Book Editorial, Books, Editorials

Lytherus’ top ten new release young adult books you CAN’T miss this fall!

top ten young adult book releasesFall is the time for reading. The weather’s turning colder, days are getting shorter, and it’s perfect for snuggling up with a book. Lucky for us, there is a ton of great young adult books coming out this fall. Our team sat down to compile our top ten list of most anticipated fall young adult novels you can’t miss out on! Here’s a list of our top ten choices to look forward to:

Antigoddess by Kendare Blake (September 10th)

antigoddess-kendare-blakeKendare Blake made a mark for herself with Anna Dressed in Blood, and now she’s beginning a new series with Antigoddess  the premise of which begs the question, ‘What if the immortal gods started dying?’ Stay tuned next week, we’re going to be featuring Kendare and this book Monday through Friday! Here’s the summary:

Old Gods never die…

Or so Athena thought. But then the feathers started sprouting beneath her skin, invading her lungs like a strange cancer, and Hermes showed up with a fever eating away his flesh. So much for living a quiet eternity in perpetual health.

Desperately seeking the cause of their slow, miserable deaths, Athena and Hermes travel the world, gathering allies and discovering enemies both new and old. Their search leads them to Cassandra—an ordinary girl who was once an extraordinary prophetess, protected and loved by a god.

These days, Cassandra doesn’t involve herself in the business of gods—in fact, she doesn’t even know they exist. But she could be the key in a war that is only just beginning.

Because Hera, the queen of the gods, has aligned herself with other of the ancient Olympians, who are killing off rivals in an attempt to prolong their own lives. But these anti-gods have become corrupted in their desperation to survive, horrific caricatures of their former glory. Athena will need every advantage she can get, because immortals don’t just flicker out.

Every one of them dies in their own way. Some choke on feathers. Others become monsters. All of them rage against their last breath.

The Goddess War is about to begin.

 

The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater (September 17th)

dream-thievesFor those of who haven’t read book one in this series (The Raven Boys) yet, you’re seriously missing out. But now’s a good time, because book two, The Dream Thieves, is just around the corner. The world has been established, but many questions go unanswered, and Maggie left readers hanging with the final sentence of the first book, leading right into book two (which is hinted at in the title!)  Here’s the summary:

Now that the ley lines around Cabeswater have been woken, nothing for Ronan, Gansey, Blue, and Adam will be the same. Ronan, for one, is falling more and more deeply into his dreams, and his dreams are intruding more and more into waking life. Meanwhile, some very sinister people are looking for some of the same pieces of the Cabeswater puzzle that Gansey is after….

 

Frozen by Melissa de la Cruz and Michael Johnston (September 17th)

frozen-melissa-de-la-cruz-michael-johnstonMelissa was made popular by her vampire series Blue Bloods. In this endeavor she pairs up with her husband to co-write Frozen, the first book in a new series about a futuristic frozen Los Vegas, a forbidden magic, and a journey that could change lives. We’re going to be featuring this book on Lytherus, so stay tuned! Here’s the summary:

From New York Times bestselling author Melissa de la Cruz and Michael Johnston comes this remarkable first book in a spellbinding new series about the dawn of a new kind of magic.

Welcome to New Vegas, a city once covered in bling, now blanketed in ice. Like much of the destroyed planet, the place knows only one temperature—freezing. But some things never change. The diamond in the ice desert is still a 24-hour hedonistic playground and nothing keeps the crowds away from the casino floors, never mind the rumors about sinister sorcery in its shadows.

At the heart of this city is Natasha Kestal, a young blackjack dealer looking for a way out. Like many, she’s heard of a mythical land simply called “the Blue.” They say it’s a paradise, where the sun still shines and the waters are turquoise. More importantly, it’s a place where Nat won’t be persecuted, even if her darkest secret comes to light.

But passage to the Blue is treacherous, if not impossible, and her only shot is to bet on a ragtag crew of mercenaries led by a cocky runner named Ryan Wesson there. Danger and deceit await on every corner, even as Nat and Wes
find themselves inexorably drawn to each other. But can true love survive the lies? Fiery hearts collide in this fantastic tale of the evil men do and the awesome power within us all.

 

Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson (September 24th)

steelheart-brandon-sandersonWhat if there were really superheroes in the world? What if every single one of them, without exception, was evil? What chance would regular people stand against such forces? And how can someone defeat the invincible? These are some of the questions raised in master storyteller Brandon Sanderson’s upcoming book Steelheart. It’s every bit as epic as it sounds, and we’re going to be featuring it during it’s release week, so definitely stop back! Bonus: there’s a chapter excerpt if you want to get started now. Here’s the summary.

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Mistborn Trilogy, Brandon Sanderson, comes the first book in a new, action-packed thrill ride of a series—Steelheart.

Ten years ago, Calamity came. It was a burst in the sky that gave ordinary men and women extraordinary powers. The awed public started calling them Epics. But Epics are no friend of man. With incredible gifts came the desire to rule. And to rule man you must crush his wills. Nobody fights the Epics . . . nobody but the Reckoners. A shadowy group of ordinary humans, they spend their lives studying Epics, finding their weaknesses, and then assassinating them. And David wants in. He wants Steelheart—the Epic who is said to be invincible. The Epic who killed David’s father. For years, like the Reckoners, David’s been studying, and planning—and he has something they need. Not an object, but an experience.
He’s seen Steelheart bleed. And he wants revenge.

 

Unbreakable by Kami Garcia (October 10th)

Kami Garcia/UnbreakableGhosts! Murder! Secret societies! These are some of the awesome things featured in Kami Garcia’s new book Unbreakable. This is her first solo project after the very popular and much -loved Beautiful Creatures series she wrote with Margaret Stohl, and it’s one of the most anticipated books of the fall. And Lytherus managed to snag an exclusive interview with her for release week, so be sure to check it out! Here’s the summary:

I never believed in ghosts.
Until one tried to kill me.
When Kennedy Waters finds her mother dead, she doesn’t realize that paranormal forces are responsible–not until mysterious identical twins Jared and Lukas Lockhart break into her room and destroy a deadly spirit sent to kill her.
Kennedy learns that her mother’s death was no accident, and now she has to take her place in the Legion of the Black Dove–a secret society whose five members were all murdered on the same night, leaving the Legion in the hands of the next generation: a misfit group with unique skills.
As the new members race to find the only weapon capable of destroying the demon, they use their individual talents to battle paranormal entities and earn their rightful place in the Legion–except for Kennedy.
If she is truly the missing piece of the puzzle, can she stay alive long enough to find out–without losing her heart in the process?
Protect Yourself.
What you can’t see CAN hurt you

 

The Eye of Minds by James Dashner (October 8th)

the-eye-of-minds-james-dashnerWe’re James Dashner fans here at Lytherus, and this new book, the first in a new series, has promise to be one of our favorites this fall. James uses the awesome imagination we loved in The Maze Runner series and delivers it again in The Eye of Minds, a futuristic cyber world filled with intrigue and adventure. And gaming! And hacking! It should be a good one, especially if you’re a fan of scifi, gaming, or the world of coding. We’ll be featuring Dashner all of his release week, so be sure to stop by. Here’s the summary:

From James Dashner, the author of the New York Times bestselling Maze Runner series, comes an all-new, edge-of-your seat adventure. The Eye of Minds is the first book in The Mortality Doctrine, a series set in a world of hyperadvanced technology, cyberterrorists, and gaming beyond your wildest dreams . . . and your worst nightmares.

Michael is a gamer. And like most gamers, he almost spends more time on the VirtNet than in the actual world. The VirtNet offers total mind and body immersion, and it’s addictive. Thanks to technology, anyone with enough money can experience fantasy worlds, risk their life without the chance of death, or just hang around with Virt-friends. And the more hacking skills you have, the more fun. Why bother following the rules when most of them are dumb, anyway?

But some rules were made for a reason. Some technology is too dangerous to fool with. And recent reports claim that one gamer is going beyond what any gamer has done before: he’s holding players hostage inside the VirtNet. The effects are horrific—the hostages have all been declared brain-dead. Yet the gamer’s motives are a mystery.

