Feedback – Mira Grant

I am a huge fan of Holly (aka The Gimdragon) and she nails this review. The Newsflesh series is hands down some of the best horror writing I have read in a long time. Check out The Grimdragon’s posts and her excellent taste in books.

The Grimdragon

Synopsis: There are two sides to every story…

Mira Grant creates a chilling portrait of an America paralyzed with fear. No street is safe and entire swaths of the country have been abandoned. And only the brave, the determined, or the very stupid, venture out into the wild.

Step inside a world a half-step from our own in this novel of geeks, zombies, politics and social media.

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Happy Publication Day! – Archangel (Shadows Advent, #1) by D. William Landsborough

D. William Landsborough’s Archangel: The first novel in the upcoming Shadows Advent Series, releasing February 12, 2019! See the synopsis below and order your copy today! let’s support Indie Authors!

Win a copy of Archangel.


“Uriel brandished one of his daggers, its silver steel somehow managing to glint off the tiniest light in this new, dark world.”

Archangel – D. William Landsborough

Synopsis

Angels are on the brink of extinction.

Demons rule over mankind.

It has been a decade since Earth descended into ruin. Smothered in black clouds lies a land plagued with nightmares and pain, the aftermath of the war between Heaven and Hell. The Archangel Uriel has finally been given leave to descend to Earth. He alone can renew the fight against the darkness and reignite the war both sides thought was over.

With a mission that seems impossible and a reluctant half-demon helping him, Uriel must go against everything he ever believed in if he wants to bring light back to the world. But the archangel soon finds that this new world is far worse than he ever imagined, and the vicious fangs of demons are the last thing he should fear.

Archangel is the debut novel from D. William Landsborough and the first in the Shadow’s Advent series. 


I give Archangel 5/5 stars. It is well worth the read. I recommend Shadows Advent to everyone who likes to read fantasy (any subgenre)/lovecraftian/sci-fi. You won’t regret the time invested in the story. The cover is also well done. I absolutely love the image used for Archangel. I look forward to reading more of D. William’s works. 

Author Jacob Rundle – Review found here.

Order your copy now!

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Add it to your Goodreads Shelves


About The Author

D. William Landsborough (known to many as just Doug) is a writer of dark and urban fantasy, with a sprinkling of whatever else crosses his mind at the time. His debut novel, Archangel, is the first in the Shadow’s Advent series, and he has a non-fiction book on the way, too, in addition to his Nightshade series. Doug grew up on fantasy; he read about Drizzt Do’Urden from an early age, devoured the Chronicles of Amber, and consider Sam and Dean Winchester role models…to a certain extent. He loves being a Dungeon Master for Dungeons & Dragons, watches too many horror movies, and likes to fit in his freelance editing career when he can. He is an active member of the Twitter author community and hosts #WhoNeedsAHero every Friday so everyone can show their villains some love. dlandsborough.com

First Chapter, First Paragraph – Rijel 12: The Rise of New Australia by King Everett Medlin

“”I’ll do my best Perry,” was all he could offer. Perry grasped his tentacle and squeezed. That would have to suffice for now.”

I have gotten a wonderful opportunity to read some of the great work coming out of Chandra Press. The first book I am tackling is a book called Ryjel 12: The Rise of New Australia. Let me break it down for you:

” The remote Intergalactic Penal Colony on the planet Rijel 12 is a very profitable enterprise. Its desolate surface is an uninhabitable wasteland relentlessly scorched by its sun, but inside the planet is a vast treasure trove of the most precious resources in the galaxy.

Prisoners sentenced to Rijel 12 know it’s a one-way ticket. It used to be a convict would serve their time and come home. That stopped a while ago. Inmates are forced to work the mines in wretched conditions and the death rate is staggering. Luckily for the warden, new inmates arrive monthly to replenish the labor pool. Business has never been better.

