Book News, Books, News

New Book Releases, Week of February 19, 2012

Here are this week’s new fantasy, scifi, and horror book releases. Click on the title for a view of the cover.

Released Monday, February 20th, 2012

Orb Sceptre Throne (Mazalan Empire 4), by Ian C. Esslemont

The epic new chapter in the history of Malaz — the new epic fantasy from Steven Erikson’s friend and co-creator of this extraordinary and exciting imagined world.

Darujhistan, city of dreams, city of blue flames, is peaceful at last; its citizens free to return to politicking, bickering, trading and, above all, enjoying the good things in life. Yet there are those who will not allow the past to remain buried. A scholar digging in the plains stumbles across an ancient sealed vault. The merchant Humble Measure schemes to drive out the remaining Malazan invaders. And the surviving agents of a long-lost power are stirring, for they sense change and so, opportunity. While, as ever at the centre of everything, a thief in a red waistcoat and of rotund proportions walks the streets, juggling in one hand custard pastries, and in the other the fate of the city itself.

Far to the south, fragments of the titanic Moon’s Spawn have crashed into the Rivan Sea creating a series of isles… and a fortune hunter’s dream. A Malazan veteran calling himself ‘Red’ ventures out to try his luck — and perhaps say goodbye to old friends. But there he finds far more than he’d bargained for as the rush to claim the Spawn’s treasures descends into a mad scramble of chaos and bloodshed. For powers from across the world have gathered here, searching for the legendary Throne of Night. The impact of these events are far reaching, it seems. On an unremarkable island off the coast of Genabackis, a people who had turned their backs upon all such strivings now lift their masked faces towards the mainland and recall the ancient prophesy of a return.

And what about the ex-Claw of the Malazan Empire who now walks the uttermost edge of creation? His mission — the success or failure of which the Queen of Dreams saw long ago — is destined to shape far more than anyone could have ever imagined.

Released Tuesday, February 21st, 2012

A Beautiful Evil, by Kelly Keaton

Myth and mayhem inhabit a richly reimagined New Orleans in this sequel to Darkness Becomes Her.After the epic graveyard battle at the end of Darkness Becomes Her, Ari and her friends know what they’re up against: Ari is facing the Medusa curse and is haunted by the image of what she will become. To make matters worse, the heinous goddess Athena has kidnapped young Violet and is threatening to destroy Ari.

Ari, along with the superhot Sebastian, is doing everything she can to learn more about Athena and to get Violet back. But the battle of good and evil is bigger than she realizes, and she’s about to be pulled into a world more horrific than she could ever imagine….

The Catastrophic History of You and Me, by Jess Rothenberg

Brie’s life ends at sixteen: Her boyfriend tells her he doesn’t love her, and the news breaks her heart–literally.

But now that she’s D&G (dead and gone), Brie is about to discover that love is way more complicated than she ever imagined. Back in Half Moon Bay, her family has begun to unravel. Her best friend has been keeping a secret about Jacob, the boy Brie loved and lost–and the truth behind his shattering betrayal. And then there’s Patrick, Brie’s mysterious new guide and resident Lost Soul…who just might hold the key to herforever after.

With Patrick’s help, Brie will have to pass through the five stages of grief before she’s ready to move on. But how do you begin again, when your heart is still in pieces?

Faery Tales & Nightmares, by Melissa Marr

Dangerous promises and beguiling threats swirl together in a dozen stories of enchantments, dark and light, byNew York Times bestselling author Melissa Marr. Uncanny and unexpected creatures appear from behind bushes, rise from under the seas, or manifest from seasonal storms to pursue the objects of their attention—with amorous or sinister intent—relentlessly.

From the gentle tones of a story-teller’s cadences to the terror of a blood sacrifice, tales of favorite characters from Marr’s Wicked Lovely novels mix with accounts of new characters for readers to fall in love with . . . or to fear.

Lush, seductive, and chilling, Melissa Marr’s stories revel in the unseen magic that infuses the world as we know it.

Fever (Chemical Garden), by Lauren DeStefano

The second book in The Chemical Garden Trilogy reveals a world as captivating—and as dangerous—as the one Rhine left behind in Wither.

