Friday, September 17, 2010

Friday Quotes

Posted by Simcha 4:48 AM, under | 3 comments

I haven't done a Friday Quotes post in a while because I just haven't come across any quotes in my reading that I thought were particularly memorable. This week, ,though, I have some quotes to share with you that I really liked, from two of my recent reads:

The Warrior's Apprentice by Lois MacMaster Bujold

  • If you're trying to take a roomful of people by surprise, it's a lot easier to hit your targets if you don't yell going through the door.

  • The deadly weapon seemed unnaturally light and easy in his hand. Something that lethal should have more heft, like a broadsword. Wrong, for murder to be so potentially effortless--one ought to at least have to grunt for it.

  • How can I give you up? You're the mountains and the lake, the memories--you have them all. When you're with me, I'm at home, wherever I am.

  • Acting or reacting, we carry him in us. You can't walk away from him any more than I can. Whether you travel toward or away, he'll be the compass. He'll be the glass, full of subtle colors and astigmatisms, through which all new things will be viewed. I too have a father who haunts me, and I know.

  • "Your forward momentum is going to lead all your followers over a cliff someday." He paused, beginning to grin. "On the way down, you'll convince 'em all they can fly." He stuck his fists in his armpits, and waggled his elbows. "Lead on, my lord. I'm flapping as hard as I can."

The Magicians and Mrs. Quent by Galen Beckett

  • “Rafferdy excels at being bored,” Mr. Garritt said.

    “Oh, how delightful that must be!” Mr. Lockwell exclaimed “I say, I should be very glad to be bored of fine things. For it can only mean you have everything you could possibly wish for and that you never waste a moments thought fretting over some thing you must but cannot have. I say, you must be exceedingly content, Mr. Rafferdy!”

  • “A word is all it takes to put a man in prison, or to seize his property, or to end his life. A saber might be stopped by a shield. A bullet might be dodged by a stroke of luck. But you can’t dodge a word. If one is flung at you it will hit its mark unerringly. No, Garritt, there’s nothing in the world more dangerous than talk.”

Free eBook: Penelope & Prince Charming by Jennifer Ashley

Posted by Simcha 3:43 AM, under | No comments

I don't really follow Amazon's free ebook offerings (though I know I really should) but this fun looking romantic fantasy caught my eye, so I thought I'd share it with you

Penelope & Prince Charming by Jennifer Ashley

After two disastrous betrothals, which earned her the nickname “Twice-a-Jilt,” Penelope Trask concluded that the only “Prince Charming” she would ever encounter would be in the pages of the fairy tales she collects. Then Prince Damien Augustus Frederic Michel of Nvengaria arrives in Little Marching looking for Penelope, the woman whom fate had decreed would be the key to helping him reunite his kingdom. As one of Europe’s most eligible bachelors, Damien has become accustomed to having any woman he wants, but sensible, sharp-tongued Penelope seems immune to the idea of wedding a sexy, foreign prince. Now Damien must find some way to convince Penelope that marrying him could be the key to her own happily-ever-after. Ashley’s latest sinfully sexy historical Regency will delight and charm readers with its enchanting mix of fantasy and fairy-tale romance.

Penelope and Prince Charming is being offered for a limited time and can be read on the Kindle or download one of the free programs that allows you to read book on your PC, MAC, Blackberry, Android, iPhone or iPad. This offer is available for a limited time only.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

BBAW Topic: Books I think are Overlooked

Posted by Simcha 3:10 PM, under | 10 comments

Today's BBAW topic is overlooked books:

Sure we’ve all read about Freedom and Mockingjay but we likely have a book we wish would get more attention by book bloggers, whether it’s a forgotten classic or under marketed contemporary fiction. This is your chance to tell the community why they should consider reading this book!

Wow, where to start? In general I just wish that more bloggers made an effort to review older books and not just new releases. When I go through my blog roll it seems like everyone is reviewing the same few books which is a shame because it means that new readers, who turn to these blogs for recommendations, are missing out on discovering some great older books. Most of my favorite books were published over ten years ago and I rarely ever see them reviewed.

So here are some books and authors that I would love to see get more attention from book bloggers:

The Enchanted Forest Series by Patricia Wrede: This is a wonderful YA fantasy series about a princess who decides that instead of getting captured by a dragon and saved by a prince, as is expected of her, she would go and work for the dragon and chase off princes. I loved these books when I was younger, and still do, and I'm surprised that I rarely see any blogs bring these books up.

Lois McMaster Bujold: As I mentioned in my review below, in Israel Bujold is one of the most popular scifi authors and three of her books have won Hugo awards. Strangely enough though, I've rarely seen any of her books reviewed on a book blog. In addition to her scifi series, Bujold has also begun writing fantasy, over the past few years, and her most recent series, The Sharing Knife, is one that fans of romantic fantasy would be sure to enjoy.

