Saturday, July 31, 2010

New Scifi and Fantasy Releases: Week of August 1

Posted by Simcha 7:34 PM, under | 6 comments

August is an exciting month for new releases with Brandon Sanderson's Way of of Kings coming out as well as Brent Weeks's new novel, Black Prism and the much-anticipated Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins. Unfortunately it won't be until the end of the month that those particular books will be available, though there are some other new releases that look like they might keep me happily occupied in the meantime.

This week I have my eye on Shades of Milk and Honey by
Mary Robinette Kowal.
In addition to the fact that I just like the title it also sounds like it could be a really fun book, despite the comparisons to Jane Austen (no, I'm not a Jane Austen fan). Plus I've read some good reviews about it, so this book is firmly on my To Be Read list.

There is also a new release from Adrian Tchaikovsky, whose books I've been meaning to read for a while, as well as a new Artemis Fowl from Eon Colfer, and Julie Kagawa's The Iron Daughter.

And as usual, while compiling this list I've come across a couple of interesting titles that I've not yet heard of, including The Savior Machine: A brief collection of weird fiction by Daniel La Ponsie and The Questing Road by Lyn McConchie. While I'm not sure if I will actually get around to reading either of these perhaps you will, in which case please let me know if I should give them a try.

Hope you have a great reading week!




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The Iron Daughter
Julie Kagawa

Genre:
YA Fantasy
Publisher
: Harlequin
Release Date:
August 1, 2010

Half Summer faery princess, half human, Meghan has never fit in anywhere. Deserted by the Winter prince she thought loved her, she is prisoner to the Winter faery queen. As war looms between Summer and Winter, Meghan knows that the real danger comes from the Iron fey—ironbound faeries that only she and her absent prince have seen. But no one believes her.
Worse, Meghan's own fey powers have been cut off. She's stuck in Faery with only her wits for help. Trusting anyone would be foolish. Trusting a seeming traitor could be deadly. But even as she grows a backbone of iron, Meghan can't help but hear the whispers of longing in her all-too-human heart.


The Savior Machine: A brief collection of weird fiction

Daniel La Ponsie
Genre:
Short Story Antholgy
Publisher:
Without Adjectives
Release Date:
August 1

Read about a priest employed by the Vatican Intelligence Agency. Agent Scott Sideways wears the roman collar and carries a seven-chambered revolver called The Seven Sorrows. Employed by the supreme pontiff and blessed to kill, Sideways is on the trail of a mad-man with a machine that can make the blind see, the lame walk, and the dead live again.

Other stories in the book include: Heart-shaped Box The small research lab was located at the edge of Grand Rapids; back behind the swanky pubs and clubs, the trendy galleries, and the city's massive arena, where single mothers are thrown to the lions. Mount Mercy Three dozen little Spiders marching single file from his toes to his nose. One at a time leaping into his eyes and ears and mouth. The Human Body The man seems to be smiling, although it is difficult to tell. For, obviously, he has no lips.

"A grand throwback to the glory days of pulp adventure and horror!" -Jason Roth; filmmaker, Ta-Ta's Last Stand (2010), Too Dead to Die (2007).
"What do you get when you combine whores, robots and dogmen? One helluvastory." -Terry Lancaster; librarian, Grand Rapids Public Library.




Sympathy for the Devil
Michael Chabon, Holly Black, Kelly Link, and Stephen King

Genre
: Short Story Anthology/Paranormal
Publisher:
Night Shade Books
Release Date:
August 1

The Devil is known by many names: Serpent, Tempter, Beast, Adversary, Wanderer, Dragon, Rebel. His traps and machinations are the stuff of legends. His faces are legion. No matter what face the devil wears, Sympathy for the Devil has them all. Edited by Tim Pratt, Sympathy for the Devil collects the best Satanic short stories by Neil Gaiman, Holly Black, Stephen King, Kage Baker, Charles Stross, Elizabeth Bear, Jay Lake, Kelly Link, China Mieville, Michael Chabon, and many others, revealing His Grand Infernal Majesty, in all his forms.

Thirty-five stories, from classics to the cutting edge, exploring the many sides of Satan, Lucifer, the Lord of the Flies, the Father of Lies, the Prince of the Powers of the Air and Darkness, the First of the Fallen... and a Man of Wealth and Taste. Sit down and spend a little time with the Devil.



Unsympathetic Magic: An Esther Diamond Novel

Laura Resnick

Genre:
Fantasy
Publisher: Daw
Release Date:
August 3

From the award-winning author of Doppelgangster comes the newest novel in the popular Esther Diamond series
Acting jobs don't grow on fire escapes, so struggling actress Esther Diamond is outraged when her guest role as a hooker on controversial TV drama The Dirty Thirty is jeopardized by zombies, angry spirits, and a voodoo curse. But will Esther's courage backfire and end up leading her to become a human sacrifice on the altar of the sinister supernatural powers that are taking over New York City?



Total Eclipse (Weather Warden, Book 9)

Rachel Caine

Genre:
Urban Fanasy
Publisher: Roc
Release Date:
August 3

Weather Warden Joanne Baldwin, her husband, the djinn David, and the Earth herself have been poisoned by a substance that destroys the magic that keeps the world alive. The poison is destabilizing the entire balance of power, bestowing magic upon those who have never had it, and removing it form those who need it. It's just a matter of time before the delicate balance of nature explodes into chaos-and doom.




