More inexpensive ebook goodies!

You can now download Ken Scholes' Lamentation for only 2.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

An ancient weapon has completely destroyed the city of Windwir. From many miles away, Rudolfo, Lord of the Nine Forest Houses, sees the horrifying column of smoke rising. He knows that war is coming to the Named Lands.

Nearer to the Devastation, a young apprentice is the only survivor of the city – he sat waiting for his father outside the walls, and was transformed as he watched everyone he knew die in an instant.

Soon all the Kingdoms of the Named Lands will be at each others' throats, as alliances are challenged and hidden plots are uncovered.

This remarkable first novel from an award-winning short fiction writer will take readers away to a new world – an Earth so far in the distant future that our time is not even a memory; a world where magick is commonplace and great areas of the planet are impassable wastes. But human nature hasn’t changed through the ages: War and faith and love still move princes and nations.

At the publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management software (DRM) applied.

Cover reveal and extract from Delilah S. Dawson and Kevin Hearne’s KILL THE FARM BOY

Here's the cover reveal and an extract from Delilah S. Dawson and Kevin Hearne’s upcoming Kill the Farm Boy, courtesy of the folks at DelRey. For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

Here's the blurb:

In an irreverent new series in the tradition of Terry Pratchett novels and The Princess Bride, the New York Times bestselling authors of the Iron Druid Chronicles and Star Wars: Phasma reinvent fantasy, fairy tales, and floridly written feast scenes.

Once upon a time, in a faraway kingdom, a hero, the Chosen One, was born . . . and so begins every fairy tale ever told.

This is not that fairy tale.

There is a Chosen One, but he is unlike any One who has ever been Chosened.

And there is a faraway kingdom, but you have never been to a magical world quite like the land of Pell.

There, a plucky farm boy will find more than he’s bargained for on his quest to awaken the sleeping princess in her cursed tower. First there’s the Dark Lord who wishes for the boy’s untimely death . . . and also very fine cheese. Then there’s a bard without a song in her heart but with a very adorable and fuzzy tail, an assassin who fears not the night but is terrified of chickens, and a mighty fighter more frightened of her sword than of her chain-mail bikini. This journey will lead to sinister umlauts, a trash-talking goat, the Dread Necromancer Steve, and a strange and wondrous journey to the most peculiar “happily ever after” that ever once-upon-a-timed.


In a Squalid Barnyard in Borix, Redolent of Feces and Angst

The very worst part about drudgery, Worstley thought, was all the blasted drudging one had to do. Nothing joyful or frolicsome around the corner for a lowly farm boy like him to look forward to. Just more drudgery of a mind-sapping, soul-sucking nature—and on a good day, no cause for involuntary vomiting.

At least he’d become somewhat accustomed to cleaning up the barnyard after his older brother, Bestley, had been stabbed in the heart by Lord Ergot. Some said barnyard duties were a step up from scrubbing the chimney, but Worstley wasn’t so sure. It had been almost nine months since he’d last vomited at the smell of assorted animal dung, but it was a constant struggle. It was still his least favorite chore, and he had to do it every other day: walk out there with a shovel and a sack among the goats and the pigs and the chickens and those dratted geese that goosed him whenever they could and scoop up whatever foul turds they had excreted since the last time he’d cleaned up. And after that, the stables awaited the same routine. Only then could he have a sad waffle with no syrup on it for breakfast. He didn’t think his mother made them properly: rumor in the village had it that waffles weren’t supposed be gray.

Like most cheerless days in Borix, the sky was the color of his mother’s waffles. Worstley sighed at the clouds, exasperated. “Would it kill you to let the sun shine through every once in a while?” he said.

The demon geese honked at the sound of his voice and waddled his way, hissing, wings extended in a threat display. Worstley raised his shovel in front of him protectively. “Go on, now. Shoo!” he said. As he fenced with their snapping beaks for a few seconds, he said, “There’s got to be a better way to live than this.” Had he been in a musical, he thought, right then would have been the perfect time to sing a sad song about his woeful lot in life while emphasizing his eternal optimism and plucky heart. Although he’d been born in this very barnyard—right there by the bucket of lumpy slop—he’d always felt that he was meant for greater things, for some important purpose in the larger world. But there wasn’t so much as a gap-toothed troubadour around to strike an obliging opening chord about his shining future. Lord Ergot had hanged them all for singing a little ditty about his poky short sword on his wedding day.

The geese fended off, Worstley checked the position of the black billy goat that occasionally found it amusing to ram him from the blind side and bleat a laugh as he clutched his back and winced. So far the goat was staying still—Gus was his name—but he was watching Worstley carefully from the other side of the barnyard near the fence. Or at least Worstley thought Gus was watching him; it was hard to tell. The goat’s eyes never seemed to point in the same direction.

“Don’t even think it, Gus,” Worstley called.

Gus bleated, lifted his tail, and ejected a fresh pile of pellets out his backside.

“Oh, great. Why do people think animals are cute?” Worstley wondered aloud. “They’re just nasty.”

“Aw, you got it easy, kid,” a voice called from the fence to the right of the billy goat. Worstley’s eyes slid in that direction and spied a diminutive form perched on a post. “Goats ain’t nothing. You want a dangerous pile of poop, wait until you get a load of dragon dump. It’s hot and sulfurous and will burn the hairs right out of your nose.”

“Who are you?” Worstley asked. “Better yet, what are you?”

“C’mere, kid. We gotta talk.”

Keeping a wary eye out for attacks from geese and goat, Worstley drew closer to the fence to get a better look at the speaker.

She had a set of double wings like a dragonfly’s branching from her back, thin and translucent and veined with iridescent colors. They were the most beautiful things Worstley had ever seen. But the owner of said wings wasn’t precisely the image of a proper fairy. Her torn shirt decorated with dubious stains didn’t fully cover her belly, which bulged and sagged like a beer gut. A rather large mole with three stiff and proud hairs sprouting from it was rooted on the side of her left nostril. She had two black holes where teeth should’ve been, and the three remaining molars were capped with gold. A single eyebrow not unlike a furry caterpillar wriggled about on her forehead.

