The work week begins. I quickly slip into my business suit and head back into the office to save a few innocent people. But while I try to fool myself into being excited about the grind, deep down, I’m not, so I’m going to escape dreary reality by reading some great books.

Like always I’m running behind, but I always seem to get distracted by a book I didn’t intend to read but couldn’t keep myself from starting.  But I’m going to try to be serious this week, finish last week’s books, and get to some to some great new novels as well, so wish me luck.


trial-of-intentionsTrial of Intentions by Peter Orullian

Genre: Epic Fantasy

Series: Vault of Heaven #2

Publisher: Tor Books (May 26, 2015)

Author Information: Website | Twitter

Length: 672 pages

The gods who created this world have abandoned it. In their mercy, however, they chained the rogue god—and the monstrous creatures he created to plague mortalkind—in the vast and inhospitable wasteland of the Bourne. The magical Veil that contains them has protected humankind for millennia and the monsters are little more than tales told to frighten children. But the Veil has become weak and creatures of Nightmare have come through. To fight them, the races of men must form a great alliance to try and stop the creatures.

But there is dissent. One king won’t answer the call, his pride blinding him even to the poison in his own court. Another would see Convocation fail for his own political advantage. And still others believe Convocation is not enough. Some turn to the talents of the Sheason, who can shape the very essence of the world to their will. But their order is divided, on the brink of collapse.

Tahn Junell remembers friends who despaired in a place left barren by war. One of the few who have actually faced the unspeakable horde in battle, Tahn sees something else at work and wonders about the nature of the creatures on the other side of the Veil. He chooses to go to a place of his youth, a place of science, daring to think he can find a way to prevent slaughter, prevent war.

And his choices may reshape a world . . . .

Purchase the book at Amazon.

Posted in Fantasy, Funday Monday | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments



red-tideRed Tide by Marc Turner

Genre: Fantasy

Series: The Chronicle of the Exile #3

Publisher: Tor Books (September 20, 2016)

Author Information: Website | Twitter

Length: 544 pages

The Rubyholt Isles is a shattered nation of pirate-infested islands and treacherous waterways shielding the seaboards of Erin Elal and the Sabian League. The Augerans approach the Warlord of the Isles, seeking passage for their invasion fleet through Rubyholt waters. When an Erin Elalese Guardian assassinates the Augeran commander in the Rubyholt capital, the Augerans raze the city, including its Temple of the White Lady. Avallon Delamar, the Emperor of Erin Elal, requests a meeting with the Storm Lords to discuss an alliance against the Augerans. When the Augerans get word of the gathering, strike, in the hope of eliminating the Erin Elalese and Storm Lord high commands. They have not counted on the Rubyholters, however, who come seeking revenge for the destruction of their capital. But the battle lines for the struggle are not as clearly drawn as it might at first appear.

dotted lineABOUT THE AUTHORdotted line

marc turnerMARC TURNER was born in Toronto, Canada, but grew up in England. He graduated from Lincoln College, Oxford University, in 1996 with a BA (Hons) in Law, and subsequently worked at a top-ten law firm in London. After more than ten years in the legal profession he gave in to his lifelong writing addiction and now works full time as a writer. When the Heavens Fall is his first novel.

Follow Marc:  Website and Twitter and Blog

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Bookwraiths is giving away one hardback copy of Red Tide.  Please enter my Rafflecopter
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the unrememberedThe Unremembered: Author’s Definitive Edition by Peter Orullian

Genre: Epic Fantasy

Series: Vault of Heaven #1

Publisher: Tor Books (April 7, 2015)

Author Information: Website | Twitter

Length: 480 pages

My Rating: 4 stars

The Unremembered is an epic fantasy which, unfortunately, lives up to its title since many fans do not even know it exists.  Something that is a shame, because Peter Orullian’s masterful tale is worthy of inclusion into any discussion of the best epic fantasy series out there.  This mesmerizing story of a world split in two by a gods’ created magical Veil written in the tradition of such classic fantasy sagas as The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan and Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien.  And I have to admit that I was one of those readers who disregarded this saga for many years.  But, now, I have experienced this vivid, lyrical narrative and am sold on the inherent grandness of Mr. Orullian’s fantasy vision.

