Giveaway & Interview: Sabrina Zbasnik, Author of Dwarves in Space

24956853Dear Darklings, please welcome Sabrina Zbasnik to the blog. She recently released her novel, Dwarves in Space, this past April and it looks thoroughly entertaining! We chat about MST3K, Chaucer, Halloween, and plenty more. Also, we have a giveaway! Sabrina is generously offering 2 ebook copies of Dwarves in Space. Scroll to the bottom for details.

What now-dead author would you like to interview? What are some of the things you would chat about?

My first thought is Terry Pratchett but that wound’s still a bit fresh and I’d probably be a blubbering mess. And what would we talk about? Even just asking about the weather would be entertaining not because he has to always be on, but because his mind comes in all the colors including octarine.

Jonathan Swift would last as far as “Excuse me, I’d like to — ah!” as he chased me off the Ouija board with a rake.

I suppose if I interviewed Chaucer I could ask him where they buried his body and who killed him, but I’d need a lot more e’s at the end of words to make sense out of him. And then it’d all end in another bawdy tale about the woman from Bath.

If you could, what book/movie/TV series would you like to experience for the first time all over again and why?

If there was one show I could go all Eternal Sunshine with it would probably be Mystery Science Theater 3000. I was one of those tape sharers back in ye olden times who wore out the VCR so bad for some episodes I can quote nearly the entire movie. Jack Frost, The Pumaman, Prince of Space, and Quest of the Delta Knights in particular are tattooed across my cerebellum.

From your own writings, are there any characters you would like to cosplay?

Variel would probably be the easiest. Just grab a Han Solo costume, cinch it up to fit a female waist and carry around fun sci-fi guns. Got to make sure to include her trademark cheek scar, but that’s easily done with makeup.

But the real fun one would be a character I haven’t technically published yet. She’s an orc named Zail and she’s more like the female version of Jayne from Firefly. There is no filter when it comes to her and she’s prone to finding the biggest weapon and carrying it around like a handgun.

ZbasnikDateFromHellIf you were asked to create the syllabus for a college class in SFF Humor & Satire, what books would be on there as required reading? As passing discussion?

All of Discworld and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. There aren’t a lot of options outside of that, sadly. Much like how the superhero genre has gone full grimdark, speculative fiction can have funny moments but it’s supposed to be super serious in the end. Horror, now horror can be funny. There’s a very fine line between scary and hilarious, which is one that I mine often in my hobby of making Halloween props.

But if fantasy/sci-fi can use green skinned aliens to show the human condition, and humor is supposed to hold a looking glass upon society’s foibles why can’t you have both?

Then we’d probably all break early because I got my tie stuck in the pencil sharpener.

Care to share an awkward fangirl/fanboy moment, either one where someone was gushing over your work…..or one where you were gushing over another author’s work?

This is probably really embarrassing, but that’s never stopped me. I use NaNoWriMo – the national novel writing month – to drag novels out of me. At this point I’m doing about three a year, but for my very first one, I was near my 50K words and took a minor break on twitter. I typed something musing about how I mistook Garmin for Neil Gaiman and wondered what would happen if he navigated for cars. As I crossed the finish line he responded “I’d get us lost.”

I may have squealed more over that than actually writing my first 50K words of a novel. Hell, I still do.

The funny thing is now every October I make posters for his All Hallows Read, which is actually something I should be working on now. Nothing says autumn, pumpkins, and haunted cemeteries like the summer sun setting at 10pm.

ZbasnikTinHeroWhat do you do when you are not writing?

Crafting Halloween, and I’m not talking the cute Hobby Lobby like gourds. I have so many skeletons they won’t all fit in my closet. The basement is full of ghosts, goblins, ghoulies, spooks, and tentacles. I carve all of my tombstones out of foam and hand paint them. I have one I made for Edgar Allan Poe that’s so popular many people think it’s real. You can see some of my yard here.

I also do a bit of painting but it’s been waning due to the whole three novels a year idea. At best I can get in a few trees before Christmas and maybe in March before the Halloween crafting season kicks in.

What is a recurring or the most memorable geeky argument or debate you have taken part in?

Does me asking Chaucer where he’s buried count? God, I could easier catalogue the stars in the sky. I still want to know why no one is bothered that the Ewoks would cook their food alive and still in clothes? That’s gonna smoke and taste terrible. Someone get the Ewoks a better chef who can do more than Storm Trooper tartar!

