Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Giveaway: The Ice Princess by Camilla Lackberg (Advance Copy)

This week we're giving away an advance reading copy of The Ice Princess by Camilla Lackberg.

In this electrifying tale of suspense from an international crime-writing sensation, a grisly death exposes the dark heart of a Scandinavian seaside village. Erica Falck returns to her tiny, remote hometown of Fjällbacka, Sweden, after her parents’ deaths only to encounter another tragedy: the suicide of her childhood best friend, Alex. It’s Erica herself who finds Alex’s body—suspended in a bathtub of frozen water, her wrists slashed. Erica is bewildered: Why would a beautiful woman who had it all take her own life? Teaming up with police detective Patrik Hedström, Erica begins to uncover shocking events from Alex’s childhood. As one horrifying fact after another comes to light, Erica and Patrik’s curiosity gives way to obsession—and their flirtation grows into uncontrollable attraction. But it’s not long before one thing becomes very clear: a deadly secret is at stake, and there’s someone out there who will do anything—even commit murder—to protect it.

Fans of Scandinavian greats Stieg Larsson and Henning Mankell will devour Camilla Läckberg’s penetrating portrait of human nature at its darkest.  

To Win:  Follow this blog, "like" our Facebook page, or follow us on Twitter.  We will draw randomly from a pool of those followers on April 2nd, 2011 so, yes, if you follow us on all three, you get three chances to win!

Other Press Raises ebook royalty to 50%

"With e-book royalty rates still a contentious, if lately less openly-debated, issue, indie house Other Press has announced it is raising its e-book royalty rate to 50%. (The reigning e-book royalty rate sits at 25%, though major publishers like Random House have adopted a shifting scale-rate, that can go up to 40%.) " -- Publisher's Weekly - full article here

03/29/11 - [Part 3] New Releases in Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror, Paranormal & more..

Last but not least, the rest of yesterday's new releases in science fiction, fantasy, horror, & paranormal romance:

Kings of Eternity by Eric S. Brown - 1999, on the threshold of a new millennium, the novelist Daniel Langham lives a reclusive life on an idyllic Greek island, hiding away from humanity and the events of the past. All that changes, however, when he meets artist Caroline Platt and finds himself falling in love.

But what is his secret, and what are the horrors that haunt him? 1935. Writer Jonathon Langham and Edward Vaughan are summoned from London by their editor friend Jasper Carnegie to help investigate strange goings on in Hopton Wood.

What they discover there – no less than a strange creature from another world – will change their lives for ever. What they become, and their link to the novelist of the future, is the subject of Eric Brown’s most ambitious novel to date. Almost ten years in the writing, The Kings of Eternity is a novel of vast scope and depth, full of the staple tropes of the genre and yet imbued with humanity and characters you’ll come to love.

Equations of Life by Simon Morden - Samuil Petrovitch is a survivor.

He survived the nuclear fallout in St. Petersburg and hid in the London Metrozone - the last city in England. He's lived this long because he's a man of rules and logic.

For example, getting involved = a bad idea.

But when he stumbles into a kidnapping in progress, he acts without even thinking. Before he can stop himself, he's saved the daughter of the most dangerous man in London.

And clearly saving the girl = getting involved.

Now, the equation of Petrovitch's life is looking increasingly complex. Russian mobsters + Yakuza + something called the New Machine Jihad = one dead Petrovitch.

But Petrovitch has a plan - he always has a plan - he's just not sure it's a good one.

The Art of Seducing a Naked Werewolf by Molly Harper - Generations of werewolves have been secretly residing in a secluded valley a stone’s throw from Grundy, Alaska. So when a snooping Outsider comes to Grundy to investigate rumors of lycanthropic shenanigans in the area, the valley’s pack alpha, Maggie Graham, resolves to chase him away, even if doing so takes a quick bite on the butt. What a pity that researcher Nick Thatcher turns out to be so drool-worthy, and that his kisses make Maggie want to sit up and beg. Maggie just can’t seem to convince Nick to leave . . . and even worse, she can’t convince herself to stay away from him. Cross-species dating is problem enough for a harried alpha female, but on top of that, a rival group of werewolves is trying to move into the valley. With interpack war threatening, Maggie can’t afford to be distracted. Combining romance and a career can be tough for anyone; for a werewolf in love with a human, it may be disastrous. . . .

Loss of Separation by Conrad Williams - A plane crash survivor questions his sanity when the new life that he has built for himself, in a new town, is suddenly thrown into doubt by terrifying discoveries and the revelations they bring about.

King of Plagues by Jonathon Maberry - Saturday 09:11 Hours: A blast rocks a London hospital and thousands are dead or injured… 10:09 Hours: Joe Ledger arrives on scene to investigate.  The horror is unlike anything he has ever seen.  Compelled by grief and rage, Joe rejoins the DMS and within hours is attacked by a hit-team of assassins and sent on a suicide mission into a viral hot zone during an Ebola outbreak.  Soon Joe Ledger and the Department of Military Sciences  begin tearing down the veils of deception to uncover a vast and powerful secret society using weaponized versions of the Ten Plagues of Egypt to destabilize world economies and profit from the resulting chaos.  Millions will die unless Joe Ledger meets the this powerful new enemy on their own terms as he fights terror with terror.

Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog: The Book by Joss Whedon - Joss Whedon’s Emmy award-winning musical tragicomedy tells the story of Billy, aka Dr Horrible, a budding supervillain who wants to beat superhero Captain Hammer and take over the world... and pluck up the courage to speak to his laundromat crush Penny. With exclusive new material from Joss and the production team, new photos, sheet music and more, this official book is a must for fans!

Tiassa by Steven Brust - Long ago, one of the gods fashioned an artifact called the silver tiassa. To Devera the Wanderer, it was a pretty toy to play with. To Vlad Taltos, it was a handy prop for a con he was running. To the Empire, it was a tool to be used against their greatest enemies--the Jenoine. To the Jhereg, it was a trap to kill Vlad.

The silver tiassa, however, had its own agenda.

Tiassa will cover more than ten years in Vlad's life--and, to the delight of longtime fans, will bring him together with Khaavren, from The Phoenix Guards and its sequels. Who may be Vlad's new best friend--or his most terrible enemy.

Deathless by Catherynne M. Valente - A glorious retelling of the Russian folktale Marya Morevna and Koschei the Deathless, set in a mysterious version of St. Petersburg during the first half of the 20th century.

Cold As Ice by Charles Sheffield - Twenty-five years ago there was a great interplanetary war in the Solar System. It was a suicidal spasm in which terrible weapons were created and used; in which nine billion people were killed. The rivalries that led to the war are not gone. And a few of those deadly weapons remain—some still orbiting the sun in the debris of destroyed ships,s some deliberately placed in storage.

Now Cyrus Mobarak, the man who perfected the fusion engine, is determined to bring human settlement to the protected seas of Europa. Opposing him is Hilda Brandt, Europa's administrator. And caught between them are three remarkable young people: Jon Perry, Camille Hamilton, and Wilsa Sheer.

Able One by Ben Bova - When a nuclear missile launched by a rogue North Korean faction explodes in space, the resulting shock wave destroys most of the world's satellites and all global communication. U.S. military satellites, designed to withstand such an assault, reveal two more missiles on launch pads in North Korea, ready to be deployed. Faced with the threat of a thermonuclear attack, the United States has only one possible defense: Able One.

Able One, or ABL-1, is a modified 747 fitted with a high powered laser able to knock out missiles in flight. But both the laser's technology and the jet's crew are untested. What was originally a training flight with a skeleton crew turns into a desperate race to destroy the two remaining nukes. Will Able One's experimental technology be enough to prevent World War III especially when it becomes clear that a saboteur is on board?

The Season of Passage by Christopher Pike - Dr. Lauren Wagner was a celebrity. She was involved with the most exciting adventure mankind had ever undertaken. The whole world admired and respected her.

