Monday, February 28, 2011

Where's the Action?

Need something new to read? Come over to my blog, Preternatura. Updated daily, and you just never know what you might find there! We talk a lot of urban fantasy and paranormal romance.

New Releases Thru March 6--Part 1 (& Pick Your Choice to Win)

Strap on your space helmets, kids--it's going to be a crazy week! So, last week there was a hot mess of books, right? There were 27, spread over three days. Well, this week, same three days but 43 new releases in sci fi, fantasy, urban fantasy, paranormal romance, and Young Adult paranormal for the week! Foooorty threeeee....With three giveaways--reader's choice. Details at the end of the list! As always, open internationally and, remember, all prize drawings take place on Saturday. You can check back on the blog to see the winners.

 Accidentally Catty, by Dakota Cassidy (March 1, Berkley Trade)
Katie Woods never thought she'd be forty-one, divorced, and thrust back into the dating world. To start fresh, Katie uproots her veterinary practice to upstate New York, not exactly the hottest dating scene on the planet. But when an unconscious cougar appears at her clinic, Katie's newly single life gets a much-needed jolt of the supernatural kind. After Katie examines the cougar and leaves him caged overnight, she's shocked to find a big strapping specimen of young, hot man in its place. And when the scratch she got during the exam results in some unnatural side effects, Katie has more to deal with than her animal attraction to a much younger man. Fifth in the Accidental series.

After Hours: Tales from Ur-Bar, edited by Joshua Palmatier and Patricia Bray (March 1, Daw)
Science fiction and fantasy readers have long shown an affinity for a good “bar story.” Now some of today’s most inventive scriveners have decided to tell their own tall tales—from an alewife’s attempt to transfer the gods’ curse to Gilgamesh, to Odin’s decision to introduce Vikings to the Ur-Bar. Features stories by Benjamin Tate, S.C. Butler, Jennifer Dunne, Barbara Ashford, Maria V. Snyder, Kari Sperring, D.B. Jackson, Patricia Bray, Seanan McGuire, Juliet McKenna, Laura Anne Gilman, Ian Tregillis, Avery Shade, Jackie Kessler and Anton Strout.

Alaska Republik, by Stoney Compton (March 1, Baen)
When Lieutenant Gerald Yamato of the Republic of California Air Force bailed out of his doomed fighter he had no idea he would land in a culture that would forever change his life. The Dené thought they had won their independence and the war was over. Suddenly, they face an advancing Russian army from one direction, a band of mercenaries from another, as well as the remnants of a defeated, angry, Russian army between the Dené and the rest of their people. Despite assurances by distant, bland diplomats to the contrary, the new Dené Republik has a new war on its hands. But they are not alone. The Tlingit Nation shares their struggle, and the U.S.A. and the Republic of California vow all the aid they can muster. But will it be enough?

Blackout (Cal Leandros 6), by Rob Thurman (March 1, Roc)
When half-human Cal Leandros wakes up on a beach littered with the slaughtered remains if a variety of hideous creatures, he’s not that concerned. In fact, he can’t remember anything—including who he is. And that’s just the way his deadly enemies like it. Sixth in the Cal Leandros series. Anybody read this series? I want to read it but haven't taken the plunge yet.

Blood & Flowers, by Penny Blubaugh (March 1, HarperTeen)
Three years ago, Persia ran away from her drug-addict parents and found a home with the Outlaws, an underground theater troupe. This motley band of mortals and fey, puppeteers and actors, becomes the loving family Persia never had, and soon she not only discovers a passion for theater but also falls in love with Nicholas, one of the other Outlaws. Life could not be more perfect—until an enemy with a grudge makes an unfair accusation against the group and forces them to flee the mortal world and hide in the neighboring realm of Faerie. But in Faerie, all is not flowers and rainbows—with bloodthirsty trolls, a hostile monarchy, and a dangerous code of magic, the fey world is not quite the safe haven the Outlaws had hoped for. And they must decide what’s more important: protecting their right to perform or protecting themselves. I'm gushy over this cover!

Blood, Smoke and Mirrors, by Robyn Bachar (March 1, Samhain)
Wrongly accused of using her magic to harm, the closest Catherine Baker comes to helping others is serving their coffee. Life as an outcast is nothing new, thanks to her father’s reputation, but the injustice stings. Especially since the man she loved turned her in. Now the man has the gall to show up and suggest she become the next Titania? She’d rather wipe that charming grin off his face with a pot of hot java to the groin. Alexander Duquesne has never faltered in his duties as a guardian—until now.

The Chaos (Numbers 2), by Rachel Ward (March 1, The Chicken House)
Adam has more than inherited his mother’s curse: When he looks in someone’s eyes, he not only sees the date of their death—he feels the searing, shocking pain of it. Since Jem died, Adam has lived by the sea with his great-grandmother, Val. But when rising tides flood the coast, they return to London. The city is an alien, exciting, frightening place. Most disturbing of all, Adam can’t help but clock how many people’s numbers are in January 2027; how many are on New Year’s Day. What chaos awaits the world? Can he and Sarah stop a catastrophe? Or are they, too, counted among the “twenty-sevens”? Second in the Numbers series.

