Monday, November 30, 2015

Review: The Death of Dulgath by Michael J. Sullivan

The Death of Dulgath
AuthorMichael J. Sullivan
Series:  The Riyria Chronicles 3
Publisher:  Riyria Enterprises, LLC, October 15, 2015 (ebook)
       Mascot Books, December 1, 2015 (Hardcover)
Format:  Hardcover and eBook, 432 pages
List Price:  $24.95 (Hardcover);  $9.99 (eBook)
ISBN:  9781943363025 (print)
Review Copy:  Provided by the Author

Three times they tried to kill her. Then a professional was hired. So was Riyria.

When the last member of the oldest noble family in Avryn is targeted for assassination, Riyria's Royce and Hadrian are hired to foil the plot. Three years have passed since Hadrian, the war-weary mercenary, and Royce, the cynical ex-assassin, joined forces to become rogues-for-hire. All has gone well until they're asked to help prevent a murder. Now they must venture into an ancient corner of the world to save a mysterious woman who knows more about Royce than is safe and cares less about herself than is sane.

From the best-selling author of The Riyria Revelations comes the third installment of The Riyria Chronicles. Although part of a series, it's designed to thrill both new readers looking for fun, fast-paced fantasy and Riyria veterans wishing to reunite with old friends.

Melanie’s Thoughts

The Death of Dulgath is the product of Michael J, Sullivan’s active imagination, his obvious love of both the Riyria world and its characters and a very successful Kickstarter campaign. Without these factors we might not have had opportunity to enjoy another excellent adventure of our two favourite characters - Royce and Hadrian.

This novel is set in between The Rose and the Thorn and Theft of Swords where the Riyria have only been together for a few years and just starting to establish their reputation. In need of some cash they accept a job on the opposite side of the kingdom to try to prevent a young woman from getting murdered. It sounded like a quick and easy assignment involving no mystery, no intrigue and no death or mayhem. Sound like something that should go to plan? Unfortunately for the Riyria this quick and easy job turns out to a little more than they expected. Idyllic countryside, happy citizens who love their Lady and a kind and benevolent ruler? If it sounds too good to be true then usually someone is determined it doesn't stay that way. Enter Royce and Hadrian who need to use both their combined and individual skills to find out who wants the Lady dead and why. Its what they find out about each other however that is what makes this story such an excellent read.

I was extremely lucky to have been selected as part of the beta reader group for The Death of Dulgath. You may have read some of my other reviews of Sullivan's books and know that I love just about everything about this series and its two main characters. This instalment in the series was no exception. Sullivan continues to develop both of his main characters with POV chapters where we gain a better insight into how they feel about each other which is really interesting and gives both them and the story more depth. Sullivan also gives us some additional background into a new region of the kingdom, of the religious beliefs of the citizens of Dulgath and what the Church of Novron is planning. The plot largely focuses on Lady Dulgath who features not just as the intended victim of the murder plot but as the subject of the artist Sherwood, who has been commissioned to paint her portrait. Sullivan uses Sherwood's POV chapters and the painting as a tool to advance the plot, as well as, the mechanism for revealing one of the story's big mysteries. Lady Dulgath is an enigmatic character and has some interesting scenes with Royce where she reveals some home truths about who (or what) he really is. Royce is drawn to the Lady as he is intrigued by what she tells him. I apologise for sounding vague but I can't reveal too much as I don't want to spoil the story for you.

Fans of this series, will enjoy the chapters dedicated to Royce and Hadrian. As with the other books in the series it is in the scenes with Royce and Hadrian that Sullivan's writing really shines and these were my favourite parts of the novel. Royce and Hadrian's POV chapters give us a better insight into how they feel about each other and we get an inside view of how their relationship continues to grow and flourish.

This is another great book by Sullivan and another star in the Riyria collection and a must read for any fantasy fan. Although you can easily enjoy The Death of Dulgath as a one off I wouldn't want you to miss any of the excellent books in the series so start back with The Crown Tower.

2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - November Winner

The winner of the November  2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars is Viking Warrior Rising by Asa Maria Bradley from Sourcebooks Casablanca with 48 votes equaling 40% of all votes. The cover was designed by Eileen Carey.

The Results

The November 2015 Debut Covers

Thank you to everyone who voted, Tweeted, and participated. The 2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars will continue with voting on the December Debut covers starting on December 5, 2015 and ending on December 14th.  

Voting for the 2015 Debut Author Challenge COVER OF THE YEAR will start on December 21st and end on December 31st.

