The first full week of January, 2016 brings us plenty of new releases. As we put the holidays behind us, we have more than thirty new books this week for your reading pleasure.
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.
1635: A Parcel of Rogues (The Ring of Fire #20), by Eric Flint and Andrew Dennis, (January 5, Baen)
When the diplomatic embassy from the United States of Europe was freed from the Tower of London during the Baltic War, most of its members returned to the continent. Some remained behind in Britain: Oliver Cromwell and a few companions, including the sharpshooter Julie Sims, her Scot husband Alex Mackay, and Cromwell’s Irish-American watchdog Darryl McCarthy. The chief minister, Richard Boyle, brings over from Ireland a crew of cutthroats to track down and capture the escapees. The hunt passes into Scotland, where the conflict between Cromwell and his companions and their would-be captors becomes embroiled in Scotland’s politics. The time Darryl McCarthy spends fighting alongside Cromwell forces him against his will to admire and respect the man. It’s a Gordian knot until Julie Sims brings out her rifle. A safe distance isn’t what you think it is. Not after the American angel of death spreads her wings.
Alistair Grim’s Odd Aquaticum (Odditorium #2), by Gregory Funaro, (January 5, Disney-Hyperion)
When Grubb, an orphan and runaway chimney sweep, entered the wondrous world of the Odditorium, his life changed forever. Apprenticed to the mechanical marvel’s strange proprietor, Alistair Grim, Grubb unfortunately must settle into his new position on the lam, as the whole of London is convinced that Alistair Grim is a villain bent on mass destruction. Grim has come up with a plan to expose the real villain: Prince Nightshade, a wicked necromancer who wants the Odditorium’s power source for himself. Grim, Grubb and the rest of the Odditorium’s crew embark on a perilous adventure to find the legendary sword Excalibur: the only weapon capable of penetrating Nightshade’s magical suit of armor. Unbeknownst to Grubb and the others, their fate has been written in an ancient Avalonian prophecy, a prophecy that holds the key to a destiny not even Alistair Grim could have possibly imagined.
City of Light (Outcast #1), by Keri Arthur, (January 5, Signet)
When the bombs that stopped the species war tore holes in the veil between this world and the next, they allowed entry to the Others, demons, wraiths, and death spirits who turned the shadows into their hunting grounds. Now, a hundred years later, humans and shifters alike live in artificially lit cities designed to keep the darkness at bay. As a déchet, a breed of humanoid super-soldiers almost eradicated by the war, Tiger has spent her life in hiding. But when she risks her life to save a little girl on the outskirts of Central City, she discovers that the child is one of many abducted in broad daylight by a wraith-like being, an impossibility with dangerous implications for everyone on earth. Because if the light is no longer enough to protect them, nowhere is safe.
Dark and Stormy Knight (The Knights of Avalon #2), by Nina Mason, (January 5, Lyrical Press)
Aspiring screenwriter Gwyn Morland is ready for her big break. That means securing the film rights to author Lady Ruthven’s acclaimed novel, which means traveling to Scotland. It’s a trip timid Gwyn isn’t prepared for, and her fears seem justified when her tour bus careens over a cliff. The plot thickens when Gwyn is rescued from the brink of death by a handsome and mysterious stranger. Leith MacQuill is not only the writer behind Lady Ruthven’s novel, but a shape-shifting faery knight bearing a tragic curse: the woman he gives his heart to will die. Saving Gwyn proves to be a dangerous choice when he finds himself falling for her. Gwyn and Leith must embark on a mission into Avalon, the realm of the faeries. Will their love be strong enough to conquer the curse? Or will Gwyn’s new life be stolen from her before it’s even begun?
Dark Victory: A Novel of the Alien Resistance, by Brendan DuBois, (January 5, Baen)
Sixteen-year-old Randy Knox has the usual problems of a teenage boy. Randy also has other demands on his time, as a sergeant in the N.H. National Guard fighting the invading Creepers. On his twelfth birthday, he enlisted in the Army to carry on the fight. Endless war is all he knows. The current President of the United States has announced that scattered remnants of the Air Force have destroyed the Creeper’s Orbital Base, ensuring victory over the alien invaders. Randy is assigned a new mission: to escort a secret representative from the Governor of New Hampshire to the nation’s capital, to meet with the President. A fellow teen soldier, Serena Coulson and her mute younger brother Buddy, are assigned to join Randy. Randy tries to protect his charges from rampaging Creepers and criminal humans. Randy learns that all of his skills in combating aliens may not be enough to survive the dark conspiracies of his fellow humans.
