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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

07/26/11 - New Releases in Science Fiction, Fantasy, YA -

Big release week, particularly in Contemporary Fantasy.  This week's titles are headlined by Jim Butcher's new Dresden novel, Ghost Story, as well as Kelley Armstrong's new (and final) Otherworld novel, Spell Bound.  Backing up that impressive start is a slew of mass-market releases including a double release (from two different publishers) of Justin Gustainis's urban fantasy/detective fiction.

Ghost Story by Jim Butcher - When we last left the mighty wizard detective Harry Dresden, he wasn't doing well. In fact, he had been murdered by an unknown assassin.

But being dead doesn't stop him when his friends are in danger. Except now he has nobody, and no magic to help him. And there are also several dark spirits roaming the Chicago shadows who owe Harry some payback of their own.

To save his friends-and his own soul-Harry will have to pull off the ultimate trick without any magic...

Spell Bound by Kelley Armstrong - At last, in the novel every Kelley Armstrong fan will need to own, all the major heroines and heroes of Otherworld are united.

It's been ten years since Bitten, the first novel in Kelley Armstrong's New York Times bestselling Otherworld series. In that time hundreds of thousands of fans have ravenously devoured the adventures of Armstrong's witches, demons, and werewolves. Now, in Spell Bound, she brings them all together for her most sweeping tale yet.

Savannah Levine is in terrible danger, and for once she's powerless to help herself. At the heartbreaking conclusion of Waking the Witch, Savannah swore that she would give up her powers if it would prevent further pain for a young orphan. Little did she know that someone would take her up on that promise.

And now, witch-hunting assassins, necromancers, half-demons, and rogue witches all seem to be after her. The threat is not just for Savannah; every member of the Otherworld might be at risk. While most of her fellow supernaturals are circling the wagons at a gathering of the council in Miami, Savannah is caught on the road, isolated from those who can protect her and unable to use her vast spell-casting talent, the thing she counts on most. In a story that will change the shape of the Otherworld forever, Armstrong gathers Elena, Clay, Paige, Lucas, Jamie, Hope, and other beloved characters, who soon learn that the greatest threat to supernaturals just may come from within.

Black Night by Christina Henry - Madeline Black is an Agent of death, meaning she escorts the souls of people who have died to the afterlife. Of course, not everyone is happy to see her...

If obstinate dead people were all that Maddy had to worry about, life would be much easier. But the best-laid plans of Agents and fallen angels often go awry. Deaths are occurring contrary to the natural order, Maddy's being stalked by foes inside and outside of her family, and her two loves-her bodyguard, Gabriel, and her doughnut-loving gargoyle, Beezle-have disappeared. But because Maddy is Lucifer's granddaughter, things are expected of her, things like delicate diplomatic missions to other realms.

Heroes at Odds by Moira J. Moore - Shield Lee Mallorough and Source Shintaro Karish are steadfast in their commitment to protect Westsea no matter what disaster-natural or man-made-may befall it. But before our heroes can discern why so many people are suddenly interested in gaining control of Westsea, Lee's family arrives with some startling news. Long before she was trained as a Shield, she was betrothed as part of an alliance with another merchant clan-and her "fiancé" is determined to see Lee fulfill her contract...

Shadowflame by Dianne Sylvan - It's been three months since musician Miranda Grey became a vampire and married David Solomon. But when a powerful force from David's past appears, Miranda begins to realize how little she really knows about her husband.

Stark's War by John G. Henry - In a brutal battle for control of Earth's satellite, Sergeant Ethan Stark must train his squadron to fight in an airless atmosphere against a desperate enemy. But ensuring survival means choosing which orders to obey-and which to ignore.

A Soldier's Duty by Jean Johnson - Ia is a precog, tormented by visions of the future where her home galaxy has been devastated. To prevent this vision from coming true, Ia enlists in the Terran United Planets military with a plan to become a soldier who will inspire generations for the next three hundred years-a soldier history will call Bloody Mary.

Bloodlands by Christine Cody - It was called the New Badlands, home to the survivors of a cataclysm that altered the entire nation. Then the vampires arrived, and it was rechristened the Bloodlands. Not because of the vampire, but because of the gun-for-hire who'd decided to slay every monster in the country by any and every means necessary.

Hard Spell by Justin Gustainis - Stan Markowski is a Detective Sergeant on the Scranton PD's Supernatural Crimes Investigation Unit.

Like the rest of America, Scranton's got an uneasy 'live and let unlive' relationship with the supernatural. But when a vamp puts the bite on an unwilling victim, or some witch casts the wrong kind of spell, that's when they call Markowski. He carries a badge. Also, a crucifix, some wooden stakes, a big vial of holy water, and a 9mm Beretta loaded with silver bullets.

File Under: Urban Fantasy [ Dial V For Vampire | Forbidden Spells | Bite Club | Scranton By Night ]

[Editor's Note - I'll be reviewing this title later this week - along with another Angry Robot release: Debris.]

Restoration (World House Book 2) by Guy Adams - NONE WHO ENTER THE WORLD HOUSE LEAVE IT UNCHANGED. In some rooms, forests grow; animals roam and objects come to life. Great secrets and treasures await the brave or foolhardy. And at the very top of the house, the prisoner it was all built to contain sat behind a locked door waiting for the key to turn.

The day that happened, the world ended.

A sequel to the stunning "The World House".

Modern Fantasy [Worlds within Worlds | End of Days | A Prisoner Escapes | Dark Powers]

Citizens edited by John Ringo and Brian M. Thomsen - Legendary science fiction writers – and citizen warriors – deliver science fiction military adventure tales on a grand scale. Asimov, Heinlein, Clarke, Laumer, Wolfe, and other greats. Giants of science fiction. Plus all new fiction by recent vets who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Military veterans all. This is the Book of Dreams for anyone who enjoys military science fiction. Gritty takes on future combat. Penetrating looks into the warrior’s character, the harsh reality of a life under arms – and how society deals with those it desperately needs and often fails to honor as it should.

Genius-level storytelling at its very best – introduced and edited by multiple New York Times best-seller and U.S. Army veteran John Ringo and noted scholar Brian M. Thomsen.

Monster Hunter Alpha by Larry Correia - Dirty Harry meets Twilight. #3 in the break-out series and a follow-up to Monster Hunter International and Monster Hunter Vendetta.

Earl Harbinger may be the leader of Monster Hunter International, but he’s also got a secret. Nearly a century ago, Earl was cursed to be werewolf. When Earl receives word that one of his oldest foes, a legendarily vicious werewolf that worked for the KGB, has mysteriously appeared in the remote woods of Michigan, he decides to take care of some unfinished business. But another force is working to bring about the creation of a whole new species of werewolf. When darkness falls, the final hunt begins, and the only thing standing in their way is a handful of locals, a lot of firepower, and Earl Harbinger’s stubborn refusal to roll over and play dead.

Do Unto Others... by Michael Z. Williamson - The Prescot family were miners. At one time, they were contracted to develop technology for a mineral rich but uninhabitable system. Gradually, all the investors shied away. Then the Prescots broke through with the technology needed to exploit entire planets, and incidentally develop domed playgrounds for the perversely rich, including indoor ski slopes and cable cars over megavolcanos, casinos and rides. This created the economic problem of being the richest people in the universe, having more money than most governments and effectively unlimited resources. Money is a small blessing when enemies are quite willing to spend billions for the chance at trillions. Bryan Prescot and his daughter might as well have targets painted on their backs for the thugs, kidnappers, and assassins their competitors would throw at them. Bodyguards were necessary - highly trained bodyguards who could be bought once and be utterly loyal no matter the circumstances. Caron Prescot has only six bodyguards against an army, but she has two aces in the hole: The miners are on her side, and Elke, Ripple Creek's psychotic demolition expert, has a nuke. The problem with Elke having a nuke is that Elke WILL use it!

Nagash Immortal by Mike Lee - In the tunnels of Nagashizzar, a new threat to the realm of the undead is rising. Nagash must call upon all his reserves of power to defeat the skaven assault and continue his unholy reign. But when Nagash realises he can use his enemy for his own nefarious needs, an uneasy alliance is struck and a vast, nightmarish army is formed. The necromancer launches his final attack on the lands of Nehekhara, sweeping all before him. Only one man dare stand in his way – Alcadizzar, a peerless warrior and the leader of a defiant force. Their confrontation will not just decide the fate of Nehekhara, but of all the Old World.