The Chronoliths, by Robert Charles Wilson (March 1, Orb)
One day in Thailand, 21st-century slacker Scott Warden witnesses an impossible event: the violent appearance of a 200-foot stone pillar. Its arrival collapses trees for a quarter-mile around its base, and it appears to be composed of an exotic form of matter. The inscription chiseled into it commemorates a military victory—sixteen years hence. As more pillars appear around the world, all apparently from our own near future, a strange loop of causality keeps drawing Scott into the central mystery—and a final battle with the future. This is a new reprint of the original 2001 novel.

Clarity, by Kim Harrington (March 1, Point)
When you can see things others can’t, where do you look for the truth? Clarity “Clare” Fern sees things. Things no one else can see. Things like stolen kisses and long-buried secrets. All she has to do is touch a certain object, and the visions come to her. It’s both a gift and a curse. When a teenage girl is found murdered, Clare’s ex-boyfriend wants her to help solve the case, but Clare is still furious at the cheating jerk. Then her brother, who has supernatural gifts of his own, becomes the prime suspect, and Clare can no longer look away. Teaming up with Gabriel, the smoldering son of the new detective, Clare must venture into the depths of fear, revenge and lust in order to track the killer. But will her sight fail her just when she needs it most?

The Crippled God: Malazan Book of the Fallen 10, by Steven Erikson (March 1, Tor)
The tenth and final Malazon Book of the Fallen. Savaged by the K’Chain Nah’Ruk, the Bonehunters march for Kolanse, where an unknown fate awaits. Tormented by questions, the army totters on the edge of mutiny, but Adjunct Tavore will not relent. One final act remains, if it is in her power, if she can hold her army together, if the shaky allegiances she has forged can survive all that is to come. Tavore Paran of House Paran means to challenge the gods, if her own troops don’t kill her first. Awaiting Tavore and her allies are the Forkrul Assail, the final arbiters of humanity. Drawing upon an alien power terrible in its magnitude, they seek to cleanse the world, to annihilate every human, every civilization, in order to begin anew. In the realm of Kurald Galain, home to the long lost city of Kharkanas, a mass of refugees stand upon the First Shore. Commanded by Yedan Derryg, the Watch, they await the breaching of Lightfall, and the coming of the Tiste Liosan. This is a war they cannot win, and they will die in the name of an empty city and a queen with no subjects.Elsewhere, the three Elder Gods, Kilmandaros, Errastas and Sechul Lath, work to shatter the chains binding Korabas, the Otataral Dragon, and release her from her eternal prison. Once freed, she will be a force of utter devastation, and against her no mortal can stand. At the Gates of Starvald Demelain, the Azath House sealing the portal is dying. Soon will come the Eleint, and once more, there will be dragons in the world. And so, in a far away land and beneath indifferent skies, the final cataclysmic chapter in the Malazan Book of the Fallen begins.

Dark Mirror, by Mary Jo Putney (March 1, St. Martin’s Griffin)
Lady Victoria Mansfield, youngest daughter of the earl and countess of Fairmount, is destined for a charmed life. Soon she will be presented during the London season, where she can choose a mate worthy of her status. Yet Tory has a shameful secret—one so powerful that, if exposed, it could strip her of her position and disgrace her family forever. Tory’s blood is tainted by magic. When a accident forces her to demonstrate her despised skill, the secret she’s fought so hard to hide is revealed for all to see. She is immediately exiled to Lackland Abbey, a reform school for young men and women in her position. There she will learn to suppress her deplorable talents and maybe, if she’s one of the lucky ones, be able to return to society. But Tory’s life is about to change forever. What lies ahead is only the beginning of a strange journey into a world where destiny and magic come together, where true love and friendship find her, and where courage and strength of character are the only things that determine a young girl’s worth.

Daybreak Zero, by John Barnes (March 1, Ace)
A year has passed since the catastrophic event known as Daybreak began. Nine months since Daybreak killed seven billion people. Eight months since Daybreak vaporized Washington. Six months since rival governments emerged in Athens, Ga., and Olympia, Wash. Four months since the two governments of what was formerly the United States went to the brink of war. Three months since war was (barely) avoided. Two months since Athens and Olympia agreed to work together. One month since they discovered that Daybreak isn’t over. This is the sequel to 2010’s Directive 51.

Dead on Delivery, by Eileen Rendahl (March 1, Berkley Trade)
In book two of the Messenger series, there are two men who have bitten the dust after a delivery from Messenger Melina Markowitz. As she tries to put together the pieces of this puzzle, she discovers that the two victims share common friends, common unexplained absences, and a common crime. Now, dark forces from the local community have been unleashed, drawing Melina into the web of a powerful woman, her voodoo and her vengeance.

Dead Streets, by Tim Waggoner (March 1, Angry Robot)
Matt Richter’s going to pieces—literally. You’ve got to keep your head to survive in the teeming undead city known as Nekropolis. It’s a pity crazed genius Victor Baron couldn’t manage that. Now everyone wants a piece of him. Zombie detective Matt and his glamorous she-vampire companion  Devona are back on the case, with another wild investigation. Second in the Matt Richter series.

