Michael F. Haspil
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal, Science Fiction, Fantasy
Release Date: July 18, 2017
Publisher: Tor Books
Goodreads Rating: 3.68
My Rating: 4.5
Police procedurals go supernatural in this gritty urban fantasy debut
Alex Menkaure, former pharaoh and mummy, and his vampire partner, Marcus, who was born in ancient Rome, once hunted evil vampires for UMBRA, a super-secret unit of the NSA. That was before the discovery of a blood substitute and a Supreme Court ruling allowed thousands of vampires to integrate into society.
Now, Alex and Marcus are vice cops in a special police unit. They fight to keep the streets safe from criminal vampires, shape-shifters, blood-dealers, and anti-vampire vigilantes.
When someone starts poisoning the artificial blood, race relations between vampires and humans deteriorate to the brink of anarchy. While the city threatens to tear itself apart, Alex and Marcus must form an unnatural alliance with a vigilante gang and a shape-shifter woman in a desperate battle against an ancient vampire conspiracy.
If they succeed, they’ll be pariahs, hunted by everyone. If they fail, the result will be a race-war bloodier than any the world has ever seen.
My take on the book:
As a native Miami girl, I was pretty excited that this story took place in my hometown. Cities like Doral, Coral Gables and Wynwood helped add to the character of the story and give the setting a nice visual for me. As for the characters, I normally reach for books with female leads since I can relate to them more but the characters of Alex/Menakaure and Marcus were solid characters with well-developed backstories. I enjoyed the whole mystery aspect of the story even if I did see many of “twists” coming. I honestly found this story to be a breath of fresh air in the vampire genre. Adding a pharaoh turned reanimated mummy into the mix as the lead character as opposed to the vamp was a great move and helped make the story so interesting.
Throughout the story, I caught myself reading too much into Alex’s interactions with other characters and expecting a “romance” as I have come to expect this of many urban fantasy books, especially the ones with vampires in the mix. I was pleasantly surprised, that while there is a slight mention of relations, there is no actual romance in this book. Whether this story is a one off or part of a series I feel like that was a bold move to make and it paid off. Sure, Alex could go on to build romantic relations in future books if the author so chooses to continue these characters’ stories but the fact that it was not introduced in this one makes this story stand out from the others like it in this genre.
My only slight complaint was how Miami itself was portrayed. While I enjoyed the mention of these larger cities and it helped me to envision the setting while reading, I felt like there was too much focus on the bigger, more popular cities and gave the setting a staleness that I wish hadn’t occurred. I felt like facts were being spouted and less imagery was given which made some of the setting come off a dry. Some of it just didn’t read as true. But honestly it was not enough to distract from an otherwise stellar novel.
About The Author
Michael F. Haspil is a geeky engineer and nerdy artist. A veteran of the U.S. Air Force, he had the opportunities to serve as an ICBM crew commander and as a launch director at Cape Canaveral. The art of storytelling called to him from a young age and he has plied his craft over many years and through diverse media. He has written original stories for as long as he can remember and has dabbled in many genres. However, Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror have whispered directly to his soul.
When he isn’t writing, you can find him sharing stories with his role-playing group, cosplaying, computer gaming, or collecting and creating replica movie props. Lately, he devotes the bulk of his hobby time to assembling and painting miniatures for his tabletop wargaming addiction.
Michael is represented by Sara Megibow of the KT Literary Agency and Adrian Garcia of the Paradigm Talent Agency.
He has collected and made replica movie props for over twenty years and enjoys the way a particular collectible lets an individual connect with a meaningful story.
He spends entirely too much time gaming or thinking (some might say ‘scheming’) about strategies and tactics in all kinds of gaming be it board games, computer games, or his passion, tabletop wargaming. He devotes the largest share of the gaming pie to Games Workshop’s Warhammer 40,000 tabletop game. He has collected and played Grey Knights, Space Marines, Tyranids, Dark Eldar, Necrons, and Space Wolves. Michael is a regular contributor to “The Long War” a premiere podcast and webcast dedicated to tabletop gaming, but especially to Warhammer 40,000.
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“I received a free copy of the book from the author/publisher for my honest opinion. I was in no way compensated for this review and all opinions are expressly my own”
Release Date: November 10th 2015
Genre: New Adult Dystopian Science Fiction
Welcome to Cyrene, a city where energy is currency and music is the lifeblood of its young citizens. Everyone lives on the grid, and the residents of the world’s largest playground are encouraged to pursue every physical and emotional pleasure imaginable.
