Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Reviewette – “Night Vision” by Maria V. Snyder

Anthology: The Mammoth Book of Paranormal Romance
Story: 13 of 24
Pages: 24
Romance Featured: Light Bender
Opening Line: “Sophia started the Honda 250X dirt bike.”

Night Vision features one of the most unusual paranormal characters I read in some time. Sophia is a Light Bender. The darker it is the better she sees. Bright light literally blinds her. Because of this unusual ability she lives alone in isolation, safe from the private and government agencies that would have her become an ‘asset’ or assassin.

Sophia stumbles upon the kidnapping of a federal agent while out riding her off-road motorcycle in a remote area. With no skills other than her night vision ability she rescues Mitch. Discovering the gang is running a slavery ring of supernatural’s like her, and that they have Mitch’s sister captive, Sophia lends her support to the rugged federal agent.

Saving lives and committing herself to a purpose draws Sophia out of her self-imposed withdrawal from the world. Night Vision delivers an excellent action thriller story combined with a blossoming romance. Something a little bit different from the rest of the collection. Heavier on the action and lighter on the romance, with a nice finale.

Mini Profile of Maria V. Snyder
Award-winning, New York Times bestselling author of Poison Study, Magic Study and Fire Study. Her next book, Storm Glass will be out in spring 2009, and Sea Glass follows in the autumn.
www.mariaysnyder.com

More about the anthology and ‘reviewettes’ here.

Release Reminder

Just a reminder that Red-Headed Stepchild by Jaye Wells is officially released today. You can check out my earlier review here.

Anita Blake Movie Update

UPDATE: November 22, 2009

Laurell K. Hamilton on her blog today announced that the IFC TV movie of the Anita Blake series will not be going forward. She further says -
It has been frustrating watching other shows in the genre I pioneered go on the air while we didn’t, but in the end I believe most things happen for a reason. I would rather have no television show than a bad one.
I would say LKH is none too happy about the situation and like many I find the cancellation news disappointing as well. It is interesting that the author continues to brazenly trumpet "the genre I pioneered" stance. Do you agree?

What other urban fantasy or paranormal series would you like to see made into a film or movie from some enterprising studio?



The Hollywood Reporter posted this update today confirming that the planned Anita Blake adaptation of the Laurell K. Hamilton novels will be a made-for-TV movie for release in 2010 and not necessarily a pilot for a TV series. Apparently it is IFC's 'first ever' feature length production. Wonder if we should worry about that. IFC states that it is "targeting the movie to its core base of men ages 18-34". Whoa! Correct me if I am wrong, but wouldn't you agree that most Anita Blake readers are women? Here is my posting on the original announcement and suggested fantasy casting line-up from last fall.
Cable network IFC is readying to announce an adaption of a popular vampire novel as its first-ever theatrical-length movie production.

IFC is teaming with Lionsgate for a TV movie based on the "Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter" books. The project is the network's first-ever feature-length production and could be the basis for more Blake projects if successful.

The 16-books-and-counting Blake novels by Laurell Hamilton includes elements familiar to fans of "True Blood" (vampires are part of regular society) and "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" (tough young female fights supernatural forces). The project will be adapted by Glen Morgan ("X-Files," "Final Destination"), who also serves as executive producer along with Courtney Solomon ("Dungeons and Dragons"). IFC is targeting the movie to its core base of men ages 18-34 and plans to air the movie next year.

"The popularity of the network in this demographic indicates that there is a clear demand for films that delve into provocative topics and nothing is more classically provocative than vampire lore," said Jennifer Caserta, executive vp and general manager of IFC. "Anita Blake fits perfectly with our successful original programming."

In the books, Blake is a vampire hunter with a lousy dating life who also works as a police consultant investigating supernatural crimes. She attempts to come to terms with her own abilities, and navigate a romantic and political relationships within the vampire community.

"Laurell has created a fascinating heroine in Anita Blake, and we quickly recognized the onscreen potential for this vivid character," said Kevin Beggs, Lionsgate's president of TV programming and production. "We have an outstanding creative team and are excited to be moving forward with IFC, which will allow us to fully explore the complex world of Laurell's highly intriguing and erotically charged novels."

The first several titles in the Blake series focus on paranormal action, as will the IFC movie. The later novels have become known for highly sexual content (according to Wikipedia, Blake gets involved in S&M, multiple concurrent relationships and "lycanthropic sexual fantasies"). The most recent title debuted at #1 on the New York Times best-seller list.

Review – “A Hell of a Time” by Jackie Kessler from Eternal Lover

Theirs is a world of ancient desires and forbidden pleasures. They are men of mystery and women of seduction, wild creatures with the power to entrance and enchant, tease and tantalize. Enter their secret world, if you dare...
The Yearning by Hannah Howell
Alpin has lived for centuries with a lust that can never be quenched with mere physical pleasure. And then he meets Sophie whose own search for lasting love binds them together in a cloak of shimmering sensuality...
A Hell of a Time by Jackie Kessler
Jesse's immortal life as a soul-stealing succubus is over. And now that she is human, she longs to tempt her lover with all her persuasive powers of total sexual seduction...
City of Demons by Richelle Mead
Seth cannot resist the intense sexual allure of his demon lover Georgina. Yet their love reaches beyond the physical, into a place of complete untamed surrender...
Bitten by Lynsay Sands
Keeran's existence as a vampire has taught him to accept a life without love...until he saves Emily from certain death. And suddenly he discovers the soul-searing passion he thought he'd lost forever...

