Sleeps With Monsters: Forests, Kingdoms, and Secrets

A new post over at

This week I want to talk to you about two very different books: Joan He’s debut fantasy Descendant of the Crane, set in a world which draws inspiration from Chinese history and culture; and Jaime Lee Moyer’s Brightfall, a fresh new approach to the Robin Hood mythos set in a medieval Sherwood Forest filled with Fae lords and magic.

More books arrive

Six of these, half a dozen of the other...

Six of these, half a dozen of the other…

Here we have courtesy of Tor: Michael Swanwick, CHASING THE PHOENIX, David Weber, HELL’S FOUNDATIONS QUIVER, Jaime Lee Moyer, AGAINST A BRIGHTENING SKY, and Catherynne M. Valente’s RADIANCE. Courtesy of DAW, we have Jacey Bedford’s WINTERWOOD. And courtesy of Oxford University Press, Nicholas Walton’s GENOA LA SUPERBA: THE RISE AND FALL OF A MERCHANT PIRATE SUPERPOWER.

Books read: Wilson, King, Moyer

Kai Ashante Wilson, The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps. Publishing, 2015. Copy courtesy of

Read for review. It’s a very interesting little piece of sword-and-sorcery, albeit perhaps not entirely to my tastes.

Laurie R. King, Dreaming Spies. Allison & Busby, 2015.

This is more travelogue than mystery. Very good travelogue. Weak on the mystery.

Jaime Lee Moyer, Against A Brightening Sky. Tor, 2015. Copy courtesy of the publisher.

Read for column. Third and last in Moyer’s trilogy, set in early 20th-century San Francisco. Moyer has a compelling touch with characterisation, but many elements of this volume sat ill with me – it’s a little too romantically inclined towards the aristocracy of pre- and post-Great War Europe, and inclines towards Evil Bolsheviks, while not feeling as rooted as I would prefer in the actual tenor of the era (although that may be mere European bias on my part: I don’t know much about America in the years immediately following the Great War).

Anyway. It’s entertaining.

Recently arrived review copies

Two here.

Two here.

From Skyhorse, Melissa E. Hurst’s THE EDGE OF FOREVER, and from Tor, Ilana C. Myer’s LAST SONG BEFORE NIGHT.

One here.

One here.

From Tor, the final book in Jaime Lee Moyer’s debut series, AGAINST A BRIGHTENING SKY.

And three here.

And three here.

And from Titan, Abbie Bernstein’s THE ART OF MAD MAX: FURY ROAD, Rhonda Mason’s THE EMPRESS GAME, and Robert Brockway’s THE UNNOTICEABLES.


While I’ve been amusing myself by not dying of a cold, there’ve been a few pieces gone up elsewhere on these internets:

– A review of Jaime Lee Moyer’s A Barricade in Hell at;
– A review of Stephanie Saulter’s Binary at Strange Horizons;
– A review of Will McIntosh’s Defenders at;
– A review of Greg van Eekhout’s California Bones at;
– And a new Sleeps With Monsters column, talking about several different recent books.

Books in brief: Moyer, Larke, Hodgell, Bourne, Duran

Jaime Lee Moyer, A Barricade in Hell. Tor, 2014. ARC courtesy of publisher.

Read for review for An improvement on the previous novel. Interesting-if-flawed ghost story/murder mystery set in San Francisco during WWI.

Glenda Larke, The Lascar’s Dagger. Orbit, 2014. Copy courtesy of publisher.

Read for inclusion in SWM column. Interesting fantasy clearly influenced by the mercantile 16th and 17th centuries. Pacing sags in the middle, much like Larke’s other books. Will discuss elsewhere.

P.C. Hodgell, The Sea of Time. Baen, 2014. Ebook. ARC courtesy of publisher.

Read for review. The latest P.C. Hodgell novel, which I’ve been gasping for. It is, alas, something of a middle book. But still full of Jame apologetically breaking things.

Joanna Bourne, The Spymaster’s Lady, My Lord and Spymaster, The Forbidden Rose and The Black Hawk. Ebooks, 2008-2013.

Romance novels set during the French Revolution and Napoleonic Wars. Heard of via Marie Brennan. I have a serious weakness for spies. There is not enough entertainment with spies in.

Meredith Duran, Wicked Becomes You, Your Wicked Heart, That Scandalous Summer, Bound By Your Touch, Fool Me Twice, Written On Your Skin. Ebooks, 2009-2014.

Historical romance novels. I probably shouldn’t have bought them all, but I was at the point in the scrabbling anxiety cycle where I needed to read something – compulsively – and romance novels were safe. Duran is good at her chosen genre.

Failed to get very far into A.M. Dellamonica’s Child of a Hidden Sea (Tor, 2014, ARC courtesy of the publisher). There’s nothing wrong with this book, but it’s a sort of portal fantasy and the tone and approach hasn’t grabbed me.


A Barricade in Hell, by Jaime Lee Moyer

A Barricade in Hell, by Jaime Lee Moyer

I sat in the agora today – it is useful to have an I-Am-A-Member-Of-A-Research-Institute free entrance card – for three hours, and read the above-pictured book instead of doing research in a library.

Reading Jaime Lee Moyer’s A Barricade in Hell is still work, since I’m supposed to be reviewing it… but it’s different work, and required a little less concentration.

Link of interest: Jaime Lee Moyer on Year’s Best lists

Jaime Lee Moyer, author of Delia’s Shadow, talks about a problem she’s been having with Year’s Best lists in the blogosphere:

I never expected to make any lists. I knew that going in.

What kills me is that so many women who should be on these lists? They aren’t there.

As in, taken strictly by appearances in year’s best lists–women didn’t publish much of anything last year.

Nada. Zero, zip. Nothing.

Which, as you know Roberta, is total bullshit. Women published some amazing novels last year.

Yet I’ve read list after list where five out of five best of the year books were written by men, or eight out of ten, or on a good list, seven out of ten were written by men. Thousands of books published by women every year, and list makers can’t find any for a YB list?

This is one of the cases where you should also read the comments.