We get to catch our breath a bit this week from last week’s onslaught of new releases, but if you think that means there are no goodies this week, think again! (Cue evil laughter.) Although, and honestly, I try not to make snarky comments about book covers because I haven’t absolutely loved all of mine, after all. But seriously, there are a couple or three covers here that kinda make me want to run away screaming. I shall mention no names. Think what you will.
There are also some covers of awesomeness, and I’m always happy to see a cool cover (and title) from Alex Bledsoe, whose He Drank, and Saw the Spider would be my choice this week.
What do you want to read this week? As always, leave a comment telling me the book you’d most like to win, and maybe random.org will make your wishes come true. Your choice of print or digital unless otherwise stated. International? Of course! As long as Book Depository delivers to your country, please enter. If you’d prefer the first book in a series listed here, that’s okay, too.
In 1973, Mideast strife and the oil crisis have knocked the global economy to its knees. Dr. Petr Chopek, calls the world’s greatest scientists, engineers, and business leaders to his remote South Pacific island to show them what he has discovered. Gadsen Wells, is not a scientist but when his new companion, renowned paleo-botanist, Dr. Harold Braunhut, dies mysteriously, Wells takes his place on the plane flying to Chopek’s island. Wells finds a paradise where scientists are engaged in experiments to learn how to exploit a new energy source linked to a species of giant salamander. The ancient salamanders are being genetically altered, designed not to save the world but to control it. Wells escapes Chopek’s spies and sneaks into the labyrinth beneath the island to try to stop him. (ebook only)
Dawn of Swords (The Breaking World #1), by David Dalglish and Robert J. Duperre, (January 14, 47North)
On the young world of Dezrel, brother gods Karak and Ashhur recreate mankind in an attempt to make amends. The fledgling race of humanity is guided by the First Families, men and women who will not age so long as their hearts remain devoted to their deities. The realms are thrown into chaos by the construction of the Temple of the Flesh, built by exiled children of Karak in the unclaimed land of Haven. Karak’s ultimatum to the people of Haven: destroy the Temple, or he will destroy it himself. His fellow brother god, Ashhur, will not sit idly by while thousands of innocents die. Can Jacob Eveningstar, the First Man to be given life and Ashhur’s most trusted servant, prevent the coming bloodshed which threatens the survival of the fledgling human race?
George Bailey is just an ordinary man. Five days a week he coaxes his old Hyundai to life, curses the Los Angeles traffic, and clocks in at his job as a handyman at the local college. But when he sleeps, George dreams of something more. George dreams of flying. He dreams of fighting monsters. He dreams of a man made of pure lightning, an armored robot, a giant in an army uniform, a beautiful woman who moves like a ninja. Then one day, a pale girl in a wheelchair tells George of another world, one in which civilization fell to a plague that animates the dead, and in which George is no longer a glorified janitor, but one of humanity’s last heroes. As George’s dreams and his waking life begin bleeding together, he starts to wonder, which is the real world.
Reid Frank was head of human development at the giant energy company, Xcelsion, until his Internet gambling addiction pulled him into an embezzlement scheme that cost him everything. An ex-felon, Frank Reade is now answering phones at a call center, when a call from an old friend at Xcelsion pulls him back into the game. Merger rumors and an environmental scandal are crippling the company, but an affair between the CEO and an executive at a rival firm might destroy it. Reade is told to make the affair disappear. He makes the mistake of his life and falls for the woman himself. Reade becomes lost in a double world until he discovers a pulp science fiction novel, Attack of the Sea Monkeys, about an oil company in the 1970s, that leads him to a shocking truth about Xcelsion. (ebook only)
After he fails to save a stranger from being mauled to death by a bear, a young mercenary is saddled with the baby girl the man died to protect. He leaves her with a shepherd family and goes on with his life. Sixteen years later, that young mercenary has grown up to become cynical sword jockey Eddie LaCrosse. He can’t resist trying to discover what has become of the mysterious infant. He finds that the child, now a lovely young teenager named Isadora, is at the center of complicated web of intrigue. Once again she needs his help. They say a spider in your cup will poison you, but only if you see it. Eddie, helped by his smart, resourceful girlfriend Liz, must look through the dregs of the past to find the truth about the present, and risk what might happen if he, too, sees the spider.
Oscar Kortico, great-grandchild of the founders of a small hamlet in the Cuban hinterland, is a sardonic teller of tales, some taller than others, of slavery, revolution, family secrets, love, and identity that span three generations. One day, Oscar wakes to find that he is alone in the world. As the sole descendent of his family line, he is not sure what to do or where to go, but he holds fast to what his grandfather always told him: “No man knows who he is until he knows his past, the history of his country.” As Oscar sets out to find his ancestral village of Pata de Puerco and the meaning of the magical pig’s-foot amulet he has inherited, the search for his country’s hidden history becomes entangled with the search for the truth about himself. (U.S. Release)
Spademan used to be a garbage man. That was before the dirty bomb hit Times Square, and before the city became a bombed-out shell of its former self. Now he’s a hitman. In a New York City split between those who are wealthy enough to “tap into” a sophisticated virtual reality for months at a time and those left to fend for themselves in the streets, Spademan chose the streets. He finds that killing people for money is not that different from collecting trash, and the pay is better. His latest client hires him to kill the daughter of a powerful evangelist. His mark has a shocking secret and his client has an agenda far beyond a simple kill. Spademan must navigate the dual levels of his world to finish the job, to keep his conscience clean, and to stay alive.
