Saturday, August 6, 2011

Count Down to Love by Julie N. Ford

Posted by Simcha 5:37 PM, under | 5 comments

Count Down to Love is not the kind of book that I would normally review here but I was browsing through NetGalley while in the mood for something light and romantic (which is like going food shopping when you’re craving chocolate) and this book sounded like just the kind of literary confection I was hoping for.

When Kelly Pickens’s finance fails to show up for their wedding, her cousin, Sissy, persuades her to participate in the reality TV show that she produces, Count Down To Love, in place of one of the missing contestants. In Count Down to Love a group of single, attractive women are brought to a mansion where they live together for several weeks while they vie for the affection of a handsome and wealthy bachelor. Every few days several of the contestants are eliminated, until only one woman is left, the “perfect match” for the show’s bachelor.

Kelly has no real interest in getting the attention of this season’s bachelor, Dillon Black, but she needs the money that the show will offer her, in order to pay for the expensive wedding that never took place. Kelly also hopes that participating in the show will make her fiancĂ© realize his mistake and come back for her. Sissy’s reassurances that Kelly will only have to stick around for one round also helps persuade her, and before she knows it Kelly finds herself arriving at the Count Down to Love mansion and being greeted by the attractive, blue-eyed, Dillon.

While enjoying the luxuries that the mansion has to offer Kelly does her best to avoid Dillon, as well as the other women who she is supposedly competing against. But Kelly’s roommate is determined to befriend her and rather than being put off by Kelly’s disinterest Dillon seems to find it intriguing. To Kelly’s dismay, instead of heading home after just a few days, as Sissy had promised, she keeps getting invited again and again to to stay on in the mansion. And the more time Kelly spends with Dillon the more she finds herself wanting to stay.

While I’m not a big fan of reality TV I have tuned in to the occasional episode of these matchmaking shows such as The Bachelor and How to Marry a Millionaire and so I was familiar with how these shows worked, and it seemed like a good setting for a romance novel. Both Kelly and Dillon were appealing characters that I enjoyed getting to know, though I was disappointed that the book’s secondary characters received very little attention. When I have watched these shows my favorite parts were seeing how the participants interact with each other and how their relationships develop, but we are privy to very little of this in the story. In fact, after Kelly’s arrival at the mansion, rather than seeing her settle in and respond to her surroundings the story just skips ahead a week, so that I felt like the scenes I had been looking forward to were missing. This actually happened several times, that I got the sense that parts of the story were missing, and I found myself flipping back through the pages to see if if I had somehow overlooked those missing passages.

Other than that, I actually did really enjoy the story and the interactions between Dillion and Kelly were very sweet. Through their time spent together they discover that they do have quite a bit in common, despite their vastly different lifestyles, and Dillion seems intent on keeping Kelly on until the end. But Kelly is uncertain as to how far she can trust Dillion, considering that he is dating several other women at the same time, and tries to keep her distance even as she finds herself falling for him.

I had picked up Count Down to Love because I liked the idea of the dating-show setting and so I was rather disappointed that the details I would have expected from such a setting were downplayed. And yet, I did still enjoy reading this book and following Kelly’s burgeoning romance and her journey of self-discovery. I was particularly pleased with the unexpected way the story concludes, allowing Kelly to bring about her own happy ending.

I think Count Down to Love is a book most romance readers will enjoy.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Friday Finds

Posted by Simcha 9:57 AM, under | 6 comments

Here are the books that I discovered this week...

A Long, Long Sleep
by Anna Sheehan

Rosalinda Fitzroy has been asleep for sixty-two years when she is woken by a kiss.

Locked away in the chemically induced slumber of a stasis tube in a forgotten sub-basement, sixteen-year-old Rose slept straight through the Dark Times that killed millions and utterly changed the world she knew. Now her parents and her first love are long dead, and Rose -- hailed upon her aw...moreRosalinda Fitzroy has been asleep for sixty-two years when she is woken by a kiss.

Locked away in the chemically induced slumber of a stasis tube in a forgotten sub-basement, sixteen-year-old Rose slept straight through the Dark Times that killed millions and utterly changed the world she knew. Now her parents and her first love are long dead, and Rose -- hailed upon her awakening as the long-lost heir to an interplanetary empire -- is thrust alone into a future in which she is viewed as either a freak or a threat.

