Book Editorial, Books, Editorials, Movies

Five books to read if you liked ‘Ender’s Game’

You’ve read the book. You’ve seen the move. Now what? Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card is a modern classic and much beloved. Many people are going to be experiencing Ender’s world for the first time through the movie release this week, and old and new fans alike are going to be itching for something similar. Here is a list of five books that you might enjoy if you loved Ender.

the-giver-by-lois-lowry1: The Giver, by Lois Lowry

This is another modern classic, and was one of the first dystopian books written to be seen that way. It’s a small book and a quick read, but it packs a lot of punch with great characters and a unique world. Here’s a blurb:

The Giver, the 1994 Newbery Medal winner, has become one of the most influential novels of our time. The haunting story centers on twelve-year-old Jonas, who lives in a seemingly ideal, if colorless, world of conformity and contentment. Not until he is given his life assignment as the Receiver of Memory does he begin to understand the dark, complex secrets behind his fragile community. Lois Lowry has written three companion novels to The Giver, including Gathering Blue, Messenger, and Son.

starship troopers1:  Starship Troopers, by Robert A. Heinlein

This is another book that was turned into a movie. Sometimes referred to as the grown-up version of Ender’s Game, this is a great read that makes you think about what’s important and the way we view the world. And there’s creepy alien bugs! Here’s a blurb:

The historians can’t seem to settle whether to call this one “The Third Space War” (or the fourth), or whether “The First Interstellar War” fits it better. We just call it “The Bug War.” Everything up to then and still later were “incidents,” “patrols,” or “police actions.” However, you are just as dead if you buy the farm in an “incident” as you are if you buy it in a declared war…

In one of Robert A. Heinlein’s most controversial bestsellers, a recruit of the future goes through the toughest boot camp in the Universe—and into battle with the Terran Mobile Infantry against mankind’s most alarming enemy.

old man's war3: Old Man’s War, by John Scalzi

Scalzi is widely popular for his interesting scifi books, and this is one of his best (and also happens to be his first). He manages to keep the characters really human, which is one of the best parts of Ender’s Game as well. That, combined with greag humor and fresh-feeling scifi makes this a great read. Here’s a blurb:

John Perry did two things on his 75th birthday. First he visited his wife’s grave. Then he joined the army.

The good news is that humanity finally made it into interstellar space. The bad news is that planets fit to live on are scarce-and aliens willing to fight for them are common. The universe, it turns out, is a hostile place.

So: we fight. To defend Earth (a target for our new enemies, should we let them get close enough) and to stake our own claim to planetary real estate. Far from Earth, the war has gone on for decades: brutal, bloody, unyielding.

Earth itself is a backwater. The bulk of humanity’s resources are in the hands of the Colonial Defense Force, which shields the home planet from too much knowledge of the situation. What’s known to everybody is that when you reach retirement age, you can join the CDF. They don’t want young people; they want people who carry the knowledge and skills of decades of living. You’ll be taken off Earth and never allowed to return. You’ll serve your time at the front. And if you survive, you’ll be given a generous homestead stake of your own, on one of our hard-won colony planets.

John Perry is taking that deal. He has only the vaguest idea what to expect. Because the actual fight, light-years from home, is far, far harder than he can imagine-and what he will become is far stranger.

the name of the wind4: The Name of the Wind, by Patrick Rothfuss

This is a fantasy book, not scifi, but it’s another example of an exceptional child being put into interesting adult situations. This book is hugely popular, and Rothfuss creates a diverse and complex world filled with interesting people. Here’s a blurb:

The riveting first-person narrative of a young man who grows to be the most notorious magician his world has ever seen. From his childhood in a troupe of traveling players, to years spent as a near-feral orphan in a crime- ridden city, to his daringly brazen yet successful bid to enter a legendary school of magic, The Name of the Wind is a masterpiece that transports readers into the body and mind of a wizard. It is a high-action novel written with a poet’s hand, a powerful coming-of-age story of a magically gifted young man, told through his eyes: to read this book is to be the hero.

the maze runner5: The Maze Runner, by James Dashner

This YA dystopian is unique and fantastic, and is a world of all boys and one girl trapped in a maze with no idea why they are there. There’s a great creep-factor, interesting mysteries, and wonderful peer dynamics that Ender’s fans will enjoy. Here’s a blurb:

When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his first name. His memory is blank. But he’s not alone. When the lift’s doors open, Thomas finds himself surrounded by kids who welcome him to the Glade—a large, open expanse surrounded by stone walls.

Just like Thomas, the Gladers don’t know why or how they got to the Glade. All they know is that every morning the stone doors to the maze that surrounds them have opened. Every night they’ve closed tight. And every thirty days a new boy has been delivered in the lift.

Thomas was expected. But the next day, a girl is sent up—the first girl to ever arrive in the Glade. And more surprising yet is the message she delivers.

Thomas might be more important than he could ever guess. If only he could unlock the dark secrets buried within his mind.

What do you think? Any books we missed that you think fans of Ender’s Game will enjoy? Let us know in the comments!

 

Book News, Books, News

New Book Releases, Week of January 15th, 2012

Here’s a list of all scifi, fantasy and horror coming out this week. To see covers, click on title.

Released Monday, January 16th, 2012

The Emerald Maze: Long John Silver Vol. 3, by Xavier Dorison 

The bloody mutiny was a success, and Long John is now in command of the Neptune. Following their native guide, the survivors find the mouth of the Amazon and sail on towards Guiana-Capac. But after the dangers of the open ocean, it’s the unknown terrors of the jungle they must now face ??? with a damaged ship and a reduced crew. To what doom will the lush labyrinth of the Amazon lead Long John, Lady Vivian and Dr Livesey?

The Crystal Channelers and the Last Reincarnation, by Sharon Ann Rowland

There comes a time on Earth for all life to be renewed, and for past truths to be known. In THE CRYSTAL CHANNELERS, Sharon Ann Rowland’s wildly inventive, thought-provoking new science-fiction fantasy series, the time when all is revealed is 2018. And the place for age-old truths to shine forth is the majestic, yet unrelenting terrain of Australia. Following the lives of six seemingly normal Australians, this globetrotting, time-travelling set of books is certain to rivet anyone who relishes richly drawn characters, unrestrained imagination, abundant humour, and a dash of romance. Book 1, THE CRYSTAL CHANNELERS AND THE LAST REINCARNATION, introduces the six main characters of the series. These include the heroine Sam Everett, a beautiful forty-year-old psychiatrist with Queensland Health; Varnin Alemanni, a rugged twenty-seven-year-old cattle property owner from Longreach; Peter Sabar, a perpetually randy young medical student from Sydney; Maggie Edwards, a nurturing Alice Springs publican; York Long, a promiscuous police superintendent from Margaret River; and Doc Abysinnia, the mysterious aboriginal doctor who brings the six together and into their new roles as Crystal Channelers. Their ordinary lives disappear when the Earth is dealt a lethal blow from an unknown enemy, and all humans of mixed blood are wiped from the face of the planet. As they rebuild their lives and learn to love and trust one another, they must look to the past to forge a new, more tolerant future. In their dreams, each is able to inhabit a previous life, not always within the race and culture that they are now a part of in 2018. Sam recalls her past life as Deirdre in Ireland (967 AD) and France (1945), Maggie as Guanyin in China (1100 AD), Varnin as Heracles in Crete (1264 AD), York as Thunder Helper in the Americas (1800 AD), while Peter conjures his life as Hang Tuah in Malaysia (Fifteenth Century). Every good story must have a villain, and THE CRYSTAL CHANNELERS AND THE LAST REINCARNATION has many, including Hunter, Varnin’s twin brother; Kreug, the twin’s evil father; Billie, Varnin’s estranged wife; Father Brian and the Brothers of the Carbrook Community Christian Church; and Devon and his Mountain Men. As each of the Crystal Channelers taps into his or her primordial identity through the power of their crystals, they must embrace their new gifts, honour the Crystal Law, and adapt. Action-packed with nuanced characters and surprising twists of plot, THE CRYSTAL CHANNELERS AND THE LAST REINCARNATION is certain to enthrall anyone who has a wanderlust for faraway places and long-ago times – and the equalising power of friendship and love.

The Therapist’s Cat, by Stephanie Sorrell

This is a poignant, charming and amusing fiction story that raises very moral questions about our interaction with animals and how this may impact on us at a later date. Psychotherapist, Pete Shepherd’s life is changed dramatically when his new girlfriend, Emmie, presents him with a kitten called Moo. Not particularly fond of cats he is about to take Moo into an animal rescue centre when he discovers that she can both speak his language and read his thoughts. Moo has a mission: to educate Pete about the very dire state of the animal kingdom due to humanity’s mistreatment and mishandling of animals. Gradually she begins to educate Pete on animal evolution that is strange, fascinating and rather disturbing if this is true. Apparently, a race of animal beings, known as the Nasym, have forced their way into the human evolutionary chain in order to escape the cruelty. Moo’s deepest fear is of becoming human and losing her fur; because a life without the qualities of fur is unbearable and also what she believes to be humanity’s fundamental problem.

