Book News, Books, News

4th “Mortal Instruments” Book Cover Revealed

Cassandra Clare fans will be eagerly awaiting April 6th, 2011, for the release of the fourth book in her Mortal Instruments series, entitled City of Fallen Angels. Here’s a little sneak peak of the cover, which was revealed today. You have to watch the video, it’s at the end.

There is also a link to a sample from the book!

You can check it here.

Book Reviews, Books, Reviews

Review: “Last Sacrifice”

Last Sacrifice, book six in the Vampire Academy series

Richelle Mead

Published: 12/7/10

Warning: Spoilers for the series. Stay away if you haven’t read the previous five!

There is always a lot of expectation when the final book of a beloved series comes out. Ends need tied up, and tasks need to feel like they are completed, or we the reader are left hanging. And of course we can’t say goodbye to the characters, unless we know they will be well-taken care of. Luckily, there were no such problems awaiting the reader in Last Sacrifice, book six in Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy series.

This was a highly-anticipated book. Each subsequent sequel has been desired more than the last, verified by Mead’s outrageously successful book sales. I know I started feeling that way about her books at the end of book 3, with Dimitri’s unfortunate accident. And seeing him in book five broke my heart, right along with Rose. But in this book, he is slowly coming back to himself, step by step, and Rose is there to help him along, even if he doesn’t want her to all the time.

I love Rose. She is one of my favorite female protagonists in more recent YA fiction. There are a lot of females who try to be strong, and in their own way are, but not like Rose. The girl can seriously kick ass, and in Last Sacrifice she doesn’t disappoint. But besides the stints of Rose fighting Strigoi (or other Dhampirs, depending on the situation), there was so much other excellent stuff going on, both with Rose and in general, that I couldn’t put it down. I literally read until 4am and fell asleep with the book open on my pillow, to rise and finish it the following morning.  Because Mead is just that good. She gets inside the characters so well, that I felt like I was truly living within Rose’s skin. Not to discount Lissa, whose head we are also in, thanks to their connection. And that happens a lot in this book, because Rose is on the run, with help from various friends (and enemies) from previous encounters.

At the end of book five Rose was accused of killing the queen, and at the beginning of this book we find out the trial date has been moved up, so that there really won’t be any time for Rose’s friends to find the proof they need to help clear her name of the murder. So she escapes, and though ninety percent of the book she isn’t in court, because of her connection with Lissa we’re able to follow along with all of the investigations and the elections for the new queen. Oh, did I mention that Lissa is running for the seat? It’s only as a distraction, since she has no family (so she thinks!) to help actually elect her, but the controversy of it all is buying more time to help Rose. Plus, we can’t forget about the note that Ambrose slipped Rose at the end of book five. The information on it provides a pivotal plotline that blends seamlessly within all the other turmoil happening around our main characters.

I know, as far as reviews go, perhaps this is a bit convoluted. But to say more is to give way too much away, and if you love this series, I can’t do that to you. It is worth discovering how Mead ties everything up in the end. There are some surprises, some things that were expected, and some ends that are left a little loose, but overall it was a breathless ride on the coaster of YA vampire fiction. I truly hope you enjoy it.

Book News, Books, News

New Releases, week of December 12th, 2010

Here’s a list of books in the Sci-Fi, Fantasy, and Horror categories coming out this week.

Released Monday, December 13th:

The Gift, by James Patterson

When Whit & Wisty were imprisoned by the wicked forces of the totalitarian regime known as the New Order, they were barely able to escape with their lives. Now part of a hidden community of teens like themselves, Whit and Wisty have established themselves as leaders of the Resistance, willing to sacrifice anything to save kids kidnapped and brutally imprisoned by the New Order.
But the One has other plans in store for them: He needs Wisty, for she is “The One Who Has the Gift.” While trying to figure out what that means, Whit and Wisty’s suspenseful adventures through Overworld and Shadowland lead to a jaw-dropping climax and conclusion: the highly-anticipated fulfillment of the heart-pounding opening prologue of book one… The Execution of the Allgoods.

Released Tuesday, December 14th:

Entice, by Carrie Jones

Zara and Nick are soul mates, meant to be together forever. But that’s not quite how things have worked out. For starters, well, Nick is dead. Supposedly, he’s been taken to a mythic place for warriors known as Valhalla, so Zara and her friends might be able to get him back. But it’s taking time, and meanwhile a group of evil pixies is devastating Bedford, with more teens going missing every day. An all-out war seems imminent, and the good guys need all the warriors they can find. But how to get to Valhalla? And even if Zara and her friends discover the way, there’s that other small problem: Zara’s been pixie kissed. When she finds Nick, will he even want to go with her? Especially since she hasn’t turned into just any pixie. . . She’s Astley’s queen.

