Friday, September 30, 2011

Review & Contest: NEVER BEEN BIT by Lydia Dare

Lydia Dare’s Regency Vampyre trilogy concludes her stories of Scottish witches who manage to tread the line between high society and the paranormal with Never Been Bit, which picks up the tale of witch Sorcha Ferguson, who’s determined to find her a werewolf...but it might not be in the cards. These paranormal romance novels (I’d rate the “heat” level as mild-to-moderate) can be read as stand-alones or in sequence.

Want to win a copy? Read on!

Lydia Dare's paranormal historical romances feature the hottest theme in paranormal combined with the most popular time period in historical romance. This is the third in a trilogy of vampire Regency romances, where the glittering world of English high society is a playground for the rich, titled, and undead. Vampire Alec McQuarrie's heart was broken long before it stopped
THE OFFICIAL BLURB: Lydia Dare's paranormal historical romances feature the hottest theme in paranormal combined with the most popular time period in historical romance. This is the third in a trilogy of vampire Regency romances, where the glittering world of English high society is a playground for the rich, titled, and undead. Vampire Alec McQuarrie's heart was broken long before it stopped beating. Now Alec's after-life is an endless search for pleasure. Young witch Sorcha Ferguson has come to London in search of a man, beast-or even a blood sucker-of her very own...

MY THOUGHTS: In this book, we have the young witch Sorcha, who is on the hunt for a husband, and has become quite taken with the werewolf (Lycan) brothers of her coven member’s husband. She’s visiting in Kent, after all, and what better time than to snag a wolfy soulmate? But her old friend Alec McQuarrie, who’s shown up on business, thinks his young friend (and when did she grow up so nicely?) needs to stay away from the slobbering canines—and he’s just the vampire to keep her safe. But who’s going to keep them safe from each other?
            This is a quick, light read with lots of humor. My only negative—and I know there are lots of folks who like it, so it’s not a negative for everyone—is the Scottish dialect gets heavy at times and I find myself slowing down to try and sound it out. And then I get to the point I want to skip over it. Doona ken what I mean? It’s well done, but just a personal quirk for me. If you like a nice Regency romp with a touch of the Highlands, humor, vampires, and werewolves, you can’t go wrong with this series.

Want to win a copy of Never Been Bit? You know the routine: +1 for comment, +1 for blog follow, +1 for Twitter follow @Suzanne_Johnson, and +1 for Tweet or Retweet or a share on Facebook!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

YA Vampire Review & Giveaway: DRINK, SLAY, LOVE by Sarah Beth Durst

Question: When it is really okay for a vampire to sparkle in  sunlight?
Answer: When she really isn't sparkling--she's just never seen sunlight on skin before, and she kinda got staked by a sparkly unicorn horn the night before.

We're looking at a great new YA vampire read today--Sarah Beth Durst's Drink, Slay, Love.  It's funny, it's feisty, and I devoured it in two sittings. I would've finished in one sitting but, well, I'm old and need sleep and have Ye Olde Day Jobbe that requires my presence at 7:30 a.m. Want to win a copy? Read on.

ABOUT THE BOOK:  Pearl is a sixteen-year-old vampire... fond of blood, allergic to sunlight, and mostly evil... until the night a sparkly unicorn stabs her through the heart with his horn. Oops.  Her family thinks she was attacked by a vampire hunter (because, obviously, unicorns don't exist), and they're shocked she survived. They're even more shocked when Pearl discovers she can now withstand the sun. But they quickly find a way to make use of her new talent. The Vampire King of New England has chosen Pearl's family to host his feast. If Pearl enrolls in high school, she can make lots of human friends and lure them to the King's feast -- as the entrees. The only problem? Pearl's starting to feel the twinges of a conscience. How can she serve up her new friends—especially the cute guy who makes her fangs ache—to be slaughtered? Then again, she's definitely dead if she lets down her family. What's a sunlight-loving vamp to do?

MY THOUGHTS: When I first read the blurb for the book I thought, interesting, but the unicorn thing? I dunno.... But Durst's savvy wit and humor keep this book from turning campy and, instead, we have a YA vampire tale for the rest of us (you know who we are, and Drink, Slay, Love pokes fun at some vampire novels just for our benefit). Pearl is funny and horrified as she learns to deal with the far-reaching reactions to her near-staking by the unicorn behind the Dairy Hut. Her family is hilarious--in a scary, utterly creepy sort of way--as a kind of modern vampire Addams Family (if you aren't old enough to know about the Addams Family, just take my word for it: dysfunctional and weird). She's torn between vampire boyfriend Jadrian, who liked her better before she saw sunlight, and human hottie Evan, who admits to having a savior complex--and he thinks Pearl needs saving. 