Beginning simply, The Unremembered gives readers a glimpse of an ancient past.  A time of legend when the creator gods still walk the world yet are determined to abandon it to a harsh fate.  But one of their servants will not stand by idle while evil triumphs, and he passionate pleas for a final boon from the creators: A way to ward off the forces of the fallen god.   And due to the singing of a bereaved woman to her dead loved ones, the heart of a god is softened, the Song of Suffering born; this magical song a way for the Veil, which holds back the creatures of Quietus, to be forever renewed and strengthened.

Skipping ahead millenniums, the Veil still holds . . . barely.  The world having experienced several major invasions by the Velle (the monsters shut behind the Veil), but those struggles long in the past, more legend than reality.  And now the people have moved forward, evolved, changed.  The creator gods scoffed at as myths.  The Veil a physical part of the world, one which is viewed as eternal in its nature.  The Song of Suffering a superstitious bit of nonsense.  Even the wielders of this world’s “magic” are barely tolerated; the Sheason portrayed as parasites on society, their only use to trick superstitious fools into providing them with an easy living.  All of these progressive ideas touted and enforced by the League of Civility, which is seen as the torchbearers for mankind’s continued trek toward enlightenment.

Born into this societal turmoil (but having been sheltered from most of it due to their rural home), Tahn, Wendra, Sutter, and Braethen find themselves far from home, following along behind a Sheason named Vendanj.  This mysterious stranger having convinced our young quartet to join his damn fool crusade.  Velle dodging their every turn.  Fate tearing asunder all their plans, as they are slowly forced apart yet struggle to remain together.  The end of the journey a place called Tillinghast, where Tahn will be asked to face his life choices and attempt to survive!

Sounds interesting, doesn’t it?  A little reminiscent of other series without a doubt, and it goes without saying (though it appears I’m going to say it anyway) that this novel is in the vein of those familiar fantasy tales of the past with classic tropes: the farm boy, the mysterious stranger, the coming-of-age quest, and the god-like villain — to name only a few.  And if you hate that you will probably not enjoy The Unremembered.  On the other hand, if you don’t instantly despise these type of tropes, you will quickly find that Peter Orullian uses them to craft an engrossing tale inhabited by developed characters, emotional stories, and as fine a magical system as any seen outside of a Brandon Sanderson novel.  All of it playing out upon a well crafted world which radiates immense age, deep history, and epic secrets yet untold.

The characters were probably the biggest surprise for me personally.  Beginning as familiar faces, Tahn, Wendra, Sutter, Braethen, Vendanj, and several others soon began to develop into unique individuals, endowed with their own problems, hopes, fears, and dreams for tomorrow.  Love for family and friends an important theme in all their minds.  And while none of them completely broke out of their familiar mold, they did turn into people whom I empathized with and wanted to follow along behind on their journey.

I also have to admit quickly becoming enamored of Peter Orullian’s writing.  His silky smooth style was clear, concise yet filled with a lyrical quality.  Every paragraph a succinct, descriptive epiphany clearly illuminating the scene and the action transpiring.  His tendency to insert small tidbits of information regarding the people, places, and history a delight taking me back to the way J.R.R. Tolkien made Middle Earth come alive for me.

But The Unremembered did have some issues.

With this new edition, Peter Orullian throws readers directly into the action — no introduction to the characters or revelations of how they come together as a group.  For good or bad, they are already set out on an epic journey, beset by enemies as well as carrying around baggage for their past.  This circumstance requiring the reader to absorb every morsel of information they can quickly to understand what the hell is going on.  Nothing wrong with this approach.  Many epics use the same sink-or-swim opening.  Here, though, the pacing was too fast at the beginning, too much being thrown at you without any context in which to put the info.  The net experience nearly causing me to give up on this novel.  And when this initial cram session ended, the middle portion of the story slowed down quite suddenly, spending massive amounts of time on plot lines which apparently went nowhere.  Thankfully, the narrative finally found its rhythm in the last third, mixing in the perfect amounts of action, lore, magic, surprises, and foreshadowing to make it all worthwhile.

