Thursday, July 5, 2012

Defiance by C.J. Redwine

Posted by Simcha 5:19 PM, under | 7 comments

Within the walls of Baalboden, beneath the shadow of the city's brutal leader, Rachel Adams has a secret. While other girls sew dresses and obey their male Protectors, Rachel knows how to survive in the wilderness and deftly wield a sword. When her father, Jared, fails to return from a courier mission and is declared dead, the Commander assigns Rachel a new Protector, her father's apprentice, Logan--the same boy Rachel declared her love for two years ago, and the same one who handed her heart right back to her. Left with nothing but a fierce belief in her father's survival, Rachel decides to escape and find him herself. But treason against the Commander carries a heavy price, and what awaits her in the Wasteland could destroy her.

At nineteen, Logan McEntire is many things. Orphan. Outcast. Inventor. As apprentice to the city's top courier, Logan is focused on learning his trade so he can escape the tyranny of Baalboden. But his plan never included being responsible for his mentor's impulsive daughter. Logan is determined to protect her, but when his escape plan goes wrong and Rachel pays the price, he realizes he has more at stake than disappointing Jared.

As Rachel and Logan battle their way through the Wasteland, stalked by a monster that can't be killed and an army of assassins out for blood, they discover romance, heartbreak, and a truth that will incite a war decades in the making.

It's been sixty days since Rachel's father failed to return from his latest mission in the Wasteland and, as the law demands, he is declared dead. The law also demands that Rachel, a single woman, must be given into the care of a new protector. Rachel expects that her new protector will be Oliver, her father's close friend and a man who is almost like a grandfather to her, but to her shock her father's will names Luke instead. Despite her fury at being bound to the boy who had once rejected her profession of love there is nothing that either Luke or Rachel could do about it. In the walled city of Baalboden the Commander's word is law, and both Rachel and Luke remember what happens to those who cross him.

But Rachel has a plan. Deep down she knows that her father could not really be dead and she is determined to find him, with or without Luke's help. Luke too believes that Rachel's father is still alive and he intends to put his unique skills to work to in order to create the tools he needs to traverse the Wasteland and find his mentor. But neither can anticipate the Commander's hatred or his need for revenge and when he foils their plans for escape the two will do whatever is in their power to find Rachel's father, and protect each other.

Loss and anger roll off of the pages as Rachel is forced to mourn a father that she does not believe to be dead and to move in with a man that she intensely dislikes. But we quickly learn that even though, in this world, women have no control over their own lives- are not even permitted to go outside on their own- Rachel is different. Rachel is strong, independent and intelligent, traits that can get her killed if she's not careful. Thankfully Rachel has Luke, who is determined to protect Rachel despite her animosity towards him and his own reluctance to be responsible for her.

The narration in Defiance alternates between Rachel and Luke's point of view so that we get to know and care for both characters equally. We quickly find out that Luke isn't quite the villain that Rachel makes him out to be, though she discovers that for herself soon enough. Where Rachel is passionate and quick to act Luke is thoughtful and composed, always weighing every option. Though Luke's caution is born of experience, as we eventually learn when we find out more about his past. Some secrets, though, are never fully revealed and I expect we will find out more about them in the next book.

While Rachel and Luke's opposing viewpoints and temperaments lead to miscommunications and even danger, their shared struggles do bring them to an understanding and appreciation of each other.

While I was glad that the tense emotions between Rachel and Luke didn't last for too long I was disappointed at how quickly the romance took their place. There wasn't much of a build up to it- Rachel goes quickly from hating him to thinking about him romantically while Luke fights to hide his attraction which eventually builds to a realization of his true feelings (though why he had rejected Rachel in the first place is never actually spelled out). I suppose this is a small thing since it's not like they jump into bed together but I would have liked their to have been a bit more subtlety in the way the romance was developed. On the other hand I've always been a sucker for knight-in-shining-armor stories and while Rachel is no damsel in distress I couldn't blame her for quickly falling, again, for a guy who will breach any obstacle  to come to her rescue.

Defiance is an enthralling, fast-paced ride through an apocalyptic world of malicious villains and frightening monsters. The commander is a malevolent presence whose intense hatred of Luke is as much a mystery to the book's characters as it is to the readers, though I do have some guesses. The story is full of loops and bends not hinted at in the book synopsis and so I was constantly on edge trying to guess what might happen next. While I'm not going to give any more away I will say that I was very happy with the ending, which wasn't a cliffhanger (you can let out your breath now) and did wrap up the story in a satisfying way while leaving me still wanting more.

