Saturday, December 18, 2010

New SciFi & Fantasy Releases: Week of December 19

Posted by Simcha 4:09 PM, under | 5 comments

Hmm...I'm either really losing my touch or this is just a really slow week for new releases because all I could dig up were these five titles...

Out for Blood (Drake Chronicles, Bk 3)
Alyxandra Harvey
Release Date: December 21

Hunter Wild is the youngest in a long line of elite vampire hunters, a legacy that is both a blessing and a curse at the secret Helios-Ra Academy, where she excels at just about everything. Thanks to her friendship with Kieran Black, Hunter receives a special invitation to attend the coronation of Helena Drake, and for the first time, she sees the difference between vampires that must be hunted and vampires that can become friends—or even more. When students at the academy fall victim to a mysterious illness, Hunter suspects they are under attack from within. She will need someone she can trust to help her save the future of Helios-Ra . . . help that shockingly comes in the form of Quinn Drake, a drop-dead gorgeous vampire. Who said senior year would be easy?

Roses and Bones: Myths, Tales, and Secrets
Francesca Lia Block

YA Anthology
Release Date
: December 21 

In this new volume, three of Francesca Lia Block's works are collected together for the very first time. In The Rose and the Beast, nine classic fairy tales are turned inside out in classic Block style. Kirkus Reviews said about this Los Angeles Times bestseller, "Block uses language like a jeweled sword, glittering as it cuts to the heart." In Psyche in a Dress, the Psyche we all know from Greek mythology finds herself in California. Tempted by gods and demons she must discover a way to find herself again. And in Echo, a retelling of the story of Echo and Narcissus, Echo meets a broken angel, vampires, and the fairy daughter of a rock on her quest for true love. Love and magic and believing in ourselves are timeless themes, and this new collection will introduce Francesca Lia Block to a whole new generation of readers
waiting to fall under her spell.

Tempestuous (Wondrous Strange #3)
Lesley Livingston

: YA Urban Fantasy
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date:
December 21

"I don't love Sonny Flannery."

That's the lie Kelley Winslow told to protect the boy she loves from a power he doesn't know he possesses. Devastated, Sonny retreats—to a haven for Lost Fae that's hidden deep underneath New York City.
But Kelley's not about to let things end in heartbreak. To get Sonny back, she's got to find out who's after his magick—and how to use her own. She's got to uncover who's recruiting Janus Guards to murderously hunt innocent Faerie. She's got to help rebuild the shattered theater company she called family. And she's got to do it all without getting dangerously distracted by the Fennrys Wolf, whose legendary heart of stone seems to melt whenever he's around Kelley. The intrigue and romance that began with Wondrous strange and Darklight come to a stormy head in Tempestuous, the breathtaking conclusion to Lesley Livingston's ravishing urban Faerie trilogy.

The Book of Spells
Kate Brian

Young Adult
Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
Release Date: December 21

A Private prequel that tells the true origins of Billings House!

Silver Frost (Bitter Frost, Bk 3)
Kailin Gow

YA Urban Fantasy
Publisher: The Edge
Release Date:
December 22 

Enter the world of Feyland, where beautiful strong fairies have been at war for years. Breena, the beautiful half fairy, half human princess from Oregon, has ascended to her rightful place in Feyland, as Queen of the Summer Kingdom. Being Queen isn't at all what she expected. Now the weight of Feyland falls heavily on her shoulders. The landscape of Feyland is scattered with the silver blood of fairies, turning the once whitish blue frost of the Winter Kingdom to silver frost, and danger lurks everywhere including within her own court. Secretly in love with her intended Winter Prince Kian, now Breena is faced with the realization of war, and the possibility of Kian as her greatest enemy. To help her navigate through the politics within her court and Feyland, help comes in the form of an old friend. Before she knows it, Breena's heart is torned between two loves, just as torned as Feyland. The fate of Feyland depends on her choices, can she make the right ones even if it means turning away from her love forever?

