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New Releases, Week of February 27th, 2011

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

Released Monday, February 28th, 2011

In the Shadow of Swords, by Val Gunn

A brutal assassin, a drug-addicted spy, and a vengeful widow are embroiled in a potentially world-shaking conspiracy in Gunn’s convoluted political fantasy, the launch title for indie Errant Press. When Ciris Sarn, a curse-bound half-jinn, murders Hiril Altaïr, he leaves behind four books of magic. They come into the hands of Hiril’s widow, Marin, and she becomes a target even as she hunts for her husband’s murderer. Meanwhile, Fajeer Dassai, one of the sultan’s advisers, plots to retrieve the books to make himself wealthy beyond imagination. His only obstacle is Pavanan Munif, leader of the Jassaj spies and warriors. The story is told from multiple perspectives in short bursts of chapters, and the action never stops long enough to establish or ground the setting, leaving a confusing narrative of demons and usurpers that threatens to be the first of a series.

Redwood and Wildfire, by Andrea Hairston

Redwood and Wildfire is a novel of what might have been. At the turn of the 20th century, minstrel shows transform into vaudeville, which slides into moving pictures. Hunkering together in dark theatres, diverse audiences marvel at flickering images. This ”dreaming in public” becomes common culture and part of what transforms immigrants and ”native” born into Americans. Redwood, an African American woman, and Aidan, a Seminole Irish man, journey from Georgia to Chicago, from haunted swampland to a ”city of the future.” Gifted performers and hoodoo conjurors, they struggle to call up the wondrous world they imagine, not just on stage and screen, but on city streets, in front parlours, in wounded hearts. The power of hoodoo is the power of the community that believes in its capacities to heal and determine the course of today and tomorrow. Living in a system stacked against them, Redwood and Aidan s power and talent are torment and joy. Their search for a place to be who they want to be is an exhilarating, painful, magical adventure. Blues singers, filmmakers, haints, healers.

Released Tuesday, March 1st, 2011

Late Eclipses (October Daye, Book 4), by Seanan McGuire

In October “Toby” Daye’s fourth outing, following 2010’s An Artificial Night, the half-Fae private detective is once again run through the wringer when problems plaguing the San Francisco Fae community strike home on a personal level. First, in an unprecedented, unexpected move, the Queen of the Mists promotes Toby to countess. Given that the Queen hates her, it’s quite obviously a trap, but not something Toby can refuse or avoid. Subsequently, several of Toby’s closest friends are struck down through poison and illness, and she’s accused of murder. Has an enemy from Toby’s past resurfaced, or is she losing her mind? Physically, emotionally, and magically drained, faced with tragedy and despair, Toby’s forced to deal with the long-hidden truth behind her Fae heritage. In this tightly plotted adventure, McGuire mixes nonstop action with a wealth of mythology to deliver a wholly satisfying story.

Sleight of Hand, by Peter S. Beagle

Abundant with tales of quiet heroism, life-changing decisions, and determined searches for deep answers, this extraordinary collection of contemporary fantasy explores the realms between this world and the next. From the top of the Berlin Wall to the depths of the darkest seas, gods and monsters battle their enemies and innermost fears, yet mere mortals make the truly difficult choices. A slightly regretful author and a vengeful-but-dilapidated dragon square off over an abandoned narrative; the children of the Shark God demand painful truths from their chronically absent father; and a bereaved women sacrifices herself to change one terrible moment, effortlessly reversed by a shuffle of the deck. Whether melancholic, comedic, or deeply tragic, each new tale is suffused with misdirection and discovery, expressed in the rich and mesmerizing voice of a masterful storyteller.

False Horizon (Rogue Angel), by Alex Archer

A small Nepali man melts into shadows. A cutthroat crime lord is looking for a miraculous cure. And a map to an impossible dream and a mythic paradise is pointing the way.

Archaeologist Annja Creed is in Katmandu, awash in its scents, sounds and liveliness. But this is no sightseeing trip. An old friend is in possession of a map that leads to a place that lies outside our world. But the map is known to one other—a vicious man who has Annja and her companions right where he wants them. Her hand forced, Annja sets out in search of the fabled Shangri-La—an expedition of danger and subversion.

