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Interview with Tenacious Reader

WHAT? Someone interviewed ME? Yup. Actually, I’ve enjoyed seeing the series of interviews SCy-Fy has been doing and am thrilled to be a part o it! So, check it out:

SCy-Fy: the blog of S. C. Flynn

My guest today is Lisa from the blog Tenacious Reader.

SCy-Fy: Tell me about a typical blogging day, Lisa.

TR: I always visit a number of blogs, check Twitter and other social media (Goodreads, forums and Reddit) just because I love to see what books people are reading and talking about. I also want to keep up with what’s on the horizon so I check NetGalley and Edelweiss as well as periodically visiting publishers’ websites. For my blog, I write up any reviews or posts I have coming up and read/respond to comments.

SCy-Fy: What are your future initiatives?

TR: Gosh, that sounds like a question that could set me up to answer about world domination or something – kidding! Honestly, I mainly just want to keep reading good books and sharing my thoughts with anyone who might be interested. I also want to continue my Backlist Burndown initiative…

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Half a King by Joe Abercrombie



Title:  Half a King (Shattered Sea #1)

Author: Joe Abercrombie

Expected Publication: July 15th 2014  in US,  July 3rd 2014 in UK

Publisher: Del Rey (US), Harper Voyager (UK)


“I swore an oath to avenge the death of my father. I may be half a man, but I swore a whole oath.” 
Prince Yarvi has vowed to regain a throne he never wanted. But first he must survive cruelty, chains, and the bitter waters of the Shattered Sea. And he must do it all with only one good hand.
The deceived will become the deceiver.
Born a weakling in the eyes of his father, Yarvi is alone in a world where a strong arm and a cold heart rule. He cannot grip a shield or swing an axe, so he must sharpen his mind to a deadly edge.
The betrayed will become the betrayer.
Gathering a strange fellowship of the outcast and the lost, he finds they can do more to help him become the man he needs to be than any court of nobles could.
Will the usurped become the usurper?
But even with loyal friends at his side, Yarvi finds his path may end as it began—in twists, and traps, and tragedy.


Half a King by Joe Abercrombie is exactly the type of YA book I have been waiting to find. It’s no secret, that Abercrombie is one of my favorite authors, so I was hopeful, but still wasn’t sure what to expect. In this book, Abercrombie does not compromise or dampen his story for a younger crowd. When things get dark and violent, so does the book. The detail may be a little less than his other books (maybe? Well, there’s no Glokta, but yeah, there is still violence), but Yarvi experiences some grim, dark times and those are not skipped over at all, the reader gets to see it all. And of course, it wouldn’t be an Abercrombie book if there wasn’t just the right amount of dark humor interspersed to help counter the darkness. Another thing I really appreciate about this book is that it does not have an overwhelming romance. I know there are other YA books that don’t, but often, that is my gripe. I enjoy everything about the story but some sudden obsessive love interest. Not at all the case here.

276660 Also, for those readers who found Abercrombie’s other books slower to get into, I think you will find this one much quicker to draw you in. It jumps into the story quickly, and just keeps going. Other than that, I felt the main difference between this and Abercrombie’s other books was that it was told from a single POV. It stayed focused on Yarvi and his story and covered really little else. Oh, and no awkward sex scenes or cursing. I didn’t even notice their absence until I sat down to write this review.

I really enjoyed Yarvi , our protagonist, as a character. He is the younger son of the current King of Gettland, but in addition to the normal second son tribulations caused by watching from the shadows as an older sibling is prepared for the throne, being crippled confounds Yarvi’s feelings of being an outsider. His lack of a hand prevents him from being able to excel in fighting and combat, things that are highly valued by his father. Things his brother does excel at. So, Yarvi pursues an intellectual life, he prepares himself to join the ministry.