The government knows that to catch a hacker, you need a hacker.And they’ve been watching Michael. They want him on their team. But the risk is enormous. If he accepts their challenge, Michael will need to go off the VirtNet grid. There are back alleys and corners in the system human eyes have never seen and predators he can’t even fathom—and there’s the possibility that the line between game and reality will be blurred forever.

 

Allegiant by Veronica Roth (October 22nd)

allegiant-veronica-rothIf I had to pick the top YA book that’s most anticipated this fall, it’s Allegiant, the conclusion to Veronica Roth’s superb Divergent series. With the Divergent movie coming out next year, this series has been everywhere. And I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to see how it ends. Here’s the summary:

What if your whole world was a lie?
What if a single revelation—like a single choice—changed everything?
What if love and loyalty made you do things you never expected?
The explosive conclusion to Veronica Roth’s #1 New York Times bestselling Divergent trilogy reveals the secrets of the dystopian world that has captivated millions of readers in Divergent and Insurgent.

 

Teardrop by Lauren Kate (October 22nd)

teardrop-lauren-kateTeardrop is the first book in a new series by Lauren Kate. We’re going to be featuring her all of release week, and having already read and advanced copy of the book, we can say that this book is fantastic. It feels fresh and new, and fans of Lauren’s Fallen series will gobble this one right up. Fans who love fantasy, adventure, and romance should also definitely not miss it. Here’s the summary:

The first in a new series by Lauren Kate, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Fallen series, TEARDROP is an epic saga of heart-stopping romance, devastating secrets, and dark magic . . . a world where everything you love can be washed away.
Never, ever cry. . . . Eureka Boudreaux’s mother drilled that rule into her daughter years ago. But now her mother is gone, and everywhere Eureka goes he is there: Ander, the tall, pale blond boy who seems to know things he shouldn’t, who tells Eureka she is in grave danger, who comes closer to making her cry than anyone has before.
But Ander doesn’t know Eureka’s darkest secret: ever since her mother drowned in a freak accident, Eureka wishes she were dead, too. She has little left that she cares about, just her oldest friend, Brooks, and a strange inheritance—a locket, a letter, a mysterious stone, and an ancient book no one understands. The book contains a haunting tale about a girl who got her heart broken and cried an entire continent into the sea. Eureka is about to discover that the ancient tale is more than a story, that Ander might be telling the truth . . . and that her life has far darker undercurrents than she ever imagined.

 

The Shadowhunter’s Codex by Cassandra Clare (October 29th)

the-shadowhunters-codex-cassandra-clareThis is more of a companion book than an actual novel, but for fans of Cassandra Clare and anything Shadowhunter, this is going to be a must-have. This is the Shadowhunter instruction manual, and not only that, it’s Clary’s actual copy, complete with her personal sketches and notes. This should be a very cool insight to the morals and creation of the demon killing machines fans of the series know and love. Here’s the summary:

Delve into the details of all things Shadowhunter with this illustrated guide to the knowledge and lore of the Shadowhunter world.

Since the thirteenth century, the Shadowhunter’s Codex has been the one and only manual for Shadowhunters looking to brush up on their demon languages, learn proper stele use, and discover just what exactly a pyxis is. Featured in both The Mortal Instruments and The Infernal Devices, this guide is a necessity for any young Nephilim on their journey to becoming a Shadowhunter. Beautifully illustrated, the Codex contains images of the famous Shadowhunter homeland of Idris, as well as depictions of demons and other Downworlders.
But this isn’t just any copy of The Shadowhunter’s Codex. It’s Clary’s copy, and as an artist herself, she’s sketched pictures of her friends and family in the book, and scrawled helpful advice in the margins. Of course, she couldn’t exactly stop Jace or Simon from adding their thoughts either. Part encyclopedia, part history, part training manual—complete with commentary from Shadowhunters who have seen it all—this beautiful guide is a perfect supplement to the #1 New York Times bestselling series.

 

Curtsies and Consperacies by Gail Carriger (November 5th)

curtsies-and-consperacies-gail-carrigerThis is book two in Gail’s young adult series, set in the same world as her steampunk Parasol Protectorate series. Murder, mayhem, and manners abound in these books. They are a riot to read, and really creative. I’m sure Curtsies and Consperacies will continue that legacy proudly. If you’ve never read any, start with the adult books and then move on to the YA. You won’t be sorry. If you’re up to date, here’s an excerpt of book 2. Here’s the summary:

Does one need four fully grown foxgloves for decorating a dinner table for six guests? Or is it six foxgloves to kill four fully grown guests?

Sophronia’s first year at Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality has certainly been rousing! For one thing, finishing school is training her to be a spy–won’t Mumsy be surprised? Furthermore, Sophronia got mixed up in an intrigue over a stolen device and had a cheese pie thrown at her in a most horrid display of poor manners.

Now, as she sneaks around the dirigible school, eavesdropping on the teachers’ quarters and making clandestine climbs to the ship’s boiler room, she learns that there may be more to a field trip to London than is apparent at first. A conspiracy is afoot–one with dire implications for both supernaturals and humans. Sophronia must rely on her training to discover who is behind the dangerous plot-and survive the London Season with a full dance card.

In this sequel to New York Times bestselling Etiquette & Espionage, class is back in session with more petticoats and poison, tea trays and treason. Gail’s distinctive voice, signature humor, and lush steampunk setting are sure to be the height of fashion this season.

BONUS BOOKS: There are several books that didn’t make the list, not because they lack quality but because they just recently released! If you’re looking for a great book to read while waiting for one of the books on this list to come out, check out some of these fantastic readers:

We’d love to hear in the comments which books you would have put on the list, if any of your most anticipated books didn’t make it! Happy reading!

Book Interviews, Book News, Books, Interviews, News

Featured Author Week: Gail Carriger talks about her first experience seeing her book

Gail Carriger is out and about, touring for the release of her newest book Etiquette & Espionage. But she took some time to dig through her archives of antics and stories to share with us something about what it’s like to be an author. In this guest post she talks about what it’s like to experience seeing your book in a store for the first time, and the emotions that go along with that. Take it away Gail!

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First Shelf Sighting ~ Gail Carriger

soulless-gail-carriger-634x1024The first time I saw my book on a shelf in a bookstore it wasn’t in person. Instead, there it was, blurred by cell phone camera inefficiency, taken by one of my twitter followers in Minnesota. It was a week before Soulless was supposed to be released, so both she and I were taken entirely unawares and understandably confused.

Well, it turns out, bookstores can do that with certain books: shelve ’em when they get ’em. No gag order. Mine was one of those books.

A small but enthusiastic following had been anticipating Soulless, and they were quite a buzz to find it arriving early. Suddenly, the spies-I-didn’t-know-I-had went to work and began reporting in from around the country. Soulless spotted in Indiana! In Texas! In New York! Thousands panic! (Oh, wait, different headline.) And then, finally, a dear friend snapped a shot if it in my home state of California.

A day or so later I was out shopping with a couple of girlfriends, as you do. We were consuming those Vietnamese beverages with the black tapioca in them, affectionately referred to by me as “Drinks with Stuff!” This process, three shopping females plus drinkies, involves much chittering and slurping and sideways perambulations. And thus engaged, we wandered by a Borders.

“Ooo,” says I, “can we go in and see if they have my book?”

And so we do. And there it was! The chittering and the slurping became more enthusiastic as a result, which attracted the attention of one of the green t-shirted staff.

“Can I help you?” says she.

“That’s my book!” I crow.

“Would you like to sign it?” says she. Crazy authors, she’s thinking.

“Really? Of course! I’d love to.”

And so she disappears and returns with a whole stack for me to sign, right there: Drink with Stuff! in one hand, cheap pen in the other.

As we leave the store one of my friends keeps saying. “I can’t believe they didn’t’ ask you for ID or anything.”

“Oh, of course,” says I, “because there’s a mad plague of crooks masquerading as small time authors dashing into unsuspecting stores and demanding to sign books they haven’t written.”

“Well, fine. But it’d be pretty funny if there were.”

