Saturday, April 30, 2011

Saturday Snapshots

Posted by Simcha 7:50 PM, under | 9 comments

Saturday Snapshots
Hosted by Alyce at At Home With Books

Last week I had visited the open-air food market in Jerusalem (aka, the Shuk) where I found strawberries being sold for only 3 shekel a kilo (that's about 75 cents for 2 lbs). Excitedly I bought as many strawberries as I could carry and when I got home I proceeded to do something that I have being dreaming about for years - I made my own strawberry jam. And I really have no idea why I waited so long to do so because it was really quite easy and the results were delicious, perfect for eating on matzo, which was pretty much all we had to snack on for the week of Passover.







While my kids are not usually that excited about jelly (they eat their peanut butter sandwiches plain) they were eager to help me prepare the strawberries by washing and cutting them, and then they kept on visiting me in the kitchen to check on the progress of the jam on the stove-top.





When the jam was finished I poured it into a special jar that I had bought just for this occasion and then I invited the whole family to come and admire it, which they did. I then proceeded to serve it at every meal (it's amazing the things that you can eat strawberry jam with) and to my surprise my kids were just as enthusiastic about eating it as they were about making it (at least for the first few days.)

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Bumped by Megan Mccafferty

Posted by Simcha 7:02 AM, under , | 4 comments

When a virus makes everyone over the age of eighteen infertile, would-be parents pay teen girls to conceive and give birth to their children, making teens the most prized members of society. Girls sport fake baby bumps and the school cafeteria stocks folic-acid-infused food.

Sixteen-year-old identical twins Melody and Harmony were separated at birth and have never met until the day Harmony shows up on Melody’s doorstep. Up to now, the twins have followed completely opposite paths. Melody has scored an enviable conception contract with a couple called the Jaydens. While they are searching for the perfect partner for Melody to bump with, she is fighting her attraction to her best friend, Zen, who is way too short for the job.

Harmony has spent her whole life in Goodside, a religious community, preparing to be a wife and mother. She believes her calling is to convince Melody that pregging for profit is a sin. But Harmony has secrets of her own that she is running from.

When Melody is finally matched with the world-famous, genetically flawless Jondoe, both girls’ lives are changed forever. A case of mistaken identity takes them on a journey neither could have ever imagined, one that makes Melody and Harmony realize they have so much more than just DNA in common.



Since early childhood, Melody has been groomed by her parents to be the perfect surrogate. She is beautiful, smart, athletic and popular, and it was no surprise that her agent managed to get her a six-figure deal with the Jaydens, a wealthy, childless couple. Now all Melody has to do is wait for the Jaydens to pick a boy who meets their high expectations, for Melody to reproduce with. In the meantime all of Melody’s friends are getting pregnant and giving birth, as Melody impatiently waits in the sidelines for her turn to come.

But when Melody discovers that she has an identical twin sister, all of her plans are suddenly at risk. If the Jaydens find out that Melody is not as unique as they had been led to believe, they might not be as interested in her anymore. Though it seems like a safe bet that this secret will remain hidden because Melody’s twin lives on a secluded religious commune, and it is unlikely that her and Melody will ever meet. Until she shows up one day on Melody’s doorstep.

Harmony was ecstatic at discovering that she has a twin sister and now she wants nothing more than to help her sister find G-d, and to bring her back to Goodside with her. But when Harmony encounters the gorgeous guy that the Jaydons have netted to breed with Melody, she suddenly finds herself distracted from her mission by desires that she didn’t even know she had.


YA dystopian books are all the rage now and Megan McCafferty is making her contribution by examining a future in which teenager girls have become breeders for the adult population who are no longer able to conceive.