Released Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

Fracture,  by Megan Miranda

Eleven minutes passed before Delaney Maxwell was pulled from the icy waters of a Maine lake by her best friend Decker Phillips. By then her heart had stopped beating. Her brain had stopped working. She was dead. And yet she somehow defied medical precedent to come back seemingly fine
-despite the scans that showed significant brain damage. Everyone wants Delaney to be all right, but she knows she’s far from normal. Pulled by strange sensations she can’t control or explain, Delaney finds herself drawn to the dying. Is her altered brain now predicting death, or causing it?

Then Delaney meets Troy Varga, who recently emerged from a coma with similar abilities. At first she’s reassured to find someone who understands the strangeness of her new existence, but Delaney soon discovers that Troy’s motives aren’t quite what she thought. Is their gift a miracle, a freak of nature-or something much more frightening?

For fans of best-sellers like Before I Fall and If I Stay, this is a fascinating and heart-rending story about love and friendship and the fine line between life and death.

The Girl who was on Fire, edited by Leah Wilson

The Girl Who Was on Fire – Movie Edition includes three brand new essays to take readers even deeper into this challenging YA phenomenon.

Katniss Everdeen’s adventures may have come to an end, but her story continues to blaze in the hearts of millions worldwide . . . especially with the highly anticipated March 2012 release of the film version of The Hunger Games, starring Jennifer Lawrence.

In The Girl Who Was on Fire, thirteen YA authors take you back to Panem with moving, dark, and funny pieces on Katniss, the Games, Gale and Peeta, reality TV, survival, and more. From the trilogy’s darker themes of violence and social control to fashion and weaponry, the collection’s exploration of the Hunger Games reveals exactly how rich, and how perilous, protagonist Katniss’ world really is.

• How does the way the Games affect the brain explain Haymitch’s drinking, Annie’s distraction, and Wiress’ speech problems?
• What does the rebellion have in common with the War on Terror?
• Why isn’t the answer to “Peeta or Gale?” as interesting as the question itself?
• What should Panem have learned from the fates of other hedonistic societies throughout history—and what can we?

CONTRIBUTORS: Jennifer Lynn Barnes, Mary Borsellino, Sarah Rees Brennan, Terri Clark, Bree Despain, Adrienne Kress, Sarah Darer Littman, Cara Lockwood, Elizabeth M. Rees, Carrie Ryan, Ned Vizzini, Lili Wilkinson, Blythe Woolston, Diana Peterfreund (NEW), Brent Hartinger (NEW), Jackson Pearce (NEW)

Halflings, by Heather Burch

Split. After being inexplicably targeted by an evil intent on harming her at any cost, seventeen-year-old Nikki finds herself under the watchful guardianship of three mysterious young men who call themselves halflings. Sworn to defend her, misfits Mace, Raven, and Vine battle to keep Nikki safe while hiding their deepest secret—and the wings that come with. A growing attraction between Nikki and two of her protectors presents a whole other danger. While she risks a broken heart, Mace and Raven could lose everything, including their souls. As the mysteries behind the boys’ powers, as well as her role in a scientist’s dark plan, unfold, Nikki is faced with choices that will affect the future of an entire race of heavenly beings, as well as the precarious equilibrium of the earthly world.

Hallowed (Unearthly), by Cynthia Hand

For months Clara Gardner trained to face the fire from her visions, but she wasn’t prepared for the choice she had to make that day. And in the aftermath, she discovered that nothing about being part angel is as straightforward as she thought.

Now, torn between her love for Tucker and her complicated feelings about the roles she and Christian seem destined to play in a world that is both dangerous and beautiful, Clara struggles with a shocking revelation: Someone she loves will die in a matter of months. With her future uncertain, the only thing Clara knows for sure is that the fire was just the beginning.

In this compelling sequel to Unearthly, Cynthia Hand captures the joy of first love, the anguish of loss, and the confusion of becoming who you are.

Immortal Longings: A Vampire Novel, by Diane Dekelb-Rittenhouse

Lauren and Kayla are the perfect high school couple–except they aren’t actually a couple. The cute, smart, sarcastic Lauren is secretly in love with her best friend, Kayla, the gorgeous bi-racial lead actress in the drama club. But Kayla, one of the most popular girls at school, changes partners (male and female) like other girls change shoes.

After seeing a play in Manhattan one autumn afternoon, the two 17-year-olds wander into a vintage clothing store, Deja Nous. Their impromptu shopping spree leads to a chance meeting with the mysterious and beautiful owner, Elizabeth Valiant. Despite strange, subtle warnings from Matt, another clerk at the store, both girls agree to take after-school jobs at the enticing shop. On the ride home to Queens, Kayla talks non-stop about the wonderful clothes, the fabulous Elizabeth and how much fun the girls will have working together.

Deja Nous–and the intriguing and sensual Elizabeth–soon becomes an obsession for Lauren and Kayla. Then, after being accosted at the subway by a strange man and overhearing a surprising conversation, Lauren accidentally discovers the secret behind the shop and the Valiant family. As she delves deeper into the mystery, she realizes that her life and that of her beloved Kayla are in danger–life-threatening danger–from a centuries-old curse.

Stolen Away, by Alyxandra Harvey

For seventeen years, Eloise Hart had no idea the world of Faery even existed. Now she has been abducted and trapped in the Rath of Lord Strahan, King of Faery. Strahan was only meant to rule for seven years, as Faery tradition dictates, and then give up his crown to another. But he won’t comply, and now chaos threatens both worlds.

The only one who can break his stranglehold on the Faery court is his wife. . . Eloise’s aunt Antonia. Using Eloise to lure Antonia, Strahan captures his wife, desperate to end the only threat to his reign. Now Eloise must become the rescuer. Together with her best friends Jo and Devin, she must forge alliances with other Fae, including a gorgeous protector named Lucas, and Strahan’s mysterious son, Eldric-who may or may not betray them.

The Vampire Diaries: Stefan’s Diaries #5: The Asylum, by L. J. Smith et al

The hunters become the hunted. . . .

Driven from their hometown of Mystic Falls, both Stefan Salvatore and his brother, Damon, arrived in Europe looking for a fresh start. But Samuel, a wealthy and cunning vampire, has other plans for them. First he ruined Stefan’s peaceful existence and now he’s framing Damon for the most gruesome murders London has ever seen.

United against their common enemy, Stefan and Damon are stunned when they realize that the source of Samuel’s rage lies in their past—tied up with the woman who forever changed their lives. Haunted by the memory of Katherine, the brothers find that their uneasy alliance is tested. Can they overcome their rivalry to defeat Samuel before he exacts his final revenge?

Based on the popular CW TV show inspired by the bestselling novels, Stefan’s Diaries reveals the truth about what really happened between Stefan, Damon, and Katherine—and how the Vampire Diaries love triangle began.

Commandment, by Daryl Chestney

For years, Lakif has agonized over the timeless secret of the Arcanum, but at last her dream, the elusive Rare Earth Stone, is literally in hand. All she must do is liberate its eldritch might. It seems straightforward, but harnessing the Arcanum proves to be a task beyond all imagining. Is the answer in the fiery magma pits of the Vulcan? Or is it, as some locals whisper, guarded by an ancient figure that haunts the ruined city underneath Grimpkin? And, her interest in the forbidden relic has attracted some attention–a mysterious agent is now tracking her. There are many plaguing questions, not the least of which is disturbing new information that ties Torkoth, Lakif’s amnesic guard, to a series of violent murders. To sort it all out, Lakif must confront her own secret past, an odyssey that propels her into the dreaded underworld and further, to the threshold of a distant shrine with an unspeakable past.

Dark Victory, by Michele Lang

Magda Lazarus was a reluctant witch until the dire threat of Nazi Germany convinced her to assume the mantle of her family’s ancient powers. But though this young, beautiful Jewish woman has fought off Hitler’s SS werewolves and the demon who would rule through the Führer, she has been unable to prevent the outbreak of World War II.

As long as Magda can summon spirits, there is still a chance to save people from the dire threat of the Holocaust. Her family’s guardian angel, Raziel, stands beside her in the battle against the human and supernatural forces of evil arrayed against her people and all of Europe.

In Michele Lang’s Dark Victory, as the Nazis prepare to invade Poland, Magda and her beloved Raziel marshal their own army, a supernatural force that will battle Hitler’s minions to the death…or beyond.