My Gift From the Book Blogger Holiday Swap

Posted by Simcha 2:12 PM, under | 5 comments

I was in a really grumpy mood one day last week, due to problems with my computer and being worn out by a moody two year old. When I went to check my mailbox I wasn't expecting to find anything other than bills, but to my surprise there was a package for me from Ireland. Well my day brightened up considerably right then and I saved the package to open up later so that I would have something fun to look forward to.

When I got home from work I finally tore into the package, which turned out to be from the Book Blogger Holiday Swap. The blogger who sent it to me was Valentina from Valentina's Room and inside was a beautifully wrapped present that contained a book that I have been wanting to read for ages now and which she says is one of her favorites,
The Knife of Never Letting Go. Valentina also included a lovely bookmark which she made herself and which I expect to get a lot of use out of .

So thank you Valentina for this wonderful gift which really made my day. I can't wait to read the book and the bookmark that you gave me is already being used in my current book (which is a big improvement over the spoon that I was using before)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Bayou Moon (Edge, Bk 2) by Ilona Andrews

Posted by Simcha 5:05 PM, under | 5 comments

The Edge lies between worlds, on the border between the Broken, where people shop at Walmart and magic is a fairytale–and the Weird, where blueblood aristocrats rule, changelings roam, and the strength of your magic can change your destiny…

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.

Even though I had really enjoyed Ilona Andrews’s Kate Daniels series as well as the first Edge book, On the Edge, I wasn’t particularly eager to read Bayou Moon. The synopsis didn’t really grab me and I’m not a big fan of sequels which take place in the same world as previous books but with different characters. Often it’s the characters that appeal to me more than the world and if they aren’t around I don’t have much interest in reading a book in the same setting (though there are a few exceptions to this). But after reading only positive reviews of Bayou Moon my curiosity was piqued and I decided to go ahead and read it despite my initial lack of enthusiasm.

And for the first couple of chapters of the book I wasn’t sure if I would actually continue on since I was having a bit of trouble getting interested in the story. I vaguely remembered William from On the Edge (though, to be honest, all my memories of On the Edge were pretty vague by now) and was impatient while he, and the story’s female lead, Cerise, were each introduced and their backgrounds laid out for us, but once all that was out of the way I quickly lost myself in the story and ended up enjoying it a lot more that I had expected to.

Bayou Moon was definitely a darker book than I remember any of Andrews’s other books being, and I think the authors pulled it off well. Several urban fantasies that I’ve read over the past year have made the attempt to add more serious and “edgy" content to their books, such as rape and torture, but ended up failing (in my eyes, at least) due to their unconvincing execution. Their protagonists walk away from being tortured barely affected or respond to mind-boggling horror with implausible temerity, which ends up discrediting the whole book for me. And so I particularly appreciated the fact that the characters of this book did respond in a believable manner to those difficult situations that they encountered, and I didn’t have any desire to throw the book at the wall in frustration.

William and Cerise are two really interesting characters who I slowly came to like by viewing each of them from the other’s eyes. William is a little off-the-rocker, his personality often shifting from that of a crazed wolf to a sexy but clueless man, and occasionally showing glimpses of a cold and ruthless killer. William was a little too unstable to appeal to me but he is perfect for Cerise who is actually attracted to William’s wildness and the fact that he is one of the few men who are not afraid of her. And while most men are wise to fear Cerise, who is deadly with her sword and flashing power and is not afraid to fight dirty, William finds these traits appealing. So while both Cerise and William are a little-off kilter, by seeing inside their heads I came to understand and like each of them and to appreciate what they saw in each other, which is different from the way I usually respond to book characters.

As in On the Edge, Andrews included a whole cast of side characters who captured my affection as much as the central characters did. The whole crazy Mar family is pretty fabulous and I would love to read more about them, even though I had trouble keeping track of all the different family members. Though my favorites were Cerise’s cousin Kaldar, a roguish and charming thief with an interesting talent, and Cerise’s tough but vulnerable younger sister who believes herself to be a monster. Even Cerise’s life-long enemies are given the opportunity to be viewed from an inside perspective that gains them some reader sympathy, despite their actions against our protagonists.