Worstley would’ve expected a glittering dress, dainty as a flower, but such was not in the offing. She wore a shirt that looked more like a used handkerchief, possibly swiped from someone with the plague. Her dull red pants ballooned over the thighs with the right leg bunched at the knee, revealing one blue threadbare sock. Her left pants leg fell to her ankle, but that foot was bare. Dirt rimmed her toenails, and she radiated a powerful funk that might’ve been fungal in origin.

In short, she resembled a fairy about as much as Worstley looked like a prince.

“Are you all right?” Worstley said.

“Of course I am. I mean, apart from it being too blasted early, I’m fine.” She belched robustly. “Ah, that’s better.”

Worstley blinked. “Right. It’s just that you don’t look—”

“Like what? You’d better not say a fairy, kid,” she said, pointing a warning finger at him. The finger appeared to have a booger affixed to the tip. “I’m a pixie. Name’s Staph.”


“That’s what I said. I’m here to change your life, so we should probably get on with it so I can do something more productive with my day than talking to some scrawny cheesehole.”

Worstley took a step back and looked around, suspicious. He’d always dreamed of seeing a fairy, but never one that smelled quite so terrible. “Is this a joke? You can’t be a pixie.”

Staph blanched and looked over her shoulder to make sure she still had wings. The motion made her wobble unsteadily on the fence post. “Wings are still there. I’m a pixie. What the puck else would I be? A bogie?” She waggled her booger-tipped finger threateningly at him and cackled.

“Are you drunk?”

“Not as much as I’d like to be. Now look, kid, I’m here to tell you something important. The good news and the bad news is that you’re the Chosen One. You have a destiny, and I’m here to bless you with it. Or curse you, whatever. Anoint you, let’s say.”

“This has definitely got to be a joke. Who put you up to this?”

The pixie rolled her eyes. “Gahh, enough with that, all right? Nobody cares enough to play a joke on you, farm boy. This is destiny, all gen-u-wine and bona fide. What’s so hard to believe?”

“I thought pixies were supposed to be named Butterblossom or something, and they’re, like, I don’t know . . . clean.”

Staph’s eyes bulged, and she held up her boogery index finger to scold Worstley. “First, Butterblossom is a no-talent harpy who invades homes at night and eats little kids’ pet hamsters.” She held up another finger. “Second, clean people have no fun and they only bathe because they can’t think of anything better to do. But me, I’ve seen some right bloody business and I know things.”

Worstley shrugged and sighed and shouldered his shovel as if to say that if he had to deal with someone else’s crap in the barnyard, it should at least be the physical rather than the metaphorical kind.

“Don’t believe me? Okay, I’ll prove it to you.” The pixie hawked up a loogie and spat it at his feet. “I’ve got more magic juice than a poisoned apple orchard. I’ll show you. That’s an ordinary goat over there, right?”

Staph pointed at Gus.

“He’s kind of annoying, but otherwise, yeah.”

“Watch this.” Staph glared at the goat and thrust out a hand in a clawed gesture. The billy goat rocked back as if struck and began to choke and spit, its yellow eyes rolling back in its head. The pixie produced a tiny wand and added some extra oomph to whatever she was doing, and the goat fell over.

Worstley dropped the shovel. “Hey, what are you doing to Gus? Stop it!”

“Already done,” Staph said as she lowered her hands and put the wand away.

Kneeling by the fallen and unbreathing billy, Worstley was unsure how to give mouth-to-mouth to someone with such thin, filthy lips full of such jagged yellow teeth. Fortunately, Gus’s round belly puffed up with air, and he rolled over and onto his callused knees, coughing.

“You okay, Gus? C’mon, buddy. If you’re dead, Mom’ll kill me. Or, actually, that might save me a step . . .”

“My name,” said the goat, newly gifted with speech, “is Gustave, not Gus. Get it straight, Pooboy.” His voice was more cultured than Worstley’s and filled the boy with rage that only made him sound more the bumpkin.

“What did you—?”

“That’s your name, genius. Pooboy. As in the boy who scoops up my poo.”

Worstley bristled and said, “That’s so juvenile, you—” but Staph cut him off before he could finish.

“Look, will you forget the goat and listen to me now? He’s not important, but I’m for real, and I’m telling you that you’re the Chosen One. You have a special destiny. You’re going to do great things.”

“Why me?”

“Hey, it wasn’t me that chose you, okay? I just got sent here to do the deed. If I’m gonna choose a hero, you can be darned sure it’s not gonna be some whiny, pathetic punk named Pooboy.”

“That’s not my name! It’s Worstley!”

“Whatever. Like that’s any better. Anyway, you’re hereby anointed, so get to it, will ya?”

“Get to what?”

“Saving the world. Or changing it. Or both. The aura kind of takes care of everything, and it’s not my problem anymore. All’s I need is a drink and the occasional night of debauchery at the local halfling bar and I’m good. But you’re not good, right? You’re a pooboy named Worstley living in the most wretched earldom in Pell. Time to move on, don’t you think? Find your destiny, get some songs written about you. Do something worth singing about.”

Staph turned to go, and Worstley yelped and reached out a hand, although he fell short of actually touching her. They were short on soap around the farm, after all.

“Wait, that’s it? I mean, what have I been chosen to do?”

“Gadzooks, boy. Or zounds. I don’t know which is more appropriate in this case, and I get them mixed up.”

“Me, too,” Worstley admitted.

“But I do know one thing: you gotta figure out your destiny your own dang self.”

From the forthcoming book KILL THE FARM BOY by Delilah S. Dawson and Kevin Hearne. Copyright © 2018 by Kevin Hearne and D.S. Dawson. Reprinted by arrangement with Del Rey Books, an imprint of Random House, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. All rights reserved.