Darkwar by Glen Cook

The world grows colder with each passing year, the longer winters and ever-deepening snows awaking ancient fears within the Dengan Packstead, fears of invasion by armed and desperate nomads, attack by the witchlike and mysterious Silth, able to kill with their minds alone, and of the Grauken, that desperate time when intellect gives way to buried cannibalistic instinct, when meth feeds upon meth. For Marika, a young pup of the Packstead, loyal to pack and family, times are dark indeed, for against these foes, the Packstead cannot prevail. But awakening within Marika is a power unmatched in all the world, a legendary power that may not just save her world, but allow her to grasp the stars themselves. From Glen Cook, author of the Black Company and Dread Empire novels, comes Darkwar, collecting for the first time, the stunning science fantasy epic that originally appeared as Doomstalker, Warlock, and Ceremony.

Deathwatch: The Emperor Protects by Fantasy Flight Games

Defend the Imperium against its greatest foes! The Emperor Protects contains three separate adventures for the Deathwatch roleplaying game set among the war-torn front lines of an Imperial crusade. Can your imposing Space Marines convince the warrior colony of the Feral World Aurum to join the Imperium? Or will they meet their demise upon the surface of a corrupted Forge World? Featuring three new adventures – The Price of Hubris, A Stony Sleep, and The Vigilant Sword – that present dangerous challenges for your Kill-teams, The Emperor Protects is a great way to begin your campaigns in the Deathwatch. Complete these missions as only Space Marines can… in the Emperor’s Name!

Yarn, by Jon Armstrong

From the neo-feudalistic slubs, the corn-filled world of Tane’s youth, to his apprenticeship among the deadly saleswarriors of Seattlehama–the sex-and-shopping capital of the world–to the horrors of a polluted Antarctica, Yarn tells a stylish tale of love, deceit, and memory. Tane Cedar is the master tailor, the supreme outfitter of the wealthy, the beautiful, and the powerful. When an ex-lover, on the run from the authorities, asks him to create a garment from the dangerous and illegal Xi yarn–a psychedelic opiate–to ease her final hours, Tane’s world is torn apart. Armed with just his yarn pulls, scissors, Mini-Air-Juki handheld sewing machine, and his wits, Tane journeys through the shadowy underworld where he must untangle the deadly mysteries and machinations of decades of deceit. Following up on his highly acclaimed and Philip K. Dick Award-nominated “fashionpunk” novel Grey, Jon Armstrong explodes back on the scene with Yarn.

Shattered Light, by David R. George III, from the Star Trek: Myriad Universes series

It’s been said that for any event, there are an infinite number of possible out­comes. Our choices determine which outcome will follow, and therefore all possibilities that could happen do happen across alternate realities. In these divergent realms, known history is bent, like white light through a shattered prism—broken into a boundless spectrum of what-might-have-beens. But in those myriad universes, what might have been . . . is what actually occurred.

People of the Book: A decade of Jewish Science-Fiction and Fantasy by Peter S. Beagle

From Sholom Aleichem to Avram Davidson, Isaac Bashevis Singer to Tony Kushner, the Jewish literary tradition has always been one rich in the supernatural and the fantastic. In these pages, gathered from the best short fiction of the last ten years, twenty authors prove that their heritage is alive and well – in the spaces between stars that an alphabet can bridge, folklore come to life and histories become stories, and all the places where old worlds and new collide and change.

Released Wednesday, December 15th:

Shivers VI by Richard Shizmar

Cemetery Dance Publications is proud to announce the sixth entry in this award-nominated and best-selling anthology series! Shivers VI weighs in at 410 pages and contains more than 110,000 words from today’s most popular authors of horror and suspense including Stephen King, Peter Straub, Al Sarrantonio, Jay Bonansinga, Lisa Tuttle, David B. Silva, Melanie Tem, Brian Hodge, Brian Keene, Alan Peter Ryan, Blake Crouch and Jack Kilborn, Bev Vincent, Brian James Freeman, Norman Prentiss, and many others. Two of the longest pieces are “The Crate” by Stephen King, his long lost novella that has never appeared in any of his collections, and “A Special Place: The Heart of A Dark Matter” by Peter Straub, a novella that is “creepy to the core” and “shines a terrible light on the backstory of Straub’s acclaimed A Dark Matter” according to the coveted Starred Review from Publishers Weekly. Featuring original dark fiction with a handful of rare reprints, Shivers VI is available only from Cemetery Dance Publications.

