Tuesday, May 29, 2012

05/29/2012 - New Releases in Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror

This week should go much further towards satisfying hardcore SF fans than the last few.  Much less Young Adult, much less Contemporary Fantasy, much more hard SF.  Solaris, Black Library, Baen and Angry Robot all releasing SF titles this week - as well as new Star Wars and Star Trek novels.  Enjoy!

Dragon's Time by Anne & Todd McCaffrey - Even though Lorana cured the plague that was killing the dragons of Pern, sacrificing her queen dragon in the process, the effects of the disease were so devastating that there are no longer enough dragons available to fight the fall of deadly Thread. And as the situation grows more dire, a pregnant Lorana decides that she must take drastic steps in the quest for help.

Meanwhile, back at Telgar Weyr, Weyrwoman Fiona, herself pregnant, and the harper Kindan must somehow keep morale from fading altogether in the face of the steadily mounting losses of dragons and their riders. But time weighs heavily against them - until Lorana finds a way to use time itself in their favor.

Deceived (Star Wars: The Old Republic) by Paul S. Kemp - A Sith warrior to rival the most sinister of the Order’s Dark Lords, Darth 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 will transform him into something far more heinous—something Malgus would never want to be but cannot stop becoming, any more than he can stop the rogue Jedi fast approaching. Her name is Aryn Leneer—and the lone Jedi Knight that Malgus cut down in the fierce battle for the Jedi Temple was her Master. Now she’s going to find out what happened to him, even if it means breaking every rule in the book.

The Casket of Souls by Lynn Flewelling - More than the dissolute noblemen they appear to be, Alec and Seregil are skillful spies, dedicated to serving queen and country. But when they stumble across evidence of a plot pitting Queen Phoria against Princess Klia, the two Nightrunners will find their loyalties torn as never before. Even at the best of times, the royal court at Rhíminee is a serpents’ nest of intrigue, but with the war against Plenimar going badly, treason simmers just below the surface.

And that’s not all that poses a threat: A mysterious plague is spreading through the crowded streets of the city, striking young and old alike. Now, as panic mounts and the body count rises, hidden secrets emerge. And as Seregil and Alec are about to learn, conspiracies and plagues have one thing in common: The cure can be as deadly as the disease.

The Nano Flower (Mandel Files #2) by Peter F. Hamilton - Greg Mandel is a psychic detective whose skills have been augmented by powerful but dangerous biotechnology. Those abilities have won him success and almost killed him many times over. Little wonder that he has settled down to the life of a gentleman farmer.

But Greg’s former employer, the mighty tech company Event Horizon, needs him once more. After Royan, hacker-genius and husband to company owner Julia Evans, mysteriously vanishes, a business rival suddenly boasts an incredible new technology. Has Royan been kidnapped and forced to work for his captors, or is the truth far stranger? The answer may lie in a gift of flowers received by Julia—flowers with DNA like nothing on Earth. Greg already has his hands full with corporate killers and other unsavory characters. Is he going to have to add aliens to the list?

A Feast of Ice and Fire: The Official Game of Thrones Cookbook by George R. R. Martin, Sariann Lehrer, and Chelsea Monroe-Cassely - Ever wonder what it’s like to attend a feast at Winterfell? Wish you could split a lemon cake with Sansa Stark, scarf down a pork pie with the Night’s Watch, or indulge in honeyfingers with Daenerys Targaryen? George R. R. Martin’s bestselling saga A Song of Ice and Fire and the runaway hit HBO series Game of Thrones are renowned for bringing Westeros’s sights and sounds to vivid life. But one important ingredient has always been missing: the mouthwatering dishes that form the backdrop of this extraordinary world. Now, fresh out of the series that redefined fantasy, comes the cookbook that may just redefine dinner . . . and lunch, and breakfast.

A passion project from superfans and amateur chefs Chelsea Monroe-Cassel and Sariann Lehrer—and endorsed by George R. R. Martin himself—A Feast of Ice and Fire lovingly replicates a stunning range of cuisines from across the Seven Kingdoms and beyond. From the sumptuous delicacies enjoyed in the halls of power at King’s Landing, to the warm and smoky comfort foods of the frozen North, to the rich, exotic fare of the mysterious lands east of Westeros, there’s a flavor for every palate, and a treat for every chef.

These easy-to-follow recipes have been refined for modern cooking techniques, but adventurous eaters can also attempt the authentic medieval meals that inspired them. The authors have also suggested substitutions for some of the more fantastical ingredients, so you won’t have to stock your kitchen with camel, live doves, or dragon eggs to create meals fit for a king (or a khaleesi). In all, A Feast of Ice and Fire contains more than 100 recipes, divided by region:

• The Wall: Rack of Lamb and Herbs; Pork Pie; Mutton in Onion-Ale Broth; Mulled Wine; Pease Porridge
• The North: Beef and Bacon Pie; Honeyed Chicken; Aurochs with Roasted Leeks; Baked Apples
• The South: Cream Swans; Trout Wrapped in Bacon; Stewed Rabbit; Sister’s Stew; Blueberry Tarts
• King’s Landing: Lemon Cakes; Quails Drowned in Butter; Almond Crusted Trout; Bowls of Brown; Iced Milk with Honey
• Dorne: Stuffed Grape Leaves; Duck with Lemons; Chickpea Paste
• Across the Narrow Sea: Biscuits and Bacon; Tyroshi Honeyfingers; Wintercakes; Honey-Spiced Locusts

There’s even a guide to dining and entertaining in the style of the Seven Kingdoms. Exhaustively researched and reverently detailed, accompanied by passages from all five books in the series and full-color photographs guaranteed to whet your appetite, this is the companion to the blockbuster phenomenon that millions of stomachs have been growling for. And remember, winter is coming—so don’t be afraid to put on a few pounds.

