Stephen B. Frank

STEPHEN (S.B.) FRANK, one of our guest contributors, earned a Ph.D. at Duke University and works in the field of education reform. When he needs a break from real life, he likes to indulge in urban fantasy. He has a particular love for humor, so some of his favorite authors are Dakota Cassidy, Mary Janice Davidson, Mark Henry, Julie Kenner, Katie MacAlister, Richelle Mead and Christopher Moore.

Demon Bound: Caitlin Kittredge Rocks. Jack Winter not so much.

Demon Bound by Caitlin Kittredge

Demon Bound is the second book in Caitlin Kittredge’s Black London series. Kittredge fans will be happy to know that she has once again spun a fascinating yarn that is loaded with creative nuances and twists. Her dark imagination is a breath of dank, moldering, fetid air exhaled by something creeping out of the haunted crypt she calls a brain. She has a knack for unfolding compelling stories without too much backfill (backfill is something I personally find annoying). And I especially love the magic system and the world of London’s “Black.” But as much as I want to give Demon Bound a glowing recommendation, my enjoyment was limited by the fact that I personally found it very hard to sympathize with the male co-protagonist, Jack Winter.

Jack is the co-protagon... Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: My brief beef

In the innocence of my youth (note: aka up until a couple of months ago), I naïvely thought that a fantasy in which a supernatural being fell in love was called a “paranormal romance.”  When I started blogging, I proudly proclaimed myself a fan of urban fantasy and paranormal romance and invited people to send me reading materials. Yeah.


I soon got wise to the difference between fantasy and romantic fantasy and things settled down. But then a few weeks ago I received in the mail a hot-off-the-press paperback with a naked man on the cover that I’m 99.8% sure I never asked for. The unsolicited sex object was turned demurely so that his washboard abs rippled but his private bits were unseen, but he was very clearly starkers. I instantly imagined the following conversations:


Pre-teen Pubescent Daug...

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A chat with Lev Grossman

We have with us today, Lev Grossman, in addition to writing book reviews for Time Magazine, Lev is also the internationally best-selling author of The Magicians, Warp, and Codex. His Nerd World blog has recently relaunched as Techland.com. But Lev promises that a) he is still a nerd; and b) he will still be blogging about nerd culture.


SB Frank: I was looking at your website and I saw that you’ve written on some fascinating topics.  One article in particular that caught my eye was a piece “Catalog This,” that talked about the bizarre things that are sometimes bequeathed to libraries as part of the estates of famous personas, such as Dante’s ashes, etc.  If you could pick one ...

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Giving Thanks

First, congratulations to Rebekah M. who has won our copy of R.A. Salvatore's Dame from our last Thoughtful Thursday post, "All I want for Christmas!" In keeping with that holiday theme, I thought it would be nice to give thanks for the new authors we've read so far this year that we're most grateful for and why we appreciate them. For me, the choice that comes to mind is Marjorie Liu, for the vivid imagery and lyricism of her physical descriptions.  She gives me something to aspire to. So, today's discussion question: Who are you most grateful to have read this year?  The discussion will continue through our Thoughtful Thursday post when one lucky commenter will win a copy of  Read More

A chat with Ann Aguirre

We have with us today Ann Aguirre, national bestselling author of science fiction and fantasy who is also the romance novelist, Ava Gray whose Skin Games hits shelves today. Ann has become one of the more popular fantasy and Sci/Fi writers of recent years. And we are very pleased to have her with us today. She has also graciously agreed to stop by and answer our questions today. So, after reading the interview, be sure to answer questions and let her know which of her books you'd like: Doubleblind, Skin Games, or Blue Diablo.


Stephen Frank: I was looking at your website and I see that you’ve been a former clown. Can you tell us a little about that?

Ann Aguirre: Worst job ev... Read More

Me and my Shadow: Frenetic, funny, vastly entertaining!

Me and my Shadow by Katie MacAlister

Me and My Shadow is the third book in Katie MacAllister’s Silver Dragon series, which is set in the same world as her Guardian series. In fact, many Guardian characters (including Aisling and Drake) reappear in her Silver Dragon series. My personal favorite carryover character is Jim, the demonic Newfoundland. His inappropriate and ribald comments had me laughing aloud frequently.

The story itself is about May, a shadow-walking doppelganger who is the offspring of Cyrene, a Naiad, and Magoth, a demon lord. To create May, Cyrene sacrificed her own common sense and enthralled May to Magoth. So from birth, May has been forced to do Magoth’s bi... Read More

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