The concept here is an interesting one though Bumped is so light and frothy that the seriousness of the book’s topic doesn’t really come across or provoke readers to examine it in depth. In the story, teenage pregnancy is extolled so much by society that teenagers will do anything to get pregnant, and can think of little else. A pregnant stomach becomes a status symbol which every girl dreams of acquiring. But only once in the book do we get a look at the other side of the coin, at what happens when a pregnancy or labor goes wrong, and this was hardly enough to make a convincing argument as to why the current situation might be problematic.

Although Bumped was relatively entertaining, I had a bit of trouble getting into it in the beginning due to all of the made-up slang terms and “futuristic” phrases that liberally pepper the dialogue, but are not explained. For some reason it’s not until a phrase is used several times that the author clarifies what it means, and in some cases it’s not until the very end that an explanation was provided. And so for the first few chapters I had no idea what the characters were talking about. It doesn’t help that the slang is pretty ridiculous, deriving from the characters’ obsession with sex and pregnancy. “Bumped” means to become pregnant, “fertilicious” is attractive and ”nubie-pubies” are preteens. I’m still guessing what the frequently used term “anythingbut” is supposed to mean, since sometimes it was used as a noun and other times as a verb. But I’m not losing too much sleep over it.

I also had trouble with the fact that the narration switches too frequently between the POVs making it difficult to get to know either of the protagonists, or to get involved in their individual stories. It wasn’t until I was halfway through the book that the story finally caught hold of me, once I had a grasp of the strange terminology and had adjusted to the format of the narration.


While Bumped raises some interesting issues I didn’t find that it really explored them in a way that challenged me to think about them, as my favorite dystopian books have done. I haven’t yet had the opportunity to read Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale but from what I know of it, it sounds like Bumped is a lighter version of the book, for a younger readership. It was entertaining enough, but not particularly thought provoking.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Search for Delicious by Natalie Babbitt


I’ve been feeling kind of restless lately in my reading, unable to settle down with any one book for more than a chapter or two. After returning to my bookshelves once again, hoping to find the right book to get me out of my reading funk, I came across a slim volume that I had never noticed before, The Search for Delicious by Natalie Babbitt. While the childish cover didn’t particularly impress me the blurb on the back cover did tempt me to crack the book open, and to my delight I was immediately swept up by the charmingly fanciful tale within its pages.

When the Prime Minister goes to show the king the progress he has made on his dictionary, the king is pleased. ‘Affectionate is your dog’ meets his approval as does ‘Bulky is a big bag of boxes.’ But when the Prime Minister shows the king the D section, a problem arises. The king does not agree that ‘Delicious is fried fish, ’ because he does not care for fried fish. And so the king insists the definition be changed to apples. The queen, who is standing nearby, disagrees. She thinks Delicious is a Christmas Pudding. Soon the whole court is up in arms, heatedly debating what the true definition of Delicious is.

In order to put the matter to rest the Prime Minister sends his young assistant, Gaylen, to travel across the kingdom and question each person as to what their favorite food is. Whichever food item received the most votes will be included in the dictionary. Gaylen is excited at this opportunity for adventure but his enthusiasm quickly fades when his simple question is met with aggression and hostility in each of the towns that he visits. Who knew that Delicious was such a controversial word? But there is another source for the brewing trouble. The queen’s sinister brother, who thinks Delicious is nuts, has taken this opportunity to try to bring down the king.

How will Gaylen finish his task with the country gearing up to a civil war? Perhaps the mermaid, Ardis, might hold the key to solving this problem, if only Geylen knew how and where to find her.


Told in the style of a folk tale, The Search for Delicious is a delightful, magical story that was just so much fun to read. While intended as a children's story it is also humorous and intelligent, making it a book that can be enjoyed just as much by adults. I have no idea how I had managed to overlook this book before but I’m glad I discovered it just when I really needed it, since it helped bring an end my reading slump. I’m also pretty sure that my kids will enjoy it as well and I plan on sharing it with them soon.

