Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008: The Year in Review

Well 2008 was a busy year all around. Read oodles of books, reviewed oodles of books and started this blog. Met tons of fabulous folks. Thank you all for visiting and sharing you passion for reading.

Random 2008 Statistics:
  • Read 247 books by 178 authors
  • Average 20.5 books per month
  • Most read author - Richelle Mead (5 titles)
  • Reviewed 113 books since July 1
Here is a summary of the books I enjoyed the most this year in no particular order. Most of the titles were originally published in 2008 but some earlier ones may have snuck in, but in any case that’s when I read them.


Favourite Urban Fantasy/Paranormal
  1. Bond of Darkness by Diane Whiteside
  2. Break of Dawn by Chris Marie Green
  3. Brimstone Kiss by Carole Nelson Douglas
  4. Dark Harvest by Lynda Hilburn
  5. Dead Reign by T.A. Pratt
  6. Demon Bound by Meljean Brook
  7. Dragon Wytch by Yasmine Galenorn
  8. From Dead to Worse Charlaine Harris
  9. Iron Kissed by Patricia Briggs
  10. Kitty and the Silver Bullet by Carrie Vaughn
  11. Living with the Dead by Kelley Armstrong
  12. Lover Enshrined by J.R.Ward
  13. Magic Burns by Ilona Andrews
  14. Night Season by Eileen Wilks
  15. Sea Fever by Virginia Kantra
  16. Small Favor by Jim Butcher
  17. Spectre by Phaedra Weldon
  18. The Bleeding Dusk by Colleen Gleason
  19. The Bride of Casa Dracula by Marta Acosta
  20. The Mark of the Vampire Queen by Joey W. Hill
  21. The Outlaw Demon Wails by Kim Harrison
  22. The Wild Road by Marjorie Liu
  23. Touch of Darkness by C.T.Adams & Cathy Clamp
  24. Twilight Fall by Lynn Viehl
  25. Underground by Kat Richardson
Favourite Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Debuts
  1. Dead to Me by Anton Strout
  2. Happy Hour of the Damned by Mark Henry
  3. Magic to the Bone by Devon Monk
  4. My Wicked Enemy by Carolyn Jewel
  5. Nightwalker by Jocelynn Drake

Favourite Paranormal Romance Comedy

  • Real Vampires Get Lucky
Favourite Steampunk Fantasy
  • Clockwork Heart by Dru Pagliassotti
Favourite Fantasy Debuts
  1. Gordath Wood by Patrice Sarath
  2. The Cipher by Diana Pharoah Francis
  3. The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

Favourite Urban Fantasy – Young Adults

  1. Bite Me by Parker Blue
  2. City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare
  3. Feast of Fools by Rachel Caine
  4. Ink Exchange by Melissa Marr
  5. Untamed by P. C. & Kristin Cast

Favourite Science Fiction – Young Adults

  • The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Favourite Anthology

  • Wolfsbane and Mistletoe
Science Fiction
  • Emissaries from the Dead by Adam-Troy Castro
  1. Kushiel’s Mercy by Jacqueline Carey
  2. Heroes Adrift by Moira J.Moore
  3. Ink and Steel by Elizabeth Bear
  4. The Queen’s Bastard by C.E. Murphy
  5. The Sharing Knife: Passage by Lois McMaster Bujold

Most Disappointing Urban Fantasy Novel of 2008

  • Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer

Most Read Reviews on SciFiGuy
(ranked by Google Analytics)

  1. Wolfsbane and Mistletoe
  2. Untamed by Pc Cast Kristin Cast
  3. City Of Ashes by Cassandra Clare
  4. Blood Memories by Barb Hendee
  5. Dark Harvest by Lynda Hilburn
  6. Swallowing Darkness by Laurell K. Hamilton
  7. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
  8. Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray
  9. One Bite With a Stranger by Christine Warren
  10. Midnights Daughter by Karen Chance


Cover Art - Deadly Desire by Keri Arthur

The next Riley Jensen book if due out March 9 and I came across the cover art for the North American edition. This is the 7th book in the urban fantasy series which I heartily recommend. The 8th book, Bound by Shadows is set for September 2009.

Guardian Riley Jenson always seems to face the worst villains. And this time’s no different. For it’s no ordinary sorceress who can raise the dead to do her killing. But that’s exactly what Riley expects to find at the end of a trail of female corpses used—and discarded—in a bizarre ritual of evil. With pressure mounting to catch one fiend, another series of brutal slayings shocks the vampire world of her lover, Quinn. So the last thing Riley needs is the heat of the upcoming full moon bringing her werewolf hormones to a boil—or the reappearance of a sexy bounty hunter, the rogue wolf Kye Murphy.

