Saturday, January 31, 2009

Preview – “Death’s Daughter” by Amber Benson

Death’s Daughter is a debut urban fantasy novel by author Amber Benson, best known for her role as fan-favorite Tara Maclay on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The first in a series, Death’s Daughter features kick-butt Calliope Reaper-Jones as the novel's protagonist. Look for a review of the book and an interview with Amber Benson here in February.

Ace Paperback - 368 pages
I so did not want to go into the family business. What I wanted was a glamorous career in New York City and the opportunity for a normal life—buying shoes on sale, dating guys from Craigslist...and then my father got kidnapped.

Good-bye, fun. Hello, (unwanted) responsibility. Not only am I expected to step into the CEO slot, but I have to "prove my worth" for the job by competing against the Devil's protege—who's hot in more ways than one. The contest involves finding three (why is it always three?) objects of power. In Hell.

One of them is this adorable puppy, who happens to be a hellhound. The others are turning out to be not much fun. All this so I can take (unwanted) charge of Death, Inc.

My name is Calliope Reaper-Jones, and I'm...death's daughter.

Death's Daughter is an action-packed adventure that demonstrates Amber Benson's colorful imagination and wit. Not only is she a talented actress and a wonderful writer, she also produces and directs her own work! She co-created, co-wrote, and directed the animated supernatural web-series Ghosts of Albion with Christopher Golden, followed by a series of novels including Witchery and Accursed, and the novella Astray. Benson and Golden also co-authored the novella The Seven Whistlers. As an actress, she has appeared in dozens of roles in feature films, TV movies, and television series, including the fan favorite role of Tara Maclay on three seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Benson wrote, produced, and directed the feature films Chance and Lovers, Liars, and Lunatics.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Giveaway – “The Terror” by Dan Simmons

Read an Excerpt.

The men on board HMS Terror have every expectation of finding the Northwest Passage. When the expedition's leader, Sir John Franklin, meets a terrible death, Captain Francis Crozier takes command and leads his surviving crewmen on a last, desperate attempt to flee south across the ice. But as another winter approaches, as scurvy and starvation grow more terrible, and as the Terror on the ice stalks them southward, Crozier and his men begin to fear there is no escape. A haunting, gripping story based on actual historical events, The Terror is a novel that will chill you to your core.

The adventure-dark fantasy novel The Terror by Dan Simmons is finally available in paperback and I have 5 copies available for giveaway courtesy of the fine folks at Hachette Book Group.

The contest will run until midnight (E.S.T.) on Saturday, February 21. I’ll determine the winners using the Research Randomizer and announce the winners the next day.

Giveaway Rules:

  1. For one chance, leave a comment and tell me the author or title of a book that has terrified you the most.
  2. For two chances, blog about this giveaway with a link back to this post. Remember to include the link with your comment.
  3. To enter, you must have either a US or Canada mailing address. (Sorry no P.O. Boxes allowed). Hachette will be sending the winners their books directly.
  4. Good luck to everyone!
Awards and Nominations for The Terror
  • Winner of the 2007 International Horror Guild Award
  • Nominated novel for the 2007 Bram Stoker Awards
  • Nominated for 2008 British Fantasy Society Award
  • Entertainment Weekly's Top 10 Books of 2007
  • USA Today's Top 10 Books
  • Stephen King's "Top 10 from My Reading in 2007"
  • # 1 on's "2007 Top 10 SF and Horror Novels" list.
AUTHOR AND BOOK SHOWCASEOfficial Dan Simmons Website

Little, Brown & Company
Published: January 2009
ISBN #: 9780316008075
Format: Paperback Reprint
Pages: 992

Bibliography (Novels):

  1. Song of Kali (1985)
  2. Phases of Gravity (1989)
  3. Carrion Comfort (1989)
  4. Hyperion (1989)
  5. The Fall of Hyperion (1990)
  6. Entropy's Bed at Midnight (1990)
  7. Prayers to Broken Stones (1990)
  8. Summer of Night (1991)
  9. The Hollow Man (1992)
  10. Children of the Night (1992)
  11. Summer Sketches (1992)
  12. Lovedeath (1993)
  13. Fires of Eden (1995)
  14. Endymion (1996)
  15. The Rise of Endymion (1997)
  16. The Crook Factory (1999)
  17. Darwin's Blade (2000)
  18. Hardcase (2001)
  19. A Winter Haunting (2002)
  20. Worlds Enough and Time (2002)
  21. Hard Freeze (2002)
  22. Ilium (2003)
  23. Hard As Nails (2003)
  24. Olympos (2005)
  25. Song of Kali: 20th Anniversary Edition (2005)
  26. The Terror (2007)
  27. Drood (2009)

Hyperion and The Fall of Hyperion to Be Filmed as Hyperion Cantos

Variety reported that a film deal has been signed to have the award-winning SF novels Hyperion and The Fall of Hyperion melded into a single film entitled Hyperion Cantos. Scott Derrickson, the director of the recent The Day the Earth Stood Still is to helm the picture.