After finishing The Search for Delicious I flipped to the front of the book to see what else this author had written and was pleasantly surprised to see that Natalie Babbit had authored on old favorite of mine, Tuck Everlasting (from before the days when I actually cared about things like remembering authors’ names). It made me feel a new connection to the book, knowing that I was already familiar with the author, and from now on it will get the recognition it deserves- at least in my household.

Monday, April 25, 2011

New Scifi & Fantasy Releases: Week of April 25

Posted by Simcha 5:20 PM, under | 5 comments

Wow, these past few weeks have been so incredibly busy, with all of the preparations for Passover and the celebration of the holiday, that I just haven't had much time to put into blogging. So I apologize to anyone who was disappointed by the lack of a New Releases post last week and I hope to make it up to you with all of the new and exciting titles that I have for you this week.

I'm pretty excited to get a hold of
The Alchemist in the Shadows, which looks really good, as well as Retribution Falls, which had already come out in the UK a while ago but which I still haven't read.

I will be posting within the next few days a review of Bumped by
Megan McCafferty, which comes out this week, and is a YA dystopian novel focused on the subject of teenage pregnancy, so look out for that.

And make sure to check out my fascinating interview with David Halperin, which is just one post down, and enter to win a copy of his book Journal of a UFO Investigator.

Hope you have a great reading week!


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Abandon
Meg Cabot
Genre: Young Adult Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Scholastic
Release Date: April 25

Though she tries returning to the life she knew before the accident, Pierce can't help but feel at once a part of this world, and apart from it. Yet she's never alone . . . because someone is always watching her. Escape from the realm of the dead is impossible when someone there wants you back.

But now she's moved to a new town. Maybe at her new school, she can start fresh. Maybe she can stop feeling so afraid.

Only she can't. Because even here, he finds her. That's how desperately he wants her back. She knows he's no guardian angel, and his dark world isn't exactly heaven, yet she can't stay away . . . especially since he always appears when she least expects it, but exactly when she needs him most.

But if she lets herself fall any further, she may just find herself back in the one place she most fears: the Underworld.

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The Alchemist in the Shadows
Pierre Pevel
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Pyr
Release Date: April 26

Welcome to Paris, in 1633, where dragons menace the realm. Cardinal Richelieu, the most powerful and most feared man in France, is on his guard. He knows France is under threat, and that a secret society known as the Black Claw is conspiring against him from the heart of the greatest courts in Europe. They will strike from the shadows, and when they do the blow will be both terrible and deadly. To counter the threat, Richelieu has put his most trusted men into play: the Cardinal's Blades, led by Captain la Fargue. Six men and a woman, all of exceptional abilities and all ready to risk their lives on his command. They have saved France before, and the Cardinal is relying on them to do it again.

So when la Fargue hears from a beautiful, infamous, deadly Italian spy claiming to have valuable information, he has to listen ...and when La Donna demands Cardinal Richelieu's protection before she will talk, la Fargue is even prepared to consider it. Because La Donna can name their enemy. It's a man as elusive as he is manipulative, as subtle as Richelieu himself, an exceptionally dangerous adversary: the Alchemist in the shadows ...

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Ascension (Dark Breed, Bk 1)
Sable Grace
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Avon
Release Date: April 25

The gates of hell have opened, and one woman will stand in the crossfire as the Dark Breed—vampyre, demons, shape shifters—and mankind fight their last battle for survival.

Kyana is half Vampyre, half Lychen . . . and the last of her kind. Determined, dangerous, and damned, she has no love for the mortals who have imprisoned and misused her. But when the Order of Ancients entrusts her with a mission—to find the key that will send the Dark Breed back into Hell for eternity—Kyana has no choice but to accept.

She is furious to learn her assignment comes with an escort . . . Ryker, a demigod and fierce warrior who long ago found a way under her skin and stayed there. In a shaky alliance, they discover an ancient cult with dangerous motive and a god who seeks to destroy all others. And as Kyana begins to feel the heat that threatens to bind her to Ryker, she knows she has to resist. For it could only mean the undoing of them both . . .

