Thursday, July 20, 2017


The Mireces worship the bloodthirsty Red Gods. Exiled from Rilpor a thousand years ago, and left to suffer a harsh life in the cold mountains, a new Mireces king now plots an invasion of Rilpor’s thriving cities and fertile earth.

Dom Templeson is a Watcher, a civilian warrior guarding Rilpor’s border. He is also the most powerful seer in generations, plagued with visions and prophecies. His people are devoted followers of the god of light and life, but Dom harbors deep secrets, which threaten to be exposed when Rillirin, an escaped Mireces slave, stumbles broken and bleeding into his village.

Meanwhile, more and more of Rilpor’s most powerful figures are turning to the dark rituals and bloody sacrifices of the Red Gods, including the prince, who plots to wrest the throne from his dying father in the heart of the kingdom. Can Rillirin, with her inside knowledge of the Red Gods and her shocking ties to the Mireces King, help Rilpor win the coming war?

I had been hearing everyone rave about this book for weeks and when I finally read the description and saw it compared to Abercrombie and Mark Lawrence I knew it was a book I needed to check out. I love both Abercrombie's and Lawrence's work and if those two actually combined writing powers to create a fantasy novel I think my head would explode with happiness.

I want to first give a trigger warning for this book and I don't think I've ever considered doing that before... 

There are scenes that can be particularly traumatic for trauma survivors, particularly the rape scenes. But I can say, if you're having a good day and think you can handle it, I think you'll be happy you stuck with it. These scenes aren't just there for shock value, they're to show you what's wrong with the world and to prove that survivors can come back stronger and kick their tormentors ass, and that's always an encouraging thought. That you can come back from this, and be better and badder than you've ever been.

Godblind is definitely dark and puts many 'grimdark' authors to shame for not being horrific enough with their poor mistreated characters. 

I think I prefer my books toned down a bit, with a bit more comedy to break up the pain and anguish ruling the world, but Godblind is a great debut, an imaginative world with strong writing.

Buy the Book

Connect with Anna Stephens

Saturday, July 15, 2017

The Liar's Key

The Red Queen has set her players on the board...

Winter is keeping Prince Jalan Kendeth far from the longed-for luxuries of his southern palace. And although the North may be home to his companion, the warrior Snorri ver Snagason, he is just as eager to leave. For the Viking is ready to challenge all of Hell to bring his wife and children back into the living world. He has Loki’s key – now all he needs is to find the door.

As all wait for the ice to unlock its jaws, the Dead King plots to claim what was so nearly his – the key to the underworld -- so that his dead subjects can rise and rule.

I do not remember buying this book. 

I have no idea how it has sat on my shelf unread since the day of its publishing, but somehow it has eluded me...

I had actually gone online last week to purchase The Liar's Key to finally continue The Red Queen's War series, and for some reason the cover just struck me as too familiar. I know I have seen it before, obviously I knew what the book looked like, but it felt like I had seen it all too recently, and in person.

And lo and behold, it was sitting on my bookshelf!

I have been in a horrible book slump the last few weeks since finishing Kangaroo Too and knowing it will be at least a year until the next installment of that series... And The Liar's Key was exactly what I needed.

Jalan is so different from typical main characters. He's not a hero, though he does like to pretend to be, and pretty much everything he does is by accident. I have no idea how he maintains any positive reputation with all the stupid shit he pulls, but the man has shear dumb luck on his side.

It's strange seeing as how Jalan is everything I hate in people, and yet just when he's pushed me to the edge and made me wish someone would just teach him to grow up, he does something hopeful and I want to take his side all over again.

It's a pretty abusively love hate relationship with this character, but dammit, I want the lying, self obsessed bastard to succeed.

Mark Lawrence has a way of moving the story quickly without any u necessary information so the book covers a lot of space and time. At times it felt a bit off putting, like something was missing... But at the same time it felt right so overall I have no quarrels with the flow of the story.

This is a really enjoyable read, especially if you have some built up anger that you need to direct at someone. Jalan is the perfect therapeutic target.

About the Author
Mark Lawrence was born in Champagne-Urbanan, Illinois, to British parents but moved to the UK at the age of one. He went back to the US after taking a PhD in mathematics at Imperial College to work on a variety of research projects including the ‘Star Wars’ missile defence programme. Returning to the UK, he has worked mainly on image processing and decision/reasoning theory. He says he never had any ambition to be a writer so was very surprised when a half-hearted attempt to find an agent turned into a global publishing deal overnight. His first trilogy, THE BROKEN EMPIRE, has been universally acclaimed as a ground-breaking work of fantasy. Following The Broken Empire comes the bestselling RED QUEEN’S WAR trilogy. The BOOK OF THE ANCESTOR trilogy, in an entirely new setting, commences with RED SISTER in 2017. Mark is married, with four children, and lives in Bristol.

