Sunday, February 07, 2010

Books in the Mail (W/E 02/06/2010)

All the March Releases from the Penguin Imprints arrived on Monday, a big box of Random House’s SF/UF/F releases for 2/23/2010 arrived on Thursday, with Black Library’s 2/23 releases dropping on Friday, leaving me adrift in a sea of books, a few of which I’ve received in ARC form in the past:

Cat’s Claw (Book 2 of Calliope Reaper-Jones) by Amber Benson (Ace Paperback 03/02/2010) – I tried reading the first book in this series last year but found the protagonist an utterly annoying twit, which was made even worse because it was a first person narrative.

Calliope Reaper-Jones is Death's Daughter. She owes a debt to Cerberus, the three headed dog that guards the gate's of hell-a debt that involves a trip to Purgatory, Las Vegas, ancient Egypt, and a discount department store that's more frightening than any supernatural creature she'll ever encounter

Shalador's Lady (A Black Jewels novel) by Anne Bishop (Roc, Hardcover 03/02/2010) – Second book in a trilogy, which is part of a larger, popular series

Return to the "intense...erotic...and imaginative" (Nancy Kress) world of the national bestselling Black Jewels novels in this sequel to The Shadow Queen.

For years the Shalador people suffered the cruelties of the corrupt Queens who ruled them, forbidding their traditions, punishing those who dared show defiance, and forcing many more into hiding. Now that their land has been cleansed of tainted Blood, the Rose-Jeweled Queen, Lady Cassidy, makes it her duty to restore it and prove her ability to rule.

But even if Lady Cassidy succeeds, other dangers await. For the Black Widows see visions within their tangled webs that something is coming that will change the land-and Lady Cassidy-forever...

Neverland by Douglas Clegg (Vanguard Press, Hardcover 04/16/2010) –I really enjoyed Isis, by Clegg last year. This is a reissue of one of his early novels, which has garnered some nice praise over the years.

Beau Jackson and his cousin Sumter were only six when they first met. But even then, Beau recognized his cousin's obsession with evil. Every summer, Beau and Sumter vacation with their families on the dreary bluffs of Gull Island, and every year Beau watches as his cousin grows increasingly more powerful. But nothing prepares him for the terror that emerges when Sumter introduces him to Neverland, the place where grownups are forbidden and Sumter reigns supreme. In Neverland, the boys and their sisters escape their parents' authority, only to discover a nightmarish world of garish rituals, evil games, and ultimate bloodshed.

Red Inferno: 1945 by Robert Conroy (Ballantine Paperback 02/23/2010) – Nazis and the US team up against Russia in this alternate history by Conroy.

In April 1945, the Allies are charging toward Berlin from the west, the Russians from the east. For Hitler, the situation is hopeless. But at this turning point in history, another war is about to explode.

To win World War II, the Allies dealt with the devil. Joseph Stalin helped FDR, Churchill, and Truman crush Hitler. But what if “Uncle Joe” had given in to his desire to possess Germany and all of Europe? In this stunning novel, Robert Conroy picks up the history of the war just as American troops cross the Elbe into Germany. Then Stalin slams them with the brute force of his enormous Soviet army.

From American soldiers and German civilians trapped in the ruins of Potsdam to U.S. military men fighting behind enemy lines, from a scholarly Russia expert who becomes a secret player in a new war to Stalin’s cult of killers in Moscow, this saga captures the human face of international conflict. With the Soviets vastly outnumbering the Americans—but undercut by chronic fuel shortages and mistrust—Eisenhower employs a brilliant strategy of retreat to buy critical time for air superiority. Soon, Truman makes a series of controversial decisions, enlisting German help and planning to devastate the massive Red Army by using America’s ultimate and most secret weapon.

Muse and Reverie by Charles de Lint (Tor, Hardcover December 2009) – De Lint’s most enduring creation is his Newford milieu and this is his latest collection of stories set in the world.

Muse and Reverie is an all-new collection of short fiction in Charles de Lint’s “Newford” universe—the fifth such collection since 1993, and the first since 2002. Previous collections are Dreams Underfoot, The Ivory and the Horn, the World Fantasy Award-winning Memory and Dream, and Tapping the Dream Tree.

