Thursday, September 8, 2011

Before I Go to Sleep by S.J. Watson

Posted by Simcha 7:19 PM, under | 8 comments

    The Bedroom is strange. Unfamiliar. I don't know where I am, how I came to be here. I don't know how I'm going to get home. I have spent the night here. 
    I was woken by a woman's voice- at first I thought she was in bed with me, but then realized she was reading the news and I was hearing a radio alarm- and when I opened my eyes found myself here. In this room I do not recognize.  
    My eyes adjust and I look around in the near-dark. A dressing gown hangs off the back of the closet door- suitable for a woman, but for one much older than I am- and some dark-colored trousers are folded neatly over the back of a chair at the dressing table, but I can make out little else...It is then that I hear a juddering intake of breath behind me and realize that I am not alone. I turn around. I see an expanse of skin and dark hair, flecked with white. A man... 
    I lie as still as possible. Usually I can remember how I get into situations like this, but not today. There must have been a party, or a trip to a bar or a club. I must have been pretty wasted. Wasted enough that I don't remember anything at all. Wasted enough to have gone home with a man with a wedding ring and hairs on his back.

When Christine wakes up one morning she finds herself in an unfamiliar room lying in bed beside a strange man. She assumes that this is the result of a wild night of drunken revelry, since she can't remember anything about how she got there. She does feel slightly ashamed when she notices that the man beside her is sporting a wedding ring, and wonders where his wife might be. Creeping to the bathroom, Christine hopes to make her getaway before the man wakes up, but then she looks in the mirror and her world shatters.

The face in the mirror, the pictures on the wall, all tell a story of a life that Christine has lived but can not remember. It seems that the man in the bed is her husband, Ben and, as he gently explains to Christine, due to a car accident twenty years ago she is now suffering from reoccurring amnesia. Each morning she wakes up with no memory of the day before, or of any of the other days that have passed since the accident.

Ben shows Christine around the house and offers a brief explanation about their life, a routine that he apparently goes through each day. Ben then heads off to work, leaving Christine with a well-worn scrapbook as proof of the life she can't remember. But then Christine discovers that there is also a journal in which she has been chronicling her daily experiences for the last few weeks- a journal that Ben does not know about. 

When Christine opens the journal she encounters a message from herself that terrifies her.  Don't Trust Ben, it says. With some apprehension Christine turns the page and continues reading, hoping the journal will provide her with some of the clarity that she is so desperate for.  Though as she reads each entry Christine realizes that there is something strange going on and that Ben has been keeping secrets from her. Is it in order to protect her or is something more sinister going on?

Before I go to Sleep was a very different book from what I had expected. Based on the cover and the book blurb I had been prepared for a psychological thriller, and since I very rarely read such books I really had to mentally gear myself up for reading it. But ever since I heard about this book I just had to know how the story played out, and so I was prepared to step outside my reading comfort zone in order to find out. But my nervousness of venturing into this intimidating, and slightly frightening genre, was wasted because Before I go to Sleep was surprisingly mild. It was like bracing yourself to bite into a hot chili only to find yourself chewing on a slightly sweet pepper. A bit of a relief but also somewhat disappointing.

Despite the fact that there should have been a steady build-up of tension and suspense, as Christine goes through her journal and realizes that something is not right, the only thing I felt was curiosity about what would happen next. The sinister atmosphere that I would have expected in such a story was completely lacking, even when events come to a head and the real danger is revealed. Even though I was pretty sure that I knew how the story would end it was never completely clear who the villain might be. Is it Ben, who clearly loves Christine and is so patient in dealing with her amnesia, or maybe the doctor who claims to be helping Christine in recovering her memory? But since Christine is dealing with a severe handicap that prevents her from seeing the complete picture, we are as well.

There were several holes in the story where it felt like events had been forced in order to move them along in the direction the author wanted them to go. For days after finishing the book I kept thinking back to the story, coming up with new details that I suddenly realize didn't make much sense. In order for events to have unfolded as they did there would have had to have been many mis-communications between the characters and people turning up just when they are needed, all of which felt somewhat manufactured.

This isn't to say that I didn't enjoy the story, because I really did, though it wasn't the mystery or suspense that caught my interest but rather Christine herself, and  her journey of discovery. While reading this book I really came to appreciate what a wonderful thing memory is and how frightening it would be to suddenly be without it, which isn't something I had ever really thought about before. But through Christine I really came to feel the fear and confusion that would result in having your past be completely lost to you. At one point Christine is unable to write in her journal for a week and when she starts up again she wonders what she had done during each of those days. It was this that really brought home for me the horror of such a situation.

