YA Review & Contest: THE MARKED SON by Shea Berkley

After you read today’s review and enter the contest, I invite you to head over to my critique partner Susan’s blog, Wastepaper Prose, where I’m visiting today and blogging about one of my favorite preternatural species: ELVES! Stop by and read why I love ‘em. But first, read on to win a copy of…

Another book in the new “Upper YA” genre. I love this genre! You can read why in a review of an upper YA a few days ago here (and still time to enter that contest too). Today, I’m looking at The Marked Son by Shea Berkley, the first in a Keepers of Life series. See what you think. 

THE OFFICIAL BLURB:  Seventeen-year-old Dylan Kennedy always knew something was different about him, but until his mother abandoned him in the middle of Oregon with grandparents he’s never met, he had no idea what. When Dylan sees a girl in white in the woods behind his grandparents’ farm, he knows he’s seen her before…in his dreams. He’s felt her fear. Heard her insistence that only he can save her world from an evil lord who uses magic and fear to feed his greed for power. Unable to shake the unearthly pull to Kera, Dylan takes her hand. Either he’s completely insane or he’s about to have the adventure of his life, because where they’re going is full of creatures he’s only read about in horror stories. Worse, the human blood in his veins has Dylan marked for death…

MY THOUGHTS: I’ll get a stylistic tic out of the way first. This book threw me at first because Dylan’s story is told in first-person present tense, while Kera’s story is told in third-person past-tense. Once I got used to the rhythm of the story, it didn’t bother me anymore…in fact, I sort of liked it because Dylan’s in the here-and-now and Kera’s, well, not.
            Kera is an interesting classic fantasy character; Dylan is a modern contemporary fantasy character, and when their two worlds finally collide, it’s magical. Berkley does a great job of capturing a realistic feel for a young man caught in that emotional seesaw between teens and manhood, in a world he doesn’t understand, and with people he can’t quite bring himself to trust—as desperately as he wants to—ruled more by emotion than reason.
            There are two more books planned for this series.
Want to win a copy of The Marked Son? It’s the usual the drill: +1 for comment, +1 for blog follow, +1 for Twitter follow @Suzanne_Johnson, and +1 for Tweet or Retweet.

New Releases Aug. 1-5 & Reader’s Choice Contest

Holy sagging bookshelves, Batman! I thought the publishing industry was in crisis. I thought no print books were being released anymore. I thought summer was a down time in publishing. Ha! Strap on your steel-toed boots and get ready to crash through a huge, honkin’ pile of new releases this week. Forty-six, because I counted them. As always, a Reader’s Choice giveaway. What do YOU want to read?

Across the Great Barrier, by Patricia C. Wrede
(Aug. 1, Scholastic)
Eff is an unlucky 13th child—her twin brother, Lan, is a powerful seventh son of a seventh son. And yet, Eff is the one who saved the day for the settlements west of the Great Barrier. Her unique ways of doing magic and seeing the world, and her fascination with the magical creatures and land in the Great Plains, push Eff to work toward joining an expedition heading west. But things are changing on the frontier. There are new professors of magic for Eff and Lan to work with. There’s tension between William and his father. And there are new threats on the frontier and at home. Second in the Frontier Magic series. YA
Always a Witch, by Carolyn MacCullough
(Aug. 1, Clarion)
Since the conclusion of Once a Witch, Tamsin Greene has been haunted by her grandmother’s prophecy that she will soon be forced to make a crucial decision—one so terrible it could harm her family forever. When she discovers that her enemy, Alistair Knight, went back in time to Victorian-era New York in order to destroy her family, Tamsin is forced to follow him into the past. Stranded alone in the 19th century, Tamsin soon finds herself disguised as a lady’s maid in the terrifying mansion of the evil Knight family, avoiding the watchful eye of the vicious matron, La Spider, and fending off the advances of Liam Knight. Second in the Witch series. YA
Dark Souls, by Paula Morris
(Aug. 1, Point)