Kensington
Published: April 1, 2009
ISBN #: 9780758231222
Format: Paperback
Pages: 413
The Eternal Lover collection first appeared in trade paperback last year and is available tomorrow as a mass market paperback. One of the novella’s is A Hell of a Time, an amusing paranormal romance from Jackie Kessler’s Hell on Earth series featuring succubus Jesse. At this point in the timeline, Jesse has been with her lover Paul for only three months and is still adjusting to being human and the loss of all of her succubus and Hell-given powers. She can however still see the minions of Hell although she is careful not to let this slip. Jesse is so very afraid of letting the supernatural interfere with her life and ruining her relationship with Paul. This becomes the central motive for Jesse’s actions throughout the story.

Jesse is a funny, sexy and quirky character as a millennia old succubus turned human should be. Paul surprises Jesse with an impromptu vacation getaway to the Catskills. Jesse is thrilled. The dialogue on the trip up is hilarious, with Jesse pestering Paul to drive despite having no license. Jesse has carnal plans for Paul as well.

At the cabin Jesse begins to hear voices, calling her evil and she sees things, even being attacked by a strange vine with teeth. Is she going crazy? Of course she won’t admit any of this to Paul so Jesse’s problems escalate and she has to deal with them with only her human abilities. This drives home an important lesson in communicating with her lover and about trust. Not something she is exactly prepared for.

Eventually the nature of the threat becomes clear and Paul gets dragged into the climactic confrontation. As a team they triumph, strengthening their bond and deepening their evolving relationship. A Hell of a Time is amusing, sexy, adventurous and a nice complement to the central Hell on Earth novels. You don’t need to have read the series to enjoy this, but if you have, you will appreciate this little extra slice of Paul and Jesse’s unusual romance even more.

I'll be back with more reviews of the other novella's as time permits in April.


AUTHOR AND BOOK SHOWCASEOfficial Jackie Kessler Website
Official Jackie Kessler Blog

Read an Excerpt of Chapter 1.

Hell on Earth Series Novels:

  1. Hell’s Belles (2007)
  2. The Road to Hell (2007)
  3. Hotter Than Hell (2008)

Hell on Earth Series Stories/Novella’s:

  • A Hell of a Time in Eternal Lover (2008)
  • When Hell Comes Calling in Lilith Unbound (2008)
  • Hellis Where the Heart Is from A Red Hot Valentine’s Day (2009)
Jackie is also collaborating with Caitlin Kittredge on a new superhero fantasy due out in June called Black and White. Check out the website designed specifically for the new series. It's called The Icarus Project.


Zombie Chickens and More

Recently SciFiGuy.ca was nominated for a couple of awards by my fellow bloggers which is always a treat and an honour. Jo at Books to the Rescue has nominated this ol’ blog for a Proximity Award which she assures me means that it qualifies as “exceedingly charming” which is an awfully humbling thought (I can just see my friends hysterically rolling on the ground as they read this – but what do they know). Thanks Jo!

About the Proximity Award

This blog invests and believes in the Proximity - nearness in space, time and relationships. These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in prizes or self-aggrandizement! Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers! Deliver this award to eight bloggers who must choose eight more and include this clever-written text into the body of their award.

And for icing on the cake Kimberly Swan at Darque Reviews blessed me with the Zombie Chicken Award. Yes you read that right – Zombie Chicken. Love it.

About the Zombie Chicken Award

The blogger who receives this award believes in the Tao of the zombie chicken - excellence, grace and persistence in all situations, even in the midst of a zombie apocalypse. These amazing bloggers regularly produce content so remarkable that their readers would brave a raving pack of zombie chickens just to be able to read their inspiring words. As a recipient of this world-renowned award, you now have the task of passing it on to at least 5 other worthy bloggers. Do not risk the wrath of the zombie chickens by choosing unwisely or not choosing at all...
So for sharing the love, here are eight blogs I visit that I find charming –
And to ward off the encroaching zombie chicken hordes, I nominate the following for their fabulous content. I would have included the always incredible Literary Escapism but Kimberley already zombified Jackie.


Cover Art - "Magic in the Shadows" by Devon Monk

On her blog Devon Monk provides a sneak preview of the cover for her third book in the Allie Beckstrom series, Magic in the Shadows, due for release in November. The second book, Magic in the Blood is only a few weeks away - May 5th! A nice style to the whole series.



Monday, March 30, 2009

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

April is a banner month for new releases of urban fantasy, paranormal romance and fantasy with over forty new titles profiled. Also remember that Mark Chitty from the always excellent Walker of Worlds sci-fi blog is also guesting here at SciFiGuy.ca with some terrific suggestions from the forthcoming science fiction releases for the month of April. Apologies to any authors whose books I may have missed; feel free to let me know about any omissions or errors. Generally the release dates listed are those quoted on Amazon.com.



Urban Fantasy & Paranormal

ANTHOLOGIES:

Midnight Cravings
04/01/09

A collection of paranormal romance novella’s that first appeared individually under Harlequin’s specialty line of eBooks called Nocturne Bites. Now for the first time, six of these have been gathered together in print form.