The View From Monday - November 30, 2015

Happy last Monday in November. It's also Cyber Monday so if you are hunting for something today I hope you find it. If not you can always buy a book or two.

This week's debuts:

The Curse of Jacob Tracey by Holly Messinger

Bloodbound (Pathfinder Tales 30) by F. Wesley Schneider


Your Brother's Blood by David Towsey

And from formerly featured Debut Author Challenge Authors:

Impulse (Lightship Chronicles 1) by Dave Bara (in Mass Market Paperback);

Blood Will Follow (Valhalla Saga 2) by Snorri Kristjansson (in Trade Paperback);


The Labyrinth of Flame (The Shattered Sigil 3) by Courtney Schafer.

November 28, 2015
Beneath an Oil-Dark Sea Caitlin R. Kiernan SF/F/H - Best of Caitlin R. Kiernan 2

November 30, 2015
Fender Lizards Joe R. Lansdale LF

December 1, 2015
Enemy in the Dark Jay Allan SF - Far Stars Trilogy 2
Magic Gifts: A Kate Daniels Novella (e) Ilona Andrews UF - Kate Daniels
Tales of the Time Scouts Robert Asprin
Linda Evans
SF - Time Scouts Ominibus
Impulse (h2mm) Dave Bara SF - Lightship Chronicles
The Warrior Vampire Kate Baxter PNR - Last True Vampire 2
Ash and Silver Carol Berg F - Sanctuary 2
Nocturnall: A River of Souls Story (Ke) Beth Bernobich F - River of Souls
Give Up the Ghost Juliet Blackwell PM - A Haunted Home Renovation Mystery 6
Assassin's Creed: Underworld Oliver Bowden HistF - Assassin's Creed
The Elfstones of Shannara (ri/TV Tie-in) Terry Brooks F - The Shannara Chronicles 1
The Wishsong of Shannara (ri/TV Tie-in) Terry Brooks F - The Shannara Chronicles 2
Wild Wolf Claiming (e) Rhyannon Byrd PNR - Bloodrunners 8
Come the Revolution Frank Chadwick SF - How Dark the World Becomes 2
Sleeping Embers of an Ordinary Mind Anne Charnock SF
The Sound of Culture: Diaspora and Black Technopoetics Louis Chude-Sokei LC
Sweet Ruin Kresley Cole PNR - Immortals After Dark 16
Ghost in the Wind E.J. Copperman PM - A Haunted Guesthouse Mystery 7
Ark Storm (h2mm) Linda Davies Th
A Daughter of No Nation A. M. Dellamonica F - Stormwrack 2
Not Dark Yet Berit Ellingsen LF
Experimental Film Gemma Files H
A Palazzo in the Stars: Science Fiction Stories Paul Di Filippo SF - Collection
A Painted Goddess (Kindle Serial) Victor Gischler F - A Fire Beneath the Skin 3
Otherworld Protector (e) Jane Godman PNR - Otherworld 1
Pax Britannia: The Ulysses Quicksilver Omnibus Vol. 2 Jonathan Green SF - Pax Britannia
Blood Storm Steven Harper F - The Books of Blood and Iron 2
Shadow's End Thea Harrison PNR - Elder Races 9
The Ghost of Mistletoe Mary (e) Sue Ann Jaffarian PM - Ghost of Granny Apples Novella
Seize the Night (ri) Sherrilyn Kenyon PNR - Dark-Hunter 7
Alien in Chief Gini Koch SF - Alien 12
Blood Will Follow (h2tp) Snorri Kristjansson F - Valhalla Saga 2
Crucible: All-New Tales of Valdemar Mercedes Lackey F - Valdemar
Clockwork Samurai Jeannie Lin SP - Gunpowder Chronicles 2
For Love or Magic Lucy March FR - Nodaway Falls 3
Thunderbird Jack McDevitt SF/AC
Dorothy Parker Drank Here (h2tp) Ellen Meister SF - Dorothy Parker 2
The Curse of Jacob Tracy (D) Holly Messinger HistF/H
The Bone Hunters Robert J. Mrazek Th
The Zero Stone (e)(ri) Andre Norton SF - Murdoc Jern 1
Catseye (e)(ri) Andre Norton SF - Dipple 1
Uncharted Stars (e)(ri) Andre Norton SF - Murdoc Jern 2
Wraiths of Time (e)(ri) Andre Norton SF - Gods and Androids 2
Android at Arms (e)(ri) Andre Norton SF - Gods and Androids 1
Night of Masks (e)(ri) Andre Norton SF - Dipple 2
Rhythm of the Imperium Jody Lynn Nye SF - Imperium 3
The Prison in Antares Mike Resnick SF - Dead Enders 2
Sword of Destiny Andrzej Sapkowski F - The Witcher 1.5
The Labyrinth of Flame (e) Courtney Schafer F - The Shattered Sigil 3
Bloodbound (D) F. Wesley Schneider F - Pathfinder Tales 30
The Goblin Reservation (e)(ri) Clifford D. Simak SF
The Fellowship of the Talisman (e)(ri) Clifford D. Simak SF
Special Deliverance (e)(ri) Clifford D. Simak SF
Mastodonia (e)(ri) Clifford D. Simak SF
Project Pope (e)(ri) Clifford D. Simak SF
Time and Again (e)(ri) Clifford D. Simak SF
Highway of Eternity (e)(ri) Clifford D. Simak SF
A Choice of Gods (e)(ri) Clifford D. Simak SF
Our Children's Children (e)(ri) Clifford D. Simak SF
Unbound (e) Shawn Speakman (ed) F - Anthology
Nevermore Rob Thurman UF - Cal and Niko Leandros 10
Your Brother's Blood (D - US) David Towsey H/PA - Walkin' Trilogy 1
The Rising Ian Tregillis AH - The Alchemy Wars 2
The Secret of the Nagas Amish Tripathi F - Shiva Trilogy 2
Joe Steele (h2mm) Harry Turtledove AH
Slavemakers Joseph Wallace SF/AP/PA/Th - Invasive Species 2
Blood Kiss J.R. Ward PNR - Black Dagger Legacy 1
The Seventh Sigil (h2mm) Margaret Weis
Robert Krammes
F - Dragon Brigade 3

