Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon

Posted by Simcha 5:24 PM, under | 8 comments

Joe Kavalier, a young Jewish artist who has also been trained in the art of Houdiniesque escape, has just smuggled himself out of Natzi-invaded Prague and landed in New York City. His Brooklyn cousin, Sammy Clay, is looking for partner to create heroes, stories and art for the latest novelty to hit America- the comic book. Drawing on their own fears and dreams, Kavalier and Clay create teh Escapist, the Monitor and Luna Moth, inspired by the beautiful Rosa Saks, who will become linked by powerful ties to both men, With exhilarating style adn grace, Michael Chabon tells an unforgettable story about American romance and possibility.


Until last month I had never heard of the
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, Michael Chabon’s Pulitzer winning book. While I was familiar with some of Chabon’s other works, this one, which was published back in 2000, somehow slipped under my radar. But suddenly everywhere I look Kavalier & Clay is being mentioned or reviewed. It was even chosen for Books on the Nightstand's January book discussion. And so when I stopped off at the second-hand bookstore a couple of weeks ago, to see if they had gotten in anything new and there was The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay- I knew it was A Sign.

If I was the kind of reader who took at face-value each raving comment included on a book’s cover, my expectations for
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay would have been astronomically high. With quotes from Time Magazine, The New York Times, News Day and CNN (to name a few) heaping praise on Kavalier & Clay it’s clear that this book has made an impression. But I always take these quotes with a grain of salt and was prepared to make my own judgments about the book.

Since I’ve always had a fascination with Houdini, a reference to the magician in the very first paragraph of the book quickly pulled me into the story, and from that point on I was solidly hooked.

We meet Sammy Klayman (later Clay) and Joseph Kavalier at the same moment that they first meet each other, in Sammy’s boyhood bedroom in 1939. Joseph has just arrived in his aunt’s house in Brooklyn after escaping from Nazi Germany by a trick involving a coffin and the famous Golem of Prague. At first Sammy is not sure what to make of his hollowed-cheeked cousin, but once he discoveres Joseph’s artistic talents his enterprising mind quickly grasps that this is the chance he has been waiting for. Sammy has always dreamed of creating his own comic books and with his cousin’s skill at drawing Sammy now has the chance to make his dreams come true.

Together, Sam and Joe create a whole new cast of masked superheroes with stories focused on fighting real-life villains. For Joe, drawing stories in which Hitler gets defeated again and again by his invincible heroes is his way of taking action against the Germans; a way of keeping him from feeling completely helpless. Plus, with the money set aside from the comics Joe is able to save a little each month for the day when his family will be able to join him in America.

As Joe begins to settle into his new life in America he finds himself in a constant struggle between his desire to lead a normal life and his overwhelming guilt for enjoying himself while his family suffers in Germany. And while Sam delights in watching his comics grow in popularity he slowly discovers unexpected truths about himself which he is unsure about how to handle.

When I first read the synopsis of
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay I was a bit hesitant about reading it since I don’t anything about comic books, which seemed to be the main theme of the story. But I needn’t have worried because Kavalier & Clay is about so much more than just comics. It’s a coming-of age story about two boys and the struggles they deal with while growing up during WWII. I think I experienced every kind of emotion while reading this book, which was both exhausting and exhilarating. There were moments of happiness and tragedy, poignancy and humor, love and death, all balanced out in a way that never made the book feel too emotionally overwhelming for me to get through.

And while I didn’t have any particular interest in comic books before reading Kavalier & Clay I ended up really enjoying gaining a new perspective about them and learning to appreciate the art that goes into them. I had also never given much thought to the early creators of comic book heroes, many of whom were Jewish, and who used this art form to express their own fears and struggles during this difficult time in history. After finishing
Kavalier & Clay I felt some regret that the characters I had just read about were not actually real, though I quickly resolved to find some books about the people who were the inspiration for them.

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay is an excellent book that had me throughly engrossed for days. Despite my enjoyment of it, though, I wouldn’t say that I’m as enamored with it as so many other readers and reviewers seem to be. Why this is, I'm not really sure, but I do know of many other people who I'm sure will love the book and I plan on making sure that each and every one of them reads it.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Tempest's Legacy (Jane True, Bk 3) by Nicole Peeler

Posted by Simcha 6:12 PM, under | 5 comments

The delightful Jane True is back again in this third installment of Nicole Peeler’s urban fantasy series, and if you enjoyed the last two books then you won’t be disappointed with this one.

Jane is back at home in Rockbill, trying to recover from the dramatic events of the last couple months, as well as sort out her feeling about her vampire boyfriend, Ryu, and her sexy Barghest friend, Anyan. But Jane’s respite is short-lived when she discovers that her mother has been kidnapped and is suspected to be in the hands of a dangerous “scientist” who specializes in horrific experiments on halflings. Devastated by the news, Jane is determined to take part in the search for her mother and bring to justice the person responsible for the kidnapping.

