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A blog about books and other things speculative

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Melanie's Week in Review - May 21, 2017


Melanie's Week in Review - May 21, 2017

Happy Anniversary to me!!!! 12 years ago today, in pretty much the same crappy weather, I got married. I had actually forgot (ooops) and probably wouldn't have remembered if my 88 year old next door neighbor hadn't dropped a card in my letterbox. Yikes! I haven't however, forgotten the two books I read this week. So before I go off to celebrate let me tell you what I read.

Melanie's Week in Review - May 21, 2017
Melanie's Week in Review - May 21, 2017
I received Larry Correia's Hard Magic in the post from the very generous Qwill several months ago and I mislaid it. How naughty was I? Especially as it was signed by the author himself and look how cute his signature is!

Jake Sullivan works for the Feds as private investigator....but he isn't your average PI. He has a unique ability to manipulate his environment allowing him to crush a rock with a mere flick of a finger, or change the gravity in a room, or to survive a fall from a tall building. Fresh out of jail Jake now works for the government and his next case sends him on the trail of an old friend...one who is as strong as he is. It's not long before Jake finds himself trapped between two warring factions of magical enhanced humans. Jake just wants to live a normal life but there is an evil coming and he might be the only one that can save the world.

I enjoyed Hard Magic and thought it was a jolly good read. I liked Jake and thought that Correia gave the 1920's a good twist with his magically enhanced characters. If you judge the book by the cover and the description you would assume that Jake was the main character but he really shares the limelight with the Faye, a teenage 'Traveller'. Quite a large part of the story centers on Faye and her ability to travel through space (not time). Jake and Faye are joined by a strong cast of supporting characters who help to give these main characters a bit more depth. While this is a standard 'good vs evil' story there are a couple of events that were a surprise. No spoilers here folks.


Melanie's Week in Review - May 21, 2017
My next book was the final instalment of Emma Newman's The Split Worlds series with All Good Things. The story starts immediately after the events of book 4 where Cathy escapes her disastrous marriage to Will and is now staying with Lord Iron aka Sam. Sam has also given refuge to Bea, a sorceress who has killed many in an attempt to bring down barriers between the worlds. Joined by Max and the gargoyle, Sam and Cathy try to find a way to bring balance between the worlds while at the same time trying to stop anyone else getting killed in the process.

I have enjoyed this story but did not enjoy this final book. It felt like several chapters were missing as there is a big hole in one of the plot lines. I actually went back and re-read a couple of chapters as I thought my Kindle had jumped ahead. Cathy's husband Will was exceptionally annoying and in times Cathy was just a bit too whiny. Due to this I found the latter half of the book a bit jarring and rushed at the end. I wasn't really sad to see this story end which was too bad as I really enjoyed the earlier books.


That is all for me this week. I hope you have found something enjoyable to read. Until next week Happy Reading.





Hard Magic
Grimnoir Chronicles 1
Baen, April 24, 2012
Mass Market Paperback, 624 pages
Hardcover, Trade Paperback and eBook, May 3, 2011

Melanie's Week in Review - May 21, 2017
Jake Sullivan is a war hero, a private eye-and an ex-con. He's free because he has a magical talent, being able to alter the force of gravity in himself and objects in his vicinity, and the Bureau of Investigation calls on him when they need his help in apprehending criminals with their own magical talents. But the last operation he was sent along to help with went completely wrong, and Delilah Jones, the woman the G-men were after, who just happened to be an old friend of Jake's in happier times, had a lot of magical muscle with her, too much muscle for the cops to handle, even with Jake's help.

It got worse. Jake found out that the Feds had lied to him about Delilah being a murderer as well as a bank robber, and they had lied about this being his last job for them-he was too valuable for them to let him go. And things were even worse than Jake imagined. There was a secret war being waged by opposing forces of magic-users, and Jake had no idea that he had just attracted the attention of one side, whose ruthless leaders were of the opinion that Jake was far too dangerous to be permitted to live...





