Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Time for another break

Posted by Simcha 6:20 PM, under | 6 comments

So it's been about a week and a half and I haven't managed to find the time to write a single blog post. I blame it on my 3 1/2 year old who has taken to waking up at 4:30 each morning, leaving me grouchy and tired for the rest of the day and eager to jump into bed once I finish working at night. He's too cute for me to really hold it against him but this has led me to decide that this might be a good time for me to take a short break from blogging, during which time I'll be doing my best to adjust my son's sleeping schedule, and hopefully catch up on writing reviews, as well.

As of now I'm thinking that I'll take off for the rest of December, picking up again January 1st. So if I don't speak to you guys before then, I hope you all have a wonderful holiday season.

And I'll leave you with this picture of the edible menorah my ten year-old son made today, out of candy and wafers. Yum! I somehow don't think it's going to last 'til Chanukah.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

New Scifi & Fantasy Releases: Week of December 4th

Posted by Simcha 2:35 PM, under | 5 comments

Science Fiction

Earthbound (Marsbound Series #3)
Joe Haldeman
Publisher: Ace
Release Date: December 6

The mysterious alien Others have prohibited humans from space travel-destroying Earth's fleet of starships in a display of unimaginable power. Now Carmen Dula, the first human to encounter Martians and then the mysterious Others, and her colleagues struggle to find a way, using nineteenthcentury technology, to reclaim the future that has been stolen from them.

Supervolcano: Eruption
Harry Turtledove
Publisher: Roc
Release Date: December 6

A supervolcanic eruption in Yellowstone Park sends lava and mud flowing toward populated areas, and clouds of ash drifting across the country. The fallout destroys crops and livestock, clogs machinery, and makes cities uninhabitable. Those who survive find themselves caught in an apocalyptic catastrophe in which humanity has no choice but to rise from the ashes and recreate the world...

Galactic Courier
A. Bertram Chandler
Publisher: Baen
Release Date: December 6

Number three in a three-volume collection of the legendary John Grimes of the Galactic Rim series. Classic Star Trek meets the high seas. If space travel is going to be anything like sailing the oceans, then A. Bertram Chandler has surely caught its absolute essence in his Grimes novels. Here are the crowning tales of Grimes' career – the Grimes “Rim Commodore” stories. In these tales, Grimes has found his true calling out on the edge of galactic civilization. He’s the sheriff of a realm where pioneer colonies and parallel dimensions overlap, and a starship captain must be prepared for adventure in ALL possible worlds.

Includes an astounding (as in, mostly published in Astounding and Analog by legendary editor John W. Campbell) cornucopia of Grimes novels bringing together all previous Commodore Grimes tales in Star Courier, To Keep the Ship, Matilda’s Stepchildren, Star Loot.

Himmler's War
Robert Conroy
Publisher: Baen
Release Date: December 6

Only days after Normandy, Hitler is taken out of the equation and Heinrich Himmler, brutal head of the SS, assumes control of the Reich. On the Allied side, there is confusion. Should attempts be made to negotiate with the new government or should unconditional surrender still be the only option? With the specter of a German super-weapon moving closer to completion and the German generals finally allowed to fight the kind of war at which they are masters, the allies are pushed toward a course of accommodation or even defeat. Will the soldiers of the Grand Alliance find the courage and conviction to fight on in the face of such daunting odds? And can alliance leaders put into place a new plan in time to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat by the German war machine? A new and terrible battle for a free world is on.

Templar One (Eve, Bk 2)
Tony Gonzales
Publisher: Tor
Release Date: December 6

“There will be neither compassion nor mercy;
Nor peace, nor solace
For those who bear witness to these Signs
And still do not believe."

Book of Reclaiming 25:10

New Eden: the celestial battleground of a catastrophic war that has claimed countless lives.

The immortal starship captains spearheading this epic conflict continue their unstoppable dominance, shaping the universe to their will and ensuring a bloody, everlasting stalemate.

But a powerful empire is on the verge of a breakthrough that could end the war and secure their rule over mankind forever. For deep in a prison reclamation camp, a secret program is underway...one that will unlock dangerous secrets of New Eden’s past.

It all begins with inmate 487980-A . . . Templar One.

Prepare for DUST 514.

Mecha Corps: A Novel of the Armor Wars
Brett Patton
Publisher: Roc
Release Date: December 6

Matt Lowell is in hell-and there's no place he'd rather be. At a training camp on the backwater planet of Earth, he and his fellow cadets are learning to ride Mechas: biomechanicals sporting both incredible grace and devastating firepower. Their ultimate aim is to combat the pirates of the Corsair Confederacy, but before they survive a battle, they have to survive their training.

Because every time Lowell and his comrades "plug in" to their Mechas, their minds are slowly being twisted and broken by an unseen power that is neither man...nor machine.



Dragon Fate
E.E. Knight
Publisher: Roc
Release Date: December 6

The author of the national bestselling Vampire Earth series presents the fiery conclusion to his epic dragon saga. Scattered across a continent, three dragon siblings are among the last of a dying breed-the final hope for their species' survival. After fighting a war that cost each of them kingdom and land, friends and family, honor and glory, they have removed themselves from the troubles of the world. But the order they fought to establish is falling apart. Ancient sorceries have been awakened. Dragons battle dragons. And men are taking up arms against their winged overlords. Now, the three must unite once more to save dragonkind from extinction, before the chaos and fire of war consume them all... and the world with them.

The Emperors Knife
Mazarkis Williams
Publisher: Night Shade Books
Release Date: December 6

There is a cancer at the heart of the mighty Cerani Empire: a plague that attacks young and old, rich and poor alike. Geometric patterns spread across the skin, until you die in agony, or become a Carrier, doing the bidding of an evil intelligence, the Pattern Master. Anyone showing the tell-tale marks is put to death; that is Emperor Beyon''s law...but now the pattern is running over the Emperor's own arms. His body servants have been executed, he ignores his wives, but he is doomed, for soon the pattern will reach his face. While Beyon''s agents scour the land for a cure, Sarmin, the Emperor''s only surviving brother, awaits his bride, Mesema, a windreader from the northern plains. Unused to the Imperial Court''s stifling protocols and deadly intrigues, Mesema has no one to turn to but an ageing imperial assassin, the Emperor''s Knife. As long-planned conspiracies boil over into open violence, the invincible Pattern Master appears from the deep desert. Now only three people stand in his way: a lost prince, a world-weary killer, and a young girl from the steppes who saw a path in a pattern once, among the waving grasses - a path that just might save them all!

