jennifer_brozek: (Default)
Reader review of HUMAN FOR A DAY anthology from @dawbooks from [livejournal.com profile] epiphany_maria - She liked it. http://bit.ly/y5DwAk #editor

Also, just a reminder. Hugo nominations close this month. I am eligible for the Short Form Editor Hugo award. Thanks. http://bit.ly/zsDYt5
jennifer_brozek: (Default)
As editor - BEAUTY HAS HER WAY - by Science Fiction and Other ODDYsseys. A mostly good review. Some interesting points.

As author - CTHULHUROTIC - by Robert Derie. He liked most of the book but did not like my essay. Not super in depth but a good over all review.
jennifer_brozek: (Default)
http://www.apexbookcompany.com/blog/2009/10/review-shadows-of-the-emerald-city/

http://www.apexbookcompany.com/?p=1227

by Jennifer Brozek
Review: Shadows of the Emerald City
Type: Anthology
Pages: 325
Editor: JW Schnarr
Publisher: Northern Frights Publishing
Rating: 5 of 5



Sometimes it is not enough to return to childhood favorites and simply enjoy them. Sometimes, those of us with just the right twist to our brains, like to return to old stories and reread them in a new light…an emerald light…tainted by something wholly evil and corrupt. This is exactly what JW Schnarr did as the editor of Shadows of the Emerald City anthology from Northern Frights Publishing.

Shadows of the Emerald City showcases nineteen stories set in the fabled land of Oz. However, this is not the Oz your grandmother grew up with—or you for that matter. Seen through the refracted lens of a broken emerald, this Oz is not a land of Technicolor dreams you would want to visit. It is filled with familiar people in unfamiliar roles that make you cringe, wince, gasp and turn the pages even faster.

JW Schnarr hit it out of the park with this collect of macabre, dirty, perverse, corrupted stories. I have never paused while reading to say, “That is so f’d up!” so many times before while reading an anthology. And I meant in the nicest way possible. Though, nice is not a word to be used with this anthology—ever.

Not every story is a homerun but there are no duds in this book. Not one and, for me, I’m amazed. I usually don’t like all stories in an anthology. However, those stories that stand out, really stand out.

DR WILL PRICE AND THE CURIOUS CASE OF DOROTHY GALE by Mark Onspaugh – This opening story of psychiatry and finding a place in Oz left me with my mouth hanging open and shaking my head. I turned to my husband, saying, “If all of the stories are like this one, you won’t see me until morning.”

TIN by Barry Napier – This is a lovely and wicked tale of how the Tin Man came to be and what his original purpose was… and what it becomes once the Wicked Witch gets hold of him after a long sleep.

THE FUDDLES OF OZ by Mari Ness – This story reads like the old versions of a Grimm’s Fairy Tale. It made me smile in delight of such strange creatures and shiver at their eventual fate. This story reminds the reader that there are things far worse than death in the lands of Oz.

Shadows of the Emerald City is a page-turner but it is best not to read this anthology all in one sitting. Each story has different take on Oz so sharply it will cut you long before you notice the blood. Savor it, enjoy it and then put it away and dream of any land other than Oz. Oz is not the place you remember behind your rose-tinted glasses. All you have to do is take those glasses off and read. Then you’ll see what I mean.
jennifer_brozek: (Default)
Fangoria gave 'The World is Dead' anthology 3 skulls out of 4. My particular story, A Bite to Remember, was not mentioned.

***

I just sent off a blurb for Barry Napier's short story collection, Debris.

"Debris is a chilling, imaginative and provocative collection of short stories. This collection covers the gamut from urban legends to human frailties to alien menaces and almost everything in-between. Barry Napier shows his technical skill in the craft through his use of poetry, flash fiction and short stories as well as his skill as an author with the well-turned phrase. Definitely a collection to read and enjoy. Just don't read it in the dead of night if you have an overactive imagination."
--Jennifer Brozek, submissions editor for the Apex Book Company
jennifer_brozek: (Default)
http://www.apexbookcompany.com/blog/2009/07/a-review-of-rosemary-and-rue-by-seanan-mcguire/

http://www.apexbookcompany.com/?p=1071

Publisher: DAW
Publication Date: September 2009
Type: Novel
Reviewed by: Jennifer Brozek
Rating: 5/5

I am a great fan of writing and reading stories about protagonists in a heap of trouble digging themselves out to win the day. Rosemary and Rue is exactly that kind of book. In less than the first 100 pages, October “Toby” Daye, a half-breed Daoine Sidhe and former street kid, is cursed twice, loses everything she holds dear, winds up in a job she hates and has an unpleasant encounter with the King of Cats. Frankly, if I were Toby and I met Seanan on the street, I would punch her.