Beauty and the Werewolf by Mercedes Lackey - The eldest daughter is often doomed in fairy tales. But Bella—Isabella Beauchamps, daughter of a wealthy merchant—vows to escape the usual pitfalls.

Anxious to avoid the traditional path, Bella dons a red cloak and ventures into the forbidden forest to consult with "Granny," the local wisewoman. But on the way home she's attacked by a wolf—who turns out to be a cursed nobleman. Secluded in his castle, Bella is torn between her family and this strange man who creates marvelous inventions and makes her laugh—when he isn't howling at the moon.

Bella knows all too well that breaking spells is never easy. But a determined beauty, a wizard (after all, he's only an occasional werewolf) and a little Godmotherly interference might just be able to bring about a happy ending.…

The Watchers by Jon Steele - Beneath Lausanne Cathedral, in Switzerland, there is a secret buried before time began, something unknown to angels and men, until now...

Marc Rochat watches over the city at night from the belfry of the cathedral. He lives ina world of shadows and "beforetimes" and imaginary beings.

Katherine Taylor, call girl and daydreamer, is about to discover that her real-life fairy tale is too good to be true.

Jay Harper, private detective, wakes up in a crummy hotel room with no memory. When the telephone rings and he's offered a job, he knows he has no choice but to accept.

Three lives, one purpose: save what's left of paradise before all hell breaks loose.

Deadweather and Sunrise by Geoff Rodkey - A stunning middle-grade debut--full of heart, humor, and nonstop action
It's tough to be thirteen, especially when somebody's trying to kill you.

Not that Egg's life was ever easy, growing up on sweaty, pirate-infested Deadweather Island with no company except an incompetent tutor and a pair of unusually violent siblings who hate his guts.

But when Egg's father hustles their family off on a mysterious errand to fabulously wealthy Sunrise Island, then disappears with the siblings in a freak accident, Egg finds himself a long-term guest at the mansion of the glamorous Pembroke family and their beautiful, sharp-tongued daughter Millicent. Finally, life seems perfect.

Until someone tries to throw him off a cliff.

Suddenly, Egg's running for his life in a bewildering world of cutthroat pirates, villainous businessmen, and strange Native legends. The only people who can help him sort out the mystery of why he's been marked for death are Millicent and a one-handed, possibly deranged cabin boy.

Come along for the ride. You'll be glad you did.

The Magician King by Lev Grossman - Return to Fillory in the riveting sequel to the New York Times bestseller and literary phenomenon, The Magicians

Quentin Coldwater should be happy. He escaped a miserable Brooklyn childhood, matriculated at a secret college for magic, and graduated to discover that Fillory - a fictional utopia - was actually real. But even as a Fillorian king, Quentin finds little peace. His old restlessness returns, and he longs for the thrills a heroic quest can bring.

Accompanied by his oldest friend, Julia, Quentin sets off - only to somehow wind up back in the real world and not in Fillory, as they'd  hoped. As the pair struggle to find their way back to their lost kingdom, Quentin is forced to rely on Julia's illicitly-learned  sorcery as they face a sinister threat in a world very far from the beloved fantasy novels of their youth.

The Hit List by Laurell K. Hamilton - A serial killer is hunting the Pacific Northwest, murdering victims in a gruesome and spectacular way. The local police suspect “monsters” are involved, and have called in Anita Blake and Edward, U.S. Marshals who really know their monsters, to catch the killer.

But some monsters are very real—and even to speak their name can earn you a death sentence. The bogeymen of the vampire world, The Harlequin, are here in America hunting weretigers and human police. But Edward thinks the serial killings are just a trap—to lure Anita ever closer to the most dangerous vampire they’ve ever hunted…

Night's Engines by Trent Jamieson - The conclusion of the Nightbound Land duology. Shale is dying. The vast, boiling maelstrom known only as the Roil has pushed humanity to the edge of extinction. The last cities teeter on the verge of collapse.
There is one hope, but it is enshrined in a decadent wastrel who does not want his destiny, and a young woman who seeks only an end to everything. And yet they go on, in search of the ancient weapons that worked against the Roil once, and must work again.

File Under: Fantasy [ The World Engines | Darkness Prevails | A Land In Shadow | Final Chance ]

Strangeness and Charm by Mike Shevdon - Alex has been saved from the fate that awaited her in Bedlam, but in freeing her, Niall has released others of their kind into the population. Now, as Warder, he must find them and persuade them to swap their new-found liberty for security in the courts – but is the price of sanctuary to swap one cage for another?

File Under: Urban Fantasy [ Folklore hero | Faerie Legend | Secret World | Magic London ]

Warcraft::Wolfheart by Richard A. Knaak - In the wake of the Cataclysm, conflict has engulfed every corner of Azeroth. Hungering for more resources amid the turmoil, the Horde has pressed into Ashenvale to feed its burgeoning war machine. There, acting warchief Garrosh Hellscream has employed a brutal new tactic to conquer the region and crush its night elf defenders, a move that will cripple the Alliance’s power throughout Azeroth.