Mark Lawrence is currently hosting the #SPFBO competition that you can keep up with on his blog, on twitter, or through any of the various bloggers and authors involved!

Connect with Mark Lawrence

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Hale and Gemini Cover Reveal!

Today is the day!

It's time to reveal the new cover of the third book in RS McCoy's The Alder Tales!

If you weren't already aware, The Alder Tales are currently entered in the Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off (#SPFBO), a writers competition for indie authors that just kicked off this week!

Blossom and the Bear is up against 300 self published books and you can track its progress on Mark Lawrence's website or follow #SPFBO on twitter.

There are a lot of great books, a lot of great authors, and a lot of eager publishers watching this competition, and I'm excited to see who ends up on top in 2017!

About the Book:
Hale and Gemini
Book 3 of The Alder Tales

The third son of the Bear Clan, Hale thought he had his life figured out. He had a stunning bride, his iron faith in the Mother, and has spent the last five years training to be the future clan leader. But when his life comes crashing down around him, Hale knows he can’t stay home. 

Leaving behind everyone he’s ever known, Hale is alone with his thoughts as he crosses the Alderwood in search of his sister. Then Gemini—the clan flirt and known gossip—follows him, demanding his protection. She’s just as determined to leave her life behind. Hale doesn’t know what made her leave her sisters or suitor, but he has no choice but to continue with a helpless girl at his side. Neither ever expected just how dangerous the Alderwood could be. 

Oblivious of Hale’s departure, Parson and Raene travel to Terrana to ask political favors in exchange for their clan leader’s freedom, but lingering injuries threaten their arrival—and their lives. They’ll need the help of an unlikely ally if they hope to succeed. 

And now, here it is, the new cover for book 3 of The Alder Tales,
Hale and Gemini!


Title: Hale and Gemini
Author: RS McCoy
Genre: Paranormal Romance/Fairytale Reimagining
Cover Designer: Kit Foster Design
Release Date: July 18, 2017

About the Author 

Rachel McCoy is a Texan living in New Jersey. Between binge-watching MTV reality shows and baking gluten-free treats, she writes paranormal fantasy and science fiction novels. She is the self-published author of the Sparks Saga trilogy, The Alder Tales series, and The Extraction Files. Back when she lived in the real world, Rachel earned a degree in marine biology, which contributed to her die-hard love of manta rays. 

Connect With RS McCoy

Saturday, July 1, 2017


A ruthless young assassin continues her journey for revenge in this new epic fantasy from New York Times bestselling author Jay Kristoff.

Assassin Mia Corvere has found her place among the Blades of Our Lady of Blessed Murder, but many in the Red Church ministry think she’s far from earned it. Plying her bloody trade in a backwater of the Republic, she’s no closer to ending Consul Scaeva and Cardinal Duomo, or avenging her familia. And after a deadly confrontation with an old enemy, Mia begins to suspect the motives of the Red Church itself.

When it’s announced that Scaeva and Duomo will be making a rare public appearance at the conclusion of the grand games in Godsgrave, Mia defies the Church and sells herself to a gladiatorial collegium for a chance to finally end them. Upon the sands of the arena, Mia finds new allies, bitter rivals, and more questions about her strange affinity for the shadows. But as conspiracies unfold within the collegium walls, and the body count rises, Mia will be forced to choose between loyalty and revenge, and uncover a secret that could change the very face of her world.

This book was definitely different than I expected, and I know all the reviews so far have been screaming, fangirling, glowing praise, but I'm here to keep it real right now.

I love Jay's writing. I think his ideas are fresh, his characters are as varied in personality as they are deep with mysteries, and his words can keep you hooked for days and begging for more. 

I was absolutely dying to read this next installment of the Nevernight Chronicles and am so excited to have given Godsgrave an early read, and I'll say now before anyone gets angry in a minute; Godsgrave is a great book. Mia is as badass as ever and she's evolving into an independent murderess as she comes of age and kicks some ass.

But... And this is a big 'but'... There are some issues.

First off, in book one, Mia is hardcore driven by her need for revenge. She knows what she wants. She joins the red church to give her life over to death in order to avenge her family and nothing will stir her from her path.

However, it seems now there are suddenly some doubts. After 8 months serving the red church and offering up souls to Niah, is this really what she wanted?

Mia questions everything and it goes completely against her personality in book one.

Mia's confusion becomes... confusing. 

Yes characters grow and evolve, but this is something more than that. 