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As You Wish
Gabi Stevens
Genre: Urban Fantasy/ Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Tor
Release Date: April 25

Born into a magical family, Reggie Scott is content to live out her life as a normal human until the moment she’s informed that she’s a newly appointed fairy godmother. Left struggling to deal with powers the never thought she’d have, Reggie faces a curse, a plot to overthrow the Arcani, and an entirely too enthusiastic mother—all in a matter of days.

Jonathan Bastion is a man of power and wealth—and a dangerous secret. He desperately hopes that Reggie's new powers will hold the answer to his problem and he isn't above using her to achieve his goals. What he doesn't expect is how much Reggie will affect him. Her honor, her honesty, and her strength quickly make cracks in his ruthless exterior.

As danger from the Arcani swirls around them both, Jonathan realizes that what was once a ploy to get Reggie to assist him has become a battle to keep her safe and protected…in his arms.

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Born of Shadows (The League, Bk 4)
Sherrilyn Kenyon
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher:
Release Date: April 26

Just when you think you have it all figured out, life belts you to the ground. And when Caillen discovers a truth he'd never suspected about himself, everything in his life is turned on its head.

Desideria has a secret of her own- one that could end her life if anyone ever learns it. The last thing she expects is to meet a criminal in her sheltered world never mind find herself marooned on a hostile colony with him while his enemies try to kill them both.

And as they struggle to survive, her father's favorite curse resonates. "May you get exactly what you want and live long enough to regret it."

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Bumped
Megan McCafferty
Genre: Young Adult Science Fiction/ Dystopia
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Release Date: April 26

When a virus makes everyone over the age of eighteen infertile, would-be parents are forced to pay teen girls to conceive and give birth to their children, making teens the most prized members of society.

Sixteen-year-old identical twins Melody and Harmony were separated at birth and had never met until the day Harmony shows up on Melody’s doorstep. Until now, the twins have followed completely opposite paths. Melody has scored an enviable conception contract with a couple called the Jaydens. While they are searching for the perfect partner for Melody to bump with, she is fighting her attraction to her best friend Zen, who is way too short for the job.

Harmony has spent her whole life in religious Goodside, preparing to be a wife and mother. She believes her calling is to bring Melody back to Goodside and convince her that “pregging” for profit is a sin. But Harmony has secrets of her own that she is running from.

When Melody is finally matched with the world-famous, genetically flawless Jondoe, both girls’ lives are changed forever. A case of mistaken identity takes them on a journey neither could have ever imagined, one that makes Melody and Harmony realize they have so much more than just DNA in common.

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Burn Down the Sky
James Jaros
Genre: Science Fiction
Publisher: Harper Voyager.
Release Date: April 26

After the destruction of nature and the death of the world . . .

After the Wicca virus drove billions to madness and suicide, replacing order and reason with violence and terror . . .

In the parched ruins of what once was civilization, one commodity is far more valuable than all others combined: female children.

When well-armed marauders roll in at dusk to brutally attack a fiercely defended compound of survivors, Jessie is unable to halt the slaughter—and she can do nothing to prevent the ruthless abduction of innocents, including her youngest child. Now, along with her outraged teenage daughter, Bliss, Jessie must set out on a journey across a blasted landscape—joining up with the desperate, the broken, the half-mad, on an impossible mission: to storm the fortress of a dark and twisted religion and bring the children home.

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Camera Obscura
Lavie Tidhar
Genre: Steampunk
Publisher: Angry Robot
Release Date: April 26

CAN'T FIND A RATIONAL EXPLANATION TO A MYSTERY?
CALL IN THE QUIET COUNCIL.

The mysterious and glamorous Lady De Winter is one of their most valuable agents. A despicable murder inside a locked and bolted room on the Rue Morgue in Paris is just the start. This whirlwind adventure will take Milady to the highest and lowest parts of that great city - and cause her to question the very nature of reality itself.