Want to win a copy of Drink, Slay, Love? In honor of the unicorn, tell me the most unusual critter you've come across in your paranormal reads. I'm going to vote for the were-gators in my own novelette Chenoire (still available as a free read, above, for a short time). Is that cheating? Okay, how about the were-snakes (ewwww) in the Anita Blake novels. 

You know the bit, with a little twist: four entries possible--+1 for comment, +1 for blog follow, +1 for Twitter follow:, and +1 for a contest Tweet or a Facebook mention to the Preternatura link:

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Preternatura Book Club: Halfway to the Grave, Chapters 9-10

 Welcome to this week’s “meeting” of the Preternatura Book Club! Today, we continue with the first book in Jeaniene Frost’s Night Huntress series, Halfway to the Grave.

Here’s how it works. Each week, I’ll post a summary (spoiler alert!) on two chapters, and we’ll chat about them. Try to minimize spoilers beyond what’s happened in the book we’ve read so far. You can read along, read ahead, or just stop by and read the summaries. After the Book Club has been up a few days, I’ll move it to archives so you can still come back and read. There’s a “Book Club” tab above. So, let’s get started!

When we last left Cat and Bones, they were in a vampire club—supposedly having a “date”—but there were human frat boys buying funny drinks for Cat, and Bones had just spotted his nemesis (and target) Hennessey coming into the club. Bones isn’t happy. He figures Hennessey has gotten word that the now-dead Sergio has gone missing. Cat wants to go for him, but Bones says no—he doesn’t want Hennessey anywhere near her. Hm. Getting a tad possessive are we, Bones? And Cat has a great line here: “Don’t kiss me like a woman if you’re going to treat me like a child.” You go, girl.

He gives in, and Cat sets up at the bar where Hennessey can see her. She still hasn’t told Bones that she’s feeling dizzy. Just to be safe, she orders a Coke. Soon, Hennessey spots her and “glides” over. She tells him she’s there with someone—a first date—but he’s a bit arrogant. As if on cue, Bones arrives. He and Hennessey have an ugly verbal exchange. As planned, Cat tells Bones to get lost (and gets in a nice dig about how he had to beg her for a date). Cat agrees to stay and have a drink with Hennessey, but the more gin she drinks, the dizzier she gets. She goes to the restroom and when she comes out, she spots Bones feeding, which kind of icks her out.

The creepy frat boys come up and ply her with more gin. She notes that it doesn’t taste the same, but still doesn’t put two and two together. They start hassling her to go outside with them, but she pushes them away. Finally, she and Hennessey leave and she realizes something is wrong. She can’t even find the words to protest when Hennessey decides to take her home with him—and she can’t remember what it is she’s supposed to do to call for help. Fortunately, she needs to throw up, so he stops the car and she spills out the door. He drags her into the woods (can’t get vomit on his car seats, of course), partially undresses her, and starts to feed. Just before she loses consciousness, she remembers to push the panic button on her watch.

She comes to sprawled on the ground with Bones holding her up with one hand and letting the blood from his other arm run into her mouth. Hennessey’s bodyguard, who was hiding in the trunk, is dead, but the man himself has escaped. Bones realizes she’s been drugged—and she knows it wasn’t Hennessey but the frat boys. Cat passes out again and when she awakens, she’s on the ground and Bones is burying the bodyguard. He’s shirtless (she wearing his), and she pauses for a moment of admiration.

She wakes up again, and realizes she’s in bed with Bones again—and he’s naked, which freaks her out. He tells her after he dropped her off at the cave, he went back to have words with the frat boys—they’d drugged another girl and killed her. So he killed them.
Cat gives him a big speech about how she really only kissed him the night before because she was drunk, and she knows it doesn’t mean anything to him. He throws her out.

So, how long is Cat going to hold out? She’s kind of got an Anita Blake love-him-hate-him-hate-him-love him thing a la Jean Claude going on. Well, except she’s a lot more likeable than Anita. Still, get over it, babe. I have a feeling we’ll be seeing Hennessey again pretty soon.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Rebecca Zanetti Weighs In on Bad Boy Love (& Win a Signed Copy of Fated)

I love a good bad boy, don’t you? Today, I’m welcoming author Rebecca Zanetti, who’s pondering why women love bad boys (with or without fangs).  By day, Rebecca is a college professor; by night, she writes about, well, some bad boys with her Dark Protector series from Kensington Brava.

The first book in the series, FATED, is about an overbearing vampire who thinks he knows what’s best for everyone—especially his mate. It was hailed as a recommended spring read from Publisher’s Weekly. The second book, CLAIMED, will be released on Nov. 1. You can find out more at Rebecca’s website, In the meantime, read on to see how to win a signed copy of Fated, so you’ll be all caught up by the time Claimed is released!