Without spoiling any part of the book, Jay introduces new ideas for Mia to chew on, and then drives the point home so hard I became annoyed. I was actually annoyed by her inner thoughts and workings as she wondered again and again if she was doing the right thing and then struggling to make a decision on what to do next.

Her doubts weakened everything. By the end of the book, and the biggest, baddest fight scene, even I was wondering, do I really want this? Is this what she should be doing?

I couldn't even enjoy the fight because suddenly I was just as confused and wondering what the point of all this fighting was. As readers sinking into a grimdark novel looking for a fight, we shouldn't be confused when blood begins to shed. I feel like I should have been on the protagonists side, but I just wasn't... 

I was confused, I don't like being confused.

Luckily, the footnotes have indeed been shortened, there are fewer of them in book two which made for a much more pleasant and uninterrupted read, but overall I expected so much more from Jay Kristoff. He just kept driving his point home again and again and he pushed it too far. 

Plant the seed, let it grow, and then let it go!

In all, the Nevernight Chronicles is a fantastic story. Absolutely original work, fantastic interaction between characters, a well developed world and politics... Jay is truly an amazing writer.

But in the case of Godsgrave, the plot could have used some strengthening.

So, it's a great book, but I expect way more out of book three. And I hope Jay delivers.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Lucifer's Star

From the bestselling author of The Rules of Supervillainy:

Cassius Mass was the greatest star pilot of the Crius Archduchy. He fought fiercely for his cause, only to watch his nation fall to the Interstellar Commonwealth. It was only after that he realized the side he'd been fighting for was the wrong one. Now a semi-functional navigator on an interstellar freight hauler, he tries to hide who he was and escape his past. Unfortunately, some things refuse to stay buried and he ends up conscripted by the very people who destroyed his homeland.

LUCIFER'S STAR is the first novel of the Lucifer's Star series, a dark science fiction space opera set in a world of aliens, war, politics, and slavery.

Cassius Mass has never had it easy and his life continues to be complicated, even while on the run and hiding from his past. He was done with war, having fought his battles and proved his loyalty to his people, but it seems the war wasn't done with him.

The rebellion never fully died, and his part in their corruption seems alive and well, despite the fact he had left it all behind him.

This is a book that will require your full attention because you never know what shit storm will arise next. A grim science fiction novel ripe with lies, betrayal, and deceit, and the technology to fool your own mother with advanced cloning and AI capabilities.

There's a fascinating hierarchy within the political frays of this universe, leaving technologically enhanced, and created, beings at the mercy of their creators. It's a thought provoking controversy Phipps has created, whether artificially intelligent creations deserve the right to choose their own fate in a world that favors slavery.

It's a lot to take in, the political happenings of the universe, the complexities of the impending war, and the emotional toils of the lower class caught in between.

Lucifer's Star is non-stop action-packed, so if you like complex, war-torn, space adventures, then this book is for you.

Connect with C.T. Phipps

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Kangaroo Too (and Giveaway)

Set in the same world as Waypoint Kangaroo, Curtis C. Chen's Kangaroo Too is bursting with adrenaline and intrigue in this unique outer space adventure.

On the way home from his latest mission, secret agent Kangaroo’s spacecraft is wrecked by a rogue mining robot. The agency tracks the bot back to the Moon, where a retired asteroid miner―code named “Clementine” ―might have information about who’s behind the sabotage.

Clementine will only deal with Jessica Chu, Kangaroo’s personal physician and a former military doctor once deployed in the asteroid belt. Kangaroo accompanies Jessica as a courier, smuggling Clementine’s payment of solid gold in the pocket universe that only he can use.

What should be a simple infiltration is hindered by the nearly one million tourists celebrating the anniversary of the first Moon landing. And before Kangaroo and Jessica can make contact, Lunar authorities arrest Jessica for the murder of a local worker.

Jessica won’t explain why she met the victim in secret or erased security footage that could exonerate her. To make things worse, a sudden terror attack puts the whole Moon under lockdown. Now Kangaroo alone has to get Clementine to talk, clear Jessica’s name, and stop a crooked scheme which threatens to ruin approximately one million vacations.

But old secrets are buried on the Moon, and digging up the past will make Kangaroo’s future very complicated...

I have been keeping an eye out for this sequel and clearly dropped the ball in the last couple months because its release has snuck up on me! Kangaroo Too is out June 20th, (that's next week people!) and I am so incredibly grateful to have received an ARC just in time to review for its release.

Waypoint Kangaroo was a fantastically fun read, it had a few bumps, but I knew I wanted to keep track of Curtis C. Chen's writing after reading his first novel, and as much as I enjoyed book 1, Kangaroo Too definitely blows it out of the water.