I’d also feel remiss if I didn’t point out that there is no real explanation given for the Velle always showing up at the exact right time and place to find our heroes and cause them problems.  In Lord of the Rings, the Ringwraiths were drawn to the ring, which, at least, gave some plausibility to them always being on Frodo’s tail.  Here, though, there isn’t any element like that to make the Velle’s appearances plausible, which wasn’t a huge issue the first or second time they appear out of nowhere, but eventually it moved from head-scratching to annoying.

Whether a reader ultimately enjoys The Unremembered Author’s Definitive Edition mostly has to do with what they are looking for in their fantasy.  We all have our preferred “type” of fantasy after all, but everyone also loves to discover new flavors for their reading (whether that is grimdark, urban, epic, or some other), and in this day and age where Game of Thrones is the face of fantasy, I can see many people finding Peter Orullian’s more modern and mature version of traditional epic fantasy to be exactly the change of pace novel they were looking for.  Certainly, The Unremembered harkens back to a simpler era in the genre when subtle twists on familiar tropes were applauded, epic quests were enjoyed, and naive farm boys were preferred over sociopath antiheroes, yet that might be exactly what some readers (myself included) find so appealing about it.

Purchase the book at Amazon.

Posted in 4 Stars, Epic, Fantasy | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments


Tthe-family-plothe Family Plot by Cherie Priest 

Genre: Horror – Suspense

Series: Stand Alone

Publisher: Tor (September 20, 2016)

Author Information: Website | Twitter 

Length: 368 pages

My Rating:  3.5 stars.


Anyone who loves creepy houses or ghost stories will adore The Family Plot.  Cherie Priest finding the perfect balance between mystery and horror with this amazing entertaining and scary story of the peculiar Withrow House.

It all begins when Augusta Evelyn Sophia Withrow contacts City Music Salvage about purchasing the rights to salvage anything of value from her Chattanooga, Tennessee estate before the ancestral home is demolished. Chuck Dutton, the owner of MCS , knows the price Ms. Withrow wants is to high for his company to afford in its current financial bind, but the opportunity is too good to pass up.  And so, he inks the deal against his better judgment, sending his daughter Dahlia and a crew of three others to pick through the estate, stripping it of any valuable architectural pieces or furniture.

Once Dahlia gets to the estate, everything begins to get weird really fast.  Strange occurrences happening.  Mysterious, creepy events interrupting the salvage process.  And since Dahlia and her team are staying the night at the house to save on motel bills, they experience it all.  Only when ghostly apparitions begin to appear does Dahlia consider getting the hell out of there, but since there is so much money tied up in the Withrow House to stop, she is forced to stay put, splitting her time between the job and attempting to get to the bottom of who or what is trying to scare them away.

Probably my favorite part of this story is Dahlia and her chosen occupation.  I have to admit being a fan of American Pickers and other tv shows where our stars go out salvaging items from the past, which turn out to be historical pieces, one-of-a-kind architectural elements, or just cool junk.  So having the star here in that line of work, sharing her love for old houses and items, going through them, identifying cool pieces worth saving, then setting about salvaging them for the future was amazingly interesting to me.  The fact that Dahlia turned out to be such an realistic, interesting, and likable protagonist only made it even better.

The other element I really loved here is the way Cherie Priest slowly eases into the horror aspects of the tale.  For most of its pages, this novel reads like an old school ghost story, the mystery elements to the forefront, as Dahlia’s group slowly accepts they have entered into a real haunted house then begin to uncover the why of it all.  It isn’t until near the end that the more horrific scenes appear, though even those are tame by comparison to most horror, not filled with anywhere near the volume of blood and gore most of us are accustom to these days.  And I found this more restrained horror very refreshing.

The only thing I didn’t completely love about the book was the ending.  For me it wrapped up too quickly with too little payoff for all the build up, and I really did not like the last page, which turned what I believed was the conclusion on its proverbial head.  Perhaps this is merely a personal dislike on my part, since others might find the ending perfect, but I felt I must, at least, mention it.

The Family Plot was a good haunted house mystery perfect for those who don’t like to wade through buckets of blood and gore for their horror.   Now, it won’t scare you to death, but its creepy narrative with a likable main character and loads of mysterious questions to be answered will keep most readers glued to their seats until the very last, creepy page.