Doom of the Dragon (Dragonships of Vindras #4), by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman, (January 5, Tor)
Skylan Ivorson overcame obstacles that would have defeated a lesser man, rising from obscurity to become the Chief of Chiefs of the fearsome Vindrasi who sail their living dragonships to raid and plunder for the glory of the gods. A cruel twist of fate struck him down before he and his beloved could complete their quest for the five sacred dragonbones that would summon the great dragon Ilyrion and save their people from destruction at the hands of an evil god. Caught between life and death, he must lead those who journeyed with him to battle the evil god and the vast army of the god and his human emperor. Skylan must fight as he never has before to win back his life and his love, while seeking the last Spiritbone, the key to summoning the ultimate victory, before it can be snatched away by the forces of evil.
Drake (The Burned Man #1), by Peter McLean, (January 5, Angry Robot)
Hitman Don Drake owes a gambling debt to a demon. Forced to carry out one more assassination to clear his debt, Don unwittingly kills an innocent child and brings the Furies of Greek myth down upon himself. Rescued by an almost-fallen angel called Trixie, Don and his magical accomplice The Burned Man, an imprisoned archdemon, are forced to deal with Lucifer himself whilst battling a powerful evil magician. Now Don must foil Lucifer’s plan to complete Trixie’s fall and save her soul whilst preventing the Burned Man from breaking free from captivity and wreaking havoc on the entire world.
Escaping Peril (Wings of Fire #8), by Tui T. Sutherland, (January 5, Scholastic Press)
Peril has been loyal to Queen Scarlet, who used her fatal firescales to kill countless dragons in the SkyWing arena. Peril is loyal to Clay, the only dragonet who has ever been her friend. When Scarlet threatens Jade Mountain Academy, Peril sets off to find her former queen and stop her no matter what it takes. A strangely persistent SeaWing, Turtle, insists on coming along, too. Turtle is worried about his friends, who left to search for Scarlet and haven’t returned. Peril is worried that she might accidentally burn Turtle and frustrated that she keeps saying and doing the wrong things. She can’t escape her firescales, and she can’t escape her reputation as the deadliest dragon in Pyrrhia. When she’s offered a chance to trade everything for a second chance, Peril has to decide who she’s really loyal to, and whether her own scales might actually be worth saving.
Game Over (Mindwar #3), by Andrew Klavan, (January 5, Thomas Nelson)
After multiple trips in and out of The Realm, Rick is becoming a part of it, a direct connection point has formed in his brain. He’s now slipping back and forth in his dreams and has become linked to The Realm and its creator in ways no one anticipated. That link is an asset in terms of what Kurodar is planning, but it’s absolutely detrimental to Rick personally. If he doesn’t destroy Kurodar and The Realm quickly, he’ll be completely absorbed by them. Destroying The Realm will mean destroying Mariel, and Rick is still torn by his love for her and his love for Molly. How can he lose either of them? There’s still a traitor in their midst. So even if Rick figures out what he needs to do, actually doing it will be exponentially more difficult.
Midnight Taxi Tango (Bone Street Rumba #2), by Daniel José Older, (January 5, Roc)
Carlos Delacruz straddles the line between the living and the not-so alive. As an agent for the Council of the Dead, he eliminates New York’s ghostlier problems. This time it’s a string of gruesome paranormal accidents in Brooklyn’s Von King Park that has already taken the lives of several locals, and is bound to take more. The incidents in the park have put Kia on edge. When she first met Carlos, he was the weird guy who came to Baba Eddie’s botánica, where she worked. But the closer they’ve gotten, the more she’s seeing the world from Carlos’s point of view. In fact, she’s starting to see ghosts. And the situation is far more sinister than that, because whatever is bringing out the dead, it’s only just getting started.