But slowly, with the help of her journal, Christine manages to capture some of her memories and piece together the details of her life, which is when she  becomes aware of some inconsistencies in the story she has been told about herself, hinting at a some unpleasant secrets.

Unfortunately I figured out what the big secret was pretty early on and, despite my hopes, wasn't rewarded with any real surprises when The Big Reveal was made. The end was a bit of a let-down for this reason, as well as for several others, which I won't get into. I'll just say that the characters involved didn't respond in a way that I found satisfying.

Despite its weaknesses, Before I Go To Sleep is a compelling story that gave me a new appreciation for the seemingly simple ability of remembering. Christine was a very well-drawn character whose struggles and achievements will probably cause her to stay with me for a while.

Monday, September 5, 2011

New Scifi and Fantasy Releases: Week of September 5

Posted by Simcha 2:49 PM, under | 7 comments

This is definitely the longest New Release lists that I've ever put together though there are actually very few books here that have really captured my interest. The one book that that has been on my To-Read list is Gabrielle Zevi's All These Things I've Done, which seems to have combined chocolate and YA dystopia, and therefore is a must-read for me.

Most of the other books here appear to be part of various series that I haven't read, or have tried but didn't interest me enough to continue with (such as the October Daye books which everyone but me seems to love).

There are a couple of books that I think sound promising and I'll have to look into them a bit to see what the reviewers have to say. Those are The Pearl Wars by Nick James and Sweet Venom by Tera Lynn Childs. If you've already read these books I'd be interested in hearing what you thought about them.

Meanwhile, I am completely caught up in Before I Go To Sleep by S.J Watson and now that I've finished updating you guys on all the newest SFF reads, I'm heading back to my book.

Have a great reading week!


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All These Things I've Done
Gabrielle Zevin 
Genre: YA Dystopia
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Release Date: September 6

In 2083, chocolate and coffee are illegal, paper is hard to find, water is carefully rationed, and New York City is rife with crime and poverty. And yet, for Anya Balanchine, the sixteen-year-old daughter of the city's most notorious (and dead) crime boss, life is fairly routine. It consists of going to school, taking care of her siblings and her dying grandmother, trying to avoid falling in love with the new assistant D.A.'s son, and avoiding her loser ex-boyfriend. That is until her ex is accidentally poisoned by the chocolate her family manufactures and the police think she's to blame. Suddenly, Anya finds herself thrust unwillingly into the spotlight--at school, in the news, and most importantly, within her mafia family. 

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Archangel's Blade (Guild Hunter, #4)
Nalini Singh
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Berkley Sensation
Release Date: September 6

Trying to discover the identity of a murder victim brings together the vampire Dmitri and a hunter for the Guild, Honor. And as the gruesome murders continue, a lethal sensuality explodes between them.

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Ashes
Ilsa J. Bick
Genre: YA Post Apocolyptic
Publisher: EgmontUSA
Release Date: September 6

It could happen tomorrow...

A cataclysmic event. An army of "The Changed."
Can one teen really survive on her own?

An electromagnetic pulse sweeps through the sky, destroying every electronic device and killing billions. For those spared, it's a question of who can be trusted and who is no longer human...

Desperate to find out what happened and to avoid the Changed, Alex meets up with Tom---a young army veteran---and Ellie, a young girl whose grandfather was killed by the electromagnetic pulse.

This improvised family will have to use every ounce of courage they have just to survive.

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Blood (Mercian Trilogy #1)
K.J. Wignall
Genre: YA Paranormal
Publisher: Egmont Books
Release Date: September 5

I do not remember being bitten. I wish I did, for then I would know the creature who did this to me and I would have a purpose, to track him down and repay him for the poisoned gift he gave me. Back in the Thirteenth Century, Will was destined to be Earl of Mercia, although he never lived to inherit his title. In the centuries that follow, Will has led a lonely life, learning to deal with whatever the present day throws at him, always searching for answers but never finding any. Until this time, when he awakens after a 20-year-slumber, hungry for the blood that sustains his undeath, when it appears that he is finally getting a glimpse at why he exists. He does indeed have a destiny, and an enemy, but revealing that fate will be a matter of trust...

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Blood Spirits
Sherwood Smith
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: DAW
Release Date: September 6

Everyone's favorite sword-wielding California girl returns-from the author of Coronets and Steel.
With the man she loves set to marry a look-alike princess, Kim Murray returns to California from the magical country of Dobrenica to heal her broken heart. But family politics soon have her leaving for London, where she is forced into a duel with a Dobrenican nobleman. He reveals that her great sacrifice, leaving Alec, was a disaster. To fix her mistake, Kim returns to Dobrenica, but what she finds there is far more shocking and dangerous than she ever imagined. Not just politics and personalities but ghosts and magic, murder and mystery, await her as she struggles to understand the many faces of love. Once again Kim has to take sword in hand as she tries to make peace and learn the truth. Only, whose truth? 

