Tag Archives: publisher: dsp publications

Flux by Kim Fielding

Flux

Flux by Kim Fielding

Series: Ennek Trilogy, Book 2
Published by: DSP Publications on September 6, 2016 (re-release)
Rating: 3 stars (★★★☆☆)

Synopsis

Ennek took a huge risk in saving Miner from Stasis. Even the son of the Chief must obey the laws of the land. But the thought of Miner spending more time suspended in a dreamless sleep troubled him too much. Of course, so did the idea of becoming the puppet of his mentor, a man who wished to see Ennek on the throne so he could control him.
 
And now, Ennek and Miner find themselves on the run. Their mission is to get as far away from Praesidium as possible. What they don’t realize right away, though, is that they may be in more danger from those they come across than anyone who might be following them. And if they have any hope of staying together, they will both need to be strong–in mind, body, and spirit.
 

Review

This is an interesting follow up to the first book. The previous installment took place mostly in the castle, and largely in Ennek’s room. Here, we’re on quite a journey, both by land and by sea. And the cast of characters that Ennek and Miner run into are more varied, and in some cases more unstable, than anyone they’ve encountered before.
 
I did enjoy the journey aspect of this story quite a bit. And the uncertainty that Ennek and Miner face was rather apparent as the story went along. I did feel like they kept playing out the same scenario in different ways, however, so I would have liked to see just a bit more variation.
 
That said, it’s an enjoyable m/m fantasy romance, and I look forward to picking up the final installment in the series.
 
[Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.]

The Mystery of Nevermore by C.S. Poe

Mystery of Nevermore

The Mystery of Nevermore by C.S. Poe

Series: Snow & Winter, Book 1
Published by: DSP Publications on August 30, 2016
Rating: 4 stars (★★★★☆)

Antiques dealer Sebastian Snow never expected his world to turn upside down so quickly. After a heart is found beneath the floorboards of his shop, he finds himself a victim of a string of crimes straight out of Edgar Allan Poe stories. And Sebastian was lucky to not be the victim of one of the more violent crimes in the string of attacks.

The investigation puts a further strain on Sebastian’s relationship with closeted detective, Neil Millett. Sebastian has never liked being Neil’s secret, but when he needs to use Neil as his alibi, he realizes that Neil may never be willing to be open about what they mean to each other. And to compound things further, the lead investigator on Sebastian’s case, Calvin Winter, has caught more than Sebastian’s eye. But Sebastian’s not even sure he’s gay. And even if he is, could he be interested in someone as unassuming as Sebastian?

As the crime spree continues, Sebastian can’t help inserting himself into the investigation. And by doing so, he may not only be risking Calvin’s ire–he may be risking his life.

This story represents a rather fun way to integrate and reference other popular literary works without being a straight up adaptation. The references to Poe’s work are interesting, advance the plot, and hooked me as a reader. With each new twist in the case, I found myself reminiscing about the first time I’d read the referenced story or poem.

What’s also nice about the way this story is developed is that the story stands on its own. The characters and the plot aren’t dependent on understanding all of the references to Poe. They’re fully explained, keeping it accessible to those who may not be as familiar with his body of work. And the romantic subplots and overarching mystery are well worth reading in their own right.

This appears to be the first installment in a series, and I’m very much looking forward to reading more about Sebastian and Calvin in the future.

[Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.]

Skyships Over Innsmouth by Susan Laine

Skyships Over Innsmouth

Skyships Over Innsmouth by Susan Laine

Published by: DSP Publications on August 2, 2016
Rating: 3 stars (★★★☆☆)

Twenty years ago, the world changed for humanity. In an event known only as the Cataclysm, everyone lost their memories. They lost not only memories of who they are but also how the world worked. Technological advances were all lost. Relying on a small number of books that have survived, society has started anew.