But Lauren knew fear.

Inside—voices entreating her to love them. Outside—the mystery of the missing group that had gone before her. The dead group.

But where they simply dead

Or something else?

A terrifying novel of horror—and, surprisingly, of salvation—from one of America's bestselling writers.  A novel you won't forget.

Department 19 by William Hill - Jamie Carpenter's life will never be the same. His father is dead, his mother is missing, and he was just rescued by an enormous man named Frankenstein. Jamie is brought to Department 19, where he is pulled into a secret organization responsible for policing the supernatural, founded more than a century ago by Abraham Van Helsing and the other survivors of Dracula. Aided by Frankenstein's monster, a beautiful vampire girl with her own agenda, and the members of the agency, Jamie must attempt to save his mother from a terrifyingly powerful vampire.

Department 19 takes us through history, across Europe, and beyond—from the cobbled streets of Victorian London to prohibition-era New York, from the icy wastes of Arctic Russia to the treacherous mountains of Transylvania. Part modern thriller, part classic horror, it's packed with mystery, mayhem, and a level of suspense that makes a Darren Shan novel look like a romantic comedy.

Wake Unto Me by Lisa Cach - Caitlyn Monahan knows she belongs somewhere else. It's what her dead mother's note suggested, and it's what her recurring nightmares allude to. Desperate to flee these terrifying dreams—and her small town—she accepts a spot at a boarding school in France. Only, when she arrives, her nightmares get worse. But then there are her amazing dreams, so vivid and so real, with visits from an alluring, mysterious, and gorgeous Italian boy from the 1500s. Caitlyn knows they are soul mates, but how can she be in love with someone who exists only in her dreams? Then, as her reality and dream world collide, Caitlyn searches for the real reason why she was brought to this school. And what she discovers will change her life forever.

No Mercy by Sherrilyn Kenyon - Meet Dev Peltier. A shapeshifter who has stood guard at the front of Sanctuary for almost two hundred years, he’s seen it all—or so he thought. His enemies have just discovered a new source of power—one that makes a mockery of anything faced to date. Now the war is on and it’s up to Dev and Samia to guard ground zero. But in order to win, they will have to break the most cardinal of all rules—and pray it doesn’t unravel the universe as we know it…

Born at Midnight by C. C. Hunter - Don’t miss this spectacular new series that will steal your heart and haunt your dreams,  Welcome to Shadow Falls camp, nestled deep in the woods of a town called Fallen…

One night Kylie Galen finds herself at the wrong party, with the wrong people, and it changes her life forever.  Her mother ships her off to Shadow Falls—a camp for troubled teens, and within hours of arriving, it becomes painfully clear that her fellow campers aren’t just “troubled.”  Here at Shadow Falls, vampires, werewolves, shapshifters, witches and fairies train side by side—learning to harness their powers, control their magic and live in the normal world.

Kylie’s never felt normal, but surely she doesn’t belong here with a bunch of paranormal freaks either.  Or does she?  They insist Kylie is one of them, and that she was brought here for a reason.  As if life wasn’t complicated enough, enter Derek and Lucas.  Derek’s a half-fae who’s determined to be her boyfriend, and Lucas is a smokin’ hot werewolf with whom Kylie shares a secret past.  Both Derek and Lucas couldn’t be more different, but they both have a powerful hold on her heart.

Even though Kylie feels deeply uncertain about everything, one thing is becoming painfully clear—Shadow Falls is exactly where she belongs…

Sati by Christopher Pike - I once knew this girl who thought she was God. She didn’t give sight to the blind or raise the dead. She didn’t even teach anything, not really, and she never told me anything I probably didn’t already know.

On the other hand, she didn’t expect to be worshipped, nor did she ask for money. Given her high opinion of herself, some might call that a miracle.

I don’t know, maybe she was God. Her name was Sati and she had blonde hair and blue eyes.

For all who meet her, Sati will change everything.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

03/29/11 - [Part 2] New Releases in Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror, Paranormal & more..

Here's Part II (of III) of this week's new Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror, and Paranormal Romance releases:

WWW:Watch by Robert J. Sawyer - Sixteen-year-old Caitlin Decter was born blind. But, thanks to an implant in her head, she can now see the real world—and also see webspace, the structure of the World Wide Web. There, she’s found a nascent consciousness, which she’s helped bring forth, letting it, too, see the world for the first time.
The consciousness takes the name Webmind. Caitlin’s parents know about it, and so does WATCH, a secret US government agency that monitors terrorist activity on the Web (violating civil liberties as it does so). Caitlin is convinced that Webmind is benign, but her parents are afraid the public will view Webmind—which can now crack any password and read everyone’s email—as Big Brother.

Caitlin discovers that WATCH is on to them. She figures the best way to protect Webmind is by having it prove its benevolence to the world by eliminating all the spam from the Internet.

But Caitlin’s boyfriend accidentally reveals the secret of Webmind’s structure to WATCH. Armed with that information, the government tries to wipe out Webmind. Caitlin travels into webspace, helping Webmind overwhelm WATCH’s computers by redirecting all the billions of intercepted spam messages at them.

Webmind really is trying to help humanity, but Caitlin knows that they’ve only bought a little time. The dark forces of the government—the real Big Brother—will try again to wipe Webmind out. But Caitlin is determined to triumph: she’ll show them that her Big Brother can take their Big Brother.

Eureka: Road Less Traveled by Cris Ramsay - A Global Dynamics researcher has a breakthrough on her project visualizing another dimension. And since GD's experiments have a bad tendency to affect the entire town, Sheriff Jack Carter heads over to check it out. What he sees blows him away. The project has revealed a parallel universe, complete with another Eureka-one in which Carter doesn't exist! But as the two worlds begin to bleed into each other and residents confront their alternate selves, Carter may be the one man who can keep both Eurekas from being destroyed.

Dead in the Family by Charlaine Harris - After enduring torture and the loss of loved ones during the brief but deadly Fae War, Sookie Stackhouse is hurt and she's mad. Just about the only bright spot in her life is the love she thinks she feels for vampire Eric Northman. But he's under scrutiny by the new vampire king. And as the political implications of the shifters' coming-out are beginning to be felt, Sookie's connection to one particular Were draws her into the dangerous debate. Also, though the doors to Faery have been closed, there are still some fae on the human side-and one of them is angry at Sookie...very, very angry...

The Amazon Legion by Tom Kratman - On the colony planet of Terra Nova, Carrera has achieved his revenge, destroying those who had destroyed his life by killing his wife and children in a terrorist strike. And, with this help of his second wife, he has thwarted an attempted coup that would have restored the rule of the oligarchy and undone his hard-won victory. But his fight is not over yet . . .

The problem of the Tauran Union’s control of the Transitway between Terra Nova and Earth remains, as does the problem of the nuclear armed United Earth Peace Fleet, orbiting above the planet. The Taurans will not leave, and the Balboans—a proud people, with much recent success in war – will not tolerate that they should remain.

And yet, with one hundred times the population and three or four hundred times the wealth, the Tauran Union outclasses little Balboa in almost every way, even without the support of Old Earth. Sadly, they have that support. Everything, everyone, will have to be used to finish the job of freeing the country and, if possible, the planet. The children must fight. The old must serve, too. And the women?

This is their story, the story of Balboa’s Tercio Amazona, the Amazon Regiment.

1636: The Saxon Uprising by Eric Flint - The West Virginia town of Grantville, torn from the twentieth century and hurled back into seventeenth century Europe has allied with Gustavus Adolphus, King of Sweden, in the United States of Europe. So, when Gustavus invades Poland, managing to unite all the squabbling Polish factions into repelling the common enemy, the time-lost Americans have to worry about getting dragged into the fight along with the Swedish forces.

