It’s the first Monday of May, which means there are a MONSTROUS number of new releases this week.
If you’re new around these parts, you might wonder what Reader’s Choice Monday is. Below are the new releases from this week that I thought would most interest readers of this site. I tend to cut out a lot of hard sci-fi and YA and some indies I couldn’t find without a lot of digging. If you know an interesting release this week I missed let us know in the comments.
So, if you win a Reader’s Choice book this week and want one of these, great. Pick your favorite. BUT, on Sunday when I announce the winner, you can change your mind and pick a different book—anything, print or digital, as long as it costs less than US$15. Open internationally, of course, as long as you live somewhere Book Depository delivers. Sorry!
Now, here’s what I considered the most interesting from among the new books releasing May 1-7….
Alpha Wolf Need Not Apply, by Terry Spear, May 1, Sourcebooks
Wolf shifter and park ranger Eric Silver is committed to his job policing spectacular San Isabel National Forest, and he’s hot on the scent of some mysterious wolves who are up to no good. When Eric’s investigation leads him to cross paths with forester Pepper Grayling, he’s fascinated to learn this she-wolf is her pack’s leader — strong, independent, and definitely not looking for a mate….With unknown dangers on the prowl, Pepper is tempted to give in to her attraction to Eric and align her pack with his. But Pepper’s been pursued by many alpha males–all out to take over her pack and gain her hard-won territory–and Eric is a born leader. How does Eric earn the trust of a she-wolf who’s been betrayed so often in the past?
The Dark Vampire, by Kate Baxter, May 1, St. Martin’s
For centuries, Jenner has been plagued by the shadows of his past. Now, a newly-turned vampire, he stalks the night like a wild predator, unable to satisfy his insatiable desires. Until a beautiful vampire sets his soul on fire…Bria is pure innocence, hidden her whole life from a merciless enemy determined to hunt her down. When things become perilous, safety comes in the form of a fearsome bodyguard – Jenner. One fateful night, Bria is saved by her vampire protector and a blazing connection is sparked. But surrendering to the powerful call of passion means breaking free from the shackles of their pasts. And with the war against the slayers more savage than ever, they must fight to survive. For the vampire race depends on it.
Admiral, by Sean Danker, May 3, Roc
He is the last to wake. The label on his sleeper pad identifies him as an admiral of the Evagardian Empire—a surprise as much to him as to the three recent recruits now under his command. He wears no uniform, and he is ignorant of military protocol, but the ship’s records confirm he is their superior officer. Whether he is an Evagardian admiral or a spy will be of little consequence if the crew members all end up dead. They are marooned on a strange world, their ship’s systems are failing one by one—and they are not alone.
Camp Alien, by Gini Koch, May 3, DAW
The Mastermind may be outed, but Kitty & Company don’t get any downtime. In addition to having to recover from Operation Epidemic quickly, the sudden reappearance of a minor adversary long-forgotten turns out to only be the tip of a deadly iceberg that could end up causing World War Three…
Die for You, by Michele Mills, May 3, Samhain
Two months after a virus took out civilization, Rachel Donnelly is the last living soul in California, as far as she can tell. Until she runs into a Marine sniper, battle-hardened but alive and healthy…Adam Sanchez would love nothing more than a slamming session of I-can’t-believe-we’re-alive post-apocalyptic sex in the back of his Hummer. But Rachel’s fragility, inexperience—and much younger age—hold him back from exposing her to his raw, aggressive sexuality. If anything, Rachel needs protection. Especially from himself….As they band together with other survivors to battle feral animals, violent ex-cons, and motorcycle clubs jockeying for power, Rachel grows stronger in mind, body, and spirit—strong enough to give the dangerously sexy Marine what they both crave….The power of their passion rocks Adam’s world, bringing him to his knees—which, he discovers too late, is the worst possible place to be when danger springs from the shadows.
Invision, by Sherrilyn Kenyon, May 3, St. Martin’s Griffin
***Please note if you haven’t read Instinct, there could be spoilers in the synopsis below.**
One boy . . .Many demons….Think there’s a lot of pressure on your shoulders? Nick Gautier was born to bring about the end of the world . . . it’s not easy being the heir of a demon overlord. But Nick is determined to thwart his destiny and get into a good college. To be more than his genetics and prophecy foretell. No one is ever going to tell this stubborn Cajun who and what he really is. Or how to live his life….Not even the Fates of the Universe. But now that he and his team of ancient gods and demons have claimed the Eye of Ananke and he sees the missteps of the future, he has to battle the demons within that are far deadlier and more treacherous than any he’s battled before. All the while his arch nemesis is back and determined to reclaim his place as the harbinger for Armageddon. Even if it means killing Nick and barbecuing everyone he loves to do so.
