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Melanie's Month in Review - June 2019


Melanie's Month in Review  - June 2019


Happy Canada Day to me and my fellow Canadians and Happy 4th of July to my American readers and pals!!!

So I didn't quite hit my pledge to do a full review or two but I do have some excellent books to tell you about. I decided to delve into one of the SPFBO 4 books that Qwill recommended and then I got on a roll and decided to read a couple of sequels to these books. So anticipation over...this is what I read


Melanie's Month in Review  - June 2019
I started by reading Aching God by Mike Shel. This book was the Qwillery's finalist and one of Qwill's fave books of 2018.  High praise indeed! I am not going to give you an exhaustive review as that has already been done but I will tell you what I thought. I really, really enjoyed Aching God. Shel has created great characters, an interesting world for them to live in and a 'can't put down' action adventure. My only very, very petite criticism was that 90% of the book is setting up the big dramatic ending, 5% the big dramatic ending and then 5% of epilogue. It kind of feels that you spend quite a long time getting to the end and then it is over in just a few pages. This is really very minor however. It's a great story.

Melanie's Month in Review  - June 2019
Hot on the heels of Aching God I practically ran to Amazon (figuratively, of course) to buy Sin Eater which is book 2 of the Iconoclasts trilogy. Set a year after the events of book 1 Auric Manteo finds himself back on another adventure with the Syraeic League and back in the Djao ruins.  He has been summoned by the Queen to try to avert an unknown threat to the Kingdom by travelling to lands far away with his Syraeic brothers. Armed with the sentient sword that he received by a mad duke in book 1 Auric is the only man for the job. The group have everything to lose but the Kingdom has far more to lose if they don't succeed.

I absolutely LOVED this book and it will definitely be at the top of the list for 2019 for me. The characterisation is exceptional, the plot is completely gripping, and the pace is near perfect. The relationship between Auric and Agnes is genuine and poignant, as are the relationships between the other characters we meet along the way. The story is as much a story of personal journey and human frailty as it is about the journey to the Djao ruins. The ending had me immediately searching for book 3.  I can't believe I have to wait until 2020 to find out what happens next.


Melanie's Month in Review  - June 2019
You will know that I read Orconomics by J. Zachary Pike for SPFBO 4 and really enjoyed it. As I was on a SPFBO sequel reading quest I decided to buy Son of  Liche which continues The Dark Profits series. In this instalment Gorm and friends are on the run after being blamed for the deaths of a settlement of Orcs and of two of their friends. When a liche, leading an army of undead, threaten the kingdom Gorm and his band of fallen heroes decide to take action and bring down the liche and restore their honour. Needless to say this does not go smoothly. While the undead threaten to take over there is still money to be made and loot to seize!

I have to say I didn't enjoy Son of Liche nearly as much as its predecessor. I didn't find the story half as witty as book 1 and in parts it was a bit of a drudge to read. When it was funny....it was very, funny.  Pike sets up book 3 and I really hope there is a happy ending for Gorm and his raggle taggle band of misfits.


Melanie's Month in Review  - June 2019
The final book I am going to tell you about is In Dreaming Bound by J. Kathleen Cheney. I loved book 1, Dreaming Death, which was one of my fave books of 2016. I was really looking forward to find out what happened next to Mikael and Shironne. I did start to read a few of the chapters that Cheney posted on her Patreon site but it was a bit hard to follow so I stopped. The story has quite a dramatic start when Shironne has been kidnapped and cut off from her connection with Mikael. Desperate to find her Mikael risks everything to get her back. After she is rescued she is placed in the Fortress with the Family and forced into a more regimented life away from her mother and sisters. Her only connection with her previous life is through her bond with Mikael which gets stronger and stronger every day.  As Shironne tries to adjust, Mikael is determined to find out who wanted to try to sell Shironne and, more importantly, who wanted to buy her.

I did enjoy In Dreaming Bound but perhaps wasn't quite as enthralled as I was with book 1. I am not quite convinced by the piety of the Families and their tightly governed society. As you may know I have read the 'families' books and thought they were just OK. I don't think this setting really supported the plot point established in book 1 that Shironne is very sensitive to touch and could barely eat or wear clothes that had weren't specially laundered for her. She couldn't do this while living in a barracks! Overall, it was enjoyable but I was a bit underwhelmed.


Well that is it for me and for June. I hope you found some great books to read. I am going to be busy reading books for SPFBO 5 but I will try to find time to read some books to tell you about. Until next time Happy Reading.





Aching God
Iconoclasts 1
April 9, 2018
   eBook, 604 pages
March 27, 2019
   Trade Paperback 602 pages

Melanie's Month in Review  - June 2019
“Closer, mortal. You are here, finally, to feed the Aching God…”

The days of adventure are passed for Auric Manteo. Retired to the countryside and isolated with his scars and riches, he no longer delves into forbidden ruins seeking dark wisdom and treasure. But just as old nightmares begin plaguing his sleep, he receives an urgent summons back to that old life.

To save his only daughter, he must return to the place of his greatest trauma: the haunted Barrowlands. Along with a group of inexperienced companions and an old soldier, he must confront the dangers of the ancient and wicked Djao civilization. He has survived fell beasts, insidious traps, and deadly hazards before. But how can he contend with the malice of a bloodthirsty living god?

First volume in the planned epic fantasy trilogy Iconoclasts, Aching God is the debut novel by RPG adventure designer Mike Shel.

Also included is an advanced preview of Iconoclasts - Book II: Sin Eater.



Sin Eater
Iconoclasts 2
May 20,  2019
Trade Paperback and eBook, 574 pages

Melanie's Month in Review  - June 2019

"I SHALL BAPTIZE YOU, SIR, AND MY BAPTISM WILL BURN YOUR FOLLY AND FLESH AWAY."

A year has passed since Auric Manteo descended into the haunted depths of a Djao ruin to return a lethal artifact, only to face down a bloodthirsty, imprisoned god. Now his daughter Agnes comes to bring him back to the capital with promises of hidden secrets finally revealed.

But the city decays, poisonous disorder is rife, and whispered prophecy foretells of cataclysm and doom. Summoned by their no-longer human queen, Auric and Agnes are commanded to carry out an impossible task, one that can be accomplished only with the mysterious blade Szaa’da’shaela, gifted to Auric on a lunatic's whim.

Can Auric and his daughter survive a journey fraught with blood, menace, and madness? And can they pay the price demanded by a being every bit as evil as the Aching God?

Sin Eater is the sequel to 2018’s widely praised Aching God and book 2 of the Iconoclasts Trilogy. Get your copy today!





Son of a Liche
Dark Profit Saga 2
Gnomish Press LLC, May 22, 2018
   eBook, 618 pages
Gnomish Press LLC, April 27, 2018
   Trade Paperback, 616 pages

Melanie's Month in Review  - June 2019
A doubly disgraced dwarven hero. A band of accident-prone adventurers. Giving redemption a second shot may have been a grave mistake…

Still bruised and heartbroken from their last calamitous quest, Gorm Ingerson and his band of washed-up heroes try to make amends for the Orcs they accidentally betrayed. But justice is put on hold when an old foe marches to the city gates. Gorm is horrified to discover a liche pitching the frightened city-dwellers on the merits of the undead lifestyle… at the head of a corpse army.

To save the city from high-pressure sales tactics and an inevitable siege, the Dwarf warrior and his misfit band hatch a harebrained scheme that lands them at the top of the king’s kill list. With death and dark magic on his heels, Gorm must craft his own pitch to round up the troops and put the undead snake-oil salesman and his army of pushers permanently out of business.

Son of a Liche is the second book in The Dark Profit Saga, a trilogy of humorous epic fantasy novels. If you like rib-tickling shenanigans, second-rate heroes, and imaginative new takes on tired tropes, then you’ll love J. Zachary Pike’s hilarious blend of finance and high fantasy.

Buy Son of a Liche to get the most bang for your bucks with a rollicking fantasy misadventure today!





In Dreaming Bound
The Palace of Dark Dreams Novels 2
EQP Books, April 30, 2019
   eBook, 340 pages
Trade Paperback, May 8, 2019

Melanie's Month in Review  - June 2019
What does it mean to be bound? Mikael and Shironne have known for a month now that they are bound, but neither truly knows what their future holds.

When Shironne is kidnapped, Mikael uses the nascent tie between them to get her back, and to keep her safe, Shironne is placed among the Family in their underground Fortress. As long as she’s within those walls, outsiders can’t get to her. That leaves Mikael working to discover who would steal her away in the first place. Her ability to creep into others’ thoughts, memories, and dreams is unprecedented, but who would be able to use that?

And Shironne must deal with a new and frustrating way of life, where contact with adults—including Mikael—is strictly curtailed and her time is constantly monitored. She also has to live among a yeargroup, and the Sixteens are not the calm, unemotional Family she’s accustomed to seeing from a distance. They have their own problems and petty jealousies, not too different from her own sisters. Finding her place among them is going to be a challenge.

Fortunately, Shironne can access Mikael’s thoughts to guide her in her new life… while for some reason, he can’t access hers, leaving him without guidance at times when he could definitely use it.

Melanie’s Month in Review - November 2018


Melanie’s Month in Review  - November 2018


Well hello again.  I can’t believe another month has passed me by and that there are only a few more weeks left in 2018! Does time really fly? Or at least it seems to. Well I won’t delay any further and let you know what I have been reading.

So I am going to start this post with a song...lucky for you that you will be reading it rather than listening to me sing! This was one of my favourite songs from Sesame Street. I am not sure they still sing it but here is the first verse and then by the end let’s see if you can figure out why I have been singing it in my head throughout November!

One of these things is not like the others
One of these things just doesn't belong
Can you tell which thing is not like the others
By the time I finish my song?

Melanie’s Month in Review  - November 2018
The first book I am going to tell you about is Cogheart, the first in the Cogheart Adventures by Peter Bunzl. Set in a clockwork England, Lily’s life has been turned upside down when her father - the renowned inventor of automatons and other mechanical inventions - has gone missing. Lily finds herself on the run from the very men that caused her father’s disappearance. Luckily for Lily she is joined on her dangerous adventure by the son of the local clockmaker and her father’s mechanical fox Malkin. Together they take a hair raising trip across the country to find her father and save the day.

This is the perfect book for 8-12 year olds. It has adventure, humour, cool clockwork automatons and a mystery to solve. There is a murder of one of the secondary characters so if the reader is especially sensitive then maybe skip by this one scene. Otherwise, it has the correct pitch for a younger reader and pace. It is however a tad long, even for an alleged grown up reader such as myself! This would be a great gift for a girls as Lily is a strong and brave female lead.


Melanie’s Month in Review  - November 2018
Brandon Sanderson’s new series - Skyward (the first instalment is of the same name) is set in space on a near barren planet where the remainder of humanity have been trapped. They are under constant attack by an alien race called the Krell. The teenager Spensa has spent her young life in the shadow of her father’s life. He was a fighter pilot and a hero until during one battle he fled was killed by his squadron and branded a coward. Spensa and her family suffered with the stigma of father’s cowardice yet she wants nothing more than to follow him into the skies. As luck turns out Spensa is given the opportunity to learn how to be a fighter pilot and prove her father wasn't a coward. When she discovers an abandoned ship buried in a cave she knows that this ship, a sentient ship no less, is her escape and her way to see the stars.

