Happy Monday! Oh, wait. It’s Wednesday. But that’s okay–ready to see some new books? My schedule is seriously out of whack this week!
THE NOT-SO-FINE PRINT: 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. If you’re in the U.S. or Canada and want one of my books, I’ll be happy to sign it.
Now, here’s what I considered the most interesting from among the new books releasing this week. Your mileage may vary.
A Hundred Thousand Worlds, by Bob Proehl, June 28, Viking. Valerie Torrey took her son Alex and fled Los Angeles six years ago—leaving both her role on a cult sci-fi TV show and her costar husband after a tragedy blew their small family apart. Now Val must reunite nine-year-old Alex with his estranged father, so they set out on a road trip from New York, Val making appearances at comic book conventions along the way. As they travel west, encountering superheroes, monsters, time travelers, and robots, Val and Alex are drawn into the orbit of the comic-con regulars, from a hapless twentysomething illustrator to a lesbian comics writer to a group of cosplay women who provide a chorus of knowing commentary. For Alex, this world is a magical place where fiction becomes reality, but as they get closer to their destination, he begins to realize that the story his mother is telling him about their journey might have a very different ending than he imagined.
Age of Myth (Legends of the First Empire #1), by Michael J. Sullivan, June 28, Del Rey. Since time immemorial, humans have worshipped the gods they call Fhrey, truly a race apart: invincible in battle, masters of magic, and seemingly immortal. But when a god falls to a human blade, the balance of power between men and those they thought were gods changes forever. Now, only a few stand between humankind and annihilation: Raithe, reluctant to embrace his destiny as the God Killer, Suri, a young seer burdened by signs of impending doom, and Persephone, who must overcome personal tragedy to lead her people. The Age of Myth is over; the time of rebellion has begun.
Chaos Rises (Chaos #1), by Pippa DaCosta, June 29. ‘When the veil fell, any half bloods not strong enough to withstand Chaos were torn apart. Some, like me and my brother, survived The Fall. Most did not. That’s the good news. The bad news saw a whole other world try and devour ours. Demons, we call them. They came in countless waves. Destroying. Killing. Many people thought it was the end..The Fall lasted a week. Tens of thousands died. Hell almost claimed our world as its own. And then, from one day to the next, it was over. The veil came back, stronger than ever. I’m not sure if anyone knows how it was put right. But I do know it’s been six months since The Fall, me and my brother are on the run, and the leftover demons aren’t the most dangerous things in LA. We are.
Forevermore (Darkest London #7), by Kristen Callihan, June 28, Piatkus. Miss Layla Starling, the young, beautiful, and extremely wealthy heiress, is the talk of London. Until now, she’s managed to evade the marriage noose. Despite the fact that she is unfortunately American, she’s received a staggering number of offers. And turned down every one. St. John Evernight does not want to admit the relief he feels every time he hears that she has rejected one of her suitors. Which is unfair of him. Layla deserves to be happy. But he can not offer her happiness. He will never be normal, never be anything but a freak in her world. So St. John resolves to keep his distance, until he is recruited by the Society for the Suppression of Supernaturals to guard Layla. For she is in grave danger, and he is about to learn the full extent of his powers.
Hell’s Bells: Lucifer’s Tale (Welcome to Hell #6), by Eve Langlais, June 30. A catastrophe has befallen Hell. The great and mighty Lucifer has fallen prey to the most wicked of spells. He’s become…nice. Just using that word makes Gaia want to gag. The demon she fell in love with is not some pushover, polite, candy-ass, nice guy. She wants her big, bad Lord of Sin back. Can she, along with the minions of Hell, find a way to break the curse? And will they do it in time to celebrate the wedding from Hell?
Hope and Red (Empire of Storms #1), by Jon Skovron, June 28, Orbit. In a fracturing empire spread across savage seas, two young people from different cultures find common purpose. A nameless girl is the lone survivor when her village is massacred by biomancers, mystical servants of the emperor. Named after her lost village, Bleak Hope is secretly trained by a master Vinchen warrior as an instrument of vengeance. A boy becomes an orphan on the squalid streets of New Laven and is adopted by one of the most notorious women of the criminal underworld, given the name Red, and trained as a thief and con artist. When a ganglord named Deadface Drem strikes a bargain with the biomancers to consolidate and rule all the slums of New Laven, the worlds of Hope and Red come crashing together, and their unlikely alliance takes them further than either could have dreamed possible.