From the darkness of their miserable existence, one prisoner decides to take a stand and begins to organize a resistance. Inmates rally to the cause and prepare for rebellion. Can the rag-tag rebels of ‘New Australia’ succeed in their quest for freedom or will the warden and the overpowering might of the Interplanetary Authority extinguish their only hope?

From new author, King Everett Medlin, comes an action-packed epic of hope, rebellion, and the quest for redemption.


What we have here is a dystopian space opera. Yes! You have to love a well-done space opera.

First Paragraph, First Page

“The President of the assembly, an aged and respected Suidonji named Abrafrilric, suddenly stood up and cleared his throat. The murmuring inside the gigantic hall swelled into that kind of roar that comes as a result of hundreds of people making discreet and not so discreet comments to the neighbors seated next to them.

Pig-like, rotund and gruff just like most full-Suidonji, Abrafrilric’s throat-clearing was like snarling, snorting, gurgling, growl, but even this had little effect on the mass of beings crowded inside the convention hall. It was a gigantic building, spanning a quarter mile square, located near the supreme government building in the planetary capital of Suidonj.”

Right away we have some world building, Humanoid species creation, and politics. I am looking forward to seeing where this story is going.


About the Author

King Everett Medlin has been writing since 2013 when he first developed the idea for Rijel 12. It was originally designed to be a SciFi series, with the objective of creating several short installments. Instead, he got a lucky break when Chandra Press from San Diego responded favorably to the original draft, deciding to publish it as a full-length novel. King lives in Denver, Colorado with his lovely wife Caroline and has two grown children. He’s a graduate of the University of Oklahoma where he played college Rugby and remains a diehard Sooners fan to this day. His specialties are Science Fiction and Mystery/Suspense novels, focusing on unusual stories with intriguing plot-lines and amazing characters.

When the Word “City” Means So Much More

The City In the Middle of the Night – Charlie Jane Anders

“I close my eyes and imagine that when I open them again I will have outgrown all of my feelings. Sometimes I clasp my eyelids until I almost see sparks”

Excerpt from The City in the Middle of the Night by Charlie Jane Anders

About

From the publisher, “If you control our sleep, then you can own our dreams… And from there, it’s easy to control our entire lives.” 

Set on a planet that has fully definitive, never-changing zones of day and night, with ensuing extreme climates of endless, frigid darkness and blinding, relentless light, humankind has somehow continued apace — through the perils outside the built cities are rife with danger as much as the streets below.

But in a world where time means only what the ruling government proclaims, and the levels of light available are artificially imposed to great consequence, lost souls and disappeared bodies are shadow-bound and savage, and as common as grains of sand. And one such pariah, sacrificed to the night, but borne up by time and a mysterious bond with an enigmatic beast, will rise to take on the entire planet–before it can crumble beneath the weight of human existence”


Stats

“Bianca is the most unusual person I have ever met.”

Excerpt from The City in the Middle of the Night by Charlie Jane Anders
  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Hardcover 
  • 368 pages
  • Expected publication: February 12th, 2019 by Tor Books
  • ISBN0765379961 (ISBN13: 9780765379962)
  • Edition Language English

“The video cuts out. I’m left staring at empty space, feeling sorrow for a woman who died a long time ago, one way or another.”

Excerpt from The City in the Middle of the Night by Charlie Jane Anders

My Thoughts

The land bakes, or freezes depending on where you are. Human ingenuity and creativity have completely stagnated. Once cutting edge technologies ten generations ago, have now begun to fail. Cities that are separated by almost pathless land have become mythical and divided on the governance of their citizens. While political and societal upheaval shakes the foundations of the city, Xiosphanti, people begin to rage at their cog-like existence in the dying machine of their city while ecological disaster looms in the distance.

Sophie, a student from a more impoverished background, plods day to day at her wealthy school. She is attracted to Bianca, her roommate, who comes from the upper class and is in a different social stratosphere than her. This attraction shared between the two of them emboldens Sophia to take the fall for some of Bianca’s more questionable choices and this starts Sophie’s path as either a savior or her undoing.

