Yeah, yeah, Reader’s Choice day is usually Monday but because of the holiday I pushed it to Tuesday this week.
You probably know the drill, but if you’re new ‘round these parts, you might wonder what Reader’s Choice 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 that I know of. I’m sure there are another bazillion of which I have no knowledge but them’s the breaks.
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. This week was unusually light so next week should be monstrous!
Awakened by the Wolf, by Kristal Hollis, Jun 1, Harlequin Nocturne. Who’s been sleeping in the Alpha’s bed? Exiled from his pack by his father, Brice Walker has secretly come home to visit his ailing grandmother only to discover a human and very desirable female sleeping in his bed. Their attraction is instant. But his new bed buddy seems determined to resist his Southern charm and Alpha allure. For Brice, fiercely independent Cassie not only represents a chance to build a new life in Walker’s Run but is also his one true mate. Cassie’s reluctance dissolves when a rogue shifter kidnaps her, and now she and Brice must work together to save his pack. But once she witnesses the savagery of wolfan justice, can Cassie accept Brice as man, beast and her true love?
Dancer’s Lament (Path to Ascendancy #1), by Ian C. Esslemont, May 31, Tor. Taking Malazan fans back to that troubled continent’s turbulent early history. The opening chapter in Ian C. Esslemont’s epic new fantasy sequence, the Path to Ascendancy trilogy. For ages warfare has crippled the continent as minor city states, baronies, and principalities fought in an endless round of hostilities. Only the alliance of the rival Tali and Quon cities could field the resources to mount a hegemony from coast to coast — and thus become known as Quon Tali. It is a generation since the collapse of this dynasty and regional powers are once more rousing themselves. Into this arena of renewed border wars come two youths to the powerful central city state that is Li Heng. One is named Dorin, and he comes determined to prove himself the most skilled assassin of his age; he is chasing the other youth — a Dal Hon mage who has proven himself annoyingly difficult to kill. Li Heng has been guided and warded for centuries by the powerful sorceress known as the “Protectress”, and she allows no rivals. She and her cabal of five mage servants were enough to repel the Quon Tali Iron Legions — what could two youths hope to accomplish under their stifling rule? Yet under the new and ambitious King Chulalorn the Third, Itko Kan is on the march from the south. He sends his own assassin servants, the Nightblades, against the city, and there are hints that he also commands inhuman forces out of legend. While above all, shadows swirl oddly about Li Heng, and monstrous slathering beasts seem to appear from nowhere to run howling through the street. It is a time of chaos and upheaval, and in chaos, as the young Dal Hon mage would say, there is opportunity.
Extinction Biome: Invasion, by Addison Gunn, May 31, Abaddon. Four years in the military, training for a war that never happened, left Alexander Miller disillusioned and apathetic. Now, as second in command of COBALT, a corporate bodyguard unit for the biotech giant Schaeffer-Yeager, he’s little more than a glorified chauffeur to the wealthy elite. But times change. A threat from the ancient past has reawakened, and like a Biblical plague it threatens to consume every ecosystem on Earth. Hordes of parasite-infected humans riot against the increasingly powerless authorities as vast fungal blooms destroy crops and terrifying beasts stalk city streets. The last time this happened, T-Rex found itself on the menu. But mankind’s got more than teeth – it’s got guns. Miller and the men and women of COBALT are pressed into service to fight the onslaught, but they have no idea how cutthroat their corporate masters can be…
Gator’s Challenge (Bitten Point #4), by Eve Langlais, June 1. Welcome to Bitten Point, where the toughest battles happen within the heart. Once upon a time a girl loved a boy, but married another man. What a mistake, especially since that man has been using her as part of his sick plot to experiment on shifters. And he’s got a plan to use their sons. Over my dead body. But Melanie might need help keeping her boys safe. Wes is keeping secrets, lots of them, but he doesn’t have a choice. The people he cares about are in danger and he’ll do anything to protect them, but that struggle intensifies when the girl he never stopped loving is drawn into danger. Can this gator meet the challenge of not only freeing himself from the blackmailing grip of Bittech, but find a way to be with Melanie too?
