Hidden Gems: The Blood of the Southland novels by David B Coe

Technically, I suppose I should have highlighted his  Winds of the Forelands, but I haven’t read them yet. Although they are on my wishlist.  This is a deliciously complex trilogy. It is about love, about revenge, about prejudices, about courage. Among other things. The plot is well crafted, the world intriguing, and the characters flawed.


1120984 Grinsa, who nearly single-handedly won the war of the Forelands, has been banished because he is a Weaver, a Qirsi who can wield many magics. He and his family seek only peace and a place to settle down. But even on the distant southern continent, they can’t escape the tension between his magical folk and the non-magical Eandi. Instead of peace, they find a war-ravaged land awash in racial tension and clan conflicts. Worse yet, his own people try to harness his great power and destroy his family.

Amid the high tension of clan rivalry comes a plague that preys on Qirsi power across the Southlands with deadly results. When the disease is linked to an itinerant woman peddling baskets, one old man takes it upon himself to find answers in the secrets of her veiled past.

With wonderfully creative magic, dark secrets, and engaging characters faced with a world of trouble, Coe deftly weaves an epic tapestry that launches a richly-entertaining new saga in an unknown land.


3675851David B. Coe created a richly textured, unique world in his Winds of the Forelands, and topped himself with The Sorcerer’s Plague, his first novel set in the Southlands of the same world. Divided by clan rivalries and ancient feuds, suspicious of magics wielded by longtime enemies, the folk of the South have lived in a state of truce for generations. But peace is shattered when a woman looses a deadly plague on the magical Qirsi people.

While some people seek to prevent the spread of the plague, others see in this disaster a unique opportunity. With the magical folk weakened by the decimation of the plague, their unmagical enemies might be able to defeat them and take back lands lost in an ancient war. Haunted by the specter of what would be a tragic and devastating new war, the Southlands are aflame with rumors of violence, pestilence, and treachery.

Coe weaves together engagingly complex characters, unique, unusual magic, political intrigue and a compelling, unpredictable story into a captivating epic that will enthrall fantasy readers. A potent brew conjured by a masterful storyteller


A bitter old6916069 woman’s curse has set in motion events that have felled innocent lives across an already war-weary land. She has paid the ultimate price, and an end to the curse is at hand, but her evil has created chaos and destruction.

Qirsi all across the Southlands are dying from a plague that turns their own magic against them, allowing an Eandi army from Stelpana to boldly march into their territory. But magic has many faces, and the Qirsi aren’t the only ones cursed; even as Stelpana’s force wins battles, an insidious magic has corrupted the spells of their sorcerers, and what began as a military triumph is suddenly jeopardized. The future of the Southlands hangs in the balance, as the deeds of previous generations wreak terrible consequences on both sides in this misbegotten war

5 Fantasy and Urban Fantasy authors you should read

The theme for the latest Mind Meld is Up and coming authors in the last 5 years, which is a great topic, and I plan to read some of the authors on it. Except when I read it, I thought: What about the midlisters, or the new authors that are writing good books but are published by small presses? So here is my list, of authors that should be among the up and coming authors. And if you have read my blog for awhile, none of them should come as any surprise. 🙂

James Hetley/ James Burton:

James Hetley/ James Burton is one of those authors I feel that everyone should read. I picked up his books years ago, and I was hooked from the start. His books should be in every readers library, especially now that Urban Fantasy is so popular. The characters are intriguing, the settings have a unique feeling, and the plots are filled with unexpected twists.

Kari Sperring:

I love Kari Sperring’s Fantasy novels.They are set in an fascinating world that is unique, yet are familiar enough that the reader connect to the world. The characters are fascinating, and a refreshing change from the characters in most fantasy novels. They aren’t necessarily fastpaced, but they are paced so that they slowly pulls you in, and when you finish the book you are craving the next one.

Lazette Gifford:

I am Fantasy lover, and it was through Fantasy I first discovered Lazette Gifford. Her fantasy novels are good, but it isn’t her fantasy novels that I buy in bulk. It is the Science Fiction, since I love all the care and details that she puts into her worlds. From the landscape, to the cultures she creates. The characters is interesting, and the plots are fast paced and well written.

      Misty Massey:

Misty Massey is one of those authors that hook you with one book, and then you are waiting impatiently for the next one. I have only read Mad Kestrel once, which was years ago, but I can still remember the intriguing world, the chase across the seas, the unexpected plot twists, and the characters that were fascinating.