Taint of the Black Brigade: Chronicles of Abraxis Wren, Book 2
Paul Crilley

Genre
: Fantasy
Publisher:
Wizards of the Coast
Release Date
: August 3

The last one alive takes the treasure . . . unless Abraxis Wren gets there first. When a woman from his past turns up looking for help in clearing her name, Abraxis Wren must set aside his memories of their past encounters to unravel the mystery of the Black Brigade. An elite and deadly squad from the Last War is being murdered one by one. The trail of blood leads to untold treasure—if Wren can only reach it before the murderer does!


Infinite Days (Vampire Queen)
Rebecca Maizel
Genre: YA Urban Fantasy
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Release Date
: August 3

"Throughout all my histories, I found no one I loved more than you...no one."

Those were some of Rhode's last words to me. The last time he would pronounce his love. The last time I would see his face.
It was the first time in 592 years I could take a breath. Lay in the sun. Taste. Rhode sacrificed himself so I, Lenah Beaudonte, could be human again. So I could stop the blood lust. I never expected to fall in love with someone else that wasn't Rhode. But Justin was...daring. Exciting. More beautiful than I could dream. I never expected to be sixteen again...then again, I never expected my past to come back and haunt me...


Shades of Milk and Honey
Mary Robinette Kowal

Genre: Fantasy
Publisher
: Tor
Release Date
: August 3

The fantasy novel you’ve always wished Jane Austen had written
Shades of Milk and Honey is exactly what we could expect from Jane Austen if she had been a fantasy writer: Pride and Prejudice meets Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell. It is an intimate portrait of a woman, Jane, and her quest for love in a world where the manipulation of glamour is considered an essential skill for a lady of quality. Jane and her sister Melody vie for the attentions of eligible men, and while Jane’s skill with glamour is remarkable, it is her sister who is fair of face. When Jane realizes that one of Melody’s suitors is set on taking advantage of her sister for the sake of her dowry, she pushes her skills to the limit of what her body can withstand in order to set things right—and, in the process, accidentally wanders into a love story of her own.


The Demon Hunt (A Darkstorm Novel)

Kris Greene

Genre:
Urban Fantasy
Publisher
: St. Martins Paperback
Release Date:
August 3

Soul-sucking demons. Half-human killers. Doomsday prophesies. No, this isn’t a late-night movie on cable TV. This is Gabriel’s life—or least, what’s left of it—ever since he discovered his true destiny as a warrior knight in the battle against darkness. Once an ordinary college kid studying lost legends in books, Gabriel now finds himself face to face with actual demons. As a warrior, he has no choice but to fight them. And if he screws it up, the world is toast…
A dimensional rift has opened between worlds. Which means more demons—and more death—than you could shake a proverbial stick at. Luckily, Gabriel has just the stick for the job, an ancient trident that gives him awesome demon-bashing powers. To watch his back he has the butt kicking half Demon De Mona and several unlikely heroes who he’s picked up along the way. To make matters more complicated two of Gabriel’s college buddies wind up dead and he finds that the demons aren’t the only ones who want a piece of his hide. The cops want him too—for murder…


Elminster Must Die!: The Sage of Shadowdale (The Elminster Series)
Ed Greenwood

Genre
: Fantasy
Publisher:
Wizards of the Coast
Release Date
: August 3

Elminster Returns!
Elminster Must Die! is the debut 4th edition appearance of one of the Forgotten Realms® world’s most iconic characters, written by the creator of the original Forgotten Realms campaign setting. An instant classic, and a must-read for every Realms fan. When the goddess of magic was murdered, Elminster’s world shattered. Once the most powerful wizard in the world, immortal, beloved of the goddess of magic, and the bane of villainy, he is now a tired old man. He is powerful but mortal, and with all the enemies a man who makes a habit of saving the world tends to accumulate. To make matters worse, Elminster has needs—feeding powerful magic items to the Simbul, his lover, is the only thing that keeps her sane—but their increasingly risky collection leads his enemies right to him.


Labyrinth (Greywalker, Book 5)

Kat Richardson

Genre
: Urban Fantasy
Publisher
: Roc
Release Date
: August 3

Harper Blaine was your average small-time P. I. until she died-for two minutes. Now she's a Greywalker, walking the line between the living world and the paranormal realm. There are others who know about her new powers-others with powerful tools and evil intentions, and now that the man who "killed" her has been murdered, the police are also paying close attention. That means Harper has to watch her step while searching for the ghost of her "killer"-who could be a valuable clue in the puzzle of Harper's past and her father's death, as well as a key to figuring out who's trying to manipulate her new powers and why. But with her growing powers pulling her into the Grey, Harper might not be able to come back out...



The Questing Road

Lyn McConchie

Genre
: Fantasy
Publisher
: Tor
Release Date : August 3

With the spirit and excitement that have thrilled readers for more than two decades, Lyn McConchie has crafted a totally original fantasy of two lands in deadly conflict.
Acolytes to a dark god have crossed the gulf between worlds to abduct an innocent tariling, not even a year old, dooming it to become a sacrifice in a ceremony that will unleash an army of supernatural creatures upon an unsuspecting kingdom. Yoros and Kyrryl know that this is no mere animal, but to its own (felinoid) kind is a cherished child.
With their warrior niece, Ashara, they follow its trail through a dimensional gate, little realizing their simple quest will become a desperate fight for survival in the middle of an all-out war. They can't know of the atrocities that decimated the plains tribes of the strange world beyond the gate. Nor can they know of the massive revenge that threatens an entire civilization. If they are to save themselves and their lost tariling, they must follow its magic through the unknown terrors of a bizarre world of alien creatures and mortal perils beyond their wildest imagining.

