Happy Monday! 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—as of this week, you must pick a book and not just say “I’ll decide if I win,” since I realize that’s an easy shorthand for “I’m not going to waste time scanning this blog.” No, I’m not pointing fingers—LOL. The giveaway is international, as always.
Now, here’s what I considered the most interesting from among the new books releasing this week. You wouldn’t believe how many I left off!
Allegiance of Honor (Psy-Changeling #15), by Nalini Singh, June 14, Berkley. The Psy-Changeling world has undergone a staggering transformation and now stands at a crossroads. The Trinity Accord promises a new era of cooperation between disparate races and groups. It is a beacon of hope held together by many hands: Old enemies. New allies. Wary loners. But a century of distrust and suspicion can’t be so easily forgotten and threatens to shatter Trinity from within at any moment. As rival members vie for dominance, chaos and evil gather in the shadows and a kidnapped woman’s cry for help washes up in San Francisco, while the Consortium turns its murderous gaze toward a child who is the embodiment of change, of love, of piercing hope: A child who is both Psy…and changeling. To find the lost, protect the vulnerable—and save Trinity—no one can stand alone. This is a time of loyalty across divisions, of bonds woven into the heart and the soul, of heroes known and unknown standing back to back and holding the line. But is an allegiance of honor even possible with traitors lurking in their midst?
Bay of Sighs (Guardians Trilogy #2), by Nora Roberts, June 14, Berkley. Mermaid Annika is from the sea, and it is there she must return after her quest to find the stars. New to this world, her purity and beauty are nothing less than breathtaking, along with her graceful athleticism, as her five new friends discovered when they retrieved the fire star. …Now, through space and time, traveler Sawyer King has brought the guardians to the island of Capri, where the water star is hidden. And as he watches Annika in her element, he finds himself drawn to her joyful spirit. But Sawyer knows that if he allows her into his heart, no compass could ever guide him back to solid ground…And in the darkness, their enemy broods. She lost one star to the guardians, but there is still time for blood to be spilled—the mermaid’s in the water and the traveler’s on the land. For she has forged a dangerous new weapon. Something deadly and unpredictable. Something human.
Damned If You Do, by Marie Sexton, June 14, Samhain. Soul acquisition is a drag, but if Abaddon doesn’t catch up on his quota, he could be demoted to scooping poop for the Hounds of Hell. With a deadline hanging over him, he heads for the Bible Belt, looking for the perfect combination of sweetness and challenge….Seth is a blind musician, part of a traveling tent revival. He’s cute, mystically talented, and quotes the Bible at every turn. His soul is pure enough to fill Abaddon’s quota for months to come, and Abaddon is determined to claim it. The problem? There’s the revival foreman who watches Abaddon’s every move. Then there’s the mystery of Seth’s many unusual talents. Lastly, there’s Abaddon himself. He’s beginning to like Seth a bit too much. Maybe Seth deserves something better than damnation. But Hell’s agenda isn’t negotiable, and time is running out. If Abaddon doesn’t play his cards right, he could condemn both of them to the worst fate of all—an eternity apart.
Dreams of Distant Shores, by Patricia A. McKillip, June 14, Tachyon. Collection. Featuring three brand-new stories and an original introduction by Peter S. Beagle, author of The Last Unicorn. Bestselling author Patricia A. McKillip (The Riddle-Master of Hed) is one of the most lyrical writers gracing the fantasy genre. With the debut of her newest work, Dreams of Distant Shores is a true ode to her many talents. Within these pages you will find a youthful artist possessed by both his painting and his muse and seductive travelers from the sea enrapturing distant lovers. The statue of a mermaid comes suddenly to life, and two friends are transfixed by a haunted estate.