And with that I leave you to ponder what is obviously a untapped criminal market.
~ GC

***

Thanks Gail! Interested in learning more? You can find her on twitter and at her website.

Book Interviews, Books, Interviews

Featured Author Week: Exclusive interview with Gail Carriger, author of ‘Etiquette & Espionage’

Gail Carriger is a busy bee, touring around for her new book Etiquette & Espionage, but she took some time to answer a few questions about the new series. They are a bit spoilery in regards to the general ideas of the series, so if you want to know nothing before reading this excellent book proceed with caution. Now, here’s Gail!

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etiquette (1)Tell us a little bit about this new story. It’s set in the same world as The Parasol Protectorate, but with a (mostly!) new set of characters. Talk to us a little bit about developing the concept of the Finishing School.

Etiquette & Espionage features a lady’s seminary located in a giant caterpillar-like dirigible floating over Dartmoor in which young ladies are taught to . . . finish . . . everything . . . and everyone . . . as needed. There will be steampunk etiquette. There will be well-dressed espionage. There will be Victorian fake food. There will be flying mechanical sausage dogs named Bumbersnoot. The idea is to delve into what it is like to be entirely human in this crazy steampunk meet urbane fantasy world I have invented. At the same time this series is a commentary on Victorian society how it might be manipulated by spies and evil geniuses and hurling food. My characters always seem to be hurling food.

I’d heard rumors that you were going to write something with Prudence as the main character, so I was a bit surprised when I realized this story was actually set prior to the time in The Parasol Protectorate. Tell us a little bit about how you decided to explore this time in the new stories.

Prudence will get her own book, but for this series I wanted to delve into the past. I wanted to explore the concept of technological abandonment, when a culture voluntarily ceases to use a technology despite the fact that it would make life easier. As an archaeologist this has always fascinated me. Readers of my adult series will notice that there are far more mechanical servants and toy mechanimals in this book than later on in my steampunk history. What happened to them? Why did they disappear? Sophronia will tell us that story along side her own.

Etiquette & Espionage’s main character is a curious and adventurous teen named Sophronia. Talk to us about developing a new main character. Was it hard to say goodbye to Alexia? How different was it writing in the voice of a teen versus a grown woman?

It was a challenge at first, I had to try to remember what I was like at that age. I worked to create a more youthful and accessible voice and a main character who would grow and change with the books much as we all change throughout high school. Sophronia has a different world view than Alexia. She’s private and introverted and must become more self actualized along the way by making new friends and discoveries. Her focus is on her immediate environment, less political, more personal. It wasn’t difficult to let Alexia go, I felt that she told me her story and that it was time I left her alone to get on with life, stopped interfering and throwing ladybugs at her. Poor thing, she needs a rest.

This book is called Book the First, so it’s safe to assume there will be more. Will they feel like stand-alone stories, or will there be an overarching theme running between them? I ask because the adventure that occurred in this book seemed to end in a somewhat complete way, without major cliffhangers. 

There are four books in this series. Each book has an internal plot that stands alone, so that readers have the satisfaction of reading a story arc to completion, but the four books are also tied together with one overarching plot. In each new novel Sophronia learns more and more about the machinations of the supernatural creatures and the Picklemen that populate her environment. At the end of Etiquette & Espionage Sophronia thinks she has a handle on the situation, so does the reader, only I know that there is more to uncover. *insert evil laugh here*

****

Want more Gail? I was lucky enough to have an audio interview with her at San Diego Comic Con 2012, where she talks about more general ideas like her writing and her first series. It’s a great interview, check it out here if you’re interested. You can also follow Gail on Twitter (@gailcarriger) and check out her website www.gailcarriger.com. 

Book Events, Books, Events

Featured Author Week: Giveaway: Win one of THREE copies of Gail Carriger’s ‘Etiquette &Espionage’!

etiquette (1)As a part of the Gail Carriger feature week we’re giving away three copies of her new book Etiquette & Espionage! Enter below for your chance to win one.

Our giveaway is simple. Unfortunately, it’s open to residents of North America only (sorry, international fans!). If you’re under 18, please make sure to get your parents’ permission to enter the giveaway. You can earn a total of six entries in the giveaway:

  • ONE entry for simply entering the giveaway
  • TWO entries for following us on Twitter
  • TWO entries for “liking” us on Facebook
  • ONE entry for talking about the giveaway on Twitter

The giveaway will stay open until February 17th at 12:01 am. Winners will automatically be chosen at random via Rafflecopter. The first name of each winner will be announced on this post and winners will be contacted by a member of our staff to begin the process of shipping out your prize!

Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
//d12vno17mo87cx.cloudfront.net/embed/rafl/cptr.js
 

Book Reviews, Books, Reviews

Featured Author Week: ‘Etiquette & Espionage’ by Gail Carriger is witty, suspenseful, and full of charm

etiquette (1)This review has mild spoilers from The Parasol Protectorate, so if you haven’t read those books, proceed with caution!

Gail Carriger fans, be prepared to get excited! Etiquette & Espionage, her newest  book (the first in her Finishing School series) is fantastic, and totally can hold its own against her previous books. The new characters are entertaining, the story is witty and suspenseful, and Gail’s writing is full of it’s usual charm.

Here’s a summary of the book:

It’s one thing to learn to curtsy properly. It’s quite another to learn to curtsy and throw a knife at the same time. Welcome to Finishing School.

Fourteen-year-old Sophronia is a great trial to her poor mother. Sophronia is more interested in dismantling clocks and climbing trees than proper manners–and the family can only hope that company never sees her atrocious curtsy. Mrs. Temminnick is desperate for her daughter to become a proper lady. So she enrolls Sophronia in Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality.

But Sophronia soon realizes the school is not quite what her mother might have hoped. At Mademoiselle Geraldine’s, young ladies learn to finish…everything. Certainly, they learn the fine arts of dance, dress, and etiquette, but the also learn to deal out death, diversion, and espionage–in the politest possible ways, of course. Sophronia and her friends are in for a rousing first year’s education.

Set in the same world as the Parasol Protectorate, this YA series debut is filled with all the saucy adventure and droll humor Gail’s legions of fans have come to adore.

****

I went into reading this not knowing anything other than what the blurb on the back told me. I heard somewhere that possibly the main character would be Prudence, Alexia and Maccon’s daughter from The Parasol Protectorate, but as a teen up to her own mischief. I was surprised to learn that this story takes place prior to the other one, but I actually came to love this fact. There are a few familiar characters, and to see where they came from was fascinating and entertaining. This also really helped fill out the wonderful world of an alternate London, giving it more rich backstory.

One of the reasons that Gail has become a favorite of mine is the hilarious wit she gives her characters. I feel like so many times authors try too hard to get that voice and don’t succeed. Gail is one of the few who manages to weave that humor into her stories in a seemingly effortless fashion. I wondered if this vibe was particular to The Parasol Protectorate, or if this was something Gail would choose to carry into E&E. Lucky for us, it is there, and the story is both amusing and suspenseful. The characters are well-developed, and I enjoyed seeing where the plot went and how things would work out.

Only word of advice I would have is to read at least Soulless (but the whole Parasol Protectorate series would be even better!) before tackling Etiquette & Espionage. There is so much of the world that is explained in Soulless, and I think it would do a new reader a world of good to have this knowledge going into E&E. I think Gail does a nice job introing the world in this newest book, but the story starts in Soulless and I think it would deliver a richer reading experience overall if that book was under the reader’s belt.

Gail’s  books are wonderful, I can’t say enough good things about them. This newest addition to the roster holds up to the other ones, and you should definitely pick it up.

Etiquette & Espionage came out on Tuesday February 5th, 2013.

Book Events, Book Interviews, Book News, Book Reviews, Books, Events, Interviews, News, Reviews

Featured Author Week: Gail Carriger (Etiquette & Espionage) visits this week!

gail carriger featured week

Lytherus is really excited to be bringing back Gail Carriger for a feature week, showcasing her newly released YA book Etiquette & Espionage.

Unfamiliar with this new series? Here’s the summary from Amazon:

It’s one thing to learn to curtsy properly. It’s quite another to learn to curtsy and throw a knife at the same time. Welcome to Finishing School.