Sanderson’s fantastic imagination is evident in his description of the debris laden planet Detritus. He does borrow from human folklore, history and literature as a frame of reference for the teenage Spensa - she wants to be a warrior like Boudicca or Genghis Khan. She acts in almost every way like typical teenager - impulsive, quick to temper, a bit self-centered. I did have to keep reminding myself that Spensa was a teenager every time she did something impetuous or immature....which was quite often. I found her a bit irritating towards the end. While Skyward is aimed for the younger reader the pace was a bit slow in parts and it was quite long. At a guess 80% of the story sets up the last few chapters and that is why I felt it dragged along. While I am unlikely to continue with this series because of the pace I would still recommend it for young adults.


Melanie’s Month in Review  - November 2018
Diamond Fire, by Ilona Andrews is a novella set in the Hidden Legacy world. Nevada Baylor and Connor Rogan are about to get married and her sisters Catalina and Arabella have taken responsibility for organising the wedding.  No mean feat especially when the extremely valuable diamond tiara, handed down by Connor’s mother, has gone missing and someone has poisoned the wedding cake. Catalina is tasked with not only ensuring the bride makes it down the aisle but also to figure out who has stolen the tiara, get it back and all without Nevada finding out.

I enjoyed this novella and enjoyed the development of Catalina as a character. I even bought the Audible version (preferred the narrator for this one). I don’t want to say too much other than if you enjoy the series then don’t miss out on Diamond Fire.


Melanie’s Month in Review  - November 2018
The final books I am going to tell you about are The Horn trilogy by J. Kathleen Cheney. I have only shown one of the book covers Oathbreaker (all covers below), but in fact I read all three including Original and Overseer. This series is set in the same world as Dreaming Death where families live in underground fortresses and the children grow up and marry into their own age groups. Oathbreaker focuses on Amal Horn who is the leader of the Horn fortress and what happens when her year group - the twenty-sevens -  come across a stranger who is searching for the long ago abandoned Salonen fortress. If the fortress falls into the wrong hands it might have to be destroyed. The stranger Daylan upsets the close knit Horn community not just by being there but what he represents. Book 2 - Original is told more from Daylan's perspective and the Horn's plan to find the Salonen fortress. By this novel Amal and Daylan are a couple and part of the plot centres on their relationship and what it means for the community. It's not until Overseer that the lost fortress even features as a mainstay of the plot. Daylan's 'relatives' turn up at the Horn fortress and it is clear how far the Cince (the enemy) are prepared to go to get their hands on the Salonen fortress.

I enjoyed these novels for the most part but the characters aren't as interesting as those in Cheney's other novels. They are a quick and easy reads and I had the whole series finished in just a few days. The abandoned fortress - according to the description  - doesn't really feature until the end of book 3 which I thought was a bit odd. The series is really more about the love story between Daylan and Amal. If you need something to read then give The Horn trilogy a go, but see my reviews of Cheney's other novels too.


Well that is it for me for November. Have you guess why I have been singing songs from Sesame Street? Can you tell which book is not like the others?  Leave me a comment with your guess. Until December Happy Reading!





Cogheart
Cogheart Trilogy 1
Jolly Fish Press, February 12, 2019
Trade Paperback and eBook, 368
  8 - 12 Years
  (Published in the UK by Usborne, Sept. 1, 2016)

Melanie’s Month in Review  - November 2018
Thirteen-year-old Lily Harman always dreamed of adventure. A strong-willed girl, Lily felt trapped in a life of Victorian stuffiness at her prim boarding school. But after her father-a famous inventor-disappears on a routine zeppelin flight, Lily's life gets turned upside down.

Now cared for by her guardian, the heartless Madame Verdigris, Lily is quite certain that she's being watched. Mysterious, silver-eyed men are lurking in the shadows, just waiting for their chance to strike. But what could they possibly want from her?

There are rumors, Lily learns, that her father had invented the most valuable invention ever made-a perpetual motion machine. But if he made such a miraculous discovery, he certainly never told Lily. And all he left behind is a small box-with no key, no hinges.

With the help of a clockmaker's son, Robert, and her mechanimal fox, Malkin, Lily escapes London in search of the one person who might know something about her father's disappearance-and what he left behind.





Skyward
Skyward 1
Delacorte Press, November 6, 2018
Hardcover and eBook, 528 pages
  Young Adult (Ages 12 and Up, Grades 7 and Up)

Melanie’s Month in Review  - November 2018
From Brandon Sanderson, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Reckoners series, Words of Radiance, and the internationally bestselling Mistborn series, comes the first book in an epic new series about a girl who dreams of becoming a pilot in a dangerous world at war for humanity’s future.

Spensa’s world has been under attack for decades. Now pilots are the heroes of what’s left of the human race, and becoming one has always been Spensa’s dream. Since she was a little girl, she has imagined soaring skyward and proving her bravery. But her fate is intertwined with her father’s–a pilot himself who was killed years ago when he abruptly deserted his team, leaving Spensa’s chances of attending flight school at slim to none.

No one will let Spensa forget what her father did, yet fate works in mysterious ways. Flight school might be a long shot, but she is determined to fly. And an accidental discovery in a long-forgotten cavern might just provide her with a way to claim the stars.





Diamond Fire
A Hidden Legacy Novella
Avon Impulse, November 6, 2018
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 160 pages

Melanie’s Month in Review  - November 2018
Nevada Frida Baylor and Connor Ander Rogan cordially invite you to join their wedding celebration. Summoning, weather manipulation, and other magical activities strictly forbidden.

Catalina Baylor is looking forward to wearing her maid of honor dress and watching her older sister walk down the aisle.  Then the wedding planner gets escorted off the premises, the bride’s priceless tiara disappears, and Rogan's extensive family overruns his mother’s home. Someone is cheating, someone is lying, and someone is plotting murder.

To make this wedding happen, Catalina will have to do the thing she fears most: use her magic. But she’s a Baylor and there’s nothing she wouldn't do for her sister's happiness. Nevada will have her fairy tale wedding, even if Catalina has to tear the mansion apart brick by brick to get it done.





Oathbreaker
The Horn 1
EQP Books (December 12, 2016)
eBook, 326 pages
  Also available in Trade Paperback

Melanie’s Month in Review  - November 2018
The chief of the Oathbreakers, Amal Horn is one of only a handful of people aware of the true power the abandoned underground Fortress of Salonen holds. The Cince Empire wants its secrets, though, and will do anything to get someone inside. When the Horn find a stranger trespassing on the glacier below it, they realize the Cince have formulated a new plan of attack. Now the Horn Family must decide whether to wake the sleeping Fortress so it can defend itself against the Cince…or kill it forever.



Original
Horn 2
EQP Books, April 27, 2017
eBook, 268
  Also available in Trade Paperback

Melanie’s Month in Review  - November 2018
Amal, Lady Horn, has always been called rash. She makes decisions far too quickly for the elders of the Horn Family. Bringing home a mysterious foreigner—one who has ties to her people’s ancient enemies, the Cince—is bad enough, but now she’s taken him as her lover. She might even want more from him.

Dalyan is an Original, a copy of a man long dead. The elders of the Horn Family thought they could use his singular knowledge to resurrect an ancient Fortress, a sentient underground city long abandoned by its people. But when Dalyan can’t access the memoires of the man from whom he’s copied, the elders begin to ask whether he’s an unfortunate liability instead. For Amal’s sake, Dalyan is determined to prove them wrong.

Together Amal and Dalyan work to build a coalition to raise the hidden Fortress, but they’ll need the help of Amal’s friends, of the Oathbreakers spread across the country, and—if possible—the king himself.



Overseer
The Horn 3
EQP Books, October 19, 2017
eBook, 328 pages
  Also available in Trade Paperback

Melanie’s Month in Review  - November 2018
Those who hold the secrets of the Fortresses can remake the world...

A new player has arrived at Horn Keep, and it’s up to Amal to decide whether he’s the key to keeping her people safe, or the threat they’ve feared the most. Aulis is, like Dalyan, a version of the same long-dead engineer, a Founder of the Salonen Fortress. That alone should make him worth keeping alive.

But he’s served the Cince Empire for almost two decades, the very people who want to steal Salonen Fortress. Now Amal is faced with the task of deciding whether he’s even capable of telling the truth, whether he can lie to Dalyan. The question is…are they the same man or not?

And is buying Aulis’ loyalty worth the risk of giving him the one thing he wants more than life itself? It’s within Amal’s power, but she knows that doing so will forever change her people’s world…

Melanie's Month in Review - October 2018


Melanie's Month in Review - October 2018


Well hello again. Lots has happened since my last post. First I had a super fantastic holiday in Nova Scotia visiting my sister. It is a beautiful part of Canada and if you ever get the chance to go try out October when the autumn colours are all out. Usually holidays aren't always a time when I read a lot but I was visiting my sister who reads more than I do so I got through some really good books. So let me tell you all about them.


Melanie's Month in Review - October 2018
So I have read quite a bit this month so hold on for a loooonnng post. First up is a nice short story - Dragon's Claw by Karen Chance. This is a Dorina Basarab story and set just after the events of Shadow's Bane. When a bunch of vampires end up dead Dorina reluctantly ends up investigating. She winds up with her faithful vamp follower - Ray - in an alternative/magical Hong Kong chasing a killer of killers through the mayhem of the magically enhanced streets. If she loses it means the end of all vampires and a shift in the war with the Dark Circle.

I enjoy the Dorina Basarab series, much more than the Cassie Palmer books and for this very reason - Dory has a job to do and she does it. She isn't busy swooning over Pritkin or Mircea...she just gets on with it. Chance hasn't written very many short stories in this world so it was a real treat that there was one and so soon after the release of a main instalment. It ends rather abruptly and more action packed than character based but for fans of the series, this is a nice diversion.


Melanie's Month in Review - October 2018
For my flights to and from Canada I needed a book that didn't require a lot of concentration or a complicated plot and so I turned to Clash of Storms by Bec McMaster. I read book 1 of this series - Legends of the Storm and really didn't think I would continue but took another chance.

This instalment centres on Malin - the half dreki who has led her life in the shadows - neither full dreki or full human. The dreki warrior Sirius Blackfrost isn't very happy to discover that a half dreki is his fated mate and he can't let on, especially to the Queen who will take advantage of this news. All Malin wants to do is help her princess escape a loveless marriage but with Blackfrost on her tail it might not go as planned. Fated to be parted but destined to be together.

Clash of Storms was pretty much your standard fantasy romance fare. Malin and Sirius were the opposites that attract - the weakling and the warrior all in a race against time with a uber baddie trying to keep them apart. I didn't miss much by not reading book 2 and was rather disappointed that there seems to be a book 4 coming up. If you really like this genre or need something mind numbing to read then give it a go. A bit weak for a McMaster romance in my view.


Melanie's Month in Review - October 2018
I discovered that the lovely Qwill had sent me the ebook of The Amiestrin Gambit by J. Kathleen Cheney and I had yet to read it. Lucky for me I discovered this while on holiday that encouraged reading. For those of you who don't/haven't read my posts I LOVED Cheney's Dreaming Death. While I waited for the next instalment I thought I would tuck into The King's Daughter series.

As the name suggests Ellis Dantreon is the king's daughter but not a beloved one. She has lived, on her own, sequestered on an estate far away from the palace....virtually abandoned by both her parents. No one is more surprised than Ellis when the king decrees that she trains as a soldier. Her home turns into a barracks for the next few years as she trains to become what her father wants her to be. New friends and more importantly enemies await Ellis as she starts her new life as a soldier.