More inexpensive ebook goodies!

You can now download the Dresden Files omnibus containing the first six volumes of the series for only 7.99$ here. There is a price match in Canada. This is an incredible deal and the perfect opportunity for potential readers to give the Dresden Files a shot!

The omnibus includes:

- Storm Front
- Fool Moon
- Grave Peril
- Summer Knight
- Death Masks
- Blood Rites

Here's the blurb for the first installment:

In the first novel in the #1 New York Times bestselling Dresden Files series, Harry Dresden’s investigation of a grisly double murder pulls him into the darkest depths of magical Chicago…

As a professional wizard, Harry Dresden knows firsthand that the “everyday” world is actually full of strange and magical things—and most of them don’t play well with humans. And those that do enjoy playing with humans far too much. He also knows he’s the best at what he does. Technically, he’s the only at what he does. But even though Harry is the only game in town, business—to put it mildly, stinks.

So when the Chicago P.D. bring him in to consult on a double homicide committed with black magic, Harry’s seeing dollar signs. But where there’s black magic, there’s a black mage behind it. And now that mage knows Harry’s name…

Turn Coat

Well, I'm running out of positive things to say about Jim Butcher's The Dresden Files. This series has definitely become one of my favorite SFF reads and it keeps getting better!

If Dead Beat turned out to be the point where the Dresden Files shifted into high gear, for its part Proven Guilty did build on the storylines introduced in basically every other volume and pushed the envelope even further. Far from losing steam like so many other speculative fiction series, the Dresden Files continued to grow in size, scope, and inventiveness. Having matured as an author with each new book, Jim Butcher has definitely hit his stride and he definitely became more confident, more ambitious. And with so many plot threads coming together to form an impressive tapestry, the potential for what came next was indeed enormous. But with the bar being raised with each new volume, the possibility that Butcher would somehow lose control of his tale, or allow himself to lose focus and simply milk his popularity for all it's worth, remained risks that could become all too real if he did not avoid certain pitfalls that had plagued some of his peers also writing bestselling urban fantasy sequences.

As a matter of course, White Night had lofty expectations to live up to. But even if it was a fun and entertaining read in its own right, it was not as good as its last few predecessors. The novel was not as intricately plotted and satisfying as Dead Beat and Proven Guilty turned out to be, yet it nonetheless set the stage for another chapter in the Dresden Files. One that would undoubtedly raise the series to another, deeper and more complex, level. And Small Favor was definitely a return to form for Jim Butcher. The book elevated the series to an even higher level, with several hints of an even bigger and more ambitious story arc that is gradually becoming more and more discernible.

Given its predecessor's quality, Turn Coat had big shoes to fill. But Butcher upped his game yet again and came up with his best effort thus far.

Here's the blurb:

When it comes to the magical ruling body known as the White Council, Harry keeps his nose clean and his head down. For years, the Council has held a death mark over Harry's head. He's still thought of as a black sheep by some and as a sacrificial lamb by others. But none regard him with more suspicion and disdain than Morgan, a veteran Warden with a grudge against anyone who bends the rules.

Like Harry.

So when Morgan turns up asking for help, Harry isn't exactly eager to leap into action. Morgan has been accused of treason against the White Council, and there's only one final punishment for that crime. He's on the run, he wants his name cleared, and he needs someone with a knack for backing the underdog.

Like Harry.

Now Harry must uncover a traitor within the Council, keep a less than agreeable Morgan under wraps, and avoid coming under scrutiny himself. And a single mistake may cost someone his head.

Like Harry...

I was hooked by the premise of this book from the very beginning. Given the history between Morgan and Harry, how could I not? Turn Coat captivated me from the first page and never let go. I mean, when a battered and injured Morgan shows up at Harry's doorstep, asking for his help because he's accused of a murder he did not commit by the White Council, you immediately know that the proverbial crap has hit the fan. Given that we've suspected for a while that there is a traitor working for the Black Council hiding in plain sight within the inner circles of the White Council of Wizards, you know it's going to get interesting. And since no one will think that the Warden would seek out Harry to help clear his name, that gives the only wizard in the Chicago's phonebook a bit of a head start to discover what truly happened. Because if the Council finds out that Harry is hiding and helping Morgan, he will surely share the Warden's fate. A death sentence.

As always, the novel features the first person narrative of Harry Dresden. Harry's voice as the only POV remains witty and irreverent, filled with dark humor that makes you chuckle every couple of pages or so. But this one was the darkest installment yet. As has been the case with the majority of the last few Dresden Files volumes, it's the supporting cast which helps make this one another memorable read. The usual suspects are there for the ride; Murphy, Thomas, and Molly Carpenter. Never could have expected Thomas' transformation following his ordeal at the hands of the Skinwalker. I'm really looking forward to see how this will affect his relationship with his brother in the future. Speaking of Harry, the heart-breaking aftermath of the endgame with Anastasia Luccio must have profoundly hurt him. One of the most fascinating aspects of Turn Coat was that it shone some light on the politicking and the inner workings that are at the heart of the White Council. Seeing some senior members in action was also quite a treat. Listens-to-Wind, especially, can certainly kick some ass.

In my Small Favor review, I claimed that it was hands down the most convoluted installment so far. It was, no question. And yet, Turn Coat took it up a few notches. Once again, what begins as a relatively straightforward mission quickly turns into an extremely complicated and intricately plotted ensemble of storylines that links this one with plotlines from past volumes. Like most of its predecessors, Turn Coat is an elaborate and interesting self-contained stand-alone story. Still, no other installment in the series was this complex and unveiled that many secrets which keep readers begging for more. The ending raised the stakes even higher, and it appears that the Dresden Files will now enter a new phase. One that keeps growing and growing, taking readers along unexpected paths.