Fourteen-year-old Sophronia is a great trial to her poor mother. Sophronia is more interested in dismantling clocks and climbing trees than proper manners–and the family can only hope that company never sees her atrocious curtsy. Mrs. Temminnick is desperate for her daughter to become a proper lady. So she enrolls Sophronia in Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality.

But Sophronia soon realizes the school is not quite what her mother might have hoped. At Mademoiselle Geraldine’s, young ladies learn to finish…everything. Certainly, they learn the fine arts of dance, dress, and etiquette, but the also learn to deal out death, diversion, and espionage–in the politest possible ways, of course. Sophronia and her friends are in for a rousing first year’s education.

Set in the same world as the Parasol Protectorate, this YA series debut is filled with all the saucy adventure and droll humor Gail’s legions of fans have come to adore.

***

Be sure to stop here at lytherus all week to get your daily dose of Gail! What’s on the agenda?

  • Intro to the feature week
  • Review of Etiquette & Espionage
  • A guest post from Gail’s archives
  • a new mini-interview
  • giveaway

Make sure to come back every day to see all the great Gail stuff that’s happening!

Book Interviews, Books, Interviews

SDCC12: Exclusive Interview with New York Times Best-selling Author Gail Carriger (‘The Parasol Protectorate’)

One of the amazing authors Lytherus got the chance to hang out with and interview at San Diego Comic Con this year was New York Times Best-seller Gail Carriger. She’s known for her vampire-werewolf-steampunk series The Parasol Protectorate , but Gail’s currently working on two separate series set in the same world.

Unfamiliar with Gail’s hilarious and amazing books? Here’s the summary of book one, Soulless:

Alexia Tarabotti is laboring under a great many social tribulations. First, she has no soul. Second, she’s a spinster whose father is both Italian and dead. Third, she was rudely attacked by a vampire, breaking all standards of social etiquette.

Where to go from there? From bad to worse apparently, for Alexia accidentally kills the vampire — and then the appalling Lord Maccon (loud, messy, gorgeous, and werewolf) is sent by Queen Victoria to investigate.

With unexpected vampires appearing and expected vampires disappearing, everyone seems to believe Alexia responsible. Can she figure out what is actually happening to London’s high society? Will her soulless ability to negate supernatural powers prove useful or just plain embarrassing? Finally, who is the real enemy, and do they have treacle tart?

SOULLESS is a comedy of manners set in Victorian London: full of werewolves, vampires, dirigibles, and tea-drinking.

Gail and I chatted for almost 30 minutes about all sorts of wonderful things: research, religion, the supernatural, writing, and more!

Listen to the entire interview with Gail here:

https://player.soundcloud.com/player.swf?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F56314935&show_comments=true&auto_play=false&color=ff7700

Be sure to check out our other Comic Con interviews featuring authors Mark Frost, Rachel Hartman, Christopher Paolini, Amelia Atwater-Rhodes, Tessa Gratton, James Dashner, comic book artist Nicola Scott, comic book writers Jeff Lemire and Scott Snyder, and the cast and crew of Silent Hill: Revelations!

Book News, Books, News

Gail Carriger Fans, Rejoice! Author Signs New Contract Continuing the Parasol Protectorate World!

Many fans of the Parasol Protectorate (which I definitely count myself as) are bitter-sweet about the fast-approaching release date of the fifth and final book in the series, Timeless, planned for March 2012.

Fear not! The author approached her publisher, Orbit, with plans for a break-off series starring Prudence, the daughter of protagonist Alexia Terabotti. The first book (aptly titled Prudence) is set to release in the fall of 2013.

From Publisher’s Weekly:

Carriger thought that wrapping up the Parasol Protectorate in five books was right, rather than dragging it out. “I’m one for a tidy ending and a clean series arc,” she told PW. “Which isn’t to say I won’t take up the Parasol Protectorate gauntlet again, but it will probably be a different parasol and a different protectorate.”

While Orbit wouldn’t have objected to a longer series (books two through four were New York Times bestsellers, but Soulless, the first book in the series, remains the top-seller, and the series has sold 250,000 copies to date), Carriger approached her publishers, including Devi Pillai, senior editor at Orbit, with the next best thing: “When Gail came to us suggesting a series with Alexia’s daughter, Prudence, how could we resist?” said Pillai, who acquired Prudence and a second title, Imprudence, in a six-figure deal.

***

Almost just as exciting, new Mangas are in the works based off of the books in the Parasol Protectorate! Soulless, the first, will release in March of 2012.

The author also has a new contract with Little, Brown for Young Readers on a brand new series,the first set to release in Spring 2013 and titled Finishing School. This won’t be the last we see of Gail Carriger, thank goodness!

 

Book News, Books, News

New Releases, Week of June 26th, 2011

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

Released Tuesday, June 28th, 2011

Fins are Forever, by Tera Lynn Childs

On Lily Sanderson’s eighteenth birthday she’ll become just a girl—still a mergirl, true, but signing the renunciation will ink Princess Waterlily of Thalassinia out of existence. That leaves plain old Lily living on land, dating the boy she loves, and trying to master this being-human thing once and for all.

Now that Lily and Quince are together, mer bond or not, she’s almost content to give up her place in the royal succession of Thalassinia. But just when she thinks she has everything figured out, the waves start to get rough. Lily’s father sends a certain whirlpool-stirring cousin to stay with her on land. What did Doe do to get herself exiled from Thalassinia and stuck in terraped form when everyone knows how much she hates humans? And why why why is she batting her eyelashes at Lily’s former crush, Brody?

The seafoam on the raging surf comes when a merboy from Lily’s past shows up—Tellin asks Lily for something that clouds her view of the horizon. There’s a future with Quince on land, her loyalty to the kingdom in the sea, and Lily tossing on the waves in the middle. Will she find a way to reconcile her love, her duty, and her own dreams?

Tera Lynn Childs’s sequel to Forgive My Fins offers another tail-flicking romance with plenty of fun, sun, and underwater adventure.

Torn, by Erica O’Rourke

Everyone has secrets.
Even best friends.

Swirling black descends like ravens, large enough to block the glow of the streetlights. A dull roar starts like a train on the ‘L’, a far-away rumbling that grows louder as it pulls closer, until it’s directly overhead and you feel it in your chest, except this doesn’t pass you by. Verity, white-faced and eyes blazing, shouts through the din, “Run, Mo!”

Mo Fitzgerald knows about secrets. But when she witnesses her best friend’s murder, she discovers Verity was hiding things she never could have guessed. To find the answers she needs and the vengeance she craves, Mo–quiet, ordinary, unmagical Mo–will have to enter a world of raw magic and shifting alliances. And she’ll have to choose between two very different, equally dangerous guys–protective, duty-bound Colin and brash, mysterious Luc.  One wants to save her, one wants to claim her. Which would you choose?

Eternity (A Fallen Angel Novel), by Heather Terrell

The end . . . or a new beginning?

As Ellie comes to grips with her destiny as the Elect One, her relationship with Michael grows tense. When she meets a mys­terious boy named Rafe, things get even more complicated.

Yet the time has come for the Elect One to stand against the group of evil fallen angels who are bent on destroying the world. In order to face the immeasurable malevolence heading her way, Ellie tries to put her personal life aside. But she soon learns that whoever holds her heart also holds the key to mankind’s salvation—or destruction. As the end days approach, Ellie is faced with an epic decision. Who does her heart really belong to? And is her love strong enough to save the world.

Diabolical (A Jake Hatcher Novel), by Hank Schwaeble

A Hellion has escaped damnation and returned to earth to unleash the forces of darkness on the world. Only Jake Hatcher has the experience to track it, and only he can get close enough to it-because the Hellion is his brother.

 

 

 

 

 

Dark War: A Matt Richter Novel, by Tim Waggoner

Meet Matt Richter. Zombie. PI.

From his arrival at Nekropolis, Matt has found himself embroiled in disputes with the city’s vampire lords, shapeshifters, golems and other monstrosities.

Nothing has prepared him for the Dark War.

 

 

 

Black Heart Loa, by Adrian Phoenix

“An eye for an eye is never enough.”

