Friday, June 30, 2017

WTF Friday: Behold the Void by Philip Fracassi

Well, another WTF Friday is upon us, which means we once again turn the Ruins over to those titles that are a bit odd . . . a bit different . . . a bit bizarre . . . and a bit freaky. These are books that don't always get a lot of press, and which rarely benefit from any prominent retail shelf space.

This week's literary diversions come courtesy of long-time contributor, Donald Armfield.

I own "Mother" which was my first time reading Fracassi's work. That small little chapbook blew me away, with "Altar" following.

Behold the Void contains both stories, and more.

Mother: With a classic touch of horror Fracassi gives praise to "Mother," the birth of a child and a nightmare for parenting..

Altar: Fracassi turns the dial up for others who share my grudge. A well written horror of pool side fright that literally pulls you right in.

Soft Construction of a Sunset: Love is within the power of the mind. Like a setting sun things will melt away or self destruct. Power is what one man wanted more of.

The Horse Thief: A great shootout scene at the end and a hard kick from a horse.

Coffin: The secrets of the wood will be buried with the ones who knew.

The Baby Farmer: All children must die... Until the mark appears.

Fail-Safe: What kind of monster will a young boy become or will be become a man.

Mandala: Is another one of Fracassi's pieces that blew me away. The story builds suspense to the very end.... and the water is rising.

Fracassi has put my fear of drowning a couple inches closer to the bottom of the ocean. If you want a suspenseful mix of horror and weird fiction then "Behold the Void" is that collection.

Paperback, 292 pages
Published March 10th 2017 by JournalStone

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday: The Romanov Ransom by Clive Cussler & Robin Burcell

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

The Romanov Ransom by Clive Cussler & Robin Burcell
Expected publication: September 12, 2017 by G.P. Putnam's Sons

Treasure-hunting team Sam and Remi Fargo's search for a Romanov fortune brings them into perilous contact with an ambitious neo-Nazi clan, in the thrilling adventure from the #1 New York Times-bestselling author.

In 1918, a ransom of enormous size was paid to free the Romanovs from the Bolsheviks, but, as history knows, the Romanovs died anyway. And the ransom? During World War II, the Nazis stole it from the Russians, and after that--it vanished. Until now.

When a modern-day kidnapping captures the attention of husband-and-wife team Sam and Remi Fargo, the couple soon learn that these long-lost riches may be back in play, held in trust by the descendants of a Nazi guerrilla faction called the Werewolves. It is their mission to establish the Fourth Reich, and their time is coming soon.

As the Fargos follow the trail across Europe, Northern Africa, and South America, they know only one thing. This quest is greater than anything they have ever done--it is their chance to make someone answer for unspeakable crimes, and to prevent them from happening again.

Nobody does popcorn thrillers and over-the-top treasure hunts quite like Clive Cussler, and the Fargos are probably my favorite characters next to Dirk Pitt. It's not quite a summer release, but still one to enjoy while kicking back outside for an afternoon.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

From the Shelf to the Page: This Week in the Ruins

Stacking The Shelves and Mailbox Monday are a pair of weekly memes that are about sharing the books that came your way over the past week, and which you've added to your shelves - whether they be physical or virtual, borrowed or bought, or for pleasure or review.

Well, we had our last garage sale today and a few dump runs to finish the day. Less than a week until we move, and hopefully I can get back into a routine. 

Despite the chaos of the last month and a bit, I did accept a trio of new review titles this week from a few authors I've read (and enjoyed) before - Mitzi SzeretoJustyna Plichta-Jendzio, and C. T. Phipps.


As a member of the Canadian Science Fiction & Fantasy Association, I also downloaded my voter's packet for the 2017 Aurora Awards this week, which has a ton of Canadian science fiction and fantasy titles I want to read, with a few of the highlights below (the last 2 are Best of the Decade nominees).




It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is another weekly meme, this time focused on what books are spending the most time in your hands and in your head, as opposed to what's been added to your shelf.
Honestly, I haven't really had much time to read, but Mistress Of The Air was a fun diversion, so I will probably follow that up with a long-overdue read of Of Passion and Steam (which contains a Lady Sally short story).