Holy cow. So...which one of these do you most want to read—and would you most like to win? As always, to enter: +1 for comment, +1 for blog follow, +1 for Twitter follow @Suzanne_Johnson, and +1 for Tweet/Retweet. Stay tuned tomorrow and Wednesday for more releasesand two more giveaways!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Behind Closed Doors: The Editorial Committee

Sunday's the day to talk about publishing, and today I'm talking about how publishers decide which of your favorite author's books get published and which ones don't. It all comes down to the Editorial Committee.

I don't claim to have any real insider knowledge, but head over to Castles & Guns to read what agent/guru Donald Maas has to say about them. It's interesting whether or not you're a writer--just to see what hoops those favorite books have jumped through before making it to your bookshelves.

Click HERE  to read. And stop by Preternatura tomorrow for the first of THREE days of new releases in urban fantasy, paranormal romance, fantasy, sci fi, and paranormal YA, with Reader's Choice giveaways. Good stuff coming out this week!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

You May Already Be a Wiener--I Mean Winner

Coming up next week on Preternatura: A huge, multiple-day, multiple-giveaway Reader's Choice on Monday, Tuesday AND Wednesday because, yes, there are that many new releases next week! We're talking 45 new releases, folks. Yikes! Plus I'll have a review or two, another Friday Department 56 and more. A hint: any fans of Christine Feehan out there? Do I have a surprise in store for you!

Thanks to everyone who shared sentences from your books yesterday--that was fun to read, and to see the wide variety of books folks are reading! We didn't have a single duplicate out of more than 30 of you who commented!

Okay, on to this week's winners as determined by good old

Congrats to KATY F for winning a copy of last week's retro review book, The Thirteenth Tale. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did!
Congrats to STEPH for winning the first Reader's Choice new release this week. She chose Melissa Marr's Darkest Mercy.
Congrats to VAN_PHAM, who won the second Reader's Choice new release. She chose Kristi Cook's Haven.
Congrats to FERRETVAMP14, who won the third Reader's Choice new release. She chose Point.
Congrats to TWILIGHTER, who won the "Department 256" Reader's Choice contest--she'll be picking her book from the Book Depository!

Thanks for all the support, guys! I'll be emailing everyone in the next day or two to get mailing info.Come back next week--it's going to be crazy!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Preternatura Department 56 & Reader's Choice Giveaway

It's Friday, so it's time for "Preternatura Department 56." Last week, it was Department 256 and I realized people were having to risk spoilers to move ahead in their books, so we'll take it back a few pages.

So, "Department 56" is where we take a book we're currently reading or recently finished and look on page 56. Then share the fifth and sixth complete sentences. You can add a little context if you want. If you're reading on an eReader, use whatever page notation your reader employs as long as it ends with a '56'. I have a Kindle and am happy to say they're going to start featuring real page numbers of their books! Not sure about the other readers.

Want to play? Post your sentences, and I'll enter you into a drawing for a wide-open Reader's Choice giveaway. Yep, anything you want. Read more below.

First, I'm reading two books this week, so I'll do two "Department 56" entries.

From Tamara Hogan's new paranormal romance Taste Me (and Tamara will be a guest here on the blog in a couple of weeks), which I just finished. Scarlett, a siren/rock star who's hung up on a guy from her past, is talking catching up with her sister Annika after coming home from a year-long tour with her band:

No long-term relationships for Annika--not yet, anyway. 
Her sister was an erotic adventuress, always on the hunt.

And I just started Mark Hodder's steampunk novel, The Curious Case of the Clockwork Man, so I have no idea what the context is:
Burton lunged forward and caught the glass as it dropped from her loose fingers. 
Her eyes rolled up into her head and she began to rock slightly in her chair.

Hm...wonder what that's about?

So, what are you reading? (See, this is a sneaky way to hear about some new books.) If your name is picked by our old pal to win this international giveaway, you can literally pick out any book you want to win. My only stipulations: that it be less than US$15 and be available from either Amazon or Book Depository. As always, +1 for comment, +1 for blog follow, +1 for Twitter follow @Suzanne_Johnson, and +1 for Tweeting the contest. Share with me!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

I’m Dreaming of a Book Cover (Unlike the Ones I Already Own)

You can kind of sing that title to the tune of "White Christmas," if you take a mind to. (And there's still time to comment for one of the three Reader's Choice giveaways this week--just scroll on down!)

Take my word for it: authors daydream about their book covers. I’m no exception. With the glimmer of my first book’s April 2012 release starting to shine out there on the horizon, I can only assume a cover will be forthcoming in the coming months. I can only assume mine will not be the first-ever Tor Books offering to be launched sans cover. Right? *nods head hopefully*

Royal Street, which will kick off my new urban fantasy series ("with romantic elements"), is set in New Orleans at the time of Hurricane Katrina. I’d been living in NOLA for more than a decade when the hurricane hit, and it broke my heart in a way I didn’t think was possible. Writing that first book was the way I eventually dealt with my own post-traumatic stress.

So to say that book, and that book cover, are personal to me is a serious understatement.

But see, here’s the thing about book covers. Unless they’re self-published or done by a very small publishing company, authors don’t have a whole lot of input on their covers—and that's okay. I mean, the marketing folks and the artists know what appeals to readers and how to create it. I got to put in my two-cents’ worth. But left up to me, I’d have so many elements in there the cover would be a mess.