Why We Love Our Bad Boys
by Rebecca Zanetti

I’d like to say a huge thank you to Suzanne for having me over today to talk about paranormal heroes. Years ago, the vampire/shifter/demon was the clear bad guy in the book. Now, well, they’re the heroes.  Why?

I think it’s the attraction of the anti-hero.  I mean, a vampire is a clear anti-hero.  He lives by his own rules, he kills when necessary (and his idea of ‘necessary’ might be different than ours,) and he often has little interest in humanity.  But there is something in us, in our deep-down romantic selves that wants to save the bad guy from himself. To be the one who sees the good and somehow makes the hero see the good in himself. 

Don’t believe me?

Well now. Let me ask you this. Have you seen “Phantom of the Opera”? If so…didn’t you root for the Phantom? Just a little? Yeah, he was murderous and probably insane. But there was something so dangerous and sexy about him. Could the right woman save him?

Or, who was sexier—good Angel or bad Angel? (Yes, we’re going back to Buffy and Angel times here).  But really.  Good Angel was sad, brooding, and even full of self-hatred. Bad Angel was, well, funny. Sarcastic, dangerous, and sexy as hell. He knew what he wanted and he went out to get it.  Yeah, he had to go.  But while he was around, the show was at its best.

If you were living in “Star Wars” times…who would you choose? Hans Solo or Luke Skywalker? Luke was a good guy—honorable—selfless—sacrificing. Hans wasn’t. Yet when it comes to sexiness, there’s no comparison. Why is that? It’s because an anti-hero is the ultimate bad boy. And we romantics sure like the bad boys, don’t we? 

How about a bad boy with a gun? If you haven’t seen Timothy Olyphant in “Justified” yet, you really must. He’s a U.S. Marshal who shoots a lot of people in ‘justified’ situations. Yeah, he makes his own situations.

Rick Blain in “Casablanca” is often hailed as an anti-hero. Sure, he’s selfish, sarcastic and rude. But he’s revealed as a classic bad boy with a heart of gold. Who makes the ultimate sacrifice for good.

So what is it about the bad boy? He breaks the law, he makes his own laws, he even disregards the law.  But…when he loves…he does so completely. The bad guy, the anti-hero, when he falls in love, his incredible power is focused completely and absolutely on that one woman. Her safety, her happiness, becomes his goal.

Now that’s sexy.

Thank you, Rebecca! Want to win a signed copy of Fated? (Yes, you do—you really do.) Tell us your favorite anti-hero. Since you all finally strong-armed me into reading Jeaniene Frost’s Night Huntress series, seems like I’m very fond of a vampire named Bones these days (don’t worry, Eric, I haven’t forgotten about you). Who’s your favorite?

 You know the drill: +1 for comment, +1 for blog follow, +1 for Twitter follow @Suzanne_Johnson, and +1 for Tweet or Retweet.

Monday, September 26, 2011

New Releases Sept. 26-30 & Reader's Choice Contest

After a couple of light release weeks, it’s time for another big blast of new books in all our favorite speculative fiction genres, both adult and YA. (And next week is huge, too!) I’m also including a few titles from earlier in the month that slipped by me. (Shame on you, titles—shouldn’t be slipping by me.) An asterisk* after a title means I already know I'll have a review coming soon and will also be doing a giveaway of that individual title.

As always, an international contest, so make your wish list and read on to enter!

Abarat: Absolute Midnight, by Clive Barker (Sept. 27, HarperCollins)
Abarat is a vast archipelago where every island is a different hour of the day—from The Great Head that sits in the mysterious twilight waters of Eight in the Evening to the sunlit wonders of Three in the Afternoon, where dragons roam, to the island of Midnight, ruled over by the evil Mater Motley. But Mater plans to create a darkness so complete that it blots out every glimpse of the light and vanquishes the sun, moon, and stars from the Abarat, ending all hope and happiness. Only one person can stop her—Candy Quackenbush from Chickentown, U.S.A. Third in the Abarat series. YA

All Men of Genius*,by Lev AC Rosen(Sept. 27, Tor)
In an alternate, steampunked London, Violet Adams wants to attend Illyria College, a widely renowned school for the most brilliant up-and-coming scientific minds. The school is run by the founder’s son, Ernest, who has held to his father’s policy that the small, exclusive college remain male-only. Violet sees her opportunity when her father departs for America. She disguises herself as her twin brother, Ashton, and gains entry. But keeping the secret of her gender won’t be easy, not with her friend Jack’s constant habit of pulling pranks, and especially not when the duke’s young ward, Cecily, starts to develop feelings for “Ashton.” science fiction/steampunk