Desperate to put the past behind her and adapt to her new world, Rose finds herself drawn to the boy who kissed her awake, hoping that he can help her to start fresh. But when a deadly danger jeopardizes her fragile new existance, Rose must face the ghosts of her past with open eyes -- or be left without any future at all.


The Future of Us
by Jay Asher, Carolyn Mackler

It's 1996, and less than half of all American high school students have ever used the Internet.

Emma just got her first computer and an America Online CD-ROM.

Josh is her best friend. They power up and log on--and discover themselves on Facebook, fifteen years in the future.

Everybody wonders what their Destiny will be. Josh and Emma are about to find out.


Ready Player One
by Ernest Cline

A world at stake.
A quest for the ultimate prize.
Are you ready?

It’s the year 2044, and the real world is an ugly place.
Like most of humanity, Wade Watts escapes his grim surroundings by spending his waking hours jacked into the OASIS, a sprawling virtual utopia that lets you be anything you want to be, a place where you can live and play and fall in love on any of ten thousand planets.

And like most of humanity, Wade dreams of being the one to discover the ultimate lottery ticket that lies concealed within this virtual world. For somewhere inside this giant networked playground, OASIS creator James Halliday has hidden a series of fiendish puzzles that will yield massive fortune—and remarkable power—to whoever can unlock them.

For years, millions have struggled fruitlessly to attain this prize, knowing only that Halliday’s riddles are based in the pop culture he loved—that of the late twentieth century. And for years, millions have found in this quest another means of escape, retreating into happy, obsessive study of Halliday’s icons. Like many of his contemporaries, Wade is as comfortable debating the finer points of John Hughes’s oeuvre, playing Pac-Man, or reciting Devo lyrics as he is scrounging power to run his OASIS rig.

And then Wade stumbles upon the first puzzle.

Suddenly the whole world is watching, and thousands of competitors join the hunt—among them certain powerful players who are willing to commit very real murder to beat Wade to this prize. Now the only way for Wade to survive and preserve everything he knows is to win. But to do so, he may have to leave behind his oh-so-perfect virtual existence and face up to life—and love—in the real world he’s always been so desperate to escape.

At once wildly original and stuffed with irresistible nostalgia, Ready Player One is a spectacularly genre-busting, ambitious, and charming debut—part quest novel, part love story, and part virtual space opera set in a universe where spell-slinging mages battle giant Japanese robots, entire planets are inspired by Blade Runner, and flying DeLoreans achieve light speed.


This week's fun images and links:

The Bloggess discovers a new way to have fun with bananas...

One of the best bus advertisments I've ever seen

Want to have a doll made that looks exactly like you? Well, this Japanese company can do it, though some may find the results a little creepy.

You can read more about the cloning process here.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

My Favorite Fictional Character

Posted by Simcha 5:35 PM, under | 6 comments

Today you can find me over at Wordsmithonia talking about one of my favorite fictional characters, Tom Sawyer. To find out why I love Tom read my post here. And make sure to tear into Ryan, who somehow Has Not Read Tom Sawyer! Can you believe it? 

Well it was really nice of Ryan to ask me to participate in his weekly FFC meme and you should make sure to check out his previous posts as well. I'm sure you'll discover many other wonderful fictional characters.

For Esther Friesner fans

Posted by Simcha 5:20 PM, under , | 2 comments

I received this press release from Esther Friesner regarding her Princess of Myth series, and while I haven't yet had a chance to read these books myself (though I do intend to do so soon) I thought it would be of interest to those who have read the books.

Princesses of Myth Series Website Launches

Random House today announced the launch of a new website Esther Friesner's Princesses of Myth series has chronicled Helen of Troy and Nefertiti as young adults.
Described as the "website where girls make history," readers will be able to blog about their reading, participate in contests and follow the development of the series.  Teachers will find classroom resources.

Sphinx's Princess, the second book in the Nefertiti series, was recently recommended by Africa Access as a book that enriches "our perspectives of Africa beyond the stereotypical , ahistorical and exotic images that are emphasized in the West. "

Nebula Award winner Esther Friesner is the author of 34 novels and over 200 short stories, including the story "Thunderbolt" in Random House's Young Warriors anthology, which lead to the creation of Nobody's Princess. She is also the editor of seven popular anthologies.