Tempest’s Legacy takes a much more sinister turn than the previous books, introducing a Doctor Mengele-like character who performs cruel experiments on halfling women. I was a bit surprised that Peeler had taken the book in the direction that she did since the series has been pretty light-hearted so far, mainly do the fun-loving personality of it’s protagonist, Jane. But this seems to be a popular trend with urban fantasy authors and all the UF authors that I regularly read seem to have done something similar (Patricia Briggs, Charlaine Harris, Ilona Andrews). Perhaps the authors hope to add some depth to their characters by increasing the level of danger and trauma that they subject them to, but unfortunately this plan backfires when the protagonists don’t respond in a believable manner, as often seems to be the case.

My main problem here is that in the course of the book Jane continues to behave in the same manner as she always has despite how unbelievable it might seem given the situations she encounters. When she should have been blind with terror and gibbering in fear (as I know I would be in a similar situation) she just gets a little nauseous. Jane then proceeds to negotiate the situation in an upbeat and cool-headed manner, sailing through the traumatic events unaffected. Which left me wondering why Jane was put through all of this in the first place.

I did still enjoy the rest of the book though, even if Jane did converse with her libido just a little too frequently (I was beginning to feel like it was one of the characters) and I appreciated that Peeler had cut back on much of the sexual humor and innuendos that the last book had so heavily (and unnecessarily) relied on.

My favorite part of the book, and I’m sure many Jane True fans will agree, was watching Jane and Anyan’s relationship develop in a new way. Anyan is one of the my favorite characters in the series and I really look forward to getting to know him better in future books.

And so, while the darker parts of Tempest’s Legacy didn’t work so well for me I would still say that this is one of the better urban fantasy books that I have read in a long while, largely due to the wonderful and unique characters that Peeler has populated it with. If you are looking for a fun and entertaining read than I would certainly recommend this book, but I would also suggest that you begin with the first book in the series, Tempest Rising.

Monday, January 3, 2011

New Scifi & Fantasy Releases: Week of January 3rd

Posted by Simcha 2:57 PM, under | 8 comments

If your New Year's resolutions included to read more books this year than this would be a great week to start because there are some fantastic books being released over the next few days. Many of the books here are actually continuations of sequels that I'm not familiar with but which I now plan to look into. These include Carol Berg's Collegia Magica series and the Nine Kingdom's series by Lynn Kurland, neither of which I'd heard of before (the books, not the authors)

Orson's Scott Card's new fantasy book, The Lost Gate, will also debut this week and I'm really looking forward to reading this one since I've heard great things about it. There is even a paranormal romance here that I might read (unusual for me) by Ava Gray (aka Ann Aguirre) since I have enjoyed some of the other books she has written.

There are a couple of interesting looking YA dystopian books here, XVI by
Julia Karr and The Water World by Cameron Stracher both of which sound promising, though I'll be waiting to see what reviewers have to say before I splurge on them myself.

And since my New Year's resolutions included trying to read more short stories I just might pick up Boondocks Fantasy which looks like it could be a really fun story collection.

How about you? Are any of these books on your wishlist?

Hope you have a great reading week!



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A Hard Day’s Knight (Nightside, Bk 11)
Simon R. Green
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Ace
Release Date: January 4

John Taylor is a P.I. with a special talent for finding lost things in the dark and secret center of London known as the Nightside. He's also the reluctant owner of a very special-and dangerous-weapon. Excalibur, the legendary sword. To find out why he was chosen to wield it, John must consult the Last Defenders of Camelot, a group of knights who dwell in a place that some find more frightening than the Nightside. London Proper. It's been years since John's been back-and there are good reasons for that.


A Werewolf in Manhatten
Vicki Lewis Thompson
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Signet
Release Date: January 4

Emma Gavin writes about werewolves, but that doesn't mean she believes in them-not until a pack of real-life New York weres decide to investigate the striking accuracy of her "fiction".
When Aiden Wallace, son and heir of the pack leader, tries to sniff out Emma's potential informant, he discovers something even more dangerous- an undeniable attraction to her.



The Agent Gambit
Sharon Lee and Steve Miller
Genre: Science Fiction
Publisher: Baen
Release Date: January 4

Two space adventure novels in the popular Liaden Universe® series in one popularly-priced Omni-trade edition:
Agent of Change: Once a brilliant First-in-Scout, Val Con yos’Phelium was “recruited” by the shadowy Liaden Department of Interior and brainwashed into an Agent of Change—a ruthless covert operative who kills without remorse. Val Con has been playing a deep game, far from the orderly life of clan and kin. Fleeing his latest mission, he saves the life of ex-mercenary Miri Robertson, a Terran on the run from interplanetary assassins. Thrown together by circumstances, Val Con and Miri struggle to elude their enemies and stay alive without killing each other-or surrendering to the unexpected passion that flares between them. Which name – or face – will the agent choose when the game gets tough and an escape for only one of them seems possible?

