Friday, June 19, 2009

The Third Sign: The Chronicles of Klune by Gregory A. Wilson (Review)

Mulluane | Friday, June 19, 2009 | 2 Comments so far

By Gregory A. Wilson



Calen Gollnet lives in a tumultuous world. Surrounded by hostile forces bent on its destruction, his country Klune has been free for ten years, having thrown off the yoke of oppression thanks to a small group of heroes known as the Covenant; but the cost of this freedom was great, and the nation's liberty is becoming tenuous. The Covenant is broken, and Klune is now kept safe only because of a treaty struck between the human king and a race of honorable but xenophobic mercenaries known as arlics who have patrolled Klune's borders for the past decade. But the treaty is due to expire, and both the arlics and humans are restless, each claiming that they have been weakened by their dependence on the other.

As negotiations between the two sides break down and dark armies gather while politics bogs down the governors of city and country, Calen flees from the army attacking his home city, unaware that there is more to fear than mortal warriors; the appearance of the horrifying Soul Wall and other omens point to the fulfillment of the Prophecy of Return, in which it is said that three signs will signal the return of a great evil. The first two signs have come to pass, but the prophecy is obscure on its final prediction: the tide of the conflict may be changed by the third sign, but no one knows what that sign is, or whom it will favor.

*Blurb source* Five Star (ME)
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The Third Sign: The Chronicles of Klune by Gregory A. Wilson
Affiliate LinkAffiliate Link
The Third Sign
| Genre: Epic Fantasy
| ISBN-10: 1594147655
| ISBN-13: 9781594147654
| Content: Heroes, Adventure
| Publisher:Five Star (ME) (June 17, 2009)
| Hardcover: 351 pages
| Source: Personal copy
| Excerpt (PDF)
| Rating: 5 Stars

Fantasy Series Book Review by Mulluane

The Third Sign is pretty typical epic fare. You have a band of diverse characters off to save the world from destruction or die trying. You have a prophecy driving events, an obvious evil force bent on world domination with an obscure greater evil force waiting in the wings. In other words, this is exactly the type of book that I enjoy.

This is the perfect book for those days where you are not in the mood for gritty or deeply emotional but just want a good story. The pace is even, and the world building is interesting without being overly complicated. The characters engineer just enough sympathy to make you care what happens to them, without becoming emotionally involved. Even the line between "good" and "evil" is fairly clear and although there are times when you question which side who is on. This is the type of book that while you might find that you can easily put it down and go to bed, you really do not want to.

There are things that give this book an unique flavor. The Arlics are an interesting race with alot of possibility. There is plenty of internal conflict to balance out the external conflict. I personally like internal conflict; it gives the characters more depth. Actually, balance is the watchword for this story. All of the elements that drive this tale are so well balanced it is amazing. You have just the right dose of everything to keep the story moving right along, without any aspect overwhelming another. I honestly cannot bring to mind another book that accomplishes this so well. Reading this book for me was like spending time with a good friend, comfortable but interesting. In addition, once you are done, you consider the time well spent.

Good, traditional epic adventure, something that you do not find much of these days with authors trying to push outside of the genre box. Not that unusual and different is a bad thing but sometimes I just want to read good old-fashioned epic fantasy and this book fits that bill beautifully. Engaging, easy to get into and simply a good read. I look forward to the remainder of the series.

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Librarything Rating 3/5

Amazon Rating 4.7/5
7 customer reviews

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Epic Fantasy Book Review of The Third Sign: The Chronicles of Klune by Gregory A. Wilson - Reviewed by Mulluane - on June 19 2009 - Rating: 5 of 5 Stars


Friday, May 29, 2009

Spotlight - Santa Olivia by Jaqueline Carey

Mulluane | Friday, May 29, 2009 | Be the first to comment!
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Santa Olivia
Paperback: 352 pages - ISBN: 044619817X
Grand Central Publishing; (May 29, 2009)

By Jacqueline Carey

Lushly written with rich and vivid characters, SANTA OLIVIA is Jacqueline Carey's take on comic book superheroes and the classic werewolf myth.

Loup Garron was born and raised in Santa Olivia, an isolated, disenfranchised town next to a US military base inside a DMZ buffer zone between Texas and Mexico. A fugitive "Wolf-Man" who had a love affair with a local woman, Loup's father was one of a group of men genetically-manipulated and used by the US government as a weapon. The "Wolf-Men" were engineered to have superhuman strength, speed, sensory capability, stamina, and a total lack of fear, and Loup, named for and sharing her father's wolf-like qualities, is marked as an outsider.

After her mother dies, Loup goes to live among the misfit orphans at the parish church, where they seethe from the injustices visited upon the locals by the soldiers. Eventually, the orphans find an outlet for their frustrations: They form a vigilante group to support Loup Garron who, costumed as their patron saint, Santa Olivia, uses her special abilities to avenge the town.

Aware that she could lose her freedom, and possibly her life, Loup is determined to fight to redress the wrongs her community has suffered. And like the reincarnation of their patron saint, she will bring hope to all of Santa Olivia.