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The Dark Zone
Dom Testa
Genre: Young Adult Science Fiction
Publisher: Tor
Release Date: April 26

When the tail of the comet Bhaktul flicks through the Earth’s atmosphere, deadly particles are left in its wake, and mankind is confronted with a virus that devastates the adult population. A renowned scientist proposes a bold plan: to build a ship that will carry a crew of 251 teenagers to a home in a distant solar system. Two years later, Galahad and its crew is launched. If their mission fails, it will be the end of the human race…

With the help of the mysterious alien force known as The Cassini, the teenage crew of Galahad has managed to navigate safely through the minefield of the Kuiper Belt. But just as they exit the belt, they are confronted by their next challenge: a group of incredibly fast and maneuverable organisms waiting in their path—like vultures. With no way of knowing if the organisms are friends or foes, Triana and her Council decide to push forward, setting into motion a chain of events that will lead to the opening of a wormhole (a shortcut across space and time), and the first death aboard Galahad….

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Demon Hunting in Dixie
Lexi George
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Kensington
Release Date: April 26

A warrior, a demon, and the girl next door. . .

Looking For Trouble

Addy Corwin is a florist with an attitude. A bad attitude, or so her mama says, 'cause she's not looking for a man. Mama's wrong. Addy has looked. There's just not much to choose from in Hannah, her small Alabama hometown. Until Brand Dalvahni shows up, a supernaturally sexy, breathtakingly well-built hunk of a warrior from—well, not from around here, that's for sure. Mama thinks he might be European or maybe even a Yankee. Brand says he's from another dimension.

Addy couldn't care less where he's from. He's gorgeous. Serious muscles. Disturbing green eyes. Brand really gets her going. Too bad he's a whack job. Says he's come to rescue her from a demon. Puh-lease. But right after Brand shows up, strange things start to happen. Dogs talk and reanimated corpses stalk the quite streets of Hannah. Her mortal enemy Meredith, otherwise known as the Death Starr, breaks out in a severe and inexplicable case of butt boils. Addy might not know what's going on, but she definitely wants a certain sexy demon hunter by her side when it all goes down. . .

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Embedded
Dan Abnett
Genre: Science Fiction
Publisher: Angry Robot
Release Date: April 28 (UK)

HE'D DO ANYTHING TO GET A STORY.

When journalist Lex Falk gets himself chipped into the brain of a combat soldier, he thinks he has the ultimate scoop - a report from the forbidden front line of a distant planetary war, live to the living rooms of Earth. When the soldier is killed, however, Lex has to take over the body and somehow get himself back to safety once more... broadcasting all the way.

Heart-stopping combat science fiction from the million-selling Warhammer 40,000 author.

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Ember & Ash
Pamela Freeman
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Orbit
Release Date: April 26

The old ones will have their revenge.

Two peoples have been fighting over the same land for a thousand years. Invaders crushed the original inhabitants, and ancient powers have reluctantly given way to newer magics. But Ember was to change all this with a wedding to bind these warring people together - until her future goes up in flames.

Ember's husband-to-be is murdered by a vengeful elemental god, who sees peace as a breach of faith. Set on retribution, she enlists the help of Ash, son of a seer. Together they will pit themselves against elementals of fire and ice in a last attempt to end the conflicts that have scarred their past. They must look to the present, as old furies are waking to violence and are eager to reclaim their people.

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Future Imperfect
K. Ryer Breese
Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin.
Release Date: April 26

Ade Patience can see the future and it's destroying his life. When the seventeen-year-old Mantlo High School student knocks himself unconscious, he can see days and decades into his own future. Ade's the best of Denver's "divination" underground and eager to join the heralded Mantlo Diviners, a group of similarly enabled teens. Yet, unlike the Diviners, Ade Patience doesn't see the future out of curiosity or good will; Ade gives himself concussions because he's addicted to the high, the Buzz, he gets when he breaks the laws of physics. And while there have been visions he's wanted to change, Ade knows the Rule: You can't change the future, no matter how hard you try.

