Wednesday, April 30, 2014

AudioBook Review: Hell


By:  Mur Lafferty

Publish Date:  2007

Format:  Podiobook

Genre:  Fantasy

Series:  2nd of The Afterlife series; 1st Book ~ Heaven

Recommendation:  Oh yes. There is much more going on with our friends, Kate & Daniel. So much more. You'll feel the weight of it.

Kate and Daniel are reunited, but they have to return to their duties in traveling the afterlife. There are stolen souls suffering without cause in Hell, and only they can help. Kate is back in her corporeal body, but keeping memories of her time as pure soul energy, recently touched by the divine. Daniel carries the magic of an old god and the sword of a death goddess, as well a grudge against the deity who tricked him into losing nearly everything. As they search for the missing souls, Kate and Daniel have to come to terms with themselves and see if their friendship - not to mention the cosmos – can handle everything they've been through thus far.

First Sentence:
I'd had no concept of time or self when I was a soul.

Purchase At:
Amazon  /  Barnes & Nobles

Listen For Free:
PodioBooks  /  iTunes

*I listened to this story for my own enjoyment.

My Thoughts and Summary:
Kate and Daniel, pick up their next journey with their ventures through Hell. They are now needed to save the souls that are missing from Heaven, and release those that shouldn't be in Hell. Along the way, they find things are in chaos, and they might be able to help restore some order to order of things. With the help of his guide and best friend, Daniel journeys through Hell to find his sisters missing soul and others.

We pick up exactly where Heaven ended.

Kate realizes Daniel's not the same as he was. He's changed, but in recognizing that she realizes she's changed as well. Kate has a slightly different view of things now as she had been an unborn soul. Daniel has realized he has the godlike power to douse flaming souls, and even help a few to return to Heaven. And so much more. I wonder if they are finding a faith. Seems to be Daniel's and Kate's adventure is what he and she needs for their heart and souls to heal.

We see many versions and levels of Hell. What people "think" should be Hell, even if not, depending on Religion. Very neat how Mur Lafferty does this. I feel I'm getting a small view of a large setting through an intriguing story. I want to see if they get through and what they learn on their journey.

There is fun mixed in with a bit more serious story. I feel there is more to this story and world than I realized. An underlying thread to what they are going through and where they will end up. The changes they go through to be who they are to be. I am very intrigued by this. I want to keep going as fast as I can to see and know! By the end I felt the heaviness and the weight of the story and why. Now I know, and it makes sense with all I felt earlier. Happy and yet bitter sweet ending. I love it. It brought tears to my eyes.

Oh, I'm hooked. I love the harsh journey and actions Kate and Daniel have gone through. I'm 100% invested now. I will be finishing this series!

Monday, April 28, 2014

Mythical Monday (47)

It seems there are many books based on or influenced by Myths and Mythological Beings.

There are so many different Mythology and Mythological Beings recorded. Some are very popular and well known, others not so much. There are many similar beings, yet different depending on the culture it’s based in.  The definition of Myth covers about anything in the Urban Fantasy/Fantasy realm to me.

I’ve invited authors to share briefly the Mythological being or Myth that influenced their character(s) or story, or what their character(s) are based on influencing their books.  Hosting here, one author and being or myth per week.

This week we have:
Fantasy author 
Tara Maya
Talking Pixies and Faeries in Neolithic Era.

Here’s a shameful secret: Back when I started my Unfinished Song fantasy, I wasn’t trying to be fresh, original or non-Western. In fact, I wanted to write a “classic” fantasy. I knew I wanted actual pixies and faeries in it. I wanted it to be both epic and a fairytale—an epic faerie tale. I knew I wanted the magic to be based on dancing and color, and that the ability to dance the whole rainbow would be almost extinct in their world. Other than that, I just planned to include all the tropes of the genre. The setting was cliché because I didn’t feel like investing the time in world-building for a mere “practice” story. My original heroine, Dindi, was a peasant girl; my original hero, Kavio, was a prince.

What knocked sense into me? I don’t know. A fairy whispered in my ear that I needed to change the setting. It needed to be set in a time I had never seen a fantasy set before: with Neolithic rather than medieval technology. The Neolithic Era was a particular time period in human history, but it also refers to a stage of civilization, and I use it in the later sense. Neolithic, or “new stone age” technology means that the people primarily use flint and obsidian tipped arrows and spears.

While I don’t know how this idea came to me, I do remember how it energized me. The whole story excited me again. The early time period worked for three reasons:

One, the main storyline was inspired by a Polynesian myth, so this was a tip of the hat to that non- European setting.

