The Monthly Round-Up: April 2016


Welcome to The Monthly Round-Up. Join me as I look back on the past month to see which books I’ve read, the reviews I’ve posted, the goals I’ve completed and my all important Book of the Month!


| The Monthly Round-Up: April 2016 |

April has been a strange month of sun between intermittent snow showers which, as it happens, makes for excellent reading time! I managed to read eight books this month; five novels, two novellas and one short story collection. However, I’ve been looking with increasing horror at my reading pile – as it rapidly makes its monstrous growth all the more apparent – and have decided that I’ll have to start crossing some of those books of my read list – eight books a month is not going to cut it! Backlist Burndown here I come. But in the meantime, here are the books which took over this April:

| Books Read |

| 1. |

Civil Blood by Mark Gelineau and Joe King

Another Gelineau and King novella, another wonderful piece of bite-sized fantasy! These novellas are really quite addictive and Civil Blood has upped the intrigue factor tenfold leaving me, and no doubt many other Echoes fans, in great suspense for the next Alys novella.

| 2. |

Tomorrow the Killing by Daniel Polansky

Tomorrow the Killing continues the story of Warden as he once again finds himself embroiled in the customary death, murder and mayhem which pervades Low Town. A wonderful sequel and a firm reminder that I need to get my Polansky reviews out!

| 3. |

Black City Saint by Richard A. Knaak

Black City Saint took me completely by surprise and is now one of my favourite urban fantasy novels. Set in the roaring twenties, and with its fair share of magic, mystery, saints and dragons, this is a novel which had be hooked from start to finish.

| 4. |

The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories by Ken Liu

The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories is the first short story anthology I’ve read in a long time – and it certainly lived up to expectations. Ken Liu is a phenomenal writer with an effortlessly engaging style. With Grace of Kings firmly placed on my TBR, it’s only a matter of time before it too has been devoured.

| 5. |

Moon Called by Patricia Briggs

I was a little hesitant about starting the Mercy Thompson series having heard that the first novel, Moon Called, really isn’t the best. However, it turned out to be a really rather enjoyable read and I can only look forward to a series which has a reputation for getting better and better. Blood Bound here I come.

| 6. |

Faith and Moonlight Part 2 by Mark Gelineau and Joe King

Yes! Another Gelineau and King, and yes! Another exciting and suspenseful conclusion. This second round of novellas is certainly pulling out all the stops when it comes to action, excitement and leaving you on the edge of your seat.

| 7. |

An Artificial Night by Seanan McGuire

An Artificial Night was April’s Read Along – and what an awesome read it was! The October Daye series has taken a distinctly dark turn with this third novel and has become my favourite of the three so far.  

| 8. |

The Steel Remains by Richard Morgan

The Steel Remains is dark, brutal, bloody and brilliant. With a surfeit of sex, violence and obscenities, an unforgiving world is carved out of its pages and reaches nothing short of a spectacular conclusion. This is one tale where the author never holds back.


Book of the Month2

Tomorrow the Killing

by Daniel Polansky


| April Goals |

To finish NOS4R2 and Emma before the month is out!

Roll over!

Status: Incomplete

… Goal shake-up coming up!

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| Goals for 2016 |

Goodreads 2016 Reading Challenge: 33/100 Books Read (33%)

Status: +8% in April


| Reviews Posted |

5 Stars

Stranger of Tempest by Tom Lloyd


Dragon Hunters by Marc Turner


Envy of Angels by Matt Wallace

The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories by Ken Liu


| Other Posts From April |

The Monthly Round-Up: March 2016

The Month Ahead: April 2016

The Friday Face-Off: April 01 – Water, Water Everywhere

The Friday Face-Off: April 08 – Peace is Poor Reading

The Friday Face-Off: April 15 – Metropolis

The Friday Face-Off: April 22 – Dead Men Tell No Tales

The Friday Face-Off: April 29 – Like One, That on a Lonesome Road

 

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten… SFF Books That Will Make You Laugh

Teaser Tuesdays: April 05 – The Steel Remains by Richard Morgan

Teaser Tuesdays: April 12 – The Colour of Magic by Terry Pratchett

Teaser Tuesdays: April 19 – Futuristic Violence and Fancy Suits by David Wong

Book Haul: April 09 – Calamity by Brandon Sanderson

Book Haul: April 11 – The Fire Sermon by Francesca Haig

Book Haul: April 17 – The Air War, The Man in the High Castle and Gardens of the Moon

Read Along: An Artificial Night by Seanan McGuire – Week 1

Read Along: An Artificial Night by Seanan McGuire – Week 2

Read Along: An Artificial Night by Seanan McGuire – Week 3

Read Along: An Artificial Night by Seanan McGuire – Week 4

The Monthly Round-Up: March 2016


The Monthly Round-Up March 2Welcome to The Monthly Round-Up. Join me as I look back on the past month to see which books I’ve read, the reviews I’ve posted, the goals I’ve completed and my all important Book of the Month!


| The Monthly Round-Up: March 2016 |

This month has been so hectic I’m surprised I managed to get through as many books as I did! With work coming out of my eyeballs, a virus which feels like someone’s taken a sander to my throat, the death of my reading companion Felix – RIP Piggle 😦 – and two new guinea pigs springing into my life, I feel like I’ve barely touched ground this March. My review count has suffered a little and my posts have been somewhat erratic (or non-existent in the case of Bookish Beats!) but all in all, the books I’ve read have given me some much needed relief. So let’s take a look at the literary delights I’ve been consuming:

| Books Read |

| 1. |

Girl Waits With Gun by Amy Stewart

Read as part of the official blog tour, Girl Waits With Gun, with its gun-toting, feisty real-life heroine and its exciting storyline, was an excellent read with which to start my month.

