Monday, February 27, 2012

2012 Nebula Awards

The Forty-Seventh Nebula Awards Weekend will be held Thursday through Sunday, May 17 to May 20, 2012 at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City in Arlington, Virginia. The Nebula's are nominated and voted on by The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America each year.

Announced this past week, here are the nominees for the 2011 Nebula Awards (presented 2012), the nominees for the Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation, and the nominees for the Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy Book.

Of the novels I have Among Others in my TBR but unfortunately none of the others. For the YA category  I have read the Laini Taylor title and Ultraviolet. Nebula lists are always an excellent source for selecting sure fire good reads. Anyone have recommendations from the list?
Novel
  • Among Others, Jo Walton (Tor)
  • Embassytown, China Miéville (Macmillan UK; Del Rey; Subterranean Press)
  • Firebird, Jack McDevitt (Ace Books)
  • God’s War, Kameron Hurley (Night Shade Books)
  • Mechanique: A Tale of the Circus Tresaulti, Genevieve Valentine (Prime Books)
  • The Kingdom of Gods, N.K. Jemisin (Orbit US; Orbit UK)

Novella
Novelette
Short Story
Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation
  • Attack the Block, Joe Cornish (writer/director) (Optimum Releasing; Screen Gems)
  • Captain America: The First Avenger, Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely (writers), Joe Johnston (director) (Paramount)
  • Doctor Who: “The Doctor’s Wife,” Neil Gaiman (writer), Richard Clark (director) (BBC Wales)
  • Hugo, John Logan (writer), Martin Scorsese (director) (Paramount)
  • Midnight in Paris, Woody Allen (writer/director) (Sony)
  • Source Code, Ben Ripley (writer), Duncan Jones (director) (Summit)
  • The Adjustment Bureau, George Nolfi (writer/director) (Universal)
 Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy Book

 
Nebula Event Details:
 Connie Willis will be the Grand Master!

To register, click on “Registration” in the menu to the immediate left.  Then scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on the “Register” button.
Tours, workshops and panels are available for registered attendees (the number of people who can be accommodated on the tours and workshops is limited.)

Hour long interviews and readings will be recorded by Jim Freund for his Hour of the Wolf radio show broadcast on WBAI (99.5FM) in New York City.

Walter Jon Williams is the Toastmaster (Walter will also conduct a half-day Writers Workshop, emphasizing structure and plotting, on Friday morning.)  Mike Fincke is the Keynote Speaker.

The Mass Autographing Session on Friday, May 18th will be followed by a reception to honor the nominees and other honorees.

You don’t have to be a nominee, a member of SFWA, or even a writer to participate in the weekend. The cost for the Nebula Awards Banquet is $75.00 per person.  The cost to register is $50.00 for a SFWA Member and $60.00 for a non-SFWA Member until February 29, 2012. Rates for registration will be higher as the date of the event draws closer.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Popcorn Sofa | March Genre Movies

OK February was a pretty lackluster month for SFF and other genre movies.  So what's up for next month? Well the highlight of course is the big screen adaptation of the hugely popular YA SF novel The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. I am also hopeful for John Carter.

MARCH MOVIE PREVIEWS

March 9: John Carter is first out of the gate for March. Based on the Barsoom fantasy series of novels by Edgar Rice Burroughs written beginning in 1911, this is Pixar's first live action picture. Let's see if Pixar can bring its solid reputation and success from animation to live action. For those interested, you can download free ebook and audiobook versions of all of the books through Project Gutenburg and VoxLibris. Easy links for these are found at Wikipedia.



March 23: The Hunger Games is the first movie of a likely trilogy or more. Casting seems excellent and fingers are crossed for a hit.



March 30: Mirror, Mirror is a comedy fantasy based on the Snow White fable. Julia Roberts stars as the evil queen with an over-the-top portrayal reminiscent of Glenn Close as Cruella De Vil in 101 Dalmations.



March 30: Wrath of the Titans is classical fantasy starring Sam Worthington (Avatar).