Melanie's Month in Review - October 2018
The Amiestrin Gambit wasn't the only book of this series that I read in October. I also quickly plowed through books 2 and 3 - The Passing of Pawns and The Black Queen. I have to admit I wasn't sure about The Amiestrin Gambit. I had no clue what was going on for the first several chapters as names were very similar, the magical powers were unexplained and races/relationships were hidden away at the back of the book. However, books 2 and 3 were 'unputdownable'. I liked Ellis as a character. She was resilient and strong without being a warrior or hero. She is supported by an interesting cast of characters, some with magical powers and some without. My favourite character, apart from Ellis, was Grandfather who was actually a woman....sort of.....not going to say anymore so that you can find out for yourself. Each book builds an individual story that starts the weave of the plot for the next book. Book 1 focuses on Ellis in her first year of training to become a soldier. She isn't quite old enough to be a full soldier but trains with the men who have been stationed at her estate. Ellis and friends uncover a nefarious organisation of magically gifted people that hope to topple the power structure. They can take the shape of anyone at anytime, putting both Ellis and her friends at risk. The Passing of Pawns continues immediately after book 1 with Ellis's training and the plot by the separatists. As Ellis matures, a sort of love triangle has developed between Llelas (the soon to be Duke of Sandrine) and Captain Carmeyon Dantreon which adds another layer onto the plot arc. By book 3 - The Black Queen - this is more fully established and at this point Ellis is one of the King's guards. Her mother, who abandoned her when she was only 5, is back in town along with her brother who she had never met. The backstory of the Queen's abandonment of her only daughter is told alongside the continuation of the overarching plot. This is probably the best book of the series so far and I am looking forward to find out what happens next. Certain characters, who are quite prominent in one book do not feature in the next which worked well with the chronology of the overall plotline and made it more credible. If you enjoy fantasy or are a fan of Cheney's then these are a must read.

Melanie's Month in Review - October 2018
Cheney has a definite writing 'voice'. Her female leads tend to be young, experience great hardship and persevere, yet supported by very slightly older, more magical male characters. There is no expectation that the man comes into save the day but the male characters are definitely there for backup and Ellis sometimes needs it. Cheney has serialised book 4 - Knight & Nightrider - on her website (in draft form). I did vow to myself that I wasn't going to read another free serialised book as I have found recently that there can be too much angst tied into a weekly freebie. I have however, read the first 10 chapters that have been released. I think I am enjoying them because there is no expectation as to when a new chapter will be released which means I am not disappointed if one doesn't arrive 'on time'. Cheney also releases chapters of the Dreaming Palace series in a 'pay to read' type arrangement whereby you basically pay a subscription to read chapters early. I haven't signed up for this but thought it was an interesting alternative to waiting for the full book to be released.


That is all I am going to leave you with for this month. I hope you had a great month of super fantastic reads and I look forward to telling you what I read in a few weeks time. Until then Happy Reading.





Dragon's Claw
A Dorina Basarab Novella
Smashwords, Inc., September 2, 2018
eBook, 170 pages
  Also available in Paperback

Melanie's Month in Review - October 2018
A new novella in the New York Times bestselling Midnight's Daughter series!

Everyone knows that vampires are hard to kill. But when Dory Basarab is called to a crime scene in a smelly basement in Queens, she discovers that that may no longer be the case. Somebody has developed a new weapon, a vamp killer, and left her plenty of clues to follow. One of them leads her to the other side of the world, and to a city like no other, where the paranormal is normal and where death stalks the streets. Can she defeat a clever killer before he kills again, and on an unprecedented scale?





Clash of Storms
Legends of the Storms 3
Lochaber Press, September 11, 2018
eBook, 366 pages

Melanie's Month in Review - October 2018
The old eddas speak of dreki—fabled creatures who haunt the depths of Iceland's volcanoes and steal away fair maidens.

Malin wants none of such myths. As a half-blood dreki, she's beneath the notice of the arrogant warriors who rule the skies—except for Sirius Blackfrost, the most ruthless dreki within the court. This dark prince watches her every move, but he's more villain than hero, and in her favourite fairy tales the servant never earns the prince's heart. But is there something more to the look in the Blackfrost's eyes?

To love her would be to curse her to a fate worse than death...

The second he saw her, Sirius knew her for his fated mate. But Malin is a nobody in the dreki court and her very presence is a threat to the queen's ambitions for him. Forced to hide the truth and accept the match his queen has made for him—to mate with the princess Malin serves— he dares not reveal his heart.

But when the princess flees, he must find her—and his only clue is Malin, who aims to thwart him at every step. With danger surrounding them, they must forge a truce. But can Malin ever give this wicked prince her heart? Because, while Sirius's kiss burns through her like lightning, to love him would be to defy the stars themselves…

Join USA Today bestselling author, Bec McMaster, on a seductive journey through a mythic land, with a wicked prince who's never played the hero, a servant girl with a fate larger than she can believe, and an evil queen who threatens to tear them apart. Download this epic historical fantasy filled with magic and breathtaking romance today!

Don’t miss any of the Legends of the Storm books!

Book 1:
Heart of Fire
Book 2: Storm of Desire
Book 3: Clash of Storms
Book 4: Daughter of Storms (featuring Tormund)





The Amiestrin Gambit
The King's Daughter 1
Dream Palace Press, May 1, 2018
eBook, 384 pages
  Also available in Trade Paperback

Melanie's Month in Review - October 2018
Ellis Dantreon is barely fifteen when she learns that her father–the king of Jenear–has decreed that she’s to be trained as a soldier. Thrust in among the others at the newly reopened War College of Amiestrin, Ellis must earn the other cadets’ respect and trust. Not all of them are pleased at having a girl among them. Ellis has to choose which ones to trust, sometimes pushing back against her instructors’ urging as she does.

But most of all, she must deal with a world far wider than the one she’s known. That world will shape her future, for the Gifted whom her meager staff have always considered myths prove to be very real indeed. Those people want very much to influence the course of a future Jenear. When it comes time for her young brother to take the throne, the Seers among them believe that Ellis will decide whether her younger brother lives or dies, or if he’ll be replaced by another claimant to the throne altogether.

And hiding among the cadets and staff, some of those Gifted have arrived at Amiestrin…



The Passing of Pawns
The King's Daughter 2
Dream Palace Press, June 14, 2018
eBook, 265 pages
  Also available in Trade Paperback

Melanie's Month in Review - October 2018
Ellis Dantreon is sixteen now. For the last year she’s worked to make a place for herself among the first class of cadets at the War College of Amiestrin. It’s been a struggle, but she feels they’ve begun to accept her. But a plot that would have put Ellis’ very life in danger unravels, and it seems that the Separatists may have been behind it.

Ellis has to decide quickly where she’ll place her trust. Are the Separatists trying to remove her from the line of succession? Or trying to frighten her into joining their cause? In the end, will friendships prove stronger than family?

And will the Gifted be able to get to the truth of the plot?



The Black Queen
The King's Daughter 3
Dream Palace Press, July 31, 2018
eBook, 466 pages
  Also available in Trade Paperback

Melanie's Month in Review - October 2018
When Ellis Dantreon's father ordered her to become a soldier, she became the only female at the war college. Now she’s graduated and has taken her place guarding the king. But the country Seers are still predicting a terrible possibility—that she might end up marrying the Duke of Perisen, Anton Marisi.

And if she does, she probably won’t live long. Nor will her brother, Prince Kerris.

Ellis is baffled by the prediction. She’s never even spoken to the man. She certainly has no intention of allowing him to court her if she does meet him. But when another woman pretends to be her, Ellis realizes how easy it would be for that marriage to happen after all.

Now Ellis has to gather all the help she can to stave off that possibility. Unfortunately, she has an added challenge: her mother, the Queen of Jenear, has come to Verina.

The View From Monday - April 30, 2018


Happy Monday!

There are 4 debuts this week:

The Pisces by Melissa Broder;

The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang;

The Dead House by Billy O'Callaghan;

and

Exit Strategy by Charlton Pettus.

The View From Monday - April 30, 2018The View From Monday - April 30, 2018
The View From Monday - April 30, 2018The View From Monday - April 30, 2018
Clicking on a novel's cover will take you to its Amazon page.



From formerly featured DAC Authors:

A Baby's Bones by Rebecca Alexander;

Talon of Scorpio (Shadowstorm 3) by G.T. Almasi;

Every Single Secret by Emily Carpenter;

Tyrant's Throne (The Greatcoats 4) by Sebastien de Castell is out in Trade Paperback;

The Amiestrin Gambit (King's Daughter 1) by J. Kathleen Cheney;

The Glory of the Empress (Admiral 3) by Sean Danker;

The Summer Dragon (Evertide 1) by Todd Lockwood is out in Mass Market Paperback;

Only Human (The Themis Files 3) by Sylvain Neuvel;

and

D'Arc (War with No Name 2) by Robert Repino is out in Trade Paperback.

The View From Monday - April 30, 2018 The View From Monday - April 30, 2018
The View From Monday - April 30, 2018 The View From Monday - April 30, 2018
The View From Monday - April 30, 2018 The View From Monday - April 30, 2018
The View From Monday - April 30, 2018 The View From Monday - April 30, 2018
The View From Monday - April 30, 2018
Clicking on a novel's cover will take you to its Amazon page.



The View From Monday - April 30, 2018



Debut novels are highlighted in blue. Novels, etc. by formerly featured DAC Authors are highlighted in green.

April 30, 2018
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
At Blade's Edge (e)(ri) Lauren Dane PNR - Goddess with a Blade 4
Goddess with a Blade Collection Volume 1: Goddess with a Blade\Blade to the Keep\Blade on the Hunt\At Blade's Edge (e) Lauren Dane PNR - Goddess with a Blade
April in Atlantis (e) Alyssa Day PNR
Phoresis Greg Egan HSF
The Halloween Children Brian James Freeman
Norman Prentiss
H
Ghost Night (e)(ri) Heather Graham Th/GH - Bone Island Trilogy 3
Shining in the Dark: Celebrating Twenty Years of Lilja's Library! Hans-Åke Lilja (Ed) H - Anthology
I Met a Traveller in an Antique Land Connie Willis VisM/SF