Alterant,by Sherrilyn Kenyon and Dianna Love(Sept. 27, Pocket Star)
On the heels of saving mankind from destruction at the hands of the Medb coven, Evalle attempts to convince the Tribunal that she is an Alterant who can be trusted around humans. But the gods and goddess ruling over this Tribunal twist words she’d uttered in the heat of combat and hold her responsible for three dangerous Alterants that escaped their prisons. Unsure that she can condemn another Alterant to a life she’d die before accepting, Evalle takes on an impossible task only to learn that the entire future of the Beladors rides on her success. Second in the Belador Code series. paranormal romance

A Beautiful Dark,by Jocelyn Davies(Sept. 27, HarperTeen)
On the night of Skye Parker’s seventeenth birthday, she meets two enigmatic strangers. Asher is dark and wild, while Devin is fair and calm. Their sudden appearance sends Skye’s life into a tailspin. She has no idea what they want, or why they seem to follow her every move—only that their presence coincides with a flurry of strange events. Soon she begins to doubt not just the identity of the two boys, but also the truth about her own past. YA

Bloodstone,by Nancy Holzner(Sept. 27, Ace)
Boston's Back Bay district is known for high society, not lowlifes. So when mutilated human bodies begin turning up in the area, the entire city takes notice. And even though there’s no real evidence pointing to a paranormal culprit, the deaths are straining relations between human and inhuman residents. As the bodies pile up, demon-hunter Vicky Vaughn investigates, only to find that the creature behind the carnage is after much more than just blood. Third in the Deadtown series. urban fantasy

Cast in Ruin,by Michelle Sagara(Sept. 20, Luna)
Seven corpses are discovered in the streets of a Dragon's fief. All identical, down to their clothing. Kaylin Neya is assigned to discover who they were, who killed them—and why. Is the evil lurking at the borders of Elantra preparing to cross over? At least the investigation delays her meeting with the Dragon Emperor. And as the shadows grow longer over the fiefs, Kaylin must use every skill she's ever learned to save the people she's sworn to protect. fantasy

Cold Fire,by Kate Elliott(Sept. 26, Orbit)
Cat and her cousin are key players in a drama of dragons and politics. Everyone wants something from them, including the warlord who’s conquering all Europa and the Cold Mages who dare defy him. But the Master of the Wild Hunt is most dangerous of all. He will command Cat’s loyalty using what she holds most dear. Second in the Spiritwalker Trilogy. *some cover love from me on this one*  fantasy

Conquer the Dark,by L.A. Banks(Sept. 27, Pocket)
Three months ago, Celeste Jackson was pulled into a supernatural world by her guardian angel, Azrael, only to learn that not only was he super hot, but he was also the Angel of Death. Now, Azrael’s angel brother, Bath Kol, receives a disturbing vision. Those members of the fallen that were conquered have found a key to rebirth within the sacred tombs of Egypt. Now able to raise their full armies of darkness against the small twenty-one angel battalion charged with protecting the Remnant, evil has the advantage—unless Celeste, one of only three half-angel/half-human hybrids left on the planet, can sway the balance. L.A. Banks passed away on August 2. urban fantasy

Creatures: Thirty Years of Monsters, by Clive Barker, Christopher Golden, Joe R. Lansdale and Robert R. McCammon (Sept. 27, Prime Books)
Monsters: As old as the oldest of stories, as new as our latest imaginings. From the ancient stone corridors of the labyrinth to the graffitied alleyways of the contemporary metropolis, they stalk the shadows. Creatures features the best monster fiction from the past thirty years as well as contemporary authors such as Clive Barker, Joe R. Lansdale, Kelly Link, China Mieville, and Cherie Priest. urban fantasy/horror

The Darkest Surrender, by Gena Showalter (Sept. 27, HQN)
Possessed by the demon of Defeat, Strider cannot lose a challenge without suffering unimaginable pain. Until Kaia, an enchanting Harpy, tempts him to the edge of surrender. Known among her people as The Disappointment, Kaia must bring home the gold in the Harpy Games or die. Strider is a distraction she can’t afford because he has an agenda of his own. Eighth in the Lords of the Underworld series. *more cover love from me on this one. niiiiiice * paranormal romance

Darkness Falling,by Peter Crowther(Sept. 27, Angry Robot)
The zombie-monster onslaught is heralded one day by a predawn flash of unearthly light that cuts off Jesman’s Bend from communication with the outside world. When four employees of local radio station KMRT investigate, they find the town mysteriously depopulated, apparently in the middle of regular routines. Familiar folk reappear shortly afterward, all wearing concealing sunglasses and gloves and driven by malignant alien motives revealed when they descend en masse upon the terrified foursome. First in a new series. urban fantasy