Riley has threatened Murphy with arrest if he doesn’t back off the investigation, but it’s Riley who feels handcuffed by Kye’s lupine charm. Torn between her vamp and wolf natures, between her love for Quinn and her hots for Kye, Riley knows she’s courting danger and indulging the deadliest desires. For her hunt through the supernatural underworld will bring her face-to-face with what lurks in a darkness where even monsters fear to tread.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Review – “Men of the Otherworld” by Kelley Armstrong

As a curious six-year-old, Clayton didn’t resist the bite—he asked for it. But surviving as a lone child-werewolf was more than he could manage—until Jeremy came along and taught him how to straddle the human-werewolf worlds, gave him a home…and introduced him to the Pack. So begins this tantalizing volume, featuring three of the most intriguing members of the American Pack—a hierarchical founding family where bloodlines mean everything and each day presents a new, thrilling, and often deadly challenge. For as Clayton grows from a wild child to a clever teen who tests his beloved mentor at every turn, he must learn not only to control his animal instincts but to navigate Pack politics—including showing his brutal archnemesis, Malcolm, who the real Alpha is....
Men of the Otherworld is the tenth volume in Kelley Armstrong’s popular Otherworld urban fantasy series and the first featuring just the men from the werewolf novels. As the author explains in her Introduction, the book is a collection of stories that first appeared online on her website and includes Infusion, Savage, Ascension and a new story narrated by Jeremy. Originally intended as a free gift to her readers, she is now “re-gifting” all profits from the book to World Literary of Canada. Another volume planned for 2010 called Tales of the Otherworld will also donate its profits.

Men of the Otherworld could be considered Clay’s pre-Elena biography - growing up with his mentor Jeremy. It is also a fascinating study of the Otherworld werewolf culture. If you prefer novels, don’t let the fact that it is a collection of stories dissuade you because it reads seamlessly as a novel. The book is constructed of two long sections; the first, Savage is set in 1967 when Jeremy first encounters the feral child Clay and adopts him, and the second, Ascension recounts Clay's adolescent life from 1972 through to adulthood. These sections are nicely book-ended by Infusion set in 1947 which introduces Jeremy’s father Malcolm and the mysterious circumstances surrounding Jeremy’s birth and concludes with the Jeremy/Jaime story Kitsunegari, set in 2007 where Jeremy learns the truth about his origins and special non-werewolf abilities.

Armstrong explores both the larger events and powerplays of Pack politics as they evolve over the years, but also provides an intimate look at the life of werewolves and their essential non-human nature as reflected here by Clay -
At school, our classroom had a small rodent zoo consisting of two rabbits, three hamsters, a litter of baby gerbils and a guinea pig. At first, I'd thought the teacher was raising snack food, which impressed me, being the first sign of intelligence she'd shown, Soon, though, I'd figured out the animals' true purpose and left them alone, though I would never understand the appeal of petting and coddling perfectly good food.
As you might expect Men of the Otherworld is loaded with testosterone as much of the story recounts the ongoing rivalry and plotting for the position of alpha. These are the events that shaped Clay and Jeremy into the complex and beloved characters that we see in the earlier novels. The concluding Jeremy/Jaime story adds a welcome softening of the harsher tale that comes before and nicely reconnects us with the present Otherworld universe. Men of the Otherworld is a must read for fans of the Otherworld series providing fresh insights while delivering exciting action. New readers can pick up and enjoy this without prior experience with the series and returning readers will appreciate the richly expanded Otherworld history.

Author and Book Showcase
Official Kelley Armstrong Website

Bantam Books
Published: January 27, 2009
ISBN #: 9780553807097
Pages: 384

Women (and Men) of the Otherworld Series

  1. Bitten (Elena)
  2. Stolen (Elena)
  3. Dime Store Magic (Paige)
  4. Industrial Magic (Paige)
  5. Haunted (Eve)
  6. Broken (Elena)
  7. No Humans Involved (Jaime)
  8. Personal Demon (Hope & Lucas)
  9. Living with the Dead (Hope&Lucas, Robyn&Finn)
  10. Men of the Otherworld (Clay & Jeremy)
  11. Frostbitten (Elena & Clay) Nov 2009
  12. Tales of the Otherworld (2010)

Frostbitten [2009]

Monday, December 29, 2008

Some Monday Linkage

8 Days of Christmas Giveaways
Check out urban fantasy writer Karen Mahoney's website where she is running daily contests for some fabulous collections of urban fantasy titles such as a signed copy of Personal Demon by Stacia Kane, 3 Jeaniene Frost titles, 2 books from Richelle Mead and 2 from Caitlin Kittredge and 5 Kim Harrison titles. WOW! All offers are still open with more to come.

Best of 2008 Event at The Book Smugglers
I know this is a little late but The Book Smugglers have been having guest bloggers from some of the best book blogs talking about their year and best choices for 2008. Some really great suggestions and a way to kick start your TBR pile for the new year.