Welcome to York, England. Mist lingers in the streets. Narrow buildings cast long shadows. This is the most haunted city in the world. Miranda Tennant arrives in York with a terrible  secret. She is eager to lose herself amid the quaint cobblestones, hoping she won’t run into the countless ghosts who supposedly roam the city. Soon, Miranda realizes that something dangerous—and deadly—is being planned. And she may have to face the darkest part of herself in order to unravel the mystery and find redemption. YA
The Lady of the Storm, by Kathryne Kennedy
(Aug. 1, Sourcebooks Casablanca)
Acclaimed for her worldbuilding, in Kathryne Kenned’s new series love prevails over strife against all odds. The daughter of the Storm Lord, Cecily Sutton’s powers over sea and sky have put her life at risk. Giles Beaumont is reluctant to protect her, until he falls under her enchanting spell. Second in the Elven Lords series. PNR
The Vampire Next Door, by Ashlyn Chase
(Aug. 1, Sourcebooks Casablanca)
In this third installment of Chase’s paranormal trilogy, we meet witch Morgaine, who is deathly afraid of the dark, and her vigilante vampire neighbor Sly, who has his reasons for hating sunlight. Sly needs Morgaine’s magic to help heal a broken fang, but with further help (and sometimes hindrance) from the wacky apartment dwellers around them, they may become each other’s last hope for a normal life. Third in the Strange Neighbors series. PNR
Another Kind of Dead, by Kelly Meding
(Aug. 2, Bantam)
All but five people in the world think Evy Stone is dead—immolated in a factory fire set specifically for her. Evy and Wyatt, her partner, can no longer trust their former allies, or even the highest echelons of the Triads, the army of fighters holding back from an unsuspecting public a tide of quarreling, otherworldly creatures—they can trust only each other. Because when the Triads raided a monster-filled lab of science experiments and hauled away the remnants, they failed to capture their creator: a vampire-obsessed scientist who most wants Evy Stone, the key to his ultimate experiment in mad science. Third in the Dreg City series. UF
Basilisk, by Rob Thurman
(Aug. 2, Roc)
Stefan Korsak and his genetically altered brother have evaded the Institute for three years. When they learn the new location of the secret lab, they plan to break in and save the remaining children there. But one of the little ones doesn’t want to leave. She wants to kill. Second in the Chimera series.  UF
Blood Cursed, by Erica Hayes
(Aug. 2, St. Martin’s)
To a vampire, nothing is sweeter than bloodfairy essence—and Ember is the most sought-after fairy on the underworld circuit. Selling her blood to the highest bidder—and robbing her clients in the process. And if she hopes to survive, she needs protection. Diamond is a glassfairy who, for better or worse, knows his way around the vampire underworld. Smooth as silk and tougher than trolls, Diamond is Ember’s only chance to keep her magical blood inside her body. Fourth in the Shadowfae Chronicles series. PNR
Blood Hunt, by Shannon K. Butcher
(Aug. 2, Signet)
Hope appeared out of nowhere, naked and alone, a woman without a past. The only thing she knows is that she is imbued with a strange power. It’s in her blood. And two men want to posses it. One is Logan, a Sanguiner demon-fighter who needs Hope’s essence to survive. The other is Krag, a Synestryn lord whose desire is to enslave Hope, and drain her of the lifeforce. When Hope and Logan both fall prey to Krag, a powerful desire grows between them. But is it enough to thwart their captor’s diabolical plan and his demon warriors, and survive a vampire’s destiny written in blood? Fifth in the Sentinel Wars series. PNR
Blood of the Demon, by Rosalie Lario
(Aug. 2, Entangled)
Keegan lives to exact revenge on the evil demon who sired and abused him. When his father devises a plan to bring on the apocalypse, he and his three half-brothers, inter-dimensional bounty hunters for the Elden Council, are charged with capturing and delivering their father for punishment. Art gallery owner Brynn Meyers has no idea that her ability to read memories embedded in objects means she has demon ancestry. Unfortunately for Brynn, she’s also the key to raising an ancient zombie army, which puts her on every demon’s Most Wanted List. And no one wants her more than Keegan’s father. First in the Demons of Infernum series. PNR
