Showing category "Book Review" (Show all posts)

Book Review: Phoenix & Ashes

Posted by Derek Chamberlain on Friday, August 22, 2014, In : Book Review 

Phoenix and Ashes by Mercedes Lackey

Elemental Masters: Book Three

Daw, 2004

(paperback) ¥832

Comment: ☆☆☆☆☆

Phoenix and Ashes is a wonderful retelling of Cinderella set in Ms. Lackey’s Elemental Masters universe during WWI. Eleanor Robinson takes the role of Cinderella, a young Fire Master trapped in her own home by a wicked-witch stepmother who forces her to slave as the lowest of servants for herself and her two conniving daughters. Reginald Fenyx is the charming young lord of the ...

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Review: The Gates of Sleep

Posted by Derek Chamberlain on Tuesday, July 15, 2014, In : Book Review 

The Gates of Sleep by Mercedes Lackey

Elemental Masters Book 2

Daw Books, 2002

(paperback) ¥927

Comment: ☆☆☆☆

The Gates of Sleep is a retelling of the Sleeping Beauty fairy tale, setting it in a Victorian England in which magic, of various forms, exists. The main character is 17 year old Marina Roeswood, an Elemental Mage of Water, who was cursed by her Aunt Arachne while a baby to die before her 18th birthday. The Gates of Sleep tells the tale of how Marina discovers and then deal...

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Review: Return to Exile

Posted by Derek Chamberlain on Sunday, September 8, 2013, In : Book Review 

Return to Exile by E.J. Patten

Book One of The Hunter Chronicles

Simon & Schuster, 2011

(Kindle Edition) $6.80

Great Read: ☆☆☆☆☆

I just finished reading this and I have to say, this was one of the first books that I really enjoyed reading on my Kindle app (the other was Mur Lafferty’s Playing for Keeps). I’m old-school when it comes to books and, despite loving the idea of being able to carry around a library full of books on one device, I just haven’t found many of them enj...

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Review: The Shambling Guide to New York City

Posted by Derek Chamberlain on Thursday, August 15, 2013, In : Book Review 

The Shambling Guide to New York City 

by Mur Lafferty

The Shambling Guides 1

Urban Fantasy

Orbit, 2013

Paperback ¥1,384 (US$11.77)

Richly textured, well thought out, thrilling: ☆☆☆☆☆

I bought this book because I’m a fan of Mur’s podcast and had read her book, Playing For Keeps, a couple of months ago and loved it. I heard what everyone was saying about this book and, contrary to my normal policy of ignoring hype, I listened. The hype wasn’t wrong. This is a great book with ...

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An Interesting 'How To' Book for Writers

Posted by Derek Chamberlain on Sunday, March 11, 2012, In : Book Review 

102 Solutions to Common Writing Mistakes, Bob Mayer, 2012, Writer’s Digest Books (Kindle: $4.99)

I came across this book a couple of months ago when it was being offered as a free e-book to subscribers of Writer’s Digest. At that time it had the title 70 Solutions to Common Writing Mistakes, but the free version only contained 33. Having read those 33 I went looking for a complete copy, as I’m sure was the intention. The current book is an updated version of the earlier work with the ex...

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2012 Writer’s Market: Disappointments and Discoveries

Posted by Derek Chamberlain on Wednesday, January 25, 2012, In : Book Review 

Any of you who are regular readers should already be aware of this, but, in the name of full disclosure, I will state here that I am, for the most part, a genre writer. That is, my fiction usually falls into one of the genres commonly called Speculative – science fiction, fantasy, horror – or one of their sub-genres. Also, disclosure again, I live in Japan and my non-fiction is usually articles about Japan, its culture, history, or technological innovations; all written for the local expa...

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Lee Killough's 'Checking on Culture'

Posted by Derek Chamberlain on Monday, October 31, 2011, In : Book Review 
Lee Killough has published a great book called Checking on Culture: A Checklist for Culture Building. The second edition, available from Yarddogpress ( is titled, Checking on Culture: An Aid to Building Story Backgrounds. It is priced at $6.00 + Shipping. You will have to buy it from the publishers as lists it as being out of print. It is a bargain at twice the price.

This review is based on the first edition published by AG Pr...
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Posted by Derek Chamberlain on Sunday, October 9, 2011, In : Book Review 
The Writer's Digest Character Naming Sourcebook by Sherrilyn Kenyon, 2nd Edition, Writer's Digest Books, 2005

This book is, basically, just a series of lists of names. Kenyon has broken the lists down into national groupings, and within the national groupings into surnames, female names, and male names. Each name is matched by a short definition.

There is also a list of the Top Ten U.S. Names By Year for the years 1880-2003. She does not include top-ten lists for the other countries.

There ...

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Meet the scribbler

I'm a writer, editor, indie publisher, and dedicated Magic Spreadsheet user. Originally from Adelaide, Australia, I've been living in Japan since 1995. I've had a life-long interest in writing and in speculative fiction. My first book was published in mid-2014.
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