Carpe Diem: On the run from interplanetary assassins and a ruthless interstellar crime cartel, covert operative Val Con yos'Phelium and former mercenary sergeant Miri Robertson formed an alliance of necessity and wound up stranded on a planet with no rescue in sight. Their on-world problems were looking manageable after they assumed new identities as musicians, that is until a local war forced them to reveal their alien combat skills – and doubt their own growing partnership of trust and love. By then the relentless hound of an agent on Val Con's trail was closing in with the very weapon Val Con and Miri most feared, and the game got very rough indeed.


Agatha H. and the Airship City
Phil Foglio & Kaja Foglio
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Nightshade Books
Release Date: January 1

The Industrial Revolution has escalated into all-out warfare. It has been sixteen years since the Heterodyne Boys, benevolent adventurers and inventors, disappeared under mysterious circumstances. Today, Europe is ruled by the Sparks, dynasties of mad scientists ruling over - and terrorizing - the hapless population with their bizarre inventions and unchecked power, while the downtrodden dream of the Hetrodynes' return. At Transylvania Polygnostic University, a pretty, young student named Agatha Clay seems to have nothing but bad luck. Incapable of building anything that actually works, but dedicated to her studies, Agatha seems destined for a lackluster career as a minor lab assistant. But when the University is overthrown by the ruthless tyrant Baron Klaus Wulfenbach, Agatha finds herself a prisoner aboard his massive airship Castle Wulfenbach - and it begins to look like she might carry a spark of Mad Science after all.



Awakened (House of Night, Bk 8)
P.C Cast
Genre: YA Urban Fantasy
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Release Date: January 4th

Exonerated by the Vampyre High Council and returned to her position of High Priestess at Tulsa’s House of Night, Neferet has sworn vengeance on Zoey. Dominion over Kalona is only one of the weapons she plans to use against Z. But Zoey has found sanctuary on the Isle of Skye and is being groomed by Queen Sgiach to take over for her there. Being Queen would be cool, wouldn’t it? Why should she return to Tulsa? After losing her human consort, Heath, she will never be the same – and her relationship with her super-hot-warrior, Stark, may never be the same either. And what about Stevie Rae and Rephaim? The Raven Mocker refuses to be used against Stevie Rae, but what choice does he have when no one in the entire world, including Zoey, would be okay with their relationship? Does he betray his father or his heart? In the pulse-pounding 8th book in the bestselling House of Night series, how far will the bonds of friendship stretch and how strong are the ties that bind one girl’s heart?


Bio shock: Rupture
John Shirley
Genre: Science Fiction
Publisher: Tor
Release Date: January 3


It's the end of World War II. FDR's New Deal has redefined American politics. Taxes are at an all-time high. The bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki has brought a fear of total annihilation. The rise of secret government agencies and sanctions on business has many watching their backs. America's sense of freedom is diminishing . . . and many are desperate to take there freedom back.
Among them is a great dreamer, an immigrant who pulled himself from the depths of poverty to become one of the wealthiest and admired men in the world. That man is Andrew Ryan, and he believed that great men and women deserve better. And so he set out to create the impossible, a utopia free from government, censorship, and moral restrictions on science--where what you give is what you get. He created Rapture---the shining city below the sea.
But as we all know, this utopia suffered a great tragedy. This is the story of how it all came to be . . .and how it all ended.


Blood and Destiny (Ladies of St. George, Bk 1)
Kaye Chambers
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Release Date: January 4

For Destiny St. George, shapeshifting lioness and private investigator, her best friend’s looming wedding is little more than a reminder of her failed relationship with vampire king Marcus Smythe. Tired of being only one of many mistresses—and dinner entrees—she’s stayed away from the vampire scene altogether. Until a missing-person case forces her to seek his help. Knowing that pressing Destiny is not the way to convince her to give their relationship another try, Marcus has been waiting her out—and his patience is rewarded when she steps into his nightclub. Now is his chance to lure her back into his arms. This time, he plans to keep her there. Destiny’s not sure which is worse: working with Marcus, or trying to remember all the reasons she called it off with him. And when it becomes clear the case is an elaborate trap to avenge a millennia-old grudge, she finds herself caught between love and instinct—while the clock ticks down on an innocent victim’s life…


Blood Maidens
Barbara Hambly
Genre: Paranormal
Publisher: Severn House Publishers
Release Date: January 1

The new ‘James Asher’ vampire novel from the best-selling author - It’s 1911. War is coming, and according to one of the vampires of St. Petersburg, the Kaiser is trying to recruit vampires. James Asher, Oxford don and formerly on His Majesty’s Secret Service, is forced to team up again with his vampire partner Don Simon Ysidro for a journey to the subarctic Russian capital. Are they on the trail of a rogue vampire with a plan to achieve the power to walk in daylight? Asher wonders. Or is Ysidro’s real agenda to seek the woman he once loved?