All Good Things
The Split Worlds 5
Diversion, June 6, 2017
Trade Paperback and eBook, 360 pages

Melanie's Week in Review - May 21, 2017
From Emma Newman, the award-nominated author of Planetfall and Between Two Thorns, comes the long awaited conclusion to the Split Worlds series, described by Locus Magazine as “an intriguing mix of modern world, Victorian/Regency England, and faery.”

“A triumphant merger of Victorian values with modern magic” —Library Journal on A Little Knowledge

As the Iris family consolidates their hold on society within the secret world of the Nether, William Iris finds himself more powerful and yet more vulnerable than ever. His wife, Cathy, has left him, a fact that will destroy him if it becomes public. To keep his position—and survive—he needs to get her back, whatever the cost.

Cathy has finally escaped the Nether, but hates that she must rely so heavily on Sam’s protection. When the strange sorceress Beatrice offers her a chance to earn true freedom by joining the quest Sam has been bound to, Cathy agrees. But can she and Sam navigate Beatrice’s plans for the future without becoming two more of her victims?

And Beatrice, a self-taught and powerful killer, is not without her enemies. Rupert, the last sorcerer of Albion, is obsessed with finding and destroying her. He orders Max and his gargoyle to help him, pulling them away from protecting innocents. As the Arbiter and his partner face the ugly side of their responsibilities to Rupert, they begin to question where their loyalties should truly lie.

Amidst death, deceit, and the fight for freedom, friendships are tested, families are destroyed, and heroes are forged as the battle to control the Split Worlds rages to its climatic conclusion.

“Emma Newman is an extraordinary new voice in SF/F.” ––Paul Cornell, Hugo Award winner and author of London Falling and Saucer Country

The Split Words by Emma Newman - New Covers!


The new covers for Emma Newman's Split Worlds series have been revealed! The Qwillery is thrilled to have the new covers from Diversion Books to share with you. The Split Worlds is a fabulous series that you can learn more about at Emma's Split Worlds site.

In addition to republishing the original 3 novels (Between Two Thorns, Any Other Name, and All is Fair), Diversion Books will publish 2 additional Split Worlds novels. Read more about that here at Emma's blog where she revealed the titles for the 4th and 5th Split Worlds novels - A Little Knowledge (2016) and All Good Things (2017). The first three novels will be out soon!

I think that the new covers for the series are as wonderful as the original covers. I particularly love that the color theme has been preserved. What do you think?



Between Two Thorns

The Split Words by Emma Newman - New Covers!



Any Other Name

The Split Words by Emma Newman - New Covers!




All is Fair

The Split Words by Emma Newman - New Covers!




A Little Knowledge

The Split Words by Emma Newman - New Covers!




The Split Words by Emma Newman - New Covers!
Click to Embiggen
(Original covers on top; New covers on bottom)

Melanie's Week in Review - June 1, 2014



Melanie's Week in Review - June 1, 2014


Hopefully this post will be coherent and not a big ramble as I just got back from Canada and have a lovely case of jetlag. Thanks to Air Canada's old plane stock the hubinator and I ended up with seats where the sound didn't work on the TV system. That meant we had 6:57 hours of uninterrupted reading time...well apart from the food/drink service, duty free announcements and quite a bit of turbulence. So what did I read?

Melanie's Week in Review - June 1, 2014
I finished Sixth Grave From the Edge by Darynda Jones. I do really like this series and think it is quirky. I especially like the chapter headings....they are hilarious. Charley is a great character and her hottie boyfriend Reyes sounds as smouldering as the pits of hell where he was born. I do think that this instalment was the weakest of the series. There are so many subplots that my head was spinning by the end. Jones even starts one involving Charley and her father and does nothing with it. It feel like I had missed part of the book. Sometimes less is more. Sixth Grave felt like Jones was following some formula like

book plot = Charley must solve 2 murders + goof around with Cookie  x canoodle with Reyes \  convince Angel to work for her - drive to the abandoned asylum x drink lots and lots of coffee.

