New and Impending Releases in SFF, Horror, Urban Fantasy and More: 25 Feb ’19

Hey everyone, I hope you’re all well. 🙂

I’ve got news of some new books worth your while. This ‘feature’ will probably happen here every Monday, so if you’ve got new releases you’d like to share the news of, or books that’ll be published in the next two months, get in touch. 🙂

Here are today’s notable new releases and books up for pre-order:

Jason Guinn‘s The Wretched (The Lucifer Chronicles)

Lucifer has been expelled to a place worse than Hell…Tucson, Arizona.

Having lost everything to the usurper Beelzebub, Lucifer finds himself trapped on earth, the one place he can die. Without options and shit out of luck, he does the unthinkable and realigns with his old nemesis, God, for a shot at vengeance against Beelzebub.

But there is a price.

Earth has been overrun by evil forces and God needs Lucifer to clean house. Forced to work with a band of redemption seeking degenerates, Lucifer must learn to put aside his hatred for mankind and learn to trust his teammates or they will not survive. Assisting Lucifer in his quest to liberate the world is the hot-tempered immortal Lilith, stoner Adam, a resurrected hit-man, and a witch with a pesky undead feline familiar called Dead Meat.

And they only have three days.

With the clock ticking, Lucifer must get his unwanted team up to snuff for their first mission while being hunted by his ex-wife, Agrat. Their mission is to assassinate an earthbound Demon Lord named Hornblas, who parades around as the head of the largest music conglomerate in the world.

And it gets worse.

Their contracts with God prohibit them from killing innocents or falling back into their sinful ways. Failure results in immediate banishment to Hell and certain death for Lucifer.

Filled with angels and demons, trips to Hell, and other supernatural beasties, The Wretched follows Lucifer through an ever-increasing vortex of trouble across the Copper State with a final climactic realization leading to the unraveling of Lucifer himself.

You can order your copies at the following links: Kindle version, Print version.

Next up: Philip Palmer‘s Morpho – a NewCon Press Novella:

When the corpse on the mortuary slab sits up and speaks to Hayley, asking for her help, she thinks she’s losing her mind. If only it were that simple… 

In Morpho, distinguished novelist, screenwriter, and radio dramatist Philip Palmer delivers a tense and fast-paced tale of a secret society through which the privileged govern from the shadows, of immortality bought at a horrific price, and of a rebellion that threatens to undermine the social order of our entire world.

One of four independent novellas by four different authors that form NewCon Novella Set 5: The Alien Among Us

You can order your copies at the following link: Kindle Edition, Print Edition

And finally, John A PretoriusLiving in a Time of Dragons:

Just to make sure you know what the book is about:

“…as with everything in my life all this began with dreams…”

American ex-pat, father and widower, Roger Rommel, did not believe in dragons. Unfortunately they did not return the sentiment.

After returning from a self-imposed exile to his adopted country of South Africa, Roger is confronted by these legendary fire-breathing reptiles who risked exposing their hidden world simply to hunt him. Gifted with the ability to create and enter dreams, as well as to see the future, he tries to survive and protect his son from enemies he does not understand.

But the past isn’t dead, and he finds himself linked to a conflict thousands of years old. The world he knew is now stranger, more fantastic and terrifying than he truly knew, especially when everyone is out to get you.

The book is already available – check out the covers below for the Kindle and Print versions:


Print version – click cover to purchase on Amazon

Kindle version – click cover to purchase on Amazon












Also, Helen Brain‘s The Fiery Spiral was released last week, following on from the first book, The Thousand Steps, and the second book, The Rising Tide (links for TakeAlot).

Ebba is in Celestia, the land of the gods, and the only way to return to earth is to journey across a barren, lifeless landscape until she reaches the Fiery Spiral. But the road is fraught with difficulties and danger. She must learn the meaning of love and courage before she can fulfill her true destiny. It seems like Lucas has to share her journey. But to save everyone she loves, she might have to give up her life… and her heart.

You can purchase the third book on TakeAlot, too, at the following link.