Saturday, February 25, 2012

Book Bloggers & Publishers Online Conference | March 7-11

Are you a book blogger? Want to be a book blogger? Want to have some fun with the book blogging community? Then consider participating in the 2012 Book Bloggers and Publishers Online Conference. Lots to learn, good people and some free books to boot. There are dozens of interesting panels to choose from and many excellent professional guests and experienced bloggers. I've had the pleasure of being on panels in past years and also as a regular joe. Trust me it is a good time and well worth the registration fee.

Here is a summary of the agenda for the 5 days of events. For complete details click on the graphic or follow the links.

Wednesday – March 7th

12:00 pm EST  _________ Opening Announcements
12:30 pm EST  _________ Netgalley and Bloggers
01:30 pm EST  _________ Where Review Copies Come From
03:00 pm EST _________  Working with Groups of Self-published
                                                Authors
08:00 pm EST _________  Legal Issues Facing Bloggers
 

Thursday – March 8th

12:00 pm EST  _________ Opening Announcements
12:30 pm EST  _________ Working with Authors
02:00 pm EST _________  The Creative Process for Authors and
                                                Bloggers
03:30 pm EST _________  Category Romance
04:40 pm EST _________  GLBT in Publishing
06:00 pm EST _________  Publishing: The Options Available to
                                                Authors
08:00 pm EST _________  What Authors Look for in Reviews
09:00 pm EST _________  Authors as Reviewers
 

Friday – March 9th

10:30 am EST ________ Opening Announcements
11:00 am EST ________ Working with Large Publishers
12:30 pm EST ________ Working with Private PR Companies
02:00 pm EST ________ Publisher Expectations
03:00 pm EST ________ Genre Diversity – Look Outside your
                                             Comfort Zone
04:30 pm EST ________ Reviews: Publisher Input
05:30 pm EST ________ Sell yourself to Publishers/PR Companies /
                                             Authors as a Professional Blogger
07:30 pm EST ________ Creative Content: Stand Out
09:00 pm EST ________ Closing Discussion
 

Saturday – March 10th

11:00 am EST  _______ Morning Announcements
11:30 am EST  _______ Defining your Blog – Make it what you want
01:00 pm EST _______  Keeping Social Media Social – Kristen Lamb
02:30 pm EST _______  Young Adult Feature
05:00 pm EST _______  Content Discussion
06:00 pm EST _______  Review Guidelines
07:00 pm EST _______  To Review of Not to Review Self-Pub
08:30 pm EST _______  Negative Reviews: Fallout and Fears
 

Sunday – March 11th

Panels – Time Management – Online Organization Specialist – Writers Block: Creativity Coach

Covers: How Important are They? – Graphic Novels: Reading and Reviewing – Meet Your Local Book Store – Blogger Manifesto 2012
 

Confirmed Speakers:

Sue Grimshaw - Random House Publishing Group
Jennifer Bonnell - Penguin YA Editor
Lindsey Rudnickas – Netgalley
Kristen Lamb – WANA Consulting
Don Dauria - Samhain Publishing
Kate Lied – Bloomsbury Publishing
Ariel Tachna – Dreamspinner Press
Danielle Poiesz – Book Country
 


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Winner | A Perfect Blood by Kim Harrison

A winner has been selected using Randomizer.org to receive a copy of Kim Harrison's 10th Hollows novel - A Perfect Blood. And the winner is -

Na

Thank you to everyone that entered and took the time to pass the word around about the giveaway and of course special thanks to HarperCollins Canada for contributing the copy of A Perfect Blood.

Original contest details here.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Review (Urban Fantasy) | A Perfect Blood by Kim Harrison

BOOK DESCRIPTION:
Ritually murdered corpses are appearing across Cincinnati, terrifying amalgams of human and other. Pulled in to help investigate by the I.S. and the FIB, former witch turned day-walking demon Rachel Morgan soon realizes a horrifying truth: a human hate group is trying to create its own demons to destroy all Inderlanders, and to do so, it needs her blood.

She’s faced vampires, witches, werewolves, demons, and more, but humanity itself might be her toughest challenge yet.


MY VIEW:
Hard to believe that A Perfect Blood is the tenth book in The Hollows urban fantasy series and quickly approaching the end (according to the author 12 books with a possible 13th floater novel).