I received an advanced reading copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review. I’d like to thank them for allowing me to receive this review copy and inform everyone that the review you have read is my opinion alone.

Purchase the book at Amazon.

Posted in 3 Stars, horror | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments



Flashback Friday is something I do here at Bookwraiths every once in a while; a time when I can post my thoughts about books that I’ve read in the past but never gotten around to reviewing. With the hectic schedule of day-to-day life and trying to review new releases, there never seems enough time to give these old favorites the spotlight that they deserve. But with a day all to themselves, there is no reason I can’t revisit them, so let’s take a look at a fun fantasy series, which would make a great summer read.


Legend by David Gemmell 

Genre: Fantasy

Series: The Drenai Saga #1 

Publisher: Ballantine Books (November 1994)

Length: 345 pages

My Rating: 4 stars



David Gemmell might not have invented action adventure fantasy, but he refined it, polished it up, and presented his updated version (Against the Horde/Legend) in 1984 to a reading audience who loved every minute of it.  Luckily, I was one of those readers back in the 1980s; this book instantly becoming one of my favorite fantasy stories for years to come.  But when I re-read it a few weeks ago, I have to admit being concerned it would not live up to my memories; my fear that all the years since its release having muted the pulse-pounding, adrenaline rush and relegated another classic fantasy into a fallen favorite.  But, thankfully, my fears were unfounded: Legend still as good as ever.

Here the Nadir hordes (Think Mongols) have been united under the charismatic, intelligent, and ruthless Ulric, who determines it is time for his people to conquer their more settled neighbors, the Drenai.  Standing in the way of this unstoppable barbarian force is the undermanned mountain fortress of Dros Delnoch, which should be impenetrable IF defended by an adequate force.  And that is exactly what the Drenai are lacking, as the fortress is undermanned, unprepared, and without adequate commanders to inspire the troops to hold until a relief force can arrive.

Enter Druss the Legend; he who is also known as the Captain of the Ax, the Axman, Deathwalker, and the Silver Slayer.  This fearsome warrior might be past his prime, but he is determined to answer his kingdom’s desperate call, to hold Dros Delnoch until the Nadir are turned back or every warrior lies dead beneath their swords.  This hero determined to finally find a death worthy of his legend!

Joining Druss upon the battlements of Dros Delnoch are a diverse cast of characters.  Rek the Baresarker and his beloved Virae come there to fight.  Serbitar and the mythical order he is part of arrive to aid in the last stand of the Drenai people.  Ordinary men stand side-by-side with rich commanders and wanted outlaws.  All these diverse individuals inspired by Druss himself to stand up for what they believe in, sacrifice themselves in order to keep what they cherish safe from harm, and lay down their lives die before they betray that which they hold dear.

Whenever I describe this book to a friend who is thinking of reading it, I say Legend is the fantasy equivalent of the Alamo, where men sacrificed their lives for a cause.  And in David Gemmell’s tale of sacrifice, each of the warriors portrayed — from Druss down to the lowest soldier upon the walls — knows their mission is a suicidal one.  Their forces no match for the Nadir horde.  Reinforcements not able to reach them in time.  Death the only real outcome of their bravery.  But even knowing this, these brave men and women refuse to lay down their arms and surrender to the inevitable.  They come together, find peace within themselves, lock strong arms with one another, and stand as a human walls between the world they love and those who would seek to destroy it.

Damn, I get teary just typing all that.  Honestly, I do.  No matter his limitation as a writer (because I know some readers find his writing simplistic in many ways), Gemmell uses his stereotypical cast of characters to maximum effect, their words and deeds inspirational, moving, and  sorrowful.  Vile people finding redemption.  Cowards exhibiting courage.  Lawless individuals displaying extreme honor. Each heroic death cutting like a stab wound to the heart.  The final stand of Druss as emotional charged and awe inspiring as any in literature.