What's topping your shelves this week?

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday: The Stone Sky by N. K. Jemisin

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

The Stone Sky by N. K. Jemisin
Expected publication: August 15, 2017 by Orbit


The Moon will soon return. Whether this heralds the destruction of humankind or something worse will depend on two women.

Essun has inherited the power of Alabaster Tenring. With it, she hopes to find her daughter Nassun and forge a world in which every orogene child can grow up safe.

For Nassun, her mother's mastery of the Obelisk Gate comes too late. She has seen the evil of the world, and accepted what her mother will not admit: that sometimes what is corrupt cannot be cleansed, only destroyed.

The remarkable conclusion to the post-apocalyptic and highly acclaimed trilogy that began with the multi-award-nominated The Fifth Season.

This is yet another one of this trilogies I have been really excited about, but just haven't made time for in my schedule. Maybe knowing that the final book is out there will kick my butt into gear.

Monday, June 19, 2017

#Steampunk #Erotica Review: Mistress Of The Air by S. Nano

Steampunk adventure, bondage erotica, and pulp humour. The three shouldn't go together. Hell, they shouldn't even be in the same sentence, much less the same book. And yet, in so far as Mistress Of The Air is concerned, the combination works.

I've been in something of a reading rut lately, and it seems S. Nano was precisely what I needed.

Mistress Of The Air is the story of Lady Sally Rudston-Chichester (a rich, eccentric, well-connected Dominatrix), The Corseted Domme (the largest airship to ever take to the skies), the odd assortment of men who accompany her, and the even odder assortment of steampunk sex toys and bondage devices that bring them all together. It is an altogether ridiculous tale, full of slapstick pratfalls, running gags, Wiley Coyote-like equipment malfunctions, and daring escapes from impossible situations. Against that backdrop, the bondage erotcia should seem awkward and rather forced, but the sheer charismatic extravagance of Lady Sally makes it all work.

The straight man to this comedic entourage is Captain Wyndham, the only man aboard The Corseted Domme not to feel the bite of her whip. If this were a movie, he'd be Harrison Ford, channeling the most daring characteristics of Han Solo and Indiana Jones, only with a sexy C-3PO replacing Chewbacca as co-pilot. The steampunk elements are as inventive as they are erotic, and their tendency to malfunction beneath the over-enthusiastic hand of Lady Sally keeps the story from getting stale or repetitive.

For my first taste of S. Nano, Mistress Of The Air was actually rather delightful.So much so that I intend to pick up the original three Lady Sally short stories (contained in Beltane Fire, Fifty Shades of Green, and Of Passion and Steam - the last of which I'm actually overdue in reviewing) in short order.

Kindle Edition, 282 pages
Published April 21st 2017 by Excessica

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary ARC of this title from the publisher in exchange for review consideration. This does not in any way affect the honesty or sincerity of my review.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Spotlight: Mistress Of The Air by S. Nano (#steampunk #erotica)


S. Nano

Genre: Comic, Steampunk, Erotica

Publisher: eXcessica

Date of Publication: 21st April 2017

ISBN: 978-1545250242

Number of pages: 270
Word Count: 79,000

Cover Artist: Kevin Blisse

Book Description:

Mistress Of The Air is a Comic, Steampunk, Erotic Adventure.

Lady Sally Rudston-Chichester owns a brass mine in Zanzibar, a Lapsang Souchong tea plantation in China, a rubber farm in Malaysia, trunk loads of corsetry, and the country’s largest collection of antique whips.

Larger than life, and itching to find new and inventive ways to punish her submissive gentlemen, the Edwardian dominatrix has a vision. Embracing the spirit of the age of aviation, she embarks on a series of adventures on her airship, ‘The Corseted Domme’, with her transvestite maid, Victoria, her airship pilot, Captain Wyndham, and her automaton sex-doll, Borghild.

A select group of submissive gentlemen, consisting of a duke, bishop, lawyer and banker, is invited to join Lady Sally so she can try out her dastardly, electric and steam-powered devices on them. She spanks, whips, and punishes her way across the Empires of Europe, dropping off to visit her aristocratic relatives and friends for afternoon tea.