Imperial Glory by Richard Williams - Tired and broken by war, the men of the Brimlock Eleventh Imperial Guard are a force on the verge of collapse. Having been stretched across the galaxy by their loyalty to the Emperor, they are presented with one final battle that will allow them reward they all seek: to colonise the distant world of Vorr and live out the rest of their days in peace. All that stands in their way is a force of savages – a plague of feral orks that has spread across the planet. But can the Brimlock’s battered bodies and minds hold up to this greenskin invasion?

Conan the Barbarian: The Stories That Inspired the Movie by Robert E. Howard - Conan the Barbarian is one of the greatest fictional heroes ever created—a swordsman who cuts a swath across the lands of the Hyborian Age, annihilating powerful sorcerers, deadly creatures, and whole armies of ruthless foes. Today his name is synonymous with the epic battles of ancient times, but Conan originated in the early decades of the twentieth century with one of the founding fathers of fantasy, the visionary Robert E. Howard. The unforgettable stories collected here form a thrilling adventure, following Conan from his mercenary youth to his bloody conquests on the frontier and even the high seas. Bold and enduring, the legend of Conan the Barbarian continues to grow in popularity and influence.

Also: Michael Stackpole's novelization of the film: Conan the Barbarian

After America by John Birmingham - The world changed forever when a massive wave of energy slammed into North America and wiped out 99 percent of the population. As the United States lay in ruins, chaos erupted across the globe.

Now, while a skeleton American government tries to reconstruct the nation, swarms of pirates and foreign militias plunder the lawless wasteland where even the president is fair prey. In New York City, armies of heavily armed predators hold sway—and hold off a struggling U.S. military. In Texas, a rogue general bent on secession leads a brutal campaign against immigrants. And in England, a U.S. special ops agent enters a shadow war against a deadly enemy who has made the fight personal. While the president ponders a blitz attack on America’s once greatest city, the forces of order and anarchy wage all-out war for postapocalyptic dominance—and a handful of survivors must decide how far to go to salvage whatever uncertain future awaits . . . after America.

Bearers of the Black Staff by Terry Brooks - Five hundred years have passed since the devastating demon-led war tore apart the United States and nearly exterminated humankind. Those who escaped the carnage were led to sanctuary in an idyllic valley, its borders warded by powerful magic against the horrors beyond. But the cocoon of protective magic surrounding the valley has now vanished. When Sider Ament, the only surviving descendant of the Knights of the Word, detects unknown predators stalking the valley, he fears the worst. And when expert Trackers find two of their own gruesomely killed, there can be no doubt: The once safe haven has been made vulnerable to whatever still lurks in the outside wasteland. Together, Ament, the two young Trackers, and a daring Elf princess spearhead plans to defend their ancestral home. And in the thick of it all, the last wielder of the black staff and its awesome magic must find a successor to carry on the fight against the cresting new wave of evil.

Tattoo by Kirsten Imani Kasai - In an environmentally fragile world where human and animal genes combine, the rarest mutation of all—the Trader—can instantly switch genders. One such Trader, the female Sorykah, is battling her male alter, Soryk, for dominance and the right to live a full life.

Sorykah has rescued her infant twins from mad Matuk the Collector. Her children are safe. Her journey, she believes, is over, but Matuk’s death has unleashed darker, more evil forces. These forces, led by the Collector’s son, cast nets of power that stretch from the glittering capital of Neubonne to the murky depths below the frozen Sigue, where the ink of octameroons is harvested to make addictive, aphrodisiacal tattoos. Bitter enemies trapped within a single skin, Sorykah and Soryk are soon drawn into a sinister web of death and deceit.

Cold Magic by Kate Elliott - The Wild Hunt is stirring - and the dragons are finally waking from their long sleep...

Cat Barahal was the only survivor of the flood that took her parents. Raised by her extended family, she and her cousin, Bee, are unaware of the dangers that threaten them both. Though they are in beginning of the Industrial Age, magic - and the power of the Cold Mages - still hold sway.

Now, betrayed by her family and forced to marry a powerful Cold Mage, Cat will be drawn into a labyrinth of politics. There she will learn the full ruthlessness of the rule of the Cold Mages. What do the Cold Mages want from her? And who will help Cat in her struggle against them?

Stormlord's Exile by Glenda Lark - SHALE is finally free from his greatest enemy. But now, he is responsible for bringing life-giving rain to all the people of the Quartern. He must stretch his powers to the limit or his people will die-if they don't meet a nomad's blade first. And while Shale's own highlords and waterpriests plot against him, his Reduner brother plots his revenge.

TERELLE is Shale's secret weapon, covertly boosting his powers with her own mystical abilities. But she is compelled by the strange magic of her people and will one day have to leave Shale's side. No one knows what waits for her across the desert, but her people gave the Quartern its first Stormlord and they may save Shale and his people once again-or lead them to their doom.

This is the final volume of the epic Stormlord series.

Eye of the Tempest by Nicole Peeler - Nothing says "home" like being attacked by humans with very large guns, as Jane and Anyan discover when they arrive in Rockabill. These are professionals, brought into kill, and they bring Anyan down before either Jane or the barghest can react. Seeing Anyan fall awakens a terrible power within Jane, and she nearly destroys herself taking out their attackers.

Jane wakes, weeks later, to discover that she's not the only thing that's been stirring. Something underneath Rockabill is coming to life: something ancient, something powerful, and something that just might destroy the world.

Jane and her friends must act, striking out on a quest that only Jane can finish. For whatever lurks beneath the Old Sow must be stopped...and Jane's just the halfling for the job.

Shadow Fall by Seressia Glass - Kira Solomon’s life has never been simple. Battling against the Fallen, serving the Egyptian goddess Ma’at, becoming romantically involved with a 4,000-year-old Nubian warrior—these are now everyday realities. But something is changing. Kira’s magic is becoming dangerously unpredictable, tainted by the Shadow she has been trained to destroy.

Matters grow worse when an Atlanta museum exhibit based on the Egyptian Book of the Dead turns out to have truly sinister properties. As the body count rises, even long-trusted allies start to turn against Kira. She can hardly blame them—not when the God of Chaos is stalking her dreams and the shocking truth about her origins is finally coming to light. As one of the good guys, Kira was a force to be reckoned with. But if the only way to stop a terrifying adversary is to fight Shadow with Shadow, then she’s ready to find out just how very bad she can be. . . .

Sympathy for the Devil by Justin Gustainis - Senator Howard Stark wants to be President of the United States. So does the demon inside him. With the competing candidates dropping out due to scandal, blackmail, and ‘accidental’ death, Stark looks like a good bet to go all the way to the White House. And if he gets there, Hell on Earth will follow.

Occult investigator Quincey Morris and white witch Libby Chastain are determined to stop this evil conspiracy. But between them and Stark stand the dedicated agents of the US Secret Service – as well as the very forces of Hell itself. Quincey and Libby will risk everything to exorcise the demon possessing Stark. If they fail, ‘Hail to the Chief’ will become a funeral march – for all of us.

Dangerous Waters by Juliet E. McKenna - The Archmage rules the island of wizards. From here he enforces the Edicts of the Council of Wizardry. Foremost is the ban on magecraft in warfare. But there is a rumour of rogue wizardry in Lescar’s recent civil war. There’s the rise of Artifice, its adepts not subject to the Archmage’s edicts. Now the Emperor of Tormalin is offering them his protection. There are corsairs raiding the Caladhrian Coast, enslaving villagers and devastating trade. Barons and merchants beg for magical aid. But all help has been refused.

This is no comfort to Lady Zurenne whose husband has been murdered by corsairs. Now a man she doesn’t even know stands as guardian over her and her daughters. Corrain, former captain and now slave, knows that man is a rogue wizard, selling his skills to the corsairs. If Corrain can escape, he’ll see justice done. Unless Jilseth, magewoman and Archmage’s confidante, can catch the renegade first, before the full extent of his villainy is revealed.

If that happens, at a time when wizardry faces so many other challenges, the scandal could have dire consequences indeed!

Dangerous Waters is the first book in a stunning new fantasy series from a major voice in fantasy.

The Black Lung Captain by Chris Wooding - Deep in the heart of the Kurg rainforest lies a long-forgotten wreck. On board, behind a magically protected door, an elusive treasure awaits. Good thing Darian Frey, captain of the airship Ketty Jay, has the daemonist Crake on board. Crake is their best chance of getting that door open—if they can sober him up. For a prize this enticing, Frey is willing to brave the legendary monsters of the forbidding island and to ally himself with a partner who’s even less trustworthy than he is.

But what’s behind that door is not what any of the fortune hunters expect, any more than they anticipate their fiercest competitor for the treasure—a woman from Frey’s past who also happens to be the most feared pirate in the skies.