Unaware of the disaster brewing in Ashenvale, the night elves’ legendary leaders, High Priestess Tyrande Whisperwind and Archdruid Malfurion Stormrage, conduct a summit near Darnassus in order to vote the proud worgen of Gilneas into the Alliance. However, resentment of Gilneas and its ruler, Genn Greymane, runs deep in Stormwind’s King Varian Wrynn. His refusal to forgive Genn for closing his nation off from the rest of the world years ago endangers more than just the summit: it threatens to unravel the Alliance itself.

Varian’s animosity is only one of many unsettling developments in Darnassus. An uneasiness creeps over the once-immortal night elves as the first of them fall victim to the infirmities of age. While they cope with their mortality, tensions flare over the reintroduction of the Highborne, formerly the highest caste of night elf nobility, into their society. Many night elves are unable to pardon the Highborne for the destruction unleashed millennia ago by their reckless use of magic.

When a murdered Highborne is discovered on the outskirts of Darnassus, Malfurion and Tyrande move to stop further bloodshed and unrest by appointing one of the night elves’ most cunning and skilled agents to find the killer: the renowned warden Maiev Shadowsong. Yet with all that is transpiring in Darnassus, the Alliance might be powerless to stop the relentless new warchief Garrosh from seizing the whole of Ashenvale.

Blood Lite III: Aftertaste edited by Kevin J. Anderson - Sink your teeth into a smorgasbord of macabre morsels laced with horrific humor in this all-new Blood Lite collection! Whether you shriek with laughter or scream in fear . . . well, that’s simply a matter of taste.

Jim Butcher’s wizardly PI Harry Dresden pranks some high-tech monster seekers—and attempts to save a friend’s son whose life-energy is slowly being drained by an unknown adversary in “I Was a Teenage Bigfoot.” The Author from Hell has dropped dead, but a stressed-out editor is harassed by her emails from beyond the grave in Sherrilyn Kenyon’s “A Day in the Life.” The flesh is weak— and possibly even rotting—as a teenage virgin werewolf discovers on a visit to a brothel in Kelley Armstrong’s “V Plates.” Murder comes alive in “Mannequin,” by Heather Graham, as two thrill-seeking couples “axe” for trouble at a B&B with a bloody history.

Threshold by Eric Flint and Ryk E. Spoor -  When the strange fossil she'd discovered gave her a trip to Mars, Helen Sutter thought she'd gone about as far as any paleontologist would ever go in her lifetime. But when you’re married to an overconfident super-sensor expert for the only private agency in space – the Ares Corporation – and your best friend is a former secret agent for the Interplanetary Research Institute of the United Nations, there's always somewhere farther to go.

Soon Helen’s new discoveries will lead her  to the mysterious asteroid Ceres and beyond in a desperate race to reach Jupiter's perilous miniature system of radiation-bombarded moons. It seems the next gold rush is on–for alien technology.

And there are people willing to do anything to get it – even if they must start the Solar System’s first interplanetary war!

Going Interstellar edited by Les Johnson and Jack McDevitt - Essays by space scientists and engineers teamed with a collection of tales by an all-star assortment of award winning authors all taking on new methods of star travel.

Some humans may be content staying in one place, but many of us are curious about what’s beyond the next village, the next ocean, the next horizon.  Are there others like us out there? How will we reach them?  Others are concerned with the survival of the species. It may be that we have to get out of Dodge before the lights go out on Earth.  How can we accomplish this?

Wonderful questions.  Now get ready for some answers.

Here is the science behind interstellar propulsion: reports from top tier scientists and engineers on starflight propulsion techniques that use only means and methods that we currently know are scientifically possible. Here are in-depth essays on antimatter containment, solar sails, and fusion propulsion.

And the human consequences?  Here is speculation by a magnificent array of award-winning SF writers on what an interstellar voyage might look like, might feel like—might be like.  It’s an all-star cast abounding with Hugo and Nebula award winners: Ben Bova, Mike Resnick, Jack McDevitt, Michael Bishop, Sarah Hoyt and more.

Flandry's Legacy 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 four novellas 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.

No Going Back by Mark L. Van Name - Jon and Lobo are back–and everything is about to change.

If they both survive.

Haunted by memories of children he could not save, Jon Moore is so increasingly self-destructive that even his best friend, the hyper-intelligent Predator-Class Assault Vehicle, Lobo, is worried. When Jon risks meeting a woman from his distant past and undertakes a high-stakes mission, Lobo fears this will be their last.

The job is illegal.

They have to take on one of the oldest, most powerful men alive.

Two different security forces are tracking them.

And Jon is falling in love.

Desperate and out of options on a world so inhospitable that its statues and monuments outnumber its living inhabitants, Jon and Lobo encounter their deadliest challenges yet. They must make decisions from which there truly is No Going Back.

Star Treck Typhon Pact: Plagues of Night by David R. George III - In the wake of the final Borg invasion, which destroyed entire worlds, cost the lives of sixty-three billion people, and struck a crippling blow to Starfleet, six nations adversarial to the United Federation of Planets—the Romulan Star Empire, the Breen Confederacy, the Tholian Assembly, the Gorn Hegemony, the Tzenkethi Coalition, and the Holy Order of the Kinshaya— joined ranks to form the Typhon Pact. For almost three years, the Federation and the Klingon Empire, allied under the Khitomer Accords, have contended with the nascent coalition on a predominantly cold-war footing. But as Starfleet rebuilds itself, factions within the Typhon Pact grow restive, concerned about their own inability to develop a quantum slipstream drive to match that of the Federation. Will leaders such as UFP President Bacco and RSE Praetor Kamemor bring about a lasting peace across the Alpha and Beta Quadrants, or will the cold war between the two alliances deepen, and perhaps even lead to an all-out shooting war?