Two, it fit my fancy that the events of The Unfinished Song were the “original” and “primordial” events which are the secret roots of all our fairy tales.

Three, every culture around the world has gone through a stage of Neolithic level technology.

Every place on earth has immense, mysterious monuments made from dragging big stones around. This meant that I could easily mix and match my cultural inspiration. I could use Hopi agriculture, Celtic pig-farming and musical traditions, Zulu warfare, West African Initiation ceremonies, and so on. For the hero and heroine’s people, I drew strongly on Hopi and Zuni cultures.

As a history nerd (I do have my masters in the subject!), the excuse to research obscure and exotic Neolithic cultures ignited my enthusiasm for the story, and has kept me excited about the series ever since. The biggest problem with the standard fantasy pseudo-medieval-pseudo-European setting is not that it is medieval or that it is European or even that it has been done before. It is because the writer doesn’t take the time to study real history (or “real” mythology) as a model, but simply bases their own world on worlds in other fantasy books. The result has much the same problem as cloning a clone, or xeroxing a xerox. The quality fades the more derivative your product is. We shouldn’t shortchange ourselves by re-treading the same worn paths, but should be brave enough to follow history back along rarely explored by-ways for inspiration.

Tara’s Bio:
Tara Maya has lived in Africa, Europe and Asia. She's pounded sorghum with mortar and pestle in a little clay village where the jungle meets the desert, meditated in a Buddhist monastery in the Himalayas and sailed the Volga river to a secret city that was once the heart of the Soviet space program. This first-hand experience, as well as research into the strange and piquant histories of lost civilizations, inspires her writing. Her terrible housekeeping, however, is entirely the fault of pixies.

Find Tara:

Purchase Tara's Unfinished Song series: (click the image)

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Book Review: Full Share

Full Share

By:  Nathan Lowell

Publisher:  Podiobooks

Publish Date:  2008

Format:  Podiobooks

Genre:  Science Fiction

Series:  3rd in Golden Age of the Solar Clipper series; 1st Book ~ Quarter Share, 2nd Book ~ Half Share

Recommendation:  You need to continue with Ishmael in Full Share. It keeps getting better and better in this world.

A Trader's Tale from the Golden Age of the Solar Clipper: Book 3

The Lois McKendrick runs headlong into trouble when a routine in-system transit goes bad.  Ishmael and the rest of the crew must scramble to figure out what went wrong and how to fix it in order to keep the ship alive.  Learn more about the officers and crew of the Lois McKendrick as they struggle to keep their ship and discover how Ishmael finds out how wrong he's been about what it means to be a spacer in this latest Trader's Tale.

First Sentence:
All children except one grow up.

Purchase At:
Amazon  /  Barnes & Nobles  /  iTunes (free listen)

**I listened to this story for my own enjoyment.

My Thoughts and Summary:
Shipping off to the next port, and Ish reflects on what he's done and how he's acted.  He still is told to look ahead and see where he wants to go.  Lois McKendrick takes on a few new faces that scares Ish and the crew that's become family, but Lois decides she's not done with Ish just yet.  The ship has a malfunction that Ish proves he is up to the challenge to figure out.  Then many suggest to Ish to consider the Academy.  Ish has to make a dicision of what he wants, even after he earns his four full share ratings.  What does Ish want to do in the future and what will open the doors for that unknown future?  Ish is learning more about Spacer life, and even though it sets him reeling with what he learns, he really likes what he's seeing.

I like that Ish rethinks the last weekend at port. He realizes he was a bit out of hand with all that happened.  This is a young man, having fun but growing up too.  He sees it and that's what matters.  He learns from it.  As of the first chapter, I was sure we had our Ish back.  This starts this book off on great terms for me.  I was a little...unimpressed? with Ish by the end of Half Share.  This book, he COMPLETELY redeems himself for me.

Ish is a great person in that he shows that those surrounding him are amazing and he can easily highlight all.  Surrounded with brilliance here and Ish spotlights each in their area of expertise.  That makes a crew and an amazing ship.  Ish doesn't take the spotlight, he share and gives credit where credit is due.

Just when you think life is grand and Ish and reader get comfortable, life twists.  Things get complicated and Ish might not have a job on the Lois McKendrick much longer.  This is one thing Ish feared in the first book, but thought he was safe until now.  This was a hard thing to Ish as he'd found a home here and one thing he never really had - friends.  Even in the end of this book, some separations are hard to get through.  And I felt the twinge of not wanting this separation to happen yet wanting it and the future that comes.

Ish always thought he would go to University because that was where his mother worked.  But Spacers have a specialized Academy as well.  And now the idea is on Ish's plate, but is it what he wants?  The more Ish learns, the more he thinks going to the Academy could open many doors for him.  And the nudging he gets, he will seriously consider it.  Several think the Merchant Academy is the place for him.

