it all gets old quite fast and Tuf is not endearing enough to carry this entire book on his shoulders. Hence, the more you read, the less enjoyable the stories get. The supporting cast is rather weak, and the spotlight remains on Haviland Tuf for the better part of the book. Tolly Mune showed some promise early on, but in the end she didn't live up to her potential. Another problem is that all of these short stories rely a lot on humor. To a certain extent, George R. R. Martin is responsible for heralding the grimdark era and he's never been known for his sense of humor. Overall, I felt that the comedic or comical aspects of Tuf's misadventures didn't always work all that well.

Interestingly enough, it was the two oldest stories that were the most interesting. Written in 1975 and revised in 1986, "A Beast for Norn" and "Call Him Moses" from 1978 were by far the best of the bunch. Initially published in 1981, "Guardians" is another engaging story. What was written afterward lacks the originality and the quality of their predecessors. "The Plague Star" recounts the tale of how Haviland Tuf came into possession of the Ark, a biowar seedship of the Ecological Engineering Corps from the ancient Federal Empire. What follows has come to be known as the S'uthlam triptych. Comprised of "Loaves and Fishes", "Second Helpings" and "Manna From Heaven", these stories were written so that GRRM could come up with enough material so that the first edition of Tuf Voyaging could be published by Baen in 1986.

The stories are arranged in chronological order, not in the order they were published. It makes perfect sense structurally, but it does make for an uneven read for the most part. As a vacation read for someone looking for lighter reading material, Tuf Voyaging did the job. Still, there is no denying that it is the weakest GRRM book I have sampled thus far. The author's impressive body of work set the bar rather high and Tuf Voyaging failed to live up to the lofty expectations generated by basically every other GRRM novels/novellas/short stories I've read.

Once upon a time, Martin signed a contract to write a second Tuf book which would have been titled Twice as Tuf or Tuf Landing. But then Wild Cards, Hollywood, and A Song of Ice and Fire came along and the project never materialized. Perhaps it's for the best, given how the first book has not aged well. GRRM said that it might still happen one of these days, when readers least expect it. Time will tell. . .

The final verdict: 7/10

For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

More inexpensive ebook goodies!


You can get your hands on the digital edition of Anthony Ryan's Blood Song for only 2.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

“The Sixth Order wields the sword of justice and smites the enemies of the Faith and the Realm."

Vaelin Al Sorna was only a child of ten when his father left him at the iron gate of the Sixth Order—a caste devoted to battle. Vaelin will be trained and hardened to the austere, celibate and dangerous life of a warrior of the Faith. He has no family now save the Order.

Vaelin’s father was Battle Lord to King Janus, ruler of the Unified Realm—and Vaelin’s rage at being deprived of his birthright knows no bounds. Even his cherished memories of his mother are soon challenged by what he learns within the Order.

But one truth overpowers all the rest: Vaelin Al Sorna is destined for a future he has yet to comprehend. A future that will alter not only the Realm, but the world.


You can also download Brent Weeks' The Black Prism for only 2.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

Gavin Guile is the Prism, the most powerful man in the world. He is high priest and emperor, a man whose power, wit, and charm are all that preserves a tenuous peace. But Prisms never last, and Guile knows exactly how long he has left to live: Five years to achieve five impossible goals.

But when Guile discovers he has a son, born in a far kingdom after the war that put him in power, he must decide how much he's willing to pay to protect a secret that could tear his world apart.

Terry Brooks contest winner!

This lucky guy will receive a copy of Terry Brooks' The Black Elfstone! For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

The winner is:

- Joseph Moore, from Sacramento, California, USA

Many thanks to all the participants!

More inexpensive ebook goodies!


You can now download Rogues, an anthology edited by George R. R. Martin and Gardner Dozois, for only 1.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

A thrilling collection of twenty-one original stories by an all-star list of contributors—including a new A Game of Thrones story by George R. R. Martin!

If you’re a fan of fiction that is more than just black and white, this latest story collection from #1 New York Times bestselling author George R. R. Martin and award-winning editor Gardner Dozois is filled with subtle shades of gray. Twenty-one all-original stories, by an all-star list of contributors, will delight and astonish you in equal measure with their cunning twists and dazzling reversals. And George R. R. Martin himself offers a brand-new A Game of Thrones tale chronicling one of the biggest rogues in the entire history of Ice and Fire.

Follow along with the likes of Gillian Flynn, Joe Abercrombie, Neil Gaiman, Patrick Rothfuss, Scott Lynch, Cherie Priest, Garth Nix, and Connie Willis, as well as other masters of literary sleight-of-hand, in this rogues gallery of stories that will plunder your heart—and yet leave you all the richer for it.

This week's New York Times Bestsellers (July 17th)

In hardcover:

Dean Koontz’s The Silent Corner is down one spot, finishing the week at number 9.

Diana Gabaldon's Seven Stones to Stand or Fall is down eight positions, ending the week at number 13. For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

In paperback:

Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid’s Tale maintains its position at number 2 (trade paperback). For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

More inexpensive ebook goodies!


You can now download Mark Lawrence's Prince of Fools for only 2.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

The Red Queen is old but the kings of the Broken Empire dread her like no other. For all her reign, she has fought the long war, contested in secret, against the powers that stand behind nations, for higher stakes than land or gold. Her greatest weapon is The Silent Sister—unseen by most and unspoken of by all.

The Red Queen’s grandson, Prince Jalan Kendeth—drinker, gambler, seducer of women—is one who can see The Silent Sister. Tenth in line for the throne and content with his role as a minor royal, he pretends that the hideous crone is not there. But war is coming. Witnesses claim an undead army is on the march, and the Red Queen has called on her family to defend the realm. Jal thinks it’s all a rumor—nothing that will affect him—but he is wrong.

After escaping a death trap set by the Silent Sister, Jal finds his fate magically intertwined with a fierce Norse warrior. As the two undertake a journey across the Empire to undo the spell, encountering grave dangers, willing women, and an upstart prince named Jorg Ancrath along the way, Jalan gradually catches a glimmer of the truth: he and the Norseman are but pieces in a game, part of a series of moves in the long war—and the Red Queen controls the board.

More inexpensive ebook goodies!


You can download James Clavell's international bestselling masterpiece Shogun for only 1.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

A bold English adventurer. An invincible Japanese warlord. A beautiful woman torn between two ways of life, two ways of love. All brought together in an extraordinary saga of a time and a place aflame with conflict, passion, ambition, lust, and the struggle for power...