And her journey will end only with triumph…or tragedy.

Demon Song, by Cat Adams

Adams (a joint pseudonym for C.T. Adams and Cathy Clamp) delivers a satisfying third Celia Graves adventure to follow 2010’s Blood Song and Siren Song. Bodyguard by profession, vampire by accident, and siren by heritage, Celia leads a life of excitement and turmoil, struggling to control her bloodlust and dark impulses even as she discovers new abilities. Her attempts to maintain a normal existence are stymied by anti-vampire prejudice, a death curse, and a demonic invasion that could destroy the world. Her only hope lies in finding a set of long-lost artifacts, deciphering the prophecies of a deceased friend, and persuading quarrelsome allies to work together. This series just keeps getting better, maintaining a delicate balance between urban fantasy and paranormal romance. The emotional components are just as strong as the action sequences, set against an increasingly interesting world.

Other Kingdoms, by Richard Matheson

Genre veteran Matheson (I Am Legend) frames this bittersweet blend of fantasy and romantic suspense as the “true” reminiscences of 82-year-old Alex White, the author of such novels as Midnight Blood Thirst and Midnight Flesh Hunger under the name Alex Black. In the spring of 1918, the then 18-year-old Alex, a wounded soldier who’s been discharged from the American Army, settles in the isolated English town of Gatford, where he soon finds himself caught between two supernaturally empowered women: Magda, an alluring witch, and Ruthana, a charming faerie. Alex, himself powerless, is willing to make great sacrifices to be with his one true love, whichever one she might be, but their different natures and disapproving relatives may doom the relationship. Which of the two women Alex will choose is never really in doubt; the loser is clearly unsuitable and conveniently malicious in defeat. The self-pitying Alex may ramble in telling his straightforward tale, but Matheson remains as ever a competent craftsman.

The Crippled God: Book Ten of the Malazan Book of the Fallen, by Steven Erikson

Savaged by the K’Chain Nah’Ruk, the Bonehunters march for Kolanse, where waits an unknown fate. Tormented by questions, the army totters on the edge of mutiny, but Adjunct Tavore will not relent. One final act remains, if it is in her power, if she can hold her army together, if the shaky allegiances she has forged can survive all that is to come. A woman with no gifts of magic, deemed plain, unprepossessing, displaying nothing to instill loyalty or confidence, Tavore Paran of House Paran means to challenge the gods — if her own troops don’t kill her first.

Awaiting Tavore and her allies are the Forkrul Assail, the final arbiters of humanity. Drawing upon an alien power terrible in its magnitude, they seek to cleanse the world, to annihilate every human, every civilization, in order to begin anew. They welcome the coming conflagration of slaughter, for it shall be of their own devising, and it pleases them to know that, in the midst of the enemies gathering against them, there shall be betrayal. In the realm of Kurald Galain, home to the long lost city of Kharkanas, a mass of refugees stand upon the First Shore. Commanded by Yedan Derryg, the Watch, they await the breaching of Lightfall, and the coming of the Tiste Liosan. This is a war they cannot win, and they will die in the name of an empty city and a queen with no subjects.

Elsewhere, the three Elder Gods, Kilmandaros, Errastas and Sechul Lath, work to shatter the chains binding Korabas, the Otataral Dragon, and release her from her eternal prison. Once freed, she will be a force of utter devastation, and against her no mortal can stand. At the Gates of Starvald Demelain, the Azath House sealing the portal is dying. Soon will come the Eleint, and once more, there will be dragons in the world. And so, in a far away land and beneath indifferent skies, the final cataclysmic chapter in the extraordinary ‘Malazan Book of the Fallen’ begins.

Invasion: Book One of the Secret World Chronicle, by Mercedes Lackey et al.

The world had become used to the metahumans—people sometimes perfectly ordinary,but sometimes quite extraordinary in appearance—who mostly worked with their governments as high-powered peace officers, fighting crime, and sometimes fighting rogue metahumans who had become super-criminals. Then that comfortable world ended in just one terrifying day.

Suddenly, all world governments were simultaneously attacked by soldiers in giant mecha robotic suits with the swastika symbol of the Third Reich on their metal arms. If these were Nazis, where had they been hiding since the end of World War II? And where had they gotten armor and weapons far in advance of anything on the planet? Weapons against which even the metahuman heroes seemed to be helpless . . .

