Is your TBR pile as ridiculous as mine? And yet…Monday has rolled around yet again, and it’s time to look at the week’s new releases in speculative fiction—and you get to pick which one you’d like to win! Some interesting titles this week, including the new Dark Divine book from Bree Despain—I really like this YA series. A new title in Cat Adams’ great Blood Singer series. A great-looking new urban fantasy from debut author Deb Coates, who’ll be a guest here on the blog tomorrow. And I keep looking at that David Moody Autumn dystopian series, which I should just buy now that the whole freaking series is out…Ahhh….So many books.
What do you want to read? Leave a comment and tell me, and I’ll draw one name to win his or her choice. International, as always. And if the book is in a series you haven’t started, you can always pick the first one in the series instead.
Celia Graves was once an ordinary human, but those days are long gone. Now she strives to maintain her sanity and her soul while juggling both vampire abilities and the powers of a Siren. Warned of a magical “bomb” at a local elementary school, Celia forces an evacuation. Oddly, the explosion seems to have no effect, puzzling both Celia and the FBI. Two weeks later, a strangely persistent bruise on Celia’s leg turns out to be the first sign of a magical zombie plague. Finding the source of the plague isn’t Celia’s only concern. Her alcoholic mother has broken out of prison on the Sirens’ island; her little sister’s ghost has possessed a young girl; and one of Celia’s boyfriends, a powerful mage, has disappeared.
The sultan Bokhari Al-Bokhari of Bessa has 365 concubines—until a violent coup puts the city in the hands of the religious zealot Hakkim Mehdad. Hakkim has no use for the pleasures of the flesh: he condemns the women first to exile and then to death. Cast into the desert, the concubines must rely on themselves and each other to escape from the new sultan’s fanatical pursuit. But their goals go beyond mere survival: with the aid of the champions who emerge from among them, they intend to topple the usurper and retake Bessa from the repressive power that now controls it. But even if they succeed, their troubles will just be beginning—because their most dangerous enemy is within their own number.
When Sergeant Hallie Michaels comes back to South Dakota from Afghanistan on ten days’ compassionate leave, her sister Dell’s ghost is waiting at the airport. The sheriff says Dell’s death was suicide, but Hallie doesn’t believe it. Friends and family, mourning Dell’s loss, think Hallie’s letting her grief interfere with her judgment. The one person who seems willing to listen is the deputy sheriff, Boyd Davies, who shows up everywhere and helps when he doesn’t have to. As Hallie asks more questions, she attracts new ghosts, women who disappeared without a trace. Soon, someone’s trying to beat her up, burn down her father’s ranch, and stop her investigation.
Wrestling with the werewolf curse pulsing deep inside of her, Grace Divine was finally able to find her brother, but it nearly cost her everything. With her boyfriend, Daniel, stuck in wolf form and Sirhan’s death approaching, time is running out for Grace to stop Caleb Kalbi and his gang of demons. If she fails, her family and hometown will perish. Everything rests on Grace’s shoulders. The final installment in The Dark Divine trilogy. Young Adult.
War rages in Midkemia but behind the chaos there is disquieting evidence of dark forces at work. Jim Dasher’s usually infallible intelligence network has been dismantled; nowhere is safe. He feels that the world is coming apart at the seams and is helpless to protect his nation. Quiet palace coups are underway in Roldem and Rillanon, and King Gregory of the Isles has yet to produce an heir. In each kingdom a single petty noble has risen from obscurity to threaten the throne. An unknown player appears to be orchestrating these conflicts. Can Pug and the Conclave of Shadows track down this source before Midkemia is destroyed?
When King Arthur faces a challenge for his crown from the reinvigorated Roman Empire, he must call his supporters from every corner of the British Isles. One of these, Sir Lucan—the Black Wolf of the North—has more reason than most to join the coming campaign. Lucan’s wife, Trelawna, hoping to lead a new, better life in Italy, absconded with a young Roman officer. Lucan, already a fierce warrior but now with tainted blood due to his battle with the Penharrow Worm, thus turns the mission into a bitter personal vendetta.
Just as Sophie Mercer has come to accept her extraordinary magical powers as a demon, the Prodigium Council strips them away. Now Sophie is defenseless, alone, and at the mercy of her sworn enemies—the Brannicks, a family of warrior women who hunt down the Prodigium. Or at least that’s what Sophie thinks, until she makes a surprising discovery. The Brannicks know an epic war is coming, and they believe Sophie is the only one powerful enough to stop the world from ending. But without her magic, Sophie isn’t as confident. Young Adult.
Go to school. Get good grades. Stay out of trouble. That’s the mandate for most kids. But Nick Gautier isn’t the average teenager. He’s a boy with a destiny not even he fully understands. And his first mandate is to stay alive while everyone, even his own father, tries to kill him. He is on the brink of becoming either the greatest hero mankind has ever known. Or he’ll be the one who ends the world. With enemies new and old gathering forces, he will have to call on every part of himself to fight or he’ll lose everyone he cares about. Young Adult.
This debut from Nebula Award and Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award finalist Ted Kosmatka is a tale of science cut loose from ethics, set in an amoral future where genetically engineered monstrosities fight each other to the death in an Olympic event. Silas Williams is the geneticist in charge of preparing the U.S. entry into the Olympic Gladiator competition, an internationally sanctioned bloodsport with only one rule: no human DNA is permitted in the design of the entrants. Silas lives and breathes genetics; his designs have led the United States to the gold in every previous event. But the other countries are catching up. Now, desperate for an edge, Silas’s boss engages an experimental supercomputer to design the genetic code for a gladiator that cannot be beaten. The result is a highly specialized killing machine. Not even Silas, with all his genius and experience, can understand the horror he had a hand in making.