Kallie Rivière, a Cajun hoodoo apprentice with a bent for trouble, learned the meaning of those ominous words when hoodoo bogeyman Doctor Heron targeted her family for revenge. Now, while searching for her still-missing bayou pirate cousin, Kallie finds out the hard way that someone is undoing powerful gris gris, which means that working magic has become as unpredictable as rolling a handful of dice. The wards woven to protect the Gulf coast are unraveling, leaving New Orleans and the surrounding bayous vulnerable just as an unnatural storm—the deadliest in a century—is born. As the hurricane powers toward the heart of all she loves, Kallie desperately searches for the cause of the disturbing randomness, only to learn a deeply unsettling truth: the culprit may be herself. To protect her family and friends, including the sexy nomad Layne Vallin, Kallie steps into the jaws of danger . . . and finds a loup garou designed to steal her heart—literally.

Warehouse 13: A Touch of Fever, by Greg Cox

THE UNKNOWN HAS AN ADDRESS. . . .

Hidden away in the Badlands of South Dakota, Warehouse 13 is a top-secret repository for historical artifacts imbued with dangerous supernatural properties. Secret Service agents Pete Lattimer and Myka Bering are ever on the lookout for loose artifacts threatening to ruin the world’s day. Their mission:“Snag it, bag it, tag it.”

Reports of a genuine psychic healer, along with a simultaneous epidemic of mysterious illnesses, lead Myka and Pete on a hazardous investigation that stretches from a carnival sideshow back to the bloody history of the Civil War. But when Pete is infected with a deadly disease, Myka and the rest of the team, including Artie Nielsen and Claudia Donovan, must track down a pair of cursed gloves—before a madman unleashes a virulent plague upon America!

The Final Evolution (Avery Cates), by Jeff Somers

The world is dying. With avatars replacing humans and the birth rate non-existent, the human race is almost extinct. In the end, it comes down to Canny Orel; Avery’s long sought after nemesis — transformed now into something other than human.

Orel might hold the secret to humanity’s salvation, if he can be convinced — or forced — to relinquish it. And when Cates chances on a way to trick his old master, he suddenly has a choice to make: get his long-delayed revenge, or save the world.

 

 

Raising Stony Mayhall, by Daryl Gregory

From award-winning author Daryl Gregory, whom Library Journal called “[a] bright new voice of the twenty-first century,” comes a new breed of zombie novel—a surprisingly funny, vividly frightening, and ultimately deeply moving story of self-discovery and family love.

In 1968, after the first zombie outbreak, Wanda Mayhall and her three young daughters discover the body of a teenage mother during a snowstorm. Wrapped in the woman’s arms is a baby, stone-cold, not breathing, and without a pulse. But then his eyes open and look up at Wanda—and he begins to move.

The family hides the child—whom they name Stony—rather than turn him over to authorities that would destroy him. Against all scientific reason, the undead boy begins to grow. For years his adoptive mother and sisters manage to keep his existence a secret—until one terrifying night when Stony is forced to run and he learns that he is not the only living dead boy left in the world.

Dragon’s Time: Dragonriders of Pern, by Anne and Todd J. McCaffrey

For the first time in more than three years, bestselling authors Anne McCaffrey and Todd McCaffrey, mother and son, have teamed up again to do what they do best: add a fresh chapter to the most beloved science fiction series of all time, the Dragonriders of Pern.

Even though Lorana cured the plague that was killing the dragons of Pern, sacrificing her queen dragon in the process, the effects of the disease were so devastating that there are no longer enough dragons available to fight the fall of deadly Thread. And as the situation grows more dire, a pregnant Lorana decides that she must take drastic steps in the quest for help.

Meanwhile, back at Telgar Weyr, Weyrwoman Fiona, herself pregnant, and the harper Kindan must somehow keep morale from fading altogether in the face of the steadily mounting losses of dragons and their riders. But time weighs heavily against them—until Lorana finds a way to use time itself in their favor.

It’s a plan fraught with risk, however. For attempting time travel means tampering with the natural laws of the universe, which could drastically alter history—and destiny—forever. Or so it has always been thought. But Lorana discovers that if the laws of time can’t be broken without consequences, it may still be possible to bend them. To ensure the future of Pern, she’s willing to take the fateful chance—even if it demands another, even greater, sacrifice.

Kindling the Moon: An Arcadia Bell Novel, by Jenn Bennett

Meet Arcadia Bell: bartender, renegade magician, fugitive from the law. . . .

Being the spawn of two infamous occultists (and alleged murderers) isn’t easy, but freewheeling magician Arcadia “Cady” Bell knows how to make the best of a crummy situation. After hiding out for seven years, she’s carved an incognito niche for herself slinging drinks at the demon-friendly Tambuku Tiki Lounge.

But she receives an ultimatum when unexpected surveillance footage of her notorious parents surfaces: either prove their innocence or surrender herself. Unfortunately, the only witness to the crimes was an elusive Æthyric demon, and Cady has no idea how to find it. She teams up with Lon Butler, an enigmatic demonologist with a special talent for sexual spells and an arcane library of priceless stolen grimoires. Their research soon escalates into a storm of conflict involving missing police evidence, the decadent Hellfire Club, a ruthless bounty hunter, and a powerful occult society that operates way outside the law. If Cady can’t clear her family name soon, she’ll be forced to sacrifice her own life . . . and no amount of running will save her this time.

Mistification (Angry Robot), by Kaaron Warren

Marvo is a stage magician. His magic is real.

Marvo grows up without knowing his parents, without knowing his heritage, without knowing much about life.
The magicians have always been with us, since the beginning of civilisation. They fill our heads with the mist, keeping us from witnessing the stark reality of existence. But are things so bad that Marvo will bring it down on all of us, forever?

Marvo begins to understand those around him, and his place in the world; he discovers that his remarkable powers can be put to good, or to evil.

He only has to choose…

Heartless (The Parasol Protectorate), by Gail Carriger

Lady Alexia Maccon, soulless, is at it again, only this time the trouble is not her fault. When a mad ghost threatens the queen, Alexia is on the case, following a trail that leads her deep into her husband’s past. Top that off with a sister who has joined the suffragette movement (shocking!), Madame Lefoux’s latest mechanical invention, and a plague of zombie porcupines and Alexia barely has time to remember she happens to be eight months pregnant.

Will Alexia manage to determine who is trying to kill Queen Victoria before it is too late? Is it the vampires again or is there a traitor lurking about in wolf’s clothing? And what, exactly, has taken up residence in Lord Akeldama’s second best closet?

 

Feast: Harvest of Dreams, by Merrie Destefano

Halloween is a bad time to return to the woods . . .

Madeline MacFaddin (“Mad Mac” to fans of her bestselling magical stories) spent blissful childhood summers in Ticonderoga Falls. And this is where she wants to be now that her adult life is falling apart. The dense surrounding forest holds many memories, some joyous, some tantalizingly only half-remembered. And she’s always believed there was something living in these wooded hills.

But Maddie doesn’t remember the dark parts—and knows nothing of the mountain legend that holds the area’s terrified residents captive. She has no recollection of Ash, the strange and magnificent creature who once saved her life as a child, even though it is the destiny of his kind to prey upon humanity. And soon it will be the harvest . . . the time to feast.

Once again Maddie’s dreams—and her soul—are in grave danger. But magic runs deep during harvest. Even a spinner of enchanted tales has wondrous powers of her own . . .

Eat Slay Love (Living with the Dead, Book 3), by Jesse Petersen

Sarah and David have survived the zombie apocalypse. They stood side by side and fought the undead, mad scientists, and even bionic monsters until the unthinkable happened. A zombie bite. But not even that could stop them. Now, with a possible cure in hand, they’re headed east, looking for a safe zone behind the rumored “Wall.” They’re feeling pretty optimistic.

That is until Dave stops sleeping and starts lifting huge objects.

 

 

Green-Eyed Envy (A Shades of Fury Novel), by Kasey Mackenzie

Jealousy can be a killer…

As a Fury, Marissa Holloway belongs to an Arcane race that has meted out justice since time immemorial. As Boston’s chief magical investigator, it’s her duty to solve any crimes committed by or against supernaturals.