Icon (Persona #2), by Genevieve Valentine, June 28, Saga Press. Suyana Sapaki survived an assassination attempt and has risen far higher than her opponents ever expected. Now she has to keep her friends close and her enemies closer as she walks a deadly tightrope—and one misstep could mean death, or worse—in this smart, fast-paced sequel to the critically acclaimed Persona….A year ago, International Assembly delegate Suyana Sapaki barely survived an attempt on her life. Now she’s climbing the social ranks, dating the American Face, and poised for greatness. She has everything she wants, but the secret that drives her can’t stay hidden forever. When she quickly saves herself from a life-threatening political scandal, she gains a new enemy: the public eye….Daniel Park was hoping for the story of a lifetime. And he got her. He’s been following Suyana for a year. But what do you do when this person you thought you knew has vanished inside the shell, and dangers are building all around you? How much will Daniel risk when his job is to break the story? And how far will he go for a cause that isn’t his?
Necessity (Thessaly #3), by Jo Walton, June 28, Tor. More than sixty-five years ago, Pallas Athena founded the Just City on an island in the eastern Mediterranean, placing it centuries before the Trojan War, populating it with teachers and children from throughout human history, and committing it to building a society based on the principles of Plato’s Republic.Among the City’s children was Pytheas, secretly the god Apollo in human form. Sixty years ago, the Just City schismed into five cities, each devoted to a different version of the original vision. Forty years ago, the five cities managed to bring their squabbles to a close. But in consequence of their struggle, their existence finally came to the attention of Zeus, who can’t allow them to remain in deep antiquity, changing the course of human history. Convinced by Apollo to spare the Cities, Zeus instead moved everything on the island to the planet Plato, circling its own distant sun. Now, more than a generation has passed. The Cities are flourishing on Plato, and even trading with multiple alien species. Then, on the same day, two things happen. Pytheas dies as a human, returning immediately as Apollo in his full glory. And there’s suddenly a human ship in orbit around Plato–a ship from Earth.
Phantom Embrace (Immortal Guardians #5.5), by Dianne Duvall, June 28. Across dimensions…A gifted one, Yuri Sokolov was born with the ability to see spirits, but he knows better than to make contact with them. Yet he’s never seen one as lovely as Cat Seddon, the woman who haunts his home and his dreams. But amid their star-crossed love, a new danger may have Yuri facing a different kind of eternity. (Previously published in On The Hunt.)
Shadow Rider (Shadow #1), by Christine Feehan, June 28, Jove. Whether it’s fast cars or fast women, Stefano Ferraro gets what he wants. When he’s not fodder for the paparazzi, he commands Ferraro family businesses—both legitimate and illegitimate. While their criminal activity is simply a rumor yet to be proven, no one knows the real truth. The Ferraros are a family of shadow riders capable of manipulating light and dark, an ability Stefano thought ran in his family alone—until now…With little left to her name, Francesca Cappello has come to Chicago in hopes of a new life. She wasn’t expecting to attract the attention of a man with primal hunger in his eyes, driven to claim her as his to protect and to please. And if he discovers her secret, it could ruin her…
The Big Sheep, by Robert Kroese, June 28, Thomas Dunne. Los Angeles of 2039 is a baffling and bifurcated place. After the Collapse of 2028, a vast section of LA, the Disincorporated Zone, was disowned by the civil authorities, and became essentially a third world country within the borders of the city. Navigating the boundaries between DZ and LA proper is a tricky task, and there’s no one better suited than eccentric private investigator Erasmus Keane. When a valuable genetically altered sheep mysteriously goes missing from Esper Corporation’s labs, Keane is the one they call. But while the erratic Keane and his more grounded partner, Blake Fowler, are on the trail of the lost sheep, they land an even bigger case. Beautiful television star Priya Mistry suspects that someone is trying to kill her – and she wants Keane to find out who. When Priya vanishes and then reappears with no memory of having hired them, Keane and Fowler realize something very strange is going on. As they unravel the threads of the mystery, it soon becomes clear that the two cases are connected – and both point to a sinister conspiracy involving the most powerful people in the city. Saving Priya and the sheep will take all of Keane’s wits and Fowler’s skills, but in the end, they may discover that some secrets are better left hidden.