But Lady Sally’s journey is not uneventful. War is threatening to break out and the Ministry of Aviation want to commandeer her airship for the war effort. And when ‘The Corseted Domme’ has a crash landing, Lady Sally realises there is a stowaway on board intent on sabotaging her airship.

‘Mistress of the Air’ is a genre-crossing comic, Steampunk, erotic adventure as Lady Sally delivers a BDSM kick up the back-side to the Edwardian country house novel.

Amazon UK     Amazon UK Print     BN



“Jolly bad luck on the final race, Wyndham. It was a daring move and deserving of greater

The captain’s face lit up at the compliment. He looked up but couldn’t help but be distracted by the sight of Lady’s Sally’s breasts. Her dress was cut daringly low, and the magnificent orbs of white flesh were pushed up enticingly by her corset and the cut of her gown.

And then she started talking. If Wyndham was embarrassed about what to say to her, he didn’t need to worry. She commanded the conversation and Wyndham listened, bewitched and mesmerised at the vision she laid before him. There was no escape for him. He was pinned into the corner by Lady Sally’s heaving breasts with no escape. He tried to concentrate on what she was saying, conscious of the treatment meted out on Monsieur Le Blon, all the time urging himself to focus on her face not her chest, but it was an enormous effort of will when they were practically thrust under his nose. 

She spoke of her airship. She described how vast it was going to be, how fast, how powerful, and how high it would fly. She described how sumptuously it would be fitted out. She extolled the virtues of her ocean liner of the air. Wyndham nodded enthusiastically as her breasts swelled and subsided with every excited explication of her venture. She enthused about her designers and engineers who were working on it, of the technical challenges they faced and how they had overcome them. Wyndham stood trapped in the corner of the ballroom like a frightened rabbit in headlights all the time trying to distract himself from the sight of Lady Sally’s enormous décolletage as it heaved up and down in front of his eyes.

Then she proceeded to explain how, as he must certainly know, she was the foremost dominatrix of her age and described with great enthusiasm the dungeon that would be fitted out on the airship, and how excited she was about the adventures she would have, and the whippings, spankings and punishments she would administer to the carefully selected group of submissive gentlemen who would be accompanying her on the airship’s maiden voyage.

“It’s my ambition, Captain Wyndham, to be the Mistress of the Air, yes…a veritable Mistress of the Air, and I envisage you playing a vital role in fulfilling my vision.”

Wyndham’s ears pricked up at those words but he only had the slightest moment to interject with a nervous, “oh really,” before the enormous breasts backed him even further into the corner. Lady Sally continued by praising his aviation skills and the daring manoeuvres she’d witnessed at the flying meeting. Wyndham flushed with pride. She went on, much to the captain’s delight, to say how those French aviators were all show and no guts, and she needed somebody who would take risks for her, to serve her loyally and selflessly. Finally, she wound up her diatribe and came directly to the point.

 “Now Captain. I pride myself on my instincts and judgement of character. You see, the matter is I need an airship pilot. I need someone who can share my enthusiasm for air flight and is a skilled aviator. I believe you are my man Wyndham.”

Lady Sally continued extolling the excitement of the new age, how she was going to take her airship on a grand tour across Europe and how he, Wyndham, would be her pilot.
Finally, she concluded, “So that’s all settled then, Captain Wyndham. I can assure you the financial rewards will be considerable. It’s good to have you on board. I’m sure we will share many adventures together. You can report to my airship station at Howden in Yorkshire. My maid, Victoria, will give you all the details.”

With one dismissive wave of a lace-gloved hand she breezed off, leaving the hapless Wyndham gaping in astonishment. He had been swept away by her charisma. He had barely uttered a word. At no point had he agreed to the venture yet he knew in his gut he would accept the challenge. He felt strangely compelled to help Lady Sally fulfil her vision of travel in the largest and fastest dirigible ever to be built.


About the Author:

S. Nano is an author of erotic stories with dark and exotic content in fantasy, paranormal or historical settings, often drawing on the themes of female supremacy, BDSM and fetish but with a seam of quirky humour running through them as well.