Months have gone by since Riss discovered some unwelcome truths about her past–and managed to stop a supernatural war. Since then things have been quiet. Too quiet. But that all changes when the bodies of Bastai, shapeshifters also known as Cats, begin piling up in Boston’s magical  underbelly–even though the legendary shifters are supposed to have ninety-nine lives.

One common thread ties the victims together: all were old flames of FBI Agent Harper Cruz. And since Harper and Riss’s lover Scott Murphy enjoyed a one-night stand before he and Riss reunited, the Fury has twice the incentive to crack the case wide open, before the killer’s green-eyed gaze turns in Scott’s direction…

Kitty’s Big Trouble (Kitty Norville, Book 9), by Carrie Vaughn

Kitty Norville is back and in more trouble than ever.  Her recent run-in with werewolves traumatized by the horrors of war has made her start wondering how long the US government might have been covertly using werewolves in combat. Have any famous names in our own history might have actually been supernatural?  She’s got suspicions about William Tecumseh Sherman.  Then an interview with the right vampire puts her on the trail of Wyatt Earp, vampire hunter.

But her investigations lead her to a clue about enigmatic vampire Roman and the mysterious Long Game played by vampires through the millennia.  That, plus a call for help from a powerful vampire ally in San Francisco, suddenly puts Kitty and her friends on the supernatural chessboard, pieces in dangerously active play.  And Kitty Norville is never content to be a pawn. . . .

Atlas Infernal (Warhammer 40,000: Inquisitor Czevak), by Rob Sanders

Inquisitor  Bronislaw Czevak is a hunted man. Escaping from the Black Library of the eldar, Czevak steals the Atlas Infernal – a living map of the Webway. With this fabled artefact and his supreme intellect, Czevak foils the predations of the Harlequins sent to apprehend him and thwarts his enemies within the Inquisition who want to kill him. Czevak’s deadliest foe, however, is Ahriman – arch-sorcerer of the Thousand Sons. He desires the knowledge within the Black Library, knowledge that can exalt him to godhood, and is willing to destroy the inquisitor to obtain it. A desperate chase that will bend the fabric of reality ensues, where Czevak’s only hope of survival is to outwit the chosen of Tzeentch, Lord of Chaos and Architect of Fate. Failure is unconscionable, the very cost to the Imperium unimaginable.

 

Burn the Night: The Final Dark Days Novel, by Jocelynn Drake

The Great Awakening approaches . . .

After eons in exile, the naturi have broken their chains and now roam the Earth bent on revenge. It is the sworn duty of Mira, the Fire Starter, to protect the nightwalker race—though even she may be powerless to withstand the horrific onslaught. As Mira and her brave lover, the vampire slayer Danaus, stand ready to do battle, thousands of winged shapeshifters darken the skies. The war of ultimate extermination has begun, and the battleground is Mira’s home turf.

The humans don’t yet recognize the doom descending upon them. And the nightwalkers will surely perish unless they unite with outcast naturi who claim to want peace. But these unexpected “allies” are the same demons who have long worked for Mira’s destruction—and in these darkest of days the lines between friend and foe will blur treacherously before the bloody end of all things.

Spectyr (A Book of the Order), by Phillipa Ballantine

Though one of the most powerful Deacons, Sorcha Faris has a tarnished reputation to overcome, which is why she jumps at the chance to investigate a string of murders in the exotic city of Orithal. But it is there that her lover, the shapeshifting rival to the throne, is targeted by a cruel and vengeful goddess, unwittingly unleashed by the Emperor’s sister.

 

 

 

The Concrete Grove, by Gary McMahon

Imagine a place where all your nightmares become real.

Think of dark urban streets where crime, debt and violence are not the only things to fear.

Picture an estate that is a gateway to somewhere else, a realm where ghosts and monsters stir hungrily in the shadows.

Welcome to the Concrete Grove.

It knows where you live.

Book One of The Concrete Grove trilogy.

The Shadow Men, by Christopher Golden & Tim Lebbon

From Beacon Hill to Southie, historic Boston is a town of vibrant neighborhoods knit into a seamless whole. But as Jim Banks and Trix Newcomb learn in a terrifying instant, it is also a city divided—split into three separate versions of itself by a mad magician once tasked with its protection.

Jim is happily married to Jenny, with whom he has a young daughter, Holly. Trix is Jenny’s best friend, practically a member of the family—although she has secretly been in love with Jenny for years. Then Jenny and Holly inexplicably disappear—and leave behind a Boston in which they never existed. Only Jim and Trix remember them. Only Jim and Trix can bring them back.

With the help of Boston’s Oracle, an elderly woman with magical powers, Jim and Trix travel between the fractured cities, for that is where Jenny and Holly have gone. But more is at stake than one family’s happiness. If Jim and Trix should fail, the spell holding the separate Bostons apart will fail too, and the cities will reintegrate in a cataclysmic implosion. Someone, it seems, wants just that. Someone with deadly shadow men at their disposal.

Released Wednesday, June 29th, 2011

Naamah’s Blessing (Kushiel’s Legacy), by Jacqueline Carey

Returning to Terre d’Ange, Moirin finds the royal family broken. Wracked by unrelenting grief at the loss of his wife, Queen Jehanne, King Daniel is unable to rule. Prince Thierry, leading an expedition to explore the deadly jungles of Terra Nova, is halfway across the world. And three year old Desirée is a vision of her mother: tempestuous, intelligent, and fiery, but desperately lonely, and a vulnerable pawn in a game of shifting political allegiances.

As tensions mount, King Daniel asks that Moirin become Desirée’s oath-sworn protector. Navigating the intricate political landscape of the Court proves a difficult challenge, and when dire news arrives from overseas, the spirit of Queen Jehanne visits Moirin in a dream and bids her undertake an impossible quest.

Another specter from the past also haunts Moirin. Travelling with Thierry in the New World is Raphael de Mereliot, her manipulative former lover. Years ago, Raphael forced her to help him summon fallen angels in the hopes of acquiring mystical gifts and knowledge. It was a disastrous effort that nearly killed them, and Moirin must finally bear the costs of those bitter mistakes.

Released Thursday, June 30th, 2011

Luminous, by Dawn Metcalf

As reality slips and time stands still, Consuela finds herself thrust into the world of the Flow. Removed from all she loves into this shifting world overlapping our own, Consuela quickly discovers she has the power to step out of her earthly skin and cloak herself in new ones-skins made from the world around her, crafted from water, fire, air. She is joined by other teens with extraordinary abilities, bound together to safeguard a world they can affect, but where they no longer belong.

When murder threatens to undo the Flow, the Watcher charges Consuela and elusive, attractive V to stop the killer. But the psychopath who threatens her new world may also hold the only key to Consuela’s way home.

 

Troika, by Alastair Reynolds

In novels such as Chasm City and Revelation Space, Alastair Reynolds established himself as an indisputable master of the far-flung intergalactic epic. Reynolds brings that same deceptively effortless mastery to the shorter fictional forms, a fact that Troika, his elegant, compulsively readable new novella, amply demonstrates. Troika tells the story of men and women confronting an enigma known as the Matryoshka, a vast alien construct whose periodic appearances have generated terror, wonder, and endless debate. During its third “apparition” in a remote corner of the galaxy, a trio of Russian cosmonauts approach this enigma and attempt to penetrate its mysteries. What they discover–and what they endure in the process–forms the centerpiece of an enthralling, constantly surprising narrative. Troika is at once a wholly original account of First Contact and a meditation on time, history, and the essentially fluid nature of identity itself. Suspenseful, erudite, and gracefully written, it is a significant accomplishment in its own right and a welcome addition to a remarkable body of work.

The Affair of the Chalk Cliffs, by James P. Blaylock

Subterranean Press is proud to announce the longest Langdon St. Ives adventure in two decades, featuring a full-color wraparound dust jacket and twenty black-and-white interior illustrations by J. K. Potter. An outbreak of violent madness at the Explorers Club, the coincidental murders of a recluse scientist in North Kent and a lighthouse keeper on the chalk cliffs below Brighton, and the mysterious disappearance of Alice St. Ives, lead Langdon St. Ives, Jack Owlesby, and their resolute friend Tubby Frobisher into the very heart of danger, where they discover the great secret of the chalk cliffs at Beachy Head and a looming threat to the collective sanity of mankind.

