Sunday, February 28, 2010

[On My Wishlist] 2/28/10

I'm jumping in with Book Chick City again, here are the books I'm dying to read. You ever get to the point after hearing certain books mentioned over and over again and you just have to have them. Get outta my way, these are the ones. :)

Tome of the Undergates [UK only] by Sam Sykes

From Total Sci-Fi: As the leader of a pack of mis-matched adventurers, Lenk has a lot on his plate. Trying to control a human-hating Shict, a bloodthirsty Dragonman and a wizard with unpredictable abilities is bad enough, but when his crew are hired to retrieve a precious tome from the hands of indestructible demons whose ferocious power they’ve witnessed firsthand, his job goes from challenging to nigh-on-impossible...

Sometimes I'll read a book, just because the author is off-the-wall hilarious. This happened with Joe Abercrombie and now I'm dying to read Sam Sykes' debut and I don't think he'll let me down.

Off Armageddon Reef [US] [UK] by David Weber

From Goodreads: Humanity pushed its way to the stars - and encountered the Gbaba, a ruthless alien race that nearly wiped us out. Earth and her colonies are now smoldering ruins, and the few survivors have fled to distant, Earth-like Safehold, to try to rebuild. But the Gbaba can detect the emissions of an industrial civilization, so the human rulers of Safehold have taken extraordinary measures: with mind control and hidden high technology, they've built a religion in which every Safeholdian believes, a religion designed to keep Safehold society medieval forever.

This series is a mix of science fiction and fantasy and seems right down my alley. The titles in the series are enough to get me interested: By Schism Rent Asunder and By Heresies Distressed are the next two.

Nights of Villjamur [US] [UK] by Mark Charan Newton

From Goodreads: Political intrigue and dark violence converge in a superb new action series of enthralling fantasy. An ice age strikes a chain of islands, and thousands come to seek sanctuary at the gates of Villjamur: a city of ancient spires and bridges, a place where banshees wail the deceased, cultists use forgotten technology for their own gain and where, further out, the dead have been seen walking across the tundra.

Sadly this doesn't come out in the US until June 1, so I have some time to wait. This has gotten great reviews (like here) and Newton is a really approachable author who's been participating all over the blogosphere, which is really nice to see.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

New Moon

Yes, I finally saw New Moon, number two in the Twilight Saga, last night and yes, I'm probably the last person in the world to do so. Is there anyone who embodies stale, boringness more than Kristen Stewart? Talking this over with my wife, we decided that it's almost like she feels like she's too cool to show emotion and constantly holds herself back. She was in "love" with two people right? At least that was what I was supposed to get, but I felt it absolutely lacked anything close to chemistry between any of the characters.

I haven't read the books (and I'm still debating over whether to add "yet"), so for me this movie was both better and worse than the first film. Better because the editing and cinematography weren't so awkward and there was more action. Worse, because the ideas were brand new and interesting in the first and now just old news.

Honestly, I was kinda looking forward to seeing New Moon because I'd heard it was better than the first. But, by the end of the movie I was completely bored and ready to be done. You can only take so much sappiness at a time.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Must a Good Review Criticize?

This question's been on my mind for some time now and partly coming from recent discussions on The Speculative Scotsman where negative vs. positive reviews were discussed (here). I needed to get something down now while I have a few halfway coherent thoughts floating around.

Now I ask the question this way because anyone can criticize and therefore a review that criticizes may not always be good. But, to be able to criticize well and believably, one must have some type of knowledge. In addition, we are all fallible humans and therefore there can hardly be any novel that would be "perfect" and averse to criticism. So, criticism could technically be directed at anything.

On the other hand, is it a crime to refuse to find fault if the book is so good that the criticisms would just be pedantic? Do we feel we have to find fault to show that we are knowledgeable and can be trusted? Do readers feel this same way?

Personally, I feel that I respect a review that isn't afraid to criticize a work. Not every novel is for everyone. If a blogger continued to berate anything and everything, then I would think they are trying too hard to find fault. It's a thin line, one that I'm sure gets crossed constantly. I (yes, even I) have been known to give a fully positive review, but I have also given some negative ones. Not that I'm saying this about myself, but should we trust a review more if it is purely positive as long as we know the blogger is willing to give a negative review?

It's almost like standing on the other side of the fence. It's hard to give a negative review full of criticism when everyone finds it positive, but I think it's also hard to give a positive review when everyone finds it negative and then to stand by it.

