Sorry to have been out of pocket this weekend; I was off doing piddly stuff like, you know, planning my future. LOL.
But it’s Monday, so it must be time for a Reader’s Choice giveaway and roundup of new releases.
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 all but the most intriguing (to me) of the bazillion indies being released.
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.
Note to winners from the last couple of months: I’ve been BURIED under deadlines and am behind with mailing again. You’d think a broke college student would be willing to do things like stuff envelopes and schlep stuff to the post office, right? But no. So please be patient.
Now, here’s what I considered the most interesting from among the new books releasing this week. Third week of the month is usually pretty light so next week should be monstrous!
A Blade of Black Steel (The Crimson Empire #2), by Alex Marshall, May 24, Orbit. The sequel to Alex Marshall’s A Crown for Cold Silver, an outstanding, game-changing epic adventure featuring an unforgettable female warrior. After five hundred years, the Sunken Kingdom has returned, and brought with it a monstrous secret that threatens to destroy every country on the Star. As an inhuman army gathers on its shores, poised to invade the Immaculate Isles, the members of the Cobalt Company face an ugly choice: abandon their dreams of glory and vengeance to combat a menace from another realm, or pursue their ambitions and hope the Star is still there when the smoke clears. Five villains. One legendary general. A battle for survival.
All Fixed Up (Ciel Halligan #4), by Linda Grimes, May 24, Tor. Ciel Halligan, aura adaptor extraordinaire, has a lot of experience filling in for her clients–as them. A rare genetic quirk gives her the ability to absorb human energy and project it back out in a flawless imitation. She’s hard at work, posing as a well-known and celebrated astronaut, about to make a stunning announcement on behalf of the space program…when the photographer documenting the job sees right through her aura. Worse, it soon becomes apparent that he not only knows Ciel’s not who she’s supposed to be, but means her harm. …When Ciel’s elderly Aunt Helen—also an aura adaptor—is murdered in Central Park, and the same photographer shows up at the funeral, Ciel starts to feel even more exposed. Then more adaptors are killed in the same way, and she becomes terrified her friends and family are being systematically exterminated … and it’s starting to look like she’s the ultimate target….She turns to Billy Doyle, her best-friend-turned-boyfriend, for help, but when an unexpected crisis causes him to take off without a word, she’s left to rely on her not-so-former crush, CIA agent Mark Fielding….Staying alive, keeping control of her romantic life, and unraveling the mystery of why adaptors are being pursued becomes a harder balancing act than ever in this new Ciel Halligan adventure from Linda Grimes.
Demon Hunting with a Dixie Deb, by Lexi George, May 24, Kensington. Deep South legends. Deep fried curses. Deep dish revenge . . .This Debutante Is Having A Ball! Way down south in the land of cotton, one belle’s plans are soon forgotten–when Sassy Peterson drives her Maserati off the road to avoid a deer and lands smack-dab in the proverbial creek without a paddle. The Alabama heiress should have known something weird was going on when she saw the deer’s ginormous fangs. Hello, Predator Bambi! But nothing can prepare her for the leather-clad, muscle-bound, golden-eyed sex god who rescues her. Who wears leather in May? That’s just the first of many questions Sassy has when her savior reveals he’s a demon hunter named Grim. Also: Why would a troop of fairies want to give her magical powers and rainbow hair? Why would a style-challenged beast called the Howling Hag want to hunt her down? Most importantly, what’s a nice debutante like Sassy doing in a place like this anyway? Besides feeling Grim . . .
Ghosts of Karnak (The Ghost #3), by George Mann, May 24, Titan. Things are quiet in New York. Unusually quiet. Gabriel – the Ghost – knows that something’s wrong. There’s a heat wave building for a start, and it feels as if the pressure’s getting unbearable. Something’s going to give…When an expedition returns from Cairo to exhibit their finds at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gabriel takes a keen interest. An old friend and lover – a girl called Ginny, who he hasn’t seen for over a year – was part of the expedition. …Something’s not right with Ginny, however, and not just the fact she’s still drinking…something happened to her in Cairo, out on the dig. Something that’s related to a strange cult known as The Circle of Thoth, a baboon with a clockwork eye, dust devils on Fifth Avenue, robed assassins, sacrificial rites, a ‘resurrection machine’ and a ghostly figure clad in trailing bandages, seen floating over the rooftops of the city….Ancient forces are stirring, and the Ghost, Ginny and Gabriel’s friend Donovan are caught right in the middle…
Her Quicksilver Lover (Even Gods Fall in Love #6), by Lynne Connolly, May 24, Samhain. Joanna Spencer is doing more than just serving tea at the Pantheon Club. She’s secretly collecting society gossip and evidence of foreign spy activity for her father’s journal articles. Instead, she finds the club’s walls shield Roman gods in human form. One of which she must keep at arm’s length at all costs—the club’s alluring, enigmatic owner, Amidei, Comte d’Argento. Otherwise known as Mercury. Joanna catches Amidei’s attention long before she drops and shatters an expensive tea caddy. He knows she’s spying, but he never suspected she’d be his nemesis in human form—or that she would stir his strongest protective instincts. Those instincts will be tested to the limit when an enemy strikes from an unexpected corner, threatening their lives. And Amidei will have to face every last one of his fears to protect the woman he has come to love.
