Saturday, September 25, 2010

New Scifi & Fantasy Releases: Week of September 26

Posted by Simcha 4:44 PM, under | 5 comments

The end of September is already drawing near, which happened so quickly that I'm having a hard time believing it. I hear this happens as you get older-time passing quicker than it used to- and I'm not sure that I'm enjoying the experience. These days I seem to be measuring time in books and I know that the end of the month is approaching when the list of new releases is longer than usual.

This week there are a number of exciting new releases including a new book from Terry Pratchett, I Shall Wear Midnight, Dreadnought by Cherie Priest and Bayou Moon by Ilona Andrews. Dan Wells's second Jon Cleaver book is also out this week, and while I haven't yet read the first book, it's definitely on my list.

But the book I want to read the most, from this week's selection, is The House on Durrow Street by Galen Beckett. It's the sequel to The Magicians and Mrs. Quent, which I had read last month and loved. Unfortunately, though, it's one of the pricier books (which is just my luck), at $14, so it might be a while before I manage to get it. *sigh*

There are a number of other awesome looking books that I am tempted to list here but since I already listed them down below I will try to refrain myself. So take a look and tell me which of these books you plan on adding to your bookshelf.

Hope you have a great reading week!




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The Sevenfold Spell
Tia Nevitt
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Carina Press
Release Date: September 27

Things look grim for Talia and her mother. By royal proclamation, the constables and those annoying “good” fairies have taken away their livelihood by confiscating their spinning wheel. Something to do with a curse on the princess, they said.

Not every young lady has a fairy godmother rushing to her rescue.

Without the promise of an income from spinning, Talia’s prospects for marriage disappear, and she and her mother face destitution. Past caring about breaking an arbitrary and cruel law, rebellious Talia determines to build a new spinning wheel, the only one in the nation, which plays right into the evil fairy’s diabolical plan. Talia discovers that finding a happy ending requires sacrifice. But is it a sacrifice she’s willing to make?


Jumper Cable (Xanth, Bk 33)
Piers Anthony
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Tor
Release Date: September 28

In the thirty-third thrilling escapade in Piers Anthony’s rousing Xanth fantasy series, an adventurous arachnid named Jumper must assume human form to save the enchanted realm from a cosmic peril.

A cataclysmic battle between two all-powerful Demons has severed a mystical connection that joins Xanth to our own world. The key to restoring it is hidden within a cryptic prophecy that Jumper discovers when he is suddenly transformed from spider to man. As he sets out to discern the prophecy's meaning, he gathers about him a half dozen alluring damsels who do their best to help him solve the riddle while vying for his attentions.

But a seductive siren and her demonic consort have determined to use their wiles to lure Jumper and his lovely companions away from their urgent mission. In a madcap adventure that is alternately harrowing and hilarious, they soon discover that danger, deception, and even true love may be found where they least expect it.

In Jumper Cable, master storyteller Piers Anthony spins a wild and witty web of wonder that is sure to captivate fans of fantastic adventure everywhere!


Distinctions: Prologue to Towers of Midnight
Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Tor
Release Date: September 21

The Wheel of Time turns, and Ages come and pass.
What was, what will be, and what is,
May let fall under the Shadow.

Let the Dragon ride again on the winds of time.

In the Prologue to Towers of Midnight, book thirteen of The Wheel of Time, Lan Mandragoran rides on toward death; Perrin Aybara, Lord Goldeneyes, has a disturbing dream; Galad leads the Whitecloaks into harm’s way; one who has left humanity behind creeps through the Blight; and the Blight border faces invasion.

As with the previous four titles in The Wheel of Time series, this prologue from Robert Jordan’s Towers of Midnight, completed by Brandon Sanderson, is available for sale before the book’s official release date (November 2, 2010).


Twilight Forever RisingTwilight Forever Rising
Lena Meydan
Genre:
Publisher: Tor
Release Date: September 28

Darel Ericson of the Dahanavar clan is a rarity among his vampire brethren: he’s an empath, strong enough to occasionally read thought as well as emotion. For centuries, his power has given the Dahanavar a significant advantage against the machinations of the other vampire families, an advantage which makes Darel both a powerful tool and a highly visible target.

Fortunately for Darel, it is more useful for the heads of the other clans to maintain the centuries-long peace between the houses than to remove him. But, the cunning and violent head of the House of Nachterret is tired of the truce, and of hiding his presence in the world. The Nachterret would like nothing more than have free reign over the helpless human cattle upon which they feed.

Darel, and the human woman he loves, become central to the Nachterret’s scheme to plunge the Houses into all out war. Darel is ultimately forced to face the question: is one young woman’s life too high a price to pay for peace?


Mr. MonsterMr. Monster (John Cleaver, Bk 2)
Dan Wells
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Tor
Release Date: September 28

I killed a demon. I don’t know if it was really, technically a demon, but I do know that he was some kind of monster, with fangs and claws and the whole bit, and he killed a lot of people. So I killed him. I think it was the right thing to do. At least the killing stopped.

Well, it stopped for a while.

In I Am Not a Serial Killer, John Wayne Cleaver saved his town from a murderer even more appalling than the serial killers he obsessively studies.

But it turns out even demons have friends, and the disappearance of one has brought another to Clayton County. Soon there are new victims for John to work on at the mortuary and a new mystery to solve. But John has tasted death, and the dark nature he used as a weapon---the terrifying persona he calls “Mr. Monster”---might now be using him.

No one in Clayton is safe unless John can vanquish two nightmarish adversaries: the unknown demon he must hunt and the inner demon he can never escape.

In this sequel to his brilliant debut, Dan Wells ups the ante with a thriller that is just as gripping and even more intense. He apologizes in advance for the nightmares.


Ground Zero (Repairman Jack, Bk 13)
F. Paul Wilson
Genre:
Publisher: Tor
Release Date: September 28

On September 11, 2001, a man drifts in a boat off lower Manhattan as the towers burn. He removes a small box from his pocket and presses a button. As he waits for the south tower to collapse, he thinks: No one—absolutely no one—will guess the truth behind the who and why of this day.

