Tag Archives: Fantasy

Shave the Princess?? Acceptance and Self-Discovery on the High Seas.

The Princess Beard is the third in the Tales of Pell series, and while I’ve listened to the previous two books on audiobook, this was the first time actually reading one. There is a definite difference between listening to someone else interpret puns and wordplay, and reading and discovering that wordplay yourself.  Either way, this book is a delight!

The Princess Beard

The Blurb:

Shave the princess? Inconceivable! The hilarious bestselling authors of Kill the Farm Boy and No Country for Old Gnomes are back with a new adventure in the irreverent world of Pell.

Once upon a time, a princess slept in a magical tower cloaked in thorns and roses. 

When she woke, she found no Prince Charming, only a surfeit of hair and grotesquely long fingernails—which was, honestly, better than some creep who acted without consent. She cut off her long braids and used them to escape. But she kept the beard because it made a great disguise.

This is not a story about finding true love’s kiss—it’s a story about finding yourself. On a pirate ship. Where you belong.

But these are no ordinary pirates aboard The Puffy Peach, serving under Filthy Lucre, the one-eyed parrot pirate captain. First there’s Vic, a swole and misogynistic centaur on a mission to expunge himself of the magic that causes him to conjure tea and dainty cupcakes in response to stress. Then there’s Tempest, who’s determined to become the first dryad lawyer—preferably before she takes her ultimate form as a man-eating tree. They’re joined by Alobartalus, an awkward and unelfly elf who longs to meet his hero, the Sn’archivist who is said to take dictation directly from the gods of Pell. Throw in some mystery meat and a dastardly capitalist plot, and you’ve got one Pell of an adventure on the high seas!

In this new escapade set in the magical land of Pell, Delilah S. Dawson and Kevin Hearne lovingly skewer the tropes of fairy tales and create a new kind of fantasy: generous, gently humorous, and inclusive. There might also be otters.  

The Princess Beard is a book that makes you think, even as you laugh until you cry. Much like the movie that the title references, this story is beautifully complex and multilayered. I have read it twice over, and know that there is still much left to uncover the next time I pick it up.

Honestly, it’s hard to decide where to start gushing. I adore fairy tales and their retellings. The premise of the princess rescuing herself and becoming a pirate is only the start of the story. At its heart, it is about facing your personal demons, and embracing them to find your true self. The fact that this is accomplished by challenging traditional gender roles or stereotypes (Vic and Morgan), or by having to face both the disapproval of family and an inevitable fate (Tempest), or by forging an entirely new path (Alobartalus); it is done with both grace and humor.

I adore excellent wordplay. I grew up reading both Xanth and the Callahan series. Puns fly frequently between SC and I. Kevin and Delilah have made a world replete with clever words and multiple meanings. There are macguffins, and anagrams. There is edge-of-your-seat action sandwiched between genuine feelings and laugh-out-loud hilarity. And at the very end, there is the warm fuzzy of finally coming home.

Rating: 5/5

  • Title: The Princess Beard
  • Series: Tales of Pell, Book 3
  • Authors: Kevin Hearne & Delilah S. Dawson
  • Publisher: Del Rey
  • Released: October 8th, 2019
  • Language: English
  • Format: Ebook
  • Pages: 384 pages
About the Authors:
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Kevin Hearne is the NYT bestselling author of the Iron Druid Chronicles, as well as The Seven Kennings, an epic fantasy trilogy, and the Tales of Pell, a humorous fantasy series co-authored with Delilah S. Dawson. INK & SIGIL, a new urban fantasy series set in the Iron Druid universe, will be out in 2020.

 

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Delilah S. Dawson writes whimsical and dark Fantasy for adults and teens. Her Blud series for Pocket includes Wicked as They Come, Wicked After Midnight, and Wicked as She Wants, winner of the RT Book Reviews Steampunk Book of the Year and May Seal of Excellence for 2013. Her YA debut, Servants of the Storm, is a Southern Gothic Horror set in Savannah, GA, and HIT is about teen assassins in a bank-owned America. Her Geekrotica series under pseudonym Ava Lovelace includes The Lumberfox and The Superfox with The Dapperfox on the way. Delilah teaches writing classes at LitReactor and wrote the Island of Mesmer world for Storium.