Read an Excerpt

Buy: US - Canada - UK - Kindle - Audio CD - Ebook, BooksonBoard

Reviews: Fantasy Cafe - The Book Smugglers

Interview: SciFi Guy


Author Info: Website - Facebook - MySpace - Yahoo Group

My Notes:

I received this book from the wonderful folks at Wonderlands (thanks!) and I tried to get into it but it just was not my thing. This is no reflection on the book, it is a direct result of my own personal tastes. So instead of a review I am doing a release day showcase for those of you who love Urban Fantasy.

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Thursday, May 28, 2009

Interview - Alma Alexander - Author of Worldweavers and The Secrets of Jin-Shei

Mulluane | Thursday, May 28, 2009 | Be the first to comment!

(Wacky Interview Series)

In case you missed the first interviews in this series, here is the deal...I read alot of author interviews and they are good, informative, and interesting but rarely tell me all that much about an author's personality. I often find myself thinking, "Well that's all good and everything but I want to know more about the real live person behind the book!"

So, I decided to conduct a "fun" interview; something that will give my readers a good laugh and be fun for the authors. You will not find serious questions covering books, publishing, writing or future plans. Instead you will get a chance to see how they react to a bunch of crazy questions and scenarios.

This time around I asked Alma Alexander, author of the Worldweaver Series (which I reviewed and loved) if she would consent to do one of these. She said it sounded like fun! So, I sent her the 10 wacky questions, plus the 2 bonus substitutes and like those before her, she answered all 12! And in record time too, I barely blinked and she sent them back all answered and ready to go. So here for your reading pleasure is a look inside of the mind of Alma Alexander...



1) Which magical power would you like to have and why?

The power to grant wishes. No, I don't want to be a genie and be summoned into servitude by someone rubbing a silly old lamp - I'm me, and I meet some other human being, and that other human being has a dream which they know can never come true. Oh, how I'd love to be able to wave a wand and fix that! The catch is, *I* get to pick which dreams get made to come true. No three wishes stuff. The wishee may never know what really happened.
2) What would you do if you had a time machine?

Go back in time and spend just one more day with my grandparents - my grandrather, the poet, who taught me to love language, and my grandmother, who taught me about the power of unconditional love. They've both been gone for two decades or more, and I still miss them fiercely.

3) What was your funniest/most interesting encounter with a fan?

I don't know if I would call them FANS, exactly, but I had a clutch of teenage boys, armed with serious note-taking equipment, file purposefully into a reading of "The Secrets of Jin Shei" which was (a) an "adult" book, not YA in any way shape or form and (b) very much not a teenage boy book. I wondered what they were doing there. About two minutes into my reading, the lot of them got up and fled for their lives, from all the girl-cooties that were obviously flooding their sub-conscious. I don't know what they expected to find - possibly "jin shei" sounded like some weird new form of martial arts and they were expecting a demonstration on the spot...
4) If you had a chance to spend some time with one mythical being, what would it be and why?

If I could be quite, QUITE certain that I wouldn't be barbeque, I'd love to go for a dragon-back ride. I'm a little like Tolkien, when he said that when he was young he 'desired dragons with a profound desire'. One does rather hope that they WERE real once upon a time.

5) If aliens landed in your backyard, what is the first thing you would ask them?

"What KEPT you? I've been waiting for you all my life..."
6) What quirky habit do you have that often gets you teased by your peers or family?

I am a coffee addict. People who know me well ALWAYS make allowances for coffee stops, no matter what other plans are afoot. If I'm cranky, my husband wants to know if I've had a coffee fix recently - and if I growl that I have not, makes immediate contingency plans for it.

7) What did you want to be when you grew up?

Me. {g}

And always, always, always... a writer.
8) If you could be reincarnated as an animal, what would you be and why?

A cat, owned by someone like me. Why? Do you KNOW how spoiled my cats are...?
9.) My readers want to know what you had for breakfast. Not sure why exactly...

Oatmeal. With raisins. And brown sugar.
10) Why in the world did you consent to doing this wacky interview? I mean there is not one question here about your books, your writing or your future plans!

Because sometimes the past is the past and the future is unknown and right now is all you get, and it's a gift. That's why they call it the present.

Occasionally I need to be reminded of that...

Bonus Questions!


11) Who is your favorite comedian or cartoon character and why?

Not too long ago, on a business trip that involved getting to the airport from my hotel at oh-dark-hundred, I was up early finishing last minute packing... and watching the cartoon channel. I had honestly FORGOTTEN how much fun Tom and Jerry were. I almost missed my plane.
12) How would you describe your sense of humor?

I'm a punaholic. I love word-play. I love love love clever stuff. Slapstick, not so much (although good farce may apply). Some things that have tickled my funny bone: Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Three Men In A Boat, certain episodes of MASH, Danny Kaye's "The Court Jester" and "Walter Mitty" (oh, heck, as far as the latter goes, ANY Thurber...) The Once and Future King.

Draw your own conclusions.


Thanks Alma for consenting to do this interview!



Be sure to look for Alma Alexander's YA series, Worldweavers, next time you are in the mood to buy a unique and fun read.

You can connect with Alma Alexander on her Facebook Page


You can find more info on her books at Alma's website.