But Mike Stearns has another problem. He was Prime Minister of the USE until he lost an election, and now he’s one of Gustavus’s generals; and he has demonstrated that he’s very good at being a general. And he’s about to really need all his military aptitude. Gretchen , who never saw a revolution she didn’t like, has been arrested in Saxony, and is likely to be executed. The revolutionary groups which she has been working with are not about to let that happen, and suddenly there’s rioting in the streets. Saxony’s ruthless General Baner is determined to suppress the uprising by the time-honored “kill them all and let God sort them out” method, which only adds fuel to the fire. So Gustavus orders Mike Stearns to go to Saxony and restore order. But he makes one mistake.

He didn’t tell Mike to take his troops along on the mission. But he didn’t tell him not to, either . . .

Exodus: The Ark by Paul Chafe - The gigantic starship Ark was launched on a voyage of ten thousand years from an Earth on the brink of collapse. Its mission was to carry a portion of the human race to a new home circling another star. But, centuries after its departure, the descendants of the original crew no longer remember that they are on a city-sized spaceship, and know nothing of the Ark’s mission, nor of the starry universe outside. The Prophetsy, a theocracy based on slavery and terror, has ruled over most of the Ark for longer than anyone now living can remember, and it has just succeeded in conquering the few remaining free regions of the ship. Yet there are chinks in the monolithic tyranny . . .

Danil has been a slave since he was a young boy, but his spirit has never been broken, and his keen mind sees ways that the theocracy might be overthrown and envisions new weapons that could achieve that victory.

Annaya is the daughter of the Prophet Polldor, undisputed ruler of the Prophetsy. She is far more intelligent and strong-willed than her brother, but only a male heir can become the next Prophet. To her father, she is only a pawn, to be married off to a powerful ally. But she is determined that will not happen, even if she has to somehow overthrow both her father and the Prophetsy itself.

Olen, the Prophet’s son, is anxious to become the next Prophet. He will cooperate in his sister’s plans as long as he thinks they will lead to his assuming the throne and gaining absolute power, but he is a more dangerous ally than Annaya realizes.

These three, each with a different motive, will strive to change the course of history for the Ark. But even if they restore freedom to their artificial world, can they discover the nature of that world, and regain the knowledge necessary for the successful completion of its mission?

Master storyteller Paul Chafe presents Exodus: The Ark, the gripping second book of the Ark trilogy.

Longeye by Sharon Lee & Steve Miller - Hidden from the human-inhabited world by the inimical magical device known as the keleigh, the Vaitura has become a subtle battleground where the once all-powerful Elder Fey strive against each other and the upstart Queen to regain ascendancy. Of all the Elder Fey it is Altimere who is strongest in magical kest and Altimere who is most devious. Pitted against Zaldore and her group seeking to manipulate the convelescing Ranger known as Longeye to foil the Queen and rule the world, Altimere dares to utilize the untested powers of half-human, half-Fey Rebecca Beauvally, recognized by the elemental denizens of the Vaitura as The Gardener.

Now all plans must be rewritten: Becca breaks Altimere's capricious dominion with the dangerous herbal help of Duainfey, but, weakened by the effort, is held against her will in service to the Queen by Meripen's mysterious sea-lord cousin, Sian. Becca must escape the Queen's retainers to regain control of her own fate. With the magics of the Vaitura, and Altimere's retribution arrayed against her, she escapes with only her horse, a mad forest-living Brethren, and her freed magical servant Nancy at her side. Worse, the recovered legendary hero Longeye, long beloved of the Vaitura's forest folk and creatures, has re-armed at Sian's bidding, and knows most of all about Becca that she is both dangerous, and of the same folk who cruelly tortured him and slew his lover before his eyes.

Fall of Damnos by Nick Kyme - When Damnos is hit by cataclysmic earthquakes, an ancient force is awakened. Deep beneath the earth, the necrons rise from their slumber to decimate the human populace. All appears lost until salvation comes from the heavens – the Ultramarines brave an orbital bombardment to deploy their forces on Damnos, led by two legendary warriors – Captain Cato Sicarius and Chief Librarian Tigurius.

They are the planet's last, great hope against the remorseless alien foes, but tensions within their ranks threaten to derail victory. As battle rages on Damnos, and the Ultramarines seek to defeat their soulless enemies, Tigurius receives a terrible vision – a vision telling of the death of a hero...

Horus Rising (Anniv. Edition) by Dan Abnett - Under the benevolent leadership of the Immortal Emperor the Imperium of Man has stretched out across the galaxy. On the eve of victory, the Emperor leaves the front lines, entrusting the great crusade to his favorite son, Horus. Promoted to Warmaster, the idealistic Horus tries to carry out the Emperor'sgrand design, all the while the seeds of heresy and rebellion have been sowed amongst his brothers.

Knights of Bretonnia by Anthony Reynolds - Bretonnia is a land shrouded in myth and magic, under siege from the strange creatures of its shadowy forests and those fallen to the lure of the Dark Gods. Against these fearsome foes stand the Knights of Bretonnia, calling upon their faith in the Lady and their guile with the sword to repel their legions of enemies. When young noble Calard starts upon the path to knighthood, he soon discovers the darkness hidden within his homeland and the price that must be paid by those seeking the holiest of honours – the title of Grail Knight. Accompanied by his faithful manservant Chlod, he must face vampires, wyverns, Chaos warriors and goblins, but each battle brings him one step closer to becoming the legend he seeks.

Knights of Bretonnia collects the novels Knight Errant and Knight of the Realm, plus two new novellas, Questing Knight and Grail Knight, completing the saga of Calard from his knightly training to his most epic of victories.

Victories of the Space Marines edited by Christian Dunn - From planet to planet, the enemies of mankind will stop at nothing to expand their dominion. Worlds are shattered, and their citizens face a desperate fight for survival. There is a hope – superhuman warriors serving the glory of the Emperor, standing proudly in defiance of inhuman foes. These metal-clad giants lay waste to the relentless hordes of xenos invaders and defend humanity against the insidious forces of Chaos. In the remains of their enemies, they stand triumphant.

They are the Space Marines. These are their victories.

Eternal Rider by Larissa Ione - They are here. They ride. The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

His name is Ares, and the fate of mankind rests on his powerful shoulders. If he falls to the forces of evil, the world falls too. As one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, he is far stronger than any mortal, but even he cannot fight his destiny forever. Not when his own brother plots against him.

Yet there is one last hope. Gifted in a way other humans can't-or won't-understand, Cara Thornhart is the key to both this Horseman's safety and his doom. But involving Cara will prove treacherous, even beyond the maddening, dangerous desire that seizes them the moment they meet. For staving off eternal darkness could have a staggering cost: Cara's life.

Darkest Secret by Gena Showalter - Keeper of the demon of Secrets, Amun can manipulate the darkest thoughts of anyone nearby. But when the immortal warrior is chained and isolated to protect those he loves, death is his only hope of release—until he meets Haidee, a fellow prisoner whose beauty and hidden vulnerability draw him into a reckless test of his loyalty….

Haidee is a demon-assassin, raised to despise Amun's kind. Yet how can she hate the man whose touch sets her aflame? But to save him, she must give herself body and soul…and face the wrath of a powerful adversary sworn to destroy her.

Rush of Darkness by Ryannon Byrd - Raine Spenser is on the brink. Held prisoner because of her abilities, Raine—a powerful psychic as well as vampire—desperately needed a savior. But the last one she expected was the green-eyed soldier who'd once hunted her kind. Since her rescue, she's tried to forget Seth McConnell, unable to cope with the strange, simmering attraction that draws her to the compelling human.