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The Book of Cthulhu
Edited by Ross E. Lockhart
Genre: Antyhology
Publisher: Night Shade Books
Release Date: September 1

The Cthulhu Mythos is one of the 20th century''s most singularly recognizable literary creations. Initially created by H. P. Lovecraft and a group of his amorphous contemporaries (the so-called "Lovecraft Circle"), The Cthulhu Mythos story cycle has taken on a convoluted, cyclopean life of its own. Some of the most prodigious writers of the 20th century, and some of the most astounding writers of the 21st century have planted their seeds in this fertile soil. The Book of Cthulhu harvests the weirdest and most corpulent crop of these modern mythos tales. From weird fiction masters to enigmatic rising stars, The Book of Cthulhu demonstrates how Mythos fiction has been a major cultural meme throughout the 20th century, and how this type of story is still salient, and terribly powerful today.

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The Crystal Variation
Sharon Lee & Steve Miller
Genre: Science Fiction
Publisher: Baen
Release Date: September 6

The three Liaden Universe®  “origin” novels collected together for the very first time in one omni edition! Across a fallen galaxy, the Liaden have risen to take on the challenge of bringing trade and civilization to the stars and, in the process, made themselves the aristocrats of known space. Bred to scout, to pilot and to trade, Clan Korval is ascendant among other families arrayed within the incredibly intricate and formal Liad social structure. But along the way Korval makes powerful enemies. Lee and Miller quite simply set the modern standard for full-on, audacious space opera.

Crystal Soldier

The galaxy is in danger. A mysterious alien race of energy being called the shereika is rapidly unmaking – dissipating, lock, stock and quark -- entire star systems. Humans are making their last stand. M. Jela is a top-of-the-line of soldier who realizes the peril and persuades a talented space ship pilot named Cantra yos’Phelium to help what humans remain to escape to an alternate reality with unpopulated, but livable, star systems: the Liaden® universe!

Crystal Dragon

Cantra is revealed to be no merely a great pilot, but a genetically engineered aelantaza, or assassin and spy whose specialty is taking on the entire personality of her “cover,” so much so that she believes it herself. She remakes herself, as only a aelantaza can, and infiltrates the scholarly towers on the university world of Landomist where she narrowly avoids being killed in scholarly conflicts. There she liberates the scholar Liad dea’Syl, along with the equations for escape stored inside his head. Once in her new domain, Cantra creates a hereditary alliance to protect her child by Jela – to be known (and become legendary) as Clan Korval.

Balance of Trade

Young Jethri Gobelyn is a young Terran, working on his family's trading spaceship. Jethri has ambition, and he sets out to make a name for himself in the time-honored fashion of his family by investing in a trading scheme with what he takes to be a bona fide Liaden® master trader. But when Jethri discovers he’s been had, Jethri must master the intricacies of Liaden society, which include many formal rules and regulations of behavior, to regain his place – and face – within the clan. 

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Damage
Anya Parrish
Genre: YA Paranormal/ Horror
Publisher: Flux
Release Date: September 8

There was a time when I prayed for Rachel to be real. Until the night I learned she'd always planned to kill me.
When Dani was eight, she fell from a building. No one believed her claim that she was pushed by Rachel . . . her imaginary friend. It took years of therapy to convince Dani that Rachel wasn't real.
Now fifteen, Dani wants to make it as a dancer. But a deadly freak accident sends Dani a terrifying message: Rachel is back, she's real, and she'll stop at nothing to kill Dani.
Complicating matters is Jesse, the school bad boy who's being stalked by his own invisible childhood nemesis. Dani and Jesse join forces to learn why their astral tormenters are back. Their investigation leads to a horrifying discovery—and the terrible experiment that binds them to each other.

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Dark Predator (Carpathians, #22)
Christine Feehan
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: September 6

As brutal as the undead he hunted, Zacarias De La Cruz was a master executioner. Over the long, dark centuries, he plunged into so many battles they blurred into an endless lifetime of evil that hardened the soul of this merciless, ruthless and implacable dark predator.

Now his stark and savage journey is over. After a thousand years in a grey world, he has accomplished everything he set out to do. His brothers are safeguarded. Each has found a woman who completes them. And they are at peace. For his brothers, Zacarias has walked the edge of madness, but with centuries as a killing machine now left to the past and without a hunt to define him, Zacarias wonders, for the first time in his life, who he really is.

The answer awaits him back home in Peru, in the betrayal of a woman who is readying her trap, in the vengeance of an old enemy, in the inevitable consequences of a bloody family legacy, and in the deliverance of a lifemate he never could have imagined.