For example, it should be kind of dark and brooding and hurricane-like and reek of New Orleans. There should be beignets and Abita Beer and crawfish etouffee and streetcars and jazz and riverboats. And of course my little blonde wizard, DJ, needs to be on it. And the washboard ab-laden enforcer Alex. And his dead-sexy cousin Jake, who has dimples to drown in. Oh, and the undead pirate Jean Lafitte, and Louis Armstrong, and some voodoo gods and…Well, you get the picture.

So, in honor of my cover that doesn't exist yet—believe me, you’ll see it shortly after I do—I thought I’d look at some of my favorite covers from the new releases coming up in March, and my least favorite. See what you think of them. In no particular order...

So, the Rob Thurman cover I like because while the character, Cal, looks like standard urban fantasy art, the shadowed cityscape in the background really draws me in and sets a mood. In the second book, Robyn Bachar's Blood, Smoke and Mirrors, we finally get a different take on the kickass heroine. No tats, no skin showing, and how kickass is that? The third book, Penny Blubaugh's Blood and Flowers, fascinates me. It's both creepy and lovely. I'd so totally pick this up in a bookstore. (And I'm not gonna talk about the books because we'll do that when they're released!)

How about this group? Steven Erikson's finale to his Malazan series, The Crippled God, does what I think a lot of fantasy covers miss: it looks epic and dramatic without being cartoony. I haven't read this series, but this cover kind of makes me wish I was more of a fantasy reader than I am. The center one, Alex Bledsoe's Dark Jenny, is great for the story it isn't telling. The hero, Eddie, doesn't look kickass. He looks anguished and regretful, and I want to know why. The cover of Tim Waggoner's Dead Streets is just cool. If anything would make me pick up a zombie book, this cover might do it.

Ooh, some of  my favorites for March. The cover of Cat Adams' Demon Song just creeps me out with the orange glowing eyes, already. So simple, yet mesmerizing--like a siren. Hmm...And by God if you're going to have some hot guy with abs on the cover, put a blindfold on him. I mean, yum. Finally, Evercrossed is just striking, with its multicolored rose on that stark background.

YA books seem to have a lot of the really good covers, and I haven't figured out why yet. But Gwen Hayes' Falling Under is a good example. The black-on-black rose in the background, with the girl in red sprawling from the top of the image? Very cool. Patricia Briggs' River Marked, sixth in the Mercy Thompson series, is up to the standards I've come to expect from these covers. I'm not convinced this is quite what Mercy looks like, but at least they're consistent with the model and the mood, and it always works. Steel, from Carrie Vaughn, is another YA, and the simple image makes me ask that magical question: What's that about? Final group...

This is sort of my "second-tier" group. I really like these covers, just not quite as well as the others. Saundra Mitchell's The Vespertine is another great YA cover, and I love the earthtones, the dress, and the typeface on the title--it all screams Period Piece to me. The Wise Man's Fear, probably the most-anticipated fantasy next month along with the Erikson book, also delivers lots of mood, with the solitary figure at the end of a medieval-looking dark alley. And finally, because I'm a sucker for icy blue-white and wolves, Wolfsangel does it for me with the snow-covered wolf at the top and the warriors at the bottom. I'm usually not a fan of blended-image covers but this one works, I think.

What do I not like? Well, I hate to say it because this is one of my all-time favorite series, if not THE favorite, and I'm jumping up and down awaiting the March 29 release, but here it is:

I am just not a fan of the Black Dagger Brotherhood covers. I always feel as if I'm looking at stock photography with a colored wash on it. But maybe I'm missing the charm and I sure am never disappointed by what's INSIDE the cover! Between this and the new Mercy Thompson book, I am a Happy Camper in March!

What do you like to see on a book cover? What do you hate? Are you tired of washboard abbed-guys without heads on paranormal romance and tattooed chicks with their backs turned on your urban fantasy? Do you have a favorite? Let’s talk covers!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

New Releases Feb. 21-28 Part 3 (& Reader's Choice Giveaway)

Holy cannoli--more new releases? Here's the final lot, #19-27. And just to put the week in perspective, there were 27 new releases this week. Next week there are 44. Let me repeat that: 44. Holy ca...oh, I already said that, yes? Here's our third Reader's Choice giveaway--just tell me what sets your heart thumping out of this group. Details at the end of the list! As almost-always, open internationally and, remember, all prize drawings take place on the following Saturday.

 Point, by Thomas Blackthorne (Feb. 22, Angry Robot)
What else is there when life has no point? In a Britain on the edge of collapse, there is a desperate new craze - a suicide cult made up of disaffected young people. They kill themselves in "cutter circles", loaded up with teenage cool and desolate dreams. For ex-Special Forces soldier Josh Cumberland, this is just the start of another descent into the very heart of darkness. It's a virus. Find out who caused it. Destroy them. Survive.

