Saturday, February 11, 2012

George R. R. Martin's versions of popular nursery rhymes

Posted by Simcha 1:25 PM, under | 1 comment

I wonder what kind of kids George R.R. Martin would have had, raised on these kind of nursery rhymes.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Friday Finds

Posted by Simcha 3:33 AM, under | 4 comments

Friday Finds



I recently read a review of this book at Drying Ink which was so enthusiastic that I went and preorderd it even though I haven't heard of this book or author before.  But I like the cover and a good review and a good cover is enough for me to want to give it a try.


The Alchemist of Souls by Anne Lyle

When Tudor explorers returned from the New World, they brought back a name out of half-forgotten Viking legend: skraylings. Red-sailed ships followed in the explorers’ wake, bringing Native American goods--and a skrayling ambassador--to London. But what do these seemingly magical beings really want in Elizabeth I’s capital?

Mal Catlyn, a down-at-heel swordsman, is seconded to the ambassador's bodyguard, but assassination attempts are the least of his problems. What he learns about the skraylings and their unholy powers could cost England her new ally--and Mal his soul.

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To my surprise I've discovered that I really enjoy space operas and this one by Elizabeth Moon looks good. I wasn't impressed with the one other book that I've read by Moon, The Sheepfarmer's Daughter, but I thought I'd give her the benefit of the doubt, since it was her first book, and see if her writing has improved over time.
 

Trading in Danger (Vatta's War #1) by Elizabeth Moon

Kylara Vatta is the only daughter in a family full of sons, and her father’s only child to buck tradition by choosing a military career instead of joining the family business. For Ky, it’s no contest: Even running the prestigious Vatta Transport Ltd. shipping concern can’t hold a candle to shipping out as an officer aboard an interstellar cruiser. It’s adventure, not commerce, that stirs her soul. And despite her family’s misgivings, there can be no doubt that a Vatta in the service will prove a valuable asset. But with a single error in judgment, it all comes crumbling down.

Expelled from the Academy in disgrace–and returning home to her humiliated family, a storm of high-profile media coverage, and the gaping void of her own future–Ky is ready to face the inevitable onslaught of anger, disappointment, even pity. But soon after opportunity’s door slams shut, Ky finds herself with a ticket to ride– and a shot at redemption–as captain of a Vatta Transport ship.

It’s a simple assignment: escorting one of the Vatta fleet’s oldest ships on its final voyage . . . to the scrapyard. But keeping it simple has never been Ky’s style. And even though her father has provided a crew of seasoned veterans to baby-sit the fledgling captain on her maiden milk run, they can’t stop Ky from turning the routine mission into a risky venture–in the name of turning a profit for Vatta Transport, of course.

By snapping up a lucrative delivery contract defaulted on by a rival company, and using part of the proceeds to upgrade her condemned vehicle, Ky aims to prove she’s got more going for her than just her family’s famous name. But business will soon have to take a backseat to bravery, when Ky’s change of plans sails her and the crew straight into the middle of a colonial war. For all her commercial savvy, it’s her military training and born-soldier’s instincts that Ky will need to call on in the face of deadly combat, dangerous mercenaries, and violent mutiny. 

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Every so often I like to take a break from my genre reading for a romance and when I saw that Julie James has a new book coming out, I immediately added it to my wishlist. You can never go wrong with a Julie James book.


About That Night by Julie James

HE’S PLAYING GAMES

Though Rylann Pierce tried to fight the sparks she felt for billionaire heir Kyle Rhodes the night they met, their sizzling chemistry was undeniable. But after being stood up on their first date, Rylann never expected to see him again. So when she finds herself face to face with Kyle in a courthouse nine years later, she’s stunned. More troubling to the beautiful Assistant U.S. Attorney is that she’s still wildly attracted to him.