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Demon Marked (The Guardians, #7)
Meljean Brook
Genre: Urban Fantasy/ Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Berkley Sensation
Release Date: September 6

Nicholas St. Croix is familiar with the evil of demons. After his father’s death, a demon took over his mother’s body and raised him. Six years ago, his “mother” was responsible for the disappearance of the woman he loved, and Nicholas swore he’d find her—even if he had to go to Hell and back. Except she finds him first—and with one tormented kiss, he knows she too is a demon. Now he is determined to take his revenge…

Ash is a half-demon with no memory of her past or how she got to Hell. All she knows is that Nicholas St. Croix holds the key to her identity. And though he’s clearly drawn to her, Nicholas makes no secret of his distrust of her. Yet one kiss at a time, he breaks down her defenses as they battle an array of demons and Guardians. But is Ash’s greatest enemy the man at her side?

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End of Days (The Fallen #5)
Thomas E. Sniegoski
Genre: YA Paranormal
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: September 6

Victory is fleeting, but defeat is eternal.
The war between Heaven and Hell rages on. Aaron, half-angel and half-human, commands the Fallen in their quest to protect humanity. But evil forces gain strength at every turn. And lurking somewhere in the shadows is Archangel Gabriel’s instrument with the power to call down the End of Days.
Aaron draws confidence from the girl he loves as he struggles to make peace with his legacy as Lucifer’s son. These are desperate times, and Aaron knows the Fallen will need to forge new, unlikely alliances to survive.
With the fate of the world hanging in the balance, Aaron will stop at nothing to defend civilization—and the girl who holds his heart. Even if it means venturing to Hell and back.

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Envy (The Fallen Angels, #3)
J. R. Ward
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Signet
Release Date: September 6

Seven deadly sins. Seven souls to save. And a man and a woman treading the lines of danger, desire and deliverance ...As the son of a serial killer, homicide detective Thomas 'Veck' DelVecchio, Jr, grew up in the shadow of evil. Now, on the knife-edge between civic duty and blind retribution, he atones for the sins of his father - while fighting his inner demons. Assigned to monitor Veck is Internal Affairs officer Sophia Reilly, whose interest in him is both professional and arousingly personal. And Veck and Sophia have another link: Jim Heron, a mysterious stranger with too many answers ...to questions that are deadly. When Veck and Sophia are drawn into the ultimate battle between good and evil, their fallen angel saviour is the only thing that stands between them and eternal damnation.

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Ghosts By Gaslight: Stories of Steampunk & Supernatural Suspense
edited by Jack Dann & Nick Gevers
Genre: Steampunk Anthology
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Release Date: September 6

Edited by Jack Dann (World Fantasy Award-winning co-editor of Dreaming Down Under) and Nick Gevers (acclaimed editor and book reviewer), Ghosts by Gaslight is a showcase collection of all-new stories of steampunk and supernatural suspense by modern masters of horror, fantasy, sf, and the paranormal. An absolutely mind-boggling gathering of some of today’s very best dark storytellers—including Peter Beagle, James Morrow, Sean Williams, Gene Wolfe, Garth Nix, Marly Youmans, Jeffery Ford, and Robert Silverberg—Ghosts by Gaslight offers chilling gothic and spectral tales in a delightfully twisted Victorian and Edwardian vein. Think Henry James’s Turn of the Screw and Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde with a decidedly steampunk edge, and you’re ready to confront Ghosts by Gaslight.

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Hellbent
Cherie Priest
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Spectra
Release Date: September 6

Vampire thief Raylene Pendle doesn’t need more complications in her life. Her Seattle home is already overrun by a band of misfits, including Ian Stott, a blind vampire, and Adrian deJesus, an ex-Navy SEAL/drag queen. But Raylene still can’t resist an old pal’s request: seek out and steal a bizarre set of artifacts. Also on the hunt is a brilliant but certifiably crazy sorceress determined to stomp anyone who gets in her way. But Raylene’s biggest problem is that the death of Ian’s vaunted patriarch appears to have made him the next target of some blood-sucking sociopaths.  Now Raylene must snatch up the potent relics, solve a murder, and keep Ian safe—all while fending off a psychotic sorceress. But at least she won’t be alone. A girl could do a lot worse for a partner than an ass-kicking drag queen—right?

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The Hidden (The Hollow #3)
Jessica Verday
Genre: YA Paranormal
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: September 6

Abbey knows that Caspian is her destiny. Theirs is a bond that transcends even death. But as Abbey finally learns the full truth about the dark fate that links her to Caspian and ties them both to the town of Sleepy Hollow, she suddenly has some very hard choices to make. Caspian may be the love of her life, but is that love worth dying for?