Nebula Awards Showcase 2016, edited by Mercedes Lackey, May 3, Pyr
The Nebula Awards Showcase volumes have been published annually since 1966, reprinting the winning and nominated stories of the Nebula Awards, voted on by the members of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA). The editor, selected by SFWA’s anthology Committee (chaired by Mike Resnick), is American science fiction and fantasy writer Mercedes Lackey. This year’s Nebula winners are Ursula Vernon, Alaya Dawn Johnson, Nancy Kress, and Jeff VanderMeer, with Alaya Dawn Johnson winning the Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy Book.
Night Shift, by Charlaine Harris, May 3, Ace
At Midnight’s local pawnshop, weapons are flying off the shelves—only to be used in sudden and dramatic suicides right at the main crossroads in town….Who better to figure out why blood is being spilled than the vampire Lemuel, who, while translating mysterious texts, discovers what makes Midnight the town it is. There’s a reason why witches and werewolves, killers and psychics, have been drawn to this place. …And now they must come together to stop the bloodshed in the heart of Midnight. For if all hell breaks loose—which just might happen—it will put the secretive town on the map, where no one wants it to be…
Over Your Dead Body, by Dan Wells, May 3, Tor
John and Brooke are on their own, hitchhiking from town to town as they hunt the last of the Withered through the midwest— but the Withered are hunting them back, and the FBI is close behind. With each new town, each new truck stop, each new highway, they get closer to a vicious killer who defies every principle of profiling and prediction John knows how to use, and meanwhile Brooke’s fractured psyche teeters on the edge of oblivion, overwhelmed by the hundreds of thousands of dead personalities sharing her mind. She flips in and out of lucidity, manifesting new names and thoughts and memories every day, until at last the one personality pops up that John never expected and has no idea how to deal with. The last of Nobody’s victims, trapped forever in the body of his last remaining friend.
Ring of Fire IV, edited by Eric Flint, May 3, Baen
Collection #4 of rollicking and idea-packed alternate history tales written by today’s hottest science fiction writers and edited by New York Times best-seller Eric Flint. After a cosmic accident sets the modern-day West Virginia town of Grantville down in war-torn seventeenth century Europe, these everyday, resourceful Americans must adapt – or be trod into the dust of the past….A cosmic accident sets the modern West Virginia town of Grantville down in war-torn seventeenth century Europe. It will take all the gumption of the resourceful, freedom-loving up-timers to find a way to flourish in a mad and bloody time. Are they up for it? You bet they are. The fourth rollicking and idea-packed collection of Grantville tales edited and introduced by Eric Flint, and inspired by his now-legendary 1632. Plus: contains an all-new story by Eric Flint. Stories by Eric Flint, David Brin, David Carrico, Virginia DeMarce, Charles E. Gannon and more.
Savage Urges, by Suzanne Wright, May 3, Montlake
She’s a lone wolf with a cause. As a volunteer at a shelter for lone shifters—the same one that rescued her—Makenna Wray has dedicated her life to finding homes for its residents. And when she discovers that a teen in her care is related to Ryan Conner, the broody, handsome-as-sin enforcer of the Phoenix Pack, she’s eager to help connect the two. She just wasn’t prepared to feel a connection of her own….Lone wolves are loners for a reason—and most of them bad. Or so Ryan assumes until he meets the mysterious Makenna. Quirky and sensual, she seems to enjoy riling him, especially when she refuses to discuss her past. Although there is no mating bond, he’s sure she’s the one. All he has to do is be patient and wait. But when another pack’s sinister Alpha comes sniffing around, threatening Makenna and her shelter, this enforcer is ready to let his wolf off the leash…
Shadow’s Blade, by David B. Coe, May 3, Baen
Book #3 in The Case Files of Justis Fearsson, the critically acclaimed contemporary fantasy series from fantasy all-star David B. Coe. A hardboiled, magic-using private detective fights dark sorcerers in Phoenix, Arizona….Justis Fearsson is a weremyste and a private detective. He wields potent magic, but every month, on the full moon, he loses his mind. His battles with insanity have already cost him his job as a cop; he can’t afford to let them interfere with his latest case….Phoenix has become ground zero in a magical war, and an army of werecreatures, blood sorcerers, and necromancers has made Jay its number one target. When he is hired to track down a woman who has gone missing with her two young children, he has a hunch that the dark ones are to blame. But then he’s also brought in by the police to help with a murder investigation, and all the evidence implicates this same woman. Soon he is caught up in a deadly race to find not only the young family, but also an ancient weapon that could prove decisive in the looming conflict. Can he keep himself alive long enough to reach the woman and her kids before his enemies do? And can he claim the weapon before the people he loves, and the world he knows, are lost in a storm of flame, blood, and darkest sorcery?
