December 21, 2013

Braine Reviews: Troll or Derby by Red Tash + Giveaway

I am republishing my review of Red Tash's party on wheels fantasy, TROLL OR DERBY, to celebrate its release in Audio!!!

Here's Red and Harlow to party with us, enjoy this short holiday post :)

A troll, a fairy, and a wizard walk into a landfill…
By Red Tash

Sounds like a joke, doesn’t it? Good. It should. This time last year I published a short holiday anthology containing a fantasy short story set in the world of Troll Or Derby. It’s consistently been a top-ranking free download on the Christmas charts ever since, but heed the warning: zombies, trolls, and magical hoodlums ahead!

A year later, I’m working furiously to finish Troll Or Park, the sequel to my biggest hit.  One of the best tools for the process was listening to the audio for Troll Or Derby chapter-by-chapter as the narrator finished it.  I’m here today to offer a free copy of Troll Or Derby from to one lucky winner, and Braine asked me to write something fun!

Well, as if telling you it’s about trolls and fairies playing roller derby isn’t enough, how about this premise? “A troll finds a Kindle in the landfill.” What would he think of it? What would he read?


Red summoned me today.  Weird how she does that.  She always has the oddest questions.  Sometimes really personal ones, too, like “How do you feel about Deb?” and “Are you really in love with Liana?”  Color me relieved when she took it easy on me this time.  This go round she asked about my reading habits, and specifically what I think of the Kindle, and audiobooks.

I love to read.  The garbage trucks bring me scads of magazines, you know?  Growing up without a family for much of my life, I missed out on what a real home is supposed to look like, feel like, and all that.  Loads of trash that shows up here isn’t really garbafe, either, so a lot of the time I’m plugging stuff into extension cords and testing stuff out. Toasters, oscillating fans, iPods, and now this new Kindle thingamajig.

The first thing I noticed about the Kindle was that someone had left her credit card information on it. (Thank you, Betty G in Toledo!) I downloaded my favorite magazines right away—everything from Real Simple to Better Homes and Gardens. It was pretty cool seeing the photos without a layer of mayonnaise or mud on them. No way for the pages to stick together or get bent, either.

I looked up herbal cookbooks—you English (non-magical folk) don’t realize how many of these herbs are great for spells, but you sure notice the effects—I downloaded about a hundred of those.  There was a guide to braiding my dreadlocks that I got on Amazon Prime, too.

Then there were the audiobooks.  There was one already downloaded on the Kindle, so I turned it on and listened while I cleaned up the yard around my mansa.  Some steamy romance!  I was pretty embarrassed when Deb flew over to the dump and caught me listening. She had the weirdest look on her face—like half of her wanted to ridicule me for being a silly romantic, and half of her wanted…something else.  I never know with her.  Odd kid.

Maybe it’s my imagination, but I’m starting to think she wants something more from our relationship.  And I don’t mean “Maybe she wants to borrow my Kindle.”

But then there’s the question of Liana…and Deb’s kind of young for me.

I better cut this off before Red starts asking nosy questions again!

YES, I like the Kindle.  No, I don’t like talking about myself.  I’d rather show you ‘round the dump.  Come on by the landfill, anytime.  Mi mansa, su mansa.

Series: Troll or Derby 1
Format: ARC from Red Tash Books
Excerpt here
Release Date: June 14, 2012
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Create Space
In Troll Or Derby, fifteen-year-old Roller Deb is singled out by town bullies for both her skates, and her sexual orientation. When her popular homecoming queen of a sister is kidnapped by a scuzzy drug dealer, Deb must flee the trailer park in which she's grown up, and rescue her. Along the way, Deb becomes enmeshed in the magical realm of trolls and fairies, and the blood-thirsty version of roller derby at which these beings excel. But spending too much time among the fairies comes with a price. Will Deb choose to save her sister, with the aid of a mysterious troll? Or will she be lost to the lures of roller derby, and the blonde temptress April, forever?