Years later, Jack’s childhood friend, Weezy Connell, fits together the pieces of the puzzle and anonymously posts her conclusions on the Web. When someone comes after her, Jack becomes involved in her troubles and in the paranoid maze of the 9/11 Truth Movement, where conspiracy theories point in every direction.

They’re all wrong. The truth is stranger, darker, and more evil than anyone can imagine. And if the plot behind it--millennia in the planning--succeeds, it will forever change life on this Earth.


Out of the Dark
David Weber
Genre: Science Fiction
Publisher: Tor
Release Date: September 28


The Galactic Hegemony has been around a long time, and it likes stability--the kind of stability that member species like the aggressive, carnivorous Shongairi tend to disturb. So when the Hegemony Survey Force encountered a world whose so-called "sentients"—"humans," they called themselves—were almost as bad as the Shongairi themselves, it seemed reasonable to use the Shongairi to neutralize them before they could become a second threat to galactic peace. And if the Shongairi took a few knocks in the process, all the better.

Now, Earth is conquered. The Shongairi have arrived in force, and humanity’s cities lie in radioactive ruins. In mere minutes, more than half the human race has died.
Master Sergeant Stephen Buchevsky, who thought he was being rotated home from his latest tour in Afghanistan, finds himself instead prowling the back country of the Balkans, dodging alien patrols and trying to organize scattered survivors without getting killed. And in the southeastern US, firearms instructor and former Marine Dave Dvorak finds himself at the center of a growing network of resistance—putting his extended family at lethal risk, but what else can you do?

On the face of it, Buchevsky’s and Dvorak’s chances look bleak, as do prospects for the rest of the surviving human race. But it may well be that Shongairi and the Hegemony alike have underestimated the inhabitants of that strange planet called Earth…


Siren Song
Cat Adams
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Tor
Release Date: September 28

Nothing if not resilient, Celia Graves is slowly adjusting to being a half-human, half-vampire Abomination. But her troubles are far from over. Her best friend’s murder is still unsolved, the cops are convinced she should be in jail, and her old lover, the magician Bruno DeLuca, has resurfaced in her life, saying he has something important to tell her.

The vampire attack that transformed Celia kicked her latent Siren abilities into high gear, and now she’s been summoned to the Sirens’ island to justify her existence—and possibly fight for her life—in front of the Siren Queen. Celia isn’t sure she’ll survive to make the trip. The demon she defeated in Blood Song hasn’t exactly gone quietly—he’s left Celia suffering from a powerful curse.


Dreadnought
Cherie Priest
Genre: Steampunk
Publisher: Tor
Release Date: September 28

Nurse Mercy Lynch is elbows deep in bloody laundry at a war hospital in Richmond, Virginia, when Clara Barton comes bearing bad news: Mercy’s husband has died in a POW camp. On top of that, a telegram from the west coast declares that her estranged father is gravely injured, and he wishes to see her. Mercy sets out toward the Mississippi River. Once there, she’ll catch a train over the Rockies and—if the telegram can be believed—be greeted in Washington Territory by the sheriff, who will take her to see her father in Seattle.

Reaching the Mississippi is a harrowing adventure by dirigible and rail through war-torn border states. When Mercy finally arrives in St. Louis, the only Tacoma-bound train is pulled by a terrifying Union-operated steam engine called the Dreadnought. Reluctantly, Mercy buys a ticket and climbs aboard.

What ought to be a quiet trip turns deadly when the train is beset by bushwhackers, then vigorously attacked by a band of Rebel soldiers. The train is moving away from battle lines into the vast, unincorporated west, so Mercy can’t imagine why they’re so interested. Perhaps the mysterious cargo secreted in the second and last train cars has something to do with it?

Mercy is just a frustrated nurse who wants to see her father before he dies. But she’ll have to survive both Union intrigue and Confederate opposition if she wants to make it off the Dreadnought alive.


Imager's Challenge (Imager Portfolio, Bk 2)
L.E Modesitt Jr.
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Tor
Release Date: September 28

Still recovering from injuries received in foiling the murderous plot of a Ferran envoy, Rhenn begins new duties as imager liaison to the Civic Patrol of L’Excelsis. While dealing with his new duties, which include patrolling some of the most dangerous streets in the city, Rhenn receives formal notice that a vengeful High Holder, the father of a man Rhenn partly blinded in self-defense, has declared his intention to destroy Rhenn and his family.

Rhenn’s only allies against this vendetta are the family of the woman he loves, successful merchants with underworld connections. Rhenn must stand against gang lords, naval marines, Tiempran terrorist priests, the most powerful High Holder in all of Solidar, and ultimately his own Collegium—and prevail without further endangering those he loves.


The Stars Blue Yonder
Sandra McDonald
Genre: Science Fiction
Publisher: Tor
Release Date: September 28


Chief Terry Myell died and became a god. Now he’s back to life, careening around space and time at the behest of a voice that told him to save all of mankind. Helping and hindering this quest are his elderly wife, his young wife, grandchildren who haven’t been born yet, romantic rivals he hasn’t even met, a descendant from two thousand years in the future, and an alien nemesis who calls itself the Flying Doctor. Life in the military has never been so complicated.

Commander Jodenny Scott would agree. She’s seven months pregnant and trying to come to peace with her husband’s death. When Myell reappears with tales of time travel, she’s not sure what to believe.

But with an invading army bearing down on Earth’s last fleet of spaceships, there’s not much time for debate. When the dust clears Jodenny is stranded in an Australia she never imagined, and Myell’s more desperate than ever to rescue her—from aliens, from treachery, and from history itself.


Dark Harvest
Norman Partidge
Genre: Dark Fantasy
Publisher: Tor
Release Date: September 28

Halloween, 1963. They call him the October Boy, or Ol’ Hacksaw Face, or Sawtooth Jack. Whatever the name, everybody in this small Midwestern town knows who he is. How he rises from the cornfields every Halloween, a butcher knife in his hand, and makes his way toward town, where gangs of teenage boys eagerly await their chance to confront the legendary nightmare. Both the hunter and the hunted, the October Boy is the prize in an annual rite of life and death.