May 1, 2018
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
S.T.A.R. Labs: Cisco Ramon's Journal Nick Aires MTI/CF
A Baby's Bones Rebecca Alexander Cr - Sage Westfield 1
Talon of Scorpio (e) G. T. Almasi SF/GenEng/Th - Shadowstorm 3
Uncharted Kevin J. Anderson
Sarah A. Hoyt
AH/HistF - Arcane America 1
The Military Science of Star Wars George Beahm SF/Performing Arts
Fahrenheit 451 Ray Bradbury SF/Dys
Dragon Road Joseph Brassey SciFan/SO - Drifting Lands
The Pisces (D) Melissa Broder LF/Psy/HU
Tiassa Steven Brust F - Vlad 13
Future Fiction: New Dimensions in International Science Fiction Bill Campbell (Ed)
Francesco Verso (Ed)
SF - Anthology
Every Single Secret Emily Carpenter Th/Sus
Tyrant's Throne (h2tp) Sebastien de Castell HistF - The Greatcoats 4
The Amiestrin Gambit (e) J. Kathleen Cheney F - King's Daughter 1
Diary of a Drug Fiend and Other Works by Aleister Crowley Aleister Crowley Occ/Sup
Wolf Undaunted (e) Shannon Curtis PNR
Harlequin Nocturne May 2018 Box Set: Wolf Undaunted\Witch's Fury (e) Shannon Curtis
Deborah LeBlanc
PNR
The Glory of the Empress (e) Sean Danker SF/SO - Admiral 3
Medusa Uploaded Emily Devenport SF/GenEng/Th - The Medusa Cycle 1
Miss Subways David Duchovny LF/UF/FairyT/FolkT/LM
Reborn Lance Erlick SF - Android Chronicles 1
Shotguns & Sorcery Omnibus Matt Forbeck F
The Story Peddler Lindsay A. Franklin F - The Weaver Trilogy 1
Dead But Once Auston Habershaw DF - Saga of the Redeemed 3
Pale Guardian: A Vampire Mystery (h2tp) Barbara Hambly H/M - A James Asher Vampire Novel 7
Dark Queen Faith Hunter UF - Jane Yellowrock 12
Worlds Apart (e) Tracy St. John SF - Warriors of Risnar 2
Black Helicopters Caitlin R. Kiernan DF
The Poppy War (D) R. F Kuang HistF
Witch's Fury (e) Deborah LeBlanc PNR
The Summer Dragon (tp2mm) Todd Lockwood F - Evertide 1
The Classic Horror Collection H.P. Lovecraft H
Science Fiction: A Literary History Roger Luckhurst (Ed) LC/SF/F
King Rat (ri) China Mieville UF/H
Civil War (ri) Stuart Moore MTI/SH - Marvel Universe 2
A Secret History of Witches (h2tp) Louisa Morgan MR
Men Without Women: Stories (h2tp) Haruki Murakami
Ted Goossen (Tr)
MR/LF - Collections
Only Human Sylvain Neuvel SF/TechTh - The Themis Files 3
Kim Newman's Video Dungeon (e) Kim Newman Performing Arts
The Dead House (D) Billy O'Callaghan SupTh
Reaping the Aurora (h2mm) Joshua Palmatier F - Ley 3
Song of Blood & Stone L. Penelope HistF/FR - Earthsinger 1
Bandwidth Eliot Peper TechTh - An Analog Novel 1
Exit Strategy (D) Charlton Pettus TechTh/Cr/LF
D'Arc (h2tp) Robert Repino F/SF/AP/PA - War with No Name 2
Wired Douglas E. Richards SFTh/NF - Wired 1
A Hymn Before Battle (mm2tp) John Ringo SF - Legacy of Aldenata 1
Moontide and Magic Rise Sean Russell F/DF - Moontide and Magic Rise Omnibus
Infinite Stars (h2tp) Bryan Thomas Schmidt (Ed) SF/SO - Anthology
All the Fabulous Beasts Priya Sharma Gothic - Collection
Kris Longknife: Commanding (e) Mike Shepherd SF - Kris Longknife
Fury From the Tomb SA Sidor F/Occ/Sup/HistF - Institute for Singular Antiquities 1
All's Fair in Love and Wolf Terry Spear PNR - Silver Town Wolf 8
Avengers of the Moon (h2tp) Allen Steele SF/SO - Captain Future
A.L.F.A. Instincts Milly Taiden PNR - An A.L.F.A. Novel
An Argumentation of Historians Jodi Taylor SF/TT/HistF - The Chronicles of St. Mary's 9
Echoes of Honor Limited Leatherbound Edition David Weber SF - Honor Harrington 8
Oblivion Steve White
Charles E. Gannon
SF - Starfire 8
The Witchwood Crown (h2tp) Tad Williams F/DF - Last King of Osten Ard 1
Pawn (h2mm) Timothy Zahn SF/AC - A Chronicle of  the Sibyl's War 1



May 2, 2018
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
Baby Shower (e) Cassandra Khaw F - Born to the Blade Season 1, Episode 3
Crossroads of Darkover (e) Deborah J. Ross (Ed) F - Darkover Anthology 18
The Flight of Morpho Girl: A Tor.com Original (e) Caroline Spector
Bradley Denton
SF/SH - Wild Cards



May 4, 2018
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
Midnight Gods Greg F. Gifune H



D - Debut
e - eBook
Ed - Editor
h2mm - Hardcover to Mass Market Paperback
h2tp - Hardcover to Trade Paperback
ri - reissue or reprint
tp2mm - Trade Paperback to Mass Market Paperback
Tr - Translator



AC - Alien Contact
AH - Alternate History
AP - Apocalyptic
CF - Contemporary Fantasy
CoA - Coming of Age
Cr - Crime
CulH - Cultural Heritage
CW - Contemporary Woman
CyP - Cyberpunk
DF - Dark Fantasy
Dys - Dystopian
F - Fantasy
FairyT - Fairy Tales
Fict - Fiction
FL - Family Life
FolkT - Folk Tales
FR - Fantasy Romance
GenEng - Genetic Engineering
GH - Ghost(s)
GN - Graphic Novel
Gothic - Gothic
H - Horror
HC - History and Criticism
Hist - Historical
HistF - Historical Fantasy
HU - Humor
LC - Literary Criticism
LF - Literary Fiction
LM - Legend and Mythology
M - Mystery
MR - Magical Realism
MTI - Media Tie-In
Occ - Occult
P - Paranormal
PA - Post Apocalyptic
PCM - Paranormal Cozy Mystery
PNR - Paranormal Romance
PopCul - Popular Culture
Psy - Psychological
Psy Th - Psychological Thriller
SF - Science Fiction
SciFan - Science Fantasy
SH - Superheroes
SO - Space Opera
SP - Steampunk
Sup - Supernatural
SupTh - Supernatural Thriller
Sus - Suspense
TechTh - Technological Thriller
Th - Thriller
TT - Time Travel
UF - Urban Fantasy
VisM - Visionary and Metaphysical

Spotlight on J. Kathleen Cheney


Today The Qwillery is spotlighting the works of J. Kathleen Cheney who was featured in the 2013 Debut Author Challenge!


The following 3 works have updated covers:

Whatever Else
EQP Books, July 4, 2016
eBook, 35 pages

Spotlight on J. Kathleen Cheney
Maia is a young woman with only a small gift: the ability to watch others from afar. To cement a treaty between two clans, she married Arras, a young man she's known most of her life. But when her brother comes to visit, he reveals a shameful secret that leaves Maia questioning everything she believes about her husband. Now she must use her small gift to determine the truth of her brother's claim...and decide whether to stay at her husband's side or flee him.



The Dragon's Child: Six Short Stories
Dream Palace Press; 2 edition, February 25, 2017
eBook, 290 pages
  Also available in Trade Paperback

Spotlight on J. Kathleen Cheney
Kseniya Ilyevna originally came to the mountain of the Dragon Wizard to protect her younger sister, but when she learns of the wizard’s true plans for his daughter, she vows to spirit the child away.

In seizing freedom for the little girl—her sister’s child, Jia-li—Kseniya finds herself tied to the Zheng family and all the strange events that befall them. In six short stories, we follow Kseniya and her extended family as Jia-li grows into a budding wizard herself.

[Previously published separately, this brings together the stories found in the ebooks: The Dragon’s Child, The Dragon’s Pearl, and The Eretik, and now contains a bonus short story, "A Time for Every Purpose"].



The Sparrow in Hiding
EQP Books, October 18, 2016
eBook, 137 pages
  Also available in Trade Paperback

Spotlight on J. Kathleen Cheney
Irina’s family has come to the countryside to escape the summer heat of St. Petersburg, but she discovers a new worker has been hired to maintain her family’s aviary, a one-armed man who poses an intriguing mystery.

Evgeny is hiding from a witch. With the help of his younger sister, he’d survived the witch’s curse, but in the aftermath, he was left with only one arm, eyes that appear inhuman, and an ability to see the truth in others’ souls.

Will he ever be safe from the witch again?





The Horn Series




Oathbreaker
The Horn 1
EQP Books (December 12, 2016)
eBook, 326 pages
  Also available in Trade Paperback

Spotlight on J. Kathleen Cheney
The chief of the Oathbreakers, Amal Horn is one of only a handful of people aware of the true power the abandoned underground Fortress of Salonen holds. The Cince Empire wants its secrets, though, and will do anything to get someone inside. When the Horn find a stranger trespassing on the glacier below it, they realize the Cince have formulated a new plan of attack. Now the Horn Family must decide whether to wake the sleeping Fortress so it can defend itself against the Cince…or kill it forever.



Original
Horn 2
EQP Books, April 27, 2017
eBook, 268
  Also available in Trade Paperback

Spotlight on J. Kathleen Cheney
Amal, Lady Horn, has always been called rash. She makes decisions far too quickly for the elders of the Horn Family. Bringing home a mysterious foreigner—one who has ties to her people’s ancient enemies, the Cince—is bad enough, but now she’s taken him as her lover. She might even want more from him.

Dalyan is an Original, a copy of a man long dead. The elders of the Horn Family thought they could use his singular knowledge to resurrect an ancient Fortress, a sentient underground city long abandoned by its people. But when Dalyan can’t access the memoires of the man from whom he’s copied, the elders begin to ask whether he’s an unfortunate liability instead. For Amal’s sake, Dalyan is determined to prove them wrong.

Together Amal and Dalyan work to build a coalition to raise the hidden Fortress, but they’ll need the help of Amal’s friends, of the Oathbreakers spread across the country, and—if possible—the king himself.



Overseer
The Horn 3
EQP Books (October 19, 2017)
eBook, 328 pages
  Also available in Trade Paperback

Spotlight on J. Kathleen Cheney
Those who hold the secrets of the Fortresses can remake the world...

A new player has arrived at Horn Keep, and it’s up to Amal to decide whether he’s the key to keeping her people safe, or the threat they’ve feared the most. Aulis is, like Dalyan, a version of the same long-dead engineer, a Founder of the Salonen Fortress. That alone should make him worth keeping alive.

But he’s served the Cince Empire for almost two decades, the very people who want to steal Salonen Fortress. Now Amal is faced with the task of deciding whether he’s even capable of telling the truth, whether he can lie to Dalyan. The question is…are they the same man or not?

And is buying Aulis’ loyalty worth the risk of giving him the one thing he wants more than life itself? It’s within Amal’s power, but she knows that doing so will forever change her people’s world…





In the Palace of Dreams series

Shared Dreams
Three Palaces of Dream Stories
Dream Palace Press, March 14, 2017
eBook, 173 pages
  Also available in Trade Paperback

Spotlight on J. Kathleen Cheney
Before they even met. Mikael Lee and Shironne Anjir were tangled together in their need to solve murders.

Mikael Lee, an aide to the king's brother, dreams his way into others deaths, and then follows the clues within back to the killer. Shironne Anjir, a young girl so sensitive to the stimuli around her that she cannot shut it out, has been sharing those dreams with him, and when a death falls closer to her doorstep, she's the one who takes up the task of finding a killer...a path that might give her a direction for the rest of her life.

Includes three short stories: A Mention of Death, Touching the Dead, and Endings. plus an excerpt from Dreaming Death, the case where they finally meet.





Coming soon

The Amiestrin Gambit
The King's Daughter 1
Dream Palace Press, May 1, 2018
eBook, 426 pages
 Also available in Trade Paperback

Spotlight on J. Kathleen Cheney

Ellis Dantreon is barely fifteen when she learns that her father–the king of Jenear–has decreed that she’s to be trained as a soldier. Thrust in among the others at the newly reopened War College of Amiestrin, Ellis must earn the other cadets’ respect and trust. Not all of them are pleased at having a girl thrust among them. Ellis has to choose which ones to trust, sometimes pushing back against her instructors’ urging as she does.

But most of all, she must deal with a world far wider than the one she’s known. That world will shape her future, for the Gifted whom her meager staff have always considered myths prove to be very real indeed. Those people want very much to influence the course of a future Jenear. When it comes time for her young brother to take the throne, the Seers among them believe that Ellis will decide whether her younger brother lives or dies, or if he’ll be replaced by another claimant to the throne altogether.