Yes, I really loved this book. Toby is a flawed protagonist in all of the right ways. She is scared, hurt, angry, and forced to do things she would have done anyway but resents the power that is forcing her to do exactly that. Every person Toby turns to for help she knows she cannot trust. Every person who loves Toby is hurt by this lack of trust. But, honestly, the reader cannot fault Toby. She is acting in a logical and emotional–if reactionary–manner to everything that is happening to and around her.

One of the best parts about Rosemary and Rue is the fact that while it is one step into the world of the Fey, changelings, pixies, trolls, and goblins, there is still a true sense of reality. Having once lived in the San Francisco Bay Area, where the story is set, I can imagine the world of Oberon’s court just beyond visible sight. The places are real. The emotions are real. The pain, loss, and infrequent joys are real. So real that sometimes this is a hard book to read. Fortunately, it is a harder book to put down.

Seanan McGuire’s funny, raw, and engaging style of writing has put her at the top of my “new favorite authors” pile. I highly recommend Rosemary and Rue as a fantastic debut novel and eagerly wait to see what comes next both in this series and from the author.
jennifer_brozek: (Default)
http://www.apexbookcompany.com/blog/2009/06/review-of-by-blood-we-live-edited-by-john-joseph-adams/

Review of By Blood We Live, edited by John Joseph Adams



Publisher: Night Shade Books
Publication Date: August 2009
Type: Anthology
Reviewed by: Jennifer Brozek
Rating: 5/5

Vampires are the apex predator in fiction today. They are deadly, sexy, enticing, terrifying, and ideal as both a menace and an attraction. We love to read about these intriguing monsters. Love to defeat them. Love to be defeated by them. In By Blood We Live, John Joseph Adams has put together a collection of vampire stories that not only flows well together but shows off the best and worst aspects of our favorite creature of the night.

With over 200,000 words in this anthology, there works by old favorites such as Neil Gaiman, Anne Rice, and Stephen King. There are also works from new favorites like Elizabeth Bear, Jane Yolen, and Joe Hill. Every story fits with every other story but every story is original and fresh on its own. Frankly, there isn’t a clunker in the bunch and that made this anthology for review a real treat to read.

For me, there are three outstanding stories in this collection that shine above the rest. It is their writing, perspective, and originality that made these stories stick in my head long after I finished reading them.

“Child of an Ancient City” by Tad Williams – This story tells a tale of an ancient vampire from an Islamic point of view that brings to mind the tale of Scheherazade and the tales she told to save her life. The blackened skin of the terrifying, hunched creature eschews the seductive quality of the vampire while heightening its horror.

“Lifeblood” by Michael A. Burstein – This story tells the tale of combating a vampire with faith – Jewish faith rather than the traditional Christian faith. The use of song and prayer within the song is a brilliant reinterpretation of brandishing the crucifix.

“The Wide, Carnivorous Sky” by John Langan – A previously unpublished story about a group of military men who encounter a vampiric creature in the heat of battle is especially intriguing for many reasons: the psychic connection between the monster and the men, the origin of the creature, and the philosophical discussion between the military men on where the monster came from and why it was here hunting on Earth.

All of the stories in the anthology have something to recommend them. Harry Turtledove’s story “Under St. Peter’s” is delightfully blasphemous. Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s “The Beautiful, The Damned” is lush and vibrant with its references to The Great Gatsby, and who would not want to return to the ‘Lot in Stephen King’s nostalgic and creepy story, “One for the Road.”

I received a PDF version of this anthology for review and I plan to buy it as soon as it hits the shelves. Night Shade Books and John Joseph Adams created another winner with this anthology of vampires. It is one not to miss.
jennifer_brozek: (Default)
You made me cry...

... and wish that I was lost.












(6 out of 5 stars for Ravens in the Library. I have never cried so many poignant tears of joy at an anthology before. This is an anthology for Dreamers and for those who love their Dreamers.)
jennifer_brozek: (Default)
I was asked to blurb a book by [livejournal.com profile] marlowe1 for Dybbuk Press. The book's author apparently has an LJ: [livejournal.com profile] avantpop. This is the blurb I gave the book. It's not my usual reading fare but it was very good.

