Book Editorial, Book Reviews, Books, Editorials, Reviews

The best YA science fiction and fantasy books of 2013

2013 was an incredible year in YA. There were so many amazing books that came out this past year that this list could be insanely long. But we took into account popularity of series, authors, and of course our own personal tastes after reading, and the list we’ve compiled won’t steer you wrong. If you haven’t read the series that some of these books are in, now’s a great time to start. And  the series beginners and stand-alones are also well worth your time. I’m sure we’re going to get some stunning YA in 2014, but to hold you over be sure to exhaust this list! So without further ado, to honor 2013, here are our 13 favorite YA books of this past year:

Siege and Storm, by Leigh Bardugo

siege and stormDarkness never dies.

Hunted across the True Sea, haunted by the lives she took on the Fold, Alina must try to make a life with Mal in an unfamiliar land, all while keeping her identity as the Sun Summoner a secret. But she can’t outrun her past or her destiny for long.

The Darkling has emerged from the Shadow Fold with a terrifying new power and a dangerous plan that will test the very boundaries of the natural world. With the help of a notorious privateer, Alina returns to the country she abandoned, determined to fight the forces gathering against Ravka. But as her power grows, Alina slips deeper into the Darkling’s game of forbidden magic, and farther away from Mal. Somehow, she will have to choose between her country, her power, and the love she always thought would guide her–or risk losing everything to the oncoming storm.

Scarlet, by Marissa Meyer

scarletCinder, the cyborg mechanic, returns in the second thrilling installment of the bestselling Lunar Chronicles. She’s trying to break out of prison–even though if she succeeds, she’ll be the Commonwealth’s most wanted fugitive.Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit’s grandmother is missing. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn’t know about her grandmother or the grave danger she has lived in her whole life. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother’s whereabouts, she is loath to trust this stranger, but is inexplicably drawn to him, and he to her. As Scarlet and Wolf unravel one mystery, they encounter another when they meet Cinder. Now, all of them must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen Levana, who will do anything for the handsome Prince Kai to become her husband, her king, her prisoner.

An NPR Best Book of 2013

Teardrop, by Lauren Kate

teardropAn epic saga of heart-stopping romance, devastating secrets, and dark magic . . . a world where everything you love can be washed away. The first book in the new series from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Fallen series

Never, ever cry. . . . Eureka Boudreaux’s mother drilled that rule into her daughter years ago. But now her mother is gone, and everywhere Eureka goes he is there: Ander, the tall, pale blond boy who seems to know things he shouldn’t, who tells Eureka she is in grave danger, who comes closer to making her cry than anyone has before.

But Ander doesn’t know Eureka’s darkest secret: ever since her mother drowned in a freak accident, Eureka wishes she were dead, too. She has little left that she cares about, just her oldest friend, Brooks, and a strange inheritance—a locket, a letter, a mysterious stone, and an ancient book no one understands. The book contains a haunting tale about a girl who got her heart broken and cried an entire continent into the sea. Eureka is about to discover that the ancient tale is more than a story, that Ander might be telling the truth . . . and that her life has far darker undercurrents than she ever imagined.

Steelheart, by Brandon Sanderson

Steelheart#1 New York Times bestselling author Brandon Sanderson, coauthor of Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series and creator of the internationally bestselling Mistborn Trilogy, presents Steelheart, the first book in the Reckoners series, an action-packed thrill ride that will leave readers breathless.

Ten years ago, Calamity came. It was a burst in the sky that gave ordinary men and women extraordinary powers. The awed public started calling them Epics.

But Epics are no friend of man. With incredible gifts came the desire to rule. And to rule man you must crush his will.

Nobody fights the Epics . . . nobody but the Reckoners. A shadowy group of ordinary humans, they spend their lives studying Epics, finding their weaknesses, and then assassinating them.

And David wants in. He wants Steelheart—the Epic who is said to be invincible. The Epic who killed David’s father. For years, like the Reckoners, David’s been studying, and planning—and he has something they need. Not an object, but an experience.

He’s seen Steelheart bleed. And he wants revenge.

The Eye of Minds, by James Dashner

the eye of mindsFrom James Dashner, the author of the New York Times bestselling Maze Runner series, comes an all-new, edge-of-your seat adventure. The Eye of Minds is the first book in The Mortality Doctrine, a series set in a world of hyperadvanced technology, cyberterrorists, and gaming beyond your wildest dreams . . . and your worst nightmares.
Michael is a gamer. And like most gamers, he almost spends more time on the VirtNet than in the actual world. The VirtNet offers total mind and body immersion, and it’s addictive. Thanks to technology, anyone with enough money can experience fantasy worlds, risk their life without the chance of death, or just hang around with Virt-friends. And the more hacking skills you have, the more fun. Why bother following the rules when most of them are dumb, anyway?

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

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

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, by Holly Black

the coldest girlTana lives in a world where walled cities called Coldtowns exist. In them, quarantined monsters and humans mingle in a decadently bloody mix of predator and prey. The only problem is, once you pass through Coldtown’s gates, you can never leave.

One morning, after a perfectly ordinary party, Tana wakes up surrounded by corpses. The only other survivors of this massacre are her exasperatingly endearing ex-boyfriend, infected and on the edge, and a mysterious boy burdened with a terrible secret. Shaken and determined, Tana enters a race against the clock to save the three of them the only way she knows how: by going straight to the wicked, opulent heart of Coldtown itself.
The Coldest Girl in Coldtown is a wholly original story of rage and revenge, of guilt and horror, and of love and loathing from bestselling and acclaimed author Holly Black.

Allegiant, by Veronica Roth

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

 

 

 

Requiem, by Lauren Oliver

requiemNew York TimesUSA Today, and Publishers Weekly bestseller, this exciting finale to Lauren Oliver’s acclaimed Delirium trilogy is a riveting blend of nonstop action and forbidden romance in a dystopian United States. With lyrical writing, Lauren Oliver seamlessly interweaves the peril that Lena faces with the inner tumult she experiences after the reappearance of her first love, Alex, the boy she thought was dead. Named an Amazon Best Book of the Year, this sophisticated and wide-ranging novel brings the New York Times bestselling Delirium trilogy to a thrilling conclusion.

Now an active member of the resistance, Lena has transformed. The nascent rebellion that was underway in Pandemonium has ignited into an all-out revolution in Requiem, and Lena is at the center of the fight. After rescuing Julian from a death sentence, Lena and her friends fled to the Wilds. But the Wilds are no longer a safe haven. Pockets of rebellion have opened throughout the country, and the government cannot deny the existence of Invalids. Regulators infiltrate the borderlands to stamp out the rebels.

As Lena navigates the increasingly dangerous terrain of the Wilds, her best friend, Hana, lives a safe, loveless life in Portland as the fiancée of the young mayor. Requiem is told from both Lena and Hana’s points of view. They live side by side in a world that divides them until, at last, their stories converge.

The Bitter Kingdom, by Rae Carson

the bitter kingdomThe third book in Rae Carson’s award-winning The Girl of Fire and Thorns fantasy trilogy. Elisa, the seventeen-year-old sorcerer-queen, will travel into an unknown enemy’s realm to win back her true love, save her kingdom, and uncover the final secrets of her destiny. Veronica Roth called The Girl of Fire and Thorns “intense, unique . . . definitely recommended.”

Perfect for fans of Tamora Pierce and George R. R. Martin’s style of sweeping and deeply satisfying epic fantasy, the third and final book in the trilogy takes the young queen on a journey more dangerous than any she has faced before. Elisa will stand before the gate of the enemy. And she must rise up as champion—even to those who have hated her—or her kingdom will fall. Full of sorcery, adventure, sizzling romance, and secrets that challenge everything she believes, this is a bold and powerful conclusion to an extraordinary trilogy. As USAToday.com proclaimed, “Rae Carson has proved she’s a master and has shaken up the YA genre.”

The 5th Wave, by Rick Yancey

9780399162411B.JPGThe Passage meets Ender’s Game in an epic new series from award-winning author Rick Yancey.

After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.

Now, it’s the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth’s last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie’s only hope for rescuing her brother–or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.

Clockwork Princess, by Cassandra Clare

clockwork princessDanger intensifies for the Shadowhunters as the New York Times bestselling Infernal Devices trilogy comes to a close.

If the only way to save the world was to destroy what you loved most, would you do it?

The clock is ticking. Everyone must choose.

Passion. Power. Secrets. Enchantment.

Danger closes in around the Shadowhunters in the final installment of the bestselling Infernal Devices trilogy.

 

The Dream Thieves, by Maggie Stiefvater

the dream thievesThe second installment in the all-new series from the masterful, #1 NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author Maggie Stiefvater!

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

 

 

Champion, by Marie Lu

championThe explosive finale to Marie Lu’s New York Times bestselling LEGEND trilogy—perfect for fans of THE HUNGER GAMES and DIVERGENT!

He is a Legend.
She is a Prodigy.
Who will be Champion?

June and Day have sacrificed so much for the people of the Republic—and each other—and now their country is on the brink of a new existence. June is back in the good graces of the Republic, working within the government’s elite circles as Princeps Elect while Day has been assigned a high level military position. But neither could have predicted the circumstances that will reunite them once again. Just when a peace treaty is imminent, a plague outbreak causes panic in the Colonies, and war threatens the Republic’s border cities. This new strain of plague is deadlier than ever, and June is the only one who knows the key to her country’s defense. But saving the lives of thousands will mean asking the one she loves to give up everything he has. With heart-pounding action and suspense, Marie Lu’s bestselling trilogy draws to a stunning conclusion.

Be sure to check out our list of favorite adult SF/F from 2013. 

Book Editorial, Books, Editorials

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

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

Antigoddess by Kendare Blake (September 10th)

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

Old Gods never die…

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

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

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

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

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

The Goddess War is about to begin.