The Raven Queen, by Jules Watson (Feb. 22, Spectra)
In this dazzling retelling of one of Ireland’s most stirring legends, author Jules Watson brings to life the story of Maeve, the raven queen, who is as fierce as she is captivating. She was born to be a pawn, used to secure her father’s royal hold on his land. She was forced to advance his will through marriage—her own desires always thwarted. But free-spirited Maeve will no longer endure the schemes of her latest husband, Conor, the cunning ruler of Ulster. And when her father’s death puts her homeland at the mercy of its greedy lords and Conor’s forces, Maeve knows she must at last come into her own power to save it. And to draw on the dangerous magic of her country’s oldest gods, Maeve seeks out the wandering druid Ruan, whose unexpected passion and strange connection to the worlds of spirit imperil everything Maeve thought true about herself—and put her at war with both her duty and her fate.

The Remembering, by Steve Cash (Feb. 22, Del Rey)
For thousands of years the Meq have existed side by side with humanity—appearing as twelve-year-old children, unsusceptible to wounds and disease, dying only by extraordinary means. They have survived through the rise and fall of empires and emperors, through explorations, expansions, and war. Five sacred stones give a few of them mystical powers, but not the power to understand a long-destined event called the Remembering. In the aftermath of the nuclear bombing of Japan in 1945, Zianno Zezen finds himself alone, while the fate of the other Meq and his beloved Opari, carrier of the Stone of Blood, is unknown. But Z’s archenemy, the Fleur-du-Mal, survives. In the next half century Z will reunite with far-flung friends both Meq and human, as American and Soviet spies vie to steal and harness the powers and mysteries of the timeless children.

The Rogue Oracle, by Alayna Williams (Feb. 22, Pocket)
Tara Sheridan is the best criminal profiler around—and the most unconventional. Trained as a forensic psychologist, Tara also specializes in Tarot card reading. But she doesn’t need her divination skills to realize that the new assignment from her friend and sometime lover, Agent Harry Li, is a dangerous proposition in every way. Former Cold War operatives, all linked to a top-secret operation tracking the disposal of nuclear weapons in Russia, are disappearing. Harry suspects a conspiracy to sell arms to the highest bidder. The cards suggest something darker. Even as Tara sorts through her feelings for Harry, a killer is growing more ruthless by the day. And a nightmare that began decades ago in Chernobyl will reach a terrifying endgame that not even Tara could have foreseen.

Serpent’s Storm, by Amber Benson (Feb. 22, Ace)
Calliope just wants to make it big in the Big Apple like any other working girl. But Callie is also Death's Daughter, no matter how much she tries to stay out of the family business. And now her older sister has made a deal with the Devil himself to engage in a hostile takeover of both Death Inc. and Heaven-once they get Callie out of the way.

This Side of the Grave, by Jeaniene Frost (Feb. 22, Avon)
Okay guys, calm down now....Fifth in the Night Huntress series. Half-vampire Cat Crawfield and her vampire husband Bones have fought for their lives, as well as for their relationship. But just when they’ve triumphed over the latest battle, Cat’s new and unexpected abilities threaten to upset a longstanding balance…With the mysterious disappearances of vampires, rumors abound that a species war is brewing. A zealot is inciting tensions between the vampires and ghouls, and if these two powerful groups clash, innocent mortals could become collateral damage. Now Cat and Bones are forced to seek help from a dangerous "ally"—the ghoul queen of New Orleans herself. But the price of her assistance may prove more treacherous than even the threat of a supernatural war . . . to say nothing of the repercussions Cat never imagined.

Tortall and Other Lands: A Collection of Tales, by Tamora Pierce (Feb. 22, Random House)
Collected here for the first time are all of the tales from the land of Tortall, featuring both previously unknown characters as well as old friends. Filling some gaps of time and interest, these stories, some of which have been published before, will lead Tammy's fans, and new readers into one of the most intricately constructed worlds of modern fantasy.

The Visconti House, by Elsbeth Edgar (Feb. 22, Candlewick)
Two lonely teens forge an unexpected bond— and a first romance— as they unravel a mystery hidden inside the walls of an old estate. Laura Horton is different. Not in any noticeable, first-glance kind of way; but inside, she’s equally uncomfortable around the snippy girls in her class and the strange boy, Leon, who just moved in nearby. She’d rather be writing or drawing or spending time with her free-spirited family in their eccentric old house. But Laura and Leon are more alike than they first realize. They’re both outsiders. They both have secrets. And try as she might to avoid him, Laura finds herself drawn to Leon’s quiet boldness as surely as she is driven to find out more about her home’s enigmatic former owner. Together they probe the mysteries of the Visconti House, making an exploration into the past that will change their lives — and open their hearts — forever.

Xombies: Apocalypso, by Walter Greatshell (Feb. 22, Ace)
A group of women have been discovered who are immune to the Agent X plague. The secret of their immunity can provide a cure for human and inhuman alike-unless the Xombies find them first.This is the only description I could find of the book, but it sounds...well...kinda dystopian and sexy and sexist all at the same time.

