Sunday, August 19, 2018

Melanie's Week in Review - August 19, 2018




Hello again. I hope you had a good week. Mine has been busy verging on hectic. Work has gotten soo busy that myself and my team are having to work this weekend just to catch-up. I have found a couple of good books to help wind down on the commute to and from the 'desk of doom'! So what were they?


I actually came across Tsumiko and the Enslaved Fox by Forthright from Ilona Andrews. Well not actually from Ilona herself but she spoke about reading it and gave a mini review on their blog. I needed something to read and I thought I would take a punt and give it a go.

Set in modern times humanity has just discovered the existence of a race that call themselves the Amaranthine. Part human and part animal the Amaranthine are myth and legend come alive and now living amongst humans. Living in a secluded private all girls school has meant that the Tusmiko knows very little about the Amaranthine and pretty much everything else in the world beyond the school gates. That is all about to change when she is left a very large inheritance from a relative that includes a big estate and her very own Amaranthine butler. Argent is not just the butler, he is a slave. He has been serving Tusumiko's family for centuries after being enslaved. He hates the fact that his very life relies on bonding with Tsumiko and desperately wants to be free. However, just when his freedom is within his reach Argent meets his new mistress and discovers she has something he has been craving more than being free.

I read this book fairly quickly and for at least the first half of the book I didn't want to put it down. The hidden world of the Amaranthine was interesting but there wasn't a lot of substance to race or their world to hold my interest for 400+ pages. The latter half of the book seemed rushed and the way in which Forthright dealt with the issue of rape was quite unsympathetic and rather superficial. The ending was very syrupy sweet and rather disappointing. I was hoping for more considering the basics of a good story was there. I don't think I will continue with the series.


I noticed that Bec McMaster's third instalment of the Blue Blood Conspiracy You Only Love Twice had been released. This story focuses on Gemma Townsend, the Company of Rogue's chief spy. Gemma is on the case to find an assassin called the Chameleon and stop him/her before they attack the Queen. Her investigation leads her directly into the path of Obsidian - a dhamphir who is working for the enemy. What she doesn't realise, until she is in his trap, is that he is the same double agent she lost her heart to 5 years before. Obsidian starts out wanting revenge on the woman he believes tried to kill him but it only takes one kiss for him to realise that their love didn't die in the fire that almost consumed him. Different sides of the same war and their love isn't the only thing in the line of fire.

McMaster's books are usually a quick, easy read and You Only Love Twice is not an exception. All of the characters from the last 2 books have a part to play in this story along with some of my favourites from the previous London Steampunk series (mainly Blade...who never did get his elocution lessons). Overall the plot is quite good and I didn't guess who the Chameleon was until the very last minute. It was quite tense in the final few chapters while story's plot was resolved. The hot and steamy starts early on which is something I noticed across all of the books in this series. It's clear that the Company of Rogues don't mess around when it comes to the bedroom (jail, dungeon, abandoned house, or where ever else). I did skim read a few of the more gratuitous paragraphs in this book but if you like a lot of heaving bosoms and thickened nether regions then this is the book for you. Overall, this was a quick read, Gemma and Obsidian weren't my favourite characters but they were tolerable, and I liked that I couldn't guess what was going to happen at the end.


That is it for me this week. I hope you have managed to find something enjoyable to take your mind off of work or the weather. Until next week Happy Reading.





Tsumiko and the Enslaved Fox
Amaranthine Saga 1
Twinkle Press, February 22, 2018
Trade Paperback and eBook, 478 pages

Tsumiko inherits an ancestral home, a vast fortune, and a butler who isn’t exactly human.

Humanity is rocked by the Emergence of a people who call themselves the Amaranthine. They are our myths and legends come to life. Neither human nor animal, yet embracing qualities of both, the inhuman races inspire both awe and fear. Every newsfeed is clogged with updates about the peace process, but some places don’t concern themselves with worldly affairs. Like the girls’ school run by Saint Midori’s of the Heavenly Lights, where Tsumiko Hajime grew up.