This is the line up:

Katie(babs) of Babbling About Books, and More!
Holly of The Book Binge (with Casee and Ames)

Trin & Thrinidir of Realms of Speculative Fiction
Ciara of Ciaralira
Tia of Fantasy Debut
Kristen of Fantasy Cafe

Graeme of Graeme's Fantasy Book Review
Jessica of Racy Romance Reviews
Aidan of A Dribble of Ink
Heather of The Galaxy Express

The Discriminating Fangirl of The Discriminating Fangirl
Karen of Karen Mahoney
Angie of Angieville
Lisa of Urban Fantasy Land

Kmont of Lurv a la Mode
CJ of The Thrillionth Page
Kate of What Kate's Reading
Li of Me and My Books

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Genre Book Releases for January

Here is a partial list of forthcoming Urban Fantasy, Paranormal and Fantasy books to look forward to in January.

Urban Fantasy & Paranormal


Mean Streets
(Jim Butcher, Kat Richardson, Simon R Green, Thomas Sniegoski)
From four of today’s hottest fantasy authors—all-new novellas of dark nights, cruel cities, and paranormal P.I.s. The best paranormal private investigators have been brought together in a single volume—and cases don’t come any harder than this. New York Times bestselling author Jim Butcher delivers a hard-boiled tale in which Harry Dresden’s latest case may be his last. Nightside dweller John Taylor is hired by a woman to find something she lost—her memory—in a thrilling noir tale from New York Times bestselling author Simon R. Green. National bestselling author Kat Richardson’s Greywalker finds herself in too deep when a “simple job” goes bad and Harper Blaine is enmeshed in a tangle of dark secrets and revenge from beyond the grave. For centuries, the being that we know as Noah lived among us. Now he is dead, and fallen-angel-turned-detective Remy Chandler has been hired to find out who killed him in a whodunit by national bestselling author Thomas E. Sniegoski.

Andersen, Jessica
(Final Prophecy #2)
The countdown to the end of days has begun—and Only the Nightkeepers can stop the annihilation of all mankind... Though a Nightkeeper, Nate Blackhawk refuses to allow others to control his fate. The gods have even tried to influence his love life, sending him visions of Alexis Gray, a sleek blonde who is everything he’s ever wanted in a woman. The two warriors can’t deny their attraction. But a frightening vision leads Nate to distance himself in spite of the intense passion he feels. Thrown together once more, they must reassemble seven Mayan artifacts that hold the key to preventing the end of the world…
Armstrong, Kelly
Men of the Otherworld
(Otherworld Series)
As a curious six-year-old, Clayton didn’t resist the bite—he asked for it. But surviving as a lone child-werewolf was more than he could manage—until Jeremy came along and taught him how to straddle the human-werewolf worlds, gave him a home…and introduced him to the Pack. So begins this tantalizing volume, featuring three of the most intriguing members of the American Pack—a hierarchical founding family where bloodlines mean everything and each day presents a new, thrilling, and often deadly challenge. For as Clayton grows from a wild child to a clever teen who tests his beloved mentor at every turn, he must learn not only to control his animal instincts but to navigate Pack politics—including showing his brutal archnemesis, Malcolm, who the real Alpha is.... From the nature of fear, weakness, and courage, to the triumph of belonging and the complications of love and loyalty, these mesmerizing tales reveal the trials of a werewolf coming-of-age, and lay bare the hearts and minds of the men strong enough for the women of the Otherworld—and adept enough to take on two worlds.
Bartlett, Gerry
Real Vampires Don't Diet
(Glory St. Claire #4)
Gloriana St. Claire—curvy, stylish, and undead—is spending New Year’s Eve alone. And it’s all because her boyfriend, Jeremy Blade, is traipsing off to parts unknown to rescue his supposed daughter from the clutches of “dangerous radicals.” But just as Glory settles in for the evening, a phone call from the bodyguard of a drunk, newly-undead rock star could end her year on a crazy note.

Bast, Anya
Witch Heart
(Elemental Witches #3)
Claire, a demon’s handmaiden, is rescued from enslavement by a handsome playboy. Now they’re both in danger of being captured by warlocks who are determined to harness Claire’s powers for evil.

Caine, Rachel
Lord of Misrule
(Morganville Vampires #5)
In the college town of Morganville, vampires and humans coexist in (relatively) bloodless harmony. Then comes Bishop, the master vampire who threatens to abolish all order, revive the forces of the evil dead, and let chaos rule. But Bishop isn’t the only threat. Violent black cyclone clouds hover, promising a storm of devastating proportions as student Claire Danvers and her friends prepare to defend Morganville against elements both natural and unnatural.
Cole, Kresley
Kiss of a Demon King
(Immortals After Dark #6)

HIS OBSESSION...Sabine, Sorceress of Illusions: the evil beauty who surrenders her body, but not her heart.
HER DOWNFALL...Rydstrom Woede: the ruthless warrior who vows to keep her at all costs.
THEY WERE NEVER SUPPOSED TO WANT EACH OTHER THIS MUCH...With each smoldering encounter, their shared hunger only increases. If they can defeat the sinister enemy that stands between them, will Sabine make the ultimate sacrifice for her demon? Or will the proud king lay down his crown and arms to save his sorceress?

