Friday, May 27, 2016

WTF Friday: Motherf*cking Wizards by Leonard Delaney

Every once in a while, as the mood strikes me, I like to indulge in those titles that are a bit odd . . . a bit different . . . a bit bizarre . . . and a bit freaky. These are books that don't always get a lot of press, and which rarely benefit from any prominent retail shelf space.

They're often an underground of sort of literature, best shared through guilty whispers, and often with embarrassed grins. These are our WTF Friday reads!

A book called Motherfucking Wizards, written by the same guy who wrote Taken by the Tetris Blocks, that promises "an erotic mashup of explicit fucking and badass god damn sorcerers?" I had to give this one a read, even if just for shits and giggles.

The thing is, as perversely inappropriate Harry Potter parodies (or homages go), this was actually pretty good. Leonard Delaney may boast of "massacring good taste", but he's got a solid imagination and a decent writing style. Yes, it's crude and sophomoric at times, filled with names lie Pervert Drive, Hardrod, Argus Felch, but it's all done with a sense of honest fun and deliberate perversity that you cannot deny.

It also has a ton of amusing little details, like the leather-clad house ALFs, who are described as "ugly little bear-like creatures with patchy hair and pig-like snouts, rumoured to be from another planet." At no point do they try and eat a cat, but you get the idea.

Suffice to say, a wizard's staff takes on a whole new meaning here, and a reason the castle's towers are topped by mushroom-like tips. And while sex with teachers (sorceresses) may be inappropriate, sex with your childhood teddy bear takes on a whole new level of weird. The erotic elements are kind of silly and over-the-top, but a cut above a lot of similar stories. There is an actual story as well, one that parallels its literary inspiration, and the final letter home to the Dunkleys brings things full-circle while explaining the title, Motherfucking Wizards.

Kindle Edition, 53 pages
Published October 4th 2014 by Forest City Pulp

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Urban Fantasy Review: Secondhand Souls by Christopher Moore

Secondhand Souls coverFalling somewhere between offbeat/quirky and silly/juvenile, Secondhand Souls was actually a much more enjoyable read than I anticipated. Clearly I've missed something by diving into the second book of a series, but Christopher Moore recaps previous events well (and often . . . a tad too often), so I don't really feel like I've missed anything.

What you have here is a world where people are 'chosen' to become Grim Reapers - yes, plural Grim Reapers, because it really is too big a job for one person. Charlie was a recipient of the Big Book of the Dead last around, had the recommended kitty calendar, carried around a #2 pencil, and ultimately sacrificed himself to stop a Celtic banshee from destroying San Francisco. Or, at least that's what the world believes. In reality, his Buddist nun girlfriend saved him from that fate, cobbling together a new body out of lunch meat and animal parts - a 14 inch body, with a 10 inch penis. Yup, and we're just getting started. There's also a seven-year-old daughter, who used to be princess of the Underworld, but whose powers have deserted her along with the hellhounds who protected her.

Suffice to say, since his replacement couldn't be bothered to actually collect any of the souls that came so conveniently penciled in on his kitty calendar, it falls to Charlie to save the world. Fortunately, he's not alone - aiding him in this insanity are the aforementioned horny Buddist nun and profanity-charged daughter, along with a tiny crocodile wizard, a gang of Squirrel People, a retired cop, a bridge painter, the weirdly eccentric Emperor of San Francisco, and a Goth girl turned inappropriate suicide hotline counselor . . . whose best line for getting a guy not to jump is to offer him a blowjob.

The plot itself is pretty basic, with your requisite dark powers trying to take over the world, but it's really secondary to the characters and the comedy. To be honest, I think we were halfway through the story before the villain even stepped onto the stage. It's a book that bordered on tedious or repetitive at times, but the frantic swing between satire and slapsitck, not to mention irreverence and (political) incorrectness, keeps you on your toes. Secondhand Soulsis a book that certainly owes a debt to Pratchett and Gaiman, but which seems tailored more for a Hangover or Neighbors generation. Funny, funny stuff, with scenes that will stick with you long after you forget what it was really about.


About the Author

Christopher Moore is the author of fourteen previous novels, includingLamb, The Stupidest Angel, Fool, Sacré Bleu, A Dirty Job,andThe Serpent of Venice.

Find out more about Christopher at hiswebsite, connect with him onFacebook, and follow him onTwitter.


About the Book

Secondhand Souls cover

Secondhand Souls by Christopher Moore
• Paperback:368 pages
• Publisher:William Morrow Paperbacks; Reprint edition (May 10, 2016)

In San Francisco, the souls of the dead are mysteriously disappearing—and you know that can't be good—in this delightfully weird and funny sequel to theNew York TimesbestsellerA Dirty Job.