Rhine and Gabriel may have escaped the beautiful prison of Wither’s mansion, but they are far from escaping danger. First they’re chased for stealing a getaway boat, and then the fleeing pair ends up in the eerie den of Madame, an old woman who collects girls and sells them to the highest bidders. Worst of all, Vaughn, Rhine’s sinister father-in-law, seems to be on her trail every step of the way. Rhine remains determined to get to her brother in Manhattan—but the road they are on is long and perilous.

Now that Rhine has finally regained her freedom, what lengths will she need to go to in order to keep it?

The Art of the Mass Effect Universe, by Various artists and authors

The Mass Effect series is a groundbreaking epic that has immersed gamers in one of science fiction”s richest universes. Now BioWare and Dark Horse are proud to invite fans deeper than ever into the Mass Effect saga with The Art of the Mass Effect Universe! Featuring concept art and commentary by BioWare on the games” characters, locations, vehicles, weapons, and more – Mass Effect 3 – The Art of the Mass Effect Universe is the most complete companion available to gaming”s most compelling series.

Echoes of Betrayal: Paldin’s Legacy, by Elizabeth Moon

The action continues fast and furious in this third installment of Elizabeth Moon’s celebrated return to the fantasy world of the paladin Paksenarrion Dorthansdotter. This award-winning author has firsthand military experience and an imagination that knows no bounds. Combine those qualities with an ability to craft flesh-and-blood characters, and the result is the kind of speculative fiction that engages both heart and mind.

All is not well in the Eight Kingdoms. In Lyonya, King Kieri is about to celebrate marriage to his beloved, the half-elf Arian. But uncanny whispers from the spirits of his ancestors continue to warn of treachery and murder. A finger of suspicion has been pointed toward his grandmother, the queen of the Ladysforest elves, and that suspicion has only intensified with time and the Lady’s inexplicable behavior. Clearly, she is hiding something. But what? And why?

Meanwhile, in Tsaia, the young king Mikeli must grapple with unrest among his own nobility over his controversial decision to grant the title and estates of a traitorous magelord to a Verrakaien who not only possesses the forbidden magic but is a woman besides: Dorrin, once one of Kieri’s most trusted captains. When renegade Verrakaien attack two of Dorrin’s squires, suspicion and prejudice combine to place Dorrin’s life at risk—and the king’s claim to the throne in peril.

But even greater danger is looming.  The wild offspring of a dragon are on the loose, sowing death and destruction and upsetting the ancient balance of power between dragonkind, humans, elves, and gnomes. A collision seems inevitable. Yet when it comes, it will be utterly unexpected—and all the more devastating for it.

Forever Claimed, by Rachel Lee

Since the death of his claimed mate, the only thing that’s kept Luc St. Just’s heart beating is his quest for vengeance. His contempt for rogue vampires runs deep. So when a mysterious woman is brutally attacked, Luc’s protective instincts—and his will to live—are suddenly reawakened….

As a werewolf who can’t shape-shift, Dani Makar wants only to lead a “normal” life. But when the magnetically seductive Luc risks his life to save hers, Dani is torn between everything she believes…and an unstoppable, soul-deep desire.

Fiercely drawn to each other, these two sworn enemies fall into a passionate alliance. But evil’s wrath cannot be underestimated, nor its ability to destroy….

The Half-Breed Vampire, by Theresa Meyers

Ignorant of his true heritage, half-breed Slade Donovan is fated to feel like an outsider among his clan. Until a mysterious woman arrives with the ability to unlock his secrets—and make him crave a future he never believed he could have….

As a game warden, Raina Ravenwing has only one mission in the Cascade Mountains: to hunt down a pack of rare wolves that is terrorizing her tribe. Her instant attraction to Slade is a distraction the beautiful wolf whisperer can’t afford, unless she agrees to let him help her. Yet working so closely together only intensifies their passion…even as the unfolding truth of Slade’s identity threatens everything Raina holds sacred.

A Perfect Blood (The Hollows, Book 1o), by Kim Harrison

New York Times bestselling author Kim Harrison returns to the Hollows with the electrifying follow-up to her acclaimed Pale Demon!