Collins, Nancy
Night Life
(Vamps #2)

Fashion victim just got a whole new meaning. When vampire heiress Lilith Todd decides she wants a modeling career, she won't let her father stop her—even if he does threaten to cut off her credit cards. Lilith's rival, Cally Monture, is in a different kind of hot water. Her boyfriend, Peter, is a vampire hunter—a sexy, sensitive soul mate who just happens to be sworn to destroy her entire race. With the Rauhnacht Grand Ball fast approaching, both girls need the same things: a handsome escort and a dress to die for. But in a sea of shifting and dangerous loyalties, there's no telling who will betray them next.

Franco, Mark del
Unfallen Dead
(Connor Grey #3)
For a century since the Convergence of Faerie and modern reality, the Ways between this world and the next have been closed. But now signs point to the chance that the veil may lift again. Connor Grey has enough problems with a vengeful Queen of Faerie and the return of his old Guild partner. Add an occult string of murders, and it’s another case that just may kill him.

Galenorn, Yasmine
Night Huntress
(Sisters of the Moon #5)
The D’Artigo sisters are half-human, half-Fae operatives for the Otherworld Intelligence Agency. Delilah, a werecat who’s one of the Autumn Lord’s Death Maidens, has to fight off the demon general who stole the third Spirit Seal and is now out for blood.

Green, Simon R.
Just Another Judgement Day
(Nightside #9)
There’s a new sheriff in town, and he’s got the Nightside’s rich and powerful quaking in their boots. He’s The Walking Man, and it’s his mission to exorcise sinners—with extreme prejudice. Problem is, the Nightside was built on sin and corruption, and The Walking Man makes no distinction between evildoers and those simply indulging themselves. He’ll leave the place a wasteland unless someone stops him, and P.I. John Taylor has been handed the job. No known magic or science can affect The Walking Man, and if John can’t discover his weakness, he’ll be facing the very Wrath of God…
Hart, Raven
The Vampire's Revenge
(Savannah Vampire #5)
Jack McShane: lover, killer, seducer, family man, and vampire. In the shadows of Savannah, with its hip nightspots and moss-draped oak trees, Jack is trying to save humankind from a threat it doesn’t know it faces: an explosion of the otherworldly, the weird, the wanton, and the wicked. Tourists are heading to Savannah for St. Patrick’s Day–and Jack is racing through tunnels below the city to the edge of Hell itself to hold off a plot posed by the double-dead and demented. But Jack must also hold off his own desire for Connie Jones, the beautiful cop he turned into a vampire slayer. Connie, her blood running hotter than she can handle, can’t imagine the games that Jack is playing with her body and her mind, or that the other monster she’s falling in love with is all part of his devious plan. Welcome to the world of Jack McShane, a blue-eyed vampire who knows how crazy things can get–once you get a little taste for blood.
Hill, Joey W.
A Witch's Beauty
(sequel to A Mermaids Kiss)
Mina is the daughter of an unholy union—a mermaid taken by one of the malevolent Dark Ones. While helping to rescue Prime Legion Commander Jonah, she exposed herself as a potentially dangerous weapon, susceptible to the darkness in her own blood. Now, for the general good, Jonah has angels watching over her…

Though Mina is resistant to being protected, her attitude begins to change when David, the human-born angel, is awarded the duty. Looking into his eyes, she can sense that he too knows what it means to fight the darkness within. But—as their passion threatens to take over—will it lead them to Heaven or Hell?
Morgan, Alexis
Darkness Unknown
(Paladins #5)

Gwen Mosely's life changes forever when she stumbles across a handsome stranger, bleeding and left for dead in the woods behind her farm. But the real shock is how his wounds heal overnight -- a trait he shares with Gwen's teenaged half-brother Chase. Jarvis Donahue can't keep his eyes -- or his hands -- off the sexy redhead who rescued him. Gwen's warm smile and lust-filled eyes are impossible to resist...but Jarvis immediately recognizes Chase as a fellow Paladin, a warrior born to defend mankind in the relentless battle against the Others. Although Gwen may hate Jarvis for it, he is dutybound to introduce Chase to the Paladins' dangerous lifestyle. As the barrier between the two worlds weakens, the threat grows perilously close to Gwen's farm. Jarvis is determined to protect his lover -- but if he reveals his identity, he not only betrays his people's secret, he risks losing her forever....