I am very much looking forward to the next book in the series and for the answers I hope to find there.

Thank you to  Edelweiss for providing me with an ARC of Defiance for review.
Defiance is scheduled to be released on August 28, 2012

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Guest Post: Blue Fall (The Tournament, Book One) by B. B. Griffith

Posted by Simcha 3:32 PM, under | 3 comments

I have for you today another one of Baruch Speiser's fantastic book reviews. I always appreciate it when Baruch is able to read and review some of the books that I just don't have the time to get to myself, even if I am slightly jealous that he does it so much better than I do.

I do intend to eventually read Blue Fall myself since the story sounds interesting and I really like the cover (it's a very attractive shade of blue). But in the meantime here is Baruch with his thoughts on Blue Fall...


Blue Fall (The Tournament, Book One)  by B. B. Griffith
Reviewed by Baruch Speiser

In the shady, international conspiracy to run the world, unknown and un-described entities of considerable power and influence bet on a gladiatorial tournament. This secret contest, known only to those involved, is called nothing more than “The Tournament”. Eight teams of three are paired up in a classic winner-takes-all style, each match completed when all three team members of a given side have been defeated. Entire country’s futures can hang on the balance of this high-stakes game of gunfire rivalries. All of which threatens to be exposed and unraveled because of a doggedly persistent claims adjuster, who wonders why some random scientist died days after his company increased his life insurance policy into the millions.

And that, my friends, is about as exciting as I can make this book sound.

Blue Fall is an exercise in patience. The story takes some time to get started. The characters are, for the most part, one-dimensional, bland, and genuinely uninteresting. The writing is alright, but it is not the pinnacle of eloquence, either – in between the action scenes, his prose and dialogue are straightforward and plebian yet still winding; as it lacks sharpness or any kind of cutting edge to it. Villains are villainous, morons are moronic, schlubs are schlubby, and egotistical self-centered movie-star types are, well, exactly as I just described. There are a few characters that were more likable than others – I found myself curious to know more about Piper, given that she is the only female in charge of a team; and Locke is a curiously interesting courier – but mostly the characters are forgettable. To make matters worse, most of the character’s threads are never really resolved, either – making this book seem far longer than it needed to be. We don’t even get to read about how the claims adjuster, Frank Youngsmith, was able to unearth so much about the Tournament. Last we hear from him, he hit a dead end; all of a sudden the Tournament Organizer, Greer, is being told about how Frank is a persistent loser with no life other than digging up dirt and now he knows too much.

This and other flaws in this book are hard to avoid. We never learn much about The Tournament, why and how it was created, how they pick their teams, and why uber-important people care who wins. (I can’t see why anyone would care.) The most glaring, though, was the choice of national casting: the eight teams in contention are the United States, England, Russia, France, Italy, Japan, Mexico and Ireland.

Huh? What about China? For a book that aims to hang world events on a bunch of people running around and shooting each other for the heck of it – yet China isn’t one of the participating teams? I’ve got nothing against Mexico or Ireland, but China dwarfs them in global influence thirty times over. At least if Griffith had used Germany and Canada, then he would have the G8 – but Mexico and Ireland? China, India, Australia, or Saudi Arabia would have seemed like better choices. I liked the Ireland team and the Mexico team was kind of personable, but China and Saudi Arabia could have given this book a completely different sociopolitical edge.

For a “game” where people shoot each other, dying isn’t really part of the equation; which seems like a complete cop-out from real drama. The mechanics are as follows: teams are armed with guns loaded with “diodes” instead of bullets. Getting hit with a diode doesn’t kill you, it just knocks you out with a massive electrical pulse. So we have a bunch of people running around shooting guns, but nobody dies – which is preposterous. If you fire any solid-state material out of a gun at someone’s skull from a range of three feet, it will kill them. Even Javier Barden showed us in No Country for Old Men what happens when you fire plain air that fast – I don’t care what’s inside that bullet, lead or diode juice or happy plasma sparklies, people die from gunshots at point-blank ranges. That’s not to say that there aren’t consequences – one team member shot three times in the head ends up pretty seriously disabled – but it struck me as odd that none of these matches are intended to be a battle to the death.