Extract from Joshua Palmatier's REAPING THE AURORA


Here's an extract from Joshua Palmatier's soon-to-be-released Reaping the Aurora, compliments of the folks at Daw Books. For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

Here's the blurb:

Final book in Joshua Palmatier's epic fantasy trilogy, set in a sprawling city of light and magic fueled by a ley line network.

In a world torn apart by the shattering of the magical ley lines that formerly powered all the cities and towns of the Baronies, there are few havens left for the survivors. The uncontrolled distortions released by the shattering have claimed the main cities of the Baronial Plains. And many of the Wielders who controlled the ley died in the apocalyptic cataclysm their manipulation of the ley created.

Wielder Kara Tremain and former Dog Allan Garrett, survivors of the city of Erenthrall’s destruction, have seized control of the new Nexus created at the distant temple known as the Needle, the stronghold of the White Cloaks and their leader, Father Dalton. With Father Dalton a prisoner, Kara intends to use the Needle’s Nexus to heal the major distortions that threaten to shake their entire world apart.

But while she and the remaining Wielders managed to stabilize Erenthrall, they have not been able to stop the auroral storms or the devastating earthquakes sweeping across the lands. Now they are hoping to find a means to heal the distortion at the city of Tumbor, releasing the nodes captured inside. If they succeed, the ley network should be able to stabilize itself.

But the distortion over Tumbor is huge, ten times the size of the one over Erenthrall. Kara will need the help of all of the Wielders at the Needle in order to generate enough power, including the rebel White Cloaks. But can Kara trust them to help her, or will the White Cloaks betray her in order to free Father Dalton and regain control of the Needle, possibly destroying any chance of healing the ley network in the process?

Meanwhile, Allan journeys back to Erenthrall, hoping to form alliances with some of the survivors, only to discover that Erenthrall itself has sunk a thousand feet into the ground. The vicious groups that plagued them on their last visit have banded together under a new leader—Devin, formerly Baron Aurek’s second-in-command. While discussing an alliance with the Temerite enclave, Devin’s men attack, forcing Allan and the Temerites to flee back to the Needle, leaving Erenthrall in Devin’s hands.

But the Needle is no safe haven. Father Dalton’s followers have begun to rebel, starting riots and creating unrest, all of it targeted at Kara and the Wielders. The tensions escalate beyond control when Father Dalton declares he’s had a vision—a vision in which the Needle is attacked from the north by dogs and from the south by snakes; a vision that ends with the quickening of the distortions called the Three Sisters to the north . . . and the annihilation of reality itself!

Enjoy!
--------------------------

“What did you find?”

Grant had barely emerged from the gray shadows of dawn, but Allan had been watching for him. The large man huffed as he stalked forward, his furred face creased with a scowl of worry. Allan’s eyebrows rose when five Wolves emerged from the darkness behind him. “Two more of our brethren. There were others, but they fled like prey.” His lip curled in disdain. “We will find them.”

“What about the Gorrani?”

“We hunted their old territory but they were not there. Their scent is strong in that area though, and in the part of the old city that used to be trapped in the distortion nearby.” His gaze shifted toward where the rest of the camp had begun to rouse, Gaven already cooking by the heat stone, Bryce’s men donning swords as they ate. “Are we moving?”

“Any idea where the Gorrani went?” Allan countered.

Grant returned his attention to the ex-Dog. “To the cliffs to the south. We could see their fires.”

“Will they be a problem?”

“Not if we skirt their territory. They are foraging, like rabbits.”

“Then, yes, we’re moving.” Allan spun back to the camp, giving Bryce a signal, the Dog calling out orders. The activity in the camp picked up, everyone scarfing down what they could, Gaven scrambling to collect everything and load the wagons.

“We aren’t staying here?” Grant asked.

“I don’t know if we’ll be able to make it back, so we’re taking everything with us. I don’t trust Erenthrall anymore.”

Within twenty minutes, they left the three story building behind, dawn’s light pulling the ruins of Erenthrall from the shadows. Grant’s Wolves vanished, although their pack leader stayed with Allan. Bryce sent out scouts ahead. They headed straight toward where Kara had described the shard she’d left behind, even though it would take them through part of the released section of the city.

They reached the churned up edge of the circle where the distortion had been by noon without encountering anyone. The demarcation between the earthquake-cracked roadway and the utter destruction caused by the distortion’s collapse was dramatic. The road simply cut off, the ground inside the collapse splintered and broken, granite sliced into random blocks and thrown into a haphazard pile. The rubble had been dragged toward the center of the distortion—toward Grass—churned into a heap a hundred feet wide before Kara had managed to heal the distortion from within. Gaven groaned when he saw the pile of stone, but a quick glance to either side revealed that there would be no going around it. The residue of debris arced off in either direction, nearly uniform in height. The only option was to climb over.

They cleared the worst of the shattered stone, creating a narrow path for the horses and wagons, then continued onwards, losing an hour of time. But once they’d passed inside the ring, spirits improved. This part of Erenthrall had been caught inside the distortion and hadn’t been affected by the quakes. Buildings were more intact, the damage caused by the Shattering. Bryce sent out his enforcers to scour the closest buildings as they moved, most reporting back that many of the homes and businesses hadn’t been looted yet.

Then they crossed a threshold, the tenor of the buildings changing. Allan thought at first that they’d passed into a new district, the stone of the cobbles and the surrounding buildings suddenly ancient, his skin prickling with age. He drew in a deep breath of unease, the air tainted with dust and decay, the scent thickening.

“What happened here?” Bryce asked, drifting closer to Allan as they progressed.

They passed a reddish-brown building, the stone façade sliced diagonally across two floors. The stone below the slice was a vibrant color, that above faded as if bleached by sunlight.

Allan grunted in sudden understanding. “This section was in one of the shards where time ran faster. The bleached stone feels older because it is.”

Bryce shuddered and unconsciously picked up his pace.

They slipped from the decaying stone into a new section.

A few hours later, they neared an area where all of the buildings were shrouded in a fine layer of spider’s silk. The enforcers clustered about the wagons as they slid past, the horse’s snorting and stamping their feet, eyes wide in fear. Holes penetrated the layered silk, boring through doorways and windows into darkness. Staring into those depths, Allan’s skin crawled, his palms suddenly clammy. Something deep in the darkness shifted with the scrape of skittering feet and a section of the webbing trembled, although Allan saw nothing.