Ritually murdered corpses are appearing across Cincinnati, terrifying amalgams of human and other. Pulled in to help investigate by the I.S. and the FIB, former witch turned day-walking demon Rachel Morgan soon realizes a horrifying truth: a human hate group is trying to create its own demons to destroy all Inderlanders, and to do so, it needs her blood.

She’s faced vampires, witches, werewolves, demons, and more, but humanity itself might be her toughest challenge yet.

Raven Calls, by C. E. Murphy

Something wicked this way comes…

Suddenly, being bitten by a werewolf is the least of Joanne Walker’s problems.

Her personal life in turmoil, her job as a cop over, she’s been called to Ireland by the magic within her. And though Joanne’s skills have grown by leaps and bounds, Ireland’s magic is old and very powerful….

In fact, this is a case of unfinished business. Because the woman Joanne has come to Ireland to rescue is the woman who sacrificed everything for Joanne—the woman who died a year ago. Now, through a slip in time, she’s in thrall to a dark power and Joanne must battle darkness, time and the gods themselves to save her.

The Troupe, by Robert Jackson Bennett

Vaudeville: mad, mercenary, dreamy, and absurd, a world of clashing cultures and ferocious showmanship and wickedly delightful deceptions.

But sixteen-year-old pianist George Carole has joined vaudeville for one reason only: to find the man he suspects to be his father, the great Heironomo Silenus. Yet as he chases down his father’s troupe, he begins to understand that their performances are strange even for vaudeville: for wherever they happen to tour, the very nature of the world seems to change.

Because there is a secret within Silenus’s show so ancient and dangerous that it has won him many powerful enemies. And it’s not until after he joins them that George realizes the troupe is not simply touring: they are running for their lives.

And soon…he is as well.

Released Friday, February 24th, 2012

The Legend of Eli Monpress, by Rachel Aaron

Eli Monpress is talented. He’s charming. And he’s a thief.

But not just any thief. He’s the greatest thief of the age – and he’s also a wizard. And with the help of his partners – a swordsman with the most powerful magic sword in the world but no magical ability of his own, and a demonseed who can step through shadows and punch through walls – he’s going to put his plan into effect.

The first step is to increase the size of the bounty on his head, so he’ll need to steal some big things. But he’ll start small for now. He’ll just steal something that no one will miss – at least for a while.

Like a king.

The Legend of Eli Monpress includes the novels: The Spirit Thief, The Sprit Rebellion, and The Spirit Eater.

 

All descriptions from Amazon.com.

Book News, Books, News

New Releases, Week of March 20, 2011

Here’s a list of all of the sci-fi and fantasy coming out this week.

Released Monday, March 21st, 2011

Those that Wake, by Jesse Karp

They tell me that Those That Wake is science fiction. I can certainly live with that; I have a great love for that genre and whole-heartedly embrace its possibilities. But the truth is, that’s not really what I set out to write. I was trying to tell a scary story, something eerie and uncomfortable. Horror, if you will. Not horror in the classical sense, because I’ve got to admit that classic horror doesn’t scare me that much. While a madman with a knife would, I am sure, terrify me if I ever actually encountered one, I have experienced them so many times in books and films that they have somewhat lost their sense of threat. Vampires have become so iconic that their lurking menace feels all but gone for me. I guess what I’m saying is that horror standards just don’t appeal to my sense of fear.

Here’s what does scare me: that the world doesn’t work the way you think it does; that the terrible thing you always thought was impossible turns out to be true; that dark forces you can never see or name actually control your life; that the people you count on the most cannot, orwill not, help you. That’s the book I set out to write.

This certainly has precedent in science fiction. Philp K. Dick leaps immediately to mind. William Sleator’s House of Stairs, a powerful book in that style, was pivotal in my reading life. Movies likeInvasion of the Body Snatchers and the lesser known but also incredible Seconds are ideal examples. So if you want to call it science fiction, that’s okay by me. Like good science fiction, my wish would be that you find its subtext worth considering, too.

But I do hope it scares you, at least a little.

