Saturday, May 30, 2015

Kate Paulk's ConVent

The Con Starts. The immortals show up. Bad things happen. Hilarity ensues. Some people I recognize are there, and I'm not sure if the serial numbers just weren't filed off hard enough or if they were never meant to be. Whatever, I recognize some of them and it makes it more fun. Bodies, rituals, black magic and summonings abound. In one case, Kate crosses the line and actually has someone bitten by a werewolf in well... a place that no man should ever be bitten by a werewolf. I laughed my tail off. If you're wondering, I'm referring to Kate Paulk's Convent Book One of the Con Series. There is also a prequel short-story? novella? (sorry, I didn't count the words) and a second book and many of us out there are waiting (im)patiently for the third.

For those that don't know, this is a work of Fantasy with no true SF elements to it. Don't get me wrong I love Fantasy. I write Fantasy. But if you're looking for rockets and ray-guns, you may be better off looking elsewhere. On the other hand, if you love a good story with a strong fantastic element and a hint of detective novel tossed in, this is the place to look.

Before I get too far into the book, I wanted to mention Kate's involvement with the Sad Puppies. She is next year's evil, evil, evil ringleader. If you support evil, mean people who evilly think that you should evilly vote for good fiction written by evil people who evilly put story over message (because they're evil) she's worth supporting. Oh, and her book also kicks ass, but we'll get to that in a minute. I just wanted to take a minute to give evil praise to Her Evilness, The Duchess of Snark. Does that make me evil? Probably. I'm OK with that. Now, onto the book.

Our hero is a vampire named Jim. Thank God that Paulk manages to NOT make her vampire a sparkly ass who trolls high schools looking for a date. (For the record, yes I do know about Twilight. I watched the first two movies with my ex-wife and read the first hundred-forty pages of the first book.  I ALWAYS give a book at least a hundred-fifty pages. That one was just unbearable.) Jim is also a believable character on an emotional level, as he travels the con scene because he can be weird there. Granted, I've never been a blood-sucking vampire, but I do kind of know the feeling.

Jim has the standard vampire gifts: He will never die of natural causes, is nearly impossible to kill, can use the vampire charm, etc. He also has a few extra gifts: He is a day-walker, he can ground magical effects and he seems to be favored by well.. I won't spoil that part. Let's just say he was as surprised as I was and that Ms. Paulk would appear to have a strong sense of the ironic.

Along the way, we meet Jim's friends. I don't want to reveal too much because the appearance of some of them (and the subsequent time spent going "Hey, I know that person) were a big part of the fun of the book for me and I don't want to ruin it for anyone who hasn't read the book yet.  Seriously, it's a good time. I will reveal that he is friends with one werewolf, two succubi, a minor angel and one demon of a rank he is unsure of. There are also other, less friendly immortals about. Indeed, most (if not all) of the tension in the book comes from the interactions between characters that aren't truly human.

Being a con, there's a lot of interaction going on between publishers, agents and authors. Paulk's vision of the publishing industry is hysterically funny even if it is a bit more negative than a newbie unpublished wannabe author (ya know, like the one that publishes this blog) wants to hear, but that doesn't mean it's not entertaining or, for all I know, fairly accurate. I do, however, have it on good authority that Paulks observations about authors being addicted to chocolate and coffee are, if not accurate, then understated.

 I don't want to give up the ending here but I do want to say that it was as satisfying as it was funny. I'll be honest in stating that I didn't get all of it, but it was great nonetheless. A little asskickery crossed with some hijinks and hilarity will make my day every time. Trust me. Your first time reading this will leave you a little grossed out by what you've just read, but it's a laughing with my buddies after a disgusting bodily function kind of grossed out.

Fair warning: If you find yourself offended by sexual innuendos and the occasional double entendre this is not the book for you. If you are not offended and are capable of getting a giggle at mild sexual humor like most adults, check this work out. I loved it. There is nothing I appreciate more than a sly one liner and these characters spit them out in spades. Sean, the werewolf, also kind of reminds me of a teenaged version of myself, except more successful than I ever dreamed of being. (OK, not really. I dream big. But definitely more successful than I ever actually was.)