His memory is failing, his grades are in a death spiral, and both Ade's best friend and his shrink are begging him to stop before he kills himself. Ade knows he needs to straighten-out. Luckily, the stunning Vauxhall Rodolfo has just transferred to Mantlo and, as Ade has seen her in a vision two years previously, they're going to fall in love. It's just the motivation Ade needs to kick his habit. Only things are a bit more complicated. Vauxhall has an addiction of her own, and, after a a vision in which he sees Vauxhall's close friend, Jimmy, drown while he looks on seemingly too wasted to move, Ade realizes that he must break the one rule he's been told he can't.

The pair must overcome their addictions and embrace their love for each other in order to do the impossible: change the future.

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Hamlet’s Father
Orson Scott Card
Genre: Science Fiction novella
Publisher: Subterranean Press
Release Date: April 29

We all know Shakespeare's classic ghost story--the young prince Hamlet's dead father appears to him, demanding vengeance upon Hamlet's uncle Claudius, who has usurped the throne and, to add insult to injury, married Hamlet's mother.

Hamlet dithers and delays, coming up with reason after reason to postpone his vengeance. But it's not for the reason Shakespeare told us. It's because Hamlet keeps discovering evidence that things are not quite what they seem in the Kingdom of Denmark--and never have been, throughout Hamlet's entire life.

Once you've read Orson Scott Card s revelatory version of the Hamlet story, Shakespeare's play will be much more fun to watch--because now you'll know what's really going on.

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Human Tales
Jennifer Brozek
Genre: Anthology
Publisher: Dark Quest
Release Date: April 25

Be Wary and Beware.... There are tales that every parent knows and must pass on to their child... Tales of warning and terror...of those who break their vows and kill for no reason other than malice. Tales of saving the lovely princess from a prince that is much less than charming...and what it takes to bring her home, of rescuing babes from parents not fit to raise them, and the reason no supernatural can truly win a bargain with such vile creatures. These are Human Tales. Tales by: Ivan Ewert, Matthew McFarland, Seanan McGuire, Ari Marmell, Chuck Wendig, Sara M. Harvey, Spencer Ellsworth, Ryan Macklin, Jess Hartley, Shannon Page, Dylan Birtolo, Deborah Brannon, Alma Alexander, Renee Stern, David Lee Summers, James Sutter, Nathan Crowder.

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Hush
Cherry Adair
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Pocket Star
Release Date: April 26

A reckless adventure in a deadly paradise.

Thrill seekers Zakary and Gideon Stark travel the globe in search of extreme adventure, but a trip to Venezuela to jump off the world’s highest falls catapults them into a perilous game of life or death—where they don’t know the rules.

A one-night stand that will change his life forever.

Kidnapped with a woman Zak knows nothing about, the brothers are held prisoner deep in the jungle. A risky, deathdefying escape separates them and nearly claims Zak’s life . . . until his recovery reveals a baffling new sixth sense.

An unexpected diversion with lethal consequences.

Now, to find his missing brother, Zak and the mysterious Acadia Gray will have to out-smart, out-gun, and out-maneuver not just the brutal kidnappers but also a new player who joins the adrenaline game: a ruthless opponent who wants the Stark brothers dead—at any cost.

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The Great Night: A Novel
Chris Adrian
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher:  Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Release Date: April 26

Acclaimed as a “gifted, courageous writer”(The New York Times), Chris Adrian brings all his extraordinary talents to bear in The Great Night—a brilliant and mesmerizing retelling of Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

On Midsummer Eve 2008, three people, each on the run from a failed relationship, become trapped in San Francisco’s Buena Vista Park, the secret home of Titania, Oberon, and their court. On this night, something awful is happening in the faerie kingdom: in a fit of sadness over the end of her marriage, which broke up in the wake of the death of her adopted son, Titania has set loose an ancient menace, and the chaos that ensues will threaten the lives of immortals and mortals alike.