Beautifully spun, emotionally gripping, and irresistibly romantic, The Hidden will leave you breathless.

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Into the Hinterlands
David Drake & John Lambshead
Genre: Science Fiction
Publisher: Baen
Release Date: September 6

#1 in a new series from a military science fiction master with over 3 million books in print. A young hero comes of age in the crucible of war and galactic struggle.

When Allen Allenson, scion of a noble family that has fallen on hard times, gets a mission to roust the power-hungry Terrans from a “wild” star sector where they’re encroaching, he jumps at the chance to show his individual worth, improve his family’s fortunes – and gather enough lucre to make a good marriage. But the wily Terrans are not so easily persuaded by a young colonial they think of as a “rube.”
Worse, “Riders,” the beings who naturally ply the wilderness between the stars, are playing their own deadly political games – against the Terrans, against the colonials, and against one young greenhorn commander in particular: naÏf young Allen, whom they figure they can manipulate to do their bidding. The one thing nobody has counted on is the fact that Allen, while young and inexperienced, and much to his own amazement, happens to be a hero in the making.

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Isle of Night (The Watchers #1)
Veronica Wolff
Genre: YA Paranormal
Publisher: NAL Trade
Release Date: September 6

When Annelise meets dark and seductive Ronan, he promises her a new life-if she has the courage to chance the unknown. Now, she's whisked away to a mysterious island and pitted against other female recruits to become a Watcher-girls who are partnered with vampires and assist them in their missions. To survive and become a Watcher, Annelise has to beat out every other girl, but she's determined to do so, because to fail doesn't mean dishonor-it means death. 

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Legacy of Kings (The Magister Trilogy #3)
C.S. Friedman
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: DAW
Release Date: September 6

The young peasant woman Kamala has proven strong and determined enough to claim the most powerful Magister sorcery for herself-but now the Magisters hunt her for killing one of their own. Her only hope of survival lies in the northern Protectorates, where spells are warped by a curse called the Wrath that even the Magisters fear. Originally intended to protect the lands of men from creatures known only as souleaters, the Wrath appears to be weakening-and the threat of this ancient enemy is once more falling across the land. 

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Midnight (Dark Age Dawning #2)
Ellen Connor
Genre: SciFi Romance
Publisher: Berkley Sensation
Release Date: September 6

Three years of wandering the post-apocalyptic wasteland has stripped Dr. Chris Welsh of humanity and hope. He’s a dangerous man now, full of dark energy and yen for violence. A harrowing loss drove him from his home, and he hasn’t stopped moving since. Grim and sardonic, he never found anything worth sticking around for – until now.

Rosa Cortez runs Valle de Bravo, a haven of civilization amid the chaos of the Change. Soldiers take their orders directly from her–the iron hand within a velvet glove. The last thing she needs is a feral loner upsetting the town’s tentative balance. However, for the good of her people, she lets the sexy doctor stay. He evokes a delicious new longing, but she won’t submit to any man.

Tension rises as bloodthirsty raiders strike again and again, bent on possessing Valle and its resources. Together Chris and Rosa battle hellhounds and dust pirates while also fighting desperate attraction. To save them, love must overcome the pain of the past–and build a future in this brutal Dark Age…

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Must Love Lycans (Broken Heart Vampires #8)
Michele Bardsley
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Signet
Release Date: September 6

Since the moment Damien showed up-gloriously naked-Kelsey Morningstone has been having a hard time keeping her relationship with the clinic's latest amnesiac patient strictly professional. Even with her empathy abilities Kelsey's not sure she can get past Damien's anger to find the cause of his delusions. After all, falling for a patient is bad enough, but falling for a patient who thinks he's a werewolf is a whole other kind of crazy... 

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One Salt Sea (October Daye #5)
Seanan McGuire
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: DAW
Release Date: September 6

October "Toby" Daye is settling into her new role as Countess of Goldengreen. She's actually dating again, and she's taken on Quentin as her squire. So, of course, it's time for things to take a turn for the worse.
Someone has kidnapped the sons of the regent of the Undersea Duchy of Saltmist. To prevent a war between land and sea, Toby must find the missing boys and prove the Queen of the Mists was not behind their abduction. Toby's search will take her from the streets of San Francisco to the lands beneath the waves, and her deadline is firm: she must find the boys in three days' time, or all of the Mists will pay the price. But someone is determined to stop her-and whoever it is isn't playing by Oberon's Laws... 

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The Pearl Wars (Skyship Academy #1)
Nick James
Genre: YA Steampunk/Dystopia
Publisher: Flux
Release Date: September 8

A devastated Earth's last hope is found in Pearls: small, mysterious orbs that fall from space and are capable of supplying enough energy to power entire cities. Battling to control the Pearls are the Skyship dwellers—political dissidents who live in massive ships in the Earth's stratosphere—and the corrupt Surface government.