Gordan Korman is my absolute favorite author of young adult books though I don't recall ever seeing his books reviewed on any of the blogs I follow. His books used to make me laugh so hard that I would have tears running down my face and I still get them out when I'm looking for a fun read. Some of my favorite books of Korman's include Don't Care High, Son of Interflux, A Semester in the Life of a Garbage Bag and Losing Joe's Place.
* I do want to point out though that I haven't been impressed with any of the books he wrote after 1992. Everything before that, though, is pure gold.

Half Magic by Edward Eager: A fantastic story of magic and adventure that takes place in the 1920's and features four siblings who discover a coin that makes any wish come true, half way. The kids then go on a series of adventures using the coin's magic, though they have to be careful as to how they make their wishes. I discovered my mother's copy of this book when I was younger and I quickly zoomed through it, as well as the rest of the books in the series. Despite that fact that Half Magic was written in 1954 and doesn't feature any vampires, zombies or shape-changing teenagers I think this is a book that many fantasy readers today would still really enjoy.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

SciFi for Beginners: The Warrior's Apprentice by Lois McMaster Bujold

Posted by Simcha 7:03 PM, under | 5 comments

Normally I wouldn't even consider reading a military science fiction book, which is a genre completely outside of my reading comfort zone. But after completing all of Lois McMaster Bujold's fantasy novels I was desperate for something else of hers to read and so I had no choice but to start on her science fiction books next.

When I started reading Bujold's books I didn't realize how well known she was for her Vorkosigan series, of which three books won the Hugo award. In Israel, Bujold is one of the most popular scifi authors- something I discovered while selling books at one of the scifi conventions here, when her books were sold out almost immediately. So once I decided to give the Vorkosigan series a try I actually started looking forward to reading them. I did have a problem though, trying to figure out which book to start with. I looked up a few different lists of the series and each one seem to have the books listed in a different order. Finally I decided to go with The Warrior's Apprentice, hoping that I had made the right choice.

Seventeen-year-old Miles has been waiting all of his life to enter the Barrayaran Service Academy and begin his military training. Unfortunately Miles's physical disabilities cause him to fail his entrance exam, leaving Miles with no hope of getting into the Academy or of having the military career he always dreamed of.

In an effort to distract himself from his disappointment, and to win the admiration of the beautiful Elana, Miles sets off on a visit to his grandmother, at Beta Colony. But a simple off-world vacation goes horribly wrong when Miles- in an attempt to help a troubled stranger- ends up acquiring a ship, a pilot and a smuggling mission. Trailed by his bodyguard, Bothari, Miles sets off on the adventure of his life which has him disguised as a mercenary captain, capturing ships, training crew and fighting in a planetary war. Throughout all this, Miles must keep anyone from suspecting that he is really a seventeen year old boy, or that his family are the infamous Vorkosigans, otherwise he will be in bigger trouble than he can possibly imagine.

One of the most interesting things about Bujold's books is her tendency to makes heroes, and heroines, out of the most unlikely characters. Her central characters are often physically disabled in some way or just different from the kind of heroes you would expect to find in an adventure novel. In The Curse of a Chalion the main character is a weary, retired soldier with a diseased stomach and the heroine of Paladin of Souls is the middle-aged mother of a queen. I was curious to discover if Bujold's affection for such unorthodox characterization extends to her scifi books as well, and the answer appears to be yes.

Miles suffers from a number of physical defects, including brittle bones and stunted growth. Coming, as he does, from a family of powerful military men and women, these disabilities are particular difficult for Miles to shoulder. But Miles also has a compelling personality and a healthy sense of humor which help get him through his trials, and come out on top. I really enjoyed getting to know Miles and following his audacious stunts, from spontaneously purchasing a ship with his allowance money to accidentally creating a powerful mercenary army and fighting a war. He just blunders into the oddest situations and through the sheer force of his personality, and a lot of luck, somehow manages to succeed while gaining the admiration of those who he has dragged along with him.

In addition to Miles there were also a number of other characters in this book who really came to life for me. These included Miles's body guard, Bothari, who has cared for Miles since he was a child and Bothari's daughter Elana, who Miles loves despite their difference in station. Bujold has a real talent for creating engaging and memorable characters who stay with you for a long time after you finish the book. Even those characters who only appear in the story for a short time have a solid presence, hinting at the existence of a multifaceted personality-perhaps to be explored in another book.

While I very much enjoyed The Warrior's Apprentice I have to admit that I didn't necessarily understand everything that took place. I'm not sure if this has to do with my inexperience in reading science fiction or if there was another book that I should have read before this one which explained some of the concepts that I was having difficulties with.

For example, I didn't really understand the method of space travel that was used, involving jumping and worm holes. I also had trouble visualizing what was going on during the battle scenes, since I didn't know what any of the weapons were or what was being described. I also couldn't really visualize what the space crafts looked like, which made it difficult for me to follow certain parts of the story.

