So, I Read This Book Today

Editing, Proofreading, Reviewing and Other Stuff


May 2015

Prairie School Architecture. Plus.

I had to reblog this from Walking Woman. I adore Prairie architecture, but the first two statues are so gorgeous as well!


26 May 2015 – Let’s start with the Plus, because it really is very, very nifty. In the parkland in front of the Mason City Public Library stands this status: “Circle of Friends,” by Karen  Crain.

"Circle of Friends" in front of Mason City Public Library

Charming without being saccharine & entirely appropriate for a public library, you think. All true — but the story is even better than that. Each year, River City Sculptures on Parade, Inc. (not-for-profit, despite that “Inc”), in partnership with Sculpture One Network, invites artists to lend the city one of their works of art for one year. The sculptures are displayed in a big walking-tour loop around the city, and are available for sale. So: good art for the city; good marketing opp for the artists.

On top of that, each year people are invited to vote for the People’s Choice award. Whichever sculpture wins, is purchased by the city and kept on display.

Back to…

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Sabriel (Abhorsen, #1) by Garth Nix $1.99 Today

When I saw that Sabriel was on sale for $1.99 on Amazon today, it brought to mind just how much I had enjoyed the book. It is advertised as YA, but it is much more than that. Anyone who is knowledgeable of Garth Nix’s work knows he is a wonderful writer, and the Abhorsen series proves that over and over again.

I read Sabriel and Lirael back when they were first published, and I remember loving them, but I never wrote reviews. I simply wasn’t doing that back then. Some time I will read all the books and post reviews, but for right now, if you haven’t read the Abhorsen books, I highly recommend you pick up Sabriel at this price and give it a read when you are feeling like reading high fantasy. It is wonderful, and you will no doubt be addicted!

Click the titles of each book to go to the Goodreads site, except for the Sabriel title, which will take you to Amazon to pick up your copy at the special price of $1.99.

Sabriel (Abhorsen #1)
For ONLY $1.99 at

Since childhood, Sabriel has lived outside the walls of the Old Kingdom, away from the power of Free Magic, and away from the Dead who refuse to stay dead. But now her father, the Abhorson, is missing, and Sabriel must cross into that world to find him. With Mogget, whose feline form hides a powerful, perhaps malevolent spirit, and Touchstone, a young Charter Mage, Sabriel travels deep into the Old Kingdom. There she confronts an evil that threatens much more than her life and comes face-to-face with her own hidden destiny. . . .

Lirael (Abhorsen #2)


Lirael has never felt like a true daughter of the Clayr. Now, two years past the time when she should have received the Sight that is the Clayr’s birthright, she feels alone, abandoned, unsure of who she is. Nevertheless, the fate of the Old Kingdom lies in her hands. With only her faithful companion, the Disreputable

Dog, Lirael must undertake a desperate mission under the growing shadow of an ancient evil.

In this sequel to Sabriel, winner of the Aurealis Award for Excellence in Australian Science Fiction, New York Times best-selling author Garth Nix weaves a spellbinding tale of discovery, destiny, and danger.

Abhorsen (Abhorsen #3)


An old evil has arisen – freed from its subterranean prison and seeking to escape the binding silver hemispheres which prevent it from finally unleashing its terrible powers.

Lirael, newly come into her inheritance as the Abhorsen-in-Waiting, knows that the fate of the world is in her hands. With only a vision from the Clayr to guide her, and the uncertain help of her companions — Sam, the Disreputable Dog, and Mogget — Lirael sets out on her perilous mission.

Then answer must be found somewhere in Life or Death – but can a former Second Assistant Librarian possibly discover the means to defeat the DIt is six months since the cataclysmic events of Abhorsen, six months Nicholas Sayre has spent recovering in the Ancelstierre. But he is desperate to return to the Old Kingdom, and at last has the chance.