The city of Newford could be any city in North America, bursting with music, commerce, art, love and hate, and of course magic. Magic in the sidewalk cracks, myth at the foundations of its great buildings, enchantment in the spaces between its people. In this new collection, de Lint explores that magic and those spaces, shedding new light on the people and places that readers of novels like Moonheart, Forests of the Heart, The Onion Girl, and The Mystery of Grace have come to love.

Soul Hunter (Warhammer 40,000) by Aaron Dembski-Bowden (Black Library Mass Market Paperback 02/23/2010) – Dembski-Bowden seems to be one of the hot new young writers in BL’s stable, this is his second of three books for them in less than a year

The Night Lords are one of the most feared legions of Chaos Space Marines. Remorseless hunters and killers, they relentlessly battle the Imperium of Man to avenge the death of their Primarch Konrad Curze. Their dark crusade takes them to the valuable world of Crythe Primus, where they will fight Imperial forces to claim the planet. But will the allegiance with their cohorts in the Black Legion last long enough for them to be victorious?

A Magic of Nightfall (The Nessantico Cycle Book Two) by S.L. Farrell (DAW Paperback 3/02/2010)– I received this as a hardcover last year, a month after receiving the paperback of A Magic of Twilight, which got some good reviews and is currently the Book of the Month in SFFWorld’s Fantasy Book Club:

Second in a brilliant new fantasy series.

A masterwork of fantasy, The Nessantico Cycle is the epic tale of an empire at its height, yet poised on the brink of what could be a devastating descent into ruin. Told from the viewpoints of numerous characters, it is a sweeping saga of murder and magic (portrayed both as a powerful religion and a forbidden art), deception and betrayal, Machiavellian politics, star-crossed lovers, and a realm facing war on every front.

Xombies: Apocalypticon by Walter Greatshell (Ace Paperback 03/02/2010) – Sequel to Greatshell’s Xombies: Apocalypse Blues, which was re-released last year.

XOMBIES: APOCALYPTICON is the continuing saga of the USS No-Name, an Ohio-Class submarine converted to a refugee vessel during the worldwide plague of "Agent X"--a disease that changes women into raving, homicidal Typhoid Marys.

Leading the fight to survive are Dr. Alice Langhorne, whose research helped spawn the plague; Commander Harvey Coombs, Navy captain minus a navy; Sal DeLuca, BMX champ facing the ultimate Xtreme sport; and troubled teenager Lulu Pangloss, who died and was born again.

Facing off against them are mutinous shipmates, yoga-crazed prison convicts, hostile mercenaries...and the all-encompassing threat of the Xombies themselves.

Deep in the Woods (Vampire Babylon #6) by Chris Marie Green (Ace Trade Paperback 03/03/2009) – Sexy Vampire Hunter showing midriff in tanktop hunting vamps in Hollywood. This is the sixth book in a series:

With the female master of the London Underground in her hands, stuntwoman-turned¬vampire hunter Dawn Madison must fight off her followers, a vicious pack of undead teenage girls who put the vamps Dawn had to deal with in Los Angeles to shame...

How to Defeat Your Own Clone: and Other Tips for Surviving the Biotech Revolution by Kyle Kurpinski and Terry D. Johnson (Bantam Trade Paperback 02/23/2010) – Nonfiction / humorous approach to impending dooms of Science Fiction

Send in the clones! On second thought, maybe not.

Find out the answers to these and other burning questions in this funny, informative, and ingenious book from two bioengineering experts who show you how to survive—and thrive—in a new age of truly weird science.
For decades, science fiction has been alerting us to the wonders and perils of our biotech future—from the prospects of gene therapy to the pitfalls of biological warfare. Now that future looms before us. Don’t panic! This book is all you need to prepare for the new world that awaits us, providing indispensable cautionary advice on topics such as

• Bioenhancements: They’re not just for cyborgs anymore.
• DNA sequencing and fingerprinting: What’s scarier than the government having your DNA on file? Try having it posted on the Internet.
• Human cloning: Just like you, only stronger, smarter, and more attractive. In other words: more dangerous.

Our future may be populated by designer babies, genetically enhanced supersoldiers, and one (or more!) of your genetic duplicates, but all is not lost. How to Defeat Your Own Clone is the ultimate survival guide to what lies ahead. Just remember the first rule of engagement: Don’t ever let your clone read this book!