BUT SHE’S MAKING THE RULES

Just released from prison, Kyle Rhodes isn’t thrilled to be the star witness in a high-profile criminal case — but when Rylann comes knocking at his door, he finds she may be the one lawyer he can’t say no to. Still as gorgeous and sharp-tongued as ever, she lays down the law: she doesn’t mix business with pleasure. But Kyle won’t give up on something he wants — and what he wants is the one woman he’s never forgotten...

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Favorite images from around the web

I got a Pinterest account this week which I am having a lot of fun with, "pinning" favorite images from the web to share with you and browsing through other people's favorite images as well. On the downside, I've been spending way too much time browsing through Pinterest when I should have been working.

So here are some of the images that I recently pinned and if you have Pinterest account you can follow mine here.


I have to get some of these cards made up because such friends are rare and very deserving of an appreciative card.


This picture reminds me of the many hours I used to spend swinging in a hammock and reading in my grandparents' forest- like backyard.



I love anything to do with Calvin and Hobbes and this one, of an older Calvin who has outgrown Hobbes, gets me all emotional. Though I wonder who the little girl is since she looks a lot like Suzy...

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Shadows On The Moon by Zoë Marriott

Posted by Simcha 5:36 PM, under | 2 comments


"On my fourteenth birthday when the sakura was in full bloom, the men came to kill us. We saw them come, Aimi and me. We were excited, because we did not know how to be frightened. We had never seen soldiers before."

Suzume is a shadow-weaver. She can create mantles of darkness and light, walk unseen in the middle of the day, change her face. She can be anyone she wants to be. Except herself.

Suzume died officially the day the Prince's men accused her father of treason. Now even she is no longer sure of her true identity.
Is she the girl of noble birth living under the tyranny of her mother’s new husband, Lord Terayama? A lowly drudge scraping a living in the ashes of Terayama’s kitchens? Or Yue, the most beautiful courtesan in the Moonlit Lands?

Everyone knows Yue is destined to capture the heart of a prince. Only she knows that she is determined to use his power to destroy Terayama.

And nothing will stop her. Not even love.


Suzume's idyllic childhood abruptly comes to an end the day the emperor's soldiers storm into her house and murder her father, as well as everyone else present.  After witnessing her cousin, Aime, being shot down by an arrow, Suzume goes into hiding until her mother arrives home from the journey that had saved her. Accompanying Suzume's mother is Lord Terayama, a family friend who offers to take Suzume and her mother into his household. But while Suzume knows that she should be grateful to Terayama for offering them shelter and a new life she feels that something isn't right about Terayama and his relationship with her mother.

When Suzume accidentally overhears a conversation that reveals the truth about her father's death, she is forced to flee in order to avoid becoming the next victim. From a kitchen drudge to a beautiful courtesan, Suzume assumes one identity after another as she plots the perfect revenge against the man who destroyed her life. The only bright spot in Suzume's bleak existence is the exotic prince Otieno, who is somehow always able so see through Suzume's illusions and right into her heart. But Suzume doesn't have the luxury of indulging in a romantic relationship, not when she owes her father and cousin justice and when she is so close to her goal...

Shadows on the Moon wasn't anything like what I had expected. It's billed as a fairly tale retelling of Cinderella but there are actually very few similarities between the two stories, though the story told here was a lot richer and more complex than I had anticipated.

The story takes place in the fictional Moonlit Land, which bears a strong resemblance to Japan, in setting and culture. Since I've always been fascinated by Asian culture I really enjoyed reading a fantasy novel that takes place in a similar setting. This also gave the story an exotic flavor while keeping it on familiar ground, more so than if it had taken place in a completly imaginary world. I think this will probably makes the story particularly appealing to readers who are new to fantasy or who prefer stories in real-life settings, in the style of urban fantasies.

In addition to the setting, what also makes this story unique are some of the sensitive themes that Marriott touches upon and which I haven't come across before in a YA fantasy novel. After witnessing the murder of her father and cousin Suzume turns to her mother for comfort but instead is told to keep quiet and forget about the past. Forbidden to express the pain and confusion that's been building up inside of her Suzume begins cutting herself as a way of releasing some of those feelings.