But their goals—find the Kraven who held Raine captive and destroy him—are the same. The ever-growing web of danger surrounding them draws these two unlikely allies closer together, and anger slowly turns into an explosive passion they're finding harder and harder to deny…

The End of Eternity by Isaac Asimov - One of Isaac Asimov’s SF masterpieces, this stand-alone novel is a monument of the flowering of SF in the 20th century. It is widely regarded as Asimov’s single best SF novel and one every SF fan should read.
Andrew Harlan is an Eternal, a member of the elite of the future. One of the few who live in Eternity, a location outside of place and time, Harlan’s job is to create carefully controlled and enacted Reality Changes.

These Changes are small, exactingly calculated shifts in the course of history made for the benefit of humankind. Though each Change has been made for the greater good, there are always costs.

During one of his assignments, Harlan meets and falls in love with Noÿs Lambent, a woman who lives in real time and space. Then Harlan learns that Noÿs will cease to exist after the next change, and risks everything to sneak her into Eternity.

Unfortunately, they are caught. Harlan’s punishment? His next assignment: kill the woman he loves before the paradox they have created results in the destruction of Eternity.

Divine Misfortune by A. Lee Martinez - Teri and Phil had never needed their own personal god. But when Phil is passed up for a promotion - again - it's time to take matters into their own hands. And look online.

Choosing a god isn't as simple as you would think. There are too many choices; and they often have very hefty prices for their eternal devotion: blood, money, sacrifices, and vows of chastity. But then they find Luka, raccoon god of prosperity. All he wants is a small cut of their good fortune.

Oh - and to crash on their couch for a few days.

DIVINE MISFORTUNE is a story of gods and mortals - in worship, in love, and at parties.

03/29/11 - [Part 1] New Releases in Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror, Paranormal & more..

I'm running behind on my new genre release blog this morning - due to filing taxes, writing contracts, and, in the greater part, to a massive amount of new arrivals this week - so I'm splitting this blog into at least 2 parts.  Here's part 1 of the new releases for the week:

Embedded by Dan Abnett - HE'D DO ANYTHING TO GET A STORY.

When journalist Lex Falk gets himself chipped into the brain of a combat soldier, he thinks he has the ultimate scoop - a report from the forbidden front line of a distant planetary war, live to the living rooms of Earth. When the soldier is killed, however, Lex has to take over the body and somehow get himself back to safety once more... broadcasting all the way.

Heart-stopping combat science fiction from the million-selling Warhammer 40,000 author.

Dark Jenny by Alex Bledsoe - Alex Bledsoe’s novels featuring detective Eddie LaCrosse have drawn rave reviews for their ingenious blend of classic fantasy and hard-boiled detective fiction. Now with Dark Jenny, Bledsoe returns with an all-new tale of intrigue and murder. . . .

For twenty-five gold pieces a day, plus expenses, Eddie LaCrosse will take on most any case. But the unexpected delivery of a coffin in the dead of winter forces LaCrosse to look back at a bygone chapter in his past—and the premeditated murder of a dream.

Ruled by the noble King Marcus Drake, the island kingdom of Grand Braun is an oasis of peace and justice in an imperfect world. At least until the beautiful Queen Jennifer is accused of adultery and murder. In the wrong castle at the wrong time, Eddie finds himself drafted at sword’s point to solve the mystery. With time running out, and powerful nobles all too eager to pin the murder on Eddie himself, he must untangle a tangled web of palace intrigues, buried secrets, and bewitching women—before the entire kingdom erupts into civil war.

Murder, mystery, and magic—just another day on the job for Eddie LaCrosse.

Watcher of the Dead by J. V. Jones - The epic fourth novel of the Sword of Shadows fantasy series.

In this powerful saga of redemption and renewal, J. V. Jones brings to vivid life the magnificent tapestry of a world at once desperately fighting for survival against supernatural monsters and rent by internecine warfare. The frozen land at the north of the world was once ruled by a legendary nation of superhuman warriors. But that age has passed, leaving ancient clans to struggle for dominance as supernatural forces beyond their control threaten their very existence.

Amid the chaos of world-changing violence, unlikely heroes emerge. An unwanted warrior, a forsaken woman of power, the betrayed widow of a slain clan chief: these are the heroes rising to claim what has been taken from them and to reshape the world.

In a sharply observed narrative that illuminates these riven lives, Jones has crafted a human drama full of the excitement, suspense, and sheer storytelling power that have made the Sword of Shadows a fantasy series that transcends genre to become a memorable tale of human striving and triumph that speaks to readers as have few others.

Waking Nightmares by Christopher Golden - Peter Octavian, once a vampire, now a powerful mage, has been living a quiet life in San Francisco. But when the barrier that used to prevent demons and monsters from entering the world have fallen, Octavian is compelled to do what he can to hold back the darkness.

Vegas Knights by Matt Forbeck - It's a kind of magic... When two college freshmen decide to spend Spring Break using their magic to fleece the gambling tables of Las Vegas, little do they imagine that Vegas harbors some magical secrets of its own... And of course what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas - alive or dead.

Surrender the Dark by L. A. Banks - Celeste Jackson has fought all her life against a fog of hallucination and substance abuse, but it’s not until she meets her protector, Azrael, an angel who has left the safety of the Light, that she learns of the evil forces that have been trying to ruin her, and why. A fierce battle for control of the mortal realm is brewing, and only Celeste—with the help of the Remnant, her half-human, half-angel brethren—can stand in the way. Together, Celeste and Azrael must gather an army of sensitives to defeat the dark powers that have ruled humanity for centuries, but time is running out. If Azrael surrenders to his growing desire for Celeste, he risks being trapped among humanity forever. But the longer he stays, the harder she is to resist. To save the world, Celeste must draw on her own dark experiences with addiction to help Azrael overcome the one temptation that could possibly make him an eternal prisoner—his obsession with her.

Master and Apprentice by Sonya Bateman - Luck has never been on Gavyn Donatti’s side. Anyone else with magic abilities inherited from a distant genie relative would have it made, but not Donatti, descendant of a cranky, shape-shifting genie named Ian. The prince of a murdered kingdom, consumed with revenge and driven by an unbreakable curse, Ian is determined to hunt down and destroy every last one of his enemies in the power-hungry snake clan—at any cost, including his life. Or Donatti’s.

Obsessed by his own rage, Ian has never really taught Donatti how to use his abilities. So when a powerful cult of magic-users captures Ian’s wife, the princess Akila, and then Ian himself, Donatti is left alone to take on dozens of half-djinn and their mysterious leader with designs on world domination.

Facing an impossible mission, Donatti is forced to turn to an enemy for help—one who claims to know how to unlock his true potential. Trusting a snake might be the last mistake Donatti ever makes—but if he doesn’t learn to wield the power inside him, everyone will pay the ultimate price.

Black Blade Blues by J. A. Pitts - Sarah Beauhall has more on her plate than most twenty-somethings: day job as a blacksmith, night job as a props manager for low-budget movies, and her free time is spent fighting in a medieval re-enactment group.

The lead actor breaks Sarah’s favorite one-of-a-kind sword, and to avoid reshooting scenes, Sarah agrees to repair the blade. One of the extras, who claims to be a dwarf, offers to help. And that’s when things start to get weird. Could the sword really be magic, as the "dwarf" claims? Are dragons really living among us as shapeshifters?

And as if things weren’t surreal enough, Sarah’s girlfriend Katie breaks out the dreaded phrase… “I love you.” As her life begins to fall apart, first her relationship with Katie, then her job at the movie studio, and finally her blacksmithing career, Sarah hits rock bottom. It is at this moment, when she has lost everything she has prized, that one of the dragons makes their move.

And suddenly what was unthinkable becomes all too real…and Sarah will have to decide if she can reject what is safe and become the heroine who is needed to save her world.