Everyone's favourite itchy witch is quickly in trouble again as she becomes involved in solving a series of gruesome murders perpetrated by HAPA, a human hate group whose attentions are directed at Inderlanders. And of course Rachel is suspected of nefarious involvement now that her status as a demon has been revealed. Events unfold with plenty of twists and turns. Rachel is hampered by her inability to draw on ley magic in order to shield her from Al and the Neverafters attentions. Challenges are many especially when Rachel uncovers a heretofore unknown covert agency run by the humans and aligned against the hate crimes but whose overall agenda she cannot guess. She finds herself in their cross-hairs to further complicate things.

A Perfect Blood is peppered with jaunty dialogue and humorous vignettes usually at Rachel's expense (a series of scenes where Rachel fails to renew her license at the DMV is very Monty-Pythonesque).  For example in the final showdown with the HAPA minions, Rachel (with Trent) has this exchange -
Plan A it was. Go in brash and come out bashed. "Hello Cordova, Eloy," I said refusing to to address her as doctor. "Nothing like good caffeine buzz before kidnapping and mutilating more people, eh?"
    "Well if it's not Daddy Warbucks and Little Orphan Annie." Eloy leaned his chair back on two legs, the picture of confidence and contempt.
Unlike the Pale Demon road trip novel which featured the full spectrum of Hollows characters, A Perfect Blood is mostly a Rachel novel. Along the way she forges new connections with Trent, discovers unplumbed courage to face her demon fears with Al and confronts her growing apartness from her friends as their lives expand and change. We can see over the course of the series that Rachel  has matured and A Perfect Blood reflects that by her outlook, she has indeed grown up. I suspect the final books will complete that journey.

A Perfect Blood is a solid and welcome entry in the The Hollows mythology. It doesn't resolve any of the really big overreaching story arc questions and that may disappoint some fans, but ultimately Rachel is the heart of the series and deservedly so. She shines in A Perfect Blood, easily carrying the mystery thriller on her shoulders.

The novel ends on an interesting note, a scene with Trent, Ceri, Rachel, Al and the two babies, Ray and Lucy with Lucy learning to walk. It presents some interesting foreshadowing -
   "Begone, demon," Ceri said, her expression holding fear as well as delight in Lucy's success.  "Your work here is done."
   Al smiled, the dim light making shadows where there should be none as he leaned toward Lucy  while she squealed in delight and tipped forward. Trent lunged , but it was too late, and Al calmly reached forward and caught her as if he'd been doing it all his life.
   "Done,? No," Al said as Trent snatched her back, but the damage had been wrought, and the girls were clearly not afraid of him. "I do believe it is just the beginning."
So when The Hollows wraps up will we have a spin-off series set in the future featuring a grown-up Ray and Lucy? Only time will tell. In the meantime enjoy A Perfect Blood.

Product Details:
  • ISBN-13: 9780061957895
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 2/21/2012
  • Pages: 448
  • Series: The Hollows #10
Gallery of Hollows Covers

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Popcorn Sofa

Another Sunday and a few genre movie trailers to mention and some forthcoming TV highlights.

The world has moved on and so have the Black Hats and other types of bad guys. Nazi's are old news or are they? Have a look at this ludicrous but totally entertaining trailer for Iron Sky, a reboot of the Nazi menace coming April 4. Looks like it has the same not too serious tone as Mars, Attacks!


As Buffy rolls her eyes and polishes her nails we have the trailer for the oh so serious Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter due to hit the silver screen June 22.


This may be old news for some but in late fall a couple of popular book series were picked up for development. Deadline Hollywood reports -
At the CW, Carol Mendelsohn Prods is behind Unearthly, a supernatural drama based on the book by Cynthia Hand and written by Hellcats creator Kevin Murphy, and The Hollows, based on the book series by Kim Harrison and penned by Jordan Hawley (Smallville).
Also debuting March 1 as a mid-season replacement is Awake, the story of a detective who has been in a car accident with his wife and son. He now wakes up one morning to a reality in which only his wife survived and the next day awakes to a reality in which only his son survived. He has different partners in each reality and different psychologists. A terrific cast and fascinating premise.





Saturday, February 18, 2012

Review (YA Science Fiction) - Cinder by Marissa Meyer

BOOK DESCRIPTION:
Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl. . . . 

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.