False Hearts (False Hearts #1), by Laura Lam, June 14, Tor. Raised in the closed cult of Mana’s Hearth and denied access to modern technology, conjoined sisters Taema and Tila dream of a life beyond the walls of the compound. When the heart they share begins to fail, the twins escape to San Francisco, where they are surgically separated and given new artificial hearts. From then on they pursue lives beyond anything they could have previously imagined….Ten years later, Tila returns one night to the twins’ home in the city, terrified and covered in blood, just before the police arrive and arrest her for murder—the first homicide by a civilian in decades. Tila is suspected of involvement with the Ratel, a powerful crime syndicate that deals in the flow of Zeal, a drug that allows violent minds to enact their darkest desires in a terrifying dreamscape. Taema is given a proposition: go undercover as her sister and perhaps save her twin’s life. But during her investigation Taema discovers disturbing links between the twins’ past and their present. Once unable to keep anything from each other, the sisters now discover the true cost of secrets.
Garen (Rubicon International #1), by Ann Gimpel. Tumble Across the Rubicon Into the Death-Riddled World of International Espionage. As an agent for an international espionage firm, Miranda has her hands more than full. Between secretly lusting after her boss, Garen, and making sure the dirty little secret about her double life as a wolf shifter remains hidden, she’s still a virgin at nearly thirty….Sent to eliminate the head of a human trafficking organization in Amsterdam, she barely escapes with her life. Injured, frightened, and under attack the second her private jet lands in the U.S., she’s not certain where to turn….Garen’s watched Miranda just as surreptitiously as she’s been eyeing him. Unfortunately, the fact that she works for him is a showstopper. Plus, he has a few secrets of his own that have kept him single. When Miranda insists on heading up a covert operation, he can’t come up with a plausible reason to stop her. Watching her sprint headlong into danger damn near kills him. He wants to hold her, love her, protect her….Miranda’s life is on the line. Will Garen risk exposure to save her?
League of Dragons (Temeraire #9), by Naomi Novik, June 14, Del Rey. The final adventure in the New York Times bestselling Temeraire series that started with the beloved His Majesty’s Dragon which has won fans of Napoleonic-era military history, Anne McCaffrey’s Pern novels, and Patrick O’Brian’s seafaring adventures….The deadly campaign in Russia has cost both Napoleon and those allied against him. Napoleon has been denied his victory…but at a terrible price. Lawrence and the dragon Temeraire pursue the fleeing French army back west, but are demoralized when Napoleon makes it back to Paris unscathed. Worse, they soon learn that the French have stolen Termeraire and Iskierka’s egg. Now, it is do or die, as our heroes not only need to save Temeraire’s offspring but also to stop Napoleon for good!
Meg (Nightstalkers #1), by Steve Alten, June 14, Tor. Revised and Expanded from original 2005 release. On a top-secret dive into the Pacific Ocean’s deepest canyon, Jonas Taylor found himself face-to-face with the largest and most ferocious predator in the history of the animal kingdom. The sole survivor of the mission, Taylor is haunted by what he’s sure he saw but still can’t prove exists – Carcharodon megalodon, the massive mother of the great white shark. The average prehistoric Meg weighs in at twenty tons and could tear apart a Tyrannosaurus rex in seconds. Taylor spends years theorizing, lecturing, and writing about the possibility that Meg still feeds at the deepest levels of the sea. But it takes an old friend in need to get him to return to the water, and a hotshot female submarine pilot to dare him back into a high-tech miniature sub. Diving deeper than he ever has before, Taylor will face terror like he’s never imagined. MEG is about to surface. When she does, nothing and no one is going to be safe, and Jonas must face his greatest fear once again.
Ninefox Gambit (Machineries of Empire #1), by Yoon Ha Lee, June 14, Solaris. The first installment of the trilogy, Ninefox Gambit, centers on disgraced captain Kel Cheris, who must recapture the formidable Fortress of Scattered Needles in order to redeem herself in front of the Hexarchate…..To win an impossible war Captain Kel Cheris must awaken an ancient weapon and a despised traitor general….Captain Kel Cheris of the hexarchate is disgraced for using unconventional methods in a battle against heretics. Kel Command gives her the opportunity to redeem herself by retaking the Fortress of Scattered Needles, a star fortress that has recently been captured by heretics. Cheris’s career isn’t the only thing at stake. If the fortress falls, the hexarchate itself might be next….Cheris’s best hope is to ally with the undead tactician Shuos Jedao. The good news is that Jedao has never lost a battle, and he may be the only one who can figure out how to successfully besiege the fortress….The bad news is that Jedao went mad in his first life and massacred two armies, one of them his own. As the siege wears on, Cheris must decide how far she can trust Jedao–because she might be his next victim.