The name Charlie Jane Anders is synonymous with excellent writing and incredible world building. Her previous works: All The Birds in the Sky, Six Months Three Days, Rick Manning Goes for Broke as well as few others have garnered her a Nebula Award for Best Novel, a Hugo award for Best Novelette as well as a smattering of others. Anders has significant science fiction writing cred. With all that being said I had gigantic hopes and excitement for this book, and sadly it fell flat for me.

There is a whole lot of good in this book. Anders is a master world builder and she created a unique world system complete with politics, races, gender identity, sociology, and a rich colonial history. She also interwove prominent environmental concerns and adaption into her world system. Ander’s has a unique approach that I appreciate as a reader. Instead of just saying, “it was blindingly hot.” She talks about environmental and architectural adaptation to a world with no definitive circadian rhythm and how that can play mary hell with humans ability to mentally rest and physically sleep.

The world bisects into light and dark. The light side is scorching and blinding while the dark side never sees the light. It has a complete lack of warmth. It reminds me a bit of that scene from “The Chronicles of Riddick” where they are trying to escape the underground prison, and as the sun starts moving across the landscape, the ground explodes from the heat. This is pretty cool when you describe an entire society based around the presence of too much or too little warmth. The impending doom of the cities due to much imperialism. To much rigid control. The reader knows that the end is coming, but not how.

Each character has a definitive voice. I never once got confused about who was talking or how they were feeling about a situation. I loved peeking into the minds of the main characters: Sophia, Bianca, and Mouth. Each viewed the world very differently and how, by the end of the book, each character has changed in their way is bittersweet. Sophia comes into her own while other characters show their true colors.

The relationships and interactions between the main characters were hard to read but ultimately became a source of strength for the writing. Bianca is a classic character of privilege. She floats through life and dabbles in politics or other things that tickle her proverbial fancy while not reaping the consequences of her actions. At the same time, Bianca abuses by Sophie. Sophie gives her a chance after chance while Bianca ultimately does not deserve her. In the end, Sophie finally sees the true Bianca and how she will never develop emotionally, nor will she see past herself or her wants and desires for something greater.

I am giving this book a lower rating because of pacing. This story is slow. So much so that I almost DNF. I kept waiting for the story to pick up and get going, and it did at about page 250 or so. But during the first 250 pages, I was waiting on any inertia to start the characters moving towards their outcomes. Ultimately the ending saved the story and tied everything together. This is an impressive character study and example of worldbuilding however the pace of the story made it very difficult to read for me.


Procurement

An ARC was provided by the author in exchange for an open and honest review. Quotes are taken from an uncorrected ARC and may change upon publication.


“I let out a tiny gasp, which sounds monstrously loud to me after so long kept silent.”

Excerpt from The City in the Middle of the Night by Charlie Jane Anders

About the Author – Charlie Jane Anders

I’m the author of All the Birds in the Sky, and the forthcoming The City in the Middle of the Night. Plus a short story collection called Six Months, Three Days, Five Others, and a novella called Rock Manning Goes For Broke.

I’m probably the only person to have become a fictional character in a Star Trek novel and in one of Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City books.

I used to write for a site called io9.com, and now I write for various places here and there. 

I won the Emperor Norton Award, for “extraordinary invention and creativity unhindered by the constraints of paltry reason.” I’ve also won a Hugo Award, a Nebula Award, a William H. Crawford Award, a Theodore Sturgeon Award, a Locus Award, and a Lambda Literary Award.

Plus much more.

Famous Men Who Never Lived by K Chess

Another great review from Paul. I’ll be reviewing this myself coming soon too.

Paul's Picks

Thousands were able to escape the fallout from the simultaneous sabotage of three nuclear power plants. A lottery chose these individuals to cross through the portal to another earth, one that zippered off in 1909 leaving two timelines spinning independently of each other. These Universally Displaced Persons (UDP) have had a hard go of assimilating to a new world, where everything is slightly off. Re-education classes, job assistance, and housing services do some to help them get over the shocks of displacement and the prejudice they experience.

