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Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Review: Fathomfolk by Eliza Chan

 



OFFICIAL AUTHOR BIO: Eliza Chan is a Scottish-born Chinese-diaspora author who writes about East Asian mythology, British folklore and madwomen in the attic, but preferably all three at once. Eliza’s work has been published in The Dark, Podcastle, Fantasy Magazine and The Best of British Fantasy 2019. Fathomfolk is her first novel..
Tuesday, February 20, 2024

SPFBO 9 Finalist review: The Fall is All There Is by C.M. Caplan

 


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: C.M. Caplan is the author of the SPFBO7 semifinalist The Sword in the Street, SPFBO9 FINALIST The Fall Is All There Is. He's a quadruplet (yes, really), autistic, and has a degree in creative writing. He was awarded his university's highest honor in the arts for his work.

Find Connor online: Facebook

The Fall is All There Is links: AmazonGoodreads

SPFBO Finalist Interview: C.M. Caplan, The Author of The Fall Is All There is




ABOUT THE AUTHOR: C.M. Caplan is the author of the SPFBO7 semifinalist The Sword in the Street, SPFBO9 FINALIST The Fall Is All There Is. He's a quadruplet (yes, really), autistic, and has a degree in creative writing. He was awarded his university's highest honor in the arts for his work.

Find Connor online: Facebook

The Fall is All There Is links: Amazon, Goodreads
Friday, February 16, 2024

Review: An Education in Malice by S.T. Gibson

 

Official Author Website
Buy An Education in Malice

OFFICIAL AUTHOR BIO: Saint is a literary agent, author, and village wise woman in training. A graduate of the creative writing program at the University of North Carolina at Asheville and the theological studies program at Princeton Seminary, she currently lives in Boston with her partner, spoiled Persian cat, and vintage blazer collection. She is represented by Tara Gilbert of the Jennifer De Chiara literary agency
Thursday, February 15, 2024

The Tainted Cup by Robert Jackson Bennett (Reviewed by Shazzie & Mihir Wanchoo)

Book Review: The Tainted Cup by Robert Jackson Bennett

Official Author Website

Buy The Tainted Cup here - U.K. | U.S.

Read Caitlin's review here

OFFICIAL AUTHOR BIO: Robert is the author of American Elsewhere, The Troupe, The Company Man, Mr. Shivers, as well as The Divine Cities trilogy and The Founders Trilogy. 

His work has received the Edgar Award, the Shirley Jackson Award, and the Phillip K. Dick Citation of Excellence, and he has been shortlisted for the World Fantasy, British Fantasy, and Locus Awards.

He lives in Austin with his wife and two sons, one of whom is very large and one of whom is very loud, and he focuses on writing and not maintaining his website.
Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Exclusive Map Reveal: Neo Kinoko Map by Adrian M. Gibson

 



Like many people, I’m a sucker for maps in books. I was the kid who’d spend hours poring through my dad’s worn-out atlas, absorbing all of the continents, borders, capital cities, rivers, mountain ranges, and more. I loved it, and, thinking back, it was a natural extension of my father being a professional cartographer for his day job.
 
Tuesday, February 13, 2024

COVER REVEAL: Titanica (The Ruined Gods #3) by Alex Robins

 


Pre-order TITANICA over HERE
Monday, February 12, 2024

Author Interview: Anna Smith-Spark & Michael R. Fletcher, the author duo behind In The Shadow of Their Dying




We’re thrilled to share the interview with Anna Smith Spark and Michael R. Fletcher, co-authors of In the Shadow of Their Dying. The novella will be available from Grimdark Magazine on March 19, 2024. It's 144 pages long.

Pre-order In The Shadow of Their Dying here: US / UK


Friday, February 9, 2024

Book review: A Sick Gray Laugh by Nicole Cushing

 


Book links: Amazon, Goodreads

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Nicole Cushing is the Bram Stoker Award® winning author of Mr. Suicide and a two-time nominee for the Shirley Jackson Award. Various reviewers have described her work as “brutal”, “cerebral”, “transgressive”, "wickedly funny", “taboo”, “groundbreaking” and “mind-bending”. She lives in Indiana.

Published: August 27, 2019 by Word Horde Length: 290 pages Formats: ebook, paperback

Thursday, February 8, 2024

Review: The Warm Hands of Ghosts by Katherine Arden

 



OFFICIAL AUTHOR BIO: Katherine Arden is the New York Times bestselling author of the Winternight trilogy and the Small Spaces Quartet. In addition to writing, she enjoys aimless travel, growing vegetables, and running wild through the woods with her dog, Moose. She lives in Vermont.