Christine, the princess and heir to the real world of Chrysanthe, is kidnapped as a small child by a powerful magician and exiled in a Made World that is a version of our present reality. In exile, she undergoes bogus memory recovery therapy, through which she is forced to remember childhood rape and abuse by her parents and others. She is stunted emotionally by this plot, but at seventeen discovers it is all a lie. Christine escapes with a rescuer, a knight from Chrysanthe, in a chase across realities. Once home, the magical standoff caused by her exile is broken, and a war begins, in spite of the best efforts of her father, the king, and his wizard, Melogian.
It’s been three months since a killer disease wiped out 99 percent of the population. Three months since the dead reanimated. The living are few and far between now, and those who are still alive stick together to give themselves the best chance of continuing to survive. One small group has established a community on an inhospitable island. A second, much larger band of refugees have made their base in a fortified castle on the coast. When the survivors from the island unknowingly encroach on the other group’s territory, tensions are immediately raised. Under siege from an army of corpses, the survivors on the mainland launch a desperate attempt to take over the island and claim it for their own.
Winter, 1862. A malevolent spirit roams the gloomy streets of Victorian London, the vampiric ghost of John Polidori, the onetime physician of the mad, bad and dangerous Romantic poet Lord Byron. Polidori is also the supernatural muse to his nice and nephew, poet Christina Rossetti and her artist brother Dante Gabriel. But Polidori’s taste for debauchery has grown excessive. He is determined to possess the life and soul of an innocent young girl—and he has resurrected Dante’s dead wife, transforming her into a vampire. The Rossettis know the time has come—Polidori must be stopped. Joining forces with the girl’s parents, they are plunged into a supernatural London underworld whose existence they never suspected.
Callie lost her parents when the Spore Wars wiped out everyone between the ages of twenty and sixty. She and her little brother, Tyler, go on the run, living as squatters and fighting off renegades. Callie’s only hope is Prime Destinations, a place in Beverly Hills run by a mysterious figure known as the Old Man. He hires teens to rent their bodies to Enders—seniors who want to be young again. Callie, desperate for money, agrees to be a donor. But the neurochip they place in Callie’s head malfunctions and she wakes up in the life of her renter, living in her mansion, driving her cars, and going out with a senator’s grandson. It feels almost like a fairy tale, until Callie discovers that her renter intends to do more than party. First in a new series. Young Adult.
When the cards tell Ophelia Leoni she’s supposed to marry the Prince of Hansarda, the gunrunner grits her teeth and boards the starship that comes for her. It doesn’t matter if the ship’s commander is the gorgeous stranger whose bed she just spent a wild, drunken night in. As a Diviner, she’s painfully aware the cards don’t lie. Ever. Boone O’Keirna knows Ophelia is trouble the second he sees the way she moves. Not about to let the deadly little hellcat marry his sadistic half-brother, Boone pretends to be the Prince’s emissary and kidnaps Ophelia. Too bad they can’t be in the same room without him wanting to throw her out an airlock–or into bed.
After escaping the horrors of the Dark Dimension, Elena can’t wait to attend Dalcrest College, the beautiful ivy-covered campus where her parents met. Life with Stefan is better than ever, and even Damon seems changed and is getting along with everyone. But moving away from Fell′s Church doesn′t mean she and her friends are free from danger. When students start to disappear from campus, suddenly every new acquaintance is a potential enemy. Then Elena uncovers a long-hidden secret, one that shocks her to the core, and realizes tragedy may be unavoidable. Young Adult.
The Compelled (The Vampire Diaries: Stefan’s Diaries, Book 6), by L.J. Smith, Kevin Williamson and Julie Plec (March 13, HarperTeen)
Stefan and Damon thought they knew evil. But nothing compares to Samuel, the ruthless vampire hell-bent on avenging Katherine’s death by destroying the Salvatore brothers. Reeling from Samuel’s latest attack, Stefan and Damon find help in the most unlikely of places—a secret coven of witches. Together they discover Samuel’s plan is more sinister than they ever could have imagined. Their only hope is to stop him before he secures the power to control humans and vampires alike. Young Adult.
Of all the women the Count Saint-Germain has loved, the most popular is the beautiful, ever-youthful Madelaine de Montalia. In Commedia della Morte, Saint-Germain learns that Madelaine—now a vampire—has been arrested by France’s Revolutionary Tribunal and is soon to lose her head. Desperate to rescue her, the Count sneaks into France with a troupe of actors led by the glamorous Photine, who soon becomes Saint-Germain’s mistress. Photine’s teenage son, driven by jealousy and revolutionary fervor, betrays the him. Now, Saint-Germain’s life, as well as Madelaine’s, hangs in the balance.
Decisions, decisions! As always, four entries possible: +1 for comment to tell me what book (any book) you want, +1 for blog follow, +1 for Twitter follow @Suzanne_Johnson, and +1 for a Tweet or RT about the contest. This contest is international. Contests end at midnight CDT U.S., and winners are announced on Sunday’s blog. It’s the responsibility of the winner to contact me with their mailing info. Books unclaimed after a month will go into a general giveaway pile.