Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Review: When Tinker Met Bell by @AletheaKontis

When Tinker Met Bell is the perfect cute paranormal romance to pick up for Valentine's Day! Find out how Tinker and Bell get around the pesky curse that keeps their species from getting together. Includes heroic antics in otherworldly settings.

You can also pick up the newest novel, Besphinxed, for Heather's redemption story. I really enjoyed When Tinker Met Bell when it first came out and immediately gave a five-star review on Amazon, but had a bit of a hiccup with scheduling this post on my blog. Now there are more books in the series you can pick up--I've enjoyed them all! The Truth About Cats and Wolves makes a great introduction to the series, and they all also work as stand-alones. What a great Valentine's Day binge!

Monday, January 29, 2018

Review: Besphinxed by Alethea Kontis

Besphinxed: A Nocturne Falls Universe Story: Nocturne Falls Universe by [Kontis, Alethea]

Besphinxed is my favorite book in the Nocturne Falls Universe so far. I have enjoyed reading all of Alethea Kontis' books in the Nocturne Falls Universe--they are all fun urban fantasy / paranormal romance with young protagonists and great heroines. Kontis' books fit well together by focusing on different characters whose stories intersect while maintaining their own stand-alone integrity. So while you can read any of the books on their own, you'll get a bigger kick out of reading them all. And unlike some romance stories which lean too heavily on a formula, Kontis' Nocturne Falls books weave unique, interesting plots, focusing on characters with differing life challenges and differing world views.

Now, the reason Besphinxed is my favorite (so far!): Heather, the protagonist in this book, first appears in The Truth About Cats and Wolves as a bad gal. Think selfish and cliquish, and add in magic powers you wouldn't trust someone like that to have. In Besphinxed we meet Heather and follow along as her life snowballs into an opportunity for personal growth. As we learn more about Heather, Alethea Kontis portrays Heather's dysfunctional family in a succinctly accurate way alongside more positive relationships surrounding Heather.

Besphinxed has real depth without losing the fun; We also get to learn more about Owen, the cat-shifter that's supposed to be the best friend of Heather's sworn enemy, but who finds himself inexplicably attracted to her. And let's not forget the Zombie Prom and a deadly magic confrontation at the end.

Pick up Besphinxed for a touching paranormal romance. I cried at the end!

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Review: Haven Kansas by @AletheaKontis

Looking for something spooky for Halloween?

Step into Lora's life-turned-nightmare in young adult horror novel, "Haven, Kansas" by Alethea Kontis, where Lora and Erin's dreams of getting in touch with spirits and magic come true in the worst way. Lora wears black and reads about the occult, but at heart she is only a teenager living an average rural life in Haven, Kansas. Her oldest brother likes to fix tractors. Her younger brother and his friends like to pull pranks on the school. And her best friend Erin shares everything with her, including a years-long promise to keep their hands off their mutual crush. Except, Erin doesn't tell Lora where she's going that fateful night, and this innocent little secret makes solving deaths that much harder.

Also, murderous crows. Murderous crows make everything harder. The best clue Lora has is a foul-smelling, centuries-old book engraved with a single name, and meanwhile, people are dying around her.

In "Haven, Kansas" by Alethea Kontis, Lora confronts the power of hate with the help of her family and friends--not exactly your typical super-powered line-up of exorcists, but it's all they've got. Grab your copy here!


Saturday, October 21, 2017

Review: UFO6 by @AShvartsman

In UFO6 (Unidentified Funny Objects 6), editor Alex Shvartsman once again delivers the high quality comedy we've come to expect from his UFO series. A good portion of UFO6 titles utilize epistolary formats for a non-traditional punchline—these stories are otherwise quite unlike each other. A wonderful collection, expertly arranged.

Stories range from the self-explanatory “Twenty-Nine Responses to Inquiries About my Craigslist Post: Alien Spaceship for Sale. $200, You Haul” by Tina Connolly to the surprisingly touching “A Crawlspace Full of Prizes” by Bill Ferris, which is a bit like if your life were a video game, while being nothing like other stories about video-game lives.