There are a lot of fantasy books that feature children who survive the murder of their families or villages, but this is the first one that I've read which really deals with the affects on the surviver. Depression and Post Traumatic Stress are to be expected for anyone who has gone through such a horrifying ordeal and Marriott handles these topics in a sensitive and believable manner.

Suzume's experiences turn her from an innocent and playful 16 year-old girl to a hardened, world-weary young woman set on revenge. But Suzume's journey is not completely dark for along the way she is befriended by a courtesan who teaches her how to trust again and a foreign prince who may teach her how to love again, if she would let him. Eventually Suzume may even learn how to forgive and love herself.

While escaping from the soldiers that killed her father Suzume discovers the ability to make herself unseen, though it's not until later that she realizes what it is that she had done. Once it is explained to Suzume that she is a Shadow-Weaver and can create illusions she begins to practice the skill and later puts it to use in her plan to ensnare the emperor. Eventually Suzume learns that her shadow-weaving also allows her to play musical instruments with great skill. The foreign prince, Otieno, is also a shadow-weaver, which is what draws the two together since shadow-weavers are able to sense each other and so are able to come to each other's aid when necessarily. 

While I enjoyed the idea of the shadow weaving I really wished the the author had developed it a bit more and offered more satisfying explanations about how it worked.  I'm not one to require lengthy explanations for how magic works, because then I would just read science fiction, but I do still like for enough details to be included for the magic to make sense to me. For example, I would have liked to have known why Suzume has the ability to weave shadows when no one else in her family can. Is this a talent that's inherited or just randomly manifests in certain individuals for no apparent reason? And what does the weaving of illusions have to do with playing a musical instrument? At times the magic felt like a convenient way to provide Suzume with the tools that she needed to complete a particular goal. And at the end Suzume discovers a new aspect of her talent that did not seem to add anything new to the story at all. So if there was one thing I would have improved on in this book it would have been the way the magic was handled, though it wasn't an issue that bothered me enough to hamper my enjoyment of the story.

As the book began drawing to a close I suddenly became panic-stricken that the story would end in a cliffhanger, so it was with great relief and pleasure that I came to the happy ending that I had been hoping for. I even sent the author a quick Tweet to thank her for making this wonderful story a stand-alone, to which she responded that many of her readers seem to feel the same way. She then apologized for making her next book the first in a trilogy. Drat! But I enjoyed this book so much that I will definitely be picking up whatever Merriott writes next.

I highly recommend Shadows on the Moon to pretty much everyone. The promises made by it's beautiful cover are definitely fulfilled when you open up the book's pages .


*As a side note, since reading Shadows on the Moon I've been thinking a lot about what elements need to be present in a story for it to be considered a fairy-tale retelling. It seem that recently any story involving a girl down on her luck and an unpleasant step-parent is labeled as a retelling of Cinderella even when, as in this case, the two stories bare very little resemblance to each other.  Perhaps the story of Cinderella inspired Marriott to write Shadows of the Moon though I wouldn't say that that's enough to make it a retelling of the fairy tale. I don't think I would have even made the connection between the two stories if it wasn't promoted in that way. Though perhaps there are more similarities here than I am aware of since no one else seemed to feel the same way I do. In fact, every review I've read of Shadows on the Moon mentions that it is a Cinderella retelling, though they often don't explain why. If anyone here has read Shadows on the Moon I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts on the matter, or even on fairy tale retelling in general. And for the record, if I somehow wasn't clear enough about this in my review, I did really enjoy Shadows on the Moon, as a Cinderella retelling or not. And the lovely cover was

Sunday, February 5, 2012

New Scifi & Fantasy Releases: Week of February 5- 11

Posted by Simcha 7:28 PM, under | 4 comments

Science Fiction


World Divided: Book Two of the Secret World Chronicle
Mercedes Lackey, Cody Martin, Dennis Lee and Veronica Giguere
Publisher: Baen
Release Date: February 7

