Review of Deadlands: Boneyard

Review of Deadlands: Boneyard

Review of Deadlands: Boneyard by Seanan McGuire

In the interests of full disclosure, I was sent an ARC of this book by the publisher for review purposes.

What makes a monster a monster?

Is it nature? Choice? Acting? Refusing to act? Is it something inherent in the monster itself or is it inherent in the eye of the beholder?

Seanan McGuire makes you ponder all of these questions and more in the latest Deadlands novel.

Annie Pearl, Adeline, Nathanial Blackstone, and the bevy of supporting characters who make up the travelling Blackstone Family Circus do not ask you to care about them. But their independence and grit make you care, and even more, actively root for them against all manner of calamities on the road whether natural, unnatural, or caused by men.

Seanan McGuire’s lyrical storytelling is nearly impossible to put down. I read it in the quiet dark of the late night, in the cool Autumn just before All Hallow’s Eve. It was a perfect fit.

If you are looking for a mysterious adventure for Halloween or a wonderfully eerie fantasy for anytime, I highly recommend this book.

I give it 5 stars.

Deadlands: Boneyard
Seanan McGuire

Review of Dead to Me

Review of Dead to Me

Review of Dead to Me by Anton Strout

Dead to Me drew me in from page one. I’m a fan of characters who are multi-dimensional, make mistakes, have actual emotions, and practically dare you not to care about them. Simon Canderous hits all those points. His cohorts, allies, enemies, and assorted other riffraff do as well.

The story starts with a bang and keeps moving, often in unexpected directions. Working for the Other Division of the Department of Extraordinary Affairs is not for the faint of heart.

A rollicking good tale.

I was pleased to discover it was the first of multiple books. Happy reading to me!

I started out giving this title 4 stars. But my own rule is if I start a hunt for more books by the author, it’s a 5-star book. So be it. 5 stars it is.

Dead to Me
Anton Strout

Review of UFO 6

Review of Unidentified Funny Objects 6

Review of Unidentified Funny Objects 6 edited by Alex Shvartsman

Unidentified Funny Objects 6 was yet again a tremendous success. Each volume keeps getting better.

What is my definition of success, you may ask?

(You can skip this part if you have read any of my previous short story compilation reviews.)

To me, a short story compilation is akin to one of those giant bags of mixed candy you buy for Halloween. Some of what you get are your favorite kind, some are exceptionally good (just not your favorite), some are OK (but still candy, so pretty darn good), and some are awful because you can’t stand the flavor but you know other people love them anyway. And occasionally it includes one or two kinds of candy even the kids won’t touch.

With that in mind, I consider any short story collection to be a success if at least 3 or 4 stories fall into the first two categories of favorite or exceptionally good, and one (or better, none) fall into the even the kids won’t touch it category.


Unidentified Funny Objects 6 was a tremendous success. Eighteen (18!!) of the 20 stories were either favorites or exceptionally good. You really can’t ask for more than that.

The stories’ humor ranged from laughing so hard I couldn’t read because the book was shaking, to snickering uncontrollably, to smiling softly.

None of the stories was of the “even the kids won’t touch it” variety or the “I can’t stand the flavor” pile.

My favorite story was “Approved Expense” by David Vierling. I would give it 5 stars plus. If you have ever had to submit or approve an expense report it will seem even funnier.

My other 5-star stories included “A Game of Goblins” by Jim C. Hines, “Twenty-Nine Responses to Inquiries About My Craigslist Post: Alien Spaceship for Sale. $200, You Haul” by Tina Connolly, “An Evil Opportunity Employer” by Lawrence Watt-Evans, and “Lost and Found” by Laura Resnick.

Highly recommended. If you need a laugh, go buy this book.

Short thoughts on each story without spoilers:

Read moreReview of Unidentified Funny Objects 6

Unidentified Funny Objects 6
Edited by Alex Shvartsman

Murder in Wizard's Wood

Review of Murder in Wizard’s Wood

Review of Murder in Wizard’s Wood by Michael J. Allen

In the interests of full disclosure, I was sent a copy of this book by the author for the possibility of a review. All my reviews, good, bad, or indifferent, are based on my own opinion and from my personal viewpoint. They are also spoiler free.

I wasn’t sure what to expect besides a wizard, in the South, dealing with the dead bodies mentioned in the description.

I’m glad I had no pre-conceived notions. They would have been wrong.

One of my joys in life is finding a story that draws you in and doesn’t let go until it’s over.  Murder in Wizard’s Wood did just that and cost me sleep along the way. I read much too late into the night for several nights in a row until I had finished the book.

I look forward to book two in the series.

The twists and turns of the book make it tricky to review without spoilers. Suffice it to say I recommend you read it.

For excellence in story-telling I will forgive other flaws. There are some minor ones along the way, which seem to be in the Kindle edition and are likely just editing mishaps.

This book also brought to mind an older tale set in the South, Windmaster’s Bane by Tom Deitz, which is considered a classic. The similarities were in the setting and the story-telling, not the actual story, of course.

I give it 5 stars as I will definitely be hunting for more books by this author.

Murder in Wizard’s Wood
Michael J. Allen