Legend might not have been groundbreaking or innovative when it was published, much less now.  It doesn’t try to subvert tropes.  It doesn’t attempt to present an ultra-realistic story.  It doesn’t overwhelm with its exquisite prose.  What is does is tell an action-packed fantasy tale of a desperate last stand of a civilization by individuals caught up in events.  The tale of these people’s plight awe-inspiring and emotionally charged.  In other words, Legend is a masterpiece of heroic fantasy, one which rightly deserves its fame even today.

Purchase the book at Amazon.

Posted in 4 Stars, Fantasy, Flashback Friday | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments


booktravelingthursdays5Book Traveling Thursday is a weekly meme hosted by Catia and Danielle.  Each week everyone picks a book related to that week’s theme, then you write a blog post explaining explain why you choose that book and spotlight all the different covers from different countries. To find out more check out about BTT go to the Goodreads group!

This week’s theme is: BECAUSE MENTAL HEALTH MATTERS! Choose a book that deals with mental health.

This was a tough one for me, because fantasy and scifi aren’t known for spending a lot of time on mental health issues.  But, once I thought about the topic more, I could see where my favorite genres do have lots of crazy people running around causing problems, which is how I picked a book for this week’s topic.

Prince of Thorns is my selection this week.  Mark Lawrence crafting an outstanding portrait of a sociopath in Jorg Ancrath.  A sociopath defined “as a person who has Antisocial Personality Disorder. This disorder is characterized by a disregard for the feelings of others, a lack of remorse or shame, manipulative behavior, unchecked egocentricity, and the ability to lie in order to achieve one’s goals.”  Perfectly describes Jorg.  But let’s see some covers for this grimdark classic.


prince of thorns

This is my favorite cover, simply because it is the first one I ever saw for the novel, the one which made me buy the book.  So for that reason it will always be the cover which I think of when referring to Prince.


Different variations of the original, obviously, but each of these covers changes things just enough to make them unique.  I have to admit really liking the cover to the left, where everything is black and white, but ultimately, it was too similar to the original for me to pick it.


Really do not love either of these covers.  They are fairly generic, uninspiring affairs, which lack the moody feel of the original and my two runner-ups.

So that is my Book Traveling Thursdays: Mental Health Edition. Agree or disagree with my book selection and my covers?  Let me know.

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Navigators of Dune by Brian Herbert & Kevin J. Andersonnavigators-of-dune

Genre: Science Fiction – Space Opera

Series: Schools of Dune #3

Publisher: Tor (September 13, 2016)

Authors Information: Website | Twitter Herbert
 Website | Twitter Anderson

Length: 416 pages

My Rating: 4 stars

Schools of Dune is the next step in the gradual evolution of the Dune universe.  Where Legends of Dune chronicled the great war between humankind and the “thinking machines” while spotlighting the origins of so many of the classic elements of Frank Herbert’s science fiction classic, this trilogy goes even further, detailing the rise of the Bene Gesserite Sisterhood, the origins of the Mentats, the creation of the Spacing Guild, and the continued escalation in the Atreides/Harkonnen feud.  All of which means that this is a book fans of Dune will find engrossing, entertaining, and a worthy addition to the sweeping Dune saga.

Shifting between numerous point of view characters, Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson use this diverse cast to convey the epic, galaxy wide nature of this story, where three main factions are vying for control over the human Imperium, while still immersing readers in the individual journey of each participant.  And, overall, Navigators of Dune succeeds in doing just that, weaving a wide web of political machinations and personal tragedies, which seamlessly fits into the grand Dune timeline.

On one side of the growing galactic chaos, there is the newly crowned Emperor Roderick Corrino, who finds himself thrust into an unenviable position of having his most important ally turned into an enemy.  Directeur Josef Venport of the massively powerful Venport Holdings having been implicated in the assassination of Roderick’s predecessor upon the throne.  The Emperor’s desire for vengeance  warring with his wisdom, because he knows he needs the Navigators only Venport Holdings knows how to create in order to maintain stable interstellar commerce . . . and also because he has another enemy who might be even worse than Venport.

Roderick’s other enemy is the Bulterians.  These religious fanatics having unleashed their righteous fury across the Imperium, demanding that all “evil” technology by purged from human society.  Their leader Manford Toronado viewed by his crazed followers as the torchbearer for the long dead Saint Serena Butler, who led the holy crusade against the thinking machines a millennia ago.  The Butlerians more than willing to riot, destroy, and use mob rule to force the powers that be to give in to their demands for Butlerian control and an inevitable return to the dark ages.

