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John Marco

Wolfskin Wolfskin by Juliet Marillier
reviewed by Regina Lynn Preciado
This is a story of loss and love, ambition and hope, suffering and redemption. And despite all that high-falutin' stuff, it's a great read. Like her previous books (The Sevenwaters Trilogy), the novel is beautifully written. But she has found her voice, showing a greater command of suspense and the ability to keep the story moving forward.

Son of the Shadows Son of the Shadows by Juliet Marillier
reviewed by Victoria Strauss
Sorcha has returned home to Erin with her husband, Briton Hugh of Harrowfield. Together they've become stewards of Sorcha's ancestral estate of Sevenwaters, with its magical forest and strong ties to the old, druidic faith. They've been blessed with happiness, prosperity, and 3 children. But this time of peace can't last. There's a fated relationship between Sevenwaters and the capricious Fair Folk. And the old evil that ensnared Sorcha isn't gone, but only waiting.

Daughter of the Forest Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier
reviewed by Victoria Strauss
Authors who work with fairy tales often twist or transpose them in some way. Here, instead, she expands the fairy tale, retaining its literal structure and all its fantastic details, but focusing her attention on the human story within the magical frame. It's based on the tale of the brothers transformed into wild birds, and the sister who must sacrifice herself to save them.

All the Other Things I Really Need to Know I Learned from Watching Star Trek: The Next Generation All the Other Things I Really Need to Know I Learned from Watching Star Trek: The Next Generation by Dave Marinaccio
reviewed by Alexander von Thorn
If the 179 episodes of ST:TNG form the Torah of our age, then this book is the Talmud, the commentary which elaborates on the parables and explains their relevance to our day-to-day lives. The Next Generation role-models are guided by principles which are at least as relevant and helpful in the 21st century as in the 24th.

Water Logic Water Logic by Laurie J. Marks
reviewed by Margo MacDonald
Water Logic, the third in the Elemental Logic series, follows the trials and efforts of a reluctant leader, Karis, and her eccentric and mis-matched self-made family as they try to bring peace to a land and people long stricken with war. She and her family of friends are all blessed (or cursed, as the view might be taken) with elemental magic -- air, water, earth, fire -- each of which has a different way of working and a different way of connecting with the world around them.

Fire Logic Fire Logic by Laurie Marks
reviewed by Michael M Jones
Fifteen years after the fall of the House of Lilterwess, the land of Shaftal is dying, torn apart by a vicious guerilla war between the native Shaftali and the conquering. Without an earth-witch, without the power of the G'deon to rule and heal the land, there seems to be no hope. The former defenders of Shaftal are scattered or slaughtered, waging a desperate war in the hills and forests as their loved ones suffer the repercussions and reprisals.

Fire Logic Fire Logic by Laurie Marks
reviewed by Margo MacDonald
It is a tale of war and magic, of duty, love and betrayal, of despair encompassed by hope. The magic in this world is inherent to the people who wield it -- it is in their blood and part of their soul -- and though most people do not carry magic in them, every once in a while a child is born with it as part of their DNA. There are four types, based on the four elements of water, air, earth and fire. The type of magic as well as the personality of the wielder are determined by which element is in their blood. Earth blood means healer; water means time and space; air means truth-seeing; and fire means prescience and passion.

Louise Marley

The Goblin Corps The Goblin Corps by Ari Marmell
reviewed by Nathan Brazil
This doorstopper of a book seeks to reverse the bog-standard LOTR-style hero quest by presenting the story from the perspective of the bad guys. As we soon learn, the machinations of Morthul, dreaded Charnel King of the Iron Keep, have failed. Centuries of plotting come to nothing, due to a band of so-called heroes sent by good King Dororam. The price paid for thwarting evil, is the cold blooded murder of Princess Amalia, Dororam's only daughter. As winter falls upon the Brimstone Mountains, a grieving Dororam begins to assemble a mighty army, with the intention of finally destroying the great enemy of humanity.

The Conqueror's Shadow The Conqueror's Shadow by Ari Marmell
reviewed by Dominic Cilli
Meet Corvis Rebaine, Terror of the East and the most feared man in all of Imphallion. After taking the city of Denathere and digging up something from far below the meeting hall, Corvis mysteriously disappears abandoning his army, his campaign and his chance at ruling all Imphallion. Flash forward the clock twenty years...