Turn Coat is another fast-paced affair. Butcher really paced this one close to perfection. No doubt about it, this novel is a page-turner from start to finish!

With Small Favor and Turn Coat, the odds are definitely stacked against Harry and his few allies. New developments with Michael Carpenter, Thomas, and Anastasia will likely have grave repercussions on the poor guy. Not to mention that the list of entities and people wanting Harry dead keeps growing with each new Dresden Files book. It will take a lot of self-control to not forgo reading anything else and simply read the remaining volumes in this series.

Jim Butcher is awesome and Turn Coat was his best work to date! I wish reading could always be this fun!

The final verdict: 9/10

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

More inexpensive ebook goodies!

You can now download Tim Powers' The Anubis Gates for only 1.99$ here. There is a price match in Canada.

Here's the blurb:

Take a dazzling journey through time with Tim Power’s classic, Philip K. Dick Award-winning tale...

Brendan Doyle, a specialist in the work of the early-nineteenth century poet William Ashbless, reluctantly accepts an invitation from a millionaire to act as a guide to time-travelling tourists. But while attending a lecture given by Samuel Taylor Coleridge in 1810, he becomes marooned in Regency London, where dark and dangerous forces know about the gates in time.

Caught up in the intrigue between rival bands of beggars, pursued by Egyptian sorcerers, and befriended by Coleridge, Doyle somehow survives and learns more about the mysterious Ashbless than he could ever have imagined possible...

You can also download Ian Tregillis' The Mechanical for 2.99$ here. There is a price match in Canada.

Here's the blurb:

My name is Jax.

That is the name granted to me by my human masters.

I am a slave.

But I shall be free.

Set in a world that might have been, of mechanical men and alchemical dreams, the new novel from Ian Tregillis confirms his place as one of the most original new voices in speculative fiction.

Black Star Renegades

After reading Melanie Rawn's The Mageborn Traitor and Stephen R. Donaldson's Seventh Decimate (reviews for both books coming up in the near future), two decidedly subpar novels that proved to be major disappointments, I needed something fun and light to get back into the swing of things. And Michael Moreci's Black Star Renegades appeared to be just what I needed. The advance reading copy of this title went to the top of the pile when it showed up in my mailbox and the timing was just about right to give it a shot.

True, most talented comic books writers rarely make the transition to good novelists. Even an all-star like Chris Claremont failed to come up with quality novel-length material when the opportunity presented itself. Hence, I didn't have high expectations when I set out to read Black Star Renegades. Even though this work was no spoof, I was expecting Moreci's ode to Star Wars to be akin to Steven Erikson's homage to Star Trek in his Willful Child series. Well, it wasn't. . .

Black Star Renegades turned out to be nothing more than an ensemble of recycled tropes that read like Star Wars fanfiction. And a poor one at that. There is no originality throughout this book. This reimagining of Star Wars features absolutely nothing of the vision and creativity which made the original trilogy so amazing. All it does is take clichés and plot points from every single Star Wars film to date, subvert a couple just so it can't be called plagiarism, and come up with an uninspired and poorly executed work that is totally forgettable. Truth be told, I can't quite believe I actually reached the end of this book. It's so stale and boring that I wanted to quit every step of the way.

Here's the blurb:

In the tradition of Star Wars, a galaxy-hopping space adventure about a galactic kingdom bent on control and the young misfit who must find the power within before it’s too late.

Cade Sura holds the future of the galaxy in his hands: the ultimate weapon that will bring total peace. He didn’t ask for it, he doesn’t want it, and there’s no worse choice to wield it in all of space, but if he doesn’t, everyone’s totally screwed. The evil Praxis kingdom is on the cusp of having every star system under its control, and if that happens, there’ll be no contesting their cruel reign. Especially if its fanatical overlord, Ga Halle, manages to capture Cade and snag the all-powerful weapon for herself.

Cade can’t hide from Praxis, and he can’t run from the destiny that’s been shoved into his hands. So he only has one option:

He has to fight.

Cade’s not going to let destiny send him on a suicide run, though. With some help from his friends—rebels and scoundrels alike—Cade’s going to use this weapon to chart a new destiny for the galaxy, and for himself.

He just has to do so before everyone around him discovers that he’s a complete and total fraud.

Blending the space operatics of Star Wars and the swagger of Guardians of the Galaxy, Black Star Renegades is a galaxy-hopping adventure that blasts its way from seedy spacer bars to sacred temples guarded by deadly creatures—all with a cast of misfit characters who have nowhere to go and nothing to lose.

Black Star Renegades is an unapologetic love letter to Star Wars. That goes without saying. Problem is, unlike Steven Erikson's Star Trek's parody, Moreci's novel is little more than a cheap imitation of the original saga that reads like a crappy B-movie direct-to-DVD release. I'm persuaded that this was meant to be some sort of mash-up of genre tropes. But in the end, it's a lackluster work filled to the brim with ideas and concepts that we've seen a thousand times before. A superior author would have managed to effortlessly use readers' preconceptions against them and surprise them at every turn. Sadly, Michael Moreci did not have what it takes to do that. Ultimately, Black Star Renegades is a clichéd and predictable scifi adventure yarn that fails to deliver on basically every front. You have your do-gooder Jedi order, an evil galactic empire bent on galaxy-wide domination, weapons that are not lightsabers but close enough, a weapon of mass destruction that can destroy worlds, villains that used to be good guys, and a panoply of other Star Wars tropes.

The characterization is by far the weakest aspect of this novel. With the worldbuilding so trite and unimaginative, the protagonists could have gone a long way into making this a more enjoyable reading experience. Unfortunately, it wasn't meant to be. For the most part, the characters are little more than generic cardboard cutouts. Even worse, there is no character development to speak of. The main protagonist, Cade Sura, is an annoying dumbass from the get-go and the fate of the galaxy couldn't be in worst hands. For its part, the supporting cast does little to help elevate this tale to another level. Sure, it's not a carbon copy of the original Star Wars movies. Instead of a whimpy protocol droid like C-3PO, you have a kick-ass combat drone. Instead of Obi-Wan Kenobi, you have a younger and more badass teacher for Cade and Tristan. Instead of the Emperor, you have a mad queen. Yada yada yada. But what it boils down to is that both the plot and the cast are made of recycled ideas and storylines that we have seen ad nauseam. There is nothing new or fresh about Black Star Renegades. Nothing at all.