For more details checkout the full story on the Variety website.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Urban Fantasy News and Tidbits

Chris Marie Green’s Second Vampire Babylon Series
Chris Marie Green’s next book in her Vampire Babylon universe and the beginning of a new series is A Drop of Red (Book 4 - 3/09). She has announced the titles of the next two books in the new series Path of Razors (Book 5 – 8/09) and Deep in the Woods (Book 6).

Title Change for Laurell K. Hamilton’s Next Merry Gentry Novel

Tez Says is always ferreting out the coolest book release information. Previously she reported that the next Merry Gentry novel by Laurell K. Hamilton would be titled Sins of the Flesh. Apparently Amazon U.S. is now listing it as Divine Misdemeanors although Amazon UK and CA show the previous title. Still no mention of either title on Laurell’s blog or website.

Designing Urban Fantasy Covers at Orbit
There is a really fascinating piece about the creative process on how a book cover comes to life over at the Orbit Books website. Lauren Panepinto, Orbit’s creative director reveals all the work that goes into a great cover. It showcases the development of the cover for Jennifer Rardin’s next Jaz Parks (a favourite series) novel Bite Marks.

Urban Fantasy Land Readers’ Choice Awards
There is still time to cast your vote in the Urban Fantasy Land Readers’ Choice Awards. You have until midnight January 30, 2009 with the winners being announced January 31, 2009. Lots of great categories. Go show support for your favourite author, book or series.

Some Cool Cover Art

Strange Brew (Anthology)
Edited by P.N. Elrod
Stories by Charlaine Harris, Jim Butcher, Patricia Briggs, Caitlin Kittredge, Rachel Caine, Faith Hunter and more)
July 9, 2009

An Enchanted Season (Anthology)
Stories by Maggie Shayne, Jean Johnson, Nalini Singh, Erin McCarthy
November 2009
Dayhunter by Jocelyn Drake
(Dark Days #2)
May 2009

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Urban Fantasy, Paranormal and SF&F Book Releases for February 2009

Here is a partial list of forthcoming Urban Fantasy, Paranormal and Fantasy books to look forward to in February 2009.

Urban Fantasy & Paranormal


Immortals: The Reckoning
Jennifer Ashley, Robin T. Popp, Joy Nash
(Immortals #8)

A lone werewolf defies his entire pack and everything he’s ever known to protect a demon woman from the “Wolf Hunt.” A vengeful vampire thirsts to claim a “Blood Debt” from the two beings responsible for his eternal nightmare: the Old One who turned him—and the beautiful Sidhe muse who killed him. Haunted by her past and reeling from her sister’s murder, one woman turns to a sexy spirit-walker on a ghostly cruise ship that takes them “Beyond the Mist.”

Acevedo, Mario
Jailbait Zombie
(Felix Gomez #4)

Vampires versus Zombies, round one . . . Vampire detective Felix Gomez has seen a lot of weird things since becoming one of the undead—nymphomaniacs, aliens, and X-rated bloodsuckers, just to name a few—but now he comes face-to-face with the worst sort of undead. To stop a ravenous army of zombies, Gomez must team up with a precocious teen with clairvoyant powers whose cooperation comes at a price: she won't help unless Felix makes her a vampire . . . if the zombies don't get her first.

Adams, Cat
Magic's Design
(Magic #3)

They were destined to save the world from an ancient evil. Talos is a magic wielder, born into the mage guild of firecrafters. As an agent of the Overworld Police, he has come from a secret land to protect Earth from magicians intent on enslaving humanity. Mila has always had the gift of healing. But this very modern woman never realized that her skill was born of an ancient magic that only firecraft can fully unlock. Together, Tal and Mila discover that the source of their powers is in unity. Love's shining light might burn them alive protecting the magic of the world, but if the Tree of Life dies, and all the magic in the world is extinguished ... will it matter?

Armstrong, Kelley
Made to be Broken
(Nadia Stafford #2)

The author of the acclaimed Women of the Otherworld series returns with her latest novel featuring an exciting heroine with a lethal hidden talent. This time she’s hot on the trail of a young woman no one else cares about—and a killer who’s bound to strike again. Nadia Stafford isn’t your typical nature lodge owner. An ex-cop with a legal code all her own, she’s known only as “Dee” to her current employer: a New York crime family that pays her handsomely to bump off traitors. But when Nadia discovers that a troubled teenage employee and her baby have vanished in the Canadian woods, the memory of a past loss comes back with a vengeance and her old instincts go into overdrive. With her enigmatic mentor, Jack, covering her back, Nadia unearths sinister clues that point to an increasingly darker and deadlier mystery. Now, with her obsession over the case deepening, the only way Nadia can right the wrongs of the present is to face her own painful ghosts—and either bury them for good, or die trying. Because in her book everyone deserves a chance. And everyone deserves justice.

Ashley, Amanda
Night's Pleasure
(Vampire Romance Series)

DESIRE CASTS A DARK SPELL. Savanah Gentry's life was so much simpler when she was a reporter for the local newspaper. That was before her father's sudden death drew her into a mysterious new world she was just beginning to understand. A Vampire hunter by birth, Savanah has been entrusted with a legacy that puts everyone she cares for in danger-including the seductive, sensual Vampire who unleashes her most primal desires. Rane Cordova has always been alone, half hating himself for his dark gift even as he relishes its extraordinary power. But one look at Savanah fills him with the need to take everything she has to give and carry her to heights of unimagined ecstasy. And though he never intended their relationship to go this far, now Savanah is in more danger than she knows-and facing a relentless enemy determined to eliminate Rane and all his kind.

