30 September, 2011

New Riyria Revelations Short Story

You may have heard the story of Michael J. Sullivan, the indie-published author turned mega superstar...okay, turned author for Orbit, which is just amazing. (Thanks to Melissa for the info.)

Well, while we wait for the series to come out in its omnibus format, Michael's got a short story about the beginning of the careers of our lovable theives, Royce and Hadrian.

"Eleven years before they were framed for the murder of a king, before even assuming the title of Riyria, Royce Melborn and Hadrian Blackwater were practically strangers. Unlikely associates, this cynical thief and idealist swordsman, were just learning how to work together as a team. In this standalone first installment of The Riyria Chronicles, Royce is determined to teach his naive partner a lesson about good deeds. Join Royce and Hadrian in this short story (5,400 words) about one of their earliest adventures"

Buy it for .99 or just download it for free on the Ridan Publishing site.

Giveaway, Snark, and Banned Books Week

Just a reminder about the Giveaway for Ganymede by Cherie Priest. I'll be closing this early next week and announcing the winner as well. So get on it already!

Also, we've had some great snark so far, which earns the snarkers a couple extra entries (I'll let them know next week along with the winner). Some includes the following:
Gany chance in Hell I'll be the one? I Dread that it's Nought my Tine to Shaker up and win this one. I Fathom I gave it a Shot though! (Todd Tyrna)

What? Another giveaway? This is becoming so.....yeah.... (Tyler A. Childers)

Should I be snarky about the River Song wanna-be on the cover of the book or about the deliciously vague contest rules? Or are you just leaving this up to your readers (good luck with that)? (Jamieson Ridenhour)

Did Gany really have to be in all caps? Also, would it have been to much to add the extra 4 letters to complete the title of the book? It's really not that long of a title.... (Wayne)

I would add a snarky comment, but either I'm tired, or there wasn't much to work with in the giveaway post. (Todd Johansen, although I'm not sure if this is intentional snark)
I'm taking votes for a winner of an extra contest entry (above and beyond the extra entries that all these will be getting) for a future contest?

Finally, Banned Books Week ends tomorrow and I couldn't let the week pass without a mention. Dan Wells wrote a great article earlier this week and then there's another I found arguing for banning certain books that I thought was interesting and lastly a list of commonly banned or challenged books at Layers of Thought.

29 September, 2011

(Audiobook) Review - The Lost Gate (Mithermages 1) by Orson Scott Card

As controversial as Orson Scott Card has been in recent years, I think you have to admit that the man can write. Up until this point, I had only read some of his Ender and Ender's Shadow books, but I guess he can do fantasy too.

The blurb for The Lost Gate [US] [UK] [Kindle], which after all my attempts, just does a better job:
Danny North knew from early childhood that his family was different, and that he was different from them. While his cousins were learning how to create the things that commoners called fairies, ghosts, golems, trolls, werewolves, and other such miracles that were the heritage of the North family, Danny worried that he would never show a talent, never form an outself.

He grew up in the rambling old house, filled with dozens of cousins, and aunts and uncles, all ruled by his father. Their home was isolated in the mountains of western Virginia, far from town, far from schools, far from other people.

There are many secrets in the House, and many rules that Danny must follow. There is a secret library with only a few dozen books, and none of them in English — but Danny and his cousins are expected to become fluent in the language of the books. While Danny’s cousins are free to create magic whenever they like, they must never do it where outsiders might see.

Unfortunately, there are some secrets kept from Danny as well. And that will lead to disaster for the North family.
While I enjoyed this book, I can't say I absolutely loved it like I can about the Ender books I've read. I enjoyed it, it has an amazing magic system, but it has some parts that were pretty boring, not to mention seemed like just a set up for the rest of the series.

Danny finds out, and look away if you don't want the very beginning to be spoiled, that he's actually a gate-mage, one of the rarest and most powerful mages - one that's supposed to be killed on the spot by any of the family members if found out.

So Danny jumps ship from the family...and here's where the story gets boring for a while. There's some meandering, some pointless characters and finally we meet some people who matter who lead to some actual development in the story.

Danny's a good character, but having only read the Ender books, I guess Card's pretty good at writing 12-year-olds? Okay, I couldn't help that one. But seriously, Danny's a smart kid (the smartest in fact), with a great memory, who's not afraid to talk back to adults...dang, I'm still doing it.

Listening to the audiobook, the afterword by the author is pretty interesting. I assumed it was in the book, but if not, it's worth a listen just to see the the process behind how this book has come about, especially given the fact that it's been in the making since 1977. Usually I'm not a big fan of the OSC foreword or afterward since they give way too much information and almost kills any interest I had in reading the book, but things seem to be easier to take on audio.

Why Read (or Listen To) The Lost Gate?

