Category Archives: Book Reviews

Monthly Report: August and September 2013

So once again, these monthly reports are delayed big time. They are just so onerous to write that sometimes I just don’t care really. But I do them regardless because they happen to serve as a good check on my writing, especially when I lose track of things, as I am often wont to do, for no reason really.

I still can’t seem to find the right frame of mind to work on anything fictional, while my non-fiction work and my editorials continue apace. Its really weird. You can find the June/July Report here.

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Twilight War by Paul S. Kemp (Book Review)

Just about a year and a half ago, I read my first ever books from Wizards of the Coast: Paul S. Kemp’s excellent The Erevis Cale Trilogy (review). Set in WotC’s highly popular Forgotten Realms setting, these books took me for a great ride through a setting incredibly rich with characters and diversity. It was a… bold new world for me to explore, as someone who had never read any Forgotten Realms novels before, and who was heavily invested in Games Workshop’s Warhammer Fantasy setting. Paul’s books proved to be a great turning point and they inspired me to read more from WotC, and I soon followed up his novels with various others, such as the War of the Spider Queen series and Erin M. Evans’ Brimstone Angels series.

This year, I haven’t read nearly the same number of Forgotten Realms novels sadly, but I’ve started to change that around. I read R. A. Salvatore’s The Companions (review) just last month and a couple weeks ago I finished up Paul’s second Erevis Cale trilogy, Twilight War, constituting the novels Shadowbred, Shadowstorm and Shadowrealm. This trilogy proved to be even better than the first, and I’m really glad that I read it. Now I’m finally caught up with this series, right in preparation for reading Paul’s next Forgotten Realms novel, The Godborn, which is the seventh novel in this series and is the second novel that ties in to the current Forgotten Realms event, The Sundering.

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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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Monthly Report: June and July 2013

At this point, its becoming more apparent to me that sometimes I just can’t be bothered to blog about certain things, and the last two months have kind of shown that. As did the April/May monthly report. I’ve been struggling to get these out on time for no real reason other than just a general procrastination-related disinterest. Which is bad. Productivity is down and I really need to step things up desperately.

June wasn’t actually that bad but there were far too many things going on in July for me to focus on my writing, especially fictional writing, as I detail below. You can find the April/May Report here.

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Reviewer’s Etiquette: Making An Apology

Being withing the publishing-related blogosphere, etiquette is becoming ever more important day by day. Week on week there is some instance where etiquette breaks down and some kind of meltdown happens. Last year was especially notorious in that regard with several controversies stemming from reviews over at Goodreads where authors and their posse attacked reviewers for negative comments or even vice versa where reviewers (Goodreads reviewers to be specific) engaged in deliberate author baiting.

It was so bad for a while, in my opinion, that it was as if Goodreads was just going to implode and gain a certain notoriety to such an extent that authors would just give up on the site altogether. Fortunately, that never happened.

In recent times, it has all been replaced by a beast of another kind: reviewers baiting each other or authors engaging in some really despicable bigoted thinking that is absolutely vile (no, I’m not referring to a certain “master” SF author here). The latest example of the reviewer baiting happened a few days ago over at Fantasy Faction. And the culprit happened to be none other than “Overlord” Marc Aplin, who runs the site and is its chief editor.

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Monthly Report: April and May 2013

And once again it appears that I have failed to get one of these (or two rather!) out on time. The first couple of weeks in May were pretty tight since I was both working on edits for the novella while also working on the prequel short story, so that never happened. And once again, I just go too lazy last weekend to work on this. Weekdays just aren’t that good for me generally to do one of these things. Takes too much time. But can’t putit off forever, either, so here it is.

Lots has happened in the last couple months and this is how the writing and reading went down in both April and May. You can find the March Report here.

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Monthly Report – February 2013

Once again, the monthly report has been severely delayed, so I offer my apologies once again. Between a huge review backlog and other endeavours, it’s become rather tough to find time for the report writing. But anyway, here it is.

Overall, I think the month turned out to be decent enough. I’m making steady progress on several fronts, and having a damn good time of it, which is always good in the end! Although, all things considered, I’ve been thinking that I devote too much time to reviewing and should tone it down. Not sure about that! I definitely need to devote more time to my writing, and also tone down on my TV watching. Funny how “entertainment” can impose on life.

So, this is how the writing and reading went down last month, and you can find the January report here.

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Indian SF March/April Issue is now out

I mentioned a while back on the blog that I would be having my first magazine credit quite soon this year. And the day has arrived!

isf-issue2-mar-apr

Indian SF editor Geetanjali Dighe was kind enough to reprint my review of Particle Horizon, a 2012 debut science fiction novel by Selso Xisto. The review originally went live on The Founding Fields last year. Head over to the IndianSF blog and download the March/April issue for a fantastic magazine that will undoubtedly push Indian SFF into the limelight this year.

Also, I love that cover. Pure SF awesomeness.

Monthly Report – January 2013

This is quite a bit late, and I apologise for the delay. Lots of things going on this month, and not all of it good, so things have been off-schedule for a while.

In my blogpost titled “2013 – What Now? Some Resolutions Maybe?” I mentioned that I was not going to set myself any individual project word-count goals, and that my big aim would be to do 450,000 words for the whole year. January, on the whole, wasn’t all that great since there were two trips to India involved (one coming back in the first week, and another going there in the last week), so that crimped by writing quite a bit, not to mention that my slump and procrastination continued.

Try as I might, I can’t fix this stupid procrastination. There’s always something that comes up, that totally screws with my writing moment and I end up doing nothing. I have no idea how to get it sorted. The reading progresses great, just not the writing.

Eh, whatever. It’s still better than doing absolutely nothing for a whole month! So here’s how my writing and reading in January went down.

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February E-book Giveaway (Update)

As I mentioned here a couple days ago, if my February reading list poll hit 500 votes by midnight on January 31st, I would do a giveaway for a few eBooks. Since the polling hit that level a few short hours ago, the giveaway is live.

But first…

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2013 – What Now? Some Resolutions Maybe?

So the New Year has come and gone. The end of the second week is almost upon us. And so far, it’s been a somewhat lazy, yet productive month. Also one that has been spectacular in a few ways. It’s also time to make some new resolutions and challenges. So let’s get to it.

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