Tag Archives: Book Review

Death by Cliché at 99 Cents

I’ve talked about Death by Cliché before. I really like the book, and I’m a beta-reader for the sequels.

DeathbyClicheIt’s a game-genre dark comedy in which an RPG designer gets shot in the head and wakes up in the terribly-designed role playing game that is being run by the young man who pulled the trigger. And unlike the players at the table, when he takes damage it actually hurts.

He’s not helpless, however. He is a game designer, after all, and there are artifacts in this world that can only be fully understood by him. But first he must look past the flaming brassieres, and come to grips with the fact that he cannot see his character sheet.

This Thursday and Friday, September 8th and 9th¹ Death by Cliché will be on sale at Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk for just 99 cents.  Act now! Pounce! Buying this book is one of the 99 funniest things you can do with a dollar².

¹I’m not in charge of these things, but I think the sale begins at midnight Eastern time Thursday morning, and closes at midnight Eastern time Friday night. YMMV.

²If you had a dark, artisanal, bottled beer for every one of those pennies we would flee before you could start singing.


The Sin du Jour Affairs, and Why You Should Eat Them

Matt Wallace shares my philosophy of humor: it is difficult to write, it is delightful to read, and it says important things that can’t be said any other way.

My first exposure to Matt’s work was this post about humorous SFF, and I was impressed. I liked the cut of his jib. On my flight to WorldCon I began reading his Sin du Jour series from the beginning, picking up Envy of Angels first. Here’s how that turned out:


I have now consumed all three of these serialized novellas. Not only do I have zero regrets, I have strong recommendations for you:

SinDuJourSeriesEnvy of Angels, Lustlocked, and Pride’s Spell. You can pick up all three in ebook format for just $8.97

The Sin du Jour series is urban fantasy. Our heroes work for a catering company that has been licensed and contracted to provide fancy foodstuffs for demons, elves, and other magical creatures. This may sound funny, but the series is not situation comedy. The humor is woven cleanly through the stories, giving them a voice that nicely counters the mind-bending horror implicit in feeding certain things to certain other things.

The novellas move quickly, and link together in some very satisfying ways—satisfying, and funny, and delicious. With the help of his food-scientist fiancée Nikki, Matt was able to write about food in ways that made me hungry for things I couldn’t possibly afford, and in some cases couldn’t hope to digest.

If you want to pick up just Envy of Angels for starters, you can certainly do that. Maybe you’ll make it more than halfway through before you cave in and buy the next two books…

Sins of Empire, by Brian McClellan

You may recall the gushing manner in which I plugged Promise of Blood, by Brian McClellan. That book launched his Powder Mage trilogy, and his career, and I enjoyed following both¹.

sins type5Another trilogy is coming, and after the amazing way he stuck the landing on the first one, I’m simply taking it as a given that Sins of Empire will be a must-read.

That cover art? Click on it to for a closer look. Also, this is kind of the first time it’s been seen. I feel special. I also feel special to have Sins_of_Empire_1.2.docx sitting right here taunting me. I opened it thinking I’d been sent a sample chapter, but no, I have the whole thing. I cannot afford to be sucked into an entire book right now. I must be strong.

You can pre-order it today², and you can even pre-order a signed copy directly from the author. It is slated for release on Tuesday, March 7th, of 2017.

If you like the Powder Mage books, and want to support Brian, his editor, and the cover artists in their ongoing creation of them, pre-ordering is totally a thing you should do. Books literally live or die on the first week of sales, which is where pre-orders show up.

Here’s the back-cover copy:

A world on the cusp of a new age…
The young nation of Fatrasta is a turbulent place — a frontier destination for criminals, fortune-hunters, brave settlers, and sorcerers seeking relics of the past. Only the iron will of the lady chancellor and her secret police holds the capital city of Landfall together against the unrest of an oppressed population and the machinations of powerful empires.

Sedition is a dangerous word…
The insurrection that threatens Landfall must be purged with guile and force, a task which falls on the shoulders of a spy named Michel Bravis, convicted war hero Mad Ben Styke, and Lady Vlora Flint, a mercenary general with a past as turbulent as Landfall’s present.

The past haunts us all…
As loyalties are tested, revealed, and destroyed, a grim specter as old as time has been unearthed in this wild land, and the people of Landfall will soon discover that rebellion is the least of their worries.

Yup. I’m in.

¹Do I enjoy the books more than I enjoy the Brian? It’s a tough call. He’s good company, except when he’s also in the company of his bees, or joining Sam Sykes in a long-winded account of their (dubious) heroism during the Yeti Wars. 

²Pre-order links!

Force Multiplication, and Death by Cliché

We just got word that our pallets of Force Multiplication: Schlock Mercenary Book 12 will be arriving sometime “in the next week or so.” If you want your copy shipped soon, now is the time to place your order.

A great many of you have already placed your orders, and are reading this and asking what OTHER book you can maybe order. Well, as it happens, my friend Bob has a book out! You may remember Bob from his guest-review of Hardcore Henry. That’s his blog style, and while it’s not the same as his literary voice, the snark does shine through.

DeathbyClicheDeath by Cliché is Bob Defendi unchained. It is the story of a game designer who attempts to sneak out of the worst role-playing session ever, and ends up in the game itself, starting with a room “lit by flaming brassieres.”

This may be misleading. Death by Cliché is not full of puns and dad jokes¹. It’s a funny, frightening, poignant, and exhilarating exploration of a world in which RPG clichés and sloppy game design are the governing principles, the unseen hands pulling the strings.

UPDATED TO ADD: My 21-year-old daughter and 13-year-old son both grabbed copies² from Bob last night. Five hours later—FIVE HOURS LATER—they both got grouchy when we insisted that it was time for lights to be out so the old people in the house could go to sleep.

Which is to say that my review may not have gushed to the level that this book deserves for some readers, including a junior majoring in illustration and a junior-high student majorly invested in Minecraft.


¹There are puns and dad jokes in the book. I won’t lie. They’re there. Not everywhere, but there. Usually as the set-up for something that is actually funny.

²He only meant to give us one copy of the book at Writing Group on Thursday, but he had a stack, and my children, even the adult ones, can be grabby.