Home Fires, by Gene Wolfe

In a future North America at once familiar and utterly strange, a young man and woman, Skip and Chelle, fall in love and marry. But Chelle is enlisted in the military, there is a war on, and she must serve her tour of duty before they can settle down. Earth is fighting a war with aliens in distant star systems, and Chelle’s months in the service will be years in relative time on Earth. She returns to recuperate from severe injuries, still a young woman but not necessarily the same person—while Skip is now a wealthy businessman in his forties. Still in love, they go on a Caribbean cruise that rapidly goes awry with spies, aliens, and battles with pirates who capture the ship for ransom. There is no writer in SF like Gene Wolfe and no SF novel like Home Fires.

In the Lion’s Mouth, by Michael Flynn

It’s a big Spiral Arm, and the scarred man, Donavan buigh, has gone missing in it, upsetting the harper Mearana’s plans for a reconciliation between her parents. Bridget ban, a Hound of the League, doubts that reconciliation is possible or desirable; but nonetheless has dispatched agents to investigate the disappearance.

The powerful Ravn Olafsdottr, a Shadow of the Names, slips into Clanthompson Hall to tell mother and daughter of the fate of Donovan buigh. In the Long Game between the Confederation of Central Worlds and the United League of the Periphery, Hound and Shadow are mortal enemies; yet a truce descends between them so that the Shadow may tell her tale. There is a struggle in the Lion’s Mouth, the bureau that oversees the Shadows—a clandestine civil war of sabotage and assassination between those who would overthrow Those of Name and the loyalists who support them. And Donovan, one-time Confederal agent, has been recalled to take a key part, willingly or no.

MM9, by Hiroshi Yamamoto

Reads L to R (Western Style).

Japan is beset by natural disasters all the time: typhoons, earthquakes, and…giant monster attacks. A special anti-monster unit called the Meteorological Agency Monsterological Measures Department (MMD) has been formed to deal with natural disasters of high “monster magnitude.” The work is challenging, the public is hostile, and the monsters are hungry, but the MMD crew has science, teamwork…and a legendary secret weapon on their side. Together, they can save Japan, and the universe!

Poor Richard’s Lament: A Most Timely Tale, by Tom Fitzgerald

Benjamin Franklin once wished it were possible…to invent a method of embalming drowned persons in such a manner that they [could] be recalled to life at any period, however distant; for, having a very ardent desire to see and observe the state of America a hundred years hence, I should prefer to any ordinary death [that of] being immersed in a cask of Madeira wine, with a few friends, till the [proper] time, to be then recalled to life by the solar warmth of my dear country.

Poor Richard’s Lament grants Franklin his wish.

Benjamin Franklin has been confined to a private apartment in the Plantation of the Unrepentant for the past two-plus centuries, and has recently received notice that his petition for final processing has at last been approved. In the company of two Intermediaries, Ben appears before a panel of examiners in the Celestial Court of Petitions to make his case. His examiners are three former arch-adversaries: John Adams, Alexander Wedderburn, and Reverend William Smith.

By the end of Ben’s examination, in which the sins of the Pater are brought devastatingly to light, Ben fully expects to be cast into the abyss. Instead, he’s invited to bear witness to what has become of America in the two-plus centuries of his absence. Ben’s odyssey of witness begins at his birth site in Boston, passes through New York (where Ben upstages a leadership conference at the Waldorf Astoria), and ends, with wrenching poignancy, at his gravesite in Philadelphia.

Interwoven into the main story is a second, beginning in the red-carpeted parlors of the West Wing and ending in the blood-stained streets of West Philadelphia. Eventually, the parallel stories collide, like tectonic plates, in a stunning series of shocks and aftershocks.

Following in the traditions of Dicken’s A Christmas Carol, Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life, and Dante’s Divine Comedy, Poor Richard’s Lament, nine years in the making, is an intricately woven, ultimately uplifting, tale of revelation and redemption, written in close consonance with the avuncular and aphoristic persona of Benjamin Franklin, Printer.

Shadow in Flight, by Orson Scott Card

Ender’s Shadow explores the stars in this all-new novel…

At the end of Shadow of the Giant, Bean flees to the stars with three of his children–the three who share the engineered genes that gave him both hyper-intelligence and a short, cruel physical life. The time dilation granted by the speed of their travel gives Earth’s scientists generations to seek a cure, to no avail. In time, they are forgotten–a fading ansible signal speaking of events lost to Earth’s history. But the Delphikis are about to make a discovery that will let them save themselves, and perhaps all of humanity in days to come.

For there in space before them lies a derelict Formic colony ship. Aboard it, they will find both death and wonders–the life support that is failing on their own ship, room to grow, and labs in which to explore their own genetic anomaly and the mysterious disease that killed the ship’s colony.

Taft 2012: A Novel, by Jason Heller

HE’S BACK.
AND HE’S THE BIGGEST THING IN POLITICS.

He is the perfect presidential candidate. Conservatives love his hard-hitting Republican résumé. Liberals love his peaceful, progressive practicality. The media can’t get enough of his larger-than-life personality. And all the American people love that he’s an honest, hard-working man who tells it like it is.

There’s just one problem. He is William Howard Taft . . . and he was already president a hundred years ago. So what on earth is he doing alive and well and considering a running mate in 2012?

A most extraordinary satire, Jason Heller’s debut novel follows the strange new life of a presidential Rip Van Winkle: a man who never even wanted the White House in the first place, yet finds himself hurtling toward it once more—this time, through the media-fueled madness of 21st-century America.

Tamed, by Douglas R. Brown

Werewolves are real.

And they make excellent pets.

Owning one of the legendary creatures is the latest fad. The WereHouse insists their werepets are loyal, docile, and 100% safe, but what happens when these gentle giants turn on their masters?

While on a routine EMS call, paramedic Christine Alt is attacked by a rogue werepet. She escapes with her life, but the encounter leaves her with more than just scars. As her body begins to change, she discovers the WereHouse is hiding a terrible secret, and they will stop at nothing to keep her from exposing them.

Tamed is a werewolf tale with a twist from the author of the The Light of Epertase trilogy.

Book News, Books, News

New Book Releases, Week of November 20th, 2011

Here are this week’s new fantasy, scifi, and horror book releases:

Released Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011

 Hearts of Smoke & Steam (Society of Steam #2), by Andrew P. Mayer

Sir Dennis Darby has been murdered, the Automaton has been destroyed, and Sarah Stanton has turned her back on a life of privilege and comfort to try and find her way in the unforgiving streets of New York. But Lord Eschaton, the villain behind all these events, isn’t finished with her yet. His plans to bring his apocalyptic vision of the future to the world are moving forward, but to complete his scheme he needs the clockwork heart that Sarah still holds.

But she has her own plans for the Automaton’s clockwork heart—Sarah is trying rebuild her mechanical friend, and when she is attacked by The Children of Eschaton, the man comes to her rescue may be the one to make her dreams come true. Emelio Armando is a genius inventor who had hoped to leave his troubles behind when he and his sister left Italy for a life of anonymity in the New World. Now he finds himself falling in love with the fallen society girl, but he is rapidly discovering just how powerful the forces of villainy aligned against her are, and that fulfilling her desires means opening the door to a world of danger that could destroy everything he has built.

THE SOCIETY OF STEAM takes place in a Victorian New York powered by the discovery of Fortified Steam, a substance that allows ordinary men to wield extraordinary abilities, and grant powers that can corrupt gentlemen of great moral strength. The secret behind this amazing substance is something that wicked brutes will gladly kill for, and one that Sarah must try and protect, no matter what the cost.

Borderlands: The Fallen, by John Shirley

WHAT KIND OF MAN MAKES A LIVING IN HELL?

His name’s Roland. Soldier class, a former mercenary, he’s on a full-time mission to scrape a living out of the most dangerous planet in the galaxy.

Is he qualified? He’s well armed, he’s ruthless, and he’s tougher than skag hide. And, oh yeah—he’s strapped with some of the most exotic weaponry this side of the Vault, not to mention possessing fists like chunks of steel.

Zac Finn and his wife and young son had better get on the right side of Roland, because a stopover in orbit has turned into a nightmarish fall to the unforgiving landscape of the Borderlands. Zac hopes to find a strange new alien treasure in the Borderlands to turn his down-spiraling life around. But his wife, Marla, and his son, Cal, just want to survive, and reunite, because catastrophe has left them separated by hundreds of klicks. Their chances aren’t good . . . and Roland is all that stands between them and the planet’s kill-crazed Psychos and murderous bandits—not to mention the grotesque primals, giant wyrm squids, insane tunnel rats, voracious skags, brutal bruisers, and ruthless mercs. . . .

An original novel set in the universe of the Rated M for Mature video game created by Gearbox Software and published by 2K Games.