The quality of the prose was better than I exected. However, the dialogue reads exactly like what you'd expect out of a comic book. With some "GRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH", "ARRRRGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHH", and "WHOOOOOOOOOOOOOO" throughout. Moreover, it is plagued by juvenile back-and-forth between the protagonists. Some reviews claim that it's more of a YA science fiction adventure work, but I doubt that a younger audience would enjoy it more than I did. It's just an overdone and stereotyped sort of tale which has little appeal, all things considered. And though the quality of the writing is better than fanfiction, it nevertheless reads like fanfic.

The pace is never really an issue. Moreci keeps the story moving at a good clip. Unfortunately, with such a boring and predictable plot, a good rhythm simply cannot save this novel. You can see the endgame coming from a mile away, so the ending doesn't pack any punch whatsoever. The author is unable to make you grow attached to any of the characters, so you couldn't care less about the fate of any of them by the time you reach the last page. Alas, unlike all the protagonists from Star Wars: Rogue One, whose only redeeming quality is that they're all dead and can't bother us anymore, most of the cast from Black Star Renegades will live to see another day.

There is a sequel in the works. Will I read it? To be honest, I'd rather undergo a prostate exam than read that second installment. Yes. I kid you not.

There are so many quality science fiction/space opera novels out there. Read those and don't waste your time with Black Star Renegades.

The final verdict: 3/10

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

Follow this link to read an extract.

Win a copy of Katherine Arden's THE GIRL IN THE TOWER

I'm giving away my review copy of Katherine Arden's The Girl in the Tower to one lucky winner! For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

Here's the blurb:

A remarkable young woman blazes her own trail, from the backwoods of Russia to the court of Moscow, in the exhilarating sequel to Katherine Arden’s bestselling debut novel, The Bear and the Nightingale.

Katherine Arden’s enchanting first novel introduced readers to an irresistible heroine. Vasilisa has grown up at the edge of a Russian wilderness, where snowdrifts reach the eaves of her family’s wooden house and there is truth in the fairy tales told around the fire. Vasilisa’s gift for seeing what others do not won her the attention of Morozko—Frost, the winter demon from the stories—and together they saved her people from destruction. But Frost’s aid comes at a cost, and her people have condemned her as a witch.

Now Vasilisa faces an impossible choice. Driven from her home by frightened villagers, the only options left for her are marriage or the convent. She cannot bring herself to accept either fate and instead chooses adventure, dressing herself as a boy and setting off astride her magnificent stallion Solovey.

But after Vasilisa prevails in a skirmish with bandits, everything changes. The Grand Prince of Moscow anoints her a hero for her exploits, and she is reunited with her beloved sister and brother, who are now part of the Grand Prince’s inner circle. She dares not reveal to the court that she is a girl, for if her deception were discovered it would have terrible consequences for herself and her family. Before she can untangle herself from Moscow’s intrigues—and as Frost provides counsel that may or may not be trustworthy—she will also confront an even graver threat lying in wait for all of Moscow itself.

The rules are the same as usual. You need to send an email at reviews@(no-spam) with the header "GIRL." Remember to remove the "no spam" thingy.

Second, your email must contain your full mailing address (that's snail mail!), otherwise your message will be deleted.

Lastly, multiple entries will disqualify whoever sends them. And please include your screen name and the message boards that you frequent using it, if you do hang out on a particular MB.

Good luck to all the participants!

More inexpensive ebook goodies!

You can now get your hands on the digital edition of Nicholas Eames' Kings of the Wyld for only 2.99$ here. There is a price match in Canada.

Here's the blurb:


Clay Cooper and his band were once the best of the best, the most feared and renowned crew of mercenaries this side of the Heartwyld.

Their glory days long past, the mercs have grown apart and grown old, fat, drunk, or a combination of the three. Then an ex-bandmate turns up at Clay's door with a plea for help--the kind of mission that only the very brave or the very stupid would sign up for.

It's time to get the band back together.

This week's New York Times Bestsellers (November 20th)

In hardcover:

Stephen King and Owen King’s Sleeping Beauties is down four positions, ending the week at number 11. For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

In paperback:

Stephen King's It maintains its position at number 3 (trade paperback). For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe

Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid’s Tale is up one spot, finishing the week at number 5 (trade paperback). For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

Ernest Cline's Ready Player One returns to number 9 (trade paperback).

Steven Brust contest winner!

This winner will get his hands on a copy of Steven Brust's Vallista. For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

The winner is:

Didier Labonté, from Les Houches, France

Many thanks to all the participants!

More inexpensive ebook goodies!

You can now get your hands on the digital edition of Kim Stanley Robinson's Aurora for only 2.99$ here. There is a price match in Canada.

Here's the blurb:

A major new novel from one of science fiction's most powerful voices, AURORA tells the incredible story of our first voyage beyond the solar system.

Brilliantly imagined and beautifully told, it is the work of a writer at the height of his powers.

Our voyage from Earth began generations ago.

Now, we approach our new home.


Black Gate Magazine interview with Steven Erikson

Enjoy! =)

More inexpensive ebook goodies!

You can now download Robert A. Heinlein's Starship Troopers for only 1.99$ here. There is a price match in Canada.

Here's the blurb:

In Robert A. Heinlein’s controversial bestseller, a recruit of the future goes through the toughest boot camp in the Universe—and into battle against mankind’s most alarming enemy.