Delilah lives with her husband, two small children, a horse, a dog, and two cats in Atlanta. Find out more at www.whimsydark.com.

Where to buy:
The Princess Beard is available on Amazon in Hardcover, Kindle and Audiobook. The hardcover retails for $27 USD, but is currently on sale for $19.80 USD. The Princess Beard is in bookstores right now!
Disclosure: I received a complimentary ebook from the publisher in exchange for review. The opinions are my own. All links are direct, I do not make money from them.

Thanks for reading, and please click the Follow Button under my profile on the right side of the page. To support posts like this in the future, consider joining my Patreon!

Dangerous Women Slay in Noir Fatale!

Occasionally, I get lucky. I follow Baen on Facebook and always enter their monthly contests for newly released books. I’ve been looking forward to reading Noir Fatale ever since it was announced. Winning a copy made my week!

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There is just something visceral about reading noir. I can hear heels tapping and distant music, I can smell/taste the steaming  city alleys on a muggy summer night. I find myself craving hot tea and hard liquor while dressed in full pin-up style. Noir as a genre combines my love of mystery, crime, and history. There are hard-bitten men, dangerous situations, and then there are the women…

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My little ladies, Hurricane Enlil and Pandemonium demanding attention.

The Femme Fatales, those lovely ladies that seduce and distract all who encounter them and bend men to their wills. Oh gods, I love them. Noir Fatale focuses on these women, their stories, their exploits. All while exploring the extremes of fantasy and science fiction landscapes. This anthology holds 13 stories, written by 14 authors. Those authors are Larry Correia, Kacey Ezell, Laurell K. Hamilton, David Weber, Sarah A. Hoyt, Robert Buettner, Alistair Kimble, Griffin Barber, Michael Massa, Hinkley Correia, Patrick Tracy, Steve Diamond, Christopher L. Smith, and Michael Ferguson.

Anthologies can be fun, because of their nature, being made of short stories; you can choose how to read them. I admit to being gluttonous and reading all of it within a day! I explored catacombs, moon tunnels, seedy city streets and space stations all while being sat upon by my trusty feline divas.

I can honestly say that there isn’t a single story that I didn’t like! I found new stories by authors I already knew, fleshing out their universes. There are new authors( or at least, new to me), whose works I will be sure to look up!  From Madam Sunderhaven, the near-immortal necromancer, to the canny and sly Nina LaFleur, to the dangerous naiveté of Isis Lavender; these femmes strut  fully formed from the pages unto the theater of your mind.

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Hurricane Enlil demanding treats!
  • Title: Noir Fatale
  • Author/Editor: Larry Correia and Kacy Ezell
  • Publisher: Baen Books
  • Released: May 7th, 2019
  • Language: English
  • Pages: 312

About the Editors:

Larry Correia is the creator of the Wall Street Journal and New York Times best-selling Monster Hunter series, with first entry Monster Hunter International, as well as urban fantasy hardboiled adventure saga the Grimnoir Chronicles, with first entry Hard Magic, and epic fantasy series The Saga of the Forgotten Warrior, with first entry Son of the Black Sword and latest entry, House of Assassins. He is an avid gun user and advocate and shot on a competitive level for many years. Before becoming a full-time writer, he was a military contract accountant, and a small business accountant and manager. Correia lives in Utah with his wife and family.

Kacey Ezell is an active duty USAF helicopter pilot who also writes sci-fi/fantasy/alt history/horror fiction. Her first novel was a Dragon Award finalist in 2018, and her stories have been featured in Baen’s Year’s Best Military and Adventure Science Fiction compilation in 2017 and 2018. In 2018, her story “Family Over Blood” won the 2018 Year’s Best Military and Adventure Science Fiction Reader’s Choice Award.  She writes for Baen and Chris Kennedy Publishing.