Succubus on Top by Richelle Mead - Love hurts, and no one knows it better than Georgina Kincaid. If she so much as kisses Seth Mortensen, the shy, sexy writer she's been dating, she'll drain his life force. Admittedly, the shapeshifting and immortality perks of a succubus are terrific, but it's completely unfair that a she-demon whose purpose is seduction can't get down with the one mortal who accepts her for who she is. . .

It's not just her personal life that's in chaos. Doug, Georgina's co-worker at a local bookstore, has been exhibiting bizarre behavior, and Georgina suspects something far more demonic than double espressos. She could use an assist from Bastien, an irresistibly charming incubus and her best immortal friend, but he's giving Georgina some highly distracting come-hither vibes. Georgina is going to have to work solo on this one—and fast, because soon, Doug's life won't be the only one on the line. . .

The Host by Stephanie Meyer - Melanie Stryder refuses to fade away. The earth has been invaded by a species that take over the minds of human hosts while leaving their bodies intact. Wanderer, the invading "soul" who has been given Melanie's body, didn't expect to find its former tenant refusing to relinquish possession of her mind.

As Melanie fills Wanderer's thoughts with visions of Jared, a human who still lives in hiding, Wanderer begins to yearn for a man she's never met. Reluctant allies, Wanderer and Melanie set off to search for the man they both love.

Featuring one of the most unusual love triangles in literature, THE HOST is a riveting and unforgettable novel about the persistence of love and the essence of what it means to be human.

The Seeker by Isabells Carmody - New from acclaimed fantasy author Isobelle Carmody comes The Seeker, an omnibus edition of the first two books in the dystopian fantasy the Obernewtyn Chronicles—Obernewtyn and The Farseekers!

Discover the adventure! Elspeth Gordie has a secret: she's a Misfit, born with mental powers that would mean her death if discovered. But she's not alone, and her exile to the mysterious compound known as Obernewtyn is just the beginning....

Wolfsbane by Andrea Cremer - When Calla Tor wakes up in the lair of the Searchers, her sworn enemies, she’s certain her days are numbered. But then the Searchers make her an offer—one that gives her the chance to destroy her former masters and save the pack—and the man—she left behind. Is Ren worth the price of her freedom? And will Shay stand by her side no matter what? Now in control of her own destiny, Calla must decide which battles are worth fighting and how many trials true love can endure and still survive.

Wildefire by Karsten Knight - Every flame begins with a spark.

Ashline Wilde is having a rough sophomore year. She’s struggling to find her place as the only Polynesian girl in school, her boyfriend just cheated on her, and now her runaway sister, Eve, has decided to barge back into her life. When Eve’s violent behavior escalates and she does the unthinkable, Ash transfers to a remote private school nestled in California’s redwoods, hoping to put the tragedy behind her. But her fresh start at Blackwood Academy doesn’t go as planned. Just as Ash is beginning to enjoy the perks of her new school—being captain of the tennis team, a steamy romance with a hot, local park ranger—Ash discovers that a group of gods and goddesses have mysteriously enrolled at Blackwood…and she’s one of them. To make matters worse, Eve has resurfaced to haunt Ash, and she’s got some strange abilities of her own. With a war between the gods looming over campus, Ash must master the new fire smoldering within before she clashes with her sister one more time… And when warm and cold fronts collide, there’s guaranteed to be a storm.
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As always, all new releases are at least 10% off at Kayleighbug Books. Order on our site or call toll-free 1-866-343-4516.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Review: Soul Stealers by Andy Remic

Soul Stealers [Book 2 of the Clockwork Vampires] by Andy Remic

ISBN: 9780857660671 | Cover Price $7.99 | 412 pp.

Overall Rating: 7.5 out of 10 | Excellent Dark Fantasy

Overview: In Book 1 of the Clockwork Vampires (Review Here) The Iron Army invaded the lands of men, bringing Kell and his bloodbond axe, Ilanna, out of retirement and into the battlefield.  Graal and his Iron Army are crushing the lands of men and their Harvesters are (literally) sucking the life-blood from them.

Kell is dying from poison - as is his neice, Nienna, who has been abducted by a woman desperate for the 'cure' the Vachine can provide her dying body.  Graal has sent his assassins, the beautiful and deadly Soul Stealers, to kill Kell as well.


Kell needs to survive the poison, rescue his niece, and somehow get rid of an invading army of near-immortals.

Review: Remic steps up the gore level a bit in this one.  If you read Kell's Legend and had a hard time eating dinner afterwards, stop now, it only gets better.  In addition to the increased action and gore levels, Remic changes things a bit from his first outing in the series.  Where Kell's Legend was very linearly told, Soul Stealers alternates viewpoints considerably more - giving us more back-story and motivations of the other players in the story.

Remic didn't set out to write another Song of Ice and Fire.  The political machinations, plot twists, and motivations in the Clockwork Vampire series are fairly strait-forward.  You don't need a wall-sized map and a reference book on the family trees to keep up.  This is head-on Sword & Sorcery in the tradition of David Gemmell, Robert E. Howard, or Fritz Leiber. 


That said, you will find treachery, backstabbing, plot twists (including some big ones), and a truck-load of action.  

Conclusion: Do you need to read Kell's Legend first? YES.  The books in this trilogy don't stand on their own.. cliffhanger endings, insufficient back-story, etc.  They are certainly meant to be read as a set.


Thus, the review of this novel is heavily dependent on its predecessor. I am enjoying the series, and have and will continue to recommend it.  I found the more frequent viewpoint changes in this book a bit intrusive to the storyline and would have preferred more linear continuity.  I gave Soul Stealers a half-point less than the first of the trilogy primarily due to this.  If hardcover Sword & Sorcery with clockwork and vampires thrown in sounds great to you, you won't be disappointed, The Clockwork Vampire Chronicles starts strong with Kell's Legend and continues strong with Soul Stealers.  Vampire Warlords is Book 3 and is available now as well.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Review: Kell's Legend by Andy Remic

REVIEW

Kell's Legend [Book 1 of the Clockwork Vampires] by Andy Remic
ISBN: 9780857660169 | Cover Price $7.99 | 444 pp.

Overall Rating: 8 out of 10 | Excellent Dark Fantasy

Overview: Kell is retired from the hero game, long retired.  Not that he was ever really a hero to begin with.  His deed's and his axe may be legend but that man wasn't a good man and he's not that man any more.  

Now Kell is living a quiet life, secretly paying his granddaughter's way through University and sneaking visits with her when he can.  He believes that she's the only real good thing he's done in his life and he means to make sure she grows up right.

Then, the Iron Army comes - sacking the city with sorcery and albino soldiers.  The city has no defense against the ice-smoke that freezes men in their tracks. But Kell can still fight, his blood-bond axe Ilanna rendering him immune to the sorcery.  He grabs his niece, Niena, her friend, Kat, and picks up a sidekick along the way - and heads out to warn the king of the invasion.

Review: Andy Remic has paid obvious homage to David Gemmell's work with this series. Gemmell's Legend tells the story of Druss, Captain of the Axe, whose deeds are Legend but who got old, turned his back on his own legend and retreats to solitude until barbarian hordes invade, forcing him back into the role of the hero.

Remic's story is not a mere retelling of Gemmell's, however.  Kell is his own character and Remic's world is vastly different.  While the core idea behind the story may be homage to Gemmell, the meat of this story is all Remic.

I will never use the terms "non-stop thrill ride" or "roller-coaster" in a review but you get the idea.  This novel is non-stop action with a high body count.  Kell is a well-crafted character and his reluctant sidekick, Saark provides some levity to the quest.

The idea of the aged hero coming out of retirement may have been perfected in Gemmell's Legend but it's been done many times in fantasy novels, science fiction, and television.  The beauty of this plot element is that, done well, it gives us a hero that my generation can relate to - someone that knows the aches and pains that come with age but still possesses the iron core that made him a hero in the first place.

Remic did it well.  Kell is a believable hero, a believable grandfather - cranky and sore in the morning, hardened to the world and the nature of man.  His blood-bond axe, Ilanna, gives him the power to fight again like a young man, but it's still the mind of the old guiding that hand.

Remic's world at first seems to be a traditional fantasy setting - in the realm where Kell resides.  Over the Black Pike Mountains though, the Vachine reside.  Vampire machines, bred and constructed from the remnants of the vampire race - now living as a hybrid race, part vampire, part clockwork, subsisting on blood-oil, a refined product fueled with dark magic and blood.  

Vachine General Graal leads the invasion into the human lands - seeking blood for the refineries and leading an army of albino warriors, slave-race to the vachine - and followed by Harvesters, a virtually unkillable being that harvests the blood for the vachine refineries.