The historians can’t seem to settle whether to call this one “The Third Space War” (or the fourth), or whether “The First Interstellar War” fits it better. The soldiers just call it “The Bug War.” Everything up to then and still later were “incidents,” “patrols,” or “police actions.”

In the Mobile Infantry, everybody fights. But you're just as dead if you buy the farm in an “incident” as you are if you buy it in a declared war...

Neil Gaiman contest winner!

This lucky winner will receive a copy of Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere Illustrated Edition, compliments of the folks at William Morrow. For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

The winner is:

- Bethany Cardone, from Burke, Virginia, USA

Many thanks to all the participants!

More inexpensive ebook goodies!

You can now download Stephen R. Donaldson's Lord Foul's Bane, the opening chapter of one of the very best fantasy series of all time, for only 0.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

He called himself Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever because he dared not believe in the strange alternate world in which he suddenly found himself.

Yet the Land tempted him. He had been sick; now he seemed better than ever before. Through no fault of his own, he had been outcast, unclean, a pariah. Now he was regarded as a reincarnation of the Land's greatest hero--Berek Halfhand--armed with the mystic power of White Gold. That power alone could protect the Lords of the Land from the ancient evil of Despiser, Lord Foul. Only...Covenant had no idea of how the power could be used!

Thus begins one of the most remarkable epic fantasies ever written...

This week's New York Times Bestsellers (November 13th)

In hardcover:

Stephen King and Owen King’s Sleeping Beauties is down three positions, ending the week at number 7. For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

In paperback:

Stephen King's It maintains its position at number 3 (trade paperback). For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe

Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid’s Tale is down one spot, finishing the week at number 6 (trade paperback). For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

Peter Newman contest winner!

To help promote the release of Peter Newman's The Seven (Canada, USA, Europe), this winner will receive a full set of the series, compliments of the folks at HarperVoyager. The prize pack includes:

- The Vagrant
- The Malice
- The Seven

The winner is:

- Tommy Morrison (Khartun on Reddit), from Amarillo, Texas, USA

Many thanks to all the participants!

More inexpensive ebook goodies!

You can now get your hands on the digital edition of Iain M. Banks' The Hydrogen Sonata for only 2.99$ here. There is a price match in Canada.

Here's the blurb:

The New York Times bestselling Culture novel...

The Scavenger species are circling. It is, truly, provably, the End Days for the Gzilt civilization.

An ancient people, organized on military principles and yet almost perversely peaceful, the Gzilt helped set up the Culture ten thousand years earlier and were very nearly one of its founding societies, deciding not to join only at the last moment. Now they've made the collective decision to follow the well-trodden path of millions of other civilizations; they are going to Sublime, elevating themselves to a new and almost infinitely more rich and complex existence.

Amid preparations though, the Regimental High Command is destroyed. Lieutenant Commander (reserve) Vyr Cossont appears to have been involved, and she is now wanted - dead, not alive. Aided only by an ancient, reconditioned android and a suspicious Culture avatar, Cossont must complete her last mission given to her by the High Command. She must find the oldest person in the Culture, a man over nine thousand years old, who might have some idea what really happened all that time ago.

It seems that the final days of the Gzilt civilization are likely to prove its most perilous.

More inexpensive ebook goodies!

You can now download Jim Butcher's Cold Days for only 1.99$ here. There is a price match in Canada.

Here's the blurb:

After a brief interlude in the afterlife, Harry Dresden’s new job makes him wonder if death was really all that bad in this novel in the #1 New York Times bestselling series.

Harry Dresden is no longer Chicago’s only professional wizard. Now, he’s Winter Knight to Mab, the Queen of Air and Darkness. Her word is his command. And her first command is the seemingly impossible: kill an immortal. Worse still, there is a growing threat to an unfathomable source of magic that could mean the deaths of millions.

Beset by enemies new and old, Harry must gather his friends and allies, prevent an apocalypse, and find a way out of his eternal subservience before his newfound infinite powers claim the only thing he has left to call his own...

His soul.

More inexpensive ebook goodies!

You can now download Frank Herbert's Dune Messiah for only 1.99$ here. There is a price match in Canada.

Here's the blurb:

Book Two in the Magnificent Dune Chronicles—the Bestselling Science Fiction Adventure of All Time.

Dune Messiah continues the story of Paul Atreides, better known—and feared—as the man christened Muad’Dib. As Emperor of the Known Universe, he possesses more power than a single man was ever meant to wield. Worshipped as a religious icon by the fanatical Fremens, Paul faces the enmity of the political houses he displaced when he assumed the throne—and a conspiracy conducted within his own sphere of influence.

And even as House Atreides begins to crumble around him from the machinations of his enemies, the true threat to Paul comes to his lover, Chani, and the unborn heir to his family’s dynasty...

David Walton contest winners!

Our winners will get their hands on copies of David Walton's The Genius Plague, courtesy of the folks at Pyr. For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

The winners are:

- Guillermo Cantu, from Hidalgo, Texas, USA

- Carrie Dollar, from Grosse Pointe Woods, Michigan, USA

Many thanks to all the participants!

More inexpensive ebook goodies!

You can now download Terry Pratchett's Nation for only 1.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

When a giant wave destroys his village, Mau is the only one left. Daphne—a traveler from the other side of the globe—is the sole survivor of a shipwreck. Separated by language and customs, the two are united by catastrophe. Slowly, they are joined by other refugees. And as they struggle to protect the small band, Mau and Daphne defy ancestral spirits, challenge death himself, and uncover a long-hidden secret that literally turns the world upside down.

This week's New York Times Bestsellers (November 6th)

In hardcover:

Stephen King and Owen King’s Sleeping Beauties maintains its positions at number 4. For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

Joe Hill’s Strange Weather: Four Short Novels debuts at number 9.

In paperback:

Stephen King's It is down one position, ending the week at number 3 (trade paperback). For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe

Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid’s Tale maintains its position at number 5 (trade paperback). For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

More inexpensive ebook goodies!