Orbs (Orbs #1), by Nicholas Sansbury Smith, June 14, Simon & Schuster/Simon451. Major publisher re-release of 2013 small-press work. They have come for our most important resource…The year is 2061, and the planet is dying. Cataclysmic solar storms have forced leaders from around the world to finally put aside their differences and agree on one thing—to jump ship. The human race is headed to Mars. …Dr. Sophie Winston is hired by New Tech Corporation to test a biosphere deep within the heart of Cheyenne Mountain; a mission she believes will help prepare NTC for the three-year flight to the red planet. But, just days into the assignment, things start to go wrong. When the blast doors hiss open, Winton’s team finds a changed world outside. Humans are gone, vanished without a trace, and they aren’t the only thing missing. The planet’s water is gone, too. …As the team explores their surroundings, they find thousands of luminous blue orbs lining the streets. It isn’t until they uncover what’s inside that they realize the nightmare that lies ahead.
Polaris, by Todd Tucker, June 14, Thomas Dunne. One day in the not-too-distant future, Pete Hamlin regains consciousness deep inside the nuclear submarine Polaris. He’s got a gun in his hand, a fire raging outside his door, and a dead man at his feet. Soon Pete discovers that the ship is in the middle of a mutiny – and he has no idea what side he’s on….He finds the ship is now commanded by the beautiful but volatile Hana Moody. She’s locked the former captain, Finn McCallister, inside a steel trunk, accusing him of treason. Frank Holmes is Moody’s loyalist, an imposing physical presence who shares Moody’s unquestioning devotion to the cause of the Alliance. The ship’s feckless doctor hovers in the background, unable to help Pete find out the truth about the Polaris. And outside the ship’s steel hull lurks another submarine, yet another presence that might be either friend or deadly foe….To save himself and discover the truth, Pete must journey with Polaris back to a forlorn piece of rock in the middle of a dangerous ocean: Eris Island. To get there he must fight murderous shipmates, a swarm of bomb-dropping drones, and a plague that is attacking everyone on both sides of a battle that Pete barely understands. Only on Eris Island does Hamlin finally learn the truth.
Reliquary (Reliquary #1), by Sarah Fine, June 14, 47North. Mattie Carver’s engagement party should have marked the start of her own personal fairy tale. But when her fiancé, Ben, is violently abducted the next morning, her desperate quest to find him rips her away from small-town life and reveals a shattering truth: magic is real—and Ben is hooked. It’s not the stuff of storybooks. It’s wildly addictive, capable of producing everything from hellish anguish to sensual ecstasy almost beyond human endurance. …Determined to find out who took Ben and why, Mattie immerses herself in a shadowy underworld and comes face-to-face with the darkly alluring Asa Ward, a rogue magic dealer, infamous hustler…and her missing fiancé’s estranged brother. Asa has the power to sense magic, and he realizes Mattie is a reliquary, someone with the rare ability to carry magic within her own body, undetected. Asa agrees to help find Ben on one condition: Mattie must use her uncommon talent to assist his smuggling operations. Now, from magic-laced Vegas casinos to the netherworld clubs of Bangkok, Mattie is on a rescue mission. With Asa by her side, she’ll face not only the supernatural forces arrayed against her but the all-too-human temptation that she fears she can’t resist.
Return of Souls (A Song for No Man’s Land #2), by Andy Remic, June 14, Tor.com. Novella. If war is hell, there is no word to describe what Private Jones has been through. Forced into a conflict with an unknowable enemy, he awakes to find himself in a strange land, and is soon joined by young woman, Morana, who tends to his wounds and tells him of the battles played out in this impossible place….She tells him of an Iron Beast that will end the Great War, and even as he vows to help her find it, enemy combatants seek them, intent on their utter annihilation.