All in all, this is a really solid story with no major flaws. Really, my only complaint is that the Nook edition (possibly other ones as well, but that's the version I read) doesn't allow me to shrink the text down to the normal size that I used when I read. This is far from a horrible thing, but my poor little finger started getting sore from all of the page flipping. I'm just too used to having a page of text on my screen at one time, I guess. That didn't effect the story though, because the story was awesome. Other than that, the book was well written and made an excellent translation on to my favorite device.

Bottom Line: 4.5 out of 5 startled fen.

Kate Paulk
Naked Reader Press, 2011

Conventcan be purchased at the link below:

Sunday, May 24, 2015

The Last Roman by Edward Crichton

(This is my third, and possibly final depending on how things go tomorrow, part of my Memorial Day series of posts where I review SF/F books that I can find a way to justify as being related to the  US Military. This one has both a Navy Seal and a Delta Force operator in it, so close enough.)

So how about a Navy Seal that is detached from service in the US to fight for the Catholic Pope in World War III and transported back in time to Ancient Rome? Does that sound like fun? It does it me. Actually, it was fun too. If you're wondering, I'm referring to Edward Crichton's The Last Roman, part one of the Praetorian Series. I really enjoyed this one and I'm betting you all would too.

Our hero is Lieutenant Commander Jacob Hunter, Navy Seal, Historian, Classicist, Catholic and SF geek. I liked this guy. He holds the series together and is believably written. I mention that specifically because I've just listed a group of seemingly incompatible traits, but somehow Crichton pulls it off. Hunter is a complicated guy with an extensive backstory and a varied personality. He manages to be a stone cold killer when he needs to be but he has a soft side. He's even more clueless with women than I am. His knowledge of Ancient Roman history is amazing. (More on that in a minute.) 

Part of the appeal to this book, at least for me, is that Crichton manages to convey the type of camaraderie found among small groups of men the world over. There is a bit of a hierarchy but the guys (and one girl) are quick with a wisecrack and are not always nice about things. They know how to take things, however, and God help the man who comes from outside their circle to insult one of their own. Especially if it's their only female. Then again, it's not like she needs all that much protecting. She's a sniper with some pretty serious hand-to-hand training and a bit of an attitude, yet she is accepted once she proves herself.

Crichton found a way to avoid every historians pet peeve with Historical Fiction or Alternate History. He wrote his story in a period that was remote enough in history that most of what was known has been lost and included a character, Hunter, that could point out the inconsistencies. Hunter's moments of "Oops, guess the historians got that one wrong," are both informative and amusing. They're also used to keep the story moving and, in one case, warn our heroes that not all is well. This was really well done on Crichton's part.

Crichton starts the book with combat in the near future and ends it with combat in thirty-eight AD. He's obviously done some studying because he manages to pull both off believably. Granted, his ancient battles take place with modern warriors and firearms intermixed but he makes it believable. In a related note, the reaction of the Ancient Romans, to include Emperor Caligula, are pretty epic but also about what you'd expect from people who have never heard of guns and are suddenly exposed to modern firearms. That brings up something else that Crichton does well.

Throughout the story, Hunter agonizes over the role of himself and his comrades. He has done some SF time travel geeking in his time and is worried about what he and his friends will do to the timeline. He eventually concludes that they have established an alternate timeline, but it's still fun to see him engaging in a debate that I myself have taken part in, even if the person he's debating is himself.

Crichton knows his hardware too. His bio says nothing about having served in the military so I'm assuming that it's mainly research but he knows his stuff. He's not exactly a Larry Correia level gun-geek but Crichton displays much more understanding of firearms than most. 

A word of warning here: Although I really did enjoy this book, it occurs to me that I may have enjoyed it this much because Hunter is a lot like me. I mean, I'm not a super athletic Navy Seal but the other stuff. I have a degree in History, as does he. I have done some studying of the Ancient World, although none formally. I went about halfway through the confirmation process in the Catholic Church before I dropped out due to a sudden change in life circumstances and I fully intend to go back. I'm not saying that people from outside those groups can't understand the story, but I just thought I'd mention all of that in the interest of full disclosure.

This is the part where I'm supposed to rip Crichton a new one for goofing with the timeline but I already covered that. At times it seems like the team is too well rounded but then that's exactly the type of team that any military organization would try to build so that makes sense. The time travel McGuffin is a bit wonky and the explanation for why it works is kind of weird but it kind of needs to be. All in all, my complaints about this novel are minor and I'm looking forward to reading the sequel.