Boondocks Fantasy
Jean Rabe, Anton Strout
Genre: Anthology
Publisher: DAW
Release Date: January 4


From vampires in the Appalachians and leprechauns in the Smokies to mermaids in the Mississippi and bloodthirsty trolls in an Alabama trailer park the South makes a unique setting for the 20 stories in this anthology of redneck vampires, werewolves, wizards, elves, and other creatures.
Featuring original stories by Gene Wolfe, Timothy Zahn, Chris Pierson, Mickey Zucker Reichert, Steven Savile, Elizabeth A. Vaughan, Jay Lake, Anton Strout, and many more.



Citadel (Troy Rising, Bk 2)
John Ringo
Genre: Science Fiction
Publisher: Baen
Release Date: January 4


Of all the hosts of Eurotas the Troias were the most fell. For they were born of Winter.
Between the Solar Array Pumped Laser and Troy, the two trillion ton nickel-iron battlestation created by eccentric billionaire Tyler Vernon, Earth has managed to recapture the Sol system from their Horvath conquerors and begin entering the galactic millieu.
But when the Rangora Empire rapidly crushes humanity's only ally it becomes clear the war is just beginning. At the heart of nickel iron and starlight are the people, Marines, Navy and civilians, who make Troy a living, breathing, engine of war. Survivors of apocalypse, they know the cost of failure.
If this Troy falls, no one will be left to write the epic.
Citadel continues the saga begun in Live Free or Die, following the paths of several characters during the first years of The Spiral Arm Wars culminating in the First Battle of E Eridani.


Demon Marked (Demon Bound, Bk 2)
Anna Evans
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher:
Release Date:

Emma Quinn satisfies her demonic cravings by feeding on human life force, and keeps her conscience clean by preying only upon those who deserve it. But when Emma overindulges one night, she's in trouble with her victim's gang-or she will be...if they find his body. She turns to mob lawyer Andre Conti, an arrogant womanizer-a man who doesn't believe in her powers, but who will awaken sensual cravings Emma wasn't sure she possessed...


Demonstorm (Legends of the Raven, Bk 3)
James Barclay
Genre : Fantasy
Publisher: Pyr
Release Date: January 4

THIS IS THE END ...The dragons have gone home, the elves are safe. The Raven have kept their promises. But fate has not finished with them. As the war between the colleges rages on an old enemy senses that his chance to revenge a bitter defeat has come. Tessaya, Lord of the Paleon Tribes has waited patiently for his moment and now, with Balaia in flames, he makes his move and unleashes the Wesmen hordes. In Xetesk, his forces scattered, Dystran, Lord of the Mount faces certain defeat by the Wesmen unless he unleashes the horrfying power of dimensional magics. And Dystran has not come this far to be beaten at the last by a rabble of ignorant tribesmen. And so the veil between dimensions is torn ...And beyond, a predatory evil stirs. Demons catch the scent of countless souls in Balaia. Can even the Raven prevail when the world is coming to an end? A fantasy milestone is reached. James Barclay brings his sensational saga of The Raven to a heartsopping conclusion.

Enter Wildthyme
Paul Magrs
Genre: Science Fiction
Publisher: Snowbooks
Release Date: January 4

A novel which takes us from a dusty secondhand bookshop in Darlington, clear across the galaxy aboard a celestial double decker bus - all the way to the outlandish world of Hyspero, and the throne room of the Scarlet Empress├ó€¦ and the very brink of the strange pocket dimension called The Obverse├ó€¦ This is a story about an object - a glass jar with mysterious contents being the focus of a chase between Iris Wildthyme, Panda and their new friend Simon, and a bunch of gentlemen pirates of the Dogworld, who are determined to retrieve the strange jar and its even stranger contents.


Flip this Zombie (Living with the Dead, Bk 2)
Jesse Petersen
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Orbit
Release Date: January 3

The Zombie Apocalypse has been good to Sarah and David. Their marriage is better than ever. They communicate well, share responsibilities, and now, they're starting a business. ZombieBusters-for all your zombie extermination needs. There are lots of zombies and that means lots of customers...Except one of them doesn't want the zombies dead, he wants them alive and ready for experimentation. Mad scientists make for difficult clients and this time, Sarah and David might have bitten off more than they can chew.