Micro: A Novel, by Michael Crichton and Richard Preston

Three men are found dead in the locked second-floor office of a Honolulu building, with no sign of struggle except for the ultrafine, razor-sharp cuts covering their bodies. The only clue left behind is a tiny bladed robot, nearly invisible to the human eye.

In the lush forests of Oahu, groundbreaking technology has ushered in a revolutionary era of biological prospecting. Trillions of microorganisms, tens of thousands of bacteria species, are being discovered; they are feeding a search for priceless drugs and applications on a scale beyond anything previously imagined.

In Cambridge, Massachusetts, seven graduate students at the forefront of their fields are recruited by a pioneering microbiology start-up. Nanigen MicroTechnologies dispatches the group to a mysterious lab in Hawaii, where they are promised access to tools that will open a whole new scientific frontier.

But once in the Oahu rain forest, the scientists are thrust into a hostile wilderness that reveals profound and surprising dangers at every turn. Armed only with their knowledge of the natural world, they find themselves prey to a technology of radical and unbridled power. To survive, they must harness the inherent forces of nature itself.

An instant classic, Micro pits nature against technology in vintage Crichton fashion. Completed by visionary science writer Richard Preston, this boundary-pushing thriller melds scientific fact with pulse-pounding fiction to create yet another masterpiece of sophisticated, cutting-edge entertainment.

Lightspeed: Year One, by Stephen King, Orson Scott Card, George R. R. Martin, et al.

Lightspeed (www.lightspeedmagazine.com) is the critically-acclaimed, online science fiction magazine edited by bestselling anthologist John Joseph Adams. Lightspeed publishes all types of science fiction, from near-future, sociological soft sf, to far-future, star-spanning hard sf, and anything and everything in between. Each month, Lightspeed features a mix of originals and reprints, from a variety of authors – from the bestsellers and award-winners you already know to the best new voices you haven”t heard of yet. Now, in Lightspeed: Year One, you will find all of the fiction published in Lightspeed”s first year, from new stories such as Nebula Award finalists, Vylar Kaftan”s “I”m Alive, I Love You, I”ll See You in Reno” and “Arvies” by Adam-Troy Castro, and Carrie Vaughn”s Hugo Award-nominee “Amaryllis,” to classic reprints by Stephen King, Ursula K. Le Guin, George R. R. Martin, and more.

New Cthulhu: The Recent Weird, by Neil Gaiman, China Mieville, Cherie Priest, et al.

For more than 80 years H.P. Lovecraft has inspired writers of supernatural fiction, artists, musicians, filmmakers, and gaming. His themes of cosmic indifference, the utter insignificance of humankind, minds invaded by the alien, and the horrors of history – written with a pervasive atmosphere of unexplainable dread – remain not only viable motifs, but are more relevant than ever as we explore the mysteries of a universe in which our planet is infinitesimal and climatic change is overwhelming it. In the first decade of the twenty-first century the best supernatural writers no longer imitate Lovecraft, but they are profoundly influenced by the genre and the mythos he created. New Cthulhu: The Recent Weird presents some of the best of this new Lovecraftian fiction – bizarre, subtle, atmospheric, metaphysical, psychological, filled with strange creatures and stranger characters – eldritch, unsettling, evocative, and darkly appealing.

Somewhere Beneath Those Waves, by Sarah Monette

The first non-themed collection of critically acclaimed author Sarah Monette”s best short fiction. To paraphrase Hugo-award winner Elizabeth Bear’s introduction: “Monette’s prose is lapidary, her ideas are fantastical and chilling. She has studied the craft of fantastic fiction from the pens of masters and mistresses of the genre. She is a poet of the awkward and the uncertain, exalter of the outcast, the outre, and the downright weird. There is nothing else quite like Sarah Monette’s fiction.”

 

 

 

Bad Blood (House of Comarre), by Kristen Painter

Samhain approaches, bringing with it the final melding of the mortal and othernatural worlds. No one knows just how much power the night holds…

Violent murders occur in Paradise City as counterfeit comarré are systematically hunted. The police and the Kubai Mata have more than enough trouble to keep themselves occupied. As war erupts at home, Malkolm and Chrysabelle head to New Orleans to recover the Ring of Sorrows. Chrysabelle is forced to make a life and death decision and will realize that her relationship to Malkolm may have fatal consequences.

The clock is ticking . . .

 

Saints Astray, by Jacqueline Carey

Fellow orphans, amateur vigilantes, and members of the Santitos, Loup Garron-the fugitive daughter of a genetically engineered “wolf man”-and Pilar Ecchevarria grew up in the military zone of Outpost 12, formerly known as Santa Olivia. But now they’re free, and they want to help the rest of the Santitos escape. During a series of escapades, they discover that Miguel, Loup’s former sparring partner and reprobate surrogate brother, has escaped from Outpost 12 and is testifying on behalf of its forgotten citizens-at least until he disappears from protective custody. Honor drives Loup to rescue Miguel, even though entering the U.S could mean losing her liberty. Pilar vows to help her.

It will take a daring and absurd caper to extricate Miguel from the mess he’s created but Loup is prepared to risk everything… and this time she has help.

Soul Screamers Volume One: My Soul to Lose, My Soul to Take, My Soul to Save, by Rachel Vincent

It starts with a scream….

New York Times bestselling author Rachel Vincent’s compelling Soul Screamers series keeps getting better—here, for the first time, the original stories are compiled into one special volume….

My Soul to Lose

—The prequel: never before in print!—

Kaylee is just your average girl shopping at the mall with friends—until a terrified scream bursts from her that cannot be stopped. Taken to a hospital ward, will she be able to save her mind—and her life?

My Soul to Take

She’s always felt different, but now Kaylee discovers why. The screams that cannot be denied mean that someone near her will die—and she can never save them. Because saving one life means taking another….

My Soul to Save

Going on dates with her boyfriend is still new to Kaylee. But when the singer of the band they’re seeing dies onstage and Kaylee doesn’t scream, she knows something crazy is going on. Soon she discovers souls can indeed be sold….

Released Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

Theft of Swords (Riyria Revelations), by Michael J. Sullivan

THEY KILLED THE KING. THEY PINNED IT ON TWO MEN. THEY CHOSE POORLY.
Royce Melborn, a skilled thief, and his mercenary partner, Hadrian Blackwater, make a profitable living carrying out dangerous assignments for conspiring nobles–until they are hired to pilfer a famed sword. What appears to be just a simple job finds them framed for the murder of the king and trapped in a conspiracy that uncovers a plot far greater than the mere overthrow of a tiny kingdom.

Can a self-serving thief and an idealistic swordsman survive long enough to unravel the first part of an ancient mystery that has toppled kings and destroyed empires in order to keep a secret too terrible for the world to know?

And so begins the first tale of treachery and adventure, sword fighting and magic, myth and legend.

When author Michael J. Sullivan self-published the first books of his Riyria Revelations, they rapidly became ebook bestsellers. Now, Orbit is pleased to present the complete series for the first time in bookstores everywhere.

BOOKS IN THE RIYRIA REVELATIONS
Theft of Swords (The Crown Conspiracy & Avempartha)
Rise of Empire (Nyphron Rising & The Emerald Storm)
Heir of Novron (Wintertide & Percepliquis)

Released Thursday, November 24th, 2011

In the Forests of the Night: The Goblin Wars Book 2, by Kersten Hamilton

The battle against goblinkind continues . . . but which side will Teagan be on?

Teagan, Finn, and Aiden have made it out of Mag Mell alive, but the Dark Man’s forces are hot on their heels. Back in Chicago, Tea’s goblin cousins show up at her school, sure she will come back to Mag Mell, as goblin blood is never passive once awoken. Soon she will belong to Fear Doirich and join them. In the meantime, they are happy to entertain themselves by trying to seduce, kidnap, or kill Tea’s family and friends. Tea knows she doesn’t have much time left, and she refuses to leave Finn or her family to be tortured and killed. A wild Stormrider, born to rule and reign, is growing stronger inside her. But as long as she can hold on, she’s still Teagan Wylltson, who plans to be a veterinarian and who heals the sick and hurting. The disease that’s destroying her—that’s destroying them all—has a name: Fear Doirich. And Teagan Wylltson is not going to let him win.

Unleashed (Wolf Spring Chronicles), by Nancy Holder and Debbie Viguie

Nancy Holder and Debbie Viguie, the New York Times bestselling authors of the Wicked series, have created an entirely new trilogy with the passion of Twilight and the grandeur of Fallen. The Wolf Springs Chronicles introduces readers to a town of secrets and the new girl who’s about to start believing in werewolves.

 

 

 

 

Descriptions from Amazon.com

 

Movie News, Movies, News

Ender’s Game Movie Officially Has a Release Date!