Ashwood, Sharon
(Dark Forgotten #1)

Vampires, Werewolves, and other creatures have emerged from the shadows. And some of them have sinister THINGS on their minds...Holly Carver is a witch who sometimes relies on the help of Alessandro Caravelli for her family's preternatural investigations business. Alessandro is the oldest and strongest vampire in Fairview-and he's made no secret of his desire for Holly. But while she aches to succumb to his suggestive wiles, she knows it would be an invitation to trouble. Then Alessandro's queen, Omara, complicates matters when she turns up in Fairview to enlist his help. Sultry and manipulative, she is jealous of Alessandro's feelings for Holly, and demands he use Holly to trap Geneva-the most evil demon of all.

Banks, L.A.
The Thirteenth
(Vampire Huntress #13)

The entire Neteru Guardian team is on the run, having now been labeled as America's most-wanted terrorists following the gruesome demon battle that felled the Washington Monument and crashed the front doors of the White House. The Anti-Christ is positioned for emergence, the powers of darkness have released the pale horse of the apocalypse, and half the Neteru team is pregnant. Plagues from hell that ravage the country are being cited as stemming from bio-terrorism. The nation is under martial law. The Neterus and their team are underground. If things weren't bad enough... the Dark Realm breaks the sixth Biblical seal, which plunges the world into perpetual darkness and irrevocably into the Armageddon.

Banks, Maya
Into the Mist
(Falcon Mercenary Group #1)

One woman's mission to bring down a sexy elemental shifter turns into a battle of wills … and hearts. Falcon Mercenary Group, Book 1 Hostage recovery specialist Eli Chance has a secret. He was born a shifter. A freak of nature. While on a mission, Eli's men and their mercenary guide are exposed to a powerful chemical agent, and suddenly his secret has become easier to hide. Now he's not the only one with the gift. But for his men, this "gift" is becoming more and more of a curse. Tyana Berezovsky's brother Damiano was the guide for Eli's team and was the worst affected by the chemical. As he grows increasingly unstable, Tyana fears she's going to lose him to the beast he is becoming. Tyana will do whatever it takes to help him, even if it means using her body to go after the one man she thinks holds all the blame-and possibly the cure. Eli Chance. Warning: Violence, blood, guns, knives, ass kicking, people who do mean things, bad people dying, explicit sex and smart mouths.

Blair, Annette
Never Been Witched
(Triplet Witch #3)

The Cartwright triplets-Harmony, Destiny, and Storm-are psychic sirens who use their magic for good and their good looks for seduction. But for Destiny, catching the attention of a paranormal debunker isn't going to be easy.

Briggs, Patricia
Bone Crossed
(Mercy Thompson #4)

In a world where "witches, vampires, werewolves, and shape-shifters live beside ordinary people" (Booklist), it takes a very unusual woman to call it home. By day, Mercy Thompson is a car mechanic in Eastern Washington. By night, she explores her preternatural side. As a shape-shifter with some unusual talents, Mercy's found herself maintaining a tenuous harmony between the human and the not-so- human on more than one occasion. This time she may get more than she bargained for.

Caine, Rachel
(Outcast Season #1)

Once she was Cassiel, a Djinn of limitless power. Now, she has been reshaped in human flesh as punishment for defying her master-and living among the Weather Wardens, whose power she must tap into regularly or she will die. And as she copes with the emotions and frailties of her human condition, a malevolent entity threatens her new existence...

Child, Maureen

Forever fated to defend humanity against demons, immortal Guardian Rogan Butler has given up all hope of finding peace. But when a beautiful American unexpectedly appears, with all her self-assurance and charm, the winds of danger—and a soul-deep recognition—reawaken the warrior's long-buried desire….Alison Blair came to Ireland duty-bound to tell Rogan of a sinister premonition, only to be rebuffed. Then evil strikes when her sister mysteriously disappears, and only Rogan can protect Aly from a fate worse than death. Can this brooding warrior be her Destined Mate—the key to a forgotten past, and to her future?

Cooke, Deborah
Kiss of Fate
(Dragonfire #3)

For millennia, the shape-shifting dragon warriors known as the Pyr have commanded the four elements and guarded the earth's treasures. But now the final reckoning between the Pyr, who count humans among the earth's treasures, and the Slayers, who would eradicate both humans and the Pyr who protect them, is about to begin. Haunted by dreams of a lover who takes the form of a dragon, Eileen Grosvenor searches for the truth. She never expects to find a real dragon shape shifter, let alone one who awakens her passion and ignites memories of a forgotten past. Erik Sorensson is focused on leading the Pyr against the Slayers when a powerful ancient relic reveals itself. Erik tries to retrieve it from Eileen's possession-and is shocked by a fury of passion. Her presence touches him in unexpected ways, reminding him of mistakes he's determined not to make again, and Erik is forced to make a choice-duty or love.