Blood Ties, by Mari Mancusi
(Aug. 2, Berkley)
Officially back in the arms of her vampire boyfriend Magnus, Sunny finds she still can’t forget the gentle mortal Jayden who once saved her life. When darkness threatens to steal his humanity, Sunny must make a choice: stay true to her love, or defy him in a desperate attempt to save Jayden’s soul. Meanwhile, the Blood Coven is going head-to-head with a splinter group of Slayer Inc. that’s regrouping in Tokyo. In dark blood bars and hidden temples, it’ll be vampires versus slayers in a showdown that could not only cost Sunny her heart, but also her life. Sixth in the Blood Coven series. YA
Cowboys & Aliens, by Joan D. Vinge
(Aug. 2, Tor)
This novelization of the 2011 film.  A stranger with no memory of his past stumbles into the hard desert town of Absolution.  The only hint to his history is a mysterious shackle that encircles one wrist. What he discovers is that the people of Absolution don’t welcome strangers, and nobody makes a move on its streets unless ordered to do so by the iron-fisted Colonel Dolarhyde. It’s a town that lives in fear. But Absolution is about to experience fear it can scarcely comprehend as the desolate city is attacked by marauders from the sky. SF
Darkness Descending, by Devyn Quinn
(Aug. 2, Signet)
Fallen angels in the form of vampires are infecting humans one by one, creating an army fit for Armageddon. Jesse Burke, driven by vengeance to destroy the vampiric angels, has been protecting New Orleans from the onslaught, unaware that she has a much greater destiny awaiting her in the face of the oncoming apocalypse. First in the Vampire Armageddon series. UF
Downpour, by Kat Richardson
(Aug. 2, Roc)
After being shot in the back and dying—again—Greywalker Harper Blaine’s only respite from the chaos is her work. But while conducting a pretrial investigation in the Olympic Peninsula, she sees a ghostly car accident whose victim insists that he was murdered and that the nearby community of Sunset Lakes is to blame. Harper soon learns that the icy waters of the lake hide a terrible power, and a host of hellish beings under the thrall of a sinister cabal that will use the darkest of arts to achieve their fiendish ends. Sixth in the Greywalker series. UF
Eternal, by Gillian Shields
(Aug. 2, Katherine Tegen)
At Wyldcliffe Abbey School for Young Ladies, Sarah is the faithful friend to Evie and Helen, her sisters in the Mystic Way. But this term Sarah finds that their friendship is tested. Evie is turning her back on the Mystic Way after laying her beloved Sebastian’s soul to rest; Helen is distracted by her tormented relationship with her mother. Sarah struggles to keep the sisterhood together as the threat of attack looms from the dark coven and the Unconquered lords. Third in the Immortal series. YA
Exiled: Clan of the Claw, Book One, by S.M. Stirling,
Harry Turtledove, Jody Lynn Nye, John Ringo
and Bill Fawcett (Aug. 2, Baen)
First in a new series with three linked novellas from authors Harry Turtledove, John Ringo, Jody Lynn Nye, and S.M. Stirling. After the extinction asteroid doesn’t strike Earth, the dinosaurs keep evolving – but so do the mammals. We mammals have achieved humanlike shapes, but now it’s cold-blooded, magic-using reptiles against the hot-blooded, hot-tempered descendants of cats. It’s mammalian courage and adaptation against reptile cunning in a clash of steel and will that will determine which line shall inherit the Earth. SF
Gears of War: Coalition’s End, by Karen Traviss
(Aug. 2, Gallery)
When the Locust Horde burst from the ground 15 years ago to slaughter the human population of Sera, mankind began a desperate war against extinction. Now, with billions dead, the survivors—the Gears of the Coalition of Ordered Governments, along with a small band of civilians—have been forced to destroy their own cities and sacrifice their entire civilization to halt the Locust advance. The last-ditch measures have succeeded, but at an enormous cost: the survivors have been reduced to a handful of refugees. Escaping to a haven on the remote island of Vectes, they begin the heartbreaking task of rebuilding their devastated world. F
Ghost Ship by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller
(Aug. 2, Baen)