With the apocalyptic ceremony looming ever nearer, the trio of seekers find others who may help them -- or whose treachery could spell doom for them all. As mortal and supernatural armies mass and secret pacts reveal ancient evils, only one thing is certain: death follows their road, and their only hope is to cheat the gods that seem to curse them...



Artemis Fowl: The Atlantis Complex
Eoin Colfer

Genre
: YA Fantasy
Publisher
: Hyperion Books for Children
Release Date
: August 3

Artemis has committed his entire fortune to a project he believes will save the planet and its inhabitants, both human and fairy. Can it be true? Has goodness taken hold of the world’s greatest teenage criminal mastermind?
Captain Holly Short is unconvinced, and discovers that Artemis is suffering from Atlantis Complex, a psychosis common among guilt-ridden fairies - not humans - and most likely triggered by Artemis’s dabbling with fairy magic. Symptoms include obsessive-compulsive behavior, paranoia, multiple personality disorder and, in extreme cases, embarrassing professions of love to a certain feisty LEPrecon fairy. Unfortunately, Atlantis Complex has struck at the worst possible time. A deadly foe from Holly’s past is intent on destroying the actual city of Atlantis. Can Artemis escape the confines of his mind – and the grips of a giant squid – in time to save the underwater metropolis and its fairy inhabitants? New York Times best-selling author Eoin Colfer delivers a knockout, fast-paced, and hilarious adventure in Artemis Fowl: The Atlantis Complex, the seventh book in the blockbuster series.


The Phoenix Transformed (Enduring Flame Series 3)

Mercedes Lackey & James Mallory
Genre:
Fantasy
Publisher:
Tor
Release Date
: August 3

With more than one twist in the telling, centering on a magic-plagued journey across a blistering desert, The Phoenix Transformed is the stunning conclusion to Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory's Enduring Flame Trilogy.



The Stainless Steel Rat Returns (Stainless Steel Rat, Bk 11) Harry Harrison
Genre
: Science Fiction
Publisher
: Tor
Release Date
: August 3

After a ten-year absence, the return of one of the most enduring series characters in modern SF
James Bolivar "Slippery Jim" DiGriz, Special Corps agent, master con man, interstellar criminal (retired), is living high on the hog on the planet of Moolaplenty when a long-lost cousin and a shipful of swine arrive to drain his bank account and send him and his lovely wife, Angelina, wandering the stars on the wildest journey since Gulliver's Travels. In this darkly satiric work, Harry Harrison bring his most famous character out of retirement for a grand tour of the galaxy. The Stainless Steel Rat rides again: a cocktail in his hand, a smile on his lips, and larceny in his heart, in search of adventure, gravitons, and a way to get rid of the pigs.


The Laughing Magician: The Adventures of Cugel

Jack Vance and Stephen Fabian
Genre:
Science Fiction
Publisher:
Underwood Books
Release Date: August 1

The Laughing Magician combines two of the most popular novels in Jack Vance's Dying Earth series. Both recount the adventures of Cugel, also called Cugel the Clever, forced by a mordant magician into a quest across an Earth of the far distant future. In this Rabelaisian picaresque, Cugel has only his wits — and loose morals — with which to survive a world teeming with tricksters, monsters, and magicians. Vance’s vivid, witty prose and rich imagination is combined with Stephen Fabian’s gorgeous art.




Black Swan Rising
Lee Carroll
Genre
: Urban Fantasy
Publisher
: Tor
Release Date
: August 3

When New York City jewelry designer Garet James stumbles into a strange antiques shop in her neighborhood, her life is about to be turned upside down. John Dee, the enigmatic shopkeeper, commissions her to open a vintage silver box for a generous sum of money. Oddly, the symbol of a swan on the box exactly matches the ring given to her by her deceased mother. Garet can’t believe her luck and this eerie coincidence until she opens the box and otherworldly things start happening. . . .
That evening, the precious silver box is stolen.
When Garet begins to investigate, she learns that she has been pulled into a prophecy that is hundreds of years old, and opening the box has unleashed an evil force onto the streets of Manhattan and the world at large. Gradually, Garet pieces together her true identity—one that her deceased mother desperately tried to protect her from. Generations of women in Garet’s family, including her beloved mother, suffered and died at the hands of this prevailing evil. Does Garet possess the power to reclaim the box and defeat this devastating force?



The Search

Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens, Garfield Reeves-Stevens

Genre:

Publisher:
St. Martin’s Press
Release Date
: August 3

A nine-thousand-year-old conspiracy. Three families. One secret. The epic race to uncover history’s greatest mystery has begun.
Beneath the sparkling blue water of a remote Pacific atoll, a merciless killer stalks an underwater archaeological dig. His goal: to bring his employer---billionaire industrialist Holden Ironwood---an impossible artifact that proves a lost civilization’s knowledge of astronomy was thousands of years ahead of its time.

