Tag Archives: western

The Queen of Swords (Golgotha #3) – Book Review

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Published Date: June 27, 2017

Publishing Co.: Tor

Pages: 368

Goodreads Synopsis.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

My reviews of books one and two: The Six-Gun Tarot – Book Review & The Shotgun Arcana – Book Review.

To our brave captain,” he said and tipped the bottle toward Anne, who took it and drank. “She who pisses on gods and kings with equal contempt. Bravo!”

Third helpings of a seven layer cake. I’m fat on amazing writing at this point. I have no intentions to stop eating.

This is a full dive into Maude Stapleton’s background and the origins of the Daughters of Lilith and I couldn’t have asked for a more thrilling tale. This is feminine power and wily women at it’s best.

Constance, Maude’s daughter, has been kidnapped by the Daughters of Lilith to be used as a sacrifice to prevent a great evil from escaping onto Earth. That evil has been working shenanigans for years in the shadows, tricking the Daughters into believing that this is the only option. But when Maude is your mother, she’ll use every nasty trick in the book and risk her own life to save her only child.

Maude was raised by Anne Bonny, the pirate queen. Anne was her many great-grandmother and a Daughter of Lilith. Maude trained with her on the beaches of Charleston since she was a child. Anne instilled in her a great sense of right and wrong and the training to back up any decisions Maude might make to bring justice forth.

The story flips back and forth between the present of Maude and Constance’s situation and the origins of the pirate queen in the 1700s and how she became such a force of a woman. Anne was a rebel, a thief and a leader. I won’t call her fearless as she definitely had moments of fear, but, she spit in the face of anything worth fearing and charged ahead. Stubborn and resilient, with a burning hatred of slavery. A pioneer of human rights. If the entire story had only been about Anne, I wouldn’t have even missed Maude. But, that’s unfair to Maude as she’s a great character as well.

While I missed Golgotha, the adventure was so fun and interesting that I wasn’t all that disappointed to not see my favorite paranormal frontier town. (A few characters from there did make short appearances.) Instead, for much of this book we’re in the depths of Africa, treasure hunting and chasing ancient evils. Finding the origins of the Daughters and the dark truths that lie in a city of monsters in the middle of the Sahara. A solid third installment in one of my all time favorite series.

American Hippo – Book Review

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Published Date: May 22, 2018

Publishing Co.: Tor

Pages: 256

Goodreads Synopsis.

Rating: 5 out 5 stars

I received this copy from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

River of Teeth

Imagine 1800s America, where instead of horses, cowboys and outlaws rode hippos. Oh yes, sweet gentle fiends, hippopotami. The most dangerous creature in Africa is intentionally brought to the United States as an alternative meat source during a meat shortage. But Americans always take things one step further, and now they’re also used as mounts. Of course, someone always has to fuck something up and there manages to be a massive hippo escape from a ranch. Now there are feral hippos that rule the rivers and marshes. Blood thirty, angry hippos.

In this novella we are introduced to a host of outlaws, hired for a high paid, high danger job. To rid a dam of the feral hippos. Doing so will release the dangerous feral hippos into the South, spreading their death and destruction even further. Jobs never go as planned, someone always wants the death dealing hippos to stay right where they are.

Taste of Marrow

The surviving characters from the first novella continue their adventures in this one. Adelia has given birth after kidnapping Hero. Houndstooth is obsessively searching for Hero, not quite convinced that they’re even alive. Archie is waiting for her handsome U.S. Marshal to show up after not hearing from him at their arranged rendezvous spot.

Adelia’s newborn is stolen during a surprise attack while her and Hero are traveling. She’s being forced to meet with a mysterious person who arranged her child’s kidnapping, to see what they intend for her and the child. Probably not the smartest idea for the mystery person, Adelia is an infamous assassin. Hero is helping her despite the fact that she stabbed them, and they’re a poison and explosives expert. Archie is a notorious pick pocket and scam artist, and Houndstooth is your general bad ass and they’re hot on Adelia and Hero’s trail.

There are a couple short stories at the end that cover Archie meeting her U.S. Marshal for the first time and how Houndstooth’s hippo Ruby got her gold-plated tusks.

I loved everything about these novellas. The characters, the world-building, the plot lines. You name it, it kicked all the ass. Most importantly, major kudos to the author for including a non-binary person. It was a perspective to get used to but only because we are a gender obsessed world. It was further proof that content of character is far more important that one’s gender.

The Shotgun Arcana – Book Review

5 out of 5 stars

I called The Six-Gun Tarot a seven layer cake.

