Blog Archives

NANP: Names With Meanings

Slightly delayed by a day since I totally forgot about this yesterday, but I’m excited to welcome author Michael J. Sullivan to the blog for Names: A New Perspective. Michael used to be a self-published author with a very successful fantasy series but his books were picked up by Orbit Books in 2011 and he published the sixth and final novel in the Riyria Revelations novel Percepliquis  through them (reviews of omnibus book 1, book 2, book 3). I read all the books in 2012 and they proved to be quite fun. His first prequel novel The Crown Tower (review) was also excellent, and I’m excited for all the other stuff he has coming out, such as the series set in the old times of the Riyria setting. That should be fun. Michael also writes some great articles about the publishing industry and he really helps everyone learn about the industry at large. Here’s what he has to say on the topic of names.

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25 Series I Want To Read in 2014

Last year, I blogged over at The Founding Fields about 25 book series from various genres, science fiction, fantasy, urban fantasy, space opera, etc that I wanted to read in 2013. The intention behind that particular reading challenge was to read a broad variety of some of the most popular names in those genres as well as to try out several new authors and revisit some favourite classics. While I wasn’t as successful in the challenge as I might like, I’ve made it a new year resolution to make sure that I do indeed repeat the challenge in 2014 with new books, new authors, and finish it this time.

To that effect, here are the 25 book series I’ve picked for this reading challenge for this year. You can see the previous list for 2013 here.

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Best of 2013 Part 2a: Books

Since 2013 is now over, its time to do my second “Best of the Best” list, for the second half of the year from July-December. There were some really good reads in this period, and as always, picking the best has been a chore. I always try to keep these lists as diverse as I can and hopefully you agree.

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

12 Days of Best SFF Characters of 2013: Day #6

For this new seasonal list of the best SFF characters I’ve read this year, my sixth pick is Eli Monpress, from Rachel Aaron’s novel series of the same name. I read the second novel in the series, The Spirit Rebellion, earlier this year and it proved to be just as entertaining as I had expected to be, and it was a great follow-up from the first novel, The Spirit Thief.

Hit the break to see why I picked this character.

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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.

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12 Days of Best Covers of 2013: Day #11

The eleventh pick for the “12 Days of Best Covers of 2013″ list is the cover for author Rachel Aaron’s latest release, Fortune’s Pawn, the first in her new Paradox space opera series, written under the pseudonym Rachel Bach to help differentiate from her epic fantasy series Eli Monpress, all of them published by Orbit Books. Sure, I’m a huge fan of Rachel’s books, and the covers for her novels have been quite good, whether the old covers or the new ones. Having read Fortune’s Pawn a few weeks ago, I can say with confidence that it is most definitely one of the best SF novels I’ve read in the last three years, right up there with the best of the best.

The eleventh comic cover that I pick is Andrea Sorrentino and Marcelo Maiolo’s cover for Green Arrow #25, written by Jeff Lemire and drawn by Andrea Sorrentino. I credit CW’s Arrow and fellow TFF reviewer Bane of Kings for getting me interested enough in this title to read it. Thanks to Jeff Lemire’s excellent storylines and Andrea Sorrentino’s amazing artwork, Green Arrow has become one of my favourite DC monthly comics and in the weeks that new issues of the series come out, Green Arrow is definitely among my first reads.

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.

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Most Anticipated Books of 2014

For two years now, my goal has been to read as many different kinds of novels as I can. I’ve tried out several different genres/subgenres that I normally would not, and the experience has helped me in becoming a better reader and a reviewer. Being a prolific reader and reviewer is all about diversity, in all its different forms. And that’s what I’ve come to value most.

Still, its not that easy, dealing with the diversity, or just the sheer volume of all the reading. When I put together the 2013 list of my most anticipated books (link), I intended to read all of them. But sadly that never happened and somewhere along the way I just lost track. The 2013 list had 51 books on it. The 2014 list has 41 books on it. A much more manageable number I dare say.

We’ll see how the year pans out and whether or not I will indeed be able to get through all them. I remain hopeful as ever. And there will be some more lists going up in the next couple weeks, so stay tuned for those.