Mr. Splitfoot, by Samantha Hunt, (January 5, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
Ruth and Nat are orphans, packed into a house full of abandoned children run by a religious fanatic. To entertain their siblings, they channel the dead. Decades later, Ruth’s niece, Cora, finds herself accidentally pregnant. After years of absence, Aunt Ruth appears, mute and full of intention. She is on a mysterious mission, leading Cora on an odyssey across the entire state of New York on foot. Where is Ruth taking them? Where has she been? Who, or what, has she hidden in the woods at the end of the road? Two separate timelines move toward the same point of crisis. Their merging will upend and reinvent the whole. A subversive ghost story that will set your heart racing and your brain churning. Mysteries abound, criminals roam free, utopian communities show their age, the mundane world intrudes on the supernatural and vice versa.
Once Upon a Kiss, by Robin Palmer, (January 5, Speak)
It’s 1986 and sixteen-year-old Zoe Brenner’s world revolves around Depeche Mode, Judd Nelson, exercise-obsessed parents, and her best friend Jonah. Then one day, in a freak Fun-Dip choking accident, Zoe falls unconscious, and awakes in the year 2016. So much has changed, and Zoe needs Jonah to help her make sense of it all. But in this life, Zoe is the most popular girl in school, and she soon realizes this Zoe doesn’t associate with nerds like Jonah. As Zoe juggles new technology, attempts to hide her enthusiasm for poet blouses, and manages to keep her super jock boyfriend at bay, she tries to rekindle her friendship with Jonah and use her popularity for a good cause. Will she ever get back to 1986? And more importantly, does she want to?
Only the Stones Survive, by Morgan Llywelyn, (January 5, Forge Books)
For centuries the Túatha Dé Danann lived in peace on an island where time flowed more slowly and the seasons were gentle, until that peace was shattered by the arrival of invaders. The Gaels, the Children of Milesios, came looking for easy riches and conquest, following the story of an island to the west where their every desire could be granted. They had not anticipated that it would already be home to others, and against the advice of their druids, they begin to exterminate the Túatha Dé Danann. After a happy and innocent childhood, Joss was on the cusp of becoming a man when the Gaels slaughtered the kings and queens of the Túatha Dé Danann. Left without a mother and father, he must find a way to unite what is left of his people and lead them into hiding. Even broken and scattered, Joss and his people are not without strange powers.
Passenger (Passenger #1), by Alexandra Bracken, (January 5, Disney-Hyperion)
In one devastating night, violin prodigy Etta Spencer loses everything she knows and loves. Thrust into an unfamiliar world by a stranger with a dangerous agenda, Etta is certain of only one thing: she has traveled not just miles but years from home. She’s inherited a legacy she knows nothing about from a family whose existence she’s never heard of. Nicholas Carter is content with his life at sea, free from the Ironwoods, a powerful family in the colonies, and the servitude he’s known at their hands. The Ironwoods are searching for a stolen object of untold value, one they believe only Etta, Nicholas’ passenger, can find. Etta and Nicholas embark on a perilous journey across centuries and continents, piecing together clues left behind by the traveler who will do anything to keep the object out of the Ironwoods’ grasp. Treacherous forces threaten to sep¬arate Etta not only from Nicholas but from her path home, forever.
Path of Gods (The Valhalla Saga #3), by Snorri Kristjansson, (January 5, Jo Fletcher)
In Trondheim, King Olav, self-appointed champion of the White Christ, grows restless in the wake of a significant victory and finds his faith tested further as he struggles to maintain the peace. The King contemplates how best and where to spread the word of his God. Reunited after their quests to discover the contours of their newfound immortality, Audun and Ulfar have a new sense of purpose: to ensure that the North remains in the hands of those who keep to the old ways of Odin, Thor, and Loki. They must take on a powerful adversary who will stop at nothing to put an end to age-old traditions in the name of the White Christ. Audun and Ulfar are about to do battle with the most powerful enemy they have ever faced. Meanwhile in the North, touched by the trickster god, something old, malevolent, and very, very angry stirs. (U.S. Release)
Pawn’s Gambit: And Other Stratagems, by Timothy Zahn, (January 5, Open Road Media) (collection)
The pieces included in Pawn’s Gambit range from the adventure science fiction Timothy Zahn is famous for to post-apocalyptic tales and humorous fantasy. In “The Price of Survival,” an alien ship arrives in our solar system without hostile intentions, but with a desperate need that could destroy humanity. “The Giftie Gie Us” is set in a post-apocalyptic United States, in which two lonely survivors find love among the ruins. And in the title story, a human and his alien opponent face off over a game that will decide which one of them will return home, and which will not. This collection also includes the Hugo Award winning novella Cascade Point and eight stories previously unpublished in book form.