"Provocative and intriguing, THIS OTHER EDEN by Michael Hemmingson is akin to reading a cross between someone's private journal and a True Crime magazine. Feeling titillated and naughty, as if reading a sibling's most private and dirty secrets, I found myself wholly unwilling to put this book down. It is a glorious train wreck of loss, betrayal, and crime mixed with intimate thoughts and a poignant sense of loneliness. THIS OTHER EDEN is the kind of book that will make you forget your own life for a while but will also allow you to be grateful for it when you put the book down." ~ Jennifer Brozek, Submissions Editor, Apex Book Company
jennifer_brozek: (Default)
I'm not done with it yet. I'm savoring each story as I get a chance to read something I -want- to read. This is an absolutely fabulous anthology. I have loved every story so far but two have stood out. Both of them made me cry (in a good way) for different reasons:

King of Crows by Midori Synder and Pipsqueak by Angel Leigh McCoy.

Seriously, if you have not bought and read Ravens in the Library, you are missing out. I have only nine stories left to go and I'm hoarding them like my favorite pieces of candy.
jennifer_brozek: (Default)
I am of two minds about this anthology, "The Monster Within Idea," edited by R. Thomas Riley, from Apex Publications. On one hand, I really liked it. On the other hand, it really frustrated me. The good stories, like "Touching God," "Jenny," "Haven," "The Run," "Bubo" and "Brittle Bones, Plastic Skin" are really excellent stories. Creepy, visceral and evocative stories than make you grin while your skin puckers in goose bumps. They lead you to the edge of the precipice and then drop you over to a satisfying conclusion--be it a sudden crash at the end or the revelation of wings.

The other stories are not bad stories. Far from it and that is why I am frustrated. I believe this is a stylistic choice by the author/editor (who does a good job putting the stories together in a way that makes them flow), but many of the stories seemed to be chapters 4 through 6 of an eight chapter story. They don't have satisfying conclusions. They are well written, draw you in and then leave you hanging. The most frustrating of these stories is the first story of the book, "Attrition." It stops too soon. I want to know if the protagonist makes into and through the tunnel. I want to know what he goes through. Instead, I am left with knowing he is going to go through it but not knowing if he makes it or not.

I give this anthology a 3 out of 5 because the strong stories are enough to pull the reader through the stories that stop too soon. There is no bad writing in this anthology. Just a few too-short stories mixed amongst the gems.
jennifer_brozek: (Default)
I won this book from the Apex Book Company raffle. Fran Friel is a new-to-me author and one for me to look for in the future. I really liked her story collection filled with dark tales set both in hard reality and soft fantasy. Several of the stories based around a mother's love for her son and keeping him safe, helping him grow up and/or teaching him stretch the concept of "mother," "love" and "son." The relationship, however it is created, is paramount and powerful, lending a sense of emotional density that touches the reader. This collection of short stories runs the emotional gamut from touching and sweet to cruel, sadistic and horrific. There are moments of hilarity that made me ashamed for laughing because what I had just read wasn't funny – but it was. I very much enjoyed it and will look for more stuff by Fran Friel in the future. I highly recommend Mama's Boy for anyone who likes dark, twisted tales.
jennifer_brozek: (Default)
I received the PDF of the anthology with a request to proof my own story. Just to make sure there were no glaring errors. There was also light invitation to look at the other stories and to proof them if I wished. I started reading from the beginning with the intent to proof in mind. Within the first story, I forgot all about proofing and settled down to just reading.

I read the entire anthology last night and loved it.

Seriously, I loved 90% of the stories and the one story I had problems with (too much hand waving on how they did what they did and not enough explanation) was so well written that I could forgive the 'f*cking magic' aspect of the story.

It is very rare that I like all stories in a collection. Most collections have a breakdown of 1/3 love, 1/3 neutral, 1/3 hate. In "The World is Dead" I loved 14 of the 17 stories and was neutral on the last three. I think the strongest part of the anthology is first part, subtitled "Work." It is so delightfully twisted and wrong that I couldn't stop.

The anthology is broken out into subsections of "Work," "Family," "Love" and "Life." "Work" is my favorite by far. My story, "A Bite to Remember" is in the "Love" section and I think it is the only story that doesn't have an actual zombie in it, and yet, it is definitely a zombie story.

"The World is Dead" anthology is an excellent collection of awesomely twisted and delightfully wrong stories well worth reading.

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