After an Earth-scarring apocalyptic battle, the meta-humans have turned back a massive invasion of super-science powered Nazi war machines–and at least driven whoever is in ultimate control of them to pause and regroup. Now meta-hero organizations Echo and sometime Russian ally CCCP must go on the offense and battle back. Task one: to hunt down the secret puppet masters behind the Nazi robot invasion, the Thule Society. To do so, the heroes of Echo, led by Bulwark and Red Djinni, face the guardians of a hidden trove of Nazi armor. Meanwhile, a sadistic genius super villain arises who is determined to defeat both heroes and Thulians alike–a villain who just may have the wealth and cunning to pull it off.

It’s “go time” once again for the meta-heroes, including fire-bender John Murdock, techno-witch Vicki Nagy, healer Belladona Blue, super-quick Mercurye, chameleon Red Djinni—and for their ghostly ally, The Seraphym. Somehow they must unite in the fight against the evil and slavery that is fast descending upon the entire universe!

Guardian of Night
Tony Daniel
Publisher: Baen
Release Date: February 7

For alien Commander Arid Ricimer there was no going home. His species was winning the war with Earth, but the civilization he had fought for was gone, destroyed from within by ideologues and bureaucrats. So he does the only thing that makes sense to a person of integrity—he attempts to defect to Earth with his officers and an entire spaceship, a vessel that mounts a superweapon of almost unimaginable power.

Hot on his heels is his former fleet, a force that has already devastated Earth once, and is poised to wipe humanity from existence forever, ready to do almost anything to deny Earth a chance.

To the defenders of Earth he is an enigma—and potentially a Trojan horse. Yet after years of battling back from the brink of destruction, the U.S. space navy has the war-tested heroes to rise to the challenge Ricimer represents—and the danger that follows him—if only those in charge will listen.

The players are in motion and the greatest confrontation this sector of the galaxy has ever witnessed is at hand. Now all depends on the courage of an honorable alien warrior and the intelligence and daring of his human allies. 

The Mirage
Matt Ruff
Publisher: HarperCollins
Release Date: February 7

From the beloved cult author of "Bad Monkeys" comes an unprecedented, mind-bending psychological thriller, in which an alternate history of 9/11 uncovers startling and harrowing truths about America and the Middle East.

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Fantasy

City of Dragons
Robin Hobb
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Release Date: February 7

Once, dragons ruled the Rain Wilds, tended by privileged human servants known as Elderlings. But a series of cataclysmic eruptions nearly drove these magnificent creatures to extinction. Born weak and deformed, the last of their kind had one hope for survival: to return to their ancient city of Kelsingra. Accompanied by a disparate crew of untested young keepers, the dragons embarked on a harsh journey into the unknown along the toxic Rain Wild River. Battling starvation, a hostile climate, and treacherous enemies, dragons and humans began to forge magical connections, bonds that have wrought astonishing transformations for them all. And though Kelsingra is finally near, their odyssey has only begun.

Because of the swollen waters of the Rain Wild River, the lost city can be reached only by flight—a test of endurance and skill beyond the stunted dragons’ strength. Venturing across the swift-running river in tiny boats, the dragon scholar Alise and a handful of keepers discover a world far different from anything they have ever known or imagined. Immense, ornate structures of black stone veined with silver and lifelike stone statues line the silent, eerily empty streets. Yet what are the whispers they hear, the shadows of voices and bursts of light that flutter and are gone? And why do they feel as if eyes are watching them?

The dragons must plumb the depths of their ancestral memories to help them take flight and unlock the secrets buried in Kelsingra. But enemies driven by greed and dark desires are approaching. Time is running out, not only for the dragons but for their human keepers as well.