Darkness Unbound, by Keri Arthur (Sept. 27, Dell)
Being half werewolf and half Aedh, Risa Jones can enter the twilight realms between life and death and see the reapers, supernatural beings that collect the souls of the dead. But she soon makes a terrifying discovery: Some sinister force is stealing souls, preventing the dead from ever knowing the afterlife. Reapers escort souls—not snatch them—but Risa is still unnerved when a reaper shadows her in search of someone Risa has never met: her own father, an Aedh priest, who is rumored to be tampering with the gates of hell for a dark purpose. First in the Dark Angels series. urban fantasy

The Dark of the Moon, by Tracy Barrett (Sept. 20, Harcourt Children’s)
Ariadne is destined to become a goddess of the moon. She leads a lonely life, filled with hours of rigorous training by stern priestesses. Her former friends no longer dare to look at her, much less speak to her. All that she has left are her mother and her beloved, misshapen brother Asterion, who must be held captive below the palace for his own safety. So when a ship arrives one spring day, bearing a tribute of slaves from Athens, Ariadne sneaks out to meet it. Ariadne finds herself drawn to Theseus, the son of the King of Athens. Yet Theseus is doomed to die as an offering to the Minotaur, that monster beneath the palace—unless he can kill the beast first. And that "monster" is Ariadne’s brother. YA

Daughter of Smoke and Bone, by Laini Taylor (Sept. 27, Little, Brown)
Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky. In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grown dangerously low. And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war. Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real; she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious “errands,” she speaks many languages—not all of them human, and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. * Liking this cover and finding it creepy all at the same time* YA

Dead Bad Things,by Gary McMahon(Sept. 27, Angry Robot)
He sought to flee his tragic past, but when Thomas Usher hears a clockwork voice on the phone and sees ever-more disturbing visions in a derelict warehouse, he realizes that he has to return home—for the sake of his own sanity. Meanwhile, a deadly figure from Usher's past threatens to undermine the very fabric of reality. A Thomas Usher novel. urban fantasy/horror

Dead Six,by Larry Correia and Mike Kupari(Sept. 27, Baen)
Michael Valentine, veteran and former member of an elite private military company, has been recruited by the government to conduct a secret counter-terror operation in the Persian Gulf nation of Zubara. The unit is called Dead Six. Their mission is to take the fight to the enemy and not get caught. Lorenzo, assassin and thief extraordinaire, is being blackmailed by the world’s most vicious crime lord. His team has to infiltrate the Zubaran terrorist network and pull off an impossible heist or his family will die. When Dead Six compromises his objective, Lorenzo has a new job: Find and kill Valentine. science fiction

Debris, by Jo Anderton (Sept. 27, Angry Robot)
After being exposed to radioactive particles as part of a cleanup gang in the depths of space, Tanyana is told she has developed a hitherto-unseen ability to understand the apparently sentient stuff. Powerless, penniless and scarred, Tanyana must adjust to a new life collecting magical garbage—“debris”—but starts to realize debris is more important than anyone could guess. science fiction

Empire of Gold,by Andy McDermott(Sept. 27, Bantam)
Nina Wilde and Eddie Chase possess extraordinary pieces of an ancient puzzle that leads them from Singapore to the jungles of South America. Inside a storm of political and drug warfare, Nina is getting close to one of history’s greatest secrets: the mythical golden city of El Dorado. As one discovery unveils another, Nina realizes that a legendary Incan leader made a deal with his Spanish captors—and hid forever the real El Dorado. Now, Nina and Eddie face a maze of death traps and betrayals, including one that reaches into Eddie’s past in Afghanistan, even into his own family in England. urban fantasy

The Faerie Ring,by Kiki Hamilton(Sept. 27, Tor Teen)
The year is 1871, and Tiki has been making a home for herself and her family of orphans in a deserted hideaway adjoining Charing Cross Station in central London. Their only means of survival is by picking pockets. One December night, Tiki steals a ring, and sets off a chain of events that could lead to all-out war with the Fey. For the ring belongs to Queen Victoria, and it binds the rulers of England and the realm of Faerie to peace. With the ring missing, a rebel group of faeries hopes to break the treaty with dark magic and blood—Tiki’s blood. YA