Which one of these do you most want to read—and would you most like to win? As always, to enter: +1 for comment, +1 for blog follow, +1 for Twitter follow @Suzanne_Johnson, and +1 for Tweet/Retweet. Stay tuned tomorrow and Wednesday for 18 more releasesand two more giveaways!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

New Releases Feb. 21-28 Part 2 (& Reader's Choice Giveaway)

Just another manic Tuesday, or something like that. Here we have them, releases #10-18 in this week's 27-release avalanche. Part three comes tomorrow...and OMG  you don't even want to know about next week. I'm doing a second Reader's Choice giveaway--just tell me what most floats your boat out of this lot. Details at the end of the list! As almost-always, open internationally and, remember, all prize drawings take place on the following Saturday.

OH! And if you want a free short read, head over to the Write in the Shadows blog today, where I have a sneak peek at my nice little vampire story. We're trying to build some love over at that blog, so if you like the story, I hope you'll leave a note!

Etched in Bone, by Adrian Phoenix (Feb. 22, Pocket)
More beautiful and powerful than any creature the world has ever seen, Dante Baptiste has become the supreme target of the three worlds that spawned him. The mortal agents of the Shadow Branch have tried to control his mind through psychological torture. The vampire elders who guide nightkind society have plotted to use him in their bloodthirsty bid for power. And the Fallen have waited for millennia for Dante to claim his birthright as their Maker. But Dante belongs to no one—except the woman he loves.

Grail, by Elizabeth Bear (Feb. 22, Spectra)
Rife with intrigue and betrayal, heroism and sacrifice, Grail brings Elizabeth Bear’s brilliant space opera to a triumphant conclusion. At last the generation ship Jacob’s Ladder has arrived at its destination: the planet they have come to call Grail. But this habitable jewel just happens to be populated already: by humans who call their home Fortune. And they are wary of sharing Fortune—especially with people who have genetically engineered themselves to such an extent that it is a matter of debate whether they are even human anymore. To make matters worse, a shocking murder aboard the Jacob’s Ladder has alerted Captain Perceval and the angel Nova that formidable enemies remain hidden somewhere among the crew.

Green-Eyed Demon, by Jaye Wells (Feb. 22, Orbit)
Things to do: 1. Rescue sister. 2. Murder grandmother. 3. Don't upset the voodoo priestess. The clock is ticking for Sabina Kane. Her sister has been kidnapped by her grandmother, the Dark Races are on the brink of war, and a mysterious order is manipulating everyone behind the scenes. Working on information provided by an unlikely ally, Sabina and her trusty sidekicks--a sexy mage named Adam Lazarus and Giguhl, a Mischief demon--head to New Orleans to begin the hunt for her sister. Once there, they must contend with belligerent werewolves, magic-wielding vampires and--perhaps most frightening of all--humans.

Haven, by Kristi Cook (Feb. 22, Simon Pulse)
Violet McKenna isn’t a normal girl with normal teenage issues; she has more to contend with than most people could handle. Violet thought she was just crazy when she had a vivid vision of her dad’s murder. Her life started falling apart when her premonition came true. She’s had flashes of other events too. The problem was nobody believed her until she found a new school: Winterhaven.  At Winterhaven, Violet finally feels like she belongs. She quickly finds a close group friends and discovers that they too have psychic ‘gifts’—as do all the students at Winterhaven. But as soon as she feels settled she discovers the most intriguing and alluring boy she has ever met, and things quickly go awry. As the attraction between them grows, intense visions of the boy’s death start to haunt her. In her premonitions the secret he is unwilling to share begins to reveal itself. And to Violet's horror, she learns that their destinies are intertwined in a critical--and deadly--way.

Hunger Untamed, by Pamela Palmer (Feb. 22, Avon)
They are called Feral Warriors—an elite band of immortals who can change shape at will. Sworn to rid the world of evil, consumed by sorcery and seduction, their wild natures are primed for release . . . For a thousand years she has haunted him—Ariana, Queen of the linas, a beauty of mist and light. His love, his life mate . . . Kougar believed her lost to him forever, until the truth of her stunning betrayal left him bitter and hungry for revenge. Now she alone holds the power to save two trapped and desperate Feral Warriors. Ariana, caught in a deadly battle of her own, is neither the soulless creature Kougar believes her to be nor the savior he seeks. And when darkness threatens to annihilate both races, the greatest danger of all becomes the glorious love Kougar and Ariana once shared. A love that must never rise again. A love that has never died. The fifth Feral Warriors novel.

Iron Crowned, by Richelle Mead (Feb. 22, Bantam)
Dark Swan No. 3. Shaman-for-hire Eugenie Markham is the best at banishing entities trespassing in the mortal realm. But as the Thorn Land’s queen, she’s fast running out of ways to end the brutal war devastating her kingdom. Her only hope: the Iron Crown, a legendary object even the most powerful gentry fear….Who Eugenie can trust is the hardest part. Fairy king Dorian has his own agenda for aiding her search. And Kiyo, her shape-shifter ex-boyfriend, has every reason to betray her along the way. To control the Crown’s ever-consuming powers, Eugenie will have to confront an unimaginable temptation--one that will put her soul and the fate of two worlds in mortal peril.