Frost, Kimberley
Would-Be Witch
(Southern Witch #1)

The family magic seems to have skipped over Tammy Jo Trask. All she gets are a few untimely visits from long-dead, smart-mouthed family ghost Edie. But when her locket-an heirloom that happens to hold Edie's soul-is stolen in the midst of a town-wide crime spree, it's time for Tammy to find her inner witch. After a few experiences with her dysfunctional magic, Tammy turns to the only person in small-town Duval, Texas, who can help: the very rich and highly magical Bryn Lyons. He might have all the answers-and a 007 savoir faire to boot-but the locket isn't the only heirloom passed down in Tammy's family. She also inherited a warning: stay away from Lyons.

Garey, Terri
You're the One that I Haunt
(Nikki Styx #3)

Nicki Styx has always known that the devil's in the details—but does he have to move in next door, too? Worse, he won't take no for an answer. Nicki would never leave her beloved boyfriend, ER doc Joe Bascombe, but hell hath no fury like a devil scorned. He's determined to make Nicki's life a living hell—even if it means exposing Nicki as an unwilling ghoulfriend to the dead. Now, just when she was getting used to being able to see and hear—and help—spirits, Nicki's got a whole new set of problems. With ghosts descending from all sides, the bereaved knocking down her door, and Joe trying to take things to the next level, Nicki may finally be in over her head. It would be so easy to dance with the devil . . . but if Nicki crosses over to the dark side, she may never leave.

Harrison, Kim
White Witch, Black Curse
(Rachel Morgan #7)

Some wounds take time to heal . . . and some scars never fade. Rachel Morgan, kick-ass witch and bounty hunter, has taken her fair share of hits, and has broken lines she swore she would never cross. But when her lover was murdered, it left a deeper wound than Rachel ever imagined, and now she won't rest until his death is solved . . . and avenged. Whatever the cost. Yet the road to hell is paved with good intentions, and when a new predator moves to the apex of the Inderlander food chain, Rachel's past comes back to haunt her. Literally.

Henry, Mark
Road Trip of the Living Dead
(Amanda Feral #2)

Celebrity party girl Amanda Feral is back from the dead, and hungrier than ever for a good time. With her zombie gal pal Wendy and vampy gay sidekick Gil, this stone cold fox is dressed to kill, on the prowl, and ready to take a big juicy bite out of Seattle's supernatural nightlife. But what's a zombie chick to do when her "Mommie Dearest" gets sick? If you're Amanda Feral, you can either ignore the wicked old witch-or bury the past by visiting Ethel before she kicks it. Amanda's not thrilled about the idea of crossing three states just to be criticized. But Wendy, who's always looking for fresh meat, is up for the adventure. And Gil, who just launched his "luxury" resurrection business, needs to disappear because a pissed-off client is out for his blood.First, they pack their stiletto pumps and plasma into a skeevy rattrap on wheels that used to be a Winnebago. Then, with a little help from a Korean-ghost hood ornament, a masochist named Fishhook, and a slew of "moderately accurate" psychics, they hit the highway-their way. Of course, they'll have to navigate past some neo-Nazi skinheads, a horny dust devil, a hunky werewolf cop (who could pass for an underwear model) and an unsightly horde of Kmart shoppers. But for this glamorous gang of ghouls this trip is about to take a dangerous detour that could give road kill a brand new meaning.

Ione, Larissa
Desire Unchained
(Demonica #2)

Pleasure is their ultimate weapon . . . Runa Wagner never meant to fall in love with the sexy stranger who seemed to know her every deepest desire. But she couldn't resist the unbelievable passion that burned between them, a passion that died when she discovered his betrayal and found herself forever changed. Now, determined to make Shade pay for the transformation that haunts her, Runa searches for him, only to be taken prisoner by his darkest enemy. A Seminus Demon with a love-curse that threatens him with eternal torment, Shade hoped he'd seen the last of Runa and her irresistible charm. But when he wakes up in a dank dungeon chained next to an enraged and mysteriously powerful Runa, he realizes that her effect on him is more dangerous than ever. As their captor casts a spell that bonds them as lifemates, Shade and Runa must fight for their lives and their hearts-or succumb to a madman's evil plans.

Kenyon, Sherrilyn
Dream Warrior
(Darkhunter #14)

The son of Warcraft and Hate, Cratus has spent eternity battling for the ancient gods who birthed him. He is death. Now that an ancient enemy has been unleashed, Cratus’s task is to destroy it. Delphine Toussaint is a philanthropist whose passion is for world peace. When a chance meeting brings her together with Cratus, the two develop a striking bond. Cratus is at first baffled by this human and her open nature…but soon he realizes that Delphine is the key to completing his mission. Delphine, meanwhile, is troubled by nightmares that are starting to become a reality. The only comfort she can find is around Cratus. But she refuses to give in to war, and he refuses to lay down his arms. Yet one of them must give in, or humanity will pay the price…

Leigh, Lora
Coyote's Mate
(Breed #18)

For six years Anya Korbin worked with Del-Rey Delgato-the genetically altered rebel known as the Coyote Ghost-to free a group of coyote women kept in her father's lab. As Anya matured into a woman, she and Del-Rey grew close . . . but then he broke his promise and killed her father. Now she must deal with her animalistic desire for the one who betrayed her.