It’s been talked about and tossed around, and it is finally official. Summit Entertainment has announced the release date for the Ender’s Game movie. Though no casting has happened yet, the film is set to hit theaters on March 15th, 2013.

Orson Scott Card has put in his two cents, saying that though all the parts of the book won’t make it to the big screen, the important parts will, for sure.

As for Ender? Here’s what he had to say: “Whoever plays Ender will almost certainly be an actor you haven’t seen before, and with any luck, a child who has not gone through the soul-numbing process of being cute on camera.  In other words, I hope it is a child who never had an agent, but who is very, very intelligent and therefore can take direction.”

We’ll keep you updated as news is released!

[via tor.com]

Movie News, Movies

The Ender’s Game Movie Finds a Home with Summit Entertainment

The Ender’s Game movie has been shopped around to different studios recently, and it looks like it has finally found a home: Summit Entertainment. Summit, as many of you surely know, is the company that is bringing the world the Twilight movies. 

There are some interesting theories as to why this company snagged the rights to this movie, and leading the pack is the fact that they are looking for something big to follow up the massive success the Twilight Saga has brought them.

The other theory is that they want something that will compete with the already-predicted success of The Hunger Games movie trilogy, which is currently being produced by Lionsgate.

Production is set to begin soon, and Gavin Hood (of X-Men: Wolverine fame, among others), will be directing.

This news brings with it mixed emotions for me. Yes, Summit has done quality films, but to acquire this movie just to off-set the success of others makes me a bit wary. However, Orson Scott Card has said from the beginning of this round of submissions for the film that he’s behind this version and believes they will do it justice, so that makes me feel a little better.

What do you think? Will Summit Entertainment give Ender’s Game the justice it deserves?

 

 

Movie News, Movies, News

“Ender’s Game” Movie Finally Being Shopped Around

Since it is one of science fiction’s most beloved books, there is a lot of pressure to make sure an Ender’s Game movie would be done correctly. Recent news offers some hope on that front. The writing team of Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci (known for Transformers, Fringe, and the new Star Trek adaptation) have joined up with director Gavin Hood (of Wolverine: Origins fame) and the script is finally being shopped around Hollywood.

This film has been in the works for a while now, but the interest has grown and it seems like the foundations of a dynamite team are being laid. A few days ago Orson Scott Card chatted on i09.com’s Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy podcast, and he mentions Gavin Hood being a good fit as director of the film, due to his background. Here’s what else he had to say about the movie:

I’m very optimistic that when it is made, it will be made really well to be a good movie. That’s sort of my bottom line, you know? That I want it not to suck. I’m only going to get one shot at this. I don’t get a lot of chances to have Ender’s Game made as a movie. So, the only power I have is to try to keep it from getting made until we’re ready to do it right. And I’ve done that, and I think we’re now ready to do it right.

Lytherus will be following the progress of the movie, and we will bring you major updates as they occur. To hear more about the movie, and other things Card has to say, including writing child characters, his opinions on comics, and him talking about his newest book, The Lost Gate, check out the entire podcast on i09.com. It has a lot of great info for the Card fan.

[via i09.com]

Book News, Books, News

10 Books to Look Forward to in 2011!

This list was really hard for me to do. There are so many amazing books coming out this year, by equally amazing authors, that I honestly didn’t know how to decide. But as I thought about it, here at Lytherus we have already been posting news on some upcoming books written by popular authors. So instead of repeating, I thought I would try to find ten that aren’t currently in the headline news, but that should still get the bibliophile in all of us a little excited!

Beauty and the Werewolf (Mercedes Lackey)

Release Date: June 21st

This is the sixth book in Lackey’s successful 500 Kingdoms series. The cover for this book isn’t released yet, so forget about a blurb, but I did get a little info from an interview with the author, courtesy of Bookyurt:

Byrt: And what other projects are on your horizon?

ML: Next 500 Kingdoms book, which is based on Beauty and the Beast crossed with Red Riding Hood. And werewolves.

If you’re interested in learning a little bit more about this series, check out the summary and review of the fifth book in our holiday guide.

(If you want to read the rest of the interview, click here!)

The Power of Six (Pittacus Lore)

Release Date: August 23rd

This is the follow-up to the amazing I am Number Four. There aren’t any blurbs out about the book yet that I could find, so actual info on the plot is still up in the air. However,I did find an interesting interview with the author (yes, Pittacus Lore the alien, not James Frey the human writer), and here’s what he had to say (After starting off talking about I am Number Four):

Are you hoping then for your book to bring about some action from people?

Earthlings will play no part in this war. You cannot affect the outcome in any way whatsoever. It will be won or lost by us.

I’m assuming since you’re using the present tense that the war continues.

Yes, the war is ongoing. We are writing the books a year or two behind the actual events.

Gotcha. So you’re currently working on the sequel, which covers events that happened last year?

We are writing another book right now, yes, called The Power of Six.

Is Number Four in that one?
Number Four is in it too. It’s the next battle in the war, the first two have been fought. The third is being fought right now.

If it is as even close to as good as the first one, this will be one of the highlights in science-fiction publishing this year. To Learn more about the awesome first book in this series, check out the summary on our holiday guide.

(If you want to read the rest of the interview, click here!)

Forever (Maggie Stiefvater)

Release Date: July 12th

I really enjoyed Maggie’s books, and hope to get a review of the first two in this series up here on the site in the not-too-distant future. But for those of you (like me) eagerly awaiting the final installment, here’s a little teaser:

In Maggie Stiefvater’s SHIVER, Grace and Sam found each other. In LINGER, they fought to be together. Now, in FOREVER, the stakes are even higher than before. Wolves are being hunted. Lives are being threatened. And love is harder and harder to hold on to as death comes closing in.



Ganymede (Cherie Priest)

Release Date: Winter 2011

There is hardly any information about this book, as it is due out at the end of the year. Even so, I wanted to put it on this list because this series is becoming more and more popular–and it is steampunk at its finest! Here’s what author Rick Riordan (of Percy Jackson fame) had to say about Boneshaker, the first book in the series (which should give you a better idea about the feel of the series):

[This is] more of an adult novel, set in an alternate Civil War America where a horrible accident has turned Seattle into a quarantined wasteland filled with zombies. Briar, the widow of the mad scientist who caused the disaster, must enter the city to find her son, who has gone there determined to find evidence that will clear his father’s name. This is a highly original pageturner and a must-read for steampunk fans.

The second book, Dreadnought, is also getting rave reviews. I can’t wait to see what Priest has in store for us next!

The Warlock (Michael Scott)

Release Date: May 24th

This series is a favorite of a few of us here at Lytherus, so it is with excitement we wait for the fifth book in this incredibe series. Here’s a summary:

In the fifth installment of this bestselling series, the twins of prophesy have been divided, and the end is finally beginning. With Scatty, Joan of Arc, Saint Germain, Palamedes, and Shakespeare all in Danu Talis, Sophie is on her own with the ever-weakening Nicholas and Perenelle Flamel. She must depend on Niten to help her find an immortal to teach her Earth Magic. The surprise is that she will find her teacher in the most ordinary of places.

If you want to know more about this series, check out our summary in the holiday guide.

Caster Chronicles #3 (Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl)

Release Date: Fall 2011

There isn’t even a title out for this one yet, but I had to put it on the list, because I know it is a highly anticipated book for 2011 and one I’m sure we’ll follow here at Lytherus. The first two books in this series, Beautiful Creatures and Beautiful Darkness, quickly became New York Times bestsellers, and are complex and beautifully written. Sometime this year I hope to post the reviews of these books, but until then, you can check out the series here: http://beautifulcreaturesthebook.com/

Mastiff (Tamora Pierce)

Release Date: November 2011

For all the Tamora Pierce fans out there, 2011 brings about the third book in the Beka Cooper Trilogy. The date for this book has been moved around a lot, but it has seemed to settle on the fall of this year. Here’s a little teaser:

Beka and her friends will face their greatest and most important challenge ever when the young heir to the kingdom vanishes. They will be sent out of Corus on a trail that appears and disappears, following a twisting road throughout Tortall. It will be her greatest Hunt—if she can survive the very powerful people who do not want her to succeed in her goal.

Heartless (Gail Carriger)

Release Date: June 28th

This is the fourth book in the Parasol Protectorate series, which is a personal favorite of mine. Check out what amazon has to say about the upcoming novel:

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?

This series is funny and smart, and has a touch of steampunk in the Victorian feel. I am currently working on a review of the first three books, but until that’s posted, here’s a link to the author’s site.

Pathfinder #2 (Orson Scott Card)

Release Date: October 1st

This is the second book in the Pathfinder series, Card’s newest YA series. I couldn’t find even a hint of info on this book except for the release date, so we can only speculate on how the story of Rigg will continue. But, knowing Card’s talent as a writer, I’m sure it is a book his fans can eagerly await.