Ganymede,by Cherie Priest(Sept. 27, Tor)
The air pirate Andan Cly is going straight. Well, straighter. Although he’s happy to run alcohol guns wherever the money’s good, he doesn’t think the world needs more sap, or its increasingly ugly side-effects. But becoming legit is easier said than done, and Cly’s first legal gig—a supply run for the Seattle Underground—will be paid for by sap money. New Orleans is not Cly’s first pick for a shopping run. He loved the Big Easy once, back when he also loved a beautiful mixed-race prostitute named Josephine Early—but that was a decade ago, and he hasn’t looked back since. Jo’s still thinking about him, though, or so he learns when he gets a telegram about a peculiar piloting job. It’s a chance to complete two lucrative jobs at once, one he can’t refuse. Fourth in the Clockwork Century series. science fiction

The Highest Frontier*, by Joan Slonczewski (Sept. 13, Tor)
One of the most respected writers of hard SF, it has been more than ten years since Joan Slonczewski's last novel. Now she returns with a spectacular tour de force of the college of the future, in orbit. Jennifer Ramos Kennedy, a girl from a rich and politically influential family (a distant relation descended from the famous Kennedy clan), whose twin brother has died in an accident and left her bereft, is about to enter her freshman year at Frontera College. Frontera is an exciting school built with media money, and a bit from tribal casinos too, dedicated to educating the best and brightest of this future world. We accompany Jenny as she proceeds through her early days at school, encountering surprises and wonders and some unpleasant problems—namely, an invasive alien species that threaten the Earth’s surviving ecosystem. *seriously cool cover! * science fiction

House of Fear, ed. by Jonathan Oliver(Sept. 27, Solaris)
The tread on the landing outside the door, when you know you are the only one in the house. The wind whistling through the eves, carrying the voices of the dead. The figure glimpsed briefly through the cracked window of a derelict house. Editor Jonathan Oliver brings horror home with a collection of haunted house stories by some of the finest writers working in the horror genre, including Joe R. Lansdale, Sarah Pinborough, Lisa Tuttle, Christopher Priest, Adam L. G. Nevill, Nicholas Royle, Chaz Brenchley, Christopher Fowler, Gary Kilworth, Weston Ochse, Eric Brown, Tim Lebbon, Nina Allan, Stephen Volk, Paul Meloy and more. horror

The Hum and the Shiver*, by Alex Bledsoe (Sept. 27, Tor)
No one knows where the Tufa came from, or how they ended up in the mountains of East Tennessee. Dark-haired and enigmatic, they live quietly in the hills and valleys of Cloud County, their origins lost to history. But there are clues in their music, hidden in the songs they have passed down for generations. Private Bronwyn Hyatt, a true daughter of the Tufa, has returned from Iraq, wounded in body and spirit, but her troubles are far from over. Cryptic omens warn of impending tragedy, while a restless “haint” has followed her home from the war. *cool cover--can't wait to read this one* urban fantasy

In Blood We Trust, by Christine Cody(Sept. 27, Ace)
They are monsters: Mariah--the reluctant rebel who has become a god to others of her kind. And Gabriel, the vampire, who loves her at his own peril. Together, they freed the unhuman and inhuman from captivity, to lead them in reclaiming the land. But even Mariah can’t keep the newly liberated monsters from quarreling among themselves. Third in the Bloodlands series. urban fantasy

Lost in Time, by Melissa de la Cruz(Sept. 27, Hyperion)
After their beautiful yet brief bonding ceremony in Italy, Schuyler Van Alen and Jack Force are forced to separate. To fulfill the Van Alen Legacy, Schuyler travels to Alexandria to search for Catherine of Siena and the Gate of Promise. But Schuyler quickly discovers that everything she believed about the Gate to be wrong. Meanwhile, Jack makes the difficult decision to return to New York to face his twin and former bondmate, Mimi. With all roads leading to Hell, Mimi learns that not all love stories have happy endings. Sixth in the Blue Bloods series. YA

The Mephisto Covenant*, by Trinity Faegen (Sept. 27, Egmont)
Sasha is desperate to find out who murdered her father. When getting the answer means pledging her soul to Eryx, she unlocks a secret that puts her in grave danger—Sasha is Anabo, a daughter of Eve, and Eryx’s biggest threat. A son of Hell, immortal, and bound to Earth forever, Jax looks for redemption in the Mephisto Covenant—God’s promise he will find peace in the love of an Anabo. After a thousand years, he’s finally found the girl he’s been searching for—if she’ll give up her mortal life. *pretty, pretty cover* YA

A Monster Calls,by Patrick Ness, inspired by an idea from Siobhan Dowd (Sept. 27, Candlewick)
At seven minutes past midnight, thirteen-year-old Conor wakes to find a monster outside his bedroom window. But it isn’t the monster Conor’s been expecting— he’s been expecting the one from his nightmare, the nightmare he’s had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments. The monster in his backyard is different. It’s ancient. And wild. And it wants something from Conor. Something terrible and dangerous. It wants the truth. From the final idea of award-winning author Siobhan Dowd— whose premature death from cancer prevented her from writing it herself — Patrick Ness has spun a novel of mischief, loss, and monsters both real and imagined. YA