The ending was quite a shocker but this barely made up for the over egged sub-plots. I will still look forward to the next book but I hope Jones sticks to the Charley and Reyes plot rather than all the mini mysteries.

Melanie's Week in Review - June 1, 2014I then decided to take a plunge and bought the first book of the Legend of Eli Monpress series, The Spirit Thief by Rachel Aaron. If you will remember I read the Paradox series a few weeks ago which are written under Rachel's pseudonym Rachel Bach. When I expressed an interest to read her other series Rachel very kindly warned me they were quite different to the science fiction adventures of Devi Morris. The Eli Monpress series is fantasy which is different but equally good as the Paradox series. In The Spirit Thief, the accomplished thief and wizard Eli Monpress has kidnapped the king of Mellinor in an attempt to receive a hefty ransom and increase his bounty. Hot on his tails is Miranda on her oversized ghosthound who has been assigned the mission to apprehend Eli but ends up helping him in a plot twist that deserves to be read rather than talked about. Monpress finds that kidnapping a king isn't as straightforward as he hoped as the king's brother and equally powerful wizard is out to become king himself and bring back wizardry to Mellinor. It's up to Eli, his motley crew of companions and Miranda to save the day and the kingdom.

I like The Spirit Thief and think it was a solid start to a series. I also like Eli but I think I liked his companions more, especially Miranda (more of a reluctant companion) and her ghosthound Gin. You can't beat a giant talking dog. The story was equally split between Miranda and Eli which I think is unusual but effective.  I was slightly confused for the first 1/4 of the book about the spirits and how the wizards manipulated them as Aaron doesn't explain this until later in the book. Once I got my head around that aspect of the book it seemed to flow a lot more smoothly. I will be looking forward to reading more of Eli's adventures over the coming weeks.

Melanie's Week in Review - June 1, 2014
I then returned to a series I haven't read in months - The Split World series by Emma Newman. I finished Any Other Name on the flight home. I found it a bit difficult to get back in this series after such a long break but once I remembered 'who was who' then I eased back into the world that Newman has created. I am really conflicted about this instalment. While I like Cathy and feel sorry for her I also think she is quite whiny. This was totally unfair as she was being forced into a marriage of 'inconvenience' and her whole life was being controlled by her family and the other Fae. Overall, I find Any Other Name to be quite a 'middling book' which seems to really set the scene for the final book of the trilogy. I am not going to make the mistake of leaving reading it for too long this time!

Finally, I was trawling through my Amazon recommendations and, once I got over the horror of being recommended motorcycle themed books, I found The Scribe which is the first of the Irin Chronicles by Elizabeth Hunter. I am only a few chapters into this book but so far so good. I will let you know more next week so until then Happy Reading.

Melanie's Week in Review - September 08, 2013


Melanie's Week in Review - September 08, 2013



Forgive me readers for I have sinned. I bought more books rather than reading something from my TBR collection. Plus, I wantonly bought books from Kindle recommendations purely because they were less than £2. I will do better next week! So what did I read?


Melanie's Week in Review - September 08, 2013
I started my book buying bonanza with MacRieve by Kesley Cole which is book 13 of the Immortals After Dark series. I don't normally like this type of PNR but I started reading this series on a recommendation by a friend and now determined to finish it. I am also slightly intrigued to find out who is going to be the ultimate bad guy when so many of the baddies are fighting on the good side. I also liked the front cover. I think the model on the front cover is more how I imagined MacRieve to be rather than the 'hotter' he is described in the book. Second book I bought on a whim was The Alpha's Daughter by Jacqueline Rhoades. I was looking for a quick, 'easy on the brain' read and while this book did live up to that criteria it was just a tad dull. Spending chapters reading about painting and decorating was not my idea of a gripping or compelling read. I am not even going to give you the title of the third book I bought because I am too embarrassed that I bought a book that was sooo bad. I tried to get past page 50 but couldn't do it. I am not a prude but the language was incredibly crude and vulgar. I thought from the book description it was going to be light-hearted and a bit funny, but what I got was something that made me feel like I had been rolling around in a gutter outside a brothel.