Honor's Paradox (Kencyrath, Bk 6)
P.C. Hodgell
Publisher: Baen
Release Date: December 6

The sequel to Bound in Blood and exciting sixth entry in the Godstalker Chronicles by epic fantasy world-builder extraordinaire, P.C. Hodgell.
Jame is one of the last of the Kencyrath line, born to battle a world-destroying Lord of Darkness and resuscitate her ancestral heritage. Jame’s youth was spent hard and low in a desert wasteland. Now she has discovered her past and her heritage as Highborn—and, with it, the power to call souls out of their bodies and slay the occasional god or two (as well as to resurrect them).
First, though, Jame must survive the politics and dangers of haunted Tentir College, a school for warriors where she’s a student. At Tentir, Jame saves a young protégÉ from possession by a powerful, evil soul in search of a body, while combating jealous students who see her as a danger to their ambition for power and want her expelled—and blinded and dead, in the bargain! Then, just as graduation approaches, Jame’s exemption from the sacred laws of the tribe of her youth expires and she is expected to wed immediately, plus take on a family. To make matters worse, she’s challenged to a mounted combat duel to decide who is Tentir “top gun”—a competition she must win to graduation. It’s trial by fire, as Jame moves closer to a magnificent destiny she both fears—and knows she must face.

The Thirteen Hallows
Michael Scott & Colette Freedman
Publisher: Tor
Release Date: December 6

The Hallows. Ancient artifacts imbued with a primal and deadly power. But are they protectors of this world, or the keys to its destruction?

A gruesome murder in London reveals a sinister plot to uncover a two-thousand-year-old secret.

For decades, the Keepers guarded these Hallows, keeping them safe and hidden and apart from each other. But now the Keepers are being brutally murdered, their prizes stolen, the ancient objects bathed in their blood. Now, only a few remain.

With her dying breath, one of the Keepers convinces Sarah Miller, a practical stranger, to deliver her Hallow—a broken sword with devastating powers—to her American nephew, Owen.  The duo quickly become suspects in a series of murders as they are chased by both the police and the sadistic Dark Man and his nubile mistress.

As Sarah and Owen search for the surviving Keepers, they unravel the deadly secret the Keepers were charged to protect. The mystery leads Sarah and Owen on a cat-and-mouse chase through England and Wales, and history itself, as they discover that the sword may be the only thing standing between the world… nd a horror beyond imagining.

The Thirteen Hallows is the beginning of a spellbinding new saga, a thrilling tale of ancient magic and modern times by a New York Times bestselling author and an award-winning playwright.

Under the Vale and Other Tales of Valdemar
Mercedes Lackey
Publisher: DAW
Release Date: December 6

Under the Vale is the latest collection of short stories set in the world of Valdemar.

The Heralds of Valdemar are an ancient order, drawn from all across the land, from all walks of life, and at all ages, these unusual individuals are Gifted with abilities beyond those of normal men and women. They are Mindspeakers, FarSeers, Empaths, ForeSeers, Firestarters, FarSpeakers, and more. Sought and Chosen by mysterious horselike Companions, they are bonded for life to these telepathic, enigmatic creatures. With their Companions, the Heralds of Valdemar ride circuit throughout the kingdom protecting the peace and, when necessary, defending their land and monarch.

Now readers can travel to the world of Valdemar with Tanya Huff, Mickey Zucker Reichert, Fiona Patton, Rosemary Edghill, Judith Tarr, and others in these original stories, including an all-new novella from Mercedes Lackey.


Urban Fantasy

Alien Proliferation
Gini Koch
Publisher: DAW
Release Date: December 6

Alien Super-Being Exterminator Kitty Katt is expecting her first baby. But the alien attacks are getting more dangerous, and now Kitty and her Alpha Centaurion husband, Jeff, have to find out who's behind the conspiracy to kill Kitty's secret agent mom and what caused Kitty's transformation into a superhuman-and they've got to do it all before the baby shower... 

Blood of Eden (Sloan Skye, Bk 1)
Tami Dane
Publisher: Kensington
Release Date: December 6

Sloan has a sky-high IQ, a chaotic personal life, and a dream: to work for the FBI. Her goal is within reach until an error lands her with the FBI's ugly stepchild: the new Paranormal Behavioral Analysis Unit. She'll get to profile criminals, but the pool of suspects is a little more...diverse. Yet even as Sloan tackles her first case--a string of victims, all with puncture wounds to the neck--she can't silence her inner para-skeptic.

To catch the killer she'll have to think like one. That means casting aside her doubts, and dealing with the bizarre nightmares that started with the job. But the strangeness is only beginning, as Sloan pieces together the shocking truth about a case that's more personal than she ever would have guessed.

Hellsbane (Hellsbane, Bk 1)
Paige Cuccaro
Publisher: Entangled Publishing
Release Date: December 6

Emma Jane Hellsbane always knew she was different, but she had no idea she wasn’t even human. Well, at least she’s half-human. She’s half-fallen angel, too, and now dear ol’ dad wants her dead. All the Fallen angels want all their troublesome offspring removed from the mortal coil so she’s trying not to take it personally. Besides, she wants him dead just as much. Her father’s death is the only way she’ll be forgiven for his sin, stop those pesky demons from trying to hack off her head, and have any hope at all of getting back to a normal life as a wicked slick Intuitive Consciousness Explorer.

Of course, first she’ll have to figure out which fallen angel is her father, avoid accidentally seducing her angelic mentor, help an old friend conquer his own fallen sperm donor, and basically save the world from a cataclysmic divine smack down.

No problem. With a last name like Hellsbane, Emma Jane was definitely born for the job

Left Hand Magic (Golgotham, Bk 2)
Nancy A. Collins
Publisher: Roc
Release Date: December 6

Artist Tate Eresby has accepted the unusual sights and sounds of Golgotham, New York's paranormal underworld. But her relationship with witch-lord Hexe, the current heir to the Kymeran throne, is full of tension. Hexe's Uncle Esau is an anti-human activist who believes Tate is a human enemy of his race.
But Tate's time in Golgotham has left her more than human...

Shaedes of Gray (Shaede Assassin, Bk 1)
Amanda Bonilla
Publisher: Signet
Release Date: December 6

In the shadows of the night, Darian has lived alone for almost a century. Made and abandoned by her former love, Darian is the last of her kind—an immortal Shaede who can slip into darkness as easily as breathing. With no one else to rely on, she has taught herself how to survive, using her unique skills to become a deadly assassin.

When Darian's next mark turns out to be Xander Peck, King of the Shaede Nation, her whole worldview is thrown into question. Darian begins to wonder if she's taken on more than her conscience will allow. But a good assassin never leaves a job unfinished..

True Shot (True Trilogy, Bk 3)
Joyce Lamb
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: December 6

Samantha Trudeau has spent the past ten years using her intense psychic abilities to put bad guys behind bars. She's always believed she’s one of the good guys, until fellow spy and best friend Zoe reveals a shocking secret about who they've really been working for. When Zoe's gunned down, Sam goes on the run, because now her employer is coming after her. With no one to turn to for help, she flees to the only place she thinks she’ll be safe.

Journalist Mac Hunter has had a rough year. At the insistence of his good friends, sisters Charlie and Alex Trudeau, he’s going to crash at their family cabin for some much-needed rest and relaxation. But when he arrives he’s stunned to find the third Trudeau sister, Sam, wounded and unconscious on the cabin floor. Things go from bizarre to dangerous when men with guns show up.

Now, Sam and Mac are on the run together, trying to outsmart a demented government agent who has sadistic plans for Sam. As the heat builds between them, her past threatens their very survival. This unlikely duo -- a man who uses words to fight his battles and a woman who'd rather use a Glock -- are in for the fight of their lives. And in their growing partnership, perhaps they'll have a true shot at love.

