Tuesday, February 7, 2017

The Hanging Tree: By Ben Aaron



Suspicious deaths are not usually the concern of Police Constable Peter Grant or the Folly—London’s police department for supernatural cases—even when they happen at an exclusive party in one of the flats of the most expensive apartment blocks in London. But the daughter of Lady Ty, influential goddess of the Tyburn river, was there, and Peter owes Lady Ty a favor.

Plunged into the alien world of the super-rich, where the basements are bigger than the houses, where the law is something bought and sold on the open market, a sensible young copper would keep his head down and his nose clean.

But this is Peter Grant we’re talking about.

He’s been given an unparalleled opportunity to alienate old friends and create new enemies at the point where the world of magic and that of privilege intersect. Assuming he survives the week…


Unlike the previous Rivers of London novels Aaronovitch really lets the dam of information loose with this one. Not only do readers discover important information about the Faceless Man, but other practitioners are introduced, new forma practiced, and there’s even an explanation as to why Leslie was taken in the first place!

Now if none of that means anything to you then the first thing I would recommend for you to do is read the previous Rivers of London books. If you haven’t read them, you may be wondering what they are like? Well, I think the best explanation is they are a bit like a combination of NCSI/CSI/(pick your choice of systematic police procedurals) and Harry Dresden/Patricia Briggs (insert magic society book). So, what does that mean for you as a reader? Well, it means that there are magical battles, people slinging spells, magical creatures and entities, and lots of paper work. Yes, you heard me right, paperwork. This is one of the most unique things about the Rivers of London series, how real and detailed the police work elements of the story are. Peter, the protagonist, uses the scientific method to discover magical limitations, stories often involve police hierarchy problems (who has jurisdiction and what not, resource allocation, and who’s problem a case is when it goes south), massive amounts of field work (going door to door, research, ect…), more paper work than you can shake a stick at.

As for The Hanging Tree, specifically, it’s full of action, suspense, awesome magic with a gripping mystery tying the story all together. Each book expands the world and characters in this fantastic series, making them increasingly harder to put down. I personally love this series and feel that Aaronovitch has become one of those authors that I’m always anxiously awaiting their next book (which is a great sign for a great series).


Publisher: DAW

Published: January 31, 2017

Price: $7.99

Link to Buy: https://www.amazon.com/Hanging-Tree-Rivers-London-ebook/dp/B0125VU4KM/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1486504107&sr=1-1

Hungry Ghosts: By Stephen Blackmoore



Necromancer Eric Carter's problems keep getting bigger. Bad enough he's the unwilling husband to the patron saint of death, Santa Muerte, but now her ex, the Aztec King of the dead, Mictlantecuhtli, has come back -- and it turns out that Carter and he are swapping places. As Mictlantecuhtli breaks loose of his prison of jade, Carter is slowly turning to stone.

To make matters worse, both gods are trying to get Carter to assassinate the other. But only one of them can be telling him the truth and he can't trust either one. Carter's solution? Kill them both.

If he wants to get out of this situation with his soul intact, he'll have to go to Mictlan, the Aztec land of the dead, and take down a couple of death gods while facing down the worst trials the place has to offer him: his own sins.


I’ll be honest I didn’t start reading Stephen Blackmoore’s Eric Carter series when it first came out. I had heard positive praise from authors I like about it, but didn’t actually manage to pick up a copy of Dead things, the first book in the Eric Carter series, until about a year ago.

Let me tell you, I’m glad that I did.

Blackmoore has created a fascinating and engaging series filled with action, mayhem and a fun take on urban fantasy. If you are looking for a comparison of known urban fantasy authors to compare this series to Eric Carter is somewhat like a mix between Richard Kadrey’s Sandman Slim series and Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files. It’s darker than the Dresden Files, but not quite as macabre filled as Sandman Slim, therefore this series may not be for everyone but if you can handle a bit more ghoulish killing in your action (well done, of course) then this could be the series for you.

As for Hungry Ghosts itself, I highly recommend reading the first two books in the series, Dead Things and Broken Souls before reading Hungry Ghosts, but once you do you’ll be very happy with the experience. The entire premise of the Hungry Ghosts is based on the previous two books in the series (hence it being a series), so please do not read these books out of order.

So, if you like urban fantasy and you’re ok with your magic a bit on the darker side of things then here comes the real question, why should you waste your precious free time reading this book. Well, first and foremost, Blackmoore is truly impressive in his action scene writing and he does not scrimp on them. Carter is always in some sort of gun fight, ghost fight, god fight, or just plain getting his butt whooped on (a bit like Harry Dresden if you will). Of course, one thing different from Dresden is the style of magic, since Carter is a necromancer, there’s a lot of death related to his magic, not only that but it really does seem that the magically enhanced folks seem to have a bit of a society that isn’t on the good side of Santa’s present list. Therefore, magic seems to be a lot more pain related, scars, blood, tattoos, things of that nature. If I didn’t lose you there then I have a strong feeling this will be the book for you.