Pete McCormick knows that killing the October Boy is his one chance to escape a dead-end future in this one-horse town. He’s willing to risk everything, including his life, to be a winner for once. But before the night is over, Pete will look into the saw-toothed face of horror--and discover the terrifying true secret of the October Boy . . .

Winner of the Stoker Award and named one of the 100 Best Novels of 2006 by Publishers Weekly, Dark Harvest is a powerhouse thrill-ride with all the resonance of Shirley Jackson’s "The Lottery."


I Shall Wear Midnight
Terry Pratchett
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: HarperCollins
Release Date: September 28

It starts with whispers.
Then someone picks up a stone.
Finally, the fires begin.
When people turn on witches, the innocents suffer. . . .
Tiffany Aching has spent years studying with senior witches, and now she is on her own. As the witch of the Chalk, she performs the bits of witchcraft that aren’t sparkly, aren’t fun, don’t involve any kind of wand, and that people seldom ever hear about: She does the unglamorous work of caring for the needy.
But someone—or something—is igniting fear, inculcating dark thoughts and angry murmurs against witches. Aided by her tiny blue allies, the Wee Free Men, Tiffany must find the source of this unrest and defeat the evil at its root—before it takes her life. Because if Tiffany falls, the whole Chalk falls with her.
Chilling drama combines with laughout-loud humor and searing insight as beloved and bestselling author Terry Pratchett tells the high-stakes story of a young witch who stands in the gap between good and evil.


When Rose Wakes
Christopher Golden
Genre: YA
Publisher: MTV
Release Date: September 28

Her terrifying dreams are nothing compared to the all-too-real nightmare that awaits. . . .Ever since sixteen-year-old Rose DuBois woke up from months in a coma with absolutely no memories, she’s had to start from scratch. She knows she loves her two aunts who take care of her, and that they all used to live in France, but everything else from her life before is a blank.Rose tries to push through the memory gaps and start her new life, attending high school and living in Boston with her aunts, who have seriously old world ideas. Especially when it comes to boys. But despite their seemingly irrational fears and odd superstitions, they insist Rose not worry about the eerie dreams she’s having, vivid nightmares that she comes to realize are strangely like the fairy tale Sleeping Beauty. The evil witch, the friendly fairies, a curse that puts an entire town to sleep—Rose relives the frightening story every night. And when a mysterious raven-haired woman starts following her, Rose begins to wonder if she is the dormant princess. And now that she’s awake, she’s in terrible, terrible danger. . . .


The Exiled Queen
Cinda W Chima
Genre: YA
Publisher: Hyperion Book
Release Date: September 28

You can't always run from danger...

Haunted by the loss of his mother and sister, Han Alister journeys south to begin his schooling at Mystwerk House in Oden’s Ford. But leaving the Fells doesn’t mean danger isn’t far behind. Han is hunted every step of the way by the Bayars, a powerful wizarding family set on reclaiming the amulet Han stole from them. And Mystwerk House has dangers of its own. There, Han meets Crow, a mysterious wizard who agrees to tutor Han in the darker parts of sorcery—but the bargain they make is one Han may regret.

Meanwhile, Princess Raisa ana’Marianna runs from a forced marriage in the Fells, accompanied by her friend Amon and his triple of cadets. Now, the safest place for Raisa is Wein House, the military academy at Oden's Ford. If Raisa can pass as a regular student, Wein House will offer both sanctuary and the education Raisa needs to succeed as the next Gray Wolf queen.

The Exiled Queen is an epic tale of uncertain friendships, cut-throat politics, and the irresistible power of attraction.



Ascendant (bk 2)
Diana Peterfreund
Genre: YA
Publisher: Harper Teen
Release Date: September 28

Astrid Llewelyn is now a fully trained unicorn hunter, but she can’t solve all her problems with just a bow and arrow. Her boyfriend, Giovanni, has decided to leave Rome, the Cloisters is in dire financial straits, her best friend’s powers seem to be mysteriously disintegrating, and Astrid can’t help but feel that school, home, and her hopes of becoming a scientist are nothing but impossible dreams.
So when she’s given the opportunity to leave the Cloisters and put her skills to use as part of a scientific quest to discover the Remedy, Astrid leaps at the chance. Finally, she can have exactly what she wants—or can she? At Gordian headquarters, deep in the French countryside, Astrid begins to question everything she thought she believed: her love for Giovanni, her loyalty to the Cloisters, and—most of all—her duty as a hunter. Should Astrid be saving the world from killer unicorns, or saving the unicorns from the world?



Poison Kissed (Shadowfae)
Erica Hayes
Genre: Paranormal Romance/ Urban FAntasy
Publisher: St. Martin's Paperbacks
Release Date: September 28

Mina is a banshee whose greatest power lies in her siren song. She’s beholden to her boss Joey, a snake-shifter who once saved her life and now employs her as a gang enforcer. She refuses to upset the fragile balance between them by admitting that she longs for him, that his embrace is the only thing she craves more than revenge for her mother’s death…
When Mina learns that Joey may have been involved in her mother’s murder, fury threatens to spill out of her note by vicious note. She and Joey have always trusted each other to stay alive, but now she’s not sure what to believe. The evidence stacked against him—or the one man who haunts her dreams and burns her blood…



Venom (Elemental Assassin, Bk 3)
Jennifer Estep
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Pocket
Release Date: September 28

It’s hard to be a badass assassin when a giant is beating the crap out of you. Luckily, I never let pride get in the way of my work. My current mission is personal: annihilate Mab Monroe, the Fire elemental who murdered my family. Which means protecting my identity, even if I have to conceal my powerful Stone and Ice magic when I need it most. To the public, I’m Gin Blanco, owner of Ashland’s best barbecue joint. To my friends, I’m the Spider, retired assassin. I still do favors on the side. Like ridding a vampire friend of her oversized stalker—Mab’s right-hand goon who almost got me dead with his massive fists. At least irresistible Owen Grayson is on my side. The man knows too much about me, but I’ll take my chances. Then there’s Detective Bria Coolidge, one of Ashland’s finest. Until recently, I thought my baby sister was dead. She probably thinks the same about me. Little does she know, I’m a cold-blooded killer . . . who is about to save her life.



