It’s Monday, which means it’s time for a Reader’s Choice post!
The standard stuff: If you’re new around these parts, you might wonder what Reader’s Choice Monday is. Below are some of 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 whose covers, sadly, kind of went down the road to weirdtown.
Leave a comment as to which one of these you’d most like to read. If you win this week and want that book, great. BUT, on Sunday when I announce the winner, you can also change your mind and pick a different book—anything, print or digital, as long as it costs less than US$15. You also can pick any one of my books if you prefer, regardless of cost. Open internationally, of course, as long as you live somewhere Book Depository delivers.
Now, here’s what I considered the most interesting from among the new books releasing this week. After last week’s monster list, this week’s is pretty short.
Awakened by a Demoness (Eternal Mates #10), by Felicity Heaton
Asteria of the Second Legion of demons has messed up. Royally. With a capital everything. Certain that her dark lord is about to end her in the most painful way imaginable, she’s stunned when the fallen angel offers her an uncharacteristic shot at redemption—and determined not to fail him again. With her life on the line, she sets out on a mission that sounds easy but proves to be far from it when a hot slice of angelic eye candy comes storming into her life, stirring dangerous desires and tempting her more than any male before him….Fifth Commander of the Echelon, the highest order of angels in Heaven and those responsible for hunting demons, he will allow nothing to stand in the way of fulfilling the mission he began close to a century ago so he can finally return to his home. On the verge of securing the half-breed he has been hunting, he can almost taste victory—until a sassy demoness struts into his life, awakening wicked needs and forbidden hungers that will test him to his limit….When their mission brings them on a collision course, can they fight the fierce heat of the passion that blazes between them to claim a victory for their side or will it burn their resistance to ashes and set their hearts on fire with a love both forbidden and eternal?
Beyond The Ice Limit (Gideon Crew #4), by Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child
That thing is growing again. We must destroy it. The time to act is now…With these words begins Gideon Crew’s latest, most dangerous, most high-stakes assignment yet. Failure will mean nothing short of the end of humankind on earth. Five years ago, the mysterious and inscrutable head of Effective Engineering Solutions, Eli Glinn, led a mission to recover a gigantic meteorite–the largest ever discovered–from a remote island off the coast of South America. The mission ended in disaster when their ship, the Rolvaag, foundered in a vicious storm in the Antarctic waters and broke apart, sinking-along with its unique cargo-to the ocean floor. One hundred and eight crew members perished, and Eli Glinn was left paralyzed. But this was not all. The tragedy revealed something truly terrifying: the meteorite they tried to retrieve was not, in fact, simply a rock. Instead, it was a complex organism from the deep reaches of space….Now, that organism has implanted itself in the sea bed two miles below the surface-and it is growing. If it is not destroyed, the planet will be doomed. There is only one hope: for Glinn and his team to annihilate it, a task which requires Gideon’s expertise with nuclear weapons. But as Gideon and his colleagues soon discover, the “meteorite” has a mind of its own-and it has no intention of going quietly…
Company Town, by Madeline Ashby, May 17, Tor. Meet Hwa. One of the few in her community to forego bio-engineered enhancements, she’s the last truly organic person left on the rig. But she’s an expert in the arts of self-defence, and she’s been charged with training the Family’s youngest, who has been receiving death threats – seemingly from another timeline. Meanwhile, a series of interconnected murders threatens the city’s stability – serial killer? Or something much, much worse…?
Craved (Exiled #2), by Victoria Danann, May 20. Crave surpassed the limits of mortal endurance and survived years of torture by the Rautt. For years he’d been isolated, chained in darkness, kept in filth, starved, taken to the point of death only to be restored so that his enemies could begin the cycle again. His family thought he was dead, but the woman who’d held his heart and his promise never gave up hope. After his rescue, his memory and sanity gone, Dandy will plumb the depths of love to bring bring him back from hell, while his community sets out to prove that he’ll never be alone again.