At the same time, in the Armed Forces DNA Identification Lab in Maryland, haunted young researcher David Weir risks his freedom to identify a handful of people with nothing in common except their nonhuman genes---genes that he shares.
While in the Arctic tundra, a deadly airborne assault on a pipeline crew propels young paleogeologist Jessica MacClary into the innermost circles of her staggeringly wealthy and powerful family as she learns the astonishing secret her ancestors have defended since the beginnings of recorded history. Now these three strangers on their separate quests to unlock their pasts are unexpectedly driven into violent collision, only to discover that together they hold the key to answering the ultimate question of humanity’s origins---provided the U.S. Air Force doesn’t stop them first. . . .

Acclaimed New York Times bestselling novelists Judith & Garfield Reeves-Stevens once again bring their unique blend of relentless suspense and cutting-edge science to a page-turning story of adventure that spans the globe and millennia of human history, racing from long-buried ruins in Cornwall and the casinos of Atlantic City to the forgotten caves that protect a shocking revelation that will tear the veil off the true history of humankind.
With a mystery more profound than Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code, and scientific speculation more provocative than Michael Crichton’s Next, Search is an adrenaline-fueled, action-packed thriller that goes beyond wild theories of ancient astronauts and sunken empires to suggest a startling new vision of the birth of human civilization.


Legends: The Enchanted
Nick Percival

Genre: Graphic Novel
Publisher
: Radical Publishing
Release Date:
August 3

You think you know them. Think again. Violently ripped from the pages of folklore come the Enchanted. Supernatural immortals living in a dark, steampunk, creature-infested world where nature, technology and foul magic are in constant conflict. When the twisted, burnt remains of the half-wooden, half-mechanical warrior, Pinocchio, are discovered, wolf-hunter Red Hood and giant-killer Jack realize the fragile rules of their existence have been shattered. With the help of other powerful Enchanted (the mercenary, Goldilocks and psychic exterminators, Hansel and Gretel), Jack and Red team up on an adventure to stop whatever, or whoever is destroying their powers and murdering their kind.


The Scarab Path (Shadows of the Apt 5)
Adrian Tchaikovsky

Genre
: Fantasy
Publisher
: Tor
Release Date:
August 5

The war with the Wasp Empire has ended in a bitter stalemate, and Collegium has nothing to show for it but wounded veterans. Cheerwell Maker finds herself crippled in ways no doctor can mend, haunted by ghosts of the past that she cannot appease, seeking for meaning in a city that no longer seems like home. The Empress Seda is regaining control over those imperial cities who refused to bow the knee to her, but she draws her power from something more sinister than mere armies and war machines. Only her consort, the former spymaster Thalric, knows the truth, and now the assassins are coming and he finds his life and his loyalties under threat yet again. Out past the desert of the Nem the ancient city of Khanaphes awaits them both, with a terrible secret entombed beneath its stones...


Enigma
C.F Bently
Genre: Science Fiction
Publisher: DAW
Release Date: August 3

When an alien ship crashes into the space station and diplomatic post Labyrinthe VII, the precarious balance between Harmony's High Preistess Sissy and Confederated Star System Agent Jake begins to dissolve. Suddenly they are caught in a web of deceit and intrigue as undercover agents for both the humans and the aliens vie for control not only of the space station, but of a new and unclaimed planet that may hold the answers many of them seek-or prove to be a deadly trap.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Meet the Mercy Thompson Cover Girl at Tor

Posted by Simcha 11:13 AM, under | 1 comment

Tor.com has an interesting post about the woman who models for Patricia Brigg's Mercy Thompson books as well as a brief interview with the cover artist, Dan Dos Santos.

Santos's cover style is what has inspired many of the current urban fantasy covers today, and he talks about the challenges in creating unique covers and how he came up with the ideas for Brigg's Books.

You can check out this article here.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Audio Book Review: Sheepfarmer's Daughter by Elizabeth Moon

Posted by Simcha 8:43 PM, under | 2 comments

Paksenarrion has dreamed for years of becoming a soldier, like her cousin. When Paks's overbearing father tries to marry her off to a local pig farmer Paks runs away and joins a mercenary company that is recruiting in the area. While training to become a soldier is nothing like Paks had expected, she quickly adjusts to military life and with steady determination becomes a skilled and respected fighter. Deeply loyal to her mercenary company and the duke that they serve, Pak frequently proves herself both on the battlefield and off.

Elizabeth Moon is one of those authors whose books I’ve been meaning to read for years but I just never gotten around to doing so. When I got the chance to download the audio version of Moon’s first book, Sheepfarmer’s Daughter, I jumped at the opportunity.

Sheepfarmer’s Daughter
is narrated by Jennifer Van Dyke, who is actually the first female audio book narrator that I have listened to and who does an excellent job. Although there are quite a few side characters at certain points of the story, I never had difficulty distinguishing who the current the speaker was since Van Dyke did such a good job at individualizing each of the characters’ voices.

The story itself though did not impress me as much as the narrator did. While the book starts off on a promising note, with Paks running away from home to join a mercenary company, it soon degenerates into detailed and uninteresting descriptions of Pak’s training, fighting and marching, and not much else. Paks never really develops as a character, remaining bland and strangely naïve throughout the story. Paks’s wonderful virtues are also piled on a little too thickly, and while every other character eventually falls under her spell, I couldn’t see what the appeal was. Though I’m sure part of it is that whenever a dangerous situation arises, Paks is there to save the day.

