5 Stars, Anthology, Giveaways, Kirby Crow, Mythology, Reviewed by Lisa, Riptide Publishing, Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Urban Fantasy, Short Story, Steampunk, Tragic Romance

Spotlight, Review, and Giveaway: Hammer and Bone by Kirby Crow

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Title: Hammer and Bone

Author: Kirby Crow

Publisher: Riptide Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 236 Pages

At a Glance: Haunting and beautiful, Hammer and Bone is an impressive and inspired collection.

Reviewed By: Lisa

Blurb: The purest evil lives in the hearts of men

Carnival mystics. Zombie tribes. Bad magic in the Bayou. Mage-princes, alien cities, and soul-stealing priests. The grim monsters in the worlds of these dark, speculative tales are true horrors, but it’s the people you should fear the most.

People like Michel, a boy pining for his best friend, Ray. But a presence in the swamp calls Michel to avenge another lost love, and he must decide which summons to answer. Or Angelo, a prescient cop who denies his visions until they endanger the man he loves. Or Bellew, an overseer in a shantytown of criminals sheltering a revenant and feeding it from their ranks.

From ruined lands of steam and iron, to haunted Southern forests, to brutal city streets where hope and damnation flow from the same spring, only a few stubborn souls possess the heart to challenge evil on its own terms. Some wield magic, some turn to rage or even love, but the ones left standing will survive only if they find the courage to carve their own paths to freedom.

Even if it means carving through flesh.

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Review: Hammer and Bone is not the book I expected, but in the best way possible. It wasn’t until I’d got to the third chapter, wondering what plot sorcery the author was going to use to tie these divergent chapters together into a cohesive plot, that I finally realized I wasn’t reading a novel at all, but rather, a collection of short stories. Once I figured out I needed to read each piece as an independent story, it made it much easier to appreciate their brilliance and the author’s skill at weaving together rich and layered storylines, even if short.

If I were to attempt to sum up each story in just a few words, it would look a little something like this:

Crank is a bleak world yet offers a glimpse of a hopeful ending.
Hammer and Bone is a survival of the fittest story set in a desolate, dangerous, and dystopian landscape.
Hangfire is nothing less than heartbreaking, easily the most touching story in the collection.
No Gods and No Tomorrows is a fractured Faustian tale, the devil cloaked in righteousness, who attempts to strike a bargain with the wrong victim.
Shadow and Starlight is a self-fulfilled prophecy of horrors, with a great turn-of-the-tables ending.
Knights of the Risen God is a beautifully drawn David and Goliath story of gods and monsters and men.
Crowheart is a story of spiritual mysticism, prejudice, grief and retribution.
Sundog is a story of abuse, hatred and vengeance searching for a happy ending.

What Kirby Crow has done with this anthology is opened up her imagination and let it flow onto the page. The prose is at times sheer poetry, the imagery stark and striking, the settings foreign and familiar, the allegory and fantastical elements a backdrop for the best and worst of men and magic. These are not stories to be read in hopes of finding romance and happy endings. They are stories to be savored for the love of words and the skillful crafting of short stories that are complete in their telling.

Haunting and beautiful, Hammer and Bone is an impressive and inspired collection.






You can buy Hammer and Bone here:

All Romance eBooks

All Romance eBooks

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Author BioAbout the Author: Kirby Crow is an American writer born and raised in the Deep South. She is a winner of the EPIC Award and the Rainbow Award, and is the author of the bestselling “Scarlet and the White Wolf” series of fantasy novels. Kirby and her husband and their son share an old, lopsided house in the Blue Ridge with a cat. Always a cat.

Her published novels are:

Prisoner of the Raven (historical romance)
Scarlet and the White Wolf: The Pedlar and the Bandit King (New Adult fantasy, m/m, Torquere Press)
Scarlet and the White Wolf: Mariner’s Luck (New Adult fantasy, m/m, Torquere Press)
Scarlet and the White Wolf: The Land of Night (New Adult fantasy, m/m, Torquere Press)
Angels of the Deep (paranormal/horror)
Circuit Theory (novella, scifi, Riptide)

Coming Soon:

Malachite (speculative m/m, New Adult, 2015)
Poison Apples (collection, dark fantasy, m/m, 2015)
Scarlet and the White Wolf 4 (New Adult fantasy, m/m, 2015)

For upcoming news of her future novels, visit her Website

Links:

Amazon Link | Blog | Twitter | Goodreads

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Giveaways

THE GIVEAWAY: Every comment on this blog tour enters you in a drawing for a $15 Riptide store credit. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on March 7. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries.

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Kirby Crow, Reya Starck, Riptide Publishing

Circuit Theory by Kirby Crow and Reya Starck

It seems the more I read, the harder it gets to find unique, so I feel really lucky that I’ve discovered more than a few books lately that have set themselves just that little bit apart from the standard in their originality; Circuit Theory is definitely one of those books.

Roleplaying games aren’t a new concept, but the internet has elevated roleplaying to a virtually realistic medium that has pulled gamers away from game boards and placed them in a room in front of a computer, where they are alone together with millions of other people on the World Wide Web.

The internet has been vilified as a killer of interpersonal relationships and communication skills; it has been heralded as a medium that has shrunk the world and drawn people of all walks of life together. It is a global village where a person can be as anonymous or as conspicuous as he wishes to be. It’s a cyber world where a person can portray himself the way he wishes he truly were; he can be an entirely different persona from the one he sees when he looks in the mirror and from the one who points and clicks his way through the affectation, no one the wiser.

For Dante Hera and Byron Koro, the realm of codes and bytes and bandwidth has taken the concept of partnership and drawn it into the construct of a virtual world where they can be lovers and form an emotional and physical connection in a way they could never do in the lives they live outside of Synth. Outside the world of Synth, they are separated by thousands of miles of land and ocean, so they work to form a bond of hearts and minds as their avatars compose and orchestrate a relationship inside a realm where physical contact isn’t of the flesh but of the fantasy.

Inside Synth, virtual people succumb to all the insecurities of fitting in and trusting and building relationships among fellow gamers playing sometimes exaggerated digital versions of their ideal selves in a pseudo-society that, to them, is very real. It’s a world that’s as unreal as it is meaningful to the people who choose to inhabit it, and is the only place in their world that exists where Dante and Byron can love and touch and have an intimate relationship with each other.

Don’t expect to get to know much about “the real” Dante and Byron. In fact, don’t expect to get to know too much about the virtual Dante and Byron either. But I think that’s the point of this story—that sense of disconnect in a life connected by cables, modems, and typos. How much do you really know about the person to whom you’re tied when that tie is ephemeral and can be cut by nothing more than a glitch or click of the mouse button?

Circuit Theory is a short story that really made me think about how the internet has become such an integral part of social relationships. It’s interesting and intelligent science fiction that truthfully isn’t so far from reality. I liked and disliked it at the same time for making me realize that staying connected and being part of a collective can still be a lonely and temporary business.

Circuit Theory is available for Pre-Order HERE and will be available for purchase July 30, 2012.

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