What is the first book you remember reading on your own?

Go Dog Go, the definitive manual on canine transportation.

ZbasnikDwarvesInSpaceBook Blurb for Dwarves in Space:

Thousands of years after the jewelry’s destroyed, the sword reforged, the dragon ridden, and the indecipherable prophecy translated into a recipe for sugared biscuits, the dwarves turned to that final frontier: space. And along came the elves, orcs, gnomes, trolls, ogres, and those vermin-like upstarts, humans.

Dwarves in Space is Tolkien merged with Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy in a horrific transporter accident.

The Elation-Cru is not the flashiest ship, nor the newest, or even has all of its bolts attached; but she can fly. Well, sort of wade through space, and that’s when all the parts are working. She supports a sugar addicted dwarven pilot, an elven engineer, an orcish doctor, a silent djinn, and the lone human trying to hold the entire thing together with duct tape. Variel, the captain, has been hiding from a secret for the past five years and time’s finally run out.

When she goes against her common sense and fights to save her onboard assassin/renter from a job gone sour, she finds herself before an ex-colleague that knew her in her previous life as the Knight of the realm. The entire ship is sent on a mad dash across the universe — from a decaying space station, home to the wackiest species the galaxy has to offer, down to the Orc homeworld, which wouldn’t be so bad if Variel hadn’t spent most of her previous life fighting in the war against them. Chances of survival are nil and slipping fast.

Places to Find Sabrina Zbasnik

Purchase

Website

Facebook

Twitter

GoodReads

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MqpmReGzbKQ

Giveaway!

Sabrina is giving away 2 ebook copies of Dwarves in Space! So this giveaway is open international. Quick entry is to leave a comment answering the following question and leaving me a contact email: What is the first book you remember reading on your own? For additional entries, do the Rafflecopter thing below! Contest ends July 20th, 2015, Midnight.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Interview: B. T. Lowry, Author of Fire from the Overworld

LowryFireFromTheOverworldFolks, please welcome author B. T. Lowry, author of Fire from the Overworld. We chat about pulling rickshaws, the consciousness behind all things, the Vedic pantheon, and much more! Please enjoy!

Myths and beliefs that we would consider fiction or fantasy in modern literature once upon a time shaped history (think of all the hunts for unicorns & dragons). Do you see modern fantasy fiction affecting human cultures today and how? 

Great question.  I definitely think that fantasy affects human cultures today.

I’ve heard that Tolkien was upset to see modern society losing its connection with mythology. He saw that these myths gave people moral guidance and connected them to deep truths, so he wrote The Lord of the Rings partly to reconnect readers to their mythological heritage. His story is rooted in ancient myths.

I believe that we will always crave myths and legends. Impartial logic can never fully satisfy a human being, because we are so multifaceted. Reality is subtle, expansive and multi-layered, and stories reflect this wonderfully.

Joseph Campbell argued that myths have reality in the subconscious world, but that they shouldn’t be taken literally. While I agree with this, I also feel that there are plenty of mysteries beyond the scope of scholarship, anthropology and science. Unicorns may not exist, but other myths could be historical records which are so outside our current cultural context that we can only classify them as fictional. We might rule out as impossible whatever it can’t understand, but we cannot say for certain what is real and what is not. The old cultures certainly had knowledge that we do not.

My own stories are largely rooted in the ancient teachings of India. These teachings speak about levels of consciousness where different kinds of beings reside, and give methods on how to go to each one. There are gods and other celestial beings, and lower beings too. Many consider all this to be mythology, but as in all traditions, the perspective sees things in a deeper way than the observer. Call me pretentious, but like Tolkien, I hope that some deeper truths resonate my fiction. I’d like the reader to get both a good story, and something substantial to consider. That’s the kind of fiction I like.

Given the opportunity, what fantastical beast of fiction would you like to encounter in the wild? Which would you avoid at all costs? Would you take a selfie with the beastie?

I would like to encounter Airavata, the four-tusked elephant carrier of Lord Indra, the leader of the demigods in the Vedic pantheon. I would avoid Vrtrasura, a massively powerful demon who is an enemy of Indra.

Even though at heart he was a self-realized sage, Vrtrasura somehow found himself in the role of a great enemy of the gods. In their final showdown, Vrtrasura actually schooled Indra on the principles of being a ruler and a warrior.