Maclaine, Jenna
Grave Sins
(Cin Craven #2)

In the arms of her lover Michael, Cin Craven has found satisfaction for her most primal longings, reaching heights of pleasure no mere human could ever imagine. She has also found a purpose for her unearthly powers. Cin is a member of The Righteous, a band of slayers that hunts down vampires who inflict evil upon the world. With Michael by her side, Cin’s latest mission brings her face-to-face with Marrakesh, a beautiful, half-mad vampire queen charged with slaughtering humans. If she’s found guilty, Marrakesh will pay with her life. But Cin is convinced that someone —or something—far more ruthless is trying to steal the queen’s throne.. It’s a mission that will pit Michael and Cin against each other for the first time, awakening their darkest instincts and testing their love like never before…

Madison, Tracy
A Taste of Magic
(Magic #1)

Elizabeth Stevens is one bite away from happiness. Today is Elizabeth Stevens’s birthday, and not only is it the one-year anniversary of her husband leaving her, it’s also the day her bakery is required to make a cake—for her ex’s next wedding. If there’s a bitter taste in her mouth, no one can blame her. But today, Liz is about to receive a gift. Her Grandma Verda isn’t just wacky; she’s a little witchy. An ancient gypsy magic has been passed through her family bloodline for generations, and it’s Liz’s turn to be empowered. Henceforth, everything she bakes will have a dash of delight and a pinch of wishes-can-come-true. From her hunky policeman neighbor, to her gorgeous personal trainer, to her bum of an ex-husband, everyone Liz knows is going to taste her power. Revenge is sweet…and it’s only the first dish to be served.

McCray, Cheyenne
The First Sin
(Lexi Steele #1)

Alexi Steele is determined, relentless, and driven to protect the innocent. She’s a top agent of the NSA’s clandestine Recovery Enforcement Division, specializing in human trafficking and sex crimes. Her current mission: To infiltrate the inner circle of Boston’s exclusive S&M clubs in order to save thirteen young women who are about to be auctioned off to the highest bidders. But Lexi’s only way in is under the “control” of her new partner in crime, Nicholas Donovan. Nick will do whatever it takes to bring down the billionaire sex-ring mastermind who’s kidnapped his sister. But the games he must play as Lexi’s “dominant” are burning away his icy control, and blurring the lines between partners. Meanwhile, their enemies are closing in as they enter a devastating race against time…bringing them dangerously close to THE FIRST SIN.

Noel, Alyson

Since a horrible accident claimed the lives of her family, sixteen-year-old Ever can see auras, hear people’s thoughts, and know a person’s life story by touch. Going out of her way to shield herself from human contact to suppress her abilities has branded her as a freak at her new high school—but everything changes when she meets Damen Auguste…Ever sees Damen and feels an instant recognition. He is gorgeous, exotic and wealthy, and he holds many secrets. Damen is able to make things appear and disappear, he always seems to know what she’s thinking—and he’s the only one who can silence the noise and the random energy in her head. She doesn’t know who he really is—or what he is. Damen equal parts light and darkness, and he belongs to an enchanted new world where no one ever dies.

Nylund, Eric
Mortal Coils
(Fiona & Eliot #1)

Nothing interesting ever happened to fifteen-year-old orphans Eliot and Fiona while they’ve lived in the strict, oppressive household of their grandmother. A chance visit, however, reveals that there is much more to the twins. They are the offspring of a goddess and Lucifer, Prince of Darkness. Now, to settle the epic custody battle between these two families, the fallen angels create three diabolical temptations, and the gods fashion three heroic trials to test Eliot and Fiona. More than ever they need to stick together to survive and to learn how to use their budding supernatural abilities . . . for family allegiances are ever-shifting in the ancient, secret world they have entered.

Perry, Kate
Marked by Passion
(Guardians of Destiny #1)

Rules for the (Very) Reluctant Guardian of the Scroll. One: Don't lose the artifact you've inherited from your ancestors—no matter how much it starts messing up your life. Two: Do learn how to control its powers. (And, yes, that means putting up with uber-complicated Guardian lessons from your father's meddling ghost.) Three: Don't trust anyone. Especially Rhys, the mysterious bad boy who's always one step ahead of you... and irresistible as sin. Four: Do anything to keep the scroll from landing in the wrong hands—and destroying the world. Even if that brings on a heartbreaking betrayal, an evil you never saw coming, and a choice you may not live to regret.

Pratt, T.A.
Spell Games
(Marla Mason #4)

Mad sorcerers, psychic vampires, an army of vengeful demons, Marla Mason would rather face them all than a flesh-and-blood ghost from her dysfunctional family past: her con artist brother, Jason. As Felport’s chief sorcerer, Marla would ordinarily consider it her duty to protect her town from such an unscrupulous ne’er-do-well. As his sister, things are a lot…trickier. Now, as Marla attempts to train an apprentice oracle whose magical wires have gotten crossed, Jason is setting up an elaborate sting and drawing her ever-so-corruptible partner Rondeau into the ruse. Their patsy is a filthy-rich wannabe mage and their bait is something so valuable, so dangerous, so sought after, it probably doesn’t exist. But now word’s gotten out that the Borrichius spores do exist and instead of a sucker Jason and Rondeau have a much bigger–and much deadlier–fish on their line: a reclusive sorcerer whose devotion to the mushroom god and command of vegetal magic could bring a fungal apocalypse to Felport. It’ll be the mother of all bad trips unless Marla can pull off the ultimate magical switcheroo…and somehow live to tell about it.