We get a closer look at all the characters here and find I've become closer to them all as Ish has. There are so many great influences on the Lois.  All helped guide Ish to where Ish wanted to be.  The ship, Lois, even seems to feel like her own spirit to me in this book as well.  We get a bit more with Pip and do I really enjoy the free feeling of him and Ish talking and joking.  I enjoy their trading and co-op works.  We even learn a great deal more of Pip's family.  Nice to see this here.  And some of what Ish learns sends him reeling from what Spacer life is really like.  He's one of a small few that aren't born to Spacer life styles.

In listening to this book, I realized Nathan creates strong smart women.  He has several in high and powerful positions - Captains and several high ranked officers.  Some might ask about Sarah, but really, she is one of the strongest for the choices she's made.  These woman all have troubles and obstacles to face and overcome, but they do and they are not shorted by it at all.

Ish has a new position for a time, and with it we learn more of the outer deep space.  I love how the common life actions are because of it's environment - why we do what we do - and is explained through the characters.

Listening to this book, I want so much for Ish.  For him to go to school with Pip.  For him to get his own ship and him and Pip trade around the universe.  Ish to have one special lady in his life and on that family ship he'll fly around making his money.

I felt the feelings in this book.  The anxiety with Ish.  The loss for now and the hope of future.  The ship and crew feel like home, to me as well as to Ish.  They are a family and work well together.  I am so glad I didn't stop after the second book, this book has a great deal to offer and Ish redeems himself greatly back to himself.

In the end, I got a feel for the "right" position for Ish on a ship.  Will it be that in the end of the series?  I don't know, but I do plan to find out.  By, how I've grown attached to Ish and the crew of the Lois.  Wow.

It's Out!!

Woot woot! *happy dance* I'm thrilled to share that the next Fantasy Lovers Guide is out today!

Do you remember my review last week of What Kings Ate And Wizards Drank? No? Okay, I'll wait. Go ahead and check it out. It's worth it.

*whistle, whistle*

You're back. Good. Now on to what we have available today.

I so enjoyed the food aspect of history (and I'm not a history buff) that Krista delivered with What Kings Ate And Wizards Drank. Food affects and relates to EVERYTHING in the world. From sickness, the cultures, the society, monitary, emotions, and so much more. This is a book for everyone, whether you are into writing or not.

I'm excited that the next book is out.

Hustlers, Harlots, and Heroes is out today!!!
Get ready to step into the back alleys of Jane Austen and Charles Dickens's London, and explore the alternative worlds of steampunk in this new guide book by fantasy author Krista D. Ball. Ball takes readers on a fascinating journey into the world of the Have-Nots, and explores the bustling, crime-ridden London during the Georgian and Victorian eras. 

Discover the world of knocker-uppers (it's not what you think), mudlarks, and costermongers. Learn how to scrub floors and polish knives, pick for bones, and catch rats. Learn about race and social status, and the difference between a lady's maid and a scullery maid.

With her usual wit, insight, and snark, Ball gives historical, romance, and steampunk authors the tools to create vibrant, realistic worlds. Whether you're an author, a Janeite, or just a fan of history, Hustlers, Harlots, and Heroes gives you a fresh look into the dark past.

Go and check it out.
Barnes & Nobles
Book Depository

Cover Reveal: Baba Ali and the Clockwork Djinn

Hmm, this description is what caught my attention first. Well, along with the fact that it's steampunk and clockwork. Yes, I do love this twist to stories - a different way to project magic, with machinary. I do enjoy it.

Baba Ali and the Clockwork Djinn
By:  Danielle Ackley-McPhail & Day Al-Mohamed
Due Out:  May 26, 2014
Come, Best Beloved, and sit you by my feet. I shall tell you a tale such as sister Scheherazade could have scarce imagined…

In the Nejd there is nothing at all…except secrets. A band of thieves wish such secrets to remain hidden.
In England, far from his desert home, Ali bin-Massoud serves as apprentice to the famed Charles Babbage. One night a mysterious box is delivered by a clockwork falcon and Ali’s world is never the same again. Heartache, danger, and thieves mark his journey as Ali is summoned home at the death of his father.
It will take faith, knowledge, and yes, love to realize his destiny, and more than a little skill with steam-driven technology. Can he unravel the mystery of the puzzle box and the clockwork djinn before it is too late? An ancient legacy and Ali's very life depend on his success.

Hear you the tale of Baba Ali and the Clockwork Djinn.

It's a remix with a twist of clockworks. I have been enjoying these and look forward to this one as well.