If you've liked Card before, you'll probably like this one too. It's not his best, but it's not bad either and I'm really looking forward to the sequels. Now that the stage is set, I really think it can go places and I'm not quite done with the magic system either.

3.5 out of 5 Stars

28 September, 2011

It's News To Me #25 - Interviews and First Chapters

So many things this week, this post is bursting with joy...and dragons. :D

Bastard Books has the First Chapter of the next Demon Squad Book: It's called At the Gates and it's supposed to be ready by the end of the year. Wow. Really can't wait.

Peter V. Brett Gets interviewed at Fantasy Faction: Brett's become one of my favorite authors and with only two books to his name. He talks about the Demon Cycle and that is cool. :)

Aidan Brags about his Signing with Blake Charlton: Yeah, of course I'm jealous.

Stomping on Yeti Pleads for Tobias S. Buckell:
Buckell's trying to raise money to finish off his Xenowealth series, which was sadly dropped before it even finished. From the short stories I've read, I'm already a fan. I own Crystal Rain and promise *fingers crossed* to get to it early next year.

Some cool covers for Deas and Redick, but especially Deas:
I mean, Look at it...

26 September, 2011

Giveaway: Ganymede by Cherie Priest

Tor was nice enough to provide a copy of Cherie Priest's newest entry into her Clockwork Century series, Ganymede [US] [UK] [Kindle]!

This series has received quite a bit of praise and excitement. While I have yet to read it, here's a nice review to whet your appetite.

Giveaway Rules

If you are interested in getting your hands on Ganymede, then follow the exceedingly simple instructions below.

E-mail me your name and address at (THIS IS DIFFERENT FROM NORMAL) seaksstamp@[removethis]gmail.com, with "GANY" as the subject of the email.

Snarky comments increase your chances of winning and win bonus entries for future giveaways. Open in the US only (sorry) as long as delivery doesn't require the mounting of an expedition into remote wilderness.

22 September, 2011

What's the Deal With... This Cover for The Iron Dream

An internet rant is a beautiful thing, I mean, why even be online, with all the anonymity that brings, and even attempt to contain all that angst. It's why we have comments on everything from blogs to Youtube to news stories. People need to complain! We have things on our chest and we've got to get them off...and our significant others are just plain tired of hearing the same thing over and over again.

In light of this, I decided to institute a new feature on the blog where I can bring up whatever's on my mind, be it terrible book covers, titles, ideas, bloggers (okay, probably just Pat), you name it and have some fun with it.

There's not much to say on this one other than I'm pretty sure I'll have to read this at some point just to find out why Hitler is riding a futuristic motorcycle.

Anyone read it?

19 September, 2011

It's News To Me #24 - Peter Dinklage Wins an Emmy for Game of Thrones

Here's a couple items of news-ish things I'm interested in this week/recently.

Peter Dinklage wins an emmy for GoT (link to all Emmy Winners): Sadly, this is no test of longevity as Friday Night Lights can tell you.

Republic of Thieves Pushed Back to 2012: Lynch says he'll let us know once it's a sure thing. Can't wait.

New header at The Stamp (of Approval): That's my initial blog that I still keep up with every now and then. Got a new header, but now I'm debating changing the name. What do you think of The (Tramp) Stamp of Approval. (Thanks Staffer's Musings)

15 September, 2011

Demon Squad: Resurrection by Tim Marquitz

I may have mentioned I'm a huge fan of Tim Marquitz. Ever since I read his amazingly hilarious Armageddon Bound, it's been my goal to get more people to read his work by any means possible. Yup, nothing is too far when it comes to Frank Trigg.

When Tim sent me a copy of the sequel to one of my favorite books of 2009, I was overjoyed. You may then ask yourself why it took me this long to finally read it. I can promise that it's not for lack of quality, only for lack of time.

Demon Squad: Resurrection [US] [UK] [Kindle], Book 2 in the Demon Squad series, follows almost directly after Armageddon Bound. Frank Trigg "don't call him Triggaltheron" finds himself in the middle of yet another end of the world disaster. I guess that's what you have to expect when you're the nephew of Lucifer, also once slated to be the next Antichrist.
Armageddon averted, the world returns to business as usual. Unfortunately for Frank "Triggaltheron" Trigg, business as usual sucks. His night out interrupted by a horde of kidnapping zombies, what could possibly be worse? The resurrection of the Anti-Christ, that's what. Caught in the middle of a supernatural pissing match between the Devil's wife, a legion of undead, and an overachieving necromancer, Frank must survive long enough to stop Hell from being unleashed upon humanity; Again.
Still working with DRAC (Demon Resistance and Containment), an organization of wizards, psychics, and telepaths, Trigg is a witness to a zombie massacre at his favorite seedy nightclub, well, it works for him at least. These zombies seem to be popping up all over the place as favors are called in and Frank must do what he can to stay alive.