FORMAT/INFO: The Warm Hands of Ghosts will be published by Del Rey on February 13th, 2024. It is 336 pages and told in third person from Laura and Freddie's point of view. It is available in hardcover, ebook, and audiobook formats.
Wednesday, February 7, 2024

Cover Reveal: Sing No Suns, Sing The Night by Michael Michel

 


 SPFBO semifinalist Michael Michel has a new short story collection releasing this month and it's titled "Sing No Suns, Sing The Night".

Checkout the snazzy cover by Miblart and you can also pre-order it via Amazon as it will be released on February 20th.

Anna O by Matthew Blake (Reviewed by Shazzie)

 Book Review: Anna O by Matthew Blake



Buy Anna O -  U.S. | U.K. | International


OFFICIAL AUTHOR BIO: After discovering that the average person spends thirty-three years of their life asleep, Matthew Blake felt the pull of a story. He began extensive research into sleep-related crimes and into the mystery illness known as resignation syndrome, research that sparked a thrilling question: if someone commits murder while sleepwalking, are they innocent or guilty? And so his novel Anna O was born.

Before writing fiction, Matthew worked as a researcher and speechwriter at the Palace of Westminster. He studied English at Durham University and Merton College, Oxford and now lives in London.

FORMAT/INFO: Anna O was published by Harper Collins in the U.K. on February 2024. It is available in ebook, hardback, and audiobook formats. 
Tuesday, February 6, 2024

SPFBO 9 Finalist Review: Hills of Heather & Bone by K.E. Andrews

 


Book links: AmazonGoodreads

SPFBO 9 Finalist Interview: K.E. Andrews, The author of Hills of Heather and Bone




Book links: AmazonGoodreads
Monday, February 5, 2024

Mislaid in Parts Half-Known by Seanan McGuire

Book Review: Mislaid in Parts Half-Known by Seanan McGuire

cover of Mislaid in Parts Half-Known by Seanan McGuire

Buy Mislaid in Parts Half-Known here


OFFICIAL AUTHOR BIO: Hi! I'm Seanan McGuire, author of the Toby Daye series (Rosemary and Rue, A Local Habitation, An Artificial Night, Late Eclipses), as well as a lot of other things. I'm also Mira Grant (www.miragrant.com), author of Feed and Deadline.
Born and raised in Northern California, I fear weather and am remarkably laid-back about rattlesnakes. I watch too many horror movies, read too many comic books, and own too many My Little Ponies. I, and my clowder of cats, live in the Seattle area in the Pacific Northwest.

Visit her at http://www.seananmcguire.com, or as @seananmcguire on Twitter and Instagram.


FORMAT/INFO: Mislaid in Parts Half-Known was published by Tordotcom on 9th January 2024. It is available in ebook, hardback, and audiobook formats. 


OVERVIEW/ANALYSISMislaid in Parts Half-Known is the ninth installment in the Wayward Children series, and it’s at this point I have to ask an unfortunate question: Maybe it’s time for this strange and beautiful series to end?

So, I’ve been a massive fan of the series, so much that I’d look forward to every January to devour the newly released entry. There was a real high point at book four, and another decent uptick in the entry before this. This is a series of urban portal fantasies, each that focus on a different character, or a set of characters, with common themes of identity and acceptance. They are strange, beautiful, one sitting reads that are thought provoking, yet read easy.

I’m not sure what happened here. It definitely reads like a Seanan McGuire book, but doesn’t have the usual charm. Neither is it an absolute standalone like the rest. One of the reasons I loved these entries was because while they were so beautiful and easy to read, they had a certain doozy thematic depth. Here, it seems the opposite. Plus, you’ll need to be familiar with the previous, Lost in the Moment and Found to be able to make some progress with this. It also reads like part of that book, and a bit of a transition into something else.

CONCLUSION: I wanted to write a longer, gush review for this when I got the review copy, but I’m afraid I’m a bit too disappointed with this one, and might not pick up book ten. Still, I’d absolutely recommend you start with book one and work your way upto four.
Thursday, February 1, 2024

Interview: Melissa Marr, author of Remedial Magic

 Interview: Melissa Marr, author of Remedial Magic



Buy Remedial Magic here

This title will be available via Bramble Romance from February 20, 2024. For a sneak peek, head here


OFFICIAL BOOK BLURB: The Magicians meets One Last Stop in this brand-new fantasy romance Remedial Magic, about an unassuming librarian who 1) has fallen in love with a powerful witch; 2) has discovered that she is a witch; and 3) must attend magical community college to learn how to save her new world from complete destruction by New York Times bestselling author Melissa Marr!


Ellie loves working in her local library in the small town of Ligonier. She loves baking scones and investigating the mysterious and captivating in her spare time. And there is nothing more mysterious and captivating than the intriguingly beautiful, too properly dressed woman sipping tea in her library who has appeared as if out of nowhere. The pull between them is undeniable, and Ellie is not sure that she wants to resist.