What bothered me the most though was that I had been hoping for an interesting story about a young woman learning to manage in male-dominated environment, and this is not at all what the story provides. Paks’s gender and the challenges it should have presented are never brought into the story and instead Paks is turned into an asexual individual, one who is above the urges and discomforts of the average human. Why a sheepfarmer’s daughter should be completely comfortable undressing and bathing in front her male comrades is beyond me, but it made Paks harder for me to believe in or empathize with.


There is also the problem that not much really happens in the book. It’s mostly detailed descriptions of training and fighting, and sometimes marching. Occasionally there will be a dangerous situation where Paks gets to prove once again how brave and wonderful she is, all of which gets pretty tedious after a while. While there are a number of side characters, most of whom come and go, none of them came alive for me. There is a pretty high casualty rate in the book but I didn’t find myself caring too much when someone died. And there was one incident where a character is actually castrated while being tortured and his reaction, and those of his family, is so unbelievably bland that if this occurred earlier in the book I would have probably not continued listening.

While I had been looking forward to finally reading something by Elizabeth Moon I realize that her first book might not have been the best place to start. I’m sure that over the years her writing and story-telling skills have improved, so even though I didn’t particularly enjoy The Sheepfarmer’s Daughter, and have no desire to read the rest of the series, I would like to try another one of Moon’s books, though perhaps a more recent one next time.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Shadow's Son by Jon Sprunk

Posted by Simcha 5:21 PM, under | 6 comments

In the holy city of Othir, treachery and corruption lurk at the end of every street, just the place for a freelance assassin with no loyalties and few scruples.

Caim makes his living on the edge of a blade, but when a routine job goes south, he is thrust into the middle of an insidious plot. Pitted against crooked lawmen, rival killers, and sorcery from the Other Side, his only allies are Josephine, the socialite daughter of his last victim, and Kit, a guardian spirit no one else can see. But in this fight for his life, Caim only trusts his knives and his instincts, but they won't be enough when his quest for justice leads him from Othir's hazardous back alleys to its shining corridors of power. To unmask a conspiracy at the heart of the empire, he must claim his birthright as the Shadow's Son . . .


Shadow’s Son is a fast paced, entertaining fantasy novel that, while not particularly unique, is still enjoyable. Assassins are popular characters in fantasy and Caim fills this role well, slowly gaining readers’ sympathy and affection as his personality and history are revealed. Josephine is the typical lady-in-distress who frequently requires saving and develops from a spoiled nobleman’s daughter to an intelligent and brave young woman, breaking down Caim’s tough outer shell along the way. Though my favorite character is the fairy Kit who has been Caim’s companion since childhood, and can only be seen by him, and who struggles with her impossible love for this human.

There are a number of villains in this story, all of whom are trying to kill Caim because it is a necessary step in their achievement of ultimate wealth and power. One thing I kept wishing for was a deeper look into the personalities of the villains, making them more gray than black, which would have given the story more of an interesting edge. As it was, the villains remained pretty close to the archetypal fantasy villains, which was a bit of a shame as they had some real potential. There were some other characters as well who we meet briefly but I thought deserved more attention from the story. While just focusing on Caim, Jospehine and Kit was fine I think the story could have been richer if some of the side characters had been developed more fully.

While Shadow’s Son didn’t blow me away, it was an entertaining and engaging read and I look forward to reading more by debut author, Jon Sprunk

Monday, July 26, 2010

Free Read for Kindle: Bright of the Sky by Kay Kenyon

Posted by Simcha 2:52 PM, under | 4 comments

Amazon is currently offering Kay Kenyon's highly acclaimed scifi/fantasy novel, Bright of the Sky, for free download on their Kindle. And even if you don't have a Kindle you should be able to download this book with one of Amazon's free Kindle applications. On the downside, this offer does not look like it is available outside of the US though if you have a US connection they may be able to download it for you (which is what I'm going to try to do).

Into this rich milieu is thrust Titus Quinn, former star pilot, bereft of his beloved wife and daughter who are assumed dead by everyone on earth except Quinn. Believing them trapped in a parallel universe--one where he himself may have been imprisoned--he returns to the Entire without resources, language, or his memories of that former life. He is assisted by Anzi, a woman of the Chalin people, a Chinese culture copied from our own universe and transformed by the kingdom of the bright. Learning of his daughter's dreadful slavery, Quinn swears to free her. To do so, he must cross the unimaginable distances of the Entire in disguise, for the Tarig are lying in wait for him. As Quinn's memories return, he discovers why. Quinn's goal is to penetrate the exotic culture of the Entire--to the heart of Tarig power, the fabulous city of the Ascendancy, to steal the key to his family's redemption. But will his daughter and wife welcome rescue? Ten years of brutality have forced compromises on everyone. What Quinn will learn to his dismay is what his own choices were, long ago, in the Universe Entire. He will also discover why a fearful multiverse destiny is converging on him and what he must sacrifice to oppose the coming storm. This is high-concept SF written on the scale of Philip Jose Farmer's Riverworld, Roger Zelazny's Amber Chronicles, and Dan Dimmons's Hyperion.

I have heard great things about this book and am looking forward to reading it.

Visit Amazon.com to download Bright of the Sky.

Must-See Fake Trailer: Jane Austen's Fight Club

Posted by Simcha 2:38 PM, under | 4 comments

This video has been making the rounds lately and while it's likely that most of you have already seen it, I decided to post it anyways because it's just so darn awesome.




