Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Guest Reviewer: Yesterday's Dreams by Danielle Ackley-McPhail

Posted by Simcha 4:58 PM, under , | 2 comments

Reviewed by Esther
(you can follow Esther's other reviews at Goodreads)


Kara O'Keefe is a talented violinist but her father has cancer and her parents are suffering financial difficulties. In order to help them she has given up a promising music career and now she is contemplating pawning her grandfather's violin Quicksilver.

In another part of New York Lucien Blank is using his magical talents to draw to himself every powerful magical object and person he encounters. He loves power for power's sake and he doesn't care what he has to do to get it.

When Kara finally makes the heartbreaking decision to pawn her beloved violin she discovers the pawn shop Yesterday's Dreams and while she is there realises that her family seems to already have some connections to the shop's mysteriously ageless owner.

My Thoughts:

Although I have read a lot of genre fiction it has mostly been scifi, urban fantasy or dystopian. I haven't read a great deal of fantasy based on magic or traditional myths and legends.
I really wasn't sure if I would like the genre and to be honest after reading this book I am still not sure.

I liked the descriptions of pulling in the feral magic as a spider's web to weave spells and create protections. I also enjoyed the recounting of the Irish faery tales and traditions and although the book was set in the streets of New York the writing frequently evoked mental images of the Emerald Isle.

I found the characterizations strong with many distinct personalities. However I was more than slightly disturbed by the fact that the characters were so quick to anger. There was little joy in their lives but on one wrong word they instantly raged from sad to furious.
I also had a problem with the main magical character. I do understand that magic has to cost something but with such a pivotal character constantly exhausted from casting spells the pace became slower than a snail. And although I was sure she was meant to seem in her 30s her constant fatigue left me with the impression of a woman in a her late 60s.
Over-use of adjectives and descriptive nouns also slowed the paced with everyone experiencing at least three emotions at one time. There were just too many words to read through.

On a more personal note, I was looking forward to a musical aspect to the story. Unfortunately Kara's music was mainly used as a connection to her grandfather and there was little about the joy of the music itself while the musical magic was little different from any other magic.

I did like characters of Demne and the henchman Tony and found the story strongest when told from their points of view. Though I did find it strange that I preferred the male characters of a female author.

The conclusion was well thought out and fitted smoothly with the rest of the story – no suddenly appearing supermen or people acting out of character. The ending was both believable and satisfying.

Conclusion
Although I found this book a slow read and repetitive I think it will be enjoyed by those who like well defined characters and stories based on Celtic magic and legends.


Sunday, May 1, 2011

New Scifi & Fantasy Releases: Week of May 1st

If you've been trying to cut back on your book buying then I suggest you avoid reading this post because there are some really awesome books here, and you might be unable to avoid the temptation..

I was actually surprised to see that Charlaine Harris's newest Sookie Stackhouse book is already out this week, and even more surprised at how eager I am to read it, despite my disappointment with the last few books. I guess Sookie has a stronger hold on me than I realized.

Leanna Renee Hieber's much anticipated addition to her Strangely Beautiful series,
The Perilous Prophecy of Guard and Goddess, is also out this week, and that one is definitely high on my To-Read list

There is also a new Garth Nix books for kids entitled
Troubletwisters, as well as a new Rick Riordan book, Throne of Fire.

One book that has caught my attention, and which I only just discovered, is Jeff VanderMeer's steampunk anthology
The Steampunk Bible: An Illustrated Guide to the World of Imaginary Airships, Corsets and Goggles, Mad Scientists & Strange Literature, which I would love to get my hands on. It looks like it is probably a really beautiful book with some wonderful images. If any of you do manage to get a hold of this one I'd love to hear more about it from you.

Hope you have a great reading week!




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Ascension (A Dark Breed Novel)
Sable Grace
Genre: Urban Fantasy/ Paranormal Romance
Publisher: HarperCollins
Release Date: May 1

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 warriour who long ago found a way under her skin and stayed there. In a shaky alliance, they discover an ancient cult with dangerous motives 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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The Cellar
A. J. Whitten
Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Release Date: May 2

Meredith Willis is suspicious of Adrien, the new guy next door. When she dares to sneak a look into the windows of his house, she sees something in the cellar that makes her believe that Adrien might be more than just a creep—he may be an actual monster.