River Marked (Mercy Thompson, Book 6), by Patricia Briggs

Car mechanic Mercy Thompson has always known there was something different about her, and not just the way she can make a VW engine sit up and beg. Mercy is a shapeshifter, a talent she inherited from her long-gone father. She’s never known any others of her kind. Until now.

An evil is stirring in the depths of the Columbia River—one that her father’s people may know something about. And to have any hope of surviving, Mercy and her mate, the Alpha werewolf Adam, will need their help…

The Wise Man’s Fear (Kingkiller Chronicles, Day 2), by Patrick Rothfuss

As seamless and lyrical as a song from the lute-playing adventurer and arcanist Kvothe, this mesmerizing sequel to Rothfuss’s 2007’s debut, The Name of the Wind, is a towering work of fantasy. As Kvothe, now the unassuming keeper of the Waystone Inn, continues to share his astounding life story—a history that includes saving an influential lord from treachery, defeating a band of dangerous bandits, and surviving an encounter with a legendary Fae seductress—he also offers glimpses into his life’s true pursuit: figuring out how to vanquish the mythical Chandrian, a group of seven godlike destroyers that brutally murdered his family and left him an orphan. But while Kvothe recalls the events of his past, his future is conspiring just outside the inn’s doors. This breathtakingly epic story is heartrending in its intimacy and masterful in its narrative essence, and will leave fans waiting on tenterhooks for the final installment.

Hammer of the Emperor: An Imperial Guard Omnibus (Warhammer 40,000), by Lucien Soulban

Across the war-torn galaxy, the Imperial Guard are a bastion against the enemies of mankind. From the punishing heat of Tallarn’s deserts to the bonechilling tundras of Valhalla, these are soldiers who give their lives in the Emperor’s name. Whether shoulder to shoulder or crushing their enemies in vast machines of war, they are unwavering in their devotion to duty. On a thousand stars, they repel the forces of Chaos and the foul xenos in an eternal conflict. This omnibus collects three tales of savage warfare and heroism in the frontline.

Twilight’s Dawn: A Black Jewels Book, by Anne Bishop

Bestseller Bishop fills out her popular Black Jewels dark fantasy universe (Daughter of the Blood, etc.) with this entertaining novella collection. Daemon Sadi, a black-jeweled Warlord Prince, deals with friends, family, and holiday celebrations in “Winsol Gifts,” while his brother, Lucivar Yaslana, has to thwart a traitor and his deadly trap in the richly entertaining “Shades of Honor.” A mother and her sons are threatened by a dangerous, twisted enemy in “Family,” while Daemon becomes a father and finds a new lease on life and love in “The High Lord’s Daughter.” Fans of the series will enjoy revisiting some favorite characters and mourn the loss of others; new readers may be initially confused by the myriad names and titles, but Bishop’s accessible writing style and interesting world-building will soon draw them into her web.

Overkill, by Robert Buettner

At twenty-three, Jazen Parker has completed his Legion hitch a hero.  But in four months, he’ll have a price on his head.  Worse, he’s lost his past, and he can’t find his future.  Worst of all, he’s chosen to search for them on the deadliest planet known to mankind.

When Jazen reluctantly hires on to a Trueborn Earthman tycoon’s safari to bag a deadly trophy, the reluctant mercenary finds himself shipped out to Downgraded Earthlinke 476, the outpost at the end of the universe known to everyone except its tourism bureau as “Dead End.”

But the hunt goes terribly wrong, and Jazen must survive a tough, beautiful local guide who hates mercenaries, an eleven ton beast that can crush main battle tanks with one claw tied behind its back, and the return of a nightmare that has haunted Jazen since birth. Then Jazen learns that the stakes are not merely his own life, but the fate of an entire alien race.

Beasts of New York, by Jon Evans and Jim Westergard

Beasts of New York is about a squirrel named Patch who, out of desperation and need, adventures beyond his home in Central Kingdom to try and save it. While it seems that fate is conspiring against him, taking him further from his home than any squirrel has traveled, his journey is a necessary step to saving all of Central Kingdom from the evil trying to consume it….