Kacey Exell : Website

Larry Correia: Website 

Baen Books: Website / Facebook

Where to buy: Noir Fatale is available  at the Baen website and on Amazon in Hardcover and Kindle,  There is also an Audiobook version available on Audible.
Disclosure: I won a complimentary book from the publisher. The opinions are my own. All links are direct, I do not make money from them.

Thanks for reading, and please click the Follow Button under my profile on the right side of the page. To support posts like this in the future, consider joining my Patreon!

A Parliament of Bodies – Reviewing the Latest Installment of the Maradaine Series!

I’m a reader. Unashamedly. My parents wanted their kids to love books, and I’m sure that at some point, they deeply regretted it when the floorboards groaned and creaked, and the bookshelves overflowed. I’d read and enjoyed the first of the Maradaine Constabulary books, A Murder of Mages. But 2015 was a crazy year, and I never kept track of the subsequent books. It was a surprise to chance across Mr. Maresca’s Twitter feed as he was promoting A Parliament of Bodies. I reached out, and was beyond grateful that he was kind enough to ask DAW Books, his publisher to send me an ARC.

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I started reading in fantasy, only later branching into science-fiction, mystery, nonfiction, and true crime. Marshall Ryan Maresca’s Maradaine Constabulary series manages to combine all of these genres. This is the third book in the series and the ninth of the Maradaine world. Yeah, you read that right, Maradaine World. Maresca’s Maradaine is a loom upon which he interweaves the four different stories (Thorn, Constabulary, Elite & Streets) into a comprehensive tapestry. You can read just one series, and get the basic story just fine, but if you expand into the greater world, you can see the whole of the panorama.

A Parliament of Bodies is a wild ride. It has only been a few months since the events in An Import of Intrigues, and Inspector Welling is under Investigation as to his continued fitness to serve as a member of the Constabulary. There is a fiendish serial killer who has kidnapped dozens of people and strapped them into clockwork death machines (think the Saw movies). Inspectors Welling and Rainey are joined by Dayne Heldrin and Jerinne Fendall of the Taurian Order to stop the man Dayne is convinced is the killer.

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So much jelly beans!

Some books are comfortable to read, they cradle your mind as you wander their pages. Others are a veritable battle, where like Bastian Balthazar Bux in the NeverEnding Story; you are drawn in and are as much a part of the story’s energy as the characters are. You can guess which A Parliament of Bodies is. After the first hundred pages I had to break out the 2 lb bag of jelly beans my mom gave me for Easter. It was either jelly beans or cannibalism as I chewed my fingernails to nubs.

This book had me laughing, crying, cursing out loud, when I wasn’t gasping  and spluttering in inarticulate wonder. There are side adventures, and new revelations on past events that build both the world and make the cast more “real”. A Parliament of Bodies has  so much of an edge-of-your-seat quality that by the end you are both winded and desperately craving the next book!

  • Title: A Parliament of Bodies
  • Author: Marshall Ryan Maresca
  • Series: Maradaine Constabulary
  • Publisher: DAW Books
  • Released: March 26, 2019
  • Language: English
  • Pages: 389

About the Author:

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Marshall Ryan Maresca is a fantasy and science-fiction writer, author of the Maradaine Saga: Four parallel series set amid the bustling streets and crime-ridden districts of the exotic city called Maradaine. This includes The Thorn of Dentonhill, A Murder of Mages, The Holver Alley Crew and The Way of the Shield. His work also appeared in Norton Anthology of Hint Fiction and Rick Klaw’s anthology Rayguns Over Texas. He also has had several short plays produced. He grew up in upstate New York, studied film production at Penn State. He currently lives in Austin, Texas.

For more information, visit Marshall’s website at www.mrmaresca.com.
Where to buy: A Parliament of Bodies is available on Amazon in Kindle,  and  paperback. There is not currently an Audiobook version, although the first two Maradaine novels will  be available on Audible on May 28th, 2019.
Disclosure: I received a complimentary book from the publisher in exchange for review. The opinions are my own. All links are direct, I do not make money from them.

Thanks for reading, and please click the Follow Button under my profile on the right side of the page. To support posts like this in the future, consider joining my Patreon!