The Iron Thorn, by Caitlin Kittredge (Feb. 22, Delacorte)
In the city of Lovecraft, the Proctors rule and a great Engine turns below the streets, grinding any resistance to their order to dust. The necrovirus is blamed for Lovecraft's epidemic of madness, for the strange and eldritch creatures that roam the streets after dark, and for everything that the city leaders deem Heretical—born of the belief in magic and witchcraft. And for Aoife Grayson, her time is growing shorter by the day. Aoife Grayson's family is unique, in the worst way—every one of them, including her mother and her elder brother Conrad, has gone mad on their 16th birthday. And now, a ward of the state, and one of the only female students at the School of Engines, she is trying to pretend that her fate can be different. First in a new series.

King’s Justice: The Knights of Breton Court 2, by Maurice Broaddus (Feb. 22, Angry Robot)
From the drug gangs of downtown Indianapolis, the one true king will arise. Guided by the crazed visions of his advisor Merle, King knows that he must unite the opposing factions, before the streets erupt in all-out war. But how can he preach peace when even his own warriors are plotting against him? A heart-stopping mix of ancient myth and powerful gang action, from the author of King Maker.

Pale Demon, by Kim Harrison (Feb. 22, Eos)
Condemned and shunned for black magic, Rachel Morgan has three days to get to the annual witches’ conference and clear her name, or be trapped in the demonic ever-after . . . forever after. But a witch, an elf, a living vampire, and a pixy in one car going across the country? Talk about a recipe for certain disaster, even without being the targets for assassination. For after centuries of torment, a fearsome demon walks in the sunlight—freed at last to slay the innocent and devour their souls. But his ultimate goal is Rachel Morgan, and in the fight for survival that follows, even embracing her own demonic nature may not be enough to save her. Ninth in the Hallows series. 

Which one of these do you most want to read—and would you most like to win? As always, to enter: +1 for comment, +1 for blog follow, +1 for Twitter follow @Suzanne_Johnson, and +1 for Tweet/Retweet. Stay tuned tomorrow and Wednesday for 18 more releasesand two more giveaways!

Monday, February 21, 2011

New Releases Feb. 21-28 Part 1 (w/ Reader's Choice Giveaway)

It’s Monday, so it must be time to look at the new releases in sci fi, fantasy, urban fantasy, paranormal romance, and Young Adult paranormal for the week! It’s a monster week, so I'm going to divided it up over three days--with three giveaways--reader's choice. Details at the end of the list! As almost-always, open internationally and, remember, all prize drawings take place on the following Saturday.

Releases 1-9 of 27...

American Vampire, by Jennifer Armintrout (Feb. 22, Mira)
Sometimes, the vampires are the good guys. Buried in the Heartland is a town that no one enters or leaves. Graf McDonald somehow becomes its first visitor in more than five yearsand he was only looking for a good party. Unfortunately, Penance, Ohio, is not that place. And after having been isolated for so long, they do not like strangers at all…Jessa's the only one to even remotely trust him, and she's desperate for the kind of protection that only a vampire like Graf can provide. Supplies are low, the locals are ornery for a sacrifice and there's a monster more powerful than Graf lurking in the woods. New men are hard to come by in this lonesome town, and this handsome stranger might be Jessa's only hope for salvation…Even if she has to die first.

Center of GravityStar Carrier, Book Two, by Ian Douglas (Feb. 22, Eos)
In the evolution of every sentient race, there is a turning point when the species achieves transcendence through technology. The warlike Sh’daar are determined that this monumental milestone will never be achieved by the creatures known as human.  On the far side of known human space, the Marines are under siege, battling the relentless servant races of the Sh'daar aggressor. With a task force stripped to the bone and the Terran Confederation of States racked by dissent, rogue Admiral Alexander Koenig must make the momentous decision that will seal his fate and the fate of humankind. A strong defensive posture is futile, so Koenig will seize the initiative and turn the gargantuan Star Carrier America toward the unknown. For the element of surprise is the only hope of stalling the Sh'daar assault on Earth's solar system—and the war for humankind's survival must be taken directly to the enemy.

Cloneworld, by Andy Remic (Feb. 22, Solaris)
Junks, an evil alien scourge, are flooding Quad-Gal with terror and Combat K are sent on a mission to find an elusive alien retrovirus which can be used against the enemy. SLAM-dropped to Cloneworld – a planet ravaged by violent civil war – not only are Combat K hunted by elite junk assassins, but they get caught in a global conflict between augmented mechanised war machines and genetically modified humans who have the ability to clone themselves. Combat K must fight their way to victory to save the Four Galaxies. But how can they possibly succeed, when their main foe are their own elite and deadly clones?

Darkest Mercy, by Melissa Marr (Feb. 22, HarperCollins)
The Summer King is missing; the Dark Court is bleeding; and a stranger walks the streets of Huntsdale, his presence signifying the deaths of powerful fey. Aislinn tends to the Summer Court, searching for her absent king and yearning for Seth. Torn between his new queen and his old love, Keenan works from afar to strengthen his court against the coming war. Donia longs for fiery passion even as she coolly readies the Winter Court for battle. And Seth, sworn brother of the Dark King and heir to the High Queen, is about to make a mistake that could cost his life. Fifth in the Wicked Lovely series.