Highway To Hell: Can You Survive The Zombie Apocalypse, by Max Brallier, June 1, Gallery Books. You’ve probably read your fair share of zombie stories. But this time it’s different. In a horrific and hilarious cross-country road trip (or rather, suicide mission), you must overcome obstacles of every kind to save zombified America from utter collapse. The book begins with you inside your prison cell, waiting to be released. Your name is Jimmy el Camino, and you’re a badass—in fact, you’re a supreme badass. Rambo with style. Snake Plissken with a failing liver. You’ve killed more men than cancer. But more men than the zombie apocalypse? That’s questionable… Your mission? Drive your heavily armed 1967 el Camino from New York City to San Francisco. Along the way, you’ll encounter Mr. Death’s Undead Circus and Animal Show; you’ll battle zombies gladiator-style; you’ll be forced to help a band of lunatics defending the Alamo. And every step of the way, an army of drivers in armored vehicles is hot on your tail—because there is one man, the mayor of New York, who will stop at nothing to keep this apocalypse of the undead alive.
Leviathan’s Blood (Children #2), by Ben Peek, May 31, Thomas Dunne. At the end of The Godless, Mireea lay in ruins, the dead of the city had risen as ghosts, and the keepers Fo and Bau had been slain by Zaifyr. The Mireeans have now fled to the city of Yeflam with the immortal Zaifyr in chains to barter for their safety. With the threat of war arriving at the Floating Cities, Zaifyr’s trial will become the center of political games. However, Zaifyr is intent on using his trial to begin a new war, a motive that many fear is an echo of the dangerous man he once was. Ayae, a young girl cursed with the gift of fire, sees a chance to learn more of her powers here in the floating city, but she is weighed down by her new responsibilities regarding the safety of the Mireean people. Across the far ocean, exiled Baron Bueralan and cartographer Orlan have arrived in the city of Ooila with some chilling cargo: the soul of a dead man. As the two men are accepted into the city’s court, they are pulled ever deeper into the Queen’s web of lies and deceit. All the while, a rumor begins to spread of a man who has come ashore, whose seemingly innocent presence threatens them all.
Savage, by Thomas E. Sniegoski, May 31, Simon Pulse. Sidney and her friends must race to find the origin of a storm that has hit their small island home—turning every animal into savage weapons—in this suspenseful thriller from New York Times bestselling author, Thomas E. Sniegoski. The future is looking bright for Sidney Moore as she as she gets ready to leave the small island of Benediction behind for one of Boston’s top veterinary schools. Only a few small bumps in the road to navigate before she can go—her father’s recovery from a debilitating stroke, and her own guilt for ending her relationship with her high school sweetheart. But she’s always been strong willed, and she’s not about to let anything stop her from achieving her goals. Now a storm is bearing down on Benediction, a hurricane that will bring devastating winds and rain, rising tides…and something else. Something deadly; something that will transform all the things that creep, crawl, and flutter into instruments of terror and death. The future is looking bright for Sidney Moore…if only she can survive the storm.
The Angel Wore Fangs (Deadly Angels #7), by Sandra Hill, May 31, Avon. New York Times bestselling author Sandra Hill continues her sexy Deadly Angels series, as a Viking vangel’s otherworldly mission pairs him with a beautiful chef who whets his thousand-year-old appetite . . . Once guilty of the deadly sin of gluttony, thousand-year-old Viking vampire angel Cnut Sigurdsson is now a lean, mean, vampire-devil fighting machine. His new side-job? No biggie: just ridding the world of a threat called ISIS while keeping the evil Lucipires (demon vampires) at bay. So when chef Andrea Stewart hires him to rescue her sister from a cult recruiting terrorists at a Montana dude ranch, vangel turns cowboy. Yeehaw! The too-tempting mortal insists on accompanying him, surprising Cnut with her bravery at every turn. But with terrorists stalking the ranch in demonoid form, Cnut teletransports Andrea and himself out of danger—accidentally into the tenth-century Norselands. Suddenly, they have to find their way back to the future to save her family and the world . . . and to satisfy their insatiable attraction.