I have to confess in the beginning, I did feel he was a bit ‘oh, woe is me, I am just half of what I should be’. But that didn’t last. There is tremendous growth in Yarvi’s character, and to attain that, he had to start of weaker. He still struggled because of his disability, but instead of seeming defeated before he started, he began to look and find solutions that were within his power to do. Much like Tyrion from GRRM’s A Song of Ice and Fire, Yarvi learns to use his wits to achieve a goal where his body can not.

20726853We get glimpses of the world only as Yarvi encounters it, so we don’t get full scale detail or history. This worked for me, I feel the book featured Yarvi front and center and all other details of the world or characters were secondary and only told as relevant to Yarvi ‘s current circumstances. It helped keep this at a 350 page novel instead of a 500 pages like the rest of his novels. Not that I didn’t enjoy the world building in other books, I just can’t say that I missed it here. Because while Half a King is shorter, it is certainly not half a story. It also comes to a good conclusion for Yarvi, and has just enough details at the end to feed into the next book.

If Half a King is YA (which it is), it has just securely positioned itself as my favorite YA novel. I enjoyed this thoroughly and felt it had all the strengths of Abercrombie’s other books, just in a condensed format that made it move a little quicker. I highly recommend this one.

Now the parent in me comes out. I have to confess, when I got this book, one of the first things I wondered is if I would be able to recommend it to my son. He is only 11, so younger than many YA target, but old enough he reads many of them. So, I was wondering, will this YA book by Abercrombie be one of the ones that can easily be handed to a young reader? Honestly, I think it would be an individual basis. If it is a kid that is not bothered by violence in books, then absolutely go for it. There is nothing else in here to warrant holding it back from them. There are also many good life lessons as Yarvi finds his way. But, if they may not be able to handle bloody sword fights and decapitations, then just hold off a couple years.


Many thanks to Del Rey and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. 


Moon’s Artifice by Tom Lloyd




Tom Lloyd’s Moon’s Artifice may very well be the least talked about book from the last 6 months that people really should be talking about. At least of the books I have read. Earlier this year I deemed a new release over-hyped. This one is the opposite. It’s under-hyped. After reading it, I decided that I have not heard nearly enough people recommend or review it based the quality of writing and the enjoyability of the story. I have not read anything else by Lloyd, so really did not know what to expect.

One thing that this book did very well was hooked me in early. We are dropped into the middle of “something”, but pretty much have to read the book to figure out exactly what it was that happened. And from there, I stayed hooked. There is mystery, assassins, Gods, Demons, conspiracy, secret sects, in other words, there is plenty going on here to keep the reader going.

Our protagonist, Narin, is an Inspector who by some chance sequence of events happens to knock an unknown man unconscious. From here, the story starts to unfold. A God appears and asks Narin a question, “Who is the Moon?” Narin decides that, rather than expose where he was that night or why, or explain how or why a God may be involved, he decides to quietly handle this mysterious stranger on his own. Feeling responsible, he takes him.

I like Narin, he is not a powerful protagonist. He has no magical ability, no unusual propensity for some skill or capability. He is just a regular guy who has achieved his position through hard work, and perhaps a bit of luck and timing.

The secondary characters are all well done as well. I really like Narin’s friend Enchei, an older tattooist from a lower class with a flippant attitude. Lloyd definitely intrigues the reader into wanting to know more about this mysterious stranger who seems to be more than the man he is currently presenting himself to be. There is also Kesh, a strong female character, who by some a very tragic turn of events finds herself in the middle of this dangerous mystery.

Lloyd’s writing creates a very good picture of the city’s social structure between not just the various Houses but also the castes and organizations within them. Oh, and the Gods as well, who can evidently interject themselves when it amuses them. And don’t forget about the Demons. They play a role in this story as well.

Pretty much, this story is very well done, and I just enjoyed reading it. There are battles and fight scenes that I feel in general are done really quite well, though a couple of them went on just a tad longer than I would have preferred. But, that is a very minor comment. Narin and his companions are in a race against time to both figure out what is happening, and put a stop to it. Intrigue, suspense, action, yeah, Lloyd delivers on all accounts.