Con & Conjure [Raine Benares] by Lisa Shearin - Raine Benares is a seeker who finds lost things and people. Ever since the Saghred, a soul-stealing stone that's given her unlimited power, has bonded to her, the goblin king and the elves have wanted to possess its magic themselves. Which means a goblin thief and her ex-fiancé-an elven assassin-are after her. To survive, she'll need the help of her notorious criminal family.

City of Hope and Desire by Ian Whates - Dark forces are gathering in the shadowy depths, and the whole city is under threat. The former street-nick, Tom, embarks on a journey to discover the source of the great river Thair, said to be the ultimate power behind all of Thaiburley.  Accompanying him are the assassin Dewar and the young Thaistess Mildra.  It soon becomes evident that their journey has more significance than any of them realise, as past secrets catch up with them and unknown adversaries hunt them... to the death!

Indistinguishable From Magic [Star Trek TNG] by David A. McIntee - The most talented Starfleet engineers of two generations unite to solve a two-hundred-year-old technological mystery that turns out to be only the beginning of a wider quest.

With the support of Guinan and Nog, as well as the crew of the U.S.S. Challenger, Geordi La Forge and Montgomery Scott soon find themselves drawn into a larger, deadlier, and far more personal adventure. Helped by old friends and hindered by old enemies, their investigation will come to threaten everything they hold dear. Seeking out the new, and going where no one has gonebefore, Geordi, Scotty, and Guinan find that their pasts are very much of the present, and must determine whether any sufficiently advanced technology is really indistinguishable from magic.

Haunted: Dark Delicacies III edited by Del Howison and Jeff Gelb -  In this third distinguished collection of twenty-one superb, sublimely dark tales written especially for this volume, today's acknowledged masters of horror fiction offer readers a truly twisted taste of terror.

Flandry's Legacy [The Technic Civilization] by Poul Anderson - Sir Dominic Flandry is now an Admiral, but takes little joy in his new rank. He sees the rot in the Terran Empire on every hand and knows that the Long Night will inevitably fall upon the galaxy. His consolation is that measures he has taken while doing what he can to postpone the Empire’s final collapse may shorten the coming galactic dark age and hasten the rise of a new interstellar civilization. In the meantime, he’ll enjoy the comforts of a decadent civilization—and he’ll always be ready for one more battle against the Empire’s enemies.

This concluding volume of the Technic Civilization saga, one of the milestones of modern science fiction includes two full-length novels:

A Stone in Heaven—When the daughter of Flandry’s mentor asks for help, he intervenes, and finds he must thwart a would-be dictator’s plans to seize control of the Empire.

The Game of Empire—The Merseians, alien enemies of the Empire, have put into motion an insidious plan to bring the Terran Empire down. Flandry’s daughter, Diana, and her feline-like alien friend have discovered the conspiracy, but can they stop it in time?
Plus three novellas and a novelette set in the time of the Long Night and the renaissance of civilization which followed it, concluding one of the grandest adventure sagas in science fiction.

Land of the Dead by Thomas Harlan - It’s a small change in our history: imagine that the Japanese made contact with the Aztec Empire. Instead of small-pox and Christianity, they brought an Imperial alliance, samurai ethics, and technology. By the time of these books, the Emperor in Mexico City rules not just the entire planet Earth, but a growing interplanetary Empire. But the Galaxy is not a hospitable place, and there are other powers, both new and very very old, who would stop the spread of the power in Anuhuac.

A weapon of the Old Ones, from the time of the First Sun, has been found in a region of space. It must be investigated, then tamed or destroyed to keep it from the hands of opposing powers. Gretchen Anderssen, freelance archeologist and specialist in First Sun artifacts, has been hired by her old mentor Green Hummingbird, agent of the Mirror Service, to join him in the study. They will be joined by old friends, and some old enemies as well.

The View From the Imperium by Jody Lynn Nye - P. G. Wodehouse meets space opera, as Ensign Thomas Innes Loche Kinago, fresh from the Academy is given his first command. A crumb from the upper crust, he’s eager to uphold the traditions of his family, and in particular, his mother, a distinguished Admiral of the Imperium. Of course, he’s aware of the importance of always having simply smashing tailored uniforms on hand, and having his camera ready to record memorable moments for his scrapbook. In the meantime, a charismatic leader has arisen who seems able to control the minds of anyone he meets, and may be on his way to taking over the entire galaxy.

Can Kinago’s aristocratic bearing and unbridled snobbery stand up to such a challenge? Fortunately, his constant companion, the unflappable Jeeves, er, Parsons, is on hand to look after the young, impulsive master, and somehow help his charge bumble his way through, perhaps even saving the galaxy in the process.

Phantom Evil [Krewe of Hunters] by Heather Graham - A secret government unit is formed under the oversight of Adam Harrison, famed paranormal investigator. The six members he's gathered know a little of the otherworldly—each has honed a psychic talent of their own.

Jackson Crow, part English, part Cheyenne, heads the group. Haunted by his experience with an ancestral ghost who saved his life as a child, and the recent murders of two previous teammates, Jackson can't tell if Adam's demoted him or given him an extraordinary opportunity. Despite his link to the realm of spirits, he's well aware that the living commit the most heinous crimes, with spiritualist charlatans existing merely to fool and seduce the unwary.

To counterbalance Jackson's careful skepticism, Adam Harrison has paired him with Angela Hawkins, a young woman who learned the painful lesson of loss at an early age. A police officer utilizing her paranormal intuition in Virginia, she already has her hands full. But Adam's call to New Orleans is strong.

The case: In a historic mansion in New Orleans's French Quarter, a senator's wife falls to her death from a balcony. Most think she jumped, distraught over the loss of her young son. Some say she was pushed. And yet others believe she was beckoned by the ghostly spirits that inhabit the house—once the site of a serial killer's grisly work.

Whether supernatural or all too human, crimes of passion, greed and desire will cast the pair into danger of losing their lives…and their immortal souls.

I Don't Want To Kill You by Dan Wells - John Wayne Cleaver has called a demon---literally called it on the phone---and challenged it to a fight. He’s faced two monsters already, barely escaping with his life, and now he’s done running; he’s taking the fight to them. As he wades through the town’s darkest secrets, searching for any sign of who the demon might be, one thing becomes all too clear: in a game of cat and mouse with a supernatural killer, you are always the mouse.

In I Am Not a Serial Killer we watched a budding sociopath break every rule he had to save his town from evil. In Mr. Monster we held our breath as he fought madly with himself, struggling to stay in control. Now John Wayne Cleaver has mastered his twisted talents and embraced his role as a killer of killers.  I Don't Want to Kill You brings his story to a thundering climax of suspicion, mayhem, and death.

It’s time to punish the guilty.

And in a town full of secrets, everyone is guilty of something...

New Release blog running late today

Due in part to a massive amount of new releases in SF, Fantasy, Horror, Paranormal this morning, our usual Tuesday morning blog detailing the new arrivals is running considerably behind schedule.

We'll be posting the blog in two parts starting later this afternoon.  Please stay tuned....

Monday, March 28, 2011

Giveaway Winner: Congratulations to Seraph Buchanan

We drew our winner on Saturday for the Burn Down The Sky ARC giveaway but hadn't had a chance to announce it until now....

Congratulations to Seraph Buchanan, a follower of our facebook page - she won the ARC in last week's drawing!

This week we'll be giving away an ARC of The Ice Princess - more details tomorrow afternoon.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Google Books Settlement Rejected By Judge

In a stunning setback, Judge Denny Chin today rejected the Google Book Settlement, some 13 months after its final fairness hearing. “In the end, I conclude that the [Settlement Agreement] is not fair, adequate, and reasonable.” Chin set a date of April 25th for a status conference, and suggested his concerns with the agreement could be ameliorated with one simple change. “As the United States and other objectors have noted, many of the concerns raised in the objections would be ameliorated if the ASA were converted from an opt-out settlement to an opt-in settlement. I urge the parties to consider revising the ASA accordingly."