It seems like only yesterday that Charlie Asher took on a very dirty job—collecting souls and keeping the Forces of Darkness at bay. The new gig came with theBig Book of the Deadand a host of other oddities: creatures under the streets, an evil trinity of ravenlike Celtic death goddesses, and one very bad Underworld dude attempting to conquer humanity. Along with a cohort of other oddballs, Charlie faced off against these denizens of darkness—and met his own end. But thanks to Audrey, his Buddhist-nun boo, his soul is still alive . . . inside a fourteen-inch-high body made from lunchmeat and spare animal parts. Waiting for Audrey to find him a suitable new body to play host, Charlie has squirreled himself away from everyone, including his adorable seven-year-old daughter, Sophie, who enjoys dressing up like a princess, playing with her glitter ponies, and—being the Luminatus—spouting off about her power over the Underworld and her dominion over Death.

Just when Charlie and company thought the world was safe, somereallyfreaky stuff hits San Francisco. People are dying, but their souls are not being collected. Someone—or something—is stealing them and no one knows where they are going, or why, but it has something to do with that big orange bridge. Then there's the Taser-wielding banshee keening about doom who's suddenly appeared while Sophie's guardian hellhounds, Alvin and Mohammed, have mysteriously vanished.

Charlie is just as flummoxed as everyone else. To get to the bottom of this abomination, he and a motley crew of heroes will band together: the seven-foot-tall, two-hundred-and-seventy-five-pounds-of-lean-heartache Death Merchant Minty Fresh; the retired policeman-turned-bookseller Alphonse Rivera; the lunatic Emperor of San Francisco and his dogs, Bummer and Lazarus; Mike Sullivan, a bridge painter in love with a ghost; a gentle French-speaking janitor named Jean-Pierre Baptiste; and former Goth girl LilyDarquewillow ElventhingSevero, now a part-time suicide hotline counselor.

With little Sophie babbling about the coming battle for the very soul of humankind, time is definitely not on their side. . . .

Irresistibly zany, rich in humor, heart, and spirit,Secondhand Soulsis vintage Christopher Moore.

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Saturday, May 21, 2016

From the Shelf to the Page: This Week in the Ruins

In case you missed it, here's what happened in the Ruins this week . . .

WTF Friday: Ordeal by Wol-vriey

Fantasy Review: Red Tide by Marc Turner

Waiting on Wednesday: The Dragon Lords by Jon Hollins

Fantasy Review: The Wheel of Osheim by Mark Lawrence


Stacking The Shelves and Mailbox Monday are a pair of weekly memes that are about sharing the books that came your way over the past week, and which you've added to your shelves - whether they be physical or virtual, borrowed or bought, or for pleasure or review.

For Review:

Night Things: Undead and Kicking by Terry M. West 
Expected publication: July 17th 2016 by Pleasant Storm Entertainment, Inc.

Imagine a world just like yours with one startling difference: every creature of legend has stepped forward from the shadow and they now exist shoulder to shoulder with humankind! New York City has become a macabre melting pot. Vampires, werewolves, zombies and ghouls are now the new immigrants and they are chasing the American dream. The Night Things have become part of the system. But many humans feel the creatures are dangerous ticking time bombs.

Carol Haddon is a former professional fighter living in New York City. Now a social worker, she has devoted her career and life to assisting the Night Things. She is killed after a senseless and brutal attack on her office. Carol is reanimated by the mad genius, Herbert West. West discovers that Carol carries a very unique DNA that could change things dramatically for the zombie population of the world. Johnny Stücke, the mysterious leader of the Night Things who has emerged in the media after Z Day, a citywide zombie attack a few months prior, takes Carol under his wing after her life as a mortal is stripped away. Carol’s creation has also attracted the attention of Herbert West’s greatest enemy, Edmund Wraight. An experiment of Herbert West’s gone horribly awry, Wraight is an ageless, violent, and hungry creature who was once known as the infamous Jack the Ripper. And he must stop West before the scientist unlocks the secret hidden in Carol’s blood.

The Taming by A.M. Rycroft
Expected publication: June 14th 2016 by Mighty Quill Books

A dark fantasy novella for fans of sword and sorcery, and non-mainstream vampyre fiction.

A friend’s death still haunts Thystle Moran. Through an informant with questionable motives, she learns that the events leading up to his tragic end were no accident. Driven by guilt, Thystle seeks vengeance, but an act of betrayal by a fellow vampyre and the distractions of a young woman threaten her quest. Can Thystle get her revenge before the killer gets her first?

Kindle Freebies:




It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is another weekly meme, this time focused on what books are spending the most time in your hands and in your head, as opposed to what's been added to your shelf.

With my beta-read all wrapped up, it's time to dive deep into the stacks and catch up on my reading. Right now I'm juggling a few titles for review over the next 2 weeks:

Children of Earth and Sky by Guy Gavriel Kay [May 10th 2016]
After giving up on the digital pre-press ARC that just wouldn't format for my e-reader, I picked up the hardcover this week, and I'm starting from page 1 so I can enjoy it properly.