The cover has a water-painting feel. It works with the feel of old tale from the story.

Throwback Thursday (151)

I found this picture of Trinity College Library, and thought it would work for this meme with a little play with lighting and adding the words.

Let's talk about those books already on the shelves, yours or the stores.

I have a post for books I'm looking forward to coming out;
Looking Forward To...
But what about all those wonderful books that are ALREADY on the shelves.

Whether it be on your shelf waiting to be read or on the shelves in the stores waiting for you to give it a good home.

So, I thought I would share a book a week that is just waiting for me to travel through it's world.

Now... where do I start? Lets go by Published Date on the books...

This Week:

I had heard a lot of very good things about this book and series. I wasn't sure if it was for me, but the more I heard the more I became curious. When the local book store chain in the mall was closing and all their books were on a serious discount, I had to pick it up. Now, to get to reading it.

Goodreads Synopsis:
A Boeing 777 arrives at JFK and is on its way across the tarmac, when it suddenly stops dead. All window shades are pulled down. All lights are out. All communication channels have gone quiet. Crews on the ground are lost for answers, but an alert goes out to the CDC. Dr. Ephraim "Eph" Goodweather, head of their Canary project, a rapid-response team that investigates biological threats, gets the call and boards the plane. What he finds makes his blood run cold.

In a pawnshop in Spanish Harlem, a former professor and survivor of the Holocaust named Abraham Setrakian knows something is happening. And he knows the time has come, that a war is brewing.

So begins a battle of mammoth proportions as the vampiric virus that has infected New York begins to spill out into the streets. Eph, who is joined by Setrakian and a motley crew of fighters, must now find a way to stop the contagion and save his city - a city that includes his wife and son - before it is too late.

I've heard back from a few bloggers that they would like to join in this meme post, so I'm adding a Linky for you to join in.  Grab the picture above, and join in.  All I ask, is if you can acknowledge my blog in the post so others know where to come back to.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Beware the Jabberwocky

When I first thought on ideas for Kate's post, the Jabberwocky was the first to pop into my head. (I always seem to migrate to the baddies.) I didn't know what to ask for though. So I tossed a few ideas at Kate and when it came to the Jabberwocky she was excited.  And I'm thrilled she jumped at the idea!

Please welcome Kate and her Jabberwocky.

Beware the Jabberwocky

“Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!”
– Lewis Carroll

I don’t remember how old I was when I first read Lewis Carroll’s poem Jabberwocky. But I remember the assignment I was given – draw a picture of what we thought the creature looked like.

Well, considering the poem was intentionally nonsensical, there wasn’t really a whole lot to go on. What we knew: he has jaws and claws to be feared, eyes of flame, and that he “burbles.” In my mind’s eye, I pictured the monster as a little bit chupacabra, a little bit hellhound from Ghostbusters.

And that image stuck with me.

When I started writing my Transplanted Tales series, one of the first creatures that came to mind was the Jabberwocky. In fact, in the beginning of RED, Tess “Red’ Little mentions Jabberwocky as a possible suspect in the gruesome murders plaguing the Tales: “Last time I brought him in, he was sucking out goat brains in rural Texas and scaring the hell out of the locals who swore up and down they were being attacked by a chupacabra” (RED, Chapter 2).

Unfortunately, I couldn’t figure out a way to work him into that book—or the two subsequent books. But when I started writing GRIMM CONSEQUENCES, I decided it was time to have Nate and Tess to face off against a fabled Tale monster, and not one that was just a shape-shifter or were.

Once again, though, I didn’t have anything to really go on in creating him, which was great on one hand because it gave me complete creative freedom. But it also was a bit frustrating as I wasn’t quite sure what to add to make him a creature that would cause even Nate Grimm to get a little nervous. I hope readers will shiver just a little when they encounter my version of the Jabberwocky.

Here is a little sneak peek at what you can expect:

“My head snapped in the direction she’d indicated, and I saw Eddie and Gran lying on the ground, unconscious. Then I heard the hiss. It was a strangely undulating sound, almost a buzz. I squinted into the shadows, trying to make it out. My eyes widened as the thing slowly came forward, its misshapen head a cross between that of a goat and a dog. Spikes protruded down its warty back, and rancid green pus oozed from its mouth. A long, reptilian tongue slid between putrid lips to reveal a horrifying maw of jagged teeth as it licked the pus away with a wet slurping that made bile rise in the back of my throat. 
But more than anything, I was worried about its claws. Each talon was a poisoned dart that it could launch at its prey, and I knew from experience how deadly those bastards could be.

“Jabberwocky,” I breathed.