The Cross (Vampire Federation, Bk 2)
Sean McCabe
Publisher: Signet
Release Date: December 6

The vampires call it the Cross of Ardaich: a relic thought to have been destroyed in the war between the Federation and the rebels. But it has been found, and its incredible powers could signal the end of civilization...
A cannibalistic serial killer becomes the perfect tool for the race of the Ubervampyr. His mission: find the cross. His reward: join the ranks of the undead. On his trail are Detective Joel Solomon and Vampire Federation agent Alex Bishop. Once lovers and now enemies, they must work together to prevent the ultimate disaster. Unless they can foil the vampyrs' plans, salvation for the race will be just a dream gone bad. 


Young Adult

Clockwork Prince (Infernal Devices, Bk 2)
Cassandra Clare
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry
Release Date: December 6

In the magical underworld of Victorian London, Tessa Gray has at last found safety with the Shadowhunters. But that safety proves fleeting when rogue forces in the Clave plot to see her protector, Charlotte, replaced as head of the Institute. If Charlotte loses her position, Tessa will be out on the street—and easy prey for the mysterious Magister, who wants to use Tessa’s powers for his own dark ends.
With the help of the handsome, self-destructive Will and the fiercely devoted Jem, Tessa discovers that the Magister’s war on the Shadowhunters is deeply personal. He blames them for a long-ago tragedy that shattered his life. To unravel the secrets of the past, the trio journeys from mist-shrouded Yorkshire to a manor house that holds untold horrors, from the slums of London to an enchanted ballroom where Tessa discovers that the truth of her parentage is more sinister than she had imagined. When they encounter a clockwork demon bearing a warning for Will, they realize that the Magister himself knows their every move—and that one of their own has betrayed them. 

Tessa finds her heart drawn more and more to Jem, though her longing for Will, despite his dark moods, continues to unsettle her. But something is changing in Will—the wall he has built around himself is crumbling. Could finding the Magister free Will from his secrets and give Tessa the answers about who she is and what she was born to do? 

As their dangerous search for the Magister and the truth leads the friends into peril, Tessa learns that when love and lies are mixed, they can corrupt even the purest heart.

Erica Orloff
Publisher: Speak
Release Date: December 8

Some loves are not made to last . . . Like Romeo and Juliet, Heloise and Abelard were doomed from the start, and their romance was destined to pass into history. Yet when sixteen-year-old Callie Martin discovers a diary hidden within an antique book, their story—and hers—takes on another life. For the diary leads Callie to the brilliant and handsome August, who is just as mysterious as the secret the diary hides. Their attraction is undeniable. As the two hunt down the truth behind the diary—and that of Heloise and Abelard’s ancient romance—their romance becomes all-consuming. But Callie knows it can’t last . . . love never does. Will their love that burns as bright as a shooting star flame out, or will these star-crossed lovers be able to defy history?

Jennifer L. Armentrout
Publisher: Entangled Publishing
Release Date: December 6

Starting over sucks.

When we moved to West Virginia right before my senior year, I’d pretty much resigned myself to thick accents, dodgy internet access, and a whole lot of boring…. until I spotted my hot neighbor, with his looming height and eerie green eyes. Things were looking up.

And then he opened his mouth.

Daemon is infuriating. Arrogant. Stab-worthy. We do not get along. At all. But when a stranger attacks me and Daemon literally freezes time with a wave of his hand, well, something…unexpected happens.

The hot alien living next door marks me.

You heard me. Alien. Turns out Daemon and his sister have a galaxy of enemies wanting to steal their abilities, and Daemon’s touch has me lit up like the Vegas Strip. The only way I’m getting out of this alive is by sticking close to Daemon until my alien mojo fades.

If I don’t kill him first, that is.

Planesrunner (Everness, Bk 1)
Ian McDonald
Publisher: Pyr
Release Date: December 6

There is not one you. There are many yous. There is not one world. There are many worlds. Ours is one of billions of parallel earths.

When Everett Singh's scientist father is kidnapped from the streets of London, he leaves young Everett a mysterious app on his computer. Suddenly, this fourteen-year-old has become the owner of the most valuable object in the multiverse—the Infundibulum—the map of all the parallel earths, and there are dark forces in the Ten Known Worlds who will stop at nothing to get it. They've got power, authority, and the might of ten planets—some of them more technologically advanced than our Earth—at their fingertips. He's got wits, intelligence, and a knack for Indian cooking.

To keep the Infundibulum safe, Everett must trick his way through the Heisenberg Gate his dad helped build and go on the run in a parallel Earth. But to rescue his Dad from Charlotte Villiers and the sinister Order, this Planesrunner's going to need friends. Friends like Captain Anastasia Sixsmyth, her adopted daughter Sen, and the crew of the airship Everness.

Can they rescue Everett's father and get the Infundibulum to safety? The game is afoot!

Eternal Starling
Angela Corbett
Publisher: Pendrell Publishing
Release Date: December 6

Evie Starling has lived a relatively uneventful life hanging out with friends, gossiping about boys, and driving her 1966 Mustang. All of that changes when she moves to Gunnison, Colorado, to start college and meets two mysterious men.

For centuries, Alex Night and Emil Stone have yearned for Evie—but they each have their own reasons for wanting to be with her. When both men claim to be her soul mate and tell her about an unbelievable past, Evie learns that she’s not the person she thought she was. Soon, Evie finds herself in the middle of an age-old battle between the Amaranthine Society—the soul protectors, and the Daevos Resistance—the soul destroyers. With a past she doesn’t understand, and a future rife with danger, Evie has to decide who she can trust. But Alex and Emil aren’t the only ones who want Evie, and her soul is about to become the rope in an eternal tug-of-war.

Shattered Dreams (Midnight Dragonfly, Bk 1)
Ellie James
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Release Date: December 6

Sixteen-year-old Trinity Monsour wants nothing more than to live a normal life. But that isn’t as easy as it seems. Trinity is different. She is special. She sees visions, and for those she’s seen, it’s already too late.

Trinity arrives on her aunt's doorstep in New Orleans with virtually no knowledge of her mysterious heritage. She begins settling into life at a new school and even starts making friends. But all too quickly her dreams accelerate; twisted, terrifying visions of a girl locked in a dark room. And when the head cheerleader, Jessica, goes missing, Trinity knows she has no choice but to step forward with what she's seen.

But people believe that Trinity has information about Jessica's disappearance not because of a dream, but because she is involved. She is kind-of dating Jessica's ex-boyfriend, Chase, and Jessica did pull a nasty prank on Trinity. Revenge seems like the likeliest scenario.

Nothing prepares Trinity for the dark odyssey that ensues while searching for Jessica, including the surprising romance she finds with Chase, or the shocking truths she learns, not just about the girl who has gone missing, but the past that has been hidden from her.

Shattered Souls
Mary Lindsey
Publisher: Penguin
Release Date: December 8
Lenzi hears voices and has visions - gravestones, floods, a boy with steel gray eyes. Her boyfriend, Zak, can't help, and everything keeps getting louder and more intense. Then Lenzi meets Alden, the boy from her dreams, who reveals that she's a reincarnated Speaker - someone who can talk to and help lost souls - and that he has been her Protector for centuries.