Rardin, Jennifer
One More Bite
(Jaz Parks #5 )
It's Jaz Parks. I've already smoked the guy who was the pain in the CIA's you-know-what for the past few years. But now, in the power vacuum left by the death of Edward "The Raptor"Samos, a struggle for supremacy has begun between his former allies. The CIA feels the balance must be maintained. So when an agent planted among the Weres discovers a plot to assassinate the Coven's leader, my vampire boss and I are brought in to take out the woman hired to do the deed, a killer who might be as wily and Gifted as ourselves. So it's off to the Scottish Highlands for some twisted fun among murderers, demons and half-crazed relatives. Sometimes being a top-secret CIA assassin isn't all it's cracked up to be.
Mona Lisa Darkening
(Monere #4)
On the vernal equinox, Mona Lisa is taken against her will to NetherHell, the cursed realm of the damned. In this place, she will be torn from both within and without by desire, love, and ecstasy. And when her first love crosses the boundaries of the world to rescue her, she must choose her own destiny—before others choose it for her.

Viehl, Lynn
Stay the Night
(Darkyn #7)
Outlaw, immortal vampire, and art thief, Darkyn Lord Robin of Locksley has evaded authorities for the last 700 years. At the moment, he’s falling for undercover federal agent Christina Renshaw, who has no time for an affair. She hopes to snag an elusive art thief, but soon has no choice other than to join forces with Robin. When the chase becomes dangerous, both will have to choose between losing each other and losing everything they value...
Yarbro, Chelsea Quinn
Borne in Blood
(St. Germain #20)
The year is 1817. In Switzerland, the Count has become intrigued by the work of an Austrian noble who is investigating the properties of blood, a subject always of key interest to a vampire. But when the noble’s beautiful young ward fixates sexually on the Count, the vampire fears that it is his blood the Austrian will be most interested in!


Child, Maureen
Maggie Donovan isn’t interested in overthrowing a Faerie queen. She barely had time to kill the demon that devoured her fiancé. Then she comes home to find a scrumptious hunk in her living room who informs her that saving the Otherworld just happens to be her destiny, and Maggie realizes she may not have a choice…

Jackson, Melanie
Divine Fantasy
Who would have guessed something he’d penned in jest would turn out to be real and swarm his island retreat? Yet for Ambrose Bierce, renowned nineteenth-century wit and author of The Devil's Dictionary, the joke was on him. If he didn’t want to be digested—and he didn’t, much—he had to stay alive. His reputed disappearance and death in Mexico in 1914 had been…enlightening, and his animalistic new nature gave Ambrose hope of escaping the undead army. However, there was another to save. On this island was she whom he believed to be his soul mate. And while Joyous Jones promised to give her all for love, he doubted she meant her life. Stranded literally between the devil and the deep blue sea, a past fraught with secrets and a future full of questions, the world’s eminent cynic would have to trust fate. To every night sky finally came the dawn, and from this B horror movie would rise a…DIVINE FANTASY
Ronald, Margaret
Spiral Hunt
Some people have the Sight. Genevieve Scelan has the Scent. They call her "Hound," and with her unique supernatural sense Evie can track nearly anything—lost keys, vanished family heirlooms . . . even missing people. And though she knows to stay out of the magical undercurrent that runs beneath Boston's historic streets, a midnight phone call from a long-vanished lover will destroy the careful boundaries she has drawn. Now, to pay a years-old debt, Evie must venture into the shadowy world that lies between myth and reality, where she will find betrayal, conspiracies, and revelations that will shatter all she believes about herself and the city she claims as home. When the Hunt is on, the Hound must run . . .

Taylor, Helen Scott
The Magic Knot
HE'S A BIKER WITH AN ATTITUDE. What woman wouldn't be attracted to Niall O'Connor's soft Irish brogue and dark good looks? But Rosenwyn Tremain must find her father, and she isn't going to let a sexy, stubborn Irishman and his motorcycle distract her. Rose's intuition tells her he's hiding something, a secret even the cards cannot divine. Her tarot deck always reads true, but how can one man represent both Justice and Betrayal?
SHE'S A WOMAN ON A MISSION. Magic. Niall's body tingles with it when he finds the woman snooping in his room. Rosenwyn might believe she's a no-nonsense accountant, but her essence whispers to him of ancient fairy magic that enslaves even as it seduces. Her heritage could endanger those he'd die to protect, but her powers and her passion, if properly awakened, might be the only thing that can save both their families, vanquish a fairy queen bent on revenge, and fulfill a prophecy that will bind their hearts together with... THE MAGIC KNOT


Bujold, Lois McMaster
(Sharing Knife #4)

In a world where malices—remnants of ancient magic—can erupt with life-destroying power, only soldier-sorcerer Lakewalkers have mastered the ability to kill them. But Lakewalkers keep their uncanny secrets—and themselves—from the farmers they protect, so when patroller Dag Redwing Hickory rescued farmer girl Fawn Bluefield, neither expected to fall in love, join their lives in marriage, or defy both their kin to seek new solutions to the perilous split between their peoples. As Dag's maker abilities have grown, so has his concern about who—or what—he is becoming. At the end of a great river journey, Dag is offered an apprenticeship to a master groundsetter in a southern Lakewalker camp. But as his understanding of his powers deepens, so does his frustration with the camp's rigid mores with respect to farmers. At last, he and Fawn decide to travel a very different road—and find that along it, their disparate but hopeful company increases. Fawn and Dag see that their world is changing, and the traditional Lakewalker practices cannot hold every malice at bay forever. Yet for all the customs that the couple has challenged thus far, they will soon be confronted by a crisis exceeding their worst imaginings, one that threatens their Lakewalker and farmer followers alike. Now the pair must answer in earnest the question they've grappled with since they killed their first malice together: When the old traditions fail disastrously, can their untried new ways stand against their world's deadliest foe?