Smoke, by Dan Vyleta, May 24, Doubleday. An England where people who are wicked in thought or deed are marked by the Smoke that pours forth from their bodies, a sign of their fallen state. The aristocracy do not smoke, proof of their virtue and right to rule, while the lower classes are drenched in sin and soot. An England utterly strange and utterly real….An elite boarding school where the sons of the wealthy are groomed to take power as their birthright. Teachers with mysterious ties to warring political factions at the highest levels of government. Three young people who learn everything they’ve been taught is a lie—knowledge that could cost them their lives. A grand estate where secrets lurk in attic rooms and hidden laboratories. A love triangle. A desperate chase. Revolutionaries and secret police. Religious fanatics and coldhearted scientists. Murder. A London filled with danger and wonder. A tortured relationship between a mother and a daughter, and a mother and a son. Unexpected villains and unexpected heroes. Cool reason versus passion. Rich versus poor. Right versus wrong, though which is which isn’t clear.
Struck (Phoebe Meadows #1), by Amanda Carlson. May 24. When Phoebe Meadows gets struck by a strange light in the stockroom of Macy’s, life as she knows it flies out the window. As if being hit by lightning isn’t bad enough, she’s accosted in the subway by a man with a missing hand, arrives home to find a raven on her kitchen counter, and her neighbor, Ingrid, shows up dressed like a gladiator hell-bent on protecting her. Before Ingrid can shuttle her to safety, Phoebe is kidnapped and tossed into one of the Nine Worlds where she’s quickly forced to come to terms with what she is: A valkyrie. The only problem is, she has no idea what that means. After a narrow escape, she finds an unlikely ally in Loki’s son, Fenrir. Together the valkyrie and the wolf must battle their way back to New York City and reach the valkyrie stronghold where Ingrid is waiting for her. But with danger and obstacles at every turn, she might not live long enough to learn the full truth about who and what she really is…
The City of Mirrors (The Passage #3), by Justin Cronin, May 24, Ballantine. In “The Passage” and “The Twelve“, Justin Cronin brilliantly imagined the fall of civilization and humanity s desperate fight to survive. Now all is quiet on the horizon but does silence promise the nightmare s end or the second coming of unspeakable darkness? At last, this bestselling epic races to its breathtaking finale….The Twelve have been destroyed and the hundred-year reign of darkness that descended upon the world has ended. The survivors are stepping outside their walls, determined to build society anew and daring to dream of a hopeful future. But far from them, in a dead metropolis, he waits: Zero. The First. Father of the Twelve. The anguish that shattered his human life haunts him, and the hatred spawned by his transformation burns bright. His fury will be quenched only when he destroys Amy – humanity’s only hope, the Girl from Nowhere who grew up to rise against him. One last time light and dark will clash, and at last Amy and her friends will know their fate.
The Progeny, by Tosca Lee, May 24, Howard Books. Emily Jacobs is the descendant of a serial killer. Now, she’s become the hunted. She’s on a quest that will take her to the secret underground of Europe and the inner circles of three ancient orders—one determined to kill her, one devoted to keeping her alive, and one she must ultimately save. Filled with adrenaline, romance, and reversals, The Progeny is the present-day saga of a 400-year-old war between the uncanny descendants of “Blood Countess” Elizabeth Bathory, the most prolific female serial killer of all time, and a secret society dedicated to erasing every one of her descendants. A story about the search for self filled with centuries-old intrigues against the backdrop of atrocity and hope.
The Sorcerer’s Daughter, by Terry Brooks, May 24, Del Rey. The third stand-alone Shannara novel in the Defenders of Shannara series, following The High Druid’s Blade and The Darkling Child, easily accessible to new readers of epic fantasy…The daughter of a reviled sorcerer, Leofur is nothing like her dreaded father. When her life-partner, Paxon Leah, leaves on a dangerous mission, Leofur protects Paxon’s sister. When she is abducted Leofur is forced to choose between saving Paxon from a mission gone badly awry, or hiring the services of the best tracker in the world to go after her life-partner’s sister.
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).