The Scout and Ranger Corps was started to seek out any missing survivors and to acquire additional resources that may have been left behind. Dev is the captain of a ship involved in this work, and he’s been joined by Shay, a scholar who has spent time looking for clues to secrets of the past. They are on their way to Innsmouth, Massachusetts, to try to learn about this mysterious city that doesn’t show up on any maps.

What awaits them is beyond anything they could have expected. It turns out humanity is not alone. And the true threat is borne right out of their own imaginations.

I loved the concept of this book. An omnipotent villain who fashions their weapon out of old-school science fiction texts? Not only is it an interesting throwback, but it’s an interesting notion to see people’s own ideas used against them in this way. But I found the execution to be challenging for me. Most of these key aspects of the story seem to be glossed over. And the resolution seemed way too easy.

There’s also the issue of Dev and Shay’s relationship. Talk about 0 to 100 in less than 60 seconds. How these two go from the occasional glance to pledging their undying love with nothing in between seemed far-fetched, even for a speculative fiction novel.

But I’m still giving this a mild recommendation. Why? Because if you go in knowing these things, I think it can be fun and enjoyable. It’s one of those books where the concept itself is so fun and intriguing, everything else is secondary and can be overlooked.

[Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.]

Native Wind by A.M. Burns


Native Wind

Native Wind by A.M. Burns

Series: Native Ingenuity, Book 1
Published by: DSP Publications on July 19, 2016
Rating: 4 stars (★★★★☆)

After the murder of his family, Trey McAllister found a home among the Comanche. Not only did they give him a place to live and a tribe to support him, but his innate magical abilities led to him being taken on as a shaman’s apprentice. The new home also gave Trey the opportunity to bond more closely with his friend Grey Talon. And their relationship quickly became more to both of them than they might otherwise have imagined.

As part of a bargain made by the tribe’s shaman, Trey and Grey Talon find themselves on a mission to track down a dragon’s daughter. But it’s not just a simple tracking mission. It’s a task that may bring them face-to-face with people more vile and more powerful than they’ve faced before. The two of them will need to work together, and they’ll need to be willing to rely on any extra help they might find along the way.

There’s quite a convergence of genre here. There are elements of historical fiction when it comes to place and people. Then one will find some fantasy in the use of magic. There’s mythology with the mention of spirits of the elements and dragons. And the mechanical creations that show up early in the book bring in a healthy helping of steampunk. But comes together in a way that really works.

This is one that I finished in a single sitting. Not only is it a relatively easy read, but it’s engaging. I had no real desire to put it down and go do something else until it was finished. This is the first book I’ve read by this author, but I am certainly looking forward to more.

[Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Winterwode by J. Tullos Hennig

Winterwode

Winterwode by J. Tullos Hennig

Series: The Wode, Book 3
Published by: DSP Publications on October 6, 2015
Rating: 5 stars (★★★★★)

Robyn’s band is all back together. His sister, Marion, is back at his side. And he’s recovered the lost love of his youth, Gamelyn. Except Gamelyn isn’t just Gamelyn anymore. Guy of Gisborne, Templar, still resides in there somewhere. It’s an identity that can’t easily be shed. But Robyn is patient, and Gamelyn sometimes seems willing to try.

When a traveling minstrel informs the Shire Wode outlaws that the Queen Mother is essentially being held prisoner by Prince John, their relatively happy reverie is broken. Despite being branded outlaws, they’re too noble to let that stand. Of course, it helps that it’s an opportunity to stick it to the tyrannical prince.

There are a few problems, though. Not only do they need to sneak in and break out the Queen Mother. They will need to take her to Temple Hirst, thrusting Gamelyn/Guy right back into the Templar order. And to complicate matters even more, someone with knowledge of the Wode’s magic is on their trail. And he may just be a force to be reckoned with.

Can they pull off the rescue? And if Gamelyn rejoins his fellow knights, will he fall back into the life of Guy? Will Robyn lose him forever? And what would that mean for the Lady’s prophecy?