Conclusion: If you like epic fantasy and don't mind (or enjoy) a high gore level, this is a solid start to a series that is well worth the read.  Remic tells a great story, packed to the margins with action.  'Ware the cliffhanger ending if you only purchase the first book.  I'd have liked to see more of the Vachine but otherwise, I have few complaints about this novel.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

07/19/11 - New Releases in Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror, Young Adult

A fairly short list of releases this week but with some great new SF from Angry Robot, a Star Wars novel by Zahn, a new Warcraft novel, and some great SF from TOR.

Zoo City by Lauren Beukes - Zinzi has a Sloth on her back, a dirty online 419 scam habit – and a talent for finding lost things. But when her latest client, a little old lady, turns up dead and the cops confiscate her lastpaycheck, she’s forced to take on her least favourite kind of job: missing persons

An astonishing second novel from the author of the highly-acclaimed Moxyland.

FILE UNDER: Modern Fantasy [Black Magic Noir / Pale Crocodile / Spirit Guardians / Lost Stars]

The War That Came Early: The Big Switch by Harry Turtledove - In this extraordinary World War II alternate history, master storyteller Harry Turtledove begins with a big switch: what if Neville Chamberlain, instead of appeasing Hitler, had stood up to him in 1938? Enraged, Hitler reacts by lashing out at the West, promising his soldiers that they will reach Paris by the new year. They don’t. Three years later, his genocidal apparatus not fully in place, Hitler has barely survived a coup, while Jews cling to survival. But England and France wonder whether the war is still worthwhile.

Weaving together a cast of characters that ranges from a brawling American fighter in the Abraham Lincoln Brigade in Spain to a woman who has seen Hitler’s evil face-to-face, Harry Turtledove takes us into a world shaping up very differently in 1941. The Germans and their Polish allies have slammed into the gut of the Soviet Union in the west, while Japan pummels away in the east. In trench warfare in France, French and Czech fighters are outmanned but not outfought by their Nazi enemy. Then the stalemate is shattered. In England, Winston Churchill dies in an apparent accident, and the gray men who walk behind his funeral cortege wonder who their real enemy is. The USSR, fighting for its life, makes peace with Japan—and Japan’s war with America is about to begin.

A sweeping saga of human passions, foolishness, and courage, of families and lovers and soldiers by choice and by chance, The Big Switch is a provocative, gripping, and utterly convincing work of alternate history at its best. For history buffs and fans of big, blood-and-guts fiction, Harry Turtledove delivers a panoramic clash of ideals as powerful as armies themselves.

World of Warcraft: Thrall: Twilight of the Aspects by Christie Golden - The Hour of Twilight. She’d spoken of it at the meeting, tried to warn the others of it, but the warning had gotten lost; a little bright fragment of . . . something . . . had been briskly swept away like a broken bit of pottery beneath an industrious broom. It was—

She gnawed her lower lip, thinking.

It was the greatest challenge the dragonflights would face, but she did not know against whom they would be fighting. It might come soon . . . or aeons from now. Could it have something to do with the return of Deathwing? Surely it had to . . . did it not? This breaking of the world was one of the worst things that had ever happened to Azeroth.

How could she persuade others of the direness of the situation when she herself could not articulate it? She uttered a little noise of annoyance and frustration.

One thing she knew for certain. There were many pieces missing from this puzzle, but there was one core piece that was necessary before any of the others could fall into place. It was a very strange piece, an unlikely one at best, and she was uncertain as to how he would fit in. She only knew that he had to.

Ysera had seen him, floating in and out of her dreaming. She had thought she understood his role in things, but now, peculiar as it seemed, something—some inner certainty that even she did not fully understand—was leading her to think she had not seen the full breadth of his contribution to Azeroth.

He was not a dragon. But he had the interests of the dragonflights in his heart—whether he knew it or not. He straddled worlds—but did not seek to rule or command or destroy them. He was unique.
She tilted her head, let the wind play with her long green hair. Perhaps that was why he fit in. Even the Aspects were not singular beings, although each had unique abilities. Not one but five there had been at the beginning, when the titans had come and shared their power for the good of Azeroth. Four there were now, but there would soon be five again, when the blues determined how to choose the one who would lead them.

But there was only one like this being.

There was only one Thrall.

Star Wars: Choices of One by Timothy Zahn - From #1 New York Times bestselling author Timothy Zahn comes a brand-new Star Wars adventure, set in the time between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back and featuring the young Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Princess Leia Organa, and the beloved Mara Jade.

The fate of the Rebellion rests on Luke Skywalker’s next move.

But have the rebels entered a safe harbor or a death trap?

Eight months after the Battle of Yavin, the Rebellion is in desperate need of a new base. So when Governor Ferrouz of Candoras Sector proposes an alliance, offering the Rebels sanctuary in return for protection against the alien warlord Nuso Esva, Luke, Leia, Han, and Chewie are sent to evaluate the deal.

Mara Jade, the Emperor’s Hand, is also heading for Candoras, along with the five renegade stormtroopers known as the Hand of Judgment. Their mission: to punish Ferrouz’s treason and smash the Rebels for good.

But in this treacherous game of betrayals within betrayals, a wild card is waiting to be played.

Bioshock: Rapture by John Shirley - It's the end of World War II. FDR's New Deal has redefined American politics. Taxes are at an all-time high. The bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki has brought a fear of total annihilation. The rise of secret government agencies and sanctions on business has many watching their backs. America's sense of freedom is diminishing . . . and many are desperate to take there freedom back.

Among them is a great dreamer, an immigrant who pulled himself from the depths of poverty to become one of the wealthiest and admired men in the world. That man is Andrew Ryan, and he believed that great men and women deserve better. And so he set out to create the impossible, a utopia free from government, censorship, and moral restrictions on science--where what you give is what you get. He created Rapture---the shining city below the sea.

But as we all know, this utopia suffered a great tragedy. This is the story of how it all came to be . . .and how it all ended.

Out of the Waters by David Drake - The second novel of The Books of the Elements.

The wealthy Governor Saxa, of the great city of Carce, has generously and lavishly subsidized a theatrical/religious event. During this elaborate staging of Hercules founding a city on the shores of Lusitania, strange and dark magic turns the panoply into a chilling event. The sky darkens and the waves crash in the flooded arena. A great creature rises from the sea: a huge, tentacled horror on snake legs. It devastates the city, much to the delight of the crowd. A few in the audience, although not Saxa, understand that this was not mere stagecraft, but something much darker and more dangerous. If all signs are being read right, this illusion could signify a dreadful intrusion of supernatural powers into the real world. Saxa’s son, Varus, has been the conduit for such an event once before.

This new novel in David Drake’s chronicles of Carce, The Books of the Elements, is as powerful and elaborate as that fantastic theatrical event, a major fantasy for this year.

The Knowledge of Good & Evil by Glenn Kleier - On December 4, 1968, world-famous theologian Father Louis Merton visited the ancient Dead City of Polonnaruwa, Ceylon, entered the Cave of the Spirits of Knowledge, and experienced a vision.  It’s claimed he found a backdoor to the Afterlife, that he looked into the Mind of God and escaped with a secret so powerful it could change all humanity…bring wars to a standstill…end forever the age-old hatreds between races, creeds and cultures.

Six days later as Merton prepared to announce his discovery at a religious conference, he suffered a horrific death under mysterious circumstances.  But the secret did not die with him.  Merton left behind a journal…                  
Years later, beautiful psychologist Angela Weber and her troubled fiancé, Ian Baringer, are on the hunt for Merton’s long-lost journal and its door to the Afterlife.  Angela, an agnostic, wants to help Ian heal the wounds of a traumatic childhood plane crash that took the lives of his parents.  Ian, a defrocked priest, no longer trusts in religion’s promise of eternal life.  He must know for certain if he will ever see his parents again, and is driven to find out firsthand what lies beyond, and what it holds for mankind.

Together, Angela and Ian plunge headlong into a global chase, pursued by a shadowy cult, dead bodies and destruction in their wake.  If Ian and Angela succeed, they will defy the gates of heaven and hell to learn a secret hidden from the world since the dawn of time . . .

The Knowledge of Good & Evil.

This Shared Dream by Kathleen Ann Goonan - Kathleen Ann Goonan introduced Sam Dance and his wife, Bette, and their quest to alter our present reality for the better in her novel In War Times (winner of the John W. Campbell Memorial Award for Best Novel and ALA's Best Science Fiction Novel of 2008). Now, in This Shared Dream, she tells the story of the next generation.