This is unabashed second helpings.

Set one year after the events of The Six-Gun Tarot, Jim is a deputy partnered with Mutt. Mutt and Maude are approaching item status much to the chagrin of many town racists. Malachi Bick owns practically everyone and everything in town and someone has begun brutally murdering prostitutes.

An ancient artifact buried beneath the town is luring serial killers from far and wide to Golgotha. (Serial killers who are clever blends of real serial killers.) Trouble once again braves the 40-mile desert to bring suffering, pain and loss to the townspeople and the only ones that can stop them are our motley crew of heroes; Jon Highfather, Mutt, Jim Negrey, Maude Stapleton, Harry Pratt and Clay Turlough. (Introductions to some new bad ass heroes as well.)

This second installment was not a disappointment. When you think to yourself that the author could not possibly add one more element to this, then they do and they do it successfully, it makes you want to weep with joy.

R.S. Belcher, you have one more stalker for life.

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Wake of Vultures – Book Review

5 out of 5 stars

Nettie Lonesome is half-Injun, half-black and 100% alone in this world. Abandoned as an infant for unknown reasons, and raised by low class filthy white people who “run” a dilapidated ranch, Nettie has been alone for her entire life save for a one-eyed mule. She’s made to make Pap and Mam’s breakfast every day and do all the chores to keep the farm running. Her only friend an old cowpoke at the ranch next door who took pity on her and began teaching her how to break broncs. Now, she breaks the mangy nags that Pap brings home and sells for a little bit of money. Since she turned twelve and Pap saw her naked in the river washing, and the look in his eye was unsavory, she’s been dressing as a boy ever since.

One night, Nettie is attacked by a strange man in their yard, another man looking at her in an unsavory fashion. Except he doesn’t try to hide it. There’s something wrong with him, besides the obvious, his eyes are an unnatural color and he has fangs. Now Nettie Lonesome is no coward, so she sticks a sickle in his eye. He doesn’t die. Not until she stabs a stick into his heart. From then on, she sees things that have no right to be real.

Shortly thereafter, the ranch boss next door witnesses her skill at breaking broncs and hires her on. He doesn’t know she’s a girl but that’s okay, she’s more comfortable as a boy anyway. She’ll get to make money, have a roof over her head, food in the her belly, no longer be beat and do what she loves, working with horses. It’s everything she’s ever wanted from life, until a dying Indian woman curses her.

Now she’s being forced to hunt the Cannibal Owl by the Indian woman’s ghost and if she doesn’t she’ll die. The Cannibal Owl steals all the children of Indian tribes. Attacks in the night silently, the parents awake to find their children forever missing. No one knows what it looks like or what it does with the children. Nettie is about to embark on a journey of the paranormal to protect the new life she has built for herself and maybe she’ll learn more about who she is and where she comes from along the way.

Have you been looking for a book that just blasts the shit out of tropes and stereotypes and gives you an authentic glimpse into a person? That exposes the many ways that humans are not black and white? That there are shades of gray to everything and that that is perfectly okay? Here you fucking go. I have not read a more accepting book in a very long time. It made me feel all warm and glowing on the inside. It tickled my pizzle.

The Six-Gun Tarot – Book Review

5 out of 5 stars

There are layers to a cake and then there is this handcrafted, masterful art of a seven-layer cake called The Six-Gun Tarot. An orgasmic, literary cake. I stuffed my face with it and Iregret nothing. In fact, I think that I will force feed it to everyone I know.

This cake is not a lie.

It takes a special talent to genre blend. When talking to my boss about this book and its many genres, he commented that it sounded too messy. That is not the case here. R.S. Belcher is a sorcerer. Everything flows together so well that sometimes you have to sit back and think about what you read. For example: I just read an exquisite horror paragraph followed by an epic old fashioned western brawl and it was brilliant.

Fantasy, historical fiction, murder mystery, steampunk, mythology, paranormal, horror, and western. Fucking name it, it’s probably in there.

Jim is a fifteen year old boy trying to find his way through the desert, on his little mustang Promise, running from his past. He ends up where all the people hiding from their troubles end up, Golgotha. Once a booming mining town, it is now mostly filled with Mormons, chinese workers, and poor people in slums that used to work in the mines.
He is immediately accepted by an Injun deputy and the town sheriff who just doesn’t die. But as soon as he arrives strange things begin happening in Golgotha. Stranger than the usual (mysterious rat people). An ancient evil is struggling to free itself from the chains that tie it to the earth below this small, strange town. Jim can help or he can run back to the desert.