If I had a camera and it didn’t break the mood, I might just take a selfie with Vrtrasura :)

Conventions, book signings, blogging, etc.: what are some of your favorite aspects of self-promotion and what are some of the least favorite parts of self-promotion?

You know, I’m very new to promotion. In fact, this is my first blog interview! Initially I did not want to do any promotion. I just wanted to live in my cave, writing away. But slowly I started a site and am now putting up a new scene each week. Readers can vote which scene they’d like to see made into a story. And I’m gradually figuring out what to do next.

I love to connect with people interested in the same kind of things that I am, and to hear how they feel about my work. I just wish I didn’t have to go through all the technical stuff to meet them!

What has been your worst or most difficult job? How does it compare to writing?

I pulled a rickshaw in the wee morning hours through the streets of Calgary, Canada. Mostly my customers had been drinking, and I would bring them to their home or their car. It was a weird job because I saw the seedy underbelly of the city – drugs and violence and sex. I got hit on many times a day by men and women, and sometimes offered money for… services. I didn’t take it! I lost some of my innocent outlook during that job, though it did get me to India for the first time.

Compared to writing, that job was hell. Writing is such a great creative outlet. I can make an entire movie in words, with no budget and no crew. But I do draw from the experiences I’ve had in my life, like the ones in that weird job, so I can’t say I regret it.

Do you have any superstitions?

Ha! I sometimes find myself avoiding walking under ladders and such, just in case.

I also have convictions which others might consider superstitions. I believe that plants and animals are conscious beings, not so different from us. I think there is consciousness behind the movements of the clouds and rivers and oceans, kind of like nature gods. I can’t believe that everything is just made up of inert chemicals, moving around by chance. I think there is consciousness behind everything. In this way I relate more with the old cultures of the world than the post-renaissance scientific worldview.

LowryFireFromTheOverworldBook Blurb of Fire from the Overworld:

“Fire from the Overworld” is a terrific debut!” -David Farland, New York Times Bestseller.

Two students of natural magic study under their master, living in a desert village. One, a young woman, travels from her body to higher realms. She finds a battle raging there which threatens their world. The other, a young man, enters the minds of humans and animals. There he uncovers a spreading psychic disease.

To restore balance, she must leave everyone she holds dear. He must skirt into the realm of death.

Filled with extraordinary adventure and mysticism, Fire From the Overworld takes the reader on an inner and outer journey. This is Epic Fantasy rooted in ancient wisdom.

Places to Find B. T. Lowry

btlowry.com

twitter.com/BTLowry,

facebook.com/btlowry

Appetizers of the Gods by Basil Sands

SandsAppetizersOfTheGodsWhere I Got It: Review copy

Narrator: Basil Sands

Publisher: Sandman Production Studios of Alaska (2015)

Length: 2 hours 32 minutes

Series: Book 1 The Brothers Four

Author’s Page

Colin Farnsworth is a 30-something divorce SFF nerd writing questionable SF by day and playing in Fantasy Underworld card games at night. His life is small until the Brothers Four arrive and do their best to convince him he isn’t dreaming. This leads to public nudity and a chat with the local law enforcement. Pretty soon Colin’s life is filled with trolls, talking animals, and various other faerie folk. Luckily, he has Anne, a lovely neighbor, to bake him cupcakes and see him through this adventure.

This book starts off with Colin doing some online bidding on some Fantasy Underworld cards. He’s in competition with another and the two are going neck and neck for these cards. It’s a little slow at first, but there is some humor, especially with Heimdall the dog letting the reader/listener in on his thoughts. But once the Brothers Four (leprechauns) arrive, being pursued by a loud, whomping troll, things pick right up.

I really enjoyed the humor in this book. Sure, there’s plenty of action. The main characters are always in motion. Yet it was the humor that really carried the story for me. There’s plenty of the one character or another poking fun at themselves in an offhand manner. Plus there is the snappy comments back and forth between characters at times. Like the book’s description says, it reminded me of some of Terry Pratchett’s works (specifically the Nac Mac Feegles in the Tiffany Aching Discworld books).

Anne was also of interest, being a character that knows something about what is going on. This puts poor Colin as the last man in the race for figuring out what is up with these leprechauns and trolls and such. Also, she is a dog person and bakes cupcakes; who wouldn’t like her?

This story starts off with a little mystery – dogs are going missing. So in the second half of this book, we finally figure out how and why. I won’t spoil it, but it is rife with humor and the chastisement of hungry, lazy creatures. All in all, this is a highly enjoyable book and had me chuckling out loud more than once.