Now Lenzi must choose between her life with Zak and the life she is destined to lead with Alden. But time is running out: a malevolent spirit is out to destroy Lenzi, and he will kill her if she doesn't make a decision soon.

Winging It (The Dragon Diaries, Bk 2)
Deborah Cooke
Publisher: NAL Trade
Release Date: December 6

Zoë Sorensson yearns to come into her powers as the only female dragon shifter. But being part of two worlds is more complicated than she expected. It’s bad enough that she’s the target of the Mages’ plan to eliminate all shifters—she also has to hide her true nature from her best friend Megan, a human. For her sixteenth birthday, all Zoë wants is one normal day, including a tattoo and a chance to see hot rocker Jared.

Instead, the Pyr throw her a birthday party but ban Megan from attendance, putting Zoë in a tight spot. Things get even worse when Zoe is invited to the popular kids’ Halloween party and Megan’s left out. Zoë knows the party is a trap laid by the host, an apprentice Mage. When Megan gets a last-minute invite, Zoë must save the day—and her best friend—without revealing her fire-breathing secrets . .

The Fire (Witch & Wizard, Bk 3)
James Patterson and Jill Dembowski
Publisher: Little, Brown & Company
Release Date: December 5

Whit and Wisty Allgood have sacrificed everything to lead the resistance against the merciless totalitarian regime that governs their world. Its supreme leader, The One Who Is The One, has banned everything they hold dear: books, music, art, and imagination. But the growing strength of the siblings' magic hasn't been enough to stop the One's evil rampage, and now he's executed the only family they had left.

Wisty knows that the time has finally come for her to face The One. But her fight and her fire only channel more power to this already invincible being. How can she and Whit possibly prepare for their imminent showdown with the ruthless villain that devastated their world-before he can truly become all-powerful?
In this stunning climax of the epic Witch & Wizard series, the stakes have never been higher-and the consequences will change everything.


Anthology/ Collections

Human For A Day
edited by Martin H. Greenberg & Jennifer Brozek
Publisher: DAW
Release Date: December 6

Here's an anthology that examines what it means to be human in all its positive and negative aspects. If you were an intelligent robot, would the opportunity to become human for a day be worth the risks? If a magic spell switched the bodies of a vampire and a teenage girl, would both savor the experience or search for a way to undo the enchantment? What tests would an angel face if transformed into a mortal for a day? These are just a few of the inventive stories-some humorous, some sad, many thought-provoking, and all unique-to be found in Human for a Day.  

Myths of Origin: Four Short Novels
Catherynne M. Valente
Publisher: Wyrm Publishing
Release Date: December 6

Live the Myth! New York Times best-seller Catherynne M. Valente is the single most compelling voice to emerge in fantasy fiction in decades. Collected here for the first time, her early short novels explore, deconstruct, and ultimately explode the seminal myths of both East and West, casting them in ways you''ve never read before and may never read again. The Labyrinth - a woman wanderer, a Maze like no other, a Monkey and a Minotaur and a world full of secrets leading down to the Center of it All. Yume No Hon: The Book of Dreams - an aged woman named Ayako lives in medieval Japan, but dreams in mythical worlds that beggar the imagination . . . including our own modern world. The Grass-Cutting Sword - when a hero challenges a great and evil serpent, who speaks for the snake? In this version of a myth from the ancient chronicle Kojiki, the serpent speaks for himself. Under in the Mere - Arthur and Lancelot, Mordred and le Fay. The saga has been told a thousand times, but never in the poetic polyphony of this novella, a story far deeper than it is long.


Paranormal Romance

Bound by the Vampire Queen (Vampire Queen, Bk 8)
Joey W. Hill
Publisher: Berkley Trade
Release Date: December 6

Sworn to obedience, compelled by loyalty, and threatened with damnation for betrayal, Jacob is Lady Lyssa's vampire servant. But as Lyssa struggles with the powers that have come alive in her paternal Fae blood, she is challenged by two deadly enemies. 

Daybreak (Dark Age Dawning, Bk 3)
Ellen Connor
Publisher: Berkley Sensation
Release Date: December 6

It's been twelve years since the Change, and Penelope Sheehan is one of the few still practicing magic for the good of humanity in this dark, dangerous world. But she needs the help of a shapeshifter named Tru, whom she knew when he was a troubled boy. But Tru is a creature of instinct and impulse, living only to satisfy his senses- ignoring the scarred heart nobody has ever reached. Fighting alongside the last holdouts of humanity, they will unleash a passion that tempts them to risk everything for love. But if they succeed, Tru and Pen hold the power to brighten the Dark Age for all time. 

Hearts and Swords
Robin D. Owens
Publisher: Berkley Trade
Release Date: December 6

Four original novellas from the author of Heart Search

Award-winning author Robin D. Owens returns to the futuristic world of Celta with four original romantic fantasies as four different couples find their HeartMates and their destinies on Celta.

Lawe's Justice (Breeds, Bk 26)
Lora Leigh
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: December 6

#1 New York Times bestselling author Lora Leigh returns to the world of the Breeds where animal instincts can bring a feral pleasure to every man and his willing female mate.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Friday Finds

Posted by Simcha 4:50 AM, under | 3 comments

Weird Things People Say in Bookshops by Jen Campbell

Jen Campbell is a book seller who often shares on her blog some of the funny comments that she receives, or overhears, at her bookstore. Apparently this feature is so popular that she has been commissioned to write a book, which will include annecdotes of her own as well as those of other booksellers. This sounds like a really fun book one that I definitly intend to get my hands on as soon as it becomes available.


Did you know that Punky Brewster grew up and wrote a book!? (and that her name is Soleil Moon Frye!) OK, maybe I'm totally behind the times but I had kind of forgotten about the former child-star that I had spend so many hours of my childhood watching on the TV, and it's a bit of a shock to see her all grown up, and with kids. So now I have to read this book and find out what she's been up to all these years. Plus the book has a really cute trailer.

Happy Chaos: From Punky to Parenting and My Perfectly Imperfect Adventures in Between by Soleil Moon Frye

Enthusiastic, spunky, and positive, Punky Brewster was the quintessential eighties kid. Nearly thirty years later, Soleil Moon Frye-the adorable girl who played her on TV-is all grown up. Now she's a married mom of two, an entrepreneur who parlayed her successful kids' clothing line into a partnership with Target, and a social media whiz with millions of followers. Many of the same girls who watched Soleil on television are now grown up with children of their own, too, and they look to her as a go-to source for realistic, in-the-trenches parenting advice, inspiration, and fun. Happy Chaos invites those women into Soleil's world, and makes them revel in the chaos of their own lives, too.

Soleil believes that "happy chaos" is the sign of a family operating at its best-when parents accept that they'll make mistakes, that there will be messes, tears and skinned knees. She learned to love a jumbled life during her own childhood, when her own mom created an atmosphere that was thoroughly unconventional. Their house in Los Angeles was a haven for many young stars of Soleil's generation, often far from home and looking for a safe place to hang out. In this book, she shows how her happy but chaotic childhood informed her parenting: Each chapter begins with a telling reminiscence before moving into insightful advice and fun stories about life with her husband and two adorable daughters.