Frank Trigg is still as hilarious as ever in this sequel and that's one of the main reasons that will always have me coming back to this series over and over again. His observations have me dying laughing, even out loud sometimes and only Kurt Vonnegut has ever made me do that before. There did seem to be an overabundance of pants tightening in this one though, but I guess that's just how Frank rolls.

Going right along with the humor, Tim Marquitz bashes you over the head with awesomeness through his action scenes. I end up reeling by the end and I'm just a casual reader, come on man, give me a break. But seriously, Resurrection is action-packed and tons of fun.

Inevitably, I end up comparing this series to the Dresden Files and it really does make sense. Both are first person, both have a down-on-his-luck protagonist who's always the worse for wear in pretty much any situation and both tend to be humorous. But, for my money, the Demon Squad series beats the Dresden Files any day.

Let me also just say that the way things ended up had me very happy especially with the possibilities to come. The sequels cannot be available quick enough.

Why Read Demon Squad: Resurrection?

I was extremely happy to find out that Resurrection continues the high standard set forth in Armageddon Bound. The Demon Squad series is full of action, full of hilarity, and mostly full of heart...well, bloody ones pumping out their last ounce.

If you like fun, laughs, and any type of happiness, and don't mind some irreverance along the way, you should really give this series a go. Highly recommended!

4 out of 5 Stars

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher

13 September, 2011

New Girl - New Fox Show With Zooey Deschanel and ... LOTR References!

I couldn't help but posting this.

I'm a big fan of Zooey Deschanel, as anyone who can rightly call himself a geek, so of course I started watching her new show, New Girl, on Fox. And because I enjoy all things quirky/geeky (queeky), I'm already a huge fan of the show.

Here's the reason why:

(about 7 minutes in)

Jess (Zooey's Character) has a huge break-up. Schmidt (3rd from the right in the picture above), her new roommate is talking to her to help her get over it.

Schmidt: Hey Jess, how you doin'?
Jess: (shruggs)
Schmidt: You look fantastic. Listen, what if you came out with us tonight? You know, after work. You know, we'll fix you up, we'll take you out. We'll get you a rebound.
Jess: A rebound?
Schmidt: Yeah...
Jess: (pouting a bit) I don't know if I'm ready.
Scmidt: You're totally ready for it. I'll take you through the whole thing. You know, I'll be like your guide.
Jess: Like Gandalf? Through Middle-Earth?
Schmidt: Probably not like...okay...first of all, let's just...let's take the Lord of the Rings references...let's put them in a deep dark cave...okay, where no one's gonna find them... ever.
Jess: Except Smeagol...(whispers) he lives in a cave.

Yes, after only 7 minutes, I'm already a fan. I'm also a fan of the Wayans brothers and their offspring.

12 September, 2011

Winners! Gears of War: Coalition's End by Karen Traviss

We have our winners of Karen Traviss' Gears of War: Coalition's End. Congratulations to:

Frank J Nagy of St. Charles, IL


Steve Zielinski of Oak Lawn, IL

I guess this contest was, unbeknownst to me, only open in Illinois.

They have been notified by email and as soon as I get a response, I will let Gallery Books know and the books will be sent. Have fun, it's a great ride. :)

Thanks to all who entered and good luck on the next one.

09 September, 2011

Review: The Omen Machine, by Terry Goodkind

The Omen Machine [US][UK] marks Goodkind’s return to the Sword ofTruth storyline as well a retreat from his foray into the ‘thriller’ genre (seemy review of The Law of Nines). Rabid fans beware. What follows will set you frothing at the mouth.

The Omen Machine is a dull reflection of Goodkind’s earlier Sword of Truth novels. It lacks the fine prose and intricate detail most of his previous works possess.“Dull reflection” might even be too much of a compliment. The Omen Machine is overly mechanical and the plot so linear it makes you cringe. What was once a convincingly plotted storyline with just the right amount of unpredictable twists and turns hasbecome a prime example of linear predictability.

The new crop of villains remains shallow and uninteresting.What little mystery surrounds them is just barely sufficient to keep you turning the pages. They are more elements of convenience than anything else. Richard, after all, has to triumph over someone! It becomes evidently clearfrom the structure of the Omen Machine that the next book will complete this post Sword of Truth duocalypse currently know as “A Richard and Kahlan novel.”

Contenting itself with a regurgitation of the same basicstory line, a tried and true bestseller technique for Goodkind, is the novel’s only saving grace. Fans will find themselves, once again, assaulted by the lovestory between Richard and Kahlan. Fans will also enjoy the excruciating detail with which library science is explained. What a fascinating subject! Last but not least, and this is for the hardcore Goodkindites out there, fans will be left amazed at how noble and smart Richard is.