The story works well as a standalone, but I have heard there is to be another book. Something to keep your eye out for after you finish reading this, because if you are like me, you’ll be wanting more.


Many thanks to Gollancz for a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.


Interworld by Neil Gaiman and Michael Reaves



On a recent road trip with my boys (ages 9 and 11), I gave them several choices for audiobooks. Most of them were books I had read reviews for or had recommendations for.  After they read the blurbs and listened to the samples, they quickly agreed on Interworld by Neil Gaiman and Michael Reeves.  This was the one option that I knew little about, I have not had it recommended for them, and I had not read any reviews, but they were interested, so that settled it. Decision made (as I hoped beyond hope that the fact I had heard nothing about this book co-authored by Neil Gaiman was not a bad sign).

Turns out I had nothing to worry about. The story, about a boy named Joey Harkin, who has a tendency to get lost even within his own house, suddenly finds himself in a familiar, yet completely different world. Evidently he has the ability to walk between worlds, which range from purely scientific worlds to worlds completely ruled by magic (and all the worlds in between these two extremes).

I am not familiar with other works by Michael Reaves and therefor am not able to pick out his mark on the story, but I have to say I can definitely spot Gaiman’s style all over in this book. It is interesting to see how he is able to write his sort of surreal dream like stories for all ages. This is definitely a book geared for younger readers, but Gaiman’s style from Neverwhere and Ocean at the End of the Lane, and even American Gods, is there in full force. Even Fortunately, the Milk had it. They are all very different stories, but share that feeling of being between reality and dreaming, in a most positive way, of course.

Joey’s journey through the worlds and the characters he comes across creates a very entertaining, suspenseful and mysterious story for kids.  One character/creature looks somewhat like a bubble that communicates by changing the colors that flash and swirl across his being. I have to admit I enjoyed this character/creature as much as my kids. It’s fun seeing such a bizarre thing and realize it is sentient, and is trying to communicate, but also realizing that there is no way to fully understand what the creature is about.

The story moves at a good pace, and has a good bit of humor mixed in. Not once did either of my boys lose interest, and I always take that a huge sign of success. This is, after all, a story aimed to people closer to their age.  So, if you are looking for a Science Fiction story for kids, I think this is a great choice, and will definitely be recommending it.


The Corpse Rat King by Lee Battersby



Corpse Rat King by Lee Battersby is full of wonderfully macabre atmosphere and attitude. Marius don Hellespont makes his gory living by wading through battlefields, liberating the dead of their valuables (in other words, he is a corpse rat). Our story begins as Marius and his lackwit assistant Gerd are interrupted as they are making their latest collection.

I’ll skip over any spoilers here and just say it results in Marius being sucked into the underworld where he is mistaken as a dead king. Once the army of dead realize the mistake, they send Marius on a journey to find them a dead king (I guess they are in serious need of a deceased monarch). As incentive, the dead are able to hold his life ransom, so while he is making this journey, he does so as a walking corpse. As Marius travels, we get to see him stammer through many different situations, obstacles, setback and such, all of which are made more interesting and disgusting because of his lack of life. And some of which would never be possible otherwise.

One thing that I need to make clear about this book, is Battersby writing skills are top notch. He is able to convey the disgusting and absurd in a stunningly grotesque way. I absolutely loved this and it just makes me smile. And Marius has a very dark, acerbic sense of humor. Also love that.

But, while I enjoyed the quips and descriptions, I just never really connected with Marius, and I never felt all that drawn into the story.  And since I didn’t connect to Marius, that was a real issue because there are really no other prominent characters.

If I set this book down, I was completely fine not picking it back up again. It was rather strange, because I swear I can open up to almost any page and find some bit that I enjoy reading. I guess it’s a case of enjoying the details, but not really caring about the larger picture. Which is unfortunate because the details are so amusing.

But, for a first novel, I can see some serious potential here. With a bit more character development and plot, this book could be phenomenal because of Battersby’s ability for details. Despite its flaws, Corpse Rat King by is a mire of dead, undead, blood, gore and caustic prose and I am a bit surprised this book didn’t receive more attention when it was released. But I can also recognize it won’t be a book for everyone. It is very dark, but also one of those dark books that is just filled with humorously wrong moments.