Forsaken
Jana Oliver
Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books
Release Date: January 7

Riley has always wanted to be a Demon Trapper like her father, and she's already following in his footsteps as one of the best. But it's tough being the only girl in an all-guy world, especially when three of those guys start making her life more complicated: Simon, the angelic apprentice who has heaven on his side; Beck, the tough trapper who thinks he's God's gift, and Ori, the strikingly sexy stranger who keeps turning up to save her ass. One thing's for sure - if she doesn't keep her wits about her there'll be hell to pay...

The Hammer
K. J Parker
Genre:
Publisher: Orbit
Release Date: January 5

Gignomai is the youngest brother in the current generation of met'Oc, a once-noble family exiled on an island for their role in a vaguely remembered civil war.

On this island, a colony was founded seventy years ago. The plan was originally for the colonists to mine silver, but there turned out not to be any.
Now, an uneasy peace exists on the island, between the colonists and the met'Oc. The met'Oc are tolerated, in spite of occasional cattle stealing raids, since they alone possess the weapons considered necessary protection against the island's savages.

Gignomai is about to discover exactly what it is expected of him, and what it means to defy his family. He is the hammer who will provide the spark that will ignite a brutal and bloody war.


Hexbound (Dark Elite, Bk 2)
Chloe Neill
Genre: Young Adult Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Gollancz
Release Date: January 4

Lily Parker is new to St. Sophia's School for Girls, but she's already learned that magic can be your best friend-or your worst enemy. That's why Lily has to learn how to control her newly discovered paranormal abilities while fighting the good fight with her best friend Scout as they take on Chicago's nastiest nightlife-including the tainted magic users known as Reapers...



House Name
Michelle West
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: DAW
Release Date: January 4

The House War series centers on the most popular character in The Sun Sword series: a young woman named Jewel, who survives both the everyday perils of being an orphan in the slums of the city of Averalaan, and the demonic dangers of the Undercity, and who rises to become a key figure in House Terafin, the most important of the Ten Houses of the Essalieyan Empire. At the close of The Sun Sword series, the House War is about to begin. Now, at last, that story can be told.


Iorich
Steven Brust
Genre:
Publisher: Tor
Release Date: January 2

House Jhereg, Dragaera's organized crime syndicate, is still hunting Vlad Taltos. There's a big price on his head on Draegara City. Then he hears disturbing news. Aliera--longtime friend, sometime ally--has been arrested by the Empire on a charge of practicing elder sorcery, a capital crime.

It doesn't make sense. Everybody knows Aliera's been dabbling in elder sorcery for ages. Why is the Empire down on her now? Why aren't her powerful friends--Morrolan, Sethra, the Empress Zerika--coming to her rescue? And most to the point, why has she utterly refused to do anything about her own defense?

It would be idiotic of Vlad to jump into this situation. He's a former Jhereg who betrayed the House. He's an Easterner--small, weak, short-lived. He's being searched for by the most remorseless killers in the world. Naturally, that's exactly why he's going to get completely involved...

The Lost Gate
Orson Scott Card
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Tor
Release Date: January 4

Danny North knew from early childhood that his family was different, and that he was different from them. While his cousins were learning how to create the things that commoners called fairies, ghosts, golems, trolls, werewolves, and other such miracles that were the heritage of the North family, Danny worried that he would never show a talent, never form an outself.

He grew up in the rambling old house, filled with dozens of cousins, and aunts and uncles, all ruled by his father. Their home was isolated in the mountains of western Virginia, far from town, far from schools, far from other people.

There are many secrets in the House, and many rules that Danny must follow. There is a secret library with only a few dozen books, and none of them in English — but Danny and his cousins are expected to become fluent in the language of the books. While Danny’s cousins are free to create magic whenever they like, they must never do it where outsiders might see.

Unfortunately, there are some secrets kept from Danny as well. And that will lead to disaster for the North family.

March in Country (Vampire Earth, Book 9)
E.E Knight
Genre: Science Fiction
Publisher: Roc
Release Date: January 4

The race is on to claim the area between the Ohio River and Tennessee. What's left of the resistance is hiding out in the tangle of central Kentucky hills - leaving the powerful, well-organized Kurian vampires the opportunity to fill the void. Major David Valentine knows there's only one way for them to find help before the Kurians settle in: a desperate dash by hijacked rail, followed by a harrowing river journey. Valentine unites friends old and new in the effort- but the Kurian Order won't easily yield the blood-soaked Kentucky soil.