You can also read my reviews and find other useful links here: Worldweavers Series



Other Wacky Interviews



Monday, May 25, 2009

Spotlight - Ryel Mirai Series by Carolyn Kephart

Mulluane | Monday, May 25, 2009 | Be the first to comment!
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Wysard: Ryel Mirai: Book 1
Paperback: 188 pages - ISBN: 1563151448
Sterlinghouse Publisher; 1st edition (October 1, 1999)
Wysard by Carolyn Kephart
By Carolyn Kephart

For a dozen years—almost half his existence—Ryel Mirai has dwelt in the fog-clad citadel of Markul, learning the Art from his kinsman Edris. His life has been one of rigorous self-denial and discipline, and his studies have been hard, perilous, and seemingly to no purpose. But Edris' mysterious death forces Ryel to comprehend the real truth of his own origins, and the part he must play in the World outside Markul's grim walls. A great and cruel power in the Art, Dagar, dwells in the wraithworld of the Void, seeking to return and wreak vengeance on the World that loathed and feared him when he lived centuries before. Dagar has enlisted the aid of Ryel's unruly rival in the Art, Lord Michael Essern in whose blood runs daimon-bane, to find the long-lost spell that will free him from the Void. But to escape the shadow-realm, Dagar requires a human form in which to embody his spiritual essence—his rai—and the form he lusts for is none other than Ryel's.

Lured by Dagar's wiles, Ryel returns to the World, embroiling himself in all its dangers, joys, and temptations. He soon realizes that he has the chance to discover the Spell of Joining first, thereby forever thwarting Dagar's machinations and bringing Edris, also imprisoned in the Void, back to life again. Great as the young wysard's hopes are, however, the dangers are greater still, for Dagar's minions are powerful and many. But Ryel discovers that he has strong allies to help him in his cause, and finds that he may well gain all that he wishes...although perhaps not as he wished it.

Read an Excerpt

Buy: US - Canada - UK - Kindle


Lord Brother: Ryel Mirai: Book 2
Paperback: 185 pages - ISBN: 1563152770
Sterlinghouse Publisher (January 7, 2002)

Lord Brother by Carolyn Kephart
In the quest begun in WYSARD, Ryel forsook the mist-enwrapped towers of Markul and returned to his steppes homeland, and from there was drawn to great Almancar, a place of beauty, corruption, and peril. In LORD BROTHER, Ryel's nemesis Dagar draws the young wysard even deeper into danger. Compelled Northward, Ryel becomes equivocally allied with Lord Michael’s elder brother, the Count Palatine Yvain. As Commander of the Sword Brotherhood, a cult sworn to the Goddess of War, Yvain Essern is the keeper of secrets crucial to the wysard's quest, but the price Ryel must pay for that information proves terribly high.

When fast-closing circles of fate bring him to the sea’s edge, the wysard finds answers to many mysteries; but war ravages Almancar, now gripped in a reign of terror. Far off in Markul’s tower of the dead, Edris’ body awaits its imperishable life essence, that will be re-instilled by the joining-spell; but can that spell truly be found? And if found, put in the right hands? And once there, be made to succeed? Or will the victory go to Michael—Ryel’s cruel rival, and Lord Brother?

Read an Excerpt

Buy: US - Canada - UK - Kindle


Author Info: Website - Blog - Goodreads

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Friday, May 22, 2009

Interview - Tim Byrd - author of Doc Wilde and the Frogs of Doom

Mulluane | Friday, May 22, 2009 | 4 Comments so far

(Wacky Interview Series)


In case you missed the first interviews in this series, here is the deal...I read alot of author interviews and they are good, informative, and interesting but rarely tell me all that much about an author's personality. I often find myself thinking, "Well that's all good and everything but I want to know more about the real live person behind the book!"

So, I decided to conduct a "fun" interview; something that will give my readers a good laugh and be fun for the authors. You will not find serious questions covering books, publishing, writing or future plans. Instead you will get a chance to see how they react to a bunch of crazy questions and scenarios.

This time, I got a volunteer! That is right, some poor sap the exceptionally wonderful author of Doc Wilde and the Frogs of Doom actually ASKED if he could do this. So, snickering manically, I sent him 10 wacky questions, plus 2 bonus substitutes in case he didn't like or want to answer one of the original 10, and he answered all 12! So here for your reading pleasure is a look inside of the mind of Tim Byrd...


Author Tim Byrd
1) Which magical power would you like to have and why?

Oh, that’s easy. Shapeshifting, so I could become any animal I chose, and communicate with the other animals. No more hefting a 50 lb. backpack to go explore the deep wilderness, I could instead lope on wolf paws. No more bulky SCUBA gear to see the wonders of the depths, I could instead zoom down with the fins of a dolphin. No more waiting to go through ridiculous security measures at the airport to touch the sky, instead I could soar on the wings of a hawk.

I would of course maintain my personality and intelligence in all forms, and in human form would possess the best pheromones ever, making me movie-star desirable to all women.
2) What would you do if you had a time machine?

My mother was killed in a car wreck on Christmas Eve when I was only a year and a half old. I’d go back and save her. Whatever changes that caused, whatever havoc it might wreak with spacetime, that’d be fine. I’d grow up with my mom.
3) What was your funniest/most interesting encounter with a fan?