Full Publisher's Weekly article here

Print on Demand explained

This post arose out of a Q&A on an email list for booksellers and collectors and was originally fired off quickly in response to some questions - thus, I hope I may be excused for any errors and continuity problems that may exist herein.

The bulk of what used/antiquarian booksellers get in a tizzy over are the marginally respectable POD printers such as Kessinger Publishing (one of the oldest and largest of this type of printer).  Kessinger purchases original copies of out-of-copyright material, scans the books and loads the result to Ingram with plain yellow covers and simple lettering.  They use a boilerplate description of the title which briefly and not too clearly explains that this is a reprint/facsimile copy and therefore identical to the original including errors, stains, library markings, etc.  They offer the titles in both trade paperback and hardcover at a price based on the page count.  After distributor costs and retailer markup, Kessinger is making about $10 profit per copy sold - and charging roughly twice what they ought to be for the titles.  Other smaller companies have taken advantage of this by undercutting Kessinger on the pricing.  The setup cost per title runs about $100 though Kessinger gets a volume discount.  I am fairly certain that Kessinger has Ingram handle the scanning as well - Ingram offers the service and the cost thereof is marginal compared to purchasing your own equipment to do it.

Google uses their own scanners but I think uses Ingram for the printed copies now though their primary grab at the market was for ebook reprints of the library archives of the world.

Dover purchases original copies of the books and re-typesets them.  They use traditional offset printing for most of their books and have the equipment in-house.  Technically, Dover is not publishing POD - though they are beginning to use the technology for backlist titles I believe.

Applewood Books is another reprint house, specializing in out-of-copyright Americana and early children's series (Tom Swift, Nancy Drew, etc.)  They fully re-typeset the book and re-image the original dust jackets, etc.. manufacturing a reprint copy that truly is brand-new and at the same time is a replica of the original save for their markings/pricing.  They produce a very nice facsimile edition of these works at very fair pricing (I think the Tom Swift reprints in hardcover are $14.95 or so).  Again, like Dover, most of their product is traditionally offset print rather than POD but they are likely starting to change that for some titles.

The other type of company that gets people upset lately is Books LLC - a POD house that is dumping Wikipedia articles into book form at insane prices.  They simply have some extraction software that grabs the data from Wikipedia on any subject imaginable and dumps it into book form, loads the result to Ingram.  MANY customers, authors, and others are screaming about this company as their descriptions & titles are blatantly misleading, the prices are outrageous and the ownership of content is dubious at best.

Next up - major houses such as Del Rey, UMich Press, Random House, S&S, Baen books, and many others.  Quite a few of the major houses have partnered with Ingram to keep their backlist titles in print using POD technology.  In this model, publishers with trade or mass-market titles that are still under contract and "in print" but are not selling strongly enough to generate another full offset print-run are being converted into POD format.  The end-result is a slightly higher price to the customer (usually about $16 for a trade paperback) and a slightly lower margin to the bookseller (35% instead of the usual 40%+).  The book in the hands of the customer at the end of the transaction is virtually indistinguishable from the trade paperback that was originally offset print.  Almost all of the Univ presses and major houses have partnered with Lightning Print (Ingram) for this service - allowing them to retain the books "in-print" without the major expense of printing and warehousing an entire new print run for a marginally-selling midlist title.

And thus, we segue into the least recognized but most widely used segment of POD - small presses - In the last 7 years there has been a proliferation of small press publisher using POD technology as an alternative to the massive overhead involved in an offset print run and distribution.  Companies like Permuted Press, Prime Books, Scrybe Press (my own company), Wildside Press, many erotica imprints, several romance publisher, and now Avon, Harlequin, and Amazon.com (under the AmazonEncore label) have all started producing high-quality original titles published exclusively using Ingram's Print-On-Demand technology.  Again, the end result in almost identical.  The trade-off comes in cost-per-unit.  Where a large-volume offset print run can get paperback prices well under $1 in print cost, the minimum charge for a POD copy to the publisher is about $2.50.  Add in royalties, set-up/design/editor costs, and so on and the end result would be close to $20.00 if you maintained traditional pricing structure.  Since the typical customer will likely balk at that price point, most of these companies are shaving the dollar at both ends - releasing the title at $10.00-$15.00 by either reducing author royalty percentage and their own percentage somewhat, shorting the retailer discount or, in the case of Permuted Press recently, eliminating the retailer discount and relying on Amazon to sell the product.  

Also in this category are self-publishers - authors or very small/vanity presses that are utilizing an intermediary company such as Lulu or Createspace to supply an ISBN, formatting, and sometimes design services (at additional fees) to produce the book on behalf of the author/content owner. Typically the set-up/up front costs to the content owner will run between $100 and $500 depending on the level of "service" purchased.   I'll also lump the extremely controversial PublishAmerica into this category - they also use Ingram's POD service and they pretend not to be vanity/self publishing by supposedly exercising editorial control and "buying" the rights (they pay $1 plus very small royalty percentage" - editing costs, etc are extra)

Finally, the last segment of Print on Demand - the in-store or in-house (for a few Universities) Espresso Book Machine - a wonder of modern technology, these fairly compact units (about the size of a traditional counter) can print a nice-looking paperback of any available book in about 2 minutes.  They use a slightly sub-standard method (compared to Ingram's product) but the trade-off comes in affordability levels.  Where Ingram's digital print-presses run about $800,000 each, an Espresso Book Machine is around $50,000.  Inside its case you'd find a pair of high quality laser printers, a ream cutter/trimmer, some robotics, and a perfect-bind glue system.  The attached computer can be tied into Ingram's entire POD catalog as well as Google ebooks or the store/presses own catalog - allowing a customer to select, print, and pay for a copy of Jane Eyre in about 5 minutes start to finish.  

There is a small segment of these Espresso Book Machine locations capitalizing on the capability of these machines to offer self-publishing/one-off print services with extremely varying prices.  Since the "set-up" consists essentially of loading a customer's PDF file into the machine, the debate over pricing can vary as much as the price for this kind of service..  I've seen everything from $10 setup fees up to $500.00 for the same service.

OK, I think I covered the bulk of the uses and types of POD currently being employed.  Don't hesitate to ask any questions you may have - either in comments, by email, or on the various email lists I subscribe to.

03/22/11 - New Releases in Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror, Paranormal, Steampunk & more..

This week's new releases feature a stack of titles from Pyr, some great new Teen SF/Fantasy, and new Star Wars and Elizabeth Moon hardcover releases.

Before getting to the list though, I need to make note of two titles that AREN'T on the list this week.  We were forced to cancel our orders for 2 new zombie horror titles from two different publishers this week due to the choice of the publishers to NOT extend standard wholesale discounts to booksellers.  These two titles, one from Permuted Press and the other from Living Dead Press were both carried by our distributor but at "NET" discount - meaning that bookstores have to pay full retail price to order them.  Since we don't normally mark up books over suggested retail price, this would mean that we'd have to pay for the privilege of selling the books for no profit - not exactly a sound business model.  If these stores expect indie retailers to stock their titles, they are going to have to extend industry standard discounts to the bookstores.

Burton and Swinburne in The Curious Case of the Clockwork Man by Mark Hodder - It is 1862, though not the 1862 it should be...

Time has been altered, and Sir Richard Francis Burton, the king's agent, is one of the few people who know that the world is now careening along a very different course from that which Destiny intended.

When a clockwork-powered man of brass is found abandoned in Trafalgar Square, Burton and his assistant, the wayward poet Algernon Swinburne, find themselves on the trail of the stolen Garnier Collection—black diamonds rumored to be fragments of the Lemurian Eye of Naga, a meteorite that fell to Earth in prehistoric times.