Beside him, Grant bared his teeth and growled, the sound a low, dangerous rumble in his chest. “Don’t go any closer,” he said, his voice low and quiet. “It’s watching us.”

They edged beyond, Allan not relaxing until they’d turned a corner and the eerie tenements fell from sight. “What was it?”

“Men were transformed into more than Wolves after the Shattering.”

They never entered Grass, passing by the truncated towers a few districts away. But dusk began to fall before they were near the ring of destruction on the far side of Erenthrall. Allan ordered a halt and they camped in the gardens of what was once a lord’s manse, behind its walls. Once again, they could see firelight to the northeast, closer now. To the south, fires lined the walls of the cliffs that surrounded the city, Allan marking the Gorrani’s location. Overnight, howls broke the quiet, Grant and the other Wolves perking up, the two newest members pacing near the wrought iron gates of the wall and whining. Ley light also punctuated the darkness, some sections near Grass glowing with a low steady pulse, others throughout the city sputtering fitfully. Most were mere pinpricks, like stars.

“We didn’t see any of those ley lights last night,” Allan commented.

Dylan pointed toward the steady section. “Those were likely blocked from view by Grass.”

“They’re near where the Temerites were camped before the distortion was healed.”

“The Temerites might have Wielders. They could have stabilized the ley once the nodes were freed. They might be actively using the ley again.”

“What about the other lights?”

“Ley lines that were left open at the Shattering are now active again because their connections to the inner nodes have been restored. The ley runs where it can. If ley globes were attached to its flow and left on, they’d light up again, assuming they survived the surge. They won’t be glowing as strongly now though. The Nexus isn’t there to augment the strength of the ley.”

Allan thought about all of the lights that had once lit the city, recalling the web of ley lines he’d seen from the hills over a year before, how the city had glowed in the darkness of the plains with a strange brilliant beauty.

The glow of ley he saw now was nothing compared to that.

The next morning, they followed the edge of the river, crossing it eventually on a cracked but still standing stone bridge. The waters flowed dark beneath them.

Then they climbed the distortion’s ring of debris and entered into the territory near where Allan, Kara, and their previous group had run into the Tunnelers and the Rats. Bryce stepped forward, taking the lead, and Allan let him, knowing the Dog knew how to handle his men. With Dylan’s help, they angled toward where the shard containing the trapped Wolves and the family they had been chasing stood, moving slowly, everyone on edge. But they saw no one and heard nothing.

They entered the square where the shard glowed with a faint orange-pink light, even beneath the sunlight. Bryce barked out orders and the enforcers spread out around the square as Allan, Grant, Dylan, and the wagons pulled up alongside the shard. Stepping up to its edge, Allan could see the cart trapped inside, the man who drove it tensed in grim determination, the horses lathered with sweat, eyes wide in terror. Another man, a woman, and two children cowered in the cart behind him, three Wolves hounding the cart from behind, caught in mid-snarl. When they’d been here last, Kara, Dylan, Artras, and Carter had healed the shards that surrounded this section. But they’d been unable to free the people trapped here, because it would also free the Wolves.

And because this shard was really composed of multiple pieces, some of which sliced through the woman, the small boy she clutched to her chest, the driver’s legs, and the horses.

“Can you release them?” Allan asked as he felt Dylan halt beside him.

The Wielder sucked in a deep breath. “I’ll have to heal the breaks inside the shard first, otherwise it will cut those poor people in half. Then I’ll release the shard. Which means the Wolves will be freed at the same time.”

From behind, Grant said, “I’ll handle the Wolves.” He whistled, the sound sharp, and all five Wolves loped out of the shadows of the surrounding buildings, trotting towards them. Allan hadn’t even realized they were that close.

Grant turned back to Allan. “Tell us when you’re ready.”

Allan signaled Bryce, the enforcers drawing in closer around the shard, Gaven and his crew stepping down from the wagons as well. Bryce’s men focused their attention outwards, while Gaven and the Wolves focused on the trapped people and Wolves.

“Whenever you’re ready, Dylan.”

The Wielder licked his lips, then closed his eyes. Allan stepped back, keeping his distance. He knew he could affect the ley in odd ways and didn’t want anything to interfere with the release of the shard. But he tensed, ready to charge forward as soon as the shard released.

Nothing happened at first, until Allan noticed that the fractures inside the shard were slowly fading. The face that cut through the people and the horses dissolved, sinking back on itself, toward a focal point to the right of the cart. Sweat broke out on Dylan’s forehead as he worked, a droplet trickling down to drip from his nose. He raised a trembling hand—

And then the entire shard collapsed. Screams, snarls, and the desperate shouts from the driver slammed into the silent square as the cart leaped forward. The Wolves in pursuit lurched forward as with a splintering crack one of the cart’s wheels faltered. The cart sagged sideways, spilling the woman and the boy she clutched to the cobbles, her scream cut off. The man in the bed clutched at the headboard with one arm, roaring in defiance as he snatched for the girl and missed. She tumbled out a breath after her mother as the bed’s corner struck stone and jerked sideways. One of the horses screamed as they fought the suddenly cumbersome weight, the entire rear axle cracking, the second wheel spinning off to the side.

Allan darted forward, heading toward the girl. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Gaven and the others doing the same. They’d known they’d only have seconds before the Wolves would be on them, even before the wheel gave in.

Even those few seconds wouldn’t have been enough if it hadn’t been for Grant and his own Wolves.

Before Allan had made it halfway to the girl, a blur of gray fur sped before him and launched itself at the snarling Wolves in pursuit. Eyes fixed on the girl, Allan heard two heavy bodies slam into each other, a vicious snarl cut off with a sharp, startled yip, which instantly devolved into a mess of thrashing growls. He snatched the girl—no more than six—from the street, dragging her to his chest in a protective huddle, then shouted “I’ve got the girl!” before sprinting across the space toward where some of Bryce’s enforcers waited on the far side. As soon as he passed their line, he spun, breath heaving.

Behind, Bryce was dragging the woman and her son, younger than the girl, back from the edge of a snarling mass of Wolf teeth and claws. Grant’s pack had attacked the three Wolves that had been in pursuit of the cart and blood now slicked the cobbles. Grant had stayed back, although he stepped forward as soon as Bryce, the woman and child, and the rest of their men retreated from the fray.

A low growl churned up from his chest, building in intensity until it cracked and broke into a shouted, “Enough!”