Starbound (Lightship Chronicles #2) by Dave Bara, (January 5, DAW)
The Lightship H.M.S. IMPULSE is gone, sacrificed while defeating First Empire ships the fragile new galactic alliance had hoped it would never see again. For Peter Cochrane, serving as third officer aboard his world’s flagship, H.M.S STARBOUND is a dream that’s finally come true. Tasked with investigating a mysterious space station in a newly re-discovered star system, Peter and STARBOUND face a terrible attack. The wounds of that battle may heal with time, but the war is far from over as the First Empire returns, aided by new traitors from within the Union itself.
Steal the Sky (The Scorched Continent #1), by Megan E. O’Keefe, (January 5, Angry Robot)
Detan Honding, a wanted conman of noble birth and ignoble tongue, has found himself in the oasis city of Aransa. He and his trusted companion Tibs may have pulled off one too many cons against the city’s elite and need to make a quick escape. They set their sights on their biggest heist yet, the gorgeous airship of the exiled commodore Thratia. A face changer known as a doppel starts murdering key members of Aransa’s government. The sudden paranoia makes Detan’s plans of stealing Thratia’s ship that much harder. Thratia can solidify her power and wreak havoc against the Empire. The doppel isn’t working for Thratia and has her own intentions. He has to be careful, there’s a reason most people think he’s dead. If his dangerous secret gets revealed, he has a lot more to worry about than a stolen airship.
The Children’s Home, by Charles Lambert, (January 5, Scribner)
In a sprawling estate, lives Morgan Fletcher, the disfigured heir to a fortune of mysterious origins. Morgan spends his days in quiet study, avoiding his reflection, One day, two children, Moira and David, appear. Morgan takes them in, giving them free reign of the mansion he shares with his housekeeper Engel. Then more children begin to show up. Dr. Crane, the town physician and Morgan’s lone tether to the outside world, is as taken with the children as Morgan, and begins to spend more time in Morgan’s library. The children behave strangely. They show a prescient understanding of Morgan’s past, and their bizarre discoveries in the mansion attics grow increasingly disturbing. Every day the children seem to disappear into the hidden rooms of the estate, and perhaps, into the hidden corners of Morgan’s mind.
The Cyclops Initiative (Jim Chapel #3), by David Wellington, (January 5, William Morrow)
Jim Chapel pledged his life to protect his country from its enemies. Now, the one-armed Special Forces soldier turned spy is on the wrong side of the law. The person he trusts most in the world, the hacker known only as Angel, is suspected of terrorism. When his boss calls for Angel’s arrest, Chapel has only one option: to go rogue. To protect Angel Chapel must clear her name. But first he has to find her, before a deadly Marine sniper, a drone aircraft gone feral, and the entire intelligence community closes in. With the aid of old friends and his ex-lover Julia, the search to find who framed Angel leads Chapel deep into the dark and lethal underbelly of the covert intelligence world, to a conspiracy with deep roots that shocks even this hardened veteran, and a plan that will destroy the United States as we know it if it succeeds.
The Impostor Queen, by Sarah Fine, (January 5, Margaret K. McElderry)
Sixteen-year-old Elli was a small child when the Elders of Kupari chose her to succeed the Valtia, the queen who wields infinitely powerful ice and fire magic. Since then, Elli has lived in the temple, tutored by magical priests, as she prepares for the day when the Valtia perishes and the magic finds a new home in her. When the queen dies defending the kingdom from invading warriors, the magic doesn’t enter Elli. It’s nowhere to be found. Disgraced, Elli flees to the outlands, the home of banished criminals. Elli uncovers devastating new information about the Kupari magic, those who wield it, and the prophecy that foretold her destiny. Torn between the love she has for her people and her growing loyalty to the banished, Elli struggles to understand the true role she was meant to play. As war looms, she must align with the right side, before the kingdom and its magic are completely destroyed.