Many thanks to  Angry Robot and NetGalley for the ARC in return for my honest review.


The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black (Minor spoiler)



Vampire books are an interesting breed. Nowadays, it seems that when I hear “vampire” in relation to a book, the first thing that comes to mind is paranormal romance where some beautiful young woman will catch the eye of an immortal, centuries old vampire and well, insert whatever sexually explicit magic you think happens next here. Maybe I am alone in this, but I can’t help it. That is truthfully my knee-jerk reaction. Now, that said, I absolutely know that is not always the case. There are some phenomenal vampire books that do not contain swooning romances. You can see my reviews for I am Legend by Richard Matheson or Fevre Dream by George R. R. Martin for just two examples.

So, what does all this have to do with The Coldest Girl in Coldtown? Where does this one stand? Most aspects of this book, I absolutely loved. It is dark and it portrays the really dangerous, scary side of vampires instead of just glorifying them as sexy undead that happen to drink blood.  Actually, within this world, there are segments of the society and media that do glorify them, just not everyone. I really like how, while there is some glorification of vampires within society, it is a divisive topic that has caused issues. I also like that our protagonist is presented in a way that shows the downside (and the horrors) of it.

I really enjoyed the characters in this book. Tana, our vampire fearing main character, is a bit sarcastic, always a plus for me. And even the side characters, I enjoyed. But, as much as the story worked, and I knew it would happen, I could not help but be a little disappointed by sudden the romance that sparks between Tana and a vampire (this is my minor spoiler, it’s so predictable, I debated about marking it in anyway). My guess is most readers of this book will be pleased with this, but after reading the dark parts of the book, I just couldn’t help but hope that this would be something truly different. I really was hoping that the romance cliché would be skipped, but unfortunately (probably just for me), it was not. And it’s not quite that I felt the romance couldn’t work, and I actually enjoyed the male vampire’s character, I just guess I enjoyed the first book enough that I felt a little disappointed by the predictable love interest.

Also, I listened to this as an audiobook, and have to comment, the narrator did a fabulous job. However, I was a bit jarred by the introduction of ‘mood music’ in places to add suspense. I haven’t run into that with an audiobook before, and found it quite distracting. And honestly, I felt it was almost a bit of a disservice because I think Black’s words did a great job setting the tone and suspense on their own, they needed no help.

So, if you enjoy vampire books, I definitely think this one is worth reading. If you enjoy dark books, this book may also still work for you. If you want to skip any books that have romance with vampires, well, it may still be worth reading because the romance was not an overwhelming part of the book, and the rest of it was really very enjoyable.


Cover Reveal: The Guild of Assassins (The Majat Code Book II) by Anna Kashina

I often like to share my love for Angry Robot books, but I have to admit I probably have not shared my love their covers as much as I could have. Let’s face it, covers are important whether we like to admit it or not and Angry Robot has a history of selecting great artists that produce memorable covers. So today, I am happy to participate in the cover reveal for The Guild of Assassins by Anna Kashina. This is the sequel to Blades of the Old Empire and here is the blurb provided by Angry Robot:


Kara has achieved something that no Majat has ever managed – freedom from the Guild!

But the Black Diamond assassin Mai has been called back to face his punishment for sparing her life. Determined to join his fight or share his punishment, Kara finds herself falling for Mai.

But is their relationship – and the force that makes their union all-powerful – a tool to defeat the overpowering forces of the Kaddim armies, or a distraction sure to cause the downfall of the Majat?

File Under: Fantasy [ Duty vs Honor | Forbidden | Unstoppable | Back in Black ]


So, without further ado, here it is! Cover Art is by Alejandro Colucci




I have to admit, I like it. I’m a sucker for dangerous looking men. I was also a fan of the Blades of the Old Empire cover, which showed Kara, looking fierce, but not sexualized.