Hel and Virshim are two of the UDP living in NYC, who are trying to find their way in this new land. They suffer from a form of PTSD as both their collective and individual memories were suddenly ripped away. Families lost and history rewritten, they were only able to bring a few possessions with them when they went through the gate. Virshim…

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#Bookcook American God’s American Pie

About the Book – American Gods by Neil Gaimon

You can find my review here

Days before his release from prison, Shadow’s wife, Laura, dies in a mysterious car crash. Numbly, he makes his way back home. On the plane, he encounters the enigmatic Mr Wednesday, who claims to be a refugee from a distant war, a former god and the king of America.

Together they embark on a profoundly strange journey across the heart of the USA, whilst all around them a storm of preternatural and epic proportions threatens to break.

Scary, gripping and deeply unsettling, American Gods takes a long, hard look into the soul of America. You’ll be surprised by what – and who – it finds there…


Ahh, the quintessential American dessert. What better way to celebrate the war between the old gods and the new than with a slice of apple goodness.

I hear even Thor likes a slice in Valhalla or Biloxi. Wherever he is at this moment.

Here is a great recipe for an apple pie I have made a few times. Don’t drop it on your metal breastplate, apple goo never comes out of the ringlets.


APPLE TART WITH ALMOND PASTE FILLING RECIPE

“What I say is, a town isn’t a town without a bookstore. It may call itself a town, but unless it’s got a bookstore, it knows it’s not foolin’ a soul.”

American Gods – Neil Gaimon
Apple Tart with Almond Paste Filling | wildwildwhisk.com

Apple Tart with Almond Paste Filling

  • Prep Time 25 mins
  • Cook Time 50 mins
  • Total Time 1 hr 15 mins 

This Apple Tart has a hidden layer of delicious homemade almond paste underneath the apples. It is a wonderful dessert for Fall and will for sure be a hit at any of your holiday dinner parties. Course: Dessert Servings: 8 – 10 Author: Wild Wild Whisk

Ingredients For crust:

  • 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 oz unsalted butter 1 stick
  • 2 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoon cold water

For almond paste:

  • 1 cup almond meal/flour
  • 1/2 cup powder sugar
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

For apple topping:

  • 2 large honey crisp apples or 4 small ones
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter – melted

Instructions

  1. For almond paste, add almond meal, sugar, egg white, almond extract and salt to a bowl, mix well until combined. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use. Almond paste can be prepared well in advance and store in the refrigerator for up to 10 days.
  2. For the crust, place flour, sugar and salt in the food processor fitted with the dough blade and pulse a few times to mix.
  3. Cube the butter and add to the flour mixture. Make sure butter is cold. Pulse several times until butter is about pea size and mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  4. Add cold water, 1 tablespoon at a time, and pulse until the dough starts to pull together. Be mindful not to overmix, you still want chunks of butter in the dough to create a flaky crust.
  5. Turn the dough out on a lightly floured board and shape into a disk. Wrap in plastic and rest in the refrigerator for an hour.
  6. Roll dough out into a circle about 1/4” thick and large enough to fit your tart pan. Transfer the dough to your tart pan and lightly press into the bottom and sides. Let the extra dough hang off the edge, then take your rolling pin and press along the edge of the pan to take off the extra dough.
  7. Cover the dough in plastic and place in the freezer.
  8. Move your oven rack to the lower third of the oven and preheat to 400°F.
  9. Peel and cut apples into 1/8” thick slices.
  10. When the oven is ready, take the crust out of the freezer. Take the almond paste, lightly spread and press it to the bottom of the crust so it covers the entire surface.
  11. Arrange the apple slices on top of the almond paste. Brush the melted butter all over the apples. Mix the sugar and cinnamon together and sprinkle on top.
  12. Bake for 50 minutes.
  13. Let cool on a wire rack before serving.