Chase Hawthorne is on the run from a ghost. The shooting that took his little sister and scarred Chase’s face and body has left far deeper scars on his brother Tripp’s soul. Chase hopes to prove to Tripp there is no ghost of his twin beckoning from the afterlife. When he comes upon a young woman fighting off raiders, Chase doesn’t hesitate to help her. He tries to ignore his instant attraction, hoping Tripp will feel it, too, and emerge from his frightening depression. Keera has been alone too long, and Chase makes her feel things she never thought she’d feel again. Tripp may be the needier brother, but it’s Chase she wants. As they are drawn into the search for a young man’s family, both must accept the possibility that there’s more to life, and love, than simple survival. (ebook only)
Ivan Delgato, a former leader of a rebel group called the Runners, is released from jail on the condition that he carry out a secret mission for the World Council. His assignment is simple: stay undercover, but do anything necessary to reach the planet Omega IX and offer the renegade Runners clemency if they surrender, which may be complicated since Ivan’s brutally violent brother has taken lead of the Runners in Ivan’s absence. Ivan catches a ride out to the wildest reaches of the galaxy via a mysterious transportation system, the Star Road. His fellow passengers on Star Road Vehicle-66 are a suspicious group. It isn’t long before suspicions build against Ivan. Those who survive will confront a mystery that changes the Star Road, and humanity, forever.
This is the fourth in a series of short stories by debut author Elliott James. The line between reality and dream is never entirely clear under the best of circumstances, and when John Charming finds himself being hunted through a nightmare house, it is far from the best of circumstances. (ebook only)
When the emperor of Annur is murdered, his children must fight to uncover the conspiracy. Kaden, the heir apparent, was for eight years sequestered in a remote mountain monastery. Their rituals hold the key to an ancient power which Kaden must master. When an imperial delegation arrives to usher him back to the capital for his coronation, he has learned just enough to realize that they are not what they seem. His sister Adare struggles against the religious conspiracy that seems to be responsible for the emperor’s murder. Their brother Valyn knew his training to join the Kettral, deadly warriors who fly massive birds into battle, would be arduous. He’s convinced his father’s murderers are trying to kill him, and his brother. He must escape north to warn Kaden.
Hidden deep in the southwest desert, away from civilization, a top-secret, high-tech research facility is experimenting with many forbidden things. Things that even most of the employees don’t know about. The task of protecting the compound and keeping its various experiments under wraps is Director Raze, Head of Security for Diotech Corporation. But when one of those experiments manages to escape and Raze is to blame, he must figure out a way to recover the missing property without exposing himself. In a place where minds can be manipulated and secrets can be wiped from existence, how far will one man go to keep his own secrets buried? (ebook only)
On a remote island in the Pacific, Corpus scientists have taken test tube embryos and given them life. These beings, the Vitros, have knowledge and abilities most humans can only dream of. But they also have one enormous flaw. Sophie Crue is determined to get to Skin Island and find her mother, a scientist who left Sophie behind years ago. She enlists hunky charter pilot Jim Julien to take her there. But once on the island, Sophie and Jim encounter more than they bargained for, including a charming, brilliant Vitro named Nicholas and an innocent, newly awoken one named Lux. In a race for their lives, Sophie and Jim are about to discover what happens when science stretches too far beyond its reach.
Caeli-Amur is a city-state where magic and technology are interchangeable; where minotaurs and sirens are real; where philosopher-assassins and seditionists are not the most dangerous elements in a city alive with threat. During the day, the ordinary citizens do what they must to get along. But at night, the spirit of the ancient city comes alive, to haunt the old places. “Nighttime in Caeli-Amur” is not about minotaurs or sirens, but about a family whose lives in this place are fated in the ways of families everywhere, only not quite the same. (ebook only)
While searching for his kidnapped sister, Outsider Hylas takes a dangerous detour when he’s captured as a slave and sent to the copper mines of Thalakrea. Hylas faces brutal overseers and lethal cave-ins while evading his enemies, the Crows. With the aid of an orphaned lion cub and his friend Pirra, Hylas must escape the mines and shatter the power of the Crows for good. But the prophecy is still at work and Hylas cannot escape its grasp, especially when the anger of the oldest god is awakened. (U.S. Release)
Twenty years following the disappearance of the infamous Ishiguro, the first manned spacecraft to travel deeper into space than ever before, humanity are setting their sights on the heavens once more. Under the direction of two of the most brilliant minds science has ever seen, that of identical twin brothers Tomas and Mirakel Hyvönen, this space craft has a bold mission: to study what is being called ‘the anomaly’, a vast blackness of space into which the Ishiguro disappeared. Between them Tomas and Mira are leaving nothing to chance. The two scientists are to learn that there are things in space beyond our understanding. As the anomaly begins to test the limits of Mira’s comprehension, and his sanity, will Tomas be able to save his brother from being lost in space too?
The small print: This contest is international to any place Book Depository ships. Contests end at midnight CDT U.S. on Saturday, and winners will be announced on Sunday’s blog. It’s the responsibility of the winner to contact me with their mailing info.
Now….go forth and tell me what you want to read!