Sunday, July 25, 2010

New Scifi and Fantasy Releases: Week of July 25

Posted by Simcha 11:00 AM, under | 7 comments

Most of this week's new releases appear to be sequels in series that I've not yet read (or don't intend to) so there is not much here that tempts me, though Christopher Golden's vampire novel, Of Saints and Shadows, does capture my interest (even though I'm not a fan of Jim Butcher and never read Dan Brown). I have heard good things about Rowena Cory Daniells's fantasy series and do hope to read that one soon and Todd J. McCaffrey's Dragongirl does remind me that I have been meaning to give the Pern series a try...

How about you? Any of this week's new releases that you plan on adding to your bookshelf?

Hope you have a great reading week!






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Tempting the Fire
Sydney Croft

Genre:
Romantic Science Fiction (adult)

Publisher: Bantam
Release Date:
July 27


Deep in the Brazilian rain forest, a team of Navy SEALs has been nearly wiped out by something sinister and superhuman, sending shock waves through the Agency for Covert Rare Operatives (ACRO). Now ACRO agents Sela Kahne and Marlena West head to the world’s most unforgiving jungle to find and kill a mythical monstrosity with a taste for human blood. But to succeed in their mission, they will need the help of two men, each hiding his own dark secret.
Sela is an expert on cryptozoology with a sideline skill that could prove invaluable: When she makes love to a man, she engulfs his innermost thoughts. Teamed with Marlena, Sela makes contact with the lone SEAL survivor, Chance McCormack. Meanwhile, Logan Mills, the man who rescued Chance, leads his private company on a hunt that has nothing to do with saving lives. Soon, Sela will put her supernatural charms to work on Logan, determined to extract information about the creature they are seeking. But in this sweat-drenched realm of danger and deception, Logan is more than just a passive target. He has the power to lead a highly trained seducer into a jungle without any rules, without any limits—and with no end to the
heat.



Rise of the Poison Moon

MaryJanice Davidson and Anthony Alongi

Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Ace

Release Date: July 27


Jennifer Scales is a were-dragon with a fiery temper-but a warm heart.
Jennifer's ex-boyfriend, werarachnid Skip Wilson, is out of control. His powers have grown as strong as his hunger for revenge, leaving her little choice but to confront him-hopefully without giving in to her own dark side...


Face Off
Mark Del Franco
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Ace

Release Date: July 27


Laura Black is a druid who can change her appearance. She is both the Fey Guild's public relations director and a secret agent for the International Security Agency. And now she'll have to choose where her loyalties lie when a political war breaks out between the fey and human populations...



Water Bound (A Sea Haven Novel)

Christine Feehan

Genre: Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance

Publisher: Jove
Release Date: July 27

Off the shores of Sea Haven, a beautiful diver rescues a man from drowning, a man with no memory of who he is-or why he seems to possess the violent instincts of a trained killer. But soon, he and his savior will be engulfed in a storm of dizzying passion and inescapable danger...



Stuff of Legends
Ian Gibson
Genre: Fantasy

Publisher: Ace

Release Date: July 27


A true legend rescues maidens...pillages temples...and slaughters evil hordes...
But what does he do when all the fun is over? When an annoyingly eager young man by the name of Eliott, his elfish guardian, and a bard-for-hire magically drop into the life of former hero Jordan the Red, the aged warrior wants nothing to do with them he's had enough of battling the world. But Eliott wants an adventure with the legendary, sword-swinging soldier of fortune-and this hero is about to be forced out of retirement.


Of Saints and Shadows

Christopher Golden

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Publisher: Ace

Release Date: July 27 (rerelease)


Combine a Boston P.I., the Vatican, and vampires, and what do you have? A novel-and a series-that will appeal to fans of Jim Butcher, Charlaine Harris, and Dan Brown.



The Chamber of Ten
Christopher Golden and Tim Lebbon

Genre:

Publisher: Random House

Release Date: July 27


From two masters of dark fantasy comes a chilling tale of magic and possession, set in—and beneath—fabulous Venice, a city slowly being swallowed by the very waters that have made it one of the wonders of the world.
Geena Hodge is an American archaeologist working to salvage Venice’s past from the encroaching Adriatic Sea. When she and her lover, Nico, discover the lost library of Petrarch under the Piazza San Marco, they rejoice not only at the historical significance of the find but at the opportunity to bring worldwide attention—and much-needed funding—to their endeavors.
But that find soon leads to another, a room buried more deeply still: the fabled Chamber of Ten, where centuries ago the secret rulers of Venice, in their quest for absolute power, met to plot betrayals and murders. After entering the Chamber, Geena and Nico are thrust into the midst of an ancient feud, a deadly battle of wills and black magic that threatens to poison the city’s future with the evils of its past.


City of Ghosts
Stacia Kane
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Random House
Release Date: July 27


Chess Putnam has a lot on her plate. Mangled human corpses have started to show up on the streets of Downside, and Chess’s bosses at the Church of Real Truth have ordered her to team up with the ultra-powerful Black Squad agency to crack the grisly case.
Chess is under a binding spell that threatens death if she talks about the investigation, but the city’s most notorious crime boss—and Chess’s drug dealer—gets wind of her new assignment and insists on being kept informed. If that isn’t bad enough, a sinister street vendor appears to have information Chess needs. Only he’s not telling what he knows, or what it all has to do with the vast underground City of Eternity.