Mary Helen Norris got in touch regarding pre-orders for a charity anthology, Defending Earth, one of many anthologies supporting the Cancer Research Institute. Here’s some info on the anthology:

And yes, it’s a Dr. Who themed anthology. 🙂

“I saw amazing things out there in Space—but there is strangeness out there to be found wherever you turn. Life on Earth can be an adventure too…you just need to know where to look!”

Sarah Jane Smith is perhaps one of Earth’s greatest defenders. Some grew up watching her adventures alongside two different Doctors, others met her in the revived series, and still others fell in love with her when she returned with her own spin-off. Throughout it all, Sarah Jane Smith has stood for justice, for truth, and for the defense of the innocent. From her childhood, to her journeys through space and time, to the wilderness years, to her adventures with her children and beyond, all periods of her life are featured in this collection!

What set a six-year-old Sarah Jane on the path she’d follow all her life? In a feature-length adventure, can Sarah Jane and the Doctor save London from disappearing in a morass of every possible London? In an independent investigation, can Sarah Jane discover who is murdering 60s pop stars—and when an 80s musical is put on about her life, can Sarah Jane get to the bottom of who’s putting the show on? All this and killer moths, the music of universal spheres, and stories especially exploring each of the Bannerman Road kids.

Proceeds from Defending Earth will go to the Cancer Research Institute. They are dedicated to harnessing our immune system’s power to control and potentially cure all types of cancer; they fund the most innovative clinical and laboratory research across the world, support the next generation of the field’s leaders, and serve as the trusted source of information on immunotherapy for cancer patients and their caregivers. Their scientific director, Dr. James P. Allison, won the 2018 Noble Prize in Physiology or Medicine, showing the advancements the CRI has achieved.

Defending Earth features stories by Kara Dennsion, Jon Black, Niki Haringsma, James Macaronas, James Bojaciuk, Anna Maloney, Joshua Wanisko & Lillian Waniso, Tina Marie DeLucia, Scarlett Ward, William J. Martin, M.H. Norris, Harry King, Sophie Iles, and Anne-Laure Tuduri.

Pre-order your print copies here, which will be releasing on 2 April. The ebook edition is already available. 🙂

Also up for pre-order, Jesse Teller‘s Legend of the Exiles:

The isolated barbarians of Neather have deep ancestry and strict traditions. Four resilient women defy tribal customs as they fight to overcome their own tragedies. Abuse. Addiction. Assault. Grief. What struggles can they endure to defend their hopes and their hearts?
Helena seeks a love as bold as she, yet finds the men of her village lacking. Jocelyn fears her strange visions and sacrifices a life with the man she loves for the one her destiny demands. Torn apart by abuse and grief, Ellen is a brilliant woman who must focus her intellect on finding reasons to persevere. Rachel, a brash girl of noble heritage, dares all men to challenge her and longs for one who will.
In this set of four interwoven novellas, award-winning author Jesse Teller challenges assumptions and showcases the strength of feminine resolve.
The book will release on 15 April, and you can pre-order at Amazon. Also, check out Jesse on Goodreads, Facebook and Instagram.

Until next time (Wednesday, probably, with a new review),


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Posted by on February 25, 2019 in Announcements, New Arrivals, Spotlight


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Review: Vengeance – A Darkhurst Novel by Gail Z Martin

Hey everyone, I hope your Friday is treating you well!

I’ve owed Gail this review for a while, as she knows, so… Finally. 🙂

Vengeance‘ is the second novel following the adventures of the Valmonde brothers, their allies and enemies, and is the sequel to ‘Scourge‘ (reviewed here). Here’s the blurb for ‘Vengeance‘:

Brothers. Outlaws. Saviours.

Rigan and Corran Valmonde are not heroes. They are undertakers, lawbreakers, and monster hunters. Without them, the town of Ravenwood is finished.