Theo Waitley is an ace starship pilot and pure maverick. Her mom is a renown Terran scholar and her birth father is an interstellar aristocrat in hiding. Whatever, thinks Theo. She still feels like a socially challenged misfit. But after being selected to train at the pilot academy, she figures she can leave behind those gawky, misfit days of teenage angst behind. But for Theo, life is about to get even more complicated—and deadlier still. The third Theo Waitley novel and a new entry into the Liaden Universe series. SF
Heart Search, by Robin D. Owens
(Aug. 2, Berkley)
Laev T’Hawthorn, one of the highest nobles in the land, must rebuild his life after a devastating mistake. He married a woman he believed was his HeartMate, only to learn she was a greedy social climber. Abandoned at fifteen, Camellia Darjeeling values her independence above all. She’s fought to establish her own businesses, and trusting men, even her HeartMate, is too risky. When Camellia’s shady relatives are implicated in the theft of Laev’s property, the couple’s lives become entangled, bringing each to the brink of despair and passion—and a destiny they can’t avoid. Tenth in the Celta’s Heartmates series. PNR
Home Improvement: Undead Edition, edited by
Charlaine Harris and Toni L.P. Kelner (Aug. 2, Ace)
The editors of Death’s Excellent Vacation bring home a new collection, including a new Sookie Stackhouse story. There’s nothing like home renovation for finding skeletons in the closet or otherwordly portals in the attic. Now, for any homeowner who’s ever wondered, “What’s that creaking sound?” Harris and Kelner return with an all-new collection of the paranormal perils of Do-It-Yourself with their own new stories plus offerings from Patricia Briggs, James Grady, Heather Graham, Melissa Marr, Seanan McGuire, E.E. Knight, S.J. Rozan, Stacia Kane, Suzanne McLeod, Simon R. Green, Victor Gischler and Rochelle Krich, . UF
Luck of the Devil, by Patricia Eimer
(Aug. 2, Entangled)
Being the youngest daughter of the Devil isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. The days of teenage rebellion and vows of chastity made just to tick off her father are over, and now all Faith Bettincourt wants is a nice, quiet life. Unfortunately, thanks to the unexpected arrival of her demonically-downsized sister, a ditzy succubus roommate, and dear old Dad himself, Faith’s plans for a relaxing vacation spent watching reruns go up in flames. Now it’s all Faith can do to keep the family reunion from Hell (literally) under wraps, and the angelically-inclined hottie across the hall from realizing there’s something weird about his neighbor. UF
The Marked Son, by Shea Berkley
(Aug. 2, Entangled)
Seventeen-year-old Dylan Kennedy always knew something was different about him, but until his mother abandoned him in the middle of Oregon with grandparents he’s never met, he had no idea what. When Dylan sees a girl in white in the woods behind his grandparents’ farm, he knows he’s seen her before—in his dreams. Either he’s completely insane or he’s about to have the adventure of his life, because where they’re going is full of creatures he’s only read about in horror stories. Worse, the human blood in his veins has Dylan marked for death. First in the Keepers of Life series. YA
Master of Shadows, by Angela Knight
(Aug. 2, Berkley)
Court seducer La Belle Coeur has met her match in Tristan, a Knight of the Round Table unafraid of blood—or lust. Joining to combat a werewolf wizard and sworn enemy of Arthur, they must put their lives on the line while coming to grips with the rising heat between them. Twelfth in the Mageverse series. PNR
The Moonlight Brigade, by Sarah Jane Stratford
(Aug. 2, St. Martin’s Griffin)
When a vital member of the British millennials’ mission goes missing after an intense firefight with Nazi-supported vampire hunters, Mors, the mission’s leader, vows to discover the truth. The search takes him from Berlin to his own ancient stomping grounds in Rome. But it will take collaboration with human partisans to achieve his goal, a dangerous alliance most vampires would never attempt, made more unstable by his growing love for the partisans’ beautiful and brave organizer, Giulia. As the Allies prepare to invade Italy, and hunters and Nazi-collaborators start to encircle Mors, a very different war is about to begin. UF
The Near Witch, by Victoria Schwab
(Aug. 2, Hyperion)