When Pleasure Rules
J.K Beck
Genre: Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Bantam
Release Date: September 28

Seven innocents have been brutally murdered in Los Angeles, yet the Shadow Alliance has no suspects and no leads. As the body count mounts, the age-old feud between vampires and werewolves threatens to explode.

Lissa Monroe—a strong-willed, ravishing succubus who entices men to surrender their souls—agrees to go undercover for the Alliance. Her mission: infiltrate the mind of werewolf leader Vincent Rand, a ferociously alluring enemy who exerts a powerful hold over her. As the City of Angels teeters on the brink of apocalypse, these two adversaries must join together in order to survive an even more lethal enemy hidden in plain sight.


Torment (Fallen, Bk 2)
Lauren Kate
Genre: YA
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Release Date: September 28

Hell on earth.

That’s what it’s like for Luce to be apart from her fallen angel boyfriend, Daniel.
It took them an eternity to find one another, but now he has told her he must go away. Just long enough to hunt down the Outcasts—immortals who want to kill Luce. Daniel hides Luce at Shoreline, a school on the rocky California coast with unusually gifted students: Nephilim, the offspring of fallen angels and humans.

At Shoreline, Luce learns what the Shadows are, and how she can use them as windows to her previous lives. Yet the more Luce learns, the more she suspects that Daniel hasn’t told her everything. He’s hiding something—something dangerous.
What if Daniel’s version of the past isn’t actually true? What if Luce is really meant to be with someone else?

The second novel in the addictive FALLEN series . . . where love never dies.


A Midwinter Fantasy
Leanna Renee Hieber , L. J. McDonald and Helen Scott Taylor
Genre: Romantic Fantasy
Publisher: Dorchester
Release Date: September 28

Note: This books is now only available in ebook format.

You have ventured through the wardrobe and down the rabbit hole. You've beheld the Fading Lands and glimpsed the ivory spires of Minas Tirith. A star now rises over three other kingdoms, and over three heroic couples, all deep in winter's thrall:

Visit Leanna Renee Hieber's Strangely Beautiful Victorian London, "strange in its happenings and mood and beautiful in its romance and language." -Booklist

Haunted though these soot-stained urban alleys may be, a lonely headmistress and a gallant vicar shall here reap the season's blessings.

Travel to Meridian and Sylph Valley, L.J. McDonald's "mesmerizing, magical world [readers] won't want to leave." -Library Journal

Immensely powerful creatures called battle sylphs vie for dominance here, while fulfilling every wish of their queens. But what woman shall rule the mighty Mace?

Discover Helen Scott Taylor's land of The Magic Knot, which is "wonderfully creative and lusciously sexy." -The Chicago Tribune

In the frosty North, in the ice palace of Valhalla, Sonja's life depends upon unraveling the mystery of the Crystal Crib--and upon winning the love of Odin's son.


End of Days (Night Runner Novels)
Max Turner
Genre: YA Urban Fantasy
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Release Date: September 28

Zachariah Thomson has spent the past year getting used to the idea that his best friend, Charlie, and the lovely Luna are now vampires, like him. As they learn to cope with the changes this brings, a mysterious creature appears. Likened to the Beast of the Apocalypse, it begins to dismantle the network of support around Zack, who discovers he is more than just an orphaned vampire – he is the subject of an ancient prophecy that relates to the End of Days. As friends and enemies, old and new, throw his world into chaos, he is forced to re-examine what it means to be good at a time when it seems that only the strong and ruthless can survive.


Left for Undead (Crimson Moon, Bk 2)
L.A Banks
Genre: Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance
Publisher: St. Martin's Paperbacks
Release Date: September 28

Secret government operative Sasha Trudeau earned a long vacation with her lover and fellow Shadow Wolf, Hunter, after the brutal wolf-like attacks that left New Orleans in an uproar. But when her team calls with news of vampire slayings, Sasha knows it’s only a matter of time before another war breaks out among the supernatural denizens of the world …
The vampires are nobody’s ally, but the cold-hearted deaths of their own kind make them even more bloodthirsty than usual. But who is the culprit? With the Seelie and Unseelie courts claiming innocence and aligning together, Sasha’s team is at a loss. Until they discover that they’re facing ancient creatures from the depths of hell itself, bent on unleashing pure fury …


Masques
Patricia Briggs
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Ace
Release Date: September 28

After an upbringing of proper behavior and oppressive expectations, Aralorn fled her noble birthright for a life of adventure as a mercenary spy. Her latest mission involves spying on the increasingly powerful sorcerer Geoffrey ae'Magi. But in a war against an enemy armed with the powers of illusion, how do you know who the true enemy is-or where he will strike next?


Monster Hunter Vendetta
Larry Correia
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Baen
Release Date: September 28

Accountant turned professional monster hunter, Owen Zastava Pitt, managed to stop the nefarious Old One’s invasion plans last year, but as a result made an enemy out of one of the most powerful beings in the universe. Now an evil death cult known as the Church of the Temporary Mortal Condition wants to capture Owen in order to gain the favor of the great Old Ones.

The Condition is led by a fanatical necromancer known as the Shadow Man. The government wants to capture the Shadow Man and has assigned the enigmatic Agent Franks to be Owen’s full time bodyguard, which is a polite way of saying that Owen is monster bait.
With supernatural assassins targeting his family, a spy in their midst, and horrific beasties lurking around every corner, Owen and the staff of Monster Hunter International don’t need to go hunting, because this time the monsters are hunting them. Fortunately, this bait is armed and very dangerous . .


Haunted Honeymoon (Casa Dracula)
Marta Acosta
Genre: Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Gallery
Release Date: September 28

THERE’S MORE THAN HER HEART AT STAKE. . . .
As the only human to survive vampire infection, Milagro de Los Santos has become quite a celebrity among the blood-drinking elite. Too bad the perks of her condition—increased strength, super-fast healing—don’t pay her condo fees. There are other complications too. She’s feeling guilty about her fling with enigmatic Vampire Council member Ian Ducharme, and pining for her ex-fiancĂ©, Dr. Oswald Grant . . . the fabulous man whose kiss changed her life. It’s when Milagro—irked by Ian’s attentions to his neighbor—travels to London and enjoys a sexy flirtation of her own, that the blood really hits the fan. Suddenly, those around her are dying gruesome deaths and Milagro’s being interrogated. Who would kill to set her up as a murder suspect? Milagro just wants to turn back the clock and have another chance to make things right, but no sooner has she escaped to Oswald’s ranch than an accident obliterates her memory. Will the murderer come after her now? And will amnesia spark a romantic do-over with Oswald—or will she make all the same mistakes before she ever gets to say "I do"?