The White-Luck Warrior by R. Scott Bakker - Praised by readers and critics around the world, R. Scott Bakker has become one of the most celebrated voices in fantasy fiction. The Aspect-Emperor trilogy follows on from the acclaimed Prince of Nothing saga, and The White-Luck Warrior is the chilling second book in the new series. Ruler Anasurimbor Kellhus and his Great Ordeal march ever farther into the Ancient North, as his consort Esmenet finds herself at war. Exiled wizard Achamian, meanwhile, leads his own ragtag mission to the legendary ruins of Sauglish. Into this tumult walks the White-Luck Warrior, assassin and messiah both . . . . . . In this ambitious volume, Bakker delves even further into his richly imagined universe of myth, violence, and sorcery.

The Primarchs edited by Christian Dunn - Created in the Emperor’s own image, the primarchs had long thought themselves to be princes of the universe and masters of their own destiny – they led the Space Marine Legions in glorious conquest of the galaxy, and no enemy of the Imperium could stand against them. However, even amongst this legendary brotherhood, the seeds of dissent had been sown long before the treacherous Warmaster Horus declared his grand heresy. Gathered within this anthology are four novellas focusing on some of the mightiest warriors and leaders that mankind has ever known – Fulgrim, Alpharius, Lion El’Johnson and Ferrus Manus – and the roles that they may have yet to play in a war which threatens to change the face of the Imperium forever.

Bloodlines by Richelle Mead - When alchemist Sydney is ordered into hiding to protect the life of Moroi princess Jill Dragomir, the last place she expects to be sent is a human private school in Palm Springs, California.

Populated with new faces as well as familiar ones, Bloodlines explores all the friendship, romance, battles, and betrayals that made the #1 New York Times bestselling Vampire Academy series so addictive--this time in a part-vampire, part-human setting where the stakes are even higher and everyone's out for blood.

The Emperor's Gift by Aaron Dembrowski-Bowden - The Grey Knights are all that stands between mankind and the ravages of Chaos. Since their secretive beginnings during the Horus Heresy, these legendary Space Marine daemon hunters have journeyed into the dark realms of the warp – and beyond – in pursuit of their supernatural enemies. Through an intensive regime of psychic training, new recruits are brought to the clandestine fortress of Titan to join the hallowed and vaunted ranks of the 666th Chapter. More than ever, these legendary battle-brothers must be vigilant and ever ready to defend the Imperium for the forces of Chaos are never truly defeated, and Armageddon beckons…

Harmony by Keith Brooke - The aliens are here, all around us. They always have been. And now, one by one, they're destroying our cities.

Dodge Mercer deals in identities, which is fine until the day he deals the wrong identity and clan war breaks out. Hope Burren has no identity and no past, but she does have a multitude of voices filling her head.

In a world where nothing is as it seems, where humans are segregated and aliens can sing realities and tear worlds apart, Dodge and Hope lead a ragged band of survivors on a search for sanctuary in what may be the only hope for humankind.

Toxicity by Andy Remic -Welcome to Manna - the utopian galaxy where all races exist in harmony. Ruled by Shamans, perfect alien machines, Manna is a place of wisdom, technology and art. on the edge of the galaxy, away from romantic holiday cruises, hides toX1C, a reprocessing planet run by the Company and dealing with all Manna’s waste – there’s no poison the Company will not “recycle.”

Jenni Xi, ECO terrorist, is fighting a cleanup war against the Company. When a sabotage goes horribly wrong, she learns the future of the planet – and it’s far worse than she ever dreamed... Svoolzard Koolimax – poet, swashbuckler, bon viveur – is guest of Honour on a Masters Cruise when a violent attack leaves his Cruiser crashed in NukePuke. Horace is a torture model anarchy android, known simply as the Dentist. Horace works for the Company. Soon, he will meet Jenni and Svool – and the fate of Manna will change forever...

Weird Space: The Devil's Nebula by Eric Brown - Best-selling author Eric Brown has created a brand new shared world for Abaddon Books: Weird Space. This thrilling space-opera series will begin with the release of The Devil's Nebula. Brown will introduce readers to the human smugglers, veterans and ne’erdowells who are part of the Expansion – and their uneasy neighbours, the Vetch Empire.

When an evil race threatens not only the Expansion, but the Vetch too - an evil from another dimension which infests humans and Vetch alike and bends individuals to do their hideous bidding, only cooperation between them means the difference between a chance of survival and no chance at all.

Bloodsworn by Nathan Long - Returning to Nuln after her adventures in Praag, Ulrika finds the Lahmian vampires preparing for war. Across the Old World, their rivals, the sinister von Carsteins, attack their strongholds and lead the witch hunters to their hidden lairs. Spurned by her sisters, Ulrika forms an uneasy alliance with the von Carsteins in a plot to destabilise the Empire by striking at its very heart – they plan nothing less than the assassination of Emperor Karl Franz. With enemies on all sides and the Empire in flames, Ulrika must decide whether her future will see her living among the humans, or as their enemy.

Cursed by Benedict Jacka - Since his second sight made him infamous for defeating powerful dark mages, Alex has been keeping his head down. But now he's discovered the resurgence of a forbidden ritual. Someone is harvesting the life-force of magical creatures—destroying them in the process. And draining humans is next on the agenda. Hired to investigate, Alex realizes that not everyone on the Council wants him delving any deeper. Struggling to distinguish ally from enemy, he finds himself the target of those who would risk their own sanity for power...

Bleeding Out (An OSI Novel) by Jes Battis - From the author of Infernal Affairs comes a story of murder. mayhem, and demon relations. Is this really the vacation Tess was looking for?