Creation Machine (Spin #1), by Andrew Bannister, May 19, Bantam. It is the aftermath of civil war in the vast pageant of planets and stars known as The Spin. Three years since he crushed the rebellion, Viklun Haas, industrialist and leader of the Hegemony, is eliminating all remnants of the opposition. Starting with his own daughter. But Fleare Haas, fighter for Society Otherwise has had a long time to plan her next move. Sprung from her remote monastery prison and reuniting with a team of loyal friends, Fleare’s journey will take her across The Spin to the cluster of fallen planets known as the The Catastrophe Curve – and from exile, to the very frontiers of war. Meanwhile, in the brutal and despotic empire of The Fortunate, word is reaching viceroy Alameche of a most unusual piece of plunder from their latest invasion. For hundreds of millions of years, the bizarre planets and stars of The Spin itself have been the only testament to the god-like engineers that created it. Now, buried in the earth of a ruined planet, one of their machines has been found
Fire Bound (Sea Haven #5), by Christine Feehan, May 18. Flame-haired Lissa Piner is a skilled glass blower whose delicate gift conceals a burning inner strength that can destroy as exquisitely as it can create. Commissioned to design chandeliers for a string of luxury hotels, her remarkable skills have taken her to Italy. But Lissa’s real mission there is a secret. For her entire life has been a lie, leading to a chance to avenge a terrible wrong. Enlisted as her bodyguard is Casmir Prakenskii, a trained assassin living off the grid. In Lissa, he sees a kindred spirit—something unexpected and wicked, mysterious and sensual. But more than desire is about to bring them together: because both of their pasts cry out for revenge. And for two people with this many secrets, this much passion, and this many enemies, someone is bound to get burned.
King Of Ashes (War of Five Crowns #1), by Raymond E. Feist, May 15, Harper Voyager, A new novel from the internationally bestselling author, Raymond E. Feist. After 30 years and as many books, Raymond E. Feist’s Midkemia series, The Riftwar Cycle, came to a satisfyingly cataclysmic end in 2013. Next year will mark the publication of Feist’s first non-Midkemia based book for many years. KING OF ASHES is the first book in the planned WAR OF FIVE CROWNS trilogy and draws influences from medieval history and Arthurian legend.
My Best Friend’s Exorcism, by Grady Hendrix, May 17, Quirk Books. Abby and Gretchen have been best friends since fifth grade, when they bonded over a shared love of E.T., roller-skating parties, and scratch-and-sniff stickers. But when they arrive at high school, things change. Gretchen begins to act…different. And as the strange coincidences and bizarre behavior start to pile up, Abby realizes there’s only one possible explanation: Gretchen, her favorite person in the world, has a demon living inside her. And Abby is not about to let anyone or anything come between her and her best friend. With help from some unlikely allies, Abby embarks on a quest to save Gretchen. But is their friendship powerful enough to beat the devil?
Runtime, by S.B. Divya, May 17, Tor, Novella. The Minerva Sierra Challenge is a grueling spectacle, the cyborg’s Tour de France. Rich thrill-seekers with corporate sponsorships, extensive support teams, and top-of-the-line exoskeletal and internal augmentations pit themselves against the elements in a day-long race across the Sierra Nevada….Marmeg Guinto doesn’t have funding, and she doesn’t have support. She cobbled her gear together from parts she found in rich people’s garbage and spent the money her mother wanted her to use for nursing school to enter the race. But the Minerva Challenge is the only chance she has at a better life for herself and her younger brothers, and she’s ready to risk it all. Runtime is S. B. Divya’s exciting science fiction debut.
Scarlet Rain (Escaped #2), by Kristin Cast, May 17. The co-author of the “New York Times” bestselling House of Night series returns with the mesmerizing second book in The Escaped series. …In “Amber Smoke,” Kristin Cast introduced her legions of readers to Alek and Eva. Alek, immortal son of the Furies, has been charged to save his home and recapture the souls of the damned, evil creatures who escaped Tartarus into the Mortal Realm. He can’t, however, do it alone… Eva has discovered that she has been both blessed and cursed with powers beyond her comprehension. With a destiny to fulfill, she cannot escape the beings who will stop at nothing to destroy her. …Now, in “Scarlet Rain,” the Nosoi spirits of plague have been unleashed on the Mortal Realm, releasing a pandemic as clever and adaptable as it is insidious. Alek and Eva must capture and banish the Nosoi back to their Underworld prison but Eva has yet to harness the abilities needed to defeat such a powerful enemy, and Alek sustains catastrophic wounds in the attempt. They must rely on detective James Graham, and Eva s best friend Bridget, if they are to even slow down the plague. But can mere mortals come through in the face of such overwhelming peril?”