Melanie's Week in Review - September 08, 2013
I gave up on my new books and finished Gideon Smith and the Mechanical Girl by David Barnett. I am reviewing this book next week so keep a look out for it. All I can say is that it was a delight in comparison to what I had been reading.


Melanie's Week in Review - September 08, 2013I am finishing the week on a high and all thanks to Cassandra Rose Clarke and The Assassin's Curse.  I cannot put this book down I am loving it so much. I also loved The Mad Scientist's Daughter and I think Clarke is going to get on my favourite authors list. If you haven't read either of these books then you need to drop whatever you are doing and get them. Clarke is a fantastic storyteller and has an amazing imagination. I think I am going to leave you there as I need to get back and finish this book. I hope you find a book you enjoy as much as I have. Until next week Happy Reading.

Covers Revealed - All is Fair by Emma Newman and Prince Thief by David Tallerman - July 9, 2013


I'm thrilled to share the covers for two of Angry Robot Book's Fall 2013 titles: All is Fair by Emma Newman and Prince Thief by David Tallerman. 




All is Fair
AuthorEmma Newman
Series:  The Split Worlds 3
Publisher:  Angry Robot, September 24, 2013 (US/Canada) and eBook
       October 3, 2013 (UK)
Format:  Trade Paperback and eBook
CoverSarah J Coleman, CIA

Covers Revealed - All is Fair by Emma Newman and Prince Thief by David Tallerman - July 9, 2013
In love and war nothing is safe.

William Iris struggles to keep the throne of Londinium whilst hated by his own court and beset by outsiders, while Cathy discovers the legacy of her former governess. But those who dare to speak out about Society are always silenced. Sometimes for good.

While trying to avoid further torments from the mercurial fae, Sam finds himself getting tangled in the affairs of the Elemental Court. But an unexpected offer from the powerful and enigmatic Lord Iron turns out to be far more than Sam bargained for.

Max and the gargoyle are getting closer to uncovering who is behind the murder of the Bath Chapter and the corruption in London and Max finds the gargoyle’s controversial ideas harder to ignore. Can he stay true to his sworn duty without being destroyed by his own master, whose insanity threatens to unravel them all?

File Under: Fantasy [ Grotesquerie | The Throne of London | Elementary, My Dear | Among Many Thorns ]



Prior novels in the Split Worlds
Covers Revealed - All is Fair by Emma Newman and Prince Thief by David Tallerman - July 9, 2013






Prince Thief
Author: David Tallerman
Series:  Tales of Easie Damasco 3
Publisher:  Angry Robot, September 24, 2013 (US/Canada) and eBook
       October 3, 2013 (UK)
Format:  Mass Market Paperback and eBook
CoverAngelo Rinaldi, Artist Partners

Covers Revealed - All is Fair by Emma Newman and Prince Thief by David Tallerman - July 9, 2013
Altapasaeda, capital of the Castoval, is under siege by its own King.

Far to the north, rebels have set a bastard prince up as a figurehead.

Yet again, Easie Damasco finds himself roped into a desperate scheme to preserve the Castoval, And kidnapping the Prince seemed like such a good idea at the time…



Prior novels in the Tales of Easie Damasco
Covers Revealed - All is Fair by Emma Newman and Prince Thief by David Tallerman - July 9, 2013


Interview with Emma Newman, author of The Split Worlds series - May 4, 2013


Please welcome Emma Newman to The Qwillery as part of the 2013 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. Emma's adult debut, Between Two Thorns (The Split Worlds 1) was published in the US/Canada on February 26, 2013. (Yes, I realized very late this an adult debut!)  Any Other Name (The Split Worlds 2) will be published in the US/Canada on May 28, 2013 followed by All is Fair (The Split Worlds 3) in September.