Now, I will credit Griffith with this: once you get past the flaws and the action starts, the book begins to sizzle. His gunfire scenes are excellent. He describes the panic and chaos on Japan’s trains with vibrant excitement. A hailstorm of bullets flying through a nightclub shoot-‘em-out is well done, with vivid imagination and an uncanny knack for making the reader feel like they’re in on the action. Gun-toting assailants storming a traffic-laden highway under a slick sheet of rain and darkness make for tense times, and a siege in Mexico gets downright nasty. For most authors, a firefight on an airplane would be a gutsy move, Griffith does this well. It is these action scenes – among others – that keep this book afloat.

In addition, Blue Fall has one hell of a bombshell ending, setting up for an explosive sequel. It is definitely a dive into the unexpected – and even if a reader wasn’t enthralled by Book One, I wouldn’t be surprised if they felt compelled enough to jump into Book Two. Endings that demand you follow after them are usually signs of great things to come.

In summation, I thought Blue Fall was an okay read. It starts slow and plods for a while, and the characters or more or less throwaway – but it’s got some pretty decent action and an ending that commands your attention. Yet the series is based on an interesting idea, and it has a lot of potential. Hopefully, Book Two will eschew the introductions and get right into the action – and if it does, then it will probably be a wild ride.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

New Scifi & Fantasy Releases: Week of July 1st

Posted by Simcha 5:31 PM, under | 7 comments

I have fallen so behind on SFF book news that I decided it was time to start putting together these lists again so that I wouldn't miss out on any other fantastic books. While compiling the list I discovered that several sequels that I had been been waiting for had already been released while I was looking the other way and so I'm going to have to make sure to chase those down.

With that said I have to admit that there is nothing here that really jumps out at me at this time though maybe it's just because I haven't heard anything about these books. Do you know of any gems here that I have overlooked?

Hope you have a great reading week!


Science Fiction

Heaven's War 
David S. Goyer & Michael Cassutt
Publisher: Ace
Release Date: July 3

 When it first appeared, the astronomers named the asteroid Keanu. A Near Earth Object, from a distant constellation, it was headed directly toward our sun. But when we went to meet it, it turned out to be far more than a huge rock hurtling through space... The two teams of astronauts sent to explore Keanu discovered it is, in fact, a spacecraft, a giant ship with an alien crew. A ship that had headed to Earth with a mission and a message: Help Us. A brave new frontier beckons. But we are about to learn that it comes with a price... Without warning, the aliens transport small groups of humans from the competing scientific communities of Houston, Texas and Bangalore, India to the vast interior habitats of Keanu. Their first challenge is to survive. Their second; to discover why The Architects—the unknown, unseen aliens controlling the asteroid—brought them there. And soon a third emerges: they must find a way to take control of Keanu. Because the NEO is moving again—away from Earth. The Architects are headed home...

The Apocalypse Codex (Laundry Files, #4) 
Charles Stross
Publisher: Ace
Release Date: July 3

 In the world of the Laundry, there is One True Religion — and we know how to deal with cultists when we find them. When a prominent televangelist with connections to 10 Downing Street shows disturbing signs of being able to work miracles, it’s only natural for the Laundry, the secret service for dealing with occult threats, to take an interest. But there’s a fly in the ointment: the first rule of the secret services is, spying on the Prime Minister and their associates is forbidden. It’s time to send in the freelancers – except in the world of the Laundry, officially there’s no such thing…

Orion and King Arthur 
Ben Bova
Publisher: Tor
Release Date: July 3

 Orion has fought across time and space at the whims of his Creators, godlike beings from the future who toy with human history like spoiled children playing with dolls. Orion has been both assassin and hero, all the while striving to be reunited with Anya, the ageless goddess who is his one true love. Now Orion finds himself in Britain in the years after the Romans abandoned the island kingdom. Minor kings and warlords feud among themselves even as invading hordes threaten to sweep over the land. There Orion befriends a young warrior named Arthur, who dreams of uniting his quarreling countrymen and driving the invaders from their lands. Along with a few brave comrades, Arthur hopes to the stem the tide of barbarism and create a new era of peace and prosperity. But Orion’s Creator, Aten, has other plans for the timeline. Arthur’s noble ambitions interfere with Aten’s far-reaching schemes to reshape history to his own ends. He wants Arthur dead and forgotten—but Orion does not. Orion will battle the gods themselves to see that Arthur fulfills his destiny. But can even he save Arthur from the tragedy that awaits him? Orion and King Arthur is a thrilling new chapter in Ben Bova’s unforgettable cosmic saga.  