If you want to learn more about the first book in the series, Pathfinder, check out the Lytherus review.

**As I was looking for info on this book, I found some news about the author on his website. Apparently Card suffered a minor stroke on New Year’s Day of this year. he lost the use of his left hand, and is currently re-training it to be able to type. So I put this book on the list with the high hopes that he recovers fully and is able to go back 100% to the job he loves, which would mean the release date stays the same. I know his fans all across the world are wishing him a speedy recovery!**

Darkest Mercy (Melissa Marr)

Release Date: February 22nd

Fans of Melissa Marr’s work have waited anxiously for the conclusion to her amazing NY Times Bestselling Wicked Lovely series, and it is almost here! Here’s a summary of the upcoming fifth and final book:

The Summer King is missing; the Dark Court is bleeding; and a stranger walks the streets of Huntsdale, his presence signifying the deaths of powerful fey. Aislinn tends to the Summer Court, searching for her absent king and yearning for Seth. Torn between his new queen and his old love, Keenan works from afar to strengthen his court against the coming war. Donia longs for fiery passion even as she coolly readies the Winter Court for battle. And Seth, sworn brother of the Dark King and heir to the High Queen, is about to make a mistake that could cost his life. Love, despair, and betrayal ignite the Faery Courts, and in the final conflict, some will win . . . and some will lose everything. The thrilling conclusion to Melissa Marr’s New York Times bestselling Wicked Lovely series will leave readers breathless.

You can also go to her website to check out the book trailer.

Other Books:

Since I mentioned at the beginning of this article that there were books coming out we already mentioned here on Lytherus, I thought it was only fair to list them here as well:

City of Fallen Angels (Cassandra Clare), Release Date: April 5th

Bloodlines (Richelle Mead), Release Date: August 23rd

Dead reckoning (Charlaine Harris), Release Date: May 3rd

The Throne of Fire (Rick Riordan), Release Date: May 3rd

Book News, Books, News

“Halo” And Orson Scott Card Book Giveaways on Tor.com!

Tor.com is having a lot of activity around some recent releases. Here are just two of them:

Today is release day for Orson Scott Card’s The Lost Gate. In celebration, tor.com is giving away five copies. You can enter until 2pm EST tomorrow, Wednesday January 5th. The link to do so is here.

If you want to know more about this book, check out an earlier Lytherus post on it here.

Also, in celebration of the new Halo:Cryptum book, tor.com is doing a bunch of fun giveaways. Their first giveaway is the entire collection of Halo books. The complete list is on the page where you can register. This giveaway is open until 9:30 am EST on Wednesday, January 5th. Click here to check it out. Lytherus also linked to an excerpt recently, which you can view here.

If you’re interested in some of the other giveaways, go to the main tor.com page and scroll down through the list!

Good Luck!

(These and other books were featured on this weeks’ new release list)

Book News, Books, News

New Releases, Week of January 2nd, 2011

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

Released Tuesday, January 4th, 2011

Unearthly, by Cynthia Hand

As if adolescence isn’t enough, California girl Clara has recently begun to come into her powers as a Quartarius, a quarter-angel. Her half-angel single mother lends support, helping to puzzle through visions that reveal tantalizing portions of Clara’s “purpose.” The visions’ clues—a forest fire, license plate, and boy in a black fleece jacket—lead the family to Jackson Hole, Wyoming. There, on Clara’s first day of school, she meets her destiny: A-list football player Christian, the boy of the vision. She also makes friends with two very different girls: easygoing, horse-crazy Wendy, and intense loner Angela. It’s Wendy’s twin brother, Tucker, though, who begins to drive the plot, unwittingly seeming to change Clara’s purpose. If some of this series starter seems overly familiar—the rural setting, the two love interests, the dark powers at work—the details about angels make up for it. The dynamics of flying, the intense shining of “glory,” and an unplanned trip to hell are all creatively addressed.

Night School (A Blood Coven Vampire Novel), by Mari Mancusi

After their parents’ shocking revelation about their fae heritage and an attack on their lives, the McDonald twins are forced to hide out deep in the Swiss Alps at Riverdale Academy, a secret vampire slayer training facility. And with no way to contact their vampire boyfriends for rescue, they’re going to have to play nice with the locals. But when Sunny starts acting strange, Rayne realizes that there’s more to fear at Riverdale than getting staked by the student body-leading to a showdown in Fairyland that may cost the twins their lives.

Shadowspell, by Jenna Black

On top of spending most of her time in a bunkerlike safe house and having her dates hijacked by a formidable Fae bodyguard, Faeriewalker Dana Hathaway is in for some more bad news: the Erlking and his pack of murderous minions known as the Wild Hunt have descended upon Avalon. With his homicidal appetite and immortal powers, the Erlking has long been the nightmare of the Fae realm. A fragile treaty with the Faerie Queen, sealed with a mysterious spell, is the one thing that keeps him from hunting unchecked in Avalon, the only place on Earth where humans and Fae live together. Which means Dana’s in trouble, since it’s common knowledge that the Faerie Queen wants her – and her rare Faeriewalker powers – dead. The smoldering, sexy Erlking’s got his sights set on Dana, but does he only seek to kill her, or does he have something much darker in mind?

Awakened: A House of Night Novel, by P. C. and Kristin Cast

Exonerated by the Vampyre High Council and returned to her position of High Priestess at Tulsa’s House of Night, Neferet has sworn vengeance on Zoey.  Dominion over Kalona is only one of the weapons she plans to use against Z.  But Zoey has found sanctuary on the Isle of Skye and is being groomed by Queen Sgiach to take over for her there.  Being Queen would be cool, wouldn’t it?  Why should she return to Tulsa? After losing her human consort, Heath, she will never be the same – and her relationship with her super-hot-warrior, Stark, may never be the same either… And what about Stevie Rae and Rephaim?  The Raven Mocker refuses to be used against Stevie Rae, but what choice does he have when no one in the entire world, including Zoey, would be okay with their relationship?  Does he betray his father or his heart? In the pulse-pounding 8th book in the bestselling House of Night series, how far will the bonds of friendship stretch and how strong are the ties that bind one girl’s heart?

Slice of Cherry, by Dia Reeves

Kit and Fancy Cordelle are sisters of the best kind: best friends, best confidantes, and best accomplices. The daughters of the infamous Bonesaw Killer, Kit and Fancy are used to feeling like outsiders, and that’s just the way they like it. But in Portero, where the weird and wild run rampant, the Cordelle sisters are hardly the oddest or most dangerous creatures around. It’s no surprise when Kit and Fancy start to give in to their deepest desire—the desire to kill. What starts as a fascination with slicing open and stitching up quickly spirals into a gratifying murder spree. Of course, the sisters aren’t killing just anyone, only the people who truly deserve it. But the girls have learned from the mistakes of their father, and know that a shred of evidence could get them caught. So when Fancy stumbles upon a mysterious and invisible doorway to another world, she opens a door to endless possibilities….

The Faeman Quest, by Herbie Brennan

Herbie Brennan’s popular and critically acclaimed Faerie Wars series is well known for its cast of magical characters, hilarious dialogue, and wildly inventive flights of fantasy. Now, with The Faeman Quest, Brennan returns to the world of Faerie to introduce a new character – Mella, the daughter of King Consort Henry and Queen Holly Blue. When Mella accidentally travels to the country of Haleklind, she discovers rebel forces preparing an invasion using a terrifying new magical weapon. This novel features old favorites-Brimstone, Pyrgus, and Lord Hairstreak’s head-but readers will identify immediately with Mella, whose stubborn streak and fiesty daring must save the Faerie realm from mass destruction.

Vampire Diaries: Stephan’s Diaries: Bloodlust, by L. J. Smith

A new beginning . . . When Stefan Salvatore’s first love turned him into a vampire, his world—and his soul—were destroyed. Now he and his brother, Damon, must flee their hometown, where they risk being discovered . . . and killed. The brothers head to New Orleans, looking for safe haven. But the city is more dangerous than they ever imagined, full of other vampires—and vampire hunters. Will Stefan’s eternal life be forever damned? Based on the popular CW TV show inspired by the bestselling novels, Stefan’s Diaries reveals the truth about what really happened between Stefan, Damon, and Katherine—and how the Vampire Diaries love triangle began.