And hiding among the cadets and staff, some of those Gifted have arrived at Amiestrin…

Melanie's Year in Review - January 1, 2017


Melanie's Year in Review - January 1, 2017

Happy New Year! I hope you all had fabulous holidays and are not too busy making New Year's resolutions. My Week in Review fell conveniently on New Year's Day so I thought rather than just reviewing what I had read in the last week (which wasn't likely to be much) I would write a retrospective of my favourite books of 2016. This is no mean feat as a) I have a terrible memory for book names b) nothing jumped out as being especially memorable and c) I have a terrible memory for book names! Due to my commitment to jog my memory I trawled through all my WIRs and found a few reviews and voila I found 10 books/series. So in order of 'favouriteness' here are my fave reads of 2016:


Melanie's Year in Review - January 1, 2017
1.  One Fell Sweep by Ilona Andrews

One of the main reasons for this being my favourite book of 2016 was that I have been reading it over the course of the whole year as it was released a a weekly serial. Looking back at my WIRs I started reading the first chapter early last year (maybe in January) and I mentioned in a number of posts that I was enjoying it. I had the opportunity to review the e-Arc (which I jumped at) and it was even better in it's entirety and after edits/additions. This has been my go-to book when I have been feeling blue and needed a pick me up. Check out my full review here.





Melanie's Year in Review - January 1, 2017
2.  Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel

I predicted back in April that Sleeping Giants was going to be one of my favourite books of the year and I wasn't wrong. This book is so well written, so innovative and has you gripped all the way through. Written in the form of transcripts I spent most of the novel wondering who the mystery interviewer was. The ending is an 100 volt shocker. This is fantastic sci-fi so get reading it. Read my review here.





Melanie's Year in Review - January 1, 2017
UK Edition
3.  City of Blades by Robert Jackson Bennett

If Bennett has a book out and I have read it, then it's  a guarantee that it will be on my 'best of' list. City of Blades is no exception. City of Stairs (book 1) in the Divine Cities series was one of my favourites so it makes sense that book 2 would be as well. Bennett combines unsympathetic characters that you still feel sympathy for, with a brilliantly executed plot, in an evocatively rich environment. You could read this as a standalone but why miss book 1? Check out what I thought here.





Melanie's Year in Review - January 1, 2017
UK Edition
4.  Stiletto by Daniel O'Malley

Four years after O'Malley's fantabulous debut The Rook he was back with Stiletto. Back with the Checquy but starring different characters we, the reader, get a front row seat to the merger of two sworn enemy organisations - The Checquy and the Grafters.  Hold on as it is a roller coaster ride of political maneuvers, deadly attacks and cocktail parties. Find out more by checking out my review.





Melanie's Year in Review - January 1, 2017
5.  Dreaming Death by J. Kathleen Cheney

Dreaming Death was a bit of a surprise for me. I thought the plot sounded ok but I was blown away with the characterisation and mostly with the description of the environment. This book was practically a scratch and sniff it was soo descriptive, all without over egging it. The murder mystery played second fiddle to the relationship between the two main characters, who don't even meet in person until much later story. Check out my full review.





6.  Dreaming Cities series by Guy Haley

I couldn't pick just one. Both of the novellas of this series are excellent in their individual way. This is story telling at its very best with the tale of the Knight Quinn told by a third party. Story 1 - The Emperor's Railroad is told in the first person in the form of a young boy's diary whereas book 2 The Ghoul King is more of a confession (or results of coercion). There is a HUGE reveal in book 2 and I can hardly wait for the next instalment. Great books, great covers, get reading!

The Emperor's Railroad review is here
The Ghoul King review is here

Melanie's Year in Review - January 1, 2017Melanie's Year in Review - January 1, 2017




7.  Amra Thetys by Michael McClung

I read over a dozen books in the first round of the Self Published Fantasy Blog Off and I nearly lost faith in self published books until I came across McClung's series. I had become disillusioned with the quality of some of the prose so decided to check out the winner from SPFBO 1 which was The Thief That Pulled on Trouble's Braids. It wasn't long before I was buying books 2 and 3. Amra is a great female lead and the mystery keeps you engrossed from page 1 through to the end. My first review is here.

Melanie's Year in Review - January 1, 2017Melanie's Year in Review - January 1, 2017
Melanie's Year in Review - January 1, 2017Melanie's Year in Review - January 1, 2017




Melanie's Year in Review - January 1, 2017
8.  The Fall of the Gas-Lit Empire series by Rod Duncan

I came across the final book of this series - The Custodian of Marvels through NetGalley but it was the final in the series so I had to go back an read the previous two books. Duncan has written an engaging steam-punky/fantasy world in which the intrepid Elizabeth Barnabas tries to right a wrong committed long ago while trying to steer clear of the dreaded Patent Office. Read what I thought about the final instalment here.





Melanie's Year in Review - January 1, 2017
9.  Magic Binds by Ilona Andrews

It's been awhile since a Kate Daniel's book has hit my fave list. While I enjoy the series overall the last couple of books have been closer to OK than to WOWILOVEDIT. For me, Magic Binds had more to it than Kate getting trampled and left for dead which seemed to be a focal point of the last 2-3 books. There was a real sense that Andrews is ramping things up for the culmination of the over-arching plot which I am looking forward to. As I wrote in my review this book is non stop action which has a purpose other than to see how tough Kate is to kill. I won't be waiting around to buy book 10. Bring it Kate!





Melanie's Year in Review - January 1, 2017
10.  The Ghost Rebellion by Pip Ballantine and Tee Morris

While Wellington Books holds a secret place in my heart and while this further adventure in the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences hits my top 10 I would be wrong to place it any higher than tenth place. I know, I know....how can I be so cruel to dear Books especially when I donated to the Kickstarter campaign that brought this instalment into fruition? I still don't think I have forgiven the authors for what I can only describe as a time travelling transgression in book 4. The Ghost Rebellion is much closer to this series' former glory and I enjoyed the time I spent with characters past and present. Check out what I thought in a bit more detail here.




Apologies to all those books I had to leave out. There were some great ones but I didn't want to stretch it past 10 favourites. Now that I look at my list and my short list (which ran to 13) I was a bit more spoiled for choice than I originally thought.

To everyone that has cast a glance at this post and especially those who follow my Week in Review I wish you the very best for 2017. Let's hope the sad departures from the arts and sciences in 2016 doesn't continue into the new year and that we can find a silver lining in this politically volatile landscape. Until my next WIR Happy Reading.





Melanie's Year in Review - January 1, 2017
One Fell Sweep
Innkeeper Chronicles 3
NYLA, December 20, 2016
eBook, 257 pages

DeMille may run the nicest Bed and Breakfast in Red Deer, Texas, but she caters to very particular kind of guest… the kind that no one on Earth is supposed to know about. Guests like a former intergalactic tyrant with an impressive bounty on her head, the Lord Marshal of a powerful vampire clan, and a displaced-and-superhot werewolf; so don’t stand too close, or you may be collateral damage.

But what passes for Dina’s normal life is about to be thrown into chaos. First, she must rescue her long-distant older sister, Maud, who’s been exiled with her family to a planet that functions as the most lawless penal colony since Botany Bay. Then she agrees to help a guest whose last chance at saving his civilization could bring death and disaster to all Dina holds dear. Now Gertrude Hunt is under siege by a clan of assassins. To keep her guests safe and to find her missing parents, Dina will risk everything, even if she has and may have to pay the ultimate price. Though Sean may have something to say about that.




Melanie's Year in Review - January 1, 2017
Sleeping Giants
The Themis Files 1
Del Rey, January 24, 2017
Trade Paperback, 336 pages
Hardcover and eBook, April 26, 2016

A page-turning debut in the tradition of Michael Crichton, World War Z, and The Martian, Sleeping Giants is a thriller fueled by an earthshaking mystery—and a fight to control a gargantuan power.

A girl named Rose is riding her new bike near her home in Deadwood, South Dakota, when she falls through the earth. She wakes up at the bottom of a square hole, its walls glowing with intricate carvings. But the firemen who come to save her peer down upon something even stranger: a little girl in the palm of a giant metal hand.

Seventeen years later, the mystery of the bizarre artifact remains unsolved—its origins, architects, and purpose unknown. Its carbon dating defies belief; military reports are redacted; theories are floated, then rejected.

But some can never stop searching for answers.

Rose Franklin is now a highly trained physicist leading a top secret team to crack the hand’s code. And along with her colleagues, she is being interviewed by a nameless interrogator whose power and purview are as enigmatic as the provenance of the relic. What’s clear is that Rose and her compatriots are on the edge of unraveling history’s most perplexing discovery—and figuring out what it portends for humanity. But once the pieces of the puzzle are in place, will the result prove to be an instrument of lasting peace or a weapon of mass destruction?




Melanie's Year in Review - January 1, 2017
City of Blades
The Divine Cities 2
Broadway Books, January 26, 2016
Trade Paperback and eBook, 496 pages
(US Edition)

A triumphant return to the world of City of Stairs.

A generation ago, the city of Voortyashtan was the stronghold of the god of war and death, the birthplace of fearsome supernatural sentinels who killed and subjugated millions.

Now, the city’s god is dead. The city itself lies in ruins. And to its new military occupiers, the once-powerful capital is a wasteland of sectarian violence and bloody uprisings.

So it makes perfect sense that General Turyin Mulaghesh— foul-mouthed hero of the battle of Bulikov, rumored war criminal, ally of an embattled Prime Minister—has been exiled there to count down the days until she can draw her pension and be forgotten.

At least, it makes the perfect cover story.

The truth is that the general has been pressed into service one last time, dispatched to investigate a discovery with the potential to change the world–or destroy it.

The trouble is that this old soldier isn’t sure she’s still got what it takes to be the hero.



Melanie's Year in Review - January 1, 2017
Stiletto
The Rook Files 2
Little Brown and Company, June 14, 2016
Hardcover and eBook, 592 pages

In this spirited sequel to the acclaimed The Rook, Myfanwy Thomas returns to clinch an alliance between deadly rivals and avert epic -- and slimy -- supernatural war.

When secret organizations are forced to merge after years of enmity and bloodshed, only one person has the fearsome powers---and the bureaucratic finesse---to get the job done. Facing her greatest challenge yet, Rook Myfanwy Thomas must broker a deal between two bitter adversaries:

The Checquy---the centuries-old covert British organization that protects society from supernatural threats, and...

The Grafters---a centuries-old supernatural threat.

But as bizarre attacks sweep London, threatening to sabotage negotiations, old hatreds flare. Surrounded by spies, only the Rook and two women who absolutely hate each other, can seek out the culprits before they trigger a devastating otherworldly war.

Stiletto is a novel of preternatural diplomacy, paranoia, and snide remarks, from an author who "adroitly straddles the thin line between fantasy, thriller, and spoof " (Booklist).




Melanie's Year in Review - January 1, 2017
Dreaming Death
Palace of Dreams 1
Roc, February 2, 2016
Trade Paperback and eBook, 432 pages

In the Novels of the Golden City, J. Kathleen Cheney created a “mesmerizing” (Publishers Weekly) realm where magic, history, and intrigue combine. Now, she presents a new world ruled by psychic talents and fatal magic…

Shironne Anjir’s status as a sensitive is both a gift and a curse. Her augmented senses allow her to discover and feel things others can’t, but her talents come with a price: a constant assault of emotions and sensations has left her blind. Determined to use her abilities as best she can, Shironne works tirelessly as an investigator for the Larossan army.

A member of the royal family’s guard, Mikael Lee also possesses an overwhelming power—he dreams of the deaths of others, sometimes in vivid, shocking detail, and sometimes in cryptic fragments and half-remembered images.