All he has to do is spend a weekend in a country house as a favour for his Uncle Edward, Chief Minister of Ancelstierre. That seems easy enough, till he discovers that the house holds many secrets, and the worst of them is a relic of the Old Kingdom, too far from the Wall for any spark of its magical life to reignite.

Unless someone finds a way to unleash its power…. estroyer…before it is too late?

The Creature in the Case (Abhorsen #3.5)

1042546It is six months since the cataclysmic events of Abhorsen, six months Nicholas Sayre has spent recovering in the Ancelstierre. But he is desperate to return to the Old Kingdom, and at last has the chance.

All he has to do is spend a weekend in a country house as a favour for his Uncle Edward, Chief Minister of Ancelstierre. That seems easy enough, till he discovers that the house holds many secrets, and the worst of them is a relic of the Old Kingdom, too far from the Wall for any spark of its magical life to reignite.

Unless someone finds a way to unleash its power….

Across The Wall: A Tale Of The Abhorsen And Other Stories (Abhorsen #3.5: the Creature in the Case)

If a writer tells the stories, do the stories tell the writer?

Thirteen stories from the international bestselling author, including the award-winning Old Kingdom story Nicholas Sayre and the Creature in the Case.

Nicholas Sayre will do anything to get across the Wall. Thoughts of Lirael and Sam haunt his dreams, and he has come to realize that his destiny lies with them, in the Old Kingdom. But here in Ancelstierre, Nick faces an obstacle that is not entirely human, with a strange power that seems to come from Nicholas himself.

The rest of the collection includes two widely different takes on the Merlin myth, a gritty urban version of Hansel and Gretel, a heartbreaking story of children and war, a western, a traditional tale with a twist and a hilarious choose-your-own-adventure spoof.

Each story is introduced by Garth Nix, giving context, anecdotes and a glimpse into his creative process. This edition includes a bonus section of frequently asked questions and answers.

Clariel (Abhorsen #4)

20662728Sixteen-year-old Clariel is not adjusting well to her new life in the city of Belisaere, the capital of the Old Kingdom. She misses roaming freely within the forests of Estwael, and she feels trapped within the stone city walls. And in Belisaere she is forced to follow the plans, plots and demands of everyone, from her parents to her maid, to the sinister Guildmaster Kilp. Clariel can see her freedom slipping away. It seems too that the city itself is descending into chaos, as the ancient rules binding Abhorsen, King and Clayr appear to be disintegrating.

With the discovery of a dangerous Free Magic creature loose in the city, Clariel is given the chance both to prove her worth and make her escape. But events spin rapidly out of control. Clariel finds herself more trapped than ever, until help comes from an unlikely source. But the help comes at a terrible cost. Clariel must question the motivations and secret hearts of everyone around her – and it is herself she must question most of all.

To Hold the Bridge (Abhorsen)  A Short Story Collection in the World of Abhorsen

23213811Far to the north of the magical Old Kingdom, the Greenwash Bridge Company has been building a bridge for almost a hundred years. It is not an easy task, for many dangers threaten the bridge builders, from nomad raiders to Free Magic sorcerers. Despite the danger, Morghan wants nothing more than to join the Bridge Company as a cadet. But the company takes only the best, the most skillful Charter mages, and trains them hard, for the night might come when only a single young cadet must hold the bridge against many foes. Will Morghan be that cadet?

Also included in this remarkable collection are eighteen short stories that showcase Nix’s versatility as he adds a fantastical twist on an array of genres including science fiction, paranormal, realistic fiction, mystery, and adventure.

Untitled (Abhorsen #5)

According to Nix’s author’s note at the end of “Clariel”, this novel will be about Nicholas Sayre and Lirael following the events of the short story “The Creature in the Case”.


The Prince’s Man Is On StoryFinds Today!


The Five Kingdoms Book 1

 Best Price $3.99 on Nook & iBookstore

Award winning novel, THE PRINCE’S MAN, has been described as ‘James Bond meets Lord of the Rings’ – a sweeping tale of spies and deadly politics, inter-species mistrust and magic phobia, with an underlying thread of romance.