Iron Gray Sea (Destroyermen #7)
Taylor Anderson
Publisher: NAL
Release Date: July 3 I

In Taylor Anderson’s acclaimed Destroyermen series, a parallel universe adds an extraordinary layer to the drama of World War II. Now, Lieutenant Commander Matthew Reddy, the crew of USS Walker, and their allies battle an ever-growing host of enemies across the globe in a desperate battle for freedom … 

War has engulfed the—other earth. With every hard-won victory and painful defeat, Matt Reddy and the Allies encounter more friends—and even more diabolical enemies. Even, at last, in the arms of the woman he loves, there is little peace for Reddy. The vast sea, and the scope of the conflict, have trapped him too far away to help on either front, but that doesn’t mean he and Walker can rest. Cutting short his “honeymoon,” Reddy sails off in pursuit of Hidoiame , a rogue Japanese destroyer that is wreaking havoc in Allied seas. Now that Walker is armed with the latest “new” technology, he hopes his battle-tested four-stacker has an even chance in a straight-up fight against the bigger ship—and he means to take her on. Elsewhere, the long-awaited invasion of Grik “Indiaa” has begun, and the Human-Lemurian Alliance is pushing back against the twisted might of the Dominion. The diplomatic waters seethe with treachery and a final, terrible plot explodes in the Empire of New Britain Isles. Worse, the savage Grik have also mastered “new” technologies and strategies. Their fleet of monstrous ironclads—and an army two years in the making—are finally massing to strike...

Spin The Sky
Katy Stauber
Publisher: Night Shade Books
Release Date: July 3

 Fifteen years after winning the Spacer War, Cesar Vaquero has returned to Ithaca, a rugged orbital colony that boasts the only herd of cattle in space, and a wife and a son who don’t even recognize him when he shows up at their doorstep. Posing as a homeless drifter, he soon discovers that making his way home past space pirates, one-eyed giants, and mad scientists was the easy part... Penelope swore off men after her husband disappeared. She’s been busy enough running the ranch, raising her son, and fending off pushy suitors eager to get their hands on her and her herd. But something about this war-weary drifter stirs forgotten feelings in her, even as sabotage, rustlers, and a space stampede threaten to tear Ithaca apart! Spin the Sky is an rollicking, high-spirited riff on a certain classic odyssey—featuring characters as big and full of surprises as Space itself!


Alliance Forged (The Light Blade, Bk 2)
Kylie Griffin
Publisher: Berkley Trade
Release Date: July 3

There is no mercy in the demon realm. No escape. In this place of desperation and conflict, anyone who is not purebred is virtually powerless. Until a blind priestess lays claim to a half-breed warrior, body and soul…   Hunted and marked for death by Na’Reish demons for their half-blood heritage, the Na’Chi are searching for a new home—something an alliance offered by the human leader could provide. With both races divided by prejudice, when Light Blade rebels brutally attack the Na’Chi, the alliance seems doomed to fail.   Varian, leader of the Na’Chi, a hybrid race of gifted warriors, is cursed with the darker impulses of his demon heritage. Controlling the part of himself that craves the high of the battle is a struggle he’s afraid he’ll lose—until he meets Kymora Tayn, a priestess driven to serve her deity. While he’s unwilling to trust anyone outside his people, he finds himself drawn to Kymora’s strength and passionate nature, and discovers she has the power to calm the darkness inside him.   When the Na’Reish raid human territory for blood-slaves and kickstart a war, the key to the survival of both races—Na’Chi and human— is an alliance. However, when Kymora is kidnapped, pitting human against human, Varian realizes he must embrace his darker half, not only to save the alliance…but also the woman he loves.

My Lady Mage 
Alexis Morgan
Publisher: Signet
Release Date: July 3

 A cursed destiny. A band of warriors. And one troubled kingdom.   It is whispered in Agathia that the legendary warriors of the mist—cursed by the gods—can be summoned only when a champion is needed and the cause is just. Gideon, their captain, knows this to be the one path that will lead his men to redemption—lest they face an eternity of damnation.   Years have passed since anyone has journeyed to the river's edge, but times are desperate. Oppressed by a cruel guardian whose dark magic threatens to destroy her people, the beautiful and courageous Merewen calls upon the bespelled warriors. In Gideon she finds more than a champion, and in his arms, more than protection. However, their enemies are fighting with a power darker than anything than they imagined, and should Gideon fail, she will lose everything she holds dear—including her heart  

Wen Spencer
Publisher: Baen
Release Date: July 3

Book Three of the Elfhome series, the follow-up to exciting Wolf Who Rulesand the award-winning fantasy-SF novel that started it all, Tinker.