Coe, David B.
The Horseman’s Gambit
(Blood of the Southlands #2)
In this exciting sequel to the epic fantasy The Sorcerers’ Plague, with the magical Qirsi people weakened by the decimation of the plague, their unmagical enemies see an opportunity to defeat them and take back lands lost in an ancient war.

Gilman, Felix
Gears of the City
In this stunning follow-up to his acclaimed debut, Thunderer, Felix Gilman’s brave hero returns from one thrilling and dangerous quest only to confront another. In a magical landscape where time is meaningless, reality precarious, and countless selves work toward countless possible futures, one man must seek a city’s truth—and rediscover his own.

Hendee, Barb & J.C.
In Shade and Shadow
(Noble Dead Series Two #1)
After her adventures with Magiere and Leesil, Wynn Hygeorht has returned to the Guild of Sagecraft, bearing texts supposedly penned by vampires from the time of the Forgotten History and the Great War. Seized by the Guild’s scholars and sent out for copying without Wynn’s consent, several pages disappear—and the two sages charged with conveying these pages are murdered. Suspicious of the Guild, separated from the only friends she fully trusts, and convinced the Noble Dead are responsible for the killings, Wynn embarks on a quest to uncover the secrets of the texts.
Kurland, Lynn
Princess of the Sword
(Nine Kingdoms #3)
Born out of “a fantasy world…too wonderful to miss” (Paranormal Romance) the Nine Kingdoms Trilogy now explodes in the fiercest battle yet as the fate of a kingdom lies with a man and woman bound by love, magic, and a legendary—and perilous—sword.

Miller, Karen
Hammer of God
(Godspeaker Trilogy, Book 3)
In Ethrea, Rhian sits upon a precarious throne. Defiant dukes who won't accept her rule threaten the stability of her kingdom. Dexterity has been banished from her court in disgrace. The blue-haired slave Zandakar, the man she thought was her friend, has been revealed as the son of a woman sworn to destroy her world. And Rhian's husband, King Alasdair, is unsure of her love. The trading nations refuse to believe Mijak is a threat, and promise reprisals if she dares protect her realm. Only Emperor Han of mysterious Tzhung-tzhungchai knows that the danger from Mijak is real. But is he an ally, or an enemy in disguise? As she struggles to learn the truth, and keep her embattled crown, the murderous warhost of Mijak advances ...
Miller, Karen (writing as K.E. Mills)
The Accidental Sorceror
(Rogue Agent Trilogy #1)
Gerald Dunwoody is a wizard. Just not a particularly good one. He's blown up a factory, lost his job, and there's a chance that he's not really a Third Grade wizard after all. So it's off to New Ottosland to be the new Court Wizard for King Lional. It's a shame that King Lional isn't the vain, self-centered young man he appeared to be. With a Princess in danger, a talking bird who can't stay out of trouble, and a kingdom to save, Gerald soon suspects that he might be out of his depth. And if he can't keep this job, how will he ever become the wizard he was destined to be...
Morgan, Richard K.
The Steel Remains
(first U.S.printing)
Noir SF author Morgan (Thirteen) delivers a promising but obscenity-laden epic fantasy trilogy opener. As the Yhelteth Empire recovers from a devastating war, embittered veterans Archeth, Egar and Ringil embark on parallel but vastly different journeys. The emperor sends drug-abusing Archeth to gather details about a rumored invasion. Egar becomes a steppes clanmaster, but the other horsemen despise him for seducing teenagers rather than leading. Ringil attempts to locate and free a cousin sold into slavery. All three soon discover the dwenda, a race of magical beings thought long dead. Despite stereotypical plot elements, including a prophecy that states A dark lord will rise, the well-developed characters and realistic battle scenes ring true, as do some gruesomely explicit sex scenes. The intriguing conclusion to the dark, gritty tale will have readers hoping for a more plot-heavy and less visceral sequel.
Owens Robin D.
Echoes In The Dark
(Summoning #5)
The planet is dying, slowly being drained by an alien Dark, and only one last, desperate plan can save it. Deep in another dimension, a disillusioned young singer is summoned as Lladrana's last hope. Uncertain of her future, unaware of her extraordinary magical talent, Jikata will be the sixth and final outsider—Exotique—to step through a dangerous portal of prophecy and magic. Survival will require her to forge closer friendships than she has ever known. The price of those bonds will threaten the very fate of Lladrana: a world where music holds the key to an ancient mystery—and six women will wage the ultimate battle against the forces of Dark.
Weis, Margaret & Tracy Hickman
Bones of the Dragon
(Dragonships of Vindras #1)