Bottom Line: 4.5 out of 5 Gladii

The Last Roman
Edward Crichton
Self Published, 2012

As of this writing, this book was available free at the following link:

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Sam Schall's Vengeance from Ashes

(This is part two of my three, or possibly four, part Memorial Day celebration in which I review works of Military Science Fiction that I can find a way of justifying as being related to the US Military.)

They stripped her of her career, but they could have gotten away with that. They locked her up, but she survived it and could have gotten over it. They took away her rights and her dignity but the vengeance she seeks is not for herself. They messed with her people and that, my friends, was inexcusable. Now she's out for payback and it's going to get ugly.Who is she? She is Captain Ashlyn Shaw, this is Vengeance from Ashes and I assure you that you have someone you'd rather mess with.

Shaw was the leader of an elite unit of Marines known as the Devil Dogs. Leadership, both military and civilian sold her and her people out. The ones that survived are imprisoned, stripped of rank and status. Even their Devil Dog tattoos have been removed, along with large portions of their skin. Their families were persecuted. Ms Shaw is among the unhappiest of campers and she has damn good reason to be.

What follows this horrifying beginning is a story of anger carefully controlled because releasing it would be ruinous and Shaw knows it. She has to find a way to get her people out of prison and back into the service. She has to find a way to get herself back into fighting trim, both physically and mentally. She also has to learn to trust again. It's not always easy for Shaw to tell who had her back and who did not. She can't be sure who, if anyone, to trust. Even when things go well the scars of her imprisonment remain. She is, in short, a well-written and thoroughly entertaining character. I once had a conversation with someone who claimed there were no strong female characters in SF/F. Vengeance from Ashes had not been published yet. That's too bad. I would've loved a chance to whack someone over the head with it at that point.

Schall does a good job of balancing this book out. There are several scenes of asskickery and derring-do but there is also plenty of time spent on character development. Shaw is a complicated woman who has been through a lot. It takes her time to become used to being on the outside once again. VfA is a thriller as well. There are times when a straight ahead charge won't work and trickery has to be employed. Shaw has enemies still remaining in power and not everyone is best friends with the people who freed her either. This is a much deeper work with more twists than I had anticipated it to be. A book that I had initially figured as a straight up kill-'em-all type turned out to have more turns than a trip down a mountain road.

The action in the book is relentless. If there's not a military operation going on, there's political intrigue. If there's no political intrigue there's personal tension. Things just don't let up. I couldn't put the thing down until I was done. The first time I read this the sequel wasn't out yet and I wanted to read it now, now, now. Oh well. It didn't matter what I wanted because I was waiting anyway.

There is only one thing about this book that I didn't like and I have to admit that it makes me a bit crazy. Schall picked the nickname Devil Dogs as the designation for his Marine Specwar unit. Sorry, but I've got a history degree and that kind of thing makes me twitch. The nickname Devil Dogs was given to the United State Marine Corps at Belleau Wood by the Germans they were fighting. The Germans were convince that no human could shoot that well. The Marines were picking them off at seven to eight hundred yards with aimed rifle fire. I know I'm interfering with authorial fiat but I can't get over the simple fact that Schall took the name Devil Dogs away from the entire Corps and gave it to one elite unit. In spite of that, it's still a good book though.

Bottom Line: 4.5 out of 5 rifle rounds

Vengeance from Ashes
Sam Schall
Hunter's Moon Press, 2014

Vengeance from Ashes can be purchased here:

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

James Young's Acts of War

It's almost Memorial Day here in the States and what is a SF/F reviewer to do? How about reviewing an alternate history set in World War II? It works for me and I am, after all, the blog owner. Maybe next year I'll do some space marines, but this year it's James Young's Acts of War. Oh, and yes, Alt Hist IS a facet of SF, at least on this blog. Honestly, I may be cheating a bit because I love Alt Hist but it most definitely has a speculative quality to it and the S in SF/F often does refer to Speculative right? So yes, this stuff has a home on my blog and this was a good one to start on. When Young asked me to review this, he specifically asked if I considered alternate history to be SF, so I thought I'd mention it. I never knew there was a controversy here. I mean, I've been finding my Harry Turtledove books in the SF section for almost twenty years now.