The only character that I felt didn't get enough attention as I would have liked was the real villain of the story who was effectively frightening and sinister but could have been a lot more interesting if we got to see into his head a bit more.

I really enjoyed the atmospheric setting of the story, which takes place in a swamp, between the non-magic world of the Broken and the magical Weird. But I was disappointed that we still didn’t get to see much of the Weird, even though this is already the second book in the series.

My only real complaint about Bayou Moon is that it goes on just a little too long and the momentum of the story kind of frizzles out towards the end. Most of the story is focused on Cerise’s rescue of her mother after which she turns to the task of finding her father, which ends up being a rather rushed affair. I think the story would have benefited by being balanced a bit better with equal attention given to the different events that took place.

After finishing Bayou Moon I have to say that it far surpassed my expectations and I think I enjoyed even more than I did On the Edge. I found the characters to be more interesting and complex and the romance didn’t take over the story quite as much. In the future I will certainly not hesitate to pick up any other books in this series and I highly recommend it to any readers of fantasy.

Announcement of Giveaway Winners

Posted by Simcha 3:53 PM, under | 4 comments

Here it is, the list of winners from my Chanukah book giveaways

It was a lot of fun for me and I want to thank all of you again for participating.

* The winner of People of the Book, edited by Rachel Swirsky and Sean Wallace is Carol T.
The winner of Cold Magic by Kate Elliott is Blodeuedd

* The winner of The Kosher Guide to Imaginary Animals by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer is rhapsodyinbooks

* The winner of An Occupation of Angels by Lavie Tidhar is Adam

* The winner of The Conqueror's Shadow and The Warlord's Legacy by Ari Marmell is Ryan G

* The winner of Before They Were Giants: First Works from Science Fiction Greats is Jeff

* The winner of a book by Jane Yolen (which I'm still waiting to find out the title of) is Lexie

All the winners will be contacted by email, as long as you included an email in your comment, but if you happen to see this post before I email you please feel free to send me your mailing address at

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Just A Short Update

Posted by Simcha 4:14 PM, under | 4 comments

So it's Wednesday night and I have yet to post a single review this week, a shocking situation which I feel quite guilty about. But it's not my fault I tell you! My computer is the one to blame. Just when I thought it was finally in working order it proved me wrong.

So now I'm left to type up an explanatory blog post on my iPhone (an invention that I bless G-d for every day, and Apple as well) though it's taking forever because I keep typing s instead of a and k instead of I and I have no idea how Peter Brett managed to write a whole book on one of these things. He must have some amazingly agile fingers.

Anyhow. I digress.

The point of this post is just to let you know that I'm still around and hopefully, hopefully ( yes, the two hopefullys are on purpose) tomorrow I will be able use my computer, in which case I should have a review for you along with the winners of last week's book giveaways, and a post about what I received from the blogger holiday gift swap .

So make sure to check back here tomorrow and- until then- may all your computers be healthy and long-lasting. BlogBooster-The most productive way for mobile blogging. BlogBooster is a multi-service blog editor for iPhone, Android, WebOs and your desktop

Sunday, December 12, 2010

New SciFi & Fantasy Releases: Week of December 12

Posted by Simcha 4:30 PM, under | 6 comments

Welcome to this week's list of new science fiction and fantasy releases.

Unfortunately my computer is still out of commission but I managed to get a bit done on an old computer of mine that I had lying around. Though the going is painfully slow. Hopefully I should have my computer up and running tomorrow, if the electricity stays on long enough for it to be repaired (unlike today when the high winds caused the electricity to go out every 20 minutes, all day. Yes, it's been a long day).

Since I didn't put up a list of new releases last week I included some of those releases in this week's list, especially those books that I've had my eye on, such as Juliet Marillier's new Sevenwaters book and The Bards of Bone Plain by Patricia A. McKillip. The science fiction romantic anthology Love and Rockets also looks a lot of fun.