Yep, that's where I brought it, full circle. Anyway, thanks for baring with my ramblings. It's late and I'm sure I'll wake up in the morning thinking, what the heck was I talking about?!?!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Review - The Crown Conspiracy By Michael J. Sullivan

My review just went up today over at Only the Best Sci-Fi/Fantasy. This was a really fun book for me, I'm glad I'm the only one who's reviewed it ever...

Saturday, February 20, 2010

[On My Wishlist] My name is Bryce and I am a Bookaholic

I couldn't resist jumping on the bandwagon this week for Book Chick City's weekly event, "On My Wishlist." Here are the books I'm dying to get my hands on:

On Stranger Tides by Tim Powers

On Stranger Tides

The next installment of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise is set for May 2011 and the rights to Tim Powers' 1988 historical fantasy novel, On Stranger Tides (2006 reissue) [US] [UK] were bought in 2009. I'm not sure how closely the film will follow the book, but let's be honest, the cover is amazing enough to have me drooling already.

The Dragons of Babel by Michael Swanwick

The Dragons of Babel

I've had this on my wishlist for quite some time now and the itch to read about Dragons is coming back. I've yet to read anything by Michael Swanwick, but I hear he's quite the master. The Dragons of Babel (2009) [US] [UK] is one of his newer works.

Heroes Die by Matthew Stover

Heroes Die

The only other novel I've read by Matthew Stover was Revenge of the Sith and I absolutely loved it, not to mention I've only ever read rave reviews of Heroes Die (1999) [US] [UK], Book one in Stover's Acts of Cain series. I don't see this going wrong.

Seeds of Earth by Michael Cobley

The Seeds of Earth (Humanity's Fire)

Michael at Only the Best Sci-Fi/Fantasy has convinced me with his review that went op yesterday. This is now on the gigantic, unstoppable, ever-consuming list and Seeds of Earth (2009 UK) [US] [UK] may be making it's way to the top.

That's my list and I'm sticking to it.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Why I Read Fantasy? or A Defense of Fantasy

Just posted my reasons for reading fantasy over at Only the Best Sci-Fi/Fantasy. Stop by and tell me what you think, what keeps you coming back to Fantasy and Science Fiction?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Giveaway: The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin

Simcha over at SFF Chat is giving away a copy of The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms. This book has been the hot topic all over the interwebs (reviews here) and although she wasn't as enamored with it as most, she'd like to find a better home for her copy.

I just barely noticed that was a face in the background.

Monday, February 15, 2010

It's News to Me 2/15/10

Always tons going on in the blog-o-sphere, which is why I'm surprised I get anything done. Here's what I found:

Patrick at Stomping on Yeti has the 25 Authors Worth Watching in 2010 and Beyond. See if your favorites made the list.

Harry's back in action with Reviewer Time featuring Gav from Nextread. Harry has a great take on the interview process and has lots of fun with it. The next one on the docket this month is Peter from Ubiquitous Absence. You can never have enough Peter Dowd at least as far as I'm concerned.

James at Dazed Rambling (without an 's' people!) had a follow up post to my post about unfinished series. Check out his take here. Yes, I'm your biggest fan when this happens. :)

Jeff at Fantasy Book News and Reviews asks if it would make his blog less interesting if he were to review more completed series than new releases. I say no, but we'll see. Go to the link to vote.

Gav asks whether blog collaboration is a good idea at Nextread. You probably know my take on that. :)

Niall has his first author interview (right?) with Alex Bell author of Lex Trent Versus the Gods over at TSS. Using his unique style, he's off to a great start.

Simcha asked a few authors, what would you do if you saw someone reading your book "out in the wild" over at SFF chat. Would you approach them and introduce yourself? Great question and some great responses from authors such as Peter Brett, Gail Carriger, and Jasper Fford as well as some bloggers.

Tyson at State of Review took a stab at Shadow and Betrayal, the first two of the Long Price Quartet. Although he wasn't as big a fan of A Shadow in Summer as I was, he quite enjoyed both installments, especially A Betrayal in Winter. I need to get on with that already.

John at Grasping for the Wind put up 5 tips for New bloggers. Good advice and I need everything I can get. How do I even make it through the day? Plus, Aidan posts his take on the matter at A Dribble of Ink.

George R.R. Martin isn't done with A Dance of Dragons yet, but he gives some insights on the chronology problems he's been dealing with. After the long wait, I'm glad he's leaning toward resolving some plot threads of A Feast for Crows.