His first full-length erotic novel, ‘Adventures in Fetishland’, a BDSM/fetish re-invention of Alice in Wonderland, was published by Xcite Books. His short stories and novellas have been published by Xcite Books, House of Erotica, Forbidden Fiction, Coming Together and Greenwoman Publishing.

His second novel, ‘Mistress Of The Air’, a comic, Steampunk, erotic adventure will be published by eXcessica on 21st April 2017.

Mistress Of The Air Facebook:

WTF Friday: The 3 H's by Brian Barr

Well, another WTF Friday is upon us, which means we once again turn the Ruins over to those titles that are a bit odd . . . a bit different . . . a bit bizarre . . . and a bit freaky. These are books that don't always get a lot of press, and which rarely benefit from any prominent retail shelf space.

This week's literary diversions come courtesy of long-time contributor, Donald Armfield.

Hats off to Brian Barr.... or should I say heads?

The Head is a short story of a talking head with a rather weird background. Elizabeth finds out the hard way when she brings the head to its body.

A simple read but creative and so I must read on....This is part one of the trilogy.

Paperback, 46 pages
Published February 2nd 2017 by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform

Barr opens the doors to The House of horrors. Dropping the origins of the house's endless attic corridors and all the ladies who fell to the woo of the adorable head, (found in the garden).

This book takes awhile to sink in but you will learn that once you enter your trapped forever..... Or until?

The Hell should explain it all. This is the sequel to the trilogy....Read the next book!

Kindle Edition, 77 pages
Published March 30th 2017

The first two books in the series moved very nicely between scenes. I grew a strong liking to the "Head" found in the garden. The House had a nice entry to the deep dark corridors within the attic. And now.... The Hell.

Ghost hunters come into play and Barr gets deeper into the origins of the house. A lot of characters at this point came into play and I feel as though I got lost inside the house with them.

Susie (one of those Ghost Hunters) her character had a tough guy, tomboy attitude dropping F bombs. She made me laugh.

Overall Brian Barr has created a very interesting trilogy opening the doors to a Hell of a ride.

Try not to lose any body parts along the way!

Kindle Edition, 132 pages
Published May 21st 2017

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday: The Dinosaur Princess by Victor Milán

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

The Dinosaur Princess by Victor Milán
Expected publication: August 15, 2017 by Tor Books

Knights riding dinosaurs…

Humans were abducted eons ago at a god’s whim. Empires have risen and fallen and now men ride into battle on Stegosauruses and their generals lead them on White Thunder T-Rexes. Welcome to Paradise, and the third volume in Victor Milan’s glorious alternate fantasy universe.

The ancient gods who brought mankind to Paradise have returned to judge their human experiment. The Grey Angels, fabled ancient weapons of the gods, have come to rid the world of sin.

And if humans are deemed unworthy, they will be scourged from the face of Paradise.

The Dinosaur Princess is the newest epic fantasy adventure set in a world where knights ride armored dinosaurs into battle, hailed by George R. R. Martin as "A cross between Jurassic Park and Game of Thrones."

“Milán skillfully crafts his characters, giving significant thought to just how knights might use dinosaurs…Readers who pick this up for the gimmick will relish it for the able storytelling.”—Publishers Weekly

I'm actually rereading the first book now (I felt as if I rushed through the original ARC), and hope to get the second read in time for release day.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

From the Shelf to the Page: This Week in the Ruins

Stacking The Shelves and Mailbox Monday are a pair of weekly memes that are about sharing the books that came your way over the past week, and which you've added to your shelves - whether they be physical or virtual, borrowed or bought, or for pleasure or review.

I haven't had a lot to share lately, mainly because we're neck-deep in boxes, and packing has consumed most of my time. 

I did pick up a whole bunch of adventure e-books from K.T. Tomb, since pretty much their entire catalogue seemed to be free this week, along with an adventure book from Sean Ellis. Hmm, I'm seeing a trend here . . .



It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is another weekly meme, this time focused on what books are spending the most time in your hands and in your head, as opposed to what's been added to your shelf.