The three Dance kids, seemingly abandoned by both parents when they were younger, are now adults and are all disturbed by memories of a reality that existed in place of their world. The older girl, Jill, even remembers the disappearance of their mother while preventing the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

Goonan has created a new kind of utopian SF novel, in which the changes in history have created a present world that is in many ways superior to our own, while in other worlds people strive to prevent their own erasure by restoring the ills to ours. This Shared Dream is certainly the most provocative SF speculation of the year, and perhaps the decade.

Half-Made World by Felix Gilman - A fantastical reimagining of the American West which draws its influence from steampunk, the American western tradition, and magical realism

The world is only half made. What exists has been carved out amidst a war between two rival factions: the Line, paving the world with industry and claiming its residents as slaves; and the Gun, a cult of terror and violence that cripples the population with fear. The only hope at stopping them has seemingly disappeared—the Red Republic that once battled the Gun and the Line, and almost won. Now they're just a myth, a bedtime story parents tell their children, of hope.

To the west lies a vast, uncharted world, inhabited only by the legends of the immortal and powerful Hill People, who live at one with the earth and its elements. Liv Alverhyusen, a doctor of the new science of psychology, travels to the edge of the made world to a spiritually protected mental institution in order to study the minds of those broken by the Gun and the Line. In its rooms lies an old general of the Red Republic, a man whose shattered mind just may hold the secret to stopping the Gun and the Line. And either side will do anything to understand how.


The Robot by Paul E. Watson - Science-loving Gabe and girl-crazy Dover are best friends. In fact, they're practically each other's only friends. So when Gabe's parents leave town for the weekend, he lets Dover convince him to break into his father's basement laboratory-even though he knows it's off-limits under penalty of lifelong grounding. Once inside, the boys make a shocking discovery, one that will turn a boring weekend into a hilarious madcap adventure: a smoking hot robot!

While Gabe and Dover argue over "Trina," the robot flees the lab. The chase is on! Before the day is over, she'll expose a traitorous plot, catapult two geeky freshmen to high school fame, and try to assassinate Dr. Phil!

Ripple by Mandy Hubbard - Lexi is cursed with a dark secret. Each day she goes to school like a normal teenager, and each night she must swim, or the pain will be unbearable. She is a siren - a deadly mermaid destined to lure men to their watery deaths. After a terrible tragedy, Lexi shut herself off from the world, vowing to protect the ones she loves. But she soon finds herself caught between a new boy at school who may have the power to melt her icy exterior, and a handsome water spirit who says he can break Lexi's curse if she gives up everything else. Lexi is faced with the hardest decision she's ever had to make: the life she's always longed for - or the love she can't live without?

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As always, all new releases are at least 10% off at Kayleighbug Books. Order on our site or call toll-free 1-866-343-4516.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

07/12/11 - New Releases in Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror, Young Adult

For the second week in a row, the big release news is A Dance With Dragons by George R. R. Martin.  Martin took years to finish this masterpiece - and TOR took only a few months to get it in print - and got it to stores more than a week early.

Christa Faust's much-hyped Supernatural novel is out this week - as well as a nice selection of YA titles.

No Man's World: The Ironclad Prophecy by Pat Kelleher - It has been three months since the 13th Battalion of the Pennine Fusiliers vanished from the WW1 battlefield of the Somme and found themselves stranded on an alien world. Since then, their trenches have become the target for vengeful alien attacks. The tank, Ivanhoe, is sent on the trail of Jeffries, the impostor many hold responsible for their plight. Lance Corporal ‘Only’ Atkins and his Black Hang Gang, along with a captured alien Khungarrii are ordered to find him.

While the encampment faces an alien threat, the Black Hand Gang discover an ancient edifice containing a secret that will tear the Battalion apart. As the Pennines fight for their lives against the mounting horrors of No Man’s World, their only hopes for survival – and a way home – lie in the psychotropic fuel-addicted crew of the Ivanhoe and its increasingly insane commander

A Dance With Dragons by George R. R. Martin - In the aftermath of a colossal battle, the future of the Seven Kingdoms hangs in the balance - beset by newly emerging threats from every direction. In the east, Daenerys Targaryen, the last scion of House Targaryen, rules with her three dragons as queen of a city built on dust and death. But Daenerys has thousands of enemies, and many have set out to find her. As they gather, one young man embarks upon his own quest for the queen, with an entirely different goal in mind.

Fleeing from Westeros with a price on his head, Tyrion Lannister, too, is making his way to Daenerys. But his newest allies in this quest are not the rag-tag band they seem, and at their heart lies one who could undo Daenerys's claim to Westeros forever.

Meanwhile, to the north lies the mammoth Wall of ice and stone—a structure only as strong as those guarding it. There, Jon Snow, 998th Lord Commander of the Night's Watch, will face his greatest challenge. For he has powerful foes not only within the Watch but also beyond, in the land of the creatures of ice.

From all corners, bitter conflicts reignite, intimate betrayals are perpetrated, and a grand cast of outlaws and priests, soldiers and skinchangers, nobles and slaves, will face seemingly insurmountable obstacles. Some will fail, others will grow in the strength of darkness. But in a time of rising restlessness, the tides of destiny and politics will lead inevitably to the greatest dance of all.


Supernatural: Coyote's Kiss by Christa Faust - A truck full of illegal Mexican immigrants slaughtered with supernatural force is found by the side of a road. Trying to find answers, Sam and Dean are plunged into the dangerous world that exists along the Mexican border.

They encounter a tattooed, pistol-packing bandita on a motorcycle who seems be everywhere they go before they get there. Xochi Cazadora draws them into a whole new world of monsters...

A Supernatural novel that reveals a previously unseen adventure for the Winchester brothers, from the hit TV series!

Wildcat: Fireflies by Amber Kizer - Meridian Sozu is a Fenestra—the half-human, half-angel link between the living and the dead. She has the dark responsibility of helping souls transition safely into the afterlife. If people die without the help of a Fenestra, their souls are left vulnerable to be stolen by the Aternocti, a dark band of forces who disrupt the balance of good and evil in the world and cause chaos.

Having recently lost her beloved Auntie—the woman who showed her what it meant to be a Fenestra—Meridian has hit the road with Tens, her love and sworn protector, in hopes of finding another Fenestra. Their search leads them to Indiana, where Juliet, a responsible and loving teenager, works tirelessly in the nursing home where she and several other foster kids are housed. Surrounded by death, Juliet struggles to make a loving home for the younger kids, and to protect them from the violent whims of their foster mother. But she is struggling against forces she can't understand . . . and even as she feels a pull toward the dying, their sickness seems to infect her, weighing her down. . . .

Will Meri and Tens find Juliet in time to save her from a life of misery and illness? And will Meri and Tens' own romance weather the storms of new discoveries?

Siren's Storm by Lisa Papdemetriou - Nothing has been the same for Will ever since what happened last summer. One day, on an ordinary sailing trip with his brother, there is a strange accident. When Will wakes up, he learns his brother has disappeared, presumed drowned. Worst of all, Will can't remember what happened—his family finds him unconscious, with no memory of the accident.

Now Will and his best friend and neighbor, Gretchen, are starting a new summer. Gretchen seems troubled—her sleepwalking habit is getting worse, and she keeps waking up closer and closer to the water. Will is drawn to Asia, the exotic new girl in town. Nobody knows where she's from—all Will knows is that her beauty and her mesmerizing voice have a powerful effect on people.

Then there is another mysterious drowning, and Will and Gretchen begin to wonder: Is Asia just another beautiful, wealthy summer resident? Or is she something entirely more sinister . . . and inhuman?

Bad Taste In Boys by Carrie Harris - Someone's been a very bad zombie.

Kate Grable is horrified to find out that the football coach has given the team steroids. Worse yet, the steriods are having an unexpected effect, turning hot gridiron hunks into mindless flesh-eating zombies. No one is safe--not her cute crush Aaron, not her dorky brother, Jonah . . . not even Kate! She's got to find an antidote--before her entire high school ends up eating each other. So Kate, her best girlfriend, Rocky, and Aaron stage a frantic battle to save their town  . . . and stay hormonally human.

Undercurrent by Tricia Rayburn - The sirens are back, but Vanessa may be the biggest threat of all. . . .

Nothing has been normal since Vanessa Sands learned that her sister was murdered by sirens—femme fatales of the watery depths—and that everything she believed about her family was a lie.

Her boyfriend Simon’s been the only person Vanessa feels she can really trust. But now there are some secrets she can’t tell even him. And when Vanessa finds herself in the sights of Parker, Hawthorne Prep’s resident charmer, she needs someone to confide in more than ever.

Doubting her relationship with Simon, unsure of Parker’s intentions—and of her own—and terrified by what she’s learned about herself, Vanessa has never felt so alone.