The Binding, by Nicholas Wolff, June 28, Gallery. When a rare mental disorder begins to consume his small-town neighbors, a young psychiatrist digs up the past for clues to the epidemic’s bone-chilling source in this brilliant supernatural horror debut, written in the bestselling tradition of Peter Straub. Convinced that evil spirits have overtaken his daughter, a desperate father introduces her to Nat Thayer, a young psychiatrist in their sleepy blue-blooded Massachusetts college town. Thayer quickly diagnoses the girl with Cotard Delusion, an obscure condition sometimes described as “walking corpse syndrome.” But Thayer soon realizes his patient—and many of the local families—are actually being targeted by a malignant force resurrected from the town’s wicked history. Thayer must discover the source of the spreading plague…before there is no one left to save.
The Curse of Tenth Grave (Charley Davidson #10), by Darynda Jones, June 28. As a Part-time PI and fulltime grim reaper, Charley Davidson has asked a lot of questions throughout her life: Why can I see dead people? Who is the hot supernatural entity following me? How do I get gum out of my sister’s hair before she wakes up? But, “How do I trap not one malevolent god, but three?” was never among them. Until now. And since those gods are on earth to kill her daughter, she has little choice but to track them down, trap them, and cast them from this dimension. There’s just one problem. One of the three stole her heart a very long time ago. Can the Razer, a god of absolute death and destruction, change his omniscient spots, or will his allegiances lie with his brothers? Those are just a few of the questions Charley must answer, and quick. Add to that a homeless girl running for her life, an innocent man who’s been charged with murder, and a pendant made from god glass that has the entire supernatural world in an uproar, and Charley has her hands full. If she can manage to take care of the whole world-destroying-gods thing, we’re saved. If not, well…
The Dark Side, by Anthony O’Neill, June 28, Simon & Schuster/Simon451. Purgatory is the lawless moon colony of eccentric billionaire, Fletcher Brass: a mecca for war criminals, murderers, sex fiends, and adventurous tourists. You can’t find better drugs, cheaper plastic surgery, or a more ominous travel advisory anywhere in the universe. But trouble is brewing in Brass’s black-market heaven. When an exiled cop arrives in this wild new frontier, he immediately finds himself investigating a string of ruthless assassinations in which Brass himself—and his equally ambitious daughter—are the chief suspects. Meanwhile, two-thousand kilometers away, an amnesiac android, Leonardo Black, rampages across the lunar surface. Programmed with only the notorious “Brass Code”—a compendium of corporate laws that would make Ayn Rand blush—Black has only one goal in mind: to find Purgatory and conquer it.
The Devil in Disguise (Bad Things #1), by Cynthia Eden, June 28. Don’t make the devil angry… Luke Thorne loves having one hell of a good time. As the ruler of every dark creature to walk the earth, he certainly has more than a bit of a bad side. He lives for danger and isn’t the type to lose his heart—mostly because he doesn’t have one. Then she walks into his life. …Mina James is seduction in the flesh, a perfect temptation that the devil himself couldn’t pass up. Too late, Luke realizes he’s let a real siren into his life, a woman who is bent on using his dark powers to free herself from hidden enemies. Since Luke isn’t the type of man to be used, he should walk away from her, but…something about Mina draws him close. …Soon he’s realizing that she isn’t who she appears to be. Not dark and cold, but burning red hot. Mina is a woman fighting for her life—and the Lord of the Dark suddenly finds himself in an unlikely role…hero. Luke isn’t going to let her enemies destroy Mina. He will fight heaven and hell to keep her. But in the end, the secrets they both carry may just rip apart a love that should never have been…
The Nightmare Stacks (Laundry Files #7), by Charles Stross, June 28, Ace. Alex Schwartz had a promising future – until he contracted an unfortunate bout of vampirism, and agreed (on pain of death) to join the Laundry, Britain’s only counter-occult secret agency….His first assignment is in Leeds – his old hometown. The thought of telling his parents that he’s lost his old job, let alone them finding out about his ‘condition’, is causing Alex more anxiety than learning how to live as a vampire secret agent preparing to confront multiple apocalypses….His only saving grace is Cassie Brewer, a student appearing in the local Goth Festival, who flirts with him despite his awkward personality and massive amounts of sunblock….But Cassie has secrets of her own – secrets that make Alex’s night life seem positively normal . .