Chrysoula Tzavelas:

I am a diehard Chrysoula Tzavelas fan. Anything with her name on it, I buy it. Which is an impressive feat, considering that she has only released two books, with a third coming in November. Her Urban Fantasy novels are a refreshing change from the Urban Fantasy novels that I normally read. ( And having read Infinity Key, I can say it rocks. If it is possible, I plan to coordinate my review with the Kickstarter.)

Review: Sourcery by Terry Pratchett


T34499he  Particulars: Fantasy, HarperTorch, available in print and as e-book

The Source: The Bookshelf

The Grade: B-

The blurb:

Sourcery, a hilarious mix of magic, mayhem, and Luggage, is the fifth book in Terry Pratchett’s classic fantasy Discworld series.

Rincewind, the legendarily inept wizard, has returned after falling off the edge of the world. And this time, he’s brought the Luggage. But that’s not all… Once upon a time, there was an eighth son of an eighth son who was, of course, a wizard. As if that wasn’t complicated enough, said wizard then had seven sons. And then he had an eighth son — a wizard squared (that’s all the math, really). Who of course, was a source of magic — a sourcerer.

Will the sourcerer lead the wizards to dominate all of Discworld? Or can Rincewind’s tiny band stave off the Apocalypse?

The Review:

I picked this from the bookshelf, since I was in the mood for something that wasn’t romance. And it was exactly what I needed at the time.

This is the fifth book in the Discworld series. Discworld follows rules of it own, but there are rules that are only broken at the dire need. What I like with Discworld is how it pokes fun at the standard Fantasy tropes.

It was intresting to follow Rincewind and Conina as they tried to save the world. The characters barely managed to stay on the right border of being caricatures, but that’s also one of the strength of Terry Pratchett. How he uses the standard Fantasy tropes, and pokes fun at them.

The plot was full of unexpected plot twists, that made sense once they happened. Really liked the  sense of humor that was in the book, and how Mr Pratchett twisted some scenes to make then very funny.

I’ll admit that even if I enjoyed it, and found it funny at times, I didn’t find the book hilarious.  But then I think humor is one of the hardest to write, since it is depends on who you are as a person.




Review: The Hob’s bargain by Patricia Briggs

The Particulars: Fantasy,  Ace, available in print and as e-book 
The Source:  The Bookshelf
The Grade: C+
The Blurb:
 To save her village from ruthless raiders, Aren of Fallbrook strikes a bargain with the Hob, a magical, humanlike creature imbued with the power of the mountains. But the Hob will exact a heavy price to defend the village–a price Aren herself must pay.
The Review:
I was in the mood for Patricia Briggs, so I decided to re-read this one.
It was nice to revisit Fallbrook. The world felt very believable. From how they focused on what was best for the village, to the contact they had with the rest of the world, to their fears and their prejudices. I liked how the villagers gradually became aware that not just magic, but other supernatural beings were stirring again. I loved how everything had a price, both when it comes to magic, and dealing with the supernatural.
It was intresting to follow Aren, and the rest of the villagers as they fought to save their village from the raiders and the wildlings. But, they also struggled with their prejudices and their reaction to magic and wildlings. I admired Aren for her courage. Both when it comes to daring to speak about her visions, despite knowing what the cost would be. But also when it comes to putting all the clues together, and strike a bargain with the Hob. In fact, it felt as if it wasn’t until then the story really, started. But it was fascinating to follow Caefawn and Aren as he taught her how to harness her gifts. At the same time, he courted her. I liked the fact that the romance between Caefawn and Aren was sweet. It fit the story.
In the end, it all come down a confrontation with the villain, and Aren stepped up. My heart almost broke at the sacrifice she made.

This is one of Patricia Briggs earlier books.  And it shows, the plot has its weak spots, the characters could do with a bit more fleshing out.  Still, it wasn’t bad, none of Patricia Briggs books are. But… I had troubles connecting with the characters.   Part of it was because I had read this story, many, many times :).
( On a side note: I prefer the old cover. Sure, the new cover is nice, but where is the hob?)

Book Recommendation: Rogue’s Pawn by Jeffe Kennedy

Haunted by nightmares of a black dog, sick to death of my mind-numbing career and heart-numbing fiancé, I impulsively walked out of my life—and fell into Faerie. Terrified, fascinated, I discover I possess a power I can’t control: my wishes come true. After an all-too-real attack by the animal from my dreams, I wake to find myself the captive of the seductive and ruthless fae lord Rogue. In return for my rescue, he demands an extravagant price—my firstborn child, which he intends to sire himself…

With no hope of escaping this world, I must learn to harness my magic and build a new life despite the perils—including my own inexplicable and debilitating desire for Rogue. I swear I will never submit to his demands, no matter what erotic torment he subjects me to…

This cover piqued my interest on Carina Press webpage, and the blurb is intriguing enough to make me want to read it. 