This book reads like a fantasy novel, even though it is set in New York City. The horrors that Patch encounters at times seemed so unreal to me, despite knowing where they were. Seeing them from another pair of eyes gave some things a new air of terror and others one of wonder.

This is not a light novel. It is very dark, and at times absolutely horrifying, but I connected so much to Patch as a hero that, in the end, I was left with tears of relief and happiness in my eyes.

King’s Justice: The Knights of Breton Court, Volume 2, by Maurice Broaddus

King Arthur and his court are reimagined as a motley but courageous group of young men and women trying to make the Breton Court housing project a better place to live in this refreshing urban fantasy, the sequel to 2010’s King Maker. King James White is the son of deceased and morally ambiguous neighborhood boss Luther. His right-hand man, Lott Carey, is an idealistic FedEx driver. Merlin and Morgana are genuine sorcerers, but are generally held to be crazy. Lady G. is particularly sympathetic: she’s young, scared, ambitious, and still not sure what or who she really wants. Notably, Tristan and Isolde cameo as Tristan and Isabel, a pair of star-crossed lesbians. New readers will find it easy to break into the series with this engaging tale of urban renewal and vigilante justice.

The Temple of Yellow Skulls: Abyssal Plague, Book 1 (Pandemonium), by Don Bassingthwaite

Following close on the heels of The Mark of Nerath, Don Bassingthwaite picks up the action and takes the characters into the eye of a new kind of Dungeons & Dragons® adventure…

Imprisoned in the void of a ruined universe by vengeful gods, Tharizdun—the Chained God, the Elder Elemental Eye—shares his exile with the Progenitor, a pool of liquid crystal that is all that remains of the Abyss that destroyed his universe.

Enter our heroes Albanon, Shara and Uldane—all three adventurers readers will know from The Mark of Nerath. They thought their quests were over and done with, but danger still burns like the embers of a smoldering fire in the tall grass. The Progenitor was locked safely away, guarded by Albanon’s dead master, but early on our heroes realize it was stolen and released in the presence of the green dragon Vestapalk as he fell at Shara’s sword.
Now, alerted to the danger of the liquid crystal by a mysterious cleric who claims allegiance to an order that has protected the substance for time immemorial, they must go in search of the dragon’s body, to ensure his demise has not been exaggerated.  What they discover has consequences that could change the world…

The Japanese Devil Fish Girl and Other Unnatural Attractions, by Robert Rankin

Rankin’s far-fetched steampunk sequel to The War of the Worlds!

It’s 1895; nearly a decade since Mars invaded Earth, chronicled by H.G. Wells in The War of the Worlds. Wrecked Martian spaceships, back-engineered by Charles Babbage and Nikola Tesla, have carried the Queen’s Own Electric Fusiliers to the red planet, and Mars is now part of the ever-expanding British Empire. Professor Coffin has a problem: the pickled Martian’s tentacles are fraying at the ends, and his Most Meritorious Unnatural Attraction (the remains of the original alien autopsy, performed by Sir Frederick Treves at the London Hospital) is no longer drawing the crowds. The less-than-scrupulous sideshow proprietor likes Off-worlders’ cash, so he needs a sensational new attraction. Word has reached him of the Japanese Devil Fish Girl; nothing quite like her has ever existed before. But Professor Coffin’s quest to possess the ultimate showman’s exhibit is about to cause considerable friction among the folk of other planets. Sufficient, in fact, to spark off Worlds War Two.

Dead Streets: A Matt Richter Novel, by Tim Waggoner

The return of Matt Richter. Private Eye. Zombie.

MATT RICHTER’S GOING TO PIECES – LITERALLY.

You’ve got to keep your head to survive in the teeming undead city known as Nekropolis. It’s a pity crazed genius Victor Baron couldn’t manage that. Now everyone wants a piece of him.

Zombie detective Matt Richter and his glamorous she-vampire companion Devona are back on the case, with another wild and wonderful investigation.

FILE UNDER: Urban Fantasy [ Zombie Detective | Undead City | Crime Overlord | Off with his Head! ]

Sandstorm: A Forgotten Realms Novel, by Christopher Rowe

A hero rises from the ranks of slaves!