Jabberwocky is definitely a force to be reckoned with in GRIMM CONSEQUENCES, and one that Nate will have to face off against more than once to protect the people he cares about.

Kate is offering a giveaway:

Grimm Consequences
You reap what you sow...

Saying Nate Grimm has a dark past is an understatement. Fortunately, no one's bothered to look too closely at the Fairytale Management Authority's lead detective and part-time Reaper. And that's the way Nate wants to keep it. For after centuries of torment and loneliness, he's finally found happiness with the hot and hard-charging love of his life, Tess "Red" Little.

Of course, his love for Tess is the reason there's a posse of Reaper judges after him, led by a sadistic bastard acquainted with Nate from once upon a time. Now, Tess will pay the price for Nate's transgressions unless Nate severs his ties to the transplanted Tales--and Tess--forever. His enemy has the advantage in speed, malice and brutality. But the Reapers have underestimated the depth of Nate's love and devotion. And the fury of his wrath. . . . 

Author Bio:
Kate SeRine (pronounced “serene”) faithfully watched weekend monster movie marathons while growing up, each week hoping that maybe this time the creature du jour would get the girl. But every week she was disappointed. So when she began writing her own stories, Kate vowed that her characters would always have a happily ever after. And, thus, her love for paranormal romance was born.

Kate is the author of the award-winning Transplanted Tales series, available from Kensington Books. She lives in a smallish, quintessentially Midwestern town with her husband and two sons, who share her love of storytelling. She never tires of creating new worlds to share and is even now working on her next project.

Author Links:
Site:  Kate SeRine
Twitter:  @KateSeRine
Facebook:  Kate SeRine

Purchase Books: (click the image to go to Amazon)

Book Review: Grimm Consequences

Grimm Consequences

By:  Kate SeRine

Publish Date:  April 17, 2014

Publisher:  Kensington

Format:  eBook, 91pgs

Genre:  Urban Fantasy

Series:  1.5 Novella in Transplanted Tales series; 1st Book ~ Red, 2nd Book ~ The Better to See You, 3rd Book ~ Along Came a Spider

Recommendation:  Oh heavens what are you waiting for? If you loved Nate in Red, *melts* you are going to absolutely love him now.

You reap what you sow...

Saying Nate Grimm has a dark past is an understatement. Fortunately, no one's bothered to look too closely at the Fairytale Management Authority's lead detective and part-time Reaper. And that's the way Nate wants to keep it. For after centuries of torment and loneliness, he's finally found happiness with the hot and hard-charging love of his life, Tess "Red" Little.

Of course, his love for Tess is the reason there's a posse of Reaper judges after him, led by a sadistic bastard acquainted with Nate from once upon a time. Now, Tess will pay the price for Nate's transgressions unless Nate severs his ties to the transplanted Tales--and Tess--forever. His enemy has the advantage in speed, malice and brutality. But the Reapers have underestimated the depth of Nate's love and devotion. And the fury of his wrath. . .

First Sentence:
I'll never forget the moment I saw her.

Purchase At:
Amazon  /  Barnes & Nobles

**I requested a copy of this story for review.

My Thoughts and Summary:
Years ago when Grimm first saw Red, he did what he'd never done before. What he never thought he'd do. He broke a law. An important Reaper law and granted reprieve to Tess by not taking her soul in death. Nate has once again disregarded his calling for another along with taking a life before it's time. Nate hasn't received his visit from the judges yet. They always come to discipline him. But the delay now has him scared for Tess. He won't let her out of his sight, especially not on their case trying to apprehend the dangerous escapee from the Asylum. Nate's past and Reaper background has caught up with him, and the woman he loves.

Kate and her prologues. Such a needed view of an important past event to set the stage of our main character. Nate's words, his story, bleed the feeling and  emotions felt. I felt them. The prologue sets it all with the first time he ever saw Tess. The story follows suit splendidly. Nate's first sight of Tess is so romantic and yet has a twinge of tragic to it.

This whole novella is through Nate's eyes. Dang, that man! Oh my! I love Nate, always have. But after reading this... We learn the secrets that Nate holds near and dear to him. The secrets he fears losing Tess for if she ever knew the whole truth, the Reaper part and before. Wow. We learn the meaning of his "tattoos" and for what he paid penance for to receive them. Nate has been guilty time and again for what Reapers aren't to do. Then he took a life before it's time, even though she was cruel and evil it was still before her time.

Kate has once again crafted a mystery story and weaved it through with romance. She is amazing at this creation. The escape from the Asylum. The story behind Nate and his worry for Tess's safety. So much depth to the story!