Jesse Fisher, a Skyship slacker, and Cassius Stevenson, a young Surface operative, cross paths when they both venture into forbidden territory in pursuit of Pearls. Their chance encounter triggers an unexpected reaction, endowing each boy with remarkable—and dangerous—abilities that their respective governments would stop at nothing to possess.
Enemies thrust together with a common goal, Jesse and Cassius make their way to the ruins of Seattle to uncover the truth about their new powers, the past they didn't know they shared, and a shocking secret about the Pearls.

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The Realms Thereunder
Ross Lawhead
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Release Date: September 6

Uncover a land that has been hidden for over a thousand years.
Beneath the land of Britain, a great army is sleeping. On a visit to an old church, Daniel Tully and Freya Reynolds awaken two ancient knights from a centuries-old slumber. They are kidnapped and taken to an underground city that stands in peril, besieged in all directions by a vicious warhost. Nidergeard is the only thing protecting the upper world's blissful ignorance of mythical forces that have been held at bay since the creation of the world. In order to return home, Daniel and Freya must strike at the heart of the opposer's power.
Fast forward eight years. Daniel, now homeless, still wages what he believes to be a righteous war against those he judges to be evil. Freya has tried to put the past behind her and concentrate on getting an education, a job, and a life. When they reconnect in Oxford, unseen forces begin to ally against them. Daniel is pulled through a portal and into another world. Freya is abducted by someone-some thing-posing as her professor and drugged to keep her in a delusional state. After they finally break free, neither can deny the truth . . . they must return to Nidergeard and resume the battle.
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Return to Exile
E.J. Patten
Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Release Date: September 6

Eleven years ago, a shattered band of ancient hunters captured an unimaginable evil and Phineas T. Pimiscule rescued his nephew, Sky, from the wreckage of that great battle. For eleven years, Sky Weathers has studied traps, puzzles, science, and the secret lore of the Hunters of Legend, believing it all a game. For eleven years, Sky and his family have hidden from dark enemies while, unbeknownst to Sky, his uncle Phineas sacrificed everything to protect them. For eleven years, Sky Weathers has known nothing of that day. But on the eve of Sky’s twelfth birthday and his family’s long-awaited return to Exile, everything changes. Phineas has disappeared, and Sky finds himself forced to confront the mysterious secrets he’s denied for so long: why did his family leave Exile on that day so long ago? What, exactly, has Phineas been preparing him for? And, the biggest mystery of all, who is Sky really and why does everyone want to kill him?!

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Rogue
Michael Z. Williamson
Genre: Science Fiction
Publisher: Baen
Release Date: September 6

Kenneth Chinran commanded the elite unit assigned to take out an entire planet in a terrible war. Millions died; billions more perished in the aftermath. One doesn't send a sociopath on such a mission. A sociopath might not stop. Chinran did stop – but in the process nearly lost his sanity and his soul.
But one of Chinran’s men was a sociopath going in. Now he’s a trained sociopath with the knowledge and firepower to take out entire tactical teams, evaporate through security cordons and change identity at will. Who do you send after a killer like that? There’s only one answer: the man who trained him. The man who made him.

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Santcus
Simon Toyne
Genre: Thriller/ Apocolypse
Publisher: William Morrow
Release Date: September 6

REVELATION OR DEVASTATION?

The certainties of the modern world are about to be blown apart by a three thousand year-old conspiracy nurtured by blood and lies …

A man throws himself to his death from the oldest inhabited place on the face of the earth, a mountainous citadel in the historic Turkish city of Ruin. This is no ordinary suicide but a symbolic act. And thanks to the media, it is witnessed by the entire world.
But few understand it. For charity worker Kathryn Mann and a handful of others in the know, it is what they have been waiting for. The cowled and secretive fanatics that live in the Citadel suspect it could mean the end of everything they have built – and they will kill, torture and break every law to stop that. For Liv Adamsen, New York crime reporter, it begins the next stage of a journey into the heart of her own identity.
And at that journey's end lies a discovery that will change EVERYTHING …
SANCTUS is an apocalyptic conspiracy thriller like no other – it re-sets the bar for excitement and fascination, and marks the debut of a major talent in Simon Toyne.

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Shadow Kin
M.J. Scott
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Roc
Release Date: September 6

On one side, the Night World, rules by the Blood Lords and the Beast Kind. On the other, the elusive Fae and the humans, protected by their steadfast mages...
Born a wraith, Lily is a shadow who slips between worlds. Brought up by a Blood Lord and raised to be his assassin, she is little more than a slave. But when Lily meets her match in target Simon DuCaine, the unlikely bond that develops between them threatens to disrupt an already stretched peace in a city on the verge of being torn apart... 

