It’s Monday, so it must be Reader’s Choice day!
First a reminder that the 99 cent Kindle sale for WILD MAN’S CURSE, BLACK DIAMOND and DEADLY, CALM, AND COLD continues through June 30! Also, ILLUMINATION is up on Goodreads now; if you have a chance to mark it as “want to read” that always helps draw interest! You can find it here.
Now, here’s how Reader’s Choice works. Just let me know in the comments 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.
And now for the new releases…(not ALL of them, mind you, but the ones I thought might be of most interest to readers of this blog). Note that inclusion does not constitute my endorsement of any book…unless I say so. I’m picking them based on cover and blurb….because in many cases, I do think you can tell a lot about a book by its cover…
A Mate for Titan (The Program #7) by Charlene Hartnady
Have you ever wanted to date a vampire? …Human women required. Must be enthusiastic about interactions with vampires. Must be willing to undergo a stringent medical exam. Must be prepared to sign a contractual agreement which would include a nondisclosure clause. Limited positions available… Titan is one of the strongest Vampire warriors on the team. He’ll take on anyone, anytime, anywhere and with his bare hands. There aren’t many things he’s afraid of. Only one thing to be exact. Human females. He’s deathly afraid of human females. Try as he might, Titan doesn’t understand them. Not one bit They send mixed signals and don’t always say what they mean. This lack of understanding caused him to do something he’s deeply ashamed of. He’s working hard to make amends, whilst keeping his distance. This set-up is working perfectly fine until his kings send him on a mission. One that will send him straight into untold and unknown danger. It’s not guns, knives and bombs that scare him, it’s the one times pint size human he’s been assigned to work with. Side by side. Day by day. As close as two people can get, and Titan isn’t sure he’ll survive it.
A Thousand Paper Birds by Tor Udall
After the sudden death of his wife, Audrey, Jonah sits on a bench in Kew Gardens, trying to reassemble the shattered pieces of his life….Chloe, shaven-headed and abrasive, finds solace in the origami she meticulously folds. But when she meets Jonah, her carefully constructed defenses threaten to fall….Milly, a child quick to laugh, freely roams Kew, finding beauty everywhere she goes. But where is her mother and where does she go when the gardens are closed?…Harry’s purpose is to save plants from extinction. Quiet and enigmatic, he longs for something–or someone–who will root him more firmly to the earth…..Audrey links these strangers together. As the mystery of her death unravels, the characters journey through the seasons to learn that stories, like paper, can be refolded and reformed. Haunted by songs and origami birds, this novel is a love letter to a garden and a hymn to lost things.
Cormorant Run by Lilith Saintcrow
Aliens meets Under the Dome in this new post-apocalyptic novel from New York Times bestseller Lilith Saintcrow. It could have been aliens, it could have been a trans-dimensional rift, nobody knows for sure. What’s known is that there was an Event, the Rifts opened up, and everyone caught inside died. Since the Event certain people have gone into the drift… and come back, bearing priceless technology that’s almost magical in its advancement. When Ashe — the best Rifter of her generation — dies, the authorities offer her student, Svinga, a choice: go in and bring out the thing that killed her, or rot in jail. But Svin, of course, has other plans… How far would you go and what would you risk to win the ultimate prize?
Down Among the Sticks and Bones (Wayward Children #2) by Seanan McGuire
Twin sisters Jack and Jill were seventeen when they found their way home and were packed off to Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children. This is the story of what happened first…Jacqueline was her mother’s perfect daughter—polite and quiet, always dressed as a princess. If her mother was sometimes a little strict, it’s because crafting the perfect daughter takes discipline. Jillian was her father’s perfect daughter—adventurous, thrill-seeking, and a bit of a tom-boy. He really would have preferred a son, but you work with what you’ve got. They were five when they learned that grown-ups can’t be trusted. They were twelve when they walked down the impossible staircase and discovered that the pretense of love can never be enough to prepare you a life filled with magic in a land filled with mad scientists and death and choices.