Now Chess will have to navigate killer wraiths, First Elders, and a lot of seriously nasty magic—all while coping with some not-so-small issues of her own. And the only man Chess can trust to help her through it all has every reason to want her dead.



Mass Effect: Retribution

Drew Karpyshyn
Genre: Science Fiction

Publisher: Random House

Release Date: July 27

Humanity has reached the stars, joining the vast galactic community of alien species. But beyond the fringes of explored space lurk the Reapers, a race of sentient starships bent on “harvesting” the galaxy’s organic species for their own dark purpose. The Illusive Man, leader of the pro-human black ops group Cerberus, is one of the few who know the truth about the Reapers. To ensure humanity’s survival, he launches a desperate plan to uncover the enemy’s strengths—and weaknesses—by studying someone implanted with modified Reaper technology. He knows the perfect subject for his horrific experiments: former Cerberus operative Paul Grayson, who wrested his daughter from the cabal’s control with the help of Ascension project director Kahlee Sanders. But when Kahlee learns that Grayson is missing, she turns to the only person she can trust: Alliance war hero Captain David Anderson. Together they set out to find the secret Cerberus facility where Grayson is being held. But they aren’t the only ones after him. And time is running out.
As the experiments continue, the sinister Reaper technology twists Grayson’s mind. The insidious whispers grow ever stronger in his head, threatening to take over his very identity and unleash the Reapers on an unsuspecting galaxy.

This novel is based on a Mature-rated video game.



A Wild Light

Marjorie M. Liu
Genre: Urban Fantasy

Publisher: Ace

Release Date: July 27


For too long Maxine Kiss has felt an inexplicable darkness inside her-a force she channels into hunting the demons bent on destroying the human race. But when she finds herself covered in blood and crouched beside her grandfather's dead body with no memory of what happened, Maxine begins to fear that the darkness has finally consumed her.


Dragongirl

Todd J. McCaffrey

Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Random House
Release Date: July 27


Young Fiona, rider of the gold queen Talenth, has returned from the past, where she and a group of dragons and riders fled so that the wounded could heal from their previous battles with Thread and the younger dragons could safely grow to fighting age. Gone only three days, yet aged more than three years, Fiona is no longer a child but a woman prepared to fight against the Thread that threatens to destroy her world.
Fiona’s life takes a pivotal turn when a shocking tragedy thrusts her into a position of authority. Now she finds herself leading weyrfolk who have a hard time trusting a senior Weyrwoman who is both young and an outsider. But even greater challenges lie ahead: Thread is falling and there are too few dragons to stem the tide. Many have died from the recent plague, and even with the influx of newly mature dragons from the past, the depleted fighting force is no match for the intensifying Threadfall. Fiona knows that something must be done, and what she proposes is daring and next to impossible. But if her plan succeeds, it just might save them all. With a cast of familiar characters from previous Pern novels—including Lorana, who sacrificed her own queen dragon so that all the dragons of Pern would have a chance to survive, and Kindan, the harper Fiona has loved her whole life—Dragongirl is another triumph for Todd McCaffrey, and a riveting new chapter for the Dragonriders of Pern.


As Lie the Dead

Kelly Meding
Genre: Urban Fantasy

Publisher: Random House

Release Date: July 27


Evangeline Stone, a rogue bounty hunter, never asked for a world divided between darkness and light . . . . . . or the power to die and live again in someone else’s borrowed body. After a murder plot meant to take her out leaves an entire race of shapeshifters nearly extinct, Evy is gnawed by guilt. So when one of the few survivors of the slaughter enlists her aid, she feels duty-bound to help—even though protecting a frail, pregnant shifter is the last thing Evy needs, especially with the world going to hell around her.
Amid weres, Halfies, gremlins, vamps—and increasingly outgunned humans—a war for supremacy is brewing. With shifters demanding justice, her superiors desperate to control her, and an assassin on her trail, Evy discovers a horrifying conspiracy. And she may be the only person in the world who can stop it—unless, of course, her own side gets her first.


Heroes Return

Moira J. Moore

Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Ace

Release Date: July 27


The Emperor has personally selected Shield Lee Mallorough and Source Shintaro Karish to protect the duchy of Westsea-Taro's ancestral lands. But Westsea is suffering from deadly earthquakes that resist Lee and Taro's magic and political unrest that is stoked by their arrival.


Wolf’s Cross

S.A Swann

Genre: Fantasy

Publisher: Random House

Release Date: July 27


Maria lives a simple life in a small Polish village, working for the lord of the nearby fortress. Motherless since birth, Maria has been raised by her father and stepmother. Around her neck she wears—as she has always worn—a silver crucifix, to protect her from the devil. Or so her father tells her.
But when a contingent of badly mauled Teutonic knights, including a handsome and gravely wounded young man named Josef, ask for succor at the fortress, Maria’s quiet and comfortable world shatters. For the knights are Wolfjägers, an order dedicated to the extermination of werewolves, and Maria, unknowingly, is one of the creatures they hunt. Only the crucifix about her neck prevents her body from changing into a lethal killing machine. When Maria meets Darien, a wolfbreed bent on exacting a terrible revenge on humans, she will learn the truth about herself, and find her loyalties—and her heart—torn in two.