I haven't had much luck with my reads lately, but I'm enjoying The Dragon's Legacy by Deborah A. Wolfand I'm just starting The Legion of Flame by Anthony Ryan.


What's topping your shelves this week?

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Tales from Harborsmouth Pre-Order Party

Have you been wanting to give the Ivy Granger series a try, or are you a mega fan wanting more stories from the monster-filled streets of Harborsmouth? You're in luck.

Tales from Harborsmouth, an Ivy Granger series anthology with two novellas and two exclusive short stories, is now available for pre-order. More Ivy, Jinx, Marvin, Sparky, Forneus, and Torn! Are you excited? We are, and we're celebrating with an awesome giveaway. So grab some cake and pull up a chair. It's time to party!

Tales from Harborsmouth Ivy Granger Psychic Detective Urban Fantasy

Tales from Harborsmouth (Ivy Granger Psychic Detective #0.5, #1.5, #2.5, #5.5)
by E.J. Stevens.

In Tales from Harborsmouth, readers get the chance to delve deeper into the award-winning world of Ivy Granger.

Ivy Granger is a psychic detective with ties to Harborsmouth's paranormal underworld. Too bad those ties tend to ensnare Ivy and her friend Jinx in the Machiavellian schemes of the city's teeming population of bloodsucking vampires and psychotic faeries.

  • FROSTBITE (Ivy Granger #0.5)

  • Everyone knows that there's no such thing as ghosts, but when a client claims that her house is being haunted, Ivy tries to keep her mind open and her weapons handy. If her psychic gifts and recent cases have taught her anything, it's that you're better off arming yourself for the unexpected. Anything is possible in Harborsmouth.

  • BLOOD AND MISTLETOE (Ivy Granger #1.5)

  • Holidays are worse than a full moon for making people crazy. In Harborsmouth, where many of the residents are undead vampires or monstrous fae, the combination may prove deadly.

    Holidays are Hell, a point driven home when a certain demon attorney returns with information regarding a series of bloody murders. Five Harborsmouth residents have been killed and every victim has one thing in common—they are fae. Whoever is killing faeries must be stopped, but they only leave one clue behind—a piece of mistletoe floating in a pool of the victim's blood. The holidays just got interesting.

  • CLUB NEXUS (Ivy Granger #2.5)

  • A demon, a human, an Unseelie faerie, and a vampire walk into a bar...

    These four intertwining short stories are set in Club Nexus, the hidden haunt of Harborsmouth's paranormal underworld.

    Iced: A bargain gone wrong leads a highborn Unseelie faerie to life as an enslaved bartender with a taste for revenge.

    Dusted: Being a highly skilled predator doesn't necessarily put you at the top of the food chain at Club Nexus. A southern vampire with a hankering for blood and wanton violence may have bit off more than he can chew.

    Demonized: The demon attorney we love to hate has his eye on a certain rockabilly human. Too bad she's brought a crossbow loaded with holy water dipped bolts for this night on the town.

    Jinxed: Just when Jinx needs a carefree girl's night out with Ivy, a smoking hot demon tries to buy her a drink. She really is the unluckiest human on the planet.

  • THRILL ON JOYSEN HILL (Ivy Granger #5.5)

  • Few places are as rife with opportunity or as fraught with danger as Harborsmouth's notorious Joysen Hill.

    Vampires own the real estate, and even the most ruthless human thugs won't venture out after dark, but when Torn gets stuck babysitting, he can only think of one place in Harborsmouth interesting enough to take a demon toddler, a teenage bridge troll, and a grouchy hearth brownie. What happens next substantiates the city's advertising slogan. No matter who or what you are, no matter how young or old, you can find your thrill on Joysen Hill.

    Pre-Order Available Now:


    How's the cake? Ready to win some great prizes?

    Tales from Harborsmouth Pre-Order Party Giveaway

    We are giving away an Ivy Granger Prize Pack, including a $25 Amazon Gift Card and *signed* collectible Passport to the World of Ivy Granger.

    To enter, please use the Rafflecopter from below. This giveaway is INTERNATIONAL. Giveaway ends June 13th midnight EST.

    In the Ivy Granger prequel story FROSTBITE, Ivy's client claims that her house is haunted. Do YOU believe in ghosts?