The Time of Judgment The Time of Judgment by Ari Marmell, Bill Bridges and Bruce Baugh
reviewed by Michael M Jones
After twelve years, hundreds of supplements, and dozens of fiction books, White Wolf Games decided to undertake a risky and unusual proposition: rather than update and revise their games, like they'd done twice before, they simply chose to end their popular World of Darkness series of games altogether, by publishing supplements containing end of the world scenarios for each of their game lines. In conjunction with this, they also released a trilogy of novels, one for each of the three major games, offering a canonical end to their universe.

The Eleventh Plague The Eleventh Plague by John S. Marr and John Baldwin
reviewed by Todd Richmond
Todd really enjoyed the book with its classic elements: an old, knowledgeable professional with a secret past; a trustworthy sidekick; an intelligent, eager young student; a young beautiful wife; an old flame; a suspicious FBI agent who won't admit he's wrong; and a brilliant psychopath who provides clues for the hero.

Graveminder Graveminder by Melissa Marr
an audiobook review by Sarah Trowbridge
At first glance, the little village of Claysville may appear to be just like any other middle American town of its size: families grow and blend, and everybody knows one another and pitches in when someone needs help. If it seems that the Claysville way of life is somewhat sheltered or removed from the hustle and bustle of contemporary American life -- well, that's to be expected in any small country town, even in the 21st century. But there are certain laws in Claysville, both the official kind and ones that go mostly unspoken.

The Phantom Ship The Phantom Ship by Capt. Frederick Marryat
reviewed by Georges T. Dodds
Despite a number of preconceptions about this book and the fact that it was published at the tail end of the Gothic period (1838-39), Georges was sort of expecting William Hope Hodgson's Sargasso Sea tales meet the convoluted sentence structure of Ann Radcliffe. Not even close. The supernatural horror elements are minimal, no ravenous fungus-engulfed ships drifting crewless in becalmed waters, and only rare glimpses of the lost souls aboard the Flying Dutchman. It is far more a tragedy (in the classical sense) and a morality tale than a horror novel.

John Marsden

The Pagan King The Pagan King by Edison Marshall
reviewed by Georges T. Dodds
If you thought recent films like First Knight and particularly A Knight's Tale were a joke in terms of historical or cultural accuracy, or you are tired of the standard Christianized Arthurian romance of an idealized Camelot, then this is the book for you. Narrated by Arthur himself, he is first a rustic farmboy, discovers through Merlin's help his true identity as the legitimate heir to Vortigern's throne, and goes on to lead his Cambrian troops to the conquest of Britain. Gone are the standard characters of Lancelot, Kay, Gawain and others; the Holy Grail is absent; and Mordred is recast as Arthur's rakish and conniving half-brother.

Hair Side, Flesh Side Hair Side, Flesh Side by Helen Marshall
reviewed by Mario Guslandi
Here comes a new writer endowed with an uncommonly vivid imagination, with her stunning debut collection, featuring fifteen tales suspended between the fantastic and the horrific, each one representing somehow a different body part. Her stories are never banal, although, predictably, not all are quite successful.

Ninja Versus Pirate Featuring Zombies Ninja Versus Pirate Featuring Zombies by James Marshall
reviewed by Sandra Scholes
Comedy never dies, no matter what genre it is in. This novel pretty much concentrates on the main ones that are popular right now; ninjas, pirates, and zombies and fairies. Just think of Samurai Girl, Captain Jack Sparrow from Pirates of the Caribbean and Shaun from Shaun of the Dead and you'll be on the right lines. This first book in the series starts out when GuyBoyMan, an unlikely hero (he doesn't even know it himself at the beginning) wakes in his parent's basement thinking he is their prisoner.

Cloudbearer's Shadow Cloudbearer's Shadow by Ann Marston
reviewed by Todd Richmond
Cloudbearer's Shadow, the first book of a new trilogy, is a continuation of the Rune Blade trilogy. The story follows Gareth, son of Brennen ap Keylan ap Kian, exiled Prince of the Royal House of Skai. It's a typical tale of magic, intrigue and destiny -- with some Celtic flavouring.