Rustam Chalice, hedonist, dance tutor, gigolo and spy, loves his life just the way it is, so when the kingdom he serves is threatened from within, he leaps into action. Only trouble is, the spy master, Prince Hal, teams him up with an untouchable aristocratic assassin who despises him.

And to make matters worse, she’s the most beautiful woman in the Five Kingdoms.

Plunged into a desperate journey over the mountains, the mismatched pair struggle to survive deadly wildlife, the machinations of a spiteful god – and each other.

They must also keep alive a sickly elf they need as a political pawn. But when the elf reveals that Rustam has magic of his own, he is forced to question his identity, his sanity and worst, his loyalty to his prince.

For in Tyr-en, all magic users are put to death.

“The conflict Ms Jay uses between these characters are so vivid; it’s an amazing world she created, that reminded me a bit of Lord of the Rings/The Game of Thrones. ” – Adrienne Woods Books and Reviews

About Deborah Jay:

Deborah Jay writes fantasy and urban fantasy featuring complex, quirky characters and multi-layered plots – just what she likes to read.

Living mostly on the UK South coast, she has already invested in her ultimate retirement plan – a farmhouse in the majestic, mystery-filled Scottish Highlands where she retreats to write when she can find the time. Her taste for the good things in life is kept in check by the expense of keeping too many horses, and her complete inability to cook.

She has a dream of a day job riding, training and judging competition dressage horses and riders, and also writes books and magazine features on the subject under her professional name of Debby Lush.

A lifelong fan of science fiction and…

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Teaser Tuesdays

Teaser Tuesdays
 is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of A Daily Rhythm. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

“Amazing inventions, colossal failures, and countless wars. We watched it behind the scenes. Watched the monkeys from beyond the glass. We were intrigued, Hell was amused, and Heaven was losing patience.
Finally, the monkeys threw too much shit on the windows. They sparked a third World War, one that the Big Boss upstairs knew would obliterate the world.
So he sent us instead. We were much more effective. We were much more eager.”

PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT with either the link to your own Teaser Tuesdays post, or share your ‘teasers’ in a comment here (if you don’t have a blog). Thanks!