UFO6 includes heavy-hitters Jim C. Hines with parody “A Game of Goblins,” Jack Campbell with “Agent of Chaos,” in which a writer's muse forces her on a trek deep into the mountains where she coincidentally encounters Gothlack, God of Chaos, Alan Dean Foster with a Mad Amos Malone story, “A Mountain Man and a Cat Walk Into a Bar,” and Mike Resnick with a Harry the Book story, “The Great Manhattan Eat-Off,” which is as perfectly ridiculous as it sounds. If you've never read Mad Amos Malone or Harry the Book, you're still in for a treat with these two. And let's not forget Ken Liu, whose “An Open Letter to the Sentient AI Who Has Announced its Intention to Take Over the Earth” drips with sleaze.

On the hard science fiction side of things, “The Breakdown of the Parasite/Host Relationship” by Paul R. Hardy shows how a symbiote and its host can degenerate into petty arguments as fast as your roommate. The Captain reluctantly attempts to intervene as disagreements turn violent and regulations fly out the spaceport. “Display of Affection” by P. K. Sambeaux serves up a healthy dose of creepy in a world where everyone's wired into the net. Guy can't take any more of it when his mother dies, and—well, you'll never look at a museum quite the same afterward. In “Common Scents” by Jody Lynn Nye, symbiote Dr. K't'ank helps host Dena Malone solve a murder mystery with his love of stink. “Alexander Outland: Space Jockey” by Gini Koch may make you wonder if a comedic anthology could, indeed, be complete without space pirates and explosions. “Approved Expense” by David Vierling gives us a chance to live vicariously through dimension-hopping Special Operative Morgan T. Graymael as he explains his itemizations to The Budget and Accounting Administration.

Israel's lost tribe returns on a spaceship in “Lost and Found” by Laura Resnick, in which they are quite shocked to learn what's become of their temple. Esther Friesner introduces readers to the mythical Yiddish town of fools with “From This She Makes a Living?”—along with some interesting phrases, uttered at the discovery of a people-eating dragon come to town. Both Friesner and Resnick's stories treat religion with whimsical irreverence.

Dear Joyce” by Langley Hyde turns all your fantasy tropes on their head with an opinionated advice columnist in this parody reminiscent of LOTR, if Frodo had written to Joyce. “Return to Sender” by Melissa Mead takes us back to folktale classics with letters written by giants of the fe-fi-fo-fum persuasion. “An Evil Opportunity Employer” by Lawrence Wayt-Evans pokes fun at both lawyers and secret identities as our hero tells a henchmen that he should have read the contract. “The Friendly Necromancer” by Rod M. Santos shows us the proper way to deal with those pesky Knights and Knaves riddles—with violence. Santos delivers an excellent blend of characterization, quest-like trickery, and irreverent humor.

Told in first person by the morally-ambiguous scientist who unleashed chaos on the world through humanity's greed and self-loathing, “Impress Me, Then We'll Take About the Money” by Tatiana Ivanova, Translated by Alex Shvartsman, closes out UFO6 with a bang.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Review: Stolen Legacy by @GoblinWriter

Stolen Legacy is the third book in fast-paced, smart and funny space opera, The Sky Full of Stars, by Lindsay Buroker. Stolen Legacy is just as smart and engaging as its predecessors, The Rogue Prince, (reviewed here) and Angle of Truth.

This time, trouble comes knocking on Jelena Marchenko's figurative door in the form of an unlikely treasure hunt with dubious characters, so naturally, she says yes. It can't be that bad when the contact is passed on by her experienced mercenary parents, can it? Not only will Jelena get paid as a transport/smuggler, but she will get to meet Starseers outside of her small family circle. Marchenko has always suspected that the Starseer community shuns her family, though she's not sure why. Surely it is all a big misunderstanding and she can make valuable contacts on this mission, all while aiding her fellow Starseers.

Unfortunately, the treasure hunt involves Starseer powers--a temptation that seems to affect everyone except Jelena. Space pirates are only the first of their troubles as opposition tears at the crew from inside and out. A classic SF mystery provides the bones for this adventure as well as a twist near the end, and one not quite as happy-go-lucky as rescuing lab animals. Stolen Legacy adds depth to The Sky Full of Stars universe as Jelena and her crew hop from space battle to space battle.

The Sky Full of Stars is perfect for voracious readers who enjoy smart and funny characters and plot with soul. Buroker has a great way with dialogue and a good balance of character development and long-reaching plot.

Join Lindsay Buroker's email list to keep up-to-date on her releases, and get free content. Buroker is a prolific writer with a variety of series to whet your appetite. Pick up The Rogue Prince, Angle of Truth, and Stolen Legacy now on Amazon.