Internet Finds

I find most flash mobs to be kind of awkward and embarrassing to watch, especially if they are done on a small scale,  but this one in, in a Jerusalem outdoor mall, is really awesome. It even includes belldancers! (wish I had been there because I've never seen anyone bellydance in real life)

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Doomsday Vault (Clockwork Empire #1) by Steven Harper

Posted by Simcha 5:52 PM, under | 4 comments

All across the world, zombies roam the streets at night, infecting those they touch with the Clockwork Plague. Most of the infected die horrible, drawn-out, deaths, but some people are affected differently and instead of destroying their brains the plague enhances them. These people are called Clockworkers and they are responsible for creating the greatest inventions of the time. Unfortunately the disease eventually causes them to go mad.

In Victorian England, Alice Michaels lives with the horrible knowledge that it was because of her that her family was infected by the Clockwork Plague, leading to death of her mother and brother. Alice will therefore do whatever it takes to bring her father the happiness he deserves, even if it means attending balls in order to capture for herself a wealthy husband. Unfortunately Alice's social standings have dropped so far that no one in Society is interested in having anything to do with her, until Mr. Norbert Williamson shows up. Mr. Williamson is new to London and a bit of a mystery, but Alice doesn't much care as long as he is willing to provide for her and her father, even if he doesn't excite her the way the romance novels and poetry describe.

But Alice's resolve to go along with her father's plans wavers when she gets her first taste of excitement and adventure, after helping quell a zombie attack. Alice's loyalties to her father, and propriety,  are strained even further when her path crosses that of a young man who makes her feel the excitement that she never felt with Mr. Williamson. But despite her own desires Alice knows that her duty to her father comes first. Though when a new Clockworker appears, stirring the zombies to attack the populace, Alice may be the only one who can stop it because for some reason it keeps seeking her out.

Gavin Ennock is a seventeen year-old cabin boy, on the USS Juniper airship, with a talent for playing the violin. Gavin can't imagine any other life other than that on an airship, but after his ship is attached by pirates Gavin finds himself alone and destitute on the streets of London. By playing his violin in the park Gavin manages to make enough money to feed himself, and hopefully enough to eventually get him back home. But Gavin's talent gains him unwanted attention and once again he finds himself captured, and at a stranger's mercy. Though this time Gavin is saved by a beautiful young woman who helps direct him onto a new path of adventure and excitement, working for a secret government organization, fighting zombies and capturing Clockworkers.

I'm not sure what it is about Victorian England but for some reason I really enjoy reading stories that take place in that time and setting and The Doomsday Vault was no exception. The Doomsday Vault was a fun and thrilling fast-paced adventure full of engaging characters and plenty of surprises. The premise of the story was unique, with all of biggest inventions of the time being credited to this rare form of the zombie Plague that enhances the inventor's skills, before leading them to madness. I particularly enjoyed all the interesting and unexpected twists that kept popping up, just when I thought I had the story figured out, particularly towards the end.

Alice is great character, and one who I was easily able to sympathize with. Her run-in with the zombies has given her a taste for adventure and the desire to use her skills to make a difference in the world, even as she struggles to stay on the path of propriety for the sake of her father. She is constantly in fear of becoming one of those wild Ad Hoc women that she has heard so much about, even though this is exactly the kind of woman she really longs to be.

One of my favorite interaction between Alice and Gavin comes right after she assists him in capturing a crazed Clockworker, which leads them to spending the night together unchaperoned. The next day Alice insists they come up with a cover-story so that no one will suspect her of impropriety.

    “Speaking of which,” Alice put in, “how are we going to handle the travel and explanations?” 
    Gavin looked puzzled. “I don't understand.”  
    “Gavin,” she said gently, “as a traditional woman, I can drive about London with a man who isn't my husband or father as long as we are in public. But I can't go overnight with him. Even an Ad Hoc lady couldn't do that. I'm not even coming back in my own clothes.”  
    “Oh. Right. It's always something stupid,” He scratched his cheek, which was growing raspy. “Look, I don't think anyone saw you leave London with me....If anyone does know you left town overnight, we'll tell him Baron captured you. I, an agent of the Crown, rescued you in a daring raid at dawn, and now I'm seeing you home. Your dress was badly torn in the rescue so you bravely donned a spare set of man's clothes. How's that?” 
    “Why am I the one who gets captured?”  
    “You're the traditional lady.”
So while Alice would love to run around, battling zombies and saving the day she feels bound to follow of the role of a traditional lady, because that's what's expected of her.

What I found interesting about Gavin was that he's so different from the kind of male protagonist that are usually featured in these kind of stories. Usually the male is a real Alpha personality, a larger-than life character who is confident, handsome and overly protective of his female counterpart, whom he is often in a constant battle of wills with. Some examples that come to mind are Lord Maccon from Gail Carriger's Soulless, James Easton from Y.S Lee's Agency series and Alexi Rychman from Leanna Renee Hieber's Strangely Beautiful series. 

Gavin, though, was a lot more, well, normal. While he was handsome, as a good male lead should be, he wasn't overly confident, or brave or of superior intelligence . But he was more of an average guy, though a very nice and talented one. It was also unusual that he was actually a few years younger then Alice. While I thought it was rather nice to have this unconventional kind of hero, I was also a bit disappointed because I do like those Alpha males. I kept expecting him to be more forceful whenever Alice pulled away, and to chase her a bit more, but this wasn't the case. I wonder if the fact that the author is a male gave him a different perspective in creating Gavin. I don't think any of the other similar book that I've read were by male authors.

I usually enjoy reading about the different steampunk inventions in these books but I didn't find the ones in The Doomsday Book very convincing. Alice's robots seemed strangely independent for mechanical creations and there is a huge mechanical tree that shows up though I couldn't imagine why anyone would create a huge tree as a means of transportation. It seemed very impractical to me.

The Doomsday Book has almost everything I like in a good book including adventure, romance, some humor and a strong female protagonist. It was a lot of fun and can't wait for the next installment in the series.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Guest Post: Michael Sullivan on Friendships vs. Romance

Posted by Simcha 6:14 AM, under | 11 comments

I'm pleased to welcome Michael Sullivan today to SFF Chat, as part of his blog tour for the release of the first book in his Riyria Revelations series, Theft of Swords

Michael's story is a really interesting one, from how he got started on the road to self-publishing, with help from his wife (who even started her own publishing company), to how his novels gained in popularity, eventually being bought by Orbit publications. I was looking forward to getting the chance to interview Michael myself, but the problem was that he has already done so many interesting interviews and blog posts that I couldn't come up with any new questions to ask him. Well, I did have one question for Michael, which was on a subject I had been thinking quite a lot about lately, and which tied in very well to his books.