But her sister, Heather, doesn't share Meredith's repulsion. Heather believes Adrien is the only guy who really understands her. In fact, she may be falling in love with him. When Adrien and Heather are cast as the leads in the school production of Romeo and Juliet, to Heather, it feels like fate. To Meredith, it feels like a bad omen. But if she tries to tear the couple apart, she could end up in the last place she'd ever want to be: the cellar. Can Meredith convince her sister that she's dating the living dead before it's too late for both of them?

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The Council of Shadows (A Novel of the Shadowspawn)
S. M. Stirling
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Roc
Release Date: May 3

Adrian Brézé defied his own dark heritage as a near-purebred Shadowspawn for years, until his power-hungry sister Adrienne kidnapped his human lover Ellen.

Now, Adrienne is dead, and the Council of Shadows is gathering its strength. To stop the Council from launching an apocalypse, Adrian and Ellen must ally with the Brotherhood, a resistance group dedicated to breaking the Council's hold on humankind...by any means necessary.

In the coming confrontation, Adrian must fight not only the members of the Council but also his own nature-and, as he will come to suspect, traitors within the Brotherhood itself...

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Dark Mist Rising
Anna Kendall
Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: Gollancz
Release Date: May 5

Whether it's a curse or a blessing the fact remains: whenever Roger is in enough pain he can cross over to the Land of the Dead and speak to the people there. It's an unexpected gift - and one that, throughout Roger's life, has been taken advantage of; by his violent uncle, by the mysterious, malign Soulviners performing their dark magic on Soulvine Moor, and even by a Queen, fighting for her queendom with every possible weapon she can find. But not anymore. The dangerous life of Queen's Fool is behind him, young Princess Stephanie sits on the throne, and Roger is living a life of his choosing. He, Maggie and Jee have a small, out of the way, increasingly prosperous inn, supported by their hard work. It's a simple, industrious life . . . and it's about to be destroyed. The war is not over. The savage invaders are back. And they're looking for the boy who killed their leader. They're looking for Roger.

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Daughter of Destiny
Tracy Fobes
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Pocket
Release Date: May 3

The power of druidism flows strong in Lady Georgiana Darleigh?s veins. Born of two Welsh druids whose mystical talents exceeded all others in their time, she possesses the ability to create illusions. But fate has worked against her. Georgiana remains unaware of the power she commands, and is trapped in a marriage of convenience to Brock, Lord Darleigh. She is also a marked woman, the target of the Arch Druid who will see her dead before she fufills her destiny.
Raised in a society that favors ancestry and fortune over love, Brock married Georgiana for her money and, in so doing, secured her wrath. During the next two years he watched her bloom into a seductive and firtatious beauty. Now, he has grown desperate to have her at his side, and knows he must court her to win her back. But first Brock must erase the mistakes of the past and protect Georgiana from a treacherous destiny that only their love can overcome...

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Dead Is Not an Option
Marlene Perez
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Release Date: May 2


It’s springtime of senior year, and psychic sleuth Daisy Giordano is preparing to say goodbye to Nightshade High. But no college acceptance letters have arrived yet, and she’s beginning to worry about where she’ll end up come fall—and if it will be anywhere near her boyfriend, Ryan. But that’s not the only uncertainty Daisy’s dealing with. There’s a vamps-versus-shifters war going on in Nightshade, and things are so tense that there is talk of canceling the prom. The conflict is carrying over to the Giordano home, since Rose and Daisy are both dating werewolves and Poppy’s new boyfriend is a vampire.

Can the paranormal community in Nightshade finally find peace? And will Daisy and her friends survive graduation? All of these questions and more are answered in the explosive final installment in the Dead Is series.

