Blog Archives

Best Debuts of 2013

In a lot of ways, 2013 has been a fairly good year for debut novels, as much as 2012 was. There have been some really fantastic releases, and they have all continued an unofficial tradition of doing something different with the genres that they have been set in. I can say for certain that of all the debut novels I read this year, none of them have been quite what I expected. Some of these novels have been really, really good while a small handful have been disappointing.

I put together a list at the end of last year in which I ran through my top picks of all the debuts I’d read, and I found the experience to be quite rewarding, and a great help in figuring out just why these novels were so good beyond just writing up the reviews.

All in all, of the 20 debut novels I wanted to read this year as per my list (link), I read 18 of them. Here are the 8 books I consider to be the best of the bunch.

Read the rest of this entry

12 Days of Best Covers of 2013: Day #3

For this new seasonal end of year list, the third book cover that I pick is Stephanie Saulter’s debut novel for Jo Fletcher Books, Gemsigns, the first novel in the ®Evolution near-future series which deals with the ethics of genetic engineering and whether or not those genetically engineered can be considered human or not. It is the most thought-provoking novel that I’ve read this year and also one of the best. Where most SFF novels content themselves with telling a story with good/great characters, this novel went the extra mile and actually made me think about the events therein.

And the third comics cover that I pick is the fourth and final issue of Mateus Santolouco and Erik Burnham’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Secret History of The Foot Clan, which Mateus drew as well. A short mini-series that delved into the origins of Shredder, the Foot Clan and Master Splinter himself, it stands as one of the best TMNT stories that I’ve experienced to date. Possibly the best. Which is a pretty damn big deal, all things considered. It reignited my love of the characters and the setting, something that I won’t be forgetting any time soon.

So without further ado, hit the break to see both the covers in all their glory! The full list of all these covers is available here.

Read the rest of this entry

Best of 2013 Part 1

I did two “Best of the…” lists last year, one for the half-year from January to June, and the other for the half-year from July to December. The lists proved to be quite popular, and I was recently asked if I was going to be doing any more. To which I said yes. I like putting together lists like this. It gives me a chance to reflect a bit on all the good stuff I’ve been reading in novels and comics, or listening to in terms of audiobooks, audio dramas and so on.

You can check out my top-of-the-month lists on my Reading Awards page and this list is both an extension, and a continuation of what goes on there.

Let’s see what makes the cut and which comes close then!

Read the rest of this entry

Publishing and Marketing 03: Women in SFF Part 1

One question that is being asked by many in the wake of the recent SFWA controversy, and all the commentary it has spawned in various places about misogyny and sexism within the publishing industry is: “If I want to read more books by female authors, where do I start?”

Often times, I think it is rather disheartening to hear such a question. Women have been writing books for a long, long time. And for people to not even be aware of that, or for that matter, be able to perform a basic google search about who are the big names right now? Doesn’t speak so well for us as a community. Speaking of the industry in the broadest sense, we are all very close-ranked, and to break out of the apparent restrictions is not easy. Sure its “easy” to get published as a woman, but to receive recognition? That’s an uphill battle.

It all comes down to respect. And when it comes to respect within the publishing industry (or even just in general in daily life), never ever use the word “political correctness”. That’s a dirty word to use, and it betrays a lack of ability to engage, and wilful dismissal of a very serious and ongoing issue that affects us all. Just look at the entire entertainment industry as a whole, whether its novels or comics or movies or even news.

In such a state, it is absolutely essential that we willingly look to broaden our horizons. We should take chances and read outside of our comfort zones, because otherwise we don’t challenge ourselves and we just propagate the “like begets like” scenario and we cannot grow as an individual.

Which is what this editorial, the third in my Publishing and Marketing series, is about: stepping out of your comfort zone. If you’ve never read a book by a female author before, then my suggestions herein are an excellent place to start.

Read the rest of this entry

NANP: Naming the ®Evolution

Joining me on the blog today for Names: A New Perspective is debut author Stephanie Saulter. Her first book, Gemsigns, is now available from Jo Fletcher Books and from what I’ve read of it so far, it is shaping up rather nicely. A near-but-distant future Earth where mega-corporations have created tens of thousands (perhaps more) of bioengineered human slaves who have recently been given their freedom? Behind-the-scenes industrial politics and conspiracies to control these slaves even as they form a rebellion against the oppression? Sounds pretty fantastic to me and so far, about 70 pages in, Stephanie has definitely maintained my interest in the book. Looking forward to the rest of it! Here’s what Stephanie has to say on the topic of names, how she came up with the naming conventions, and what they all mean.

Read the rest of this entry

NANP: Naming Swords, Defining Themselves

Really excited to welcome today’s guest Evie Manieri for Names: A New Perspective, author of Blood’s Pride, released last year in August through Jo Fletcher Books and in February this year by Tor. I read the book earlier this year, and I thought it was a pretty good start to what promises to be an excellent series (my review). It certainly is a different and innovate approach to epic fantasy, and I can’t wait to read the sequel, Fortune’s Blight. The naming conventions used by Evie in Blood’s Pride are really interesting, and in this guest post she goes into some detail about them.

Read the rest of this entry

51 Most Anticipated Releases For 2013

With regards reading, 2012 was a fantastic year for me. It was the year that I stepped out of my comfort zone and read in genres that I normally would not read, such as urban fantasy (involving angels, vampires, werewolves etc) and historical fiction. It was also the year that I read more than the traditional fantasy, and tie-in fantasy at that. My experiments seem to have mostly been successful as I’ve started to really like reading these kind of books.

My goal for this year is to continue on that same path and read as widely as I can. Which is why this massive list is so huge in scope, with tons of variety. I went through the catalogues for most of these publishers and picked out things I liked,and which caught my eye. Getting through the entire list this year will probably not happen, but then again, never say never!

Read the rest of this entry

Advent Reviews Day 12: The Emperor’s Knife by Mazarkis Williams

As most people who follow my reviews know, I rarely do negative reviews. Part of it is my experience with doing negative reviews, and another is that I consider myself to be somewhat easy to impress (more on all that here). Another part is that I do negative reviews when I feel strongly about the work in question. If a book, for me, is bad, then that means that I consider it to be pretty terrible. Especially when I have some high expectations of it. One such novel was The Emperor’s Knife, the 2011 debut by Mazarkis Williams. Now, I read the novel way back early in the year and this review is somewhat from memory, so if I get details wrong, I do apologize.

Read the rest of this entry

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,626 other followers