Elfhome. A world of powerful magic, beautiful elves, man-eating trees, frost-breathing wargs, and god-like dragons. Pittsburgh. A city that has been stranded deep in virgin elfin forest to stave off an invasion by the merciless oni. Its population of sixty thousand humans and a handful of elves are pitted in war that will only end in genocide. Winter is coming. Supplies are running low. All political ties are fraying. Hidden somewhere in Pittsburgh's crumbling neighborhoods, a vanguard of oni are growing in number and attacking from the shadows.

And children are disappearing.

Girl genius Tinker was once a human orphan, growing up on the Pittsburgh streets. Now she's an elf princess with all the bells and whistles. She rules over a melting pot of humans, elves, half-oni, and the crow-like tengu. Prejudices are rampant, pitting even the elves against each other. Hoverbike races, concerts of rock and roll fused with elf music, and artist communes of human and elves are proof that Pittsburgh can be a place where races and species can meet and meld in freedom.

Tinker is determined to make her city a place of such freedom. She's going to have to kick butt and take names. And she has to do it quickly. Seven elf children are already missing -- and the oni eat their prisoners when they outlive their usefulness.

Tinker uncovers ancient secrets and a web of betrayal as she searches for the children. The oni will stop at nothing to win, so neither can she. At five foot nothing, Tinker's greatest weapon has always been her intelligence. Politics, she discovers, is a battle of wits, and she's heavily armed  

James Treadwell
Publisher: Atria
Release Date: July 3

 "A drowning, a magician's curse, and a centuries-old secret. "1537. A man hurries through city streets in a gathering snowstorm, clutching a box in one hand. He is Johann Faust, the greatest magician of his age. The box he carries contains a mirror safeguarding a portion of his soul and a small ring containing all the magic in the world. Together, they comprise something unimaginably dangerous.

London, the present day. Fifteen-year-old Gavin Stokes is boarding a train to the countryside to live with his aunt. His school and his parents can't cope with him and the things he sees, things they tell him don't really exist. At Pendurra, Gavin finds people who are like him, who see things too. They all make the same strange claim: magic exists, it's leaking back into our world, and it's bringing something terrible with it.

First in an astonishingly imaginative fantasy trilogy, "Advent "describes how magic was lost to humanity, and how a fifteen-year-old boy discovers that its return is his inheritance. It begins in a world recognizably our own, and ends an extraordinarily long way from where it started--somewhere much bigger, stranger, and richer  

The Broken Isles ( Legends of the Red Sun, Bk 4) 
Mark Charan Newton
Publisher: Tor
Release Date: July 5 (UK)

 War spills into the Boreal Archipelago, as two rival cultures bring their eternal battle into this adjacent realm. Fresh from a military victory, Commander Brynd Lathraea plans to rebuild the city of Villiren, where he is confronted with a dilemma. There are friendly forces who have no other choice but to live alongside his own people, and their numbers will be required to fight in the looming conflict. The commander turns politician as he seeks to build bridges and embrace mysterious new technologies to further his ambitions. However, many in Villiren are sceptical of aliens coming to their city, tensions run high, and even the dream of a peaceful future brings with it inevitable clashes of beliefs. Meanwhile, Villjamur has been destroyed. A vast swathe of refugees from the legendary city are now on the run from an immense alien presence in the sky. Villages are being cleared and people are dying en masse. And Inquisitor Fulcrom finds himself at the helm of an operation to aid the refugee exodus to the coast, but it's a race against time before this threatened genocide is complete. Ancient civilisations line up on the field of battle. Exotic creatures and a possible god walk alongside citizens of the Empire. As the Legends of the Red Sun series draws to a close, there will be one final and immense conflict to decide the fate of multiple cultures forever.  

War Maid's Choice (War God, Bk 4) 
David Weber
Publisher: Baen
Release Date: July 3

 In Wind Rider’s Oath, Bahzell became a wind rider—the first hradani wind rider in history. And, even if Bahzell is the War God’s champion, because the wind riders are the elite of the elite among the Sothoii, Bahzell’s ascension is as likely to stir resentment as respect. What’s more, Baron Tellian’s daughter, the heir to the realm, seems to be thinking that he is the only man—or hradani—for her. Now, War Maid’s Choice continues the story—and things really get complicated  

Wake of the Bloody Angel (Eddie LaCrosse, Bk 4) 
Alex Bledsoe
Publisher: Tor
Release Date: July 3