The Near Witch is only an old story told to frighten children. If the wind calls at night, you must not listen. And there are no strangers in the town of Near. These are the truths that Lexi has heard all her life. But when an actual stranger—a boy who seems to fade like smoke—appears, she knows at least one of these sayings is no longer true. The next night, the children of Near start disappearing. As Lexi and her new friend’s hunt for the children intensifies, so does her need to know—about the witch that just might be more than a bedtime story, about the wind that seems to speak through the walls at night, and about the history of this nameless boy. YA
Never Have I Ever, by Sara Shepard
(Aug. 2, HarperTeen)
My perfect life was a lie. Now I’d do anything to uncover the truth. Not long ago, I had everything a girl could wish for. But none of them know that I’m gone—that I’m dead. To solve my murder, my long-lost twin sister, Emma, has taken my place. She sleeps in my room, wears my clothes, and calls my parents Mom and Dad. And my killer is watching her every move. Second in the Lying Game series. YA
Night Walker, by Lisa Kessler
(Aug. 2, Entangled)
More than two centuries ago, Calisto Terana lost everything when a zealous priest murdered the woman he loved. Now, desperate for another chance, he wants redemption for the mistake that cost her life. After catching her fiance with another woman, Kate Bradley returns to San Diego to clear her head. The last thing she needs is romance, but after meeting Calisto she’s drawn to him in ways she doesn’t understand. Calisto has no doubt Kate is the reincarnation of his lost love, but the Fraternidad Del Fuego Santo has a new watcher with dark ambitions of his own. As old enemies reemerge and a new threat arises, the betrayal that enslaved Calisto to the night might destroy the only woman he’s loved—again. First in the Night series. PNR
Paradise 21, by Aubrie Dionne
(Aug. 2, Entangled)
Aries has lived her entire life aboard mankind’s last hope, the New Dawn, a spaceship traveling toward a planet where humanity can begin anew—a planet that won’t be reached in Aries’ lifetime. As one of the last genetically desirable women in the universe, she must marry her designated genetic match and produce the next generation for this centuries-long voyage. But Aries has other plans. When her desperate escape from the New Dawn strands her on a desert planet, Aries discovers the rumors about pirates—humans who escaped Earth before its demise—are true. First in the New Dawn series. PNR
Path of the Sun, by Violette Malan
(Aug. 2, Daw)
On their search for two missing Mercenary Brothers, Dhulyn Wolfshead and Parno Lionsmane must track a serial killer into the Path of the Sun, an ancient labyrinth from which few people return. Fourth in the Dhulyn and Parno series.  F
Primal Law, by J.D. Tyler
(Aug. 2, Signet)
Meet the Alpha Pack, a top-secret military team of wolf-shifters fighting the most dangerous predators in the world, human and nonhuman. After a massacre leaves Jaxon Law crippled, he must relearn how to fight—and battle the anger and guilt threatening to overwhelm him. But when Jax rescues a beautiful woman who awakens his primal instincts, he is unprepared for the dangers that lie ahead. Soon he must decide if the deep connection he feels with Kira is worth defying the ultimate shifter law. First in a new Alpha Pack series. PNR
Prince of Thorns, by Mark Lawrence
(Aug. 2, Ace)
When he was nine, he watched his mother and brother killed before him. By the time he was 13, he was the leader of a band of bloodthirsty thugs. By 15, he intends to be king. It’s time for Prince Honorous Jorg Ancrath to return to the castle he turned his back on, to take what’s rightfully his. Since the day he was hung on the thorns of a briar patch and forced to watch Count Renar’s men slaughter his mother and young brother, Jorg has been driven to vent his rage. But treachery and dark magic await him in his father’s castle. F
Retribution, by Sherrilyn Kenyon
(Aug. 2, St. Martin’s Press)
A hired gunslinger, William Jessup Brady believed every life had a price—until in one single act of betrayal, he lost everything, including his life. Brought back by a Greek goddess as one of her Dark-Hunters, he gave his immortal soul for vengeance and swore he’d spend eternity protecting the humans he’d once considered prey. Orphaned as a toddler, Abigail Yager was taken in by a family of vampires and raised on one belief—Dark-Hunters are the evil who prey on both their people and mankind. She has spent her life eliminating the Dark-Hunters and training for the day when she’d meet the man who killed her family: Jess Brady. Twentieth in the Dark Hunter series. PNR