 

I received this audiobook from the author (via the Audiobook Blast Facebook) at no cost in exchange for an honest review.

The Narration: I was very pleasantly surprised to learn that Basil Sands can not only write awesome stories, he can also narrate. And narrate he does! There’s plenty of accents flying around, all of which he does quite well. He also has distinct voices for all the characters, including believable female voices. Occasionally he tosses in some interesting noises, like a leprechaun hiccoughing. It was a thoroughly entertaining performance.

What I Liked: Cover art; excellent narration; plenty of supernatural beings; Anne’s cupcakes; sentient dogs; the humor mixed with the action.

What I Disliked: Nothing – I really liked this one and want more.

Kill It With Magic by J. A. Cipriano

CiprianoKillItWithMagicWhere I Got It: Review copy

Narrator: Rebecca Roberts

Publisher: J. A. Cipriano (2015)

Length: 7 hours 4 minutes

Series: Book 1 The Lillim Callina Chronices

Author’s Page

Lillim has magic and attitude on her side… and not much else. A kidnapping has her facing off demons and vampires to get the kid back. But there’s more going on and an ancient dragon wants her to do his bidding. Lillim isn’t so amenable to that idea. And the dragon is about to find out.

This is a fast-paced urban fantasy with plenty of baddies, magical weapons, action, good guys with questionable personal agendas, and tough parenting going on. Lillim may currently be only 16, but she’s also a reincarnated badass from before in her mother’s days of power. This is one of the key things that really made this book work for me. She can be physically 16 – strong, quick, perhaps even cute – but she also has some memories from her past life so she has this knowledge base that assists with decision making. Often Lillim thinks and acts older than a teen and I could always point at that past life influencing her here and now to explain it.

Supernatural beings are every where in this book. I like that they fill a range in complicated motivations to simple grasps for power (or food). The werewolves are on the line of being bad guys or good guys, depending on whether or not Lillim can or chooses to help them out. Then we have some interesting vampires, one of which does some dumb stuff with a demon. There’s also the semi-aware magical weapons that are pretty cool. Toss in an ancient dragon and you have a very exciting, if somewhat wrecking-ball, party.

Lillim has this complex relationship with her mother that we learn in little snippets. I liked that it wasn’t a clear love or hate, but a twisted mix of the two. Lillim had to learn to fight badly behaving supernatural beings the hard way, usually by being tossed into a mess of them. But that tough love from her mom has made her the badass enforcer she is today. Lillim’s mom’s relationship with Lillim’s past-life self makes this aspect of the story all that more interesting.

The pace is very fast and there is always some action going on. In fact, if Lillim is taking a moment for reflection, she is usually reflecting on some past fight (her’s or her mother’s). So on occasion I did get some battle fatigue as one fight after another blended together. This is a very minor criticism as I enjoyed the book most of the time and it won’t hinder me from checking out Book  2.

I received this audiobook from the author (via his publicist) at no cost in exchange for an honest review.

The Narration: Rebecca Roberts made a very good Lillim Callina. She also had distinct voices for the other characters. On occasion, she had to come up with an interesting supernatural voice and she pulled those off as well.

What I Liked: The cover art; fast-paced urban fantasy; Lillim is strong and young but also has wisdom from a past life; plenty of baddies with a variety of agendas; magical semi-aware weapons; complicated relationship with her mom.

What I Disliked: Occasionally I got battle fatigue as one fight scene after another blended into each other. This is a minor dislike and won’t keep me from checking out Book 2.

What Others Think:

Musings of a Starving Author

Cathi Shaw

Borderlein Publishing

Interview: Jennifer Allis Provost, Author of The Copper Legacy

ProvostCopperGirlFolks, please welcome author Jennifer Allis Provost to the blog today. We talk about Star Wars, inviting fictional characters out for a drink, most difficult job, and plenty more. Come join us and be entertained!

If you could be an extra on a movie or TV series, what would it be?

Probably Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I’ve seen every episode, read every comic, and I bet I could stake a few vampires. Or get bitten, who knows.

Myths and beliefs that we would consider fiction or fantasy in modern literature once upon a time shaped history (think of all the hunts for unicorns & dragons). Do you see modern fantasy fiction affecting human cultures today and how?

I think they already are. Take unicorns, for example; before Peter S. Beagle wrote The Last Unicorn, all unicorns were male. His solitary unicorn in a lilac wood was the first female unicorn, and paved the way for such franchises as My Little Pony and the like.