    Wednesday, June 7, 2017

    Waiting on Wednesday: The Unholy Consult by R. Scott Bakker

    "Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

    The Unholy Consult by R. Scott Bakker
    Expected publication: July 11th 2017 by The Overlook Press

    The highly anticipated and explosive finale to the master of grimdark R. Scott Bakker’s acclaimed high fantasy series

    In this shattering conclusion to The Aspect-Emperor books, praised for their “sweeping epic scale and detailed historical world building” (Grimdark Magazine), R. Scott Bakker delivers the series’ feverishly harrowing and long-awaited finish.

    Not much of a blurb, I know, but some books just sell themselves - especially when the author has such a devoted following a Bakker. I've some catching up to do with this series, but I'm excited to see how it all ends.

    Tuesday, June 6, 2017

    Brief Reviews From The DNF Pile

    Some readers feel compelled to finish everything they read - and I applaud them for that - but life is too short to waste on books you're not enjoying. I give everything a fair shot, both in terms of time and pages, waiting to see if one might fit a changing mood, but eventually you just have to say farewell and move onto the next book on the shelf.

    Maybe it's the stress of packing and preparing to move. Maybe it's the headache of trying to budget so far into the unknown. Maybe it's the melancholy weather or the misery of seasonal allergies. All I know is that I'm in a reading rut lately.

    Swarm and Steel by Michael R. Fletcher
    This is one I may come back to later, but I will likely give The Mirror's Truth a read first to see if I can recapture the excitement I felt while reading Beyond Redemption. I don't know whether it's a case of the novelty having worn off, or if the characters here just aren't as interesting as in Fletcher's first Manifest Delusions book, but I simply wasn't enjoying it. That first book was about as dark as fantasy gets - violent, cruel, and morally disturbing - but it was also insanely fun. I wasn't getting that sense of fun here, and I wasn't connecting with any of the characters.

    The Witchwood Crown by Tad William
    With this one, it's less a Did-Not-Finish and more a Definitely-Finish-Later scenario. As excited as I was to land a digital ARC of this, the 'digital' part is the problem. When I read a massive epic fantasy like this, I need to feel it . . . to experience it . . . to hold it in my hands. There are some genres that simply work better in a physical format, and this is one of them. Unless a surprise physical ARC lands on my doorstep in the coming weeks, I will be waiting to pick up a copy of the hardcover for myself on release day.

    The New Voices of Fantasy edited by Peter S. Beagle & Jacob Weisman
    Unless they're connected by a theme, I tend to be hesitant about multi-author anthologies like this, especially when I've only really heard of two of the authors. The first four stories did nothing for me, but "A Kiss With Teeth" by Max Gladstone was fantastic - quite a bit better, and rather more accessible, than his Craft Sequence novels. The next two fell flat as well, but then along came "The Practical Witch’s Guide to Acquiring Real Estate" by A. C. Wise, which was just as much fun as I expected of her. When the three following stories disappointed, despite having some of the most intriguing titles in the collection, I decided I was done.

    Mona Lisa's Secret by Phil Philips
    I went into this expecting a grand Dan Brown type adventure, with a good bit of history and backstory, but it was a rather silly and superficial contemporary heist. Even as I tried to enjoy it as a mindless pulp adventure instead, I found it too cheesy and unrealistic to really hold my interest.

    Dead On Arrival by Matt Richtel
    This was not at all what I expected, with far too much sci-fi nonsense and far too little biological plague creepiness, not to mention a narrative style that jumps around far too much. The characters were thinly painted, with no real personalities, and that is a definite problem when the whole point of the book is to root for their survival. I did finish this, but only by skimming large sections of it and skipping ahead just to see how it ended - and it was disappointing.

    Broken Wizards by Jeffrey Bardwell
    The narrative was poorly constructed, with more tell than show, and the whole thing was in serious need of an editor to reign in the run-on-sentences and introduce some much-needed structure. I found myself confused and impatient with the early chapters, which can be effective if there's a moment of clarity coming where the story explodes into action, but no matter how far I skimmed ahead, that moment just didn't seem to be there.