But personal problems must be put aside, because the Winter Harbor sirens are back for revenge. Now, Vanessa must face her past and accept that she is just like her enemies—every bit as alluring, every bit as dangerous.

The eagerly anticipated second novel of the Siren trilogy, Undercurrent is a seductive paranormal romance that will leave you breathless.

Texas Gothic by Rosemary Clement-Moore - Amy Goodnight's family is far from normal. She comes from a line of witches, but tries her best to stay far outside the family business. Her summer gig? Ranch-sitting for her aunt with her wacky but beautiful sister. Only the Goodnight Ranch is even less normal than it normally is. Bodies are being discovered, a ghost is on the prowl, and everywhere she turns, the hot neighbor cowboy is in her face.

Token of Darkness by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes - Cooper Blake has everything going for him—until he wakes from a car accident with his football career in ruins and a mysterious, attractive girl by his side. Cooper doesn’t know how Samantha got there or why he can see her; all he knows is that she’s a ghost, and the shadows that surround her seem intent on destroying her.

No one from Cooper’s old life would understand what he can barely grasp himself. . . . But Delilah, the captain of the cheerleading squad, has secrets of her own, like her ability to see beyond the physical world, and her tangled history with Brent, a loner from a neighboring school who can hear strangers’ most intimate thoughts. Delilah and Brent know that Cooper is in more trouble than he realizes, and that Samantha may not be as innocent as she has led Cooper to believe. But the only way to figure out where Samantha came from will put them all in more danger than they ever dreamed possible.

Sleepless by Cyn Balog - Eron DeMarchelle isn't supposed to feel this connection. He is a Sandman, a supernatural being whose purpose is to seduce his human charges to sleep. Though he can communicate with his charges in their dreams, he isn't encouraged to do so. After all, becoming too involved in one human's life could prevent him from helping others get their needed rest.

But he can't deny that he feels something for Julia, a lonely girl with fiery red hair and sad dreams. Just weeks ago, her boyfriend died in a car accident, and Eron can tell that she feels more alone than ever. Eron was human once too, many years ago, and he remembers how it felt to lose the one he loved. In the past, Eron has broken rules to protect Julia, but now, when she seems to need him more than ever, he can't reach her. Eron's time as a Sandman is coming to a close, and his replacement doesn't seem to care about his charges. Worse, Julia is facing dangers she doesn't recognize, and Eron, as he transitions back to being human, may be the only one who can save her. . . .

Even once they've become human again, Sandmen are forbidden to communicate with their charges. But Eron knows he won't be able to forget Julia. Will he risk everything for a chance to be with the girl he loves?

Cyn Balog's follow-up to Fairy Tale has more wit, more supernatural delights, and more star-crossed romance! Teen girls will love this story of a Sandman who falls in love with his human charge.

Hero by Mike Lupica - Zach Harriman knew that his dad was something of a hero, a man trusted by the president to solve international crises at a moment's notice. Suddenly people are telling him he has powers - people who know much more about his father than Zach ever did. But there are the Bads, who appear out of nowhere and attack him and his best friend. One thing is clear: he can do things ordinary people cannot. Like fend off grown men as though he possesses the strength of a hundred. Like sense when evil is about to strike. And evil is about to strike in a very big way. Zach Harriman is his father's son. And he, too, is a hero.

"Every kid wants to be a superhero. Well, be careful what you wish for - you might get it. This is the amazing story of Zach Harriman and nothing Mike Lupica has written will thrill you like this." - William Goldman

Shiver Trilogy Box Set by Maggie StiefvaterShiver: Sam’s not just a normal boy — he has a secret. During the summer he walks and talks as a human, but when the cold comes, he runs with his pack as a wolf. Grace has spent years watching the wolves in the woods behind her house — but never dreamed that she would fall in love with one of them. Now that they’ve found each other, the clock ticks down on what could be Grace and Sam’s only summer together.

Linger: Can Grace and Sam last? Each will have to fight to stay together — whether it means a reckoning with his werewolf past for Sam, or for Grace, facing a future that is less and less certain. Enter Cole, a new wolf who is wrestling with his own demons, embracing the life of a wolf while denying the ties of being human. For Grace, Sam, and Cole, life is harrowing and euphoric, enticing and alarming. As their world falls apart, love is what lingers. But can it be enough?

Forever: For Grace, Sam, and Cole, the story continues — only now, the stakes are even higher than before. Wolves are being hunted. Lives are being threatened. It’s becoming harder and harder to hold on to one another. In the conclusion to Maggie Stiefvater’s bestselling, breathtaking trilogy, love is the question — and the answer.

Dragon's Oath by P. C. Cast & Kristin Cast - The first in an enthralling new mini-series of novellas from the #1 bestselling authors of the House of Night, Dragon’s Oath tells the story behind the House of Night’s formidable fencing instructor – the love that will transform him, and the promise that will haunt him

In early 19th century England, long before he’s a professor at the Tulsa House of Night, Bryan Lankford is a troublesome yet talented human teen who thinks he can get away with anything… until his father, a wealthy nobleman, has finally had enough, and banishes him to America. When Bryan is Marked on the docks and given the choice between the London House of Night and the dragon-prowed ship to America, he chooses the Dragon – and a brand new fate.

Becoming a Fledgling may be exciting, but it opens a door to a dangerous world.... In 1830’s St. Louis, the Gateway to the West, Dragon Lankford becomes a Sword Master, and soon realizes there are both frightening challenges and beautiful perks. Like Anastasia, the captivating young Professor of Spells and Rituals at the Tower Grove House of Night, who really should have nothing to do with a fledgling…

But when a dark power threatens, Dragon is caught in its focus. Though his uncanny fighting skills make him a powerful fledgling, is he strong enough to ward off evil, while protecting Anastasia as well? Will his choices save her—or destroy them all?

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As always, all new releases are at least 10% off at Kayleighbug Books. Order on our site or call toll-free 1-866-343-4516.

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Clockwork Vampire trilogy by Andy Remic: Reviews coming soon!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

07/05/11 - New Releases in Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror, Paranormal, Steampunk

OK, so I took a month off of writing the new releases blog.. sorry!  I'm back at it now, though a day or two late on this week's - a situation that I'm blaming on the holiday weekend.

The big news this week is actually a July 12th release, one of the most anticipated books in quite a few year - George R. R. Martin's A Dance with Dragons - scheduled for release next week but already in stores so we're counting it on this week's issue.

A Dance With Dragons by George R. R. Martin - In the aftermath of a colossal battle, the future of the Seven Kingdoms hangs in the balance-beset by newly emerging threats from every direction. In the east, Daenerys Targaryen, the last scion of House Targaryen, rules with her three dragons as queen of a city built on dust and death. But Daenerys has thousands of enemies, and many have set out to find her. As they gather, one young man embarks upon his own quest for the queen, with an entirely different goal in mind.

Fleeing from Westeros with a price on his head, Tyrion Lannister, too, is making his way to Daenerys. But his newest allies in this quest are not the rag-tag band they seem, and at their heart lies one who could undo Daenerys's claim to Westeros forever.

Meanwhile, to the north lies the mammoth Wall of ice and stone-a structure only as strong as those guarding it. There, Jon Snow, 998th Lord Commander of the Night's Watch, will face his greatest challenge. For he has powerful foes not only within the Watch but also beyond, in the land of the creatures of ice.

From all corners, bitter conflicts reignite, intimate betrayals are perpetrated, and a grand cast of outlaws and priests, soldiers and skinchangers, nobles and slaves, will face seemingly insurmountable obstacles. Some will fail, others will grow in the strength of darkness. But in a time of rising restlessness, the tides of destiny and politics will lead inevitably to the greatest dance of all.

Rule 34 by Charles Stross - Detective Inspector Liz Kavanaugh is head of the Rule 34 Squad, monitoring the Internet to determine whether people are engaging in harmless fantasies or illegal activities. Three ex-con spammers have been murdered, and Liz must uncover the link between them before these homicides go viral.

Heaven's Shadow by David S. Goyer & Michael Cassutt - The science fiction epic of our time has arrived.

Three years ago, an object one hundred miles across was spotted on a trajectory for Earth's sun. Now, its journey is almost over. As it approaches, two competing manned vehicles race through almost half a million kilometers of space to reach it first. But when they both arrive on the entity, they learn that it has been sent toward Earth for a reason. An intelligent race is desperately attempting to communicate with our primitive species. And the message is: Help us.

Loose Cannon: The Tom Kelly Novels - David Drake's two Tom Kelly technothrillers in one volume. Day-after-tomorrow technothriller action with a raw, gritty and extremely effective hero you might want to forget, but can't, fending off Soviet aggression and alien attack. Skyripper.