| 2. |

A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab

A Gathering of Shadows, the sequel to A Darker Shade of Magic, was most definitely a highlight of March. This was an excellent follow-up which, in my view, surpassed the first in terms of narrative and excitement. I certainly can’t wait for the third!

| 3. |

Envy of Angels by Matt Wallace

Envy of Angels, the first Sin du Jour novella, was a book I’d had my eye on ever since reading a review for it a few months back. It certainly lived up to expectations by proving itself to be tremendous fun and ever so slightly grotesque.

| 4. |

Stranger of Tempest by Tom Lloyd

Stranger of Tempest has been on my reading list ever since the wonderful cover reveal in January. Luckily for me, it proved just as good as its wrappings and has once more placed Tom Lloyd at the top of my reading list!

| 5. |

Skinshaper by Mark Gelineau and Joe King

Another day, another Gelineau and King novella!  These guys certainly know how to write a captivating piece of short fiction and Skinshaper is no exception. This novella, with its enigmatic characters and abhorrent creations, is one of the most disturbing and captivating to date.

| 6. |

The Bullet-Catcher’s Daughter by Rod Duncan

The Bullet-Catcher’s Daughter, a steampunk piece of alternative history, brought about a change of pace with its steady narrative and gorgeous prose. A surprising and delightful novel, I’m looking forward to my next venture into the Gas-Lit Empire.

| 7. |

A Local Habitation by Seanan McGuire

For March’s Read Along we returned to the world of October ‘Toby’ Daye in the second novel of the series by Seanan McGuire. After something of a rocky start, A Local Habitation turned out to be a rather enjoyable read and I cannot wait to get stuck into the third in the series this April!


Book of the Month2

A Gathering of Shadows

by V.E. Schwab


| March Goals |

To finish NOS4R2 and Emma before the month is out!

Yes, yes another roll over!

Status: Incomplete

… Perhaps it’s time to stop posting this goal and accept that they’ll be read when they’re read!  – I hate to think how many months it’s been rolling over!

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| Goals for 2016 |

Goodreads 2016 Reading Challenge: 25/100 Books Read (25%)

Status: +7% in March


| Reviews Posted |

The Copper Promise by Jen Williams

Legend - Gemmell

Legend by David Gemmell


Girl Waits With Gun by Amy Stewart

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Broken Banners by Mark Gelineau and Joe King


Occupy Me by Tricia Sullivan


| Other Posts From March |

This month ushered in a change to the schedule with The Friday Face-Off becoming a weekly meme! I love posting and comparing book covers every Friday and it’s fantastic seeing the covers other bloggers post! So thank you for joining in and long may it continue! 

Announcement: The Friday Face-Off – A Weekly Meme

The Friday Face-Off: March 04 – Dragon Hunters by Marc Turner

The Friday Face-Off: March 11 – First Friday Freebie

The Friday Face-Off: March 18 – Here be Dragons

The Friday Face-Off: March 25 – Green With Envy

The Monthly Round-Up: February 2016

The Month Ahead: March 2016

Cover Reveal: The Waking Fire by Anthony Ryan – US Edition

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten… Books When You’re in the Mood for Axe-Wielding Maniacs

Top Ten Tuesay: Top Ten… Books on my Spring TBR

Teaser Tuesdays: March 01 – A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab

Teaser Tuesdays: March 08 – The Bullet-Catcher’s Daughter by Rod Duncan

Teaser Tuesdays: March 15 – Envy of Angels by Matt Wallace

Teaser Tuesdays: March 22 – Under the Empyrean Sky by Chuck Wendig

Teaser Tuesdays: March 29 – Tomorrow the Killing by Daniel Polansky

Book Haul: March 02 – Swords of Good Men & Blood Will Follow

Book Haul: March 31 – Angel of Storms & Legion: Skin Deep

Read Along: A Local Habitation by Seanan McGuire – Week 1

Read Along: A Local Habitation by Seanan McGuire – Week 2

Read Along: A Local Habitation by Seanan McGuire – Week 3

Read Along: A Local Habitation by Seanan McGuire – Week 4

Review: Broken Banners by Mark Gelineau and Joe King


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Broken Banners

An Echo of the Ascended – Elinor Book Two

by Mark Gelineau and Joe King

Fantasy | Novella | 70 Pages | Published by Gelineau and King in 2016


| Rating |


This book was received from Netgalley in return for an honest review

Mark Gelineau and Joe King continue on their quest to bring bitesize fantasy to the masses with the fifth novella in their Echoes of the Ascended series. Broken Banners, which continues the story of Elinor following the events in A Reaper of Stone, is an engaging and beautifully written fantasy epic which captures the spirit of its predecessor whilst introducing new characters and themes to this increasingly diverse series.

Gelineau and King have proven themselves to be masters of deception as the captivating world of Aedaron is once again brought to life in surprisingly short format. This is a world which becomes ever more substantial with each addition and which consistently leaves you hanging on for more. And with this latest novella, these authors look set to start a tradition of successful and thoroughly engaging successors to their varied sub-series of novellas.Slaughtered and left for crows, soldiers of the King’s Army lay dead in a field. A grim reminder: the king’s law ends at the gates of the capital.

Elinor fought for what she believed and now she is an outcast. No soldier will follow her. No officer will stand with her. Yet when she finds her brothers and sisters slaughtered, she cannot turn her back on them. 