Spellbreaker (Spellwright #3), by Blake Charlton, June 14, Tor. Leandra Weal has a bad habit of getting herself in dangerous situations. While hunting neodemons in her role as Warden of Ixos, Leandra obtains a prophetic spell that provides a glimpse one day into her future. She discovers that she is doomed to murder someone she loves, soon, but not who. Leandra’s quest to unravel the mystery of the murder-she-will-commit becomes more urgent when her chronic disease flares up and the Ixonian Archipelago is plagued by natural disasters, demon worshiping cults, and fierce political infighting. Everywhere she turns, Leandra finds herself amid conflict. As chaos spreads across Ixos, Leandra and her troubled family – her misspelling wizard father Nicodemus Weal and dragon-of-a-mother Francesca DeVega – must race to uncover the shocking truth about a prophesied demonic invasion, human language, and their own identities–if they don’t kill each other first.
Spells of Blood & Kin, by Claire Humphrey, June 14, Thomas Dunne. In her extraordinary debut, Spells of Blood and Kin, Claire Humphrey deftly weaves her paranormal world with vivid emotional depth and gritty violence. Bringing together themes of death, addiction, and grief, Claire takes readers on a human journey that goes beyond fantasy….When her beloved grandmother dies suddenly, 22-year-old Lissa Nevsky is left with no choice but to take over her grandmother’s magical position in their small folk community. That includes honoring a debt owed to the dangerous stranger who appears at Lissa’s door….Maksim Volkov needs magic to keep his brutal nature leashed, but he’s already lost control once: his blood-borne lust for violence infects Nick Kaisaris, a charming slacker out celebrating the end of finals. Now Nick is somewhere else in Toronto, going slowly mad, and Maksim must find him before he hurts more people….Lissa must uncover forbidden secrets and mend family rifts in order to prevent Maksim from hurting more people, including himself. If she fails, Maksim will have no choice but to destroy both himself and Nick.
Stiletto (The Checquy Files #2), by Daniel O’Malley, June 14, Little, Brown. In this spirited sequel, The Rook returns to clinch an alliance between deadly rivals and avert epic—and slimy—supernatural war. When secret organizations are forced to merge after years of enmity and bloodshed, only one person has the fearsome powers—and the bureaucratic finesse—to get the job done. Facing her greatest challenge yet, Rook Myfanwy Thomas must broker a deal between two bitter adversaries: The Checquy—the centuries-old covert British organization that protects society from supernatural threats, and… The Grafters—a centuries-old supernatural threat. …But as bizarre attacks sweep London, threatening to sabotage negotiations, old hatreds flare. Surrounded by spies, only the Rook and two women, who absolutely hate each other, can seek out the culprits before they trigger a devastating otherworldly war. …STILETTO is a novel of preternatural diplomacy, paranoia, and snide remarks.
The Last Adventure of Constance Verity, by A. Lee Martinez, June 14, Saga Press. Constance Verity has been saving the world since she was seven, and she’s sick of it. She sets off on one last adventure to assassinate her fairy godmother and become the one thing she’s never been: ordinary….Ever since she was granted a wish at birth by her fairy godmother, Constance Verity has become one of the world’s great adventurers. It all began at her seventh birthday party when she defeated a snake. She has become a master of exotic martial arts, a keen detective, and possesses a collection of strange artifacts gathered from her adventures. But Constance has spent the past twenty-eight years saving the world, and she’s tired of it. All she wants is to work in an office and date a nice, normal guy. And she is finally figured out a way to do it: she’s going to kill her fairy godmother and reset her life. The only problem, though, is that saving the world is Constance’s destiny. She’s great at it, and there are forces at work to make sure she stays in the job….Then again, it’s also her destiny to have a glorious death.