But then a killer brings a reign of terror to the city, snuffing out his victims with an arcane and deadly blood magic. Only Shironne can sense and interpret Mikael’s dim, dark dreams of the murders. And what they find together will lead them into a nightmare…




Melanie's Year in Review - January 1, 2017
The Emperor's Railroad
A Tale of the Dreaming Cities 1
Tor.com, April 19, 2016
Trade Paperback and eBook, 144 pages

Global war devastated the environment, a zombie-like plague wiped out much of humanity, and civilization as we once understood it came to a standstill. But that was a thousand years ago, and the world is now a very different place.

Conflict between city states is constant, superstition is rife, and machine relics, mutant creatures and resurrected prehistoric beasts trouble the land. Watching over all are the silent Dreaming Cities. Homes of the angels, bastion outposts of heaven on Earth. Or so the church claims. Very few go in, and nobody ever comes out.

Until now…



Melanie's Year in Review - January 1, 2017
The Ghoul King
A Tale of the Dreaming Cities 2
Tor.com, July 12, 2016
Trade Paperback and eBook, 160 pages

Quinn returns in THE GHOUL KING, another story of the Dreaming Cities by Guy Haley.

The Knight, Quinn, is down on his luck, and he travels to the very edge of the civilized world – whatever that means, any more – to restock his small but essential inventory.

After fighting a series of gladiatorial bouts against the dead, he finds himself in the employ of a woman on a quest to find the secret to repairing her semi-functional robot.

But the technological secret it guards may be one truth too many…




Melanie's Year in Review - January 1, 2017
The Thief Who Pulled on Trouble's Braids
Amra Thetys 1
Ragnarok Publications, September 1, 2016
Trade Paperback and eBook, 298 pages

"They butchered Corbin right out in the street. That’s how it really started. He was a rogue and a thief, of course. But then, so am I. So when he got himself hacked up in front of his house off Silk Street, I decided somebody had to be made to pay. They thought that they could just sweep him away like rubbish. They were wrong."

Amra Thetys is a thief with morals: she won't steal from anybody poorer than she is; of course, anybody that poor generally doesn't have much worth stealing.

When a fellow thief and good friend is killed in a deal gone wrong, Amra turns her back on burglary and goes after something far more precious: revenge. Revenge, however, might be hard to come by. A nightmare assortment of enemies, including an immortal assassin and a mad sorcerer, believe Amra is in possession of The Blade That Whispers Hate—the legendary, powerful artifact her friend was murdered for—and they'll do anything to take it from her.

Trouble is, Amra hasn't got the least clue where the Blade might be. She needs to find the Blade, and soon, or she'll be joining her unfortunate friend in a cold grave rather than avenging his death, and time is running short for the small, scarred thief.

The Thief Who Pulled on Trouble's Braids is the first volume in Michael McClung's Amra Thetys series.




Melanie's Year in Review - January 1, 2017
The Custodian of Marvels
The Fall of the Gas-Lit Empire 3
Angry Robot Books, February 2, 2016
     Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 368 pages
Angry Robot Books, February 11, 2016 (UK Print)

You’d have to be mad to steal from the feared International Patent Office. But that’s what Elizabeth Barnabus is about to try. A one-time enemy from the circus has persuaded her to attempt a heist that will be the ultimate conjuring trick.

Hidden in the vaults of the Patent Court in London lie secrets that could shake the very pillars of the Gas-Lit Empire. All that stands in Elizabeth’s way are the agents of the Patent Office, a Duke’s private army and the mysterious Custodian of Marvels.

Rod Duncan returns with the climactic volume of The Fall of the Gas-Lit Empire, the breathtaking alternate history series that began with the Philip K. Dick Award-nominated The Bullet-Catcher’s Daughter.

File Under: Fantasy [ Time Runs Out | The Duke’s Enemy | Open the Vault | A Union ]




Melanie's Year in Review - January 1, 2017
Magic Binds
A Kate Daniels Novel
Ace, September 20, 2016
Hardcover and eBook, 336 pages

Mercenary Kate Daniels knows all too well that magic in post-Shift Atlanta is a dangerous business. But nothing she’s faced could have prepared her for this…

Kate and the former Beast Lord Curran Lennart are finally making their relationship official. But there are some steep obstacles standing in the way of their walk to the altar…

Kate’s father, Roland, has kidnapped the demigod Saiman and is slowly bleeding him dry in his never-ending bid for power. A Witch Oracle has predicted that if Kate marries the man she loves, Atlanta will burn and she will lose him forever. And the only person Kate can ask for help is long dead.

The odds are impossible. The future is grim.  But Kate Daniels has never been one to play by the rules…



Melanie's Year in Review - January 1, 2017
The Ghost Rebellion
The Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences 5
ImagineThat! Studios, June 17, 2016
Trade Paperback and eBook, pages

From authors Pip Ballantine and Tee Morris, the award winning steampunk series continues...

The chase is on! After rescuing Queen Victoria from the clutches of the Maestro, Agents Eliza D Braun and Wellington Books are in hot pursuit of Dr Henry Jekyll. While he continues his experiments on the aristocracy of Europe, he leaves a trail of chaos and despair in his wake. However when Eliza and Wellington run him to ground in India, they are forced to come face to face with ghosts from the past, and the realities of empire.

Meanwhile Ministry agents Brandon Hill and Bruce Campbell travel deep into Russia hunting down a rare ingredient to save Queen Victoria's life. Amid the cold they uncover a threat from the revitalized House of Usher that comes directly from their new Chairman.

All in the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences will find their allegiances in question, and their mettle tested as a new dastardly era of international intrigue dawns.


What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors? - Part 8


This is the eighth in this new series of updates about formerly featured Debut Author Challenge authors and their works published since their last update. The year in parentheses after the author's name is the year that author was featured in the Debut Author Challenge.



Part 1 here Part 11 here Part 21 here Part 31 here Part 41 here
Part 2 here Part 12 here Part 22 here Part 32 here Part 42 here
Part 3 here Part 13 here Part 23 here Part 33 here Part 43 here
Part 4 here Part 14 here Part 24 here Part 34 here Part 44 here
Part 5 here Part 15 here Part 25 here Part 35 here Part 45 here
Part 6 here Part 16 here Part 26 here Part 36 here Part 46 here
Part 7 here Part 17 here Part 27 here Part 37 here Part 47 here
Part 8 here Part 18 here Part 28 here Part 38 here Part 48 here
Part 9 here Part 19 here Part 29 here Part 39 here Part 49 here
Part 10 here Part 20 here Part 30 here Part 40 here Part 50 here



Curtis C. Chen (2016)

Kangaroo Too
Kangaroo 2
Thomas Dunne Books, June 20, 2017
Hardcover, 320 pages

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors? - Part 8

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J. Kathleen Cheney (2013)

Iron Shoes: Three Tales from Hawk's Folly Farm
EQP Books, April 4, 2016
eBook and Trade Paperback, 303 pages

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors? - Part 8
For the first time, these three novellas are collected into one volume: Iron Shoes; Snow Comes to Hawk's Folly; and Snowfall.

Iron Shoes
Imogen Hawkes is running out of time. She must come up with enough money to prevent the bank from foreclosing on her farm. All her hopes are pinned on her horse winning the Special Stakes.

But things keep going wrong, and it's soon clear someone is determined to stop her. As race day draws closer, Imogen finds unexpected sources of help...including the new stallion she's purchased from Boston, who's not at all what he seems.

Despite a life spent avoiding it, Imogen learns that magic may be her best ally....

Snow Comes to Hawk's Folly:
Imogen has the life she's always wanted. Her farm is thriving, as is her family. But a guest comes to the farm, bringing trouble in his wake.
When Imogen's son disappears, how far will she go to get him back? Is it magic? Or something more mundane? In her family, the mundane is rarely to blame...

Snowfall:
Lourdes Medina has left everything she knows. Following a vision in a dream, she's gone north to Saratoga Springs to buy back the mare her brother sold out from under her. But the horse's new owner, Finn, makes her an interesting offer in return for the horse. Against her better judgment, Lourdes becomes entangled in his family's problems…and it seems she's unwittingly gained an enemy, a woman who will go to any length to get the husband she wants.
But Finn is a mystery. He seems to have abilities that she's never seen before, including the ability to overhear her speaking to horses. It's Lourdes' one small magic--she can speak directly to a horse, mind to mind, and they obey her word. When she learns the truth about Finn, that's when things truly become complicated. What exactly is a puca?


Whatever Else
EQP Books, July 4, 2016
eBook, 25 pages

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors? - Part 8
Maia is a young woman with only a small gift: the ability to watch others from afar. To cement a treaty between two clans, she married Arras, a young man she's known most of her life. But when her brother comes to visit, he reveals a shameful secret that leaves Maia questioning everything she believes about her husband. Now she must use her small gift to determine the truth of her brother's claim...and decide whether to stay at her husband's side or flee him.


The Dragon's Child: Six Short Stories
Pronoun, July 28, 2016
eBook, 185 pages

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors? - Part 8
Kseniya Ilyevna originally came to the mountain of the Dragon Wizard to protect her younger sister, but when she learns of the wizard’s true plans for his daughter, she vows to spirit the child away. In seizing freedom for the little girl—her sister’s child, Jia-li—Kseniya finds herself tied to the Zheng family and all the strange events that befall them. In six short stories, we follow Kseniya and her extended family as Jia-li grows into a budding wizard herself.


After the War
A Novella of the Golden City
EQP Books, August 16, 2016
Paperback and eBook, 103 pages

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors? - Part 8
After the Great War, Alejandro Ferreira wandered across Europe, unable even to remember his name, until one night in Lisboa, a young woman recognizes him. She brings him home to his family--one he can't recall, but very much wants to keep.

His seer's gift has been as much of a trial as a blessing. It didn't keep him out of trouble during the Great War, either--someone cursed him to lose his memory. Someone else is after him, wanting him to keep a secret he doesn't even remember he has. And he quickly learns that all is not well between himself and his lovely wife. Without his memories or his seer's gift, can Alejandro rebuild his life and unveil his stalker before they eliminate him?


The Sparrow in Hiding
EQP Books, October 18, 2016
eBook, 112 pages

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors? - Part 8
Irina’s family has come to the countryside to escape the summer heat of St. Petersburg, but she discovers a new worker has been hired to maintain her family’s aviary, a one-armed man who poses an intriguing mystery.

Evgeny is hiding from a witch. With the help of his younger sister, he’d survived the witch’s curse, but in the aftermath, he was left with only one arm, eyes that appear inhuman, and an ability to see the truth in others’ souls.

Will he ever be safe from the witch again?





Adam Christopher (2011)

Dishonored - The Corroded Man
Titan Books, September 27, 2016
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 368 pages

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors? - Part 8
A strange, shrouded figure appears in Dunwall, seeming to possess powers once wielded by the assassin known as Daud. Faced with the possibility that their deadliest foe has returned, Emily and Corvo plunge headlong into a life-and-death race against time. If they fail to learn the truth about this mysterious enemy, the result could be destruction on an unimaginable scale.



The next 3 are part of Adam Christopher's L.A. Trilogy. These covers by Will Staehle are fabulous. I would love posters of these!

Made to Kill
L.A. Trilogy 1
Tor Books, October 11, 2016
Trade Paperback, 240 pages
Hardcover and eBook, November 3, 2015

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors? - Part 8
In an alternate version of 1960s Los Angeles, the world's only robot detective has been turned into a hit man by his corrupted master computer.