The genasi control almost all of Calimshan for their djinn overlords–all but a few outposts like the floating Island of the Free, where escaped slaves from Calimport’s coliseum run their own brutal games. There, Cephas, a genasi with no memories of his past has spent his entire life fighting But one day a circus of misfits, lead by the crowlike Corvus Nightfeather appear and free Cephas–and for the first time Cephas can harness his inborn powers and control the ground beneath his feet.

The newest Forgotten Realms® author brings his talents to an area that has changed dramatically with the fresh take of Dungeons & Dragons® 4th Edition. The powerful elemental race of the genasi and the xenophobic and ruthless cultures of Calimshan are revealed through the rise of the Forgotten Realms’ newest hero.

To the Galactic Rim: The John Grimes Saga, by A. Bertram Chandler

John Grimes will one day command his own starship, and change the course of Galactic history, but right now he’s a wet-behind-the-ears junior officer who finds that he keeps running into problems which were never covered in his courses at the Academy.

  • The Road to the Rim—meet Lieutenant John Grimes of the Federation Survey Service; fresh out of the Academy—and as green as they come.
  • To Prime the Pump—El Dorado is a planet with a pressing problem: the men are infertile, cause unknown, and the women want someone to Do Something! Not quite the problem young John Grimes expected to deal with . . .
  • The Hard Way Up—a collection of seven tales of John Grime’s adventures, meeting danger and winning glory out at the rim of the Galaxy.
  • The Broken Cycle—John Grimes never intended to get lost in space, let alone being lost with a very attractive policewoman who’s all business. And he really never expected to run into an entity who claims to be a god and has a garden of Eden ready and waiting for the pair.

Three novels and a story collection, all in one attractively-priced volume of space adventure.

Point, by Thomas Blackthorne

Blackthorne (a pseudonym for John Meaney) follows 2010’s Edge with another over-the-top near-future action-adventure romp featuring retired British special forces operative Josh Cumberland. So-called Cutter Circles have been springing up: 13 dead teens in a circle, each cutting the wrists of the next. The teens don’t know one another, and news blackouts mean that they can’t be copycats. Cumberland, emotionally fragile since his daughter’s death, begins fitting pieces together as he tracks a scientist’s disappearance. Meanwhile, his girlfriend, Suzanne, an expert in psychosemantics who can modify behavior with a word, gets called in by MI5 to consult on the case. Their separate investigations become all the more urgent when someone they know, Opal, cuts herself as part of a failed Cutter Circle that provides valuable clues. The action moves so quickly that the overwritten prose and flat characterization barely register.

Blackout (Cal Leandros, Book 6), by Rob Thurman

When half-human Cal Leandros wakes up on a beach littered with the slaughtered remains if a variety of hideous creatures, he’s not that concerned. In fact, he can’t remember anything-including who he is.

And that’s just the way his deadly enemies like it…

Brigitta of the White Forest, by Danika Dinsmore

Brigitta is a young Water Faerie from the village-nest of Tiragarrow. She s confused, moody, and anxious about going through The Change as she doesn t see how destiny markings on her wings should determine her life s path. A few days before the annual Festival of the Elements, Brigitta is flying an errand with Himalette, her tag-a-long sister, when a mysterious curse turns everyone in the White Forest to stone — except for the two of them. The sisters have no idea why they were not cursed, but they do know if they don t turn everyone back in time for the festival rituals, the Hourglass of Protection will run out and so will its protective field around the forest. With no one in their forest left to help them, they must leave the protected realm to seek an exiled faerie they have only heard about in ancient tales. With assistance from a few allies they make along the journey, the girls find their way to Dead Mountain in search of the banished faerie. When they arrive, they find the help they are looking for, but soon discover that things are not what they seem. Running out of time, Brigitta and Himalette must use their wits to battle evil in order to lift the curse and save their forest. A book for those who enjoy fantasy adventure, Brigitta of the White Forest offers a new twist on the faerie tales so loved by young readers.

