And….let the spring book flood continue! It’s Monday, so it must be Reader’s Choice day, and April and May are insane with new releases. Just let me know which of these sounds most promising to you, and you could win it—or any other book of your choice up to US$15! I will post the winner on Sunday. (I cannot BELIEVE I’m so far behind with the Black Dagger Brotherhood that I haven’t even preordered this one!)
And now for the new releases…
A Little More Human, by Fiona Maazel
Meet Phil Snyder: new father, nursing assistant at a cutting-edge biotech facility on Staten Island, and all-around decent guy. Trouble is, his life is falling apart. His wife has betrayed him, his job involves experimental surgeries with strange side effects, and his father is hiding early-onset dementia. Phil also has a special talent he doesn’t want to publicize—he’s a mind reader and moonlights as Brainstorm, a costumed superhero. But when Phil wakes up from a blackout drunk and is confronted with photos that seem to show him assaulting an unknown woman, even superpowers won’t help him. Try as he might, Phil can’t remember that night, and so, haunted by the need to know, he mind-reads his way through the lab techs at work, adoring fans at Toy Polloi, and anyone else who gets in his way, in an attempt to determine whether he’s capable of such violence. A Little More Human, rife with layers of paranoia and conspiracy, questions how well we really know ourselves, showcasing Fiona Maazel at her tragicomic, freewheeling best.
American War, by Omar El Akkad
Sarat Chestnut, born in Louisiana, is only six when the Second American Civil War breaks out in 2074. But even she knows that oil is outlawed, that Louisiana is half underwater, and that unmanned drones fill the sky. When her father is killed and her family is forced into Camp Patience for displaced persons, she begins to grow up shaped by her particular time and place. But not everyone at Camp Patience is who they claim to be. …Eventually Sarat is befriended by a mysterious functionary, under whose influence she is turned into a deadly instrument of war. The decisions that she makes will have tremendous consequences not just for Sarat but for her family and her country, rippling through generations of strangers and kin alike.”
Angel Unleashed, by Linda Thomas-Sundstrom
A fine line between vengeance and desire… As an immortal Blood Knight, Rhys de Troyes is familiar with quests. It’s obvious that the ethereal beauty who just arrived in London is on one of her own. But Avery Arcadia Quinn seems intent on keeping her secrets, even as Rhys strips away all her defenses. …A grounded angel, Avery seeks to recover the wings stolen from her centuries ago when the Knights were created from her suffering and pain. She swore vengeance, but her burning connection with Rhys threatens to consume her anger, her mission…and even her vow to destroy him.
Between a Wolf and a Hard Place (Silver Town Wolf #7), by Terry Spear
Wooing a she-wolf isn’t as easy as it looks in this bold paranormal romance from USA Today bestseller Terry Spear…In Silver Town, the secrets run deep…Alpha werewolf Brett Silver has an ulterior motive when he donates a prized family heirloom to the Silver Town hotel. Ellie MacTire owns the place with her sisters, and he’s out to get her attention….Ellie is even more special than Brett knows. She’s a wolf-shifter with a unique ability to commune with the dead. Ellie has been ostracized, so she protects herself and those she loves by revealing nothing-not even when strange and dangerous things begin to happen in Silver Town. And especially not to the devastatingly handsome and generous wolf who’s determined to win her over…
Blood Enemies (Under Jurisdiction #7), by Susan R. Matthews
Andrej Koscuisko is a former Fleet Medical Officer for the enormous totalitarian star empire, the Jurisdiction. But when he served in the Fleet, Andrej’s real job was not medicine, at least not primarily medicine, but to act as a torturer of prisoners, whether they had information to give or not. To help him in his duties, Andrej was attended by “bond involuntaries”—slaves—men he’d come to look upon as friends and family. Finally, enough was enough. Andrej absconded with six of his Fleet-provided security slaves and sent them into the no-man’s land of Gonebeyond Space—beyond the reach of the Jurisdiction’s tyrannical Bench. Now The Angel of Death, a savage terrorist organization from Andrej’s system of origin, means to make Gonebeyond its own. But its ancestral enemy – the secret service of the Dolgorukij church, the Malcontent – has planted a double agent on the inside of the Angel of Death. Finally this interstellar menace might be destroyed forever. But there is trouble. Andrej Koscuisko wasn’t expected to escape from protective custody at Safehaven Medical Center and come looking for his freed bond involuntaries, and now the Malcontent faces Andrej’s unplanned intervention at the worst possible time. Now the only way to save the mission and bring down an organization that has slain whole systems of men, women, and children is for Andrej to embrace the savagery in his own heart and once again take on the role of Judicial torturer—a role that he had fought long and hard to escape. He must deploy every dirty trick and brutal stratagem he knows against the Malcontent agent whose secret he has unwittingly betrayed.