I actually only found a few titles that are being released this week, including Rachel Swirsky & Sean Wallace's People of the Book, which I'm really looking forward to reading. Shadowheart by James Barclay also looks good though it's the second in a series and I haven't yet read the first book.

I'm currently in the middle of reading several different books, including My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me (a title that I love saying) by Kate Bernheimer and Gregory Maguire, Summerland by Michael Chabon and The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer, so it will be a while before I get to any of these new ones. But it's good to know what I have to look forward to.

Hope you have a great reading week!


Alien Tango
Gini Koch
Genre: Sciene Fiction Romance
Publisher: Daw
Release Date: December 7

It's been five months since marketing manager Katherine "Kitty" Katt started working with the aliens from Alpha Centauri, and she and Jeff Martini are getting closer. But when an experimental spacecraft is mysteriously returned to the Kennedy Space Center, Kitty and the rest of her team are called in to investigate. Now the team must survive murderous attacks, remove a space entity from a group of astronauts, and avoid an unhinged woman with a serious crush on Kitty's high school boyfriend. And that's all before evil masterminds decide Kitty's extermination is vital.

Back to the Moon
Taylor, Travis S. and Les Johnson
Genre: Science Fiction
Publisher: Baen
Release Date: December 7

Decades after the last footprints were left on the Moon, the U.S. was preparing to return to the Lunar surface in a new class of rockets, when the mission suddenly became much more urgent. It would have to be a rescue mission. Unbeknownst to the rest of the world China had sent its own Lunar expedition. A manned expedition. Until a distress call was received, no human outside of China even knew that the mission was manned—or that their ship had crash-landed and couldn’t take off again. Time was running out, and if the four Chinese astronauts were to be rescued, the American lunar mission would have to launch immediately, with only a skeleton crew. Once the heroic U.S. astronauts were underway the army of engineers and scientists back home had the daunting task of deciding what equipment could be left on the Moon to permit the Lunar lander vehicle vehicle to lift safely from the Moon with the two U.S. astronauts and the four stranded Chinese taikonauts! Could the U.S. mount such a mission successfully—and would thousands of years of instilled honor “allow” the Chinese astronauts to accept a rescue?

Bleeding Violet
Dia Reeves
Genre: Young Adult Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: December 7

From Booklist
After her father’s death, 16-year-old Hanna hitchhikes to Portero, Texas, the home of her mother, Rosalee, who abandoned her. Hanna is desperate for Rosalee to love and accept her, and Rosalee reluctantly makes a bargain: Hanna has two weeks to make friends and fit in at her school or she won't be allowed to stay. Hanna has never fit in anywhere, though. Struggling with manic depression, she hears voices and hallucinates, wears only purple dresses, and has a history of violence. Portero is no ordinary town, though, and Hanna learns that it is haunted by doors to other dimensions and plagued by dangerous creatures from those realms. Wyatt, a powerful young initiate in the Mortmaine, a demon-hunting organization, recruits Hanna, and together they struggle to deal with an ancient evil that threatens the town and Hanna’s future. With plenty of sex and violence, this is a book for mature teens, who will find Portero to be an intriguing world and biracial Hanna a startlingly unusual heroine with a poignant, memorable voice. Grades 10-12. --Lynn Rutan --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Day of the Dragon
Rebecca York
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: December 7

Beautiful archaeologist Madison Dartmoor unearths an astonishing find, one of vast importance to a handsome stranger-a man who is not human, and who holds a dangerous secret that may break her heart.

Demon Underground
S.L. Wright
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Roc
Release Date: December 7

Half-human and half-demon, Allay has finally warmed up to her new life feeding off the customers at her downtown bar whens he finds herself brokering a truce between New York City's most powerful demons. But when she senses assassins around every corner, Allay hides out of sight and underground-until combatants in the growing war tempt her back above the surface...