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Dead Reckoning (Sookie Stackhouse, Bk 11)
Charlaine Harris
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: DAW
Release Date: May 3

With her knack for being in trouble's way, Sookie witnesses the firebombing of Merlotte's, the bar where she works. Since Sam Merlotte is now known to be two-natured, suspicion falls immediately on the anti-shifters in the area. Sookie suspects otherwise, but her attention is divided when she realizes that her lover Eric Northman and his "child" Pam are plotting to kill the vampire who is now their master. Gradually, Sookie is drawn into the plot-which is much more complicated than she knows...
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The Demon Left Behind
Marie Jakober
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: EDGE
Release Date: May 1

A contemporary novel set in North America. Where the "demons", a spirit life-form inhabiting an "otherworld," co-exists with our own. Not to be confused with devil-demons, these invisible demons interact with humans simply to keep an eye on earthly matters (after all they live here too)! As the world's current global crisis develops, the demons send out a special research team to embody themselves as humans to study the "situation". At the end of the mission, the demon team discovers that one their own had failed to return and so they must go back to the world of the "visies" (their term for humanity) to try to find him. Along the way they must deal with a pair of inept bank robbers, a stand-up comic with a knack for getting into trouble, and a private militia gearing up for the end of the world.
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Dragon Avenger (The Age of Fire, Bk 2)
E.E. Knight
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Roc
Release Date: May 3

The last of a dying breed, Wistala and her dragon siblings were born in the safety of a mountain cave. But when her home is attacked, she finds herself forced into independence-and cut off from her family. Now Wistala must overcome her grief and fear to find others of her kind, and bring her wrath to those who would destroy them.

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Ember and Ash
Pamela Freeman
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Orbit
Release Date: May 1

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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Extremis (Starfire)
Steve White and Charles E. Gannon
Genre: Science Fiction
Publisher: Baen
Release Date: May 3

Once before, the sentient races in the known part of the galaxy—humans, Orions, Ophiuchi and Gorm—had united to defeat alien invaders. Decades later, the member planets of the alliance had grown complacent—until a huge fleet of ships, each ship larger than a city, arrived, fleeing the loss of their home planet when their star went nova.

They have traveled for centuries, slower than light, and now that they have arrived at the world they intend to make their new home. They regard the fact that the planet is already colonized by humans as a mere inconvenience, the more so since their mode of communication is so different from anything humans use that they do not consider humans and their allies to be truly intelligent. And the arriving aliens know—or, at least, they believe—that when they die they will be reincarnated, so they do not hesitate to attack humans and their allies with suicidal fury. And, if necessary, they will exterminate all humans and their allies, if that's what it takes to occupy the planet.

That was their attitude on arrival, but the conquerors have learned from human technology. They now know all about reactionless drives, so much more efficient than rocket engines. And they have learned about the jump points which make faster-than-light travel possible. With that knowledge, they plan to conquer the entire inhabited region of the galaxy—unless the old alliance of humans and other being can stop them . . . .

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The Hot Gate (Troy Rising III)
John Ringo
Genre: Science Fiction
Publisher: Baen
Release Date: May 3

The fight to free the Earth from alien domination began in Live Free or Die, and continued in Citadel. Now Tyler Vernon, and his troops aboard the gigantic battle station , face a desperate battle with the forces of galactic tyranny. And the very survival of the Earth and its people is not all that is at stake. The galaxy itself must choose to live free or die—and if the tyrants win this battle, darkness will fall across the galaxy for millennia to come.

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Hard Bitten (Chicagoland Vampires, Bk 4)
Chloe Neill
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: NAL
Release Date: May 3

Times are hard for newly minted vampire Merit. Ever since shapeshifters announced their presence to the world, humans have been rallying against supernaturals--and they're camping outside of Cadogan House with protest signs that could turn to pitchforks at any moment. Inside its doors, things between Merit and her Master, green-eyed heartbreaker Ethan Sullivan are ... tense. But then the mayor of Chicago calls Merit and Ethan to a clandestine meeting and tells them about a violent vamp attack that has left three women missing. His message is simple: get your House in order. Or else.

Merit needs to get to the bottom of this crime, but it doesn't help that she can't tell who's on her side. So she secretly calls in a favor from someone who's tall, dark, and part of underground vamp group that may have some deep intel on the attack. Merit soon finds herself in the heady, dark heart of Chicago's supernatural society--a world full of vampires who seem too ready to fulfill the protesting human's worst fears, and a place where she'll learn that you can't be a vampire without getting a little blood on your hands..