Mysteries of the Diogenes Club, by Kim Newman

From the 1860s to the present day, these are the accounts of the Diogenes Club, whose agents solve crimes too strange for Britain’s police, protecting the realm-and this entire plane of existence-from occult menaces, threats born in other dimensions, magical perfidy and the Deep Dark Deadly Ones. Kim Newman continues the series began in The Man From the Diogenes Club, revealing more mysteries of the British Empire’s most secret service.

List from Borders.com and descriptions from Amazon.com

Book Reviews, Books, Reviews

Recommendation: “The Hunger Games”

Title: The Hunger Games
Author: Suzanne Collins

Published: 10/01/08
Genre: Dystopian sci-fi

Civilization as we know it is a thing of the past in The Hunger Games. In her first book for teens, successful children’s author Suzanne Collins nails the post-apocalyptic themes. But the focus isn’t on the things that people have lost, but the way life is in the rough and violent nation of Panem. In the middle of twelve districts lies the capitol city; beautiful, sparkling, and vindictive beyond measure. Their means of control? Forcing each district to send one boy and one girl annually to participate in the Hunger Games— a futuristic reality TV show where they must fight to the death until there’s only one standing, while being filmed for all to watch.

I picked up this book because of a shining review from another author. When someone says that they had to sneak reading under the dinner table, it makes me take notice. And I wasn’t disappointed. The story is thrust forward very quickly, with significant plot development happening within the first thirty pages. And even though these initial ideas are revealed on the book jacket, I still felt tension as I waited to see what would happen and how the story would pan out.

On the morning of the choosing of the boy and girl–darkly named the “Day of Reaping”–we meet Katniss Everdeen, our protagonist, and the people closest to her: her best friend and fellow hunting buddy, her vacant and distant mother, and the love of her life, her twelve-year-old sister. After a surprising twist it ends up being Katniss who represents the girl for her district twelve at the Hunger Games, and this is where our tale truly begins.

After the initial thrust of story, the plot flows like a rollercoaster, moving ever-upward, along with frequent mini-climaxes which keep the tension building. You are left in the dark a lot of the time with the protagonist, which is scary, considering ignorance for her is literally a life or death situation. The fact that it is written in first-person present tense only adds to that feeling. But, even in the midst of terror and survival, there is a lovely development of intimate connections between a few of the characters, some ending in tragedy, others with results we have yet to see. A significant thing I noticed is that the author leads you to believe that the final climax is exactly where you think it should be. However, once everything seems okay, she throws a wrench in the whole thing, immediately bringing the tension back and leaving you wondering about the outcome.

The ending was splendidly written, but it left me seriously unsettled. I was surprised to find out that this book was a first in a series, something I didn’t know when I first picked it up (I initially read it before the sequels were published). That definitely explained the loose ends! There was a part of me that wanted a happier ending, especially after all the trials Katniss was subjected to. Still, knowing that we haven’t left her forever allows the conclusion to fit the story perfectly. I couldn’t wait for the next installment.

Written By: Lauren Z.

Book News, Books, News

Discussion with Tad Williams

Penguin.com in their Water Cooler series this week interviewed Epic Fantasy mastermind Tad Williams. He’s had numerous best-sellers, including the Shadowmarch series, which the most recent book,Shadowheart, was released on November 30th.

The chat interview was live on their site last night, December 9th, at 9pm EST. Here is the link to the entire interview. It’s a really cool and informative, with him discussing and answering fan questions about his books, characters, and other fun things (it reminds me a bit of the Christopher Paolini Random Buzzers Q&A that you can view condensed into three parts on our sister site Shurtugal.com).

Enjoy!

[via penguin.com]

Book News, Books, News

Richelle Mead Interview

YAreads.com sat down with Vampire Academy author sensation Richelle Mead for an interview two days prior to the release of her highly anticipated book, The Last Sacrifice. This will be the sixth and final book in the Vampire Academy series, coming out this Tuesday, December 7th. Check it out here!

From the Interview:

Since the success of Vampire Academy, how has your life changed? Do you get recognized on the street?

No, I’m never recognized.  I don’t think authors have as much star power as authors and actors.  Sometimes my name doesn’t even get recognized, though fans of the genre almost always know the series title when they hear it.  But it’s still been a life changer.  It’s heady knowing that what you write reaches and affects so many people, and every day, I get a lot of email from readers talking about the series.  Knowing that so many people are waiting for the next book certainly puts a lot of pressure on me, but I’m really grateful do what I do for a living.  I love my job.

[via the Harlequin Teen Panel]

Book Reviews, Books, Reviews

“Graceling” Book Recommendation

Book: Graceling

Author: Kristin Cashore

Release Date: 10/01/08

We know grace to be defined as beauty of movement and poise—or mercy, depending on how you use it. But in Katsa’s world, Grace is having an enhanced ability. Katsa is a Graceling, and like all Gracelings, she was born that way. But her Grace isn’t excellent swimming or extreme strength; she has the ability to kill, faster and better than anyone she knows. And unlucky for her, her uncle happens to be the king, so she is forced to work for him, dishing out his threats and punishments.