The Lost Gate: A Novel of the Mither Mages, by Orson Scott Card

Card’s newest series opener can’t decide whether it’s a thought experiment featuring a nifty magic system, a YA urban fantasy, or a series of fantasy interludes, so it settles for performing all three tasks satisfactorily, if not spectacularly. Danny North, descendant of exiled mages from another world, is taken aback when he comes into his true powers as a gatemage. He could reconnect his people with their long-lost home world, but gatemages are usually killed to maintain a fragile peace among the exiled clans. Fleeing his home, Danny finds refuge and slowly explores his potential, planning to open the first Great Gate in 14 centuries. Meanwhile, on the far-off world of Westil, a young gatemage named Wad finds love, conspiracies, and betrayal in a remote castle while struggling to recall his hazy past. Though occasionally uneven and meandering, this ambitious tale is well crafted, highly detailed, and pleasantly accessible.

The Book of Elizabeth, by Darby Harn

Alice remembers the fall of the Berlin Wall. How she doesn’t know, because it never happened; there was never a Wall. There was never a Berlin. In their place is a new world, a new history unburdened and unfettered of the past except for a small few like herself, swept out of their proper places in time and stranded with their memories in the new now, people from every era, poets, gladiators, peasants and queens. Queen Elizabeth the First finds herself, for the first time in her life, free; free of the weight of her office, her world and the constraints of her time. She relishes the opportunity to establish her own personal identity, her own personal destiny but she cannot avoid being at the center of a great struggle. Some, like Alice, want to learn the truth of what happened, and if possible, put things back the way they were meant to be . . . but in embracing the virgin world, the queen has no intent to restore the past but to see it banished, even from her own mind, forever . . .

House Name: The House War book 3, by Michelle West

The House War series centers on the most popular character in The Sun Sword series: a young woman named Jewel, who survives both the everyday perils of being an orphan in the slums of the city of Averalaan, and the demonic dangers of the Undercity, and who rises to become a key figure in House Terafin, the most important of the Ten Houses of the Essalieyan Empire. At the close of The Sun Sword series, the House War is about to begin. Now, at last, that story can be told.

Secrets of the Demon, by Diana Rowland

Homicide detective Kara Gillian has a special talent: she can sense the “arcane” in our world, and there’s quite a bit of it, even in Beaulac, Louisiana. She’s also a summoner of demons, and works on a task force that deals with supernatural crimes. Her partners are attractive and smart FBI agents, but they’re not summoners, and they’re not telling Kara why they are on this special force with her. To make things worse, Kara has pledged herself to one of the most powerful of demons-a Demon Lord-who helped save her partner’s life, but now expects things in return. Meanwhile, she’s trying to solve a string of murders that are somehow tied together by money, sex, rock music and…mud. But how can she concentrate on the case when she’s not even sure who-or what-her partners are?

Boondocks Fantasy, edited by Jean Rabe

From vampires in the Appalachians and leprechauns in the Smokies to mermaids in the Mississippi and bloodthirsty trolls in an Alabama trailer park the South makes a unique setting for the 20 stories in this anthology of redneck vampires, werewolves, wizards, elves, and other creatures. Featuring original stories by Gene Wolfe, Timothy Zahn, Chris Pierson, Mickey Zucker Reichert, Steven Savile, Elizabeth A. Vaughan, Jay Lake, Anton Strout, and many more.

Restless Soul (Rogue Angel), by Alex Archer

In 1966, a group of battle-weary American GIs trekked through the Vietnamese jungle knowing each step could mean facing the enemy’s guns. But instead of ambush, they stumbled upon a hidden treasure beyond their wildest dreams. It was a discovery that exacted a terrible cost. A vacation spot picked at random, Thailand is intended to provide relaxation time for globe-trotting archaeologist Annja Creed. Yet the irresistible pull of the country’s legendary Spirit Cave lures Annja and her companions deep within a network of underground chambers—nearly to their deaths. The ancient burial sites have slumbered through the ages. Yet no rest is found there—just the voices of the dead. When the dead speak, will they help Annja uncover the perplexing past of a remarkable find or will they call her to join them?

Blood Bound, by Patricia Briggs

Jalopy mechanic Mercedes Thompson may not be a were-creature, ruled by phases of the moon, but she can change into a coyote whenever she wants to. Because she owes him a favor, Mercedes agrees to back up vampire friend Stefan when he confronts another of his kind. But, being demon-possessed, that vampire proves deadlier than most. Before she can so much as bark, Mercedes is up to her ears in vampires fighting vampires, werewolves fighting vampires, and humans in the middle. She aims to off the demon-possessed vampire before any more killings, but she can’t count on everyone who ought to be her ally because the local top vampire has schemes of her own. Briggs’ world in which witches, vampires, werewolves, and shape-shifters live beside ordinary people is plausibly constructed; the characters are excellent; and the plot keeps the pages flapping. Those who haven’t read the first Mercedes Thompson tale, Moon Called (2006), may well want to after reading the second.

March in Country: A Novel of the Vampire Earth, by E. E. Knight

The race is on to claim the area between the Ohio River and Tennessee. What’s left of the resistance is hiding out in the tangle of central Kentucky hills- leaving the powerful, well-organized Kurian vampires the opportunity to fill the void. Major David Valentine knows there’s only one way for them to find help before the Kurians settle in: a desperate dash by hijacked rail, followed by a harrowing river journey. Valentine unites friends old and new in the effort- but the Kurian Order won’t easily yield the blood-soaked Kentucky soil.

Cobra Guardian: Cobra War Book 2, by Timothy Zahn

When the colony worlds Adirondack and Silvern fell to the Troft forces almost without a struggle. Outnumbered and on the defensive, Earth made a desperate decision. It would attack the aliens not from space, but on the ground—with forces the Trofts did not even suspect. Thus were created the Cobras, a guerilla force whose weapons were surgically implanted, invisible to the unsuspecting eye, yet undeniably deadly. And the Moreau family were the most famous of the Cobra warriors. Long after victory over the Troft was achieved, the Cobras made common cause against their former adversaries against a new enemy. Their reward was three planets that would be a home for the Cobras, who deadly powers made them too dangerous to feel at home on Earth. Now, years had passed and not everyone on the Cobra worlds thought that the Cobras were worth the cost of maintaining their existing built-in weaponry, let alone supporting research to improve the Cobra weapons, and possibly even put an end to the negative effects of that built-in weaponry, which caused Cobras to die much too young. Many who had never known interplanetary war were convinced that the Cobras were not needed at all. That was a grave miscalculation, because a Troft faction has decided to invade the Cobra planets in force, using a new strategy that even the formidable Cobra warriors may not be able to defeat . . .

Halo: Cryptum: Book One of the Forerunner Saga, by Greg Bear

100,000 years ago, the galaxy was populated by a great variety of beings. But one species–eons beyond all others in both technology and knowledge–achieved dominance. They ruled in peace but met opposition with quick and brutal effectiveness. They were the Forerunners–the keepers of the Mantle, the next stage of life in the Universe’s Living Time. And then they vanished. This is their story

Bornstellar Makes Eternal Lasting is a young rebellious Forerunner. He is a Manipular, untried–yet to become part of the adult Forerunner society, where vast knowledge and duty waits. He comes from a family of Builders, the Forerunners’ highest and most politically powerful rate. It is the Builders who create the grand technology that facilitates Forerunner dominance over the known universe.  It is the Builders who believe they must shoulder the greatest burden of the Mantle–as shepherds and guardians of all life. Bornstellar is marked to become a great Builder just like his father. But this Manipular has other plans. He is obsessed with lost treasures of the past. His reckless passion to seek out the marvelous artifacts left behind by the Precursors–long-vanished superbeings of unknowable power and intent—forces his father’s hand. Bornstellar is sent to live among the Miners, where he must come to terms with where his duty truly lies. But powerful forces are at play.  Forerunner society is at a major crux. Past threats are once again proving relentless. Dire solutions–machines and strategies never before contemplated–are being called up, and fissures in Forerunner power are leading to chaos. On a Lifeworker’s experimental planet, Bornstellar’s rebellious course crosses the paths of two humans, and the long lifeline of a great military leader, forever changing Bornstellar’s destiny …and the fate of the entire galaxy. This is a tale of life, death, intergalactic horror, exile, and maturity. It is a story of overwhelming change–and of human origins.  For the Mantle may not lie upon the shoulders of Forerunners forever.

A Hard Day’s Knight, by Simon R. Green

John Taylor is a P.I. with a special talent for finding lost things in the dark and secret center of London known as the Nightside. He’s also the reluctant owner of a very special-and dangerous-weapon. Excalibur, the legendary sword. To find out why he was chosen to wield it, John must consult the Last Defenders of Camelot, a group of knights who dwell in a place that some find more frightening than the Nightside. London Proper. It’s been years since John’s been back- and there are good reasons for that.