The House on Durrow Street
Galen Beckett
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Spectra
Release Date: September 28

Her courage saved the country of Altania and earned the love of a hero of the realm. Now sensible Ivy Quent wants only to turn her father’s sprawling, mysterious house into a proper home. But soon she is swept into fashionable society’s highest circles of power—a world that is vital to her family’s future but replete with perilous temptations.

Yet far greater danger lies beyond the city’s glittering ballrooms—and Ivy must race to unlock the secrets that lie within the old house on Durrow Street before outlaw magicians and an ancient ravening force plunge Altania into darkness forever.


Bayou Moon (Edge, Bk 2)
Ilona Andrews
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Ace
Release Date: September 28

Cerise Mar and her unruly clan are cash poor but land rich, claiming a large swathe of the Mire, the Edge swamplands between the state of Louisiana and the Weird. When her parents vanish, her clan’s long-time rivals are suspect number one.

But all is not as it seems. Two nations of the Weird are waging a cold war fought by feint and espionage, and their conflict is about to spill over into the Edge—and Cerise’s life. William, a changeling soldier who left behind the politics of the Weird, has been forced back into service to track down a rival nation’s spymaster.

When William’s and Cerise’s missions lead them to cross paths, sparks fly—but they’ll have to work together if they want to succeed ... and survive.


The Bookman
Lavie Tidhar
Genre: Steampunk
Publisher: Angry Robot
Release Date: September 28

LATE EXTRA!
BOMB OUTRAGE IN LONDON!

A masked terrorist has brought London to its knees -- there are bombs inside books, and nobody knows which ones. On the day of the launch of the first expedition to Mars, by giant cannon, he outdoes himself with an audacious attack.

For young poet Orphan, trapped in the screaming audience, it seems his destiny is entwined with that of the shadowy terrorist, but how? His quest to uncover the truth takes him from the hidden catacombs of London on the brink of revolution, through pirate-infested seas, to the mysterious island that may hold the secret to the origin not only of the shadowy Bookman, but of Orphan himself...

Like a steam-powered take on V for Vendetta, rich with satire and slashed through with automatons, giant lizards, pirates, airships and wild adventure. The Bookman is the first of a series.


Crown of the Blood
Gav Thorpe
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Angry Robot
Release Date: September 28
ULLSAARD HAS CONQUERED THE KNOWN WORLD. All have fallen before his armies.

Now it's time to take the long journey home, back to the revered heart of the great Empire he had helped create for his distant masters. But when he returns to the capital, life there is so very different from what he had believed. Could it be that everything he has fought for, has conquered and killed for, has been a lie?


Fangs for the Mammaries
Esther M. Friesner
Genre: Urban Fantasy anthology
Publisher: Baen
Release Date: September 28

Having inflicted the smug homes of suburbia with witches and werewolves. Esther Friesner now unleashes the undead to tap a vein of blood and humor, and drain the suburbs dry of both.
Vampires and the suburbs are a match made in heaven, or maybe Levittown. Remember Dracula? He didn’t run into any real problems until he took his act on the road and traveled to the Big City. But in the suburbs, everyone is polite and respectful of their neighbors’ right to privacy. And if your neighbors happen to have kids selling gift-wrap, magazine subscriptions, cookies, or other school fundraising ploys, and little Emily or Jason happen to come peddling their wares after sundown . . . Who says you have to stay in the city if you want good take-out meals delivered right to your door? There’s no one quite like a vampire for saying, “All of you kids get off of my lawn!” and putting some teeth into it.
The stories in these pages—by Sarah A. Hoyt, K.D. Wentworth, Dave Freer and more, including Esther Friesner herself—will convince the reader that vampires and suburbs go together like wine and cheese, gin and tonic, desperation and housewives, marriage and pre-nups. Enter freely and of your own will . . .



Double Cross
Carolyn Crane
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Spectra
Release Date: September 28

SOME SECRETS COME BACK TO HAUNT. OTHERS COME TO KILL...

Justine Jones has lived her life as a fearful hypochondriac until she's lured into the web of a mysterious mastermind named Packard. He gifts her with extraordinary mental powers-dooming her to fight Midcity's shadowy war on paranormal crime in order to find the peace she so desperately craves.

But now, serial killers with unheard-of skills are terrorizing the most powerful beings in Midcity, including mastermind Packard - and his oldest friend and worst enemy, Midcity's new mayor, who has the ability to bend matter itself to his will.

As the body count grows, Justine faces a crisis of conscience as she tests the limits of her new powers and faces an impossible choice between two flawed but brilliant men . . . one on a journey of redemption, and the other descending into a pit of moral depravity.


The Spirit Thief
Rachel Aaron
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Orbit
Release Date: September 28

Eli Monpress is talented. He's charming. And he's a thief. But not just any thief. He's the greatest thief of the age - and he's also a wizard. And with the help of his partners - a swordsman with the most powerful magic sword in the world but no magical ability of his own, and a demonseed who can step through shadows and punch through walls - he's going to put his plan into effect. The first step is to increase the size of the bounty on his head, so he'll need to steal some big things. But he'll start small for now. He'll just steal something that no one will miss - at least for a while. Like a king.


Dust City
Robert Paul Weston
Genre: YA Paranormal
Publisher: Razorbill
Release Date: September 30

Who's afraid of the big bad wolf? His son, that's who. Ever since his father's arrest for the murder of Little Red Riding Hood, teen wolf Henry Whelp has kept a low profile in a Home for Wayward Wolves . . . until a murder at the Home leads Henry to believe his father may have been framed. Now, with the help of his kleptomaniac roommate, Jack, and a daring she-wolf named Fiona, Henry will have to venture deep into the heart of Dust City: a rundown, gritty metropolis where fairydust is craved by everyone and controlled by a dangerous mob of Water Nixies and their crime boss leader, Skinner. Can Henry solve the mystery of his family's sinister past? Or, like his father before him, is he destined for life as a big bad wolf?