Darkness Becomes Her, by Kelly Keaton (Feb. 22, Simon Pulse)
Ari can’t help feeling lost and alone. With teal eyes and freakish silver hair that can’t be changed or destroyed, Ari has always stood out. And after growing up in foster care, she longs for some understanding of where she came from and who she is.  Her search for answers uncovers just one message from her long dead mother: Run. Ari can sense that someone, or something, is getting closer than they should. But it’s impossible to protect herself when she doesn’t know what she’s running from or why she is being pursued. She knows only one thing: she must return to her birthplace of New 2, the lush rebuilt city of New Orleans. Upon arriving, she discovers that New 2 is very...different. First in a new Gods and Monsters series.

Deadly, by Julie Chibbaro (Feb. 22, Atheneum)
A mysterious outbreak of typhoid fever is sweeping New York. Could the city’s future rest with its most unlikely scientist?  If Prudence Galewski is ever going to get out of Mrs. Browning’s esteemed School for Girls, she must demonstrate her refinement and charm by securing a job appropriate for a young lady. But Prudence is fascinated by how the human body works and why it fails. She lands a position in a laboratory, where she is swept into an investigation of the fever bound to change medical history. From ritzy mansions to shady bars and rundown tenements, she explores every potential cause of the disease. But there’s no answer in sight—until the volatile Mary Mallon emerges. Dubbed “Typhoid Mary” by the press, Mary is an Irish immigrant who has worked as a cook in every home the fever has ravaged. Strangely, though, she hasn’t been sick a day in her life.

Dead Streets, by Tim Waggoner (Feb. 22, Angry Robot)
Matt  Richter’s going to pieces—literally. You've got to keep your head to survive in the teeming undead city known as Nekropolis. It's a pity crazed genius Victor Baron couldn't manage that. Now everyone wants a piece of him. Zombie detective Matt Richter and his glamorous she-vampire companion Devona are back on the case, with another wild and wonderful investigation. Second in the Nekropolis series.

Dead Waters, by Anton Strout (Feb. 22, Ace)
Simon Canderous, of the Department of Extraordinary Affairs, is used to fighting vampires and zombies. But the strange murder of a professor has everyone stumped. And it's making some people crazy. Seriously crazy. Fourth in the Simon Canderous urban fantasy series.

Deus Ex: The Icarus Effect, by James Swallow (Feb. 22, Del Rey)
In the near future, with physical augmentation gaining ground and nano-cybernetics only years away, the dawn of limitless human evolution is just beyond the horizon, and a secret corporate cabal of ruthless men intends to make sure that humankind stays under its control. But two people on opposite sides of the world are starting to ask questions that could get them killed.  Secret Service agent Anna Kelso has been suspended for investigating the shooting that claimed her partner’s life. Anna suspects that the head of a bio-augmentation firm was the real target, and against orders she’s turned up a few leads concerning a covert paramilitary force and a cadre of underground hackers. But the cover-up runs deep, and now there’s a target on her back. 

Which one of these do you most want to read—and would you most like to win? As always, to enter: +1 for comment, +1 for blog follow, +1 for Twitter follow @Suzanne_Johnson, and +1 for Tweet/Retweet. Stay tuned tomorrow and Wednesday for 18 more releasesand two more giveaways!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Retro Review & Giveaway: The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

Time for Retro Review Sunday, digging through the shelves for books from ages past that should be remembered. 

Today, I'm talking about a sorta-gothic, sorta-mystery book, which I was amazed to see one of you commenters reading on Friday *waves at Ryan*. I first read The Thirteenth Tale during Mardi Gras in early 2008, and I remember it was cold as a witch's mitt that year and I had the book with me as I sat on the parade route, waiting for the next parade to start because I couldn't put it down. It's one of those "gotta see what happens" books. Read on for a chance to win a copy! (And if, like Ryan, you already have The Thirteenth Tale or have read it, I'll substitute another retro read of my choice if you win.)

ABOUT THE BOOK: Sometimes, when you open the door to the past, what you confront is your destiny....Reclusive author Vida Winter, famous for her collection of twelve enchanting stories, has spent the past six decades penning a series of alternate lives for herself. Now old and ailing, she is ready to reveal the truth about her extraordinary existence and the violent and tragic past she has kept secret for so long. Calling on Margaret Lea, a young biographer troubled by her own painful history, Vida disinters the life she meant to bury for good. Margaret is mesmerized by the author's tale of gothic strangeness -- featuring the beautiful and willful Isabelle, the feral twins Adeline and Emmeline, a ghost, a governess,a topiary garden and a devastating fire. Together, Margaret and Vida confront the ghosts that have haunted them while becoming, finally, transformed by the truth themselves.

This books isn't really urban fantasy, although it is set in the real world (England) and has elements of the supernatural. I'd call it more gothic, just for the dark and mysterious feel to it. But the characters are fascinating, and the settings--from the bookstore to the run-down estate, from the present and into the past--are engrossing. If you haven't read it, you need to!

Want to win a copy of 
The Thirteenth Tale? As with all the retro reviews, this is a used copy, but is in great condition (no smoke, no pets, etc). As always, to enter: +1 for comment, +1 for blog follow, +1 for Twitter follow @Suzanne_Johnson, and +1 for Tweet/Retweet. If you have read The Thirteenth Tale and would rather I substitute another of my retro favorites, just let me know!