Ever Crave the Rose (The Elizabethan Time Travel Series #3) by Morgan O’Neill
London 2014―Catherine Howard stumbles upon the tomb of her granddaughter, Anne Howard Brandon, who’d been swept back through time. Horrorstruck, she discovers Anne was murdered in the year 1562. Elizabethan England 1562―Dr. Jonathan Brandon, Anne’s husband, pens a desperate message to Catherine, which gives the details of his wife’s kidnapping and murder, and the plea to “find a way to undo this!”…Upon discovering the ancient letter, Catherine calls on a time-traveling priest, Father Daniel, to rescue her precious granddaughter. But journeying back to the sixteenth century is a dangerous undertaking, the life and death risks sobering and real. Will Daniel survive? Can anyone thwart the evil that threatens Anne, or is the timeline immutable, her fate sealed? Daniel calls upon the forces of heaven and earth―including a secret Vatican society of time travelers―to aid in this quest. Will they be able to help? Can they change the course of history? Will time rewind?
Lawless Lands: Tales from the Weird Frontier (Anthology)
The cry of coyotes at moonrise….The whistle of the eastbound train. …The heat of the desert sun. …The western is the quintessential American literary genre, and now we’re turning it on its head. From sentient tumbleweeds to time-traveling schoolmarms, desert demons to werejaguars, space-faring herd drivers to gunslinger justice, there’s something for everyone. Featuring many of the best writers in speculative fiction today, saddle up for the thrills – we’re going to take you on a wild ride through a West that never was. Lawless Lands includes 20 mind-bending weird western stories by Aubrey Campbell, Matthew J. Hockey, Seanan McGuire, Alexandra Christian, David B. Coe, Laura Anne Gilman, Jo Gerrard, Faith Hunter, Gunnar De Winter, Edmund R. Schubert, Pamela Jeffs, A.E. Decker, B.S. Donovan, Dave Beynon, Nicole Givens Kurtz, John G. Hartness, Barb Hendee, Margaret S. McGraw, Jeffrel Hall, and Jake Bible.
Lying in Ruins by Jami Gray
In a world gone to hell, it’s hard to tell the good guys from the bad…The world didn’t end in fire and explosions, instead it collapsed slowly, like falling dominoes, an intensifying panic of disease, food shortages, wild weather and collapsing economies, until what remained of humanity battles for survival in a harsh new reality. …Charity uses lethal survival skills learned too early in her work as a ‘Hound, sniffing out pivotal secrets for one of the most powerful people on the west coast. Her work is deceptive, deadly, and best performed solo, which means when she has a run-in with a member of the notorious Fate’s Vultures, she has no intention of joining forces in some mockery of teamwork. The man might be sexy as hell, but she travels alone. She will accomplish her mission and she will settle a score – hopefully with the edge of her blade. But fate has other plans. …As one of Fate’s Vultures, a nomadic band of arbitrators known for their ruthless verdicts, Ruin witnesses the carnage of corruption and greed battering the remnants of humanity, and he bears the scars to prove it. Now he has a damn ‘Hound showing up in suspicious circumstances, leaving every cell of his body sceptical – and painfully aroused. The woman is trouble, and Ruin has every intention of steering clear. But when they realise they have a common enemy, Charity and Ruin will have to set aside their distrust if they want to achieve their mutual goal – justice and revenge. …Sometimes, when the world’s gone to hell, it’s better to stick with the devil you know..
Murder Sidhe Wrote (Accidental Fae #1) by Tom Shutt
Dress for the job you want, they say, but Siobhan never wanted to be a fairy. A costume party, a night out for once with friends. That’s all it was supposed to be, I swear….Yeah, well, nobody told that to the witch who fudged everything up. Now I have fairy magic, my best friend is a Greek goddess, and we only have a few days to find everyone else who got changed at the party and reverse the spell that’s already caused one murder….If I can keep the Coppers off my tail—I don’t have one of those yet, thank God—long enough to find my friends and stop a murderous new super, this might just yet not be the worst Halloween to date.
Quickening 2 (Little Goddess #5 Vol. 2) by Amy Lane
The elf queen who infected the werewolf population isn’t going away—and neither are the two heartbeats that will soon be the children in Cory’s arms….Cory’s used to throwing herself physically into the fray, but as their enemy gets closer and more dangerous, she’s forced to choose between her safety and the people sworn to protect her. Her guardians are tired of worrying about Cory and her unborn children, and Cory is getting plain tired. …The preternatural world isn’t her only worry—basic human birthing rituals are going to be a pain in the ass for a woman whose children will be sidhe. Cory’s mother is still fuzzy on the concept of a polyamorous multispecies marriage and sets her up with an OBGYN obsessed with the inhuman silhouettes of her babies. …Cory doesn’t want her children born in the middle of a turf war, but the people she and Green have nurtured and fought for aren’t about to let her face this enemy alone. This battle is for queen and home, and the babies quickening in Cory’s body are a symbol of hope. Cory’s going to have to give up the idea of being a weapon and embrace the idea of being a mother, or she’ll let down those depending on her most.