Angel
L. A. Weatherly
Genre: YA Paranormal
Publisher: Usborne Publishing Ltd
Release Date: October 1

Willow knows she's different from other girls. And not just because she loves tinkering around with cars. Willow has a gift. She can look into people's futures, know their dreams, their hopes and their regrets, just by touching them. She has no idea where she gets this power from - But Alex does. Gorgeous, mysterious Alex knows Willow's secret and is on a mission to stop her. The dark forces within Willow make her dangerous - and irresistible. In spite of himself, Alex finds he is falling in love with his sworn enemy.

Quatrain
Sharon Shinn
Genre: Fantasy Romance
Publisher: Ace
Release Date: October 1

Sharon Shinn's Twelve Houses books have fascinated readers and critics alike with their irresistible blend of fantasy, romance, and adventure. Now in Quatrain, she weaves compelling stories in four of the worlds that readers love in Fight, Blood, Gold, and Flame.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Blameless by Gail Carriger

Posted by Simcha 4:42 PM, under | 2 comments

* Warning: This review does contain spoilers from previous books in the series as well as a spoiler regarding how Conall and Alexia's situation is resolved




After the dramatic ending of Changeless in which Alexia is banished by Lord Conall Maccon for supposedly cheating on him, Alexia returns to London, to her family's home. But when news of Alexia's situation becomes public her family turns her out and Queen Victoria revokes her status as mujah.

Alexia considers herself fortunate that she still has her good friend, Lord Akeldama, to turn to for assistance, but she arrives at his house only to discover that he has mysteriously disappeared, leaving behind a cryptic warning message for her.

Just as it seems like the situation can't get any worse, Alexia is attacked by a swarm of killer, mechanical ladybugs, making it apparent that someone is intent on doing away with her. Alexia therefore decides that it would probably be best for her to leave London for a while and so she heads off to Italy to try to uncover some information about other prenaturals, like herself.

Accompanying Alexia is her eccentric friend, Madame Lefoux, and her father's former valet, Floote, both of whom will provide Alexia with the support she will need while traveling across Europe and avoiding the assassins on their trail.

Meanwhile Lord Maccon is in a constant state of intoxication and his Beta, Professor Lyall, has his hands full keeping the pack together while trying to track down the missing Lord Akeldama.

I had really enjoyed Soulless and was excited at the release of each addition to the series but so far neither Changeless or Blameless have met the high expectations that Soulless had led me to anticipate. Many of the aspects that I so enjoyed in Soulless were not present in the two books that followed it, much to my disappointment.

The trouble with writing a series of books is in maintaining the creativity and uniqueness of the first book in the series, in each of the following books. While Soulless had introduced some interesting and fresh ideas about supernatural creatures, as well as some colorful and memorable characters, not much is added in the development of these characters or in expanding upon of the ideas from the first book, in Blameless So the excitement in discovering something new, that I had when reading Soulless, was lacking for me here.


Soulless was also very much a romance and Alexia and Conall's interactions were some of my favorite parts of the book. I had wondered how Carriger would keep the story interesting after she marries off these two characters, and while she does come up with some promising story ideas unfortunately they lack the magic of the first book because my two favorite characters barely interact with each other in the sequels.

In Blameless, Alexia and Conall are apart for most of the book as Alexia sets off for Italy and Conall focuses on remaining intoxicated. Most of the book is told from Alexia's perspective and Conall remains a vague character whose thoughts and feeling are closed to the reader. In Soulless I had enjoyed getting both characters perspectives on events and was disappointed that this wasn't the case in Blameless.

My biggest disappointment, though, was how Conall reacts once he realized that he was in the wrong, and how easily Alexia forgives him. The scene in which Conall accuses Alexia of infidelity and curses her out was explosive and dramatic and I thought their eventual reunion should be equally powerful. In fact, I was looking forward to that very moment ever since reading the end of Changeless. I had expected some major groveling from Conall, and perhaps a few rejections from Alexia, but the easy bantering and quick forgiveness that does take place both surprised and disappointed me.

The story of Alexia's travels to Italy and her frequent battles against assassins also didn't really interest me as much as the stories in the previous two books. After a while events seem to become repetitive and based on what happened in Soulless I was able to predict the outcome of Blameless. While the delightful dialogue between Alexia and her companions kept me reading steadily I didn't feel as hooked by the story as I had expected to be.

I also felt that the flow of the story got disturbed when the characters would frequently whip out various mechanical contraptions which they would proceed to describe at length. I was reminded of those old television sitcoms in which a box of condensed milk or a jar of coffee would suddenly be brought out and enthused upon by the actors. While I realize that Blameless is meant to be a steampunk novel I thought that the steampunk elements could have been integrated into the story more gracefully.

Despite the faults I found with the book I still enjoyed Carriger's writing and spending time with some of the wonderful characters that she has created. While I will continue to look forward to each addition to the Parasol Protectorate series I do hope that the next book will recapture those aspects which had so thoroughly delighted me in Soulless.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Guest Post Movie Review : Never Let Me Go

Posted by Simcha 7:17 PM, under | 4 comments

Today I have for you a guest post from Nadine Bonner, who attended a premier showing of Never Let Me Go and graciously wrote up a review of it for SFF Chat readers. Just be aware that this review does contain spoilers of both the movie and the book and if you have not yet read the book then you might want to hold off on reading this review.


Never Let Me Go
Reviewed by Nadine Bonner



Is it fair to compare a movie to a book? A young friend once insisted that these were two separate mediums and need to be evaluated on their own merits. With the exception of Gone with the Wind, I find that I am not able to separate the two and am usually disappointed in favor of the book version.

Still, last night I went to see Never Let Me Go, based on the elegantly written novel by Kazuo Ishiguro. While I was swept away by beauty of the English countryside and Carey Mulligan’s compelling performance as Kathy H, I became aware that many of my fellow moviegoers had no clue what was happening on screen.