Grant’s pack broke free of the fight, twisting and rolling out of their attackers’ reach, pulling back in a rough circle. Some of them were blooded, teeth and claw marks on their sides. One of them limped slightly. All of them had teeth bared and were growling.

The three Wolves left rolled into defensive stances, fur bristled across shoulders, lips drawn back. Their feral eyes glared at their fellow Wolves before latching onto Grant.

One of them stepped forward, head lowered, body bracing for a leap.

Grant barked out a command, mostly snarls, and the two Wolves behind their leader flinched. The leader didn’t.

The girl in Allan’s arms began to struggle. He loosened his hold and shot a glance toward where the cart had headed, glad to see Gaven and a few of the others had the panicked horses under control but were keeping their distance. The two men in their midst looked confused, but he trusted Gaven to handle it and turned back to the Wolves.

Grant stepped forward, to within arm’s reach of the lead Wolf, and knelt down. The Wolf’s growl deepened and one paw stepped forward.

Without warning, Grant’s hand snapped forward and cuffed the Wolf hard enough to shove him to the side.

Those watching gasped. The Wolf’s head snapped back, teeth flashing. But Grant’s hand wasn’t there anymore. The Wolf’s jaws closed on air and Grant cuffed him again from the other side. He yelped this time, rounding on Grant again. The two stared at each other, until the Wolf leader’s rumbling growl of defiance broke off and he dropped his head with a plaintive whine and attempted to lick Grant’s hand.

Tension leeched out of the square as Grant stood and gave Allan a curt nod. Allan sighed, then glanced down toward the girl in his arms.

She looked up at him with wide-eyed curiosity, her eyes a penetrating green, her hair a silky yellow, like corn tassels. Blood had beaded along a scrape on one cheek where she’d struck the cobbles while falling from the cart, another more serious scrape along one forearm, but she didn’t appear to notice either one.

“Are you here to save us from the ley?” she asked.

Allan strode toward the girl’s mother, who stood next to Bryce, her face locked in shock. That transformed as soon as she saw Allan and her daughter.

“Ellie!”

She stumbled forward, snatching the girl from Allan’s arms and kneeling down to set both the boy and girl on the ground as she kissed their foreheads and checked them over for injuries.

Bryce had come up behind her. “Looks like we managed that. Now what?”

“Now we regroup and find a place to settle in for the night.”

He glanced warily at the Wolves, Grant and the others still surrounding the three new additions, although they weren’t bristling at each other anymore. “We should probably keep them separate, don’t you think? Until we know if the newest ones are going to follow Grant’s lead?”

“Not a bad idea.”

He raised his fingers to his lips. A piercing whistle and hand wave called Gaven and the two men released from the shard toward them, one of the men crouching down beside what Allan assumed was his wife, hugging her and the two children close as he broke into tears.

The other man—the driver of the cart—stood over them, arms crossed, eyeing Bryce, Gaven, and the rest as they converged back on their own wagons.

His gaze finally settled on Allan, mouth downturned with unease, tainted with suspicion. “Who are you people?”

“Survivors of the Shattering … and the healing of the distortion.” Allan could tell the words meant little to him.

“That man, Gaven, said we were trapped in the distortion. That you freed us.”

“Yes. We would have freed you sooner, but we couldn’t with the Wolves attacking you. They were caught in the distortion as well. It’s taken us a few months to get back to you.”

“Months.” The man fidgeted uncertainly, glancing around at the surrounding buildings, the cliffs, the ring of debris caused by the distortion not that far away, broken only by the section where Kara and the others had healed shards before it had started to collapse. “He said we were trapped in the distortion for over a year.”

“Yes. A lot has happened since the distortion quickened.”

“So it would seem.”

The second man finally released his wife, both of them standing, although the woman held both of the children close to her side.

“Forgive my brother,” the man said, extending his hand. Allan hesitated, then shook it. “He’s always been untrusting. I want to thank you all for saving us from the Wolves.” He laughed, the sound shaky, as if he were barely holding on to sanity. “From our perspective, you simply appeared out of thin air. One moment we were alone, running for our lives, the next—there you were!”

“Charles, hush,” the woman said, grabbing onto his arm to calm him. But she turned to Allan with a thin smile. “We are grateful, whatever has happened.”

Charles’ brother suddenly tensed. He nodded toward one side of the square and said, “You have company.”

Before Allan could turn, one of the enforcers cried out in alarm. Bryce’s men formed up around the wagons as on the far side of the square a group of a dozen men emerged from one of the streets, creating a short wall between the buildings to either side. Archers trained arrows on them, but no one fired. Three men passed between the archer’s ranks, stepping out before them, then halted. Allan couldn’t tell who they were at this distance. The Tunneler’s? Temerites? Another group?

The fact that they hadn’t already attacked told him they weren’t Rats.

“Get your family to the wagons,” Allan said, not bothering to look back to see if Charles and the rest were complying as he stalked toward where Bryce and the enforcers stood. Grant and his Wolves remained clustered to one side, their attention fixed on the newcomers.

“That didn’t take long,” Bryce said as he approached.

“Can you see who they are?”

“Not at this distance.”

“Stay here. It looks like they want to talk.”

Bryce sucked in a breath to protest, but Allan was already walking across the square. He flicked orders to Grant with one hand, the pack leader nodding once in acknowledgment.

Then he focused on the group ahead. As he drew closer, he relaxed slightly. The lead figure was obviously Temerite, the thin face and neatly trimmed beard a dead giveaway. Most of the others sported the same beards. They were dressed in the armor he’d seen the guards of the Temerite nobles who’d visited Erenthrall using, although then it had gleamed. Now the polish had worn off, the uniforms obviously blemished from hard use. Pieces had been replaced with whatever could be found at hand. Even the leader’s uniform—slightly more embellished but still practical—showed wear.

Allan halted ten paces away from the leader, acutely aware that at least four of the arrows were trained on him.

He and the Temerite eyed each other for a tense moment. Then the Temerite’s eyes flicked toward the rest of Allan’s group in the square. “That was impressive. We’ve been trying to figure out a way to release the family for months now.” His attention returned to Allan, his gaze hardening. “What group are you with and what are you doing here in our district?”

More inexpensive ebook goodies!


Orbit is celebrating its 10th year of publishing in the USA and they're having a big ebook sale. You can now get your hands on N.K. Jemisin's The Fifth Season, recent Hugo award winner, for only 2.99$ here. There is a price match in Canada.