Selected by The New Yorker as one the best young writers in America, Adrian has created a singularly playful, heartbreaking, and humorous novel—a story that charts the borders between reality and dreams, love and magic, and mortality and immortality.

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Gods & Monsters (shadows & Inquiries, Bk 3)
Lyn Benedict
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Ace
Release Date: April 26

Sylvie Lightner is no ordinary P.I. She specializes in cases involving the unusual and unbelievable. When she finds the bodies of five women in the Florida Everglades, Sylvie believes them to be the work of a serial killer and passes the buck. But when the bodies wake and shift shape, killing the police, Sylvie finds herself at the head of a potentially lethal investigation.

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Heaven's Needle
Liane Merciel
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Pocket Star Books
Release Date: April 26

The mountain fortress of Duradh Mal was mysteriously destroyed centuries ago. And now, in its shadow, evil stirs. . . .

Unaware of the danger, two inexperienced Illuminers set out for the village of Carden Vale, at the foot of Duradh Mal, to minister to the people. The warrior Asharre, her face scarred with runes, her heart scarred by loss, is assigned to protect the young clerics. But in Carden Vale they find unspeakable horrors—the first hint of a terrifying ghost story come true.

The Sun Knight Kelland has been set free by the woman he loves, the archer Bitharn, but at the cost of undertaking a mission only he can fulfill. Joined by a Thornlord steeped in the magic of pain, they too make their way to Duradh Mal. There lies the truth behind the rumors of the dead come back to life, flesh ripped from bones, and creatures destroying themselves in a violent frenzy. And if Kelland cannot contain the black magic that has been unleashed after six hundred years, an entire world will fall victim to a Mad God’s malevolent plague. . . .

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The Hidden Goddess
M.K. Hobson
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Spectra
Release Date: April 26

In a brilliant mix of magic, history, and romance, M. K. Hobson moves her feisty young Witch, Emily Edwards, from the Old West of 1876 to turn-of-the-nineteenth-century New York City, whose polished surfaces conceal as much danger as anything west of the Rockies.

Like it or not, Emily has fallen in love with Dreadnought Stanton, a New York Warlock as irresistible as he is insufferable. Newly engaged, she now must brave Dreadnought’s family and the magical elite of the nation’s wealthiest city. Not everyone is pleased with the impending nuptials, especially Emily’s future mother-in-law, a sociopathic socialite. But there are greater challenges still: confining couture, sinister Russian scientists, and a deathless Aztec goddess who dreams of plunging the world into apocalypse. With all they must confront, do Emily and Dreadnought have any hope of a happily-ever-after?

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Infernal Devices
K.W. Jeter
Genre: Steampunk
Publisher: Angry Robot
Release Date: April 26

HE INHERITED A WATCHMAKER'S STORE - AND A WHOLE HEAP OF TROUBLE. But idle sometime-musician George has little talent for clockwork. And when a shadowy figure tries to steal an old device from the premises, George finds himself embroiled in a mystery of time travel, music and sexual intrigue. A genuine lost classic, a steampunk original whose time has come.

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The Last Four Things (Thomas Cale, Bk 2)
Paul Hoffman
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Michael Joseph.
Release Date: April 28

Death, Judgement, Heaven and Hell. These are the Last Four Things. Now there are Five. Meet Thomas Cale. Returning to the Sanctuary of the Redeemers, Thomas Cale is told by the Lord Militant that the destruction of mankind is necessary; the only way to undo God's greatest mistake. Cale seemingly accepts his role in the ending of the world: fate has painted him as the Left Hand of God, the Angel of Death. Absolute power is within his grasp, the terrifying zeal and military might of the Redeemers a weapon for him to handle as simply as he once used a knife. But perhaps not even the grim power that the Redeemers hold over Cale is enough - the boy who turns from love to poisonous hatred in a heartbeat, the boy who switches between kindness and sheer violence in the blink of an eye. The annihilation that the Redeemers seek may well be in Cale's hands - but his soul is far stranger than they could ever know.