Garrett Takes the Case
Glen Cook
Publisher: Roc
Release Date: February 7

Garrett is a private investigator who always gets his man-or elf, troll, or sorcerer. In the magical city of TunFaire, he's the first name in paranormal detection. "Garrett Takes the Case" collects three of his adventures in one volume.
In "Old Tin Sorrows," Garrett is hired to figure out if someone is poisoning a wealthy, retired General, but quickly finds that the man's employees are dying off at a far faster rate; in "Dread Brass Shadows," a trio of redheads plunge Garrett straight into the chase for "The Book of Shadows," a sorceror's tome holding secrets no mortal was ever meant to master; and in "Red Iron Nights," Garrett is hired to track down a serial killer who's preying on the high born young ladies of TunFaire.



The Masked Witches (Brotherhood of the Griffon, Bk IV)
Richard Lee Byers
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
Release Date: February 7

Aoth Fezim and his mercenary company have restored their tarnished reputation and attracted new recruits for their depleted ranks. But they still have one big problem. Too many griffon mounts were killed in the battles in Thay Chessenta. If “the Brotherhood of the Griffon” is to be more than a name, new mounts must be found.

As it happens, the masked witches in Rashemen have griffons available to a worthy few who can slay the undead that are committing atrocities throughout the land. Aoth volunteers his band, as do other groups who are in the market for the fighting beasts. But things are not as they seem. Epic battles between rival sellswords, berserkers, and aerial skyships punctuate this whirlwind tale set in a barbaric land of oracles, nature spirits, and talking animals.


Throne of the Crescent Moon
Saladin Ahmed
Publisher: DAW
Release Date: February 7

The Crescent Moon Kingdoms, land of djenn and ghuls, holy warriors and heretics, Khalifs and killers, is at the boiling point of a power struggle between the iron-fisted Khalif and the mysterious master thief known as the Falcon Prince. In the midst of this brewing rebellion a series of brutal supernatural murders strikes at the heart of the Kingdoms. It is up to a handful of heroes to learn the truth behind these killings:

Doctor Adoulla Makhslood, "The last real ghul hunter in the great city of Dhamsawaat," just wants a quiet cup of tea. Three score and more years old, he has grown weary of hunting monsters and saving lives, and is more than ready to retire from his dangerous and demanding vocation. But when an old flame's family is murdered, Adoulla is drawn back to the hunter's path.

Raseed bas Raseed, Adoulla's young assistant, a hidebound holy warrior whose prowess is matched only by his piety, is eager to deliver God's justice. But even as Raseed's sword is tested by ghuls and manjackals, his soul is tested when he and Adoulla cross paths with the tribeswoman Zamia.

Zamia Badawi, Protector of the Band, has been gifted with the near-mythical power of the Lion-Shape, but shunned by her people for daring to take up a man's title. She lives only to avenge her father's death. Until she learns that Adoulla and his allies also hunt her father's killer. Until she meets Raseed.

When they learn that the murders and the Falcon Prince's brewing revolution are connected, the companions must race against time--and struggle against their own misgivings--to save the life of a vicious despot. In so doing they discover a plot for the Throne of the Crescent Moon that threatens to turn Dhamsawaat, and the world itself, into a blood-soaked ruin.
 

Vengeance Born
Kylie Griffin
Publisher: Berkley Trade
Release Date: February 7

There is no mercy in the demon realm. No escape. In this place of desperation and conflict, anyone who is not pure bred is virtually powerless. Until an unlikely champion is born...

Annika, half-blood daughter of the Na'Reish King, longs for more than her tormented life among her father's people. Conceived in hatred and bred as a tool of retribution, she's gifted with a special talent that can heal as well as destroy...

With the Na'Reish vastly outnumbering them, Kalan, a Light Blade warrior, knows the future of humankind depends on him alone. Incursions into human territory and raids for blood-slaves by the Na'Reish Horde have increased. As Chosen-leader, he faces the task of stopping the demons-and convincing the Council of aging Light Blade warriors that change is necessary for survival.