The Fireman by Joe Hill [May 17th 2016]
So far, this is fantastic. As much as I loved the idea of the Dragonscale plague, I wasn't sure Hill could sustain nearly 800 pages, but his father's influence is strong in this one.

Freeze/Thaw by Chris Bucholz [May 17th 2016]
The Shade, a set of micro-satellites designed to stop global warming, worked. A little too well. With a tagline line that, I'm definitely excited to see where this goes.


What's topping your shelves this week?

Friday, May 20, 2016

WTF Friday: Ordeal by Wol-vriey

Every once in a while, as the mood strikes me, I like to indulge in those titles that are a bit odd . . . a bit different . . . a bit bizarre . . . and a bit freaky. These are books that don't always get a lot of press, and which rarely benefit from any prominent retail shelf space.

They're often an underground of sort of literature, best shared through guilty whispers, and often with embarrassed grins. These are our WTF Friday reads!

Is there anything sweeter in this world than poetic justice? Anything more deeply fulfilling than watching some despicable human being get their just deserts? Anything more satisfying than seeing some piece of garbage get what's coming to them? Well, the moral of Ordeal is more cautionary then celebratory, but it still makes for one hell of a guilty pleasure.

Wol-vriey tells us the story of a man named Jack and a woman named Gina, two lonely lovers who meet beneath the street corner lights. Jack is a monster who likes to watch women suffer, getting off on the terror in their eyes when he rapes and murders them. His plans for the hooker with the movie star looks are just about as dark as you'd expect . . . but child's play compared to what she has planned for him.

This is a dark and twisted real, full of despicable violence and pain. Jack is a simple man with simple tastes, a monster and a villain without a single redeeming quality. As such, it's hard to feel even an ounce of compassion or sympathy for what he is forced to endure. As for Gina, she may be a monster and a villain herself, but she is also a complex human being. Her obsessive-compulsiveness is both unnerving and humorous, but it's her desperate need for love that makes her truly fascinating.

I won't spoil the fun - it's free, so give it a read yourself - but this is a book of layers, one with a really interesting contrast between order and chaos, and some deeper significance beneath the violence. It's a fun, brutal read that will also make you think.

ebook, First Edition, 20 pages
Published June 29th 2015 by Wol-vriey

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Fantasy Review: Red Tide by Marc Turner

I had the great pleasure of being a beta reader for Red Tide, the third book of The Chronicles of the Exile, and I can honestly say it is Marc Turner's best book yet. Normally I wouldn't share a review so far in advance of the publication, but I wanted to capture (and share) a few of my thoughts while they are still fresh in my mind.

Look for a more comprehensive review closer to the publication date.

Taking place almost immediately on the heels of Dragon Hunters, this is a story that reaches back to connect with some of the characters and stores of When the Heavens Fall. It's the book in the series where everything begins to come together, and where we begin to see hints of the bigger picture into which all the pieces will eventually fit.

My first impression of Red Tide was that it's a more human tale, less about gods and monsters than first two books, which fits with the conflict at the heart of the story. Pacing wise, this was a pretty even book. The first chapters are a bit slow, but there are a lot of characters to bring together, and several story lines (both new and existing) to connect. Once the story hits the half-way mark, it just barrels along, carrying the reader with it. In terms of narrative, it's a smoother book as well, with cleaner transitions between scenes and points-of-view that just better, giving the story a truly seamless feel.

For a series that has just gotten stronger and more entertaining with each installment, Turner has set the bar high for a fourth novel . . . and I cannot wait to see what it brings.

Hardcover, 544 pages
Expected publication: September 20th 2016 by Tor Books

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary ARC of this title from the author as part of a beta read opportunity. This does not in any way affect the honesty or sincerity of my review.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday: The Dragon Lords by Jon Hollins

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

The Dragon Lords: Fool's Gold by Jon Hollins
Expected publication: July 19th 2016 by Orbit

Guardians of the Galaxy meets The Hobbit in this rollicking fantasy adventure.

It's not easy to live in a world ruled by dragons. The taxes are high and their control is complete. But for one group of bold misfits, it's time to band together and steal back some of that wealth.

No one said they were smart.

From the press release:

Jon Hollins has created a world where dragons run the show, enforcing their strict laws and collecting taxes. Fighting against this oppression is a group of misfits that has banded together to reclaim as much of the taxed gold as they possibly can without getting themselves burnt to a crisp. Or starting a revolution.

It's a book that's being marketed to fans of The Hobbit, Michael J. Sullivan, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Ocean's Eleven . . . and that's enough for me right there. Knowing that Orbit has bought 3 books in the series has me even more excited.