The Naming of the Beasts (Felix Caster, Bk 5)
Mike Carey
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Orbit
Release Date: January 5

They say the road to hell is paved with good intentions, but if you ask Castor he'll tell you there's quite a bit of arrogance and reckless stupidity lining the streets as well. He should know. There are only so many times you can play both sides against the middle and get away with it. Now, the inevitable moment of crisis has arrived and it’s left Castor with blood on his hands. Well, not his hands—it’s always someone else who pays the bill: friends, acquaintances, and bystanders. So Castor drowns his guilt in cheap whiskey, while an innocent woman lies dead and her daughter comatose, his few remaining friends fear for their lives and there’s a demon loose on the streets. It's not just any demon—this one rides shotgun on his best friend’s soul and can’t be expelled without killing him. It seems that Felix Castor’s got some tough choices to make, because expel the demon he must or all Hell will break loose—


Of Truth and Beasts (Noble Dead, Bk 9)
Barb and J.C Hendee
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Roc
Release Date: January 4

Now, young Journeyor Wynn Hygeorht finds herself cast into the wilds on a dangerous quest for knowledge that may instead lead to her doom…





Secrets of the Demon (Kara Gillian, Bk 3)
Diana Rowland
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: DAW
Release Date: January 4


Homicide detective Kara Gillian has a special talent: she can sense the "arcane" in our world, and there's quite a bit of it, even in Beaulac, Louisiana. She's also a summoner of demons, and works on a task force that deals with supernatural crimes. Her partners are attractive and smart FBI agents, but they're not summoners, and they're not telling Kara why they are on this special force with her. To make things worse, Kara has pledged herself to one of the most powerful of demons-a Demon Lord-who helped save her partner's life, but now expects things in return. Meanwhile, she's trying to solve a string of murders that are somehow tied together by money, sex, rock music and...mud. But how can she concentrate on the case when she's not even sure who-or what-her partners are?


Restless Soul (Rogue Angel #28)
Alex Archer
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher:
Release Date: January 4th

In 1966, a group of battle-weary American GIs trekked through the Vietnamese jungle knowing each step could mean facing the enemy's guns. But instead of ambush, they stumbled upon a hidden treasure beyond their wildest dreams. It was a discovery that exacted a terrible cost. A vacation spot picked at random, Thailand is intended to provide relaxation time for globe-trotting archaeologist Annja Creed. Yet the irresistible pull of the country's legendary Spirit Cave lures Annja and her companions deep within a network of underground chambers—nearly to their deaths. The ancient burial sites have slumbered through the ages. Yet no rest is found there—just the voices of the dead. When the dead speak, will they help Annja uncover the perplexing past of a remarkable find or will they call her to join them?

Seducing the Vampire
Michele Hauf
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Harlequin
Release Date: January 1

In Marie Antoinette's Paris, the beautiful vampire Viviane seeks a male patron who will allow her to live on her own terms. Courted by two feuding brothers, Viviane succumbs to the handsome rebel, Rhys. She's unaware that Rhys has other, darker, motives. He seeks vengeance against his brother, Constantine—by stealing Viviane and tainting her with his blood. But just as Rhys is realizing the depth of his love for Viviane, his brother takes his revenge. By casting a spell on the woman they both desire, he condemns her to a living death inside a glass coffin.
Two centuries later, Rhys hears the legend of the Snow White vampiress, imprisoned deep in the tunnels under Paris. He must find her and set her free, but will he be able to save her from the evil still intent on destroying them?


Shadowspell (Faeriewalker, #2)
Jenna Black
Genre: Young Adult Urban Fantasy
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Release Date: January 4

On top of spending most of her time in a bunkerlike safe house and having her dates hijacked by a formidable Fae bodyguard, Faeriewalker Dana Hathaway is in for some more bad news: the Erlking and his pack of murderous minions known as the Wild Hunt have descended upon Avalon. With his homicidal appetite and immortal powers, the Erlking has long been the nightmare of the Fae realm. A fragile treaty with the Faerie Queen, sealed with a mysterious spell, is the one thing that keeps him from hunting unchecked in Avalon, the only place on Earth where humans and Fae live together. Which means Dana’s in trouble, since it’s common knowledge that the Faerie Queen wants her – and her rare Faeriewalker powers – dead. The smoldering, sexy Erlking’s got his sights set on Dana, but does he only seek to kill her, or does he have something much darker in mind?


Skin Heat
Ava Gray
Genre: Paranormal Romance/Urban Fantasy
Publisher:
Release Date: January 4

More wild thing than man…
Zeke Noble has escaped from a secret facility; he has no idea why he was abducted, but the experiments were cruel, soul-killing, and they changed him forever. Now free, his natural affinity with animals has evolved into a dark and dangerous instinct, a curse that costs him too much of his humanity. But he has to rebuild his life, or his tormentors win. To that end, he goes looking for work and finds so much more.

Born to be wild…
Veterinarian Geneva Harper finds herself reluctantly drawn to the lean, mysterious young man to whom the wild is second nature, but she has troubles of her own. She’s the black sheep in an old moneyed Southern family, and she never had any interest in learning the family business, or being the good debutante daughter.

