THE GASLIGHT DOGS is my favorite read of 2016. It was published six years ago and I don’t know why I waited so long to read it.
Karin Lowachee’s writing is filled to the brim with powerful storytelling enriched by poetic, expert prose, and this book is proof of that. The care that goes into each and every word leaves me speechless. And the characters… their struggles, their reluctant unions, how human and authentic they feel… at times in this book it was almost overwhelming. I often had to set it down just to catch my breath.
I love Sjenn, her peaceful strength, her morals, her refusal to accept the violence that was coming into her land. I found her to be the perfect anchor to Jarrett’s (understandable) bitterness and hostility. Their journey from the comfort of their known worlds into each other’s was both beautiful and devastating. The layers of emotion and human struggle are piled thick, and I know it will take me a long time to fully process it all.
And that ending? My heart! I know there’s been mention of a second book and a third. If it’s really happening I know it’s probably years from being published but I need the second book now. My advice to readers is to buy this book now but hold onto it until #2 is published. Maybe #3 as well.
Wait, what am I saying? Read this book!! You can read it again when #2 is out. Because if you wait, you’re going to be screaming just like I am. Why did I wait so long to read this book?!
I have such hope for these characters, and they are going to be on my mind until I can finish their story.
THE GASLIGHT DOGS is alternate history/fantasy/literary fiction. Some readers classify it as steampunk but I don’t think that’s accurate at all. Don’t let the alternate history part throw you though. This book is a story about people. The setting is historical but the story is timeless. And the fantasy element is just perfect. There’s no romance but it’s really not needed. The relationships built in this book are just as touching as any love story.
THE GASLIGHT DOGS by Karin Lowachee
Amazon | Goodreads | Karin Lowachee’s website
Oh, and if you do read and enjoy this book please post a review on Amazon and Goodreads. Right now it only has a 3-star average which is outrageous.
This isn’t a recommendation. It’s an order. Read this book.
A tormented hero, nurtured back to life by the heroine’s quiet strength. It’s done so well it’s like a burn inside you as you read, as the plot unfolds to become so much more. Not that you need any more, but that’s what THE LEOPARD KING gives you. A powerful love story and so much more.
Ann Aguirre writes emotion with such striking simplicity, such depth and power. Her prose is magic. Every line sings. Nobody does romantic torment better than her. Nobody. And riding above it is an intricate plot of kingdoms in struggle, secrets, manipulation, war. A modern world so much like our own but so different, drawn with such detail it feels like our own.
Normally I don’t write a recommendation until I’ve finished the book. In this case I make an exception because Ann Aguirre can not let me down. She could kill off every character and I’d still be fangirling like crazy. I also make an exception because this book is only $2.99 on Kindle for a limited time–only a few more days I think. If you’ve never read Ann Aguirre that’s a great price to try a new author.
Fans of my books, you’re not allowed to read any more of my books until you read this one.
Okay I’m kidding. ACTUALLY NO I’M NOT.
THE LEOPARD KING by Ann Aguirre
Amazon | Goodreads | Ann Aguirre’s website
Note: There’s a lot of detailed sex in this book. A lot more than what’s in mine. So if that’s not your thing, be warned. Don’t let it scare you away from such a great book though. Just know than when they start going at it, you might want to skim. :)
RADIANCE by Grace Draven is another book I devoured due to how much I loved it. My lack of spare time was inconsequential.
The love story here? Oh my, the love story. It’s perfect and refreshing and funny and so so romantic and sexy and these two characters are just plain magic together. They’re so fleshed out I’m convinced they’re real, living in some other realm.
Yes, there’s a larger plot than the romance, in a expertly built fantasy world, and it’s strange, because there’s a decent amount of tension, not really a lot, not enough to explain why I was madly turning pages and couldn’t put this book down. I can’t explain why it’s so good it’s just SO GOOD because of the love story. THE LOVE STORY!! Did I mention the love story?
Fans of my books will love this one.
RADIANCE by Grace Draven
Amazon | Goodreads | Grace Draven’s website
Vengeance Road isn’t just one of my favorite books of this year, it’s one of my favorite books of all time. I read it in three days and I have no idea how–I don’t have enough spare time in two weeks to read a full book. But I guess it helped that this one was simply glued to my face. I couldn’t get it off.