Acts of War takes place in a world where Germany forced Great Britain into an armistice before the United States enter World War II. This somehow results from the umm, "accidental" isn't quite the word I'm looking for but it will have to do, death of Adolf Hitler when a British Bomber dropped a bomb on him. Changes in Germany's government led to the gassing of London by the Luftwaffe. Germany uses the "peace" to rearm. Britain does nothing to improve its military. Japan is talked out of antagonizing the United States and doesn't bomb Pearl Harbor until spring of 1942. New countries join the Axis. Things look bleak for the United States, which is fighting the war with only the members of the British Commonwealth at its side.

Under no circumstances would I present myself as an expert in naval warfare, but I have done a lot of reading (both fiction and non-fiction) on the subject. Some of the earliest history I read on my own were non-fiction accounts of World War II naval battles and I'm a huge fan of David Weber and others who have written works of fiction that include naval combat. Tora Tora Tora and Midway were both movies that I have watched many times and own on DVD. They're both entertaining and have been praised by experts on the period for the historical accuracy.  That much being said, the battle sequences in this book are pretty epic. Young has clearly done more studying on the subject than I have and it shows. When he tells the story of a battle it all hangs together and just works. I could picture the shooting, the explosions, the bombs falling, the torpedoes moving toward the water and the gruesome injuries cause by all of the above.

Young also shows the best and worst of the US military. His heroes are heroic. More than one of them gets decorated and it's not hard to believe it. They fight hard. Some of the others, well... Every military force has members that have gotten their position through politics and family connections and Young's US Navy is no exception. The good news is that at least one of the bastards gets precisely what he deserved. The other good news is that Young managed to make me hate that guy badly enough to want him dead. An author's job is to provoke an emotional response and he has done that.

 The family ties in the book are excellent and something that I've often seen left out of this type of story. The majority of the tome follow the exploits of the Cobb family, many of which appear as members of the military. Their sister is also a central figure, as are many of their girlfriends. The romances don't always go as planned, but that's something we've all lived through, military or not. The effects of war on those left behind gets heavy treatment and that's a good thing.

Not everything here is wine and roses though. There are a few things which honestly confuse me. For one, the point of historical departure (that's where an Alternate History story diverges from the real world timeline) takes place in Europe when Hitler dies, but most of the action centers on the war in the Pacific. Either way works but both together creates a cognitive dissonance for me. After the first twenty or so pages Europe gets mentioned only sparingly and is nearly forgotten until a briefing near the end of the book. I just don't get that. Also, there are times when the portions of the book that don't involve combat drag a bit. It definitely gets better the longer the book goes on, but it's there. There is also a huge twist regarding the British government that doesn't get resolved and seems to be beside the main thrust of the book. Oddly enough, this volume reads almost like two separate books to me as well, with the run up to the start of war being one story and the prosecution of it afterward reading like another one. Don't get me wrong, they're both enjoyable but I remember being about halfway through this thing thinking that there was a mistake in the page count on my Nook.

Acts of War appears destined for a sequel and I'm hoping that when it comes it will clear some of this up. AoW is the second in a series and appears to be setting up something bigger to come. I want to read it because I'm hoping that a lot of what got left out here will find its way into the new one. There are a lot of threads left hanging at the end of this one and I can't wait to see Young tie them up.

Bottom line: 4.25 out of 5 sinking battleships

Acts of War
James Young
Createspace, 2014

This work can be purchased here:

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Entertainment One's Knights of Badassdom

So let's take a poll: Of all of the guys who read this blog, how many of you have pictured the woman who just dumped you as an evil, heart-eating, soul-sucking demon? Have you ever wished for revenge? Have you ever decided to chuck it all and run off and spend some time with your friends and do what they do for a weekend? Yeah, me too. That's why I liked Knights of Badassdom. It doesn't get much closer to that "just got dumped, need some distraction" feeling. If they go a bit further than what was desired then that's where the fun comes in.

Now, if anyone thinks that I base my reviews off of "artistic merit" and "literary quality" then my positive review of this movie will quickly disabuse them of that notion. This movie is an unapolagetic popcorn flick that features LARPers, drinking, blood, gore and some well delivered one liners. They're my favorite kind of one liners too: Guys talking trash to each other. The movie also includes some labeling of things seen on-screen for added humor effect. The "fight" against the ape things is pretty epic as well.

Yes, the movie is about LARPing. No, I've never done the kind of LARPing that is seen in the movie (I have done a bit of something similar based on the old How to Host a Murder games) but I had no trouble at all following the jargon of the LARPers. Anyone who has any experience at all with any type of roleplaying games will pick it up in no time flat. Trust me, watching a +3 mace get run over in a driveway is something that any old-school D+D player will instantly groan over and the story of the syphilitic paladin is one that I really want to know more about. It's a great piece of backstory that had me rolling.