Mixed into the escalating struggle between Emperor, Venport Holdings, and the Butlerians are a host of characters, all very important and most very memorable.  There is the unforgettable (and always creepy) living machine Erasmus, who first appeared in The Butlerian Jihad, continuing his quest to truly understand mankind.  Draigo Roget, the leading Mentat alive, who adds and abets Erasmus in his activities.  Valya Harkonnen is here, not only the current crazed Harkonnen set on vengeance against the vile Atreides, but also as the Mother Superior of the Bene Gesserit Sisterhood; her vision continuing this groups transformation into the witches all Dune fans love to hate.  Vorian Atreides returns, still determined to end the growing feud between these families before he looses himself in the galaxy.  Even Norma Cenva, first of the navigators and their patron goddess, reappears, though she has already begun to loose touch with reality.  And these are just the most prominent members of the cast.

As a long time Dune fan, I knew I would enjoy Navigators, because, well, I generally enjoy anything Dune related.  And while this book wasn’t perfect (I’ll get to my criticisms in a moment.) I felt it did an excellent job of progressing the saga, tying up loose plots, and biding farewell to old characters. Herbert and Anderson able to accomplish all these things while still providing me with enough political scheming, personal duels, emotional epiphanies, space battles, and monumental revelations to keep my attention glued to the pages.  But, above all else, Navigators is a complete triumph because it is a mesmerizing return to the familiar, fascinating Dune universe Frank Herbert dazzled me with decades ago.

But there was something I did not enjoy about this narrative.  Specifically, I am referring to Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson’s constant need to reiterate the characters’ motives and purposes every time they reappeared in the story.  Yes, characters would vanish from the narrative for several chapters before returning to the spotlight, but they were never gone long enough for me to forget how they felt or what they were attempting to accomplish.  Honestly, there really wasn’t any need to continue to tell me why the Harkonnens hated the Atreides, or that Joseph Venport really wanted to work with, not against, Emperor Roderick, or that Manford Toronado truly believed destroying all technology was the right thing to do to save humankind.  All these things were instantly in my mind as soon as I read a character’s name, because the authors had done such an excellent job explaining everything the first time around.  So, instead of aiding my reading, the continued return to these issues began to feel like filler material and slowed down the momentum, as the plot raced to its cataclysmic ending.

As for whether you should read Navigators of Dune, I would loudly exclaim “Of course you should read this book!”  However, I would encourage only followers of the Schools of Dune trilogy to do so now.  Personally, I believe any new readers should begin their introduction to Frank Herbert’s Dune Saga by starting with the original books before picking up these prequel series.   It isn’t that you won’t understand or enjoy Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson’s additions to the classic scifi saga, but rather that all this historical background takes some of the brilliant moodiness and classic mystery from the story of Paul Atreides, the desert planet of Arrakis, the galactic Imperium with its creepy Bene Gesserits, mutated Navigators, and all-powerful Spacing Guild as well as the violent and seemingly eternal Atreides/Harkonnen feud.  And nothing should ruin a reader’s first experience with the glory of Dune, because it really is a scifi classic.

I received an advanced reading copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review. I’d like to thank them for allowing me to receive this review copy and inform everyone that the review you have read is my opinion alone.

Purchase the book at Amazon.

Posted in 4 Stars, Science Fiction, Space Opera | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments



Today, the guys in the Goodreads Top 5 Wednesday group have an interesting topic: FAVORITE NON-CANON SHIPS!  These are the couples you love, but they never got together in canon (canon meaning: what actually happened in the text). Or that did get together, but weren’t together in the end of the series.

Honestly, I don’t spend a great deal of time anymore (I was very much a romantic at heart when I was younger.) keeping track of which characters hook up with one another unless it has some significant impact on the story.  Love triangles and other romantic entanglements aren’t really what I long to read about these days.  But, like everyone else, I do have some characters who I wish would have gotten together or stayed together.  At least, enough so that I can have five picks for this topic.  :)


Going way back here, but in Dragonlance, I often thought Tanis’ relationship with Kitiara would have been cool to see played out in the original trilogy.  Sure, she shows up later, but imagine the fireworks of Tanis,  Laurana, and Kitiara having to be thrown together for any extended period of time.  Could have been a great love triangle.