Review: Luck in the Shadows by Lynn Flewelling

The Particulars: Fantasy, Bantam Spectra, available in print and in ebook
The Source: The bookshelf
The Grade: C
The Blurb:
When young Alec of Kerry is taken prisoner for a crime he didn’t commit, he is certain that his life is at an end. But one thing he never expected was his cellmate. Spy, rogue, thief, and noble, Seregil of Rhiminee is many things–none of them predictable. And when he offers to take on Alec as his apprentice, things may never be the same for either of them. Soon Alec is traveling roads he never knew existed, toward a war he never suspected was brewing. Before long he and Seregil are embroiled in a sinister plot that runs deeper than either can imagine, and that may cost them far more than their lives if they fail. But fortune is as unpredictable as Alec’s new mentor, and this time there just might be…Luck in the Shadows.

The Review:
I read this the first time years ago. Not 1996 when it was released, but probably around 2000. Which is a loong time ago.
So, I was sorting through the bookcase, and found book 2 and 3 in the series. I had a vague memory of seeing book 1 at my mum’s so, I decided to read it again. The world felt realistic. From the dungeon were Alec and Seregil met, to the city of Skala, and everything in between. What I especially liked was that life in Kerry wasn’t the same as life in Skala. One thing that intrigued me was the way the history of the world was woven into the story, and how it affected it.
The characters was interesting. I loved following Alec’s change from a blushing innocent, to a not so innocent man. I liked how his and Seregil’s relationship matured from teacher pupil, to friendship. ( With hints of it becoming more in the next books)
The plot was intriguing, and I liked how the complications gradually rose, from the escape until the end. The author kept me guessing what would happen next. Sometimes I guessed right, but most of the time I was surprised.
So for what I didn’t like. I had a lot of trouble getting into the book. One reason might be the fact that I am not used to reading paperbooks any more, but I think the main reason was that the first part of the book felt… disconnected to from their adventures in Skala. This is despite the fact that I know it sets up the story arc.

Book recommendation: All Spell Breaks Loose by Lisa Shearin

My name is Raine Benares—and it sucks to be me right now. I’m a seeker who managed to “find” the Saghred, a soul-stealing stone that gave me unlimited power I never asked for or wanted. Now I’ve managed to lose the rock—and the magic it gave me—to a power-hungry goblin dark mage whose main goals are my death and world domination.
I’m still bonded to the Saghred, and the dark mage can’t use the stone as long as I’m alive. If he kills me and gains control of the Saghred, he’ll become an evil demigod with the seven kingdoms at his mercy. This is more than enough incentive to plan a little trip to the goblin capital of Regor with a small band of good friends, not-so-good friends, and one outright enemy. Don’t ask.
All we need to do is destroy the Saghred, kill the mage, and put a renegade goblin prince on the throne. Did I mention I’ll be doing that with no magic?
Release date is May 29th. 

Pre-order the book from: Amazon, BN, Book Depository

Review: The Gods of Dream by Daniel Arenson

The Gods of Dream by Daniel Arenson
The Particular: Fantasy, Amazon, available as e-book
The Source: Free read from Amazon ( sometime during 2011)
The Grade: B
The Blurb:
What are dreams? Some think they are figments of our mind. But what if they were wisps of a distant, magical world… a world you could visit?

Twins Cade and Tasha discover Dream, the land dreams come from. It is a realm of misty forests, of verdant mountains, of mysterious gods who send dreams into our sleep. Cade and Tasha seek solace there; they are refugees, scarred and haunted with memories of war. In Dream, they can forget their past, escape the world, and find joy.

Phobetor, the god of Nightmare, was outcast from Dream. Now he seeks to destroy it. He sends his monsters into Dream, and Cade and Tasha find their sanctuary threatened, dying. To save it, the twins must overcome their past, journey into the heart of Nightmare, and face Phobetor himself.

The Review:
The blurb caught my attention, and when the author offered it as a free read on Amazon, I decided to take the chance. I am leery when it comes to indie books, since you never know what you get. I am glad I took the chance.
To me, this book felt like one of the old sagas, set in the unique world of Dream. Dream are filled with gods, speaking animals, and magical beings like the Pegacats. Dream is lush and sunny.
If Dream is sunny, Nightmare is dark and bleak. Nightmare is home to demons, and other monsters.
The contrast is stark, but it felt right. I liked how the bleakness of Nightmare affected Cade and Tasha.
I loved how all the characters, both gods, Elorians, and animals were prepared to fight for Dream. I liked how Moonmist, which was a protected princess, took charge of a large group of soldiers.
The book was good, but after awhile I started to wonder if Cade and Tasha would ever reach their goal. On the other hand, I don’t think the book could have been that much shorter.
Will I buy another book by Daniel Arenson? Yes. The price is decent, I liked it.  But, not the coming three months.  