Bound (Alex Verus #8), by Benedict Jacka
Right now I wasn’t seeing Richard as the teacher out of my nightmares, he was just another Dark mage, and I looked into the future to see what would happen if I turned that knife on him instead…Alex Verus is still haunted by his time apprenticed to Richard Drakh. He’s been free of him for many years, but now the only way to keep his friends from being harmed is to again work for Richard and his deadly ally. Even worse, he’s forced to bring the Light mage Anne into this servitude as well. After weeks of being hunted and finally cornered into what he thought was his last stand, Alex never thought his life would be spared—and never anticipated at what price. This time, the diviner can see no way out…
Brimstone, by Cherie Priest
In the trenches of Europe during the Great War, Tomas Cordero operated a weapon more devastating than any gun: a flame projector that doused the enemy in liquid fire. Having left the battlefield a shattered man, he comes home to find yet more tragedy for in his absence, his wife has died of the flu. Haunted by memories of the woman he loved and the atrocities he perpetrated, Tomas dreams of fire and finds himself setting match to flame when awake…. Alice Dartle is a talented clairvoyant living among others who share her gifts in the community of Cassadaga, Florida. She too dreams of fire, knowing her nightmares are connected to the shell-shocked war veteran and widower. And she believes she can bring peace to him and his wife s spirit.
Dark Terror (Spirit Wild #5), by Kate Douglas
Before she was rescued from a human trafficking ring by the Chanku, Mary Ryder had lived a tortured life as a sex slave and prostitute, and the emotional scars of that time still haunt her. Through the patient strength and genuine devotion of Jack Temple, Mary is slowly learning to open herself to the possibility of uncorrupted love and passion in his arms. But before the two can explore their newfound connection and dream of life as a mated pair, they must face a dark menace threatening all Chanku. …Aldo Xanakis was thought to be dead, but harnessing the life force of those he had slain, he has reappeared as a dark and vicious demon hell-bent on the destruction of the pack—and of all humankind. With only days to stop the demon’s lethal plans and the fanatical religious cult he has enlisted to serve him, the entire Chanku pack unites to combine their power against him. …As Mary and Jack are thrown together in an epic battle against evil, they and the rest of the pack will be forced to harness all the magic and sensual power they possess to preserve their way of life and everything they hold dear.
Dragon Squeeze (Dragon Point #2), by Eve Langlais
Never get between a dragon and its hoard – unless your affairs are in order. Did you know geeky humans squeak when squeezed? Totally awesome….Adi thinks there are plenty of things that are awesome, such as gravy and cheese on fries, motorcycles that growl, oh, and the fact that she is a wicked dragon with a freakishly cool power….But do you know what’s more awesome than all that? A certain geeky fellow in charge of the IT department for a medical lab situated in small-town hell….There is nothing small about Dexter, though. He might blush at certain things, and use his brain—not brawn—to succeed, but the man is built big. And Adi likes big things. ..The fact that she likes him won’t mean squat to her mother, though. Dear old Mom will hate that he is human. She will dislike even more Adi’s plan to keep him….Because he’s mine to keep and squeeze.
Ever My Love (Macleod #10), by Lynn Kurland
In search of a fresh start, Emma Barton has traveled to Scotland to try to forget her rocky love life. Luckily, the gorgeous Highlander who owns the house up the path from her rental cottage might be exactly the kind of distraction she needs. But there’s more to his intriguing qualities than she can explain—and she certainly isn’t buying into the local legends of Highland magic….Nathaniel MacLeod is a man adrift, all thanks to the unwanted gift that forces him to continually jump between centuries. He never knows if he’ll wind up in the present day or the fourteenth century, but when Emma follows him back through time, he suddenly has more to worry about than keeping his separate lives straight…Someone has started to notice Nathaniel’s travels and now, no time period is safe, for him or for Emma.
Feral, by James DeMonaco and B.K. Evenson
From James DeMonaco, the writer/director of The Purge film franchise, comes the provocative and terrifying last stand of a lone outpost of women in the wake of a deadly pandemic.