Long ago, they swore an oath. Not to the king, but to each other.

And woe to those who break that bond.

Saved from prison by the machinations of powerful men, Lieutenant Aldis Janen, Reaper of the King and leader of the company of the Ninety-Fifth, must make his way to Cragswatch March on a mission of importance; a mission which could mean elevation in the ranks for Aldis and glory for the men and women of the Ninety-Fifth.

But when Elinor, Conbert, and their contingent of Engineers attempt to assist Aldis in the Reaping at Height’s Ward Keep, they soon realise all is not as it should be. Half the Ninety-Fifth lie dead, and the other half are missing – of Aldis no sign remains.

Finding themselves embroiled in a war of succession, Elinor and Con must fight their way to the usurper and his pack of turncoat Razors; but can they rescue Aldis and the remainder of the Ninety-Fifth before it’s too late? In this battle of wills and arms, a Reaper’s work is never simple.From the outset it is clear that this will be a story of both discovery and adventure, a story where Elinor and Aldis, past friends and compatriots, will be reacquainted as the battle lines are drawn. However, Con’s obvious dislike of the Lieutenant shows that his reputation as a rogue and troublemaker extend far beyond his current situation and into the mystery of their combined past – a mystery which runs a line of intrigue throughout the novella. Often finding himself in situations unbefitting of his station, and from which he often must beg, bribe or cheat his way out, Aldis Janen brings both drama and humorous relief to the narrative, giving this second Elinor novella a distinctive modern fantasy flavour.

Broken Banners continues in the same vein as A Reaper of Stone with Elinor’s passages marked by their beautiful and atmospheric descriptions, a quality that lends itself to the vivid depiction of a darkly alluring fantasy world which resonates with the tradition that so clearly marks this series. In addition to this, Broken Banners builds on the success of its predecessor by splitting its perspective between Elinor’s observations and Con’s practical realism, along with the introduction of Aldis’ roguish verve and humour; a tactic which adds a refreshing tone to an already impressive sub-series.

Janen is a reactionary character who inspires love, loathing and despair in equal measure to those who cross his path and who, despite good intentions, manages to break Elinor’s calm serenity on more than one occasion. Elinor, whilst accepting of Aldis, is able to show her strength of personality by insisting that he face the consequences of his actions with the firm resolve which she consistently displays throughout the narrative. An excellent addition to this small cast of characters, Aldis Janen gives Elinor’s Echoes a certain flair and sense of unpredictability which consistently builds tension and excitement and which looks set to continue in the Elinor novellas to come.

From an amusing introduction, to a dramatic core, Broken Banners is a thoroughly exciting novella from start to finish. The narrative and its alternating perspectives give a wide view of Aedaron from a varied, if small, cast of characters. With a touch of conspiracy and a good dose of humour, this second Elinor novella showcases the varied skillset of these talented authors and left me in no doubt of the quality of this beautiful, if dangerous, fantasy series.With delicious hints of strange powers, a narrative which is at all times beautiful and compelling, and fantastic battles which are more than worthy of a mention, Broken Banners is a wonderful addition to this addictive fantasy series. Fans of the Echoes of the Ascended will not be disappointed by this latest Elinor novella and, for those who have yet to discover the writing of Gelineau and King, surely you can spare an hour to become submerged in this dark, dangerous and beautifully imagined world.

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The Monthly Round-Up: February 2016


Welcome to The Monthly Round-Up. Join me as I look back on the past month to see which books I’ve read, the reviews I’ve posted, the goals I’ve completed and my all important Book of the Month!


| Books Read |

February 8

February has flown by in a torrent of amazingly bloody, beautiful and brilliant books. I only managed a respectable eight but every single one of them was fantastic – I expect that there won’t be less than a four star review amongst them! I may have completely ignored my goals of the month but never mind! February was a blast. It also featured a book so good it required its own rating!

Here’s the run down of the books I devoured last month:

| 1. |

The Tiger and the Wolf by Adrian Tchaikovsky

| 2. |

The Palace Job by Patrick Weekes

| 3. |

Broken Banners by Mark Gelineau and Joe King

| 4. |

Promise of Blood by Brian McClellan

| 5. |

The Grim Company by Luke Scull

| 6. |

Legend by David Gemmell

| 7. |

The Copper Promise by Jen Williams

| 8. |

Dragon Hunters by Marc Turner


Book of the Month


Promise of Blood

by Brian McClellan


| February Goals |

To finish NOS4R2 and Emma before the month is out!

Status: Incomplete (I haven’t even picked one of them up!)

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And to really challenge myself to be organised…

To post every day in February

Status: Incomplete (22 of 29 days Complete)


| Goals for 2016 |

Goodreads 2016 Reading Challenge: 18/100 Books Read (18%)

Status: +8% in February


| Reviews Posted |

5+

Promise_of_Blood

Promise of Blood by Brian McClellan


5 Stars

The Thief by Claire North


Faith and Moonlight by Mark Gelineau and Joe King

The Tiger and the Wolf by Adrian Tchaikovsky

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers

Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire


three point five

Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer


Rising Tide by Rajan Khanna


| Other Posts From February |

The Monthly Round-Up: January 2016

The Month Ahead: February 2016

Cover Reveal: Spiderlight by Adrian Tchaikovsky

Cover Reveal: Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho – Paperback Edition