You can now download Anne McCaffrey's Dragonflight, first volume in the classic The Dragonriders of Pern series, for 2.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

Volume I of The Dragonriders of Pern®, the groundbreaking series by master storyteller Anne McCaffrey.

On a beautiful world called Pern, an ancient way of life is about to come under attack from a myth that is all too real. Lessa is an outcast survivor—her parents murdered, her birthright stolen—a strong young woman who has never stopped dreaming of revenge. But when an ancient threat to Pern reemerges, Lessa will rise—upon the back of a great dragon with whom she shares a telepathic bond more intimate than any human connection. Together, dragon and rider will fly . . . and Pern will be changed forever.

You can also get your hands on the digital edition of Jennifer Roberson's Sword-Dancer for only 2.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

The first book in the Sword-Dancer saga introduces the legendary adventures of Tiger and Del, magic wielders and skilled warriors.

He was Tiger, born of the desert winds, raised as a slave and winning his freedom by weaving a special kind of magic with a warrior’s skill. Now he was an almost legendary sword-dancer, ready to take on any challenge—if the price was right.

She was Del, born of ice and storm, trained by the greatest of Northern sword masters. Now, her ritual training completed, and steeped in the special magic of her own runesword, she had come South in search of the young brother stolen five years before.

But even Del could not master all the dangers of the deadly Punja alone. And meeting Del, Tiger could not turn back from the most intriguing challenge he’d ever faced—the challenge of a magical, mysterious sword-dancer of the North....

Flashback: Mystar vs Game of Thrones

I was discussing Game of Thrones, Season 7, with some long-time Hotlist readers a few days ago. And now that it's one of the most watched TV shows on the planet, we had a good laugh reminiscing about Mystar (Terry Goodkind's friend) lying about the HBO deal falling through and saying that the show would never appeal to the masses the way the Sword of Truth TV adaptation inevitably would. You may recall that Legend of the Seeker ended up being a travesty and was soon taken off the air, while Game of Thrones went to become an international success.

Found the original thread on Here are a few nuggets of entertainment for you to enjoy in case you missed it back in the day:

Actually, I was talking to a friend at TOR today, the TV/mini-series deal for ASOIAF fell through. HBO decided not to take it and the production company was said to have discontinued with the option In other words, they backed out. I was truly looking forward to seeing how this would be adapted to cinema.

It is a pretty reliable source, but like any only time will tell

Hopefully someone else will be able to pick it up...


The problem is the breath and scope of the story line. Condensing that down into a project for the TV is not an easy task. That and the fact that there really is no demonstrable reason to the story line that woudl appeal to the masses... No hero figure..who doesn't get killed, to many random killings for no more than someone was in someones elses way...things like that. HBO kicked it out, but that doesn't mean another could take it and make it work...


No malace at all.

I was polite and quite frank.

While I understand it GRRM's GF may offer her opinion, we also have to understand her possable reluctance(sp) to let out the fact that it did in fact get dropped....and perhaps having dinner with several agents in New York and jabbering about projects and books my information could also be rhumor heard and passed along.


So what?

I was simply stating what I was privy to. I also said I hoped it would be picked up....if in fact that was the case.

There is no need to insult or attack me for simply discusing my thoughts. We can be civilized and polite, or at least I can...


I was however in Vegas a few weeks ago at the convention, while bidding, discussion and other news was being bantied about, So I would guess my information is just as creditable, as I was specificly asking HBO, agents and the money reps...


But thepoint is, I don't have to offer any proof... the proof will be know when it never happens.


Or this on Westeros:

BUT ABC/Disney would not be denied. "We know a block buster when we see it"... This also is fleshed out in the aspect that even BEFORE any hype, trailers or much of anything, this series has been picked up in over 98% of the markets...again a record breaker, and stunning ABC/Disney.

All because this is a story about Hero's...TRUE heros!. Heroic people acting in a manor that underscores the true Nobility that is mankind. It proves what Goodkind has been telling us for over 15 years now... People want heros... TRUE Heros. This is the same thing Sam Raimi, Rob Tapert Ned Nallie, ABC and Disney all agree on... This is why you see something like George R R Martin's A song of Ice and Fire always failing by comparison, why it is still sitting on the shelf, why the screen play has had to have been rewritten several times already, and it is still sitting there... It has no true hero's and no honor for life... People want to feel good about their heros, they want Heros, they can believe in!!!

Ah, such great memories. . . Mystar. . . Gotta love the guy! He did make me the original Lemming of Discord, don't you forget! ;-)

The Fall of Hyperion

Wow! I can't believe I waited this long to finally read this book!

Though I owned a few Dan Simmons novels, by 2010 I had yet to read Hyperion, the award-winning work which has become a genre landmark. My bad, I know. . . So when I was caught in a sudden downpour in the Old Town of Dubrovnik, Croatia, like everyone else I ran for it and entered the first store I saw. Fortunately for me, it turned out to be a bookstore. Even better, I was running out of reading material and still had a ways to go before completing my trip in the Balkans. So I browsed around, waiting for the rain to stop. Perusing the SFF section, something drew my attention. I wasn't aware that Gollancz had released an Hyperion omnibus, and I needed very little convincing to purchase it. I later met a bunch of cool people in Bosnia and Herzegovina and then again in Serbia, so I didn't read a whole lot during the rest of that trip. Which means that I didn't get to read it till I was back home. I bought it, so now I had to read Hyperion. I mean, when a science fiction work is compared to Frank Herbert's Dune in scope and originality, what else can one do?

I loved it, of course, and I planned to read the sequel in the following weeks. So why are we here, seven years later? Because I'm an idiot, that's why! Well, better late than never, or so they say. The important thing is that I finally read The Fall of Hyperion and it was awesome!