Because the story itself had really drawn me in and I felt a connection to the characters, my lack of understanding didn't prevent me from wanting to keep reading. After a while I just ignored everything I didn't understand and I got on just fine. I'm not sure if this would work for all scifi books but it worked for me here.

I did have trouble with the fact that there is a whole history that is hinted at but not explored in any way. I know that there are prequels to The Warrior's Apprentice that tell the story of Miles's family and explain the workings of the empire but I was confused by not being provided enough information in this book. It was clear that Miles came from a very powerful and influential family but I didn't understand the ramification of this or why people reacted so strongly when finding out who his parents are. For this reason I think I should probably read one of the prequels next, to understand the backdrop of the story better, but at the same time I want to read the book that comes next in the series because I want to get back to reading about Miles.

While I'm deliberating about which book to read next I do know that I will definitely be continuing with this series. The Warrior's Apprentice exceeded my expectations and provided me with a highly entertaining and enjoyable reading experience. Miles is a wonderfully fun and engaging character and I can't wait to read about more of his adventures.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

BBAW Interview Swap With Eden from Story Snoops

Posted by Simcha 2:40 AM, under | 8 comments

For day-two of Book Blogger Appreciation Week, participating bloggers will be interviewing each other as a way to discover new blogs and learn more about the bloggers who run them.

I had the good fortune of being assigned to interview Eden at StorySnoops, a blog that I wasn't familiar with before but which I'll now be visiting often. Eden and three of her friends run a wonderful blog and website geared to helping parents select appropriate books for their children.

Welcome Eden!

The "About Us" page on your site says that you started StorySnoops, along with three other women, to help parents find suitable books for their children. Can you please tell me more about your blog and your incentive for starting it?

All four of the StorySnoops have always been avid readers, and we’re all moms who found ourselves in that place where we were looking for a new challenge in our lives. We mulled over a million different ideas for new careers for each of us, but didn’t really come up with anything that stuck. We had a bit of group epiphany after we had a discussion about a couple of different kid/book situations. My daughter read the Twilight books in fourth grade, and I didn’t know until after the fact about all of the sexual content in the last book. I would have liked to have had a discussion or two with her on the topic before she read that book! Two other Snoops were working at a school Book Fair and were constantly being asked for recommendations by the parents who were shopping there. The fourth Snoop has a daughter who is a very sensitive animal lover, and she always wants to know ahead of time if there is going to be an animal “problem” in a book. We put our heads together on the topic of getting content information out to parents, and is the result.

Your site appears to be more than just a blog but it also includes an impressive search engine for finding books based on the reader's age and book preference (genre of book, gender of the main character, book theme etc.) How did you go about putting together this search engine and how do you decide which age group each book is suitable for?

This is actually how our site began. Our vision was to create a resource for parents to help them match their kids up with the most appropriate books for them, based on their child’s interests, age level, etc. For every book we read, we write a “Story” (a brief plot synopsis) and a “Scoop” (a summary of what we think another parent would like to know—both celebratory themes and cautionary themes). Our goal is not to scare parents away from any book, but to help them match their child with the best book for them, or to even facilitate discussion between parents and their children who may have already read a certain book. We planned for several months how we wanted the structure of the site to be, and then hired a web designer/programmer to help us put it all together.

The age question is an interesting one because we don’t have any credentials to judge which age a book is most appropriate for, other than our experience as parents (between the four of us, we have children ranging from 7 to 15). We start with the publisher’s recommended age for each book, and use that for search purposes. We then add information to the Scoop if we think the publisher’s recommended age may be too high or too low. For example, if the publisher recommends age 9-12, but a book has a complex plot that might be difficult for younger readers to follow, we will say so. Our goal is to give the parents all of the practical information they need to make the right choice for their child.

Are your kids as enthusiastic as you are about reading? If so, did you do anything in particular to foster this love of reading in your children?

My daughter is a very enthusiastic reader and constantly has a book going. I have to remind myself sometimes when I am telling her to put the book down so she can eat dinner, that this is a good
problem to have. My only contribution to this miracle was to hand over my collection of Nancy Drew books from my childhood. These were the first books that she really connected with. My son likes reading, but not as much. He has really big ideas about what he wants to read, and tends to get himself in a little over his head with a level that is a bit too difficult. Which is too bad, because then he struggles more than he needs to, and has a harder time finding that wonderful place where you can just completely lose yourself in a book. He and I are on a constant search for books that are a “just right” level that are also interesting to him.

Since your blog is geared to helping parents select suitable books for their children I'm curious as to what your thoughts are on how active parents should be in censoring the books that their children read. Do you think schools and libraries also have a right to censor children's books?

I think that only parents should be able to decide that their child won't read a certain book, and it is not the job of the school or library to restrict a child's access to any title. This has been a hot topic at StorySnoops lately, because we are preparing to post a series of interviews on censorship during Banned Books Week, Sept. 25th-Oct. 2nd.