If you have read these books I'd be interested in hearing what you thought about them.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Divergent by Veronica Roth

Posted by Simcha 7:04 PM, under | 9 comments

Beatrice "Tris" Prior has reached the fateful age of sixteen, the stage at which teenagers in Veronica Roth's dystopian Chicago must select which of five factions to join for life. Each faction represents a virtue: Candor, Abnegation, Dauntless, Amity, and Erudite. To the surprise of herself and her selfless Abnegation family, she chooses Dauntless, the path of courage. Her choice exposes her to the demanding, violent initiation rites of this group, but it also threatens to expose a personal secret that could place in mortal danger. Veronica Roth's young adult Divergent trilogy launches with a captivating adventure about love and loyalty playing out under most extreme circumstances.

YA dystopia is all the rage now, largely thanks to The Hunger Games, a fantastic, pulse-pounding, dystopia that led many readers (including myself) to crave similar books. Since reading The Hunger Games I have read several of the other offerings that have come out, only to be repeatedly disappointed, so by the time I picked up Divergent my expectations were pretty low. But to my delight, Divergent turned out to be just the kind of book I was hoping for and for the past couple days I’ve spent every free minute that I could find immersed in this story.

Beatrice Prior has just turned sixteen which means that it’s time for her to publicly announce the faction that she would like to spend the rest of her life in.
Having spent her childhood as an Abnegation, Beatrice doesn’t think she is meant for the life of quiet, selfless giving that her parents and the rest of the community are dedicated to. Instead Beatrice finds herself drawn to the wild, warrior-like Dauntless, with their tattoo covered bodies and daring acts of devilry. But choosing to join another faction means turning her back on her family and everything that she has been raised to believe in and Beatrice isn’t sure if she is strong enough to do so. When the time comes though, Beatrice makes the decision that will permanently change her life.

As a Dauntless initiate, Beatrice, now known as Tris, is expected to be brave and fearless at all times. The weeks of initiation are filled with daily tests involving brutal fights between initiates and mental exercises in which they are attacked by their fears. With her slight build and background as an Abnegate, Tris has to work harder than anyone to prove herself, though she soon discovers that doing too well can also result in dangerous consequences.

Tris’s new life is full of exciting new experiences, including new friends and a possible romance, but when corruption within the factions threaten her family, and the world that she lives in, Tris will discover what courage really is.

Just a few pages in and Divergent had me fully in its grip. While it starts off a bit slow, introducing us to Tris and the quiet, rigid, life that she lead as an Abnegation, the pace quickly speeds up once Tris joins her new faction. Most of the book describes Tris’s brutal initiation process and we watch as she transforms from a quiet, submissive shadow to a fierce young woman determined to succeed at all cost. But Tris’s current path is often in direct conflict with the ethics that her parents had instilled in her and Tris must find a way to balance the two if she doesn’t want to lose herself completely.

Tris’s personality and the challenges that she faces reminded me a lot of Katniss, which is probably why Divergent is often compared to The Hunger Games. But unlike in the Hunger Games, the futuristic society that Roth creates here wasn’t quite as convincing, and I found it to be the weakest part of the story. The idea that all the people of the world are divided into five communities based on the virtue they believe in the most (knowledge, honesty, selflessness, courage and peacefulness) in order to prevent war makes no sense. And as we can see in this story, animosity and conflict still exist, though it’s now mostly geared towards members of the other factions. A really good dystopia has it's roots in reality which makes the dystopic parts of the story believable and thought provoking, and in this Divergent fell short.

There is also very little explanation as to what each of the different factions actually does. So what if members of Candor believe in being honest, what is their actual role in this society? And how can Abnegation be the official leaders if their belief in selflessness places them on the peripheral of society?  There was just a lot here that was left unexplained, and this did occasionally frustrate me. Mention is also made of a fence that the Dauntless guard but we don’t find out anything more about what they are guarding against and what is on the other side of the fence. Perhaps this will come up in one of the future books, but based on the way Divergant ends I’m not sure of that.