Well, I haven’t had many yet, so that’s easy. My first reading was at a local elementary school (4th and 5th graders). One boy wanted me to sign his book to “Cheez-it.”

There was a mom helping me out, and she kept asking him “Are you sure you want that? Are you sure that’s going to be okay with your mother?” He insisted it was fine, that it was his nickname.

As I signed, this girl who was also waiting with her book looked him right in the eye and said flatly, “You are so going to regret doing this in a few years.”
4) If you had a chance to spend some time with one mythical being, what would it be and why?

Angelina Jolie. And the whole world knows why.

Oh, okay. A real mythical being, oxymoronic as that sounds...

I’m tempted to say Aphrodite, but that’s really the same as saying Angelina Jolie, I think. So I’m going to have to say Calliope, the muse of epic poetry. The more time I spend with her, especially actually with her, the happier I’ll be and the more writing I’ll get done. She did a great job with Homer, after all.
5) If aliens landed in your backyard, what is the first thing you would ask them?

“¿Habla Inglés?” Then I’d ask if they had green cards, and if not, tell them they’d better hide quick before Lou Dobbs sees them.
6) What quirky habit do you have that often gets you teased by your peers or family?

Well, being a writer, and not having to report anywhere to do my job, I am routinely derelict about shaving. So I maintain varying levels of scruffiness, sometimes all the way up to what many call a beard, but I deny that, telling them it’s not, it’s just a really deep five o’clock shadow. I don’t like beards. They itch and they’re soup magnets.
7) What did you want to be when you grew up?

A writer. Always. There was usually an additional career thrown in (zoologist, archaeologist, astrophysicist, ninja...), but writing was always the primary. The only secondary one I actually accomplished was ninja.
8) If you could be reincarnated as an animal, what would you be and why?

A wolf. They’re soulful, intelligent creatures with deep, loyal relationships. That’s important to me in this life, so I’d like to think I’ll have a chance at it in the next.
9.) My readers want to know what you had for breakfast. Not sure why exactly...

Funny you’d ask that. I moved into my current home a year ago, and never got around to getting a toaster. Until last night. So this morning was my new toaster’s exciting first time, and I had toast and eggs. And coffee. Way too much coffee.
10) Why in the world did you consent to doing this wacky interview? I mean there is not one question here about your books, your writing or your future plans!

I’m not quite sure. I think I took a wrong turn at Albuquerque.

It’s nice though. Takes a bit more brain power than the usual questions we authors get

Bonus Questions!


11) Who is your favorite comedian or cartoon character and why?

Bugs Bunny. I love tricksters, in myth, in fiction, and especially in cartoons, and Bugs is the greatest trickster of all time. (Hopefully Coyote didn’t hear me say that).
12) How would you describe your sense of humor?

Whimsical but edgy. I have a big heart, but my sword is very sharp.


Thanks Tim for volunteering to do this interview!



Be sure to look for Tim Byrd's new novel:

Doc Wilde and The Frogs of Doom

Which was released on May 14th, 2009!


You can find more info on the book at Tim's website:Tim Byrd

You can also read my review and find other useful links here:
Doc Wilde and the Frogs of Doom by Tim Byrd (Review)


Other Wacky Interviews




Thursday, May 21, 2009

Doc Wilde and the Frogs of Doom by Tim Byrd (Review)

Mulluane | Thursday, May 21, 2009 | Be the first to comment!

By Tim Byrd



There is never a dull moment when it comes to Doc Wilde and his family of swashbuckling explorers. Brian and Wren have been trained from an early age to keep up with their world famous father. With their driver Declan mac Coul and their butler Phineas Bartlett in tow, there is no obstacle they can’t overcome, no evil they can't defeat, including mutant frogs from another dimension.

*Blurb source* Putnam
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Doc Wilde and the Frogs of Doom by Tim Byrd
Affiliate LinkAffiliate Link
Doc Wilde and the Frogs of Doom
| Genre: Fantasy
| ISBN-10: 0989443302
| ISBN-13: 9780989443302
| Content: Pulp Fiction, Monsters, YA
| Original Publisher: Putnam Juvenile (May 14, 2009)
| Current Publisher: Outlaw Moon Books (June 7, 2013)
| New illustrations by artist Gary Chaloner 
| Reading level: Ages 10+
| Paperback: 192 pages
| Source: Author
| Rating: 5 Stars

Fantasy Book Review by Mulluane

My Thoughts. The fun with this book starts with the front cover and does not stop until the very last page!

First off, I have a confession to make. I had to look up the definition of Pulp Fiction. As a result you will not find me making comparisons to Doc Savage or H.P. Lovecraft as other reviewers have done. (I am familiar with Indiana Jones though, I am not that far gone...yet.) Instead I was reminded more of Batman (the series), and Professor Gadget - with kids. I even got a mental nudge from Land of the Lost, only replace the dinosaurs with giant frogs. Moral of this ramble? I am obviously not much of a pulp fiction fan but I did not need to be in order to have alot of fun reading this tale.