One of our interviewees is author Meg Cabot, and we asked her which of her titles, if any, had been frequently challenged. She responded that
The Princess Diaries series has come under fire in elementary school libraries, because of references to a certain birth control method. I understand that--as the mother of an elementary school child, I wouldn't want that reference coming up in third grade! But really, as Ms. Cabot pointed out, those books don't belong in an elementary school library in the first place. They are intended for a Young Adult audience, and the publisher's recommended age is “Grade 6-9” for a reason. While I do understand that a school librarian is in a tricky position, I think some of the banning issues in schools would be resolved if he or she made sure to double check the publisher's recommended age for the book's intended audience.

I know that it's not realistic for librarians to be intimately familiar with every work of fiction that they carry, and that it is still my job as a parent to monitor what my child is reading as best I can. Of course, being a StorySnoop, I am in a unique position with regard to knowing what is in the books my children are reading, so it is easy for me to say this! But I do believe that if a parent has strong concerns about what their child reads, the information is out there, and they should take the time to check up on it (on perhaps!).

Along the same line, I want my child's teacher to choose books to study in school that it can be reasonably assumed most of the children in the class are mature enough to read. If a parent objects to his or her child reading a book in class, then the option should be available for that child to read something different. But I do not want that parent to have the power to have a book removed from MY child's curriculum. Only my husband and I get to decide that for our child.

Did you review books before you began StorySnoops?

No, none of our group has ever reviewed books before. When we first started our site, we were hesitant to refer to what we wrote as book reviews, because none of us had a literary background. And really, what we are looking for when we read is content that other parents would want to know about while they are trying to match their kids up with books. So we make every effort to be as unbiased and neutral as possible when we write the “Scoop” for each book we read. But not surprisingly, we were finding that we had some really strong opinions about some of the books we were reading. So it’s a great outlet to have the blog, where we can say what we REALLY think! And not so surprisingly, some of the blogs we write are sounding more and more like actual reviews….hmmm!

What has been the most enjoyable aspect for you of book blogging?

I think I can speak for all of the Snoops when I say that it has been really fun developing opinions and finding topics that inspire a passionate response to write about. When our project first got going, none of us had ever even read a blog before and we were all very intimidated at the thought of having to write one. I guess in that sense, we are different than most book bloggers because our site didn’t start as a blog, so we really knew nothing about it.

Can you give me an example of a topic that you discovered a passion for through your book blogging?

We have all found ourselves feeling passionate about certain books that we've read (be it a positive or negative reaction!), and other topics related to reading. I got very worked up about practices in the publishing industry relating to marketing to teens and tweens. Another Snoop is passionate about authors who write about children that have Asperger's Syndrome or autism, because she has a soft spot in her heart for children with these issues. And another has a reluctant reader that she would do anything to motivate. It has been fun to take what sometimes starts as just a little thought, and have the freedom to explore and expand on the idea.

What is your preferred reading genre?

I love the realistic fiction, but the StorySnoops project has forced me to go in some new directions, and I’m really enjoying the science fiction and historical fiction that I’ve read.

Who are three of your favorite authors?

I am really enjoying Scott Westerfeld. I never read much science fiction before, but I’ve really enjoyed all of the books of his I’ve read for the StorySnoops site. Judy Blume was my first favorite author, and will always have a special place in my heart. For my own personal reading, I’ve always loved a good detective story, and Harlan Coben has been a favorite lately.

What was the last book you read that you really loved?

I just finished The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier. It’s a YA book that was written in 1974, but it’s still very relevant today. Absolutely loved it!

What are you currently reading?

The children’s book I’m currently reading is
Funerals and Fly Fishing by Mary Bartek, and for months now I have had The Girl Who Played with Fire by Steig Larsson and This Body of Death by Elizabeth George sitting on my nightstand!

What do you enjoy doing when you aren't reading?

When I’m not reading, I love hiking with my dogs, cooking and hanging out with my husband and kids. The kids are 10 and 12 right now and it’s such a fun time—they have lots going on, and we enjoy any aspect of it that they will let us be a part of!

Thanks so much Eden for taking the time to answer all of my questions. I really enjoyed getting to know more about you and Story Snoops and I will definitely be returning to your blog the next time that I need to find a good book for my kids.

You can visit Eden and her fellow bloggers over at StorySnoops and make sure to check out her fascinating interview with me.

Visit this link to read more BBAW blog interviews.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Free Music: Sci​-​Fi Songs by John Anealio

Posted by Simcha 8:13 PM, under | 2 comments

John Anealio is now offering his album of scifi & fantasy songs to be downloaded for whatever price you are able to afford, even if it's nothing.

From Scifi Songs Blog:

That's right. Sci-Fi Songs is now available as a pay what you want album. If you're broke, you can still get it for free. Just click the Buy button on the player below and enter 0. More than anything, I want you to enjoy my music, even if you can't pay. If you can, by all means, throw me a few bucks.