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The Legions of Fire
David Drake
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Tor
Release Date: April 26

In this novel of magical menace to the survival of all humanity, David Drake introduces a new fantasy world, Carce, based on Europe during the later Roman Empire.

Far in the north, a group of magicians perform a strange dance on a volcanic island intended to open a gateway for supernatural creatures that will allow them to devastate the whole Earth and destroy all life. Not knowing the cause, two young men, Corylus and Varus, and two women, Hedia and Alphena, each separately pursue the answer to mysterious and threatening happenings that prefigure disaster in the great city of Carce, the center of civilization. Through magical voyages in other realities where fantastic creatures, and even gods, help or hinder them, each of them must succeed or not just the city but the world will end in fire.

The Legions of Fire is the first of a fantasy quartet set in the world of the city of Carce.

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Theories of Flight
Simon Morden
Genre: Science Fiction
Publisher: Orbit
Release Date: April 26

Theorem: Petrovitch has a lot of secrets.

Proof: Secrets like how to make anti-gravity for one. For another, he's keeping a sentient computer program on a secret server farm - the same program that nearly destroyed the Metrozone a few months back.

Theorem: The city is broken.

Proof: The people of the OutZone want what citizens of the Metrozone have. And then burn it to the ground. Now, with the heart of the city destroyed by the New Machine Jihad, the Outies finally see their chance.

Theorem: These events are not unconnected.

Proof: Someone is trying to kill Petrovitch and they're willing to sink the whole city to do it.

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Mechanique: A Tale of the Circus Tresaulti
Genevieve Valentine
Genre: Steampunk
Publisher: Prime Books
Release Date: April 25

The Mechanical Circus Tresaulti travels the landscape of a ruined country under the spectre of war, but when two of its performers become locked in a battle of wills, the circus's own past may be the biggest threat of all.



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The Noise Revealed
Ian Whates
Genre: Science Fiction
Publisher: Solaris
Release Date: April 26

A time flux, a time of change. While mankind is adjusting to its first ever encounter with an alien civilisation - the Bryzaens - black-ops specialist Jim Leyton reluctantly allies himself with a mysterious visitation in order to rescue the woman he loves. This brings him into direct conflict with former employers: the United League of Allied Worlds. Scientist and businessman Philip Kaufman is fast discovering there is more to the virtual world than he ever realised, but it soon becomes clear that all is not well within the realm of Virtuality. Truth is hidden beneath lies and there are games being played, deadly games with far reaching consequences. Both men begin to suspect that the much heralded 'First Contact' is anything but first contact, and that a sinister con is being perpetrated with the whole of humankind as the victim. Now all they have to do is prove it


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Phoenix Rising: A Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences Novel
Pip Ballantine & Tee Morris
Genre: Steam Punk
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Release Date: April 26

Evil is most assuredly afoot—and Britain’s fate rests in the hands of an alluring renegade . . . and a librarian.

These are dark days indeed in Victoria’s England. Londoners are vanishing, then reappearing, washing up as corpses on the banks of the Thames, drained of blood and bone. Yet the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences—the Crown’s clandestine organization whose bailiwick is the strange and unsettling—will not allow its agents to investigate. Fearless and exceedingly lovely Eliza D. Braun, however, with her bulletproof corset and a disturbing fondness for dynamite, refuses to let the matter rest . . . and she’s prepared to drag her timorous new partner, Wellington Books, along with her into the perilous fray.

For a malevolent brotherhood is operating in the deepening London shadows, intent upon the enslavement of all Britons. And Books and Braun—he with his encyclopedic brain and she with her remarkable devices—must get to the twisted roots of a most nefarious plot . . . or see England fall to the Phoenix!

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