Vee is the lead singer of the Sugar Skulls, an all-girl band that is Corporate’s newest pet project. Micah haunts the city like a ghost after an overdose of a deadly illegal street drug knocks him off the grid. When Micah and Vee forge an immediate, undeniable connection, their troubled worlds collide.
Trading concert stages for Cyrene’s rooftops and back alleys, they have to evade vicious thugs and Vee’s possessive manager as they unravel the mysteries connected to their dark pasts. And before the curtain falls, Micah and Vee will bring the city to its knees in their desperate bid for love, home, and a future together.
About The Authors
When not working on puzzles for Penny Press or writing about them for PuzzleNation, Glenn Dallas is an author of short stories and at least half of one novel. After appearing in the acknowledgments of several outstanding novels, he looks forward to returning the favor in the future.
Lisa Mantchev is the acclaimed author of Ticker and the Théâtre Illuminata series, which includes Eyes Like Stars, nominated for a Mythopoeic Award and the Andre Norton Award. She has also published numerous short stories in magazines, including Strange Horizons, Clarkesworld, Weird Tales, and Fantasy. She lives on the Olympic Peninsula of Washington State with her husband, children, and horde of furry animals. Visit her online at http://www.lisamantchev.com.
Genre: YA, Science Fiction, Romance
Release Date: October 8, 2013
Goodreads Rating: 3.49
Jenny Kramer knows she isn’t normal. After all, not everybody can see the past lives of people around them. When she befriends Ben Daulton, resident new boy, the pair stumble on an old music box with instructions for “mesmerization” and discover they may have more in common than they thought. Like a past life. Using the instructions in the music box, Ben and Jenny share a dream that transports them to Romanov Russia and leads them to believe they have been there together before. But they weren’t alone. Nikolai, the mysterious young man Jenny has been seeing in her own dreams was there, too. When Nikolai appears next door, Jenny is forced to acknowledge that he has traveled through time and space to find her. Doing so means he has defied the laws of time, and the Order, an ominous organization tasked with keeping people in the correct time, is determined to send him back. While Ben, Jenny and Nikolai race against the clock — and the Order — Jenny and Nikolai discover a link that joins them in life — and beyond death.
About the Author
$10 Starbucks Gift Card and 1 e-book of Endless (INT)
Genre: YA Paranormal/
Release Date: April 10, 2013
Publisher: Dauntless Hawk Ink
Pages: 301 pages
Goodreads Rating: 4.78
My Rating: 5
My take on the book:
The Great (Pros):
- The world AJMM created so masterfully. I loved the scenery in this book; she literally took me on a literary adventure. I felt as if I was right there experiencing some of the scenes with Freya.
- The Characters. I know I mentioned above that those characters were greatly developed and I meant it. I loved A.J.M. Mousseau’s characters, from the good down to the bad. Sure I wanted to rip the face off said villain, but isn’t that how you know that the author has created a note worthy opponent for your hero? Truthfully, I can’t say that any character’s storyline really irked me. Freya is pretty awesome and Theron is Ah-maze-ing, two of my favorite main characters as of yet. I loved Piper, she was just too cute and Scarlett was oddly reminiscent of my own aunt. I loved Jesse even when he seemed to be that brooding over protective guy you tend to get annoyed with. I can’t get into too much detail involving the characters cause I might give away some of the plot points but just know that I could spend hours discussing this book and those characters.
- The Science and Mythology. Really guys, this author did her homework before penning this masterfully written story. She breaks things down for us readers in a way that’s informative, not condescending. The mythology was woven into the story so well I found myself getting chills at some points.
- The Cover Art. Seriously this cover art is so amazing and fits the story. It was one of the main reasons I found myself drawn to the story and one of the reasons I decided to read it. Even though it’s not a full facial shot it helped me to imagine Freya in my mind.
The not so great (Cons):
- The ending. Don’t get me wrong the ending itself was pretty cool, but a tad anti-climactic. I saw it coming and that really bugged me when I went to turn the page and found I had reached the end. I wasn’t expecting that ending for a book that in my opinion worked so hard and succeeded in proving it was NOT like the rest. But this was a small faux pas that I can overlook. Truthfully only because I know, as a writer, that it is meant to keep readers on the edge of their seats and keep them hooked and tuned in for the next installment in the series. The ending gives the author a plot to work with so like I said bearable.
- Predictability. I know, this might seem to conflict with my earlier statement to the contrary and for the most part this book was a breath of fresh air. But there was one moment in the book other than the aforementioned ending that I can’t delve into because it definitely is a major plot point, that I totally knew without a shadow of a doubt would happen. As the author continued, I pushed the thought to the back of my mind and hoped that it wouldn’t play out that way… but it did.