Incredibly immersive and real and the dialect was dead on–the Western flavor was heavy but somehow also very readable. Maybe it helps being American and from Missouri. I know it’s not the West, but we do have cowboys here if you know where to look. :)
I loved every character, even when they broke my heart. I was rooting for them even when they were being stupid. And this book has one of my biggest pet peeves with books, especially YA books, yet I forgive it.
I only have two regrets. One, that I read it so rabidly and at times in such short bursts (elevator rides, waiting in short lines, etc.) that I didn’t fully enjoy it. And two, that it was YA, because I so wanted to see some more smoochin’.
Many thanks to the author for making this book actually about vengeance instead of about learning not to be vengeful. Sometimes we just want to see the heroine blow a bad guy’s head off. That’s not a spoiler because it happens in the first chapter. :)
This book is gritty, so beware. But it’s not at all graphic. If you can take the violence and death in my books, you’ll love this one.
Right now it’s only $2.99 on Kindle!
VENGEANCE ROAD by Erin Bowman
Amazon | Goodreads | Erin Bowman’s website
One of my favorite authors, Karin Lowachee, has a short story out in this month’s Lightspeed Magazine called A GOOD HOME that is an absolute must read.
I just one-clicked the issue on Amazon after reading the story. It’s worth the $3.99 just for her story alone. I can’t wait to finish the rest of the issue.
Read A GOOD HOME here, and when you’re finished, one-click the heck out of it.
Here’s more about the issue. Enjoy!
Lightspeed Magazine, June 2016 (Issue 73)
This month, we’ve made another special double issue for you: People of Colo(u)r Destroy Science Fiction! We’ve brought together a team of terrific creators and editors of color, led by Guest Editors Nalo Hopkinson and Kristine Ong Muslim. We’ll have ten pieces of original science fiction by exciting SF authors: Karin Lowachee (“A Good Home”), Steven Barnes (“Fifty Shades of Grays”), Isha Karki (“Firebird”), Lisa Allen-Agostini (“Depot 256”), Brian K. Hudson (“Digital Medicine”), Sofia Samatar (“The Red Thread”), Nick T. Chan (“Salto Mortal”), Dayo Ntwari (“Omoshango”), Terence Taylor (“Wilson’s Singularity”), and Gabriela Santiago (“As Long As It Takes to Make the World”). We also have a special flash fiction section curated by the talented Berit Ellingsen. We have flash from S.B. Divya (“Binaries”), Fabio Fernandes (“Other Metamorphoses”), Teresa Naval (“An Offertory to Our Drowned Gods”), Nin Harris (“Morning Cravings”), Jennifer Marie Brissett (“Breathe Deep, Breathe Free”), T.S. Bazelli (“The Peacemaker”), Caroline M. Yoachim (“Chocolate Milkshake Number 314”), Naru Dames Sundar (“A Handful Of Dal”), Kevin Jared Hosein (“Hiranyagarbha”), and JY Yang (“Four And Twenty Blackbirds”). Our nonfiction editor, Grace Dillon, has brought us some incredible essays and articles, and we have our usual assortment of author and artist spotlights. For our ebook readers—and for those who seek out the print edition of our special issue—we also include have our usual novella reprint and a novel excerpt. But as a special treat, Sunil Patel has collected the more than two dozen essays on life as a PoC reader and creator of science fiction that originally ran in our People of Colo(u)r Kickstarter campaign. All that, and of course we also have our usual assortment of author spotlights, along with an extra special book column.
More on lightspeedmagazine.com
A GOOD HOME by Karin Lowachee
Amazon | Karin Lowachee’s website
Sharp-witted pickpocket heroine. Grumpy ship captain who paints his throwing knives black so they’re invisible at night. Plus, spaceships.
Mercenary Instinct has everything you need in an SFR (sci-fi romance), and right now it’s only $.99 on Kindle.