Though Zeke’s wanted Neva for as long as he can remember, their attraction can never go anywhere. They both know that for different reasons. But when a killer starts leaving behind a trail of victims, Zeke’s need to protect her is as fierce as his desire to claim her as his mate. And love may be the only thing that can save them both…


Taken by the Others (H & W Investigations, Bk 2)
Jess Haines
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Zebra
Release Date: January 4

Jess Haines draws readers deep into the mesmerizing world of the Others--werewolves, vampires, and mages who make their home among humans, and are turning Shiarra Waynest's life upside down. . . Once, New York P.I. Shiarra Waynest's most pressing problem was keeping her agency afloat. Now she's dealing with two dangerous, seductive vampires who have been enemies for centuries. The only thing Max Carlyle and Alec Royce agree on is that they both want Shia--for very different reasons. Max is determined to destroy Shia for killing his progeny, while Royce's
interest is a lot more personal. That's not sitting well with Shia's werewolf boyfriend, Chaz. As the feud between Max and Royce gets ever more deadly, a powerful vampire-hunting faction is urging Shia to join their side. Shia has always believed vamps were the bad guys, but she's discovering unexpected shades of grey that are about to redefine her friends, her loyalties--and even her desires. . .


Trickster’s Girl
Hilari Bell
Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children
Release Date: January 3

In the year 2098 America isn't so different from the USA of today. But, in a post-9/11 security-obssessed world, "secured" doesn't just refer to borders between countries, it also refer to borders between states. Teenagers still think they knogether. Which means Dana’s in trouble, since it’s common knowledge that the Faerie Queen wants her – and her rare Faeriewalker powers – dead. The smoldering, sexy Erlking’s got his sights set on Dana, but does he only seek to kill her, or does he have something much darker in mind?


The Soul Mirror (Collegia Magica, Bk 2)
Carol Berg
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Roc
Release Date: January 4

In a royal city beset by hauntings, plagues of birds, and strange sinkholes that swallow light and buildings, whispers of necromancy swirl about the queen's volatile sorcerer.
Scholarly, reclusive Anne de Vernase rejoices that she lacks magical talent. Her father's pursuit of illicit sorcery has left her beloved family in ruins and her future bleak. But a plague of murders compels Anne to unravel a dead sister's magical puzzle. With none to trust but a friend she cannot see, Anne must investigate matters beyond science - a centuries-old rivalry, the boundaries of death, and the most dangerous sorcerer in Sabria . . .

Spellweaver (Nine Kingdoms, Bk 2)
Lynn Kurland
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Berkley Trade
Release Date: January 4

Ruith had long managed to ignore the magic in his veins, until aiding Sarah with her ill-fated quest forced him into places where his heritage was impossible to deny. Faced with an ever-increasing number of enemies who covet his power, Ruith must accept his birthright and gather his father's spells together so he can destroy them-or turn away and allow his father's evil to overcome the Nine Kingdoms. Now, Ruith and Sarah must rely on each other more than ever-for everything they value is at risk: the Nine Kingdoms, their lives...and their hearts.


The Steel Queen
Karen Azinger
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: HarperVoyager
Release Date: January 6

In a world of forgotten magic, the kingdoms of Erdhe are nothing more than a chessboard for the gods. The players are being positioned for an epic struggle where lives, loves and crowns hang in the balance, yet few mortals understand the rules. In this game of power, pawns of light and darkness will make the difference in the battle for the future of the world:
Katherine, 'The Imp': a young princess with the stout heart of a warrior will challenge the minions of a thousand-year-old evil.
Liandra: The Spider Queen; who uses her beauty to beguile, her spies to foresee, and her gold to control, will need all of her skill and strength to fight a rebellion with her own blood at it's heart.
Magda, a silver-haired grandmother who has been stripped of all she holds dear will be underestimated in the fight against a false religion.
Cereus, an oracle priestess, will ply her powers of dark magic and seduction in her quest for immortality.
Steffan, the puppeteer, will corrupt the innocent and unwary with greed and desire, as he sets fire to an entire kingdom.



Slice of Cherry (Portero, Bk 2)
Dia Reeves
Genre: Young Adult Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: January 4

Happiness is a bloody knife. Kit and Fancy Cordelle are sisters of the best kind: best friends, best confidantes, and best accomplices. The daughters of the infamous Bonesaw Killer, Kit and Fancy are used to feeling like outsiders, and that’s just the way they like it. But in Portero, where the weird and wild run rampant, the Cordelle sisters are hardly the oddest or most dangerous creatures around. It’s no surprise when Kit and Fancy start to give in to their deepest desire—the desire to kill. What starts as a fascination with slicing open and stitching up quickly spirals into a gratifying murder spree. Of course, the sisters aren’t killing just anyone, only the people who truly deserve it. But the girls have learned from the mistakes of their father, and know that a shred of evidence could get them caught. So when Fancy stumbles upon a mysterious and invisible doorway to another world, she opens a door to endless possibilities….