The Darkest Torment (Lords of the Underworld), by Gena Showalter, May 31. Driven to his death by the demon of Distrust, Baden spent centuries in purgatory. Now he’s back, but at what cost? Bound to the king of the underworld, an even darker force, he’s unable to withstand the touch of another…and he’s quickly devolving into a heartless assassin with an uncontrollable temper. Things only get worse when a mission goes awry and he finds himself saddled with a bride—just not his own. Famed dog trainer Katarina Joelle is forced to marry a monster to protect her loved ones. When she’s taken hostage by the ruthless, beautiful Baden immediately after the ceremony, she’s plunged into a war between two evils—with a protector more dangerous than the monsters he hunts. They are meant to be enemies, but neither can resist the passion burning between them…and all too soon the biggest threat is to her heart. But as Baden slips deeper into the abyss, she’ll have to teach him to love…or lose him forever.
The Geek Feminist Revolution, by Kameron Hurley, May 31, Tor. A powerful collection of essays on feminism, geek culture, and a writer’s journey, from one of the most important new voices in genre. The Geek Feminist Revolution is a collection of essays by double Hugo Award-winning essayist and science fiction and fantasy novelist Kameron Hurley. The book collects dozens of Hurley’s essays on feminism, geek culture, and her experiences and insights as a genre writer, including “We Have Always Fought,” which won the 2014 Hugo for Best Related Work. The Geek Feminist Revolution will also feature several entirely new essays written specifically for this volume. Unapologetically outspoken, Hurley has contributed essays to The Atlantic, Locus, Tor.com, and elsewhere on the rise of women in genre, her passion for SF/F, and the diversification of publishing.
The Sleeping Prince, by Melinda Salisbury, May 31, Scholastic Press. Return to the darkly beautiful world of The Sin Eater’s Daughter with a sequel that will leave you awed, terrified . . . and desperate for more. Ever since her brother Lief disappeared, Errin’s life has gone from bad to worse. Not only must she care for her sick mother, she has to scrape together rent money by selling illegal herbal cures. But none of that compares to the threat of the vengeful Sleeping Prince whom the Queen just awoke from his enchanted sleep. When her village is evacuated as part of the war against the Sleeping Prince, Errin is left desperate and homeless. The only person she can turn to is the mysterious Silas, a young man who buys deadly poisons from Errin, but won’t reveal why he needs them. Silas promises to help her, but when he vanishes, Errin must journey across a kingdom on the brink of war to seek another way to save her mother and herself. But what she finds shatters everything she believed about her world, and with the Sleeping Prince drawing nearer, Errin must make a heartbreaking choice that could affect the whole kingdom.
The Vampire’s Protector, by Michele Hauf, June 1, Harlequin Nocturne. For over a century, musician Nicolo Paganini had rested in peace. Until Summer Santiago’s innocent touch raised him from the grave. Awake in a world suddenly so foreign, he needed Summer’s help. Yet his protector was a vampire…with a deep desire for Nicolo’s blood. Despite the raving attraction between them, the pair had something more dangerous than bloodlust to contend with. The devil had a plan for Nicolo’s eternal life. Should Nicolo play the cursed black violin, his fate would be sealed. But if he resisted Satan’s call, he would lose the woman who had made his life worth living.
Rebel (Vicky Peterwald #3), by Mike Shepherd, May 31, Ace. Vicky Peterwald is no longer just the heir apparent to an imperial dynasty. She survived naval training and proved her mettle in combat to help the starving people of the ravaged world of St. Petersburg. Now, she is truly a Grand Duchess, leading a growing battle fleet in a rebellion against the tyranny of her stepmother, the Empress. Determined to stop her spoiled stepdaughter’s betrayal from upsetting the balance of power within the Peterwald Empire, the Empress is leading her own armada to St. Petersburg, intent on killing Vicky and every soul on the planet that gave her refuge. But Vicky is her father’s daughter, and it would be a grave mistake to underestimate her…
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), without regard to the $15 limit. If you’re in the U.S., I will sign the books.