His investigation leads to involvement with the media sensation of the age: the Tichborne Claimant, a man who insists that he's the long lost heir to the cursed Tichborne estate. Monstrous, bloated, and monosyllabic, he's not the aristocratic Sir Roger Tichborne known to everyone, yet the working classes come out in force to support him. They are soon rioting through the streets of London, as mysterious steam wraiths incite all-out class warfare.

From a haunted mansion to the Bedlam madhouse, from South America to Australia, from séances to a secret labyrinth, Burton struggles with shadowy opponents and his own inner demons, meeting along the way the philosopher Herbert Spencer, Isambard Kingdom Brunel, Florence Nightingale, and Charles Doyle (father of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle).

Can the king's agent expose a plot that threatens to rip the British Empire apart, leading to an international conflict the like of which the world has never seen? And what part does the clockwork man have to play?

Wolfsangel by M. D. Lachlan - The Viking king Authun leads his men on a raid against an Anglo-Saxon village. Men and women are killed indiscriminately, but Authun demands that no child be touched. He is acting on prophecy—a prophecy that tells him that the Saxons have stolen a child from the gods. If Authun, in turn, takes the child and raises him as an heir, the child will lead his people to glory.

But Authun discovers not one child, but twin baby boys. After ensuring that his faithful warriors, witnesses to what has happened, die during the raid, Authun takes the children and their mother home, back to the witches who live on the troll wall. And he places his destiny in their hands.

So begins a stunning multivolume fantasy epic that will take a werewolf from his beginnings as the heir to a brutal Viking king down through the ages. It is a journey that will see him hunt for his lost love through centuries and lives, and see the endless battle between the wolf, Odin, and Loki, the eternal trickster, spill over into countless bloody conflicts from our history and our lives.

This is the myth of the werewolf as it has never been told before and marks the beginning of an extraordinary new fantasy series.

Return to Canifis (Runescape #2) by T. S. Church - Varrock is the greatest human city in the world, yet it is a city filled with dangerous secrets. People have been disappearing, taken by an inhuman abductor. Its victims are murdered...or worse. For some are spirited away to Morytania, the land where vampires rule. As Kara-Meir and her friends—heroes of the Battle of Falador—gather for the Midsummer Festival, unrest grows against the crown. A conspiracy is unmasked, and the King is forced to send representatives across the holy river to Canifis, the capital of Morytania. For reasons of his own, he selects the now famous heroine Kara, as well as Gar’rth, unique in his knowledge of the land of the dead. They are accompanied by Theodore, Doric the dwarf, the wizard Castimir, and the barbarian priestess Arisha, on a mission that will force Gar’rth to confront his violent heritage, and will reveal secrets that will test their loyalties to the limit.

For the price of failure in Morytania is far worse than death, and if their mission fails then a new King will rule in Varrock. A King who is lord of both the living and the dead.

Kings of the North (Legend of Paksenarrion) by Elizabeth Moon - Elizabeth Moon returns to the fantasy world of the paladin Paksenarrion Dorthansdotter — Paks for short — in this second volume of a new series filled with all the bold imaginative flights, meticulous world-building, realistic military action, and deft characterization that readers have come to expect from this award-winning author. In Kings of the North, Moon is working at the very height of her storytelling powers.

Peace and order have been restored to the kingdoms of Tsaia and Lyonya, thanks to the crowning of two kings: Mikeli of Tsaia and, in Lyonya, Kieri Phelan, a mercenary captain whose royal blood and half-elven heritage are resented by elves and humans alike.

On the surface, all is hope and promise. But underneath, trouble is brewing. Mikeli cannot sit safely on his throne as long as remnants of the evil Verrakaien magelords are at large. Kieri is being hounded to marry and provide the kingdom with an heir — but that is the least of his concerns. A strange rift has developed between him and his grandmother and co-ruler, the immortal elven queen known as the Lady. More problematic is the ex-pirate Alured, who schemes to seize Kieri’s throne for himself — and Mikeli’s, too, while he’s at it. Meanwhile, to the north, the aggressive kingdom of Pargun seems poised to invade.

Now, as war threatens to erupt from without and within, the two kings are dangerously divided. Old alliances and the bonds of friendship are about to be tested as never before. And a shocking discovery will change everything.

Hidden Cities by Daniel Fox - More by chance than good judgment, the young emperor has won his first battle. The rebels have retreated from the coastal city of Santung—but they’ll be back. Distracted by his pregnant concubine, the emperor sends a distrusted aide, Ping Wen, to govern Santung in his place. There, the treacherous general will discover the healer Tien, who is obsessed with a library of sacred mage texts and the secrets concealed within—secrets upon which, Ping Wen quickly realizes, the fate of the whole war may turn.

As all sides of this seething conflict prepare for more butchery, a miner of magical jade, himself invulnerable, desperately tries to save his beautiful and yet brutally scarred clan cousin; a priestess loses her children, who are taken as pawns in a contest beyond her comprehension; and a fierce and powerful woman commits an act of violence that will entwine her, body and soul, with the spirit of jade itself. Amid a horde of soldiers, torturers, and runaways, these people will test both their human and mystical powers against a violent world. But one force trumps all: the huge, hungry, wrathful dragon.

Black Halo (Aeon's Gate #2) by Sam Sykes - The Tome of the Undergates has been recovered...

...and the gates of hell remain closed. Lenk and his five companions set sail to bring the accursed relic away from the demonic reach of Ulbecetonth, the Kraken Queen. But after weeks at sea, tensions amidst the adventurers are rising. Their troubles are only beginning when their ship crashes upon an island made of the bones left behind from a war long dead.

And it appears that bloodthirsty alien warrior women, fanatical beasts from the deep, and heretic-hunting wizards are the least of their concerns. Haunted by their pasts, plagued by their gods, tormented by their own people, and gripped by madness personal and peculiar, their greatest foes may yet be themselves.

The reach of Ulbecetonth is longer than hell can hold.

The Enterprise of Death by Jesse Bullington - As the witch-pyres of the Spanish Inquisition blanket Renaissance Europe in a moral haze, a young African slave finds herself the unwilling apprentice of an ancient necromancer. Unfortunately, quitting his company proves even more hazardous than remaining his pupil when she is afflicted with a terrible curse. Yet salvation may lie in a mysterious tome her tutor has hidden somewhere on the war-torn continent.

She sets out on a seemingly impossible journey to find the book, never suspecting her fate is tied to three strangers: the artist Niklaus Manuel Deutsch, the alchemist Dr. Paracelsus, and a gun-slinging Dutch mercenary. As Manuel paints her macabre story on canvas, plank, and church wall, the young apprentice becomes increasingly aware that death might be the least of her concerns.

Star Wars: The Old Republic: Deceived by Paul S. Kemp - The second novel set in the Old Republic era and based on the massively multiplayer online game Star Wars®: The Old Republic™ ramps up the action and brings readers face-to-face for the first time with a Sith warrior to rival the most sinister of the Order’s Dark Lords—Darth Malgus, the mysterious, masked Sith of the wildly popular “Deceived” and “Hope” game trailers.

Malgus brought down the Jedi Temple on Coruscant in a brutal assault that shocked the galaxy. But if war crowned him the darkest of Sith heroes, peace would transform him into something far more heinous—something Malgus would never want to be, but cannot stop, any more than he can stop the rogue Jedi fast approaching.

Her name is Aryn Leneer—and the lone Knight that Malgus cut down in the fierce battle for the Jedi Temple was her Master. And now she’s going to find out what happened to him, even if it means breaking every rule in the book.

Crysis: Legion by Peter Watts - Welcome to the Big Apple, son. Welcome to the city that never sleeps: invaded by monstrous fusions of meat and machinery, defended by a private army that makes Blackwater look like the Red Cross, ravaged by a disfiguring plague that gifts its victims with religious rapture while it eats them alive. You’ve been thrown into this meat grinder without warning, without preparation, without a clue.