 

The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater (September 17th)

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson (September 24th)

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

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

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

 

Unbreakable by Kami Garcia (October 10th)

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Allegiant by Veronica Roth (October 22nd)

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

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

 

Teardrop by Lauren Kate (October 22nd)

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

Curtsies and Consperacies by Gail Carriger (November 5th)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Book Reviews, Books, Reviews

‘Insurgent’ by Veronica Roth Will Have You Guessing and Leave You Wanting More

Insurgent is the second book in Veronica Roth’s Divergent series. By default a few things will be revealed to you if you read this review without having read Divergent first. If you’re curious about this series and are interested in learning more, check out my review of Divergent, which gives a nice summary of the premise of the series.

****

When I read Divergent last year, I instantly knew that I had found a hit. This book delivered everything I was looking for in a fresh new dystopian story. So it was with excitement that I waited for Insurgent, the second book in Veronica Roth’s amazing series.

I’m sure there are many of you, like me, who worry about the second book in a trilogy. It’s the middle; can it carry reader interest enough to link beginning and end? Is it just that bridge, or can it sustain on its own as a well-written and interesting story? For those of you who loved Divergent and haven’t read Insurgent yet (what are you waiting for?!) let me tell you that you have nothing to fear. This book was crafted as beautifully as its predecessor.

The Dauntless faction is on the run, trying to escape the control of Erudite. Tris and a band of friends, including her squeeze Tobias (AKA Four), head to the factions of Amity and Candor to re-group. While things are up in the air people change sides, surprising truths become revealed, and the Divergent are forced to the forefront. Erudite wants them, and Tris doesn’t know why. But she’s willing to find out, even if it means risking her relationships — and her life.

Tris’s behavior in this book was interesting. She became both overly-reckless and overly-cautious at the same time, based on some decisions she made towards the end of Divergent. There were a few instances where I wanted to shake her and tell her to get over it, but I do think the author portrayed a realistic reaction from someone in that situation. Tris’s internal struggles were a prominent part of the story, and I enjoyed being inside her mind and seeing the progression of her thoughts.

There were also some great shockers in this book, mainly involving character development, ulterior means, and secrets finally being exposed. There was one particular revelation towards the end involving her brother that I didn’t see coming, and it was really well done. This, more than anything else, kept the pages turning for me. I had to know what happened next, and my mind, which is great at predicting things, was kept on delicious edge. A book hasn’t done that to me in a while.

My only complaint was that I sort-of saw the final surprise at the end coming. What was supposed to be a big reveal and shock the pants off of me didn’t really even make them budge. Perhaps it was because of other books out right now that involve a similar fate, so the idea was planted in my mind. I don’t think it was a flaw on Roth’s part, at least where her writing was concerned. That being said, I’m extremely curious how this new bit of information to the story will play out in book three.

I am happily satisfied with how Insurgent turned out. It was a great book, with wonderful character interaction in a unique dystopian world. It has the strength to carry the story forward, and I only have high hopes for book three. Now if only we could speed up quality writing time …

Insurgent hit stores on May 1st, 2012.

Book News, Books, News

New Book Releases, Week of April 29, 2012

Here’s a list of all fantasy, scifi, and horror books coming out this week. To see the cover of a particular book click on the title.

Released Tuesday, May 1st, 2012

Born of Silence (The League), by Sherrilyn Kenyon

In a universe where corruption and deception rule all aspects of life, sparks of rebellion threaten to ignite . . .
BORN OF SILENCE
As the Resistance leader, Zarya Starska’s only goal is to topple the government that destroyed her entire family and left her penniless. Her biggest asset is a mysterious man known only as Kere.
But Kere has a dark secret. Born into a world that is as privileged as it is corrupt, his real name is Darling Cruel-and he is heir to the government Zarya wants to overthrow. No one has ever seen the real man behind the legend. No one except Zarya. But when she allows a weapon he designed to be used against his beloved sister, all bets are off.
Betrayed by the Resistance, Darling’s goal is not only to reign, but to kill every Resistance member he can find. Zarya must stop Darling’s reign of terror, but can she reach past his insanity to restore the hero who once fought by her side?

Deadlocked (Sookie Stackhouse Book 12), by Charlaine Harris

It’s vampire politics as usual around the town of Bon Temps, but never before have they hit so close to Sookie’s heart…
Growing up with telepathic abilities, Sookie Stackhouse realized early on there were things she’d rather not know. And now that she’s an adult, she also realizes that some things she knows about, she’d rather not see—like Eric Northman feeding off another woman. A younger one.
There’s a thing or two she’d like to say about that, but she has to keep quiet—Felipe de Castro, the Vampire King of Louisiana (and Arkansas and Nevada), is in town. It’s the worst possible time for a human body to show up in Eric’s front yard—especially the body of the woman whose blood he just drank.
Now, it’s up to Sookie and Bill, the official Area Five investigator, to solve the murder. Sookie thinks that, at least this time, the dead girl’s fate has nothing to do with her. But she is wrong. She has an enemy, one far more devious than she would ever suspect, who’s set out to make Sookie’s world come crashing down.

GENETIKS Volume 1, by Richard Marazano, Jean-Michel Ponzio

Genetiks is a pharmaceutical company on the cutting edge of biological science. Thomas Hale is one of thousands of employees in the Genetiks labs. Like his colleagues, he had agreed to give a drop of blood to his employers—a drop of blood that will allow the researchers at the company he works for to decode his entire genome. As the drop of blood is the property of Genetiks, Thomas will become, in effect, the first man to be privately owned by the corporation he works for.

The Lost Fleet: Beyond the Frontier: Invincible, by Jack Campbell

New York Times bestselling author Jack Cambell’s space saga hits lightspeed with an action-packed story of interstellar war. Admiral John “Black Jack” Geary earned his rank after being revived from cryogenic sleep to lead the Alliance to victory against the Syndicate Worlds. But his superiors question his loyalty to the regime. Now in command of the First Fleet, Geary is tasked with exploring the frontier beyond Syndic space, a mission he fears deliberately puts the fleet–and himself–in harm’s way.
An encounter with the alien Enigmas confirms Gear’y fears. Attacked without warning, he orders the fleet to jump star systems–only to enter the crosshairs of another hostile alien armada. Ignoring all of the First Fleet’s attempts to communicate peaceful intentions, this system’s species send their ships into battle on suicde runs, while guarding the exiting jump point with a fortress of incalculable power.
Now, with a faction of his officers determined to eliminate this new threat despite the cost, Geary must figure out how to breech the enemy’s defenses so the fleet can reach the jump point without massive casualties–and knowing that the Enigmas are most likely waiting on the other side…

Scourge of the Betrayer (Bloodsounder’s Arc), by Jeff Salyards

Many tales are told of the Syldoon Empire and its fearsome soldiers, who are known throughout the world for their treachery and atrocities. Some say that the Syldoon eat virgins and babies-or perhaps their own mothers. Arkamondos, a bookish young scribe, suspects that the Syldoon’s dire reputation may have grown in the retelling, but he’s about to find out for himself. Hired to chronicle the exploits of a band of rugged Syldoon warriors, Arki finds himself both frightened and fascinated by the men’s enigmatic leader, Captain Braylar Killcoin. A secretive, mercurial figure haunted by the memories of those he’s killed with his deadly flail, Braylar has already disposed of at least one impertinent scribe . . . and Arki might be next. Archiving the mundane doings of millers and merchants was tedious, but at least it was safe. As Arki heads off on a mysterious mission into parts unknown, in the company of the coarse, bloody-minded Syldoon, he is promised a chance to finally record an historic adventure well worth the telling, but first he must survive the experience! A gripping military fantasy in the tradition of Glen Cook, Scourge of the Betrayer explores the brutal politics of Empire-and the searing impact of violence and dark magic on a man’s soul.

Silence (Queen of the Dead), by Michelle Sagara

It began in the graveyard…

Ever since her boyfriend Nathan had died in a tragic accident, Emma had been coming to the graveyard at night. During the day she went through the motions at her prep school, in class, with her friends, but that’s all it was. For Emma, life had stopped with Nathan’s death. But tonight was different. Tonight Emma and her dog were not alone in the cemetery. There were two others there–Eric, who had just started at her school, and an ancient woman who looked as though she were made of rags. And when they saw Emma there, the old woman reached out to her with a grip as chilling as death…

Emma was not quite like others teenagers. It was true that other girls had experienced grief. Other girls had also lost their fathers, or had their boyfriends die in a senseless accident. But though she hadn’t known it till that night in the graveyard, unlike those other girls, she could see, touch, and speak with the dead. In fact, Emma could draw upon the essence of the dead to work magic. That was what Necromancers did. But Emma had no desire to be a Necromancer. She just wanted to help the ghosts who walked the streets of Toronto, unable to escape from the land of the living. And that was just as well, because had she chosen the path of the Necromancer, Eric would have had to kill her.

Instead, Eric and his fellow Necromancer hunter Chase found themselves violating every rule they were sworn to follow, becoming part of Emma’s group, helping her to stand against those who preyed upon the dead. But whether Emma and her friends could survive such a battle was anyone’s guess. And whether Emma could learn to use the magic of the dead against her enemies without herself falling victim to the lure of such power remained to be seen. Eric seemed to think she could, and her living friends would never abandon her. But only time would tell what Emma’s true destiny was…

Amateur Angel, by Karri Thompson

Only 18-years-old, Ashley is no ordinary teenager. Not only is she dead, but upon her death, she mistakenly enters the wrong line in the afterlife, a line meant for trained, guardian angels. With a pair of wings on her back, Ashley is sent to Los Angeles to replace another angel whose “assignment” was none-other-than Cannon Michaels, a current member of the band Sendher, the sexiest man alive, and Ashley’s celebrity crush in life.While exposed to Cannon’s selfish, judgmental behavior and his reckless, rock-and-roll lifestyle, Ashley is far from meeting the requirements of a true guardian angel. She misses her family and friends. Will she ever be able to accept her own death? What will she do when she jeopardizes her position as an angel and Cannon’s physical safety by falling in love with him?