Cover Reveal: The Waking Fire by Anthony Ryan

Bookish Beats: Bonobo – Black Sands

Bookish Beats: Massive Attack – Mezzanine

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten… Historical Settings

Teaser Tuesdays: February 02 – The Copper Promise by Jen Williams

Teaser Tuesdays: February 09 – Promise of Blood by Brian McClellan

Teaser Tuesdays: February 16 – The Grim Company by Luke Scull

Teaser Tuesdays: February 23 – A Fever of the Blood by Oscar de Muriel

The Friday Face-Off: February 05 – The Emperor’s Blades by Brian Staveley

The Friday Face-Off: February 12 – The Thousand Names by Django Wexler

The Friday Face-Off: February 19 – Vicious by V.E. Schwab

The Friday Face-Off: February 26 – The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

Book Haul: February 06 – The Frey and McGray Series by Oscar de Muriel

Book Haul: February 08 – Drake, Servant of the Underworld and The Crimson Ribbon

Book Haul: February 10 – Low Town Series and City of Bohane

Book Haul: February 13 – The Rats, The Folding Knife and The Electric Church

Book Haul: February 23 – The Raven’s Head, And Then There Were None and Ink and Bone

Book Haul: February 24 – Girl Waits With Gun by Amy Stewart

The Monthly Round-Up: January 2016


The Monthly Round-Up - JanWelcome to The Monthly Round-Up. Join me as I look back on the past month to see which books I’ve read, the reviews I’ve posted, the goals I’ve completed and my all important Book of the Month!


| Books Read |

Well hasn’t January flown by! It feels like only yesterday I was putting together the end of 2015 post and here we are a month later. January has been a month of some fantastic reads, I only wish there had been time to write and post more reviews and continue with some of my more neglected features. Here’s hoping my scheduling will be a little better in February! (A wish that will no doubt be expressed at the close of next month!)

A definite highlight of this month was the exceptional crime thriller The American by Nadia Dalbuono, which had me on the edge of my seat and almost desperate for her next novel, along with Daniel Polansky’s brilliant The Straight Razor Cure. And of course there was the wonderful Read Along for Rosemary and Rue, the first book in the October Daye series by Seanan McGuire. This is a book which surpassed all my expectations and has more than peaked my interest in this urban fantasy series. A review will be forthcoming and a Read Along for book two, A Local Habitation, is planned for March.

Unfortunately I became far too distracted by other books to complete my personal goal of finishing all my ‘currently reading’ novels. I did however manage to cross two of them off my list! That means, yes! I finally finished The Daylight War! And it was certainly worth the wait. Whilst the first half had me a little nervous, the second half more than made up for it. The two preceding novels may have been incomparably stunning but The Daylight War certainly has its place as an (incredibly huge) intermediary novel. I just can’t wait to get stuck into The Skull Throne… and hopefully it won’t take me a year to read this one!

So let’s have a look at what literary delights consumed in January:

| 1. |

The American by Nadia Dalbuono

| 2. |

Occupy Me by Tricia Sullivan

| 3. |

The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding by Agatha Christie

| 4. |

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

| 5. |

The Master by Claire North

| 6. |

Faith and Moonlight by Mark Gelineau and Joe King

| 7. |

Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire

| 8. |

The Daylight War by Peter V. Brett

| 9. |

Low Town: The Straight Razor Cure by Daniel Polansky

| 10. |

The Strings of Murder by Oscar de Muriel


Book of the Month


The American

by Nadia Dalbuono


| January Goals |

To finish ALL of the poor neglected novels which I am currently reading

1 of 4 | The Adventure of the Christmas by Agatha Christie

2 of 4 | The Daylight War by Peter V. Brett

Status: Incomplete

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| Goals for 2016 |

Goodreads 2016 Reading Challenge: 10/100 Books Read (10%)

Status: +10% in January

More goals and challenges coming up in a separate post!


| Reviews Posted |

5 Stars

The American by Nadia Dalbuono


Rend the Dark by Mark Gelineau and Joe King


                  

Best Left in the Shadows by Mark Gelineau and Joe King


three point five

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The House of Shattered Wings by Aliette de Bodard


| Other Posts From January |

The Monthly Round-Up: December 2015

2015: A Year in Review

The Month Ahead: January 2016

Author Interview: Mark Gelineau and Joe King

Cover Reveal: Stranger of Tempest by Tom Lloyd

Bookish Beats: Moby – Play

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten… Bookish Resolutions for 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten… 2015 Releases I forgot to Buy!

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten… Classics I’ve Recently Added to my TBR

Teaser Tuesdays: January 05 – The Daylight War by Peter V. Brett

Teaser Tuesdays: January 12 – Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Teaser Tuesdays: January 19 – Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire

The Friday Face-Off: January 01 – The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers

The Friday Face-Off: January 15 – The Heir of Night by Helen Lowe

The Friday Face-Off: January 29 – A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

Read Along: Throne of Glass – Part 1

Read Along: Throne of Glass – Part 2

Read Along: Throne of Glass – Part 3

Read Along: Throne of Glass – Part 4

Read Along: Rosemary and Rue – Week 1

Read Along: Rosemary and Rue – Week 2

Read Along: Rosemary and Rue – Week 3

Read Along: Rosemary and Rue – Week 4

Author Interview: Mark Gelineau and Joe King


Author Interview


| Mark Gelineau & Joe King |

Authors of the Echoes of the Ascended Series


Welcome to my first Author Interview post! Today I’ll be talking to Mark Gelineau and Joe King about their Echoes of the Ascended series; an action packed collection of fantasy novellas ranging from high fantasy epic to dark and twisted horror. If you want a novella that packs an immediate (and satisfying) punch, then give these guys a go!

| 1. |

Hi Joe and Mark, thank you for joining me today! For readers who are unfamiliar with your writing, could you tell us a little bit about your Echoes of the Ascended series?