When Annika learns Kalan is a prisoner in her father's dungeon, her dream of escape seems within reach. She agrees to free him in exchange for his protection once they reach human territory. Now, marked for death for helping him, Annika must learn to trust Kalan as they face not only the perilous journey to the border but enemies within the Council-and discover a shocking truth that could throw the human race into civil war...
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Anthology

Westward Weird
edited by Martin H. Greenberg & Kerrie Hughes
Publisher: DAW
Release Date: February 7

From a Western circus where monsters and heroes collide, to a Civil War robot that clanks into battle, to a mining family that encounters parallel universes, "Westward Weird" features thirteen original stories that open the Old West to new frontiers of science fiction and fantasy.

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Urban Fantasy


Alpha Instinct (Moon Shifter, Bk 1)
Katie Reus
Publisher: Signet
Release Date: February 7

Fear has a scent. So does desire…

Ana Cordona has been a strong leader for the lupine shifters who survived after all the males and most of the females in her pack were mysteriously poisoned. As tough as she is, with no Alpha male, the pack is vulnerable to the devious shifter Taggart, who wants to claim both their ranch and Ana as his own. When Connor Armstrong comes back into her life, promising protection, it’s almost enough to make Ana forget how he walked out on her before—and reluctantly accept his offer to mate.

The minute Connor sees Ana again, it reawakens a raw hunger. He must have her for his bondmate—his wolf cries out for it. But his human side knows he must proceed with caution because of their complicated past. If he is to truly have her body and soul, he must go beyond his burning desire and win back her heart. Whatever it takes, he is determined not to leave her side again.

But Taggart and his rival pack are not their only enemies. A human element in town is targeting shifters. Their plan not only threatens Ana and Connor’s future, but the lives of the entire pack…


Blood and Bullets
James R. Tuck
Publisher: Kensington
Release Date: February 7

He lives to kill monsters. He keeps his city safe. And his silver hollow-points and back-from-the-dead abilities help him take out any kind of supernatural threat. But now an immortal evil has this bad-ass bounty hunter dead in its sights. . .

Ever since a monster murdered his family, Deacon Chalk hunts any creature that preys on the innocent. So when a pretty vampire girl "hires" him to eliminate a fellow slayer, Deacon goes to warn him--and barely escapes a vampire ambush. Now he's got a way-inexperienced newbie hunter to protect and everything from bloodsuckers to cursed immortals on his trail. There's also a malevolent force controlling the living and the undead, hellbent on turning Deacon's greatest loss into the one weapon that could destroy him. . .



Unbroken (Outcast Season, Bk 4)
Rachel Caine
Publisher: Roc
Release Date: February 7

For millennia, Cassiel was a powerful Djinn-until she was exiled to live among mortals. Now the threat of an apocalypse looms, and Cassiel is in danger of losing everything she has come to hold dear...

As the world begins to fall apart around her, Cassiel finds herself fighting those she once called her own-the Djinn. With Weather Warden Luis Rocha and the rescued child Ibby by her side, Cassiel struggles to find a way to protect those that are in her charge and come to terms with the leadership role she never asked for.

Cassiel is opposed by a powerful Djinn bent on raising an army of kidnapped Warden children to bring about nothing less than the end of the world. It will take everything Cassiel has to stop the Djinn from starting a war that will wipe all of humanity from the face of the earth. She knows that this might not be a battle she can survive, but protecting those she loves is worth any cost...

Apocalypse To Go (Nola O'Grady, Bk 3)
Katharine Kerr
Publisher: DAW
Release Date: February 7

Nola O'Grady has enough trouble when a were-leopard accuses her of receiving stolen property. But when her younger brother Michael goes searching for their missing father, he lands himself and his brother, Sean, in a world of hurt-quite literally-in a deviant world version of San Francisco.
Can Nola and her partner in the Apocalypse Squad, Israeli Interpol agent Ari Nathan, find her brothers in time to save them from death by radiation poisoning? The search will lead them through a city of secrets, but the worst secret of all lurks at the heart of the only thing Nola loves more than Ari: her
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Young Adult


Almost Everything (Vampire Princess of St. Paul, Bk 3)
Tate Hallaway
Publisher:
Release Date: February 7

Whoever said vacations were relaxing?