The songs include a homage to Sarene from Brandon Sanderson's Elentris and a Philip K. Dick inspired song entitled Rachel Rosen, which is really quite catchy. The rest of song refrences I didn't really get though Anealio does offer an explanation for a couple of them.

Here is the full album track:

1. The Return of Titus Quinn (Instrumental)
2. Rachel Rosen
3. Leodora
4. Cylon #6
5. Summer Glau
6. Angels & Vampires
7. Lonesome October Night
8. Sarene
9. Merithyn's Promise (Instrumental)
10. The Millennium Falcon for Christmas
11. Grasping for the Wind

Anyhow, I highly suggest you take this opportunity to download the album and if you can, throw in a a little something (or a lot of it) for the talented artist behind it.

Book Blogger Appreciation Week: Day One

Posted by Simcha 8:59 AM, under | 8 comments

Book Blogger Appreciation Week kicks off today by posing this question to all participating bloggers:

For those of you who participated in BBAW last year, what’s a great new book blog you’ve discovered since last year’s BBAW? For those you new to BBAW, what was the first book blog you discovered

Well this is my first year participating in BBAW, and it's been just over a year now that I first started blogging. I kind of fell into blogging accidentally and before I started my own I had never even visited a blog before and didn't know anything about them. The very first blog that I followed was Books on the Nightstand, which I discovered through their podcast. Now if you a regular reader of my posts you can't help but notice my love affair with Books on the Nightstand and their book review podcasts, which I eagerly look forward to each week.

Books on the Nightstand is a run by Michael and Ann, who work at Random House Publishing, though their podcast and blog are not work-related but rather a labor of love. In each episode they highlight a few favorite books that they recently read and recommend and the way they describe them makes me want to read each and every one. I've discovered so many wonderful new books and authors that I never would have otherwise tried if not for Ann and Michael's recommendations. But BOTNS is so much more than just a blog about books, it's also a place for book lovers to gather to discuss books and other related subjects, and everyone that participates is made to feel like they are personal friends of Ann and Michael. If I were ever to describe a blog as "having a heart" this would be the one.

While BOTNS was my first blog discovery I would also like to take this opportunity to mention a few of the other wonderful blogs that I discovered over the past year. Although my Google Reader is filled with so many blogs that I struggle to get even half of them read there are certain blogs that I make an effort to visit regularly. While there are plenty of places I can go to get good book reviews, not all of them make me feel as if I am visiting with a friend- one who welcomes me in, sits me on the couch with a cup of coffee and regales me about this great (or not so great) book that they just read.

Brizmus Blogs Books: Audrey reviews all genres of books with an enthusiasm that instantly makes me want to pick up any book that she recommends. She also has some fun weekly features that I always enjoy reading and I particularly enjoy following her adventures in whichever country she is currently living in (right now it's Japan).

My Words and Pages: Melissa is a fellow fantasy reader and I enjoy discovering new books through her blog and discussing with her those books that I have already read. You can tell from her blog that Melissa has a wonderfully friendly personality and anyone that visits her blog is warmly welcomed. I've learned a lot from Melissa about how you can develop relationships through blog comments.

Misfit Salon: When I'm in the mood of a good non-genre book I turn to Stephanie who always features really interesting books that I'm often unfamiliar with. Her reviews are thoughtful and intelligent and give me a good sense as to which books I would most likely enjoy. This was also where I first discovered that a blogger can do more than just review books but they can also introduce interesting subjects for discussion. Stephanie has led some really interesting discussions on her blog, which I really enjoy partaking in.

Michelle and Leslie's Book Picks: Fantasy and scifi books can get pretty intense and occasionally I like to take a break with a fun romance or YA, in which case I turn to Michelle and Leslie for a recommendation. Michelle and Leslie are sisters that blog together (which I think is great) and between the two of them they present an interesting assortment of book reviews that guarantee I will find something for myself.

So there you go. I hope that you take a few minutes to give each of these blogs a visit so that you can discover for yourself what it is that I love about them.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Scifi & Fantasy Releases: Week of September 12

Posted by Simcha 2:43 AM, under | 6 comments

Although there aren't any particular books that I have been looking forward to this week, while compiling this list I did come across a number of books that caught my interest.

The Vaults by Toby Ball looks like it could be good, especially as it reminds me of Carlos Ruiz Zafón's The Shadow of the Wind, at least from the description. Will Power, by A.J Hartley, sounds like a fun book and makes me want to check out the previous book in the series and the release of Antiphon by Ken Scholes reminds me that I really need to try this series already. And while I've never heard of
Cinco de Mayo, by Michael J. Martineck, this book looks really promising and I'd love to try it.

If you like the dark side of fantasy there a few different titles here which will probably appeal to you, including The Living Dead 2, Haunted Legends and The House of Dead Maids- all of which really freak me out (but I'm a wimp when it comes to horror. I still haven't recovered from The Dollhouse Murderers, which I read when I was 12)

So how about you? Are there any books here that you plan on diving into?