If you could, what book/movie/TV series would you like to experience for the first time all over again and why?

I’d love to see Star Wars all over again. I was only two or three when I saw it in the theater; local legend says that when Darth Vader was about to torture Princess Leia I yelled out, “Don’t hurt the lady!” I’d just love to fall in love with the movie all over again.

Given the opportunity, what fantastical beast of fiction would you like to encounter in the wild? Which would you avoid at all costs? Would you take a selfie with the beastie?

A unicorn would be pretty cool! And of course I would take a selfie :) As for what I would avoid, chupacabra tops that list *shudders*

ProvostHeirToTheSunWhat has been your worst or most difficult job? How does it compare to writing?

My worst job and my most difficult job were two different jobs. My worst job was a senior benefit analyst for a company that shall remain nameless (mostly so I don’t get hit with a libel suit). Anyway, the job was horrendous, and one day I had enough, grabbed a copy paper box, packed up my desk and left. Man, walking out the last time really felt good.

As for my most difficult job, I once worked for a conservation commission in as a wetland delineator. I used a GPS (which was cutting edge technology at the time) to remap many wetlands in Western Massachusetts. It was incredibly hard, from the physical aspect of hiking in varied terrain and weather conditions to the cognitive aspect of translating the GPS coordinates and drawing the maps. That job was a lot like writing; both immensely difficult and immensely rewarding.

Do you have any superstitions?

Well, I won’t step on cracks, the first things I moved into my new house were bread and salt, and I always wish upon stars. So yeah, maybe a little.

If you couldn’t be a writer, what would you chose to do?

I’d probably return to my environmental science roots and do more field work, maybe on invasive plants.

If you could sit down and have tea (or a beer) with 5 fictional characters, who would you invite to the table?

Who to invite, who to invite… Aerin from The Hero and the Crown, Phedre from Kushiel’s Dart, R2D2 from Star Wars (I guess he’d have motor oil), Cordelia from Buffy/Angel, and Max from Where the Wild Things Are.

ProvostCopperGirlCopper Girl Book Blurb:

Sara had always been careful.

She never spoke of magic, never associated with those suspected of handling magic, never thought of magic, and never, ever, let anyone see her mark. After all, the last thing she wanted was to end up missing, like her father and brother.

Then, a silver elf pushed his way into Sara’s dream, and her life became anything but ordinary.

ProvostHeirToTheSunHeir to the Sun Book Blurb:

A mad king. An escaped slave. One warrior to save the realm…

When Asherah, stripped of both her memory and her dignity, learns that King Sahlgren is responsible for her torment it nearly breaks her. Instead, she leads her fellow slaves to freedom. More prisons are scattered across Parthalan, and Asherah vows to burn them all.

Caol’nir, a warrior descended from the gods, is sworn to serve and defend the king. Then a priestess is murdered, and Caol’nir learns that Sahlgren is to blame. Determined to stop the king, sacred oath or no, Caol’nir joins Asherah’s rebellion.

What Caol’nir doesn’t know is that Sahlgren has promised the demon lord a woman of rare and singular beauty, a woman whose abilities are rumored to rival the sun god’s themselves…a woman Caol’nir knows all too well.

Places to Find Jennifer Allis Provost

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Chronicles-of-Parthalan/124456990908780

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25449880-heir-to-the-sun

Twitter: @parthalan

Website: http://authorjenniferallisprovost.com/

Kushiel’s Dart – Part VIII

Heldig and a very good book

Heldig and a very good book

Hello everyone! Welcome to the read along of Jacqueline Carey‘s Kushiel’s Dart. You can find the schedule HERE. Anyone and everyone is welcome to join in. We also have a Goodreads group for SF/F read alongs. Folks are always welcome to join us.

This week, Lynn from Lynn’s Book Blog is your host this week. Leave a link to your post in the comments so we can all visit you. Folks are also most welcome to answer any and all questions in the comments and join in the conversation.

So just an FYI for next weekend (July 4th). I will be working an event out of state and I don’t know yet what my internet access will be, so if I post late (like Mon. or Tues.), it’s because I was busy, tired, didn’t have internet access, or all of the above.

Chapters 64-73 are covered below. If you haven’t read the book, there will be spoilers for these chapters.

1.  We finally go sailing and everything seems to be going so well that we were lulled temporarily into a false sense of security!  Sailors are a superstitious bunch, throwing coins to the Lord of the Deep, for example.  What did you make of the Master of the Straits?  Any similarity to other myths or legends?

