Tag Archives: books!

happy release day!

priest-maplecroftToday is the official release date for Cherie Priest’s Maplecroft, the first in an exciting new series from the author of Boneshaker.

Lizbeth “Lizzie” Andrew Borden wields her axe against Lovecraftian entities in this terrifying and powerful series launch by fan favorite Priest (the Clockwork Century series). Two years after Lizzie infamously slew her mother and stepfather, she and her consumptive, scholarly older sister, Emma, remain in their hometown of Fall River, Mass., in an isolated and modified home called Maplecroft. Lizzie spends countless hours in her basement laboratory, trying to understand what transformed the Bordens into horrifying creatures, while protecting and caring for Emma and conducting a love affair with actress Nance O’Neil. Then Emma, who poses as “Dr. E.A. Jackson” to contribute to the men-only world of science, sends a biological sample to colleague Phillip Zollicoffer at Miskatonic University, with terrible consequences. Readers will be intrigued by the weird monsters and 19th-century science, but the story is really carried by the characters’ emotional dynamics, especially those between the Borden sisters. — Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

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wells-storiesofraksuravol1The ebook and audiobook of Martha Wells’ Stories of the Raksura: Volume One: The Falling World & The Tale of Indigo and Cloud also drops today with the print version shipping later this month. Pre-order here.

Two novellas and two short stories expand the setting of Wells’s dreamlike fantasy novels. In “The Falling World,” a vanished envoy triggers a diplomatic crisis between two courts, and investigation reveals a long-forgotten tragedy. “The Tale of Indigo and Cloud” sets two queens against each other, with an unhappy consort as the prize. Familiar characters appear in “The Forest Boy,” a prequel to The Cloud Roads that examines a brief encounter between Moon and forest dwellers, and “Adaptation,” in which Chime deals with an unwanted transformation and its disquieting implications. Wells is adept at suggesting a long, complex history for her world with economy, and, while her protagonists may not be human as we understand it, they are definitely people, sympathetic figures constrained but not defeated by their environments. Longtime fans and new readers alike will enjoy Wells’s deft touch with characterization and the fantastic. — Publishers Weekly

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Also now available in paperback: Kalimpura by Jay Lake

In this introspective sequel to Green and Endurance, Lake continues the tale of Green, a former courtesan and assassin now attempting to settle down following the birth of her twins. Unfinished business and old enemies take Green and her allies back to the city of Kalimpura, where she must keep a low profile while trying to find two kidnapped girls. However, discretion is difficult with multiple gods taking interest in her doings and several factions out for her blood. There’s something both uplifting and melancholy in this fantasy adventure’s tone, which 16-year-old Green narrates with a world-weary old soul’s experience, emotional weight hanging from every page. Thoughtful fantasy readers will appreciate Green’s newfound perspective and the lush details derived from a mixture of Eastern cultures, as well as the sheer audacity of a killer bisexual nonwhite teen mom protagonist. The pace drags occasionally, but it’s worth it in the long run. –Publishers Weekly

happy release day!

Today is the official release date for Herb of Grace by Adina Senft, launching a brand new trilogy!

Senft is a talented author and her research on various herbs is a welcome surprise to readers. The story incorporates facts about herbs, what each of them can be used for and what will happen if used incorrectly. This sweet romance has a believable storyline with a lot of heart.

Amish widow Sarah Yoder knows her herbs, but she’s hesitant to work with the local Amish. Instead, she wants to concentrate on her two sons, whom she fears will soon leave the nest and leave her all alone. Henry Byler is back in Willow Creek only because he’s inherited the family farm. He left the Amish a long time ago. Should he stay in town and try to make a living with his pottery, or sell the property and go back to the world he’s been living in? Sarah and Henry share a common bond and help each other get over their fears, but will it be enough for them to see the true path God has planned for them? — RT Book Reviews, 4 stars

happy release day!

Today is the release day for the new Dresden Files novel SKIN GAME by Jim Butcher!