A letter from a long-lost aunt names Tsumiko heiress to an ancestral estate and its accompanying fortune. Only the legacy comes with an aloof heirloom: an inhuman butler. Argent has served the Hajime family for centuries, and Tsumiko must renew the generational bond or he’ll die. Argent hates her for the hold she has over him, but he craves her soul almost as much as he craves his freedom.





You Only Love Twice
London Steampunk: The Blue Blood Conspiracy 3
Lochaber Press, August 14, 2018
eBook, 437 pages

With the clock ticking down, the Company of Rogues must find a deadly killer and stop them from assassinating the Queen... before London burns.

First rule of espionage: don't ever fall in love with your target.

Five years ago, Gemma Townsend learned the hard way what happens when you break this rule. She lost everything. Her mentor's trust. The man she loved. And almost her life. Love is a weakness she can never afford again.

When offered a chance at redemption, the seductive spy is determined to complete her assigned task: to track down a dangerous assassin known as the Chameleon, a mysterious killer sent after the queen, whose identity seems to constantly change.

But as her investigation leads Gemma into a trap, she's rescued by a shadowy figure she thought was dead—the double agent who once stole her heart.

A man with few memories, all Obsidian knows is Gemma betrayed him, and he wants revenge. But one kiss ignites the unextinguished passion between them, and he can't bring himself to kill her.

Can Obsidian ever trust her again? Or is history doomed to repeat itself? Because it soon becomes clear the Chameleon might be closer than either of them realized... and this time Gemma is in the line of fire.

James Bond meets Dracula...Join USA Today bestselling author, Bec McMaster, on a thrilling ride through a steam-fuelled London where two spies working for opposing forces must risk it all for love. Download this sexy paranormal romance filled with explosive secrets, diabolical devices and breathtaking romance today!

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Walmart-Exclusive Nintendo Switch Bundle


Start Your Holiday Shopping Early with this Walmart-Exclusive Nintendo Switch Bundle

[click to embiggen]


If you haven’t yet picked up a Nintendo Switch system or are looking to jump start your holiday shopping, Walmart has a great exclusive deal starting on Sept. 5. For a suggested retail price of only $359.99, you get the Nintendo Switch system and digital download codes for two great multiplayer games – Mario Tennis Aces and 1-2-Switch – providing hours of family-friendly fun.

With Nintendo Switch, you can play games anytime, anywhere. In addition to Mario Tennis Aces and 1-2-Switch, the system is the home to critically acclaimed games like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Super Mario Odyssey and Splatoon 2, as well as popular franchises like Fortnite from Epic Games, EA SPORTS FIFA from Electronic Arts Inc. and Minecraft from Mojang AB.

This holiday, three of Nintendo’s most popular series are coming to Nintendo Switch, with Super Mario Party, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Pokémon: Let’s Go, Eevee!

For more information about Nintendo Switch, visit https://www.nintendo.com/switch/.

Nintendo Download, August 16, 2018: Cut the Red Wire … No, Wait, the Blue One!


This week’s Nintendo Download includes the following featured content:
  • Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch
    • Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes – In the Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes game, one player is trapped in a room with a ticking time bomb they must defuse. The other players are the “Experts” who must give the instructions to defuse the bomb by deciphering the information found in the Bomb Defusal Manual. But there’s a catch: The Experts can’t see the bomb, so everyone will need to talk it out – fast! Puzzle solving and communication skills – and maybe a few friendships – will be put to the test as players race to defuse bombs while communicating quickly, clearly and effectively.
    • The Walking Dead: The Final Season - Season Pass – After years on the road facing threats both living and dead, a secluded school might finally be Clementine and AJ’s chance for a home. But protecting it will mean sacrifice. In this gripping, emotional final season, your choices define your relationships, shape your world, and determine how Clementine’s story ends.