Hope you have a great reading week!

The Living Dead 2
Edited by John Joseph Adams
Genre: Paranormal Anthology
Publisher: Night Shade Books
Release Date: September 14

Two years ago, readers eagerly devoured The Living Dead. Publishers Weekly named it one of the Best Books of the Year, and Barnes & called it "The best zombie fiction collection ever." Now acclaimed editor John Joseph Adams is back for another bite at the apple -- the Adam's apple, that is -- with 43 more of the best, most chilling, most thrilling zombie stories anywhere, including virtuoso performances by zombie fiction legends Max Brooks (World War Z, The Zombie Survival Guide), Robert Kirkman (The Walking Dead), and David Wellington (Monster Island).

From Left 4 Dead to Zombieland to Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, ghoulishness has never been more exciting and relevant. Within these pages samurai warriors face off against the legions of hell, necrotic dinosaurs haunt a mysterious lost world, and eerily clever zombies organize their mindless brethren into a terrifying army. You'll even witness nightmare scenarios in which humanity is utterly wiped away beneath a relentless tide of fetid flesh.

The Living Dead 2 has more of what zombie fans hunger for -- more scares, more action, more... brains. Experience the indispensable series that defines the very best in zombie literature.

The Vaults
Toby Ball
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Release Date: September 14

In a dystopian 1930s America, a chilling series of events leads three men down a path to uncover their city's darkest secret.
At the height of the most corrupt administration in the City’s history, a mysterious duplicate file is discovered deep within the Vaults---a cavernous hall containing all of the municipal criminal justice records of the last seventy years. From here, the story follows: Arthur Puskis, the Vault’s sole, hermit-like archivist with an almost mystical faith in a system to which he has devoted his life; Frank Frings, a high-profile investigative journalist with a self-medicating reefer habit; and Ethan Poole, a socialist private eye with a penchant for blackmail.
All three men will undertake their own investigations into the dark past and uncertain future of the City---calling into question whether their most basic beliefs can be maintained in a climate of overwhelming corruption and conspiracy.

Darkness Divine
P.C. Cast, Gena Showalter, Maggie Shayne, Rhyannon Byrd
Genre: Paranormal Anthology
Publisher: Mira Books
Release Date: September 17

This title features four wicked tales of paranormal romance and supernatural seduction by bestselling authors, including "House of Night" creator P.C. Cast. "Divine Beginnings" by P.C. Cast - Healer Aine must choose between treating an enigmatic enemy or letting him die. "The Amazon's Curse" by Gena Showalter - Vampire warrior Zane longs to embrace the passion he shares with fierce Amazon Nola. "Voodoo" by Maggie Shayne - In New Orleans, Tessa is haunted by a sinfully sexy man. Yet what does he want from her? "Edge of Craving" by Rhyannon Byrd - Rhys is tormented by his desire for Alia. But can the last scion of a dragon clan capture her heart?

Lauren Dane
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Release Date: September 14

One witch, one cat shifter. Add one wolf. Blend. Safety glasses recommended.

Renee Parcell loves her life. Her smoothie/coffee cart business is successful, and she’s deeply in love with her boyfriend, Galen. He makes her laugh, he’s gainfully employed, and he satisfies her as only a sexy cat shifter can. He even puts the toilet seat down.

Yet they both sense something in the air. An anticipation that leaves them both unsettled.

Tall, blond and gorgeous Jack Meyers, Enforcer of National Pack and one of the most beautiful men Renee and Galen have ever seen, stumbles into Renee’s life and the riddle of their expectation is solved—Renee is Jack’s mate. What surprises them all is when the three of them touch, magick creates an unexpected triple bond of witch, cat and wolf.

Even as they learn to navigate the steamy intricacies of their bond, a threat looms over Renee. First in the form of resurrected memories, then in the shape of darker magicks someone is aiming at her. Set on stealing her inherent powers—even her life.

Renee can stand to lose almost anything, except her mates. But there seems to be no talking them out of laying everything on the line for her…

Haunted Legends
Ellen Datlow and Nick Mamatas
Genre: Anthology/Thriller
Publisher: Tor
Release Date: September 14

Darkly thrilling, these twenty new ghost stories have all the chills and power of traditional ghost stories, but each tale is a unique retelling of an urban legend from the world over.

Multiple award-winning editor Ellen Datlow and award-nominated author and editor Nick Mamatas recruited Jeffrey Ford, Ramsey Campbell, Joe R. Lansdale, Caitlin Kiernan, Catherynne M. Valente, Kit Reed, Ekaterina Sedia, and thirteen other fine writers to create stories unlike any they've written before. Tales to make readers shiver with fear, jump at noises in the night, keep the lights on.

These twenty nightmares, brought together by two renowned editors of the dark fantastic, are delightful visions sure to send shivers down the spines of horror readers.