The Name of the Star, by Maureen Johnson(Sept. 29, Putnam Juvenile)
The day Louisiana teenager Rory Deveaux arrives in London marks a memorable occasion. For Rory, it's the start of a new life at a London boarding school. But for many, this will be remembered as the day a series of brutal murders broke out across the city, gruesome crimes mimicking the horrific Jack the Ripper events of more than a century ago. Soon "Rippermania" takes hold of modern-day London, and the police are left with few leads and no witnesses. Except one. Rory spotted the man police believe to be the prime suspect—and she’s become his next target. YA

Red Phoenix*,by Kylie Chan(Sept. 27, Harper Voyager)
When Emma Donahoe took the position of nanny to John Chen’s daughter Simone, she never expected to be caring for the child of a Chinese god, and she didn’t expect that demons would want him dead. Nor has moving from nanny to partner in his heavenly realm made Emma’s life any easier. Now a powerful race of demons has been created to hunt her and her family from Hong Kong to Europe. And she and Simone have become targets—pawns to be used in a deadly celestial power play. Book two in the Dark Heavens series. U.S. release. urban fantasy

The Savage Knight, by Paul Lewis(Sept. 13, Abaddon)
Sir Dodinal the Savage is more at home in the wild forest than in the tilting yard or the banquet hall. Keenly attuned to the natural world, but burdened with a terrible rage, he turns his back on Camelot to find peace, or a just death. In a quiet village on the Welsh border, Dodinal believes he may have finally found a home, but the village is struck by child-stealing raiders from the hills, and he must take up arms once again in his new friends’ aid. His quest will take him into the belly of darkness, as the terrible secret hidden in the hills comes to light. *uh, is it just me, or is this cover CREEPY? * fantasy

Sexiest Vampire Alive, by Kerrelyn Sparks (Sept. 27, Avon)
When a video reveals to the world that vampires live among us, it’s up to “young” vamp Gregori Holstein to persuade the U.S. government to declare the video a hoax. But first the president wants a favor, one that requires Gregori to spend forty-eight hours in very close contact with the First Daughter. Abby Tucker would rather spend her nights in a lab than attend her father’s state dinners. She’s dedicated her life to finding a cure that will save her dying mother and needs only two more ingredients. To find them, she’ll have to venture into the most dangerous region of the world—with a vampire. paranormal romance

Shifting,by Bethany Wiggins(Sept. 27, Walker)
After bouncing between foster homes, Magdalene Mae is transferred to what should be her last one, in the tiny town of Silver City, New Mexico. She’s determined to stay out of trouble and be normal. Agreeing to go to the prom with Bridger O’Connell is a good first step. But even in her new home danger lurks, waiting in the shadows to pounce. They are the Skinwalkers of Navajo legend, who have traded their souls to become the animal whose skin they wear—and shapeshifter Maggie is their next target. *oh, oh, cover adoration, in an almost-gross way* YA

Sins of the Angels,by Linda Poitevin(Sept. 27, Ace)
Homicide detective Alexandra Jarvis answers to no one. Especially not to the arrogant new partner assigned to her in the middle of a gruesome serial killer case. Aramael is a Power—a hunter of the Fallen Angels. A millennium ago, he sentenced his own brother to eternal exile for crimes against humanity. Now his brother is back and wreaking murderous havoc in the mortal realm. To find him, Aramael must play second to a human police officer who wants nothing to do with him and whose very bloodline threatens both his mission and his soul. First in a new Grigori Legacy series. urban fantasy

Slayers, by C.J. Hill(Sept. 27, Feiwel & Friends)
Dragons exist. They’re ferocious. And they’re smart: Before they were killed off by slayer-knights, they rendered a select group of eggs dormant, so their offspring would survive. Only a handful of people know about this, let alone believe it – these “Slayers” are descended from the original knights, and are now a diverse group of teens that includes Tori, a smart but spoiled senator’s daughter who didn’t sign up to save the world. The dragon eggs have fallen into the wrong hands. The Slayers must work together to stop the eggs from hatching. They will fight; they will fall in love. But will they survive? YA

Spider’s Revenge,by Jennifer Estep(Sept. 27, Pocket)
Killing used to be my regular gig, after all. Gin Blanco, aka the Spider, assassin-for-hire. And I was very, very good at it. Now, I’m ready to make the one hit that truly matters: Mab Monroe, the dangerous Fire elemental who murdered my family when I was thirteen. Oh, I don’t think the mission will be easy, but turns out it’s a bit more problematic than expected. The bitch knows I’m coming for her. Good thing I’ve got my powerful Ice and Stone magic—and my irresistible lover, Owen Grayson—to watch my back. urban fantasy