The Perdition Score (Sandman Slim #8), by Richard Kadrey, June 28, Harper Voyager. The request from Thomas Abbot, the Augur of the Sub Rosa council, couldn’t come at a better time for James Stark, aka Sandman Slim. For a man who’s most recently met Death—and death’s killer—a few months of normal life is more than he can handle. He needs a little action, and now Abbott wants Stark and Candy to investigate the disappearance of a young boy—and help uncover council members who might be tied to Wormwood’s power brokers….Stark’s plans change when he meets a dying angel who gives him a vial of a mysterious black liquid that could be a secret weapon in the ongoing war between angels who want to allow human souls into Heaven and rebel angels willing to die to keep them out. When one of Stark’s closest friends is poisoned with the black liquid, Stark and Candy have to go to the only place where they might find a cure: Hell….But standing in their way are the damned souls who, even after death, still work for Wormwood. The secret deal they’ve struck with the rebel angels is darker than anything Stark has encountered. Not only does the fate of the world hang in the balance, but also the souls of everyone in it. Stark has to find a way to break the stalemate in the angel war, score the Perdition cure for the black poison, and make it back to LA in one piece—where an old enemy waits to finish him once and for all.
The Seascape Tattoo, by Larry Niven & Steven Barnes, June 28, Tor. Aros of Azteca and Neoloth-Pteor are the deadliest of enemies: Swordsman and Sorcerer, locked in mortal combat, who have tried to kill each other more times than either can count. But when the princess Neoloth loves is kidnapped, there is only one plan that offers any hope of rescue . . . and that requires passing off the barbarian Aros as a lost princeling and infiltrating the deadliest cabal of necromancers the world has ever seen. They cannot trust each other. They will betray or kill each other the first chance they get. But they’re all each other has.
Wasteland King (Gallow and Ragged #3), by Lilith Saintcrow, June 28, Orbit. The thrilling conclusion to New York Times bestselling author Lilith Saintcrow’s dark fantasy series where the faery world inhabits diners, dive bars and trailer parks….The plague has broken loose, the Wild Hunt is riding, and the balance of power in the sidhe realms is still shifting. The Unseelie King has a grudge against Jeremiah Gallow, but it will have to wait. For he needs Gallow’s services for a very delicate mission — and the prize for success is survival itself…In order to save both Robin Ragged and himself, Gallow will have to do the unspeakable…
Wolf’s Empire: Gladiator, by Claudia Christian & Morgan Grant Buchanan, June 28, Tor. When her mother and brother are murdered, young noblewoman Accala Viridius cries out for vengeance. But the empire is being torn apart by a galactic civil war, and her demands fall on deaf ears. Undeterred, Accala sacrifices privilege and status to train as a common gladiator. Mastering the one weapon available to her—a razor-sharp discus that always returns when thrown–she enters the deadly imperial games, the only arena where she can face her enemies. …But Fortune’s wheel grants Accala no favors—the emperor decrees that the games will be used to settle the civil war, the indigenous lifeforms of the arena-world are staging a violent revolt, and Accala finds herself drugged, cast into slavery and forced to fight on the side of the men she set out to kill. …Set in a future Rome that never fell, but instead expanded to become a galaxy-spanning empire, Accala’s struggle to survive and exact her revenge will take her on a dark journey that will cost her more than she ever imagined.
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, without regard to the $15 limit. If you’re in the U.S. or Canada, I will sign the books if you want. So…what’ll it be?