Jack and Jill: Up a Hill by Vance Smith

This is a fun, quirky little story with a bit of a deeper “big bad” plot underneath. Though I am probably a little older than the target age - I really enjoyed it and never felt that it was too young for me plot-wise or character-wise.

The Whitefire Crossing by Courtney Schafer

This story finishes up tidily, while leaving lots of space to continue. I really liked how it set itself up for book two. There were a couple of additional characters added that I am excited to come back for - one of them being Captain Martennan and I’m hoping for more Cara. Overall this was a quick enjoyable read and I’m excited to continue this series.

Detonation Boulevard by Craig Schaefer

Detonation Boulevard is a fast paced, action packed middle book, which shows you just enough to make you want more, but holds off all the best parts to give an even bigger punch in the end. Highly imaginative, excellent world building and a story well worth your time.

An Imperial Gambit by Jeffrey L. Kohanek

Each book has opened this world up a little more, as we learn more of the world and the people, it gets harder to tell whose side is right and whose is wrong. The series itself is just a whole lot of fun and has been a nice little breather between dark and grim. I think this is the strongest one so far.  

Masters of Deception by JC Kang

For such a character heavy story this had a very complicated plot underneath. It reminded me of Oceans Eleven, not because there was a heist, but for that art of balancing groups of people, secret motivations, and character development through conversations and action as this big involved plot unfolds underneath. It takes some serious talent to balance all of that and keep things moving.

Sworn to the Night by Craig Schaefer

A wonderfully intriguing and delightfully brutal story after which you won't be able to resist grabbing the sequel. Schaefer brings urban fantasy to a whole new level mixing it with mystery, classical fantasy elements - witches and knights - and wrapping it into a brilliant, although totally crazy read. 

Chasing Graves by Ben Galley

Galley clearly knows what he is doing, and was able to wave together a story about life and death, revenge and greed, justice and blind fate. Chasing Graves is a dark, compelling entry into a trilogy. The characters and the world is complex and well-built, the story intriguing enough to make you want more. Even if I'm still waiting for that feeling of being completely impressed. So, Mr Galley when is the next book coming out again?

Tales of Kingshold by D. P. Woolliscroft

Tales of Kingshold is a collection of novelettes, short stories, letters and notes about events that happened before, after and during the election in Kingshold. We meet old and new characters, some of them likely to appear in later books. In my review I will focus on the novelettes and short stories, but let me note that I foud Jyuth's thoughts on magic pretty interesting and it was a good addition, explaining how the magic in this world works.

The Demons Within by Ashe Armstrong

This has a closed room horror feel at times, like Aliens or the Thing meets the old west. And there’s a nice nod to King’s Dark Tower series. With it’s old west feel and campy horror movie vibe, The Demons Within is a hugely fun entry into this series.

Danse Macabre by Laura M. Hughes

Danse Macabre is the perfect read for a cold, foggy autumn/winter afternoon which you spend curled up with a hot drink to chase away the chill of the weather and the story both. Blue and her journey will keep you glued to the pages, clench your heart and leave you utterly broken. It's not hard to imagine a world so cold and cruel as the one Blue lived in after all. 

The Prince of Cats by Daniel E. Olesen

There is something charming about The Prince of Cats despite its flaws, and the fact that it's not a heartwarming story. It's about revenge, freedom, relationships, keeping your enemies closer than friends. It has a sort of Arabian Nights vibe about it, especially the shepherd's story. I recommend to check this book out if you need a different setting, like to read about a thief, who is far from being perfect, or invulnerable.

Grimdark Magazine #17

The Seventeenth issue of Grimdark Magazine (GDM) features a nice selection of authors with stories or various articles. It features short stories from Devin Madson, Amanda J. Spedding and Brian Staveley, two interviews with Sebastian de Castell and Jen Williams, two book reviews about City of Kings by Rob J. Hayes and Chasing Graves by Ben Galley, plus an article from Anna Stephens which makes this magazine a complete and highly enjoyable brief read. Don't be surprised when you find yourself adding a few more books to your to-be-read mountain. Oops.

The Endless Ocean by Toby Bennett

This book is a rough diamond which needs some polishing, but man, you can see it shine anyway. The Endless Ocean is a tale of a great adventure to fantastical worlds, pirates, ancient creatures. Sinbad's adventures meets legends of the ancient era, giving birth to an epic fantasy worth your time. 

We Sold Our Souls by Grady Hendrix

This book has everything you might wish for: a dark tale, gritty scenes, a crazy road trip, monsters, relatable characters and metal. We Sold Our Souls is the perfect bland of prose, characters, the darker side of the world and so many great quotes that I had to restrain myself to use them all.

The Great Hearts by David Oliver

The Great Hearts is an interesting debut dark fantasy book, which needs a bit of polishing, but otherwise has some nice qualities: it's a coming of age story with intriguing characters, gritty scenes and a great potential. It's far for being perfect, but I'm interested what will come out of this series.

An American Weredeer in Michigan by C.T. Phipps and Michael Suttkus

Phipps obviously has fun writing this series and these characters, and if I put aside my misjudges, it's quite entertaining. But I can't decide if I should take this book seriously (does it takes itself seriously?) or should I just look at it as some popcorn fun. Even so, An American Weredeer in Michigan improved compared to I Was a Teenage Weredeer. I could lean back, read, and just enjoy myself while giggling at some of Jane's or the Merlin Gun's comments.

Darkness Forged by Matt Larkin

In Darkness Forged you might find everything you've been looking for: heroic fights, vengeance, violence (in many form), enveloped in norse mythology. This book has an oddly satisfying ending on the bittersweet side. If you are into grimdark, norse mythology, have a few hours to spare and don't mind having a dark twist in your read, I definitely recommend this book!

Symphony of the Wind by Steven McKinnon

Symphony of the Wind is intricate, surprising, and doesn't shy away from giving punches. If you like your fantasy dark, don't mind if the pace is a bit slower, want to be surprised and don't see what happens next, you should absolutely check this out! 

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