 Twenty years ago, a barmaid in a harbor town fell for a young sailor who turned pirate to make his fortune. But what truly became of Black Edward Tew remains a mystery—one that has just fallen into the lap of freelance sword jockey Eddie LaCrosse.  For years, Eddie has kept his office above Angelina’s tavern, so when Angelina herself asks him to find out what happened to the dashing pirate who stole her heart, he can hardly say no—even though the trail is two decades old. Some say Black Edward and his ship, The Bloody Angel, went to bottom of the sea, taking with it a king’s fortune in treasure. Others say he rules a wealthy, secret pirate kingdom. And a few believe he still sails under a ghostly flag with a crew of the damned. To find the truth, and earn his twenty-five gold pieces a day, Eddie must take to sea in the company of a former pirate queen in search of the infamous Black Edward Tew…and his even more legendary treasure.


Tin Swift 
Devon Monk
Publisher: Roc
Release Date: July 3

Life on the frontier is full of deceit and danger, but bounty hunter Cedar Hunt is a man whose word is his bond. Cursed with becoming a beast every full moon, Cedar once believed his destiny was to be alone. But now, Cedar finds himself saddled with a group of refugees, including the brother he once thought lost.   Keeping his companions alive is proving to be no easy task, in part because of the promise he made to the unpredictable Madder brothers—three miners who know the secret mechanisms of the Strange. To fulfill his pledge, Cedar must hunt a powerful weapon known as the Holder—a search that takes him deep into the savage underbelly of the young country and high into the killing glim-field skies defended by desperate men and deadly ships.   But the battles he faces are just a glimmer of a growing war stirring the country. To keep his word Cedar must navigate betrayal, lies, and treacherous alliances, risking everything to save the lives of those he has come to hold dear…

God Save the Queen
Kate Locke
Publisher: Orbit
Release Date: July 3 

The undead matriarch of a Britain where the Aristocracy is made up of werewolves and vampires, where goblins live underground and mothers know better than to let their children out after dark. A world where being nobility means being infected with the Plague (side-effects include undeath), Hysteria is the popular affliction of the day, and leeches are considered a delicacy. And a world where technology lives side by side with magic. The year is 2012 and Pax Britannia still reigns. Xandra Vardan is a member of the elite Royal Guard, and it is her duty to protect the Aristocracy. But when her sister goes missing, Xandra will set out on a path that undermines everything she believed in and uncover a conspiracy that threatens to topple the empire. And she is the key-the prize in a very dangerous struggle

Urban Fantasy

Blood Before Sunrise (Shaede Assassin, Bk 2)
Amanda Bonilla
Publisher: Signet
Release Date: July 3

For months Darian and her Shaede guardian Raif have searched for the Oracle who attempted to overthrow the Shaede Nation—and kill Darian in the bargain. But now that they’ve finally found the half-crazed Oracle, for their efforts they are granted a possibility too painful for Raif to imagine, and too enticing for Darian to ignore.

Darian is determined to reunite Raif and the daughter he thought was dead, but her mission quickly proves dangerous when her lover Tyler is almost killed. And when a brooding and mysterious Fae warrior offers his guidance—at an extraordinary price—Darian finds herself willing to risk everything. As her single-minded hunt turns into an obsession, and she and Tyler grow further apart, Darian finds herself caught between the man she loves like a brother, and the man whose love she can’t live without…

Night Seeker (Indigo Court #3)
Yasmine Galenorn
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: July 3

Eons ago, vampires tried to turn the dark Fae to harness their magic, only to create a demonic enemy more powerful than they could have imagined. Now, the Vampiric Fae are on the move, hunting anyone in their path. As the war with the vampires ratchets up, Myst, Queen of the Indigo Court, enshrouds New Forest in her chilling grasp.

Cicely Waters, owl shifter and Wind Witch, has rescued the Fae Prince Grieve at a great cost. Their reunion has lost them the allegiance of the Summer Queen — and the tolerance of the vampires. In desperation they turn to the Consortium for help. Now, to regain the good will of Lainule, they must dare to enter the heart of Myst's realm. But as Cicely and Grieve embark on their search for the heartstone of Summer, Winter is already wreaking her terrifying revenge.

Grave Memory (Alex Craft Novel, Bk 3)
Kalayna Price
Publisher: Roc
Release Date: July 3

As a Grave Witch, Alex solves murders by raising the dead—an ability that comes at a cost, and after her last few cases, that cost is compounding. But her magic isn’t the only thing causing havoc in her life. While she’s always been on friendly terms with Death himself, things have recently become a whole lot more close and personal. Then there’s her sometime partner, agent Falin Andrews, who is under the glamour of the Winter Queen. To top everything off, her best friend has been forever changed by her time spent captive in Faerie.