While I think Divergant would have been a much more powerful book had all the details about this future world been hashed out a bit better, it was still one of the best YA dystopias that I have read in a while and I’m very much looking forward to the next book in the series.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

New Scifi and Fantasy Releases: Week of July 31

Across the Great Barrier (Frontier Magic, #2)

Patricia C. Wrede
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publisher: Scholastic
Release Date: August 1

Eff is an unlucky thirteenth child - her twin brother, Lan, is a powerful seventh son of a seventh son. And yet, Eff is the one who saved the day for the settlements west of the Great Barrier. Her unique ways of doing magic and seeing the world, and her fascination with the magical creatures and land in the Great Plains push Eff to work toward joining an expedition heading west. But things are changing on the frontier.

There are new professors of magic for Eff and Lan to learn to work with. There's tension between William and his father. And there are new threats on the frontier and at home. To help, Eff must travel beyond the Barrier, and come to terms with her magical abilities—and those of her brother, to stop the newest threat encroaching on the settlers.

With wit, magic, and a touch of good pioneer sense, Patricia C. Wrede weaves a fantastic tale of the very wild west.


Another Kind of Dead (Dreg City #3)
Kelly Meding
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Random House
Release Date: August 2

She can heal her own wounds. She can nail a monster to a wall. But there’s one danger Evangeline Stone never saw coming.

Been there. Done that. Evy Stone is a former Dreg Bounty Hunter who died and came back to life with some extraordinary powers. Now all but five people in the world think she is dead again, this time for good—immolated in a factory fire set specifically for her. Evy and Wyatt, her partner/lover/friend, can no longer trust their former allies, or even the highest echelons of the Triads—the army of fighters holding back from an unsuspecting public a tide of quarreling, otherworldly creatures—they can trust only each other. Because when the Triads raided a macabre, monster-filled lab of science experiments and hauled away the remnants, they failed to capture their creator: a brilliant, vampire-obsessed scientist with a wealth of powerful, anti-Dreg weaponry to trade for what he desires most of all—Evy Stone: alive and well, and the key to his ultimate experiment in mad science.


Basilisk (Chimera, #2)
Rob Thurman
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Roc
Release Date: August 2

Stefan Korsak and his genetically-altered brother have evaded the Institute for three years. When they learn the new location of the secret lab, they plan to break in and save the remaining children there. But one of the little ones doesn't want to leave. She wants to kill...


A Blight of Mages
Karen Miller
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Orbit
Release Date: August 4

Hundreds of years before the great Mage War, a land lies, unknowing, on the edge of catastrophe...

Barl is young and impulsive, but she has a power within that calls to her. In her city, however, only those of noble blood and with the right connections learn the ways of the arcane. Barl is desperate to learn-but her eagerness to use her power leads her astray and she is banned from ever learning the mystic arts.

Morgan holds the key to her education. A member of the Council of Mages, he lives to maintain the status quo, preserve the mage bloodlines, and pursue his scholarly experiments. But Barl's power intrigues him-in spite of her low status.

Together, he realizes they can create extraordinary new incantations. Morgan's ambition and Barl's power make a potent combination. What she does not see is the darkness in him that won't be denied.

A Blight of Mages is the new novel set in the world of Karen Miller's bestselling debut The Innocent Mage.


Dark Angel (Dark Angel, #1)
Eden Maguire
Genre: YA Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Hodder Children's Books
Release Date: August 2

Tania's heart belongs to Orlando. Nothing can rip them apart. Until the seduction begins in a flurry of glamour and magic, music and parties all orchestrated by the mysterious and mesmerising Zoran, an iconic rock star who has retired to a remote ranch in the nearby mountains. And there Tania meets the dark side. Can she resist temptation?


The Crown of the Conqueror (Crown of the Blood #2)
Gav Thorpe
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Angry Robot
Release Date: August 4

Ullsaard has won the crown

But when he is confronted with a truth too shocking to contemplate, he has to make the impossible choice between power and honour.

And now the real battle has begun in this stunning sequel to The Crown of the Blood, packed with gargantuan battles, demonic magic and treacherous politics.


Darkness Descending (Vampire Armageddon #1)
Devyn Quinn
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Signet
Release Date: August 2

Fallen angels in the form of vampires are infecting humans one by one, creating an army fit for Armageddon. Jesse Burke, driven by vengeance to destroy the vampiric angels, has been protecting New Orleans from the onslaught, unaware that she has a much greater destiny awaiting her in the face of the oncoming apocalypse...