Review: Midnight Riot: Peter Grant #1 by Ben Aaronovitch

Midnight Riot: Peter Grant, Book 1 | [Ben Aaronovitch]“I gave the prescribed Metropolitan Police “first greeting”. “Oi!” I said “What do you think you’re doing?” ― Ben Aaronovitch, Midnight Riot “’Conflict resolution,’ said Nightingale, ‘Is this what they teach at Hendon these days?’ ‘Yes, sir,’ I said. ‘But don’t worry, they also teach us how to beat people with phone books and the ten best ways to plant evidence.’” ― Ben Aaronovitch, Midnight Riot First, I love British Urban Fantasy. It is often quirky, normally presented in a dry, witty style, and sometimes simply figuring out the language can give it a while other level of subtle humour not found in “American English” writing. I love it, and Ben Aaronovitch doesn’t disappoint with “Midnight Riot”. Of course, listening to the book rather than simply reading it added a whole other level to my enjoyment. The narration of Kobna Holdbrook-Smith is everything I could have wanted and more. His delivery has the level of dry wit, spot-on delivery and subliminal snark that brings a ‘good’ book to the level of ‘brilliant’. Peter Grant is a London ‘copper’ – just off his two year probationary period as a constable, his lack of ability to actually pay attention to what is going on around him has him scheduled for – basically a fancied up secretary. But one cold night on a scene watch under the West Portico of St. Paul’s at Covent Garden, Peter meets an odd little man in an Edwardian smoking jacket: “…don’t ask me why I know what an Edwardian smoking jacket looks like: let’s just say it has something to do with Doctor Who and leave it at that.” That in itself is weird enough. But the fact that he is a ghost is just a tad over the top, even for a Londoner. Suddenly, Peter finds himself in a world he never knew existed – where ghosts and goulies, goddesses and monsters all exist just below the everyday hustle and bustle of the crowded city streets. In his new position as assistant and student wizard under the tutelage of Detective Chief Inspector Thomas Nightingale. Thomas Nightingale, London Detective and Wizard. Well, nobody ever said being a London cop is simple, you know. Now, there are all sorts of odd things going on around Peter – and all of his friends, his family, and his coworkers, as well as the whole population of London, are in more danger than he ever could have imagined. Peter Grant is an unusual character. Half white, half Somali, Peter suffers the same sorts of issues that any black man in a mostly white force suffers. He likes his job, but his fuzzy grasp on concentration causes him issues – issues that his Probationary partner, Leslie May, has to pick up the slack on. And of course, the oddity of his new position causes a strain for him within the department, as does the bureaucracy inherent in a huge, ancient city such as London. “As soon as we stopped sleeping with our cousins and built walls, temples and a few decent nightclubs, society became too complex for any one person to grasp all at once, and thus bureaucracy was born. A bureaucracy breaks the complexity down into a series of interlocking systems. You don’t need to know how the systems fit together, or even what function your bit of the system has, you just perform your bit and the whole machine creaks on.” Midnight Riot is amazingly creative. Ben Aaronovitch takes the trouble to weave in the history and stories of London, all the way back to its very beginnings, Londinium, a settlement established on the current site of the City of London around AD 47. The focus of the story interweaves history and mythology, witchcraft and ghosts, and Mother and Father Thames and their children, the many other waterways of Britain. As Tim from Temecula says in his Audio review, “It’s as British as Chicken Vindaloo or Soccer Violence.” Of course, as a former Brit, Tim should know – 😉 Idiosyncratic and wickedly fun, the Peter Grant Series is an absolute blast. I can highly recommend it! Especially if you listen to the Audio Version narrated by Kobna Holdbrook-Smith. Awesome! About the Author: Ben Aaronovitch Ben Aaronovitch was born in 1964. He had parents, some brothers, some sisters and a dog named after a Russian cosmonaut. He also had the kind of dull childhood that drives a person to drink, radical politics or science fiction. Discovering in his early twenties that he had precisely one talent, he took up screenwriting at which he was an overnight success. He wrote for Doctor Who, Casualty and the world’s cheapest ever SF soap opera Jupiter Moon. He then wrote for Virgin’s New Adventures until they pulped all his books. Then Ben entered a dark time illuminated only by an episode of Dark Knight, a book for Big Finish and the highly acclaimed but not-very-well-paying Blake’s 7 Audio dramas. Trapped in a cycle of disappointment and despair Ben was eventually forced to support his expensive book habit by working for Waterstones as a bookseller. Ironically it was while shelving the works of others that Ben finally saw the light. He would write his own books, he would let prose into his heart and rejoice in the word. Henceforth, subsisting on nothing more than instant coffee and Japanese takeaway, Ben embarked on the epic personal journey that was to lead to Rivers of London (or Midnight Riot as it is known in the Americas). At some point during the above, the most important thing in his life happened and he became a father to a son, Karifa, whom he affectionately refers to as ‘The Evil Monster Boy’. The Evil Monster Boy will be reaching university age soon, so all donations will be gratefully received. Ben Aaronovitch currently resides in London and says that he will leave when they pry his city from his cold dead fingers. About the Narrator: Kobna Holdbrook-Smith Kobna Holdbrook-Smith is a Ghanaian-born, British actor who has appeared on stage, screen, and television, including Sorry, I’ve Got No Head, Little Britain, and Sirens. A graduate of the Guildford School of Acting, he won a Manchester Evening News Theatre Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role for his performance in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. His audiobook narrations include Blue Remembered Earth by Alastair Reynolds and The Memory of Love by Aminatta Forna.