But the more successful Rigan and Corran become at destroying the creatures, the more a greater evil is revealed – one larger and more monstrous than they ever could imagine…

In the first novel, Gail introduced the reader to a city plagued by monster-attacks, ruled by bickering guilds and aloof princes, in which simply surviving is a fine balancing act. This novel takes us out of Ravenwood and further reveals the greater world, other cities, and new characters, so the novel and the story feels more expansive – but not at the expensive of that which drives the plot: the characters. Gail expands the world-building considerably, taking us into the countryside and showing us how those living outside of the cities live and survive while dealing with threats both human and inhuman, and into a strange, creepy realm which is decidedly not human-friendly. This world’s magic, how that magic works, the cost of using it and the effects it has are also expanded with more details and information, as are the mythologies, legends and cultures of the world and its people. The backdrop all of this creates makes the ‘stage’ the characters play their parts on feel real and vibrant, and again, not at the cost of the characters.

Gail delves deeper into everyone, showing more sides to their personalities, into what drives them, and into what they are constantly fighting, their fears and worries and those small things that shake their belief in not only their self-appointed mission but themselves, too. Even the ‘bad guys’ are scared and increasingly reckless – helped in no small part by events they themselves set in motion. What this all does for the book is that there’s a great balance of action, world-building, intrigue, introspection, and plenty of character growth.

And Gail also succeeds in ramping up the problems the protagonists face, and the lengths to which the antagonists will go to achieve their goals – this keeps the pace ticking faster and faster, until the memorable climax shifts the conflicts into a new, dangerous and epic direction. It’s obvious that the town-focus of book one will become a wider-world focus in book three, and I’m looking forward to seeing how the manure hits the fan. 🙂

Giving this a strong 9/10 – if inventive and pacey Fantasy with stand-out characters and high-stakes is your thing, Vengeance (and Scourge) will be, too. 🙂

If all goes well, I’ll be posting excerpts from the book in the coming weeks. Meanwhile, head on over to Gail’s site for more info about Vengeance and her continuously growing body of work, and don’t forget to the add the book to your Goodreads shelf. 🙂

You can order the book online at the following venues: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books a Million and Chapters-Indigo.

Until next time, Monday, probably,


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Posted by on February 22, 2019 in Reviews


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Review: Silent Running – Book 3 of The Hope Island Chronicles by PJ Strebor

I’ve always enjoyed PJ Strebor’s Military SF, and have come to regard Nathan Telford as one of my favourite characters – I’m glad to report that Silent Running did absolutely nothing to detract from any of that, and took the Hope Island Chronicles to new heights.

In this third book in the series, Nathan is older, wiser, and ready to make all new kinds of mistakes. Which is important – characters need to be fallible, and PJ handles his characters with an expert touch, allowing not only past events and decisions to impact his characters in new and unforseen ways, but by also allowing his characters to learn and react as they push forward, while always keeping how they would have reacted in mind. Kind of like life, PJ’s characters are messy and not always balanced, get emotional, lose perspective… It’s been an education to read how PJ has handled Nathan’s character-growth, specifically, and I have to take my hat off to him.

Now, if you’ve read the first two books in the series (and the fourth, which I haven’t yet), you’ll know Nathan’s backstory – what happened to him and his family when he was very young, the adversities he had to deal with as he grew up, and the challenges he had to surmount when he entered ‘society’ and began to forge a career and path for himself. If you haven’t, here’s a quick run-down:

Nathan’s family’s ship was attacked, basically hijacked, and almost everyone was killed or died. The attackers belonged to an empire-building, fanatical and fascist group, and as such, Nathan grew to really, really dislike them and everything they represent. Nathan had to survive on his own for years, and developed an interesting ability as a kind of survival mechanism – which stood him in good stead once he entered the navy and began forging the beginning of his legend – unknowingly, of course.

In this third novel, Nathan and his crew are targeted by a singularly determined and vicious enemy – our hero is forced to go deep behind enemy lines, facing not only threats and danger from those hunting him, but also from those trying to prove themselves on his own side. PJ handles a novel-full of tension well, keeping the pace up, sprinkling humour and tragedy here and there to spice things up, and still manages to share info regarding the universe he’s built for Nathan to play in and the mechanics of this universe’s technology without bogging down the narrative with info-dumps or spells of dry, rote reading.