The Blood King The Blood King by Gail Z. Martin
reviewed by Michael M Jones
The Winter Kingdoms are in turmoil. In Margolan, Prince Jared has brutally seized the throne, and now troops loyal to him wreak havoc and spread terror throughout the land, crushing all those who dare oppose him. His advisor, the undead mage Foor Arontala, continues to feed souls to a dark artifact, all in the hopes of resurrecting the dread Obsidian King by the time of the Hawthorn Moon, which approaches swiftly. Creatures born of magic stalk the borders of neighboring kingdoms, and the restless spirits of the unjustly dead cry out for revenge.

The Summoner The Summoner by Gail Z. Martin
reviewed by Victoria Strauss
Prince Martris Drayke, second son of the king of Margolan, has always had an affinity for magic. Among other skills, he's able to see the ghosts of the dead. His talent has been cultivated by his grandmother, the famed sorceress and Summoner Bava K'aa; but Bava K'aa is years dead, and since her passing there has been no one to teach him.

George R.R. Martin

Fort Freak Fort Freak edited by George R.R. Martin
reviewed by Nathan Brazil
As is the case with the majority of Wild Card books, Fort Freak is a mosaic novel; multiple writers working to common themes, honed by an editor. After the wider world adventures of more recent Wild Card titles, this work sees a return to where it all began, and focuses on Manhattan's Fifth Precinct, the 'Fort Freak' of the title. So named because Joker and human cops work side by side along with a smattering of Aces, albeit those with minor league abilities. For those who have been following this series for some considerable time, seeing Joker Town depicted again is a welcome return.

The Secret History of Science Fiction Suicide Kings Suicide Kings edited by George R.R. Martin
reviewed by Nathan Brazil
The story opens with a dirty little war, between the PPA, (People's Paradise of Africa), and Caliphate of Arabia. The PPA is a despotic regime run by corrupt revolutionary siblings, Dr. Nshombo and his sister Alicia. Think Robert Mugabe, and Idi Amin in drag, for a fair idea of what these two are like. The Caliphate is under the leadership of Prince Siraj, who was installed earlier in this sequence via the meddling of British Ace Noel Matthews. As usual when one country interferes in the affairs of another, things haven't worked out quite as planned.

Songs of the Dying Earth: Stories in Honor of Jack Vance Songs of the Dying Earth: Stories in Honor of Jack Vance edited by George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois
reviewed by Rich Horton
Jack Vance is a writer whose influence on the field has been quite noticeable. The Dying Earth itself is an obvious inspiration for such a major work as Gene Wolfe's Book of the New Sun. One might add less significant but still worthwhile work also set in what is either explicitly the Dying Earth or what seems closely derived from same. Countless other writers have used similar milieus, some quite openly. Indeed, many of the contributors to this book are Vance's heirs to some degree or another.

Inside Straight Inside Straight edited by George R.R. Martin
reviewed by Nathan Brazil
In the plus column, Inside Straight introduces three or four credible new characters, there's a smattering of informative continuity with the established Wild Cards canon, and new blood in the pool of writing talent. In the minus column, most older characters and their chronology appear to have been consigned to history, except for cheesy cameo roles.

A Guide To Fantasy Literature A Guide To Fantasy Literature by Philip Martin
reviewed by Martin Lewis
There was an unusual genesis to this book so it is worth spending a bit of time unpacking it. Philip Martin is director of Great Lakes Literary, a consultancy of which Crickhollow Books is the publishing arm. Given this, it is perhaps not surprising that this book started life as The Writer's Guide To Fantasy Literature. This edition has supposedly been revised so that it is "now oriented to a general audience of writers and readers."

Chasing the Moon Chasing the Moon by A. Lee Martinez
reviewed by Ernest Lilley
Diana has been living out of her suitcase and couch-surfing for weeks, so she really needs a place of her own. So when she's shown an apartment that comes with a set of rules (Rule #3: Don't pet the dog) and Mr. West, a mildly weird landlord, she's willing to overlook the little bell going off in her head in order to get free utilities, a jukebox with her favorite songs, and a fridge already stocked with her favorite soda. The apartment, West tells her, likes her.