December 3, 2015
The Golden Key Legacy: HarperImpulse Fantasy Romance (e) AJ Nuest FR

D - Debut
e - eBook
ed - Editor
h2mm - Hardcover to Mass Market Paperback
h2tp - Hardcover to Trade Paperback
Ke - Kindle eBook only
ri - reissue or reprint
tp2mm - Trade to Mass Market Paperback

AC - Alien Contact
AH - Alternate History
AP - Apocalyptic
F - Fantasy
FR - Fantasy Romance
H - Horror
HistF - Historical Fantasy
LC - Literary Criticism
LF - Literary Fiction
P - Paranormal
PA - Post-Apocalyptic
PM - Paranormal Mystery
PNR - Paranormal Romance
SF - Science Fiction
SP - Steampunk
Th - Thriller
UF - Urban Fantasy

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Melanie's Week in Review - November 29, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving to all my American friends and readers of this post. I hope you all had a wonderful day and lovely, delicious meals with friends and family. I need to get myself invited to someone's house for Thanksgiving as I miss pumpkin pie as it really isn't a British dessert. Feel free to send me one in the post. Anyway back to books.  What did I read?

You may remember a few weeks ago that I had started Raptor which is the 6th book in Lindsay Buroker's Dragon Blood series. In this instalment Lieutenant Caslin Ahn feels that she should be punished rather than praised for the events at the end of book 5. The last thing she wants to do  is pick up the soulblade that ended her friend's life. On the command of the King Ahn has no alternative but to pick up the evil sword to defend her friends and country. Will she survive....will they survive? well you will have to read it to find out.

I have been rather disappointed with the later books in this series as the dialogue between some of the characters has been too flippant and 'kooky' which hasn't been consistent with the plotline or the environment. Raptor slightly improves but not until much later in the story. I had been struggling to get back in the plot and found the story a bit slow moving at first. It was still slower than I would have liked but did pick up towards the end with a bit of a cliff hanger. Luckily the series finishes soon with the release of the final book in a few weeks.

In an attempt to tidy up my NetGalley shelves I realised that I hadn't yet finished Sorcerer to the Crown (Sorcerer Royal 1) by Zen Cho. This is one of books from September's Debut Author Challenge and I had been remiss in reading it in time for that. I really enjoyed this story and thought that Cho got the balance between story and characterisation just about right. Cho explores a few key themes throughout the story but it mainly centers on discrimination - discrimination based on race and discrimination based on sex. Zacharias Wythe is the rightful Sorcerer Royal but his fellow sorcerers don't believe he deserves the position as he is black and a former slave. The other main character, Prunella discovers she has magical powers but isn't allowed to reveal them as she is a woman. Set in the late 1800's women are far too delicate to be considered strong enough to wield any magic more powerful than what is required to make sure that dinner is cooked properly or the linens are well laundered.