The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year: Volume Ten, edited by Jonathan Strahan, May 17, Solaris. The best, most original and brightest science fiction and fantasy stories from around the globe from the past twelve months are brought together in one collection by multiple award winning editor Jonathan Strahan. This highly popular series now reaches volume nine and will include stories from both the biggest names in the field and the most exciting new talents. Previous volumes have included stories from Neil Gaiman, Stephen King, Cory Doctorow, Stephen Baxter, Elizabeth Bear, Joe Abercrombie, Paolo Bacigalupi, Holly Black, Garth Nix, Jeffrey Ford, Margo Lanagan, Bruce Sterling, Adam Robets, Ellen Klages, and many many more.
The Fireman, by Joe Hill, May 17, William Morrow. From the award-winning, New York Times bestselling author ofNOS4A2 and Heart-Shaped Box comes a chilling novel about a worldwide pandemic of spontaneous combustion that threatens to reduce civilization to ashes and a band of improbable heroes who battle to save it, led by one powerful and enigmatic man known as the Fireman. The fireman is coming. Stay cool. No one knows exactly when it began or where it originated. A terrifying new plague is spreading like wildfire across the country, striking cities one by one: Boston, Detroit, Seattle. The doctors call it Draco Incendia Trychophyton. To everyone else it’s Dragonscale, a highly contagious, deadly spore that marks its hosts with beautiful black and gold marks across their bodies—before causing them to burst into flames. Millions are infected; blazes erupt everywhere. There is no antidote. No one is safe….Harper Grayson, a compassionate, dedicated nurse as pragmatic as Mary Poppins, treated hundreds of infected patients before her hospital burned to the ground. Now she’s discovered the telltale gold-flecked marks on her skin. When the outbreak first began, she and her husband, Jakob, had made a pact: they would take matters into their own hands if they became infected. To Jakob’s dismay, Harper wants to live—at least until the fetus she is carrying comes to term. At the hospital, she witnessed infected mothers give birth to healthy babies and believes hers will be fine too. . . if she can live long enough to deliver the child. Convinced that his do-gooding wife has made him sick, Jakob becomes unhinged, and eventually abandons her as their placid New England community collapses in terror. The chaos gives rise to ruthless Cremation Squads—armed, self-appointed posses roaming the streets and woods to exterminate those who they believe carry the spore. But Harper isn’t as alone as she fears: a mysterious and compelling stranger she briefly met at the hospital, a man in a dirty yellow fire fighter’s jacket, carrying a hooked iron bar, straddles the abyss between insanity and death. Known as The Fireman, he strolls the ruins of New Hampshire, a madman afflicted with Dragonscale who has learned to control the fire within himself, using it as a shield to protect the hunted . . . and as a weapon to avenge the wronged. In the desperate season to come, as the world burns out of control, Harper must learn the Fireman’s secrets before her life—and that of her unborn child—goes up in smoke.
The God Wave, by Patrick Hemstreet, May 17, Harper Voyager. For decades, scientists have speculated about the untapped potential of the human brain. Now, neuroscientist Chuck Brenton has made an astonishing breakthrough. He has discovered the key—the crucial combination of practice and conditioning—to access the incredible power dormant in ninety percent of our brains. Applying his methods to test subjects, he has stimulated abilities that elevate brain function to seemingly “godlike” levels. These extraordinary abilities can transform the world, replacing fear and suffering with tranquility and stability. But in an age of increasing militarization, corporate exploitation, and explosive technological discovery, a group of influential powerbrokers are determined to control these new superbeings for their own manipulative ends?and their motives may be far from peaceful.
The Malice (The Vagrant #2), by Peter Newman, May 19, Harper Voyager. In the south, the Breach stirs. Gamma’s sword, the Malice, wakes, calling to be taken to battle once more. But the Vagrant has found a home now, made a life and so he turns his back, ignoring its call. The sword cries out, frustrated, until another answers. Her name is Vesper.
The Medusa Chronicles, by Alastair Reynolds & Stephen Baxter, May 19, Gollancz. Following an accident that almost cost him his life, Howard Falcon was not so much saved as he was converted, through the use of prosthetics, into something faster, stronger and smarter …but also slightly less human and more machine than he was. And with this change came an opportunity – that of piloting a mission into Jupiter’s atmosphere, and ultimately of making first contact with the life forms he discovers there. Picking up the threads of humanity versus artificial intelligences and machines, and of encounters with the alien, this collaborative novel between two superb writers is a sequel to Howard Falcon’s adventures. A proper science fiction adventure, this is perfect for fans of Golden Age SF as well as the modern SF reader.