Personal Demons
Lisa Desrochers
Genre: YA Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Tor
Release Date: September 14

Frannie Cavanaugh is a good Catholic girl with a bit of a wicked streak. She has spent years keeping everyone at a distance---even her closest friends---and it seems as if her senior year is going to be more of the same . . . until Luc Cain enrolls in her class. No one knows where he came from, but Frannie can’t seem to stay away from him.

What she doesn’t know is that Luc is on a mission. He’s been sent from Hell itself to claim Frannie’s soul. It should be easy---all he has to do is get her to sin, and Luc is as tempting as they come. Frannie doesn’t stand a chance. But he has to work fast, because if the infernals are after her, the celestials can’t be far behind. And sure enough, it’s not long before the angel Gabriel shows up, willing to do anything to keep Luc from getting what he came for. It isn’t long before they find themselves fighting for more than just Frannie’s soul.

But if Luc fails, there will be Hell to pay . . . for all of them.

The House of Dead Maids
Claire Dunkle
Genre: YA Horror
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co
Release Date: September 14

Young Tabby Aykroyd has been brought to the dusty mansion of Seldom House to be nursemaid to a foundling boy. He is a savage little creature, but the Yorkshire moors harbor far worse, as Tabby soon discovers. The ghost of the last maid will not leave Tabby in peace, yet this spirit is only one of many. Why do scores of dead maids and masters haunt Seldom House with a jealous devotion that extends beyond the grave?

As Tabby struggles to escape the evil forces rising out of the land, she watches her young charge choose a different path. He is determined to keep Seldom House as his own. Though Tabby tries to befriend the uncouth urchin, her kindness cannot alter his fate. Long before he reaches the old farmhouse of Wuthering Heights, the boy who will become Heathcliff has doomed himself and any who try to befriend him.

Wicked Appetite
Janet Evanovich
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Release Date: September 14

Life in Marblehead has had a pleasant predictability, until Diesel arrives. Rumor has it that a collection of priceless ancient relics representing the Seven Deadly Sins have made their way to Boston’s North Shore. Partnered with pastry chef Lizzie Tucker, Diesel bullies and charms his way through historic Salem to track them down—and his criminal mastermind cousin Gerewulf Grimorie. The black-haired, black-hearted Wulf is on the hunt for the relic representing gluttony.

Caught in a race against time, Diesel and Lizzie soon find out that more isn’t always better, as they battle Wulf and the first of the deadly sins.

With delectable characters and non-stop thrills that have made Janet Evanovich a household name, Wicked Appetite will leave you hungry for more.

Cornelia Funke
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publisher: Brown Books for Young Readers
Release Date: September 14

For years, Jacob Reckless has been secretly disappearing to another world, a world behind a mirror, a world for which his father abandoned his family. The mirror world is Jacob's escape from reality. It's a place for treasure hunts and magnificent quests. A world where witches haunt the forests and giants and dwarfs roam. A world locked in a deadly war.

Jacob's secret seems safe, until one day his younger brother Will follows him, with disastrous consequence. Faced with a curse that is quickly turning Will to stone, the Reckless brothers are thrust into a race against time to find a cure before Will is lost forever.

Inspired by the Brothers Grimm, master storyteller Cornelia Funke introduces a lush, enchanting world where fantasy meets reality. Reckless is a thrilling adventure, a tale of heroism and loyalty, filled with danger, mystery, and magic--with fairy tales and legends re-imagined as never before.

Will Power
A.J Hartley
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Tor
Release Date: September 14

While on the run from Empire guards, Will Hawthorne and his band of thieves are transported to a mysterious land that none of them recognize or know how to get home from. Turns out that they've landed right in the middle of a battle between goblins and humans. Their human allies are practically storybook counterparts to the rough sorts they knew in Stavis, speaking in high-flown prose, dressed to the height of fashion, and dripping with wealth and social propriety. Will's companions are quite taken by these fine folks, but the Fair Folk are appalled by Will's unorthodoxy.

At first Will does whatever he can to try to squirm into their good graces, but just when his efforts are feeling totally futile, he begins to wonder if these too-perfect courtiers and warriors have anything to offer beyond their glamour and their burning hatred of the goblins. But is there any recourse for Will and his friends once it turns out that the humans who are sheltering them may not be on the right side of their eternal conflict?

Will Power is a funny and fleet-footed stand-alone fantasy featuring the characters readers grew to love in Act of Will in an all-new adventure about the danger of first impressions.

Trish J. MacGregor
Genre: Romantic Fantasy
Publisher: Tor
Release Date: September 14

Tess Livingston met Ian Ritter at a roadside stop high in the Andes, waiting for a bus to the mysterious town of Esperanza.

Tess is an FBI agent who remembers being on the track of a group of international counterfeiters. But she doesn’t remember booking a trip to Esperanza. Ian is a journalist who was planning to vacation to the Galapagos Islands. He, too, isn’t quite sure why he has a ticket to Esperanza.