Sheckley, Alisa
The Better to Hold You

Manhattan veterinarian Abra Barrow has more sense about animals than she has about men. So when her adored journalist husband returns from a research trip to Romania and starts pacing their apartment like a caged wolf, Abra agrees to move with him to a rural mansion upstate in order to save her marriage. But while there are perks to her new life, particularly in the bedroom, Abra soon discovers that nothing in the bucolic town of Northside is what it seems. The local tavern serves a dangerous, predatory underworld. Her husband has developed feral new appetites and a roving eye, and his lack of humanity isn’t entirely emotional. As the moon waxes full, Abra must choose between trusting the man she married, taking a chance on a seductive stranger, or following her own animal instincts.

Showalter, Gina
Jewel of Atlantis
(Atlantis #4)

All Atlantis seeks the Jewel of Dunamis, which legend claims can overcome any enemy. Grayson James, human agent of the ultrasecret Otherworld Bureau of Investigation, has orders to keep it from the wrong hands—or destroy it. What he doesn't know is that Jewel is a woman, not a stone! But once he meets this precious gem, destroying her is the last thing on his mind….Jewel, part goddess, part prophet, needs Gray's help to win her freedom. Gray needs her wisdom to navigate monster-ridden Atlantis. But need blossoms into passionate love as they battle demons, dragons and vampires—and fight for a future that seems impossible….

Smith, L.J.
The Vampire Diaries: The Return: Nightfall
(Vampire Diaries: The Return #1)

Elena Gilbert is alive—again. When Elena sacrificed herself to save the two vampire brothers who love her—the handsome, brooding Stefan and the sleek and dangerous Damon—she was consigned to a fate beyond death. Until a powerful supernatural force pulled her back. Now Elena is not just human. She has powers and gifts that were bestowed on her in the afterlife. What's more, her blood pulses with an overwhelming and unique force that makes her irresistible to any vampire. Stefan wants to find a way to keep Elena safe so that they can make a life together. Damon, however, is driven by an insatiable desire for power, and wants Elena to rule as his princess. When Stefan is lured away from Fell's Church, Damon seizes his chance to convince her that he is the brother she is meant to be with. . . . But a darkness is infiltrating the town, and Damon, always the hunter, is now the hunted; he becomes the prey of a malevolent creature that can possess him at will, and who desires not just Elena's blood but her death.

Strout, Anton
Deader Still
(Simon Canderous #2)

It's been 737 days since the Department of Extraordinary Affairs' last vampire incursion, but that streak appears to have ended when a boat full of dead lawyers is found in the Hudson River. Using the power of psychometry-the ability to divine the history of an object by touching it-agent Simon Canderous discovers that the booze cruise was crashed by something that sucked all the blood out of the litigators. Now, his workday may never end-until his life does.

Vaughn, Carrie
Kitty Raises Hell
(Kitty Norville #6)

Kitty and Ben flee The City That Never Sleeps, thinking they were finished with the dangers there, but the sadistic cult of lycanthropes and their vampire priestess have laid a curse on Kitty in revenge for her disrupting their rituals. Starting at the next full moon, danger and destruction the form of fire strikes Kitty and the pack of werewolves she's sworn to protect. She enlists the help of a group of TV paranormal investigators - one of whom has real psychic abilities - to help her get to the bottom of the curse that's been laid on her. Rick, the Master vampire of Denver, believes a deeper plot lies behind the curse, and he and Kitty argue about whether or not to accept the help of a professional demon hunter - and vampire - named Roman, who arrives a little too conveniently in the nick of time. Unable to rely on Rick, and unwilling to accept Roman's offer of help for a price, Kitty and her band of allies, including Vegas magician Odysseus Grant and Kitty's own radio audience, mount a trap for the supernatural being behind the curse, a destructive force summoned by the vengeful cult, a supernatural being that none of them ever thought to face.

Vincent, Rachel
(Werecat #3)

I'm on trial for my life. Falsely accused of infecting my human ex-boyfriend—and killing him to cover up the crime. Infecting a human is one of three capital offenses recognized by the Pride—along with murder and disclosure of our existence to a human. I'm two for three. A goner. Now we've discovered a rogue stray terrorizing the mountainside, hunting a wild teenage tabbycat. It's up to us to find and stop him before a human discovers us. With my lover Marc's help, I think I can protect the vulnerable girl from both the ambitious rogue and the scheming of the territorial council. If I survive my own trial…

Wilks, Eileen
Mortal Sins
(World of the Lupi #5)

FBI agent Lily Yu is in North Carolina with her lover and mate Rule Turner, lu nuncio of the Nokolai werewolf clan, where he is to take custody of his son from the boy’s grandmother. It’s a purely personal trip until Rule, in wolf form, finds three bodies in a shallow grave. They carry the stench of death magic, which makes the murders a federal crime. Lily takes charge of the investigation, and soon realizes that nothing adds up—not the motives, not even the accused killer, who’s behind bars when death strikes again. But murder, however bizarre, is an everyday affair for Lily, who was a homicide cop before being recruited into the FBI’s Magical Crimes Division. A more personal shock arrives in the person of Rule’s son’s mother. Why is she challenging Rule’s long standing plan to bring his son to live among the Nokolai? But family must take a back seat when the violence escalates, and there’s no rhyme or reason for the killer’s next strike—a killer who may not even be of this world...