The Last Dream Keeper (The Witches of Echo Park #2), by Amber Benson, (January 5, Ace)
Lyse MacAllister did not step into an easy role when she took over as master of the Echo Park coven of witches after her great-aunt Eleanora’s death. As she begins to forge the bonds that will help her lead her sisters, she struggles to come to terms with her growing powers. And she soon faces a deadly new threat. A group of fanatics intent on bringing about the end of times has invaded the witches Council, but the Council is turning a blind eye to the danger growing in its midst. Only one witch is prophesied to be able to stop the encroaching darkness. And if Lyse and her blood sisters are to have any chance at protecting all we know from being lost forever, they must keep her safe, no matter what the cost.
The Last Weekend: A Novel of Zombies, Booze, and Power Tools, by Nick Mamatas, (January 5, Night Shade)
Vasilis “Billy” Kostopolos is a Bay Area Rust Belt refugee, failed sci-fi writer, successful barfly and, since the exceptionally American zombie apocalypse, an accomplished “driller” of reanimated corpses. There aren’t many sane, well-adjusted human beings left in San Francisco, but facing the end of the world, Billy’s found his vocation trepanning the undead, peddling his one and only published short story, and drinking himself to death. Billy discovers that both his girlfriends turn out to be homicidal revolutionaries. He collides with a gang of Berkeley scientists gone berserker. The long-awaited “Big One” shakes the foundation of San Francisco, and the crumbled remains of City Hall can no longer hide the awful secret lurking deep in the basement. Can Billy unearth the truth behind America’s demise and San Francisco’s survival, and will he destroy what little’s left of it in the process? (U.S. Release)
The Night Voice (Noble Dead Saga #11), by Barb Hendee and J.C. Hendee, (January 5, Roc)
With much relief, Magiere, Leesil, and Chap prepare to hide the last two of the powerful orbs. Once this last great task is completed, Magiere can take Leesil home to a life of peace. Then, rumors reach them that a horde of undead creatures, slaughtering everything in their wake, are gathering in the far east regions of the Suman desert. This gathering could only be caused by the Ancient Enemy awakening. With no other choice, Magiere tells Leesil they cannot go home yet. They must go to the desert and seek to learn if the rumors are true, and if so, face an awakening evil: The Night Voice.
Thief of Lies (Library Jumpers #1), by Brenda Drake, (January 5, Entangled Teen)
Gia Kearns would rather fight with boys than kiss them. That is, until Arik, a leather clad hottie in the Boston Athenaeum, suddenly disappears. While examining the book of world libraries he abandoned, Gia unwittingly speaks the key that sucks her and her friends into a photograph and transports them into a Paris library, where Arik and his Sentinels, magical knights charged with protecting humans from the creatures traveling across the gateway books, rescue them from a demonic hound. Jumping into some of the world’s most beautiful libraries would be a dream come true for Gia, if she weren’t busy resisting her heart or dodging an exiled wizard seeking revenge on both the Mystik and human worlds. Add a French flirt obsessed with Arik and a fling with a young wizard, and Gia must choose between her heart and her head, between Arik’s world and her own, before both are destroyed.
Travelers Rest, by Keith Lee Morris, (January 5, Little, Brown and Co.)
The Addisons-Julia and Tonio, ten-year-old Dewey, and ne’er-do-well Uncle Robbie-are driving home, cross-country, after collecting Robbie from detox. When a blizzard strikes outside the eerie town of Good Night, Idaho, they seek refuge at the Travelers Rest, a once-opulent but now crumbling hotel where, they soon discover, the laws of the universe are bent. Once inside the hotel, the family is separated. Something mysterious, tied to a tragic event more than a century past, prevents them, day after day, from reuniting, until Julia is faced with an impossible choice. Can she save her family from the fate of becoming Souvenirs, those citizens trapped forever in magnetic Good Night, or disappearing entirely?