During the Cold War, a Soviet scientist has knowledge the Earth will be attacked by aliens, but only the U.S. has the laser-based technology to knock out the alien weaponry. Enter Tom Kelly, American spy, navigator of the U.S. intelligence agency spaghetti, and ruthlessly effective operative when it comes to doing his job. Kelly will get the information into the right hands to save most of humanity- but in the process, he's prepared to annihilate anyone who gets in the way of his duty. FortressTom Kelly and his ruthless, adventurous ways return in an alternate past as JFK builds a space station to guard against alien attack. Now nefarious forces with the Soviet Union as well as actual, evil aliens are trying to turn it against Earth, and the U.S. THEY may have the high ground and the element of surprise on their hands, but WE have Tom Kelly. For better or worse. Or both.

Ring of Fire III by Eric Flint - Let’s do the “Time Warp” again! Another rollicking, thought-provoking collection of tales by a star-studded array of top writers such as bestseller Mercedes Lackey and Eric Flint himself – all set in Eric Flint’s phenomenal Ring of Fire series.

Rock on, Renaissance! A cosmic accident sets the modern West Virginia town of Grantville down in war-torn seventeenth century Europe. It will take all the gumption of the resourceful, freedom-loving up-timers to find a way to flourish in mad and bloody end of medieval times. Are they up for it? You bet they are. The third rollicking and idea-packed collection of Grantville tales edited by Eric Flint, and inspired by his now-legendary 1632.

Undercurrents by Robert Buettner - Ace intelligence operative Lt. Jazen Parker parachutes into Tressel, a planet which resembles Earth in its Paleozoic era, on a mission to bring down the local politicos.  He quickly realizes he’s been handed a near-impossible task.  Tressel is a politically-quarantined nightmare world with a culture confined to iron rivet technology and a ruling regime a bit to the right of Heinrich Himmler.  Jazen’s inclined to abandon this particular hellhole to its ways--that is, until he uncovers a plot afoot that will throw a five hundred-planet alliance into the death-throes of anarchy.

So the local Nazis must go.  Unfortunately, all Jazen’s got to work with is a handful of rust-bucket tanks, a retread rebellion, and two strong, beautiful women who love him, but think he’s tilting at windmills and is about to get himself killed.  What they don’t know is, once committed, Jazen Parker is the best there is when it comes to getting the dirty job done on the ground.  It’s the local bullies who are about to be taught a lesson in losing.

Blood Secrets by Jeannie Holmes -  Alex allowed a case involving murdered vamps to get personal and is suspended from the Federal Bureau of Preternatural Investigation. Now she’s facing an official inquiry but has a chance to redeem herself. The catch: She must once again work with Varik Baudelaire, her former mentor and ex-fiancé, as he spearheads a search for a missing college student. But Varik has been keeping secrets from Alex, and his mysterious past is on a collision course with his present.

When Alex and Varik discover a carefully handcrafted doll at a crime scene, neither of them can see how close the danger really is or that a killer known as the Dollmaker has made Alex the object of his horrific desire. Now the only way out of the Dollmaker’s lair is through the twilight realm of the Shadowlands, where all secrets—for better or worse—will be revealed.

Conan the Barbarian by Michael A. Stackpole - Born in the fires of battle, Conan of Cimmeria lost his father and village when they were slaughtered by the cruel warlord Khalra Zym. Wandering the world alone, Conan was forged into a peerless warrior by hardship and bloodshed.

Years later, he crosses paths with Zym and his armies. But before Conan can exact vengeance, he must contend with the warlord's daughter-the seductive witch Marique-and a host of monstrous creatures. Only then will Conan's quest bring him face to gave with Zym in an epic battle to avenge his people and save the world.

Night Veil by Yasmine Galenorn - Cicely Waters had always thought she was simply one of the magic-born---a witch who can control the wind---but recently she discovered she's also one of the shifting Fae. Now she must perfect her gift. Because Cicely and her friends may have escaped from Myst and her Shadow Hunters, but Myst has managed to capture the Fae prince who holds Cicely's heart.

Bloodlust by Michelle Rowan - Jillian Conrad's blood has killed the vampire king. Now an enemy to all vampires, she is targeted for elimination. So is the infant daughter of the dead king. If Jillian doesn't stand in the way of her death, then everyone, living or dead, is in great peril.

The Snow Queen's Shadow by Jim C. Hines - When a spell gone wrong shatters Snow White's enchanted mirror, a demon escapes into the world. The demon's magic distorts the vision of all it touches, showing them only ugliness and hate. It is a power that turns even friends and lovers into mortal foes, one that will threaten humans and fairies alike.

Undead and Undermined (Queen Betsy) by MaryJanice Davidson - Vampire Queen Betsy Taylor thought she couldn't die. So what's she doing in the morgue? It could have something to do with a time- traveling trip she made, and a foe with a wicked agenda that could finally be the real death of Betsy-if she's not careful.

Citadels of the Lost by Tracy Hickman - The Rhonas Empire of elves is built upon a thirst for conquest, disdain for other races, and an appetite for hedonistic self-gratification. They have complete control of the Aether — the mystical substance that fuels their magic. One use of this Aether is to compel total obedience of the slaves drawn from the races they have defeated.

But there are legends that tell of a time when humans and other slave races were free and dragons flew the skies. And they speak of a hero who will return to lead an uprising against their masters: a human named Drakis.

When Aer magic, the magic of nature itself, is wielded by Jugar, a captive dwarf, it signals the start of a rebellion straight from legend. In the ensuing chaos, the former warrior-slave Drakis Sha-Timuran, with a small group of slaves, flees for his life and freedom — lured by a melody that conjures visions of dark wings, scales, and fire. Following the melody he alone can hear, Drakis stumbles on the truth behind the legends: the dragons are real!

Can they survive the dangers of this treacherous realm and bring the truth behind the legends to the army of rebellion?

Song of the Dragon by Tracy Hickman - Once humans had magic and an alliance with dragons. Now they and the other races have been enslaved by the Rhonas Empire-the elves-and can't even remember the world the way it used to be. But thanks to the intervention of one determined dwarf and the human slave warrior known as Drakis, all of that is about to change.

Hammered by Kevin Hearne - Thor, the Norse god of thunder, is worse than a blowhard and a bully—he’s ruined countless lives and killed scores of innocents. After centuries, Viking vampire Leif Helgarson is ready to get his vengeance, and he’s asked his friend Atticus O’Sullivan, the last of the Druids, to help take down this Norse nightmare.

One survival strategy has worked for Atticus for more than two thousand years: stay away from the guy with the lightning bolts. But things are heating up in Atticus’s home base of Tempe, Arizona. There’s a vampire turf war brewing, and Russian demon hunters who call themselves the Hammers of God are running rampant. Despite multiple warnings and portents of dire consequences, Atticus and Leif journey to the Norse plain of Asgard, where they team up with a werewolf, a sorcerer, and an army of frost giants for an epic showdown against vicious Valkyries, angry gods, and the hammer-wielding Thunder Thug himself.

My Life as a White Trash Zombie by Diana Rowland - Teenage delinquent Angel Crawford lives with her redneck father in the swamps of southern Louisiana. She's a high school dropout, addicted to drugs and alcohol, and has a police record a mile long. But when she's made into a zombie after a car crash, her addictions disappear, except for her all-consuming need to stay "alive"...

The Left Hand of God by Paul Hoffman - Raised from early childhood in the Redeemer Sanctuary, the stronghold of a secretive sect of warrior monks, Thomas Cale has known only deprivation, punishment, and grueling training. When he escsapes to the outside world, Cale learns that his embittered heart is still capable of loving- and breaking.

But the Redeemers won't accept the defection of their prized pupil without a fight...

Titus Awakes by Mervyn Peake - Mervyn Peake's Gormenghast trilogy is widely acknowledged to be, as Robertson Davies pronounced, "a classic of our age." In these extraordinary novels, Peake created a world where all is like a dream--lush, fantastical, and vivid. Yet it was incomplete. Parkinson's disease took Peake's life in 1968, depriving his fans of the fourth and final volume of the series, Titus Awakes except for a few tantalizing pages, after which his writing became indecipherable. Or so it seemed.

In January of 2010, Peake's granddaughter found four composition books in her attic. They contained the fabled Titus Awakes in its entirety. Peake had outlined the novel for his wife, Maeve Gilmore, who had at last finished Peake's masterpiece.