I've always been a fan of Indie books because when you find a good story, it's usually GREAT. Red Tash fast became one of my favorite Indie writer after I read her other book, This Brilliant Darkness, last year which gave me one massive "mind-f*ck" (her words, not mine) because it was brilliant indeed. However it is with great embarrassment that when TROLL OR DERBY landed on our inbox, I initially declined it, not because I didn't believe in the book, rather I was taking a little break from reading. And it is now with GREAT HUMILITY that I am so glad I took it up because I obviously enjoyed this crazy world of TROLL OR DERBY immensely! So Red, I'd like to take this time to THANK YOU for the motivation, the sales pitch and for not putting pressure on me.
I'm Harlow Saarkenner. I am an American Troll living in rural Indiana, and this is the story of how I met a kick-ass rollergirl, rejoined a rock band, and lived happily ever after.
In a landfill. did I mention that?
TROLL OR DERBY is dark and gritty, filled with exciting chase and purposeful action that it's a challenge to step away from the story once you start it. Debra Breedon or Roller Deb was never aware of her fae origin, all her life she believed she was human until her sister Gennifer got abducted causing her mom to go berserk and now it's up to her to save her sister and fulfill a prophecy. But a simple rescue mission earned her a husband, a formidable nemesis, getting drugged and high on faeth and myriad of other encounters with Rhinomen, fellow fae and trolls in between running the rink. Deb reminded me a lot of Ellen Page in Whip It! with her tomboyish charm and wicked sense of humor as Roller Deb she was sexy and a fearsome heroine that when she finally embraced her fae powers it's nothing short of awesome it felt like staring into the sun. I know she's the one prophesied but I never expected RTash will make her outstanding!
I'm your Protector, I can't hurt you -- but I'll give you back your teeth, you don't have to be my wife anymore.
Harlow, the name alone is so rock star, and though trolls are far from handsome or worthy of sexy and romantic fantasies, he's the kind you want to fall in love with. He's the alpha guy with a beta heart, he's been in love with Deb from the get go and when he found her again, he basically vowed that he'll stick to her no matter what. I love this guy and that teeth pulling part was so humorous I asked RTash is this is a metaphor for marriage in general. He has that Michael Cera/Jesse Eisenberg charm going on for him and I for one love a sexy geek. Well at least in my mind Harlow is one. :D
Only the wicked understand the way of the wicked my dear.
Aside from the comical but adventure-filled story, TROLL OR DERBY was told in alternating POV's from Deb and Harlow which I find cool because it's always nice to know what the guy was thinking when caught in critical moments like marriage and being in love. More importantly I LOVE the villain, Jarod McJagger, the name alone is wicked indeed and he is relentless in ensuring that he gets what he wants. Too bad Roller Deb and Harlow is a tag team worthy of their championship belt, your moves are no match for these two, McJagger!

Anyway TROLL OR DERBY was a fun summer read and roller derby brought back a lot of fond memories for me. I used to have an unhealthy attachment to my first pair of skates too and this stemmed from watching actual roller derby matches at noon when I was a kid long before cable TV so I can more than relate to Deb and her adventures.

Author of Dark Fantasy books Troll Or Derby, This Brilliant Darkness, and The Wizard Tales.

Stalk Red!


  1. This sounds like a great read! Thanks for the review, adding it to my TBR :)

  2. Thanks for having me! I sent you an email, check your inbox!

    Hugs & kisses!

  3. Great review! I would really like to read this one. The book cover is awesome.

  4. Braine, would you mind correcting the email address to Thank you!!! I was wondering why I didn't hear from anyone about the buttons and another reader pointed it out.

  5. This sounds funky and cute!! Adding it to my tbr!

    1. Gasp! So you read fantasy books now?! LOL But this is fun, add it!

  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

  7. SW, this sounds like something that I would read. I like books that entertain me.


    1. The story is entertaining & Red Tash is an amazing writer to boot!

  8. This sounds really funny, Braine! I think I need to add this to my TBR asap, since I have some very intense books that I added this week.

    Have a great weekend, Braine :) And have a Merry Christmas!

    Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookviews

    1. I know what you mean. I'm currently looking for something funny to break it up a little bit.

  9. It does sound different and I do like different. Sure the same old same old can be fine, but new is always better

    1. If you're a reader of otherworldly fantasy, this "something new" is going to be a good break from the usual creatures we read.

  10. Oh Braine this sounds like a blast! thanks for the giveaway and this is going on my list regardless!

    1. It is! Happy you added it, I hope you get to read/listen to it soon!

  11. Been a fan of Red's since I saw the title and cover work for Troll or Derby. I'm a sucker for punny titles and lemme tell you, all you authors out there -- make it Good cover art or just pick a colour and a nice font. Sorry, I digress, Troll or Derby universe is one of my fave places to visit. I think of my first reaction to Troll or Derby was Monty Python's ...."and now, for something Completely different." What better compliment to give any author! Thanks for a great review of a great author's work Braine!

  12. I don't think I ever read any Roller derby book, but I confess it's intriguing. We don't have things like that in France so it's always nice to learn more.

    1. If that's the case, maybe you can start one after reading this *giggles*

  13. Yet another book I might not pick up but since you liked it, I'd be willing to give it a whirl! :) I like the fae element and I, too, love the name Harlow! ;) Plus, it sounds like a lot of fun. Fantastic review, Braine!

  14. Thanks for hosting the contest, and I'm so thrilled to see these comments from recent Talk Supe readers!

    Troll Or Derby is on sale for $.99 through the 29th, so if you're an ebook person, snag it while it's on sale. :D

    Hope you had a great Christmas, Braine, Cimarron, and all! <3

  15. I love Red's work so much, and its down to you for introducing me to her, This Brilliant Darkness was one of the first ebooks I won :P


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