Though she’s on leave from the Occult Special Investigations squad, Tess Corday is still grappling with her own personal mysteries. But finding out the truth about her demonic heritage has been more difficult than she expected. Plus, her unauthorized investigation into an addictive new vampire street drug is driving a stake between her and her undead boyfriend.

Then Vancouver’s premier necromancer turns up dead. Tess suspects that the cases are related. And her suspicions will lead her into a paranormal showdown that can—and will—change the course of her life forever.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

05/22/2012 - New Releases in SF, Fantasy, Horror, YA

Shift by Em Bailey - Olive Corbett is not crazy. Not anymore.
She obediently takes her meds and stays under the radar at school. After “the incident,” Olive just wants to avoid any more trouble, so she knows the smartest thing is to stay clear of the new girl who is rumored to have quite the creepy past.

But there’s no avoiding Miranda Vaile. As mousy Miranda edges her way into the popular group, right up to the side of queen bee Katie – and pushes the others right out – only Olive seems to notice that something strange is going on. Something almost . . . parasitic. Either Olive is losing her grip on reality, or Miranda Vaile is stealing Katie’s life.

But who would ever believe crazy Olive, the girl who has a habit of letting her imagination run away with her? And what if Olive is the next target?

A chilling psychological thriller that tears through themes of identity, loss, and toxic friendship, Shift will leave readers guessing until the final pages.

Bridge of Time by Lewis Buzbee - Best friends Lee Jones and Joan Lee have a lot more in common besides their names. On the eve of their class trip, they each learn their parents are getting divorced. Ugh. The class trip is a dud, so Lee and Joan steal away to talk. What follows is an afternoon nap in a lighthouse, walking up to find the Golden Gate Bridge gone--gone!--and meeting a young man named Sam Clemens, who is on the run from a mysterious stranger.

Lee and Joan wonder: Where are they? What year is it? Why don't their cell phones work? How will they get back? Do they even want to? Will life ever be the same?

Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier - Gwyneth Shepherd’s sophisticated, beautiful cousin Charlotte has been prepared her entire life for traveling through time. But unexpectedly, it is Gwyneth, who in the middle of class takes a sudden spin to a different era!

Gwyneth must now unearth the mystery of why her mother would lie about her birth date to ward off suspicion about her ability, brush up on her history, and work with Gideon—the time traveler from a similarly gifted family that passes the gene through its male line, and whose presence becomes, in time, less insufferable and more essential. Together, Gwyneth and Gideon journey through time to discover who, in the eighteenth century and in contemporary London, they can trust.
Nightshifted by Cassie Alexander - From debut author Cassie Alexander comes a spectacular new urban fantasy series where working the nightshift can be a real nightmare. Nothing compares to being Nightshifted.

Nursing school prepared Edie Spence for a lot of things. Burn victims? No problem. Severed limbs? Piece of cake. Vampires? No way in hell. But as the newest nurse on Y4, the secret ward hidden in the bowels of County Hospital, Edie has her hands full with every paranormal patient you can imagine—from vamps and were-things to zombies and beyond…

Edie’s just trying to learn the ropes so she can get through her latest shift unscathed.  But when a vampire servant turns to dust under her watch, all hell breaks loose. Now she’s haunted by the man’s dying words—Save Anna—and before she knows it, she’s on a mission to rescue some poor girl from the undead. Which involves crashing a vampire den, falling for a zombie, and fighting for her soul. Grey’s Anatomy was never like this…

Zombie Island: A Shakespeare Undead Novel by Lori Handeland - In the follow-up to Shakespeare Undead, vampire William Shakespeare and his Dark Lady are stranded on a mystical island where zombies are plentiful and one man will stop at nothing to become all-powerful.

Fresh from a triumphant battle over the zombie horde that invaded London, vampire William Shakespeare concocts a plot to rid the love of his life from the encumbrance of her husband. Will plans to give his ”dark lady,” Katherine Dymond, a potion that will make her sleep the sleep of the dead. Once she is entombed, Will can sneak in, wait for her to awaken, then spirit her away. After her husband returns to his plantation in America, Kate can return to London under a different name and assume a new identity. No one will believe that the dead Katherine and the live Kate are the same woman. Of course, as is often the case with true love, all does not go as smoothly as planned. When the two of them are shipwrecked on an island ruled by a wizard and a nymph, as well as infested by zombies, Will and Kate must stop an even larger plot afoot—one that leads all the way to the royal palaces of Queen Elizabeth.

Fated by Alyson Noel - Strange things are happening to Daire Santos. Crows mock her, glowing people stalk her, time stops without warning, and a beautiful boy with unearthly blue eyes haunts all her dreams. Fearing for her daughter’s sanity, Daire’s mother sends her to live with the grandmother she’s never met. A woman who recognizes the visions for what they truly are—the call to her destiny as a Soul Seeker—one who can navigate the worlds between the living and dead.

There on the dusty plains of Enchantment, New Mexico, Daire sets out to harness her mystical powers. But it’s when she meets Dace, the boy from her dreams, that her whole world is shaken to its core. Now Daire is forced to discover if Dace is the one guy she's meant to be with...or if he’s allied with the enemy she's destined to destroy.

Blackout by Mira Grant -The year was 2014. The year we cured cancer. The year we cured the common cold. And the year the dead started to walk. The year of the Rising.

The year was 2039. The world didn't end when the zombies came, it just got worse. Georgia and Shaun Mason set out on the biggest story of their generation. The uncovered the biggest conspiracy since the Rising and realized that to tell the truth, sacrifices have to be made.