But the personal takes a backseat to the professional when a mysterious suicide occurs in Nekros City and Alex is hired to investigate. The shade she raises has no memory of the days leading up to his brutal ending, so despite the very public apparent suicide, this is murder. But what kind of magic can overcome the human will to survive? And why does the shade lack the memory of his death? Searching for the answer might mean Alex won’t have a life to remember at all…

Even White Trash Zombies Get the Blues (white Trash Zombies, Bk 2)
Diana Rowland
Publisher: DAW
Release Date: July 3

Angel Crawford is finally starting to get used to life as a brain-eating zombie, but her problems are far from over. Her felony record is coming back to haunt her, more zombie hunters are popping up, and she's beginning to wonder if her hunky cop-boyfriend is involved with the zombie mafia. Yeah, that's right--the zombie mafia.  Throw in a secret lab and a lot of conspiracy, and Angel's going to need all of her brainpower--and maybe a brain smoothie as well--in order to get through it without falling apart.

 Young Adult

Circus Summer (Circus of Curiosities Book 1)
Kailin Gow
Release Date: July 2

Every season, the Circus of Curiosities visits the city, bringing with it the most fantastic circus acts that are beautiful, majestic, and death-defying. Every season performers for these acts are chosen from the young men and women in each town, trained, and sent to perform in a televised performance, performed literally to the death. Two performers from Sea Cliff, a beach town at the outskirts of the major city find themselves chosen to be in this Summer's Circus Act. Both must win at any cost, but could they ignore their budding feelings for each other?

Dark Destiny (Dark Mirror, #3) 
M.J. Putney
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Release Date: July 3

 Tory and her friends are celebrating the success of a second mission to aid WWII Britain when an urgent summons calls them back to their own time: Napoleon is on the brink of invading England. Can a handful of young mages stop an army? In desperation, Merlin’s Irregulars ask Rebecca Weiss, an untrained telepath from 1940, to come back to 1804 and change Napoleon’s mind before it’s too late. As Tory and Allarde make a commitment that will cost him his inheritance, Rebecca promises to do what she can to stop Napoleon even though she is unsure of her magical abilities. But Tory and her friends saved the Weiss family from Nazi imprisonment, and Rebecca will risk anything, even her life and her budding relationship with Nick Rainford, to repay them. A daring mission takes Tory and Rebecca and their friends into the heart of the Army of Boulogne, where Napoleon is plotting invasion. But while their success may save England, they must still face the bittersweet consequences of their decisions when they return home.

Dark Companion 
Marta Acosta
Publisher: Tor
Release Date: July 3

When foster teen Jane Williams is invited to attend elite Birch Grove Academy for Girls and escape her violent urban neighborhood, she thinks the offer is too good to be true. She's even offered her own living quarters, the groundskeeper's cottage in the center of the birch grove.

Something's not quite right about the school -- or is it Jane? She thinks she sees things in the birch grove at night. She's also beginning to suspect that the elegant headmistress and her sons are hiding secrets. Lucky is the gorgeous, golden son who is especially attentive to Jane, and Jack is the sardonic puzzling brother.

The school with its talented teachers and bright students is a dream for a science and math geek like Jane. She also loves her new friends, including hilarious poetry-spouting rich girl, Mary Violet. But the longer Jane stays at Birch Grove, the more questions she has about the disappearance of another scholarship girl and a missing faculty member.

Jane discovers one secret about Birch Grove, which only leads to more mysteries. What is she willing to sacrifice in order to stay at this school...and be bound to Birch Grove forever?

 Anthology/ Story Collection

The Year's Best Science Fiction: Twenty-Ninth Annual Collection
edited by Gardner Dozois
Release Date: July 3
Published by St. Martin’s Griffin.

In the new millennium, what secrets lay beyond the far reaches of the universe? What mysteries belie the truths we once held to be self evident? The world of science fiction has long been a porthole into the realities of tomorrow, blurring the line between life and art. Now, in The Year’s Best Science Fiction: Twenty-Ninth Annual Collection the very best SF authors explore ideas of a new world. This venerable collection brings together award winning authors and masters of the field such as Robert Reed, Alastair Reynolds, Damien Broderick, Elizabeth Bear, Paul McAuley and John Barnes. And with an extensive recommended reading guide and a summation of the year in science fiction, this annual compilation has become the definitive must-read anthology for all science fiction fans and readers interested in breaking into the genre.