To say half-vampire, half-witch Ana Parker has boy trouble is putting it lightly—something her text messaging bill can attest to. Her rocker ex-boyfriend Nikolai is trying to heat things up again, and high school hockey star Mathew wants her to try out with him for the Renaissance Festival. At least her sort-of boyfriend Elias isn’t hounding her cell—considering the vampire knight is currently living in her basement.

Ever since her father banished Elias and Ana from the court of the Northern vampires, Ana has been trying to live a normal life. But when the Prince of the Southern Region vampires informs Ana that they’re on the brink of war and she accidentally offers up Elias as a peace offering, the princess knows that she’s going to need some help to get out of the situation.

With Ana’s boy drama meter hitting an all time high, summer in St. Paul is heating up for all the wrong reasons…


Born Wicked
Jessica Spotswood
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Release Date: February 7

"Blessed with a gift..."cursed" with a secret."
Everybody knows Cate Cahill and her sisters are eccentric. Too pretty, too reclusive, and far too educated for their own good. But the truth is even worse: they're witches. And if their secret is discovered by the priests of the Brotherhood, it would mean an asylum, a prison ship - or an early grave.
Before her mother died, Cate promised to protect her sisters. But with only six months left to choose between marriage and the Sisterhood, she might not be able to keep her word . . . especially after she finds her mother's diary, uncovering a secret that could spell her family's destruction. Desperate to find alternatives to their fate, Cate starts scouring banned books and questioning rebellious new friends, all while juggling tea parties, shocking marriage proposals, and a forbidden romance with the completely unsuitable Finn Belastra.
If what her mother wrote is true, the Cahill girls aren't safe. Not from the Brotherhood, the Sisterhood - not even from each other.



Pure
Julianna Baggott
Publisher: Grand Central.
Release Date: February 8

We know you are here, our brothers and sisters . . .

Pressia barely remembers the Detonations or much about life during the Before. In her sleeping cabinet behind the rubble of an old barbershop where she lives with her grandfather, she thinks about what is lost-how the world went from amusement parks, movie theaters, birthday parties, fathers and mothers . . . to ash and dust, scars, permanent burns, and fused, damaged bodies. And now, at an age when everyone is required to turn themselves over to the militia to either be trained as a soldier or, if they are too damaged and weak, to be used as live targets, Pressia can no longer pretend to be small. Pressia is on the run.

Burn a Pure and Breathe the Ash . . .

There are those who escaped the apocalypse unmarked. Pures. They are tucked safely inside the Dome that protects their healthy, superior bodies. Yet Partridge, whose father is one of the most influential men in the Dome, feels isolated and lonely. Different. He thinks about loss-maybe just because his family is broken; his father is emotionally distant; his brother killed himself; and his mother never made it inside their shelter. Or maybe it's his claustrophobia: his feeling that this Dome has become a swaddling of intensely rigid order. So when a slipped phrase suggests his mother might still be alive, Partridge risks his life to leave the Dome to find her.

When Pressia meets Partridge, their worlds shatter all over again.


Dead to You
Lisa McMann
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: February 7

Ethan was abducted from his front yard when he was just seven years old. Now, at sixteen, he has returned to his family. It's a miracle... at first. Then the tensions start to build. His reintroduction to his old life isn't going smoothly, and his family is tearing apart all over again. If only Ethan could remember something, anything, about his life before, he'd be able to put the pieces back together. But there's something that's keeping his memory blocked. Something unspeakable...

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Paranormal Romance


Deliver Me from Darkness
Tes Hilaire
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Release Date: February 7

A STRANGER IN THE NIGHT...

He had once been a warrior of the Light, one of the revered Paladin. A protector. But now he lives in darkness, and the shadows are his sanctuary. Every day is a struggle to overcome the bloodlust. Especially the day Karissa shows up at his doorstep.

COMES KNOCKING ON THE DOOR

She is light and bright and everything beautiful—despite her scratches and torn clothes. Every creature of the night is after her. So is every male Paladin. Because Karissa is the last female of their kind. But she is his. He may not have a soul, but he can't deny his heart.