The Conqueror's Shadow by Ari Marmell (Bantam Spectra Hardcover 02/23/2009) – I read the ARC earlier late last year and just posted my review a few days ago:

Ari Marmell has written a number tie-in fiction novels for both Wizards of the Coast (Magic: The Gathering) and Vampire: The Masquerade, but The Conqueror’s Shadow is his first novel set in a secondary world of his own creation. It is a novel of war and revenge, populated with humans, goblins, ogres, witches and sorcerers wearing enchanted armor, adorned with demon-possessed talismans, wielding amorphous magical weaponry.
The revenge comes in many forms. Corvis Rebane, the Terror of the East is now a man of peace, married with two children. He hears of war brewing, but wants little to do with it. That is, until his daughter and son are kidnapped by members of the roving army. Once he finds out who is pulling the strings, namely Audriss a would-be conqueror in his own right, Rebane reluctantly gathers some of his old compatriots in the hopes of squelching the uprising.

Complicating matters; however, is just who Rebane’s wife is. In the last days of Corvis’s conquest, he took the hand of a young noblewoman as hostage and guarantee of his save journey. As Corvis’s army slowly dissipated, Corvis began falling for the young woman, Tyannon. The two were not many years apart and as Marmell begins the story, the two are indeed husband and wife. How this complicates matters is this: Tyannon’s brother Jaisson is a high-ranking general in the forces trying to conquer the world.

A Thousand Sons (Horus Heresy) by Graham McNeill (Black Library, Mass Market Paperback 02/23/2010) – The Horus Heresy is one of the most popular sub-series within the WH40K universe. McNeill has been churning out the WH books at a fairly rapid click, himself.

Censured at the Council of Nikea for his flagrant use of sorcery, Magnus the Red and his Thousand Sons Legion retreat to their homeworld pf Prospero to continue their use of the arcane arts in secret. But when the ill-fated primarch forsees the treachery of Warmaster Horus and warns the Emperor with the very powers he was forbidden to use, the Master of Mankind dispatches fellow primarch Leman Russ to attack Prospero itself. But Magnus has seen more than the betrayl of Horus and the witnessed revelations will change the fate of his fallen Legion, anmd its primarch, forever.

Star Wars Clone Wars Gambit: Stealth by Karen Miller (Del Rey/Star Wars Books Trade Paperback 02/23/2010) – Miller churns out novels like a machine, this is her second Star Wars novel and seventh novel over the past two years. This is the ARC of a book I received way back in November.

Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker are on a secret mission to one of the many worlds caught in the middle of the struggle between the Republic and the Separatists. A pastoral planet, Lanteeb wants only to be left alone to survive -- but it is the source of what could be one of the most devastatingly destructive weapons ever. If this potential weapon were to fall into the hands of the Separatists, uncounted worlds would fall. But should the Republic succeed in destroying it first, one world that needs it to survive will be annihilated. A frightening dilemma that Obi-Wan and Anakin will have to untangle, if they can get in and out of the occupied planet alive...

A Girl's Guide to Guns and Monsters edited by Jean Rabe and Martin H. Greenberg (DAW, Mass Market Paperback 02/02/2010) – The March 2010 monthly DAW anthology contains 16 stories with the conceit that you can time travel to any place and era for your vacation.

Take a vacation through time with the help of a Time Travel Agency offering excursions into the past and future. Readers will find themselves in exotic, adventurous locales-and in all manner of trouble and mysteries. And figures from the past will be able to squeak by the other way.

Picture Cleopatra in modern-day New York City, or Hannibal searching for elephants at Wisconsin's Circus World. And that's just the beginning of the thrills and danger..

of the Demon (Kara Gillian, Book 2) by Diana Rowland (Bantam Mass Market 02/23/2010)– I know the same can be said of the subgenres I tend to favor (Epic Fantasy and Space Opera), but a lot of these Urban Fantasies to sort of blend together, especially with the similar cover treatments and demon/vampire titling. I fully admit this is not fair to any of the authors or books, which I’m sure have merit, but there you go


Welcome to the world of Kara Gillian, a cop with a gift. Not only does she have the power of “othersight” to see what most people can’t even imagine, but she’s become the exclusive summoner of a demon lord. Or maybe it’s the other way around. The fact is, with two troublesome cases on her docket and a handsome FBI agent under her skin, Kara needs the help of sexy, insatiable Lord Rhyzkahl more than he needs her. Because these two victims, linked by suspicious coincidence, haven’t just been murdered. Something has eaten their souls.