This story takes place just months after the first book Red. But, I like that it didn't come out until after the third book. There are hints here that reference what happens in the third book, Along Came a Spider. So to keep that feeling and the feel of "aaah" here, I would say read the first three books before this. But, definitely wait until after reading Red before this one, it won't make as much sense or hit the cord with Red and Tess in your heart otherwise.

There are little answers to things we didn't see in the books with the POVs we were seeing through. One is the Tribunal coming to their decision over a mysteriously disappearing body. We see Nicky asking his favor of Nate.

This novella ties together all the books and their happenings smoothly. A must read if you are loving Kate's Transplanted Tales series as much as I am.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Mythical Monday (46)

It seems there are many books based on or influenced by Myths and Mythological Beings.

There are so many different Mythology and Mythological Beings recorded. Some are very popular and well known, others not so much. There are many similar beings, yet different depending on the culture it’s based in.  The definition of Myth covers about anything in the Urban Fantasy/Fantasy realm to me.

I’ve invited authors to share briefly the Mythological being or Myth that influenced their character(s) or story, or what their character(s) are based on influencing their books.  Hosting here, one author and being or myth per week.

This week we have:
Paranormal Fantasy author 
Kimberley Long-Ewing
Talking of Gianes.

Tracking the Elusive Gianes

When the call for submissions for Bad Ass Fairies : It’s Elemental went out, Danielle Ackley-McPhail, the senior editor, listed on the website suggested fairies for each element. As I perused the list, my eye was caught by the gianes. They were described as female weavers who scryed the future in their spinning wheels. Obtaining a piece of their cloth was supposed to bring good fortune. They are Italian in origin. Perfect.

I should have been suspicious when I heard snickering from the shadows.

Time for research. I immediately find a few references to the gianes. describes them as “They are female, solitary wood elves who will occasionally aid humans. They are master cloth weavers, but weave for fun rather than for anyone's benefit. Divination is another one of their talents. Their usual method of divining is to scry into their moving spinning wheels. Their associated element is Earth.” D.J. Conway makes a brief mention of them as diviners in Wicca : the Complete Craft. Edain McCoy also writes briefly about them in A Witch’s Guide to Fairy Folk.

And there the trail abruptly ends.

The snickering in the shadows was now definitely laughter. Darned tricksters.

But I am, if nothing else, persistent. I have a strong academic background and research is one of my loves. I turned to libraries, academic sources, and searched through collections of fairy tales from Italy and all over Europe in search of more information. I came up empty handed for any direct mention of the gianes, though I found tantalizing hints about similar creatures in collections such as Italo Calvino’s Italian Folktales. I asked friends with contacts in Italy to make inquiries for me. No one had heard of gianes. I found all this very troubling.

The tricksters in the shadows were now rolling with laughter.

Then I remembered the research being done by Andras Coren Arthen. He is working on tracking down European pre-Christian traditions and stories carried through unbroken family lines. These are typically hidden in small communities or even just a handful of families in remote regions. I suspect the gianes and stories about them might fall into a similar vein; they are remembered by a small group of people in a remote area of Italy or by Italian immigrants to America. How many stories grew up in remote regions only to be lost in the passage of time?

Now the tricksters settled down, waiting to see what story I would spin.

I returned to Calvino’s book and read through the 200+ folktales, searching for clues of how gianes stories might have been told. I savored the flavor and patterns in Italian stories, such as the repeated use of the colors red, white, and black. I examined the elusive nature of elves and under what conditions they would help others. What was the role of divination in these folktales? Did it help or hurt the people who sought such otherworldly assistance? In “Giricoccola”, the Moon spirit helps a beautiful girl whose sisters plot to kill her. Like “Snow White”, she falls victim to a witch who tempts her with first a pin, then a comb, then a beautiful dress. Each time, she is turned into a statue. The Moon restores her twice, admonishing her to never open the door to a visitor. The third time, she leaves the girl a statue who is later restored by a prince. Divination is used by the witch to determine if Giricoccola is still dead.

In “The North Wind’s Gift”, the spirit of the North Wind gives a magical box that produces food to a farmer whose crops are ruined by the wind’s antics. The tale of “Misfortune” is of a girl whose Fate is a neglected old woman. As soon as the girl finds her and treats her well, her luck changes. In each of these, the magical creatures impact people incidentally then make reparations when informed and when treated with kindness.

Four fairies come to charm a young girl in “Pippina The Serpent”. The parents have ordered special pies for them in order to receive generous charms and blessings but one of the pies was substituted with one filled with cinders and ash by a gluttonous baker’s wife. The first three fairies blessed the child with great riches but the fourth, on cutting into her pie, was insulted and cursed her to turn into a serpent whenever the sun shone on her. The curse is eventually lifted after a series of misadventures involving her brother, a jealous friend, and a king.