J: Mark and I are very big into myth and history and creation stories. When we were fleshing our world of Aedaron, we really wanted the legend of the First Ascended, the very first heroes of our world, to be at the center of everything. In the same way that Mark and I grew up dreaming about myth and creation, so do our characters.

Echoes of the Ascended follows the lives of five orphans who grew up together. In their own way, their lives and stories mirror those of the First Ascended. They, essentially, are a new generation, or echo, of what had come before.

We have four different series.  Each follows different characters.  You can read any of the four series in any order:

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A Reaper of Stone

is a classic, epic fantasy story

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Rend the Dark

is action horror adventure

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Best Left in the Shadows

is fun urban, crime drama

(emphasis on fun)

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Faith and Moonlight

is a YA sword school tale

M: Imagine each series like a movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. You’ve got your Iron Man, Thor, Captain America.  Each follows its own main character, but they all inhabit the same world, and the things they do in their own movies effects and changes the world for all.

| 2. |

I always think of the initial stages of writing as a fairly solitary process, how does this process differ when writing in a partnership? And what would you say are the main benefits and hindrances of writing as a duo?

M: Our process is interesting in that Joe handles a large part of the story concept and structure.  I do a lot of the first draft writing, and a lot of the “flavor” (research, production design kind of stuff).

One of the greatest benefits has to be what I call “the build.”  It’s when we are breaking a story and we get to riff back and forth on ideas, building them together to arrive at something really cool.

The biggest hindrance has to be scheduling.  It is already difficult to be a writer on top of having a family and a day job.  But when you add another schedule of work and family on top of that, it makes meeting hard to coordinate.  And unfortunately, there really is no substitute for hanging out and talking in the same room.

J: The best part of writing as a team is the ability to tag out. We each get to (and have to) play a lot of different roles in the process, but it is incredibly freeing and comforting to know we can always get help or swap out of any given task that we get stuck on. It always keeps us moving forward, and I know that’s always the biggest obstacle when I work alone. Once you stop, you are stopped for a long long time.

| 3. |

With such a wonderfully diverse range of fantasy novellas, who – or what – are you most influenced by when writing?

M: We are both big movie and TV guys, so you definitely can see some of that in the writing.  Joss Whedon is someone I really love.  All kinds of stuff that we love makes their way into the thoughts about the novellas.  A lot of the relationship and dialogue in Best Left in the Shadows is my desire to write an episode of Moonlighting, my favorite show when I was a kid.  A little bit of the Thin Man, a little bit of Castle.

I’ve always been a comics guy, so there are certain writers there who influenced me. 80’s era Chris Claremont X-Men, Garth Ennis, particularly Preacher.  Pretty much anything by Warren Ellis.

As for fantasy, I grew up loving David Eddings.  Joe was a big Terry Brooks fan.  For current fantasy, I love Joe Abercrombie’s stuff.

I also find that when I am writing, I really love to have images available to look at and refer to.  I like having that visual reference to contextualize what I am writing.  Gathering those images is among my first steps.

Music is also a really big deal when i write.  I have to have music going, and it definitely affects things.  Best Left in the Shadows was written while I was listening to a lot of electro swing.  Anything Elinor is written to a lot of Florence and the Machine.

J: I still am a big Terry Brooks fan! As well as Martin, Feist, and a lot of the old school iconic Fantasy writers of the 80’s and 90’s. I have to shamefully confess I haven’t read much of the contemporary guys (and gals) of fantasy, so most of my influences now are from TV and movies.

Joss Whedon, Aaron Sorkin, Danny Boyle, David Fincher, JJ Abrams are writers/creators I really admire. A lot of the episodic feel of our stories is from that style of storytelling.

| 4. |

A Reaper of Stone impressed me with your skill in creating what seems to be a very in depth world over a relatively short number of pages. How much planning and worldbuilding do you undertake before actually writing the narrative?

J: We really put a challenge on ourselves when writing these books. Our design concept was to try and capture all the worldbuilding and wonder of the fantasy books we loved, but make the stories as tight and as short as possible. To do that, we had to come up with most of the worldbuilding along with the plot before we start writing. The hardest part is actually NOT putting cool worldbuilding ideas in that we think of while writing the story.

We have to be very strict about it to ensure the story keeps moving. Anything that doesn’t move the story forward or is relevant to the current story being told, we cut it. We don’t throw that idea away mind you. Sometimes, the world concept is better told in a different series and we get to use it there.

M: For example, in A Reaper of Stone, Elinor fights Razors, our magically gifted duelists. We don’t go too much detail into how the Razor magic works or the history of their magic because it’s not directly relevant to the story being told.  We mention enough to pique interest and make sense in the current story.  Then we really get to go into it in our series Faith and Moonlight, a story that takes place in a Razor School.

| 5. |

We’ve had a touch of high fantasy in A Reaper of Stone and some dark fantasy horror in Rend the Dark. Are these divergences in genre by design or do you allow them to develop organically?

J: It’s actually by design. We wanted four series in the same world, but very different styles of stories. We really wanted to create something where everyone might not love everything we did, but there could at least be one type of series that you could enjoy. And plus, it’s more fun this way.

M: Really, it is more fun.  One of the interesting things that comes with collaboration is that you have two people, both with their different areas of interest, and passion.  The different emphases of the four series allow the two of us to explore those passions and story styles. 

| 6. |

In A Reaper of Stone we get a taste of your skill in monster creation and during Rend the Dark this is unleashed in full force for an incredibly vivid and cinematic experience. What are your main influences when creating your literary monsters and how do you ensure they have the intended impact on the audience?