Table of Contents:

  • Michele Hauf – Racing the Moon
  • Karen Whiddon- Mate of the Wolf
  • Lori Devoti - Captured
  • Anna Leonard - Dreamcatcher
  • Vivi Anna – Mahina’s Storm
  • Bonnie Vanak – Broken Souls

NOVELS:

Aguirre, Ann
Blue Diablo
(Corine Solomon #1)
04/07/09

Corine Solomon is a handler—when she touches an object she instantly knows its history and its future. Using her ability, she can find the missing—which is why people never stop trying to find her. Like her ex-boyfriend Chance, who needs Corine's gift to find someone dear to them both. But the search proves dangerous as it leads them into a strange world of demons and sorcerers, ghosts and witchcraft, zombies—and black magic...

Anna, Vivi
The Vampire's Quest
(Valorian Chronicles)
04/01/09

After escaping from the Otherworld Crime Unit, Kellen Falcon came to Nouveau Monde to crack a rare blood disease. But the European hotbed of temptation yielded sport no vampire could resist—criminologist Sophie St. Clair. And with only days to live, Kellen sought sweet release from her to escape a savage past. The lycan beauty wasn't one to stray from her pact. But an investigation into a downtown bombing now tied the two together. And it wasn't long before Kellen's smoldering eyes and Sophie's fierce desire for this vampire put her loyalties to the test…

Armstrong, Kelley
The Awakening
(Dark Powers #2)
04/28/09

If you had met me a few weeks ago, you probably would have described me as an average teenage girl – someone normal. Now my life has changed forever and I’m as far away from normal as it gets. A living science experiment – not only can I see ghosts, but I was genetically altered by a group of people who call themselves The Edison Group. What does that mean? For starters, I’m a teenage necromancer whose powers are out of control: I raise the dead without even trying. Trust me, that is not a power you want to have. Ever. I’m running for my life with three of my supernatural friends – a charming sorcerer, a cynical werewolf, and a disgruntled witch – and we have to find someone who can help us gain our freedom back before The Edison Group finds us first. Or die trying.

Benedict, Lym
Sins and Shadows
(Shadows Inquiries #1)
04/28/09

Sylvie Lightner is no ordinary P.I. She specializes in cases involving the unusual, in a world where magic is real—and where death isn't the worst thing that can happen to you. But when an employee is murdered in front of her, Sylvie has had enough. After years of confounding the dark forces of the Magicus Mundi, she's closing up shop—until a man claiming to be the God of Justice wants Sylvie to find his lost lover. And he won't take no for an answer.

Bird, Rhyannon
Edge of Hunger
(Primal Instinct #1)
04/01/09

Byrd (Last Wolf Watching) successfully combines a haunting love story with complex world-building in the first volume of her Primal Instinct urban fantasy romance series. At first, Ian Buchanan refuses to listen to Molly Stratton's claims of a psychic connection to his dead mother, but then the petite blonde shows up with bite marks on her neck matching those he'd given her in a sexually charged dream. Ian soon realizes he must free his long-denied animal nature in order to battle an inhuman danger. His beast-self demands to be fed with violent sex, but Ian can't bring himself to harm Molly. His reluctance threatens their burgeoning relationship and could allow evil a toehold in the world. The love scenes are less raw than some in Byrd's earlier books, but the intense emotional and sexual connection between her leads remains.

Butcher, Jim
Turn Coat
(Dresden Files #11)
04/07/09

The Warden Morgan has been accused of treason against the Wizards of the White Council—and there’s only one, final punishment for that crime. He’s on the run, wants his name cleared, and needs someone with a knack for backing the underdog. Someone like Harry Dresden... Now, Harry must uncover a traitor within the Council, keep a less-than-agreeable Morgan under wraps, and avoid coming under scrutiny himself. And a single mistake may cost someone his head—someone like Harry.

Chance, Karen
Curse the Dawn
(Cassie Palmer #4)
04/07/09

Cassandra Palmer may be the all-powerful Pythia now, but that doesn’t mean people have stopped trying to kill her. Most of the supernatural power players don’t want the independent minded Cassie as chief clairvoyant—and they’ll stop at nothing to see her six feet under. The Vampire Senate does support Cassie in her position, but their protection comes with a price: an alliance with the sexy master vampire Mircea, who has claimed Cassie as his own. But even the vampires will have trouble keeping Cassie alive now that the self-styled god Apollo, the source of the Pythia’s power, has it in for her in a big way. To save her life—and the world—Cassie’s going to have to face down her creator once and for all.

Chapman, Janet
Moonlight Warrior
(Midnight Bay #1)
04/28/09

Eve Anderson is darned tired of Kenzie Gregor meddling in her business. She might be struggling to keep herself and her ailing mother financially afloat, but she's no princess in need of a strong, capable knight in a black SUV to rescue her -- even if he is easy on the eyes. Besides, there's something very odd about him...and she's sure the strange events occurring in their small coastal Maine town are linked to his recent arrival. Once an immortal warrior cursed to live as a panther, Kenzie is finally free to live and die as a man, and his destiny is to help other displaced souls. Of course, if he can get tiny, blue-eyed, curly blond Eve out of the deal, well...life doesn't get any better. But she's as stubborn and fierce as a lioness, and in order to win her love, he must tempt her with forbidden desires....