I’m such a fan of this series, and I’m so glad there are some additional books coming. It’s such a well-written retelling of the Robin Hood story. This history, the imagery, and the fantasy combine to create such a rich, dynamic world. And I’ve honestly devoured every page since I started the first book in the series.

There are some wonderful twists and turns in this book that certainly serve to keep readers on the edge of their seats. And the tension that exists throughout creates an incredible thread to pull you along. Writing of this caliber is a rare find.

Haffling by Caleb James

Haffling

Haffling by Caleb James

Series: The Haffling, Book 1
Published by: DSP Publications on January 5, 2016 (2nd Ed.)
Rating: 4 stars (★★★★☆)

Sixteen-year-old Alex Nevus lives a challenging life for a teenager. Living with a schizophrenic mother, he does all he can to keep things together for his younger sister, Alice. He will do everything he can to keep his family together. And while he manages, it’s always just by a thread. And he tries hard to ignore the fairy that he hallucinates, worried he might end up just like his mother someday.

When Alex’s mother disappears on the day of a court hearing, he knows he has to find her. And his quest to find her takes him to a strange place–the land of the Fey. What he learns there helps explain some of what’s going on in his life, but it stirs up more questions than answers. And in the land of the Fey, all questions come with a cost.

Alex learns there might be a bigger threat to his family than the court system. To save them, he’ll need to find a way to stop May, queen of the Fey. And it won’t be easy.

Complicating things is the fact that the boy of Alex’s dreams, Jerod Haynes, just started talking to him. As much as Alex has longed for a relationship, Jerod’s timing is terrible. Or is it actually the best timing ever?

I really enjoyed this fun and action-packed story. Once things get moving here, they move quickly and stay that way right up until the end. There’s a rich history between the Fey lands and the lands of the humans that the author has developed. And there are some fun references to other stories that certainly made me smile.

This is the start of a series and I’m looking forward to the next installment.

[Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.]

Stasis by Kim Fielding

Stasis

Stasis by Kim Fielding

Series: Ennek Trilogy, Book 1
Published by: DSP Publications on May 17, 2016 (2nd edition)
Rating: 4 stars (★★★★☆)

Ennek is the youngest son of the Chief of Praesidium. Since he’s not the heir, he’ll need to find his own place in this society with a strict moral code. A code that is enforced in a unique way. Instead of prison time, criminals are sentenced to slavery. And for major crimes, those convicted can be placed in Stasis for dozens to hundreds of years. While in sleep-like Stasis, one’s body doesn’t age. And when the convict awakes, everyone they knew and everyone who knew them is long gone. They live out their days as a slave in an unknown world.

When Ennek was a child, he was allowed to visit the cells where the Stasis prisoners are kept. During that brief visit, he became fascinated with one of them, and he hasn’t been able to shake him from his mind. And as a new threat reveals itself from inside Praesidium, Ennek will need to decide what’s most important–the rule of law or saving people from the most horrible of fates.

There was something about the world that Kim Fielding has created here that struck me as unique and refreshing. Although one can certainly find some elements here common to other fantasy stories, nothing here seems like a trope. Readers get something original and compelling.

One thing I find interesting is the character of Ennek. He’s not a typical hero. Because he’s resigned himself to being second–he’s not the heir–he seems content to just let things happen to him. And that gets him into some tight spots. Spots he’ll only get out of if he can try to find a way to step up. He’ll need to make difficult decisions, the likes of which he’s never faced before.

Ennek and Miner have a journey before them. And it’s one I look forward to reading in the remaining books.

[Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.]