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Hounded
Kevin Hearne
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Del Ray
Release Date: May 3

Atticus O’Sullivan, last of the Druids, lives peacefully in Arizona, running an occult bookshop and shape-shifting in his spare time to hunt with his Irish wolfhound. His neighbors and customers think that this handsome, tattooed Irish dude is about twenty-one years old—when in actuality, he’s twenty-one centuries old. Not to mention: He draws his power from the earth, possesses a sharp wit, and wields an even sharper magical sword known as Fragarach, the Answerer.
Unfortunately, a very angry Celtic god wants that sword, and he’s hounded Atticus for centuries. Now the determined deity has tracked him down, and Atticus will need all his power—plus the help of a seductive goddess of death, his vampire and werewolf team of attorneys, a sexy bartender possessed by a Hindu witch, and some good old-fashioned luck of the Irish—to kick some Celtic arse and deliver himself from evil.

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The Inheritance and Other Stories
Robin Hobb
Genre: Anthology
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Release Date: May 3

Before she became an acclaimed New York Times bestselling author, Robin Hobb received resounding critical praise for work written under the name Megan Lindholm. Though they spring from the same imagination, Hobb and Lindholm are separate, diverse identities, each with her own unique style and perspective.
The Inheritance celebrates the boundless vision of Hobb and Lindholm, bringing together for the first time classic and new short works from both names. The collection is comprised of three generous offerings from Robin Hobb, including the title story, which makes its U.S. debut here, and a brand-new tale, "Cat's Meat." Megan Lindholm contributes her Hugo and Nebula Award finalist "A Touch of Lavender" and Nebula finalist "Silver Lady and the Fortyish Man," as well as several classic and new gems.

Each piece is prefaced by a brief yet informative author's note, offering insight into each story's genesis. Fascinating, compelling, and wonderfully entertaining, The Inheritance reveals the full spectrum of skill and talent of one of the world's finest fantasy writers.

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Korval's Game (Part of Liaden Universe)
Sharon Lee and Steve Miller
Genre: Science Fiction
Publisher: Baen
Release Date: May 3

The Liaden Universe® series has enthralled thousands of readers, and now two of its most exciting space adventure novels are combined in one popularly-priced Omni-trade volume.

Plan B: Val Con yos'Phelium is a fugitive. The heir of Clan Korval is wanted by the covert Liaden agency known as the Department of the Interior, whose rulers have declared unofficial war against the entire clan. With only his love, Miri Robertson, by his side, Val Con plans a desperate gamble by forming an alliance with Clan Erob on the planet where Miri was born.

But Val Con's cousin, Shan yos'Galan, can't wait for help that may never arrive. With enemy agents closing in, he invokes Plan B—setting in motion a series of events that will have dire consequences, not only for him and his life-mate, Priscilla Mendoza, but all of Liad . . .

I Dare: On the run from the agents of the Department of the Interior, Val Con has been separated from Miri. Shan, Val Con's cousin, and Shan's life-mate Priscilla, continue to search for him, believing that he's the Clan's last hope for survival.

But the DOI is attacking Clan Korval in a more subtle fashion. Pat Rin yos'Phelium—Val's ne'er-do-well, nearly identical cousin, gambler and shooter—is offered control of the clan. The DOI believes they can manipulate him into serving their agenda.

They're wrong . . .

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Naked City: Tales of Urban Fantasy
edited by Ellen Datlow
Genre: Urban Fantasy Antology
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin,
Release Date: May 7

In this thrilling collection of original stories some of today’s hottest paranormal authors delight, thrill and captivate readers with otherworldly tales of magic and mischief. InJim Butcher’s ”Curses” Harry Dresden investigates how to lift a curse laid by the Fair Folk on the Chicago Cubs. In Patricia Briggs’ “Fairy Gifts,” a vampire is called home by magic to save the Fae who freed him from a dark curse. In Melissa Marr’s “Guns for the Dead,” the newly dead Frankie Lee seeks a job in the afterlife on the wrong side of the law. In Holly Black’s “Noble Rot,” a dying rock star discovers that the young woman who brings him food every day has some strange appetites of her own.