Now, the year is 2041, and the investigation that began with the election of President Ryman is much bigger than anyone had assumed. With too much left to do and not much time left to do it in, the surviving staff of After the End Times must face mad scientists, zombie bears, rogue government agencies-and if there's one thing they know is true in post-zombie America, it's this:

Things can always get worse.

2312 by Kim Stanley Robinson - The year is 2312. Scientific and technological advances have opened gateways to an extraordinary future. Earth is no longer humanity's only home; new habitats have been created throughout the solar system on moons, planets, and in between. But in this year, 2312, a sequence of events will force humanity to confront its past, its present, and its future.

The first event takes place on Mercury, on the city of Terminator, itself a miracle of engineering on an unprecedented scale. It is an unexpected death, but one that might have been foreseen. For Swan Er Hong, it is an event that will change her life. Swan was once a woman who designed worlds. Now she will be led into a plot to destroy them.
Blue-Blooded Vamp by Jaye Wells - The epic conclusion to the amazing Sabina Kane urban fantasy series.

Sabina Kane is on the hunt. Her prey: Cain, the father of the vampire race and the one who murdered her family and her friends. Unfortunately, Cain is hunting Sabina, too.

The one man who holds the key to defeating Cain is, of course, Abel. A mage with secrets to spare and, hopefully, the power to match it. Unfortunately, for Sabina, he's in Rome and may not want to be found.

Sabina sets out for Italy with her friends, Giguhl and Adam Lazarus, to track down the only man who can get her the revenge she hungers for. But will he help her or oppose her? And just who is Abel, really? Worst of all, when Sabina figures out the goddess Lilith has a plan for her-she realizes this trip is getting deadlier by the minute. As they say: when in Rome-SURVIVE.

The Enchantress by Michael Scott - San Francisco: Nicholas and Perenelle Flamel have one day left to live, and one job left to do. They must defend San Francisco. The monsters gathered on Alcatraz Island have been released and are heading toward the city. If they are not stopped, they will destroy everyone and everything in their path.

But even with the help of two of the greatest warriors from history and myth, will the Sorceress and the legendary Alchemyst be able to defend the city? Or is it the beginning of the end of the human race?

Danu Talis:
Sophie and Josh Newman traveled ten thousand years into the past to Danu Talis when they followed Dr. John Dee and Virginia Dare. And it’s on this legendary island that the battle for the world begins and ends.

Scathach, Prometheus, Palamedes, Shakespeare, Saint-Germain, and Joan of Arc are also on the island. And no one is sure what—or who—the twins will be fighting for.

Today the battle for Danu Talis will be won or lost. But will the twins of legend stand together? Or will they stand apart—one to save the world and one to destroy it?

Nightworld by F. Paul Wilson - This is the way the world ends…not with a bang but a scream in the dark.

It begins at dawn, when the sun rises late. Then the holes appear. The first forms in Central Park, in sight of an apartment where Repairman Jack and a man as old as time watch with growing dread. Gaping holes, bottomless and empty…until sundown, when the first unearthly, hungry creatures appear.

Nightworld brings F. Paul Wilson’s Adversary Cycle and Repairman Jack saga to an apocalyptic finale as Jack and Glaeken search the Secret History to gather a ragtag army for a last stand against the Otherness and a hideously transformed Rasalom.

Dark Magic by James Swain - Peter Warlock is a magician with a dark secret. Every night, he amazes audiences at his private theater in New York, where he performs feats that boggle the imagination. But his day job is just a cover for his otherworldly pursuits: Peter is a member of an underground group of psychics who gaze into the future to help prevent crimes.

No one, not even his live-in girlfriend, knows the truth about Peter—until the séance when he foresees an unspeakable act of violence that will devastate the city. As Peter and his friends rush to prevent tragedy, Peter discovers that a shadowy cult of evil psychics, the Order of Astrum, know all about his abilities. They are hunting him and his fellow psychics down, one by one, determined to silence them forever.

Dark Magic is a genre-bending supernatural thriller from national bestselling novelist and real-life magician James Swain.

Orb Sceptre Throne by Ian C. Esslemont - The epic new chapter in the history of Malaz—the new epic fantasy from Steven Erikson's friend and co-creator of this extraordinary and exciting imagined world.

Darujhistan, city of dreams, city of blue flames, is peaceful at last; its citizens free to return to politicking, bickering, trading and, above all, enjoying the good things in life. Yet there are those who will not allow the past to remain buried. A scholar digging in the plains stumbles across an ancient sealed vault. The merchant Humble Measure schemes to drive out the remaining Malazan invaders. And the surviving agents of a long-lost power are stirring, for they sense change and so, opportunity. While, as ever at the centre of everything, a thief in a red waistcoat and of rotund proportions walks the streets, juggling in one hand custard pastries, and in the other the fate of the city itself.

Far to the south, fragments of the titanic Moon's Spawn have crashed into the Rivan Sea creating a series of isles...and a fortune hunter's dream. A Malazan veteran calling himself 'Red' ventures out to try his luck—and perhaps say goodbye to old friends. But there he finds far more than he'd bargained for as the rush to claim the Spawn's treasures descends into a mad scramble of chaos and bloodshed. For powers from across the world have gathered here, searching for the legendary Throne of Night. The impact of these events are far reaching, it seems. On an unremarkable island off the coast of Genabackis, a people who had turned their backs upon all such strivings now lift their masked faces towards the mainland and recall the ancient prophesy of a return.