MY VIEW:

There seems to be a lot of coverage of this science fictional YA book and I too took the plunge to see what all the fuss was about. I read YA  because I find there is usually a directness and freshness to the characters and plot that I enjoy. That said, I also look to see that there is appeal to adult readers as well. Some YA is strictly aimed at the target audience, but more often good story telling is just that - good story telling, age irrelevant.

Unfortunately I found Cinder to be too unsophisticated for the adult pallete. While Cinder was a fully fleshed out character, most of the supporting cast were too limiting. I was particularly disappointed in the portrayal of Prince Kai, shown as an all-round good guy, moral and tolerant but severely lacking in political savvy given his position as heir to the emperor. I simply couldn't buy into that deficiency given the plot-line of the conspiring Lunarians.

The world-building suffered for me as well and I found it to be more science fantasy than science fiction, the story at heart still a fairy tale with only a gloss of reality. Things such as the mechanical nature of the cyborg attributes using wires and nuts and bolts belied any serious belief that the science in the fiction was anything more than a convenient wrapping.

Where the book is very successful is with Cinder herself, a very compelling character. There are a number of emotionally wrought scenes that are standouts. It is easy to identify and care about Cinder's future.

For me as an adult reader, Cinder is just too rough around the edges to garner the necessary suspension of disbelief required. The setting and twists on a familiar tale were insufficient for me to give this one a read recommendation.

Product Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780312641894
  • Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
  • Publication date: 1/3/2012
  • Pages: 400
  • Age range: YA
  • Series: Lunar Chronicles #1 

Event Reminders

Just a friendly reminder that guest author Susan Blexrud is giving away a copy of her paranormal time travel ebook Miami Mayan which is open until February 22.  Check out her post "I Am a Romance Author, Hear Me Roar!"

Also the giveaway for a copy of A Perfect Blood by Kim Harrison is still active until end of day on the 20th. Have you placed your entry? Post is here.


Thursday, February 16, 2012

Guest Author Susan Blexrud

Paranormal romance author Susan Blexrud pays us a return visit today to launch Miami Mayan, the second book in her Mayan time travel series. Time travel is one of my favourite SF tropes.

Susan has written a passionate essay that all genre writers should heed. Be proud of your genre. Shout it to the rafters. I've labeled Susan's untitled post "I Am a Romance Writer, Hear Me Roar" which only seems appropriate.

Readers with ereaders can also win a copy of Delora's Necklace, the first book in the series by answering Susan's challenge question below which is - If you could live in any period of history, what would you choose…and why?

Well to start things off, my choice would be renaissance Italy in the latter half of the 15th century because after all who wouldn't want an opportunity to meet Leonardo da Vinci.

Welcome Susan!


I Am a Romance Author, Hear Me Roar!
by Susan Blexrud

I don’t make New Year’s resolutions, but this year I’m promising myself that I will no longer use my writing as fodder for small talk.  It’s more important than that and deserves better.  I didn’t come up with those words of wisdom.  They were contained in a little book I received from one of my critique partners for Christmas.  The book is Inspiration and Motivation, a Writer’s little instruction book, by Paul Raymond Martin.  It’s a compilation of more than 300 snippets of wisdom from prominent authors and editors.

I’ve already highlighted and earmarked many pages in this little manual, but the words about using my writing as fodder for small talk really hit home.  You see, I write romance, and among my hoity-toity neighbors, what I do is kind of a joke.  They say things to me like, “Oh, here she comes, cover your necks.”  Ha, ha.  Yes, I frequently write about vampires.  In the past, I’ve chuckled demurely, and then quickly changed the subject, embarrassed to elaborate.  From now on, I’m going to say, “Yes, you’d better cover your neck.  I could drain you in about thirty seconds.”  