Aurorarama: A Novel (The Mysteries of New Venice), by Jean-Christophe Valtat

Introducing the Mysteries of New Venice steampunk trilogy with a first volume that “entrances and delights” (NPR)   In the defense of steampunk comes a literary adventure unlike anything you’ve read before. 1908, New Venice: An ominous black airship hovers in the sky, and the city is hunting for the author of a radical pamphlet calling for revolt. The lead suspect is Brentford Orsini, one of the city’s most prominent figures. As the net around him tightens, Orsini receives a mysterious message from a long-lost love that compels him to act.
Brilliant in its conception, masterful in its prose, thrilling in its plot twists, and laced with humor, suspense, and intelligence, Aurorarama marks the beginning of a great new series of books.

Awaited, by Lynn Rush

Russell Leonard is a centuries-old Guardian who’s lost faith in his purpose. So when he’s charged with procuring the first female Guardian in over two centuries, he can only hope it’s the red-headed beauty who’s been haunting his dreams for months. And if it is, he intends to claim her as his. But when he finds his dream woman, Annabelle is mute and bears no Guardian’s Mark. He soon realizes she’s been tainted by an ancient evil. Russell must somehow release the secrets trapped within this delicate soul to help her tap into the only weapon powerful enough to silence a millennia-old demon-her voice.

Bad Blood (Latter-Day Olympians), by Lucienne Diver

The gods play…and mortals pay.
Latter-Day Olympians, Book 1
Tori Karacis’s family line may trace back to a drunken liaison between the god Pan and one of the immortal gorgons. Or…maybe it’s just coincidence that her glance can, literally, stop men in their tracks. While her fear of heights kept her out of the family aerobatic troupe, her extreme nosiness fits right in with her uncle’s P.I. business.
Except he’s disappeared on an Odyssean journey to find himself. Muddling through on her own, she’s reduced to hunting (not stalking, because that would just be weird) brass-bra’d Hollywood agent Circe Holland to deliver a message…only to witness her murder by what looks like the Creature from the Black Lagoon.
Suddenly, all of her family’s tall tales seem believable, especially when Apollo—the Apollo, who’s now hiding out among humans as an adult film star—appears in her office, looking to hire her. She knows the drill: canoodling with gods never works out well for humans, but she’s irresistibly drawn to him. Maybe it’s her genes. Maybe not.
Given her conflicted feelings for one hot and hardened cop, it’s a toss-up which will kill her quickest. The danger at her door…or her love life.
Warning: Contains pot-boiling passion between a heroine who may—or may not—be a descendent of Medusa, and a hot god and a hunky cop with the…equipment…to handle her, even on her worst bad-hair day. Beware of killer kisses, trickster gods and bearded grandmothers Who Know Everything.

The Black Opera, by Mary Gentle

Naples, the 19th Century. In the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, holy music has power. Under the auspices of the Church, the Sung Mass can bring about actual miracles like healing the sick or raising the dead. But some believe that the musicodramma of grand opera can also work magic by channeling powerful emotions into something sublime. Now the Prince’s Men, a secret society, hope to stage their own black opera to empower the Devil himself – and change Creation for the better! Conrad Scalese is a struggling librettist whose latest opera has landed him in trouble with the Holy Office of the Inquisition. Rescued by King Ferdinand II, Conrad finds himself recruited to write and stage a counter opera that will, hopefully, cancel out the apocalyptic threat of the black opera, provided the Prince’s Men, and their spies and saboteurs, don’t get to him first. And he only has six weeks to do it…

A Blight of Mages, by Karen Miller

Hundreds of years before the great Mage War, a land lies, unknowing, on the edge of catastrophe…
Barl is young and impulsive, but she has a power within that calls to her. In her city, however, only those of noble blood and with the right connections learn the ways of the arcane. Barl is desperate to learn-but her eagerness to use her power leads her astray and she is banned from ever learning the mystic arts.
Morgan holds the key to her education. A member of the Council of Mages, he lives to maintain the status quo, preserve the mage bloodlines, and pursue his scholarly experiments. But Barl’s power intrigues him-in spite of her low status.
Together, he realizes they can create extraordinary new incantations. Morgan’s ambition and Barl’s power make a potent combination. What she does not see is the darkness in him that won’t be denied.
A Blight of Mages is the new novel set in the world of Karen Miller’s bestselling debut The Innocent Mage.

Bound to Me: An Original Dark Days Story, by Jocelynn Drake

Mira, the heroine of Jocelynn Drake’s New York Times bestselling Dark Days series, has been a nightwalker for centuries, traveling the globe as an enforcer for a secretive, powerful organization. In Bound to Me, for the first time, we travel back into Mira’s distant past to see the great love affair that shaped her.

By the Blood of Heroes: The Great Undead War: Book 1, by Joseph Nassise

At the end of 1917, the increasingly desperate Germans introduce a new gas to the battlefield: T-Leiche-“corpse gas” – that radically alters the face of the war. Unlike other chemical weapons that attack the living, T-Leiche resurrects the bodies of the dead, giving the enemy an almost unlimited, if not quite fresh, source of troops.
When legendary Allied pilot and war poster-boy Major Jack Freeman is shot down and taken captive by the Germans, veteran Captain Michael “Madman” Burke is the only man fearless and wild enough to try to rescue the American Ace. With a small squad of heroes – his right-hand man Sergeant Moore, Clayton Manning, the filthy rich big-game hunter turned soldier, and professor Dan Richards, Tesla protege and the resident authority on all things supernatural – Burke must traverse the putrid ground of no man’s land to infiltrate the enemy’s lines.
Using an experimental dirigible, the team penetrates enemy lines to face incredible danger and find risk and peril at every turn, including ruthless traitor smugglers and marauding bands of the Kaiser’s undead. But only when they arrive at the prison camp is the true importance of their mission unveiled. Now, they just have to get back to their own trenches – if they can stay undead, that is.

Captivated (A Phantom Corps Novel), by Lauren Dane 

Vincenz Fardelle, exiled son of the Supreme Leader of the Imperialist Universe, has spent much of the last ten years working to stop the threat his father poses. But he’s not alone in his quest. Julian Marsters has lost his best friend and countless others in the war and has made vengeance his only goal.  In each other, Julian and Vincenz find not only like minds, but kindred spirits.

However unexpected their relationship, everything changes for Vincenz and Julian when Hannah Black comes into their lives. Having been captured and held in near total isolation by imperialist troops, their immediate response is to protect her.

Emotionally shattered but resilient, Hannah rebuilds herself.  Because of the warm safety she finds in the arms of Julian—and Vincenz—she becomes someone harder, stronger and bent on preventing the Imperialists from harming anyone else.

For the two men, wrestling with their passionate feelings for Hannah is only the beginning. War is about to send all three into harm’s way and an equally dangerous secret could tear them apart.

The Claimed (Sin Hunters), by Caridad Pineiro

THE CLAIMED
Victoria Johnson loves her life. She’s her own boss in a quaint beachside town, and has great friends who keep her grounded. If only they knew who she really is: an heiress to an ancient race who possesses astonishing superhuman powers. It’s Victoria’s duty to restore her clan of Light Hunters to their former glory by choosing the perfect mate. In Christopher Sombrosa, she just may have found him. Strong, smart, and successful, Christopher exudes a powerful energy. Their connection is sensual, irresistible-and forbidden.
A member of the Shadow Hunter clan, Christopher has defied his own father to lead his people away from affliction and violence. Yet he cannot ignore his duty to carry on his ancient bloodline. Stunningly beautiful and brimming with an erotic life force, Victoria is everything Christopher ever hoped for in a mate . . . but as a Light Hunter, she’s his mortal enemy. Together, they could unite their warring tribes. But murderous factions on both sides don’t want peace-and they’ll stop at nothing to keep light and darkness apart forever . . .

Dragon City (Outlanders), by James Axler

AFTER THE END

Humanity has been held in subjugation for thousands of years, manipulated by a cruel alien race. But what began as a game among self-styled gods evolved into an internecine power play. Divided by ego and greed, the enemy faced resistance—and a reckoning—from an intrepid group of human rebels. But now the Cerberus operation lies in disarray, its members missing or broken, even as the Annunaki threat is reborn in a new and more horrifying form.

THE GOD MACHINE

Enlil, cruelest of them all, is set to revive the sadistic pantheon that will rule the Earth. Based in his vast Dragon City, Enlil plans to create infinite gods—at the cost of humankind. With the Cerberus team at its lowest ebb, can they possibly stop his twisted plan? Or are they, too, destined to be absorbed by the God Machine?

A Dream Machine to Die For, by Ken Wise

When Philip Courtney leaves Oxford University to begin his quiet life as Lord of Courtney Manor, he doesn’t expect his old roommate John Jefferson to show up with an unusual request… John and Philip, joined by Philip’s half-brother Ray Barone, begin working together to perfect a newly invented machine that allows people to travel through time back to their past – the Dream Machine. However, the machine turns out to be more than Philip bargains for as the inventor of the machine’s body is soon found in the River Thames. This is the first of many deaths that will haunt the three men as they run from those who want the machine for devious purposes. As Philip embarks on an adventure of a lifetime, he is forced to wonder whether it really is ‘A Dream Machine to Die For’.

Embrace of the Damned (Brotherhood of the Damned), by Anya Bast

A damned Viking warrior.
Centuries ago Broder Calderson committed murder. As punishment, he was given over to the dominion of Loki, the Trickster God, made part of the Brotherhood of the Damned and condemned to an immortal life of battle against the Blight, blood-drinkers from Hel.
A mysterious woman he can’t resist.
One thousand years to the day he was damned, Loki allows him a woman as reward for his good service and repentance of his crimes. Once Broder sees Jessamine Hamilton, he is overcome with need. But Jessa is no ordinary woman, and the truth of who–and what–she is could have dangerous consequences. 

A tormented man she can’t deny.
Though a future together is impossible, the warrior’s touch ignites an irresistible passion in Jessa. But every heated kiss pushes them closer to destruction. Forced to return to the brutality of his Viking past to protect her, will Broder surrender forever to his darkest impulses?

Heart of Constantine, by Barbara Monajem

When Marguerite McHugh woke up on a Native American burial ground, it was the least bizarre event of those to come. Soon she would be swept into the dark world of Constantine Dufray, a tormented, half-Navajo rock star whose dark power is only one of many in the little town of Bayou-Gavotte, LA…and whose love will save her life.