Then a story of my own began to emerge. I combined these threads with Roman myths about the Fates and gave it all a modern American twist. What might have replaced the spinning wheel and spindle? I explored the possibility and implications of gianes as weavers of the world wide web, using bits of information as their thread. Who would they assist? Why would they choose to assist them? And three gianes came forward in my imagination, bickering and quipping poetry as they danced across the technological developments of the 20th century; weaving stories of existence in and out of the web of data to entice those with something to offer. The story, “Spin, Weave, and Measure”, will appear in Bad Ass Fairies : It’s Elemental, due out from Dark Quest books in May 2014.

Author Bio:
Kimberley Long-Ewing's work focuses on fantasy themes and finding the unusual in ordinary objects. Her short stories have appeared in Crossed Genres, New Myths, and anthologies such as UnCONventional and Holiday Magic (Spencer Hill Press) and the up-coming Bad Ass Fairies : It's Elemental (Dark Quest Books).

Author Links:
Blog:  Kimberley Long-Ewing
Twitter:  @kimlongewing

Purchase At:
Amazon or any book sellers May 2014!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Sunday Post #51

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer ~ It's a chance to share news ~ A post to recap the past week on your blog, showcase books and things we have received and share new about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead.


Happy Easter to those that honor the holiday. Hope you have a lovely time with your family and friends.

Last week....went well for reading, I think. I'm getting through beta reads here and I have one more to go. I will read the first 3k words of my work again, add a few things more (I've already brought it up to 4800+ words). But I need to move on. I can't be stuck in this part of the story. And...I've started notes for another story, standalone of course.

This week to come I'll get through the one beta I have left and on to some books for authors I'll see at Balticon. Eep! BALTICON!!! It's Memorial Weekend and it's getting closer!

What's Happening in Books:

Current Read:
This week was focused on a few beta reads. I have a bit more to do as well.

AND have been reading as chapters come up:
Soulless by Skyla Dawn Cameron (2 chapters a week for free on her site!)

Current Podcast Book Listen:
I'm re-listening to The Coffee Legacy by Katharina Bordet in excitement of Danube Waves coming our way.

Finished Last Weeks:

Finished Podcast Book Listen:



Last Week on the Blog:

Cover Reveals: (click titles to go to post & learn more)


Around the Internet...


Weekly Posts:

***NEW*** Mythical Monday Kait Ballenger on Pixies.

Throwback Thursday


This Week to Come on the Blog:

Mythical Monday Will be Kimberley Long-Ewing - Tracking the Elusive Gianes. (Mon)

Book Review Grimm Consequences by Kate SeRine along with Guest Post by Kate. (Wed)

Book Review Full Share by Nathan Lowell (Thurs)


Received Last Weeks:

Looks like I didn't even pick up a freebie this week. Huh.



Free Ebooks:

Free Audio Books/Stories:



Reviews to Come:

Full Share by Nathan Lowell - a podcast reading of the book
Double Share by Nathan Lowell - a podcast reading of the book
Captain's Share by Nathan Lowell - a podcast reading of the book
Owners Share by Nathan Lowell - a podcast reading of the book
Ravenwood by Nathan Lowell - a podcast reading of the book
Working for the Devil by Lilith Saintcrow
Marco and The Red Granny by Mur Lafferty (in audiobook while at work)
Hell by Mur Lafferty (in audiobook while at work)
Earth by Mur Lafferty (in audiobook while at work)
Wasteland by Mur Lafferty (in audiobook while at work)
War by Mur Lafferty (in audiobook while at work)
Tales of the Children by P.G. Holyfield (in audiobook while at work) An Anthology collection in the setting of Land of Caern.
The Secret World Chronicle: Invasion by Mercedes Lackey & Steve Libbey (in audiobook while at work)
The Secret World Chronicle: The Hunt by Mercedes Lackey & Steve Libbey (in audiobook while at work)
Rusted Veins by Jaye Wells
Haunted by Amanda Bonilla
Grimm Consequences by Kate SeRine
The Secret World Chronicle: World Well Lost by Mercees Lackey,Steve Libby, Cody Martin, & Dennis Lee
Morevi by Tee Morris & Lisa Lee
Tales from the Archives, Vol 3: #1 by Tee Morris, Pip Ballantine, & others.
Tales from the Archives, Vol 3: #2 by Tee Morris, Pip Ballantine, & others.
Tales from the Archives, Vol 3: #3 by Tee Morris, Pip Ballantine, & others.
Flash in a Can by Danielle Ackley-McPhail
Crossing Lines by John Mierau
Marked Man by John Mierau
Harlan's Wake by John Mierau
The List by John Mierau

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Book Review: Half Share

Half Share

By:  Nathan Lowell


Publish Date:  2007

Format:  Audio, Podiobook

Genre:  Science Fiction

Series:  2nd in Golden Age of the Solar Clipper series, 1st Book ~ Quarter Share

Recommendation:  Yes, it fell a little short of the first book, but still an amazing creation in the deep space setting.