Croft, Sydney
Taming The Fire
(Acro Series #4)
04/28/09

He came to the underground London club for a night of extreme sex play with the enigmatic “Mistress Rik.” But the special agent known as Trance is really on a search-and-rescue mission to keep her alive. Part predator, Ulrika “Rik” Jaegar possesses feral powers that make her a danger to others—and to herself. That’s why the Agency for Covert Rare Operatives (ACRO) wants to recruit her to their side….To do so, Trance will have to pull off the impossible: capture and control Rik, both woman and beast. On the run from the deadly agency that changed her into a pleasure-seeking shape-shifter, Rik uses sex to rein in her own raging desires. Operating on pure instinct, she trusts no one…especially the magnificent alpha male with the power to seduce her into submission. An undercover agent with unique hypnotic gifts, Trance is surprised by his instinct to hold Rik and keep her safe—but he has a job to do. And as he hunts her down, as Rik and Trance are thrust into the ultimate game of domination and submission, they’ll enter a place where surrender is their sole hope of survival—and the only thing that can tame the wild beast in both of them.…

Day, S.J.
Eve of Darkness
(Marked #1)
04/28/09

Cursed by God, hunted by demons, desired by Cain and Abel... All in a day's work. For Evangeline Hollis, a long-ago fling with a bad boy from the wrong side of the tracks just became a disaster of biblical proportions. One night with a leather-clad man of mystery has led to a divine punishment: the Mark of Cain. Thrust into a world where sinners are drafted to kill demons, Eve knows her learning curve must be short. A longtime agnostic, she begrudgingly maneuvers through a celestial bureaucracy where she is a valuable but ill-treated pawn. She's also become the latest point of contention in the oldest case of sibling rivalry in history... But she'll worry about all that later. Right now she's more concerned with learning to kill while staying alive. And saving the soul she'd never quite believed she had.

Drake, Jocelynn
Dayhunter
(Dark Days #2)
04/28/09

A new day dawns blood red. A master of fire, Mira is the last hope for the world. For centuries she has secretly enforced the history-altering edicts of the Triad. Now she and her unlikely ally—the human vampire hunter, Danaus—have come to Venice, home of the nightwalker rulers. But there is no safety in the ancient city, for the threat of conflict is in the wind . . . with unholy alliances and earth-shattering betrayals taking hideous form in the shadows. Banished for eons beyond the world's boundaries, the malevolent naturi prepare to feed once again upon a vulnerable earth—and treachery is opening wide the portal that will enable their dread re-emergence. The great battle that has always been Mira's destiny is looming, and she must remain powerful in the face of a shocking revelation: that Danaus, the only creature she dares to trust, is something more than the man he claims to be . . .

Feehan, Christine
Burning Wild
(Leopard Series #3)
04/28/09

Born into a world of twisted monsters, Jake Bannaconni is shaped and molded into a cold, revenge driven man. Honed in the fires of hell, he controls his world and rules with an iron hand. He has everything and anything money can buy. He’s ruthless, merciless and considered a man to leave alone. His hidden legacy, that of a shapeshifter, makes him doubly dangerous in the corporate world. Emma Reynolds is a woman who knows how to love and love well. When their two worlds collide, Jake’s plans for a complete take over, may just come tumbling down.
Fox, Angie
The Dangerous Book for Demon Slayers
(Accidental Demon Slayer #2)
04/28/09

Seriously. Why does a new hair dryer have a twelve-page how-to manual, but when it comes to ancient demon-fighting hocus-pocus, my biker witch granny gives me just half a dozen switch stars and a rah-rah speech? Oh, and a talking terrier, but that’s another story. It’s not like my job as a preschool teacher prepared me for this kind of thing. So I’ve decided to write my own manual, The Dangerous Book for Demon Slayers, because no one tells me anything. Dimitri, my “protector,” may be one stud of a shape-shifting griffin, but he always thinks he can handle everything by himself. Only he’s no match for the soul-stealing succubi taking over Las Vegas. If I can’t figure out how to save him—and Sin City—there’ll be hell to pay.

Handeland, Lori
Doomsday Can Wait
(Doomsday #2)
04/28/09

SHE CAN SEE EVIL COMING FROM ALL DIRECTIONS. It took the near annihilation of humanity for Liz Phoenix to understand the true meaning of her premonitions. Liz is one of the sacred few on earth who has the psychic powers to fight the malevolent forces that have tried to wipe out the human race since the beginning of time. She battled these beings once, thwarting Doomsday but losing most of her soldiers in the massacre. Now she must replenish her troops quickly—because the supernatural war isn’t over yet. BUT WILL SHE BE BLINDSIDED BY DESIRE? As the new leader of the federation, Liz is marked for death by a Navajo witch with a link to her past. To survive, she must rely on her few remaining allies—her mentor, a shaman with too many secrets, as well as ex-lover, Jimmy Sanducci. Bringing Jimmy into the mix is a dangerous move, for Liz’s darkest desires are razor-sharp—and her longing for Jimmy is at a fever pitch. But can Liz afford to give into the cravings that burn inside her, with the next shot at Doomsday just around the corner? This time, if evil wins, chaos will reign—and the world as we know it will be lost forever…

Johnson, Jean
The Mage
(Sons of Destiny #8)
04/07/09

New York Times bestselling author Jayne Ann Krentz hails Jean Johnson’s writing as “fabulously fresh, thoroughly romantic, and wildly entertaining.” Now, Johnson returns for the final book in the series of eight brothers destined to fulfill a strange prophecy. As their growing family faces new problems, the worst of those troubles now fall upon Morg, the last of the Sons of Destiny, and on Hope, Morg’s foretold bride.