–Jesse Karp

Released Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011

The Dark and Hollow Places (Forest of Hands and Teeth, book 3), by Carrie Ryan

There are many things that Annah would like to forget: the look on her sister’s face when she and Elias left her behind in the Forest of Hands and Teeth, her first glimpse of the horde as they found their way to the Dark City, the sear of the barbed wire that would scar her for life. But most of all, Annah would like to forget the morning Elias left her for the Recruiters.

Annah’s world stopped that day and she’s been waiting for him to come home ever since. Without him, her life doesn’t feel much different from that of the dead that roam the wasted city around her. Then she meets Catcher and everything feels alive again.

Except, Catcher has his own secrets — dark, terrifying truths that link him to a past Annah’s longed to forget, and to a future too deadly to consider. And now it’s up to Annah — can she continue to live in a world drenched in the blood of the living? Or is death the only escape from the Return’s destruction?

In the Arms of Stone Angels, by Jordan Dane

Two years ago, Brenna did the unthinkable. She witnessed the aftermath of a murder and accused her only true friend–the first boy she ever loved–of being a killer.

Now sixteen, Brenna returns to Oklahoma only to discover that Isaac “White Bird” Henry isn’t in juvie. The half-breed outcast is in a mental hospital, frozen in time, locked in his mind at the worst moment of his life. And when Brenna touches him, she’s pulled into his hellish vision quest, seeing terrifying demons and illusions she doesn’t understand.

Feeling isolated and alone, she’s up against the whole town, targeted by bullying former classmates, a bigoted small town sheriff, and a tribe who refuses to help one of their own. But when Brenna realizes she’s as trapped by the past as White Bird is, this time she won’t turn her back on him. She’s the only one who can free them both.

Even if she has to expose her secret–a “gift” she’s kept hidden her whole life.

Invincible: The Chronicles of Nick (book 2), by Sherrilyn Kenyon

Nick Gautier’s day just keeps getting better and better. Yeah, he survived the zombie attacks, only to wake up and find himself enslaved to a world of shapeshifters and demons out to claim his soul.

His new principal thinks he’s even more of a hoodlum than the last one, his coach is trying to recruit him to things he can’t even mention and the girl he’s not seeing, but is, has secrets that terrify him.

But more than that, he’s being groomed by the darkest of powers and if he doesn’t learn how to raise the dead by the end of the week, he will become one of them…

Wither (The Chemical Garden Trilogy), by Lauren DeStefano

When scientists engineered genetically perfect children, everyone thought it would ensure the future of the human race. Though the first generation is nearly immortal, a virus causes all successive generations to die early: age 20 for women, 25 for men. Now, girls are kidnapped for brothels or polygamous marriages to breed children. Rhine is taken from her hardscrabble life and sold with two other girls to Linden Ashby. Though they live in a palatial Florida home surrounded by gardens and treated like royalty, the girls are sequestered from the outside world, and Rhine longs to escape. Her growing affection for her sister wives, her pity for Linden, and her fear of Housemaster Vaughn, Linden’s manipulative father, keep her uncomfortably docile, until she falls for servant Gabriel. This character-driven dystopia, more thoughtful than thrilling, sets up an arresting premise that succeeds because of Rhine’s poignant, conflicted narrative and DeStefano’s evocative prose. Many will appreciate the intense character drama; however, the world building is underdeveloped, with holes in internal logic.Still, this first title in the Chemical Garden Trilogy will surely be popular.

Runescape: Return to Canifis (Runescape 2), by T. S. Church

Varrock is the greatest human city in the world, yet it is filled with dangerous secrets. People are being taken by an inhuman abductor. Its victims are murdered… or  worse, spirited away to Morytania, where vampires rule.

As unrest against the crown grows, the King chooses to send the now-famous Kara-Meir and her friends across the holy river into Morytania, the land of the dead.