Dark Parties
Sara Grant
Genre: YA Dystopia
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Release Date: August 3

Sixteen-year-old Neva has been trapped since birth. She was born and raised under the Protectosphere, in an isolated nation ruled by fear, lies, and xenophobia. A shield "protects" them from the outside world, but also locks the citizens inside. But there's nothing left on the outside, ever since the world collapsed from violent warfare. Or so the government says...

Neva and her best friend Sanna believe the government is lying and stage a "dark party" to recruit members for their underground rebellion. But as Neva begins to uncover the truth, she realizes she must question everything she's ever known, including the people she loves the most.


Dark Souls
Paula Morris
Genre: YA Paranormal
Publisher: Point
Release Date: August 1

Welcome to York, England.

Mist lingers in the streets.

Narrow buildings cast long shadows.

This is the most haunted city in the world. . . .

Miranda Tennant arrives in York with a terrible, tragic secret. She is eager to lose herself amid the quaint cobblestones, hoping she won’t run into the countless ghosts who supposedly roam the city. . . .

Then she meets Nick, an intense, dark-eyed boy who knows all of York’s hidden places and histories. Miranda wonders if Nick is falling for her, but she is distracted by another boy — one even more handsome and mysterious than Nick. He lives in the house across from Miranda and seems desperate to send her some sort of message. Could this boy be one of York’s haunted souls?

Soon, Miranda realizes that something dangerous — and deadly — is being planned. And she may have to face the darkest part of herself in order to unravel the mystery — and find redemption.


The Diviner
Melanie Rawn
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: DAW
Release Date: August 2

The only survivor of royal treachery that eliminates his entire family, Azzad al-Ma'aliq flees to the desert and dedicates himself to vengeance. With the help of the Shagara, a nomadic tribe of powerful magicians, he begins to take his revenge-but at a terrible cost to himself.


Downpour (Greywalker #6)
Kat Richardson
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Piatkus Books
Release Date: August 4

Harper Blaine is on the mend, but evil never rests-in the latest novel from the national bestselling author of Labyrinth.

After being shot in the back and dying-again- Greywalker Harper Blaine's only respite from the chaos is her work. But while conducting a pre-trial investigation in the Olympic Peninsula, she sees a ghostly car accident whose victim insists that he was murdered and that the nearby community of Sunset Lakes is to blame.

Harper soon learns that the icy waters of the lake hide a terrible power, and a host of hellish beings under the thrall of a sinister cabal that will use the darkest of arts to achieve their fiendish ends…


Dream Dark: A Beautiful Creatures Story (Caster Chronicles #2.5)
Kami Garcia, Margaret Stohl
Genre: YA Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Release Date: August 2

When Link joined his best friend, Ethan Wate, on a quest through a mysterious network of underground passageways endlessly crisscrossing the South, he knew the journey would be dangerous. But returning home to Gatlin, South Carolina was just the beginning...

Wounded during a climactic battle, Link discovers that tending his injuries won't be as simple as visiting a doctor and that healing his arm should be the least of his worries. For being bitten by a Supernatural does more than break the skin -- it changes a person, inside and out, turning Link into someone more and more like the dark creature who injured him.

In this never-before-seen short story by New York Times bestselling authors Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, readers witness Link's heart-racing transformation. Dream Dark is set before the much-anticipated third Beautiful Creatures novel, Beautiful Chaos, and as a special bonus includes an exclusive sneak peek at the first five chapters.


First Command
A. Bertram Chandler
Genre: Science Fiction
Publisher: Baen
Release Date: August 2

The second in a three-volume collection of the legendary John Grimes books! Classic Star Trek meets the high seas. If space travel is going to be anything like sailing the oceans, then A. Bertram Chandler has surely caught its absolute essence in his Grimes novels. Here it is, the entire “Captain John Grimes – Far Traveller Courier” saga, collected in one volume. These are the tales of John Grimes’ action-packed merchantman and courier years. After moving on from the Terran Navy, Grimes tries his hand at leading a private life, and finds he likes being his own man. The only problem is, his ship The Far Traveller has a (very stubborn and very feminine) mind of its own -- and a penchant for getting Grimes into the worse sort of interplanetary pickles!

Includes: The Far Traveller (with the classic John Grimes stories that started it all), Star Courier, To Keep the Ship, Matilda’s Stepchildren, Star Loot, The Anarch Lords, The Last Amazon, and The Wild Ones.