Skylan Ivorson is a sea-raider of the Vindras and eventually becomes the Chief of Chiefs of all Vindras clans, an honor he truly feels he deserves as one who has been blessed by Skoval, the god of war. But sometimes a blessing is a curse in disguise. Skoval and the other ancient gods are under siege from a new generation of gods who are challenging them for the powers of creation… and the only way to stop these brash interlopers lies within the mysterious and hidden Five Bones of the Vektan Dragons. It will be up to the Vindras people, as the dragon-goddess’s champions, to undertake the quest to recover all Five. The fate of the Old Gods and the Vindras rests on their recovery--for this is not only a quest to save the world. It is also a quest for redemption.

Science Fiction

Check out the Locus page for forthcoming titles. Coverage through September of 2009.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Review – “The Engine’s Child” by Holly Phillips

Lanterns and flickering bulbs light the shadowy world of the rasnan, the island at the edge of a world-spanning ocean that harbors, in its ivory towers and mossy temples, the descendants of men and women who long ago fled a world ruined by magical and technological excess. But not all the island’s inhabitants are resigned to exile. A mysterious brotherhood seeks to pry open doors that lead back to their damaged, dangerous homeland. Others risk the even greater danger of flight, seeking new lands and new freedoms in the vast, uncharted sea.

Amid a web of conspiracy and betrayal, three people threaten to shatter this fragile world. Scheming Lord Ghar, faithful to lost gods and forbidden lore, plays an intricate power game; Lady Vashmarna, an iron-willed ruler, conceals a guilty secret behind her noble façade; and Moth, a poor, irreverent novice, holds perhaps the darkest power of all: a mysterious link to a shadowy force that may prove to be humanity’s final hope–or its ultimate doom.
The Engine’s Child is one of those literary fantasy novels that you can read just to let the prose wash over you. To submerse yourself and soak in a richly conceived world –
The drop of water clung to the cracked ceiling for an instant, glimmering like an eye in the light creeping in through the filigree if the shrine’s outer wall. Touched by the penitents’ murmured prayers, it quivered like a frog’s egg stirred by interior life, and like a frog’s egg it swelled, grew fecund, and dropped, felled by its own abundance, to the floor.
The world of The Engine’s Child consists of a single island in a vast ocean, a city separate from the countryside and the city itself divided into bastion and bay. The people are similarly divided – by religion, by politics, by birth. This is a world in decay, struggling to hold things together, but there are also secret groups seeking mystical solutions – the secret and banned Society of Doors from among the powerful and privileged, and the cultist mundabi flourishing within the ranks of the poor and disenfranchised.

The Society plans to open a portal to the original world/reality lost in myth and time despite the warnings and caveats of the priesthood. Moth, a novice, and yet more then a novice is the most complex of the many fascinating characters. While publicly a novice scholar, she is also a secret leader among the mundabi, and an architect of the engine, a device capable of harnessing mysterious and mystical energy of the wider world, part of a larger and broader plan to search for land beyond the reaches of the world they know, to find hope and opportunity. Moth comes from among the poor of the tidal bay, but was sponsored to the Scholarium by Lady Vashmarna for whom she also works and plots.

The unfolding and revealing of the agendas of the various political and power factions takes place gradually and often with a sense of dislocation. Many of the events are deliberately obscured and obliquely approached demanding your attention and drawing you in. I sometimes found myself echoing characters who in striving to understand their role and place, are heard to more then once utter – “Yes, but what does it mean?” And that of course is the beauty of Phillips narrative as plans and plots converge and all becomes clear.

The Engine’s Child is not an easy read, but it is a rewarding one. The narrative is challenging and the dialogue unique and fresh. I particularly liked this exchange between Silk and Moth. Bets had been placed on the likely time for the birth of Moth’s baby using Moth’s visibly pregnant condition as the barometer. She remarks –
“Timepiece!” Moth was mildly offended, “What am I, a clockwork womb?”
This offered a stylish and delightful reinforcement of the “steampunkish” (if that is even a word) nature of the engine she had created and 'birthed'.

At the risk of applying a label to The Engine’s Child, I would describe it as belonging to the New Weird (see the Wikipedia definition here), alike to the works of China Miéville. This is not your traditional fantasy, but an excursion to an island of diverting strangeness and curious possibilities. I liked this a lot and hope you give it a try too.

AUTHOR AND BOOK SHOWCASEOfficial Holly Phillips Website

Read an excerpt of Chapter 1.