What I’d really like to tell the yahoos who think romance is the bottom rung of the literary ladder is that it’s extremely difficult to write believable romance.  My writing mentor, a multi-publisher romance author, once told me, “You have to be better than romance to write romance.”  She was so right.  What she said was not a slam to the romance industry.  On the contrary, it was the key to writing multi-layered fiction.  You have to study all genres to know that what sets romance apart is not the sex; it’s the love.  But it’s not la-de-dah love where the path to the protagonists’ happy-ever-after is paved with crème puffs.  No, no, no.  It’s the hard-won kind of love where internal and external conflict rule the day until the hero and heroine figure out a way to solve their problems and co-exist.  They may have to solve their internal conflicts individually, but it helps if they can come together to solve their external issues.  Do you think that’s easy, particularly to accomplish the resolution of conflict in a believable way?  And why should readers care?  Because you’ve created characters worth caring about.
I don’t typically have enough time in the context of a cocktail party to explain the essential elements of romance, and I don’t want to come across as sanctimonious.  But I’m not going to make excuses for writing romance anymore.  Romance fiction may be the largest genre in the publishing industry, but it’s also the most competitive.  It’s not the easy road to publication.  Romance writers have to be grammarians.  They have to slice, dice, and polish their stories to perfection before they dare submit.  They have to contend with editors who send them back to the computer time and time again to add scenes that enhance the conflict or delete whole sections that don’t contribute to the major dramatic question.

So, the next time someone asks me what I do, I’m not going to hem and haw about my previous day job.  I’m going to stand a bit taller, jut out my chin, and say, “I write romance fiction.”  And then, I’ll flash a bit of fang.

Today, the second book in my two-book Mayan time travel series debuts, and I’m excited to have my hero and heroine, Ashwan and Delora, back in the public eye.  At the end of the last book, Delora’s Necklace, they were thrust from 900 AD through the vortex of time travel, and as this new book, Miami Mayan, begins, they land with a whoosh and a plunk on Miami Beach…in 2011.  The modern world brings some shocking revelations, particularly for Ashwan, whose loincloth causes quite a stir among the Miami natives.  I did extensive research for this series to make my Mayan time period authentic.  It was a brutal civilization, but also highly advanced in mathematics and astronomy.

GIVEAWAY CHALLENGE 

Tell me, if you could live in any period of history, what would you choose…and why?  Leave a comment, and one randomly-selected commenter will win a download of the first book in my Mayan series, Delora’s Necklace

Many thanks!


Monday, February 13, 2012

Review (Science Fiction) | Boneyards by Kristine Kathryn Rusch

BOOK DESCRIPTION:
When multiple Hugo Award winner Kristine Kathryn Rusch decided to put her stamp on classic space opera, readers wanted more. Now Rusch’s popular character Boss returns in a whole new adventure, one that takes her far outside her comfort zone, to a sector of space she’s never seen before.

Searching for ancient technology to help her friends find answers to the mystery of their own past, Boss ventures into a place filled with evidence of an ancient space battle, one the Dignity Vessels lost.

Meanwhile, the Enterran Empire keeps accidentally killing its scientists in a quest for ancient stealth tech. Boss’s most difficult friend, Squishy, has had enough. She sneaks into the Empire and destroys its primary stealth tech research base. But an old lover thwarts her escape, and now Squishy needs Boss’s help.

Boss, who is a fugitive in the Empire.  Boss, who knows how to make a Dignity Vessel work. Boss, who knows that Dignity Vessels house the very technology that the Empire is searching for.

Should Boss take a Dignity Vessel to rescue Squishy and risk losing everything to the Empire? Or should Boss continue on her mission for her other friends and let Squishy suffer her own fate?

Filled with battles old and new, scientific dilemmas, and questions about the ethics of friendship, Boneyards looks at the influence of our past on our present and the risks we all take when we meddle in other people’s lives. 

Boneyards is space opera the way it was meant to be: exciting, fast moving, and filled with passion.


MY VIEW:
Boneyards is the third book in Hugo award-winning Kristine Kathryn Rusch's Diving Universe space opera series. I haven't had the opportunity to read the earlier installments but I didn't let that hold me back. The blurb above is pretty thorough but there are still some very interesting elements not mentioned in the chock full description.

Boss is a wreck diver, that is space wrecks. She has an unquenchable thirst for ancient history and tech knowledge. She has built a small tourism trade into a business giant. Along the way to success she rescued a ship and its crew which had been locked in stasis for over 5,000 years. They are all members of The Fleet which was an expansionist, technologically advanced human culture now lost in human memory. Its captain is now her lover and he and his crew are determined to find answers to what became of their culture. Boss uses her unique skills to assist them. Many have joined her company and all of their lives are intertwined. They seek out rumours and legends to locate lost planetary installations and star-bases in search of answers. They have to step carefully to remain unnoticed by the obligatory morally grey Empire that wants to acquire The Fleets special stardrive and tech.