Divine Misfortune Divine Misfortune by A. Lee Martinez
reviewed by Michael M Jones
Welcome to a world where the gods are alive and well and dealing with humanity on their own terms. Everyone's got a personal god, who takes care of them according to the level of faith involved and sacrifices offered. Want that promotion? Sacrifice a calf to Baal. Looking for lower insurance premiums? Marduk's your deity. After years of holding out, Phil and Teri are fed up with seeing everyone else get ahead through worship while they get left behind... so they're in the market for a god.

Monster Monster by A. Lee Martinez
reviewed by Michael M Jones
Judy never expected to find a yeti in the freezer section of the Food Plus Mart while she was working the night shift, much less a yeti intent on eating all of the ice cream (save the vanilla.)  But there it is, so what does she do?  She calls Animal Control Services, which, surprisingly enough, actually has a remedy for her infestation issues. Enter Monster, of Monster's Cryptobiological Rescue, a large blue-skinned man with a talent for transmogrifying and containing supernatural pests, and his paper gnome companion Chester.

The Automatic Detective The Automatic Detective by A. Lee Martinez
reviewed by Michael M Jones
Mack Megaton isn't your average joe on the street. He's actually a reprogrammed robot built for destruction and world domination who, upon gaining free will, gave up his creator's megalomanical ways and has gone straight, earning his citizenship one day at a time as an honest taxi driver in Empire City, where weird science reigns supreme. He's not hero material, that's for sure. Heck, he barely understands people, and he can't even tie a bow tie. His therapist thinks he needs to work on his manual coordination, as well as getting out to interact with people more often. But hey, it's hard for a seven foot tall ex-doomsday machine to get comfortable with people, you know?

Understanding Middle Earth Understanding Middle Earth by Michael Martinez
reviewed by Nathan Brazil
Over the last few years, Middle-Earth has gained millions of new fans around the world, thanks to Peter Jackson's epic movie trilogy. For some the journey of discovery has only just begun, due to the one thing which all who dip into the works of J.R.R. Tolkien have in common; that moment of realisation where the depth and breadth of Middle-Earth is perceived. It's a world so large that it has spawned a small industry of other writers, seeking to define or defile its wonders.

Blood and Ice Blood and Ice by Robert Masello
reviewed by Tammy Moore
Michael Wilde is a man caught in the moment between hope and grief. His lover, Kristin, has been in a coma since an accident when they were climbing. Kristin too is trapped, in a body that doesn't work and a mind that won't wake, by her parent's desperate, delusional hope she'll someday, somehow recover. Neither of them able to go back to how it was before or move forwards to how it was going to be.

Pangaea Pangaea by Lisa Mason
reviewed by Charlene Brusso
Despite dropping a lot of information and world-building on the unwary reader, the author does it skillfully, chaining through the points-of-view of a group of characters whose lives will become connected by the most dangerous of threads: rebellion against the all-powerful Imperium.

Cyberweb Cyberweb by Lisa Mason
reviewed by Thomas Myer
Thomas wasn't thrilled with this novel. To him, it is a bouillabaisse of overeager "Big Brother" machinations, needlessly desperate characters, and, strangely enough, in a fluid technological society, a class system as rigid and defined as a stained glass window.

Mad Kestrel Mad Kestrel by Misty Massey
reviewed by Michael M Jones
Kestrel is a rarity: a woman aboard a pirate ship. Moreover, she's the quartermaster, answering only to her captain, a dashing fellow by the name of Artemus Binns, who's the closest thing she has ever had to a father figure. She works twice as hard as any man to command the proper measure of respect, but the effort's paid off, granting her power and authority, and the freedom she can only find at sea. For only surrounded by water, where magic is ineffective, is she safe.

The Lady of the Flowers The Lady of the Flowers by Sophie Masson
reviewed by Lisa DuMond
The author has that kind of enveloping touch that draws the reader in without pause, to a welcoming response, even a homecoming. Marie de France, heroine of the first of the trilogy, The Knight by the Pool, must travel to far away Wales to release her knight from an enchantment that he may not survive.

The Knight by the Pool The Knight by the Pool by Sophie Masson
reviewed by Lisa DuMond
Mysterious, historical figures. Court intrigue. Magic, both good and evil. Fantastical characters. Knights and Ladies. And, the creation of a quest that will bring fact together with fiction to form an adventure that just possibly could have happened.

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