No, it would never have really worked out, but it would have been interesting to see these two actually try to have a relationship.  I mean, without a doubt, they are drawn to one another in some weird sort of way.  What either sees in the other is open to speculation, because they seem completely incompatible.  But I’m sure the explosions from their coupling would have made some prime reading material.


superman-wonder-woman3. SUPERMAN AND                   WONDER WOMAN

Clark has been off and on with Lois Lane for years.  Wonder Woman and Clark hooked up in the New 52. Personally, I like the later pairing to continue. Supes and WW just seem right for one another.  Sure, there would be problems, and Batman would be horrified by the two most powerful people on earth being together, but all that would make it even more run to continue to read about.

mara-and-luke-mara-jade-skywalker2. MARA JADE AND                          LUKE SKYWALKER

One of the things I loved about the Star Wars Expanded Universe was this couple.  Luke and Mara felt perfect for one another.  Maybe, Mara will show up in the new Disney World Star Wars Universe, but if not, I won’t forgive them for doing away with this great couple.

jon-snow-daenerys1. JOHN SNOW AND      DAENERYS TARGARYEN

I’m not suggesting I want to see these two as a couple, because I actually find the whole Targaryen view of marriage fairly indecent at best, damning at worst, but George R.R. Martin has been leading up to this for years.  So is it going to happen or not?  Only time (and next season) will tell, I suppose.

Posted in Top Five Wednesday | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments


Waiting on Wednesday is a meme hosted by Breaking the Spine to let readers share their excitement for books coming out soon, and the novel I’m eagerly awaiting is . . .


the-mountain-of-kept-memoryThe Mountain of Kept Memory by Rachel Neumeier

Genre: Fantasy

Series: Stand Alone

Publisher: Saga Press (November 8, 2016)

Author Information: Website | Twitter

Length: 448 pages

In this gorgeous fantasy in the spirit of Guy Gavriel Kay and Robin McKinley, a prince and a princess must work together to save their kingdom from outside invaders…and dangers within.

Long ago the Kieba, last goddess in the world, raised up her mountain in the drylands of Carastind. Ever since then she has dwelled and protected the world from unending plagues and danger…

Gulien Madalin, heir to the throne of Carastind, finds himself more interested in ancient history than the tedious business of government and watching his father rule. But Gulien suspects that his father has offended the Kieba so seriously that she has withdrawn her protection from the kingdom. Worse, he fears that Carastind’s enemies suspect this as well.

Then he learns that he is right. And invasion is imminent.

Meanwhile Gulien’s sister Oressa has focused on what’s important: avoiding the attention of her royal father while keeping track of all the secrets at court. But when she overhears news about the threatened invasion, she’s shocked to discover what her father plans to give away in order to buy peace.

But Carastind’s enemies will not agree to peace at any price. They intend to not only conquer the kingdom, but also cast down the Kieba and steal her power. Now, Gulien and Oressa must decide where their most important loyalties lie, and what price they are willing to pay to protect the Kieba, their home, and the world.

Purchase the book at Amazon.

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Welcome to Top Ten Tuesday! This is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, where a new top ten list hits the web every week!

This week our topic is …


Speaking for myself, I know I’ve named more than a few pets after my favorite character of the moment, but I also thought seriously of naming my children after a few more.  In fact, several of the names I’ve listed below were discussed by myself and my wife when we were having our children.  Okay, a few might have been mentioned then dropped very quickly as soon as I say my wife’s face, but I still thought about them.

I will go ahead and admit that all of the picks below are boy names, and they are almost all ones I took a liking to when I was a child/teen.  That doesn’t mean I have never liked any female names in literature or cinema, because, honestly, I could produce another list of just female names.  However, as a father of only boys, I thought it easier to just list the names I recalled considering when I was blessed enough to have my children.

Anyway, here are a few of my favorites.