Fables Vol. 14: Witches
Bill Willingham, Mark Buckingham
Genre: Graphic Novel
Publisher: Vertigo
Release Date: December 7

While the meek and mild flying monkey Bufkin is trapped in Fabletown's collapsed business office with the evil witch Baba Yaga, Frau Totenkinder and the witches at the Farm upstate prepare to deal with Mister Dark down in what's left of Fabletown.

Finding the Way and Other Tales of Valdemar
Edited by Mercedes Lackey
Genre: Fantasy Anthology
Publisher: DAW
Release Date: December 7

In March 1987, a young author from Oklahoma published her first novel, Arrows of the Queen. This modest book about a magical land called Valdemar was the beginning of a fantasy masterwork series that would span decades and include more than two dozen titles. Now readers can take a journey to the world of Valdemar-including Tanya Huff, Mickey Zucker Reichert, Fiona Patton, and Judith Tarr-each adding their own special touches.

Goddess of Legend
P.C. Cast
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Berkley Trade
Release Date: December 7

After her car plummets off a bridge, Isabel, a world-weary photojournalist, struggles between life and death when she's saved by the Water Goddess-with one tiny caveat: Isabel must travel to another time to seduce the legendary Lancelot du Lac away from Queen Guinevere.

The handsome knight is a dream for any woman in any century. But Isabel is the one who's seduced by King Arthur. For Isabel, a deal is a deal. Now, the King watches as fate takes from him the mysterious beauty he has come to worship, knowing all too well that any interference on his part could destroy the kingdom he loves.
All day

Last Sacrifice (Vampire Academy, Bk 6)
Richelle Mead
Genre: Young Adult Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Razorbill
Release Date: December 7

The epic finale in Richelle Mead's #1 international bestselling Vampire Academy series.

Love and Rockets
Edited by Martin H. Greenberg, Kerrie Hughes
Introduction by Lois McMaster Bujold
Genre: Science Fiction Romance Anthology
Publisher: DAW
Release Date: December 7

Space...the final frontier. Or is it? Many say there's no frontier more forbidding than a romantic relationship between a man and a woman. But what if one's a human, and the other's an alien? Here is an original collection of space opera stories where authors take love (unrequited or not), on a spaceship, space station, or planetary colony, and add enough drama, confusion and mayhem to ensure that the path to true love-or short-term infatuation-is seldom free of obstacles.

Right Hand Magic
Nancy A. Collins
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Roc
Release Date: December 7

Like most Manhattanites, aspiring artist Tate can't resist a good rental deal-even if it's in the city's strangest neighborhood, Golgotham, where for centuries werewolves, centaurs, and countless other creatures have roamed the streets.

Her new landlord is a sorcerer name Hexe, who is determined to build his reputation without using dark, left-hand magic. As Tate is drawn into Hexe's fascinating world, they both find that the right hand does not always know what the left hand is doing-and avoiding darkness is no easy trick...

Seer of Sevenwaters (Sevenwaters #5 )
Juliet Marillier
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Roc
Release Date: December 7

The young seer Sibeal is visiting an island of elite warriors, prior to making her final pledge as a druid. It's there she finds Felix, a survivor of a Viking shipwreck, who's lost his memory. The scholarly Felix and Sibeal form a natural bond. He could even be her soul mate, but Sibeal's vocation is her true calling, and her heart must answer. As Felix fully regains his memory, Sibeal has a runic divination showing her that Felix must go on a perilous mission-and that she will join him. The rough waters and the sea creatures they will face are no match for Sibeal's own inner turmoil. She must choose between the two things that tug at her soul-her spirituality and a chance at love...

The Gift (Witch & Wizard #2)
James Patterson
Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Release Date: December 13

When Whit & Wisty were imprisoned by the wicked forces of the totalitarian regime known as the New Order, they were barely able to escape with their lives. Now part of a hidden community of teens like themselves, Whit and Wisty have established themselves as leaders of the Resistance, willing to sacrifice anything to save kids kidnapped and brutally imprisoned by the New Order. But the One has other plans in store for them: He needs Wisty, for she is "The One Who Has the Gift." While trying to figure out what that means, Whit and Wisty's suspenseful adventures through Overworld and Shadowland lead to a jaw-dropping climax and conclusion: the highly-anticipated fulfillment of the heart-pounding opening prologue of book one... The Execution of the Allgoods.