Here's the blurb:

In the stunning continuation of the epic adventure begun in Hyperion, Simmons returns us to a far future resplendent with drama and invention. On the world of Hyperion, the mysterious Time Tombs are opening. And the secrets they contain mean that nothing--nothing anywhere in the universe--will ever be the same.

The structure of the narrative in Hyperion was extremely unusual. Akin to that of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, it worked perfectly, but it took a little while to get used to. Indeed, not much occurred in "real time" throughout the novel. Which was mostly due to the fact that Hyperion was nothing more than a vast introduction meant to present the protagonists and set up the various storylines for their culmination in The Fall of Hyperion. Hence, Hyperion was not so much about the pilgrims' journey to the Time Tombs and the Shrike. In the end, it was about each of the main character's back story, which elaborated on their reasons for becoming part of the pilgrimage to Hyperion. This sequel features a more traditional narrative structure, but for some reason it's not as compelling as that of its predecessor. Indeed, the unorthodox structure of Hyperion allowed a tighter and more intimate focus on each of the pilgrim's tale.

The imminent war between the Hegemony and the Ousters serves as the backdrop for The Fall of Hyperion. Joseph Severin's dreams are used as a plot device to link the plotlines transpiring on Hyperion with that of CEO Meina Gladstone as she attempts to avert war with the Ousters and the repercussions it could have on the Hegemony as a whole. I loved how Simmons was able to weave each of the pilgrim's storyline into that bigger and more far-reaching arc. And as revelations are unveiled and you discover just how ambitious a work these two books are in both scope and vision, you understand just how epic Dan Simmons' classic truly is. You reach the end thinking that you have just read one of the very best science fiction works ever written. This tale of Hegemony worlds, conniving AIs, strange aliens and the Ousters, the pilgrims, the Time Tombs, and the Shrike is everything a great scifi yarn ought to be and then some!

This atypical structure of Hyperion influenced the pace of that novel. Depending on the pilgrim's back story, the rhythm could be crisp or sluggish. Yet Dan Simmons' evocative prose and multilayered tale sucked you in, regardless of the fact that it was page-turning or not. The Fall of Hyperion doesn't suffer from any pacing issues. With the groundwork already laid out within the pages of its predecessor, the sequel is all killer and no filler. As the plot progresses and its many secrets revealed, this book makes for a compulsive and captivating read.

Moving, thought-provoking, entertaining, astonishing; Hyperion and The Fall of Hyperion are all that and more!

Science fiction novels don't always age well. And yet, though these books were first published nearly thirty years ago, they deserve the highest possible recommendation. Believe you me: It doesn't get much better than this!

The final verdict: 9/10

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

Quote of the Day

Bribery wins more arguments than reason.

- JOSIAH BANCROFT, Senlin Ascends (Canada, USA, Europe)

Mark Lawrence and Wert were right! This one is pretty good thus far! =)

Win a copy of Stephen R. Donaldson's SEVENTH DECIMATE

I have two copies of Stephen R. Donaldson's Seventh Decimate, first volume in The Great God's War trilogy, for you to win, courtesy of the folks at Berkley! For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

Here's the blurb:

Fire. Wind. Pestilence. Earthquake. Drought. Lightning.

These are the six Decimates, wielded by sorcerers for both good and evil.

But a seventh Decimate exists—the most devastating one of all…

For centuries, the realms of Belleger and Amika have been at war, with sorcerers from both sides brandishing the Decimates to rain blood and pain upon their enemy. But somehow, in some way, the Amikans have discovered and invoked a seventh Decimate, one that strips all lesser sorcery of its power. And now the Bellegerins stand defenseless.

Prince Bifalt, eldest son of the Bellegerin King, would like to see the world wiped free of sorcerers. But it is he who is charged with finding the repository of all of their knowledge, to find the book of the seventh Decimate—and reverse the fate of his land.

All hope rests with Bifalt. But the legendary library, which may or may not exist, lies beyond an unforgiving desert and treacherous mountains—and beyond the borders of his own experience. Wracked by hunger and fatigue, sacrificing loyal men along the way, Bifalt will discover that there is a game being played by those far more powerful than he could ever imagine. And that he is nothing but a pawn…

The rules are the same as usual. You need to send an email at reviews@(no-spam) with the header "DECIMATE." Remember to remove the "no spam" thingy.

Second, your email must contain your full mailing address (that's snail mail!), otherwise your message will be deleted.

Lastly, multiple entries will disqualify whoever sends them. And please include your screen name and the message boards that you frequent using it, if you do hang out on a particular MB.

Good luck to all the participants!

More inexpensive ebook goodies!

You can now get your hands on the digital edition of Melanie Rawn's Dragon Prince for only 2.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

First in the bestselling Dragon Prince series, explore a lush epic fantasy world replete with winged beasts, power games of magical treachery, and a realm of princedoms hovering on the brink of war • “Marvelous!”—Anne McCaffrey.

When Rohan became the new prince of the Desert, ruler of the kingdom granted to his family for as long as the Long Sands spewed fire, he took the crown with two goals in mind. First and foremost, he sought to bring permanent peace to his world of divided princedoms. And, in a land where dragon-slaying was a proof of manhood, Rohan was the sole champion of the dragons, fighting desperately to preserve the last remaining lords of the sky and with them a secret which might be the salvation of his people...

Sioned, the Sunrunner witch who was fated by Fire to be Rohan’s bride, had mastered the magic of sunlight and moonglow, catching hints of a yet to be formed pattern which could irrevocably affect the destinies of Sunrunners and ordinary mortals alike. Yet caught in the machinations of the Lady of Goddess Keep, and of Prince Rohan and his sworn enemy, the treacherously cunning High Prince, could Sioned alter this crucial pattern to protect her lord from the menace of a war that threatened to set the land ablaze?

The two sequels, The Star Scroll and Sunrunner's Fire are also on sale at 5.99$ each.

Stronghold, the first volume in the second trilogy, is also 2.99$ here.