Other Worlds Than These 
edited by John Joseph Adams
Release Date: July 3
Publisher: Night Shade Books

What if you could not only travel any location in the world, but to any possible world?

We can all imagine such “other worlds”—be they worlds just slightly different than our own or worlds full of magic and wonder—but it is only in fiction that we can travel to them. From The Wizard of Oz to The Dark Tower, from Philip Pullman’s The Golden Compass to C. S. Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia, there is a rich tradition of this kind of fiction, but never before have the best parallel world stories and portal fantasies been collected in a single volume—until now.

 Paranormal Romance

A Hunger So Wild (A Renegade Angels, Bk 2) 
Sylvia Day
Publisher: Signet
Release Date: July 3

Elijah Reynolds is the most dominant of lycans, a rare Alpha whose skill on the hunt is surpassed only by his primal sexuality. When the lycans revolt due to the iron fist of angelic rule, he steps into command, becoming both enemy and coveted ally in the conflict between vampires and angels.

Vashti is the second most powerful vampire in the world, a lethal beauty with a path of devastation in her wake. Tasked with proposing an alliance between vampires and the lycans who killed her mate, Vash approaches Elijah, whose need to avenge a friend demands Vash's death even as his passion demands her surrender.

Soon, their enmity erodes beneath an all-consuming desire. Elijah has never encountered a woman whose warrior spirit and fierce sexual appetite rivals his own, while Vash is faced with the one man strong enough to be her equal. But as war looms, each must decide where their loyalty lies--with their own kind or with the enemy lover they can no longer live without. 

Samurai Game (Ghostwalkers, Bk 10)
Christine Feehan
Publisher: Jove
Release Date: July 3

In an underground club, a high-ranking public official spends his secret nights indulging in fantasies as exciting as they are depraved. For a seductive employee of the Dungeon, it’s her job to fulfill them. But she’s playing a far more dangerous game—one of blackmail, politics, and murder that reaches into the shadow world of the Ghostwalkers, and the creation of a spectacular, one-of-a-kind new weapon of defense.

But when a dictator makes his own catastrophic moves, the Ghostwalkers have no choice but to bring in two major players—a man and woman both driven by passion and revenge. Both expendable. Both with nothing left to lose.

Barbara J. Hancock
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Release Date: July 3

We have seen the future, and it’s armed and dangerous.

Ghost in the Machine by Barbara J. Hancock We followed the rules, just like our parents taught us, but the Sweepers have taken my little brother. Then I meet him. He claims to be a rogue who can help me find my brother. Never talk to Shadows. But no one ever told me what would happen if I kissed one.

Zero Factor by Stacy Gail A premonition forces Via to reveal her carefully hidden psychic ability to the last man she should trust—a meched-out militia man who inexplicably makes her heart pound. Via’s sensual kiss sets fire to every one of Locke’s remaining man-nerves. He needs her, as a man, and to find out who wants him dead.

Gridlock by Nathalie Gray Years have passed since Dante escaped the “foster care” that turned him into a killing machine, but the scars are still fresh.

When a job goes bad, Steel finds herself taken to the notorious Cardinal’s secret lair, which is filled with forbidden pre-Grid knowledge. Something about Steel calls to Dante, but trusting her could wipe out years of waiting for his one chance at revenge.

Liquid Lies ( Elementals, Bk 1)
Hanna Martine
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: July 3

Magic is corporate America’s best-kept secret, and Gwen Carroway is superior at selling it ...

Gwen possesses the unique ability to pick up any language in an instant—a power that will globally expand the profitable family business. As dutiful future leader of her race of water elementals, she'll do anything to protect her people's secrets and bloodlines—including enter an arranged marriage. Inside, however, she yearns for forbidden human men. Reed is a mercenary addicted to the money and adrenaline rush of his work. After he inadvertently saves Gwen's life, he ignites her taboo desire for men without magic—and with bodies of gods. Just as things heat up, Reed discovers that Gwen is exactly who he’s been hired to kidnap. He resolves to put work before lust, yet her luscious beauty and fiery spirit unravel him… But there is a terrible truth behind Gwen’s family business—and now, caught between the kinsmen she no longer trusts and an enemy bent on vengeance, the only ally she has is her abductor…


Book Reviews

Blog Archive

Blog Archive