There are a couple of really epic plot twists (one of which I already let out) that keep things moving along well. Things tend to be well foreshadowed without being totally predictable. The special effects are freaking awesome except where they really need to be tacky. Trust me, when you're talking about the kind of special effects that are produced by a couple of guys at a LARP tournament, they NEED to be tacky. Then again, when someone's heart gets ripped out, it looks like a heart being ripped out. My understanding is that this was a low budget film. I was worried that the SFX would be terrible, but they looked sweet. Also, I'm going to give this movie props just for the title: Knights of Badassdom just sounds awesome.

There were a couple of problems with this flick. I honestly could have done without the drug usage. Maybe I'm just being a prude and I will grant that this is a movie that was never intended for children. I still feel like the movie would have worked as well without it. This wasn't a movie about drug dealers/users per se and it wasn't really necessary. There was a monster toward the end that could have looked better. I don't want to give too much away here, but I thought it looked like a fat foam creature. None of that is unforgivable, especially in a low budget film.

I want to take a second to talk about the soundtrack as well. I'm not going to downgrade the score of the movie for this, but the music wasn't really my cup of tea. I'm a hip hop head and the MC in the movie was a Doom Metal singer (as opposed to Death Metal or Black Metal) as described in the movie. Some of you will enjoy the music, some won't. It's not a vital or overdone part of the plot at all, but I thought I'd bring it up as an FYI.

Bottom Line: 4.75 out of 5 massacred LARPers.

Knights of Badassdom
Entertainment One, 2014

Monday, May 11, 2015

20th Century Fox's Firefly

The Earth has been trashed. Everybody left. Other planets were settled. They were "unified" by force. Our main character lost. Now he's an outlaw with his own ship and a crew of misfits. Nothing goes right and even when they pull off their latest caper they can't always get payment. Sound bad enough? Welcome to the world of Firefly. The weird part is that things are so bad, they're good. Well, not "good" exactly. More like entertaining.

I'm pretty bitter about the fact that this show was cancelled just as it was coming into its own. The crew was starting to pull together. The captain and the hook...err.... I mean companion were about to admit to their relationship. The mechanic and the doctor won't far away either. The preacher was about to reveal something momentous about his past (I think. I don't have any inside info, but it damn sure felt that way.) and the crazy girl was about to turn into uhh.. well, got me but it felt like something big was coming. That chick had a hint of some kind of super power to her mixed with mental instability. She was a little bundle of awesome just waiting to explode. And then... It was no more. It disappeared. The network took it off the air just as it was really hitting its stride.

This show crossed two of the all-time most popular genres in history and that's no exaggeration. The show's basic premise is SF based (interplanetary colonization/space travel/space opera) but it is influenced heavily by westerns. Some of the firearms in this show are amazing. The language sounds more late Nineteenth Century US than I would imagine the future sounding but it works. It is obvious that a ton of hard work and thought went into plotting/writing this series.

Think about it. How else do you explain a cast that includes:

A.) A former NCO (Mal) in a losing war who somehow managed to have enough money to buy himself a ship.

B.) One of his subordinates (Zoe), also an NCO, his new second in command.

C.) Her screwball pilot husband (Wash) that she hated on sight.

D.) The sellout/traitor (Jayne) that came over to their side when offered a better deal. Oh, and he also happens to be a hero on a specific planet for the weirdest reason ever.

E.) The worlds greatest engineer (Kaylee) who, by the way, has no training with engines but manages to keep things running anyway.

F.) A prostitute (Inara) who rents out one of the ship's shuttles so that she can peddle her wares all over the system. Oh, but don't call her a prostitute. She's a licensed "companion" and the most respectable member of the crew. And who manages to not battle with...

G.) The preacher (Shepherd Book) who was just starting to signs of being far more than he was letting on when the series ended.

H.) The doctor (Simon) who is on the run from the law because he stole his sister from the Alliance.

I.) The sister (River) who appears to have been a product of some type of experimental brain surgery and is apparently capable of a lot more than anyone expects. She also has an incredibly literalist interpretation of just about everything, including the preacher's bible.