Home Improvement: Undead Edition
Edited by Charlaine Harris & Toni L.P. Kelner
Genre: Urban Fantasy Anthology
Publisher: Ace
Release Date: August 2

The editors of the New York Times bestselling Death's Excellent Vacation bring home a new collection...with a never-before- published Sookie Stackhouse story!

There's nothing like home renovation for finding skeletons in the closet or otherwordly portals in the attic. Now, for any homeowner who's ever wondered, "What's that creaking sound?" or fans of "how to" television who'd like a little unreality mixed in with their reality shows, editors Charlaine Harris and Toni L. P. Kelner return with an all-new collection of the paranormal perils of Do-It-Yourself.

Sookie Stackhouse resides in these pages, in a never-before-published story by #1 New York Times bestselling author Charlaine Harris. And New York Times bestselling authors Patricia Briggs, James Grady, Heather Graham, Melissa Marr, and nine other outstanding writers have constructed more frightening and funny fixer-upper tales guaranteed to shake foundations and rattle readers' pipes.


Forbidden (The Demon Trappers #2)
Jana Oliver
Genre: YA Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books
Release Date: August 5

Riley's beginning to think being a demon trapper isn't all it's cracked up to be. Her dad's been stolen by a necromancer, her boyfriend's gone all weird and she's getting warm and fuzzy feelings for someone who's seriously bad news. It's tempting to give it all up and try to be normal, but that's not an option. Because the demons have plans for Riley. And they're not the o...moreRiley's beginning to think being a demon trapper isn't all it's cracked up to be. Her dad's been stolen by a necromancer, her boyfriend's gone all weird and she's getting warm and fuzzy feelings for someone who's seriously bad news. It's tempting to give it all up and try to be normal, but that's not an option. Because the demons have plans for Riley. And they're not the only ones.


The Last Four Things (Thomas Cale #2)
Paul Hoffman
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Dutton
Release Date: August 4

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.


The Magdalena Curse
F.G. Cottam
Genre: Horror
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books
Release Date: August 2

It only takes a couple of visits to convince Dr Elizabeth Bancroft that Adam Hunter is not just having bad dreams. He's a child possessed. His father is desperate: adamant that his son's affliction is the result of a curse he incurred in the depths of the Amazon, where a badly misguided military operation ended in a terrifying and macabre encounter. There he met two women -- one more bad than good, who placed the curse - and the other more good than bad, with whom any hope of saving his son resides. Mark Hunter leaves the Scottish Highlands to beg help from the mysterious woman, leaving his son in the care of Elizabeth -- who is about to discover there are equally dark secrets on their own doorstep. And in her blood...


The Moonlight Brigade (Millennial #2)
Sarah-Jane Stratford
Genre: Paranormal/Alternate History
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Release Date: August 2

When a vital member of the millennials’ mission goes missing after an intense firefight with Nazi-supported vampire hunters, Mors, the mission’s powerful leader vows to discover the truth behind his disappearance. His search for his friend leads him from Berlin to his ancient stomping grounds—Rome. Before he was turned into a vampire under suspicious and unprecedented circumstances, Mors was one of the Roman Republic’s greatest generals…and the sight of his ancestral home under fascism’s terrible grip is more than he can bear. He soon hatches a plan to return Italy to a democratic state, one he imagines himself at the helm of. But it will take collaboration with human partisans to achieve his dream, a dangerous alliance that most vampires would never attempt, made even more unstable by his growing feelings for their beautiful organizer, Giulia. As Allied forces prepare to invade Italy, and hunters and Nazi-collaborators begin to encircle him, Mors becomes torn between his obligations to find his missing friend, his intense passion for a human woman and his hunger to return to power…


Mortality Bridge
Steven R. Boyett
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Subterranean Press
Release Date: July 31

Decades ago a young rock and blues guitarist and junkie named Niko signed in blood on the dotted line and in return became the stuff of music legend. But when the love of his damned life grows mortally and mysteriously ill he realizes he's lost more than he bargained for--and that wasn t part of the Deal.

So Niko sets out on a harrowing journey from the streets of Los Angeles through the downtown subway tunnels and across the redlit plain of the most vividly realized Hell since Dante, to play the gig of his mortgaged life and win back the purloined soul of his lost love.