Katherine, Anna
Salt and Silver
04/28/09

One night six years ago, Allie and her friends got drunk and chanted a fake spell they made up... and accidentally opened a portal to Hell. Now it resides in the basement of the diner Allie runs, and it's a pain in the ass -- mystical crap is always coming out, and then it has to be killed. Demon guts get everywhere, stuff gets smashed up, there are salt circles and sigils all over the place... It gets tedious. The up side is that Allie gets her own personal demon hunter guarding the Door and killing the demons: a sexy and mysterious, Stetson-wearing, snide-remark-making, dark-eyed demon hunter named Ryan. But after six years of jibes and sexual tension, the Door disappears at the same time there's a surge in demonic activity -- and no one seems to know what's going on. Not Narnia the bitchy psychic witch, or Roxie, a kickass demon hunter from the other side of town. It's not Allie's idea for a team of demon hunters to find another Door and go into it to see if Hell is about to take over Earth, but she definitely wants in on that plan. After years of seeing the havoc a Door to Hell wreaks on the world, she's ready to grow up, take responsibility for helping open a Door in the first place, and kick some demon butt. Okay, and she'd also like some quality make out time with Ryan, and mortal peril is always a turn-on, right?

Krinard, Susan
Lord of Legends
04/01/09

He is Arion, King of the Unicorns. Powerful, seductive, he could possess any female he desired—until now. He is condemned to live as a man, and it is only the enchanting Lady Mariah Donnington's innocence that can release him from his curse. Abandoned on her wedding night, frightened of her hidden, otherworldly heritage, Mariah is instinctively drawn to the mysterious stranger she discovers imprisoned on her husband's estate. But as the secret of Arion's magical identity unfolds, their friendship burns into a passion that cannot, must not, be consummated. For to do so would destroy them both….

Love, Kathy
Demon Can't Help It
04/28/09

A Demon...Not Just In Bed - Practical Josephine 'Jo' Burke has no patience for the paranormal - even if she's been having some strange visions lately. But if she is losing her mind, at least it would explain her new attraction to her co-worker, the least suitable man she could ever fall for... Maksim Kostova has no idea why he's so drawn to feisty mortal Jo, but he does know how she feels about the supernatural. Forget about her accepting him for what he really is, she'd never even believe him in the first place. Or would she? When Jo confesses to him that she's been seeing visions of a dead girl, it seems anything's possible...

Marr, Melissa
Fragile Eternity
(Fae #3)
04/21/09

Seth never expected he would want to settle down with anyone—but that was before Aislinn. She is everything he'd ever dreamed of, and he wants to be with her forever. Forever takes on new meaning, though, when your girlfriend is an immortal faery queen. Aislinn never expected to rule the very creatures who'd always terrified her—but that was before Keenan. He stole her mortality to make her a monarch, and now she faces challenges and enticements beyond any she'd ever imagined. In Melissa Marr's third mesmerizing tale of Faerie, Seth and Aislinn struggle to stay true to themselves and each other in a milieu of shadowy rules and shifting allegiances, where old friends become new enemies and one wrong move could plunge the Earth into chaos.

Neill, Chloe
Some Girls Bite
(Chicagoland Vampires #1)
04/07/09

Sure, the life of a graduate student wasn't exactly glamorous, but it was Merit's. She was doing fine until a rogue vampire attacked her. But he only got a sip before he was scared away by another bloodsucker-and this one decided the best way to save her life was to make her the walking undead. Turns out her savior was the master vampire of Cadogan House. Now she's traded sweating over her thesis for learning to fit in at a Hyde Park mansion full of vamps loyal to Ethan "Lord o' the Manor" Sullivan. Of course, as a tall, green-eyed, four-hundred- year-old vampire, he has centuries' worth of charm, but unfortunately he expects her gratitude- and servitude. But an inconvenient sunlight allergy and Ethan's attitude are the least of her concerns. Someone's still out to get her. Her initiation into Chicago's nightlife may be the first skirmish in a war-and there will be blood.

Quick, Amanda
The Perfect Poison
(Arcane Society #6)
04/21/09

Quick (aka Jayne Ann Krentz) delivers her reliable blend of sex and suspense in her latest Arcane Society novel. In Victorian London, spinster botanist and psychic Lucinda Bromley meets her match in Caleb Jones, a member of the Arcane Society and descendant of an alchemist family that makes him the stuff of myth and legend. Together, this paranormal pair of snoops sets out to track down a thief who made off with a dangerous plant implicated in the death of a wealthy lord, but wind up uncovering a sinister secret order. Quick invents two dazzling 19th-century sleuths who combine paranormal prowess and raw sexual heat. But if they excel at fooling Mother Nature, it's their all too human nature that brings this uncommon Victorian duo to life.

St. Giles, Jennifer
Bride of the Wolf
(Shadowmen #2)
04/28/09

When the heroic werewolf Navarre is trapped in the twilight realm, his Shadowmen comrades are unable to rescue him. Only a passionate woman with a spirit as wild as his own can set him free.... Oil heiress Marissa Vasquez fled the jungles of Belize to avoid becoming a pawn in her vicious uncle's wicked schemes. Though she has found temporary sanctuary in little Twilight, Tennessee, only in her dreams does she taste freedom. At night, her spirit intertwines with a magnificent black wolf, and they run together under the glow of a forest moon. When a wounded stranger is brought to the camp where she is hiding, she glimpses in his eyes the mysterious being who has been the partner of her visions. But before she can explore her strange reaction to this man, they are kidnapped and imprisoned once again. Navarre is a shapeshifting Shadowman, captured by the evil Vladarian vampire who hopes to control Marissa. Injured and blind, he struggles to regain his warrior's strength as they fight for their freedom — and their lives. Together, their spirits form a powerful link matched only by the passion they discover in each other's arms. But can a mortal woman attain true love with a man who is half wolf? And will their enemies give them time to find an answer?