It starts with Titus leaving Castle Gormenghast. Peake wrote: "With every pace he drew away from Gormenghast mountain, and from everything that belonged to his home. That night, as Titus lay asleep in the tall barn, a nightmare held him. "

Fans of Peake will delight in this new, wonderful novel, published one hundred years after his birth, every bit as thrilling and masterfully written as his famed trilogy.

A Shot in the Dark by K. A. Stewart - Jesse James Dawson's vacation is interrupted by a pack of hell-spawned creatures. To save friends, family and himself, Jesse will have to put his trust in his most dangerous enemy-his personal demon.

Dragon Outcast by E. E. Knight - Dragon Outcast continues E. E. Knight's thrilling fantasy series about a brood of young dragon siblings—-each unique, each powerful, and each fated to battle the other to the end. Here, the darkest of the dragons is introduced as he strives to make himself the strongest—-and the last—-of his brethren.

Grave Dance by Kalayna Price - After a month of down time, Grave Witch Alex Craft is ready to get back to solving murders by raising the dead. With her love life in turmoil, Alex is eager for the distractions of work. But when her new case forces her to overuse her magic, it might be the last mystery the Grave Witch ever gets to solve...

Dead Iron: The Age of Steamby Devon Monk - Welcome to a new America that is built on blood, sweat, and gears...

In steam age America, men, monsters, machines, and magic battle for the same scrap of earth and sky. In this chaos, bounty hunter Cedar Hunt rides, cursed by lycanthropy and carrying the guilt of his brother's death. Then he's offered hope that his brother may yet survive. All he has to do is find the Holder: a powerful device created by mad devisers-and now in the hands of an ancient Strange who was banished to walk this Earth.

In a land shaped by magic, steam, and iron, where the only things a man can count on are his guns, gears, and grit, Cedar will have to depend on all three if he's going to save his brother and reclaim his soul once and for all...

Viper Moon by Lee Roland - Cassandra Archer is the Huntress. She has faithfully served the Earth Mother for years, rescuing kidnapped children from monsters-both human and supernatural-dwelling in the ruins of the Barrows District. But when two children are kidnapped under similar circumstances, all clues point to a cataclysmic event on the next dark moon. Now Cass must race against the clock and prevent a sacrifice that could destroy the entire town...

Cold Touch by Leslie Parrish - Since being gifted-or cursed-with the ability to touch a lifeless body and relive the deceased's final moments, Olivia Wainwright has died a hundred deaths. And every glimpse into this darkness draws her deeper into danger.

Though he doesn't believe in psychics, Savannah Detective Gabe Cooper offers her a glimmer of light. As their bond deepens, Olivia will have to choose between her cold gift and the warmth Gabe can provide. And Gabe can't refuse when she needs his help solving a crime that's haunted her for over a decade-her own murder.

First Grave on the Right by Darynda Jones - Charley sees dead people. That’s right, she sees dead people. And it’s her job to convince them to “go into the light.” But when these very dead people have died under less than ideal circumstances (i.e. murder), sometimes they want Charley to bring the bad guys to justice. Complicating matters are the intensely hot dreams she’s been having about an Entity who has been following her all her life...and it turns out he might not be dead after all. In fact, he might be something else entirely.

This is a thrilling debut novel from an exciting newcomer to the world of paranormal romantic suspense.

Year's Best Science Fiction #28 edited by Gardner Dozois - In the new millennium, what secrets lay beyond the far reaches of the universe? What mysteries belie the truths we once held to be self evident? The world of science fiction has long been a porthole into the realities of tomorrow, blurring the line between life and art. Now, in The Year’s Best Science Fiction: Twenty-Eighth Annual Collection the very best SF authors explore ideas of a new world.

This venerable collection brings together award winning authors and masters of the field such as Robert Reed, Alastair Reynolds, Damien Broderick, Carrie Vaughn, Ian R. MacLeod and Cory Doctorow. And with an extensive recommended reading guide and a summation of the year in science fiction, this annual compilation has become the definitive must-read anthology for all science fiction fans and readers interested in breaking into the genre.

Naked City: Tales of Urban Fantasy edited by Ellen Datlow - In this thrilling collection of original stories some of today’s hottest paranormal authors delight, thrill and captivate readers with otherworldly tales of magic and mischief. In Jim Butcher’s ”Curses” Harry Dresden investigates how to lift a curse laid by the Fair Folk on the Chicago Cubs. In Patricia Briggs’ “Fairy Gifts,” a vampire is called home by magic to save the Fae who freed him from a dark curse. In Melissa Marr’s “Guns for the Dead,” the newly dead Frankie Lee seeks a job in the afterlife on the wrong side of the law. In Holly Black’s “Noble Rot,” a dying rock star discovers that the young woman who brings him food every day has some strange appetites of her own.

Featuring original stories from 20 authors, this dark, captivating, fabulous and fantastical collection is not to be missed!

7th Sigma by Steven Gould - Welcome to the territory. Leave your metal behind, all of it. The bugs will eat it, and they’ll go right through you to get it…Don’t carry it, don’t wear it, and for god’s sake don’t come here if you’ve got a pacemaker.

The bugs showed up about fifty years ago—self-replicating, solar-powered, metal-eating machines. No one knows where they came from. They don’t like water, though, so they’ve stayed in the desert Southwest. The territory. People still live here, but they do it without metal. Log cabins, ceramics, what plastic they can get that will survive the sun and heat. Technology has adapted, and so have the people.

Kimble Monroe has chosen to live in the territory. He was born here, and he is extraordinarily well adapted to it. He’s one in a million. Maybe one in a billion.

In 7th Sigma, Gould builds an extraordinary SF novel of survival and personal triumph against all the odds.

Honeyed Words by J. A. Pitts - Sarah Beauhall is a blacksmith, has a night job as a props manager for a low-budget movie, and spends her free time fighting in a medieval re-enactment group. Her world falls apart when she discovers that dragons are real and live among us as shapeshifters; in fact, it is they who have been the secret masters of our world from time immemorial. On top of all this, it appears that Sarah has managed to reforge an ancient sword that everyone suddenly wants...and those who don’t want the weapon want Sarah to take on her destiny and become humanity’s saviour.

As Sarah tries to make her way in this new world, she discovers just how little she knows of reality.  Fairies and dwarves and giants abound, the fault line of the Pacific Northwest is rife with ancient Norse magic. Odin himself appears with ravens at his side and cryptic advice for the fledgling heroine.  And the cherry on the sundae?  The discovery that Sarah’s girlfriend is from a family that has been battling these forces for generations and they look to Sarah as their last best hope.

What’s a girl to do when the powers of the world decide that you’re responsible for cleaning up the magical mess?

Summer of Night by Dan Simmons - It’s the summer of 1960 and in the small town of Elm Haven, Illinois, five twelve-year-old boys are forging the powerful bonds that a lifetime of change will not break. From sunset bike rides to shaded hiding places in the woods, the boys’ days are marked by all of the secrets and silences of an idyllic childhood. But amid the sun-drenched cornfields, their loyalty will be pitilessly tested. When a long-silent bell peals in the middle of the night, the townsfolk know it marks the end of their carefree days. From the depths of the Old Central School, a hulking fortress tinged with the mahogany scent of coffins, an invisible evil is rising. Strange and horrifying events begin to overtake everyday life, spreading terror through the once-peaceful town. Determined to exorcize this ancient plague, Mike, Duane, Dale, Harlen, and Kevin must wage a war of blood — against an arcane abomination who owns the night....

The House of Caine by Ken Eulo - When Rob Martin left Millhouse, he was barely out of his teens and Millhouse was his beloved hometown. Ten years later, Rob returns for a brief visit and finds that beneath the calm surface of small-town America, a terrible evil is brewing.

For decades, vampires have lived secretly in Millhouse, selecting victims who will not be missed. Now a great thirst is upon them, for blood and the pleasures of the flesh. Now they have grown more brazen, seducing not just vulnerable loners but some of Millhouse’s leading citizens. Rob’s old girlfriend, Elizabeth, is having amazing erotic dreams, dreams that leave her feeling drained and weak the next morning, afraid and yet eager to return to sleep.

As mutilated bodies turn up, drained of blood, the sheriff and town council look for a normal explanation for the wave of violence that is engulfing their town—but there is nothing normal about a nest of vampires. Only Rob, his best friend Tony, and a few stalwarts are prepared to drive a stake through the heart of the vampire menace. But will they act fast enough to save Elizabeth’s life . . . and soul?



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As always, all new releases are at least 10% off at Kayleighbug Books.  Order on our site or call toll-free 1-866-343-4516.
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Later this week, we'll be reviewing the first and second books of the Clockwork Vampire trilogy by Andy Remic - stay tuned!