Interview with Emma Newman, author of The Split Worlds series - May 4, 2013




TQ:  Welcome to The Qwillery.

Emma:  Thank you, I'm delighted to be here!



TQ:  When and why did you start writing?

Emma:  When I was 4, according to my grandmother, although I don't remember it! I'd been beavering away at her kitchen table for a while and when she asked what I was doing, I said "Writing a story, Nana."

I do remember writing stories throughout my childhood and into my teens. I think there were a number of reasons, chief amongst them being a disappointment that real life didn't have anything fantastical in it and writing to escape a lot of family troubles and upheaval. Certainly in my teens, writing fiction was my primary form of escapism. Well, that and Star Trek: The Next Generation.



TQ:  What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

Emma:  I don't think I could truly say any of my quirks are interesting. Right now, the only thing that comes to mind that could be considered a quirk is that every time I sit down to write something new I say out loud: "I give myself permission to write complete and utter crap." It helps me to combat fear and the dreaded internal censor.



TQ:  Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Emma:  Both. I outline major story arcs – across each novel and across the series – and I outline character development and key decisions/actions as far as I can. Then I outline about five chapters or so – just single sentences, some details occasionally if it's a complex scene and then I write them. Once they are done – or earlier if the plan doesn't fit – I outline the next five. I can't plan any further ahead than that as the story evolves once I'm inside the scenes. Sometimes a decision seems realistic in planning, but when I'm there, really inside the character's heads, it just doesn't work. I like that though – I would be worried if it didn't happen, because it would be likely I was writing dull characters without their own internal consistency and motivations.



TQ:  What is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Emma:  Managing fear. Well, I find that the most challenging thing about life, really, and seeing as writing is my passion, my livelihood and what I want to do for the rest of my life, it only makes sense that it's the biggest challenge.

The fear makes it hard to start, hard to finish, hard to let others read it – the list is endless. It also makes it so hard to know if anything I'm writing is any good. I think that's a universal problem though; I've had many conversations with fellow writers along those lines.



TQ:  Describe Between Two Thorns in 140 characters or less.

Urban fantasy - and a dash of noir - with feuding dynastic families, supernatural patrons, mad sorcerers, evil faeries and nice cups of tea.



TQ:  What inspired you to write Between Two Thorns?

Emma:  It grew organically. It started with a flash I wrote about a shopkeeper, an unhappy customer and a faerie in a bell jar and that turned into a weekly flash serial before I realised that what I was actually doing was building a world for my next series of novels.

So I suppose it kind of crept up on me.



TQ:  What sort of research did you do for Between Two Thorns?

Emma:  I visited several of the locations in Bath and London and took photos (I'm a bit of nerd when it comes to real world locations in books) and I read a lot of material about Regency and Victorian England, Anglo-Saxon politics, key events in British history and a lot of fairy tales. I've also read a lot about chemical elements, but don't want to give too much away.



TQ:  Who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Emma:  Sam was the easiest as he's just an average bloke who falls down the rabbit hole, so to speak. He's a mundane computer programmer living in Bath with an unhappy marriage, so I didn't need to make huge leaps of imagination to figure out how he'd react to the weird things that happen around him.

I think the hardest character was Cathy. I wanted her to be angry but not petulant, selfish but sympathetically so and she brings in a lot of the feminist themes that I really wanted to get right. It's been interesting seeing how people have reacted to her – I'm happy to say that many, many more people love her than I worried would be the case!



TQ:  Without giving anything away, what is/are your favorite scene(s) in Between Two Thorns?

Emma:  That's really hard to answer without giving anything away! When Lord Poppy first talks to Cathy is one of my favourites because he is just so delightfully horrid.



TQ:  What's next?

Emma:  Well, the second Split Worlds novel "Any Other Name" comes out in June and I've just handed in the third novel "All Is Fair" to my editor at Angry Robot. That's due out in October, so it's a busy year.

I'm starting my own podcast, so that's what I'm working on next, and, of course, the next novel but I can't say anything about that yet!



TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Emma:  And thank you for having me!





The Split Worlds

Between Two Thorns
The Split Worlds 1
Angry Robot Books, February 26, 2013 (US/Canada)
Trade Paperback and eBook, 400 pages
March 7, 2013 (UK)

Interview with Emma Newman, author of The Split Worlds series - May 4, 2013
Something is wrong in Aquae Sulis, Bath’s secret mirror city.

The new season is starting and the Master of Ceremonies is missing. Max, an Arbiter of the Split Worlds Treaty, is assigned with the task of finding him with no one to help but a dislocated soul and a mad sorcerer.

There is a witness but his memories have been bound by magical chains only the enemy can break. A rebellious woman trying to escape her family may prove to be the ally Max needs.

But can she be trusted? And why does she want to give up eternal youth and the life of privilege she’s been born into?

File Under: Urban Fantasy[ Gargoyle Sidekick | Finder's Keepers | A Rose By Any Other Name | Manners ]



Any Other Name
The Split Worlds 2
Angry Robot Books, May 28, 2013 (US/Canada)
Trade Paperback and eBook, 400 pages
June 6, 2013 (UK)

Interview with Emma Newman, author of The Split Worlds series - May 4, 2013
It’s been an interesting year…

Cat has been forced into an arranged marriage with William – a situation that comes with far more strings than even she could have anticipated, especially when she learns of his family’s intentions for them both.

Meanwhile, Max and the gargoyle investigate The Agency – a mysterious organisation that appears to play by its own rules – and none of them favourable to Society.

Over in Mundanus, Sam has discovered something very peculiar about his wife’s employer – something that could herald a change for everyone in both sides of the Split Worlds.

File Under: Fantasy [ How Grotesque | Taking Tea | Lords of Misrule | Sorcerous Magic ]




All is Fair
The Split Worlds 3
Angry Robot Books,  September 24, 2013 (US/Canada)
Trade Paperback and eBook
October 3, 2013 (UK)

[cover not yet revealed]
In love and war nothing is safe.

William Iris struggles to keep the throne of Londinium whilst hated by his own court and beset by outsiders, while Cathy discovers the legacy of her former governess. But those who dare to speak out about Society are always silenced. Sometimes for good.

While trying to avoid further torments from the mercurial fae, Sam finds himself getting tangled in the affairs of the Elemental Court. But an unexpected offer from the powerful and enigmatic Lord Iron turns out to be far more than Sam bargained for.

Max and the gargoyle are getting closer to uncovering who is behind the murder of the Bath Chapter and the corruption in London and Max finds the gargoyle's controversial ideas harder to ignore. Can he stay true to his sworn duty without being destroyed by his own master, whose insanity threatens to unravel them all?

File Under: Fantasy [ Grotesquerie | The Throne of London | Elementary, My Dear | Among Many Thorns ]





About Emma

Interview with Emma Newman, author of The Split Worlds series - May 4, 2013
Emma lives in Somerset, England and drinks far too much tea. She writes dark short stories, post-apocalyptic and urban fantasy novels and records audiobooks in all genres. The first book of Emma's new Split Worlds urban fantasy series called "Between Two Thorns" was recently published by Angry Robot Books. She is represented by Jennifer Udden at DMLA. Her hobbies include dressmaking and playing RPGs. She blogs at www.enewman.co.uk, rarely gets enough sleep and refuses to eat mushrooms. You can sign up for a year and a day of free weekly stories set in the Split Worlds at www.splitworlds.com.



Website  ~  Split Worlds  ~  Twitter @EmApocalyptic






Melanie's Week in Review - May 21, 2017Review: A Little Knowledge by Emma NewmanThe Split Words by Emma Newman - New Covers!Melanie's Week in Review - June 1, 2014Melanie's Week in Review - September 08, 2013Covers Revealed - All is Fair by Emma Newman and Prince Thief by David Tallerman - July 9, 2013Interview with Emma Newman, author of The Split Worlds series - May 4, 2013

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