I read this several weeks ago and the characters are still so vibrant in my mind. The proportions of world-building, romantic tension, action and adventure are just right. I think I need to grab the next in the series…
MERCENARY INSTINCT by Ruby Lionsdrake
Amazon | Goodreads | Ruby Lionsdrake’s website
Uprooted by Naomi Novik = a million wows.
I feel guilty for devouring it instead of savoring every word. What a perfect joining of fairy tale and fantasy, alive with magic in the story as well as the prose. The pace has a perfect ebb and flow, with scenes of high action tempered by slower scenes of vivid description that allow a moment to savor and breathe. The slower scenes pull you into a world that becomes more layered each time.
The characters are some of the best drawn fictional people I’ve read in a long time. And the world! It’s wonderful and frightening and built in such detail that when the conflicts explode, it’s breathtaking.
Uprooted is one of the few books I’d buy a paper copy of just to leave out on my nightstand, to be able to pick it up, flip to a random page, and lose myself just for a moment. It’s designed to not just consume, but treasure. If I didn’t have so many books on my To-Read, I’d read it again right now. And yes, there’s a love story threaded in, pulling tighter with each scene until you’re dying to see something give. It reminds me a lot of Beauty and the Beast, yet it’s so different, and so much more.
Fans of my books, I think you will love this one.
UPROOTED by Naomi Novik
Amazon | Goodreads | Naomi Novik’s website
I just reached the 20,000 word mark in THE CATALYST.
TB is breaking my heart. Anti-heroes can be traumatizing to write sometimes. But I wouldn’t have it any other way.
While you wait for those 100,000 or so remaining words, here’s another series with a great anti-hero with his own set of problems. He’s angsty, tormented, foul-mouthed, and also a heavy drinker just like someone I know. And the women around him are casting a floodlight on his problems. Making him own up. Maybe making him clean up, if my hopes for the series are fulfilled. I really hope there’s a happily ever after for Caleb, #1001, and Fran, too. They’ve stolen my hearts as much as my own characters live to do.
GIRL FROM ABOVE (The 1000 Revolution) by Pippa DaCosta
Amazon | Goodreads | Pippa DaCosta’s Website
Try it! The first one’s only $.99 on Kindle right now. It’s wonderfully devourable. Probably one of my favorite series of all time.
Rich in character, setting, and story, this is the type of book I’m always looking for. Topnotch writing and a powerful love story set in fantasy is a win for me every time, especially when the romance is an integral piece to a larger story. I usually crave more story than simply “will these two fall in love,” and this book has so much more. I have found a new favorite author.
THE WINTER WITCH by Paula Brackston
Amazon | Goodreads | Paula Brackston’s Website
I got tagged again with the Four Q&As about my WIP blog hop, so instead of repeat the same questions and answers, I’m going to promote two great indie writers.
Rosemary Whittaker is a British born author. She is an English teacher by profession. Since leaving university she has lived and worked in the United States, New Zealand, Australia and twice in Denmark. Her husband works in biodiversity informatics (cataloging all living species on earth) and this has entailed many moves. They have five children so the moves have been extra challenging.
Her real love has always been writing and she has written several novels, variously set in the countries in which she has lived. She also writes for children. All her novels are available on Amazon and Amazon.co.uk.
Her recent novels, a set of four, all take the theme of British women who move, by choice or circumstance, to one of the four countries mentioned above. THE CINNAMON SNAIL is set in Denmark, where Rosemary currently lives.
The Copenhagen Post Publisher’s Corner: Review of ‘The Cinnamon Snail’
Rosemary’s Website | Rosemary’s Books on Amazon
Jason Gurley is a writer I recently found. His book ELEANOR was released on June 27, but I received an early copy from his website.
I’m about 80% through ELEANOR, and devouring it. It’s a lovingly crafted book, a story I can recommend wholeheartedly even though I haven’t finished it. It’s a perfect example of why I love indie fiction, and why I’m so glad this book never found a traditional publisher. ELEANOR hasn’t been forced into any mold. It’s a story that takes its time to build, to immerse you, to wiggle in deeply so you can’t shake it off.
If you like magical realism, and exploring the barrier between life and the afterlife, you might want to check this one out.
Jason’s Website | Jason’s Books on Amazon