Sniegoski, Thomas E.
Dancing On The Head of A Pin
(Remy Chandler #2)
04/07/09

Still mourning the loss of his wife, fallen angel Remy Chandler has immersed himself in investigating dangerous supernatural cases. His latest: the theft of a cache of ancient weaponry stolen from a collector who deals in antiquities of a dark and dubious nature. The weapons, Remy knows, were forged eons ago and imbued with unimaginable power. And if they fall into the wrong hands, they could be used to destroy not only Heaven but also Earth.

Sparks, Kerrelyn
Forbidden Nights With a Vampire
(Love at Stake #7)
04/28/09

Vanda Barkowski is in trouble. As the owner of a hot nightclub, she's more unconventional than most of her fellow vampires, and if some think her a little out of control, then so be it. But after three former employees filed a complaint about her temper, Vanda is sentenced to an anger management class. Worse, Phil Jones agreed to be her sponsor. Phil, the mortal who is forbidden to her . . . If Vanda knew who—or what—Phil really is, she'd reconsider her attraction to him, for his true nature is wilder than anything she'd ever imagined. He has tackled the beast within and now is the perfect person to help Vanda with her rage . . . if only he can keep his cool when she makes him so undeniably hot. But with rogue vamps on the loose, will they ever have their forbidden nights?

Walker, Shiloh
Hunter's Edge
(Hunters World Series)
04/28/09

Some love can last a lifetime-their love was destined to last longer. Angel's first words to Kel were I'm going to marry you. She was seven at the time. He was eight. And he didn't laugh when she spoke the words. Best friends as children, lovers as young adults, they had an unexplainable bond. Their future looked set. Until the night they were attacked by a creature that couldn't exist. Angel survived the attack-barely. But Kel didn't. Or at least, nobody thought he did. His body was never found and Angel's life would never be the same. The attack might not have killed Kel's body, but it sure as hell killed his heart. Twelve years later, there's one part of his former life that he can't move past. Angel. He can't let her go, but he can't have her either. She doesn't even realize he is still alive. But when a threat surfaces, Kel's willing to do whatever it takes to protect Angel. Even if it drives them both to the edge of insanity and back. Warning: Some violence. Some sex. Some bloody violence. Even a little bit of bloody sex. Not all of the sex is between the hero and the heroine, even though every time that happens, the hero closes his eyes and thinks of England Angel. Not exactly a traditional romance, but I promise it does end HEA.

Ward, J.R.
Lover Avenged
(Black Dagger Brotherhood #7)
04/28/09

J. R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood novels have introduced readers to a “different, creative, dark, violent, and flat-out amazing” (All About Romance) world. Now, as the vampire warriors defend their race against their slayers, one male’s loyalty to the Brotherhood will be tested—and his dangerous mixed blood revealed… Rehvenge has always kept his distance from the Brotherhood—even though his sister is married to a member, for he harbors a deadly secret that could make him a huge liability in their war against the lessers. As plots within and outside of the Brotherhood threaten to reveal the truth about Rehvenge, he turns to the only source of light in his darkening world, Ehlena, a vampire untouched by the corruption that has its hold on him—and the only thing standing between him and eternal destruction.

York, Rebecca
Eternal Moon
(Moon #8)
04/07/09

They are destined to be together for all eternity—if they can defeat the evil stalking them. Determined to stop a madman, P.I. Renata Cordona is undercover when she’s almost attacked by a pack of vicious dogs. A lone wolf saves her. Then, out of nowhere, a man with an electrifying touch appears—the man who is clearly her destiny.



FANTASY


ANTHOLOGIES:

Troll's Eye View
Edited by Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling
04/16/09

Everyone thinks they know the real story behind the villains in fairy tales-evil, no two ways about it. But the villains themselves beg to differ. In Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling's new anthology for younger readers, you'll hear from the Giant's wife ("Jack and the Beanstalk"), Rumplestiltskin, the oldest of the Twelve Dancing Princesses, and many more. A stellar lineup of authors, including Garth Nix, Holly Black, Neil Faiman and Nancy Farmer, makes sure that these old stories do new tricks!
NOVELS:

Blaylock, James P.
Metamorphosis

Coauthored by Blaylock and a trio of his high school students, these three reflective short-short stories employing Blaylock's signature nostalgic prose are individually strong in technique, but weakened by thematic similarities. The eccentric hero of Adriana Campoy's lighthearted “Stone Eggs” uncovers an entryway into a fantastic world while house-sitting for his uncle. In Brittany Cox's well-written but unexciting “P-38,” Anderson revisits his imperfect childhood by assembling a model airplane from his father's former shop. Alex Haniford's “Houses” hurtles toward darkness when Michael returns home for his mother's funeral and accidentally unearths the chilling secret behind his father's spiraling dementia. While Tim Powers offers a short foreword and William Ashbless (Powers and Blaylock's joint nom de plume) provides a whimsical afterword, readers will recognize both as padding and be left wanting more real content.