Hope Rising, by Thomas A. Sewing

She couldn’t think of a time when she wasn’t in the system. There had to be some time. People aren’t just born and put into a treatment center, right? Sometime in her past, there had to be a point where she was a normal kid, living with some semblance of a normal family, in something resembling a normal house.

Hunted, by Rebecca Zanetti 

Moira Dunne is a witch – the quantum physics kind. Time and space are her playthings. Which might explain why her one-night stand from a hundred years ago has turned up to “claim” her – and request her family’s assistance with the war he’s brewing. But the more she learns about Connlan Kayrs, the more she comes to think this is normal behaviour for him…When Conn and Moira tumbled on the moonlit grass, Conn hadn’t meant to mark her as his mate for all time. She was only twenty! But it wasn’t easy to wait for her. It was even harder to forget her. So when he finally returns for his wicked-hot witch, he’s ready to let the sparks fly. Even if he burns up in flames…

The Impossible Cube: A Novel of the Clockwork Empire, by Steven Harper

In an age where fantastic inventions of steam and brass have elevated Britain and China into mighty empires, Alice Michaels faces a future of technological terrors…

Once, Gavin Ennock sailed the skies on airships and enchanted listeners with his fiddle music. Now, the clockwork plague consumes his intellect, enabling him to conceive and construct scientific wonders—while driving him quite mad. Distressed by her beloved’s unfortunate condition, Alice Michaels sought a cure rumored to be inside the Doomsday Vault—and brought the wrath of the British Empire down on them.

Declared enemies of the Crown, Alice and Gavin have little choice but to flee to China in search of a cure. Accompanying them is Dr. Clef, a mad genius driven to find the greatest and most destructive force the world has ever seen: The Impossible Cube. If Dr. Clef gets his hands on it, the entire universe will face extinction.

And Gavin holds the key to its recreation…

In the Company of Witches (Berkley Sensation), by Joey W. Hill

Experience Joey W. Hill’s scintillating blend of modern-day witchcraft, ancient evil, and the magical tricks men and women play in the name of love…

All witch and part succubus, savvy businesswoman Raina has converted a Southern plantation house into an extremely profitable old-fashioned bordello. Because of her abilities as a witch, the demons under Raina’s protection can feed off the sexual energy of their clients without killing them—definitely a good thing for repeat business.

But when a rogue incubus shows up on Raina’s doorstep begging for asylum, the witch’s well-run business is put in jeopardy. The incubus has stolen an object of great power from Lucifer, and Underworld Dark Guardian Mikhael will do anything to get it back—even if it means incinerating the incubus on Raina’s porch to get the answers he seeks.

Not to be trifled with, Raina enters a dangerous match of wits with Mikhael to achieve their mutual goals—only to discover that the reluctant attraction between them is the most hazardous game of all…

The Killing Moon (Dreamblood), by N. K. Jemisin

The city burned beneath the Dreaming Moon.
In the ancient city-state of Gujaareh, peace is the only law. Upon its rooftops and amongst the shadows of its cobbled streets wait the Gatherers – the keepers of this peace. Priests of the dream-goddess, their duty is to harvest the magic of the sleeping mind and use it to heal, soothe . . . and kill those judged corrupt.
But when a conspiracy blooms within Gujaareh’s great temple, Ehiru – the most famous of the city’s Gatherers – must question everything he knows. Someone, or something, is murdering dreamers in the goddess’ name, stalking its prey both in Gujaareh’s alleys and the realm of dreams. Ehiru must now protect the woman he was sent to kill – or watch the city be devoured by war and forbidden magic.

Kiss of the Goblin Prince: Shadowlands Series, by Shona Husk

The Man of Her Dreams

He is like a prince in a fairy tale: tall, outrageously handsome, and way too dark for her own good. Amanda has been hurt before, though. And with her daughter’s illness, the last thing she needs right now is a man. But the power of Dai King is hard to resist. And when he threads his hands through her hair and pulls her in for a kiss, there is no denying it feels achingly right.

In a Land of Nightmares

After being trapped in the Shadowlands for centuries with the goblin horde a constant threat, Dai revels in his newfound freedom back in the human realm. But even with the centuries of magic he’s accumulated, he still doesn’t know how to heal Amanda’s daughter—and it breaks his heart. Yet for the woman he loves, he’d risk anything…including a retun to the Shadowlands.

Magic Lantern (Rogue Angel), by Alex Archer

In late 1700s Paris, a young but promising illusionist dabbles in the arcane art of phantasmagoria. But at his moment of greatest triumph—unveiling a magical lantern said to open a door to the Chinese spirit world—he is violently struck down by a vengeful phantom….On assignment in London, archaeologist Annja Creed is hunting down a man who claims to have discovered the Jekyll and Hyde potion. On the trail of one curiosity, Annja finds herself pulled toward another mystery…the origin of a strange, old-fashioned projector once used by eighteenth-century illusionists. As Annja delves into its rich history, a dark past begins to emerge. And someone wants to harness the power of this cursed artifact…risking everything for the treasures it promises.But Annja has a little magic trick of her own. One that she wields with deadly accuracy….

The Minority Council (Matthew Swift), by Kate Griffin

Matthew Swift, sorcerer, Midnight Mayor, is in charge. Or so he’d like to think. And London, being London, is having its issues. Drug use is rampant. Teenage vandalism is driving away business. Violent crimes are on the rise. Once upon a time, Matthew Swift wouldn’t have given a toss. Now it’s his mess to clean up.
Especially when the new drug on the market is fairy dust and the production process involves turning humans into walking drug labs. And when the teenage vandals are being hunted by a mystical creature. And when the petty criminals of London start dying by magical means.
It becomes clear that not only is this Swift’s mess to clean up, but someone is trying to tell him how to do his job. Now he has to sort out who’s behind the crime wave and who’s interfering in his business. Swift has a lot of old enemies and few friends. If he’s going to save London from a rising tide of blood — he’s going to have to learn his lessons and fast.

Naamah’s Blessing, by Jacqueline Carey

Returning to Terre d’Ange, Moirin finds the royal family broken. Wracked by unrelenting grief at the loss of his wife, Queen Jehanne, King Daniel is unable to rule. Prince Thierry, leading an expedition to explore the deadly jungles of Terra Nova, is halfway across the world. And three year old Desirée is a vision of her mother: tempestuous, intelligent, and fiery, but desperately lonely, and a vulnerable pawn in a game of shifting political allegiances.
As tensions mount, King Daniel asks that Moirin become Desirée’s oath-sworn protector. Navigating the intricate political landscape of the Court proves a difficult challenge, and when dire news arrives from overseas, the spirit of Queen Jehanne visits Moirin in a dream and bids her undertake an impossible quest.
Another specter from the past also haunts Moirin. Travelling with Thierry in the New World is Raphael de Mereliot, her manipulative former lover. Years ago, Raphael forced her to help him summon fallen angels in the hopes of acquiring mystical gifts and knowledge. It was a disastrous effort that nearly killed them, and Moirin must finally bear the costs of those bitter mistakes.

Palaces of Light (Deathlands), by James Axler

LOST VISTAS

Remnants of America’s past are littered across the postapocalyptic landscape, but little remains of the predark ideals of law and order. Survival is a blood quest, and lethal force the means to power. Still, a handful retains their humanity among thecoldhearts, and in a world where nothing lasts forever, hope is a commodity as precious as jack.

DIVIDE AND CONQUER

Steeped in beauty and mysticism, the canyons of Mesa Verde, Colorado, survived the blast that altered the American west. Hired to track a group of missing children, Ryan Cawdor and his band follow the trail to a legendary city carved in stone, older and stronger than the nukecaust. The inhabitants of the palaces of light are more than warriors and survivors; they are masters of mind games that prey on illusion. And true believers in a metaphysical end game poised to push the companions over the edge of reality…into certain death.

The Rise of Landia, by Gary Kitchens and Crystal Kitchens Ralph

King Lucien Trimont of Westlandia has commanded his second son, Devon, to lead an army across the Great Sea and attack Eastlandia. As the inevitable war between these countries approaches, Prince Devon struggles with his identity and his love of peace. During his quest, he will be joined by a ragtag band of old friend and new acquaintances: Abby of the Cove, Rufus of Ish, and Paris of the Plains of Sur. His best friend, Aiden, a person of magic, must also play a leading role in Devon’s expedition. These characters will all aid Devon in fighting a corrupt royal family, an evil Magus, and a powerful army General, all with their own wicked agendas.

The Seven Year Witch, by Jodi Redford 

After this much foreplay, something’s bound to combust.

That Old Black Magic, Book 2

As head mistress of Beaumont coven house, Clarissa Miles has perfected two things: keeping her sister witches from accidently turning innocent bystanders into toads, and resisting the sexy overtures of her familiar, werewolf Logan Scott.

But her resolve is vanishing—fast. Seven years ago she sold her soul to save her father, and that contract is coming due. The allure of spending her last days indulging in some dirty, naked loving is too tempting to resist.

Logan has patiently ridden out the past seven years, content to do Clarissa’s bidding and ignoring his consuming need to mark her as his. Now that the ban on witch/familiar fraternizing has been lifted, he’s off the leash and ready to launch a full-on sensual assault on her defenses. They’re destined mates, and he’ll do whatever it takes to convince her.

It’s delightfully easy to get her in bed. Get at her heart? Not so much. Especially when a deadly predator stakes its claim on her…and Logan faces a battle not only to win her heart, but save her soul.

Warning: This book contains a villain with more personalities than Sybil, a witch in search of redemption and a dirty-talking werewolf hell-bent on claiming his mate in every wicked, sexy way possible. Spontaneous howling may occur.