Secrets of Bella Terra, by Christina Dodd
(Aug. 2, Signet)
Brooding and sexy Rafe Di Luca has returned to his family’s luxurious vineyard resort for one reason: to find out who attacked his beloved grandmother. His homecoming stirs up a decades-old feud, forcing him to work with Brooke Petersson, the woman he once seduced and betrayed—but never forgot. PNR
Secrets of the Wolves, by Dorothy Hearst
(Aug. 2, Simon & Schuster)
Years of research into the world of wolves combines with mythical tale-telling to present an adventure set in a world filled with lore. The rules of the Wide Valley wolves were clear: Never consort with humans; never kill a human unprovoked; never allow a mixed-blood wolf to live. But they were rules destined to be broken. Young Kaala of the Swift River pack shattered the rules of the valley and exposed the lies hidden beneath them. Now, along with her young packmates and the humans they have befriended, she must find a way for the wolves and humans of the Wide Valley to live in harmony. Second in the  Wolf Chronicles series. F
Southern Gods, by John Hornor Jacobs
(Aug. 2, Nightshade)
Recent World War II veteran Bull Ingram is working as muscle when a Memphis DJ hires him to find Ramblin’ John Hastur. The mysterious blues man’s dark, driving music—broadcast at ever-shifting frequencies by a phantom radio station—is said to make living men insane and dead men rise. Disturbed and enraged by the bootleg recording the DJ plays for him, Ingram follows Hastur’s trail into the strange, uncivilized backwoods of Arkansas, where he hears rumors the musician has sold his soul to the Devil. But as Ingram closes in on Hastur and those who have crossed his path, he’ll learn there are forces much more malevolent than the Devil and reckonings more painful than Hell. UF
Storm’s Heart, by Thea Harrison
(Aug. 2, Berkley)
Able to wield thunder and lightning, wyr sentinel Tiago Black Eagle has ruled the skies for centuries. His massive build and thunderous power make him one of the wyr’s best weapons. And he’s the one sent to protect Tricks, heir to the Dark Fae throne, when she’s almost assassinated in Chicago. Soon, Tiago and Tricks will fall prey to the stormy hunger that engulfs them—a passion that will shake the very foundation of all the worlds. Second in the Elder Races series. PNR
Ward Against Death, by Melanie Card
(Aug. 2, Entangled)
Twenty-year-old Ward de’Ath expected this to be a simple job—bring a nobleman’s daughter back from the dead for 15 minutes, let her family say good-bye, and launch his fledgling career as a necromancer. But when Ward wakes the beautiful Celia Carlyle, he gets more than he bargained for. Insistent that she’s been murdered, Celia begs Ward to keep her alive and help her find justice. By the time she drags him out her bedroom window and into the sewers, Ward can’t bring himself to break his damned physician’s Oath and desert her. However, nothing is as it seems—including Celia. First in the Chronicles of a Reluctant Necromancer series. YA
The Watchtower, by Lee Carroll
(Aug. 2, Tor)
Jewelry designer Garet James is still coming to terms with the fact she is the last in a line of women sworn to protect the world from evil. Now she has received a sign from Will Hughes, the 400-year-old vampire who once helped her defeat the evil threatening to destroy New York City. Hughes, tortured by his own violent history, has asked her to join him on a quest to rid himself of his curse of vampirism. While looking for Will in Paris, Garet encounters an ancient botanist metamorphosed into the oldest tree in Paris, a gnome who lives under the Labyrinth at the Jardin des Plantes, a librarian at the Institut Oceanographique, and a dryad in the Luxembourg Gardens. Each encounter leads Garet closer, but she realizes that she’s not the only one who’s trying to find the way to the magical world called the Summer Country. UF
Water to Burn, by Katharine Kerr
(Aug. 2, Daw)
Nola O’Grady and her sidekick, Ari Nathan, begin to realize that their anti-Chaos work in San Francisco is going to take them very far afield indeed. Second in the Nola O’Grady series. UF?