While all of this is happening, a parallel story unfolds from the point of view of one of Boss' life-long friends Roselma (Squishy), who is almost fanatical about changing the course of the Empires stealth tech research. Most of what we learn about Squishy and her motivations is told through a clever series of flashbacks covering twenty odd years. However, the story never loses sight of the present action which is plentiful.

Needless to say the two stories converge with an explosive ending, some answers, more questions and  new choices and decisions leading to a dramatic new path for all concerned. Boneyards offers up the action, mystery and thrills that any science fiction reader expects of good space opera.  The novel can easily be read on its own merit but I suspect reading the series from the beginning would add an additional dimension to the tale. Recommended.

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781616145439
  • Publisher: Prometheus Books
  • Publication date: 1/24/2012
  • Pages: 340
  • Series: Diving Universe #3


Sunday, February 12, 2012

Game of Thrones Season 2 Teaser

Only a month or so to go until the return of Game of Thrones on April 1. Can't wait!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Giveaway | A Perfect Blood by Kim Harrison

We all have our favourite authors whose next novel we greedily anticipate. One of mine is Kim Harrison whose Rachel Morgan/Hollows series is a yardstick by which I measure all other urban fantasy.  A Perfect Blood, Kim's tenth book in the series releases in 10 days on February 21st. I love to share and courtesy of HarperCollins Canada, I have a copy of the book to giveaway to a lucky reader. I've had an ARC in my hands for awhile now and will have my review posted later next week. Fans will not be disappointed. To enter, fill out the form below and for a bonus entry tell me what Clint Eastwood movie A Perfect Blood is named for.
Ritually murdered corpses are appearing across Cincinnati, terrifying amalgams of human and other. Pulled in to help investigate by the I.S. and the FIB, former witch turned day-walking demon Rachel Morgan soon realizes a horrifying truth: a human hate group is trying to create its own demons to destroy all Inderlanders, and to do so, it needs her blood.

She’s faced vampires, witches, werewolves, demons, and more, but humanity itself might be her toughest challenge yet.



Harper Collins Canada on


Gallery of Hollows Covers


Cover Art - Kiss the Dead by Laurell K. Hamilton

Laurell K. Hamilton posted the cover to Kiss the Dead, the 21st Anita Blake book on her blog  a couple of days ago. And I love it. It doesn't scream urban fantasy but has a nice murder mystery flair to it. The novel releases June 5.

I keep hoping that Laurell's writing will return to its earlier polished and taught form, but then I noticed her recent blog article  on Sensuality and the Writer where she goes on for paragraphs about the minutiae of hair for a minor character. Whatever happened to the generally accepted philosophy of take care of the big picture and the small details will take of themselves? One can only hope.





Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Hunger Games - Trailer #2

Only a little over six weeks until Hunger Games is released (March 23).  Here is the recently released 2nd movie trailer for the picture. It looks stylish and true to the book. Is it going to be the next YA hit?

Monday, February 6, 2012

Review (Urban Fantasy) | Shadow City by Diana Pharaoh Francis

BOOK DESCRIPTION:
The world is falling apart. The magical apocalypse has come. Now is the time to guard the covenstead against both raiders and refugees. But Max has been stolen by a powerful demi-god who is determined to force her to find a way to use a magical power she never knew she had—even if it kills her. Meanwhile, back in Horngate, a Fury is birthing. When the creature breaks free of the fragile bonds that enclose her, her rage will scour the covenstead from the earth. 

Max finds herself in the Shadow City, a place of mysteries and magic, where she must battle for her freedom or become a slave to creatures of dreadful greed and power. Back in Horngate, Alexander must swallow his anger and pride if he hopes to defeat the Fury, a creature that no one has ever successfully fought before. 

In the end, it will be courage, friendship, faith and loyalty that win the day. Or else so one will live to see tomorrow.