Review: Crimes Against Magic (The Hellequin Chronicles Book 1)

Crimes Against Magic (Hellequin Chronicles, #1)I know what you are. You’re the thing the monsters fear.” – Ivy, The Hellequin Chronicles

“If you believe, as the Greeks did, that man is at the mercy of the gods, then you write tragedy. The end is inevitable from the beginning. But if you believe that man can solve his own problems and is at nobody’s mercy, then you will probably write melodrama.” – Lillian Hellman

“So, Nate, I’ve heard rumours that you’re actually alive.” It would have to be rumour. You see, even Nate didn’t know that he really was Nate. He only had a piece of paper with the name Nathan Garrett on it, in what he discovered was his own handwriting, when he woke up in a filthy, shuttered warehouse ten years ago. Was that his name? Well, it was a good enough name, and he needed one. That’s what happens when you have no knowledge of your previous life, not the slightest memory.

Fast forward and Nate is a thief, taking the hard jobs, the unusual jobs, for an odd fellow living in a ‘lost’ section of the London underground rail tunnels, his jobs managed and recommended by his partner Holly, daughter of Mark and Lyn O’Hara, Mob Bosses Extraordinaire and two of the most dangerous people in London.

Well, if you don’t count the psycho gargoyles, nightmares, and various other things that go bump in the night.

This is my first reading of a Steve McHugh Hellequin Chronicles book. I have put them off for a bit, as the main character is male and I have really been wanting to read female heroes, but I am glad that I picked it up sooner than later. The settings are marvelously well done. The story moves back and forth between time periods, from the modern day, to ten years previously when Nate first lost his memories, and further back, to the 1400’s as Nate’s memories begin to return. The characters are sharply written and realistic. McHugh knows his Greek Mythology, and it shows in his deft handling of gods and monsters, sorcerers and just folks. The book has that dry, British delivery that I adore, interspersed with a sort of subliminal humour that I completely enjoyed.

The idea of magic actually taking over the sorcerer if he uses it too much was spectacular. Nate is very conscious of the power of magic, as well as the dangers – but a man can only take so much when the lives of innocent women and children are on the line, threatened by monsters with no compunction when it comes to savage murder of innocents. When he finally loses his shit, he is absolutely glorious!

If you are of the mind to read a solid modern fantasy with that sharp, dry ‘Brit Wit’ some British authors carry off so amazingly well, I would highly recommend the series. I have already downloaded the next, though honestly I don’t know when I will get to it with the huge backlist I have. But it will be worth it when I do, I have no doubt.

Highly recommended. Very minimal sex, some really nasty violence but not overdone, and a strong grasp of history makes the warping of history just right. Homer may have written the Illiad – but you know he did it several hundred years after the Trojan wars. “History is written by the victors who have hung the heroes.” – Sr.William Wallace

Musing Mondays! Mondays is a weekly meme that asks you to answer:

I’m currently reading…

Crimes Against Magic: The Hellequin Chronicles, Book 1 | [Steve McHugh]Listened to Midnight Riot: Peter Grant, Book 1 by Midnight Riot: Peter Grant, Book 1 | Ben AaronovitchBen Aaronovitch

Read Crimes Against Magic: Hellequin Chronicles: Book 1 by Steve McHugh.


Up next I think I’ll read… Path of the Horseman Path of the Horseman by Amy Braun

I bought the following book(s) in the past week… 

Pest Control for Organic Gardening  by AmberPest Control for Organic Gardening: Natural Methods for Pest and Disease Control for a Healthy Garden Richards.

I also got from The Book of Speculation by Erika Swyler and Mocha, Moonlight, and Murder by
MaryAnn Kempher.

I’m super excited to tell you about (book/author/bookish-news)…

I just finished the rough edits on Michael Angel’s next Dayna Chrissie novel – Woo Hoo! It is about 1/3 done right now. I am also working on a full re-edit with Susan Bliler on Leto: Skin Walkers.