Review: Magic lost, Trouble found by Lisa Shearin:

The Particulars: Fantasy, Ace, available as e-book and in print
The Source: Purchased at Kobo
The Grade: A-
The Blurb:
My name is Raine Benares. I’m a seeker. The people who hire me are usually happy when I find things. But some things are better left unfound. I’m a sorceress of moderate powers, from an extended family of smugglers and thieves. With a mix of street smarts and magic spells, I can usually take care of myself. But when my friend Quentin, a not-quite-reformed thief, steals an amulet from the home of a powerful necromancer, I find myself wrapped up in more trouble than I care for. I like attention as much as the next girl, but having an army of militant goblins hunting me down is not my idea of a good time. The amulet they’re after holds limitless power, derived from an ancient, soul-stealing stone. And when I take possession of the item, it takes possession of me. Now my moderate powers are increasing beyond anything I can imagine-but is the résumé enhancement worth my soul?
The Review:
What I liked:
For a long time, I thought that this was a YA series. I am not sure why I got that misconception.   I am glad that I decided to buy the first book early 2010.  I was hooked after I have forgotten how many times I have re-read it.   This book is a delightful mix of Epic Fantasy, and Urban Fantasy.  The setting is the city of Mermeia,  filled with merchants, sorcerers, elves and goblins.  It was fascinating to read about the various districts, and the familiar problems that the various characters had. But what made the book for me was Raine.  I loved her snarky opinions about everything from Goblins to the various districts.  The plot is fast paced, and at times I felt for Raine.   A lot happens in the book, she is chased by a goblin nutcase,  the Guardians would love to get their hands on her.  And a lot more. 
What I didn’t like:
It might be picky, but I wish I had a map. Not of the world, but of the city.  Why? They move through a lot of districts in the book, and it would have been nice to follow it on a map.   But that is just a minor pickiness. The major pickiness is that it took me awhile to get into the story.  But that was probably more because of  my mood.

Review: Cast in Shadows by Michelle Sagara:

The particulars: Fantasy, Luna, available as ebook and in print.
The Grade: B-
The Blurb:
Seven years ago Kaylin fled the crime-riddled streets of Nightshade, knowing that something was after her. Children were being murdered — and all had the same odd markings that mysteriously appeared on her own skin . . .
Since then, she’s learned to read, she’s learned to fight and she’s become one of the vaunted Hawks who patrol and police the City of Elantra. Alongside the winged Aerians and immortal Barrani, she’s made a place for herself, far from the mean streets of her birth.
But children are once again dying, and a dark and familiar pattern is emerging, Kaylin is ordered back into Nightshade with a partner she knows she can’t trust, a Dragon lord for a companion and a device to contain her powers — powers that no other human has. Her task is simple — find the killer, stop the murders . . . and survive the attentions of those who claim to be her allies!
The review:
What I liked about it:
I picked up this one on Fictionwise, since I had wanted to read it for a long time.  I am glad I bought it.  It is a fast paced read, that at times feels like it is an Urban Fantasy.  It hooked me from the start.  From the opening scene, with Kaylin being awakened by the mirror. If the day started bad, it gets worse when she is told that she has to go back to Nightshade, the fief she grew up in  To make things worse, she has two partners  that she cannot quite trust. (  I loved that Kaylin makes no secret about the fact she would love to kill Severn.)   But then Kaylin is courageous, sometimes bordering on reckless. She faces Lord Nightshade several times, alone. ( Lord Nightshade gave me goosebumps.)  She faces her own memories again, albeit reluctantly. Kaylin is loyal, and would do anything for a child.   And that is what really puts her in trouble. 
Through the book, it feel as if everyone knows more about the reasons, and about the probable source about Kaylin’s power. This causes a layer of suspense  that give the book another layer.
What I didn’t like about it:         
What kicked this down from A to B-, was that Kaylin failed all classes, except Barrani.  Despite this, she was allowed to become a hawk.  Yes, I know it is fantasy but there should be some classes that are required to pass. 
A fast paced fantasy, with a tone of Urban Fantasy.  Will I pick up the next book? Probably.