Kings of the North (The Deed of Paksenarrion), by Elizabeth Moon

The languorous sequel to 2010’s Oath of Fealty finds many characters moving up in the world, including Kieri Phelan, the king of Lyonya, and Dorrin, now Duke Verrakai. Now those newly stationed must deal with assassination attempts, counterfeiting, and a new enemy who has taken to calling himself Duke Visla Vaskronin. Kieri doesn’t understand why his elven grandmother and co-ruler, the Lady, often refuses to come when he needs her, even when a war with the Pargunese and their possibly unbeatable weapon is imminent. He will also discover that his elven heritage runs stronger than he thought. The pace is slow enough to immerse readers in the world as the characters are immersed in self-discovery, with larger events impending but usually not seen directly. There’s action a-plenty, but this series most appeals to readers who enjoy their fantasy more thoughtful and intellectual.

Spirit Dances, by C. E. Murphy

For Seattle detective Joanne Walker, spring is about new beginnings. She’s mastered her shamanic abilities (mostly), survived a cannibalistic serial killer (barely) and now she’s facing the biggest challenge of her career—attending a dance concert with her sexy boss, Captain Michael Morrison. But when the performance—billed as transformative—actually changes her into a coyote, she and Morrison have bigger things to deal with.

And there’s more. Homeless people are disappearing, a mystical murder puts Joanne way out of her jurisdiction and with the full moon coming on, it’s looking like the killer is a creature that can’t possibly exist.

But Jo could probably handle all of that, if one ordinary homicide hadn’t pushed her to the very edge….

Enigmatic Pilot: A Tall Tale Too True, by Kris Saknussemm

Outrageous and baffling, this puzzle-packed yarn seems to fall in the same (non)category as Saknussem’s Zanesville (2005), combining the fusty diction of Charles Portis and the deadpan weirdness of Thomas Pynchon. Readers meet little Lloyd Meadhorn Sitturd as a young genius who resists the stifling social pressures of antebellum Ohio while creating marvelous, disturbing inventions. When Lloyd and his parents head west in search of better prospects, the boy encounters numerous wonders: a riverboat gambler with a deadly mechanical hand, a 13-year-old escaped slave who becomes Lloyd’s lover, automatons masquerading as people. The setting is convincingly gritty, and the action darts wildly from scene to scene as Lloyd develops a sense of personal responsibility—until an abrupt viewpoint shift throws, literally, everything into doubt. Readers who don’t expect all riddles to have answers will find this surreal adventure delightful.

Hidden Cities (Moshui: The Books of Stone and Water), by Daniel Fox

The conclusion of Fox’s trilogy set in a magical version of ancient China (Dragon in Chains; Jade Man’s Skin) mixes action with scenes that feel like timeless, almost perfect moments. The emperor is exiled, and his pregnant beloved is being targeted by assassins. Rebels battle for control of the nation. An island-dwelling dragon is linked to the boy Han in ways neither understands, and an old man bargains with the dragon for access to the sea in which she was once imprisoned. While some try remaking the dragon’s chains, others learn that the best way to escape their own bonds is to relax. The result is an oddly pleasing feel of unhurried harmony even while the world seems ready to tear itself apart. The story and conclusion alike retain Fox’s hallmark graceful prose and pace.

The Curious Case of the Clockwork Man (Burton & Swinburne in), by Mark Hodder

It is 1862, though not the 1862 it should be

Time has been altered, and Sir Richard Francis Burton, the king’s agent, is one of the few people who know that the world is now careening along a very different course from that which Destiny intended.

When a clockwork-powered man of brass is found abandoned in Trafalgar Square, Burton and his assistant, the wayward poet Algernon Swinburne, find themselves on the trail of the stolen Garnier Collection—black diamonds rumored to be fragments of the Lemurian Eye of Naga, a meteorite that fell to Earth in prehistoric times.

His investigation leads to involvement with the media sensation of the age: the Tichborne Claimant, a man who insists that he’s the long lost heir to the cursed Tichborne estate. Monstrous, bloated, and monosyllabic, he’s not the aristocratic Sir Roger Tichborne known to everyone, yet the working classes come out in force to support him. They are soon rioting through the streets of London, as mysterious steam wraiths incite all-out class warfare.