Was everything about this series awesome? Not totally. In particular, the way Jayne joined the crew sounds a little too out there for me. I enjoy the Western aspect of the show, but I find it a bit far-fetched to assume that space colonists adopt a centuries old culture instead of creating their own new one. None of that is unforgivable though and it does create an undeniable hook for the show. Well, that and the fact that Big Government (in the form of the Alliance) is seen as the bad guy and guns are portrayed as what they are... Tools, usable for good or ill depending on the user.

Bottom Line: 4.9 out of 5 good, old fashioned Winchester rifles.

20th Century Fox, 2003

Friday, May 8, 2015

Cedar Sanderson's Trickster Noir

(I don't usually do this but I'm going to mention something the author told me when she sent me this book for review. Apparently, there have been a few men who have read this story and thought that it hit a little too close to home. The recovery of Lom, our hero, from a horrific injury is a central plot element to the story. He starts the book off in a very bad way and reading the book was uncomfortable for a few men who had suffered long periods of sickness. I'll get to my thoughts in a few seconds, but I can see why she warned me. Go forth and read it, but don't say I didn't warn you. Oh, and I know I don't usually do spoilers but when the author warns you about reading her book, it's only right to share.Oh, and she brings it up on like page two, so it's not like I killed the ending here.)

Trickster Noir, by Cedar Sanderson is the second in the first series ever to make me feel bad. Seriously. See, the first book in the series is named Pixie Noir, and while it does indeed kick ass (and may be given its own review someday) it's named Pixie Noir. I don't usually do a whole lot with pixies because that's what I have daughters for. I was turned off by the title. Fortunately for me though, I heard enough good things about it and picked up a copy. Trickster Noir is a worthy sequel. It takes up right after the ending of the first one and continues rocking along.

The book is equal parts badassery, political intrigue done faerie style and family bonding time. Oh and there's a bit of a love story but fortunately, from my point of view at least, it's not overdone. Lom and his bride-to-be Bella (no not THAT Bella, thank God) are very clearly in love but this is a story about more than just that. Sanderson moves things along between them while keeping the story going in it's other respects in a manner similar to the one that Catherine Asaro uses in her Saga of Skolian Empire. It's a technique I very much admire.

This one has a few genuine surprises in it. I enjoyed that. I've studied the art of writing (while completing exactly nothing) for quite awhile now and I usually either see something coming from a mile away or feel completely blindsided because it wasn't foreshadowed at all. Sanderson manages to strike the right balance though and in one particular case, I was floored for a good five seconds before I like... got it. So good job for her there.

Watching Lom struggle is a bit painful at first, but I think it needs to be. He is recovering from an injury that left him nearly lifeless and without his magic, a horrible thing to a faerie. At the beginning of the book he can barely lift his head. The thing is, he's a sympathetic character instead of simply a pitiful one. Sanderson makes it clear that Lom wants to get better and get back to doing his thing instead of sitting around soaking up the sympathy of others. It's impressive.

The action scenes are impressive. Remind me never to piss Sanderson off, because she seems to have enough of a knowledge of weaponry and tactics to totally ruin not just my day, but the day of everyone I know. Bella knows her way around weaponry and so does the extended family. She is a bit more protective than she probably should be, but it's her first time leading troops in battle. She's a decent tactician though and she's got good help. It probably doesn't hurt matters that she's got an entire library stored in her skull and more magical ability than has been seen in any one individual basically ever. Bella is a female protagonist in my favorite mold: strong, proud, smart, tough and brave. She's also caring and compassionate if that's what you're into.

My one complaint about the book, and maybe I'm just whining here, is that the characters in it spend so much time eating that it starts to become a distraction to the story. It sounds weird typing it, but I've never seen a series of books with as many meals in it as this one tome. It seems like every chapter ends with a meal. Don't take me wrong. I love food as much as the next guy but damn. I hear Sanderson is herself a good cook, and she writes a column called "Eat This While You Read That" (the latest, as of when I wrote this post, is here) and is apparently a very good cook but there is such a thing as taking it too far. It's not the worst transgression in the world, especially given that eating helps recovery after using too much magic, but it could be toned way down without detracting from the story. Overall though, this one is definitely worth your time and money. You can buy it by clicking the link below.

Bottom Line: 4.5 out of 5 Faerie Wings.

Trickster Noir
Cedar Sanderson
Stonycroft Publishing, 2014

On Sunday: Firefly