You can always count on Kangaroo to have a sarcastic comment in attempts to lighten the mood, but in this case, even he is rendered speechless. He's as hilarious as ever, and just as awkwardly heroic as he kicks up his improvisation skills into high gear in attempts to rescue Jessica Chu from her own stubbornness. 

I'm a sucker for hard crime mystery novels, and mixed in with a sic-fi space opera? That's one giant win for me!

I guessed at a few things and never thought I'd ever turn out to be right, (I'll admit one detail I was hugely mistaken about...) but even with my excellent detective skills, (they're not that excellent...) every reveal was a shocking surprise. I was absolutely hooked from beginning to end.

Now, right now, I have my hands on one gorgeous hardcover, (courtesy of Justin with St Martins Press- Everyone say THANK YOU JUSTIN!), and even though it physically pains me to separate myself from this book, Curtis C. Chen had to go and write that damn acknowledgements page about telling a friend or two and passing along word about his book... So, I'm giving this copy away.

Yes, I will give you a this copy of Kangaroo Too

How do you win? Easy. Spread the word! Tweet or Facebook (and tag me- AT TheMsBurkhead for both sites) about the upcoming release of Kangaroo Too and tell us what your #OutbackCodename would be if you were a part of Project Outback.

*You should probably tag Curtis too*

I'll pick a winner on release day!
You have one week assets, 
Good luck!

About the Author

Once a Silicon Valley software engineer, Curtis C. Chen now writes fiction and runs puzzle games near Portland, Oregon. His debut novel Waypoint Kangaroo is a science fiction thriller about a superpowered spy facing his toughest mission yet: vacation. A sequel, Kangaroo Too, is forthcoming in 2017. 

Curtis is not an aardvark.

Connect with Curtis C. Chen
Sign up for Curtis C. Chen's mailing list and receive a free Kindle eBook of Thursday's Children!

Friday, June 9, 2017

The Scattered Bond

With the world on fire and the ground crumbling around them, Cor, Atesh, and Jwala struggle to make sense of the lost magic and find something, or someone, else to help them survive. The Scattered Bond, the dramatic finale to the Shkode trilogy, concludes this unique fantasy saga about a split world—exploring themes of identity, prejudice, violence, compassion, and the ways we are all connected.

The third and final book in the Shkode series, The Scattered Bond, is due to arrive this September! This series has held one surprise after another and I have been fortunate enough to receive an advanced copy of the exciting finale!

*And stick around to the end of this review because you have a chance to get your hands on an advanced copy as well.*

Cor and Atesh have their hands (and claws) full as they try to unravel the mystery of Cor's magic and its relationship to the ha to try and save their diminishing worlds. Two worlds that are changing rapidly, and not just environmentally. Ideas are taking root and humans and gon's alike are ready for to take control of their futures and to tell their leaders enough is enough.

It's a familiar scenario, one we all can relate to today with issues such as LGBTQ pride, women's rights, global environmental concerns, and the desire for a leader that truly has their people's best interest in mind. 

E.D.E. Bell has combined today's biggest topics in a fantasy novel that begs the reader to put equality and understanding ahead of societal pressures to conform to outdated standards of 'acceptable' views and beliefs.

Each book in the series is broken up into chapters containing several glimpses into individual characters, each sharing their struggles and their fight to build a better world, and with book 3 building up the the final climax, The Scattered Bond has more viewpoints than ever. The reader gets a front row seat to the impending doom through the eyes of key characters in both human and gon dimensions. Things are heating up, and everything is falling to pieces.

I am so excited to have read the completion to this series and now I want to share this book others!

You can enter to win a signed advanced copy of the third and final book of the Shkode series by E.D.E. Bell with the rafflecopter below.

Good luck!

About the Author

E.D.E. Bell writes unique fantasy fiction that blends traditional and modern elements. She combines rich world building, magic, and fancy with philosophical themes of identity, prejudice, violence, compassion, personal burdens, and the ways we are connected. With diverse characters including pregnant wizards, dragon politicians, talking animals, and genderfluid elves, Bell’s stories explore new territory in the realm of fantasy.

E.D.E. Bell was born in the year of the fire dragon during a Cleveland blizzard. With an MSE in Electrical Engineering from the University of Michigan, three amazing children, and nearly two decades in technical intelligence, she now applies her magic to the creation of genre-bending fantasy fiction. A passionate vegan and enthusiastic denier of gender rules, she feels strongly about issues related to human equality and animal compassion. She revels in garlic. She loves cats and trees.

Connect with E.D.E. Bell

If you would like to support E.D.E. Bell's writing, check out her Patreon