Entice (Need, Bk 3)
Carrie Jones
Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children's Books
Release Date: December 14

Zara and Nick are soul mates, meant to be together forever. But that's not quite how things have worked out. For starters, well, Nick is dead. Supposedly, he's been taken to a mythic place for warriors known as Valhalla, so Zara and her friends might be able to get him back. But it's taking time, and meanwhile a group of evil pixies is devastating Bedford, with more teens going missing every day. An all-out war seems imminent, and the good guys need all the warriors they can find. But how to get to Valhalla? And even if Zara and her friends discover the way, there's that other small problem: Zara's been pixie kissed. When she finds Nick, will he even want to go with her? Especially since she hasn't turned into just any pixie. . . She's Astley's queen.

People of the Book: A Decade of Jewish Science Fiction & Fantasy
Edited by Rachel Swirsky & Sean Wallace
Genre: Speculative fiction Anthology
Publisher: Prime Books
Release Date: December 14

From Sholom Aleichem to Avram Davidson, Isaac Bashevis Singer to Tony Kushner, the Jewish literary tradition has always been one rich in the supernatural and the fantastic. In these pages, gathered from the best short fiction of the last ten years, twenty authors prove that their heritage is alive and well - in the spaces between stars that an alphabet can bridge, folklore come to life and histories become stories, and all the places where old worlds and new collide and change.

Shadowheart (Legends of the Raven, Bk 2)
James Barclay
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Pyr
Release Date: December 14


It has been smoldering for years, but now the conflict between Balaia’s four colleges of magic has finally blazed into furious life. Xetesk, the Dark College, determined to impose its rule, now faces an alliance of Lystern and Dordover. Julatsa is crippled, still struggling to remake its link to Balaia’s flow of Mana. And so the armies mass.

Caught in the flames of war are The Raven. Three of the legendary mercenary band are dead. One of them struggles with a burgeoning power that could herald a new world—and destroy the old. The survivors will keep their promises to lost friends, to the enslaved Protectors, and to the dragon, Sha-Kaan. To Balaia.

The Raven will keep the faith. They will fight and they will triumph. It’s what they do.

Jon Armstrong
Publisher: Night Shade Books
Release Date: December 14

From the neo-feudalistic slubs and cornfields of his youth to his apprenticeship among the saleswarriors of Seattlehama - the sex-and-shopping capital of the world - to the rarefied heights of power that Tain now treads, Yarn takes its readers on a roller coaster ride through his life. Vada, the stylish revolutionary and love of Tane's life, draws him back into a world he had thought was long behind him. The swirling threads of violence and passion threaten to destroy him and the world he has made for himself.

Author Jon Armstrong returns to the high fashion dystopia first glimpsed in Grey, weaving a stylish and scintillating tale of a dark past colliding with Tane's supposedly safe and secure present.

The Bards of Bone Plain
Patricia A. McKillip
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Ace
Release Date: December 7

Publishers Weekly - World Fantasy Award winner McKillip (The Bell at Sealey Head) offers a rich, resonant story of poetry, riddles, mystery, and magic. Phelan Cle never wanted to be a bard--that's his decidedly unmusical father's ambition for him--but now that he's about to graduate from Bardic School at Caerau, he's determined to make it easy on himself. He chooses what should be a straight-forward thesis topic: Bone Plain, where legend says all poetry originated, where Nairn the Wanderer, the Fool, the Cursed, the Unforgiven, one of the greatest bards in history, failed the mysterious Three Trials and disappeared forever. History surrounds the school and the nearby standing stones, where archaeologist Princess Beatrice digs up an unusual artifact that may hold the key to the mysteries of Bone Plain. McKillip seduces readers with lyrical prose; intriguing, complex characters; and resonant riddles-within-riddles.


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