A Hundred Words for Hate : A Remy Chandler Novel, by Thomas E. Sniegoski

Sniegoski is back on track with the fourth adventure of angel-turned-PI Remy Chandler (after 2010’s Where Angels Fear to Tread). The Sons of Adam, who watch over the first man until he’s allowed entrance to heaven, hire Remy to help them find the long-lost key to the Garden of Eden, in the form of a descendant of Eve. Along the way, Remy fights a violent cherubim, encounters the archangel Malachi, and finally begins dating again. Sniegoski nicely juggles a large cast and throws in some touching moments (Remy’s conversations with his late wife, Madeline, are especially sweet) and humor (as always, provided by Remy’s dog, Marlowe) to balance the epic violence. There’s more than enough nonintrusive exposition to let new readers jump into the story, while longtime fans will appreciate the development of recurring characters such as fallen angel Francis.

After Hours: Tales from Ur-Bar, by Joshua Palmatier

Science fiction and fantasy readers have long shown an affinity for a good “bar story”. Now some of today’s most inventive scriveners have decided to tell their own tall tales-from an alewife’s attempt to transfer the gods’ curse to Gilgamesh, to Odin’s decision to introduce Vikings to the Ur-Bar, from the Holy Roman Emperor’s barroom bargain, to a demon hunter who may just have met his match in the ultimate magic bar, to a bouncer who discovers you should never let anyone in after hours in a world terrorized by zombies.

Daybreak Zero (A Novel of Daybreak), by John Barnes

In late 2024, Daybreak, a movement of post-apocalyptic eco-saboteurs, smashed modern civilization to its knees. In the losing, hopeless struggle against Daybreak, Heather O’Grainne played a major role. That story was told in Directive 51. Now Heather’s story continues in Daybreak Zero. In the summer of 2025, she leads a tiny organization of scientists, spies, scouts, entrepreneurs, engineers, dreamers, and daredevils based in Pueblo, Colorado. Both of the almost-warring governments of the United States have charged them with an all but impossible mission: find a way to put the world back together. But Daybreak’s triumph has flung the world back centuries in technology, politics, and culture. Pro-Daybreak Tribals openly celebrate ending the world as we know it. Army regiments have to fight their way in and out of Pennsylvania. The Earth’s environment is saturated with plastic-devouring biotes and electronics-corroding nanoswarm. A leftover Daybreak device drops atom bombs from the moon on any outpost of the old civilization it can spot. Confined to her base in Pueblo to give birth to her first child, Heather recruits and monitors a coterie of tech wizards, tough guys, and modern-day frontier scouts: a handful of heroes to patrol a continent. All the news is bad: Tribals have overrun Indiana and Illinois; the last working aircraft carrier sits helplessly out in the Indian Ocean, not daring to come closer to land; the crash of one of the last working airplanes kills a vital industrialist; Tribals try to force appeasement on the Provi government while the Temper government faces a rebellion of religious fanatics; seventeen states are lost to the Tribals as California drifts into secession and hereditary monarchy, and everywhere, Provis and Tempers lurch toward civil war. Her agents have exceptional courage, initiative, skill, intelligence, and daring, but can they be enough? For the sake of everything from her newborn son to her dying nation, can she forge them into the weapon that can at last win the world back from the overwhelming, malevolent force of Daybreak? Her success or failure may change everything for the next thousand years, beginning from Daybreak Zero.

An Embarrassment of Riches: A Novel of the Count Saint-Germain, by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro

Yarbro’s long-running series featuring the millennia-old vampire Saint-Germain continues to mix rich historical detail and erudite eroticism, though the horror element has become nearly invisible. Known now as Rakoczy Ferancsi, Comes of Santu-Germaniu, Saint-Germain has been exiled from his ancient lands and now resides at the court of the melancholy Queen Kunigunde of Bohemia in 13th-century Prague. He is regarded with suspicion by the local church hierarchy and with intense personal interest by three ladies of the court: the scheming Rozsa of Borsod, the passionate teenager Imbolya of Heves (a particularly unlikely match for 3,200-year-old Saint-Germain), and the determined Iliska of Szousa. Though the intensity of the storytelling has lessened substantially over the course of the series, Yarbro’s compelling prose and meticulously researched setting still combine effectively for a vivid historical tale that will please series fans.