PJ has become one of those authors whose work I’ll immediately shift to the top of the pile, because his track record is great and he knows how to spin an action-packed, pacey, character-driven yarn. Highly recommended!

I’m giving this a well-deserved 9/10 – be sure to start reading Nathan’s adventures if you haven’t yet (Amazon page here) and don’t forget to add PJ’s books to your must-be-read Goodreads shelf.

Until Friday,


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Posted by on February 18, 2019 in Reviews


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Reviews Coming Up

Hey everyone, hope you’re all well and that Friday is treating you awesomely. 🙂

As promised, here’s a quick look at the reviews I’ll be posting over the next couple of weeks – books in genres ranging from Middle Grade to Thrillers to Military SF to Epic Fantasy, as well as a couple of audiobooks.

Coming on Monday, PJ Strebor’s third novel in the Hope Island Chronicles series, starring Nathan Telford: “Silent Running”. Really enjoyed this one, so shift it (and the previous books) onto your radar.

Also coming up, Steven Poore’s excellent ‘Heir to the North’ – we are enjoying a literary age in which independently or self-published work is just as good as traditionally published, and the opening novel in Steven’s “Malessar’s Curse” is a prime example.

“The Rain Never Came” is one of the novels that has stayed with me – it’s cautionary, leans toward the tragic, and is slightly experimental.

“The Killing Lessons” is one of the best, most terrifying and nail-biting (even though I don’t bite my nails) Thrillers I’ve ever read (and listened to). Blew me away.

“Two Spells” by Mark Morrison was a cool read, despite a couple of (in my opinion) missteps, and I did enjoy it. 🙂

“The Red Wolf Conspiracy” was brilliant. I’m kicking myself that it’s taken me so long to read it. Absolutely loved it.

Gail Z Martin is building an excellent series around two brothers and their unusual gifts – I really enjoyed “Scourge”, and “Vengeance” was an excellent sequel.

So, those are the reviews you can expect over the next couple of weeks – I’ll probably not post them in the order I’ve shown them here, and there may be more reviews slipping in. See you back here on Monday. 🙂


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Posted by on February 15, 2019 in Reviews




Hey everyone. So, first things first – the focus of this blog isn’t going to be reviews anymore.

I’ll still post the occasional review (and there are plenty coming up, for authors who have been patiently waiting – thank you), but for too long I’ve been struggling with being a writer and writing reviews. I’ve created different blogs, tried a couple of websites, etc. But when I’m working on one I tend to neglect the other, to the point that I don’t work on either. Anything.

And deleting this blog, with it’s reviews, interviews, etc. would just be supremely dumb. So I’m going to concentrate both my writing and reviewing here. And that means that, until I specifically say so, I’m not open to receiving new books to review. I have to consciously and proudly make the switch from reviewing to writing – for myself. There are writers whose work I will gladly snap up and read / review (I think you have a good notion of who you are), but nothing new for the foreseeable future. Life has a way of getting complicated and busy.

So, if this means that I’ll be losing a goodly chunk of subscribers and readers, I have no hard feelings at all. Gotta do what’s best for me and the kinds of things I’m currently capable of doing / pursuing. 🙂

The next post will be a quick run down of the books I’ll be reviewing as I review them. Until then,

Dave de Burgh


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Posted by on February 13, 2019 in Announcements


Review: Kingshold – Book 1 of The Wildfire Cycle by D.P. Woolliscroft

Hey everyone, Dave here – it’s been a while, I know!

Being both a reader and writer (why it’s been a while) of Fantasy, I’ve noticed quite a cool trend – at least in the last couple of years, and I think this trend has shown itself because of different, but important, gears clicking into place. The two biggest gears would be the Mark Lawrence-championed Self Published Fantasy Blog-Off – if you don’t know what that is, or who Mark Lawrence is, I despair of one day meeting you and will endeavor to wear a disguise so that you don’t recognize me. But check out this post to get a good idea of what SPFBO is and does. 😉 The other big gear would be the fact that self published SFF is carving out a space for itself (as it should and deserves to do) and becoming more widely talked about, shared and celebrated. I’m not saying that there isn’t still oceans of garbage to wade through, but the writers who are serious about their craft have upped their game considerably, to the point where the ‘big publishers’ are the ones on the back foot and struggling to catch up.