Featuring original stories from 20 authors, this dark, captivating, fabulous and fantastical collection is not to be missed!
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Night Mares in the Hamptons
A Willow Tate Novel
Celia Jerome
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: DAW
Release Date: May 3


Graphic novelist Willow Tate is a Visualizer, able to draw images of beings from the realm of Faerie, bringing them from their world to ours in the process. After a ten-foot-tall red troll follows her from Manhattan to Paumanok Harbor in the Hamptons, Willow realizes that many of her relatives and their neighbors possess psychic talents-truth- knowing, scrying, weaving wishes, picking lucky numbers, and more.

So when magic and mayhem return to Paumanok Harbor, and Willow is called upon to rescue the town, she enlists the local talent. Three magical mares are searching the Long Island village for a missing colt, and their distress is causing sleeping nights, bad tempers, and dangerous brawls among the gifted but peculiar residents.

Though the Department of Unexplained Events sends Willow a world-famous horse whisperer, Texan Ty Farraday seems more interested in whispering in her ear than in rescuing the kidnapped colt whose terror only Willy can feel. Even with help, she still has to struggle with snakes, drug dealers, tourists, hidden caves, a mad scientist-and the almost overwhelming distraction of that sexy cowboy...

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The Perilous Prophecy of Guard and Goddess
Leanna Renee Hieber
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Publisher: Dorchester Publishing
Release Date: May 3

The goddess Persephone begins her quest to be reincarnated with her true love, and more secrets of The Guard are revealed




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Phoenix Rising ( Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences, Bk 1)
Pip Ballantine & Tee Morris
Genre: Steampunk
Publisher: HarperCollins
Release Date: May 1


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 Brooks 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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The Ritual
Adam Nevill
Genre:
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Release Date: May 6

And on the third day things did not get better. The rain fell hard and cold, the white sun never broke through the low grey cloud, and they were lost. But it was the dead thing they found hanging from a tree that changed the trip beyond recognition. When four old University friends set off into the Scandinavian wilderness of the Arctic Circle, they aim to briefly escape the problems of their lives and reconnect with one another. But when Luke, the only man still single and living a precarious existence, finds he has little left in common with his well-heeled friends, tensions rise. With limited fitness and experience between them, a shortcut meant to ease their hike turns into a nightmare scenario that could cost them their lives. Lost, hungry, and surrounded by forest untouched for millennia, Luke figures things couldn't possibly get any worse. But then they stumble across an old habitation. Ancient artefacts decorate the walls and there are bones scattered upon the dry floors. The residue of old rites and pagan sacrifice for something that still exists in the forest. Something responsible for the bestial presence that follows their every step. And as the four friends stagger in the direction of salvation, they learn that death doesn't come easy among these ancient trees...

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Shadow Raiders (the Dragon Brigade, Bk 1)
Margaret Weis and Robert Krammes
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: DAW
Release Date: May 3

A new epic military fantasy series-by New York Times bestselling author Margaret Weis and Robert Krammes.

The known world floats upon the Breath of God, a thick gas similar to Earth's oceans, with land masses accessible by airship. The largest of these land masses are ruled by the rival empires of Freya and Rosia. Magic is intrinsic to the functioning of these societies, and is even incorporated into their technological devices. But now a crucial scientific discovery has occurred that could destroy the balance of power-and change the empires forever.

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Seven Sorcerers
Caro King
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Publisher: Aladdin
Release Date: May 3

Nin had never liked Wednesdays, but this one took the cake. On this Wednesday she woke up to find that it was raining buckets and that her little brother had ceased to exist."