No review of a Sword of Truth novel would be complete without a proper gripe about Goodkind’s awesome powers of characterization. Yes, I know, this has been chewed to death already, but just a quick little comment and I will let you go. So. I submit to you that the only reason Richard and Kahlan appear so noble and avant-garde is because every other character iscompletely devoid of common sense. Essentially, everyone besides our two infinitely loved protagonists is an idiot. What I mean by this is that they are truly stupid. These are the type of people who would jump into a volcano if you told them not to. No particular reason needed. Which is essentially what happens.

I haven’t said anything substantive about the novel becausethere really isn’t much to say. You can guess at the general pace, story arch and villains if you have read the previous books. That isn’t to say you will know exactly who they are, but you can definitely guess that they are hell bent on destroying Richard because:
a. they hate him personally for some past action
b. they hate his philosophy because theirs is better
c. they hate the fact that he is blocking the road to world domination
d. prophecy says they have to kill him/manipulate him
e. they want his power
Mix and match any three of the above and you have every villain in the series.

Ok. I am done. With this review and this author both. I gave this a shot with the hope that Goodkind would redeem himself. I was wrong. Let me know what happens.

08 September, 2011

Gollacz Turns 50 and Celebrates with Retro Covers

I thought this announcement was pretty cool from Scott Lynch's blog. Gollancz held a contest in celebration of 50 years of publishing picking 10 books to reprint retro-style and here's the display.

The titles were announced at the end of July (little late here I know). I just might have to order one or two of these. :)

...And One More Cover for ICE (Ian C. Esslemont)

One I'm very much looking forward to, Ian C. Esslemont's Orb, Sceptre, Throne:

(via Jussi, artist Steve Stone)

Count me a fan, although I'm kind of missing those Lockwood's that had some kind of scene from the book and usually included some cool monster or other.

07 September, 2011

It's news To Me #23 - You're Covered, Cover Up, reCover redux

Some great covers have been revealed this week, or at least recently, so duck and Cover.

Douglas Huick's sequel to the blogger-acclaimed Among Thieves gets both US and UK covers. Sworn in Steel (UK):

The again-falling-short US:

A Dance with Dragons goes Subterranean Press:

The first two in the Shadows of the Apt series get new covers next year:

Empire in Black and Gold:
Dragonfly Falling:

(via A Fantasy Reader - who has comparisons to the old covers)

05 September, 2011

My A Song of Ice and Fire Recommendation

So, I'm in the book store the other day (of course), looking at all the books I long to read (I know, instead of actually reading them). I was actually waiting on the clerk to process the books I'd brought to sell because this is a never-ending cycle.

I noticed a couple eying George RR Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire, boxed set version, and I thought I'd make a comment. Why not. I've actually noticed people in the fantasy/scifi section really like talking about their books, recommendations, etc. and I happen to be a big proponent of this.

I always like to ask what people recommend to see if there's anything I've been missing. Usually it ends up being the same things (Eddings, Tolkien, Feist, etc.) and sometimes it's crap (Brian Herbert's Dune books one time). But I digress...

Well, I told this couple they wouldn't regret picking up ASoIaF. To be honest, I couldn't believe they'd never heard of it, but I guess not everyone lives in this lovely niche of the internet as I do. They saw it was an HBO show, which I recommended as well. I did warn them of the wait between books, which actually made them opt only for the boxed set and to wait on the hardcover A Dance with Dragons, which I thought interesting.

I guess I make this post to let you know I'm fighting the good fight...recommending awesome fantasy to those in need. Kinda like Superman.

Does anyone else talk to people in bookstores or am I just strange? Anyone else make recommendations in bookstores? Anyone have bad experiences with it?

I wonder if they just walked away with it and stashed it somewhere in the Romance section or something. What I'm thinking is that I'll find these people some day with the back of their heads missing (minds blown) and they will have named their first child after me.

02 September, 2011

Hilarious Review of Sword of Truth Series

I had to post this as I found it quite hilarious. It's technically a review of Naked Empire (book 8), but the author of this review gives a summary of his experience with the entire series in his most hilarious style:
Anatomy of a Break-up:

Going through a break-up or a divorce is never easy. The best of them are tinged with sadness and regret while the worst feel like a grenade going off in your chest. Worse still is the ending of a relationship that has lasted for many years and survived through adversity.

Well after almost 15 years, my relationship with the Sword of Truth series is over.
Given that these situations are already emotionally charged, I know the “right” thing to do is just to walk away and say nothing. If I were a bigger man, I could do that. If the Sword of Truth was less of a mind-numbingly stupid, mega-pretentious BITCH, I could do that. I’m not and it’s not. My anger…my soul-crushing humiliation at sticking this long with such a vacuous, repetitive chunk of IQ-draining smegma needs to vent, and so that’s what I’m gonna do.

Check out this review on Goodreads.