Prospero, a powerful witch from the magical land of Crenshaw, is often accused of being… ruthless in her goals and ambitions. But she is driven to save her dying homeland, and a prophecy tells her that Ellie is the key. Unbeknownst to Ellie, her powers have not yet awakened. But all of that is about to change.


INTERVIEW

Welcome to Fantasy Book Critic! Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with us, could you please tell us a little bit about yourself?

I’m a mom (to 3 kids), wife (to Amber), & writer (of novels, picturebooks, and graphic novel). Sometimes I’m a teacher (in an MFA program periodically and previously English lit and language) and a photographer (my book Wild Horses is my photography of wild horses). I used to teach historical swordfighting for women, and I have books in ~30 languages and hit a bunch of bestseller lists.


Could you describe your book, REMEDIAL MAGIC, in three adjectives, and then in three sentences? What readers would you pitch the book to?

Quirky LGBTQIAP+ romantasy.

Sentences. Hmm. This book was Pandemic Me thinking about the magic (medicine) I take to keep my various organs functional... and pondering love... and academia... and safe little villages in the woods. It’s a fantasy romance set in a make-believe village.

As to readers I’d pitch, I suspect I think they are people who would like to escape our world to a place where there were solvable problems (the pollution in Crenshaw), but who admitted that magic couldn’t fix everything. I would approach readers who might find themselves interested in a dangerous lesbian in smart suits with questionable morals.


Your book is queernorm. Can you tell us about the elements in the worldbuilding that contribute to this?

Honestly, I just think that if folks lived long lives in a tight community, they’d be more accepting of our wondrous variety. I consciously populated the magical world with varying races, creeds, and LGBTQIAP+ people. If we took away the dominant society we know today where power is tied to the historical “haves” of specific gender/race/creed, what could we focus on instead? Obviously, the world still has issues, but without the hate, I think even worlds with poisoned earth are superior.


Let’s talk about the setting. What readers is this perfect for?

I don’t think “perfect” is possible, but I would hope that it’s a fit for those who are a little more cottagecore but with an edge. Maybe wearing docs or leather jackets with floral skirts and scarves? Maybe those who enjoy wandering off the path?


When I read a book, I always think of it as the author putting something of themselves in each character, in varying degrees. Can you tell us about how you relate to the ones in your book?

Ha! I know I put part of me in every book. In college, my job was researching esoteric topics. I lived in the library. Ellie gets that. Motherhood is critical to me, to the point of my moral compass is entirely “how will this impact my kids?”. Mags gets that. I think about ethics constantly and where I stand on topics. That trait goes to Dan. I am ruthless unless tempered by outside forces. That aspect goes to Prospero.


Growing up, I always thought it would be super fun working as a librarian. I would be able to chat with people about books, read for work, and collect books in nice little piles and catalogue them. What would present me be shocked to find out about the library/librarian protagonist in this book? And what parts of them in the book would I love to experience?

Ellie is a research librarian, and that could be a result of my own interactions with librarians. I have presented so many random “I need info on ___” questions, and some librarians just know. They march through stacks to whatever I needed, and honestly, that feels like magic. As an academic, a mom, and writer, I’ve always felt like librarians are sorta my version of religious figures. They can get me the knowledge, the wisdoms, or the tickets to other worlds. So to me, the logical career for a magical woman is librarian. I never considered any other identity for Ellie.


There are prophecies innumerable in fantasy books. How did you ensure the one in REMEDIAL MAGIC would be different from the others?

The prophecy exists as a “set this in motion,” but I believe in volition above all else. The prophecy exists, but does not define Ellie. Her freewill and ferocity do.


Before we wrap this up, let's talk about you as a reader. What books are you drawn to, and what genres do you read the most?

I read incessantly. Nonfiction, romance, and fantasy are my most read. I was a lit major, so I definitely still consume classics and modern literature. Then the third most read group is mystery, thriller, horror, and children’s fiction. In fairness, I likely start 12 books for every book I finish. If I’m not captivated, I swap out. Often I go back 2-3 times before declaring a book a pass. I just . . . like to learn and experience, so most genres are fair game.


What do you enjoy reading the most, and what books would you recommend to readers who are looking forward to this one (or, to those who loved it?)

I didn’t find a book like this, and it was what I wanted to read, so I wrote it. There are lots of great witchy books and queer fiction (thankfully) these days, but I haven’t been reading much in witchy/fantasy because I was writing these. I don’t read readalikes when writing any genre. The closest recommendation I have is if you like Prospero, check out Gentleman Jack. I read her diary a lifetime ago, and I’m visiting Shibden Hall this year. I have only seen a few episodes but... I feel like she and Prospero have some traits in common.

In closing, do you have any parting thoughts for our readers?

Thank you for giving me a few moments of your time, and if you want the lesbian romance (but hella spicy) without the fantasy, I have two lesbian romance novels upcoming. The first is complete, sold, and awaiting revisions, and the second is what I’m writing currently.

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