10. NEOneo

Yeah, I was all over The Matrix and The Matrix Reloaded back in the day. (No, I do not consider The Matrix Revolutions as existing in my world.)  And, naturally, I always thought Neo would be a really unique, cool name or nickname for a son.  No, my wife didn’t like the idea.

silk9. SILK

As a teenager, I loved The Belgariad.  It might have been a trope filled fantasy filled with one dimensional characters and every other insult modern fantasy readers can level at it, but I adored every minute of it.  And since my favorite character was Silk, I recall thinking back then that Silk would be a really amazing name.  Not quite so sure of that now, but, hey, I was a teenage at the time.

conan8. CONAN

Some of my favorite books when I first entered the fantasy genre were sword and sorcery tales penned by Robert E. Howard.  Conan was my first and favorite of his creations plus I also loved the two movies with  Arnold Schwarzenegger.  Since I was a young teenager with no concept of reality, I couldn’t imagine there being a better name for my son than Conan.  I mean, everyone would have to respect a kid named Conan, right?



strider_antique7. Aragorn

My biggest fanboy obsession as a teenager (other than Star Wars, of course) was Lord of the Ring, which I absolutely obsessed over.  My favorite character always being the mysterious, brave Strider/Aragorn, which is why I thought it would be kick ass to name my son after old Long Shanks himself.  Naturally, my wife was not thrilled with this idea at all.  But I shouldn’t have been surprised, since she doesn’t like Lord of the Rings either.

hector6. HECTOR

As a middle grade student, I read The Iliad and The Odyssey at school and became a huge Greek mythology fan.  But while I adored all the tales of Zeus, Perseus, Heracles, and all the rest, my favorite hero of the stories was always Hector, who willingly faced certain death at the hands of Achilles to protect his beloved city and people.  While the 2004 movie Troy didn’t capture the true epic nature of Homer’s tale, it did do a decent job of portraying Hector’s commitment and love for his family and his people; it also made me think back to when I was an eleven-year-old determined to name his son Hector.

bishops_heir_first5. KELSON

In my teen years I was a fan of Katherine Kurtz’s Deryni novels.  The medieval stories of kings and queens, lords and knights, church and kingdoms, capturing my attention and feeding my need for these types of historically flavored epics.  Young King Kelson was my idol back then, because I empathized with him due to our similar ages and also admired him due to his noble desire to do the right thing in every situation.  This led me to consider that Kelson might be a really cool name for a son one day.


 maximus4. MAXIMUS

Gladiator is still one of my favorite movies ever, and Russell Crowe is one of my favorite actors, especially his older stuff.  And, yes, I really wanted to name my son Maximus.  I mean, we could have called him Max for short.  But, unlike Lebron James, I wasn’t able to get my wife to pull the trigger on Maximus.  Maybe, a grandson one day.



oliver-queen3. OLIVER

This name only partially comes from my lifelong love of Green Arrow.  You see, when I was born, my mother wanted to name me Oliver Wendell, but my dad would not agree.  It seems he hated the name Oliver.  So anyway, I grew up having my mom tell me I should have been Oliver Wendell, then I  discovered this Green Arrow guy named Oliver.  That got me thinking that, maybe, I should name my son Oliver Wendell.  Unfortunately, my wife hated Oliver as much as my dad did.

clark-kent2. CLARK

The first superhero I ever loved was Superman after I watched Superman the Movie (1978) when I was a very impressionable six-year-old.  Naturally, my years of reading Superman comics, watching movies, and numerous tv series about Clark Kent gave me a fondness for his name, and I seriously wanted to christen my oldest son Clark.  Wife considered it before finally rejecting the name, which is bad, because my eldest son bears a striking resemblance to Henry Cavill.


highlander1. CONNOR 

In 1986, Highlander blew my mind.  Looking back now, I don’t really know why, but, at the time, I thought it was the best damn movie since The Empire Strikes Back.  Loved the tv series years later, and I always, always said if I had a son he would be named Connor.  Hell, I would have been happy to name him Connor MacLeod if I could have.  And after whiffing on Oliver and Clark, I would not be denied on using this name, which is why my middle son, who contributes the graphic novel reviews from time to time, is proudly called Connor.


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