Allie Hilts was still in high school when a fire at a top-secret research facility released an air-borne pathogen that quickly spread to every male on the planet, killing most. Allie witnessed every man she ever knew be consumed by fearsome symptoms: scorching fevers and internal bleeding, madness and uncontrollable violence. The world crumbled around her. No man was spared, and the few survivors were irrevocably changed. They became disturbingly strong, aggressive, and ferocious. Feral. …Three years later, Allie has joined a group of hardened survivors in an isolated, walled-in encampment. Outside the guarded walls the ferals roam free, and hunt. Allie has been noticing troubling patterns in the ferals’ movements, and a disturbing number of new faces in the wild. Something catastrophic is brewing on the horizon, and time is running out. The ferals are coming, and there is no stopping them.
Gauntlet (Arena #2), by Holly Jennings
There’s a new game in town. A brutal, winner-takes-all, international video game tournament between the world’s most elite players, promising fame, prestige, and unbelievable fortune. But there’s a catch. The game uses new VR pods guaranteed to push digital warriors to their physical and psychological brink—adapting every time a gamer makes a move….As the first female captain and youngest team owner in VGL history, Kali is used to defying the odds. But as the all-star tournament heats up, her determination begins to waver and the pressures of media, sponsors, and the game itself begin to put cracks in her hard-set convictions….If Kali’s Team Defiance is to survive, they’ll have to find a way to be stronger than ever before. But battling the system may prove too difficult for even the most hardened of fighters…
Lord Quickthorn’s Bargain, by Barbara Monajem
Sensible Gwen Appleby is aghast when her foolish sister vows to pursue the notorious rake, Lord Quickthorn. To save her sister from certain ruin, she turns to her friend, the custodian of the fairy well. A simple spell, making Lord Quickthorn indifferent to her sister’s beauty, is all that’s required. But Gwen’s friend is no longer at the well, and the new, mischievous, very male custodian agrees on one condition: Lord Quickthorn will turn his seductive wiles on Gwen instead. To save her sister’s virtue, must Gwen sacrifice her own? Worse, will the promise of passion make her long to do so? This novella was originally published in the anthology, Passionate Promises.
Lynchpin (Rylee Adamson #4), by Shannon Mayer
My name is Alex, and I am a werewolf. As a boy, I was trapped halfway between human and wolf. Rylee rescued me and I became the first outcast to join her pack. …In the Battle Against Orion, I sacrificed my life for hers and became the pillar which holds the Veil separating the human world and the supernatural world, closed. I kept the demons from spilling into the human world and left Rylee and our pack behind to live on. …But something is calling me back to the land of the living and the journey to get there terrifies me. I must pass through the darkest levels of the Veil to prove my worth, and will come face to face with my past and all of those I’ve lost along the way. My deepest fear is that I’m not strong enough and I will prove unworthy. …If I don’t at least try though, I’ll remain forever with the dead and separated from my pack. …Eternity is a long time, but this decision and journey may very well tear me apart before I reach either destination. May the gods have mercy on my soul.
Red Sister (Book of the Ancestor #1), by Mark Lawrence
At the Convent of Sweet Mercy young girls are raised to be killers. In a few the old bloods show, gifting talents rarely seen since the tribes beached their ships on Abeth. Sweet Mercy hones its novices’ skills to deadly effect: it takes ten years to educate a Red Sister in the ways of blade and fist. But even the mistresses of sword and shadow don’t truly understand what they have purchased when Nona Grey is brought to their halls as a bloodstained child of eight, falsely accused of murder: guilty of worse. Stolen from the shadow of the noose, Nona is sought by powerful enemies, and for good reason. Despite the security and isolation of the convent her secret and violent past will find her out. Beneath a dying sun that shines upon a crumbling empire, Nona Grey must come to terms with her demons and learn to become a deadly assassin if she is to survive…
Redder Than Blood, by Tanith Lee
A vampiric Snow White whose pious stepmother is her only salvation…. A supernatural Cinderella who strikes at midnight, leaving behind a prince mad with desire…. A sleeping beauty never meant to be woken… In her World Fantasy Award-nominated short story collection, Red as Blood, Tanith Lee deconstructed familiar fairy tales, recapturing their original darkness and horror in haunting new interpretations. Behind gilded words and poised princesses, she exposed a sinister world of violence, madness, and dangerous enchantments. …With Redder than Blood, Lee resumes the tradition of twisting tales. Among its nineteen tales, this volume explores unnerving variations of Beauty and the Beast, The Frog Prince, Snow White, and other classics, including three never-before-published stories.
Saving Mercy (Fatal Truth #1), by Abbie Roads
He’s found her at last: Cain Killion knows himself to be a damaged man, his only saving grace the extrasensory connection to blood that he uses to catch murderers. His latest case takes a macabre turn when he discovers a familiar and haunting symbol linking the crime to his own horrific past-and only one woman could know what it means…Only to lose her to a nightmare: Mercy Ledger is brave, resilient, beautiful-and in terrible danger. The moment he sees Mercy, Cain knows he’s the one who can save her. He also knows he’s beyond redemption. But the lines between good and evil blur and the only thing clear to Cain and Mercy is that they belong together. Love is the antidote for blood-but is their bond strong enough to overcome the evil that stalks them?