Truthwitch (The Witchlands #1), by Susan Dennard, (January 5, Tor Teen)
Safiya is a Truthwitch, able to discern truth from lie. It’s a powerful magic that many would kill to have on their side, especially amongst the nobility to which Safi was born. So Safi must keep her gift hidden, lest she be used as a pawn in the struggle between empires. Iseult, a Threadwitch, can see the invisible ties that bind and entangle the lives around her, but she cannot see the bonds that touch her own heart. Her unlikely friendship with Safi has taken her from life as an outcast into one of reckless adventure, where she is a cool, wary balance to Safi’s hotheaded impulsiveness. Safi and Iseult just want to be free to live their own lives, but war is coming to the Witchlands. With the help of the cunning Prince Merik (a Windwitch and ship’s captain) and the hindrance of a Bloodwitch bent on revenge, the friends must fight emperors, princes, and mercenaries alike, who will stop at nothing to get their hands on a Truthwitch.
Unforgettable, by Eric James Stone, (January 5, Baen)
In the near future, a fluke of quantum mechanics renders Nat Morgan utterly forgettable. No one can remember he exists for more than a minute after he’s gone. It’s a useful ability for his career as a CIA agent, even if he has to keep reminding his boss that he exists. Nat’s attempt to steal a quantum chip prototype is thwarted when a former FSB agent, Yelena Semyonova, attempts to steal the same technology for the Russion mob. Along with a brilliant Iranian physicist who wants to defect, Nat and Yelena must work together to stop a ruthless billionaire from finishing a quantum supercomputer that will literally control the fate of the world.
Worlds of Ink and Shadow: A Novel of the Brontes, by Lena Coakley, (January 5, Amulet Books)
Charlotte, Branwell, Emily, and Anne. The Brontë siblings have always been inseparable. After all, nothing can bond four siblings quite like life in an isolated parsonage out on the moors. Their vivid imaginations lend them escape from their strict upbringing, actually transporting them into their created worlds: the glittering Verdopolis and the romantic and melancholy Gondal. But at what price? As Branwell begins to slip into madness and the sisters feel their real lives slipping away, they must weigh the cost of their powerful imaginations, even as their characters, the brooding Rogue and dashing Duke of Zamorna, refuse to let them go.
Worst Contact, edited by Hank Davis, (January 5, Baen) (anthology)
Ever since H.G. Wells wrote The War of the Worlds, science fiction writers have speculated on what the first contact might be like. From attacking invaders to wise and benevolent visitors who are ready to solve all our problems for us, from horror stories to hilarious satire, with all the stops in between, including plenty of tales in which the aliens are the ones who wish they’d stayed at home and never come across Earth and its inhabitants. With stories by such science fiction masters as Poul Anderson, David Drake, William Tenn, Sarah A. Hoyt, Tony Daniel, and more, this is a collection filled with chills, thrills, and laughter, all reporting on what happens when First Contact turns into Worst Contact.
The Glass Galago: A Tor.Com Original (Hidden Sea Tales #0.5), by A.M. Dellamonica, (January 6, Tor)
The thrilling adventures of Gale Filachild and Captain Perrish continue in a series of prequel stories that offers to take us deeper into the fascinating world of Stormwrack. When Gale and the crew of the Nightjar are called back to the fleet to handle an issue involving a law regulating new patents and a missing magical inscription, they soon find themselves embroiled in a plot that is could potentially pit island against island. Now, they must discover the mystery of the glass galago before time runs out for both it and the fleet. (ebook only)
Coral Bones (Monstrous Little Voices Book 1), by Foz Meadows, (January 8, Abaddon)
Miranda, daughter to Prospero, the feared sorcerer-Duke of Milan, stifles in her new marriage. Oppressed by her father, unloved by Ferdinand, she seeks freedom; and is granted it, when her childhood friend, the fairy spirit Ariel, returns. Miranda sets out to reach Queen Titania’s court in Illyria, to make a new future. Monstrous Little Voices is a collection of five short novellas, a single long tale set in Shakespeare’s fantasy world of fairies, wizards and potions, in honor of the four-hundredth anniversary of the Bard’s death.
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!