On top of that, Eric is a strong likable protagonist (of course I personally like his old/dead best friend Alex best, his snark is certainly appreciated by me if not by Eric). Hungry Ghost deals a lot in Eric’s growth and acceptance in his part in the deaths in his family. Blackmoore does a good job showing the pain and depression that his parents and sister’s deaths have caused in him and how these events have shaped him into the character we see today. On top of that, these revelations lead to a bit of awareness that will help fill out Eric’s character more in further books.

Speaking of further books, while I would very much like to read more about Eric Carter and his world I’m genuinely curious about whether there will be more books in the series and if so where the story will go from here. Blackmoore has tied off a number of the storylines that have been driving Eric over the last three books, however, he does keep enough mystery alive that if there were more books Blackmoore could expand on this mystery treating the new books as a new chapter in Eric’s saga.

All in all, I very much recommend this to anyone who enjoys Mike Carey, Richard Kadrey and Jim Butcher, and I do hope there are more books in the Eric Carter series. It was an action packed, entertaining quick read.


Shadowed Souls: Edited By Jim Butcher and Kerrie L. Hughes



In this dark and gritty collection—featuring short stories from Jim Butcher, Seanan McGuire, Kevin J. Anderson, and Rob Thurman—nothing is as simple as black and white, light and dark, good and evil..

Unfortunately, that’s exactly what makes it so easy to cross the line.

In #1 New York Times bestselling author Jim Butcher’s Cold Case, Molly Carpenter—Harry Dresden’s apprentice-turned-Winter Lady—must collect a tribute from a remote Fae colony and discovers that even if you’re a good girl, sometimes you have to be bad...

New York Times bestselling author Seanan McGuire’s Sleepover finds half-succubus Elsie Harrington kidnapped by a group of desperate teenage boys. Not for anything “weird.” They just need her to rescue a little girl from the boogeyman. No biggie.

In New York Times bestselling Kevin J. Anderson’s Eye of Newt, Zombie P.I. Dan Shamble’s latest client is a panicky lizard missing an eye who thinks someone wants him dead. But the truth is that someone only wants him for a very special dinner...

And New York Times bestselling author Rob Thurman’s infernally heroic Caliban Leandros takes a trip down memory lane as he deals wih some overdue—and nightmarish—vengeance involving some quite nasty Impossible Monsters.


Tanya Huff * Kat Richardson * Jim C. Hines * Anton Strout * Lucy A. Snyder * Kristine Kathryn Rusch * Erik Scott de Bie *


I love anthologies. They give readers a chance to catch up with some of their favorite characters between books, they introduce readers to new authors, and they even allow authors to stretch their creative side which sometimes allows for new characters or stories to come to light.

In Shadowed Souls Kerrie L. Hughes has brought together the A team of fantasy authors. My two personal favorite stories from the anthology are Jim Butcher’s Cold Case and Seanan McGuire’s Sleepover.

Cold Case by Jim Butcher - 5 stars

Starting off with Jim Butcher, Dresden Files fans will positively climb over each other to get a new snippet into Harry’s world. And boy is this a doozy… Readers are given a glimpse into the changes that are affecting/plaguing Molly in her transformation into the Winter Lady. On top of that more secrets between the war between Winer and the Outsiders are revealed. And if that isn’t enough we get Ramirez helping Molly out, and the ramifications from that are enormous! The only two negatives to this story are that it will not make much sense if you haven’t read the Dresden Files, and that Molly’s actions seem a little out of place for her character as we’ve been accustomed to it from Harry’s POV. That said, the first issue can be remedied by reading the Dresden Files (something you should do if you’re interested in urban fantasy, which I would assume/hope you are if you’re picking up Shadowed Souls). And the second issue can be explained away with Molly’s changes to her mind and character from becoming the Winter Lady. All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed Cold Case and can’t wait for the next installment in the Dresden Files.

Sleepover by Seanan McGuire - 5 stars

Seanan McGuire’s story takes place in her InCryptid series, this time with from the POV of half-succubus Elsie (the cousin of the Price siblings). Elsie is constantly having to hide what she is and be careful, since if it ever got out that she was a succubus not only would she be in danger but so would her family. So, when she gets kidnapped by a bunch of kids and they know what she is, she knows she’s screwed. This story has tense moments, monsters, and a killer POV shift to that of one of the “monsters”, but what is most impressive about this story is the way in which McGuire captures the sadness, shock, and gut-retching feelings of betrayal when someone you once loved betrays you. While this is not a necessary read for the InCryptid series, it goes a long way in helping readers get a sense of the judgement, fear, and loneliness that many of the “monsters” in the larger series feel on a daily basis. Besides the fictional viewpoint, this story will resonate with anyone who has had their confidence betrayed. All in all, Sleepover is a gripping story on the emotional level that readers and beginners of the InCryptid series alike will thoroughly enjoy.


Publisher: Roc

Published: November 1, 2016

Price: $17.99

Link to Buy: https://www.amazon.com/Shadowed-Souls-Jim-Butcher-ebook/dp/B01BK0SQF4/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1486501219&sr=1-1&keywords=shadowed+souls