Here's the blurb:

THIS IS THE WAY THE WORLD ENDS... FOR THE LAST TIME.

A season of endings has begun.

It starts with the great red rift across the heart of the world's sole continent, spewing ash that blots out the sun.

It starts with death, with a murdered son and a missing daughter.

It starts with betrayal, and long dormant wounds rising up to fester.

This is the Stillness, a land long familiar with catastrophe, where the power of the earth is wielded as a weapon. And where there is no mercy.

And for the same price, you can download Joe Abercrombie's Red Country, Ann Leckie's Ancillary Justice, James S. A. Corey's Leviathan Wakes, Kim Stanley Robinson's 2312, M. R. Carey's The Girl With All the Gifts, Brent Weeks' The Way of Shadows, and more! =)

Daryl Gregory contest winners!

Thanks to the generosity of the folks at Knopf, these winners will receive a copy of Daryl Gregory's Spoonbenders. For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

The winners are:

- Bobby V. Berry, Jr., from Highlands Ranch, Colorado, USA

- Patti Short, from Winchester, Tennessee, USA

- Michael Carter, from Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

- Denis Robidoux, from Saint-Joseph-Du-Lac, Québec, Canada

- Phillip Pavlick, from Jersey City, New Jersey, USA

Many thanks to all the participants!

This week's New York Times Bestsellers (July 10th)

In hardcover:

Diana Gabaldon's Seven Stones to Stand or Fall debuts at number 5. For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

Dean Koontz’s The Silent Corner is down six spots, finishing the week at number 8.

In paperback:

Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid’s Tale maintains its position at number 2 (trade paperback). For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

More inexpensive ebook goodies!


You can now download Victor Milán's The Dinosaur Lords for only 2.99$ here. There is a price match in Canada.

Here's the blurb:

"It's like a cross between Jurassic Park and Game of Thrones." --George R. R. Martin


A world made by the Eight Creators on which to play out their games of passion and power, Paradise is a sprawling, diverse, often brutal place. Men and women live on Paradise as do dogs, cats, ferrets, goats, and horses. But dinosaurs predominate: wildlife, monsters, beasts of burden-and of war. Colossal plant-eaters like Brachiosaurus; terrifying meat-eaters like Allosaurus, and the most feared of all, Tyrannosaurus rex. Giant lizards swim warm seas. Birds (some with teeth) share the sky with flying reptiles that range in size from bat-sized insectivores to majestic and deadly Dragons.

Thus we are plunged into Victor Milán's splendidly weird world of The Dinosaur Lords, a place that for all purposes mirrors 14th century Europe with its dynastic rivalries, religious wars, and byzantine politics…except the weapons of choice are dinosaurs. Where vast armies of dinosaur-mounted knights engage in battle. During the course of one of these epic battles, the enigmatic mercenary Dinosaur Lord Karyl Bogomirsky is defeated through betrayal and left for dead. He wakes, naked, wounded, partially amnesiac-and hunted. And embarks upon a journey that will shake his world.

The Kendish Hit


A few years back, in the original series Jeff Somers introduced readers to Avery Cates, a not very likeable gunner you can't help but root for. Constantly down on his luck and not always the sharpest tool in the shed, Cates' first person narrative has always been a highlight since the very beginning. The last volume, The Final Evolution, appeared to bring the overall story arc to an end and no further misadventures seemed to be forthcoming for everyone's favorite gunner.

About two years ago, the author started releasing short stories and novella-length installments chronicling the events which acted as sequels to the original series. Now that they have all been published, Somers has grouped them all into a single novel. If all goes as planned, this omnibus will act as the first volume in what Somers plans to be a new trilogy.

Which brings us to this latest Avery Cates offering. The Kendish Hit is a prequel featuring a much younger Cates, one that has yet to acquire the "wisdom" which allowed him to survive in such a harsh environment for so many years. How could I not want to read this novella?

Here's the blurb:

In this prequel to "The Electric Church," a young Avery Cates takes on his first job, meets someone who will be an old friend someday, and learns some hard lessons in the newly-formed System of Federated Nations.

Contains the previously-released Avery Cates stories "This Was Battle. This Was Joy," "The Golden Badge," "The Oldest Bastard on the Block," "This Was Education," "all orphans, at least," and "The Sewer Rat."

The post-apocalyptic worldbuilding was the aspect that gave the original series and the short fiction sequels their distinctive flavor. However, things are not as bad in The Kendish Hit. Indeed, Unification took place a few years before. And while everything is going down the crapper fast, it's not as bad as it will be a couple of years down the line. Cates even shares a number of pre-Unification memories, about his family, upbringing, and the world in general.

Everything Cates touches has a tendency to turn to shit and the gunner always finds ways to find himself up to his neck into trouble. And that's the "wise" Avery Cates. Now, imagine the skinny teenager/young adult Cates who needs to make a name for himself and earn some money. I relished the opportunity to go back in time and get an inkling of just how Avery Cates became who he is and I would love to read more of these prequels, if any are in the works.

Adult Avery Cates' first person narrative is always filled with wise cracks and dark humor and it never fails to make for a fun reading experience. Avery Cates is a despicable, manipulative, immoral, lousy, and sick fuck. Yet for all his faults and shortcomings, it's well nigh impossible not to root for the poor fool. The Kendish Hit allows readers to discover a bit more about how he came to be that way. Young or old, he's in over his head yet again, with his life hanging in the balance. But that's business as usual for Cates. The story of his life, actually.

Homeless, friendless, starving, Avery Cates is a skinny kid looking for some respect and a way to earn a living. So when he takes it upon himself to murder a man who was meant to be someone else's mark, you know that the proverbial shit will hit the fan. The Kendish Hit is the perfect companion book for fans of the series and what came after.

Even better, the ebook comes filled with bonus material. "This Was Battle. This Was Joy." and "The Golden Badge" are excerpts from a never-completed novel taking place in the Cates universe and told from the perspective of the System Police. "The Oldest Bastard on the Block" was a chapter originally meant to be part of The Digital Plague. "This Was Education" is another chapter meant for the same book, this one featuring Glee. "all orphans, at least" is a deleted chapter from The Terminal State. And finally, "The Sewer Rat" occurs following the events featured in The Shattered Gears omnibus edition. Each offers some insight on the world and its characters, and they were all interesting reads.