Anderson, Taylor
(Destroyermen #3)

Lieutenant Commander Matthew Reddy, along with the men and women of the U.S.S. Walker, are once again at war. Having sided with the peaceful Lemurians against the savage, reptilian Grik, they now find themselves scrambling to prepare for the attack that is sure to come, searching for resources to support their forces—even as they look for allies to join their struggle. Meanwhile, the Japanese juggernaut Amagi, also trapped in this strange world, is under Grik control—with her fanatical commander approaching madness. And soon they will have amassed a force that no amount of firepower and technology will be able to stop. As the raging conflict approaches, Reddy, his crew, his allies, and his loved ones face annihilation. But if there is one thing they have learned about their new world, it is that hope—and help—may be just over the horizon.

Barnes, Jonathon
The Domino Men

In an earlier century, Queen Victoria made a Faustian bargain, signing London and all its souls away to a nefarious, inhuman entity. Now, generations later, the bill has finally come due. . . . Jonathan Barnes caused a considerable splash in the literary pool when he dove in with his head-spinning debut, The Somnambulist, a novel of the truly odd and exceptional that the Washington Post called "strange, magical, and darkly hilarious . . . an original and monumental piece of work" and Denver's Rocky Mountain News dubbed "the best fantasy novel of the year." In his second endeavor, the acclaimed author returns us to a strikingly similar world—albeit at a different time—ushering fortunate readers into his latest breathtaking cabinet of curiosities. Henry Lamb, an amiable and anonymous file clerk, pushes paper in the Storage and Record Retrieval section of the Civil Service Archive Unit. His life has always been quiet and unremarkable—until the day he learns that he's expected to assume the covert responsibilities of his universally despised grandfather, now lying comatose in the hospital. Summoned to the gargantuan Ferris wheel known as the London Eye, Henry receives his orders from Dedlock, a gilled and wrinkled old gentleman eternally floating in a pool of amniotic fluid. London, it seems, is at war, resisting an apocalyptic fate foisted upon it by a long-dead queen. A shadowy organisation known (to very few) as the Directorate wishes to recruit Henry to the cause. All he has to do is find "the girl" and save the world from the monster Leviathan, who can already taste the succulent metropolis that will soon be his to devour. Simple enough. But there are formidable enemies lining up to oppose Henry, all gathering in and around the royal family. His Royal Highness, Crown Prince Arthur Aelfric Vortigern Windsor—the sniveling, overbored, underappreciated sole heir to the British throne—has been shaken from his resentful malaise by grisly, seductive visions of unrestrained power . . . and by an extremely potent narcotic called ampersand. And an unspeakable evil lurks in the cellar of 10 Downing Street: the twin, serial-slaying schoolboy nightmares, the Domino Men—so-called for their hideous desire and terrifying ability to topple every towering edifice in the city, one after the other . . . just for a giggle.

Cullen, Brian
The Valley of Shadows
(Seekers Trilogy #2)

After months of searching, The Seekers think they may have come to the end of their search for the Chalice of Fire that was stolen by Bricriu Poisontongue. But just as they are about to reach their goal, the wily thief slips away. Grimly, the Seekers once again set off after Bricriu to return the Chalice to the Red Branch. But the way is overrun with vampires and other creatures of the night controlled by the evil wizard Maliman. The wizard has escaped from his prison deep within the Great Rift and has begun to rebuild his army of followers. Bricriu makes his way to the Valley of the Shadows, a region ruled by the dead who lost their honor while alive and now try to draw the living into their evil kingdom. Here, the Seekers meet the greatest challenge of their search--with no choice but to follow Bricriu through the valley of the dead.

Friedman, C.S.
Wings of Wrath
(Magister Trilogy Series #2)

Wings of Wrath is the second novel in C. S. Friedman's Magister trilogy—a true high fantasy replete with vampire-style magic, erotic action, war, treachery, sorcerous danger, and one of the most terrifying dragon-like creatures in fantasy. Against a backdrop of knife-edged politics and fearsome prophecies, those who are sworn to protect the human lands must discover the truth that lies at the heart of ancient legends, and find a way to defeat an enemy that once brought mankind to the very brink of destruction.

Scholes, Ken

An ancient weapon has completely destroyed the city of Windwir. From many miles away, Rudolfo, Lord of the Nine Forest Houses, sees the horrifying column of smoke rising. He knows that war is coming to the Named Lands. Nearer to the Devastation, a young apprentice is the only survivor of the city – he sat waiting for his father outside the walls, and was transformed as he watched everyone he knew die in an instant. Soon all the Kingdoms of the Named Lands will be at each others' throats, as alliances are challenged and hidden plots are uncovered. This remarkable first novel from an award-winning short fiction writer will take readers away to a new world – an Earth so far in the distant future that our time is not even a memory; a world where magick is commonplace and great areas of the planet are impassable wastes. But human nature hasn’t changed through the ages: War and faith and love still move princes and nations.