I saw the film at a premier for members of the Philadelphia Film Society, so after the movie, these ardent film-lovers lingered to discuss the film. And my feelings were confirmed. I spent about half an hour filling in the details from the book so they could digest what they had just seen.

Ishiguro’s story is a flash-backed narrated by Kathy H, beginning with her idyllic childhood at a pastoral English boarding school called Hailsham. The students at Hailsham are constantly reminded that they are special. In the book, we gradually realize that this is because they are clones – created by the wealthy and “stored” until they are needed by their patrons as organ donors. Their only purpose in life is to give up their organs – they don’t get jobs, they don’t have children of their own.

In the movie, the scenes of the actual organ donations are quite graphic, but the fact that these cloned children were created for this horrifying purpose is never spelled out. Leaving the audience confused.

In the childhood scenes, Kathy H. grows up with two close friends, Tommy and Ruth. In the tradition
of the classic triangle, Kathy is in love with Tommy, but as they enter adolescence, Ruth steals him away. After “graduating” from Hailsham, the trio enter a sort of halfway house called “The Cottages” where Tommy and Ruth have constant sex, and poor Kathy is forced to listen to their cries and moans.

Kathy leaves to become a “carer” – as the title implies, she takes care of the clones as they recover after making their “donations.” Some give up one organ after another; others “complete” – the euphemism for dying – after one or two donations.

Ten years after separating, Kathy, Tommy and Ruth are reunited. Ruth has already “donated” twice and is on the verge of “completing.” She apologizes for stealing Tommy to Kathy, who begins the romantic affair with the boy she has always loved. They try to apply for a “deferral” – a sort of urban legend that is rumored to apply to couples truly in love. After their disillusionment, Kathy cares for Tommy until his final donation, and then she herself is scheduled to begin her donations.

The movie seems cold and pointless because so much of both the character development and the plotline of science gone amok that imbued the book is left out.

Kera Knightly as Ruth is pretty and vapid. While they are in the cottages, she flaunts her relationship with Tommy, but it lacks context because we do not see the intense love-hate relationship of their childhood. It looks more like best friends who fight over a boy, but in the book version, their relationship was much more complex. Ruth is a mean child who bullies Kathy and Tommy. She is very dislikable, so her redemption at the end is more meaningful.

Even the title, which comes from song on a cassette the Tommy buys for Kathy, is not placed in context. So neither the playing of the song nor the title ever makes sense.

Because so much is left up in the air, Never Let Me Go is ultimately more gruesome than
truly horrifying.

Free Read: Clash of the Geeks (with Unicorns, Pegasus & Kittens)

Posted by Simcha 2:08 AM, under | 4 comments

There are seems to be a lot interesting projects being launched lately by various speculative fiction authors and John Scalzi has jumped on the bandwagon, along with Wil Wheaton and several other authors, in the creation of a whimsical short story collection, inspired by a vision...


From the Clash of the Geeks website:
Early in 2010, author John Scalzi had a vision. And it was of himself. As an orc. And of actor and writer Wil Wheaton. As a warrior. In a clown sweater. Astride a unicorn pegasus kitten. What did this singular vision mean? Scalzi didn’t know. But he knew it was clearly too powerful to be ignored.

And so, Scalzi contacted artist Jeff Zugale, who used all his skill and art to bring this vision to life. And then Scalzi, Wheaton and Bill Schafer, head of Scalzi and Wheaton’s mutual publisher Subterranean Press, called to the world of writers to answer one question: Seriously, now, what the hell’s going on in that picture?


The writers who answered the call were an eclectic group. Patrick Rothfuss, author of the smash-hit fantasy novel The Name of the Wind, and Catherynne Valente, who had leapt to the front ranks of modern fantasy writers with the Hugo-nominated novel Palimpsest, were the first on board. Hugo and Nebula nominee Rachel Swirsky and video game industry legend Stephen Toulouse then offered up their own interpretations. Science fiction and fantasy balladeer John Anealio put the vision to music. New writers Bernadette Durbin and Scott Mattes competed against hundreds of fellow writers to tell their spin on the tale. And, finally, Wil Wheaton and John Scalzi were of course obliged to share their own take on the thing.

Read the rest here


This chapbook is being offered for free download through the website with a suggested donation price of $5. All proceeds from the book will go towards the Lupus Alliance of America.


While I don't often read short stories I have to say that this collection is certainly hard to pass up and I will most likely be downloading it myself. And to enhance the reading experience you can listen to John Anealio's Unicorn Pegasus Kitten song, while you enjoy the stories.

Monday, September 20, 2010

New Scifi & Fantasy Releases: Week of September 20

Posted by Simcha 2:27 AM, under | 5 comments

As usual, the middle of the month is a slow time for book releases though readers of YA fiction should be pleased as there are a number of new books geared to them this week. One book which I've been hearing a lot about in the blogosphere is Holly Black and Justine Larbalestier's Zombies vs. Unicorns, and that will be available on the 21st. I can't say, though, that I have any interest in reading it myself. But I wouldn't mind reading Diana Gabaldon's new graphic novel, even though I'm not a real convert to graphic novels. I did really enjoy Outlander though, and would love to read Jamie's side of the story, which is what the new book is offering. So perhaps I'll give that one a try. Other than that, there is not much else here that tempts me, which is probably a good thing considering all the books that I still have to get to.

Hope you have a great reading week!





**********************************************************************************************************

The Exile: An Outlander Graphic Novel
Diana Gabaldon
Genre: Graphic Novel
Publisher: Del Ray
Release Date: September 21

Diana Gabaldon’s brilliant storytelling has captivated millions of readers in her bestselling and award-winning Outlander saga. Now, in her first-ever graphic novel, Gabaldon gives readers a fresh look at the events of the original Outlander: Jamie Fraser’s side of the story, gorgeously rendered by artist Hoang Nguyen.

