Monthly Archives: May 2021

26May/21

Review – The Called by M.D. Neu

M.D. Neu was interviewed on WROTE in February 2021. To find out more about him and his work, check out Episode 308 – Oh God What Was I Thinking?

I read The Calling back in 2018, so I had to play a bit of catch up to grasp The Called, which is the second book in the series. Duncan, as referred to in the blurb for The Calling, is now Chris, as he had to leave his old life behind once becoming one of the Immortals.

This is an enjoyable second instalment, with Chris finding out who his real friends are and his burgeoning relationship with Kirtus happening quietly in the wings. In fact, the whole book is subtly done, without the brash colour of the first novel. The plot could also have been tightened up a little. It could be confusing at times and when that happened, I struggled to remain engaged with the story.

The story is much more character- than action-driven, and the characters are very likeable, with chemistry between the leads and a strong sense of the practicalities of being a vampire, without a sparkle in sight.

Although the tension could have been ramped up more, and it all felt somewhat low-key and a bit dour in parts, there’s a wry sense of humour running through the book, again so subtle some might miss it. I can’t help help thinking the author needs to shake loose a little and allow themselves to go all out, as the overall tone felt restrained. However, I’ll be very interested to see what happens next.

BLURB

The world is changing quickly for Chris now that he’s part of the Immortal Community. With the events of his past finally behind him, he’s still having visions and true magic is gradually taking hold in the world. Chris is still new and has no real standing in the Immortal Community, but he is learning that nothing is what he thought.

Old enemies must work together and longtime friends may not be trustworthy. With Juliet, Amanda, and Kirtus by his side, they have to prevent the immortal and witch community from being exposed.

New friendships are made, and longtime alliances are called into question. How will The Called defeat these latest threats, and what does it mean for the world?

21May/21

Alexander Watson

May 21, 2021

It gives us great pleasure to welcome Alexander Watson as the guest on Season 6, Episode 20 – Is Madam Having Coffee?

Alexander Watson delights and entertains us with the story behind his book River Queens. We discuss everything from upending one’s life, meeting river folk who’ve never seen a gay man, and partner shenanigans that strengthened the relationship.

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Mentioned in this episode:

Bio:

The Harrises are strict teetotaling, sabbatarian farmers, but Dale drinks. The Watsons are urbane, philandering, wanton alcoholics, but Alexander does not drink. These are but two of the myriad incongruities which bind their thirty-year partnership together.

This Podcast episode is available on these channels (in order alphabetical):
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07May/21

AM Leibowitz

May 7, 2021

It gives us great pleasure to welcome AM Leibowitz back as the guest on Season 6, Episode 18 – We Can Just Make It Normal!

AM Leibowitz joins Vance and Baz for a great discussion of their latest release, Every Time We Meet. This leads us to discussing sapphic fiction, queer parenting, and the importance of nonbinary representation within fiction as well as outside of it.

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Mentioned in this episode:

Bio:

A.M. Leibowitz is the author of literary and romantic fiction who refuses to color inside the lines. They are a freelance editor and remover of stray commas. Their blog offers commentary on books, writing, life, and spirituality. … Spouse, parent, queer, feminist, reader, and writer falling somewhere on the Geek-Nerd Spectrum.

This Podcast episode is available on these channels (in order alphabetical):
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August 17, 2018

It gives us great pleasure to welcome A. M. Leibowitz as the guest on Episode 179 – I Don’t Need A Word I’m Just Me!!

AM (Amy) Leibowitz joins us to talk about her new release Drumbeat and her novella Year of the Guilty Soul. We also talk craft, Bi-Erasure/Phobia and the impact of invisible disability in literary and media works.

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Books Mentioned in This Episode:

Read Jayne’s Review of Drumbeat here: http://www.wrotepodcast.com/drumbeat-by-a-m-leibowitz/

Bio:

Amy Leibowitz is a queer spouse, parent, feminist, and book-lover falling somewhere on the Geek-Nerd Spectrum. They keep warm through the long, cold western New York winters by writing about life, relationships, hope, and happy-for-now endings. Their published fiction includes several novels as well as a number of short works, and their stories have been included in anthologies from Supposed Crimes, Beaten Track, Witty Bard, and Mischief Corner Books. They are an occasional host for The BiCast, a podcast for the bi+ community, as well as doing bi+ advocacy work and curating the best-of bi list on the QueerBooksForTeens website. They are a social media contributor for Supposed Crimes, LLC, and they post about news, reviews, and updates for the website. In between noveling and freelance editing, they blog coffee-fueled, quirky commentary on faith, culture, writing, books, and their family.

This Podcast episode is available on these channels (in order alphabetical):
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06May/21

Review – Dropnauts by J. Scott Coatsworth

J. Scott Coatsworth was recently interviewed on WROTE! Check out Episode 315: Oh My God We’re Gonna Die, to find out more about Scott and his work.

One thing you can expect from this author is superlative world-building, as I discovered when reading other books in the Liminal Sky series. There are a ton of them, and I’ve given up making sense of which book belongs where, but it doesn’t matter. This is a standalone novel as far as I can tell, although by the end, you may well be wishing for another in the series. The blurb does a good job of describing what to expect. Basically, the titular Dropnauts are on a quest to see if the Earth could be recolonised.

It’s an accepted belief there is no one left down there but they are wrong. The team get split up, meet a couple of Earth dwellers and get split up again into teams of two. With sinister drones and the dawning realisation that the AI designed to protect them is actually working against them, this is a familiar story to anyone who loves their sci-fi. Familiar, but not tired. There are sparky characters with history, new attractions, a diverse range of gender and sexuality, a tribe of vengeful women and two Earth-dwellers wanting to find medication for their sick mother.

There are great human stories within all the tech-speak. The hard-core sci fi nuts will love the intellectual-speak, the science-y stuff and the various AI’s doing battle inside each other’s heads. Lovers of human stories will enjoy the frisson of attraction between Hera and Ghost, Sanya and Rafe and Rai and Aidan. There’s a heart-stopping finale as everyone races to save both Luna and the Earth from doom. It’s all very exciting and intelligent and fun, with relatable characters and a thrilling denouement.

BLURB

Over a century after the end of the Earth, life goes on in Redemption, the sole remaining lunar colony, and possibly the last outpost of humankind in the Solar System. But with an existential threat burrowing its way to the Moon’s core, humanity must recolonize the homeworld.

Twenty brave dropnauts set off on a mission to explore the empty planet. After training for two and a half years, four of them—Rai, Hera, Ghost and Tien—are bound for Martinez Base, just outside the Old Earth city of San Francisco.

But what awaits them there will turn their assumptions upside down—and in the process, either save or destroy what’s left of humanity.