A great example of this exciting and powerful trend is the book I’m reviewing in this post – Kingshold. Not what I expected at all, but better than all my expectations.

I came across this book on Twitter – David had tweeted that he would be giving away paperbacks of Kingshold to a lucky number of folks who RT”d the Tweet – I was one of the people who retweeted, simply because I knew that I have many friends in both the US and UK who would be intrigued by the book and would want to take part. I was one of the winners, (I know; books above the lottery, any day) and I DM’d him, thanked him, and let him know that he might want to draw another winner in my place because I’m in South Africa and postage here is both expensive and prone to the kind of mishaps you’d think a heist-gang was behind… Anyway, David said he’d send me an ebook, which he did, and a couple of months later, here we are. 🙂

The book opens with the king and queen in Kingshold, the capital city of Edland, gazing dully out at their subjects. When you, the reader, find out why the monarchs seem so dull, you realize that this isn’t what you’ve been expecting – and that it also may be the start of something cool. As the tale unfolds, we meet a varied cast of characters (all central to the main- and side-plots) and also get such a wonderful mind’s-eye picture of the city that I didn’t feel the need to flip back to the maps (yes, there are two; kickass, right?). So, I was immediately struck by how well David balanced not only the main plot (which kicks off on the first page; no joke), but the characters and the world building. Seems really effortless, and that’s how I know how damned difficult is probably really was. We meet the different characters in different districts and get to know them a bit as the districts become more detailed and present in our minds, and all the while events continue to keep the plot-threads ticking and twitching.

Swinging back to the characters, we meet a sorcerer, his servant, her sister, an inn-keeper, a bard, three mercenaries, assorted noble-people (mostly rich and few of them nice), the chancellor, the spy master, and a young woman with cool magic who has an important link to the sorcerer. And many others, but that there is the main cast – and another reason why I was really enjoying the book as I was introduced, because reading a book featuring a ‘main’ character invariably means that the character is safe, i.e. he / she won’t die. Of if they do, they come back. Or possess someone. Or something. You know what I mean. So, with many characters shifting into and out of the spotlight, the sense of that safety net isn’t there. At all. Which also means that there’s a constant thread of tension in each chapter, and calls for more investment from the reader because will they all survive?!

And the plot, which keeps rolling on from the point of dull-eyed royal gazes, makes many twists and turns while keeping the tension tight and also offering many moments of laugh-out-loud comedy (or misfortune). There are cool battles and duels, witty comebacks and cutting remarks, cool magic backed by a great magic system, and an ever-expanding sense of ‘this world is biiiig’. In my estimation, Kingshold is exactly the kind of novel which long-time readers of Fantasy will enjoy and which will also reel in newcomers. It’s evident to me that David had a lot of fun writing this novel, and also that, in it, he celebrated much of what makes Fantasy so inclusive, fun and memorable.

Now, what did I expect? Vast battles! Sieges! World-breaking sorcery! Why? (blame that on Steven Erikson). Is that what Kingshold gave me? Nope – and I’m glad, because the novel is so much better than what I expected. Too often we allow ourselves to pushed into a corner by reading almost exclusively in one sub-genre, and yes, I love Epic Fantasy and Grimdark, but those sub-genres couldn’t pull off what David has done in Kingshold. It’s fresh, fun, considered, and an absolute page-turner, joyfully using all that makes Fantasy such a damned cool genre to read – and write in. Seriously, order your paperback and begin reading the ebook while you wait; you’ll thank me. Or not. But I live sufficiently far away from most of you that I’ll be safe. 😉

10 out of 10 – read this!