Butcher (Cold Days) brings back wizard Harry Dresden for his 15th adventure fighting a rogue’s gallery of supernatural villains, but this time in a caper story. Harry has recently taken on the mantle of the Winter Knight, servant to Mab, the Faerie Queen of Air and Darkness, and she has a job for Harry. Mab has a debt to pay to Nicodemus Archleone, Knight of the Blackened Denarius, so she is loaning him Harry’s assistance. As holders of one of Judas’s pieces of silver imbued with a fallen angel, the Knights are very bad news. Worse for Harry is that the job Nicodemus plans is a raid on the vault of Hades, Lord of the Underworld. Dresden is no cream puff himself, but something of an amalgam of his own intelligence and cunning mixed with Harry Potter-like devotion to his friends and the cause of good. VERDICT This is urban fantasy par excellence, with magical action, moral dilemmas, and a wonderful cast. Series fans will love this, and there is enough backstory for newcomers. — Library Journal, Starred Review

happy release day!

Today is the official release day for Valour and Vanity by Mary Robinette Kowal!

After Melody’s wedding, the Ellsworths and Vincents accompany the young couple on their tour of the continent. Jane and Vincent plan to separate from the party and travel to Murano to study with glassblowers there, but their ship is set upon by Barbary corsairs while en route. It is their good fortune that they are not enslaved, but they lose everything to the pirates and arrive in Murano destitute.

Jane and Vincent are helped by a kind local they meet en route, but Vincent is determined to become self-reliant and get their money back, and hatches a plan to do so. But when so many things are not what they seem, even the best laid plans conceal a few pitfalls. The ensuing adventure is a combination of the best parts of magical fantasy and heist novels, set against a glorious Regency backdrop.

Kowal continues her creative Regency-set Glamourist Histories series with a clever, captivating plot that culminates in a magical heist storyline. Before we get there, though, we are treated to a touching examination of a loving marriage under duress and the connections and collaborations these extraordinary partners must create and reaffirm with each other and those around them in order to thrive. Combining history, magic and adventure, the book balances emotional depth with buoyant storytelling. — Kirkus Reviews

happy release day!

Today is the official release day for Steles of the Sky by Elizabeth Bear

Wrapping up Bear’s complex and beautifully rendered historical-fantasy trilogy (Shattered Pillars, 2013, etc.). Necromancer and blood-sorcerer al-Sepehr, head of the Nameless assassin cult, arranged to have his daughter Saadet impregnated by Qori Buqa, Khagan of the nomad horse-warrior Empire, whom he then murdered. Re Temur, Qori Buqa’s nephew and the true heir to the Khaganate, decides to raise his banner at Dragon Lake, site of the Khagan’s vast abandoned palace­but how to reach it? Perhaps his companions, the wizard Samarkar, Hrahima, a huge human-tiger Cho-tse warrior, and the silent monk, Brother Hsiung, can find a way through the magic doorways created by the extinct Erem Empire. But Erem magic is deadly poisonous­Brother Hsiung is already half-blind from attempting to study it. Edene, Temur’s woman, escaped from al-Sepehr by stealing a green Erem ring, which gave her command of the ghuls, a slave race created by Erem, and control of the toxic Erem magic and all poisonous creatures, but an evil presence within it whispers to her­and she’s carrying Temur’s child. She must also deal with a djinn who, appearing sporadically and unpredictably, sometimes offers help while admitting he’s bound, against his will, to al-Sepehr. Various other groups­wizards, warriors, empresses, survivors of the civilizations broken by al-Sepehr’s treachery­converge on Dragon Lake. These and other narrative strands progress and interact through fully realized characters whose personalities and motivations arise from the dazzlingly detailed cultures and landscapes from which they derive. If there’s a disappointment, it’s the bipedal tiger Hrahima, a vigorous presence whose background and motivations remain largely unexplored. Notably, apart from the hero and his antagonist, all the leading characters are women. It all adds up to an eminently satisfying conclusion. Considering the trilogy as a whole, the overused term masterpiece justifiably applies. — Kirkus, Starred Review