Nin Redfern wakes up one Wednesday to discover that her little brother, Toby, has vanished and no one -- not her mother, not her grandparents -- can remember him. Only Nin can, and she's going to get him back. But when Bogeyman Skerridge (who always gets his child) comes for Nin too, she realizes that finding Toby is going to be a lot harder then she thought. Toby is trapped in the House of Strood, which is located in another land called The Drift, and Skerridge can't -- or won't -- help her find him. Left with no choice, Nin heads into The Drift with her new friend Jonas. The Drift is filled with the fabulous and the terrible, but a plague is slowly killing all the magical things. The Seven Sorcerers who ruled there might have been able to prevent it, but in the end, even they have succumbed. Can Nin find Toby before he falls victim to a terrible fate in the House of Strood and before the plague makes it impossible for them to get home? Can she and Jonas avoid the tombfolk, mud men, and various creatures who want to stop them? And what is the secret of the Seven Sorcerers?

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Shift (Shade, Bk 2)
Jeri Smith-Ready
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: May 3

Aura's life is anything but easy. Her boyfriend, Logan, died, and his slides between ghost and shade have left her reeling. Aura knows he needs her now more than ever. She loves Logan, but she can't deny her connection with the totally supportive, totally gorgeous Zachary. And she's not sure that she wants to.

Logan and Zachary will fight to be the one by her side, but Aura needs them both to uncover the mystery of her past—the mystery of the Shift.

As Aura's search uncovers new truths, she must decide whom to trust with her secrets…and her heart.

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Spellcast
Barbara Ashford
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Roc
Release Date: May 3

When Maggie Graham lost her job and her apartment fell to pieces, she decided to flee New York City for a while and hide in Vermont, at the Crossroads Theatre. She hadn't planned to audition, yet soon found herself part of the summer stock cast. But her previous acting experiences couldn't prepare her for the theater's unusual staff-and its handsome, almost otherworldly director.

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The Steampunk Bible: An Illustrated Guide to the World of Imaginary Airships, Corsets and Goggles, Mad Scientists & Strange Literature
Jeff VanderMeer
Genre: Anthology
Publisher: Abrams Image
Release Date: May 1

Steampunk—a grafting of Victorian aesthetic and punk rock attitude onto various forms of science-fiction culture—is a phenomenon that has come to influence film, literature, art, music, fashion, and more. The Steampunk Bible is the first compendium about the movement, tracing its roots in the works of Jules Verne and H. G. Wells through its most recent expression in movies such as Sherlock Holmes. Its adherents celebrate the inventor as an artist and hero, re-envisioning and crafting retro technologies including antiquated airships and robots. A burgeoning DIY community has brought a distinctive Victorian-fantasy style to their crafts and art. Steampunk evokes a sense of adventure and discovery, and embraces extinct technologies as a way of talking about the future. This ultimate manual will appeal to aficionados and novices alike as author Jeff VanderMeer takes the reader on a wild ride through the clockwork corridors of Steampunk history.

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Troubletwisters
Garth Nix & Sean Williams
Genre: Middle- grade Fantasy
Publisher: Scholastic
Release Date: May 1

A spectacular new middle-grade fantasy series from NYT bestselling authors Garth Nix and Sean Williams, in which two twins find that they must act as wards against a threatening evil.
The Evil has been trying to break into our dimension and dominate the earth for centuries. Unbeknownst to most of us, there are Wardens all over the globe, who protect humanity from the Evil that asserts itself at the Portals, which are the only places through which the Evil may pass into our world.

Jaide and Jack Shield don't know that the world is under attack. They don't know that their dad and their Grandma X, who they move in with, are Wardens, or that they themselves are troubletwisters, young Wardens just coming into their powers.

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Throne of Fire
Rick Riordan
Genre: Middle- Grade Fantasy
Publisher: Hyperion.
Release Date: May 3

In this exciting second installment of the three-book series, Carter and Sadie, offspring of the brilliant Egyptologist Dr. Julius Kane, embark on a worldwide search for the Book of Ra, but the House of Life and the gods of chaos are determined to stop them.


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Vampire Warlords
Andy Remic
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Angry Robot
Release Date: May 5 (UK)

Legendary warrior Kell must choose to flee the conquered land of Falanor, or fight for its people. Even now it may be too late, that all is lost... for the Vachine invaders have called upon their ancient rulers, semi-immortal bloodsuckers who dwell on the edges between life and death. The vampire warlords have returned, and they will feed.

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