M: I am a big fan of the Lovecraft Mythos.  I like my monsters big and mind-shattering.  I am a big horror guy, but definitely more monsters and mood than blood and gore.  I really like Tim Curran’s stuff.  Dead Sea is maybe the best Lovecraft Mythos story I have read.  I also have a soft spot in my heart for French director Christophe Gans.  I think his Silent Hill movie has some beautifully horrifying imagery in it.  And his Brotherhood of the Wolf is like my imagination got put on film.

As far as impact, we try to really make the reactions honest.  What i feel like in this situation?  The answer to that is usually far from flattering, but it is honest, and it is a good starting point for how characters react to the creatures.

J: I am very much not a horror guy. I am the opposite of a horror guy. My wife still gives me hell for the one time I let her convince me to go with her to a haunted house and every time something would jump out at us I’d scream and shove her in front of me like a shield.

It was not my finest hour.

But I love writing about fear. It’s such a raw, relatable human feeling. I love the tension. And I love exploring how the same stimulus can make some people break and some people rise up in ways they never expected.

I think that’s why Mark and I enjoy writing horror together. He understands what is terrifying in a way that I don’t (because I think everything is terrifying!). And I really like exploring the human aspects of what happens in the face of that horror.

| 7. |

There are hints and links throughout these novellas which seemingly connect each of the narratives together. Can we expect to be able to build a complete picture of Aedaron from these novellas? And is there a chance of any character crossovers?

J: We definitely want to cross some characters over into other books. It’s just way too fun not to.

In terms of building a complete picture, we want to be careful here. We really want to stand by our original promise that you could read any of our series without reading the others and have a full, rich experience.

M: One of the things I hate about comic crossovers is that when they start, you have to read 1 story at a time across like 20 different books just to get the full story, that is totally choppy and inconsistent anyway.  We don’t want to do it that way.

We believe if you read all the series, you will definitely get a richer, fuller experience of Aedaron, but we don’t want to force our readers to do it to have a good time.

| 8. |

Do you have any plans for writing a feature length novel set in the same world?

J: We’re really excited about doing the novellas and we’ve got a bunch mapped out already. But we’re definitely open to doing a novel if that’s what people really start clamoring for. To be honest, we’re really novel writers at heart, so it will always be something we’re open to. So feel free to start the clamoring at any time!

M: I always give Joe a hard time that he is relatively unable to do things on a small scale.  Case in point.  Not just one novella, not just one series.  Four series, running simultaneously, set in the same world, and released one after the other every month.

See?  No small scale.  I think there will definitely be a full novel set in Aedaron.  And I for one can’t wait to see what would happen in it.

| 10. |

With four novellas already published, what is the next title we can expect?

M: We are incredibly excited to be working on the second book in each of the four series.  A Reaper of Stone book 2 is coming in February.  It is titled Broken Banners, and we are really excited for it.  Then, in March, we have Rend the Dark book 2.  The book is called Skinshaper and we are hoping to take that dark fantasy horror feel even farther with this one.

J: Yes, Broken Banners will be out Feb 15, 2016. I’ve only got the low-res cover available right now, but here’s a sneak peek!

Thank you Joe and Mark! That is one gorgeous cover and I can’t wait to read what’s in store for Elinor!


The Books


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A Reaper of Stone

An Echo of the Ascended: Elinor Book One

A Lady is dead. Her noble line ended. And the King’s Reaper has come to reclaim her land and her home. In the marches of Aedaron, only one thing is for certain. All keeps of the old world must fall.

Elinor struggles to find her place in the new world. She once dreamed of great things. Of becoming a hero in the ways of the old world. But now she is a Reaper. And her duty is clear. Destroy the old. Herald the new.

My review for A Reaper of Stone can be found hereAmazon | The Book Depository | Goodreads


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Rend the Dark

An Echo of the Ascended: Ferran Book One

The great Ruins are gone. The titans. The behemoths. All banished to the Dark and nearly forgotten. But the cunning ones, the patient ones remain. They hide not in the cracks of the earth or in the shadows of the world. But inside us. Wearing our skin. Waiting. Watching.

Once haunted by visions of the world beyond, Ferran now wields that power to hunt the very monsters that he once feared. He is not alone. Others bear the same terrible burden. But Hunter or hunted, it makes no difference. Eventually, everything returns to the Dark.

My review for Rend the Dark can be found here

Amazon | Goodreads


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Best Left in the Shadows

An Echo of the Ascended: Alys Book One

A Highside girl. Beaten. Murdered. Her body found on a Lowside dock. A magistrate comes looking for answers. For justice.

Alys trades and sells secrets among the gangs and factions of Lowside. She is a daughter of the underworld. Bold. Cunning. Free. When an old lover asks for help, she agrees. For a price.

Together, they travel into the dark heart of the underworld in search of a killer.

My review for Best Left in the Shadows can be found here

Amazon | The Book Depository | Goodreads


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Faith and Moonlight

An Echo of the Ascended: Roan and Kay Book One

Roan and Kay are orphans.

A fire destroys their old life, but they have one chance to enter the School of Faith.

They are given one month to pass the entry trials, but as Roan excels and Kay fails, their devotion to each other is put to the test.

They swore they would face everything together, but when the stakes are losing the life they’ve always dreamed of, what will they do to stay together?

What won’t they do?