Mayon by Mickie B. Ashling

Mayon

Mayon by Mickie B. Ashling

Published by: DSP Publications on February 23, 2016 (2nd Edition)
Rating: 4 stars (★★★☆☆)

It’s the Philippines in 1946. John Buchanan, recently retired from the Marines, remains in the country to consider Ignacio Saenz’s offer of a position overseeing his plantation. It’s not something John would likely seek out under normal circumstances, but since the job would put him so close to Mount Mayon he can see it in the distance, he’s willing to consider it. He’s always had a fascination with volcanoes, so he’s not sure he can pass up living so close to an active one. The current overseer, Gregorio Delgado, begrudgingly takes John out to see Mount Mayon. John quickly learns that Gregorio isn’t leaving the plantation–Greg will be demoted if John steps into the role. John knows Ignacio is hoping to find a husband for one of his daughters, but he’s not really bothered by Ignacio’s ulterior motive. But when a spark of mutual attraction strikes on their campout near the volcano, Greg has a difficult time accepting any part of this new fate. And while John makes it clear to Greg the two of them can’t have a future–society’s just not ready for it–it turns out that there’s no controlling an active volcano…when it erupts, it erupts.

Overall, this is an engaging and oddly romantic story. It’s paced well, and I felt like the core relationships develop quite naturally. The cast of characters provide for some moments of comic relief against the backdrop of the broader drama. I was a bit bothered by the way John seemed to quickly dismiss Greg at times, though I felt there was some redemption as the story continued. Some situations seemed coincidentally a bit more convenient to furthering the plot than anything else, but nothing confused or derailed me during my reading. A nice historical romance.

[Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.]

Mayon at the DSP Publications website

His Master’s Summons by Cassie Sweet

His Master's Summons

Book Info

Title: His Master’s Summons (Azgarth’s Chosen, Book 1)
Author: Cassie Sweet
Published: February 16, 2016
Pages: 234
Publisher: DSP Publications
Publisher’s Website: link
Rating: ★★★

Review

The people of Lychford are divided over something that could change their little town forever: a major supermarket chain wants to open up a storefront. Emotions run high on both sides–those who see it was a step forward for Lychford and those who feel like it goes against everything their town has become. But Judith Mawson, seen by many as the village crackpot, knows the truth: the threat is much bigger than anyone realizes. In order to do anything about it, however, she’s going to need to enlist others. Enter Lizzie, the new vicar, still in mourning over a lost love, and Autumn, Lizzie’s former friend, an agnostic-turned-mystic. Not only will Lizzie and Autumn learn the truth about Lychford, they will also learn the truth about why they lost touch years ago. By uniting with Judith to save Lychford, they may just find the healing they both need at the same time.

I really wasn’t sure what to expect when I picked this one up, but I was pleasantly surprised. This is a complex, engaging, and well-developed urban (can I really call it “urban,” though?) fantasy tale with some twists that will keep you on the edge of your seat. The backstory here is rich, and it’s revealed over the course of the story in an almost seamless way. I can safely say this is one of my Hugo nominations for this year.

Mute Witness by Rick R. Reed

Mute Witness

Book Info

Title: Mute Witness
Author: Rick R. Reed
Published: February 9, 2016 (Originally released October 2, 2009)
Pages: 290
Publisher: DSP Publications
Publisher’s Website: link
Rating: ★★★

Review

Sean Dawes is grateful for everything he has in his life. He has a loving partner, Austin, and an incredible son, Jason. Even though things are still a bit fraught at times between Sean and his ex-wife, it’s nothing that stands in the way of his relationship with Jason. But when Jason goes missing, the tensions are quickly raised by his wife’s family. And when Jason is later found, what has happened to him throws everyone’s world off course. Suspicions run high in a small town of people who are a bit conservative in their ideologies. But for those quick to judge, sometimes they miss the threat that’s standing right under their nose.

This one is intense. There’s no denying that. What happens to some of the characters in this book is downright awful. The way some of the other characters behave is similarly reprehensible. But things like this do happen, and I don’t know that we can simply shy away from them and pretend they don’t exist. And Rick R. Reed treats these subjects very sensitively and presents them in ways that don’t obscure the issue but manage to make them accessible to readers. And I’m simply left hoping that everyone is able to find a way to move on with their lives following the events in the book.

Content warnings: discussions/descriptions of sexual abuse, victim intimidation, violence, blatant homophobia

[Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.]