Tag Archives: book reviews

A Book by Its Cover: The Dispatcher by John Scalzi

21 May

Morgan Filchberger is the last 911 Dispatcher to be promoted to Detective after floppy-armed robots replaced the entire workforce. Anyone else might be bitter about that, but Morgan has failed the Department of Uniformed Detectives Exam five times. Now, he’s living the dream:  the pay is good and he gets to tell his high school buddies that he’s a real badass. That is until members of the Irradiated Blue Man Group start showing up dead and partially digested in the streets of Orlando. With Captain Northrup Wilkinson and the union representative of the IBMG breathing down his neck, Morgan wonders if he’s really cut out for the detective life…

Enter Felicia Guffman, a smartmouthed rookie slash amateur thespian with a penchant for unfinished Greek tragedies and Morgan’s new partner. If there’s one thing Felicia does well, it’s propping up mediocre (male) members of law enforcement to make them look good. Call it a gift. Or a curse. Whatever you call it, Felicia has been putting her talents to use since graduating from the Louisiana Academy of Detective Youths four years ago. And a bunch of dead glowing blue guys aren’t going to keep her from making a name for herself, even if she has do it by making Morgan into a hero before exposing him for the fraud that he is. Continue reading


Podcast and Blog Stats for 2016: Most Popular, Most Downloaded, and Other Oddities

24 Feb

I haven’t done one of these posts in a while, but after randomly looking at our download figures, I got the bug to share what has been popular on this podcast and on the blog. So, with that in mind, the following are a few “top 10” lists of the most popular posts and episodes of 2016 and all time according to our WordPress statistics. I’ve also included a list of our most downloaded episodes of all time using data from our file host, which makes for some curious comparisons.

Enjoy! Continue reading

Book Review: A Quill Ladder by Jennifer Ellis (with an Interview)

12 May

For my May contribution to this year’s focus on female writers, I wanted to feature two young adult SciFi/Fantasy titles written by women authors whose work I enjoy and initially discovered by happenstance:  Jennifer Ellis and Frances Hardinge. Even if you don’t typically read YA, you certainly know some children or young adults who are looking for good reads in the genre, and both of these writers deserve plenty of appreciation. First up for this post is Jennifer Ellis.

Ellis is an indie author from Canada who writes both middle-grade science fiction/fantasy novels and adult dystopic novels featuring elements of adventure, romance, and environmental themes. I discovered her work through a Goodreads giveaway listing for her adult novel In the Shadows of the Mosquito Constellation. It looked potentially interesting to me, but looking at her website and blog really sold me on taking the time to check out the novel. Though I didn’t win the giveaway, I was able to get an electronic version directly from her; immediately upon starting it, I was drawn in and impressed through the end. Continue reading

Book Review: WILDALONE by Krassi Zourkova

24 Apr

Talented pianist and bright student Thea Slavin leaves the familiar confines of family and her Bulgarian homeland for the opportunity of study at prestigious Princeton University in the United States. Compounding the normal cultural shocks of studying abroad in an unfamiliar land, Thea discovers that she has chosen to accept an opportunity from the same school her older sister attended years past, an era mired in family secrets. Thea learns that this sister mysteriously died while at Princeton, leaving a hole in her parent’s lives about which they refuse to speak.

Braving the discomfort that the unfamiliarity of the Princeton campus brings with its upper class American culture and distant memories of the embarrassing unsolved crime involving the elder Slavin daughter, Thea turns full focus to her piano/music studies and the strange draw a course in Greek mythology and its professor holds for her. As she tries to settle into her new life and avoid associations with the past history of her sister with the campus, Thea is pushed rapidly into preparing for major recitals and the prospects of college romances.

The appearance of an elegantly mysterious, brooding admirer at one of her performances strikes Thea with an overwhelming desire to resolve a man who turns out is actually two, brothers who look similar, hidden in romantic shadows and deep secrets. But these brothers, Rhys and Jake, are polar opposites in their intensity and approach to Thea: Rhys domineering and forward, enticing Thea into a physical relationship without much of a chance to think around the passion, and Jake hesitant and reserved, sacrificial and gentle, enrapturing Thea with his words and devotion. Continue reading

Book Review: The Grace of Kings by Ken Liu

17 Apr

“A knife is not malicious merely because it is sharp, and a plot is not evil merely because it is effective. All depends on the wielder. The grace of kings is not the same as the morals governing individuals.”

My expectations were high after learning about Ken Liu’s debut novel, and I wasn’t disappointed. The Grace of Kings is both spectacular and significant, an approach to epic fantasy that combines some of the best elements of the established genre with Liu’s unique sentiments and voice. I’ve been trying to avoid reviews before writing this up, but judging from the headlines, I’m not alone in excitement and appreciation.

First in a series dubbed The Dandelion Dynasty, the novel is set in an archipelago called Dara. Following a mythological pre-history, Dara existed for generations as a divided land of seven kingdoms, each with a patron god and its own unique resources and culture. The instability of shifting alliances and waves of conflict represented the price for maintaining the independent nations until one king realized the potential peace, stability, and progress that could be achieved by uniting Dara into one standardized empire. Yet the common people still suffer, and many miss the aspects of local culture now being lost. Rumblings of unrest lead to eventual rebellion following the chaos of a difficult imperial succession. But with the empire dissolved, what will a new Dara look like, and upon whom will each god’s favor befall? Continue reading

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