My review for Faith and Moonlight can be found here

Amazon | The Book Depository | Goodreads


About


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Mark Gelineau

The defining moments in Mark Gelineau’s early life really trace back to two events. One was the discovery of an old cardboard box that had belonged to his grandfather. Inside that box was a collection of comic books, resplendent in their four color glory. Even though he had never met his grandfather, finding that box passed on a love of thrilling stories and daring adventure from one generation to another.

The second event was when his mother took him a to showing of Star Wars. For the entire duration of the movie, Mark sat with his mouth open and his small hands gripping the armrests. The better to pretend to fly the spaceships you see.

Since those early days, Mark has loved the stories of the imagination, the stories that transport a person from the world they know into new realities, distant domains, and realms of wonder. Even more than the stories themselves though, Mark discovered the sheer joy of sharing those stories. Taking them out of the cardboard box and into the hands of friends and family. This drove Mark first to education, where he could talk about the amazing stories out there in the world, and then eventually to writing, where he could try and write some of those stories for himself.

Gelineau and King is the extension of that joy. A place where Mark and his partner, Joe King, can take the stories they create out of the box and put them out there in the world.

Mark is loved and, more importantly, tolerated by his amazing wife and young son. And when Mark is not writing or teaching, he is secretly adding comics and paperbacks to a certain cardboard box waiting in his son’s closet.


Joe King

Joe King

Joe King spent most of his childhood doing what he loved most – building things with his friends. He built friendships, stories, worlds, games, imagination, and everything in between.

After a brief career in software, for a while, he pretty much gave up on the idea of building anything. Five years later, the woman who would become his wife, rode in on a white horse and changed his life forever. Another five years, and two beautiful daughters later, Joe is building new unimaginable things.

Joe believes in the power of stories, dreams, family, friendship, and getting your ass kicked every once in a while.

More than anything, he wants to tell a good story, and, for him, Gelineau & King is the constant reminder that it’s never too late to start building the things you love.


The Links


Twitter

@GELINEAUandKING

Website

gelineauandking.com

Blog

Gelineau and King

Goodreads

Mark Gelineau & Joe King

The Month Ahead: January 2016


The Month Ahead - JanIn The Month Ahead, I will be rounding up the books I am currently reading, the ones I will start this month, and the ones I intend getting my mitts on… if I haven’t already! I will also be sharing any news about features or posts on Books by Proxy, and anything in the book world that has me all excited!


| Currently Reading |

Apart from the myriad of read alongs and review copies I’m making my way through this January, I’m going to make the most concerted effort yet to actually pick up my neglected tomes and finish them! The Daylight War by Peter V. Brett is a book I cannot wait to finish – it just doesn’t fit in a handbag so well… or at all! The same goes for Joe Hill’s NOS4R2. Jane Austen’s Emma (which is in fact a pocket sized book) and The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding are however small enough for me to cart about – so there can be no excuses! January is the month when these books will disappear from my currently reading pile and ascend to that golden and somewhat dusty top shelf where they can live out the rest of their days safe in the knowledge that they have been read!

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| January Events |

The 2016 Sci-Fi Experience
The 2016 Sci-Fi Experience

Hosted by Stainless Steel Droppings

We’re already well under way with December behind us and The 2016 Sci-Fi Experience continues on throughout January! So expect many more reviews, teasers and sci-fi goodies to keep you going throughout the month.heart


Vintage Sci Fi Month

Vintage Sci-Fi Month

Hosted by Little Red Reviewer

I’ll also be joining in with Little Red Reviewer’s Vintage Sci-Fi Month. I fear my foray into historic science fiction is supremely lacking so it’s about time I dusted the cobwebs off those older (and often considerably less hefty) tomes and discover just what made sci-fi what it is today.

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Rosemary and Rue Read Along

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The Rosemary and Rue Read Along

Organised by Lisa at Over the Effing Rainbow

Week 1 (Saturday 9th January)

Chapters 1-6 – hosted by Over the Effing Rainbow

Week 2 (Saturday 16th January)

Chapters 7-14 – hosted by Lynn at Lynn’s Books

Week 3 (Saturday 23rd January)

Chapters 15-20 – hosted by Anya at On Starships and Dragonwings

Week 4 (Saturday 30th January)

Chapters 21-End – hosted by Over the Effing Rainbow

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I’ve been looking for a new urban fantasy series for a while now and the October Daye novels look like a very fair prospect. My book is at hand, my time has been scheduled – so no late catch-ups for this series! This is one read along I cannot wait to get stuck into!

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Throne of Glass

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The Throne of Glass Read Along

Organised by Rinn Reads

7th January

Discussion of chapters 1 – 13

11th January

Discussion of chapters 14 – 27

14th January

Discussion of chapters 28 – 39

18th January

Discussion of chapters 40 – end

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After enjoying A Court of Thorns and Roses and with the impending release of the next book in that series, A Court of Mist and Fury, I thought it was about time to sample some more of Sarah J. Maas’ writing. Despite hearing some very mixed reviews for this series (and usually at one extreme or the other), I’m looking forward to getting stuck into Throne of Glass. And with the promise of Read Alongs for the rest of the series throughout 2016, I’m sure this will be a year where I up my YA count.

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Blog Tour - The American

Blog Tour: The American by Nadia Dalbuono

Review scheduled for 16th January 2016

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| Book Haul |

I got a few books…

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| January Goals |

To finish ALL of the poor neglected novels which I am currently reading

Status: 0 of 4 Complete

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Have you picked up any great books lately or read any of those mentioned above? What are your goals for the month ahead? 