Daniel X; Demons and Druids (Daniel Z, Bk 3)

James Patterson

Genre: YA Science Fiction

Publisher: Little Brown Books

Release Date: July 27

Daniel X's hunt to eliminate each and every intergalactic criminal on Earth is always relentless, but this time, it's getting personal. Number Three on the List of Alien Outlaws takes the form of raging, soul-possessing fire. And fire transports Daniel back to the most traumatic event of his life-the death of his parents. In the face of his "kryptonite", Daniel struggles with his extraordinary powers like never before, and more than ever is at stake: his best friends are in grave peril. The only way to save them is to travel back-through a hole in time-to the demon's arrival during the Dark Ages. Rip-roaring action and humor sets the pages afire in this gripping time-travel adventure with an Arthurian cast-and countless other surprises!



Shadow Chase (Shadowchasers, Bk 2)
Seressia Glass

Genre: Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance
Publisher:
Pocket

Release Date:
July 27


In a job like this, one mistake can cost you everything.As a Shadowchaser, Kira Solomon has been trained to serve the Light, dispatch the Fallen, and prevent the spread of chaos. It’s a deadly job, and Kira knows the horror of spilling innocent blood. But now she has a new role, as the Hand of Ma’at, the Egyptian Goddess of Truth and Order, and an assignment that might just redeem her.A fellow Shadowchaser has gone missing, and so has a unique artifact imbued with astonishing magic. Unless the Vessel of Nun is returned, it will cause destruction beyond anything the modern world has seen. Kira’s got a team at her back, including Khefar, a near-immortal Nubian warrior who’s already died for her once. But as complicated as her feelings for him are, they’re nothing compared to the difficulties of the task she faces.And the only way to defeat the enemy is to trust in a powershe can barely control, and put her life—and her soul—on the line.


The War That Came Early: West and East
(The War That Came Early, Bk 2)

Harry Turtledove

Genre: Alternate History
Publisher: Del Ray

Release Date: July 27


In 1938, two men held history in their hands. One was Adolf Hitler. The other was British prime minister Neville Chamberlain, who, determined to avoid war at any cost, came to be known as “the great appeaser.” But Harry Turtledove, the unrivaled master of alternate history, has launched a gripping saga that springboards from a different fateful act: What if Chamberlain had stood up to Hitler? What would the Nazis’ next move have been? And how would the war—which Hitler had always regretted waiting eleven months to start—have unfolded and changed our world? Here, Turtledove takes us across a panorama of conflict fueled by ideology and demagoguery. Nations are pitted against nations, alliances are forged between old enemies, ordinary men and women are hurled into extraordinary life-and-death situations. In Japanese-controlled Singapore, an American marine falls in love with a Russian dance hall hostess, while around him are heard the first explosions of Chinese guerilla resistance. On the frontlines of war-ravaged rural France, a weary soldier perfects the art of using an enormous anti-tank gun as a sniper’s tool—while from Germany a killer is sent to hunt him down. And in the icy North Atlantic, a U-boat bearing an experimental device wreaks havoc on British shipping, setting the stage for a Nazi ground invasion of Denmark.
From an American woman trapped in Germany who receives safe passage from Hitler himself to a Jewish family steeped in German culture and facing the hatred rising around them, from Japanese soldiers on the remote edge of Siberia to American volunteers in Spain, West and East is the story of a world held hostage by tyrants—Stalin, Hitler, Sanjuro—each holding on to power through lies and terror even in the face of treacherous plots from within.


As armies clash, and as the brave, foolish, and true believers choose sides, new weapons are added to already deadly arsenals and new strategies are plotted to break a growing stalemate. But one question looms over the conflict from West to East: What will it take to bring America into this war?



The Uncrowned King (King Rolen's Kin)
Rowena Cory Daniells
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Solaris
Release Date: July 27

Rolencia's ancestry enemy, Merofynia, has invaded and marches on King Rolen's castle. Powerless to help, thirteen year old Piro watches as her father, King Rolen, listens to poisoned whispers against Bryen. How could the King doubt his second son? De­termined to prove his loyalty, Bryen races across the path of the advancing army to ask the Abbot to send the warriors monks in defense of the castle.


Hawkwood and the Kings (Monarchies of God)
Paul Kearney
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Solaris
Release Date: July 27

The world is in turmoil. In the east the savage Mer­duks, followers of the Prophet Ahrimuz, have cap­tured the holy city of Aekir. The western kingdoms are too distracted by internecine bickering to intervene and the Chruch seems more obsessed with rooting out heresy. It is an age where men go to the stake for the taint of magic in their blood, where gunpowder and cannon co-exit with werewolves and sorcerers. It is the turning point when two get reilgions will fight to the death and the common folk will struggle to merely survive.


The Ocean DarkThe Ocean Dark: A Novel
Jack Rogan
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Release Date: July 27

In the uncharted waters of the Caribbean, far from the usual shipping lanes, lies a mysterious island surrounded by a graveyard of sunken ships—an island so remote that it’s the perfect rendezvous point for a handful of Central American arms dealers and the Antoinette, a gun-smuggling cargo ship out of Miami. Amid the wreckage of ships new and old, the crew of the Antoinette—and the undercover FBI agent on board—enter what looks like a haven for modern pirates, only to discover that it hides something far more terrifying.

In Washington, two Department of Defense scientists might understand what is about to happen. On an FBI ship monitoring the Antoinette’s illegal trade, armed agents might be able to intervene. But this assumes that the Antoinette’s crew survives their first encounter with a creature virtually unknown to man, yet whose eerie songs nevertheless echo down the corridors of mankind’s darkest legends.

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