The Shifter, by Jean Johnson

Before the Sons of Destiny came to be, shapechangers ruled the heart of a shattered empire and navigated the uncertain shifts of fate…Years have passed since there was any sighting of Family Mongrel on the Shifting Plains. Yet traces remain, and they lead south into the Correda Mountains. As a favor to his brother and sister-in-law, Kenyen Sin Siin has taken it upon himself to track down these hints from the past and make sure the curs have not survived. The trail grows colder, more tangled, until he’s trapped in a valley where not everyone is as they seem.  He will either adapt and survive or be uncovered and perish before his mission is complete.Wary of strangers and distrustful of the unfamiliar, Solyn Ys Rei and her best friend have formed a secret resistance. One of a rare few with the ability to stand up to and evade enemies, she must still tread with great caution, particularly when even her best friend starts acting oddly. Allies could be enemies lurking in disguise, and a stranger’s face could hide a new foe as easily as a new friend.

Bitterblue (Graceling), by Kristin Cashore

The long-awaited companion to New York Times bestsellers Graceling and Fire
Eight years after Graceling, Bitterblue is now queen of Monsea. But the influence of her father, a violent psychopath with mind-altering abilities, lives on. Her advisors, who have run things since Leck died, believe in a forward-thinking plan: Pardon all who committed terrible acts under Leck’s reign, and forget anything bad ever happened. But when Bitterblue begins sneaking outside the castle–disguised and alone–to walk the streets of her own city, she starts realizing that the kingdom has been under the thirty-five-year spell of a madman, and the only way to move forward is to revisit the past.
Two thieves, who only steal what has already been stolen, change her life forever. They hold a key to the truth of Leck’s reign. And one of them, with an extreme skill called a Grace that he hasn’t yet identified, holds a key to her heart.

Destined (Wings), by Aprilynne Pike

Tamani looked at her gravely, and reached up to tuck her hair behind her ear.

He hesitated for an instant, then his hands found the sides of her face, pulling her to him. He didn’t kiss her, just held her face close to his, their foreheads resting together, their noses almost touching.

She hated how much it felt like good-bye.

Laurel now knows the truth: Yuki is a rare Winter faerie, the most powerful—and deadly—of all, and Klea plans to use her to help conquer and destroy Avalon. But Klea’s reach extends far beyond one wild Winter faerie. With Tamani, David, and Chelsea by her side, Laurel prepares to face what may be Avalon’s final days, in the stunning conclusion to the Wings series.

The Drowned Cities, by Paolo Bacigalupi

Soldier boys emerged from the darkness. Guns gleamed dully. Bullet bandoliers and scars draped their bare chests. Ugly brands scored their faces. She knew why these soldier boys had come. She knew what they sought, and she knew, too, that if they found it, her best friend would surely die.

In a dark future America where violence, terror, and grief touch everyone, young refugees Mahlia and Mouse have managed to leave behind the war-torn lands of the Drowned Cities by escaping into the jungle outskirts. But when they discover a wounded half-man–a bioengineered war beast named Tool–who is being hunted by a vengeful band of soldiers, their fragile existence quickly collapses. One is taken prisoner by merciless soldier boys, and the other is faced with an impossible decision: Risk everything to save a friend, or flee to a place where freedom might finally be possible.

This thrilling companion to Paolo Bacigalupi’s highly acclaimed Ship Breaker is a haunting and powerful story of loyalty, survival, and heart-pounding adventure.

 Insurgent (Divergent), by Veronica Roth

One choice can transform you—or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves—and herself—while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.

Tris’s initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable—and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.

New York Times bestselling author Veronica Roth’s much-anticipated second book of the dystopian Divergent series is another intoxicating thrill ride of a story, rich with hallmark twists, heartbreaks, romance, and powerful insights about human nature.

Numbers Book 3: Infinity, by Rachel Ward

The mind-blowing conclusion to the chilling NUMBERS trilogy: Because everyone wants to live forever.
No matter what it takes, Sarah’s desperate to escape from the numbers.
Always numbers. Sarah loves Adam, but can’t bear the thought that every time he looks in her eyes, he can see her dying; can see her last day.
It’s 2029. Two years since the Chaos. Sarah and Adam are struggling to survive. She knows he always envisioned them together “’til death do us part.” But will a child come between them? The child she loves. The child he saved.
Little Mia was supposed to die that New Year’s Day. The numbers don’t lie. But somehow she changed her date. Mia’s just a baby, oblivious to her special power. But ruthless people are hunting her down, determined to steal her secret.
Because everyone wants to live forever.

The Peculiars, by Maureen McQuerry

This dark and thrilling adventure, with an unforgettable heroine, will captivate fans of steampunk, fantasy, and romance.

On her 18th birthday, Lena Mattacascar decides to search for her father, who disappeared into the northern wilderness of Scree when Lena was young. Scree is inhabited by Peculiars, people whose unusual characteristics make them unacceptable to modern society. Lena wonders if her father is the source of her own extraordinary characteristics and if she, too, is Peculiar. On the train she meets a young librarian, Jimson Quiggley, who is traveling to a town on the edge of Scree to work in the home and library of the inventor Mr. Beasley. The train is stopped by men being chased by the handsome young marshal Thomas Saltre. When Saltre learns who Lena’s father is, he convinces her to spy on Mr. Beasley and the strange folk who disappear into his home, Zephyr House. A daring escape in an aerocopter leads Lena into the wilds of Scree to confront her deepest fears.

Revived, by Cat Patrick

As a little girl, Daisy Appleby was killed in a school bus crash. Moments after the accident, she was brought back to life.

A secret government agency has developed a drug called Revive that can bring people back from the dead, and Daisy Appleby, a test subject, has been Revived five times in fifteen years. Daisy takes extraordinary risks, knowing that she can beat death, but each new death also means a new name, a new city, and a new life. When she meets Matt McKean, Daisy begins to question the moral implications of Revive, and as she discovers the agency’s true goals, she realizes she’s at the center of something much larger — and more sinister — than she ever imagined.

The Serpent’s Shadow (The Kane Chronicles, Book 3), by Rick Riordan

He’s b-a-a-ack! Despite their best efforts, Carter and Sade Kane can’t seem to keep Apophis, the chaos snake, down. Now Apophis is threatening to plunge the world into eternal darkness, and the Kanes are faced with the impossible task of having to destroy him once and for all. Unfortunately, the magicians of the House of Life are on the brink of civil war, the gods are divided, and the young initiates of Brooklyn House stand almost alone against the forces of chaos. The Kanes’ only hope is an ancient spell that might turn the serpent’s own shadow into a weapon, but the magic has been lost for a millennia. To find the answer they need, the Kanes must rely on the murderous ghost of a powerful magician who might be able to lead them to the serpent’s shadow . . . or might lead them to their deaths in the depths of the underworld.

Nothing less than the mortal world is at stake when the Kane family fulfills its destiny in this thrilling conclusion to the Kane Chronicles.

The Vicious Deep, by Zoraida Cordova

For Tristan Hart, everything changes with one crashing wave.
He was gone for three days. Sucked out to sea in a tidal wave and spit back ashore at Coney Island with no memory of what happened. Now his dreams are haunted by a terrifying silver mermaid with razor-sharp teeth.
His best friend Layla is convinced something is wrong. But how can he explain he can sense emotion like never before? How can he explain he’s heir to a kingdom he never knew existed? That he’s suddenly a pawn in a battle as ancient as the gods.
Something happened to him in those three days. He was claimed by the sea…and now it wants him back.

Dark Vengance Vol. 2: Winter, Spring, by Jeff Mariotte

An unspeakable betrayal. A shocking revelation. The concluding two novels in Jeff Mariotte’s spellbinding series of romance, revenge, and witches—now in one volume!

Kerry never thought she’d fall for a guy like Daniel—and she certainly never expected him to be a witch. He showed her that love and magic are both real. But Daniel also pulled Kerry into a dark feud that has left a trail of blood for centuries.

Now Daniel is gone, and Kerry is in danger. Betrayed by the one witch she thought she could trust, Kerry must protect herself—and her friends—with the little magic she’s learned. No one will be safe until the witches’ war is ended. And Kerry is the only one with the power to uncover the truth.

Everfound (Skinjacker Trilogy), by Neal Shusterman

Witness the final battle for the souls of Everlost in a “compellingly readable and a worthy finale to the Skinjacker trilogy” (VOYA).

While Mary lies in a glass coffin aboard a ghost train heading west, her minions are awaiting her re-awakening by bringing lots of new souls into Everlost to serve her. Meanwhile Jackin’ Jill has met Jix, a furjacker—a skinjacker who can take over the bodies of animals, most notably jaguars. Jix serves a Mayan god who collects Everlost coins to use in his Wurlitzer, which predicts the future. In the concluding volume of The Skinjacker Trilogy, Neal Shusterman reveals new sides of the characters of Everlost, who are pitted against each other in a battle that may destroy all life on Earth.

 

Black Dawn (Morganville Vampires), by Rachel Caine
When a tide of ferocious draug, the vampire’s deadliest enemy, floods Morganville, its eclectic mix of residents must fight to save their town from devastation. Chaos has taken over the quiet college town of Morganville as the threat of the draug rapidly spreads with the help of the city’s water system. Whilst most of the locals have already fled, student Claire Danvers and her friends Shane, Eve and Michael choose to stay and fight. Things take a turn for the worse when vampire Amelie, the town’s founder, is infected by the master draug’s bite. Unless Claire and her friends can find an antidote to save Amelie and overcome the draug, Morganville’s future looks bleak…

Sweet Evil, by Wendy Higgins

Embrace the Forbidden What if there were teens whose lives literally depended on being bad influences? This is the reality for sons and daughters of fallen angels. Tenderhearted Southern girl Anna Whitt was born with the sixth sense to see and feel emotions of other people. She’s aware of a struggle within herself, an inexplicable pull toward danger, but it isn’t until she turns sixteen and meets the alluring Kaidan Rowe that she discovers her terrifying heritage and her willpower is put to the test. He’s the boy your daddy warned you about. If only someone had warned Anna. Forced to face her destiny, will Anna embrace her halo or her horns?

 

All summaries from amazon.com.

 

 

 

 

 

Book News, Books, News

Excerpt from Veronica Roth’s DIVERGENT Sequel INSURGENT!