Steel and Other Stories, by Richard Matheson (Sept. 27, Tor)
Imagine a future in which the sport of boxing has gone high-tech. Human boxers have been replaced by massive humanoid robots. And former champions of flesh-and-blood are obsolete. Richard Matheson’s classic short story is just one of over a dozen tales in this collection, which includes two new stories that have never appeared in any previous Matheson collection. Also featured is a satirical fantasy, “The Splendid Source,” that was turned into an episode of The Family Guy. science fiction

A Thief in the Night*, by David Chandler (Sept. 27, Harper Voyager)
As a thief, Malden is unparalleled in the Free City of Ness, and happy there. But by saving the life of the knight Croy, Malden has bound himself to an ancient, noble brotherhood, and he now possesses one of only seven Ancient Blades capable of destroying demons. Malden fears accompanying Croy and the barbarian Morget on their quest to dispatch a foul creature of nightmare, but with an assassin on his heels, the young cutpurse is left with no choice. Second in the Ancient Blades series. fantasy

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, by Michelle Hodkin (Sept. 27, Simon &  Schuster Children’s)
Mara Dyer doesn’t think life can get any stranger than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there. It can. She believes there must be more to the accident she can’t remember that killed her friends and left her mysteriously unharmed. There is. She doesn’t believe that after everything she’s been through, she can fall in love. She’s wrong. YA

Vacation, by Matthew Costello (Sept. 27, Thomas Dunne)
After a global crisis causes crops to fail and species to disappear, something even more deadly happens. Masses around the world suddenly became predators, feeding off their own kind. These 'Can Heads' grow to such a threat that fences, gated compounds, and SWAT-style police protection become absolutely necessary to live. And after one attack leaves NYPD cop Jack Murphy wounded and his partner dead, Jack takes his wife and kids on a vacation. Far up north, to the Paterville Family Camp, a fortress-like compound in the mountains, where families can still swim and take boats out on a lake. At first, it's idyllic. But Jack slowly comes to realize that there's something else going on at Paterville Family Camp...and when he makes a gruesome discovery, he will be forced to get his family out, no matter who...or what...stands in his way. science fiction/horror

Where All the Dead Lie, by J.T. Ellison (Sept. 20, Mira)
In her showdown with the murderous Pretender, a bullet taken at close range severed the connection between Taylor's thoughts and speech. Trapped in silence, she is surrounded by ghosts--of the past, of friendships and trusts lost. When Memphis Highsmythe offers Taylor his home in the Scottish highlands to recuperate, her fiancé John Baldwin can't refuse her excitement, no matter his distrust of the man. At first, Memphis' drafty castle seems the perfect place for healing. But shortly the house itself surrounds her like a menacing presence. As Taylor's sense of isolation and vulnerability grows, so, too, does her grip on reality. PTSD. Pills. Ghosts. Grudges. Someone or something is coming after Taylor. But is she being haunted by the dead...or hunted by the living? urban fantasy

Wisdom’s Kiss,by Catherine Gilbert Murdock (Sept. 13, Houghton Mifflin)
Princess Wisdom, known as Dizzy, longs for a life of adventure beyond the staid old
kingdom of Montagne. Tips, a soldier, longs to keep his true identity a secret. Fortitude, an orphaned maid, longs only for Tips. These three souls might possibly attain their dreams while preserving their empire from ruin — if only they can bear one another’s company long enough to come up with a plan. Magic, cunning, and one very special cat join forces in this tale told in diaries, letters, encyclopedia entries, and even a play, all stitched together. YA

Wizard Undercover, by K.E. Mills (Sept. 27, Orbit)
Wedding bells are ringing for the constantly battling nations of Splotze and Borovnik, and the upcoming royal nuptials could at last put an end to their dangerous hostilities. But in a development that hardly bodes well, one of Gerald's fellow janitors goes missing after delivering a dire warning of danger surrounding the marriage treaty. So Gerald must embark on a dangerous mission to uncover the troublemakers before wedded bliss becomes international war. Fourth in the Rogue Agent series. fantasy

Whew! See anything you want? So…International Reader’s Choice―you tell me. Just a note: if you like a title but it isn’t the first in a series, you can always request the first in that series instead. As always, four entries possible and please include your e-mail: +1 for comment, +1 for blog follow, +1 for Twitter follow @Suzanne_Johnson, and +1 for a Tweet or RT about the contest. Now….go!