To order your copies, click here for Amazon US and here for Amazon UK. And don’t forget to check out David’s site, either – he goes into his writing process, introduces the characters, explores Kingshold and its environs, and you can also get a free ebook by signing up for his newsletter.

Over at Out of This World Reviews, Nick Borrelli revealed the cover and detailed the line-up of tales in David’s Tales of Kingshold  – a collection which features many of the characters you’ll meet in Kingshold, both before and after the events of the first novel. It’s on my MBR (must-be-read) list, and I’m sure it’ll be on yours once you’ve enjoyed Kingshold. 🙂

Until next time,




Posted by on August 31, 2018 in Reviews, Uncategorized


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Review: Late Whitsun by Jasper Kent

Jasper shouldn’t require any kind of introduction, but for those who haven’t come across his work, here’s that intro:

I first came across Jasper’s work in 2008, and would you believe I passed on a copy of Twelve without reading it… I was lucky enough to receive another copy and read and loved it. Twelve kicked off a sprawling vampire-epic (which I, admittedly, haven’t finished yet – need to remedy that…) and in Late Whitsun, Jasper has given us something different – an investigative mystery taking place in his hometown of Brighton.

Late Whitsun introduces Charlie Woolf, and when we meet him, he’s sketching portraits. He comes across as weathered, roughed up by life, but by pursuing the talent he has he also shows an emotional depth and observant side which give him great depth as a character. (One of the things I simply cannot believe (or like) as a reader is when a character in First Person POV seems to know everything and doesn’t sound normal; I’ve always thought of First Person POV as the reader being a passenger in the character’s head, not the reader reading a voluminous journal written by the character (it’s a personal thing; I like being the passenger more than reading journals). Thankfully, Jasper doesn’t give the reader a journal to read – we are the passengers.) We see what Charlie sees as he sees it, descriptions which are informed by the character’s knowledge or personal connections, and there’s no describing what happens where Charlie isn’t. It left me with the feeling that we were moving through many connected ‘worlds’ instead of just shifting from scene to scene and plot-beat to plot-beat. Also kept the pace flowing nicely and held my focus the entire time.

Plot-wise, things kick off when Woolf is asked to deliver a package by an old acquaintance – this simple request turns out not to be simple at all and launches Woolf into the sights of various people, including some investigating the a murdered man connected to Woolf and others who might know something about the dead man or his killer. What seems like a tried and tested plot is made fresh and exciting by not only the great pacing (Jasper keeps Woolf going and searching and questioning) and the way in which he reveals the Brighton of that time and its people and flavors, but also because the main mystery is not the only mystery – the intrigue builds. connecting various characters and events in clever ways so that when Jasper launches into the climax, the end is satisfying and exciting and memorable.

I’ve never been to Brighton (nor the UK, for that matter), so I can’t say that Jasper captured the feeling and look of the city, but if he didn’t, I’ll be really surprised; I felt like I was travelling through a living, breathing city with one of its best tour guides – a feat which many authors do get right, but at the expensive of their characters and the book’s pacing. Not the case here.

The flavor of the day (speaking as a bookseller) seems to split between three types of books: psychological thrillers (because publishers are still looking for the next The Girl on the Train), the next big Scandinavian crime hit, and something between Thomas Harris and James Patterson – Late Whitsun is a the kind of book you enjoy with a glass of your favorite drink, relaxing and comfortable. It’s a slow, increasing smolder that might give you a blister instead of singeing all your hair away – but that’s why I enjoyed it so much, too. While the pace did kick up, and up, and up as the book reached its climax, I never once felt that I was rushing through it and skipping sentences or paragraphs. It’s the kind of mystery you enjoy, not the kind you feverishly munch popcorn to.

All in all, a really great read and journey, introducing a memorable, layered character whom I look forward to reading more about. Have to give this one a 9/10.


To order this book, click here for Amazon US and here for Amazon UK, and for more info on Jasper’s other work (including that vampire epic, The Danilov Quintet), head on over to Jasper’s website.

Until next time, which might be a couple of weeks as I’m heading to Australia for a holiday,


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Posted by on March 2, 2018 in Reviews


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