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12 Days of Best Covers of 2013: Day #4

For this new seasonal end of year list, the fourth book cover that I pick is Brian McClellan’s debut novel for Orbit Books, Promise of Blood, the first novel in the Powder Mage gunpowder fantasy series that, for me, does some really new things with magic systems. Additionally, it describes a very rich and layered world that is driven by politics on all levels of culture and society. And finally, Brian writes some great action scenes that definitely make it easy to visualise in the mind what’s happening on the pages. That in itself is quite fantastic.

And the fourth comics cover that I pick is the seventh issue of writer Jason Aaron and artist Esad Ribic’s Thor: God of Thunder. This is the series that really got me to read Marvel comics since it was the only comic from the publisher for months that I was following regularly. The two creators together wove a wonderful space operatic tale with fantasy elements and the comic featured regularly on my end of month lists, which can be found here.

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.

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NANP: The Mundane Process of Creating Magic

Stoppy by the blog today to talk names and their significance for the Names: A New Perspective series is urban fantasy author Jaye Wells. I started reading her work this year with her first Sabina Kane novel, The Red-Headed Stepchild (review) and I became an instant fan. Its a great book that balances romance and action well and for me, stands as one of the best examples or urban fantasy novels. Having read it, I was really glad that I picked it for my “25-in-13” reading challenge, which has been quite fun. I’ll be reading her upcoming novel Dirty Magic, which begins a new series, quite soon and its one that I’m looking forward to. In the meantime, here’s Jaye.

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The Cover Art Mega-Post Part 3

So this is the third such post I have done for the blog. I took a 2-month break in between posts so that I could have some more material to showcase here, and it certainly has helped. There were a lot more books I wanted to cover, but I chose to stick withe magic number 17, the number of books I’ve covered previously.

A lot of the books on this list are next year’s releases, and just as before, they all sound great, even some of the ones that are second or third (or else) in their respective series. I’m not sure if I can put aside the time to catch up to them any time soon but I’m hopeful that I’ll be able to get around to some of them at least. We’ll see how that works out.

In the meantime, enjoy all these great covers and these books! Hope you liked the previous posts and that you’ll like this one as well.

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Publishing and Marketing 07: A Reviewer’s Self-Examination

A few days ago I came across a review of Mark Lawrence’s second Broken Empire novel, King of Thorns (link), which is up for nomination for the David Gemmell Legend Awards in the Legend category. The Legend Award is given to the Best Novel of the previous year. On Twitter and Facebook, I talked about how that review justified all my reasons and fears for not reading further into this series after my experiences with the first novel, Prince of Thorns (review).

My tweets eventually spawned off a discussion about negative reviews, which led into the review that forms the basis and reason for this entire post.  In January last year, reviewer Liz Bourke wrote about Michael J. Sullivan’s first Riyria Revelations novel, Theft of Swords (link). This review was brought to my attention by a friend on Twitter who had taken exception to the way that Liz Bourke took potshots at the author and his editors at Orbit Books.

Going through the review and the comments thread, some things become apparent to me as to the intent of the review, the tone it is written in, and what, ultimately, were the reactions. However, what really ended up happening was that it all sparked off some self-examination about negative reviews. And that’s what this post is all about.

So welcome to another Publishing and Marketing blogpost.

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Red-Headed Stepchild by Jaye Wells (Book Review)

Earlier this year, in January, I set myself a very particular reading challenge. The goal of this reading challenge was to read through 25 different SFF series (link), from across the genres and across times. To be specific, I wanted to read through at least 12 of these various series, to get a start on them. I hit that mark sometime in July, with Robin Hobb’s Farseer Trilogy #1: The Assassin’s Apprentice (review). As of last month, I added another notch to that reading challenge by reading Jaye Wells’ first Sabina Kane novel, The Red-Headed Stepchild.

Throughout the year, I’ve read all sorts of novels, good, bad, decent, meh, everything. Fortunately, Jaye’s novel proved to be one of the better ones. Urban Fantasy wasn’t all that big a genre for me until late last year and since then I’ve had a lot of fun with the genre. For me, The Red-Headed Stepchild stands as one of the better examples of the genre, a really fun and interesting story throughout, with a hell of a lot things to recommend itself.

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