The Summon Stone, by Ian Irvine, May 17, Orbit. The start of a brand new epic fantasy series from fan-favorite Ian Irvine, set in the world of his View from the Mirror series. The Merdrun, cruel warriors blooded by thousands of years of slaughter, are gathering in the void between the worlds. On Santhenar their long-hidden summon stone is waking, corrupting good people as well as bad, and turning arcane places into magically polluted wastelands. If it is not destroyed it will create a portal and call the Merdrun through. In a nightmare, a nine-year-old girl sees the Merdrun leader – and he sees her. If Karan and Llian are to save their daughter and their world, Karan must find a way to stop the greatest warrior in the void. Llian has to destroy the summon stone before the night of the triple moons, though he has no idea where to begin. But the summon stone knows how to protect itself, and soon Karan and Llian are on the run. Karan is hunted relentlessly by a former friend. Llian, framed for murder, is forced to betray an old ally’s darkest secret – one that could give the Merdrun exactly what they want.
The Tower of Swallows, by Andrzej Sapkowski, May 17, Orbit. The Witcher returns in this action-packed sequel to “Baptism of Fire, ” in the “New York Times “bestselling series that inspired “The Witcher “video games. The world has fallen into war. Ciri, the child of prophecy, has vanished. Hunted by friends and foes alike, she has taken on the guise of a petty bandit and lives free for the first time in her life. But the net around her is closing. Geralt, the Witcher, has assembled a group of allies determined to rescue her. Both sides of the war have sent brutal mercenaries to hunt her down. Her crimes have made her famous. There is only one place left to run. The tower of the swallow is waiting…
Who Killed Sherlock Holmes?, by Paul Cornell, May 19, Tor UK. Someone has murdered the ghost of Sherlock Holmes. As a fictional character remembered by the people of London, Holmes’ ghost walked the city, and now someone has put a ceremonial dagger through his chest. What could be the motive? The small team of Metropolitan Police detectives who have The Sight find themselves pursuing a criminal genius who soon lures them into a Sherlockian maze of too many clues and too much evidence. Ross finds herself drawn to an actor who may or may not be a deity, and goes on a quest to win back her happiness. Lofhouse seeks the answers, finally, about why she brought the team together. Quill battles for his sanity. Costain battles for his soul. And Sefton just wants to bring his team back together, even if that takes him to the edge of death.
Withering Rose (Once Upon a Curse #2), by Kaitlyn Davis, May 17. Omorose Bouchene has a secret–magic. There’s only one problem. At the age of seven, an earthquake struck, catapulting her into a new world. A land made of skyscrapers and cell phones. Fast cars and fluorescent lights. A land where magic isn’t supposed to exist and anyone who wields it is the enemy. But after ten years of hiding, she’s desperate to find a place where she can be free. Because all magic comes with a curse, and her curse is time–every ounce of power she uses strips days off of her life. The clock is winding down, and the only option left is to escape to the realm of the Beast. But the king of monsters isn’t what he seems. And the more Omorose opens her heart, the more she comes to realize that the only person she may need to fear is herself. *This is the second book in Once Upon A Curse, a series of interconnected stand-alone novels all set in the same fantasy universe.
Wolf’s Property (Breed MC #2), by Anne Marsh. Werewolf shifter Ware Evans lives for the road, his bike, and his MC. He has his own brand of honor. And when a member of the Breed motorcycle club kidnaps a human female, Ware’s ready to take action. Free the girl. Punish the wolf. Make sure said girl never talks about the club or reveals its shifter secrets. Club rules come first and Ware is the enforcer of the rulebook. But when Ware actually meets the naked woman tied up in the remote Louisiana Bayou cabin, sees the fear and defiance in her soft brown eyes, all bets are off. He’ll claim her as his mate to keep her safe from the wolf pack, to make sure she’s free to ride away… and because now there’s only one rule that matters now. She’s his.
So…what do you want to read? Which of these appeals to you most? Remember, regardless of what you say in your comment you also can pick a different book or any one of my books (except the two that are currently out of print, The Consort and Christmas in Dogtown).