It's a time of change on the Lois McKendrick.  Sarah Krugg joins the mess deck and Ishmael Wang moves to the environmental section.  Just after getting accustomed to life aboard a solar clipper, Ishmael must learn a whole new set of skills, face his own fears and doubts, and try to balance love and loss in the depths of space.

Both Ish and Sarah must learn to live by the mantra, "Trust Lois."  For Sarah, there is the hope of escaping a horrifying past.  For Ish, he must discover what type of man he wants to become and learn the consequences of his choices.

Return with the crew of the SC Lois McKendrick, as you set sail in the next installment of the Trader Tales of the Solar Clipper Series.  All your favorites return: Ish, Pip, Cookie, Brill, Diane, and Big Bad Bev.  You might even discover some new friends as you travel among the stars.

First Sentence:
It was the best of times. It was the worst of times. The classic good news, bad news scenario if ever there was one.

Purchase At:
Amazon   /   Barnes & Nobles   /   Book Depository

**I listened to this podcast book for my own enjoyment.

My Thoughts and Summary:
The beginning makes you nervous with Ish, for what might be the reason the Captain wants to see him.  Then when he walks into the meeting to see all the senior staff there!  You are pulled in wondering what has gone wrong.

We start right where Quarter Share ended.  It seems the series will follow right through with Ish each step of the way with his life, as he quickly grows with the crew.

Our boys move up the ladder, well, mostly.  Pip is still in the mess hall, but he has acquired a status for his trading.  Ish has moved to Environmental, with an increase in his pay share and mass.

Once again Ish's personality - calm and helping - has earned him trust from the new member taking his spot in the mess hall, Sarah.  Sarah is broken and has had a rough life before here.  Sarah has really grown on me as a new character, and grew as a character, and I really like her.  Ish's personality helps influence her and others around him, bringing them up emotionally as well.  The crew seems to be a tight family and growing closer as the days pass.  Such a nice crew to be with!

With the change in Ish's position on the ship comes change.  We leave one bunk birth for another, which is kind of like moving houses.  We still see those we spent so much time with in Quarter Share, but also spend more time with others we'd meet in the crew.  We get to know the crew and their area of expertise which also bringing learning about deep space and planets into a closer view for us.

That is one thing I enjoy about these books, getting to learn the world(s) Nathan has created in his books through the characters.  What they specialize in and how it relates to the job they perform in this specialized world.  The trade is how we learn of the different planets.  Well related with character centered story.

Ish is growing as a character, and ready to get new clothes for when they are at dock on planets.  He's not sure who he is though, and the clothes make the man.  Ish has some thinking to do of who he is and who he wants to be.  When they come to the next planet, Ish has his introduction to an amazing tailor all the women are in awe of.  While here, trying on clothes, something happens.  Ish learns more of himself.  And with the three amazing women with him, there is a new connection created.  They are crew and crew don't fraternize, so there is a new bond that connects them all.

We learn more of Ish's past, something we really don't know much about.  He's not as innocent as we thought from Quarter Share.  Not bad by a long stretch, but not as innocent.  I know Ish has known people, not friend-friends, and has a literature reading background from his mother, but he seems rather suave with the women for his innocent background and age.

Now, after mentioning that, I have to mention the one thing that kind of felt over done to me...Ish's relationships are growing.  Ish is flirting with the ladies.  He's hanging with the girls and they are acting as they have to protect him.  He even "performs" for them with his walk and trying on clothes.  No, no sex, but he models and flirts steamy with them all.  He gets a bit of a swollen head over the new jeans he buys. He seems to have gone a bit overboard with the Lady Wooing.  It's fun, and a few good chuckles over it, but it was growing old for me. He was *too* perfect with his comments and lady wooing.

We get a look at a Spacers life and the types of relationships they maintain on and off the ship.  On the Lois, there might be a lack of a love life, but it is strong with love of a family life feel.  Ish sets the relationships to where they need to be, and starts to grow a new one on the outside of the ship as well.

This one fell a little short of the first book for me, but nothing that would stop me from listening to the next book.  I actually look forward to carrying through with Ish on his deep space life as a Spacer.