Downrigger Drift (Deathlands), by James Axler

The nuclear cataclysm that maimed America altered the rules of existence. The new reality guarantees a grim battle for survival, but the higher human instinct to exist in peace and good will lives on. Legends endure and Ryan Cawdor is a warrior of his time. When the good fight needs to be won, Ryan and his band take a stand. In the nuke-altered region of the Great Lakes, Ryan and his group face the spectrum—from the idyllic to the horrific—of a world reborn. Close to enclaves of peace and sanctuary, Deathlands’ most distorted spawn of humanity, cannibals, spread terror. Against the battered shoreline of Lake Michigan, an encounter with an old friend leads to a battle to save Milwaukee from a force of deadly mutant interlopers—and to liberate one of their own.

Of Truth and Beasts: A Novel of the Noble Dead, by Barb & J. C. Hendee

In this ninth Noble Dead novel, young Journeyor Wynn Hygeorht finds herself cast into the wilds on a dangerous quest for knowledge that may instead lead to her doom.

The Soul Mirror: A Novel of Collegia Magica, by Carol Berg

In a royal city beset by hauntings, plagues of birds, and strange sinkholes that swallow light and buildings, whispers of necromancy swirl about the queen’s volatile sorcerer. Scholarly, reclusive Anne de Vernase rejoices that she lacks magical talent. Her father’s pursuit of illicit sorcery has left her beloved family in ruins and her future bleak. But a plague of murders compels Anne to unravel a dead sister’s magical puzzle. With none to trust but a friend she cannot see, Anne must investigate matters beyond science – a centuries-old rivalry, the boundaries of death, and the most dangerous sorcerer in Sabria . . .

Soul Trapper, by F. J. Lennon

This is the debut novel by computer programmer F. J. Lennon, and it is the first novel to be adapted from an iPhone app.

Shortly after death, a soul will see a door of light leading to the afterlife. But sometimes, when there’s something or someone still pulling at them, souls turn their back to this door. Instead, they haunt the living . . . Hollywood native Kane Pryce isn’t your average twenty-something dabbling musician. Yes, he’s an occasional substance abuser with a distrustful nature and self-destructive streak. And yes, most people might take him for a down-on-his-luck slacker. But to those in a very small circle, he’s also known as a ghost-hunting legend. Delving deep into the supernatural isn’t a lifestyle that Kane chose for himself, however; it was thrust upon him when his father vanished under mysterious circumstances. Unbeknownst to anyone besides Kane, his father left instructions to his son that led Kane to the Soul Trap, a powerful supernatural treasure that allows him to hunt down, capture, and send ghosts from the earthly realm to the afterlife. For Kane, power over the supernatural has come with a price. Despite his attempts to do good with this power, his efforts often leave a path of destruction. So when his paranormal side-job attracts the attention of Eva Kells, a crack reporter intent on breaking his story, Kane is reluctant can he trust her? Soon, though, risking his heart on a snooping journalist is the least of Kane’s worries. He receives a call from a terrified priest whose church is haunted by the soul of a deceased little boy. Kane takes on the case, but as he begins to learn the strange details surrounding the boy’s death, he realizes that there’s much more at stake than he ever could have imagined. And to complicate things even further, he falls hard for the boy’s mother. The only problem is, she’s been dead for almost fifty years . . . Nail-biting and darkly humorous, SoulTrapper takes readers on a thrilling ride through the ghostly realm.

Mercy Blade (Jane Yellowrock, book 3), by Faith Hunter

Jane, a shapeshifting vampire-hunter-for-hire, crosses paths with a stranger who has arrived in New Orleans, enlisted to hunt vampires who have gone insane-or so he says…

Citadel: Troy Rising II, by John Ringo

Of all the hosts of Eurotas the Troias were the most fell. For they were born of Winter. Between the Solar Array Pumped Laser and Troy, the two trillion ton nickel-iron battlestation created by eccentric billionaire Tyler Vernon, Earth has managed to recapture the Sol system from their Horvath conquerors and begin entering the galactic millieu. But when the Rangora Empire rapidly crushes humanity’s only ally it becomes clear the war is just beginning. At the heart of nickel iron and starlight are the people, Marines, Navy and civilians, who make Troy a living, breathing, engine of war. Survivors of apocalypse, they know the cost of failure. If this Troy falls, no one will be left to write the epic. Citadel continues the saga begun in Live Free or Die, following the paths of several characters during the first years of The Spiral Arm Wars culminating in the First Battle of E Eridani.

Released Wednesday, January 5th, 2011

The Naming of the Beasts (Felix Castor), by Mike Carey

The pulse-pounding pace never slackens as Carey’s superlative fifth supernatural thriller featuring London exorcist Felix “Fix” Castor picks up where its predecessor, Thicker Than Water, left off. Castor’s closest friend, Rafi Ditko, who’s possessed by the demon Asmodeus, has escaped from his jail cell and begun killing off people close to Ditko, starting with his former girlfriend, Ginny Parris. In order to thwart the evil spirit, Castor must be careful about his choice of allies, even as he struggles to predict his adversary’s next move. Amid the grimness, Carey manages to slide in flashes of humor, as in his portrayal of the difficulties the British legal system faces with the increasing numbers of the dead and the undead, whose civil rights also need protecting. At this rate, Carey could give Jim Butcher more than a run for his money as the best living writer of dark urban fantasy.

Hell’s Horizon (The City), by Darren Shan

Written before Darren O’Shaughnessy became a bestselling young adult author as Darren Shan, this gory companion to June 2010’s Procession of the Dead is a twisting, paranormal gangster mystery. Al “Algiers” Jeery works for the Cardinal, crime boss of the City. When Al’s new girlfriend, Nic, is brutally murdered in one of the Cardinal’s hotels, the boss asks Al to investigate. Al dutifully starts researching and quickly learns he knew nothing about Nic. Blind Incan priests, Nic’s weird friends, and the terrifying assassin Paucar Wami conspire as Al’s life unravels along with the mystery. Events occur in parallel to those of Procession of the Dead, but the stories are quite independent. Readers familiar with Shan’s teen titles might need to exercise a bit of patience with the pacing, but fans of dark urban fantasy will eagerly look forward toward City of Snakes, the next installment.

The Hammer, by K. J. Parker

Gignomai is the youngest brother in the current generation of met’Oc, a once-noble family exiled on an island for their role in a vaguely remembered civil war. On this island, a colony was founded seventy years ago. The plan was originally for the colonists to mine silver, but there turned out not to be any. Now, an uneasy peace exists on the island, between the colonists and the met’Oc. The met’Oc are tolerated, in spite of occasional cattle stealing raids, since they alone possess the weapons considered necessary protection against the island’s savages. Gignomai is about to discover exactly what it is expected of him, and what it means to defy his family. He is the hammer who will provide the spark that will ignite a brutal and bloody war.

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

Book Reviews, Books, Reviews

Review: “Pathfinder”

Title: Pathfinder

Author: Orson Scott Card

Published: 11/23/10

Orson Scott Card has a ton of books, and I have only read Ender’s Game (albeit a few times!). His other books have been on my to-read list, and I am still hoping to get to them, but when I saw Pathfinder, I knew I had to grab it. The cover alone is appealing with the sword and the wisps of smoke or air. At 657 pages it’s a beast of a book— just how I like them.

The premise is that the main character Rigg can see paths left by every living thing, forever.  Yeah, that’s a lot of paths. Luckily they fade and change colors with age, and during his life with his father—trapping animals and selling the furs off— he has learned to differentiate between animals and humans, and individuals at that.

Tragedy strikes not that far into the story, and Rigg is faced with uncertainty for his life. But he discovers that after all these years, he has a mother and a sister who are alive. He sets out on a quest to find them along with his friend Umbo. Umbo has a gift too—he can slow time. With the two gifts together, they begin to experiment on their travels, and see just how far their talents can take them.

This is a wonderful, epic-feeling tale. It is at its core a quest. Rigg is trying to figure out who he is, and as the story continues he discovers that all he has known has been thrown into question. There are a lot of interesting, believable characters too, which add depth and richness to the story.

Another unique point is that at the beginning of each chapter, for a few paragraphs or a few pages, a completely different story is told. This new tale is about a young man named Ram who is piloting a space ship to take humans to another planet to create a new colony. The stories aren’t the same at all, different times in history, different characters, and it takes a while into the book for the purpose of this additional story to reveal itself. But it is beautifully done, and the plots really reveal the connection to one another in perfect synchronicity.

One part that pulled me slightly from the plot and story was the discussion of time and changing things in the past and all the implications of that. What’s great about it is, the characters ask questions about it like real people would. They don’t just accept it as it is, but they discuss and get confused, and it was wonderful to feel like they were inside my head. A few times I definitely thought, wow, that’s exactly what I would want to know in this complex situation!

Card truly is a master story-teller. If I ever had any doubt (which I didn’t if I’m being honest!), after finishing this book it is completely gone. The ending was wonderful, and it was a delight as the revelations appeared, creating a complex, rich story that was totally worth reading.

Review by: Lauren Z.