Tag Archives: contemporary fantasy

Book Review: Honor at Stake

Honor at Stake is what most people would label under the Urban Fantasy genre.  That said, it’s also got a bit of a blend of paranormal romance in there.  What you’ll also find is philosophy, theology, and a great deal of intelligent writing.  And ninjas.  Let’s not forget the ninjas…

Honor at Stake is clever and funny.  The characters are witty, the plot is fast-paced and the story is engaging.  The premise is one where you don’t quite know what’s going to happen next, where magic and the preternatural abounds and where characters accept things and adapt because that’s what they have to do to survive.

Declan writes a genre-blending story that keeps you turning the pages.  The main characters are smart, engaging, and keeps you guessing.  He plays to your expectations and then pulls the rug out from under you.

The story is very much in the vein (pun intended) of other urban fantasy stories that include vampires, such as Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files and Larry Correia’s Monster Hunter International.  The bad guys are bad, the good guys are trying their best, and all us mere mortals stuck in the middle have a hell of a time.  I recommend it, especially if you like your contemporary fantasy with a pinch of humor and a lot of action.

At times, the action can be almost over the top, somewhat remenicent of Big Trouble in Little China.  But the humor keeps that in check, and while the main characters are dangerous, there’s always a villain ready to put them in their place.

It’s clear from the ending that there’s more to come.  I, for one, can’t wait to read more!

Kal’s Fall 2014 Reading List

Something I’ve noticed since publishing my stuff (and getting paid for it) is that my available time for reading has dropped off.  As a consequence, I’ve limited my own reading to books and authors I know I’ll enjoy.  That said, I still read, and I still try to find new books and authors, but at a much lower rate.  Right now I read new books about once a month, this from a guy who used to tear through 3-5 full length novels in a week.

That said, I still enjoy reading and it is a measure of how much I enjoy some authors that when I find out one has a book available I’ll drop everything I’m doing to read their stuff.  Here’s the books that I’ve already read or will be reading this fall.  As a disclaimer, some of these aren’t available yet, but I picked up the eARCs from Baen.

Ryk Spoor’s Paradigms Lost

Being an expert in information searches, image processing and enhancement, pattern matching, and data forensics earned Jason Wood a lot of money – from private contracts and working with the police. And it was a nice, comfortable job most of the time. But then an informant showed up dead on his doorstep, a photograph didn’t show someone who’d been in the viewfinder when the picture was taken, and Jason’s world is suddenly turned upside-down.

Against things that violate the very reality he thought he understood, Jason has only three weapons: his best friend Sylvie, his talent for seeing patterns… and his ability to think beyond the pattern and see a solution that no one else imagined. Against the darkness of the unknown, the greatest weapon is the light of reason.

A vastly expanded and revised edition of Digital Knight, Ryk E. Spoor’s first published novel, Paradigms Lost adds two brand new adventures for Jason and includes many chapters of additional material within the originals.

David Weber and Timothy Zahn’s A Call to Duty

Growing up, Travis Uriah Long yearned for order and discipline in his life . . . the two things his neglectful mother couldn’t or wouldn’t provide. So when Travis enlisted in the Royal Manticoran Navy, he thought he’d finally found the structure he’d always wanted so desperately.

But life in the RMN isn’t exactly what he expected. Boot camp is rough and frustrating; his first ship assignment lax and disorderly; and with the Star Kingdom of Manticore still recovering from a devastating plague, the Navy is possibly on the edge of budgetary extinction.

The Star Kingdom is a minor nation among the worlds of the Diaspora, its closest neighbors weeks or months away, with little in the way of resources. With only modest interstellar trade, no foreign contacts to speak of, a plague-ravaged economy to rebuild, and no enemies looming at the hyper limit, there are factions in Parliament who want nothing more than to scrap the Navy and shift its resources and manpower elsewhere.

But those factions are mistaken. The universe is not a safe place.

Travis Long is about to find that out.

Kenton Kilgore’s Lost Dogs

When our world ends, their struggle begins

Buddy–a German Shepherd–and Sally–a Beagle/Basset Hound mix–are the beloved pets of Rob and Gennifer Bennett and their young daughter Audrey. Their home is Kent Island, MD: a beautiful, peaceful place, good for raising a family, good for having dogs.

When unearthly beings strike without warning or mercy against humankind, Buddy and Sally lose the ones they love and the lives they knew. Now they must band together with other “lost dogs” to find food, water, and shelter in a world suddenly without their owners.

But survival is not enough for Buddy: he holds out hope that Rob, Genn, and Audrey live. And that he can find them before inhuman forces ensure that man is never again Earth’s master.

Wen Spencer’s Eight Million Gods

A new urban fantasy saga by the creator of the popular Tinker contemporary fantasy/SF series. A young American expat writer in Japan suffering from OCD tries to figure out if she’s crazy or not while solving a murder that may be part of a war among Japanese deities.

A contemporary fantasy of mystery and death as American expats battle Japanese gods and monsters to retrieve an ancient artifact that can destroy the world.

One Saturday afternoon, Nikki Delany thought, “George Wilson, in the kitchen, with a blender.” By dinner, she had killed George and posted his gory murder to her blog. The next day, she put on her mourning clothes and went out to meet her best friend for lunch to discuss finding a replacement for her love interest.

Nikki is a horror novelist.  Her choice of career is dictated by an Obsessive Compulsive Disorder that forces her to write stories of death and destruction.  She can’t control it, doesn’t understand it, but can use it to make money anywhere in the world. Currently “anywhere” is in Japan, hiding from her mother who sees Nikki’s OCD as proof she’s mentally unstable.  Nikki’s fragile peace starts to fall apart when the police arrest her for the murder of an American expatriate. Someone killed him with a blender.

Reality starts to unravel around Nikki.  She’s attacked by a raccoon in a business suit.  After a series of blackouts, she’s accompanied by a boy that no one else can see, a boy who claims to be a god.  Is she really being pursued by Japanese myths—or is she simply going insane?

What Nikki does know for sure is that the bodies are piling up, her mother has arrived in Japan to lock her up for the rest of her life, she’s written herself into her new book—and her novels always end with everyone dead.