Last but not least, Alec is giving away The Left Hand of God by Paul Hoffman over at Only The Best Sci-Fi/Fantasy. This has received some mixed reviews so why not enter for a chance to see how you feel. You gotta risk it to get the biscuit! Although this doesn't take risking much.

Hope your Monday was better than mine as I bombed my oral argument. Argh. But I shall live to see another day.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day

Hope everyone is having a great one! Here are some last minute ideas from Stomping on Yeti if you still need a gift for Valentine's Day.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Unfinished Series

You ever get that feeling of being trapped in a series, this feeling of I'm never going to be able to read anything but this series again, even though it might be the greatest series in the world.

I get that from time to time and even though I love a series to death, I started taking rather long breaks (like a month or two) in between books in a series and I seem to enjoy later installments much more without the "I'm trapped in an unending series" sense.

I got this idea from a website (here actually) and thought I'd list all the series that I'm in the middle of or waiting for along with how many books I've actually read in each one. Hence, "unfinished" is taken in the sense of series' that I have yet to finish reading as well as some series' that don't have a conclusion yet, which I couldn't finish even if I pushed everything else aside.

These also happen to be series' that I for some reason have no doubt in my mind I'll finish. :D

Below are the series' followed by the books I've read/total count:

A Song of Ice and Fire 4/projected 7
The Wheel of Time 5/projected 14
Malazan Book of the Fallen 6/10
Gentlmen Bastards 1/2 so far, but probably 7
The Long Price Quartet 1/4
Dresden Files 3/11
Discworld 1/37+ (I should probably just give up now)
The Riyria Revelations Reading book 1/projected 6

Not to mention I've never been able to keep up with Raymond Feist or R.A Salvatore and have all but given up on those.

Alright, so I have a long way to go seeing as how I'm in the middle of 8 series and I continue to read a million things in between. I'll do it, mark my words, I will do it, you just watch me. :)

Anyone else "stuck" in the middle of a few?

Monday, February 8, 2010

The Who and Animaniacs

This post takes us back a bit. Does anyone remember watching Animaniacs when they were younger or even recently?

Well, watching the Superbowl yesterday, and more notably The Who during the halftime show, reminded me of a hilarious episode involving Slappy the Squirrel and her nephew. They do a great Abbott and Costello type routine involving The Who and the sketch "Who's on first?"

Check it out here. This scene shows up around 5:30 into the clip. Classic stuff.

EDIT: Sorry, yesterday I thought this was Tiny Toons, but in watching the video again it's obviously Animaniacs. My bad...

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Map of Elan (The Riyria Revelations)

I recently started reading The Crown Conspiracy [US] [UK] and I have to say I'm already a fan. I was tooling around the author's website and noticed they have a list of all the reviews from the blogosphere (of which there are tons) along with a great map of the world of Elan.

Below is just a preview, but if you go to the author's site here, you can actually see much more and even zoom in a bit.

My copy (ebook) didn't have one, so I thought more people might want to see this.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Index of Reviews

I figured it was finally time to get an index going of all my reviews, which I can also update as time goes on and so I can keep my sidebar cleaned up. Nobody likes a messy sidebar. :D

Reviews (By Book)- Bryce

Reviews (By Author) - Bryce

Reviews - Matt

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Review | Malice by Chris Wooding

My first review is up at Only the Best Sci-Fi/Fantasy where you can find my take on Malice by Chris Wooding.

Malice, by Chris Wooding book

Wooding's got a new fan to say the least...

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


No, we haven't had the baby yet... :)

The news is out over at Only the Best Sci-Fi/Fantasy and I thought I'd make an announcement. I've been asked by Alec and Michael to hold a weekly spot over at their blog, providing reviews and commentary on the latest in genre news. They just put up an interview as a means of introduction if you want to check that out here.

Thanks to everyone for their support of The Stamp! This has been a really fun opportunity for me to share one of the things I love and I'm excited to share it at Only the Best as well.

Monday, February 1, 2010

The Crown Conspiracy

I've been extremely interested in reading The Crown Conspiracy by Michael J. Sullivan, especially with all the blog love it's been getting lately (here, here, here, and here). I've looked for it everywhere and to my chagrin (although it's a great thing), I'm completely late on the uptake because it's sold out of it's first printing. Obviously this only means it will be hard to get a copy for a little while (but I want it now!).

Lucky for Fantasy Book News and Reviews and Susan Parker who directed me to a couple places (see comments to this link) where this book can still be found, most notably the author's website. These will actually be signed and even dedicated to you in addition to a discount. Can't get better than that!

So, if you were searching for this like I was, have no fear, it's still out there.