Nintendo eShop sales:

Friday, August 17, 2018

Bengal Cover Revealed for The Weatherman


DAZZLING BENGAL COVER FOR
THE WEATHERMAN REVEALED

PORTLAND, OR, 08/16/2018 — Image Comics is pleased to unveil a stunning, limited THE WEATHERMAN #4 cover featuring eye-catching artwork by Bengal (DEATH OR GLORY).

In THE WEATHERMAN #4, every human left alive wants a piece of Nathan Bright—but there’s only so much of him to go around. Enter the Pearl, a crime lord in the business of making revenge as sweet as possible… and death last forever.

THE WEATHERMAN #4 hits stores on Wednesday, September 12th. The final order cutoff for comics retailers is Monday, August 20th.
  • WEATHERMAN #4 Cover A by Fox - JUL180393
  • WEATHERMAN #4 Cover B by Martin - JUL180394
  • WEATHERMAN #4 Cover C by Bengal (Limited) - JUL188356


ABOUT IMAGE COMICS
Image Comics is a comic book and graphic novel publisher founded in 1992 by a collective of bestselling artists. Image has since gone on to become one of the largest comics publishers in the United States. Image currently has five partners: Robert Kirkman, Erik Larsen, Todd McFarlane, Marc Silvestri, and Jim Valentino. It consists of five major houses: Todd McFarlane Productions, Top Cow Productions, Shadowline Comics, Skybound Entertainment, and Image Central. Image publishes comics and graphic novels in nearly every genre, sub-genre, and style imaginable. It offers science fiction, fantasy, romance, horror, crime fiction, historical fiction, humor and more by the finest artists and writers working in the medium today. For more information, visit
www.imagecomics.com.

John Layman and Afu Chan's Outer Darkness Coming in November


SPACE IS PROFOUNDLY TERRIFYING IN JOHN LAYMAN AND AFU CHAN'S OUTER DARKNESS


PORTLAND, OR, 08/16/2018 — Eisner Award-winning writer John Layman (CHEW, LEVIATHAN) and artist Afu Chan (Immortal Iron Fists, Spera) team up for OUTER DARKNESS, an all-new sci-fi/horror series coming this November from Image/Skybound Entertainment.

“Thanks to Afu Chan and Skybound, we’ve succeeded in making OUTER DARKNESS as perfect and beautiful as I’d envisioned it to be since finishing Chew,” said Layman. “I’m so unbelievably excited that OUTER DARKNESS is being announced to the world. I’m absolutely in love with this book.”

In OUTER DARKNESS, humankind has successfully colonized the galaxy. But during our interstellar travels, we discovered a terrifying secret out in the vast reaches of space...

Enter Captain Joshua Rigg and the crew of the starship Charon, who will encounter demonic possessions, hauntings, and cosmic horror as they embark on a desperate rescue mission into the Outer Darkness of space—where everything wants to kill them.

“It was scary, in good way, working with John Layman and Skybound, especially on a comic filled with monsters and in space where nobody can hear you,” said Chan. “I am always on the edge of my seat while drawing these pages, and I can't wait for people to experience the ride when reading OUTER DARKNESS. It is the best work I've done yet.”

OUTER DARKNESS #1 will hit stores on Wednesday, November 7th.


ABOUT IMAGE COMICS
Image Comics is a comic book and graphic novel publisher founded in 1992 by a collective of bestselling artists. Image has since gone on to become one of the largest comics publishers in the United States. Image currently has five partners: Robert Kirkman, Erik Larsen, Todd McFarlane, Marc Silvestri, and Jim Valentino. It consists of five major houses: Todd McFarlane Productions, Top Cow Productions, Shadowline Comics, Skybound Entertainment, and Image Central. Image publishes comics and graphic novels in nearly every genre, sub-genre, and style imaginable. It offers science fiction, fantasy, romance, horror, crime fiction, historical fiction, humor and more by the finest artists and writers working in the medium today. For more information, visit
www.imagecomics.com.