One of the things I really enjoyed about The Crown Conspiracy (the first book in the original series) is the deep friendship between the book's two protagonists, Royce and Hadrian. Shortly before reading The Crown Conspiracy I had read another book in which the friendship between the hero and his friend was also the main relationship in the story. These two books got me thinking about how unusual it is to find a fantasy book that focuses on a friendship rather than a romance, and how refreshing this was. So I decided to ask Michael about his thoughts on friendships in fantasy and why he chose to focus on this kind of relationship in his own books.

Michael Sullivan on
Friendships vs. Romance in Fantasy

Hello, my name is Michael J. Sullivan and I’m the author of The Riyria Revelations which was originally a six-book epic fantasy that is now hitting the street as a trilogy (2 books in each volume) published by Orbit. My wife and Simcha have been corresponding about the possibility of an interview or a guest post and during through that conversation Simcha brought up a very good topic. While we may do an interview later down the line as schedules permit, I’d like to answer the question raised.

I love questions that make me think about my motivations. As a writer I take in influences from all kinds of sources, digest them, and am never 100% sure why one thing emerges rather than another. For the record there is romance in the series—but it occurs late (Books 4 – 6 to be exact). Two things come to mind…the first is that I wanted the relationships to develop over time (I hate when to people fall instantly in love just because they happen to be around each other for an extended period of time). And the other is I wanted the reader to get to really know the people before introducing the love interest to any huge extent.

Okay, now that the disclaimer has been made, let’s get back to the topic at hand…friendship. There is no doubt that Royce and Hadrian are the best of friends. Their loyalty to one another has no bounds. Upon first meeting I think people get a sense of just how much they respect one another, but as the series progresses you’ll learn aspects from their past that helps to explain how those bonds formed.

If I were to determine my biggest influence on Royce and Hadrian it would probably be Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. When it came out in 1969, the country had been going through some really tough times: Vietnam, race riots, assassinations of some of our best and brightest—and a lot of the books and movies reflect a dark and brooding atmosphere. Butch and Sundance was the first movie I had seen for a long time which really celebrated a close connection between two men, and they were cool, and fun, and now that I think about it, they also operated outside the law.

Because they spend their time doing less than admirable things it’s important to show that they’re not all bad. That there are reasons that they got to where they are, and under it all there is a desire to strive to be better people. Using a duo allows me to explore situations from very different perspectives. I like playing the idealism of Hadrian against the backdrop of Royce’s cynicism. 

As for why this isn’t done more often…I don’t know. The “buddy-picture” is a pretty popular trope in films. Usually involving cops or thieves, but now that I think about it, it doesn’t come up often in fantasy writing. There is of course Fritz Leiber’s Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser, but I did not know about these books when I started writing Riyria. What I was influenced by was the friendships of the hobbits from Lord of the Rings (not only Frodo and Sam, but Merry and Pip as well). Once again we see that willingness to walk through fire (literarily) for a friend so it is a theme that I’m obviously drawn to. It could be that without the passion of sexual tension the bonds between friends are forged at a deeper level.

So there you have it…I don’t think I have all the answers but these are some of the things that influenced me when writing the series. Royce and Hadrian have very defined voices in my head and in general I find them just great people to hang out with. My hope is that others will spend a little time with them (I have a free short featuring them called The Viscount and the Witch) and after doing so hopefully some will follow Hadrian and Royce’s exploits into The Riyria Revelations. After all you do have to eventually get to the romance…friendship is indeed an important bond, but nothing compares to finding the love of your life. I count myself to be one of the fortunate few who have done just that and it is through her love and support that all things are possible.

Aww, that's sweet. And now I think I'll have to ask Michael about Robin's own influences on the romantic parts of the book (once I get there, of course).

Well thanks so much Michael for stopping by and sharing your thoughts about friendship in fantasy and I'm really looking forward to reading the rest of the series (especially since it's now available through The Book Depository!).

Sunday, November 27, 2011

New Scifi & Fantasy Releases: Week of November 27

Posted by Simcha 3:42 PM, under | 5 comments

Science Fiction

Star Wars: Shadow Games
Michael Reaves & Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff
Publisher: LucasBooks
Release Date: November 29


Javul Charn is the most famous pop star in the galaxy—and the runaway bride of a violent lieutenant in Black Sun, the crime syndicate commanded by Prince Xizor. Or so Javul says. Soon after Dash Rendar, broke and desperate, agrees to be Javul’s bodyguard, he realizes that openness is not her strong suit—and that murder is stalking her tour. Between the discovery of dead bodies in a cargo hold and an attack by an unidentified warship, Dash and co-pilot Eaden Vrill desperately try to understand who is terrorizing Javul’s tour and why. When Han Solo suddenly joins Javul’s road show, the stakes are raised even higher. Now Dash, who has a history with Han and an even worse history with Prince Xizor, follows his instincts, his discoveries, and Javul herself—straight into a world that may be too dangerous to survive.

Theme Planet
Andy Remic
Publisher: Solaris
Release Date: November 29

Welcome to Theme Planet, an entire alien world dedicated to insane rides, excessive hedonism and dangerous adventure. Operated by the Monolith Corporation, Theme Planet is the No. 1 destination for fun-seeking human holidaymakers Galaxy-Wide! 



Broken Blade
Kelly McCullough
Publisher: Ace
Release Date: November 29

Once a fabled Blade of Namara, Aral Kingslayer fought for justice and his goddess alongside his familiar, a living shadow called Triss. Now with their goddess murdered and her temple destroyed, they are among the last of their kind. Surviving on the fringes of society, Aral becomes a drunken, broken, and wanted man, working whatever shadowy deal comes his way. Until a mysterious woman hires him to deliver a secret message-one that can either redeem him or doom him.  

Honor Among Thieves (Ancient Blades #3)
David Chandler
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Release Date: November 29

When allies become enemies, to whom can a clever thief turn?

Armed with one of seven Ancient Blades, Malden was chosen by Fate to act as savior . . . and failed dismally. And now there is no stopping the barbarian hordes from invading and pillaging the kingdom of Skrae. Suddenly friends and former supporters alike covet the young hero’s magic while seeking his destruction—from the treacherous King and leaders of the City of Ness to the rogue knight Croy, who owes Malden his life.

It will take more than Malden’s makeshift army of harlots and cutpurses to preserve a realm. Luckily the sorceress Cythera fights at his side, along with the ingenious, irascible dwarf Slag. And the wily thief still has a desperate and daring plan or two up his larcenous sleeve . . .

The Hunter from the Woods
Robert McCammon
Publisher: Subterranean
Release Date: November 30

The Hunter from the Woods marks the much-anticipated return of Michael Gallatin, the lycanthropic hero of Robert McCammon's 1989 classic, The Wolf's Hour. These all-new, interlinked stories offer a full measure of McCammon's trademark narrative excitement, and comprise a fascinating composite portrait of a unique fictional creation.

The volume opens with a pair of brief glimpses into Michael's early life in Russia and his initial recruitment into the British Secret Service. It ends with a haunting vision of the werewolf at twilight. In between, McCammon gives us three stellar novellas depicting different phases of Michael's long, brutal war against Nazi Germany. 'Sea Chase' is a nautical tale about the hazards of transporting a defecting German scientist to a place of sanctuary in England. 'The Wolf and the Eagle' is the account of an unlikely friendship between rival 'men of action' and a harrowing portrayal of a lethal forced march through the North African desert. 'The Room at the Bottom of the Stairs' tells of an impossible, ultimately tragic love affair set in the embattled city of Berlin during the latter stages of the war.