Mortality Bridge remixes Orpheus, Dante, Faust, the Crossroads legend, and more in a beautiful, brutal--and surprisingly funny--quest across a Hieronymous Bosch landscape of myth, music, and mayhem; and across an inner terrain of addiction, damnation, and redemption.


Prince of Thorns
Mark Lawrence
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Release Date: August 4

"Before the thorns taught me their sharp lessons and bled weakness from me I had but one brother, and I loved him well. But those days are gone and what is left of them lies in my mother's tomb. Now I have many brothers, quick with knife and sword, and as evil as you please. We ride this broken empire and loot its corpse. They say these are violent times, the end of days when the dead roam and monsters haunt the night. All that's true enough, but there's something worse out there, in the dark. Much worse."

Once a privileged royal child, raised by a loving mother, Jorg Ancrath has become the Prince of Thorns, a charming, immoral boy leading a grim band of outlaws in a series of raids and atrocities. The world is in chaos: violence is rife, nightmares everywhere. Jorg's bleak past has set him beyond fear of any man, living or dead, but there is still one thing that puts a chill in him. Returning to his father's castle Jorg must confront horrors from his childhood and carve himself a future with all hands turned against him.

Prince of Thorns is the first volume in a powerful new epic fantasy trilogy, original, absorbing and challenging. Mark Lawrence’s debut novel tells a tale of blood and treachery, magic and brotherhood and paints a compelling and brutal, sometimes beautiful, picture of an exceptional boy on his journey toward manhood and the throne.


Omnitopia: East Wind (Omnitopia #2)
Diane Duane
Genre: Science Fiction
Publisher: DAW
Release Date: August 2

The New York Times bestselling author continues her Omnitopia saga.

The most popular online multiplayer platform gaming universe of all is Omnitopia, created by genius programmer Dev Logan. For millions of people, Omnitopia is an obsession, a passionate pastime, almost a way of life.

But Omnitopia is more than a game. Now, the Chinese, the North Koreans, the CIA and NSA, and various international cartels are determined to ferret out the secret behind Omnitopia's operating system-and steal the technology for their own purposes.


Real Vampires Don't Wear Size Six
Gerry Bartlett
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Penguin
Release Date: August 2

For a vampire, losing weight can be hellish-from the national bestselling author of Real Vampires Hate Their Thighs.

After Glory St. Clair kicked out the demon that had set up shop in her body, she had a serious fallout with longtime lover Jeremy Blade. But before Glory can win him back, she has some issues of the hellish variety to deal with.

When Lucifer himself offers Glory the ultimate temptation-work for the devil and he'll make her a size six-the curvy vampire's not sure if she can resist. But what Glory does know is that somehow, she's going to get back the man she loves and show everyone that real vampires always have more to love.


REALITY 36 (A Richards and Klein Case)
Guy Haley
Genre: Science Fiction
Publisher: Angry Robot
Release Date: August 4 (UK)

SOMETHING IS AMISS IN THE RENEGADE DIGITAL REALM OF REALITY 36. brRichards - a Level 5 AI with a PI fetish - and his partner, a decommissioned German military cyborg, are on the trail of a murderer, but the killer has hidden inside an artificial reality. Richards and Klein must stop him before he becomes a god - for the good of all the realms.


Rip Tide (Dark Life #2)
Kat Falls
Genre: YA Science Fiction
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Childrens Books
Release Date: August 4

Return to the subsea frontier with Ty and Gemma! The mysteries of the deep are deadlier than ever when Ty'With time running out for his parents, Ty's desperation leads the two teenagers to the underwater underworld...and into an alliance with the outlaws of the Seablite Gang. But one mystery soon leads to another. How has an entire township disappered? Why is the local sealife suddenly so aggressive? And can the Seablite Gang be trusted...or are Ty and Gemma in deeper water than they realize?


Southern Gods
John Hornor Jacobs
Genre: Thriller
Publisher: Night Shade Books
Release Date: August 2

Recent World War II veteran Bull Ingram is working as muscle when a Memphis DJ hires him to find Ramblin' John Hastur. The mysterious blues man's dark, driving music - broadcast at ever-shifting frequencies by a phantom radio station - is said to make living men insane and dead men rise. Disturbed and enraged by the bootleg recording the DJ plays for him, Ingram follows Hastur's trail into the strange, uncivilized backwoods of Arkansas, where he hears rumors the musician has sold his soul to the Devil. But as Ingram closes in on Hastur and those who have crossed his path, he'll learn there are forces much more malevolent than the Devil and reckonings more painful than Hell...
In a masterful debut of Lovecraftian horror and Southern gothic menace, John Hornor Jacobs reveals the fragility of free will, the dangerous power of sacrifice, and the insidious strength of blood.