Your whole squad was mowed down the moment they stepped onto the battlefield. And the chorus of voices whispering in your head keeps saying that all of this is on you: that you and you alone might be able to turn the whole thing around if you only knew what the hell was going on.

You’d like to help. Really you would. But it’s not just the aliens that are gunning for you. Your own kind hunts you as a traitor, and your job might be a bit easier if you didn’t have the sneaking suspicion they could be right. . . .

Vampires: The Recent Undead edited by Paula Guran - The undead are more alive today than ever. Immortal? Indeed! Nothing has sunk its teeth into twenty-first century popular culture as pervasively as the vampire. The fangsters have the freedom to fly across all genres and all mediums - there's even apps for vamps. Whether roaming into romance, haunting horror, sneaking into science fiction, capering into humor, meandering through mystery - no icon is more versatile than the vampire.

Slack your insatiable thirst with the best sanguinary stories of the new millennium: terrifying or tender, deadly or delicious, bad-ass or beneficent, classic or cutting-edge.  Stories from Charlaine Harris, Kelly Armstrong, Holly Black, Rachel Caine, and more.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dreadfully Ever After by Steve Hockensmith - When we last saw Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy—at the end of the New York Times best seller Pride and Prejudice and Zombies—they were preparing for a lifetime of wedded bliss. Yet the honeymoon has barely begun when poor Mr. Darcy is nipped by a rampaging dreadful. Elizabeth knows the only acceptable course of action is to promptly behead her husband (and then burn the corpse, just to be safe). But when she learns of a miracle antidote being developed in London, she realizes there may be one last chance to save her true love—and for everyone to live happily ever after.

Complete with romance, heartbreak, martial arts, cannibalism, and an army of shambling corpses, Dreadfully Ever After brings the story of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies to a thrilling conclusion.

Seduce Me In Dreams by Jacquelyn Frank - Dark. Mysterious. Sensual. When Bronse Chapel, the commander of a specialized unit of the Interplanetary Militia, begins to dream about a beautiful and exotic brunette, he wants to dismiss it as being induced by lack of sleep . . . or perhaps lack of sex. But his instincts tell him it’s something different, something far more dangerous.

Ravenna is the leader of the Chosen Ones, a small group of people from her village born with extraordinary powers. She doesn’t know that draws her to Bronse’s dreams night after night, but she senses that he and his team are in jeopardy. Ravenna can help him, but first Bronse must save the Chosen Ones from those who plan to use their powers for evil. Together, Bronse and Ravenna will be unstoppable. But Ravenna is hiding something that could endanger them all.

Night Magic by Jennifer Lyon - Ailish Donovan is a witch ready to do battle. Raised unaware of her powers, she is just sixteen when her mother tricks her into binding with the demon Asmodeus. Pure-hearted Ailish escapes with the connection incomplete but pays a heavy price: For the next eight years, she is shunned by her earth sisters and tormented by Asmodeus’s lust. After hardening her body and mind as a champion kickboxer, Ailish returns home to break the bond—or die.

The Wing Slayer Hunter Phoenix Torq is sworn to protect earth witches, but he is shaken by Ailish’s fierce independence—and his own forbidden cravings. Dark, impulsive, and haunted by his troubled past, Phoenix likewise arouses Ailish in ways she finds disturbing—and irresistible. Torn between mistrust and desire, each must go to hell and back to seek the magic that could set them both free.

Tales of the Otherworld by Kelley Armstrong - Have you ever wondered how lone wolf Clayton Danvers finally got bitten by the last thing he expects: love? Or how the hot-blooded bad-girl witch Eve Levine ensnared the cold, ruthless corporate sorcerer Kristof Nast? Would you like to be a fly on the wall at the wedding of Lucas Cortez and Paige Winterbourne, where nothing goes as planned? Or tag along with Lucas and Paige as they investigate a gruesome crime that may be the work of a rogue vampire? Whether you’re new to the Otherworld or a longtime fan, you’ll thrill at the discoveries to be found in these eight tales of friendship, adventure, and enduring romance, featuring a cast of superhuman men and women whose fierce passion and undivided sense of purpose make them very human indeed.

Infinity by Sherrilyn Kenyon - At fourteen, Nick Gautier is sucked into the realm of the Dark-Hunters: immortal vampire slayers who risk everything to save humanity.

Invincible by Sherrilyn Kenyon - The second novel in the new teen series, The Chronicles of Nick, a spin-off from the blockbuster Dark-Hunter series--from #1 New York Times bestselling author Sherrilyn Kenyon.

A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin (TV Tie-In Cover) - In A Game of Thrones, George R.R. Martin has created a genuine masterpiece, bringing together the best the genre has to offer. Mystery, intrigue, romance, and adventure fill the pages of the first volume in an epic series sure to delight fantasy fans everywhere.

In a land where summers can last decades and winters a lifetime, trouble is brewing. The cold is returning, and in the frozen wastes to the north of Winterfell, sinister and supernatural forces are massing beyond the kingdom's protective wall. At the center of the conflict lie the Starks of Winterfell, a family as harsh and unyielding as the land they were born to. Sweeping from a land of brutal cold to a distant summertime kingdom of epicurean plenty, here is a tale of lords and ladies, soldiers and sorcerers, assassins and bastards, who come together in a time of grim omens. Amid plots and counterplots, tragedy and betrayal, victory and terror, the fate of the Starks, their allies, and their enemies hangs perilously in the balance, as each endeavors to win that deadliest of conflicts: the game of thrones.

[Seriously, this is one of the best novels I have ever had the pleasure of reading.  If you haven't read this yet, do yourself a favor and get a copy.]

The Dark and Hollow Places by Carrie Ryan - There are many things that Annah would like to forget: the look on her sister's face before Annah left her behind in the Forest of Hands and Teeth, her first glimpse of the Horde as they swarmed the Dark City, the sear of the barbed wire that would scar her for life. But most of all, Annah would like to forget the morning Elias left her for the Recruiters.

Annah's world stopped that day, and she's been waiting for Elias to come home ever since. Somehow, without him, her life doesn't feel much different than the dead that roam the wasted city around her. Until she meets Catcher, and everything feels alive again.

But Catcher has his own secrets. Dark, terrifying truths that link him to a past Annah has longed to forget, and to a future too deadly to consider. And now it's up to Annah: can she continue to live in a world covered in the blood of the living? Or is death the only escape from the Return's destruction?

The Poison Eaters and Other Stories by Holly Black - Poisonous girls whose kisses will kill. A fateful eating contest with the devil. Faeries who return to Ironside, searching for love. A junior prom turned bacchanalia. In twelve short stories, eerie and brimming with suspense and unexpected humor, Holly Black twists the fantastical creatures you thought you knew in ways you’ll never expect.

Wither by Lauren DeStefano - By age sixteen, Rhine Ellery has four years left to live. She can thank modern science for this genetic time bomb. A botched effort to create a perfect race has left all males with a lifespan of 25 years, and females with a lifespan of 20 years. Geneticists are seeking a miracle antidote to restore the human race, desperate orphans crowd the population, crime and poverty have skyrocketed, and young girls are being kidnapped and sold as polygamous brides to bear more children.

When Rhine is kidnapped and sold as a bride, she vows to do all she can to escape. Her husband, Linden, is hopelessly in love with her, and Rhine can’t bring herself to hate him as much as she’d like to. He opens her to a magical world of wealth and illusion she never thought existed, and it almost makes it possible to ignore the clock ticking away her short life. But Rhine quickly learns that not everything in her new husband’s strange world is what it seems. Her father-in-law, an eccentric doctor bent on finding the antidote, is hoarding corpses in the basement. Her fellow sister wives are to be trusted one day and feared the next, and Rhine is desperate to communicate to her twin brother that she is safe and alive. Will Rhine be able to escape—before her time runs out?


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