Griffin, Kate
(pseud. for Catherine Webb)
A Madness of Angels
04/06/09

Two years after his untimely death, Matthew Swift finds himself breathing once again, lying in bed in his London home. Except that it's no longer his bed, or his home. And the last time this sorcerer was seen alive, an unknown assailant had gouged a hole so deep in his chest that his death was irrefutable...despite his body never being found. He doesn't have long to mull over his resurrection though, or the changes that have been wrought upon him. His only concern now is vengeance. Vengeance upon his monstrous killer and vengeance upon the one who brought him back.

Lee, Jade
Dragonbound
(Dragon #3
)

Horrific are a dragon’s claws, its fiery breath and buffeting wings. Potent is its body, fraught with magic down to the very last glistening scale. But most fearsome of all is a dragon’s cunning—and the soul that allows it to bond with humans. Sabina was the one girl of her generation chosen as Dragonmaid, friend and caregiver to the copper dragon of her nation’s tyrant king. There she witnessed the greed, lust and rage such a beast could incite—and acquired her own very dark secret.

Lee, Sharon, & Steve Miller
Longeye
04/07/09

Hidden from the human-inhabited world by the inimical magical device known as the keleigh, the Vaitura has become a subtle battleground where the once all-powerful Elder Fey strive against each other and the upstart Queen to regain ascendancy. Of all the Elder Fey it is Altimere who is strongest in magical kest and Altimere who is most devious. Pitted against Zaldore and her group seeking to manipulate the convelescing Ranger known as Longeye to foil the Queen and rule the world, Altimere dares to utilize the untested powers of half-human, half-Fey Rebecca Beauvally, recognized by the elemental denizens of the Vaitura as The Gardener. Now all plans must be rewritten: Becca breaks Altimere's capricious dominion with the dangerous herbal help of Duainfey, but, weakened by the effort, is held against her will in service to the Queen by Meripen's mysterious sea-lord cousin, Sian. Becca must escape the Queen's retainers to regain control of her own fate. With the magics of the Vaitura, and Altimere's retribution arrayed against her, she escapes with only her horse, a mad forest-living Brethren, and her freed magical servant Nancy at her side. Worse, the recovered legendary hero Longeye, long beloved of the Vaitura's forest folk and creatures, has re-armed at Sian's bidding, and knows most of all about Becca that she is both dangerous, and of the same folk who cruelly tortured him and slew his lover before his eyes.

McKenna, Juliet E.
Irons in the Fire
(Chronicles of the Lescari Revolution #1)
04/06/09

This trilogy will tell of political upheaval born of civil war.The country of Lescar was carved out of the collapsing Tormalin Empire by ambitious men who all felt entitled to seize power for themselves. Now six rival dukedoms are ruled by their descendants, who all lay claim to the crown of high king. Dukes pursue their ambitions through strategic alliances and strength of arms while their duchesses plot marriages and discreet pacts. As long as the battles stay inside Lescari borders, neighbouring powers are content to buy up whatever the dukedoms can produce and sell their rulers whatever they can afford by way of luxuries or necessities. Amoral opportunists come from far and wide to seek their fortunes in the mercenary bands who ride the successive tides of warfare. All the while the ordinary people struggle to raise their crops and families amid the turns and chances of uncaring uncertainty. Many leave, preferring to live abroad as exiles, poorer but safer. Those who can afford to send whatever coin they can spare back to family and friends still labouring to pay the dues and levies that the dukes demand. Now a mismatched band of exiles and rebels are agreed that the time has come for change. Can a small group, however determined, put an end to generations of intractable misery? Perhaps. After all, a few stones falling in the right place can set a landslide in motion. But who can predict what the consequences will be, when all the dust has settled?

Monette, Sarah
Corambis
(Melusine #4)
04/07/09

Exiled from Mélusine for the crime of heresy, the once powerful Cabaline wizard Felix Harrowgate and his half-brother Mildmay, former cat-burglar and assassin, journey to Corambis to face judgment from a ruling body of wizards. Corambis, however, is a land plagued by civil strife. Kay Brightmore, the Margrave of Rothmarlin, is part of an insurrection to restore the monarchy in the southern half of the country. In desperation, Kay and his rebels seek out the engine of Summerdown, an ancient magical device rumored to have terrible powers. Once the engine is awakened, only a powerful wizard can stop its awesome potential for destruction. Felix and Mildmay arrive just in time for their greatest challenge-and ultimate destiny . . .

Murphy, C. E.
The Pretender's Crown
(Inheritors’ Cycle #2)
April 28, 2009

Belinda Primrose is the queen’s bastard—the illegitimate daughter of Lorraine, first queen to sit on the Aulunian throne. She is also the queen’s deadliest weapon, trained as a spy from the age of twelve. In The Queen’s Bastard, Belinda discovered that she had powers unshared by her mother. Now, in The Pretender’s Crown, events spiral as one queen is murdered, another is suspected of having plotted to kill her, and armies marshal on both sides. Belinda learns that she is a pawn in a game much greater than she could ever have suspected—and suddenly stumbles upon a shocking secret that changes her life forever. Her powers at their greatest, she turns away from her mother for the first time ever, and must decide how to forge a life of her own.