Steelhands (Havemercy #4)
Jaida Jones, Danielle Bennett
Genre: Steampunk
Publisher: Spectra
Release Date: August 2

With Havemercy, Shadow Magic, and Dragon Soul, the acclaimed writing team of Jaida Jones and Danielle Bennett has fused magic and technology into something that can only be termed “magicpunk.” Their distinctive style, featuring a chorus of quirky first-person narrators and brilliantly sophisticated world-building, has won these young writers the plaudits of fans and critics.

In the Volstov capital of Thremedon, Owen Adamo, the hard-as-nails ex–Chief Sergeant of the Dragon Corps, learns that Volstov’s ruler, the Esar, has been secretly pursuing the possibility of resurrecting magically powered sentient robot dragons—even at the risk of igniting another war. That Adamo will not allow. Though he is not without friends—Royston, a powerful magician, and Balfour, a former corpsman—there is only so much Adamo and his allies can do. Adamo has been put out to pasture, given a professorship at the University. Royston, already exiled once, dares not risk the Esar’s wrath a second time. And Balfour, who lost both hands in the climactic battle of the war, is now a diplomat who spends most of his time trying to master his new hands—metal replacements that operate on the same magical principles as the dragons and have earned him an assortment of nicknames of which “Steelhands” is the least offensive.

But sometimes help comes where you least expect it. In this case, from two first-year university students freshly arrived in Thremedon from the country: Laurence, a feisty young woman whose father raised her to be the son he never had, and Toverre, her fiancĂ©, a brilliant if neurotic dandy who would sooner share his wife-to-be’s clothes than her bed. When a mysterious illness strikes the first-year students, Laurence takes her suspicions to Adamo—and unwittingly sets in motion events that will change Volstov forever.


Alastair Reynolds
Genre: Science Fiction
Publisher: Subterranean Press
Release Date: July 31

Troika tells the story of men and women confronting an enigma known as the Matryoshka, a vast alien construct whose periodic appearances have generated terror, wonder, and endless debate. During its third "apparition" in a remote corner of the galaxy, a trio of Russian cosmonauts approach this enigma and attempt to penetrate its mysteries.


The Watchtower (Black Swan Rising #2)
Lee Carroll
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Tor
Release Date: August 2

What secrets are hidden in her past . . . ?

Jewelry designer Garet James is still coming to terms with the astounding revelation in BLACK SWAN RISING that she is the last in a long line of women sworn to protect the world from evil. Now she has received a sign from Will Hughes, the 400-year-old vampire who once helped her defeat the evil threatening to destroy New York City. Hughes, tortured by his own violent history which is vividly reenacted here, has asked her to join him on a quest to rid himself of his curse of vampirism. While looking for Will in Paris, Garet encounters a number of mysterious figures-an ancient botanist metamorphosed into the oldest tree in Paris, a gnome who lives under the Labyrinth at the Jardin des Plantes, a librarian at the Institut Oceanographique, and a dryad in the Luxembourg Gardens.

Each encounter leads Garet closer to finding Will Hughes, but she realizes that she’s not the only one who’s trying to find the way to the magical world called the Summer Country. As Garet struggles to understand her family legacy, each answer she finds only leads to more questions—and to more danger.…


Water to Burn (Nola O'Grady #2)
Katharine Kerr
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: DAW
Release Date: August 2

Secret agent Nola O'Grady is back and ready to save San Francisco from all evildoers, alien and otherwise. With the aid of her bodyguard and lover Ari Nathan, Nola's new mission is to track down and apprehend the mysterious "Brother Belial," head of the now-dispersed Chaos cult-and a possible invader from another dimension.


Working Stiff (Revivalist #1)
Rachel Caine
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Roc
Release Date: August 2

Bryn Davis was killed on the job after discovering her bosses were selling a drug designed to resurrect the dead. Now, revived by that same drug, she becomes an undead soldier in a corporate war to take down the very pharmaceutical company responsible for her new condition


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