There is more then just nonstop action and adventure in this story, though it has those in spades, it is also educational. There are explanations for everything from nanotechnology to meditation techniques. This book was written for the 10+ age group and while I agree that some of the educational portions of the book (I loved those by the way) might be lost on younger kids, I still kept having the same vision. I kept seeing myself reading this book to my grandkids, who are 5 and 6 years old. Not them reading it themselves mind you, but me reading it to them, a few chapters at a time, explaining things myself if needed. They might not understand some of the more technical aspects but it would not matter, they would LOVE the story! And, possibly learn a few things along the way. This book would be perfect for bedtime reading, the chapters are short and there are plenty of cliffhanger chapter endings to keep them begging for "just one more chapter...pleeeese..." You may find that you have a hard time putting it down yourself!

Conclusion. I read this book one night when I had just finished a book and it was to late to write up the review for it, and I did not want to start the next book until I had. It was perfect. Fast paced, fun, entertaining and even I learned a few things in the process. There was also a touching family quality to the whole thing that was priceless. It was one of those rare books that leaves you feeling really good once it is done. What a great story and a great way to end my day.

09/15/2013 - Note: This review is of the original Putnam version. Tim Byrd has since severed his ties with them and decided to go independent. You can read about the change here: Doc Wilde, The Way He Was Meant To Be. There is now a new version of the book which I personally have not read but I have updated most of the links, including the cover picture, to reflect the new edition. Old non-existent links have been removed.

Ratings, Reviews, Similar Reads, Buy Books, Affiliate Links



Librarything Rating (3.94/5)

Amazon Rating 4.5 of 5 Stars
(14 Customer Reviews)
Doc Wilde and the Frogs of Doom

What Should I Read Next?
My Interview with Tim Byrd

Kindle: Doc Wilde and The Frogs of DoomDoc Wilde and the Frogs of Doom

Audible: No

Buy Book: BAM
Book Depository
Amazon: USDoc Wilde and the Frogs of Doom - CanadaDoc Wilde and the Frogs of Doom - UKDoc Wilde and the Frogs of Doom
Other Reviews: (Original Version)
Guys Lit Wire - SF Scope - Roundtable

Author's Web Presence
Website - Facebook - Goodreads - Twitter - Myspace - Blog

Free Fiction
"DEAD FOLKS," A FREE Short Story by Tim Byrd
Already read the book? Please add your own rating!

Young Adult Graphic Novel Review of Doc Wilde and the Frogs of Doom by Tim Byrd - Reviewed by Mulluane - on May 21, 2009 - Rating: 5 of 5 Stars


Friday, May 15, 2009

Lamplighter: Monster Blood Tattoo: Book 2 by D. M. Cornish (Review)

Mulluane | Friday, May 15, 2009 | Be the first to comment!
Lamplighter by D. M. Cornish

A Fantasy Book Review

By D. M. Cornish

Genre: Fantasy, Coming of Age, Monsters, YA
Reading level: Ages 12+
ISBN: 0399246398
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile (May 1, 2008)
Hardcover: 476 pages
Read an Excerpt

Publisher's Blurb:
Orphan Rossamünd Bookchild has been sworn into the Emperor’s service—his duty is to light the lamps along the Emperor’s highways and protect travelers from the ferocious bogles that live in the wild. But he’s found it no easier to fit in with the lamplighters than he did with the foundlings—always too small and too meek—and his loneliness continues no matter how hard he tries to succeed.
But when a haughty young girl, a member of a suspiciously regarded society of all-women teratologists— monster hunters—is forced upon the lamplighters for training, Rossamünd is no longer the most despised soul around. As Rossamünd begins to make new friends in the dangerous world of the Half-Continent, he also seems to make more enemies, finding himself pushed toward a destiny that he could never have imagined.

When I first received this book from Putnam (thanks guys), I stared at it in stunned disbelief. The book was HUGE! I mean seriously, what 12 year old is going to look at a book this size and feel brave enough to take it on. I am an adult and I was pretty intimidated by it.

(*Note* I know it says 476 pages for the hardcover at Amazon but the paperback in the UK, which just came out this month, says 736 pages.)

Then I started reading, and reading, and reading, and suddenly...I was done. And, it really had not felt like I had just blown through a 700-page book.

There are several reasons for this phenomenon. For one, it had not been that long since I had read and loved Foundling, so I was able to easily slip back into D. M. Cornish's vivid world. Secondly, the viewpoint is all Rossamünd, no jumps in PoV at all. This makes it much easier to follow along with events as they unfold. Thirdly, the pace is nice and even, with a good mix of both external and internal conflict to keep the story moving right along. The result was a 700+-page book that immersed me so deeply in the story that I could have kept on happily reading even if it had been 1000 pages long.

So we have a vivid world, even pacing, single PoV, what else was great about this book? Well, to add to the aforementioned attributes there are interesting and likable characters, thought provoking situations and a blurred line between good and evil. I like blurred lines. Those are the ones where you question right and wrong, good and bad, intent verses deed. One thing that struck me after reading this book - which centers on a fight between humans and monsters - was the fact that it is so unclear who the real monsters are. I mean the "humans" surgically and chemically alter themselves in order to fight the "monsters" in essence becoming the very thing they are fighting. Atleast in appearance if not in deed. You have the "monsters" who in some cases (not all) show more kindness, honor and compassion then the "humans.” Then we have Rossamünd who has one foot planted firmly on each side of the fence, unable to completely shake off the prejudices of a lifetime of training that teaches that all "monsters" were evil and must be killed. There are some nicely incorporated lessons here regarding prejudice, narrow-mindedness, and misconception if one notices them. And if not, well there is still pure entertainment with plenty of action, adventure, mystery and possibly a budding romance, when Rossamünd matures enough to recognize that fact.