The Distance, by Jeremy & Hilaree Robinson, May 3, Thomas Dunne Books
When August Finn rises from the depths of the dark matter research facility where he works, he discovers that the human race has been turned to dust. For August, life becomes one grueling test after another as this man of science, unaccustomed to the natural world, must fight to survive, against the elements and against despair. That is, until he makes contact. While much of the world’s technology is no longer functional, simple electronics still work, including Ham radios. After a day of trying, his call is finally answered….Hanna Dearborn is alone. She’s the last person living on Earth, hidden away in her parent’s sophisticated bunker. She’s been alone for weeks and can no longer stand the solitude. Gun in hand, she intends to end her life. Then, he calls….Connected to the only other living person in the world, August sets out on a quest to cross the country from Arizona to New Hampshire. As he follows a map from one Ham station to another, he learns how to survive from Hanna. They keep each other alive with each call, forming a deep relationship as he treks through harsh terrain, weather, and hunting predators, all the while trying to figure out exactly what happened to the human race….As the journey progresses, hints emerge. Lights in the sky. Strange sounds. Otherworldly phenomenon. The human race was eradicated by a higher, far more sophisticated power. And they’re moving in. With danger all around, August rushes to find Hanna, while she struggles to claim a small portion of the planet for the two last surviving members of the human race.
The Ecliptic, by Benjamin Wood, May 3, Penguin
On a forested island off the coast of Istanbul stands Portmantle, a gated refuge for beleaguered artists. There, a curious assembly of painters, architects, writers and musicians strive to restore their faded talents. Elspeth ‘Knell’ Conroy is a celebrated painter who has lost faith in her ability and fled the dizzying art scene of 1960s London. On the island, she spends her nights locked in her blacked-out studio, testing a strange new pigment for her elusive masterpiece….But when a disaffected teenager named Fullerton arrives at the refuge, he disrupts its established routines. He is plagued by a recurring nightmare that steers him into danger, and Knell is left to pick apart the chilling mystery. Where did the boy come from, what is ‘The Ecliptic’, and how does it relate to their abandoned lives in England?
The Jewel and Her Lapidary, by Fran Wilde, May 3, Tor, Novella
Buried beneath the layers of a traveler’s guide is a hidden history: two kingdoms, powerful gems, and the even more powerful Lapidarys who bind them. Lin and Sima, caught in a web of intrigue and deceit, must find a way to escape the traps set by the past and save their kingdom.
The Lost Stars: Shattered Spear, by Jack Campbell, May 3, Ace
The Syndicate Worlds continue to splinter as more star systems pledge allegiance to President Gwen Iceni, General Artur Drakon, and the new government they’re establishing at Midway. But the toxic legacy of Syndicate rule continues to undermine their efforts as the rebels encounter difficulty trusting one another and believing their new leaders’ promises of freedom from tyranny….Before Iceni and Drakon can put their house in order, they must deal with an even greater threat. An enigma warship has appeared and vanished near a Syndic colony. If the aliens are capable of jumping into other human-occupied star systems, then billions of people could be vulnerable to a hostile invasion fleet anywhere they choose to strike….But an even greater vulnerability lies with Iceni and Drakon, as a once-trusted adviser-turned-saboteur plans revenge…
The Raft, by Fred Strydom, May 3, Talos
On day zero, humankind collectively lost its memory. The collapse of civilisation was as instantaneous as it was inevitable. For a man named Kayle Jenner, confined by a regime to a commune on a remote beach, all that remains is the vague and haunting vision of a son … That, and a wooden raft….It is a raft that will set Kayle on a journey across a broken world to find his son.Braving a landscape of elusive encounters, a maze of other people’s dreams, and muddled memories, Kayle will discover more than just his lost past. He will discover the truth behind Day Zero – a truth that makes both fools and gods of men.
The Silent Army, by James A. Moore, May 3, Angry Robot
The City of Wonders has been saved by nearly miraculous forces and the Silent Army is risen, ready to defend the Fellein Empire and Empress Nachia at any cost….The power that was hidden in the Mounds is on the move, seeking a final confrontation with the very entities that kept it locked away since the Cataclysm. Andover Lashk has finally come to accept his destiny and prepares to journey back to Fellein. The Sa’ba Taalor continue their domination over each country and people they encounter, but the final conflict is coming: The Great Wave of the Sa’ba Taalor stands to destroy an empire and the Silent Army prepares to stop them in their tracks….Caught in the middle is the Fellein Empire and the people who have gathered together on the final battlefield. The faithful and the godless, the soldiers and killers alike all stand or fall as old gods and new bring their war to a world-changing end. Some struggles are eternal. Some conflicts never cease. The Gods of War are here and they are determined to win.