The final verdict: 7.5/10

For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe

More inexpensive ebook goodies!


You can download the first nine installments of L. E. Modesitt, Jr.'s Imager saga for only 2.99$ each here.

Here's the blurb for the first volume:

Although Rhennthyl is the son of a leading wool merchant, he has spent years becoming a journeyman painter. With his skill and diligence, Rhenn stands to be considered for the status of master artisan. Then, his entire life is transformed when his master patron is killed in a flash fire, and Rhenn discovers he is an imager—one of the few in the entire world who can visualize things and make them real.

He must leave his family and join the Collegium of Imagisle. Imagers live separately from the rest of society because of their abilities (they can do accidental magic even while asleep), and because they are both feared and vulnerable. In this new life, Rhenn discovers that all too many of the “truths” he knew were nothing of the sort. Every day brings a new threat to his life.

Cover reveal and teaser extract from Michael J. Sullivan's AGE OF WAR (Updated)


Here's the cover art for Michael J. Sullivan's upcoming Age of War, courtesy of the folks at Del Rey. For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

Here's the blurb:

War arrives as the Battle of Grandford begins. The full force of the Fhrey army arrives and is seemingly invincible. As the fane’s forces prepare to overwhelm the hastily prepared human defense, the fate of mankind depends on the birth of a butterfly, the speed of a cripple, and the courage of a coward.

And here's a teaser extract for you to sink your teeth into!

Enjoy!
-----------------------------

Raithe pulled Persephone up the last ledge. She could have climbed on her own, and none of the other chieftains had needed, or had been offered a hand, but she took it. Persephone felt it best to be agreeable when she had the luxury, knowing she couldn’t always be so generous. That’s what she told herself, but knew if anyone else had offered a hand, she’d have waved them off. Raithe was different. Rugged-handsome and wearing his leigh mor with such casual indifference, he was a popular topic among the women, but he was too young for her. Persephone was also still married to her dead husband in ways she couldn’t put into words, or even thoughts; emotions had a language of their own that didn’t always translate. The young Dureyan and Reglan were nothing alike. Her dead husband had been more like a father, a teacher, a guide. With Raithe she was the teacher, the wise one, the steady hand that kept the rows straight. And yet, Raithe’s hand felt good—safe, warm, strong. She was keenig, chieftain of the ten clans, supreme ruler of millions, but she still needed that. Power couldn’t replace respect, devotion couldn’t replace friendship, and nothing could replace the enveloping warmth of love. He loved her, wanted her, and while she couldn’t grant his wish—at least not yet—she cherished the idea. The gift of his desire was another of those impossible to translate, hard to corral feelings. Passion was a wild selfish thing that didn’t respect boundaries or common sense, but without it life felt pointless.

“What did you call this?” She reached the top and walked around, getting a feel for the escarpment, a natural pillar of rock rising sixty feet above the ground.

“Misery Rock,” Raithe replied.

Feeling a flutter in her stomach produced by the sheer drop on all sides of the not so large rock, she nodded. “I can see that. Sure.”

Persephone walked in a tight circle. She dragged her feet too scared to lift them. An irrational fear as long as she didn’t do anything crazy.

Maybe I should just not look down? Oh, right—and while I’m wishing, how about the war being over, and we won.

The rock was as flat as a table, but she didn’t trust herself. Stumbling is not an option, unless flying is too. Persephone was never happy with heights. As a child she stopped climbing trees at a young age, and begged off efforts to thatch her family’s roof, claiming illness which wasn’t entirely false. Standing on Misery Rock, looking down and seeing the tops of all those walnut-sized heads that made up the Rhulyn clans, she felt dizzy and wondered how she ever found the courage to jump off the waterfall in the Crescent Forest.

Wolves, she recalled. Yes, a pack of wolves can do that.

Persephone then watched in awe as Suri scampered up behind her as if the precipice was foot off the ground. The young woman was beyond fearless, she appeared thoroughly bored.

“Did you live around here?” she asked Raithe.

He pointed to the northeast.

From where they stood, Persephone could see for miles. Most of Dureya was a dusty plateau, one great rock interrupted by jagged stone formations like the one they stood on. Looking northeast she spotted a black mark on the consistently blond plain.

“That was Clemton,” Raithe said. “A village of twenty-seven buildings, twelve families, and fifty-eight people.” He continued to stare without blinking, a hard brutal look. She wondered what he was thinking, then imagined herself gazing on the ruins of Dahl Rhen.

Persephone put a hand on his arm. Her touch broke his stare, and he offered her a forced smile.

All the Rhulyn chieftains were with her on that miserable crag, while the Gula leaders were with their men, strategically stationed among the dips and clefts of the Dureya plain. Nyphron had positioned them the night before, saying he knew the places where the previously believed, all-seeing tower of Alon Rhist, was supposedly blind. Persephone had been forced to repeat his instructions. The Gula refused to take orders from the Fhrey. A wild and vicious people, the Gula were little more than a pack of rabid animals—great when you needed that sort of thing, maddening when you didn’t.

“They’re at the stairs,” Chief Tegan announced. The chief of Clan Warric looked like an over-grown dwarf with neat dark hair and brushed beard. Possessed of a sarcastic wit and predisposed to arrogance, he also had a sharp mind, and had become one of Persephone’s closest advisors. Tegan pointed and everyone on Misery Rock looked west toward Grandford.

The great stone bridge that spanned the Bern River was marvelous to behold. The span, a glorious arc of sculptured stone with four massive pillars, arched over the narrow gorge. Persephone had twice crossed that bridge. Both times had terrified her. The roar of the falls, the spray in her face, and those intimidating gates of Alon Rhist awaiting her—if not for holding her husband’s hand, she didn’t think she could have managed.

We had been invited and I was scared.

“I can’t believe you allowed this.” Raithe was shaking his head dramatically while looking at the sky.

“Nyphron knows what he’s doing,” Persephone said, trying to sound more confident than she felt. Her hands were clenched tight. She forced them open, and made a deliberate effort to relax her shoulders.

“What if he’s wrong? What if they kill him?” Raithe asked.

“My people aren’t prepared for this,” Harkon said. “Most of clan Menahan are carrying farm tools. We can’t fight. We’ll be barley before the scythe.”

“It might have been better to wait until—” Raithe began.

Persephone didn’t want to hear it all again. She held up her hands. “Nyphron explained all that. Would any of you prefer to storm that ford? Fight across the bridge? Scale those walls? Ram that bronze gate?”