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Shadowman (Shadow, Bk 2)
Erin Kellison
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Kensington Books
Release Date: September

GHOSTS
They haunt the halls of the Segue Institute, terrifying the living, refusing to cross over. But one soul is driven by a very different force.

LOVE
It survives even death. And Kathleen O'Brien swore she would return to those she was forced to leave too soon.

SHADOWMAN
He broke every rule to have her in life; now he will defy the angels to find her in death.

THE GATE
Forging it is his single hope of being reunited with his beloved, but through it an abomination enters the world. Leaving a trail of blood and violence, the devil hunts her too. Pursued through realms of bright fantasy and dark reality, Kathleen is about to be taken. . .

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The Shattering (Guardians of Ga'Hoole, #5)
Karen Healey
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Release Date: September 5

Soren's sister, Eglantine, is falling under the spell of a strange nightly dream. Then, just as Soren notices her trancelike state, Eglantine disappears, and the dreams become a deadly waking nightmare that puts the Great Tree of Ga'Hoole in terrible danger. Soren must lead the Chaw of Chaws to rescue his sister. Thus begins the next battle between the owls of Ga'Hoole and the evil Pure Ones, deep in the treacherous territory known as The Beaks, where a raging forest fire will prove the greatest danger to the rescuers-and their best hope for victory.

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Sweet Venom (Medusa Girls #1)
Tera Lynn Childs
Genre: YA Paranormal
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Release Date: September 6

Grace just moved to San Francisco and is excited to start over at a new school. The change is full of fresh possibilities, but it’s also a tiny bit scary. It gets scarier when a minotaur walks in the door. And even more shocking when a girl who looks just like her shows up to fight the monster.

Gretchen is tired of monsters pulling her out into the wee hours, especially on a school night, but what can she do? Sending the minotaur back to his bleak home is just another notch on her combat belt. She never expected to run into this girl who could be her double, though.

Greer has her life pretty well put together, thank you very much. But that all tilts sideways when two girls who look eerily like her appear on her doorstep and claim they're triplets, supernatural descendants of some hideous creature from Greek myth, destined to spend their lives hunting monsters.

These three teenage descendants of Medusa, the once-beautiful gorgon maligned by myth, must reunite and embrace their fates in this unique paranormal world where monsters lurk in plain sight.

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The Taker
Alma Katsu
Genre: Paranormal
Publisher: Gallery
Release Date: September 6

True love can last an eternity . . . but immortality comes at a price. . . .
On the midnight shift at a hospital in rural Maine, Dr. Luke Findley is expecting another quiet evening of frostbite and the occasional domestic dispute. But the minute Lanore McIlvrae—Lanny—walks into his ER, she changes his life forever. A mysterious woman with a past and plenty of dark secrets, Lanny is unlike anyone Luke has ever met. He is inexplicably drawn to her . . . despite the fact that she is a murder suspect with a police escort. And as she begins to tell her story, a story of enduring love and consummate betrayal that transcends time and mortality, Luke finds himself utterly captivated. 

Her impassioned account begins at the turn of the nineteenth century in the same small town of St. Andrew, Maine, back when it was a Puritan settlement. Consumed as a child by her love for the son of the town’s founder, Lanny will do anything to be with him forever. But the price she pays is steep—an immortal bond that chains her to a terrible fate for all eternity. And now, two centuries later, the key to her healing and her salvation lies with Dr. Luke Findley.
Part historical novel, part supernatural page-turner, The Taker is an unforgettable tale about the power of unrequited love not only to elevate and sustain, but also to blind and ultimately destroy, and how each of us is responsible for finding our own path to redemption.

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The Tears of the Sun: A Novel of the Change (Emberverse #8)
S.M. Stirling
Genre: Science Fiction
Publisher: Roc
Release Date: September 6

Rudi McKenzie-now Artos, the High King of Montival-must fulfill his destiny. He wields the sword crafted for him before he was born. He has made friends of his enemies. He has won the heart of the woman he loves.
And now he must defeat the forces of the Church Universal and Triumphant, knowing he may lose his life in the final battle... 

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Tempted (Eternal Guardians, #3)
Elisabeth Naughton
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Release Date: September 6

DEMETRIUS—He’s the hulking, brooding warrior his fellow Guardians avoid. Too dark. Too damaged. And given his heritage, he knows it’s best to keep everyone at arm’s length.