The Lord of Illusion (The Elven Lords, Bk 3)
Kathryne Kennedy
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Release Date: February 7

HE'LL DO ANYTHING TO FREE HIS PEOPLE...

Lord Drystan Hawkes dreams of fighting for England's freedom from the endless evils of the Elven Lords. But first he must find the beautiful slave girl who holds the secret to his quest.
SHE HOLDS THE KEY TO HIS LIBERATION...

Enslaved for years in a realm of illusion, Camille Ashton has learned to trust no one. But she's truly spellbound when she meets Drystan, and somehow when they are together, she can see what's true.
From Kathryne Kennedy, acclaimed by critics as "absorbing" and "impossible to put down," The Lord of Illusion opens ups to an enchanting world with characters that live and breathe between the pages.

King of Darkness
Elizabeth Staab
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Release Date: February 7

ETERNAL COMMITMENT IS NOT ON HER AGENDA...
Scorned by the vampire community for her lack of power, Isabel Anthony lives a carefree existence masquerading as human--although drifting through the debauched human nightlife, she prefers the patrons' blood to other indulgences. But when she meets the sexy, arrogant king of the vampires, this party-girl's life turns dark and dangerous.

BUT TIME'S RUNNING OUT FOR THE KING OF THE VAMPIRES...
Dead-set on finding the prophesied mate who will unlock his fiery powers, Thad Morgan must find his queen before their race is destroyed. Their enemies are gaining ground, and Thad needs his powers to unite his subjects. But when his search leads him to the defiant Isabel, he wonders if fate had gotten it seriously wrong...

Midnight Enchantment
Anya Bast
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: February 7

Niall Quinn, mage and the finest thief in the Black Tower, is the fae's best hope for freedom. But he meets his match in Elizabeth Cely Saintjohn. Torn between his duty and the shocking lust Elizabeth has stirred in him, Niall must convince her to surrender-before he is forced to destroy her and all she holds dear...


Something About Witches
Joey W Hill
Publisher: February 7
Release Date: Berkley

Ruby Night Divine is a witch who runs a gun shop. Magic can fail – she knows that first hand, having experienced it with full-blown tragic consequences, far beyond what Dr. Phil can fix. Smith & Wesson is a whole hell of a lot more reliable, and nothing’s as cathartic as the ability to put a few holes in the things that piss you off. Like Derek Stormwind.

A powerful sorcerer, Derek is determined to get to the bottom of why she pushed him away and ran three years before. He also wants her help. A coven needs training to face a demon and his army of minions. Oh sure. It’s amazing what sweet things a guy will offer to get back into a woman’s heart, and into her bed.

Only in this case, she knows he never left her heart, and in her bed is exactly where she wants him to be. Unfortunately, her bed’s already made, and she’s close to losing her soul. And not even Smith & Wesson or Derek Stormwind can fix that.

Underwater Love
MaryJanice Davidson
Publisher: February 7
Release Date: Berkley Trade

Sleeping with the Fishes
Fred is a mermaid. But she's not blonde, or buxom, or even perky. In fact, she can be downright cranky-especially when weird levels of toxins are found in the local seawater. There is one perk: Thomas, the gorgeous marine biologist helping in the investigation. If you thought it would be easy for a mermaid to get to the bottom of things, think again.

Swimming Without a Net
To visit the undersea realm of Artur, the High Prince, and her royal merfamily, Fred's brought along Thomas to explore where no "lander" has gone before. But Fred is soon caught between two factions of merfolk: those happy with swimming under the radar-and those who want to bring their existence to the surface...

Fish Out of Water
The existence of the Undersea Folk is no longer a secret, and someone needs to keep them all from floundering in the media spotlight. Fred and Artur have all the right skills for the job, if not for staving off an impending civil war. But all the while, Fred has something else on her mind: the sexy human landlubber she left behind...

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