There are multiple POVs and each one is great. I can’t pick a favorite. Each adds so much depth to the story (layers, so many fucking layers!)

Read it. If you don’t love it, we’ll have a good ol’ fashioned gunslinger face off to determine the winner. (I’ll win.)

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Walk On Earth a Stranger – Book Review

5 out of 5 stars

When I finished this book, I clutched it to my chest and complained loudly to my husband how upset I was that it was over. I still needed more. I wasn’t done with this journey. The next book isn’t out yet and it’s blasphemy. I can’t believe I borrowed it from the library instead of just buying it out right to have in my own personal collection. The injustices of it all go on and on.

Rae Carson, I both love and hate you right now.

This is the tale of the rush west for Gold during the mid-1800s, with a dash of fantasy thrown in. The blend is pure perfection.

If you’re cool enough (read old enough) this is the Oregon Trail brought to life. Now, that’s a comparison I read from another reviewer but it’s worth mentioning here because that is a solid comparison.

The Oregon Trail narrated by a strong, female lead. A girl that men keep trying to save or own, who won’t stand for it. She can hunt, grease axles, track and pan for gold with the best of them. Only she doesn’t have to pan for gold, because she has a sixth sense that tells her right where it is at all times. What better place to make it big than California? Surviving the trek to get there is the hard part.

Look, stop waiting for me to give you more reasons to read it. If you like westerns, historical fiction and fantasy, there is no way that you won’t love this.

Now, excuse me while I go pout in the corner until the next book comes out.

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Vengeance Road – Book Review

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4.5 stars

When your husband bets you that you can’t finish a book in one sitting, you show the bastard what for! (Also, you take said bet and bet something sweet. Unlike this girl, who laughed about it and didn’t take it as a serious bet.)

“I push the shot glass at him, and he don’t seem too pleased ’bout that. But I got some coin and a vengeance strong enough to cut any throat that tries to cross me right now.”

Meet Kate. She’s eighteen and some bandits murdered her father recently. This is the Wild West and it’s unlikely that the culprits will be brought to justice by the law. She has no other family and the bandits burned down her house to boot. The only road left to her is Vengeance Road. (Ha, see what I did there?)

“I can fire a rifle as good as any man. ‘Parently I can kill another just as dead too. I don’t see why I should act like I can’t just ‘cus it ruffles everyone else’s feathers.”

A girl after my own heart.

Why did I like it so much? I love westerns. It was a western with a kick ass heroine and a team of likable allies along the way. There was action, adventure, death and redemption. It was even written in a western drawl, which at first was weird but once I was adjusted to it, it made it all more authentic. My love of historical fiction helped too.

The one complaint I had was this; lack of horse description. The color of the horses is just as important as the landscape in a western. At least it is in my opinion. I could just be weird.

Kicked by the Mule

This morning was rough. The alarm clock woke me up and I promptly stubbed my toe. I had a really bizarre dream last night, a weird one even for me. Which of course inspired me to share said dream with the interwebz.

It began as an unusual breakfast with my coworker. Apparently there were new people covering for us at work so we could have an easy morning. We were having breakfast in her gypsy trailer, in which I know she does not live in in real life. Then, the people that were covering for us, suddenly couldn’t handle it so we both had to rush to work. I couldn’t find my other flip flop in her house, so this delayed me.

When I finally made it to the SUV that I do not have in real life, children kept running in and out of the road, causing my exit to be slow. So I politely threatened them out of my way. Something along the lines of, “Hey! Get out of my way!….You know, so you don’t get hurt.”

I finally make it to town, just one I have to drive through to get to where I actually need to go, and a lady in a carriage driven by a mule is in my way. I don’t remember the exact conversation we had about this but she sicks her mule on me.

A goddamn attack mule.

Somehow through this mule onslaught, I know that she beats the poor mule and that fuels my anger. So much so, that despite being kicked and mauled by a mule, I manage to drag my body up the side of the carriage and pull her down by her hair and eye socket.

Yes, you read that right. By her eye socket. I dug my fingers under her eyeball and pulled her down with me.

I manage to defeat evil woman and her mule. (I feel bad about the mule.) Bloody and limping, I drag myself to a nearby store that looks much like an old western inn or general store and ask for help. One woman says to follow her and the other tells me not to. She says to go across the store and get my picture taken by the paper so there is proof that I existed. So, I interrupt a nice family photo to have my beaten and bloody ass photographed.

That’s when the alarm clock went off and I proceeded to wake up and stub my toe. Like I hadn’t gone through enough in my dream.

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Photographic proof not to mess with mules.