There is plenty to love about this book and the series so far. Aside from all of the wonderful qualities I have already listed there are great illustrations, done by D.M. Cornish, sprinkled throughout the book and an extensive glossary (110 pages) in the back in case you lose track of all the unusual terminology. There are also some things that concern me given the recommended reading age of 12+. Some readers (by no means all) are going to be put off by the extensive world building. Most of the words and terms are explained as they are used, and if not, well you can look them up. However, needing to look them up ruins the flow of the story and may, I fear, cause some readers to lose interest if they find themselves having to frequently flip to the back. There is also a certain amount of predictability but in this case, that may be a benefit to a YA reader, especially one who just wants to enjoy an adventure tale instead of spending time figuring out subtle plot points.

This is a YA targeted book so content is not an issue. Some violence, some cruelty, but nothing over the top. This is a true trilogy however. These books are not, nor were they intended to be, standalones. Each book feeds right into the next and this installment reads just like the middle of a story. There is alot going on but it picks up right where book one leaves off and does not appear to have a set goal to achieve before it suddenly ends. We will have to wait until May of 2010 to get a satisfactory conclusion to this tale. A long wait I know but if the first two books are any indication, one well worth waiting for.

Reservations aside, I loved this book as much as I loved Foundling. Rossamünd continues to mature as he tries to come to terms with the fact that the things he has been taught do not exactly match the things he sees for himself. I enjoyed watching his struggles with the concepts of right and wrong, good and evil, and the things one is forced to do in the name of duty and honor, all while just trying to fit in. Great story and I look forward to seeing where D. M. Cornish takes it.

Ratings, Reviews, Similar Reads, Buy Books

Shelfari Rating 4+/5

Librarything Rating 4.03/5

Amazon Rating 4+ out of 5 stars<
(18 Customer Reviews)


LibraryThing Recommendations
What Should I Read Next?
Kindle: No

Ebook: No

Audio Download: Audible.com

Buy Book: B&N - Powells - Abe Books

Amazon: US Canada UK
Read an Interview with D. M. Cornish From:
Book Browse - Book Club
Other Reviews:
Bookspotcentral - SF Site - SF Reader
Author's Web Presence
Website, Myspace, Blogger

Thursday, May 7, 2009

More SFF Twitter Lists! Publishers, Characters, Ezines and Magazines.

Mulluane | Thursday, May 07, 2009 | 5 Comments so far
First up is Publishers, both major and small press.

Note: Not all of these are genre specific. Some publish a wide range of fiction and non-fiction works.

Updated 05/18!
New additions in red


@EosBooks
@simonschuster
@VoyagerBooks
@PenguinTeen
@PicadorUSA
@penguinusa
@PenguinCanada
@GrandCentralPub
@simonsayskids
@simonschusterUK
@AtriaBooks
@HarperCollinsCa
@harpercollins
@harperstudio
@harperteen
@DelReyBooks
@suvudu
@randomhouse
@littlebrown
@morriganbooks
@spectra_authors
@torforgeauthors
@bantamspectra
@torbooks
@tordotcom
@orbitbooks
@PenguinBooks
@bantamdell
@WheatmarkBooks
@QueeredFiction
@TTApress
@NewDirections
@GraywolfPress
@Pocket_Books
@MedallionPress
@SilverDolphin
@RogueBlades
@angryrobotbooks
@Pyr_Books
@ApexBookCompany
@DCComics
@Marvel
@EchelonPress
@HollyridgePress
@subpress
@VoyagerBooks
@ThomasNelson
@planetstoriesTM
@Dark_Regions
@Guy_Henderson (Dark Regions Press)
@Chris_Morey (Dark Regions Press)

Secondly we have a few ezines, and magazines. I've never been a big magazine or ezine fan so the list is short. Just a few I have run across in my travels through the Twitterverse.

@dropsofcrimson
@fantasyezine
@TTApress
@SFXmagazine
@resaliens
@clarkesworld
@estellazine
@BlackGateDotCom
@Outshine
@gudmagazine
@mbranesf
@strangehorizons
@BrainHarvest
@BlackOnline

Last list is just for fun. Again it is a short list but these are authors, fans etc. who are twittering as SFF characters. Now some of these stay in character and even live within ongoing stories, others are authors who tweet as themselves, but they setup the account in the character's name instead of their own.

@darthvader
@MisterStuffins
@erecrex
@Gaven_Morren
@MarlaMason
@rathacat
@ekhi (Via @johnottinger via @ApexBookCompany)

As always, input is welcome and appreciated. For example, I know there are more Fantasy/ Science Fiction character twitter accounts but finding them is not easy, especially since I am not a huge Sci-fi or Urban Fantasy fan.