Ray is good at the job, too—not only does nobody suspect the world's last robot is a hit man, his fame allows the Electromatic Detective Agency to continue as the perfect front, and with a twenty-four-hour memory limit, he sure can keep a secret.

When a woman arrives at the agency wanting to hire Ray to investigate the brutal murder of a priest, his attempts to dissuade her are overruled when she produces a lucrative advance payment. Profit is profit, and Ray accepts the job, even though the woman demands total anonymity. She tells them not to try to reach her—she'll call when the time is right—and she vanishes into the city.

Ray's investigation leads him into a dark world of Hollywood intrigue, where the glamorous jet set societies are under the spell of a mysterious bandage-swathed man. The man and his champagne-sipping circle of followers conduct Satanic rituals behind Hollywood's razzle-dazzle façade—rituals that lead to . . . murder!

Made to Kill is the thrilling new speculative noir from novelist and comic writer Adam Christopher.


Standard Hollywood Depravity
L.A. Trilogy
Tor.com, March 7, 2017
Trade Paperback and eBook, 176 pages

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors? - Part 8
The moment Raymond Electromatic set eyes on her, he knew she was the dame marked in his optics, the woman that his boss had warned him about.

Honey.

As the band shook the hair out of their British faces, stomping and strumming, the go-go dancer’s cage swung, and the events of that otherwise average night were set in motion. A shot, under the cover of darkness, a body bleeding out in a corner, and most of Los Angeles’ population of hired guns hulking, sour-faced over un-drunk whiskey sours at the bar.

But as Ray tries to track down the package he was dispatched to the club to retrieve, his own programming might be working against him, sending him down a long hall and straight into a mobster’s paradise. Is Honey still the goal—or was she merely bait for a bigger catch?

Just your standard bit of Hollywood depravity, as tracked by the memory tapes of a less-than-standard robot hitman.


Killing Is My Business
L.A. Trilogy 2
Tor Books, July 25, 2017
Hardcover, 256 pages

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors? - Part 8

[description not yet available]






Wesley Chu (2013)

The Days of Tao
Subterranean Press, April 2016
Hardcover, 120 pages
Dust Jacket Illustration: Galen Dara

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors? - Part 8
Cameron Tan wouldn’t have even been in Greece if he hadn’t gotten a ‘D’ in Art History.

Instead of spending the summer after college completing his training as a Prophus operative, he’s doing a study abroad program in Greece, enjoying a normal life – spending time with friends and getting teased about his crush on a classmate.

Then the emergency notification comes in: a Prophus agent with vital information needs immediate extraction, and Cameron is the only agent on the ground, responsible for getting the other agent and data out of the country. The Prophus are relying on him to uncomplicate things.
Easy.

Easy, except the rival Genjix have declared all-out war against the Prophus, which means Greece is about to be a very dangerous place. And the agent isn’t the only person relying on Cameron to get them safely out of the country – his friends from the study abroad program are, too. Cameron knows a good agent would leave them to fend for themselves. He also knows a good person wouldn’t. Suddenly, things aren’t easy at all.

The Days of Tao is the latest in the popular Tao series from award-winning author, Wesley Chu. Following after The Rebirths of Tao, this novella carries on the fast-moving and fun tone of the series.


The Rise of Io
Io 1
Angry Robot October 4, 2016
Trade Paperback and eBook, 352 pages

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors? - Part 8
Ella Patel – thief, con-artist and smuggler – is in the wrong place at the wrong time. One night, on the border of a demilitarized zone run by the body-swapping alien invaders, she happens upon a man and woman being chased by a group of assailants. The man freezes, leaving the woman to fight off five attackers at once, before succumbing. As she dies, to both Ella and the man’s surprise, the sparkling light that rises from the woman enters Ella, instead of the man. She soon realizes she’s been inhabited by Io, a low-ranking Quasing who was involved in some of the worst decisions in history. Now Ella must now help the alien presence to complete her mission and investigate a rash of murders in the border states that maintain the frail peace.

With the Prophus assigned to help her seemingly wanting to stab her in the back, and the enemy Genjix hunting her, Ella must also deal with Io’s annoying inferiority complex. To top it all off, Ella thinks the damn alien voice in her head is trying to get her killed. And if you can’t trust the voices in your head, who can you trust?

File Under: Science Fiction [ Ella From the Block | Alien Insider | War Without End | Shape Up and Strike Back ]


Time Seige
Time Salvager 2
Tor Books, July 4, 2017
Trade Paperback, 432 pages
Hardcover and eBooks, July 12, 2016

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors? - Part 8

[description not yet available]






Cassandra Rose Clarke (2013)

Our Lady of Ice
Saga Press, October 25, 2016
Trade Paperback, 448 pages
Hardcover and eBook, October 27, 2015

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors? - Part 8
The Yiddish Policeman’s Union meets The Windup Girl when a female PI goes up against a ruthless gangster—just as both humans and robots agitate for independence in an Argentinian colony in Antarctica.

In Argentine Antarctica, Eliana Gomez is the only female PI in Hope City—a domed colony dependent on electricity (and maintenance robots) for heat, light, and survival in the icy deserts of the continent. At the center is an old amusement park—now home only to the androids once programmed to entertain—but Hope City’s days as a tourist destination are long over. Now the City produces atomic power for the mainland while local factions agitate for independence and a local mobster, Ignacio Cabrera, runs a brisk black-market trade in illegally imported food.

Eliana doesn’t care about politics. She doesn’t even care much that her boyfriend, Diego, works as muscle for Cabrera. She just wants to save enough money to escape Hope City. But when an aristocrat hires Eliana to protect an explosive personal secret, Eliana finds herself caught up in the political tensions threatening to tear Hope City apart. In the clash of backstabbing politicians, violent freedom fighters, a gangster who will stop at nothing to protect his interests, and a newly sentient robot underclass intent on a very different independence, Eliana finds her job coming into deadly conflict with Diego’s—just as the electricity keeping Hope City from freezing begins to fail…

With the inner workings of the mob combined with the story of a revolution, “Clarke brings novelty and delight to steampunk Antarctica in this complex and lovely mystery” (Publishers Weekly, starred review). Our Lady of the Ice questions what it means to be human, what it means to be free, and whether we’re ever able to transcend our pasts and our programming to find true independence.


The Mad Scientist's Daughter
Saga Press, November 8, 2016
Hardcover, Trade Paperback and eBook, 336 pages

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors? - Part 8
Nominated for the Phillip K. Dick Award, a science fiction fairy tale set in a collapsing future America about a girl and the android she falls in love with.

When Cat Novak was a young girl, her father brought Finn, an experimental android, to their isolated home. A billion-dollar construct, Finn looks and acts human, but he has no desire to be one. He was programmed to assist his owners, and performs his duties to perfection.

His primary task now is to tutor Cat. Finn stays with her, becoming her constant companion and friend as she grows into adulthood. But when the government grants rights to the ever-increasing robot population, Finn struggles to find his place in the world. As their relationship goes further than anyone intended, they have to face the threat of being separated forever.


Magic of Blood and Sea: The Assassin's Curse; The Pirate's Wish
Saga Press, February 7, 2017
Hardcover, Trade Paperback and eBook, 544 pages

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors? - Part 8
A pirate princess and a cursed assassin find their fates intertwined in this gorgeous and thrilling adventure.

Ananna of the Tanarau abandons ship when her parents try to marry her off to an ally pirate clan. She wants to captain her own boat, not serve as second-in-command to a handsome and clueless man. But her escape has dire consequences when she learns that her fiancé’s clan has sent an assassin after her.

And when this assassin, Naji, finally finds her, things get even worse. Ananna inadvertently triggers a nasty curse—with a life-altering result. Now, Ananna and Naji are forced to become uneasy allies as they work to complete three impossible tasks that will cure the curse.

Unfortunately, Naji has enemies from the shadowy world known as the Mists, and Ananna must face the repercussions of betraying her engagement that set her off on her adventures. Together, the two must break the curse, escape their enemies, and come to terms with their growing romantic attraction.


Star's End
Saga Press, March 21, 2017
Hardcover and eBook, 448 pages

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors? - Part 8
A new space opera about a young woman who must face the truth about her father’s past from critically acclaimed author Cassandra Rose Clarke.

The Corominas family owns a small planet system, which consists of one gaseous planet and four terraformed moons, nicknamed the Four Sisters. Phillip Coromina, the patriarch of the family, earned his wealth through a manufacturing company he started as a young man and is preparing his eldest daughter, Esme, to take over the company when he dies.

When Esme comes of age and begins to take over the business, she gradually discovers the reach of her father’s company, the sinister aspects of its work with alien DNA, and the shocking betrayal that estranged her three half-sisters from their father. After a lifetime of following her father’s orders, Esme must decide if she should agree to his dying wish of assembling her sisters for a last goodbye or face her role in her family’s tragic undoing.

Interview with J. Kathleen Cheney and Review of Dreaming Death


Please welcome J. Kathleen Cheney to The Qwillery.  Dreaming Death is published by Roc on February 2nd. Please join The Qwillery in wishing J. Kathleen a very Happy Publication Day!



Interview with J. Kathleen Cheney and Review of Dreaming Death




The QwilleryWelcome back to The Qwillery. Your new novel, Dreaming Death, is the start of a new series - Palace of Dreams. Has your writing process changed (or not) from when you wrote The Golden City (2013) to Dreaming Death? What is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

J. Kathleen Cheney:  Hi there! Ugh. For me the hardest part is that first draft. I truly love the editing process, and could edit all my manuscripts endlessly. But cranking out that first draft is painful. I did, by the way, try Scrivener on this book, but after six months of wanting to pull out my hair, mostly because Scrivener isn't Word, I chucked it in. So no super-organization, either. I just pound it out, one end to the other.



TQWhat do you wish that you knew about book publishing when Golden City came out that you know now?

JKC:  I think that no one is going to hold my hand and walk me through this career. Even though I'd been told by others that I would have to do a lot of things myself, I didn't truly grasp it. But it's seriously true…if you don't get out there and promote your own stuff, it won't fly.



TQWhat has influenced/influences your writing?

JKC:  I'm a big lover of Romance and Mystery, so both of those will appear in my stories. In my view, a book must have either a dead body or a romance to be interesting, even if it's fantasy. I try to have a science basis for fantasy things, even if it's a flimsy science basis. Really flimsy. But I read up a lot on biological sciences, half to work them into stories and half because they're just really interesting!



TQDescribe Dreaming Death in 140 characters or less.

JKC:  A blind girl with CSI hands meets boy who dreams his way into others death. Together, they solve crime. #fantasy #mystery



TQTell us something about Dreaming Death that is not found in the book description.

JKC:  The Six Families in this series are essentially tribes or clans who have lived underground for centuries in their Fortresses. Their Fortresses are somewhat like reservations, in that the government doesn't have jurisdiction there. Originally, when the Anvarrid invaded, they searched the Fortresses, hunting for treasure, but the depths of the Fortresses--Deep Below--were sealed off, and officially the Anvarrid still officially have no knowledge that Deep Below exists (although Mikael does.)



TQWhat inspired you to write Dreaming Death? What appeals to you about writing Historical Fantasy?

JKC:  The original inspiration for Dreaming Death came out of reading the works of Ansen Dibell, which had an empathic race called the Valde. I spent a great deal of time considering Dibell's approach to the subject. (I'm a big fan.) But I combined that with the concept of underground seed vaults and the statistical correlation between pale eyes and shyness to come up with my underground race that included sensitives.