MY VIEW:
Just recently released, Shadow City is the third book in the Horngate Witches urban fantasy series and continues its successful formula of non-stop action and appealing supernatural characters. As with many series novels, Shadow City keys off of events from the preceding book, Crimson City. Max has been dealt away by Giselle the head witch and she is now separated from her fellow Shadowblade and lover Alexander. This creates a gripping and pervasive tension throughout the book as each wonders if they will ever be reunited.

Suspense is added to this tension as both main characters are placed in significant peril. There are two stories being told; Alexander and the covenstead try to save themselves from the devastation of a birthing Fury and Max embarks on a seemingly suicidal quest with the demi-god in the fabled magical Shadow City. No matter how desperate the situation becomes, the camaraderie of the Horngate characters shines through creating an empathy and desire to know them. And of course to mourn their loss. The stakes have been raised in the series and you realize that anyone could be lost at any moment. The result - a much edgier urban fantasy than the genre usual.

The saying, "What doesn't kill you , makes you stronger" certainly applies to Shadow City with Alexander, Max and Giselle all emerging with personal epiphanies as well as changing relationships among the secondary players. Love, loyalty and the nature of friendship are constant themes.

On a world-building note, new and original supernatural creatures are introduced in both stories keeping things fresh and interesting. In some cases these new "characters" are here to stay and attach themselves to members of the Horngate family.

No particular cliff-hangers are introduced although there is some unfinished business and foreshadowing which I am sure will play out in future installments. If you are looking for high energy adventure in your urban fantasy with characters you can care about, then this is your ticket. The author has raised the bar on this series and I very much look forward to what is yet to come.

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781451613858
  • Publisher: Pocket Books
  • Publication date: 12/27/2011
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 384
  • Series: Horngate Witches #3

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Books Received

A couple of very interesting books received this week including Boneyards by Kristine Kathryn Rusch (PYR SF)  and The Dread by Gail Z. Martin (Hachette Book Group).  Boneyards is part of Kristine's Diving Universe series of space opera. The Dread is the second book in Martin's Fallen King's Cycle. I am currently catching up and reading Book 1 - The Sworn.

When multiple Hugo Award winner Kristine Kathryn Rusch decided to put her stamp on classic space opera, readers wanted more. Now Rusch’s popular character Boss returns in a whole new adventure, one that takes her far outside her comfort zone, to a sector of space she’s never seen before.

Searching for ancient technology to help her friends find answers to the mystery of their own past, Boss ventures into a place filled with evidence of an ancient space battle, one the Dignity Vessels lost.

Meanwhile, the Enterran Empire keeps accidentally killing its scientists in a quest for ancient stealth tech. Boss’s most difficult friend, Squishy, has had enough. She sneaks into the Empire and destroys its primary stealth tech research base. But an old lover thwarts her escape, and now Squishy needs Boss’s help.

Boss, who is a fugitive in the Empire.  Boss, who knows how to make a Dignity Vessel work. Boss, who knows that Dignity Vessels house the very technology that the Empire is searching for.

Should Boss take a Dignity Vessel to rescue Squishy and risk losing everything to the Empire? Or should Boss continue on her mission for her other friends and let Squishy suffer her own fate?

Filled with battles old and new, scientific dilemmas, and questions about the ethics of friendship, Boneyards looks at the influence of our past on our present and the risks we all take when we meddle in other people’s lives.

Boneyards
is space opera the way it was meant to be: exciting, fast moving, and filled with passion.


War has come to the Winter Kingdoms. The Dread will rise. Kings will fall.

Summoner-King Tris Drayke takes what remains of his army north for a war he is ill-prepared to fight, as reports from spies confirm Tris's worst fear. A new threat rises across the sea: a dark summoner who intends to make the most of the Winter Kingdoms's weakness.


In Isencroft, Kiara's father is assassinated and she will now have no choice except to return and claim the crown. But she must leave behind her husband and their infant son to face the dark power that threatens her rule.

THE DREAD is the epic conclusion to the Fallen Kings Cycle. 


Friday, February 3, 2012

Winner A&E DVD Giveaway

The winner of the two DVD set from Arts and Entertainment/History Channel as selected by Randomizer.org  is  #14 -

Connie Barnes

Thanks to A&E for the giveaway and all those that participated.