ABOUT SKYBOUND ENTERTAINMENT
Founded in 2010, Skybound Entertainment is a multiplatform entertainment company specializing in television, comics, film, digital content, interactive, gaming, and merchandise. The company is led by The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman and his longtime producing and business partner David Alpert.

The Warning Coming In November!


THE WARNING INJECTS POIGNANCY INTO HIGH-CONCEPT MILITARY SCI-FI ACTION

PORTLAND, OR, 08/16/2018 — Writer/artist Edward Laroche (Almighty, Bad Summer) will launch an all-new military science fiction series, THE WARNING, this November from Image Comics.

An enormous machine is slowly materializing in a major metropolitan city on the West Coast. No one knows who sent it, or why—except, perhaps, for the malevolent beings gliding silently through the inky vastness of space toward Earth.

In response, a joint multinational combat brigade called Gladiator Two-Six is deployed. Outfitted with next-generation military science and weapons, they’re tasked with stopping any extraterrestrial threat that emerges.

“I'm psyched to be a part of the most interesting and influential creative space for American independent comics,” said Laroche. “I just want to add a chorus, or maybe an opera, to the art form that has meant everything to me. THE WARNING is the first act of that opera.”

THE WARNING #1 will hit stores on Wednesday, November 28th.

The Terrible Elisabeth Dumn Against the Devils In Suits Coming In November


THE TERRIBLE ELISABETH DUMN AGAINST THE DEVILS IN SUITS TAKES READERS THROUGH A SURREAL DREAMSCAPE (OF HORRORS)

PORTLAND, OR, 08/16/2018 — This November, Image Comics will release THE TERRIBLE ELISABETH DUMN AGAINST THE DEVILS IN SUITS: a gloriously oversized one-shot from new Brazilian sensation Arabson, with translation by Eisner Award winner James Robinson.

Elisabeth Dumn is a strong, rebellious girl who’s determined to make her own way. And it’s a good thing, too, because her father promised her to the Devil long ago, and he’s coming to claim what’s his.

ELISABETH DUMN AGAINST THE DEVILS IN SUITS hits stores on Wednesday, November 14th.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Review: Gears of Faith by Gabrielle Harbowy


Gears of Faith
Author:  Gabrielle Harbowy
Series:  Pathfinder Tales 38
Publisher:  Tor Books, April 4, 2017
Format:  Trade Paperback, 288 pages, and eBook, 350 pages
List Price:  US$14.99 (print); US$9.99 (eBook)
ISBN:  ISBN 9780765384409 (print); 9780765384416 (eBook)

Pathfinder is the world's bestselling tabletop role-playing game—now adapted as a series of novels.

Keren is a sworn knight of Iomedae, proper and disciplined in every way. Her girlfriend, Zae, is the opposite—a curious gnome cleric of the clockwork god, who loves nothing more than the chaos of her makeshift hospitals. When a powerful evil artifact is stolen from a crusader stronghold, both knight and gnome are secretly sent to the great city of Absalom to track down the stolen bloodstone.

Sure, they may not be the most powerful or experienced members of their organizations, but that’s the whole point—with legendary champions and undead graveknights battling at every turn in their race to recover the stone, who’ll notice one young knight and her gnome? All they have to do is stay alive long enough to outsmart a thief capable of evading both gods and heroes.



Brannigan's Review

Gabrielle Harbowy’s Gears of Faith, while enjoyable, often fails to fulfill its promises. We follow two main characters, Keren Rhinn, a human, and Zae, a gnome, who are lovers and who both have a strong religious faith. Keren, as a Holy Knight, is more comfortable using her sword to accomplish her god’s missions, while Zae, a tinkerer, uses her faith in healing and creating. Together they are given a mission to find a thief of a holy relic while also seeking further training.

The hidden antagonist is the thief who stole a part of a dead god and we’re left to wonder who the thief is and what he or she wants to accomplish with the relic. We follow Keren and Zae as they travel to a new city to both seek new training in their respective religions. Keren learns how to call on her god to help her cast magic, and Zae receives formal inventor training. While in the city we meet many different characters that could be the thief.