It’s a case with roots in the arcane, but whose evil has flowered among the rich, powerful, and corrupt in Beaulac, Louisiana. And as the killings continue, Kara soon realizes how much there’s still to learn about demons, men, and things that kill in the night—and how little time she has to learn it.

Call to Arms (Empire Army Novel) by Mitchell Scanlon (Black Library, Mass Market Paperback 02/23/2010) –The Empire is analogous to the Imperium in WH40K, this is the latest entry in the WH Fantasy sub-series.

Dieter Lanz is a young recruit to the 3rd Hochland Swordsmen, otherwise known as 'the Scarlets'. His regiment is called into the battle when an orc army starts to rampage across the countryside, and when the Scarlets are defeated, Hochland is threatened with collaspe. As a desperation measure, legendary general Ludwig Von Grahl is bought out of retirement-he is the last hope to stem the vicious green tide.

Where Angels Fear to Tread (The Third of Remy Chandler novel) by Thomas E. Sniegoski (Roc Trade Paperback 03/02/2009) – The third in Sniegoski’s Urban Fantasy about a former Angel from Heaven who is now a private investigator with supernatural cases. He cranks these books out pretty quickly.

Six year-old Zoe York has been taken and her mother has come to Remy for help. She shows him crude, childlike drawings that she claims are Zoe's visions of the future, everything leading up to her abduction, and some beyond. Like the picture of a man with wings who would come and save her-a man who is an angel.

Zoe's preternatural gifts have made her a target for those who wish to exploit her power to their own destructive ends. The search will take Remy to dark places he would rather avoid. But to save an innocent, Remy will ally himself with a variety of lesser evils-and his soul may pay the price...

Coyote Destiny by Allen Steele (Ace Hardcover 03/03/2009) Steele’s popular saga continues with another chronicle of humanity’s future.

"The best space colonization saga to come along in decades" (Rocky Mountain News) continues.

The unexpected arrival of a ship from Earth after their long isolation from their home world leaves the inhabitants of Coyote both hopeful and wary. The lone passenger brings news-both good and bad.

The good news is that there was a survivor of the long-ago explosion of the Robert E. Lee and he is living still on Earth, in the ruined city called Boston. The bad news is that the person responsible for that act of terrorism is also still alive-and somewhere on Coyote...

Deader Matter (Book 3 of Simon Canderous) by Anton Strout (Ace Mass Market Paperback 03/02/2009) – In what is becoming an annual publishing occurrence, Anton Strout has another book hitting shelves:

Shaking up the spirits of Manhattan

The spirit populace of Manhattan doesn't appreciate its well-deserved RIP being disturbed, and Department of Extraordinary Affairs Agent Simon Canderous is sent in to do damage control. Meanwhile, his vacationing partner, Connor Christos, is in a sorry state, and he tells Simon that each night he's being haunted by visions of his long-lost brother at his window. Simon is worried that his partner may be going crazy-or worse, maybe he's not...

Roadkill (Cal Leandros #5) by Rob Thurman (Roc Paperback 03/02/2010) – I received this as an ARC back in Late November. This series seems quite popular, with five books since 2006, that makes a pretty good track record.

It's time to lock, load, and hit the road...

Once, while half-human Cal Leandros and his brother Niko were working on a case, an ancient gypsy queen gave them a good old-fashioned backstabbing. Now, just as their P.I. business hits a slow patch, the old crone shows up with a job.

She wants them to find a stolen coffin that contains a blight that makes the Black Death seem like a fond memory. But the thief has already left town, so the Leandros brothers are going on the road. And if they're very, very lucky, there might even be a return trip...

Shadowrise (Volume Three of Shadowmarch) by Tad Williams (DAW Hardcover 03/02/2010) – Having this book show up in the mail reminds me I’m now two books behind in Tad Williams’s latest doorstopper saga (and I type that with a smile, because Tad does them really well). :

With King Olin imprisoned and Prince Kendrick slain, the royal twins Barrick and Briony have been forced to flee their homeland. But both families and nations can hide dark and terrible secrets, and even if Barrick and Briony survive learning the astonishing truths at the heart of their own family and of Southmarch itself, they must still find a way to reclaim their kingdom and rescue their home- from traitors, tyrants, a god-king, and even the angry gods themselves..

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