The Apothecary’s Poison (Glass & Steele #3), by C.J. Archer
When a newspaper report of a medical miracle catches Matt’s eye, he and India go in search of Dr. Hale in the hope he is more magical doctor than miracle worker and can lead them to Chronos. But Hale turns out to be an apothecary magician keen to educate the public about magic. …Their disappointment at not finding Chronos is soon forgotten when Hale is murdered, and Matt becomes a suspect. With Matt’s nemesis Sheriff Payne influencing the investigating detective, India and Matt know they must find the real killer, or risk his freedom, and ultimately his life. Time is running out as they hunt for a killer capable of turning medicine into poison with a magic spell, as well as continue the search for Chronos. A search that must end in success before Matt’s malfunctioning watch stops altogether.
The Blood Forest (Tree of Ages #3), by Sara C. Roethle
A land in chaos. A city in ruins. …Finn must reach the place where it all began, her peaceful meadow in Greenswallow, hoping to set right the wrongs of her past. Traveling forward blindly, she only wants to retrieve her memories and help Iseult, but little does she know, the fate of men and Faie alike hangs by a string, ready to be plucked by her fingers alone.
The Chosen (Black Dagger Brotherhood #15), by J.R. Ward
Xcor, leader of the Band of Bastards, convicted of treason against the Blind King, is facing a brutal interrogation and torturous death at the hands of the Black Dagger Brotherhood. Yet after a life marked by cruelty and evil deeds, he accepts his soldier’s fate, his sole regret the loss of a sacred female who was never his: the Chosen Layla….Layla alone knows the truth that will save Xcor’s life. But revealing his sacrifice and his hidden heritage will expose them both and destroy everything Layla holds dear—even her role of mother to her precious young. Torn between love and loyalty, she must summon the courage to stand up against the only family she has for the only man she will ever love. Yet even if Xcor is somehow granted a reprieve, he and Layla would have to confront a graver challenge: bridging the chasm that divides their worlds without paving the way for a future of even greater war, desolation, and death….As a dangerous old enemy returns to Caldwell, and the identity of a new deity is revealed, nothing is certain or safe in the world of the Black Dagger Brotherhood, not even true love . . . or destinies that have long seemed set in stone.
The End of the Day, by Claire North
Charlie has a new job. He gets to travel, and he meets interesting people, some of whom are actually pleased to see him. It’s good to have a friendly face, you see. At the end. But the end of all things is coming. Charlie’s boss and his three associates are riding out, and it’s Charlie’s job to go before. Sometimes he is sent as a courtesy, sometimes as a warning. He never knows which.
The House of Binding Thorns (Dominion of the Fallen #2), by Aliette de Bodard
As the city rebuilds from the onslaught of sorcery that nearly destroyed it, the great Houses of Paris, ruled by Fallen angels, still contest one another for control over the capital….House Silverspires was once the most powerful, but just as it sought to rise again, an ancient evil brought it low. Phillippe, an immortal who escaped the carnage, has a singular goal—to resurrect someone he lost. But the cost of such magic might be more than he can bear….In House Hawthorn, Madeleine the alchemist has had her addiction to angel essence savagely broken. Struggling to live on, she is forced on a perilous diplomatic mission to the underwater dragon kingdom—and finds herself in the midst of intrigues that have already caused one previous emissary to mysteriously disappear….As the Houses seek a peace more devastating than war, those caught between new fears and old hatreds must find strength—or fall prey to a magic that seeks to bind all to its will.