And what about the ex-Claw of the Malazan Empire who now walks the uttermost edge of creation? His mission—the success or failure of which the Queen of Dreams saw long ago—is destined to shape far more than anyone could have ever imagined.

The Paths of the Dead by Steven Brust - Two hundred years ago, Adron’s Disaster destroyed Dragaera City, killed the Emperor, and deprived the entire Dragaeran Empire of the ability to use sorcery.

It’s been a rough Interregnum. The children of the great adventurers Khaavren, Aerich, Tazendra, and Pel are growing up in a seemingly diminished world. Like their elders, they’re convinced that the age of adventures is over, and that nothing interesting will ever happen to any of them.

They are, of course, quite wrong….
Princeps by L. E. Modesitt, Jr. - The thrilling follow-up to Scholar—in which, after discovering a coup attempt and preventing a bloody civil war, Quaeryt was appointed princeps of Tilbor—begins a new episode in the young Imager's life. Now second only to the governor, and still hiding his powers as an Imager, Quaeryt is enjoying his new position, as well as his marriage to Lord Bhayar’s youngest sister, Vaelora, when a volcanic eruption devastates the old capital of Telaryn.

He and his wife are dispatched to Extela, Telaryn’s capitol city, to replace the governor killed in the eruption. Quaeryt and Vaelora must restore order to a city filled with chaos and corruption, and do so quickly. The regiment under his command must soon depart to bolster Telaryn’s border defenses against a neighboring ruler who sees the volcanic devastation as an opportunity for invasion and conquest.
The Walls of the Universe by Paul Melko - John Rayburn thought all of his problems were the mundane ones of an Ohio farm boy in his last year in high school. Then his doppelgänger appeared, tempted him with a device that let him travel across worlds, and stole his life from him. John soon finds himself caroming through universes, and, when the device breaks, unable to return home. John settles in a new universe to unravel the machine’s secrets and fix it.

Meanwhile, his doppelgänger tries to exploit the commercial technology he’s stolen from other Earths: the Rubik’s Cube! John’s attempts to lie low in his new universe backfire when he inadvertently introduces pinball. It becomes a huge success. Both actions draw the notice of other, more dangerous travelers, who are exploiting worlds for ominous purposes. Fast-paced and exciting, this is SF adventure at its best from a rising star.
Out of the Waters by David Drake -The wealthy Governor Saxa, of the great city of Carce, has generously subsidized a theatrical/religious event. During this elaborate staging of Hercules founding a city on the shores of Lusitania, 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 is as powerful and elaborate as that fantastic theatrical event, a major fantasy for this year.
Honeyed Worlds 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 reenactment 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?

Dark Jenny by Alex Bledsoe - For twenty-five gold pieces a day, plus expenses, Eddie LaCrosse will take on almost any case. But the unexpected delivery of a coffin in the dead of winter forces LaCrosse to look at a bygone chapter of his life—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 unravel 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.

Of Poseidon by Anna Banks - Galen, a Syrena prince, searches land for a girl he's heard can communicate with fish. It’s while Emma is on vacation at the beach that she meets Galen. Although their connection is immediate and powerful, Galen's not fully convinced that Emma's the one he's been looking for. That is, until a deadly encounter with a shark proves that Emma and her Gift may be the only thing that can save his kingdom. He needs her help--no matter what the risk.

[I read an ARC of this one - good YA contemporary fantasy - 4 of 5 stars. ]
So Silver Bright by Lisa Mantchev - All Beatrice Shakespeare Smith has ever wanted is a true family of her own. And she’s close to reuniting her parents when her father disappears. Now Bertie must deal with a vengeful sea goddess and a mysterious queen as she tries to keep her family—and the Theatre Illuminata—from crumbling. To complicate it all, Bertie is torn between her two loves, Ariel and Nate.
Wrapped by Jennifer Bradbury - Agnes Wilkins is standing in front of an Egyptian mummy, about to make the first cut into the wrappings—about to unlock ancient (and not-so-ancient) history. She sees herself wearing a pith helmet with antique dust swirling around her. She sees herself as a young Egyptologist who has arrived in Cairo on camelback.

She sees herself dreaming. Because reality for a seventeen-year-old debutante in 1815 London does not allow for camels—or dust even. No, Agnes’s encounter with a mummy is happening on Lord Showalter’s verdant green lawn, where butlers abound and strolling sitar players strain to create an exotic “atmosphere” for the first party of the season. An unwrapping.

And a beginning. Not just of Agnes’s debut season and the ever-shrinking scope of her future—home, husband, and high society. No, something else begins as well, because the mummy Agnes unwraps is more than a mummy: It’s a host for a secret that could unravel a new destiny—unleashing a mystery, an international intrigue—and possibly a curse.

Human.4 by Mike A. Lancaster - Kyle Straker volunteered to be hypnotized at the annual community talent show, expecting the same old lame amateur acts. But when he wakes up, his world will never be the same. Televisions and computers no longer work, but a strange language streams across their screens. Everyone’s behaving oddly. It’s as if Kyle doesn’t exit.

Is this nightmare a result of the hypnosis? Will Kyle wake up with a snap of fingers to roars of laughter? Or is this something much more sinister?

Narrated on a set of found cassette tapes at an unspecified point in the future, Human.4 is an absolutely chilling look at technology gone too far.  
Taken by Storm by Jennifer Lynn Barnes - In the eye of a storm stands Bryn, the alpha of the Cedar Ridge werewolf pack. She is young. Female. Human. Physically weaker than any werewolf, she could never survive a battle with another alpha, the strongest, fiercest, and canniest of his pack.