Playfair’s Axiom (Deathlands), by James Axler

A legendary warrior of nuke-spawned America, Ryan Cawdor understands the hard-and-fast rule of Deathlands. Where there is life, death is only a matter of time. Still, staying alive is the dubious luxury of being quick, hard and willing to abide by a code of honor long abandoned to the wreckage of this postapocalyptic hell zone: truth and fair play.

St. Louis is a concrete jungle of fetid heat, acid rains and cutthroats. With J. B. Dix gravely wounded, Ryan and his group become captive guests of a local barony. Freedom lies in the success of a deal: recapture a runaway teen, daughter of the ailing baron. But the dangerous power behind the throne rests with a self-proclaimed holy man. His gruesome manipulation of life and death are about to put the group in a race for their own salvation.

Cavern of the Blood Zombies (Graver Robbers’ Chronicles), by Lei Xu

Uncle Three loves good food, good booze, good card games, and bad women—and he’s never found a grave he wouldn’t rob. He can’t help it—it’s in his blood—grave robbing has been the family business for centuries.

So when his bookseller nephew comes to him with a map to an ancient tomb, Uncle Three sets off to find it, in the company of some grave-robbing colleagues, his nerdy nephew, and a strange poker-faced guy that nobody can quite figure out.

Uncle Three knows that the grave he seeks will lead him and his companions to “another kind of world,” but not even he could ever imagine what they are about to find. Lost in a labyrinthine cavern that is full of dead bodies, Uncle Three and his comrades fight for their lives as they come up against vampires, corpse-eating bugs, and blood zombies.

The first volume of The Grave Robbers’ Chronicles, which will soon be followed by Angry Sea, Hidden Sand, Cavern of the Blood Zombies is as impossible to put down as a bag of good potato chips. A story with more twists and turns than a burial cavern and the funniest grave robbers the world has ever known, it’s kept Chinese readers awake far into the night. Now it’s your turn…

By Wizard Oak, by Peter Crowther

Long on weird phenomena but short on explanations, this Halloween fantasia from PS Publishing founder Crowther (Windows to the Soul) sketches an imaginative, puzzling portrait of a small Maine town under siege from malignant supernatural forces. The day before Halloween, Magellan Bend is suddenly teeming with beings in traditional witch garb who ravenously consume random locals not only in body but in the memories of their friends and relatives. After providing a lengthy, panoramic view of the chaos and mayhem, Crowther sends deliverance in the person of Jeremy DePlage, a hospital patient newly awakened from an eight-year coma that rendered him immune to the witches’ memory wipes. The loose plotting of this slender horror tale will challenge impatient readers, but those who care more about atmospheric writing will enjoy the creepy chills.

The Extraterrestrial Compendium, by Pat Lee

Just in time for the approach of the reputedly transformative year 2012 — a comprehensive collection of extraterrestrial life-forms as visualized and vividly rendered by Pat Lee of Transformers, DC, and Marvel comics fame, and his select group of artists. Within the UFO and exopolitics communities, there is both debate and consensus about many of the “known” extraterrestrial races, but seldom have they been revealed in this level of detail. To the believer, the curious, or just open-minded, The Extraterrestrial Compendium provides fuel for thought.

Moon Over Soho, by Ben Aaronovitch

BODY AND SOUL

The song. That’s what London constable and sorcerer’s apprentice Peter Grant first notices when he examines the corpse of Cyrus Wilkins, part-time jazz drummer and full-time accountant, who dropped dead of a heart attack while playing a gig at Soho’s 606 Club. The notes of the old jazz standard are rising from the body—a sure sign that something about the man’s death was not at all natural but instead supernatural.

Body and soul—they’re also what Peter will risk as he investigates a pattern of similar deaths in and around Soho. With the help of his superior officer, Detective Chief Inspector Thomas Nightingale, the last registered wizard in England, and the assistance of beautiful jazz aficionado Simone Fitzwilliam, Peter will uncover a deadly magical menace—one that leads right to his own doorstep and to the squandered promise of a young jazz musician: a talented trumpet player named Richard “Lord” Grant—otherwise known as Peter’s dear old dad.

May (Daughters of the Sea), by Kathryn Lasky

Book 2 in Kathryn Lasky’s shimmering quartet about mermaid sisters and supernatural love.