Steel Kisses: A Buffalo Steampunk Adventure by Laura Strickland
Reynold Michaels might not be the smartest man in the city, but he knows a beautiful woman when he sees one. The lovely creature he watches disembark from the steam tram every morning simply cannot be a prostitute…or an automaton. Yet at the high-priced bordello where she works he discovers she’s not only a hybrid mechanical, she’s funny, vulnerable, and quite possibly the missing piece of his heart….Lily Landry understands that as an automaton she isn’t entitled to make her own choices. She must do as instructed or face the ultimate horror of being shut down. But when she forms a bond with Reynold, she quickly learns what it means to desire a life of her own. …In a city conflicted over automaton rights, can they hope for a future together?
The Eternal Kingdom (The Children Trilogy #3) by Ben Peek
A nation in fragments. On the shores of Yeflam, Ayae struggles to keep her people together. She acts as liaison between the camp leaders and the immortals who could save them. Zaifyr’s immortal siblings have arrived – but they have their own unfathomable agendas and Ayae is caught in their power games. An army on the march. Heast has returned to his role as Captain of Refuge, a mercenary unit that answers the call of lost causes. With help from an unexpected source, Heast and his band of mercenaries could turn the tide of war – if they live long enough. A world in danger. Bueralan Le is trapped in the company of the new god, Se’Saera. Though he fights to prevent her from unleashing her forces on the world, he is bound by blood to her darkest creation. The future of the world may depend on his choices.
The Hollow Crown (Kingfountain #4) by Jeff Wheeler
Following the downfall of a tyrant in the Wall Street Journal bestselling Kingfountain trilogy, years have passed in prosperity for the kingdom of Ceredigion. Now, as the time comes to celebrate the new king’s nuptials, the specter of a new enemy emerges to destroy all that has been painstakingly built in those years….Tryneowy Kiskaddon has grown up learning military and diplomatic strategy from her father, one of the king’s closest advisors. She feels her destiny lies in defending the kingdom as a knight, not as a Wizr as her parents have decided, though no lady of the realm has taken up the sword in a century. As she seeks to understand her own Fountain-blessed powers, she studies in the tradition of her mother while training in secret and closely following the realm’s politics, alarmed by her mother’s vision of an impending clash and a devastating future….But the pieces on fate’s game board are in motion, and on the eve of battle, a threatening force irrevocably changes the future of the kingdom and her own. Does Trynne have what it takes to maneuver Ceredigion’s key players into position and outsmart the kingdom’s enemies—even those still concealed in shadow?
The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O. by Neal Stephenson and Nicole Galland
When Melisande Stokes, an expert in linguistics and languages, accidently meets military intelligence operator Tristan Lyons in a hallway at Harvard University, it is the beginning of a chain of events that will alter their lives and human history itself. The young man from a shadowy government entity approaches Mel, a low-level faculty member, with an incredible offer. The only condition: she must sign a nondisclosure agreement in return for the rather large sum of money….Tristan needs Mel to translate some very old documents, which, if authentic, are earth-shattering. They prove that magic actually existed and was practiced for centuries. But the arrival of the scientific revolution and the Age of Enlightenment weakened its power and endangered its practitioners. Magic stopped working altogether in 1851, at the time of the Great Exhibition at London’s Crystal Palace—the world’s fair celebrating the rise of industrial technology and commerce. Something about the modern world “jams” the “frequencies” used by magic, and it’s up to Tristan to find out why. …And so the Department of Diachronic Operations—D.O.D.O. —gets cracking on its real mission: to develop a device that can bring magic back, and send Diachronic Operatives back in time to keep it alive . . . and meddle with a little history at the same time. But while Tristan and his expanding operation master the science and build the technology, they overlook the mercurial—and treacherous—nature of the human heart.
Now, what do you want to win this week? Leave a comment, and I’ll announce the winner on Sunday.