Erotic, visceral, and filled with moments of desolating horror and unexpected warmth, The Hunter from the Woods is a triumph of imaginative storytelling. Like the best of McCammon's earlier work, it offers intelligent, world-class entertainment. In the process, it shines a welcome new light on one of the most uncommon heroes in contemporary fiction.

The Scottish Prisoner: A Novel (Lord John)
Diana Gabaldon
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Release Date: November 29

London, 1760. For Jamie Fraser, paroled prisoner-of-war in the remote Lake District, life could be worse: He’s not cutting sugar cane in the West Indies, and he’s close enough to the son he cannot claim as his own. But Jamie Fraser’s quiet existence is coming apart at the seams, interrupted first by dreams of his lost wife, then by the appearance of Tobias Quinn, an erstwhile comrade from the Rising.

Like many of the Jacobites who aren’t dead or in prison, Quinn still lives and breathes for the Cause. His latest plan involves an ancient relic that will rally the Irish. Jamie is having none of it—he’s sworn off politics, fighting, and war. Until Lord John Grey shows up with a summons that will take him away from everything he loves—again.

Lord John Grey—aristocrat, soldier, and occasional spy—finds himself in possession of a packet of explosive documents that exposes a damning case of corruption against a British officer. But they also hint at a more insidious danger. Time is of the essence as the investigation leads to Ireland, with a baffling message left in “Erse,” the tongue favored by Scottish Highlanders. Lord John, who oversaw Jacobite prisoners when he was governor of Ardsmiur prison, thinks Jamie may be able to translate—but will he agree to do it?

Soon Lord John and Jamie are unwilling companions on the road to Ireland, a country whose dark castles hold dreadful secrets, and whose bogs hide the bones of the dead. A captivating return to the world Diana Gabaldon created in her Outlander and Lord John series, The Scottish Prisoner is another masterpiece of epic history, wicked deceit, and scores that can only be settled in blood.


Urban Fantasy

Acquainted With the Night
Piper Maitland
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: November 29

The pages of history are written in the blood of the undead…
A woman’s quest for the truth…
A medieval icon that holds the clues…
An ancient book with the power to shake Christianity—and humanity itself…

Caroline Clifford’s bland life as a London tour guide flips upside down when her beloved uncle is brutally murdered at a Bulgarian archeological site. While traveling to recover his remains, she meets a man who corresponded with her uncle. Jude Barrett is a biochemist on a mission—to eradicate the world of vampires…
At first, Caro is dismissive of Jude’s beliefs, but she can’t ignore the signs around her—the human bites on her uncle, the strange men following her, the anguished cries after sundown. Strange anagrams on her uncle’s passport lead her and Jude to a cliff-top monastery in Greece, where a shattering revelation connects a relic Caro inherited from her parents to an age-old text on immortality—and an enigmatic prophecy that pits the forces of darkness and light in a showdown that could destroy them all…

Acquainted with evil…

Fate’s Edge (The Edge, Bk 3)
Ilona Andrews
Publisher: Ace
Release Date: November 29

Audrey Callahan left behind her life in the Edge, and she's determined to stay on the straight and narrow. But when her brother gets into hot water, the former thief takes on one last heist and finds herself matching wits with a jack of all trades...

Kaldar Mar-a gambler, lawyer, thief, and spy-expects his latest assignment tracking down a stolen item to be a piece of cake, until Audrey shows up. But when the item falls into the hands of a lethal criminal, Kaldar realizes that in order to finish the job, he's going to need Audrey's help...

Virtual Virgin (Delilah Street #5)
Carole Nelson Douglas
Publisher: Pocket
Release Date: November 29

For a red-blooded male, Las Vegas offers a virtual smorgasbord of temptation: sexy showgirls, vampy vampires, zombie starlets, you name it. But paranormal investigator Delilah Street isn’t worried about losing her man to these vixens. Especially when the one woman with a soft spot for the guy also has a hard-shelled exterior. . . .
She’s a robot—or a CinSim, to be exact—a near-perfect simulation of the silver-metal robot Maria from the classic science fiction movie Metropolis. Part innocent teenage actress, part depraved sex goddess, the new Maria is hooked on Delilah’s partner, Ric, who raised her from the dead. She also happens to be the perfect secret weapon for a demonic drug lord. Which could be one hell of a problem. Delilah’s not the jealous type, but this tin-can temptress must be stopped—even if it forces Delilah to forge a dangerous alliance with her wicked mirror-twin, Lilith. If robo-girl goes ballistic, every player in Vegas loses. . .

Killing Rites (The Black Sun's Daughter, Bk 4)
M.L.N. Hanover
Publisher: Pocket
Release Date: November 29

Jayné Heller has discovered the source of her uncanny powers; something else is living inside her body. She's possessed. Of all her companions, she can only bring herself to confide in Ex, the former priest. They seek help from his old teacher and the circle of friends he left behind, hoping to cleanse Jayné before the parasite in her becomes too powerful.

Ex's history and a new enemy combine to leave Jayné alone and on the run. Her friends, thinking that the rider with her has taken the reins, try to hunt her down, unaware of the danger they're putting her in. Jayné must defeat the weight of the past and the murderous intent of another rider, and her only allies are a rogue vampire she once helped free and the nameless thing hiding inside her skin.

Vampires Dead Ahead (Night Tracker, Bk 5)
Cheyenne McCray
Publisher: St. Martin's Paperbacks
Release Date: November 29

With zero tolerance for bloodsuckers, Nyx and the Trackers have made the streets safer for warm-blooded New Yorkers. Unfortunately, they didn’t drive a stake through the problem nationwide. Vampire attacks are on the rise. Proctors are dropping like flies. And Volod—New York’s ousted Master Vampire—is trying to make a comeback…

Nyx is worried—about her city, her job, and her neck. But mostly she’s concerned about her former lover, Rodán, a Proctor who’s gone missing. Scarier still, Volod is capturing and “turning” paranorms to help him paint the town red. Which sucks. Because some of these new vampires are Nyx’s old friends. But hey—if she can stake them here, she’ll stake them anywhere…


Young Adult

Falling (Fade, Bk 2)
Kailin Gow
Publisher: theEdgeBooks
Release Date: November 28

What is Celestra Caine? Who is she and did she ever existed? The Faders and the Others clash at the Underground, sending everything into a tailspin. Celestra is pulled into more intrigue, more danger, and more romance, as she discovers who she is and why everyone wants to get her in Book 2 of the FADE series.

Kiss of Frost (Mythos Academy #2)
Jennifer Estep
Publisher: Kensington
Release Date: November 29

Logan Quinn was try­ing to kill me. My Spar­tan class­mate relent­lessly pur­sued me, swing­ing his sword at me over and over again, the shin­ing sil­ver blade inch­ing closer to my throat every time. A smile tugged up his lips, and his ice-blue eyes prac­ti­cally glowed with the thrill of battle...