Eventually, these lists will only be maintained on the Squidoo page (http://www.squidoo.com/TwitterSciFiandFantasy) as it is much easier to keep up and current. Blog pages get pretty much forgotten within days as new content grabs our attention. BUT....I will keep updating the blog posts, especially the authors and bloggers lists since they contain more then just the twitter link. (Facebook, webpage, blog, and forum link if I can find one.) So if you are doing research on an author or blogger, those will still be the best place to look.

Original Full Lists



SFF and a Few Other Book Review Bloggers on Twitter


Where Does Your Favorite SFF Author Hang Out?



You might also check out:



26 Places for Fiction on Twitter (and Some Related Sites) - Grasping for the Wind


Twitter Fiction - Shelia Ruth


Friday, April 24, 2009

SFF and a Few Other Book Review Bloggers on Twitter

Mulluane | Friday, April 24, 2009 | 13 Comments so far
This list will hopefully be of benefit to my fellow bloggers even though I am sure most of you are following these folks already. Twitter has been an amazing tool for networking within the book blogging community. We ask each other questions, get and give advice, bounce ideas off each other and share opinions. That is when we aren't just discussing what we had for lunch....

It would also be an awesome tool to network and keep in touch with our blog readers, so if you don't blog but do twitter I'd love a follow and I'm sure the others on this list would too! As with the author list, if I miss anybody let me know and I'll update. As the title suggests, this is not exclusively SFF but includes twittering book reviewers who do a mix of genres that include SFF, paranormal and horror reviews plus a few who specialize in children's books. Website/blog links are included so you can see if they are someone you'd be interested in following.

Note: I have moved the twitter portions of my social media lists to Squidoo for easier maintenance, and because it allows people to add to the lists themselves. This will also enable you to keep track of all of the lists on one page. If you are interested in venues other than twitter such as blogs or facebook, you will still need to check the original lists.

If you like this list, don't forget to check out
SFF authors on Twitter

Updated 05/22 - Updates are in red - Added facebook(FB) links

Twitter - Blog/Website - Facebook
@accidentalbard - The Accidental Bard

@adribbleofink - A Dribble of Ink - Aidan Moher(FB)

@authorsbooks - Authors-Books.com

@BittenbyBooks - Bitten by Books

@bloggeratf - ONLY THE BEST SCI-FI/FANTASY

@book_blog - Book-Blog

@bookgasm - Bookgasm

@bookgeeks - Bookgeeks

@booksmugglers - The Book Smugglers

@bossfan2000 - Fantasy Book News & Reviews - Jeff Cunningham(FB)

@BreeniBooks - Breeni Books

@BSCreview - Bookspotcentral

@confuzzledbooks - Confuzzled Books

@crotchetyoldfan - The Crotchety Old Fan

@DarqueReviews - Darque Reviews

@DaveBrendon - Dave Brendon's Fantasy & Sci-fi Weblog

@deepeight - Enter the Octopus

@EternalCow - AzureScape

@fabiofernandes - Post-Weird Thoughts

@FanLit - Fantasy Literature - FantasyLiterature Net(FB)

@fantasybookcrit - Fantasy Book Critic

@fantasycafe - Fantasy Cafe - Kristen Murphy(FB)

@FantasyDreamer - Fantasy Dreamer's Ramblings

@fantasyislove - Fantasy is Love

@fantasysf - Fantasy SF Blog

@genrereviewer - Genre Reviews

@graemesfantasyb - Graeme's Fantasy Book Review - Graeme Flory(FB)

@HagelRat - Un:Bound

@iambrimful - Brimful Curiosities

@jennsbookshelf - Jenn's Bookshelf

@jo_scrawls - Ink and Paper

@JohnAnealio - Sci Fi Songs - John Anealio(FB)

@johnottinger - Grasping for the Wind - John Ottinger III(FB)

@katiebabs - Babbling about Books

@kaysbookshelf - Kay's Bookshelf

@librarydad - Library Dad

@loudlibrarian - The Loud Librarian

@markchitty - Walker of Worlds - Mark Chitty(FB)

@MentatJack - MentatJack

@MihaiDarkWolf - Dark Wolf's Fantasy Reviews - Mihai Adascalitei(FB)

@Mulluane - Dragons, Heroes and Wizards - Shari Mulluane

@myfriendamy - My Friend Amy

@nethspace - Neth Space - Ken Neth(FB)

@nextread - Next Read - Gavin Pugh(FB)

@NightOwlRomance - Night Owl Romance

@PrinceJvstin - Blog, Jvstin Style

@readersrespite - A Reader's Respite

@robertmckay - Fantasy is Love

@RoSF - Realms of Speculative Fiction

@ScarletCorset - The Scarlet Corset - Scarlet Corset (FB)

@SciFiScanner - SciFi Scanner

@ScifiWatch - SciFi Watch

@scifiwire - Sci Fi Wire

@sfsignal - SF Signal - John DeNardo(FB)

@shaunduke - The World in the Satin Bag - Shaun Duke(FB)

@SheilaRuth - Wands and Worlds - Sheila Ruth(FB)

@SQT72 - Fantasy & Sci-Fi Lovin' News & Reviews - Theresa Lucas Sqt(FB)

@tdfangirl - The Discriminating Fangirl

@TiaNevitt - Fantasy Debut - Tia Nevitt(FB)

@TezMillerOz - Tez Says

@TheGenreFiles - The Genre Files

@TheSciFiChick - SciFiChick

@Truscifi - True Science Fiction

@urbanfantasy - Urban Fantasy

@wellreadchild - The Well-Read Child

Honorable Mention

@ediFanoB - The World's Best SFF Book Blogging Fan!



Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Red Wolf Conspiracy by Robert V. S. Redick: The Chathrand Voyage: Book 1 (Review)

Mulluane | Wednesday, April 22, 2009 | 2 Comments so far

Robert V.S. Redick

Genre: Epic Fantasy, 13+
ISBN: 0345508831
Publisher: Del Rey (April 28, 2009)
Hardcover: 464 pages
Excerpt (PDF)

Publisher's Blurb
The Imperial Merchant Ship Chathrand is the last of her kind. Six hundred years old, the secrets of her construction long forgotten, the massive vessel dwarfs every other sailing craft in the world. It is a palace with sails, a floating outpost of the Empire of Arqual. And it is on its most vital mission yet: to deliver a young woman whose marriage will seal the peace between Arqual and its mortal enemy, the secretive Mzithrin Empire. But the young woman in question-Thasha, the daughter of the Arquali ambassador-has no intention of going meekly to the altar. For the ship's true mission is not peace but war-a war that threatens to unleash an ancient, all-consuming evil.

As the dark conspiracy at the heart of the voyage unfurls, Pazel Pathkendle, a lowly tarboy with an uncanny gift, will find himself in an unlikely alliance with Thasha and her protectors: Hercól, a valet who is more than he appears; Dri, the queen of a race of tiny stowaways who have their own plans for the great ship; and Ramachni, a powerful sorcerer from another world. Arrayed against them are the Chathrand's brutal captain, Nilus Rose; the Emperor's spymaster and chief assassin, Sandor Ott; and the enigmatic Dr. Chadfallow, a longtime friend to Pazel's family whose kind words may hide a vicious betrayal.

As the Chathrand navigates treacherous waters to complete its mission, Pazel, Thasha, and their allies-including a singularly heroic rat-must also navigate a treacherous web of intrigue to uncover the secret of the legendary Red Wolf.

I seem to be stuck in a mixed feelings rut here lately and sadly, this novel falls neatly into that category. This book just did not work for me. Now notice, I said ME. Judging by the rave reviews elsewhere, I am in a minority on this. I mean Terry Brooks loved it and who am I to argue with Terry Brooks!

Why it did not work for me. Straight away, I was annoyed by the amount of telling and the slow start. I tend to really enjoy books where I can live in the story. It is not the characters experiencing events; it is me experiencing things through them. I never got that degree of immersion from this tale. Now telling can work, I have seen it done, but this time it kept me on the outside of things instead of pulling me in. I felt that the novel could have been so much more then it was. However, there are aspects that are interesting and I was never tempted to just put it back down.

Now in defense of the story telling style I suspect it was by design. Right up front you are told about the major story plot. The mystery then revolves around who is on what side of the conspiracy and what their motivations are. Because of this, it makes sense that you would not be allowed to get but so deep into the heads of the characters. Neat way of doing things, just not one that I am particularly fond of.

What I did like. I loved the concept of the story, I enjoyed the mystery, the strange and wonderful creatures and races and while I never felt "in touch" with the characters, they were still fun to watch. The action does eventually pick up and you never really know exactly who the good people are. The twists and turns were delightful, and the world building was detailed and full of wonderful things. This book also has another thing going for it. It is very readable by all ages. This is not one of those harsh, gritty, overly dark novels that are so popular lately but one that can be enjoyed by the whole family.

See what I mean by mixed feelings?

Plot, mystery, and intrigue lovers who enjoy unique worlds full of wonderfully imagined creatures and races, that range from giants to people so small they are almost invisible, are going to enjoy this book. Die-hard character lovers like me will still find plenty to like. In addition, if you love large sailing ships and the nautical lifestyle, you are going to adore this tale. It might not have been the total immersion that I was looking for but it is still alot of fun to read and it did contain one element I have a definite fondness for, sentient animals! There is a unique spin on these critters that I do not think has been fully explained yet. Actually, the book is full of unique spins on fantasy tropes; it is one of its charms. I do want to add one more note, this book does read like the start of a series. It is not a standalone with a conclusive ending.

Conclusion. While it did not blow me away, I cannot say that it turned me off either. Likely any perceived faults lie solely in my tastes and not due to any lack of quality in either the writing or the story. Fun read with plenty of promise offered by a debut author who will be worth watching for years to come.

Ratings, Reviews, Similar Reads, Buy Books

Shelfari Rating 2/5

Librarything Rating 3.4/5

Amazon Rating 3+ out of 5 stars
(7 Customer Reviews)


Similar Reads from Librarything
Or What Should I Read Next?
Kindle: No

Ebook: No

Buy Book: B&N - Powells - Abe Books

Amazon: US Canada UK
Read an Interview with Robert V.S. Redick From:
The Book Swede

Other Reviews: (Some with mild spoilers but more plot detail)
Fantasy Book Critic - The Wertzone - Fantasy Debut - Terry Brooks
Author's Web Presence:
Blog

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