When I first read this, I thought this must be some sort of ocean deity, but other than Ariel’s dad in Disney’s The Little Mermaid and Greek mythology, I didn’t have too many references. I have been land locked most of my life, so not too many ocean myths and and such in my life. Since my first read, I have read a lot more mythology mash up stories and I can better appreciate what Carey has done here. Here, the Celtic god Manannan mac Lir might be the closest. Next section we learn more.

I really love that Phedre paid their passage with a Skaldi hearth song. It was oddly fitting.

2. Hyacinthe plays a much larger role in this instalment and has come into his own, plus given a new title – ‘Waking Dreamer’.  His travels so far have been very bitter sweet and you really do feel for him.  Bearing that in mind what did you make of the strange dream that Breidaia had where she saw Hyachinthe on an island – this was skimmed over a little but did it give you pause for thought.  Do you have any ideas of what’s in store for our Waking Dreamer?

This being a reread, I know the answer. But honestly, my first time reading this I totally missed this strange dream. After all, there were both old and new prophesies or visions being tossed around a lot in this section.

I do like that Hyacinthe had such an integral role in this section. He’s been a fun character, but a side character. Last week’s and this week’s sections really fleshed him out. Also, as Phedre does, I kind of ache to Anastazia knowing that she probably saw somewhat of what was to come for Hyacinthe.

3. You have to hand it to Ysandre for choosing Phedre as Ambassador.  It seems her strange talents come in very useful indeed.  What did you make of her tactics and powers of persuasion?

Well, Phedre was using the skills she has at her disposal. She was spot on with Duc de Morbhan (spelling?), guessing his deepest desires correctly. Yet she was also cautious enough to have a priestess witness the contract. Then when it came to the twins, she had to have it pointed out to her by Graine that she now had the key to push her brother into the desired decision. So I like that she isn’t totally use to thinking of how to manipulate people, even for a  good cause.

Also, I find it totally believable. If you could experience a night of sexual bliss with a highly trained, experiences, and skilled lover that you found desirable in many ways, what would you give? After all, these folks only have limited adult entertainment, and extremely limited once you get out of Terre D’Ange.

4. We finally meet Drustan. He at first seems like an unlikely match for Ysandre and yet they both seem to have a shared vision.  Can they make it work do you think?  They have so many differences even if they do succeed in battle?

When I first read this, I really didn’t know how Carey was going to let this play out. We already have one pair of star-crossed romantically entangled yet arguing couple (Joscelin and Phedre) and to add another…. I just wasn’t sure. After all, we haven’t seen Ysandre and Drustan together yet and I think their chemistry, or lack of it, will tell the readers much more. As for their shared political dream, sure, that all sounds well and good. Plus is allows the women to hold some power in world where male rulers are the status quo.

5. Can we discuss the Dalriada and the Cruithne – do they put you in mind of any particular races?  What do you make of them??

Definitely the Celtic races. I love that the women can go off to battle and the men don’t count it as odd. I also love that the women can take what lovers they like and raise their kids with love no matter the father. I’m glad to see that their fighting techniques vary from the Terre D’Ange highly organized methods. Not every culture is going to approach battle the same way, no matter how logical.

6. I’m puzzled about Joscelin – he’s always so severe on himself, particularly after the battle and Moiread’s death.  I wonder why he blames himself so much – and I also wonder how he’s coping with watching Phedre’s actions – in particular her closeness to Hyacinthe.

Once again, Joscelin has been isolated in the Casseline Order for much of his life. He never thought he would have to deal with the pangs of jealousy or even (possibly) love. He probably thought sooner or later he would have to deal with the death of someone he was protecting, yet this was the first time that has ever happened to him. Also, I expect that had he been charged with protecting Moiread, as he is charged with protecting Phedre, he would have seen her death as Cassiel himself turning his back on him. The Casselines are a very stiff bunch and I highly suspect that failure is not tolerated.

Phedre and Joscelin have not talked much about their one night together nor what either of them wants from the other. Phedre may well feel like it isn’t her place to tempt or seduce Joscelin, trying her best in her way to respect his vows. Joscelin on the other hand has zero experience with women and matters of the heart so I expect he hasn’t worked out what he wants long term. Perhaps he is hoping his feelings will fade with time.