After too long an absence, Jamie Fraser is coming home to Scotland—but not without great trepidation. Though his beloved godfather, Murtagh, promised Jamie’s late parents he’d watch over their brash son, making good on that vow will be no easy task. There’s already a fat bounty on the young exile’s head, courtesy of Captain Black Jack Randall, the sadistic British officer who’s crossed paths—and swords—with Jamie in the past. And in the court of the mighty MacKenzie clan, Jamie is a pawn in the power struggle between his uncles: aging chieftain Colum, who demands his nephew’s loyalty—or his life—and Dougal, war chieftain of Clan MacKenzie, who’d sooner see Jamie put to the sword than anointed Colum’s heir.

And then there is Claire Randall—mysterious, beautiful, and strong-willed, who appears in Jamie’s life to stir his compassion . . . and arouse his desire.

But even as Jamie’s heart draws him to Claire, Murtagh is certain she’s been sent by the Old Ones, and Captain Randall accuses her of being a spy. Claire clearly has something to hide, though Jamie can’t believe she could pose him any danger. Still, he knows she is torn between two choices—a life with him, and whatever it is that draws her thoughts so often elsewhere.


Dragons of the Valley
Donita K. Paul
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Random House
Release Date: September 21

War threatens the peaceful land of Chiril… can one painter-turned-reluctant-swordsman really help?

With an invasion of her country imminent, Tipper Schope is drawn into a mission to keep three important statues from falling into the enemy’s clutches. Her friend, the artist Bealomondore, helps her execute the plan, and along the way he learns to brandish a sword rather than a paintbrush.

As odd disappearances and a rash of volatile behavior sweep Chiril, no one is safe. A terrible danger has made his vicious presence known: The Grawl, a hunter unlike any creature encountered before.

To restore their country, Tipper, Bealomondore, and their party must hide the statues in the Valley of the Dragons and find a way to defeat the invading army. When it falls to the artistic Bealomondore to wield his sword as powerfully and naturally as a paintbrush, will he answer Wulder’s call for a champion?


Zombies vs. Unicorns
Holly Black (Editor), Justine Larbalestier (Editor)
Genre: YA fantasy Anthology
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry
Release Date: September 21, 2010

It's a question as old as time itself: which is better, the zombie or the unicorn? In this anthology, edited by Holly Black and Justine Larbalestier (unicorn and zombie, respectively), strong arguments are made for both sides in the form of short stories. Half of the stories portray the strengths--for good and evil--of unicorns and half show the good (and really, really bad-ass) side of zombies. Contributors include many bestselling teen authors, including Cassandra Clare, Libba Bray, Maureen Johnson, Meg Cabot, Scott Westerfeld, and Margo Lanagan. This anthology will have everyone asking: Team Zombie or Team Unicorn?


Twelfth Grade Kills (The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod, Bk 5)
Heather Brewer
Genre: YA Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Release Date: September 21


As a teenage vampire, Vlad has spent the last four years trying to handle the pressures of school while sidestepping a slayer out for his blood. Now he's a senior, and in this final, action-packed book in the series, Vlad must confront the secrets of the past, unravel the mystery of who he really is, make decisions about his future, and face his greatest enemy. It's a senior year that totally bites.


Crave
Melinda Metz & Laura Burns
Genre: YA Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Release Date: September 21

Shay has always been different—and she is about to find out why. Shay could never do the things her friends could—never try out for sports, never go to parties, never fall in love. Because of the mysterious and incurable blood disorder she was born with, she can barely make it through three days of school a week. But now, her doctor-turned-stepfather has a brand-new treatment that he thinks will change everything. And it does. As soon as the new blood starts pumping into Shay’s veins, she has visions of a different life…Gabriel’s life. She sees an orphanage, loss, fangs, blood, and lust that she can’t explain. Is Gabriel real? And if he is, could he really be what she thinks he is?



Dead Beautiful
Yvonne Woon
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publisher: Hyperion Book CH
Release Date: September 21

A haunting love story about desire, danger, and destiny. After Renee Winters discovers her parents lying dead in California’s Redwood Forest in what appears to be a strange double murder, her grandfather sends her off to Gottfried Academy in Maine, a remote and mysterious high school dedicated to philosophy, “crude sciences,” and Latin: the Language of the Dead. It’s here she meets Dante, a dark and elusive student to whom she feels inexplicably drawn. As they get to know each other better, Dante can’t seem to control his attraction either, and their desires gradually deepen into a complex and dangerous romance. Dangerous because Dante is hiding a frightening secret. A secret so terrible, it has him fearing for Renee’s life. Dante’s not the only one with secrets, though. Turns out Gottfried Academy has a few of its own… Like, how come students keep disappearing? Why are the prefect-like Monitors creeping around campus during the night? And what exactly are the Headmistress and Professors really up to? Renee is determined to find out why. Dead Beautiful is both a compelling romance and thought-provoking read, bringing shocking new meaning to life, death, love, and the nature of the soul.


The Replacement
Brenna Yovanoff
Genre: YA
Publisher: Razorbill
Release Date: September 21

Mackie Doyle is not one of us. Though he lives in the small town of Gentry, he comes from a world of tunnels and black murky water, a world of living dead girls ruled by a little tattooed princess. He is a Replacement, left in the crib of a human baby sixteen years ago. Now, because of fatal allergies to iron, blood, and consecrated ground, Mackie is fighting to survive in the human world. Mackie would give anything to live among us, to practice on his bass or spend time with his crush, Tate. But when Tate's baby sister goes missing, Mackie is drawn irrevocably into the underworld of Gentry, known as Mayhem. He must face the dark creatures of the Slag Heaps and find his rightful place, in our world, or theirs. Edward Scissorhands meets The Catcher in the Rye in this wildly imaginative and frighteningly beautiful horror novel about an unusual boy and his search for a place to belong.


Arrowland (Afterblight Chronicles)
Paul Kane
Genre: Scifi-Post Apocalyptic
Publisher: Abaddon
Release Date: September 21


In the years since the Hooded Man emerged from the forest to defeat the new Sheriff of Nottingham, his reputation has spread. Now a new threat has risen and The Dragon and The Widow must be tackled by Robert and his band. But when an assassin is dispatched, just as skilled as Robert with a bow and arrow, the Hooded Man finds himself once more fighting to survive!

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