Insurgent, Veronica Roth’s highly anticipated sequel to her New York Times best-selling Divergent is releasing on May 1st. To hold fans over, an excerpt of the first 26 pages was just released on the Insurgent facebook page. Click here to head over and check it out. You dont have to ‘like’ the page to read, but it can’t hurt if you’re a fan, as I’m sure there will be more goodies they post between now and May 1st!

 

Book News, Books, News

Excerpts from DIVERGENT Sequel & Melissa Marr’s Newest Book!

Bibliophiles, here are some awesome excerpts for two anticipated novels, one just released, one coming soon!

First up we have a ten-page excerpt from Insurgent, the sequel to Divergent, the smash hit by newbie author Veronica Roth. Insurgent hits stores on May 1st, and EW.com has an exclusive excerpt from chapter two. Head on over to their site to check it out.

Up next is Wicked Lovely author Melissa Marr’s upcoming book, Faery Tales & Nightmares. This book hit shelves yesterday, February 21st, and HarperCollins has a whopping 60 page excerpt on their site. Again, you’ll have to head over to them, but it’s worth it!

What are these books about? Here are the summaries:

Insurgent

One choice can transform you—or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves—and herself—while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.

Tris’s initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable—and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.

New York Times bestselling author Veronica Roth’s much-anticipated second book of the dystopian Divergent series is another intoxicating thrill ride of a story, rich with hallmark twists, heartbreaks, romance, and powerful insights about human nature.

Faery Tales & Nightmares

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

Book Reviews, Books, Reviews

Dystopian Fans, Watch Out! Divergent Breathes New Life Into This Popular Genre

Ah, Divergent. This book, written by newbie author Veronica Roth, had a reputation that preceded it, and I have to say the hype was big. Lots of amazing promotion by the publisher, and that combined with word of mouth really helped this book explode. Of course, I had to read it, and I was extremely curious to see if the book carried its weight.

The answer is a resounding “Yes!”

Divergent is a dystopian novel with a fresh feel, great writing, and a suspenseful plot that kept the pages turning. In a future Chicago, the world is divided into five different factions, groups who each focus on cultivating a specific virtue. There is Candor, which values honesty above all else, Abnegation, which values selflessness, Dauntless (bravery), Amity (peacefulness), and Erudite (intelligence).  Whatever faction you’re in, that’s your life. You eat, breathe, and live the virtue that your faction holds dear. And when you’re born into a faction, you have no choice but to life that rule; that is, until you turn sixteen, when you can choose to stay in the faction you were raised in, or select a new one, which will be your group until you die. Sounds great, right, giving teens that option? Only problem is, if you choose to leave the faction your family is in, you’ll never see them again.

Out protagonist, Beatrice, was raised with her brother in Abnegation. She is torn on the day of choosing, between her family and those she loves, and her heart and who she truly feels she is. She honestly doesn’t know what she’ll do until the very last second, and she even surprises herself with her choice.

Once the decision is made, she has to enter a competition of sorts to actually get a spot in the faction she chose. There are tests galore, and many aren’t in a classroom: she has to use her wit to determine who is a friend, who doesn’t like her, and who is truly out to get her. Because Beatrice has a secret, one that terrifies those who know it, one that has the potential of ruining her life and even the society she has grown to understand as something familiar.

This book was awesome! I’m sitting here, trying to think of other descriptive words, and honestly, that is the best summary I have. Divergent was well-written, the pacing was great, and there was wonderful character development. My favorite part was the fresh feel to the book. Beatrice’s personal journey felt real and new, not a watered- down version I have read before. And the concepts were just unique enough that I didn’t feel like I was reading “just another dystopian book like The Hunger Games,” which, trust me, is a breath of fresh air.

What also was nice was the romance aspect. Recently I’ve been reading a lot of books where romance takes center stage and the entire plot is structured around stolen glances and tingling skin. Yes, the romance in this book has a strong enough presence that it is a big part of Beatrice’s internal struggle, but it fits in nicely with the rest of the story, adding to it instead of detracting from it.

Fans of The Hunger Games and Matched should snatch this book up. I expect great things from Ms. Roth, and knowing now that she can hold her own against the hype and that her book actually is quality YA dystopian fiction makes me sure we’ll be seeing a lot more of her name in the future.

Divergent hit the shelves on May 3rd, 2011, and the sequel, Insurgent, is set to be released next year.

 

Book News, Books, Movie News, Movies, News

Summit Writing “Divergent” Script

It doesn’t take long these days for books to be made into movies, it seems. What this says about the movie industry, I’m not sure, but what it does say about the book industry is that there are a lot of books written recently that have the appeal of possibly translating well to the screen.

The newest book to add to this list is newly-released, already best-selling Divergent, written by 22-year-old first time author Veronica Roth. Summit Entertainment (who we know as being the people behind the Twilight Saga movies) has hired a writer to create a script for them from this dystopian YA novel.

The mastermind behind the Divergent script is Evan Daugherty, the creator of the screenplay for Snow White and the Huntsman, which is currently in pre-production and is set to star Kristen Stewart (Twilight) and Chris Hemsworth (Thor), among other top stars.

What’s Divergent about? Here’s the summary from Amazon:

In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles to determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes infuriating boy fits into the life she’s chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she’s kept hidden from everyone because she’s been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves… or it might destroy her.

Lytherus will be bringing you a book review of Divergent in the near future, so stay tuned to hear a little more detail about the story. Divergent hit stores on May 3rd, 2011.

Book News, Books, News

Excerpts From Upcoming Melissa Marr Book “Graveminder,” and Newly Released “Divergent” by Veronica Roth

Wow, there have been a lot of great book samples released recently, and today isn’t any different. I’ve got two goodies for your reading pleasure!

New York Times best-selling author Melissa Marr (of Wicked Lovely fame) has her newest book, Graveminder, coming out next week on May 17th. This is her first book for adults, and there has been a lot of hype building around it, due to her wildly successful YA series. HarperCollins Publishers has featured an excerpt exclusively on their website. Click here to view it.

What’s it about? Here’s the Amazon summary:

The New York Times bestselling author of the Wicked Lovely series delivers her first novel for adults, a story about the living, the dead, and a curse that binds them.

Rebekkah Barrow never forgot the tender attention her grandmother, Maylene, bestowed upon the dead of Claysville, the town where Bek spent her adolescence. There wasn’t a funeral that Maylene didn’t attend, and at each Rebekkah watched as Maylene performed the same unusual ritual: three sips from a small silver flask followed by the words “Sleep well, and stay where I put you.”

Now Maylene is dead and Bek must go back to the place–and the man–she left a decade ago. But what she soon discovers is that Maylene was murdered and that there was good reason for her odd traditions. It turns out that in placid Claysville, the worlds of the living and the dead are dangerously connected. Beneath the town lies a shadowy, lawless land ruled by the enigmatic Charles, aka Mr. D–a place from which the dead will return if their graves are not properly minded. Only the Graveminder, a Barrow woman, and the current Undertaker, Byron, can set things to right once the dead begin to walk.

The other one I am particularly excited about, since I just purchased the book and hope to review it soon for Lytherus. Divergent is the first book in a trilogy by 22-year old newbie author Veronica Roth, and since its release last Tuesday May 3rd it has already shot to #6 on the New York Times best-seller list. Not too shabby for a first-timer! The first chapter is up on the web for sampling. Again, the publisher is HarperCollins, so we have to link to their website. Here you go!

Here’s the summary from Amazon:

In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles to determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes infuriating boy fits into the life she’s chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she’s kept hidden from everyone because she’s been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves… or it might destroy her.

Debut author Veronica Roth bursts onto the literary scene with the first book in the Divergent series—dystopian thrillers filled with electrifying decisions, heartbreaking betrayals, stunning consequences, and unexpected romance.

 

Book News, Books, News

New Releases Week of May 2nd, 2011

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

Released Tuesday, May 3rd, 2011

Dawnbringer: A Forgotten Realms Novel, by Samantha Henderson

Battle the forces of darkness in the Forgotten Realms®

Two angels given mortal flesh are sent to guard two star-crossed lovers, born scions of rival merchant houses. At first, it looks as though love will conquer all, and the rift will finally be mended. But there are those who hate the word peace with a passion so much that it poisons everything they touch, corrupting house to turn against house, mother to turn against child, and angel to turn against angel.

Dawnbringer is the perfect meld between classic and contemporary fantasy, with shades of Romeo and Juliet, told from the perspective of guardian angels, in a world where sorcery and monsters are commonplace.

Hard Magic: Book 1 of the Grimnoir Chronicles, by Larry Correia

Jake Sullivan is a war hero, a private eye—and an ex-con. He’s free because he has a magical talent, being able to alter the force of gravity in himself and objects in his vicinity, and the Bureau of Investigation calls on him when they need his help in apprehending criminals with their own magical talents. But the last operation he was sent along to help with went completely wrong, and Delilah Jones, the woman the G-men were after, who just happened to be an old friend of Jake’s in happier times, had a lot of magical muscle with her, too much muscle for the cops to handle, even with Jake’s help.

It got worse. Jake found out that the Feds had lied to him about Delilah being a murderer as well as a bank robber, and they had lied about this being his last job for them—he was too valuable for them to let him go. And things were even worse than Jake imagined. There was a secret war being waged by opposing forces of magic-users, and Jake had no idea that he had just attracted the attention of one side, whose ruthless leaders were of the opinion that Jake was far too dangerous to be permitted to live . . .

Well of Sorrows, by Benjamin Tate

An epic tale of a continent on the brink of war, and a deadly magic that waits to be unleashed on an unsuspecting world.

Colin Harten and his parents had fled across the ocean to escape the Family wars in Andover. But trouble followed them and their fellow refugees to this new land, forcing them to abandon the settled areas and head into unexplored territory-the sacred grounds of a race of underground dwellers and warriors. It was here that they would meet their doom. Driven to the borders of a dark forest, they were attacked by mysterious Shadow creatures who fed on life force. Only Colin survived to find his way to the Well of Sorrows-and to a destiny that might prove the last hope for peace in this troubled land.