Random House Publishing Group
Published: November 2008
ISBN #: 9780345499653
Format: Trade paperback
Pages: 400

Other Books:

  • In the Palace of Repose (2006) – short stories
  • The Burning Girl (2006)

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas

Best wishes to all of the wonderful readers, writers and bloggers who have helped make this a fantastic first year in the blogosphere here at Have a warm and merry holiday season; good health and happiness for the new year. May your fantasy be urban and your romance paranormal.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Cover Art - Revamped by J.F. Lewis

Here's the cover for Revamped, the forthcoming urban fantasy sequel to Staked due March 10, 2009.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Introducing the Deadline Dames

Who are the the Deadline Dames? The Deadline Dames are a group of nine urban fantasy writers who’ve gotten together and started a website/blog that will be online in January 2009. The Dames are: Keri Arthur, Toni Andrews, Jenna Black, Rinda Elliot, Jackie Kessler, Karen Mahoney, Devon Monk, Lilith Saintcrow, and Rachel Vincent. What a talent lineup! They promise to post the website link as soon as it is up.

While trolling the Dames websites I grabbed the latest and greatest covers for some of their upcoming releases. Enjoy.

Cry Mercy by Toni Andrews
Mercy Hollings Book 3
(June 1, 2009)

Deadly Desire by Keri Arthur
Riley Jensen Book 7
(March 24, 2009)

Speak of the Devil by Jenna Black
Morgan Kinglsey Book 4
(July 28, 2009)

Black and White by Jackie Kessler & Caitlin Kittredge
The Icarus Project Book 1
June 23, 2009

Magic in the Blood by Devon Monk
Magic Book 2
May 5, 2009

Redemption Alley by Lilith Saintcrow
Jill Kismet Book 3
(August 2009)

Pride and Prey by Rachel Vincent
Stray Series Books 3 and 4
February 1, 2009 & July 1, 2009

Urban Fantasy at Fox is a Bitch

It looks like urban fantasy is going mainstream.
The Fox network is developing "Bitches," a dramedy about a quartet of female friends in New York who are werewolves.
Yes we have had our vampire shows - Moonstruck, Blood Ties, and True Blood. But werewolves? Anyone willing to take a bet that the title changes before it airs? Suggestions anyone?

Thanks to the ladies over at the Smart Bitches, Trashy Books blog that posted this. You can view the original Hollywood Reporter announcement here.

Review – “Shadow Kiss” by Richelle Mead

Rose Hathaway knows it is forbidden to love another guardian. Her best friend, Lissa—the last Dragomir princess—must always come first. Unfortunately, when it comes to gorgeous Dimitri Belikov, some rules are meant to be broken…

But since making her first Strigoi kills, Rose hasn't been feeling right. Something dark has begun to grow in her mind, and ghostly shadows warn of a terrible evil drawing nearer to the Academy's iron gates. And now that Lissa and Rose's sworn enemy, Victor Dashkov, is on trial for his freedom, tensions in the Moroi world are higher than ever.

Lying to Lissa about Dimitri is one thing, but suddenly there's way more than friendship at stake. The immortal undead are on the prowl, and they want vengeance for the lives that Rose has stolen. In a heart-stopping battle to rival her worst nightmares, Rose will have to choose between life, love, and the two people who matter most... but will her choice mean that only one can survive?
Shadow Kiss is the third book in the Vampire Academy series for Young Adults (or young at heart adults). The final months of Rose’s novice training are drawing to a close at the Academy and she faces some difficult choices, how can she reconcile her desire for Dmitri and her obligations and loyalty to Lissa. A new wrinkle is introduced to further complicate Rose’s life when she begins to see ghosts. Are they real or is she suffering some form of PTSD from the events that happened in the previous book Frostbite (sorry no spoilers)?

Shadow Kiss spends a great deal of time on this mystery and a myriad of other smaller events at the Academy – the final practice assignments of the novices, Viktor Dashkov’s trial, another minor mystery about a secret school society, and the ongoing debate about whether Moroi society needs to change and participate in their own defence against the Strigoi. All of these things while interesting on there own merits, left me impatient for something more then ‘a day in the life’. I wanted to know where this was all leading.

But there is a madness to the authors method because the story explodes in the final quarter, bringing together all of the small themes and little clues dropped along the way. The concluding chapters are intense and emotional with a profound impact on key characters, the Academy and Rose in particular. Definitely a standout finish. Rose will undoubtedly face significant challenges and embark on the most important journey of her life in the sequel Blood Promise.

Read an excerpt of Chapter 1.

Penguin Group (USA)
Published: November 2008
ISBN #: 9781595141972
Format: Trade Paperback
Age Range: Young Adult
Pages: 444

Vampire Academy Series:

  1. Vampire Academy (2007)
  2. Frostbite (2008)
  3. Shadow Kiss (2008)
  4. Blood Promise (Aug 20, 2009)

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