Then she meets Po, who is also Graced (in fighting), and she just might have met her match. But as their friendship develops, and she starts to learn more about herself and her Grace, secrets that she never could have fathomed become revealed, changing her life forever.

This book was fantastic, plain and simple. It had so many of the elements I like in a good story: Strong characters, interesting plot, great action and adventure, and some sexual tension to spice up the mix. It had the feel of traditional, epic fantasy, but without being bogged down by the technical logistics that usually occur naturally when creating new worlds. This book focused more on the characters, throwing in lots of development with nice punches of action to keep the story moving and interesting.

Katsa is a great female protagonist. She is as far from weak-willed as you can get—for example, the whole book she fights hard against being married, because it would result in the loss of her freedom. And this sets the tone of the whole book. Katsa is struggling to understand the depth of her Grace and what it means, fighting against being put into the mold of wife and woman, dreading being the king’s bully, and trying to understand her relationship with Po. And though, to me, it was blaringly obvious from the very first moment that Po appeared on the scene that he was going to be the love interest, it develops in an unexpected way. Plus, Katsa is completely clueless, so it’s fun to make that journey with her.

This book was a pleasure to read, and I’d recommend it to anyone who enjoys fantasy, interesting characters, and strong female leads. And, seriously, who doesn’t love a chick that kicks butt?

Reviewed by: Lauren Z.

Book News, Books, News

Book Trailer and more for “Pathfinder” by Orson Scott Card

Orson Scott Card’s recent YA release, Pathfinder, hit the shelves on November 23rd. Lytherus will be bringing you a review of the highly anticipated book next week, but in the meantime, here are a few things to hold you over:

Description:

A powerful secret. A dangerous path.

Rigg is well trained at keeping secrets. Only his father knows the truth about Rigg’s strange talent for seeing the paths of people’s pasts. But when his father dies, Rigg is stunned to learn just how many secrets Father had kept from him–secrets about Rigg’s own past, his identity, and his destiny. And when Rigg discovers that he has the power not only to see the past, but also to change it, his future suddenly becomes anything but certain.

Rigg’s birthright sets him on a path that leaves him caught between two factions, one that wants him crowned and one that wants him dead. He will be forced to question everything he thinks he knows, choose who to trust, and push the limits of his talent…or forfeit control of his destiny.

Watch the trailer for the book.

Read an excerpt.

Book News, Books, News

Win Free Stuff From Tor.com!

Tor.com started today their Winter Solstace Giveaway, finishing on, you guessed it, December 21st, 2010. They have a wide range of prizes from fun to really fantastic.

Here’s what today’s prize is (time to qualify for this is up at 4:13 pm EST), as an example:

The Solstice Countdown Day #1 giveaway is the new hardcover editionof Songs of the Dying Earth: Stories in Honor of Jack Vance, edited by George R. R. Martin and Gardner Dozois!

This anthology, coming out next Tuesday, December 7th from Tor Books,features a lot of big names, including Neil Gaiman, Tad Williams, George R. R. Martin, Elizabeth Moon, Kage Baker, Robert Silverberg, and many more.

We’re also throwing in (actually, placing gently, because…the size of this thing…) a hardcover edition ofWarriors, an anthology of new stories from just as mighty a group of science fiction and fantasy writers (Carrie Vaughn! Naomi Novik! David Weber! Robin Hobb!), also edited by George R. R. Martin and Gardner Dozois.

The drawings are daily, done randomly, and the prizes are only available for a limited time, so you’ll have to keep your eye out (they provide some examples on how to stay on top of it).

All the info you’ll need about it is here.

Book News, Books, News

Preview of Richelle Mead’s Final “Vampire Academy” Book

USA Today got exclusive rights for a preview of Richelle Mead’s newest book, Last Sacrifice, the sixth and final book in the sensational best-selling Vampire Academy series. The book is set to hit shelves on December 7th. USA Today posted all of chapter one, which you can view here.

Here’s some info about the release from the article:

And it’s a book that fans all over the world have been waiting to sink their teeth into since the fifth book Spirit Bound, which debuted atop the USA TODAY best-seller list in May 2010. Release parties will be held at more than 150 bookstores nationwide on the day of release, when Mead launches a 10-city book tour. (Penguin Books will be webcasting the first event of the tour onVampireAcademyBooks.com on Dec. 7 at 7 p.m. ET.)

[via Penguin Group (USA)]