The Summer Dragon, by Todd Lockwood, May 3, DAW
Maia and her family raise dragons for the political war machine. As she comes of age, she anticipates a dragon of her own to add to the stable of breeding parents. Her peaceful life is shattered when the Summer Dragon—one of the rare and mythical High Dragons—makes an appearance in her quiet valley. Political factions vie for control of the implied message, threatening her aspirations, her aerie, her entire way of life….The bond between dragons and their riders is deep and life-long, and Maia’s desire for a dragon of her own to train, ride, fly, and love drives her to take a risk that puts her life at stake. She is swept into an adventure that pits her against the deathless Horrors, thralls of the enemy, and a faceless creature drawn from her fear. In her fight to preserve everything she knows and loves, she exposes a conspiracy, unearths an ancient civilization, and challenges her understanding of her world—and of herself.
Through Fire, by Sarah A. Hoyt, May 3, Baen
A spaceship mechanic has no place in a fairytale. But now Zen Sienna finds herself in a beautiful palace being courted by the ruler of vast lands. Yet soon Zen is caught up in a revolution that comes a bit too close to imitating the original French revolution—complete with beheadings. Swept up in a turmoil of fire and blood, she must find her footing. Torn by divided loyalties, unexpectedly in charge of protecting the innocent while trying to stop the guilty, Zen discovers both her inner strength and discovers who will remain true friends and comrades, and who will be revealed as enemies in disguise waiting to strike. Through the fire of revolution and war, Zen must earn her citizenship on Earth and find her place in a world that’s totally changed.
To Kill A Kettle Witch, by Barb Hendee, May 3, Roc
National bestselling author Barb Hendee returns to the world of the Mist-Torn witches, as two sisters who can see the secrets of the past and the mysteries of the future begin a quest to save the family they never knew existed.…Powerful prince Malcolm is facing ruin in the wake of a curse that has destroyed his harvest. He blames the band nomadic Móndyalítko who summer in the meadow below his castle—and he is determined to root out the people who caused the blight by any means necessary. When Céline and Amelie Fawe, descended from the Móndyalítko, learn that their mother’s people are under suspicion of sabotage and treason, they set out to use their magical gifts to save their estranged relatives and learn about their own origins. Now it’s up to the sisters—along with their motley escort, including a prince’s lieutenant, a shape-shifter, and an old woman with a murky past—to discover the source of the curse to restore life to the ravaged land and protect the innocent from unfair vengeance.
War Factory, by Neal Asher, May 3, Night Shade
Thorvald Spear, resurrected from his death over a hundred years earlier, continues to hunt Penny Royal, the rogue AI and dangerous war criminal on the run from Polity forces. Beyond the Graveyard, a lawless and deadly area in deep space, Spear follows the trail of several enemy Prador, the crab-like alien species with a violent history of conflict with humanity….Sverl, a Prador genetically modified by Penny Royal and slowly becoming human, pursues Cvorn, a Prador harboring deep hatred for the Polity looking to use him and other hybrids to reignite the dormant war with mankind….Blite, captain of a bounty hunting ship, hands over two prisoners and valuable memplants from Penny Royal to the Brockle, a dangerous forensics entity under strict confinement on a Polity spaceship that quickly takes a keen interest in the corrupted AI and its unclear motives….Penny Royal meanwhile continues to pull all the strings in the background, keeping the Polity at bay and seizing control of an attack ship. It seeks Factory Station Room 101, a wartime manufacturing space station believed to be destroyed. What does it want with the factory? And will Spear find the rogue AI before it gets there?
Zero K, by Don DeLillo, May 3, Simon & Schuster/Scribner
Jeffrey Lockhart’s father, Ross, is a billionaire in his sixties, with a younger wife, Artis Martineau, whose health is failing. Ross is the primary investor in a remote and secret compound where death is exquisitely controlled and bodies are preserved until a future time when biomedical advances and new technologies can return them to a life of transcendent promise. Jeff joins Ross and Artis at the compound to say “an uncertain farewell” to her as she surrenders her body. “We are born without choosing to be. Should we have to die in the same manner? Isn’t it a human glory to refuse to accept a certain fate?” These are the questions that haunt the novel and its memorable characters, and it is Ross Lockhart, most particularly, who feels a deep need to enter another dimension and awake to a new world. For his son, this is indefensible. Jeff, the book’s narrator, is committed to living, to experiencing “the mingled astonishments of our time, here, on earth.”
So…what do you want to read? Which of these appeals to you most? Note that if you win, you can choose a different title!