“There’s just no fall back, if it doesn’t work.”

“I don’t think Nyphron or his Galantians understand fall back,” Tegan said. “They always assume they will win.”

“Let’s hope there’s good reason for that.” Persephone straightened up. She kept reminding herself to stand tall. Her mother had always complained about her bad posture. No one will respect the wife of a chieftain who hunches like a troll. Her mother could never have imagined that she would be chieftain, much less keenig, but guessed the advice was still good.

“There’s a first time for everything,” Krugen said.

“Then pray this is not that time.”

--------------------------

From the forthcoming book AGE OF WAR by Michael J. Sullivan. Copyright © 2018 by Michael J. Sullivan. Reprinted by arrangement with Del Rey, an imprint of Random House, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. All rights reserved.

More inexpensive ebook goodies!


You can now download Mark T. Barnes' The Garden of Stones for 3.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

When the Shrīanese Empire explodes into civil war, fighters of all kinds flock to the banners of their lords. Indris, a skilled swordsman and brilliant sorcerer, seeks to end the bloodshed once and for all. He knows this war is simply a ruse—a power play by a ruling Family desperate to take control of the Empire by any means necessary. Indris cares little for the politics except to see that justice is upheld. But even he can't see the terrible price his opponents are willing to pay to secure their legacy.

A true epic, the first book in the Echoes of Empire series creates a spellbinding new world. With its twisted politics, new races, compelling heroes and villains, and unique magic, The Garden of Stones is a lyrical fantasy on the grandest scale.

And you can also get your hands on the sequel, The Obsidian Heart, for the same price here, as well as the third volume, The Pillars of Sand, here.

New The Dark Tower trailer



This is looking better and better! =)

More inexpensive ebook goodies!


You can now get your hands on the digital edition of Ursula K. Le Guin's The Birthday of the World and Other Stories for only 1.99$ here. There is a price match in Canada.

Here's the blurb:

The recipient of numerous literary prizes, including the National Book Award, the Kafka Award, five Hugo Awards and five Nebula Awards, the renowned writer Ursula K. Le Guin has, in each story and novel, created a provocative, ever-evolving universe filled with diverse worlds and rich characters reminiscent of our earthly selves. Now, in The Birthday of the World, this gifted artist returns to these worlds in eight brilliant short works, including a never-before-published novella, each of which probes the essence of humanity.

Nnedi Okorafor's WHO FEARS DEATH optioned by HBO with George R. R. Martin as executive producer!


The author just tweeted this:

My novel WHO FEARS DEATH has been optioned by @HBO & is now in early development as a TV series with George RR Martin as executive producer.

It's way too early to tell if this is ever going to make it on television, but it's still wonderful news! =)

More inexpensive ebook goodies!


You can now download Trudi Canavan's Thief's Magic, the first volume in a new fantasy series, for only 2.99$ here. There is a price match in Canada and it's £1.99 in the UK.

Here's the blurb:

In a world where an industrial revolution is powered by magic, Tyen, a student of archaeology, unearths a sentient book called Vella. Once a young sorcerer-bookbinder, Vella was transformed into a useful tool by one of the greatest sorcerers of history. Since then she has been collecting information, including a vital clue to the disaster Tyen's world faces.

Elsewhere, in an land ruled by the priests, Rielle the dyer's daughter has been taught that to use magic is to steal from the Angels. Yet she knows she has a talent for it, and that there is a corrupter in the city willing to teach her how to use it -- should she dare to risk the Angels' wrath.

But not everything is as Tyen and Rielle have been raised to believe. Not the nature of magic, nor the laws of their lands -- and not even the people they trust.

This week's New York Times Bestsellers (July 3rd)

In hardcover:

Dean Koontz’s The Silent Corner debuts at number 2.

In paperback:

Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid’s Tale is down one position, ending the week at number 2 (trade paperback). For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

Spoonbenders


Although the premise did pique my curiosity, initially I wasn't planning to read Daryl Gregory's Spoonbenders. At least not in the near future. But then I remembered that my hiking trip in the French Alps was coming up and I always try to pick up "lighter" material to bring with me, so the book ended up in my suitcase.

And I'm sure glad I brought this novel along, for this is the most fun I've had reading in a long, long time! If Terry Pratchett and Neal Stephenson had ever teamed up to work on something, this is the sort of tale they would have come up with. With Spoonbenders, Daryl Gregory truly hit it out of the park!

Here's the blurb:

Teddy Telemachus is a charming con man with a gift for sleight of hand and some shady underground associates. In need of cash, he tricks his way into a classified government study about telekinesis and its possible role in intelligence gathering. There he meets Maureen McKinnon, and it’s not just her piercing blue eyes that leave Teddy forever charmed, but her mind—Maureen is a genuine psychic of immense and mysterious power. After a whirlwind courtship, they marry, have three gifted children, and become the Amazing Telemachus Family, performing astounding feats across the country. Irene is a human lie detector. Frankie can move objects with his mind. And Buddy, the youngest, can see the future. Then one night tragedy leaves the family shattered.

Decades later, the Telemachuses are not so amazing. Irene is a single mom whose ear for truth makes it hard to hold down a job, much less hold together a relationship. Frankie’s in serious debt to his dad’s old mob associates. Buddy has completely withdrawn into himself and inexplicably begun digging a hole in the backyard. To make matters worse, the CIA has come knocking, looking to see if there’s any magic left in the Telemachus clan. And there is: Irene’s son Matty has just had his first out-of-body experience. But he hasn’t told anyone, even though his newfound talent might just be what his family needs to save themselves—if it doesn’t tear them apart in the process.

Harnessing the imaginative powers that have made him a master storyteller, Daryl Gregory delivers a stunning, laugh-out-loud new novel about a family of gifted dreamers and the invisible forces that bind us all.

Spoonbenders takes place in Chicago in the summer of 1995. The once popular Amazing Telemachus Family is in shambles. They used to astonish spectators and viewers until an incident on national television destroyed their credibility and put an end to their traveling show. Decades down the line, this family, whose future once seemed so bright, is in total disarray. Daryl Gregory captured the setting perfectly. He takes us back down memory lane, to a time when the internet was just beginning (Remember those America Online CDs we used to get in the mail every week), and the Chicago Cubs suck and their fans are resigned to the fact that they may never again achieve greatness, and he fills this book chock-full of pop culture tidbits from that era. For that alone, the novel is worth reading. Indeed, in every chapter or so there's something from the 80s or the 90s that you had forgotten and suddenly rings a bell, and which then opens up a Pandora's box filled to the brim with other related and unrelated memories.