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2015: A Year in Review


2015


| Books by Proxy – A Year in Review |

Welcome to my first end of year post – and what a year it has been! I started this blog on the last day of July and, over the last half of 2015, have found myself as part of a wonderful community of readers and bloggers. In my albeit limited experience, we book bloggers are lucky to enjoy a very friendly and supportive community, where sharing our books, our reviews and our experiences is all done for a love of reading and can be enjoyed by many. So thank you readers and thank you bloggers for making 2015 such an enjoyable year. I hope you all have a fantastic 2016!heart


| A Year in Books |
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I think we can all agree these two very similar and equally profound books, Blood Song by Anthony Ryan and The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler, deservedly made it into my longest and shortest book categories.heart


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Donna Leon

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Leon 10

with ten books in her Commissario Brunetti series

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2015 - 6

P.G. Wodehouse

with nine books in total including seven from his Blandings series

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Jim Butcher

with eight books in The Dresden Files series

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Agatha Christie

with six books in her Hercule Poirot series

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best fantasyBlood Song

Book One of the Raven’s Shadow Series

by Anthony Ryan

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Best SciFiRed Rising

Book One of the Red Rising Trilogy

by Pierce Brown

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best novellaThe SerpentThe Serpent

The Gameshouse I

by Claire North

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best crimeThe Few

A Leone Scamarcio Thriller

by Nadia Dalbuonoheart

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best historicalLamentationLamentation

Book Six of the Matthew Shardlake Series

by C.J. Sansom

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best classicSomething FreshSomething Fresh

Book One of the Blandings Series

by P.G. Wodehouse

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There were so many more amazing books which deserve to be on this list but then it would just be most of 2015’s books!

Thank you all for reading and have a wonderful 2016!

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The Monthly Round-Up: December 2015


The Monthly Round-Up - DecWelcome to The Monthly Round-Up. Join me as I look back on the past month to see which books I’ve read, the reviews I’ve posted, the goals I’ve completed and my all important Book of the Month!


| Books Read |

December has come to an end and we’ve crossed the threshold into 2016 – and what a year it has been! I’m currently compiling my year in review but December alone was a great month of phenomenal fiction. With a hefty pile of novellas bulking up the number, I’ve discovered some fantastic authors, read some thrilling tales and been taken to some truly amazing worlds.

And in the process of devouring – my Goodreads 2015 Reading Challenge was well and truly surpassed, I fell just short of the mark on my Dragons and Jetpacks 2015 Reading Challenge and I well and truly flopped on my personal goals for December… But nevermind! This has been a fantastic month and here are the books to prove it:

| 1. |

Rising Tide by Rajan Khanna

| 2. |

Slow Bullets by Alastair Reynolds

| 3. |

13 Minutes by Sarah Pinborough

| 4. |

A Reaper of Stone by Mark Gelineau and Joe King

| 5. |

Rend the Dark by Mark Gelineau and Joe King

| 6. |

The House of Shattered Wings by Aliette de Bodard

| 7. |

The Serpent by Claire North

| 8. |

Foundation by Isaac Asimov

| 9. |

Best Left in the Shadows by Mark Gelineau and Joe King

| 10. |

The Builders by Daniel Polansky

| 11. |

Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer

| 12. |

Of Books, and Earth, and Courtship by Aliette de Bodard

| 13. |

The Thief by Claire North


Book of the Month


The Serpent

by Claire North


| December Goals |

To finish at least one of the poor neglected novels which I am currently reading

(The Daylight War, NOS4R2 or Emma)

Status: 0 of 1 Complete

Status: Incomplete

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To read at least one Christmas themed novel

Status: 0 of 1 Complete

Status: Incomplete (though started!)

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| Goals for 2015 |

Goodreads 2015 Reading Challenge: 115/100 Books Read (115%)

Status: Completed

Dragons and Jetpacks 2015 Reading Challenge: 41/50 Books Read (82%)

Status: Incomplete


| Reviews Posted |

5 Stars

The Serpent by Claire North

Superposition by David Walton

A Reaper of Stone by Mark Gelineau and Joe King


                  

13 Minutes by Sarah Pinborough

Slow Bullets by Alastair Reynolds

Falling Sky by Rajan Khanna


| Other Posts From December |

December brings with it a new feature – The Friday Face-Off – where I pit cover against cover to discover the best cover art from across both sides of the pond.

The Monthly Round-Up: November 2015

The Month Ahead: December 2015

Cover Reveal: Sharp Ends by Joe Abercrombie – UK Edition

Cover Reveal: Shadows of the Apt by Adrian Tchaikovsky

Cover Reveal: Sharp Ends by Joe Abercrombie – US Edition

Bookish ‘Sci-Fi’ Beats: Oblivion OST

Bookish ‘Sci-Fi’ Beats: Ex Machina OST

Bookish Beats: Massive Attack – Heligoland

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten… Debuts from the Gollancz Festival 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten… Newly Read Authors 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten… Classics of 2015

Top Ten ‘X-Mas’ Tuesday: Top Ten… Books I Wouldn’t Mind Santa Leaving Under My Tree

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten… Most Anticipated Releases of 2016

‘Sci-Fi’ Teaser Tuesdays: December 01 – Rising Tide by Rajan Khanna

‘Sci-Fi’ Teaser Tuesdays: December 08 – Timequake by Kurt Vonnegut

Teaser Tuesdays: December 15 – The House of Shattered Wings by Aliette de Bodard

An X-Mas Teaser Tuesday: December 22 – The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding by Agatha Christie

‘Sci-Fi’ Teaser Tuesdays: December 29 – Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer

The Friday Face-Off: December 18 – The House of Shattered Wings by Aliette de Bodard

The Friday Face-Off: December 25 – The Daylight War by Peter V. Brett