 

 

Released Friday, July 1st, 2011

Dark Territory: The Tracks, Book One, by J. Gabriel Gates & Charlene Keel

Star-Crossed Love, Martial Arts, and Supernatural Evil meet at the Abandoned Tracks in the Deceptively Quaint town of Middleburg…When Ignacio Torrez moved from the rough streets of Los Angeles to a small town dead smack in the middle of nowhere, he never expected to find himself in the midst of a gang war. But, he soon learns, these are no ordinary gangs. The wealthy, preppie Toppers on one side of the tracks and the working-class Flatliners on the other adhere to a strict code of honor and use their deadly martial arts skills, taught to them by the wise Master Chin, to battle one another for pride, territory, and survival. When Raphael, leader of the Flatliners, falls for Aimee, a Topper girl, the rival gangs prepare for a bloody, all-out war. The only hope for peace between them lies within the dark territory of the abandoned train tunnels where the tracks cross. Under the direction of the mysterious and frightening Magician, the awesome power within the crossing sends the rivals on a terrifying mystical quest to fight the malevolent force that threatens the existence of Middleburg.

Moment of Truth (The Laws of Magic), by Michael Pryor

Aubrey has a difficult choice to make to save his friends when Albion erupts into war—and it could cost him his life

The war that has been looming for so long finally erupts, sending Albion and the continent into chaos. Aubrey, George, and Caroline are brought into a top-secret espionage unit and sent on a mission to investigate a mysterious magical facility on the Gallia–Holmland border. There they uncover a factory that is about to unleash an unstoppable horror that could win the war within weeks. The only way to save hundreds of thousands of lives could cost Aubrey his friends, his family, his reputation—and even his life.

 

Hell Ship, by Philip Palmer

The Hell Ship hurtles through space. Inside the ship are thousands of slaves, each the last of their race.

The Hell Ship and its infernal crew destroyed their homes, slaughtered their families and imprisoned them forever.

One man refuses to accept his fate. Sharrock, reduced from hero to slave in one blow, has sworn a mighty vengeance.

But help is closer than he knows. Jak has been following the Ship for years. Battle after battle has left Jak scarred and broken, a mind in a starship’s body, bent on destroying the Ship for its crimes. Working together, can they end this interstellar nightmare?

Flashback, by Dan Simmons

The United States is near total collapse. But 87% of the population doesn’t care: they’re addicted to flashback, a drug that allows its users to re-experience the best moments of their lives. After ex-detective Nick Bottom’s wife died in a car accident, he went under the flash to be with her; he’s lost his job, his teenage son, and his livelihood as a result.

Nick may be a lost soul but he’s still a good cop, so he is hired to investigate the murder of a top governmental advisor’s son. This flashback-addict becomes the one man who may be able to change the course of an entire nation turning away from the future to live in the past.

A provocative novel set in a future that seems scarily possible, FLASHBACK proves why Dan Simmons is one of our most exciting and versatile writers.

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Book Reviews, Books, Reviews

What Are We Reading? One Blogger’s List of Under-The-Radar Books

I read A LOT. My average is at least one book a week, but sometimes, like recently, I can read a book in a day. So I have a lot of things I can suggest to interested readers, whether here on the website, at the bookstore I work at, or in general in my life. This list was something I’ve been wanting to put together for a while now, because, though I read a lot of what’s popular (The Hunger Games, Twilight, Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, Mortal Instruments, and on and on…), there are some series that I adore that more often than not tend to fall under the radar.

My area of interest is YA, so most of the books will be in that genre, but there are a few that are from regular adult fantasy or sci-fi. Also, I need to state that yes, some of these series are New York Times bestsellers, so I’m sure some of the readers here on Lytherus will have heard of or even read these books. But more often than not I’ve found that these tend to be new reads for people, so that’s why I’ve included them. Enjoy!

The Books of Pellinor

(Alison Croggon)

This is my favorite YA high fantasy series, period. I discovered this series a few years ago and devoured it. I actually had to chase down the third book in this four-book set from one of the city libraries, as my local bookstore didn’t carry it and the library I use was out of it, that’s how badly I wanted to continue reading.

Sixteen-year old Maerad is rescued from a miserable life of slavery by a mysterious bard with magical powers named Cadvan. Together they journey to a Bard School, where Maerad learns that she isn’t just an ordinary person, but that she is one foretold of, the one who will basically save the world. The magic of this land is through music, which I really loved, and though a good chunk of the series takes place during various journeys, so much is revealed that these became my favorite parts. Any lovers of high fantasy in the feel of Tolkein should check this series out!

The books are, in order: The Naming, The Riddle, The Crow, and The Singing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Time Quintet

(Madeleine L’Engle)

I first read A Wrinkle In Time in seventh grade as an English assignment. Like most books school forced me to read, the beauty and value of this story was lost on me at the time. I’m so glad I decided to revisit these books in college, as they are now some of my most beloved.

Tesseracts, the term for a way to bend space. This is what Meg Murray comes to find out her scientist parents have discovered. This knowledge is reavealed to her not by normal means, but by an eccentric stranger appearing on their doorstep in the middle of the night. Meg’s father has disappeared, and it has to do with his involvement in the Tesseract discovery. It’s up to Meg, her brother Charles Wallace, and her friend Calvin to save him. And such begins the Newberry-award-winning A Wrinkle in Time.

The adventures of the Murray children continues through each book, and though these books aren’t commonly seen as Christian fiction, L’Engle mixes the secular and scientific with the spiritual to create stories that are complex and completely absorbing.

This series originally was four books (A Wrinkle in Time, A Wind in the Door, A Swiftly Tilting Planet, and Many Waters), but there are other books that L’Engle wrote in the same world, and so now An Acceptable Time has been added on. If you end up reading the first four, and want to read An Acceptable Time, make sure you also check out A House Like a Lotus, which isn’t included in these five but goes hand-in-hand with the last book, and the series in general (and is very good!).

The Beggar’s Series

(Nancy Kress)

Hugo and Nebula-award-winning author Nancy Kress created the first book in this trilogy, Beggars in Spain, from a novella that won her those awards.

Leisha Camden is a little different. She is one of a few special people who were modified genetically at birth (sometime in the near future), when parents were given the options to create the baby of their dreams. Her biggest change? She doesn’t need to sleep. Ever. This alteration stopped being offered after the side-effects (super-intelligence, perfect health, and inability to age) were discovered. But by this point Leisha and others like her were in the world trying to fit in and exist where many looked upon them in fear and envy.

This book was simply fascinating. Kress does a fantastic job with the story and plot, but it was really interesting to see the main character interact with her twin sister, who is perfectly normal. Imagine the rivalry there! I thought this series was a great take on genetics and was really great sci-fi that didn’t feel like Dune or Ender’s Game. This is an awesome science fiction series, but be warned: it is definitely heavy on the technical science end, so be aware if this isn’t your thing.

The books are Beggars in Spain, Beggars and Choosers, and Beggars Ride.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Darkest Powers Trilogy

(Kelley Armstrong)

Though this series is a New York Times best-seller, I have yet to meet anyone else who has read these books! And that is a shame, because they are definitely worth the time. 

The series starts off with The Summoning, and is followed by The Awakening and The Reckoning. The premise is that the main character, fifteen-year-old Chloe, is placed in a home for troubled teens after she has a breakdown and is diagnosed as having Schizophrenia. Really what happened is she sees dead people. And the longer she’s at the Lyle house, the more she realizes that the other kids, in their own ways, are like her, and something fishy is going on.

there are definitely some creep-tastic scenes that gave me the chills when reading them (what would you expect when your protagonist is a necromancer?!), and an unlikely, unpredictable romance adds a nice counter to the plot of trying to figure out what the hell is going on.

This series was great, and I’d encourage fans of urban fantasy or paranormal romance to give it a shot.