I found this an enjoyable read even though the plot was a bit slow in parts. I think that Cho could have spent a little less time setting up Zacharias at the beginning of the story and more time developing his relationship with the other sorcerers towards the end of the story. Overall, this was as an excellent debut novel and I am looking forward to reading more of this series. (You may read an interview with Zen Cho here.)

Finally, a couple of short stories to finish off my week. I chose this book from my Amazon recommendations - Beneath a Waning Moon: a Duo of Gothic Romances. I am not the biggest fan of Elizabeth Hunter but I have enjoyed Grace Draven's novels. I was also inexplicably drawn to the cover. I loved the woman's long flowing gown and the way the folds ripple and cascade down the steps. I thought it was rather painterly.

There are two short stories - The Very Proper Monster by Elizabeth Hunter which tells the story of Josephine Shaw who is full of live and energy yet, dying of tuberculosis. Everything changes when she marries Tom Dargin, a vampire unbeknownst to her, to save her father's legacy. This a good old fashioned story of how love comes in the most unsuspecting forms and and the most unsuspecting times.

Story 2 - Gaslight Hades has hints of Jane Austen's Persuasion to it but this time the Captain Frederick Wentworth character is a monster - the soul of one man in the body of another. Nathaniel Gorden thought his life had been reduced to guarding Highgate cemetery until one day his lost love Lenore Kenward strolls back into his life. Once dead, now Nathanial is very much alive and so is his love of Lenore.

Short stories need only short reviews (in my humble opinion). Hunter's short story can only be described as 'twee'. Josephine was fairly one dimensional and I felt Tom was a bit of a whiner. I ended up skipping some pages at the end. Draven's story had much more depth to it and I liked both of the lead characters. Not an unpleasant end to the week but just a teeny tiny bit dull.

That is all for me this week. I hope you all have a great week ahead and Happy Reading.

Dragon Blood 6
Lindsay Buroker, October 27, 2015
eBook, 354 pages

Responsible for her friend’s death, Lieutenant Caslin Ahn wants nothing more than to be left alone. She no longer deserves the company of comrades or the fulfillment she felt as a Wolf Squadron fighter pilot. But a summons from the king leaves her with no choice but to rejoin her teammates. An ancient evil has been unleashed, bringing death and destruction to the nation, and they are the only ones with a chance of stopping it.

Dragon Blood 6 brings back Cas, Tolemek, Ridge, Sardelle, Kaika, and Tylie, as well as her dragon, for a new epic fantasy adventure.

Sorcerer to the Crown
Sorcerer Royal 1
Ace, September 1, 2015
Hardcover and eBook, 384 pages

In this sparkling debut, magic and mayhem clash with the British elite…

The Royal Society of Unnatural Philosophers, one of the most respected organizations throughout all of England, has long been tasked with maintaining magic within His Majesty’s lands. But lately, the once proper institute has fallen into disgrace, naming an altogether unsuitable gentleman—a freed slave who doesn’t even have a familiar—as their Sorcerer Royal, and allowing England’s once profuse stores of magic to slowly bleed dry. At least they haven’t stooped so low as to allow women to practice what is obviously a man’s profession…

At his wit’s end, Zacharias Wythe, Sorcerer Royal of the Unnatural Philosophers and eminently proficient magician, ventures to the border of Fairyland to discover why England’s magical stocks are drying up. But when his adventure brings him in contact with a most unusual comrade, a woman with immense power and an unfathomable gift, he sets on a path which will alter the nature of sorcery in all of Britain—and the world at large…

Beneath a Waning Moon: A Duo of Gothic Romances
Hunter/Draven, September 29, 2015 (eBook)
CreateSpace, October 20, 2015 (Trade Paperback)

Two delightfully dark tales of Gothic romance from Elizabeth Hunter and Grace Draven.

In A VERY PROPER MONSTER, Josephine Shaw spends long nights filling the pages of her Gothic stories with the fantastic and the macabre, unaware that the suitor her father has arranged is one of the dark creatures she’s always dreamed. For Tom Dargin, courting an ailing spinster was only one duty in a long life of service to his sire. But after he meets the curious Miss Shaw, will Tom become the seducer or the seduced? Can a love fated to end in tragedy survive a looming grave?

In GASLIGHT HADES, Nathaniel Gordon walks two worlds—that of the living and the dead. Barely human, he's earned the reputation of a Bonekeeper, the scourge of grave robbers. He believes his old life over, until one dreary burial he meets the woman he once loved and almost married. Lenore Kenward stands at her father’s grave, begging the protection of the mysterious guardian, not knowing he is her lost love. Resolved to keep his distance, Nathaniel is forced to abandon his plan and accompany Lenore on a journey into the mouth of Hell where sea meets sky, and the abominations that exist beyond its barrier wait to destroy them.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Interview with Kate Ormand, author of The Wanderers and Dark Days

Please welcome Kate Ormand to The Qwillery. The Wanderers was published on September 1st by Sky Pony Press.