Isadora is missing. The words pounded through his head like a frantic drumbeat. For her own protection, Demetrius had done all he could to avoid the fragile princess, his soul mate. And now she was gone—kidnapped. To get her back, he’ll have to go to the black place in his soul he’s always shunned. As daemons ravage the human realm and his loyalty to the Guardians is put to the ultimate test, Demetrius realizes that Isadora is stronger than anyone thought. And finally letting her into his heart may be the only way to save them both.

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Thomas World
Richard Cox
Genre: Science Fiction
Publisher: Nigh Shade Books
Release Date: September 6

Thomas Phillips knows he''s losing his mind. He''s been losing it for as long as he can remember. And yet, when a strange old man asks him to consider that he, out of everyone in the world, knows the real truth, Thomas'' life begins to spiral out of control. He loses interest in his job and is fired. He refuses his wife''s suggestion of psychiatric care, and she leaves him. In the end, Thomas is alone. Except he''s not, because someone seems to be following him. What if you were Thomas? Where would you go? What would you do? What if you realized every person in your life had been scripted to be there? What if you were haunted by the idea that you''d lived all these encounters before, hundreds or even thousands of times before? And what if the person watching all this time was you? Thomas World explores what happens when the borders of reality start seeming a bit porous... when things start bleeding through the edges, challenging ones perceptions of the universe.

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Those Across the River
Christopher Buehlman
Genre: Paranormal
Publisher: Ace
Release Date: September 6

Failed academic Frank Nichols and his wife, Eudora, have arrived in the sleepy Georgia town of Whitbrow, where Frank hopes to write a history of his family's old estate-the Savoyard Plantation- and the horrors that occurred there. At first, the quaint, rural ways of their new neighbors seem to be everything they wanted. But there is an unspoken dread that the townsfolk have lived with for generations. A presence that demands sacrifice.
It comes from the shadowy woods across the river, where the ruins of Savoyard still stand. Where a longstanding debt of blood has never been forgotten.
A debt that has been waiting patiently for Frank Nichols's homecoming... 

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Vanish (Firelight, Bk 2)
Sophie Jordan
Genre: YA Paranormal
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: September 6

To save the life of the boy she loves, Jacinda did the unthinkable: She betrayed the most closely-guarded secret of her kind. Now she must return to the protection of her pride knowing she might never see Will again—and worse, that because his mind has been shaded, Will’s memories of that fateful night and why she had to flee are gone.

Back home, Jacinda is greeted with hostility and must work to prove her loyalty for both her sake and her family’s. Among the few who will even talk to her are Cassian, the pride’s heir apparent who has always wanted her, and her sister, Tamra, who has been forever changed by a twist of fate. Jacinda knows that she should forget Will and move on—that if he managed to remember and keep his promise to find her, it would only endanger them both. Yet she clings to the hope that someday they will be together again. When the chance arrives to follow her heart, will she risk everything for love?

In bestselling author Sophie Jordan’s dramatic follow-up to Firelight, forbidden love burns brighter than ever.

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Wayfinder (Worldwalker Duology #2)
C.E. Murphy
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Del Rey
Release Date: September 6

Lara Jansen is a truthseeker, gifted—or cursed—with the magical ability to tell honesty from lies. Once she was a tailor in Boston, but now she has crossed from Earth to the Barrow-lands, a Faerie world embroiled in a bloody civil war between Seelie and Unseelie. Armed with an enchanted and malevolent staff which seeks to bend her to its dark will, and thrust into a deadly realm where it’s hard to distinguish friend from foe, Lara is sure of one thing: her love for Dafydd ap Caerwyn, the Faerie prince who sought her help in solving a royal murder and dousing the flames of war before they consumed the Barrow-lands.

But now Dafydd is missing, perhaps dead, and the Barrow-lands are closer than ever to a final conflagration. Lara has no other choice: she must harness the potent but perilous magic of the staff and her own truthseeking talents, blazing a path to a long-forgotten truth—a truth with the power to save the Barrow-lands or destroy them.

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Witch Eyes
Scott Tracey
Genre: YA Paranormal
Publisher: Flux
Release Date: September 8

Braden was born with witch eyes: the ability to see the world as it truly is: a blinding explosion of memories, darkness, and magic. The power enables Braden to see through spells and lies, but at the cost of horrible pain.

After a terrifying vision reveals imminent danger for the uncle who raised and instructed him, Braden retreats to Belle Dam, an old city divided by two feuding witch dynasties. As rival family heads Catherine Lansing and Jason Thorpe desperately try to use Braden's powers to unlock Belle Dam's secrets, Braden vows never to become their sacrificial pawn. But everything changes when Braden learns that Jason is his father--and Trey, the enigmatic guy he's falling for, is Catherine's son.

To stop an insidious dark magic from consuming the town, Braden must master his gift—and risk losing the one he loves.

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