The Council of Shadows: A Novel of the Shadowspawn, by S. M. Stirling

New from the New York Times bestselling author of A Taint in the Blood.

Adrian Brézé defied his own dark heritage as a near-purebred Shadowspawn for years, until his power-hungry sister Adrienne kidnapped his human lover Ellen.

Now, Adrienne is dead, and the Council of Shadows is gathering its strength. To stop the Council from launching an apocalypse, Adrian and Ellen must ally with the Brotherhood, a resistance group dedicated to breaking the Council’s hold on humankind…by any means necessary.

In the coming confrontation, Adrian must fight not only the members of the Council but also his own nature-and, as he will come to suspect, traitors within the Brotherhood itself…

The Inheritance & Other Stories, by Robin Hobb & Megan Lindholm

A treasure trove of tales from a master storyteller—the first to feature works written under both her pseudonyms, Robin Hobb and Megan Lindholm . . .

The Inheritance

Before she became an acclaimed New York Times bestselling author, Robin Hobb received resounding critical praise for work written under the name Megan Lindholm. Though they spring from the same imagination, Hobb and Lindholm are separate, diverse identities, each with her own unique style and perspective.

The Inheritance celebrates the boundless vision of Hobb and Lindholm, bringing together for the first time classic and new short works from both names. The collection is comprised of three generous offerings from Robin Hobb, including the title story, which makes its U.S. debut here, and a brand-new tale, “Cat’s Meat.” Megan Lindholm contributes her Hugo and Nebula Award finalist “A Touch of Lavender” and Nebula finalist “Silver Lady and the Fortyish Man,” as well as several classic and new gems.

Each piece is prefaced by a brief yet informative author’s note, offering insight into each story’s genesis. Fascinating, compelling, and wonderfully entertaining, The Inheritance reveals the full spectrum of skill and talent of one of the world’s finest fantasy writers.

Extremis, by Steve White & Charles E. Gannon

Once before, the sentient races in the known part of the galaxy—humans, Orions, Ophiuchi and Gorm—had united to defeat alien invaders. Decades later, the member planets of the alliance had grown complacent—until a huge fleet of ships, each ship larger than a city, arrived, fleeing the loss of their home planet when their star went nova.

They have traveled for centuries, slower than light, and now that they have arrived at the world they intend to make their new home. They regard the fact that the planet is already colonized by humans as a mere inconvenience, the more so since their mode of communication is so different from anything humans use that they do not consider humans and their allies to be truly intelligent. And the arriving aliens know—or, at least, they believe—that when they die they will be reincarnated, so they do not hesitate to attack humans and their allies with suicidal fury. And, if necessary, they will exterminate all humans and their allies, if that’s what it takes to occupy the planet.

That was their attitude on arrival, but the conquerors have learned from human technology. They now know all about reactionless drives, so much more efficient than rocket engines. And they have learned about the jump points which make faster-than-light travel possible. With that knowledge, they plan to conquer the entire inhabited region of the galaxy—unless the old alliance of humans and other being can stop them . . .

Shadow Raiders: Book 1 of the Dragon Brigade, by Margaret Weis & Robert Krammes

A new epic swashbuckling fantasy series-by New York Times bestselling author Margaret Weis and Robert Krammes.

The known world floats upon the Breath of God, a thick gas similar to Earth’s oceans, with land masses accessible by airship. The largest of these land masses are ruled by the rival empires of Freya and Rosia. Magic is intrinsic to the functioning of these societies, and is even incorporated into their technological devices. But now a crucial scientific discovery has occurred that could destroy the balance of power-and change the empires forever.

 

Scarlet Dream (Outlanders), by James Axler

The poisonous alien race masterminding centuries of calculated chaos and destruction for mankind underestimated the sheer tenacity of the human spirit. Now these technologically superior aggressors must contend with a dedicated group of warriors sworn to reclaim their planet. The odds against the Cerberus rebels are long, but the fight goes on.…

In the fetid swamps of Louisiana, the dead rise, commanded by their new queen. Her power lies in death and in its secrets—the sadistic culmination of the insane power unleashed during her fragmented rebirth from dark goddess Lilitu. Facing off against an army of zombies, Kane, Grant and Brigid must somehow kill the undead. If they fail, the crazed voodoo priestess will infect her minions with a pre-dark biological weapon designed to destroy all life on earth. And then the dead will truly rise.…

Hard Bitten (Chicagoland Vampires, Book 4), by Chloe Neill

“Neill creates a strong-minded, sharp-witted heroine who will appeal to fans of Charlaine Harris’s Sookie Stackhouse series and Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake.” –Library Journal

Times are hard for newly minted vampire Merit. Ever since shapeshifters announced their presence to the world, humans have been rallying against supernaturals-and they’re camping outside of Cadogan House with protest signs that could turn to pitchforks at any moment. Inside its doors, things between Merit and her Master, green-eyed heartbreaker Ethan Sullivan are…tense. But then the mayor of Chicago calls Merit and Ethan to a clandestine meeting and tells them about a violent vamp attack that has left three women missing. His message is simple: get your House in order. Or else.

Merit needs to get to the bottom of this crime, but it doesn’t help that she can’t tell who’s on her side. So she secretly calls in a favor from someone who’s tall, dark, and part of underground vamp group that may have some deep intel on the attack. Merit soon finds herself in the heady, dark heart of Chicago’s supernatural society-a world full of vampires who seem ready to fulfill the protesting human’s worst fears, and a place where she’ll learn that you can’t be a vampire without getting a little blood on your hands…

The Other Crowd (Rogue Angel), by Alex Archer

In a remote part of Ireland, two archaeological teams dig for the find of a lifetime—the legendary Spear of Lugh. Folklore claims the magical weapon was forged in the time of the ancient Tuatha de Danaan. But as the search intensifies, people begin disappearing from the dig. “Faeries,” whisper the locals. The Other Crowd…

Instructed to travel to Ireland and return with faerie footage, archaeologist Annja Creed figures it’s a joke assignment. But people have vanished and she soon realizes there’s more in play than mythical wee folk. With the unsettling notion that something otherworldly is in the air, Annja is torn between her roles as an archaeologist and a warrior. But can her powerful sword protect her from the threat of violence…or the Other Crowd?

Spellcast, by Barbara Ashford

When Maggie Graham lost her job and her apartment fell to pieces, she decided to flee New York City for a while and hide in Vermont, at the Crossroads Theatre. She hadn’t planned to audition, yet soon found herself part of the summer stock cast. But her previous acting experiences couldn’t prepare her for the theater’s unusual staff-and its handsome, almost otherworldly director.

 

 

 

 

Hounded: The Iron Druid Chronicles, by Kevin Hearne

Atticus O’Sullivan, last of the Druids, lives peacefully in Arizona, running an occult bookshop and shape-shifting in his spare time to hunt with his Irish wolfhound. His neighbors and customers think that this handsome, tattooed Irish dude is about twenty-one years old—when in actuality, he’s twenty-one centuries old. Not to mention: He draws his power from the earth, possesses a sharp wit, and wields an even sharper magical sword known as Fragarach, the Answerer.

Unfortunately, a very angry Celtic god wants that sword, and he’s hounded Atticus for centuries. Now the determined deity has tracked him down, and Atticus will need all his power—plus the help of a seductive goddess of death, his vampire and werewolf team of attorneys, a sexy bartender possessed by a Hindu witch, and some good old-fashioned luck of the Irish—to kick some Celtic arse and deliver himself from evil.

The Hot Gate: Troy Rising III, by John Ringo

The fight to free the Earth from alien domination began in Live Free or Die, and continued in Citadel. Now Tyler Vernon, and his troops aboard the gigantic battle station Troy, face a desperate battle with the forces of galactic tyranny. And the very survival of the Earth and its people is not all that is at stake. The galaxy itself must choose to live free or die—and if the tyrants win this battle, darkness will fall across the galaxy for millennia to come.

 

 

 

The Door to Lost Pages, by Claude Lalumiere

Step through the door to Lost Pages and escape a life you never wanted! On her tenth birthday, Aydee runs away from home and from her neglectful parents. At first, surviving alone on the streets is harsh, but a series of frightening, bewildering encounters with strange primordial creatures leads her to a bookshop called Lost Pages, where she steps into a fantastic, sometimes dangerous, but exciting life. Aydee grows up at the reality-hopping Lost Pages, which seems to attract a clientele that is either eccentric – or desperate. She is repeatedly drawn into an eternal war between enigmatic gods and monsters, until the day she is confronted by her worst nightmare: herself!

 

Night Mares in the Hamptons: A Willow Tate Novel, by Celia Jerome

Graphic novelist Willow Tate is a Visualizer, able to draw images of beings from the realm of Faerie, bringing them from their world to ours in the process. After a ten-foot-tall red troll follows her from Manhattan to Paumanok Harbor in the Hamptons, Willow realizes that many of her relatives and their neighbors possess psychic talents-truth- knowing, scrying, weaving wishes, picking lucky numbers, and more.

So when magic and mayhem return to Paumanok Harbor, and Willow is called upon to rescue the town, she enlists the local talent. Three magical mares are searching the Long Island village for a missing colt, and their distress is causing sleeping nights, bad tempers, and dangerous brawls among the gifted but peculiar residents.

Though the Department of Unexplained Events sends Willow a world-famous horse whisperer, Texan Ty Farraday seems more interested in whispering in her ear than in rescuing the kidnapped colt whose terror only Willy can feel. Even with help, she still has to struggle with snakes, drug dealers, tourists, hidden caves, a mad scientist-and the almost overwhelming distraction of that sexy cowboy…

Tainted Cascade (Deathlands), by James Axler

The blighted aftermath of a global nuclear showdown, Deathlands exacts a blood price. The living pay it; the dead don’t care. For one legendary band of warriors, this barbaric new world holds a chance for redemption: the secrets of the past. They roam a disfigured America, searching for pre-dark tech…seeking the path to a future worth living.