May feels her life drying up. The sea calls to her, but her parents forbid her from swimming. She longs for books, but her mother finds her passion for learning strange. She yearns for independence, but a persistent suitor, Rudd, wants to tame her spirited ways. Yet after her fifteenth birthday, the urge to break free becomes overpowering and May makes a life-changing discovery. She does not belong on land where girls are meant to be obedient. She is a mermaid-a creature of the sea.

For the first time, May learns what freedom feels like-the thrill of exploring both the vast ocean and the previously forbidden books. She even catches the eye of Hugh, an astronomy student who, unlike the townspeople, finds May anything but strange. But not everyone is pleased with May’s transformation. Rudd decides that if can’t have May, no one will. He knows how to destroy her happiness and goes to drastic measures to ensure that May loses everything: her freedom and the only boy she’s ever loved.

Dark Mirror, by M. J. Putney

Lady Victoria Mansfield, youngest daughter of the earl and countess of Fairmount, is destined for a charmed life. Soon she will be presented during the London season, where she can choose a mate worthy of her status.

Yet Tory has a shameful secret—a secret so powerful that, if exposed, it could strip her of her position and disgrace her family forever. Tory’s blood is tainted . . . by magic.

When a shocking accident forces Tory to demonstrate her despised skill, the secret she’s fought so hard to hide is revealed for all to see. She is immediately exiled to Lackland Abbey, a reform school for young men and women in her position. There she will learn to suppress her deplorable talents and maybe, if she’s one of the lucky ones, be able to return to society.

But Tory’s life is about to change forever. All that she’s ever known or considered important will be challenged. What lies ahead is only the beginning of a strange and wonderful journey into a world where destiny and magic come together, where true love and friendship find her, and where courage and strength of character are the only things that determine a young girl’s worth.

Demonglass (A Hex Hall Novel), by Rachel Hawkins

Sophie Mercer thought she was a witch.

That was the whole reason she was sent to Hex Hall, a reform school for delinquent Prodigium (aka witches, shapeshifters, and fairies). But that was before she discovered the family secret, and that her hot crush, Archer Cross, is an agent for The Eye, a group bent on wiping Prodigium off the face of the earth.

Turns out, Sophie’s a demon, one of only two in the world—the other being her father. What’s worse, she has powers that threaten the lives of everyone she loves. Which is precisely why Sophie decides she must go to London for the Removal, a dangerous procedure that will destroy her powers.

But once Sophie arrives she makes a shocking discovery. Her new friends? They’re demons too. Meaning someone is raising them in secret with creepy plans to use their powers, and probably not for good. Meanwhile, The Eye is set on hunting Sophie down, and they’re using Acher to do it. But it’s not like she has feelings for him anymore. Does she?

Betrayal (Haunting Emma), by Lee Nichols

Emma Vaile is the most powerful ghostkeeper in centuries. Which is great when she’s battling the wraith-master Neos, but terrible when she’s flirting with fellow ghostkeeper (and soul mate) Bennett. When ghostkeepers fall in love, the weaker one loses all power, and that’s not something Bennett can handle. Heartbroken and alone, Emma tries to lose herself in school with fellow ghostkeeper, Natalie. When a new team of ghostkeepers arrive-one a snarky teen
boy, the other a British scholar-Emma finds solace in training for the battle against Neos. But as the team grows stronger, they are threatened by an unknown force. One they thought was good.
As chilling and page-turning as Deception, this sequel will grab readers and hold them to the last page. No one is safe from suspicion as Emma closes in on the traitor.

Clarity, by Kim Harrington

When you can see things others can’t, where do you look for the truth?

This paranormal murder mystery will have teens reading on the edge of their seats.

Clarity “Clare” Fern sees things. Things no one else can see. Things like stolen kisses and long-buried secrets. All she has to do is touch a certain object, and the visions come to her. It’s a gift.

And a curse.

When a teenage girl is found murdered, Clare’s ex-boyfriend wants her to help solve the case–but Clare is still furious at the cheating jerk. Then Clare’s brother–who has supernatural gifts of his own–becomes the prime suspect, and Clare can no longer look away. Teaming up with Gabriel, the smoldering son of the new detective, Clare must venture into the depths of fear, revenge, and lust in order to track the killer. But will her sight fail her just when she needs it most?

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


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