Science Fiction

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

New Imprint Launching will Showcase Japanese SF

I received this announcement today about a new science fiction imprint being launched from VIZ Media a California based company. Sounds interesting. Foreign language translations of SF are hard to come by. I'll bring you more news about this on the weekend.

© 2007 Issui Ogawa Originally published in Japan by Hayakawa Publishing, Inc.
VIZ Media has just announced plans to publish critically acclaimed Japanese Science Fiction Novels under a new imprint - entitled HAIKASORU.

This first-of-its-kind imprint for English speaking audiences will focus on Science Fiction and Fantasy stories and is scheduled to publish twelve books a year beginning with the first release in the summer of 2009.

The HAIKASORU imprint will be headed up at VIZ Media by Nick Mamatas, a respected author of science fiction as well as an editor at VIZ Media.

Top 100 Science Fiction Blogs

I am very happy to note that was included on a "Top 100 Science Fiction Blogs" in the Reviews category. Not quite sure why the Distance Learning Net is blogging about SF but I am pleased to be there. Thanks to Kelley for the shoutout!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Review – “Kitty Raises Hell” by Carrie Vaughn

What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas. .. except when it doesn't. Kitty and Ben return to their werewolf pack in Denver only to discover an invisible evil that smells of brimstone and plays with fire has followed them home. Stalking the whole pack, it leaves a charred trail of ashes and death cross the city. Kitty seeks help from Rick, the master vampire of Denver, as well as from the paranormal investigators on a popular reality TV show. But when a mysterious vampire who claims to be a demon hunter—and the only one who can help them—suddenly arrives, Kitty and her allies won't be able to predict what he really wants. .. or what they must do to extinguish the terror that can torch them all.
Kitty Raises Hell is the sixth book in the Kitty Norville urban fantasy series and comes hot on the heels of Kitty and the Dead Man’s Hand (Book 5) which hits shelves today (see my review here). Kitty Raises Hell takes up immediately after the events of the previous book. The Tiamat cult uncovered in Las Vegas had left Kitty a warning on her return to Denver and she is now nervously waiting for something to happen. Kitty initially enlists the aid of Rick the Master Vampire of Denver to help find and neutralize the threat.

Soon enough the threat materializes as Kitty and those around her come under direct attack from an invisible entity wielding deadly fire. This eventually leads to a death in the pack and even more deaths in the city at large. This is a high octane adventure, challenging Kitty and her allies to the fullest.

Kitty Raises Hell isn’t entirely devoted to the action. Carrie Vaughn always manages to blend entertaining scenes and story arcs that emphasize her amazing cast of characters in a manner that strengthens the readers’ emotional connection to the story. In particular there is a small story arc in Kitty Raises Hell where Kitty meets the deceased T.J.’s brother Peter; a poignant encounter and reminder of her turbulent history. It also exemplifies a growing positive theme in Kitty’s life - despite her constant state of crises she is fortunate to find herself with a growing circle of friends and allies – her extended ‘family’.

Kitty Raises Hell introduces us to Gary, Jules and Tina, the producers of a paranormal reality show shooting an episode in Denver. While working on a joint project with Kitty the group is attacked. Their search for paranormal truth draws them into Kitty’s world and they become her allies in facing down the Tiamat danger. The author brings these new secondary characters alive with a deft touch and unique personalities.

Odysseus Grant, the mysterious magician from Las Vegas in the previous book also lends his assistance providing research and arcane spells to protect Kitty and company while they do battle. Even Detective Hardin reappears to participate in solving the problem with a demand to be more involved in supernatural affairs now and in the future. This diverse ensemble of endearing characters makes the Kitty adventures sparkle. The author even introduces a deadly new adversary above and beyond Tiamat that I am sure will be making an appearance in the future.

Kitty Raises Hell gripped my attention and wouldn’t let go until the final page - a must read for Kitty fans or anyone that enjoys richly rendered urban fantasy and superlative characters. Kitty Raises Hell will be hitting the stores in just a few weeks - February 24. Back to back Kitty treats. Rowr. A preview of the next and as yet untitled Kitty Norville adventure is included at the back of the book with a 2010 release date.

Note: There is a great guest piece by Carrie Vaughn over at John Scalzi’s blog where she discusses creation of the Kitty Norville series and the most recent book. Check it out here.

No excerpt available yet.

Recent Interviews:
Amberkatze’s Book Blog
Bitten by Books

Grand Central Publishing
Published: March 1, 2009
ISBN #: 9780446199544
Format: Paperback
Pages: 320

Kitty Norville Series:

  1. Kitty and the Midnight Hour (2005)
  2. Kitty Goes to Washington (2006)
  3. Kitty Takes a Holiday (2007)
  4. Kitty and the Silver Bullet (2008)
  5. Kitty and the Dead Man's Hand (Feb 2009)
  6. Kitty Raises Hell (Mar 2009)
  7. untitled Kitty Novel (2010)

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