Harbowy’s writing has a very natural flow to it, which makes it easy to lose time reading. She writes characters you easily embrace and enjoy, and is very descriptive in her writing. My main problem with the book is that Harbowy starts it off by saying the characters are going to be going to school and apprehending a thief. While Harbowy technically does show us the characters going to school and looking for the thief, we never really dive into either plot points very deeply. I felt like we spent the book in a wading pool. I never felt like I got a satisfactory immersion with either character. Because of this, the climax of the plot felt rushed and unsatisfying.

Harbowy's Gears of Faith, while being a wonderful fantasy story, in the end falls flat on its promise of showing the characters growing while going to school and seeking the thief. There isn't an issue with language. Minor acts of violence and sexual situations make it appropriate for older teens and adults. If you would like a light fantasy read, pick up your own copy today.

Cemetery Beach Impact Variants by Jason Howard


JASON HOWARD HONORS ARTISTIC INFLUENCES IN CEMETERY BEACH IMPACT VARIANTS

PORTLAND, OR, 08/15/2018 — Image Comics is pleased to reveal the first cover in a line of “Impact variants” for Warren Ellis and Jason Howard’s CEMETERY BEACH. Each cover will be by Howard, but drawn in the style of an artist who made an impact on his work and influenced his creative career. CEMETERY BEACH #1 Cover C will kick off the line by paying tribute to the iconic Todd McFarlane.

“As a kid seeing Todd’s art for the first time opened my eyes to the fact that comics were drawn by different people,” said Howard. “I was already artistic, but Todd inspired me to focus my creativity on COMICS. These covers are a way for me to give a public nod to artists who’ve made an impact on me, and have some fun trying to capture elements of their style."

CEMETERY BEACH #1 will hit stores on Wednesday, September 12th. The final order cutoff for comics retailers is Monday, August 20th.
  • CEMETERY BEACH #1 Cover A by Howard (Diamond Code JUL180123)
  • CEMETERY BEACH #1 Cover B virgin cover (Diamond Code JUN188807)
  • CEMETERY BEACH #1 Cover C “Impact” variant by Howard (Diamond Code JUL188199)

[click to embiggen]

ABOUT IMAGE COMICS
Image Comics is a comic book and graphic novel publisher founded in 1992 by a collective of bestselling artists. Image has since gone on to become one of the largest comics publishers in the United States. Image currently has five partners: Robert Kirkman, Erik Larsen, Todd McFarlane, Marc Silvestri, and Jim Valentino. It consists of five major houses: Todd McFarlane Productions, Top Cow Productions, Shadowline Comics, Skybound Entertainment, and Image Central. Image publishes comics and graphic novels in nearly every genre, sub-genre, and style imaginable. It offers science fiction, fantasy, romance, horror, crime fiction, historical fiction, humor and more by the finest artists and writers working in the medium today. For more information, visit
www.imagecomics.com.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

2018 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - August Debuts





Each month you will be able to vote for your favorite cover from that month's debut novels. At the end of the year the 12 monthly winners will be pitted against each other to choose the 2018 Debut Novel Cover of the Year. Please note that a debut novel cover is eligible in the month in which the novel is published in the US. Cover artist/illustrator/designer information is provided when we have it.

I'm using PollCode for this vote. After you the check the circle next to your favorite, click "Vote" to record your vote. If you'd like to see the real-time results click "View". This will take you to the PollCode site where you may see the results. If you want to come back to The Qwillery click "Back" and you will return to this page. Voting will end sometime on August 31, 2018, unless the vote is extended. If the vote is extended the ending date will be posted.

Vote for your favorite August 2018 Debut Cover!
 
pollcode.com free polls




Cover Art by Argh! Nottingham
















Jacket photo of woman by Karan Kapoor/Getty Images;
Jacket typography by Doctor Letters;
Jacket design by Steve Meditz