The Telemachuses are a deeply dysfunctional yet endearing family. It's been quite a while since I've enjoyed following the misadventures of a bunch of protagonists as much as I loved reading about thesm. The structure of the novel alternates between the perspectives of the five main characters and each chapter focuses on one in particular. Teddy Telemachus, patriarch and the only parent left since the death of his beloved wife Maureen, is a charming cardshark who's doing his best to keep his family together. Try as he might, it looks as though everything is going down the crapper fast. Frankie, who at a younger age could move objects with his mind, is now a man with too many harebrained schemes who owes a fortune to the mafia for past failed projects. Irene is a human lie detector who lost her job in Pittsburgh and is forced to move back with her father with her teenage son Matty. Buddy, a clairvoyant who seemingly lost his mind when his mother died, is digging a giant hole in his father's backyard and turning the basement into a bunker, preparing the house for a future only he can foresee. And young Matty, who that summer will discover that his grandmother's blood did indeed leave him with some latent powers that are now manifesting themselves.

Technically, such disparate characters shouldn't work so well together. But Gregory weaves their storylines in a way that comes together in a surprising and touching manner. It takes a while for Spoonbenders to begin to make sense. This is mostly due to the fact that each character must be introduced and elaborated on, and this process takes some time. Having said that, at no point is this a problem, for getting to know the Telemachus family is definitely a highlight of the novel. Once all five protagonists and their backstories have been established, the author weaves the plotlines together and you finally get an inkling of what this story is supposed to be about. It mostly has to do with Buddy's visions and the future he has been preparing for for decades.

At times hilarious and at times profoundly moving, Gregory's Spoonbenders explores how powerful and yet fickle family ties can be. The book works so well because there is a little of each of us, as well as our own parents and siblings, in each of these characters. Which is why some scenes strike a chord and why, even though they're not always the most likeable people or the sharpest tools in the shed, in the end we can't help but root for them.

The author closes the show with a satisfying and fitting ending. Still, there is a bit of disappointment stemming from the fact that this the last you'll read about the Telemachus extended family and you wish there was more. Indeed, I can't think of a more engaging bunch, no matter how hard I try.

Extremely funny, intelligent, compassionate, and touching; that's Daryl Gregory's Spoonbenders in a nutshell. Believe you me: This is the most fun you'll have reading this summer!

The final verdict: 8.5/10

For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe

More inexpensive ebook goodies!


You can now get your hands on the digital edition of Robin Hobb's Fool's Assassin for only 1.99$ here!

Here's the blurb:

Nearly twenty years ago, Robin Hobb burst upon the fantasy scene with the first of her acclaimed Farseer novels, Assassin’s Apprentice, which introduced the characters of FitzChivalry Farseer and his uncanny friend the Fool. A watershed moment in modern fantasy, this novel—and those that followed—broke exciting new ground in a beloved genre. Together with George R. R. Martin, Robin Hobb helped pave the way for such talented new voices as Scott Lynch, Brandon Sanderson, and Naomi Novik.

Over the years, Hobb’s imagination has soared throughout the mythic lands of the Six Duchies in such bestselling series as the Liveship Traders Trilogy and the Rain Wilds Chronicles. But no matter how far she roamed, her heart always remained with Fitz. And now, at last, she has come home, with an astonishing new novel that opens a dark and gripping chapter in the Farseer saga.

FitzChivalry—royal bastard and former king’s assassin—has left his life of intrigue behind. As far as the rest of the world knows, FitzChivalry Farseer is dead and buried. Masquerading as Tom Badgerlock, Fitz is now married to his childhood sweetheart, Molly, and leading the quiet life of a country squire.

Though Fitz is haunted by the disappearance of the Fool, who did so much to shape Fitz into the man he has become, such private hurts are put aside in the business of daily life, at least until the appearance of menacing, pale-skinned strangers casts a sinister shadow over Fitz’s past . . . and his future.

Now, to protect his new life, the former assassin must once again take up his old one. . .


You can also download Joe Abercrombie's Half a King for only 0.99$ here. It's available for 2.99$ in Canada here.

Here's the blurb:

“I swore an oath to avenge the death of my father. I may be half a man, but I swore a whole oath.”

Prince Yarvi has vowed to regain a throne he never wanted. But first he must survive cruelty, chains, and the bitter waters of the Shattered Sea. And he must do it all with only one good hand.

The deceived will become the deceiver.

Born a weakling in the eyes of his father, Yarvi is alone in a world where a strong arm and a cold heart rule. He cannot grip a shield or swing an axe, so he must sharpen his mind to a deadly edge.

The betrayed will become the betrayer.

Gathering a strange fellowship of the outcast and the lost, he finds they can do more to help him become the man he needs to be than any court of nobles could.

Will the usurped become the usurper?

But even with loyal friends at his side, Yarvi finds his path may end as it began—in twists, and traps, and tragedy.

More inexpensive ebook goodies!


You can now download Seanan McGuire's Discount Armageddon for only 1.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

Cryptid, noun: Any creature whose existence has not yet been proven by science. See also "Monster."

Crytozoologist, noun: Any person who thinks hunting for cryptids is a good idea. See also "idiot."

Ghoulies. Ghosties. Long-legged beasties. Things that go bump in the night...

The Price family has spent generations studying the monsters of the world, working to protect them from humanity—and humanity from them.

Enter Verity Price. Despite being trained from birth as a cryptozoologist, she'd rather dance a tango than tangle with a demon, and is spending a year in Manhattan while she pursues her career in professional ballroom dance. Sounds pretty simple, right?

It would be, if it weren't for the talking mice, the telepathic mathematicians, the asbestos supermodels, and the trained monster-hunter sent by the Price family's old enemies, the Covenant of St. George. When a Price girl meets a Covenant boy, high stakes, high heels, and a lot of collateral damage are almost guaranteed.

To complicate matters further, local cryptids are disappearing, strange lizard-men are appearing in the sewers, and someone's spreading rumors about a dragon sleeping underneath the city...

This week's New York Times Bestsellers (June 26th)

In hardcover:

Neal Stephenson and Nicole Galland’s The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O. debuts at number 11. For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

In paperback:

Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid’s Tale maintains its position at number 1 (trade paperback). For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.