The Long Cosmos (The Long Earth #5), by Terry Pratchett & Stephen Baxter, June 14, Harper. 2070-71. Nearly six decades after Step Day and in the Long Earth, the new Next post-human society continues to evolve. For Joshua Valienté, now in his late sixties, it is time to take one last solo journey into the High Meggers: an adventure that turns into a disaster. Alone and facing death, his only hope of salvation lies with a group of trolls. But as Joshua confronts his mortality, the Long Earth receives a signal from the stars. A signal that is picked up by radio astronomers but also in more abstract ways – by the trolls and by the Great Traversers. Its message is simple but its implications are enormous: JOIN US….The super-smart Next realize that the Message contains instructions on how to develop an immense artificial intelligence but to build it they have to seek help from throughout the industrious worlds of mankind. Bit by bit, byte by byte, they assemble a computer the size of a continent – a device that will alter the Long Earth’s place within the cosmos and reveal the ultimate, life-affirming goal of those who sent the Message. Its impact will be felt by and resonate with all – mankind and other species, young and old, communities and individuals – who inhabit the Long Earths…
The Shadowed Path: A Jonmarc Vanhanian Collection, by Gail Z. Martin, June 14, Solaris. Collection. These are the untold tales of Jonmarc Vahanian, hero of Gail Z. Martin’s best-selling Chronicles of the Necromancer series. Jonmarc Vahanian was just a blacksmith’s son in a small fishing village before raiders killed his family. Wounded and left for dead in the attack, Jonmarc tries to rebuild his life. But when a dangerous bargain with a shadowy stranger goes wrong, Jonmarc finds himself on the run, with nothing ahead but vengeance, and nothing behind him but blood. Soldier. Fight slave. Smuggler. Warrior. Brigand lord. If you’ve met Jonmarc Vahanian in the Chronicles of the Necromancer and Fallen Kings Cycle books, you don’t really know him until you walk in his footsteps. This is the first segment of his journey.
Wolf’s Surrender (Shadow Agents / PSI-Ops #1), by Mandy M. Roth, June 16. Total surrender doesn’t come easy to a natural born alpha. Shape-shifting Special Operative Brad Durant has been held against his will by the enemy for nearly a year. He’s given up hope and is fast giving up his will to survive, that is until a hot-tempered, redhead succubus is placed in the cell next to his. She calls to his wolf on a primitive level and he won’t let anyone or anything harm her. Giving his body to the little minx is easy, but guarding his heart is much harder.
Wyvern’s Mate (The Dragons of Incendium #1), by Deborah Cooke, June 14. Once, in the Kingdom of Incendium, there were twelve princesses of the realm, each a dragon shifter. Each fiery and passionate. Each possessed of an appetite for pleasure that only her destined mate can satisfy. Twelve men are expected in Incendium, each with special powers of his own, each with the gift to claim one dragon princess’s heart forever. Troy will do whatever is necessary to earn his freedom from solitary confinement on the penal colony of Xanto, even assassinate a princess of Incendium. Being a MindBender, he has a serious advantage as a predator and thinks the princess in question doesn’t have a chance. Only one of them can survive and Troy knows who it will be—until he meets Drakina. Royal dragon shifter Drakina has a quest of her own, to seduce her destined mate and conceive the crown prince of Incendium. Her father will free her from all other responsibilities if she completes this one task. Drakina craves her independence enough to seduce the unattractive Terran who is the Carrier of the Seed. She’s sure it will be a quick seduction—until she meets Troy. Worlds collide when Troy and Drakina meet, and passion flares. The attraction is so powerful that they both choose to put their goals aside for one night of passion together. When their respective secrets are revealed, will the truth turn one against the other? Or will destiny allow this star-crossed pair to save each other and their unborn son?
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. NEW THIS WEEK: You must pick your favorite of these books (or can assign your win to someone else). I’ve realized “I’ll decide when I win” could very well be shorthand for “I don’t want to waste time reading this blog so I’ll just type that in to enter the giveaway.” So, sorry—if I have to spend several hours compiling it, you’ll at least need to scan it!