Utah’s Great Salt Lake Desert remains a death pit of scorching heat, cannies and grim odds. Ryan Cawdor and his group survive the trek there, only to be drugged, robbed and left for the slave trade. Escaping their captors leaves them alive but stripped of their prized gear: their weps, J. B. Dix’s glasses, Dr. Mildred Wyeth’s medical kit and, worse, her secret codex. The companions must rely on each other to challenge their enemy and settle the score.

Eclipse 4: New Science Fiction and Fantasy SC, by Jonathan Strahan

World Fantasy Award-winner Jonathan Strahan delivers the fourth volume of this series, once again demonstrating his keen editorial eye. The multi-award winning Eclipse series (Hugo, Nebula, World Fantasy, Locus, Aurealis) is the only on-going anthology for original non-themed science fiction and fantasy, and its contents have been regularly recognized as some of the most compelling stories of the year, both on awards ballots and on best-of-the-year lists. Eclipse 4 delivers new fiction by some of the genre’s most celebrated authors, including Peter Beagle, Emma Bull, Andy Duncan, Elizabeth Hand, Gwyneth Jones and Michael Swanwick and Many others.

 

 

Korval’s Game( Liaden), by Sharon Lee & Steve Miller

The Liaden Universe® series has enthralled thousands of readers, and now two of its most exciting space adventure novels are combined in one popularly-priced Omni-trade volume.

Plan B: Val Con yos’Phelium is a fugitive. The heir of Clan Korval is wanted by the covert Liaden agency known as the Department of the Interior, whose rulers have declared unofficial war against the entire clan. With only his love, Miri Robertson, by his side, Val Con plans a desperate gamble by forming an alliance with Clan Erob on the planet where Miri was born.

But Val Con’s cousin, Shan yos’Galan, can’t wait for help that may never arrive. With enemy agents closing in, he invokes Plan B—setting in motion a series of events that will have dire consequences, not only for him and his life-mate, Priscilla Mendoza, but all of Liad . . .

I Dare: On the run from the agents of the Department of the Interior, Val Con has been separated from Miri. Shan, Val Con’s cousin, and Shan’s life-mate Priscilla, continue to search for him, believing that he’s the Clan’s last hope for survival.

But the DOI is attacking Clan Korval in a more subtle fashion. Pat Rin yos’Phelium—Val’s ne’er-do-well, nearly identical cousin, gambler and shooter—is offered control of the clan. The DOI believes they can manipulate him into serving their agenda.

They’re wrong . . .

Dead Reckoning (Sookie Stackhouse Book 11), by Charlaine Harris

New in the #1 New York Times bestselling Sookie Stackhouse series-the basis for HBO(r)’s True Blood!

With her knack for being in trouble’s way, Sookie witnesses the firebombing of Merlotte’s, the bar where she works. Since Sam Merlotte is now known to be two-natured, suspicion falls immediately on the anti-shifters in the area. Sookie suspects otherwise, but her attention is divided when she realizes that her lover Eric Northman and his “child” Pam are plotting to kill the vampire who is now their master. Gradually, Sookie is drawn into the plot-which is much more complicated than she knows…

 

Shift (Shade, Book 2), by Jeri Smith-Ready

Aura’s life is anything but easy. Her boyfriend, Logan, died, and his slides between ghost and shade have left her reeling. Aura knows he needs her now more than ever. She loves Logan, but she can’t deny her connection with the totally supportive, totally gorgeous Zachary. And she’s not sure that she wants to.

Logan and Zachary will fight to be the one by her side, but Aura needs them both to uncover the mystery of her past—the mystery of the Shift.

As Aura’s search uncovers new truths, she must decide whom to trust with her secrets…and her heart.

 

Everfound (Skinjacker Trilogy), by Neal Shusterman

While Mary lies in a glass coffin aboard a ghost train heading west, her minions are awaiting her re-awakening by bringing lots of new souls into Everlost to serve her. Meanwhile Jackin’ Jill has met Jix, a fur-jacker—a skin jacker who can take over the bodies of animals, most notably jaguars. Jix serves a Mayan god who collects Everlost coins, and has his own agenda. In the concluding volume of The Skinjacker Trilogy, Neal Shusterman reveals new sides of the characters of Everlost, who are pitted against each other in a battle that may destroy all life on Earth.

 

 

 

Divergent (Divergent Trilogy), by Veronica Roth

In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles to determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes infuriating boy fits into the life she’s chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she’s kept hidden from everyone because she’s been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves… or it might destroy her.

Debut author Veronica Roth bursts onto the literary scene with the first book in the Divergent series—dystopian thrillers filled with electrifying decisions, heartbreaking betrayals, stunning consequences, and unexpected romance.

Bite Club (Morganville Vampires, Book 10), by Rachel Caine

New York Times bestselling author Rachel Caine is “a first- class storyteller” (#1 New York Times bestselling author Charlaine Harris).

After discovering that vampires populate her town, college student Claire Danvers knows that the undead just want to live their lives. But someone else wants them to get ready to rumble.

There’s a new extreme sport getting picked up on the Internet: bare- knuckle fights pitting captured vampires against each other-or humans. Tracking the remote signal leads Claire- accompanied by her friends and frenemies-to discover that what started as an online brawl will soon threaten everyone in Morganville…

The Magnolia League, by Katie Crouch

When her free-spirited mother dies in a tragic accident, sixteen-year-old Alexandria Lee is forced to leave her West Coast home and move in with a wealthy grandmother she’s never known in Savannah, Georgia. By birth, Alex is a rightful if unwilling member of the Magnolia League-Savannah’s long-standing debutante society. But white gloves and silk gowns are a far cry from the vintage t-shirts and torn jeans shorts she’s used to.

Alex is the first in decades to question the Magnolia League’s intentions, yet even she becomes entangled in their seductive world. The members enjoy youth, beauty and power…but at what cost? As Alex discovers a pact between the Magnolias and the Buzzards, a legendary hoodoo family, she discovers secrets-some deadly-hidden beneath the glossy Southern veneer.

New York Times bestselling author Katie Crouch’s poignant and humorous voice shines in this enchanting and mysterious story about girls growing up in a magical Southern city.

Illusions, by Aprilynne Pike

“I don’t do patrols, I don’t go hunting, I just stick close to you. You live your life. I’ll keep you safe,” Tamani said, sweeping a lock of hair from her face. “Or die trying.”

Laurel hasn’t seen Tamani since she begged him to let her go last year. Though her heart still aches, Laurel is confident that David was the right choice.

But just as life returns to normal, Laurel realizes that a hidden enemy lies in wait. Once again, Laurel must turn to Tamani to protect and guide her, for the danger that now threatens Avalon is one that no faerie thought would ever be possible. And for the first time, Laurel cannot be sure that her side will prevail.

 

The Demon’s Covenant (Demon’s Lexicon Trilogy), by Sarah Rees Brennan

An undercurrent of wit and subtle sarcasm turns this dark story of demons, magic, and dysfunctional families into an affecting and fun read. Mae–don’t call her Mavis–and her brother Jamie, tortured Alan and his demon brother Nick, and other memorable characters are back in this sequel to Brennan’s excellent The Demon’s Lexicon (S & S, 2009). The book doesn’t disappoint as demons are summoned, duels are fought, and spells are cast throughout modern-day England. Jamie is being recruited by a magician named Gerald, head of the group that previously tried to kill him and Mae. Once again, she turns to Alan and Nick for help protecting Jamie. In exchange, Mae agrees to help Nick learn to act more human. The outcasts must navigate a path between rival magicians’ circles and demons hungry for human souls while trying to unlock the secret to Gerald’s newfound powers. Mae, a tough and sassy heroine, is torn by her attraction to three very different men. Conflicting loyalties push her to the breaking point as secret–and maybe Faustian–deals are struck. Danger and lies are everywhere as the story builds to a climactic battle. All is not resolved, leaving readers hungry for the trilogy’s final installment. A few passages are confusing but overall the writing is strong with lots of action and engaging characters. This book stands alone, but reading the first volume will make it even more enjoyable. Fans of Laurie Faria Stolarz, Casandra Clare, and Rosemary Clement-Moore will be enchanted.

Almost Final Curtain: A Vampire Princess Novel (Vampire Princess of St. Paul), by Tate Hallaway

Craving the spotlight is in her blood.

Ever since high school student Anastasija Parker discovered she was vampire royalty, her life has been sort of crazy. The half-vampire- half-witch just wants some normalcy, and trying out for the spring musical seems like the perfect fix.

But when the ancient talisman that stands between vampire freedom and slavery to witches is stolen, Ana has to skip rehersal and track down the dangerous artifact before someone uses it to make this year’s curtain call her last…

 

 

The Vampire Diaries: Stefan’s Diaries #3: The Craving, by L. J. Smith

Blood brothers . . .

After his brother, Damon Salvatore, betrays him in New Orleans, Stefan starts over in Manhattan. Vowing never to harm another human, he roams the streets, trying to disappear into the city’s chaos. But just when he thinks he’s left his past behind, Stefan discovers that he can never escape his brother. Damon has grand plans for the vampire Salvatore brothers—whether Stefan likes it or not. Together, they take New York by storm. When their exploits end up on the society pages, an old enemy resurfaces—one hell-bent on 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.

The Throne of Fire (The Kane Chronicles), by Rick Riordan

In this exciting second installment of the three-book series, Carter and Sadie, offspring of the brilliant Egyptologist Dr. Julius Kane, embark on a worldwide search for the Book of Ra, but the House of Life and the gods of chaos are determined to stop them.

 

 

 

 

 

Released Friday, May 6th, 2011

The Chronicles of Kale: A Dragon’s Awakening, by Aya Knight

Kale Firehart is a young dragon, and the sole survivor of his race. As a tyrannical general and his massive bloodthirsty army close in on Kale, the most unexpected circumstance transpires. With time against him, Kale’s trusted friend, a veteran arcane sorcerer, transforms him into the one thing he despises most–a human. Kale must unwillingly live among human-kind as he embarks upon an extraordinary journey. With a band of unlikely friends by his side, can Kale overcome the obstacles before him and return to the life he once knew? The age of dragons is all but over…

 

 

 

 

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