Storm of Reckoning
Doranna Durgin
Genre: Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Tor
Release Date: January 2

Lisa McGarrity lives to hunt ghosts.

With the able assistance of her loyal ghostbusting team, of course . . . and the unexpected powers of Trevarr, a fiercely driven demon-hunter from another dimension. Their last mission—a supposedly simple haunting that turned into a demonic free-for-all—left them battered and ready for some R&R. But rest has to wait. Garrie and her team are summoned by an old friend in Sedona who desperately needs some occult assistance. Making matters worse, Trevarr has reappeared, bloody and bruised . . . and exiled forever from his homeworld.

While happy to have Trevarr back at her side, Garrie is shocked to discover that Sedona’s ethereal breezes are quiet, the usual paranormal activity nearly nonexistant . . . except for some oddball power surges that don’t “taste” like our world at all.

Then Garrie’s friend disappears and all hell seems about to break loose as Sedona’s ghosts rise up against Garrie and her team. With Trevarr’s not-cat bond-partner hinting at dire trouble on their trail and Trevarr himself seeing enemies at every turn, Garrie is running out of time to figure out just what’s happening in the Southwest…and to put a stop to it.

Tempest’s Legecy (Jane True, Bk 3)
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Orbit
Release Date: January 3

After a peaceful hiatus at home in Rockabill, Jane True thinks that her worst problem is that she still throws like a girl - at least while throwing fireballs. Her peace of mind ends, however, when Anyan arrives one night with terrible news . . . news that will rock Jane's world to its very core.

After demanding to help investigate a series of gruesome attacks on females -- supernatural, halfling, and human -- Jane quickly finds herself forced to confront her darkest nightmares as well as her deepest desires.

And she's not sure which she finds more frightening.


Unearthly (Unearthly, Bk 1)
Cynthia Hand
Genre: Young Adult Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Harper Teen
Release Date: January 4

In the beginning, there's a boy standing in the trees . . . Clara Gardner has recently learned that she's part angel. Having angel blood run through her veins not only makes her smarter, stronger, and faster than humans (a word, she realizes, that no longer applies to her), but it means she has a purpose, something she was put on this earth to do. Figuring out what that is, though, isn't easy. Her visions of a raging forest fire and an alluring stranger lead her to a new school in a new town. When she meets Christian, who turns out to be the boy of her dreams (literally), everything seems to fall into place—and out of place at the same time. Because there's another guy, Tucker, who appeals to Clara's less angelic side. As Clara tries to find her way in a world she no longer understands, she encounters unseen dangers and choices she never thought she'd have to make—between honesty and deceit, love and duty, good and evil. When the fire from her vision finally ignites, will Clara be ready to face her destiny? Unearthly is a moving tale of love and fate, and the struggle between following the rules and following your heart.


The Water Wars
Cameron Stracher
Genre: Young Adult Dystopia
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Release Date: January 1

Vera and her brother Will live in the shadow of the Great Panic, in a country that has collapsed from environmental catastrophe. Water is hoarded by governments, rivers are dammed, and clouds are sucked from the sky. But then Vera befriends Kai, who seems to have limitless access to fresh water. When Kai suddenly disappears, Vera and Will set off on a dangerous journey in search of him-pursued by pirates, a paramilitary group, and greedy corporations. Timely and eerily familiar, acclaimed author Cameron Stracher makes a stunning YA debut that's impossible to forget. "Let us pray that the world which Cameron Stracher has invented in The Water Wars is testament solely to his pure, wild, and brilliant imagination, and not his ability to see the future. I was parched just reading it."-Laurie David, academy award winning producer of An Inconvenient Truth, and author of The Down to Earth Guide to Global Warming


XVI
Julia Karr
Genre: Young Adult SF
Publisher: Puffin/Speak
Release Date: January 6

Nina Oberon's life is pretty normal: she hangs out with her best friend, Sandy, and their crew, goes to school, plays with her little sister, Dee. But Nina is 15. And like all girls she'll receive a Governing Council-ordered tattoo on her 16th birthday. XVI. Those three letters will be branded on her wrist, announcing to all the world—even the most predatory of men—that she is ready for sex. Considered easy prey by some, portrayed by the Media as sluts who ask for attacks, becoming a "sex-teen" is Nina's worst fear. That is, until right before her birthday, when Nina's mom is brutally attacked. With her dying breaths, she reveals to Nina a shocking truth about her past—one that destroys everything Nina thought she knew. Now, alone but for her sister, Nina must try to discover who she really is, all the while staying one step ahead of her mother's killer.

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