Review: Smoke and Summons by Charlie N Holmberg

I loved Charlie N Holmberg’s Paper Magician series so I was really excited to dip into her new series. I devoured the book in an afternoon and decided I had to write a review.

This is so much darker. Ms Holmberg paints the world beautifully, giving the right combination of detail and hints. The complex setting gradually unfolds as the characters progress through the smoky, polluted city, a metaphor for the corrupt and desperate society.

This dystopian setting is a wonderful backdrop for the two main characters. Sandis, the slave mystically linked to something dreadful from another plane of existence, and Rone, the rogue who tries to make the right decisions and gets things dreadfully wrong at times. The layers of their respective backgrounds and the stories that have made them are gently peeled back through the course of the well paced story.

And, darn it, the story ended on a cliff hanger and I can’t wait to read the next book. I totally recommend this story.

Review: Dangerous Liaisons by Barbara Tyree

This is not an awesome book.  It is a frustrating book.  There is an awesome book in there, or possibly two awesome books, but this edition doesn’t quite hit the mark.

The story of FBI Agent Sierra Lancaster and her interactions with the people around her is potentially gripping with plenty of twists and turns.  There are old flames, FBI agents, partners, sort-of-estranged relatives, shoot-outs, deals, busts and a whole swathe of difficult and challenging interactions.  I am a sucker for complex interactions and intricate layers of relationships and this is almost awesome.  I found myself muttering as I read because it isn’t quite there, and it could be.  I would almost be enjoying a sudden revelation, but the foreshadowing hadn’t quite hit the mark.  I would be almost caught up in a character’s development, but it wasn’t quite consistent.  I would be almost hooked on the story but some of the details didn’t strike true.  I finished this book wanting to kick something because I read a nearly good book.

I wouldn’t feel comfortable recommending this book.  If a second edition comes out, however, I recommend grabbing it with both hands.  I sort of hope that Ms Tyree makes two separate stories out of it, because there are at least two separately awesome books in there.  I shall definitely be watching out for further work from her, as there are some great stories in there and I want to read the awesome ones.

Book Review: Darker Daze by A L Mabry

This collection of short stories is not for the fainthearted.  AL Mabry looks unblinking into the darkness that lies within and tells it without flinching.  The stories spread from the modern account of domestic violence to the story of a witch’s execution in an historical setting to a fantastic tale of demons and their demands.

To be honest, it scared the life out of me.  It is not a collection that makes for easy reading.  It is disturbing precisely because of the chilling insight of the author and the clarity of the writing.  I think it’s a great collections of stories, but I’m too chicken to ever read it again!

You can find this book on Amazon and other leading stores.