I love historical fantasy because it forces us to consider how things were done. We live in a world where so many people don't even know where their food comes from, how paper is made, or how printing presses worked. Those are the kinds of things that I love to study. Historical fiction gives me an excuse to research that sort of thing.



TQWhat sort of research did you do for Dreaming Death?

JKC:  The largest part of my research time was invested in studying underground building design. There are specialists in this field all over the world, because many people believe that instead of building ever higher, building ever lower might be the wiser course.

As it turns out, there are a lot of physical concerns about having people work and live underground (stairs, elevators, safety, lights, etc) but also psychological



TQWho was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

JKC:  Easiest: Deborah. We don't actually have her point of view in this book, but we do in the sequel. I have to admit, she's the closest thing I think I've ever written to myself. (Not appearance wise, but in terms of her thought process.) So she's easy. Not necessarily fun, but easy.

Hardest: Mikael. He's a young man, and his mindset is fundamentally different than mine, so I had to constantly try to work out how a twenty-three year old guy would think.



TQWhy have you chosen to include or not chosen to include social issues in Dreaming Death?

JKC:  So this is a toughie. I actually eliminated a bunch of the political bits from the manuscript because my editor was concerned about it sounding too political (and therefore like The Golden City, she thought). But whenever there are three different peoples with diverse cultures living in close proximity, there are going to be social clashes. In some ways I see the Larossan/Anvarrid relationship as being similar to apartheid, with the Larossans being second-class citizens even though they vastly outnumber the Anvarrid.

And the Families are caught between those two groups. Their treaty might force them to fight the Larossans one day on behalf of the Anvarrid…or to break their treaty and side with the majority. The third option, though, would be to simply close up the Fortresses and ignore the outside world again.

So in a way, they're in the position of deciding their own fates, but it's a scary decision ahead of them, and one that all Six Families might not agree upon.



TQWhich question about Dreaming Death do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!

JKC:  Is this set on a post-apocalyptic earth?

No, but in my mind this all takes place after the mass terraforming of a planet. So there are similarities. Of course, all in my mind. Not on paper. Yet.



TQGive us one or two favorite non-spoilery quotes from Dreaming Death.

JKC:  You can figure out who's talking:

       “Some just shouldn’t be told. Everyone has secrets, even my mother, and she’s the most proper person I know.”
       That seemed like a heavy burden. “How do you know? Which ones not to tell, I mean?”
       She tilted her head to one side. “I suppose if you can’t do any good by telling it, you shouldn’t.”



TQWhat's next?

JKC:  I've actually got some novellas I'm trying to get published and out in the world, another in the Golden City setting that includes Alejandro, "After the War", and one set in 1815 Russia. I'm also trying to get three short stories up on my website that are set in the world of Mikael and Shironne, one of which was published back in 2007 at Jim Baen's Universe--Touching the Dead (https://jkathleencheney.wordpress.com/free-fiction/touching-the-dead/). And I'm trying to re-edit and republish all the short fiction I have available as ebooks. I'm typing as fast as I can, I promise!



TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

JKC:  Thanks for having me as your guest!





Dreaming Death
Series:  A Palace of Dreams Novel 1
Publisher:  Roc, February 2, 2016
Format:  Trade Paperback and eBook, 432 pages
List Price:  US$16.00 (print);  US$9.99 (eBook)
ISBN:  9780451472939 (print); 9780698183100 (eBook)

Interview with J. Kathleen Cheney and Review of Dreaming Death
In the Novels of the Golden City, J. Kathleen Cheney created a “mesmerizing” (Publishers Weekly) realm where magic, history, and intrigue combine. Now, she presents a new world ruled by psychic talents and fatal magic…

Shironne Anjir’s status as a sensitive is both a gift and a curse. Her augmented senses allow her to discover and feel things others can’t, but her talents come with a price: a constant assault of emotions and sensations has left her blind. Determined to use her abilities as best she can, Shironne works tirelessly as an investigator for the Larossan army.

A member of the royal family’s guard, Mikael Lee also possesses an overwhelming power—he dreams of the deaths of others, sometimes in vivid, shocking detail, and sometimes in cryptic fragments and half-remembered images.

But then a killer brings a reign of terror to the city, snuffing out his victims with an arcane and deadly blood magic. Only Shironne can sense and interpret Mikael’s dim, dark dreams of the murders. And what they find together will lead them into a nightmare…



Melanie's Thoughts

Mikael is a dreamer. Not a daydreamer. A dreamer of death. When Mikael dreams he re-lives the death of murder victims in such clarity that he is left with signs of the suffering they experienced on his body. While Mikael dreams Shironne acts as the witness, on the sidelines, as an observer that can almost but not quite sense the one tangible link between the victim and the killer. They haven't even met but Mikael and Shironne are intimately linked while they sleep. Their lives change irrevocably when a serial murderer uses arcane magic to kill its victims. Shironne and Mikael are the only ones who can solve the mystery of who the killer is, but with every dream another person dies and time is running out for Shironne to piece together the cryptic clues left throughout his dreamscape.

Dreaming Death is a beautiful, almost lyrical story despite its dark and tragic plot. I thought I could have been reading a song or hearing a poem as each chapter flowed seamlessly into the next. I didn't want it to end. Cheney has created a richly textured and complex world for her characters. Society and history are told largely through Mikael, as one of the royal family's guards. The rigid class structures of the Six Families are explained as we navigate through the story and Mikael's interactions with his colleagues. Shironne is a touch sensitive whose enhanced senses have left her blind. Rather than giving into trauma of so many sensations Shironne uses her gifts to aid the Larossan army to solve cases. Shironne is a strong and determined female lead and uses her gifts rather than letting them become her disability. She is even more interesting of a character when she finally meets Mikael. While the murder mystery is the mainstay of the plot the relationship between Mikael and Shironne is what is really the star of this story.

I LOVED Dreaming Death. If I could read with my eyes closed I am sure I could have smelled the rich spices of the curry that Mikael enjoyed, felt the cold stone of the walls of the palace against my finger tips and sensed the melee of emotions as they swirled around me. This is a 'can't put down' book, a joy to read from start to finish and has me wishing that book two was out already.  I think I have found my new favourite author. So thank you to J. Kathleen Cheney.



Read an exclusive excerpt of Dreaming Death here.





About J. Kathleen Cheney

Interview with J. Kathleen Cheney and Review of Dreaming Death
J. Kathleen Cheney taught mathematics ranging from 7th grade to Calculus, but gave it all up for a chance to write stories. Her novella "Iron Shoes" was a 2010 Nebula Award Finalist. Her novel The Golden City was a Finalist for the 2014 Locus Awards (Best First Novel). Dreaming Death will be the first in a new series, the Palace of Dreams Novels.


Website  ~  Twitter @jkcheney  ~  Facebook  ~  Tumblr

Exclusive Excerpt: Dreaming Death by J. Kathleen Cheney


Please welcome J. Kathleen Cheney to The Qwillery with an exclusive excerpt from Dreaming Death which will be published by Roc on February 2nd.



Exclusive Excerpt: Dreaming Death by J. Kathleen Cheney




“Who?” Dahar asked.

“Eli,” Mikael repeated. “Of the sixteens.”

“I meant for dinner,” Dahar said, sounding vexed.

That was one of the advantages of being a member of the Royal House—no one expected Dahar to control his emotions, even though he’d been trained by the Family. Mikael opened his mouth to answer Dahar’s question, only to stop himself before he blurted out Jannika’s name.

When Mikael had first come to Lucas Province as a nineteen, Dahar had come up with the strange idea that Mikael should marry his daughter Sera. The girl had been a thirteen or fourteen then, and quite obnoxious. No agreement had been signed, but Dahar still had the idea in his head that Mikael should be betrothed to his daughter.

“Just a friend,” Mikael managed. “I’m trying to get some information. And after that I’m going down into the city to meet with one of the writers.”

“Hunting your dead body?” Dahar said dryly.

Mikael didn’t think for a moment that Dahar had missed that he’d not answered the first question. “He’s got a friend in the police.”

“You’re duplicating Cerradine’s efforts, then,” Dahar said.

That wasn’t strictly true. Cerradine was looking for a corpse, while Mikael was only looking for a name. “I’ll be off duty, sir.”

Dahar sighed and strode off, back to his end of the office. Mikael resumed reading, imagining Dahar’s glare on his back. When he glanced in that direction, Dahar stood at the windows, staring moodily outside. Mikael forced his attention to stay on the papers before him.

A crash came from the other side of the room. Mikael jumped to his feet, hand reaching for a pistol he didn’t have.

Just Dahar, he realized a panicked second later.

The fine porcelain tea set that had been sitting on a tray on his desk now lay shattered against the far wall. Dahar strode the length of the office, opened the door, and slammed it on the way out.

What was that about? Mikael felt reasonably safe that it wasn’t his evasive answer that had triggered it. This had to be about Kai and whatever they had been arguing about so quietly before Mikael had arrived. Poor timing on Kai’s part. Dahar was never at his best first thing in the morning, before his tea.

And Kai had been avoiding his father. Kai had other commitments. They all did. There was a schedule on Kai’s desk that showed his teaching duties, his required sessions with the king, and his time to work on his own yeargroup’s schedules and issues. That was why Dahar needed two aides; Kai simply had too many other duties.

Mikael suspected if he asked Kai, he would probably have to listen to a long-winded answer that made perfect sense. Whether it was true or not was another thing altogether.

Sighing, Mikael crossed to the other end of the room, turned over the wooden tray, and began picking up the broken bits of the tea set. It wasn’t as if they let maids into the Daujom’s offices to clean, not without an appointment. And since he was alone now, that left no doubt whose job it was.





Dreaming Death
Palace of Dreams 1
Roc, February 2, 2016
Trade Paperback and eBook, 432 pages

Exclusive Excerpt: Dreaming Death by J. Kathleen Cheney
In the Novels of the Golden City, J. Kathleen Cheney created a “mesmerizing” (Publishers Weekly) realm where magic, history, and intrigue combine. Now, she presents a new world ruled by psychic talents and fatal magic…

Shironne Anjir’s status as a sensitive is both a gift and a curse. Her augmented senses allow her to discover and feel things others can’t, but her talents come with a price: a constant assault of emotions and sensations has left her blind. Determined to use her abilities as best she can, Shironne works tirelessly as an investigator for the Larossan army.

A member of the royal family’s guard, Mikael Lee also possesses an overwhelming power—he dreams of the deaths of others, sometimes in vivid, shocking detail, and sometimes in cryptic fragments and half-remembered images.

But then a killer brings a reign of terror to the city, snuffing out his victims with an arcane and deadly blood magic. Only Shironne can sense and interpret Mikael’s dim, dark dreams of the murders. And what they find together will lead them into a nightmare…





About J. Kathleen Cheney

J. Kathleen Cheney is the author of the Novels of the Golden City, including The Shores of Spain, The Seat of Magic, and The Golden City. Her short fiction has been published in such venues as Fantasy Magazine and Beneath Ceaseless Skies, and her novella “Iron Shoes” was a Nebula Finalist in 2010. She lives in Oklahoma, and you can visit her online at www.jkathleencheney.com.

Melanie's Month in Review  - June 2019Melanie’s Month in Review  - November 2018Melanie's Month in Review - October 2018The View From Monday - April 30, 2018Spotlight on J. Kathleen CheneyMelanie's Year in Review - January 1, 2017What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors? - Part 8Spotlight and Giveaway: After the War by J. Kathleen CheneyInterview with J. Kathleen Cheney and Review of Dreaming DeathExclusive Excerpt: Dreaming Death by J. Kathleen Cheney

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