TQWelcome to The Qwillery. When and why did you start writing?

Kate:  Thank you for having me! I started writing around 4 years ago while at university, where I was studying Fine Art.

TQAre you a plotter or a pantser?

Kate:  Pantser. I work out important details but I find it hard to plan in depth before starting something. I’d rather get going on a first draft, then work things out after that when I have something to run with.

TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Kate:  The first draft. I’m doing NaNoWriMo at the moment, for the first time, and finding it so hard! I think it’s great for motivation and to get a big chunk of a new project written, but it’s tough.

TQWho are some of your literary influences? Favorite authors?

Kate Harry Potter got me into reading again. Maggie Stiefvater's books led me to discover young-adult books. And The Hunger Games introduced me to a genre I fell in love with.

TQDescribe The Wanderers in 140 characters or less.

Kate:  “About a sixteen-year-old traveling with a shape-shifter circus, and a betrayal in camp that threatens the lives of them all.”

TQTell us something about The Wanderers that is not found in the book description.

Kate:  The main character’s shape is a horse! She shifts and performs at the circus in her animal form.

TQWhat inspired you to write The Wanderers? Is this a novel that a tween/teen and parent may read together?

Kate:  I got the idea when I saw a circus poster, and I said, “What if I wrote a circus book where all the animals were shape-shifters?” And then I couldn’t stop thinking about it! I think it would be fun for a teen and parent to both read the novel and discuss it together (if you don't mind a bit of violence and gore).

TQWhat sort of research did you do for The Wanderers?

Kate:  Lots! The main research was for the circus itself and getting that right.

TQWho was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Kate:  Flo was easiest. I felt a connection with her from the start and we’re quite alike. Pru was probably the most difficult, even though she was fun, because she was hard to figure out at first. She didn’t join the group in their escape in the first draft and was left behind, but after a while I really fell for her and wanted to spend more time with her so I extended her part.

TQWhich themes do you touch upon in The Wanderers?

Kate:  High action, romance, jeopardy and betrayal - everything I love to find in the books I read!

TQWhat's next?

Kate:  The sequel! The Pack will be released in 2017 and I’m currently in the process of writing it.

TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

The Wanderers
Sky Pony Press, September 1, 2015
Hardcover and eBook, 320 pages
(Young Adult Fantasy/Paranormal)

A Unique Twist on Shape-Shifters with Fast-Paced Action, Thrilling Adventure, Mystery, and a Bit of Romance

Flo lives an eccentric life—she travels with a popular circus in which the main acts star orphaned children with secret shape-shifting abilities. Once Flo turns sixteen, she must perform, but she’s not ready. While practicing jumping a flaming hurdle in a clearing beside the circus, she spots a dark figure in the trees and fears he saw her shift. The news sends the circus into a panic.

In Flo’s world, shifters are unknown to humans with the exception of a secret organization—the EOS, referred to as “hunters.” Hunters capture and kill. They send some shifters to labs for observation and testing—testing they don’t often survive—and deem others useless, a danger to society, and eliminate them. To avoid discovery, shifters travel in packs, constantly moving and keeping themselves hidden. Up until now, the circus was the perfect disguise.

Believing she has brought attention to the group, Flo feels dread and anxiety, causing her to make a mistake during her performance in front of the audience—a mistake that triggers a violent attack from the hunters.

Flo manages to flee the torched circus grounds with Jett, the bear shifter who loves her; the annoying elephant triplets; and a bratty tiger named Pru. Together they begin a new journey, alone in a world they don’t understand and don’t know how to navigate. On the run, they unravel secrets and lies that surround the circus and their lives—secrets and lies that all point to the unthinkable: Have they been betrayed by the people they trusted most?

About Kate

Kate Ormand is YA author of DARK DAYS and shape-shifter circus series, THE WANDERERS and THE PACK. She lives in the UK with her family, her partner, and a cocker spaniel called Freddie. She graduated from university with a first class degree in Fine Art Painting. It was during this course that Kate discovered her love of reading YA books, prompting her to try a new creative angle and experiment with writing. Kate is also member and co-creator of an online group of published writers and illustrators called Author Allsorts. And she writes children’s picture books under the name Kate Louise. Kate is represented by Isabel Atherton at Creative Authors Ltd. You can see more about Kate and her writing by visiting her website ( or on Twitter (@kateormand).