From a haunted mansion to the Bedlam madhouse, from South America to Australia, from seances to a secret labyrinth, Burton struggles with shadowy opponents and his own inner demons, meeting along the way the philosopher Herbert Spencer, Isambard Kingdom Brunel, Florence Nightingale, and Charles Doyle (father of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle).

Can the king’s agent expose a plot that threatens to rip the British Empire apart, leading to an international conflict the like of which the world has never seen? And what part does the clockwork man have to play?

Burton and Swinburne’s second adventure—The Clockwork Man Of Trafalgar Square—is filled with eccentric steam-driven technology, grotesque characters, and a deepening mystery that pushes forward the three-volume story arc begun in The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack.

Black Halo (The Aeons’ Gate, Book 2), by Sam Sykes

THE TOME OF THE UNDERGATES HAS BEEN RECOVERED

…and the gates of hell remain closed. Lenk and his five companions set sail to bring the accursed relic away from the demonic reach of Ulbecetonth, the Kraken Queen. But after weeks at sea, tensions amidst the adventurers are rising. Their troubles are only beginning when their ship crashes upon an island made of the bones left behind from a war long dead.

And it appears that bloodthirsty alien warrior women, fanatical beasts from the deep, and heretic-hunting wizards are the least of their concerns. Haunted by their pasts, plagued by their gods, tormented by their own people, and gripped by madness personal and peculiar, their greatest foes may yet be themselves.

The reach of Ulbecetonth is longer than hell can hold.

Released Thursday, March 24th, 2011

The Neon Court: Or, the Betrayal of Matthew Swift (book 3), by Kate Griffin

War is coming to London. A daimyo of the Neon Court is dead and all fingers point towards their ancient enemy – The Tribe. And when magicians go to war, everyone loses.

But Matthew Swift has his own concerns. He has been summoned abruptly, body and soul, to a burning tower and to the dead body of Oda, warrior of The Order and known associate of Swift. There’s a hole in her heart and the symbol of the Midnight Mayor drawn in her own blood. Except, she is still walking and talking and has a nasty habit of saying ‘we’ when she means ‘I.’

Now, Swift faces the longest night of his life. Lady Neon herself is coming to London and the Tribe is ready to fight. Strange things stalk this night: a rumored ‘chosen one,’ a monster that burns out the eyes of its enemies, and a walking dead woman. Swift must stop a war, protect his city, and save his friend – if she’ll stop trying to kill him long enough for him to try.

The Enterprise of Death, by Jesse Bullington

As the witch-pyres of the Spanish Inquisition blanket Renaissance Europe in a moral haze, a young African slave finds herself the unwilling apprentice of an ancient necromancer. Unfortunately, quitting his company proves even more hazardous than remaining his pupil when she is afflicted with a terrible curse. Yet salvation may lie in a mysterious tome her tutor has hidden somewhere on the war-torn continent.

She sets out on a seemingly impossible journey to find the book, never suspecting her fate is tied to three strangers: the artist Niklaus Manuel Deutsch, the alchemist Dr. Paracelsus, and a gun-slinging Dutch mercenary. As Manuel paints her macabre story on canvas, plank, and church wall, the young apprentice becomes increasingly aware that death might be the least of her concerns.

Released Friday, March 25th, 2011

The Zombie Autopsies: Secret Notebooks from the Apocalypse, by Steven C. Schlozman

Presented as the journal kept by a neuroscientist investigating the medical causes of zombiism, Schlozman’s clever debut shows that there’s still life left in the overworked horror theme of the living dead. Dr. Stanley Blum is already infected (as is two-thirds of humankind) with ataxic neurodegenerative satiety deficiency syndrome (ANSD)—the virus that makes flesh-eating zombies lurch and lunch—when he decamps to Bassas da India, an island overseen by the U.N., to vivisect captive zombies in the hope of isolating the pathogen before he succumbs to it. Schlozman makes the science both accessible and plausible. In lieu of a meaty plot, he provides a grim vision of zombie apocalypse and a surprise explanation for the virus’s origin. Printed as a handwritten diary and illustrated in gory glory with clinical drawings by Andrea Sparacio, this book is sure to be scarfed up by ravenous zombiephiles.

List from Borders.com and descriptions/reviews from Amazon.com