We had a good turnout of reviews this month, but unfortunately, WordPress decided that, when I pressed the “save draft” button, I actually wanted it to delete the post I’d written. So, since I don’t have much time left, this post is going to be briefer than I’d like. Apologies. (But blame WordPress.)


Three BFF (big fat fantasy) books were reviewed. They’re all really excellent reads, so you should click through and read more of the respective reviews.

  • The Ambassador’s Mission by Trudi Canavan was reviewed by Mark Webb who enjoyed it but recommends reading the earlier series first to get a grounding in the world (The Black Magician Trilogy, starting with The Magician’s Guild).
  • Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth was reviewed by Leonie Rogers, who enjoyed the rich Rapunzel retelling, especially the (horrific) realism of the historical setting.
  • North Star Guide Me Home by Jo Spurrier was reviewed by Shaheen, who loved this concluding volume to the Children of the Black Sun trilogy (first book: Winter Be My Shield)
  • Finally, I interviewed Glenda Larke about her recently released The Lascar’s Dagger. She sheds some fascinating light on her motivations and choices in the book.

 AmbassadorsMissionCanavan  BitterGreensForsyth  north-star-guide-me-home-spurrier  TheLascarsDaggerGlendaLarke

On the paranormal romance front, we had Shelleyrae reviewing Beached by Ros Baxter which is the second in a fantasy trilogy based on a Norse myth. And Helen Venn reviewed Vow’s Answer by Joanna Fay, the third book in the Siaris Quartet, which she enjoyed as much as the first two books.

BeachedRosBaxter  VowsAnswerJoannaFay

Science Fiction

We had three reviews and a few “other” submissions in the science fiction category.

  • Frontier Incursion by Leonie Rogers was reviewed by Carolyn, who enjoyed many aspects of the coming-of-age space opera.
  • The Courier’s New Bicycle by Kim Westwood was reviewed by Helen Venn, who enjoyed the Melbourne-set gender-bending dystopia, and can see why it won all the awards.
  • The Swan Book by Alexis Wright was reviewed by Stephanie Gunn, who found it incredible and expressed a lack of surprise at it’s Stella Award shortlisting.

frontier-incursion couriers-new-bicycle TheSwanBookAlexisWright

The “other” submissions were two author panels hosted by DarkMatter Fanzine. The first was about world-building in near-future science fiction and featured Marianne de Pierres (author of Peacemaker) and Meg Mundell (author of Black Glass) as two of the guests. The second was about storytelling in computer games and featured short story author Claire McKenna as one of the guests.


It’s nice to see people continuing to submit horror reviews to us. There were two this month. Jane Rawson reviewed Caution: Contains Small Parts by Kirstyn McDermott, a collection of four short(ish) stories, which she found eerie and creepy rather than outright horrifying. (Although, what would you define as outright horror? Gore? The kind of story that compels you to sleep with the light on? Something to contemplate.) Anguli Ma by Chi Vu is a gothic novella about refugees fleeing the fall of Saigon which was reviewed by Nalini, who found it illuminating.

Caution contains small parts mcdermott AnguliMaAGothicTaleChiVu

And that’s all folks. I’ll be back next week with, hopefully, a longer and more detailed post.


About Me

I’m Tsana Dolichva and I’ve been reading and enjoying Australian speculative fiction since I first started reading “grown up” books (back before YA was its own genre). More recently, I’ve been blogging my reviews over at the creatively titled Tsana’s Reads. I very irregularly blog about science in science fiction over at the Science Fiction Writers’ Guide to Space. When not reading or writing, I’m probably working towards my PhD in astrophysics.