I’m Gwen Frost, a second-year warrior-in-training at Mythos Acad­emy, and I have no idea how I’m going to sur­vive the rest of the semes­ter. One day, I’m get­ting schooled in sword­play by the guy who broke my heart—the drop-dead gor­geous Logan who slays me every time. Then, an invis­i­ble archer in the Library of Antiq­ui­ties decides to use me for tar­get prac­tice. And now, I find out that some­one at the acad­emy is really a Reaper bad guy who wants me dead. I’m afraid if I don’t learn how to live by the sword—with Logan’s help—I just might die by the sword...

Marie Lu
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Release Date: November 29

What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic's wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic's highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country's most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.

From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths - until the day June's brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family's survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias's death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets.

The Hedgewitch Queen
Lilith Saintcrow
Publisher: Orbit
Release Date: December 1

Vianne di Rocancheil is a lady waiting at the Court of Arquitaine, where she studies her books, watches for intrigue, and shepherds her foolhardy Princesse through the glittering whirl. Court is a sometimes-unpleasant waltz, especially for the unwary, but Vianne treads its measured steps well.

Unfortunately, the dance has changed. Treachery is afoot in gilded and velvet halls. A sorcerous conspiracy is unleashed, with blood, death, and warfare close behind. Vianne must flee, carrying the Great Seal of Arquitaine with her. This is the one thing the conspirators need to rule, and they won’t rest until they have it. A life of dances, intrigues, and fashion has not prepared Vianne for this. Nor has it prepared her for Tristan d’Arcenne, Captain of the King’s Guard and player in the most dangerous games conspiracy can devise. Yet to save her country and avenge her Princesse, Vianne will become what she must and do whatever is required.

A Queen can do no less.

The Spider Goddess (Pandora English #2)
Tara Moss
Publisher: Pan Macmillian Australia
Release Date: December 1

It's been two months since Pandora English left her small hometown to live with her mysterious great-aunt in a haunted mansion in Spektor – the fog-wreathed suburb of Manhattan that doesn't appear on any map. With the help of her great-aunt and the beautiful – but dead – Lieutenant Luke, Pandora is beginning to understand the significance of the Lucasta family heritage her late mother kept secret from her. Pandora is heir to a great gift. And with that comes frightening responsibility...

Meanwhile, she seems doomed to be forever underestimated in the mortal world. Her fashion editor boss doesn't seem to know she exists. But New York needs Pandora's special gifts. There is a new designer in town, and her ambitions extend far beyond taking over the fashion world one knit at a time...


Paranormal Romance

Angel of Darkness
Cynthia Eden
Publisher: Brave
Release Date: November 29

As an angel of death, Keenan’s job is to collect the souls on his list. He’s carried out his duty for two thousand years and never faltered once. Until he meets Nicole St. James. When the moment of death comes, Keenan hesitates, and instead of taking Nicole, Keenan touches the vampire who’s attacking her.

Cast out of heaven for disobedience, Keenan plummets to earth. Six months later, he finally manages to track Nicole to a bar in Mexico. He’s stunned to discover that the woman he remembers has undergone a dramatic change—she’s become a vampire. And when he realizes that she’s the target of all manner of enemies—other vampires, demons, even shifters—he’ll do whatever it takes to protect her, even if all hell breaks loose…

Beyond the Darkness
Jaime Rush
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Release Date: November 29

They live ordinary lives, but they are extraordinary. They are the Offspring, children of a mysterious experiment gone awry—and they are in terrible danger.
Cheveyo: a name that stirs Petra like no other, reviving deep feelings of pleasure . . . and pain. Despite her rare psychic gifts, the beautiful half-human Offspring doesn’t know why the magnificent shapeshifter walked out of her life when the bond they shared was powerful . . . and intensely passionate.
But Cheveyo is not gone. From the shadows, he watches over his beloved, determined that the malevolent enemies he hunts with fang and claw will not invade her world. But now, suddenly, the stakes are getting higher—as an insidious evil plots the destruction of Petra’s race. Cheveyo can remain hidden no longer from the lover who completes him but could destroy him . . . if his own inner darkness doesn’t destroy her first.

Bound By Darkness (Guardians of Eternity #8)

Alexandra Ivy
Release Date: November 29

The Sylvermysts have a reputation as sinister cousins to the fey, and none are more mysterious than Ariyal and his tribe. To save his people from banishment, he faces a new challenge: Jaelyn, an elite vampire warrior sent to capture him. By rights, he should kill her on sight. Yet he cannot bring himself to hurt her—or to resist her…

Jaelyn is stunningly beautiful, utterly lethal—and always alone. Until Ariyal. From their first encounter, she knows that what's between them is more dangerous than simple lust. And as they unite to thwart a terrifying prophecy that will mean the end of his clan and of the world they know, she will risk everything to fulfill her destiny by his side…

Hunter of Shadows (Moonlight, Bk 5)
Nancy Gideon
Publisher: Pocket
Release Date: November 29

The secrets he knows about her could get him killed.
Transferring to the New Orleans Police Department, Detective Silas MacCreedy has a hidden agenda: to secure his clan’s place once again in the Shifter hierarchy. What he didn’t count on was stumbling upon a sexy assassin who could shred his best intentions and lead him into a dangerous dance that threatens to engage his heart.
But the ones he doesn’t know . . .
Monica Fraser knows just how to make a man beg—for his life. But she has no clue how to fight her attraction to the fiercely intense detective who seems determined to get in her way, both professionally and intimately.
. . . could kill them both.
When emotional attachments to the past and an unexpected glimpse of a different future have her questioning her deadly purpose, Nica must discover the truth about her secret abilities in order to free herself from the forces that control her. But that freedom comes with a price—trusting those she’s been ordered to eliminate.

Within the Flames (Dirk & Steele #11)
Marjorie Liu
Publisher: Avon
Release Date: November 29

A pyrokinetic and former car thief, Eddie cannot refuse an assignment to cross the continent in order to rescue an extraordinary woman in peril…even though he fears losing control of the destructive power of flame at his fingertips. The last of her shape-shifting kind, Lyssa hides in the abandoned tunnels beneath Manhattan. Like Eddie, fire is her weapon, her destiny…and her curse. For beneath Lyssa’s extraordinary beauty are dangerous secrets…and even darker, nearly irresistible urges…

Devil's Kiss
Zoe Archer
Publisher: Zebra
Release Date: December 1

1762. James Sherbourne, Earl of Whitney, is a gambling man. Not for the money. But for the thrill, the danger—and the company: Whit has become one of the infamous Hellraisers, losing himself in the chase for adventure and pleasure with his four closest friends.

Which was how Whit found himself in a gypsy encampment, betting against a lovely Romani girl. Zora Grey’s smoky voice and sharp tongue entrance Whit nearly as much as her clever hands—watching them handle cards inspires thoughts of another kind...

Zora can’t explain her attraction to the careless blue-eyed Whit. She also can’t stop him and his Hellraisers from a fiendish curse: the power to grant their own hearts’ desires, to chase their pleasures from the merely debauched to the truly diabolical. And if Zora can’t save Whit, she still has to escape him…


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