Gregor: The Underland Chronicles

(Suzanne Collins)

Superstar author Suzanne Collins is a household name in the literary world, thanks to her amazing dystopian series The Hunger Games. But that is Collins’ second series. Her first is one of my all-time favorites, and one I re-read often, Gregor: The Underland Chronicles.

Collins, when she set out to write the Gregor the Overlander series said she wanted it to be like Alice in Wonderland for people who live in the city. Twelve-year-old Gregor, with his toddler sister, goes to the basement of their New York City apartment to do laundry. They end up falling through the vent to a whole world deep underneath the city. There are giant talking cockroaches (which are surprisingly awesome), huge talking bats that people can ride, enormous talking rats, and humans with luminescent transparent skin, white hair, and violet eyes. Of course there is a prophecy which involves Gregor, which keeps him coming back again and again to help the beings of this world. 

The characters are wonderful, and are my favorite part of the series. The world is amazing, and the interactions between Gregor and his sister and all the Underlanders is fascinating. But at its core this series is an all-out adventure, and each book builds on the last while still having its own self-contained adventure. I love love LOVE this series and I definitely encourage fans of light fantasy and talking animals to check it out.

The series in order is: Gregor the Overlander, Gregor and the Prophecy of Bane, Gregor and the Curse of the Warmbloods, Gregor and the Marks of Secret, and Gregor and the Code of Claw.

The Classic Tales of Partholon

(P. C. Cast)

These books have been around since the mid 2000’s, but because of P. C. Cast’s recent popularity with the House of Night books, they have been re-issued with updated covers. It seems like there are six books written in this world; I have five of them, having only discovered the sixth one the other day (it’s called Divine Beginnings, and it is in e-book format only). The first three, Divine by Mistake, Divine by Choice, and Divine by Blood, center around a human, Shannon Parker, who on her vacation picks up a magical Grecian-style vase (unbeknown to her), which teleports her into the body of an ancient goddess-on-earth, days before she is to be wed… to a centaur. The story only gets better from this point as Shannon tries to figure out how to function in this alien body and this foreign world.

The two books I want to focus on, however, are ones set in the same world, which take place over a hundred years later: Elphame’s Choice and Brighid’s Quest. These are set completely in the world of Partholon. The characters are in the aftermath of what occurred in the previous books, and the main characters, part of the ‘royal’ family, try and make their own mark on the world. These are consecutive, so you get to stick with the same characters for a while, which I like. It’s also fun that the title characters aren’t entirely human: Elphame is a faun and Brighid is a centaur.

Two words of advice on these. One, the entire series has some pretty heavy and graphic sex scenes, so if that isn’t your thing this is a series to stay clear of. And two, though I prefer the latter two books, reading the earlier ones (which are still quite enjoyable) makes it easier to understand what’s happening in the world overall.

The Parasol Protectorate

(Gail Carriger)

This series is dear to my heart because it was my first introduction into the world of Steampunk, which has now become one of my favorite genres to read. I sort of fell into discovering this series, but I’m so happy that I did!

The first three books in this five book series (Soulless, Changeless, and Blameless) are currently out, with book four, Heartless, to be released this summer.

The time is turn-of-the-century Victorian England. But in this world, there are vampires and werewolves running about, which in and of itself makes things interesting. To make it even more interesting, our main character, Alexia Tarabotti, has no soul, the interesting side-effect of which negates any supernatural powers or the aforementioned beings.

But the thing that makes this series great is that she writes with the feel of the era, which makes these books charming, funny, and believable, despite their supernatural elements. One of the first scenes in the book is Alexia getting attacked by a vampire in a library who has (Heaven forbid!) a lisp! She is thoroughly affronted by this breech in manners. And so begins what is one of the most delightful, fun, suspenseful, adventurous series I’ve read in a long time. If any of this interests you, or if you’ve always been curious about Steampunk but aren’t sure where to start (this is a good choice, the Steampunk elements in it are rather mild in comparison to some things I’ve read), definitely check out these books.


The Dark is Rising Sequence

(Susan Cooper)

This series is another one that came into my life thanks to assigned reading in school. But don’t be fooled. This series is one that everyone can enjoy. You know how some people have books they re-read every year? This series is that for me.

The five books in order are: Over Sea, Under Stone; The Dark is Rising; Greewitch; The Grey King; and Silver on the Tree.


One of the great things about this series is that, in book one you have three siblings as the main characters, in book two you have someone different (an eleven-year-old boy named Will Stanton), but in books three four and five, they come together, even though they don’t know each other prior to the adventure they find themselves in.

The Dark is rising to destroy the earth. Its powers are building, and the Light only has so much time to mount a resistance. They are looking for items of power to help them stand up to the Dark: A Chalice, a Harp, and six  signs, objects made from the various elements. And that is what the first four books in the series are about, in essence: a race against the baddies to get the items of power.

Two of the books in this series are Newberry books, one a winner and one an Honor book, which means that, though they are a great adventure, they are good literature too. Also, something else fun about them is the overlying theme of King Arthur that comes into play. This book isn’t too heavy on that aspect, it’s more about the upcoming battle for all of humanity, but it adds a nice, believable element all the same. This series has also made me want to visit Wales. Book four teaches the reader how to read Welsh through the characters, and the descriptions make it sound breathtaking.

This is really high up on my must-read list if you like well-written stories with adventure and fantasy elements in them.

The Study Books

(Maria V. Snyder)

Jackie (the Comics Guru here on Lytherus) is one of my best friends, and I discovered these books on her bookshelf when I was cat-sitting for her once. They are wonderful, easy, and absorbing reads that make you wonder where the time goes. 

The three books in the series are Poison Study, Magic Study, and Fire Study. The premise alone sounded interesting: the main character Yelena is the food taster to the king, the one to try everything first, in case it is poisoned. She was set to be killed, and this seemed like a nice reprieve from, you know, certain death. But this offer comes with a price, besides the obvious chance poisioning: the head of security actually did poison her with the world’s most deadliest poison, and she needs to come to him daily for the antidote, or she’ll be dead by morning. Why did he do this? To keep her close because she’s supposedly dangerous and he doesn’t trust her. Of course she soon develops magical powers she can’t control (gotta have a little fantasy in my books, if you haven’t noticed!), and things just keep mounting one after the other in the world around her as she slowly discovers the role the has to play is more than just as the food taster.

This series is enjoyable. I loved the characters, and it had a different feel than the types of common fantasy out there. that are currently popular. It is more high fantasy than anything, but it is so character-focused that the world really takes a backseat to the wonderful development of Yelena’s life. And there is great romance elements throughout the series, not the typical, predictable kind, which only makes it better. I must also note that the first book in the series was Snyder’s debut book, and she has come to publish a lot more recently, thanks to her successes. Definitely check this series out.

Fablehaven

(Brandon Mull)

Siblings Kendra and Seth spend the summer with grandparents they hardly know on their farm. But their farm isn’t just a regular farm; it’s a haven for magical creatures. And so begins the five-book epic series by Brandon Mull, which has become one of my favorite series.

As the story progresses, the reader learns that there are havens like this all over the world, sworn to protect that which is slowly disappearing. A few of these are special though; they contain magical items of power, that if brought together have the ability to destroy the world.

Of course there is a bad guy after these things, so Kendra and Seth race against time to try and stop him.

That’s the basic plot of the story arc. But there are soooo many other amazing elements to this book. Every type of fantasy fairy creature you can think of appears somewhere in the series. And there are amazing mazes the kids need to navigate to get to the items of power, which in and of themselves are really cool and well-written. Adventure aside though, the character development is fantastic and complex. The journey Kendra and Seth go on, the things they experience together and apart, make for some of the best YA fantasy out there now, in my opinion. Not high fantasy by any means, but just creative and well-done. This truly is one of the best series I’ve read in recent years, and I recommend it all the time.

The books, in order, are: Fablehaven; Fablehaven:Rise of the Evening Star; Fablehaven: Grip of the Shadow Plague; Fablehaven: Secrets of the Dragon Sanctuary; and Fablehaven: Keys to the Demon Prison.