The Immortal’s Unrequited Bride (Assassin’s Arcanum #3), by Kelli Ireland
Ethan Kemp is a healer, not an assassin. But he’s found an unexpected home in the Irish stronghold that houses the Assassin’s Arcanum—men who will kill to protect their Druid brethren. Too bad there’s a ghost that won’t give him peace… Centuries in the grave, Isibéal Cannavan has longed to be reunited with her beloved. Finally, he’s returned to her. She’d recognize Lachlan anywhere, even as an American warlock called Ethan. But her path to reuniting with him in the land of the living runs through hell itself, and she’ll have to take Ethan with her…
The Witch of Torinia (A Tale of Valdur #2), by Clifford Beal
Lady Lucinda della Rovera, the renegade canoness of St Dionei, secret sorceress of the “old gods”, has cleverly split the One Faith into bitter factions and with the help of a pliant Duke of Torinia, launches a war to overthrow the king of Valdur and bring back the old ways. Brother Acquel Galenus, now Magister of the High Temple of Livorna, knows he must stop her, but doubts his own faith and ability. With powerful demons seeking to reenter the world through Lucinda, he must find allies, but how?…Julianus Strykar, now a coronel of the mercenary company of the Black Rose, finds himself thrust into the maelstrom of civil war but false pride leads him into a battle he may not be able to win — or survive….Captain Nicolo Danamis may have regained his fleet and command but the return of his long-lost father and lord, Valerian, has complicated his love affair with mer princess Citala. When his former lover — the queen of Valdur — demands his help, he and a suspicious Citala find themselves at the centre of palace intrigue as they try to avert an “alliance” with the predatory Silk Empire that will turn Valdur into a puppet kingdom. And then he learns that the crown prince may be his bastard son….Friendships, loves, and the future of Valdur all hang by a thread…
Two Hearts Asunder (Djinn Empire #2), by Ingrid Seymour
Can one love destroy the world? The evil Djinn has been banished, but Marielle’s supposedly happy days are still filled with fear. She feigns a settled appearance but is continually on edge because of Akeelah’s threats of a painful revenge….When Akeelah does reappear, Marielle’s notions of the creature’s cruelty are surpassed. The Djinn is worse than Marielle ever imagined. Akeelah is crazed, ready to cause a deadly chaos, and willing to so whatever it takes to unveil the secrets which will give her power over human souls. …During her quest, Akeelah captures Faris, Marielle’s one and only love. They are torn asunder, leaving Marielle on her knees, brokenhearted. Without him, she is not whole. Anger brews slowly within her. The situation is personal now, and she’s not about to sit idle and let her grief win. She will do whatever it takes to get her one love back—even if it means putting the entire human race at risk.
Wanted and Wired (Tether #1), by Vivien Jackson
A rip-roarin’ new snarky, sexy sci-fi paranormal romance series with the perfect balance of humor, heat, and heart. Now that Texas has seceded and the world is spiraling into chaos, good guys come in unlikely packages and love sprouts in the most inconvenient places…Rogue scientist • technologically enhanced • deliciously attractive: Heron Farad should be dead. But technology has made him the man he is today. Now he heads a crew of uniquely skilled outsiders who fight to salvage what’s left of humanity: art, artifacts, books, ideas-sometimes even people. People like Mari Vallejo….Gun for hire • Texan rebel • always hits her mark: Mari has been lusting after her mysterious handler for months. But when a by-the-book hit goes horribly sideways, she and Heron land on the universal most wanted list. Someone set them up. Desperate and on the run, they must trust each other to survive, while hiding devastating secrets. As their explosive chemistry heats up, it’s the perfect storm..
Winter Tide (Innsmouth Legacy), by Ruthanna Emrys
After attacking Devil’s Reef in 1928, the U.S. Government rounded up the people of Innsmouth and took them to the desert, far from their ocean, their Deep One ancestors, and their sleeping god Cthulhu. Only Aphra and Caleb Marsh survived the camps, and they emerged without a past or a future….The government that stole Aphra’s life now needs her help. FBI agent Ron Spector believes that Communist spies have stolen dangerous magical secrets from Miskatonic University, secrets that could turn the Cold War hot in an instant, and hasten the end of the human race….Aphra must return to the ruins of her home, gather scraps of her stolen history, and assemble a new family to face the darkness of human nature.
Witches for Hire (Odd Jobs #1), by Sam Argent
All recovering drug addict and witch Jeremy Ragsdale wants is to shamble on to the next job without any disasters. Instead, the temp agency saddles him with a fellow witch who hates him, an Amazon one violent outburst away from deportation, and a knight from another world as his boss. Even worse, their jack-of-all-trades magic business stumbles upon a conspiracy to kill Desmond the Great, Atlanta’s sexy star magician. Jeremy must prevent it without letting his colleagues know that he not only has ties to the energy vampires behind the plot, but that his past misdeeds might have instigated the attacks….Despite Jeremy sporting a suit and tie like a good witch, his lies snowball to bite him in the ass. The lack of trust brewing between him and his teammates could cost Desmond his life and Jeremy his progress on the straight and narrow path if his secrets are revealed. Because no matter how much Jeremy has reformed, there’s still enough bad witch in him to kill anyone who messes with him or the people he cares about.
Now, what do you want to win this week? Leave a comment, and I’ll announce the winner on Sunday.