Yet she cannot refuse a summons from the werewolf Senate. A rogue werewolf is attacking humans. The risk of exposure threatens to destroy pack life, and the center of the crisis is Cedar Ridge territory—her own lands.

Bryn has no choice but to attend the meeting, a gathering of the most powerful werewolves on the continent.  The subject is the rogue wolf, but Bryn knows the other packs want what she has. Her territory. Her females. Her pack.

They want her death.

Werewolf law prevents the other alphas from making a direct attack. It also prevents her former alpha, the mysterious and powerful Callum, from coming to her aid. But it doesn’t prevent Bryn from knowing what she wants. To keep her lands. To protect her pack.

Undercurrent by Tricia Rayburn - 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.

Monday, May 21, 2012

In The Mail: A Once Crowded Sky + 3 more

4 more ARC's in the mail today.  An odd mix this time.  The first one was from Simon & Schuster - This was notable from several points of view.  A Once Crowded Sky by Tom King.  First, it's a hardcover ARC, a rarity in the days when most ARC's that are fortunate enough to find print form (don't get me started on electronic galleys) are put out on digital POD presses making a workmanlike paperback that, while more than sufficient to the task of getting the story out to advance reviewers, nonetheless is typically lacking in the style that will be present in the final printed hardcover.

The copy that I received is likely a hardcover from the first printing with a different jacket wrapped around it but I was pleasantly surprised anyway.  Secondly, this is a hardcover superhero novel with a marketing budget - a rarity in itself.  Immediately on opening the package I was drawn to recall Soon I Will Be Invincible by Austin Grossman which I thought was a brilliant novel.  This looks every bit as intriguing.

Finally, there is comic book art interspersed with the text.  Yay!

Synopsis: The superheroes of Arcadia City fight a wonderful war, and play a wonderful game, forever saving yet another day. However, after sacrificing both their powers and Ultimate, the greatest hero of them all, to defeat the latest apocalypse, these comic book characters are transformed from the marvelous into the mundane. After too many battles won and too many friends lost, The Soldier of Freedom was fine letting all that glory go. But when a new threat blasts through his city, Soldier, as ever, accepts his duty and reenlists in this next war. Without his once amazing abilities, he’s forced to seek the help of the one man who walked away, the sole hero who refused to make the sacrifice— PenUltimate, the sidekick of Ultimate, who through his own rejection of the game has become the most powerful man in the world, the only one left who might still, once again, save the day. A tour de force debut novel from a former CIA counterterrorism officer, A Once Crowded Sky fuses the sensibility of bombastic, comic-book-style storytelling with modern literary fiction to bring to life a universe of supermen stripped of their powers, newly mortal men forced to confront danger in a world without heroes

The next package in my mail bin was one of Fiewel & Friends distinctly wrapped bright metallic red envelopes containing their latest Fierce Reads promotion for summer: Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo.

Synopsis: Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee. Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.
Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha…and the secrets of her heart

This book carries the distinction of having the highest early review rating I've ever seen on Goodreads.com (4.42 out of 5 at the time of writing).  Looking forward to both of these..

In a departure from my usual reading comfort zone - I requested and received this next one from Penguin - It's OK Not to Share and other Renegade Rules for Raising Competent and Compassionate Kids by Heather Schumaker.  In addition to being a bookseller and blogger, I am also a parent.  This looks interesting and potentially helpful. Synopsis: "Parenting can be such an overwhelming job that it’s easy to lose track of where you stand on some of the more controversial subjects at the playground (What if my kid likes to rough house—isn’t this ok as long as no one gets hurt? And what if my kid just doesn’t feel like sharing?). In this inspiring and enlightening book, Heather Shumaker describes her quest to nail down “the rules” to raising smart, sensitive, and self-sufficient kids. Drawing on her own experiences as the mother of two small children, as well as on the work of child psychologists, pediatricians, educators and so on, in this book Shumaker gets to the heart of the matter on a host of important questions. Hint: many of the rules aren’t what you think they are! The “rules” in this book focus on the toddler and preschool years—an important time for laying the foundation for competent and compassionate older kids and then adults. Here are a few of the rules: It’s OK if it’s not hurting people or property Bombs, guns and bad guys allowed. Boys can wear tutus. Pictures don’t have to be pretty. Paint off the paper! Sex ed starts in preschool Kids don’t have to say “Sorry.” Love your kid’s lies."

Finally, there arrived a book called The Pleasures of Men by Kate Williams.  Synopsis: "Catherine Sorgeiul lives with her Uncle in a rambling house in London's East End. She has few companions and little to occupy the days beyond her own colourful imagination. But then a murderer strikes, ripping open the chests of young girls and stuffing hair into their mouths to resemble a beak, leading the press to christen him The Man of Crows. And as Catherine hungrily devours the news, she finds she can channel the voices of the dead ... and comes to believe she will eventually channel The Man of Crows himself.
But the murders continue to panic the city and Catherine gradually realizes she is snared in a deadly trap, where nothing is as it first appears ... and lurking behind the lies Catherine has been told are secrets more deadly and devastating than anything her imagination can conjure.

With an elegant style and thrilling plot, The Pleasures of Men reveals the dark, beating heart of corrupt London during Queen Victoria's reign."

This is a Victorian-Era murder mystery that I am likely going to enjoy.  Unfortunately, in this town, I cannot sit in front of my store and read this without everyone in town immediately questioning my sexual orientation.  Hopefully I will have time in the privacy of my office to read this.