ARC Review: LOOK TO THE SUN by Emmie Mears (2021)

Genre: Adult Fantasy
Year Release: October 28, 2021
Buy Links: Bookshop | Unabridged Books

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Read an eARC from NetGalley
Content warning: fascism, suicide (depicted), domestic abuse, homophobia

The National People’s Voice have ruled over Kael for the last 15 years, and our story begins when things escalate in city-wide protests in Sanmarian, the capital. Beo and Rose are strangers drawn together by one novel that the fascist regime seems determined to destroy. Amidst incredible reveals, deep tragedies, tender moments of human connection, and more, this book does a phenomenal job of depicting survival despite insidious oppression.

A dystopian wonder that is difficult to read at times, but the hopeful ending is so, so, so earned.

The author Emmie Mears will be featured on the blog on October 28th, release date.

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August and September 2021 Reading Recap

August and September were two months I can only describe as liminal spaces. Long story short, we moved into one apartment, and then transferred to another apartment. I didn’t feel like doing an August recap without having settled in. So here we are. I’ve also been busy otherwise.

I did several author interviews (and there are so many more to come):

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Manga Review: MONSTER AND THE BEAST Vol. 1-3 (2019-2020) by renji

Genre: Fantasy Shonen
Year Release in English: 2019-2020
Source: BOOK☆WALKER

Reminder: The star rating reflects overall opinion of the series.

The letter from the author at the end of volume one says, “I wanted to read a boy’s love fantasy manga about a middle-aged guy and an inhuman creature, but that didn’t exist, so I made my own.” It is the most accurate description of Monster and the Beast. Cavo is a gentle-hearted big scary boi while Liam is a gentlemen who fucks and has a sordid past for unrelated reasons. Perfect for the monster fuckers.

Rating: 5 out of 5.
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Manga Review: MISS KOBAYASHI’S DRAGON MAID Volumes 1-4 by coolkyousinnjya (2016-2017)

Genre: Fantasy Slice-of-Life Seinen
Year Release in English: 2016-2917
Source: BOOK☆WALKER

Reminder: The star rating reflects overall opinion of the series.

An absolutely adorable slice-of-life series about an office worker who drunkenly and unwittingly invites a dragon girl back to her house to work as her maid. I love the balance between a greater plot happening in the background with more everyday silliness as a dragon girl learns to be a human girl.

Rating: 5 out of 5.
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Author to Author with Neon Yang

The Tensorate quartet are sweeping fantasies with ambitious characters, high stakes, intricate politics, epic sequences, and a rad blend of technology and magic. The omnibus comes out today, and you can read the full series from start to finish in one package. To celebrate, I’m excited to host author Neon Yang to talk about writing process and what they’re working on next.

Buy Links: Bookshop | Unabridged Books

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Author to Author with Jason Sanford

If you’re looking for rad world-building, a meticulous blend of science fiction and fantasy, and compelling characters, look no further than Plague Birds. To save her village, Crista becomes a plague bird, a powerful justiciar whose blood-bound to an AI. While there are conspiracies galore, the real danger hits much closer to home than initially anticipated.

A week before release, I’m excited to have author Jason Sanford visit the blog to talk about the origins of this intense story, his publishing journey, and what we can look forward to next.

The novel comes out on September 21, 2021
Buy Links: Apex Book Company | Bookshop

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Author to Author with Merc Fenn Wolfmoor

The Wolf Among the Wild Hunt is an illustrated novella about Skythulf, neither man nor beast, who has to partake in the most dangerous hunt to get his honor back. This book is gory with metal illustrations hidden within its pages, with a rich sense of lore and mythology that appears both in passing and on page. I’m excited to host author Merc Fenn Wolfmoor to talk about how this novella came to be, including key pieces of inspiration, working with the artist, and what they’re working on next.

The novella comes out on September 14th, 2021.
Buy Links: Amazon | Barnes and Noble (Nook)

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Author to Author with Cadwell Turnbull

No Gods, No Monsters is a literary urban fantasy novel that’s a banger and a wild ride from start to finish. There’s several types of grief, there’s community building, cults, werewolf shifters, families falling apart, and much, much more. Heart-wrenching as it is poignant, this book is a treat for lovers of monster fiction and pointed social commentary alike.

I’m so thrilled to have author Cadwell Turnbull on this release day to talk about how he put the book together, from the various perspectives to the themes, and to talk about his publishing journey so far.

Buy Links: Bookshop.org | Unabridged Books | Audiobook

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ARC Review: THE WOLF AMONG THE WILD HUNT by Merc Fenn Wolfmoor & Andrew Garin (ill.) (2021)

Genre: Adult Dark Fantasy
Year Release: September 14, 2021
Buy Links: Amazon | Barnes and Noble (Nook)

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Read an ARC from the author
Content warning: blood, gore, body horror

Skythulf is a scythewulf, neither a man nor a beast, who must serve the Wild Hunt in order to regain his honor after killing an impostor nun. Told in flashbacks in a world where myths come to life, this dark fantasy light novel is not one to miss.

The author Merc Fenn Wolfmoor will be featured on the blog in an interview on September 9th, 2021.

There is so much packed into this neat little horror package. The worldbuilding comes at you hard and fast, unfolding in vivid detail. Myths get introduced, stories told with folkloric prose, only to show up as character and plot events page later. It’s riveting and makes for a quick read, even with the short page count. The illustrations also lend a mythologic air to this story.

I also really enjoyed the relationships. There’s definitely a bit of a nature versus nurture when it comes to Skythulf and his thorniness. He has tenderness and honor in Brennus, and I loved the contrast in that relationship. One is very much of the world, while the other has been shunned by it. It’s beautiful amid the gory, violence pulled straight out of the aesthetics of Northern European folklore. I think what also helps is that the world is gentle towards those who are queer, and this bit of kindness doesn’t conflict with the otherwise intense story and world Wolfmoor presents.

ARC Review: NO GODS, NO MONSTERS (The Convergence Saga #1) by Cadwell Turnbull (2021)

Genre: Adult Fantasy
Year Release: September 2021
Buy Links: Bookshop.org | Unabridged Books | Audiobook

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Read an ARC from the publisher
Content warning: death by police officer, discrimination-based violence, guns, drug abuse, drug addiction, cannibalism, suicide

This book has everything. It’s got shifters, conspiracy theories, communities coming together, families falling apart, time skips, parallel universes, and the meaning of truth in light of things incomprehensible. Turnbull delivers another genre masterwork that this time blends literary fiction with urban fantasy, where werewolves and weredogs exist alongside humans, some of which want to ascend to godhood.

With heart-wrenching prose and deft navigation of several POVs, No Gods, No Monsters is a wild ride that I didn’t want to end.

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