7. Finally, we’re working ourselves up for the grand finale – do you have any predictions as to how this will all pan out?

So we have 2 more weeks to go and plenty of stuff to fill them! The new readers are in for a treat! We have to get at least Phedre and Joscelin back to Terre D’Ange, but it would be very nice if they could take a fighting force with them. The Master of the Straights was a pill before, so I expect Rousse will be wary of him on the return trip.

Then there is finding out what all is going on in Terre D’Ange and getting everyone to Ysandre’s forces without causing a stir, or at least, losing too many fighters. Also, I very much doubt that Melisande is one to sit around and just wait for things to unfold. If she isn’t actively doing something now while Phedre and Joscelin are in Alba, then she has multiple plans ready to spring based on what happens.

Then we don’t know to whom the Duc de Morbhan is loyal. If he told Melisande, or just some of her informant network, then things could be afoot in Terre D’Ange already.

Other Tidbits

I’ve always wondered if the Master of the Straights would have granted Rousse and his ships safe passage if they had sailed directly for Alba instead of trying to avoid the Master’s territory and sneak by.

Joscelin’s fighting prowess was on full display once again. I love the way his fight scenes are described.

Phedre’s conversation with Joscelin about his temper and how good it feels to give in to it, even if he knows he will be beaten, etc. was very interesting.

I wanted to shake Drustan’s hand to pointing out to  Joscelin that he was over-stepping his bounds in his excessive self-hate concerning the death of Moiread. No one charged or asked Joscelin to protect Drustan’s family.

Whenever I read this section I am always surprised how quickly Hyacinthe falls into (the beginnings of) love with Moiread.

Participating Bloggers:

Celine at Nyx Book Reviews
Jenn at Morrison Girl
Kheya at Not Food Porn
Susan (me) at Dab of Darkness

Eye of the Scarab by Bill Meeks

MeeksEyeOfTheScarabWhere I Got It: Review copy.

Publisher: Bill Meeks (2015)

Narrator: Nathan Beatty

Length: 4 hours 6 minutes

Series: Book 4 Dogboy Adventures

Author’s Page

Note: Even though this is Book 4 in the series, it works mostly fine as a stand alone.

In small town, USA, Colta City is in need of a hero or two. The police are corrupt and the politicians even more so. Bronson Black, aka Dogboy, has been putting on the mask and cape for a few years now to protect his home town. However, the Colta City Shadows (a collection of kids with super powers) find themselves in some twisted version of a cage fight for a mad scientist and the corrupt Mayor Lane. Dogboy may or may not be able to save them, just like he may or may not be able to save his relationship with his girlfriend Cindy McNeil.

This is another fun addition to the growing Superhero Genre. What I liked most about it is that Dogboy strives to hold on to these high ideals (like trial by jury) while other superpowers have a bit more wiggle room in their moral compass. At the beginning of the story, there are only tiny hints that this will become a big issue by the end. I really like how the author built it up over the story arc.

The various superheroes have interesting, and sometimes very simple, powers. They put them to amusing uses in their quest to do good. One character can walk through walls, another can erase specific memories, etc. Dogboy can fly.

Meanwhile, there are plenty of evil-doers. The police are corrupt and the average citizen is starting to feel the pinch of them and are pushing back. Then we have an arch-nemesis, Mayor Lane, and his immediate followers. They know about the kids and their powers, and they want to make more of them to create a personal army.

In this particular adventure, Bronson and Cindy, and their friend Mr. Harum (spelling?), go through some of Bronson’s dad’s old stuff. Apparently Bronson’s parents are no longer in the picture. His dad use to be a magician or such and they find this metal flying scarab which has a tiny camera. This leads to hard feelings later when Bronson checks on Cindy, and Cindy sees it as spying. Of course, Cindy has her own secrets and these two have some heartache to live through in this book.

Over all, it was a fun ride. The author relied more on plot and character development than on fancy powers, super-gadgets, and big fight scenes than many other superhero novels. I really enjoyed this take.

I received a copy of this audiobook at no cost from the author via Audiobook Blast Facebook in exchange for an honest review (thanks!).

Narration: Nathan Beatty was a good fit for this book. He had great voices for all these teens that aren’t quite adults yet but have to run around making adult decisions. He also had a variety of accents (some regional, some foreign) for the characters.

What I Liked:  Variety of super powers; no single one is all-powerful; good story arc; nice character development; set up for the next book!

What I Disliked: Nothing – I really enjoyed this one.