The Whitefire Crossing, by Courtney Schafer
(Aug. 2, Night Shade)
Dev is a smuggler with the perfect cover. He’s in high demand as a guide for the caravans that carry legitimate goods from the city of Ninavel into the country of Alathia. The route through the Whitefire Mountains is treacherous, and Dev is one of the few climbers who knows how to cross them safely. With his skill and connections, it’s easy enough to slip contraband charms from Ninavel—where any magic is fair game, no matter how dark—into Alathia, where most magic is outlawed. But smuggling a few charms is one thing; smuggling a person through the warded Alathian border is near suicidal, especially a young apprentice on the run from one of the most powerful mages in Ninavel. F
The Wild Side: Urban Fantasy with an Erotic Edge,
edited by Mark L. Van Name (Aug. 2, Baen)
Take a walk on the “wild side” of urban fantasy.  When the werewolf cubs are asleep and the baby vamps are tucked into their coffins, the adults come out to play. Spend some quality time lolling in the moonlight shadows with a love that only comes out at night.  From light-spirited romps to black-hearted noir, tales of love, eros, betrayal and seduction from authors Tanya Huff, Caitlin Kittredge, Toni L.P. Kelner, Dana Cameron, Sarah A. Hoyt, John Lambshead, Diana Rowland and Mark L. Van Name. UF
Working Stiff, by Rachel Caine
(Aug. 2, Roc)
A brand new adventure from the author of the Morganville Vampires and Weather Warden series. Bryn Davis is new on the job as a funeral director, and even she knows that once you’re dead, you ought to stay that way. But Fairview Mortuary has a hidden backroom business: reviving the dead for profit, at extortionate rates. Finding out could cost Bryn more than her life— it might just take away her death, too. First in the Rivivalist series. SF
Circle of Fire, by Michelle Zink
(Aug. 3, Little, Brown)
With time dwindling but her will to end the Prophecy stronger than ever, Lia sets out on a journey to find the remaining keys, locate the missing pages of the Prophecy, and convince her sister Alice to help–or risk her life trying. Lia has her beloved Dimitri by her side, but Alice has James, the man who once loved her sister—and maybe still does. James doesn’t know the truth about either sister, or the prophecy that divides them. And Alice intends to keep it that way.  There are some secrets sisters aren’t meant to share. Because when they do, it destroys them. Third and final book in the Prophecy of the Sisters trilogy. YA
A Blight of Mages, by Karen Miller
(Aug. 4, Orbit)
Hundreds of years before the great Mage War, a land lies, unknowing, on the edge of catastrophe. Barl is young and impulsive, but she has a power within that calls to her. In her city, however, only those of noble blood and with the right connections learn the ways of the arcane. Morgan holds the key to her education. A member of the Council of Mages, he lives to maintain the status quo, preserve the mage bloodlines, and pursue his scholarly experiments. But Barl’s power intrigues him—in spite of her low status. Morgan’s ambition and Barl’s power make a potent combination. What she does not see is the darkness in him that won’t be denied. F
The Last Four Things, by Paul Hoffman
(Aug. 4, Dutton)
To the warrior-monks known as the Redeemers, who rule over massive armies of child slaves, “the last four things” represent the culmination of a faithful life. Death. Judgement. Heaven. Hell. They represent eternal bliss—or endless destruction and infinite pain. Perhaps nowhere are the competing ideas of heaven and hell more clear than in the tormented soul of Thomas Cale. Betrayed by his beloved but still marked by a child’s innocence, possessed of a remarkable aptitude for violence but capable of extreme tenderness, Cale will lead the Redeemers into a battle for nothing less than the fate of the human race. Second in the Left Hand of God series. F
See anything you want? So…International Reader’s Choice―you tell me. Just a note: if you like a title but it isn’t the first in a series, you can always request the first in that series instead. (That’s for Reader’s Choice contests only.) Your pick: ebook or print. As always, four entries possible and please include your e-mail: +1 for comment, +1 for blog follow, +1 for Twitter follow @Suzanne_Johnson, and +1 for a Tweet or RT about the contest. Now….go!