I’m really upset by (book/author/bookish-news)…

Amazon withhold services from Canadian and Australian Authors… check my review for Grumpy Old Wizards for my discussion with Deborah Jay… I love my authors from other countries, and they deserve just as much respect as US and UK authors do!

I can’t wait to get a copy of…

So  many books, so little time! harperleeI want Harper Lee’s Go Set A Watchman but as it is coming out on Kindle at $15.99, I can’t afford it, so will have to wait for a Library copy. Sigh.

I wish I could read ___, but…

25217322Seveneves: A Novel by Neal Stephenson, but I can’t afford $16.99 for a Kindle book – or any book really. I would rather spend that on my garden. Will have to wait till I can get it from the Library. Also, I have lots of books I have to get done soon:


The Juan Doe Murders: A Smokey Brandon ThrillerThe Book of Speculation, Moonlight, and Murder (Under The Moonlight #1)


Murder Over KodiakPath of the HorsemanDon't Fear the Reaper: Why Every Author Needs an EditorThe Cat's Maw (The Shadowland Saga, VOL 1)Br

For the Author:

The Keeper: A Martial Arts Thriller (US title: Keeper of Light and Dust)

I blogged about ____ this past week

Some Were In Time: Shift Happens Book TwoSome Were In Time: Shift Happens Book Two by Robyn Peterman

The second in the Shift Happens Series, click the title above for my review of Ready To Were: Shift Happens Series Book 1.

Review: The Brothers Cro-Magnon by Roger PepperThe Brothers Cro-Magnon

Science is good. But bad science? Well, that can be deadly…


Where is the strangest place you’ve ever read a book? OR… Where is the strangest place you’ve ever found a crazy-good book, unexpectedly?

Wow, so MANY places! Up a tree. In a closet. On the roof. In a horse stall. Hiding between hay bales in the hay barn. Floating in an inner-tube. Those are just a few!

PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT with either the link to your own Musing Mondays post, or share your answer in a brief comment here (if you don’t have a blog). Thanks! 😀

Thanks, as always, to for Musing Mondays!

Meet Jenn

A Daily Rhythm - Jenn

Creative Director & Writer. Loves books, music, sunshine, and good friends.


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Another super-short mega story writing challenge

Want to play? 😉

Matthew Wright

Here’s another super-short mega story writing challenge.

Use the photo to inspire a 150-200 word super-short story – a proper one, with beginning, middle, end and punchline (all super-short stories gotta have a punchline) – and post it on your blog, with the prompt photo and a link back to this blog for others to pick up and join in the fun.

Danger, Will Robinson, Danger! Danger, Will Robinson, Danger!

The story can be about anything, and should be suitable for a general readership, so please keep away from ‘adult’ themes. As for the picture itself – well, I took it at the south of Lake Onoke, in the southern Wairarapa, in New Zealand. It’s not too far from where James Cameron lives. Yes, that James Cameron. Are you ready? Set…


Copyright © Matthew Wright 2015

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The Final Goodbye (A #MemorialDay Story)

Remember – it isn’t all about bar-b-ques and wild parties….


By U.S. Navy photo [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons By U.S. Navy photo [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons I wrote this story a while back to honor those our country has lost defending our freedoms, and it seemed only right I share it again this weekend.

The Final Goodbye

He stood alone. As he gazed out at the white crosses that covered the beautifully manicured lawn he felt the weight of his 48 years drag his shoulders down in a way he never had before. It had been a long time since he’d been back to this place, and he’d hoped to never return.

“A parent should never outlive his child.” Grief scratching at his throat.

He blinked back tears that stubbornly refused to fall. Part of him clung to the image he had in his mind’s eye. Full of laughter and vitality, that precious dark head bent over to kiss his young wife’s distended belly, before he turned…

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