Their meeting will change their lives forever. For they have been brought together because they hold the key in a mystical war between the kind spirits of the dead who guard humanity, and the hungry ghosts who exist only to possess living human bodies, and return however briefly to life.

In the midst of this war, Tess and Ian will find a love that can transcend time, and a cause that not even death will overcome.

Immortal Quest: The Trouble with Mages
Alexandra MacKenzie
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Edge
Release Date: September 15

It’s London, England, and Detective Nick Wilson finds himself confronted by a burglar who insists that Nick is his best friend suffering from amnesia, and that he, the burglar, is a 500-year-old immortal mage. Logic and reason force Nick to believe that this is simply impossible. Complicating matters further is the burglar’s claim than an evil mage named Vere has just been released from limbo, and wants three objects of power that could destroy humankind.

Cinco de Mayo
Michael J. Martineck
Genre: Science Fiction
Publisher: Edge
Release Date: September 15

Suddenly, everyone in the world has a second set of memories along side of their own...
In Chicago, a transit worker now knows enough about the Aryan Brotherhood to mark him for death. In Abu Dhabi, a playboy experiences modern day slavery. A New York advertising executive shares the memories of a blind railroad working living in China. And in Washington, a neurologist now studying the phenomenon must fight back the mystic memories invading her mind. In a world of individuals, sudden intimacy is not for everyone. Some like the openness, some will even kill to keep their secrets.

Antiphon (The Psalms of Isaak, #3)
Ken Scholes
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Tor
Release Date: September 14

Nothing is as it seems to be.

The ancient past is not dead. The hand of the Wizard Kings still reaches out to challenge the Androfrancine Order, to control the magick and technology that they sought to understand and claim for their own.

Nebios, the boy who watched the destruction of the city of Windwir, now runs the vast deserts of the world, far from his beloved Marsh Queen. He is being hunted by strange women warriors, while his dreams are invaded by warnings from his dead father.

Jin Li Tam, queen of the Ninefold Forest, guards her son as best she can against both murderous threats, and the usurper queen and her evangelists. They bring a message: Jakob is the child of promise of their Gospel, and the Crimson Empress is on her way.

And in hidden places, the remnants of the Androfrancine order formulate their response to the song pouring out of a silver crescent that was found in the wastes.

The Dark Deep
Arthur Slade
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publisher: Wendy Lamb Books
Release Date: September 14

Transforming his appearance and stealing secret documents from the French is all in a day’s work for fourteen-year-old Modo, a British secret agent. But his latest mission—to uncover the underwater mystery of something called the Ictíneo—seems impossible. There are rumors of a sea monster and a fish as big as a ship. French spies are after it, and Mr. Socrates, Modo’s master, wants to find it first. Modo and his fellow secret agent, Octavia, begin their mission in New York City, then take a steamship across the North Atlantic. During the voyage, Modo uncovers an astounding secret.

The Dark Deeps, the second book in Arthur Slade’s Hunchback Assignments series, is set in a fascinating Steampunk Victorian world. Modo’s underwater adventures and his encounters with the young French spy Colette Brunet, the fearless Captain Monturiol, and the dreaded Clockwork Guild guarantee a gripping read filled with danger, suspense, and brilliant inventions.

Robin Wasserman
Genre: YA Dystopia
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: September 14

One year ago, Lia Kahn died.
A few days later, she woke up.
She had a new body: Mechanical, unfeeling, inhuman. She had a new family: Mechs like her, who didn’t judge her for what she could no longer be. She had a new life, one that would last forever.
At least, it was supposed to.
But now everything Lia thought she knew has turned out to be a lie; everyone she thought she loved has been stolen away. And someone is trying to get rid of the mechs, once and for all. Lia will risk everything to save herself and the people she can’t live without. But not before facing one final truth: She can’t save everyone.

Low Red Moon
Ivy Devlin
Genre: YA Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children's Books
Release Date: September 14

The only thing Avery Hood can remember about the night her parents died is that she saw silver—deadly silver, moving inhumanly fast. As much as she wants to remember who killed them, she can't, and there's nothing left to do but try to piece her life back together. Then Avery meets the new boy in school—Ben, mysterious and beautiful, with whom she feels a connection like nothing she's ever experienced. When Ben reveals he's a werewolf, Avery still trusts him—at first. Then she sees that sometimes his eyes flash inhuman silver. And she learns that she's not the only one who can't remember the night her parents died.Part murder mystery, part grief narrative, and part heart-stopping, headlong romance, Low Red Moon is a must-read for teen paranormal fans.

Rot & Ruin
Jonathan Maberry
Genre: YA Dystopia
Release Date: September 14

In the zombie-infested, post-apocalyptic America where Benny Imura lives, every teenager must find a job by the time they turn fifteen or get their rations cut in half. Benny doesn't want to apprentice as a zombie hunter with his boring older brother Tom, but he has no choice. He expects a tedious job whacking zoms for cash, but what he gets is a vocation that will teach him what it means to be human.


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