Robins, Lane
Kings and Assassins
(Maledicte Series #2)
04/21/09

Controlled by an aristocracy whose depraved whims bow to neither law nor god, the kingdom of Antyre is under siege from the only man who can save it. He is Janus Ixion, the new Earl of Last, a man whose matchless fighting abilities and leadership strike terror in Antyre’s powerful noble houses. For Janus is the illegitimate son who has returned from the brutal slums to reclaim his birthright, and will go to any lengths to become king and reverse his country’s decline. But with a conquering foreign prince sowing chaos throughout the kingdom, Janus must battle the terrifying power of Antyre’s forgotten god, one who has gifted Janus’s vengeful wife with mysterious and dangerous skills. As Antyre nears irrevocable collapse, Janus’s manipulations and all-consuming ambition will force him and his country to choose between the rule of resurgent gods, or a victor’s throne of ashes.

Shearin, Lisa
The Trouble with Demons
(Raine Benares #3)
04/28/09

For seeker Raine Benares, a demon infestation on the Isle of Mid couldn’t come at a worse time. Already fighting the influence of the Saghred, a soul-stealing stone, Raine discovers she is also magically bonded to a dark mage and a white knight, two dangerous and powerful men on opposing sides. Turns out, the demons want the key to unlock the Saghred. As a seeker, Raine should be able to find it first. As the axis of light and dark powers, she’s a magical cataclysm waiting to happen.

Snyder, Maria
Storm Glass
(Glass #1)
04/28/09

Untrained. Untested. Unleashed. With her unique magical abilities, Opal has always felt unsure of her place at Sitia's magic academy. But when the Stormdancer clan needs help, Opal's knowledge makes her the perfect choice - until the mission goes awry. Pulling her powers in unfamiliar directions, Opal finds herself tapping into a new kind of magic as stunningly potent as it is frightening. Now Opal must deal with plotters out to destroy the Stormdancer clan, as well as a traitor in their midst. With danger and deception rising around her, will Opal's untested abilities destroy her - or save them all?

Strong, Jory
Ghostland
04/07/09

Welcome to a postapocalyptic world, where the afterlife holds beings that only the bravest can summon—or dare to desire. Taken from her home and family, shamaness Aisling McConaughey must enter the "ghostlands" to save a wealthy man's mistress. But there's a price to pay for her power: She must summon the Djinn prince Zurael en Caym—and yield to his savage, sensual rage. Zurael intends to kill Aisling after she's served as bait to find an enemy in possession of an ancient tablet. But the more he tastes her innocent spirit, the more he'll use his fiery touch to keep her hungry for his mercy—even as they weave an erotic spell that he cannot escape...

Stross, Charles
The Revolution Business
(Merchant Prince #5)
04/14/09

Stross's disorganized fifth Merchant Princes story (after 2007's The Merchants' War) continues the adventures of hapless Boston journalist Miriam Beckstein. Newly free of political imprisonment, pregnant and on the lam, she finds herself at the center of a desperate power grab as political instability rocks the mafia-like Clan Corporate, who are magically able to cross between parallel worlds. When world-walkers steal nukes from a U.S. installation, it's a race against time to find out who has them, and why, before they can be deployed. The U.S. is also close to discovering a technological method of world-walking, rendering the clan both vulnerable and obsolete. Stross pays heartfelt homage to Roger Zelazny and Lois McMaster Bujold, but with too many characters and too little focus, this novel fails to match their achievements.

Vaughan, Elizabeth
White Star
04/07/09

In Palins, a land in the throes of upheaval, Lady High Priestess Evelyn leads a rebellion against an unjust usurper. But when she is taken prisoner by Orrin Blackhart, their clashing souls will be forged in desire, redemption, and glory.



SCIENCE FICTION


April is another good month for sci-fi, but more for re-releases than new titles. The books I've picked out for this month are mostly from the former but are still some essential reading. Shamed as I am to admit it, I've not read as many of the classics as I'd like to have done - something that I'll have to fix!
Shadow of the Scorpion
by Neal Asher
Pan Macmillan, April 3rd

This was released last year by Night Shade Books in the US and is now out from Neal's UK publisher. Looking at the early life of one of his most prominent characters to date, Agent Ian Cormac, who is the main protagonist in his Gridlinked sequence of five books. I read this earlier in the year and have nothing but praise for it - Neal has delivered a book that is a great jumping on point for those new to his work and something that can be thoroughly enjoyed by his fans.

Zima Blue and Other Stories
by Alastair Reynolds
Gollancz, April 30th

In my book there are few better than Alastair Reynolds at writing gripping, detailed and downright unputdownable short stories. What I think works even better in this collection is that it isn't tied down to his Revelation Space universe and his imagination has run more freely because of it. This was also released previously by Night Shade Books and I read that version on release, but this is excellent stuff that is a must read.

The Grand Conjunction
by Sean Williams
ACE, April 28th

This is the third novel in Sean Williams' Astropolis trilogy, and I'm looking forward to see how he brings together the sequence to a conclusion. There was so much promise in Saturn Returns that didn't quite get followed through enough in Earth Ascendant, but this one has the foundation to finish on a high - here's hoping it's as good as it deserves to be!

Gollancz's Totally Space Opera Series:
(Tau Zero, Eternal Light, Last and First Men, The Centauri Device, Ringworld, Eon, Ilium, Rendezvous with Rama, Century Rain, Stone)
Gollancz, April 2nd

Here's the big one for the month, no less than 10 sci-fi novels that deserve to be read. I've not read all of them and I'll be taking this opportunity to buy them when I can. Of those that I have read (Eon, Ilium, Rendezvous with Rama and Century Rain) I can whole heartedly recommend them and can say that there are a few on there that have been on my list for a while and will now finally get a chance to gather dust on my shelf!
For a comprehensive review of April science fiction releases visit me at Walker of Worlds.