This week is made up entirely of review copies with a large helping from Tor, but plenty of others are representing as well.
The Ragged Man by Tom Lloyd - I'm still woefully behind on Lloyd's Twilight Reign series. This might be one of those series I wait until all books are published before finishing up. I'd put up the blurb but it has a big spoiler right in it if you aren't caught up on the series.
The Best of Kim Stanley Robinson - This is a large retrospective of Robinson's short work, which includes some stories from his Red Mar series. I'll definitely be dipping in and out of this in the near future.
Before I Wake
The Lucky Strike
A Sensitive Dependence on Initial Conditions
Arthur Sternbach Brings The Curveball To Mars
The Blind Geometer
Escape from Kathmandu
Vinland the Dream
"A History of the Twentieth Century, with Illustrations"
Muir On Shasta
Prometheus Unbound, At Last
The Timpanist of the Berlin Philharmonic, 1942 *
Afterword by Kim Stanley Robinson
* Original to this collection
The Loving Dead by Amelia Beamer - This is Beamer's debut and from what I've heard so far it is well worth checking out if you like comedic and zombie reads. As if the quote from Christopher Moore wasn't enough it is enough for me to want to give it a read.
Kate and Michael are roommates living in the Oakland hills, working at the same Trader Joes supermarket. A night of drunken revelry changes their lives forever, but not in the way that anyone would expect. A slow-spreading plague of zombie-ism breaks out at their house party, spreading amongst their circle of friends, and simultaneously through the Bay Area. This zombie plague - an STD of sorts - is spread through sex and kissing, turning its victims into mindless, horny, voracious killers. Thrust into extremes by this slow- motion tragedy, Kate and Michael are forced to confront the choices they've made in their lives, and their fears of commitment, while trying to stay alive and reunite in the one place in the Bay Area that's likely to be safe and secure from the zombie hoards: Alcatraz.
Black Swan Rising by Lee Carroll - Really splendid finished cover on this one. I wasn't sure looking at the art online, but this is one of those more impressive printing jobs with a nice matte/gloss finish. I do plan on checking out this start to a new Urban Fantasy series as I need a fix from time-to-time.
When New York City jewelry designer Garet James stumbles into a strange antiques shop in her neighborhood, her life is about to be turned upside down. John Dee, the enigmatic shopkeeper, commissions her to open a vintage silver box for a generous sum of money. Oddly, the symbol of a swan on the box exactly matches the ring given to her by her deceased mother. Garet can’t believe her luck and this eerie coincidence until she opens the box and otherworldly things start happening.
That evening, the precious silver box is stolen. When Garet begins to investigate, she learns that she has been pulled into a prophecy that is hundreds of years old, and opening the box has unleashed an evil force onto the streets of Manhattan and the world at large. Gradually, Garet pieces together her true identity—one that her deceased mother desperately tried to protect her from. Generations of women in Garet’s family, including her beloved mother, suffered and died at the hands of this prevailing evil. Does Garet possess the power to reclaim the box and defeat this devastating force?
On her journey, she will meet the fey folk who walk unnoticed among humans and a sexy vampire who also happens to be a hedge fund manager that she can’t stop thinking about. But the fairies reveal a desire to overpower mere humans and the seductive vampire has the power to steal the life from her body. Whom can Garet trust to guide her? Using her newfound powers and sharp wit, Garet will muster everything she’s got to shut down the evil taking over her friends, family, New York City, and the world.
The Questing Road by Lyn McConchie - I'm not really a fan of this cover. A cat on a cover usually turns me off, but there is something about the synopsis that draws me in.
With the spirit and excitement that have thrilled readers for more than two decades, Lyn McConchie has crafted a totally original fantasy of two lands in deadly conflict.
Acolytes to a dark god have crossed the gulf between worlds to abduct an innocent tariling, not even a year old, dooming it to become a sacrifice in a ceremony that will unleash an army of supernatural creatures upon an unsuspecting kingdom.
Yoros and Kyrryl know that this is no mere animal, but to its own (felinoid) kind is a cherished child. With their warrior niece, Ashara, they follow its trail through a dimensional gate, little realizing their simple quest will become a desperate fight for survival in the middle of an all-out war. They can't know of the atrocities that decimated the plains tribes of the strange world beyond the gate. Nor can they know of the massive revenge that threatens an entire civilization. If they are to save themselves and their lost tariling, they must follow its magic through the unknown terrors of a bizarre world of alien creatures and mortal perils beyond their wildest imagining.
With the apocalyptic ceremony looming ever nearer, the trio of seekers find others who may help them -- or whose treachery could spell doom for them all. As mortal and supernatural armies mass and secret pacts reveal ancient evils, only one thing is certain: death follows their road, and their only hope is to cheat the gods that seem to curse them...
Hawkmoon: The Sword of the Dawn by Michael Moorcock - This is the third volume of Moorcock's other well known Sword & Sorcery hero. I've been meaning to try Hawkmoon out for years so now I have the chance.
In Michael Moorcock’s vast and imaginative multiverse, Law and Chaos wage war in a never-ending struggling over the fundamental rules of existence. Here in this universe, Dorian Hawkmoon traverses a world of antique cities, scientific sorcery, and crystalline machines as he pulled unwillingly into a war that pits him against the ruthless and dominating armies of Granbretan.
In The Sword of the Dawn, Dorian Hawkmoon’s quest to destroy the Dark Empire of Granbretan leads him onto the path of a man who possess a rare ring that allows men to travel through time. Hawkmoon uses this ring to travel to a far future New Orleans, where he must battle the Pirate Lords who possess the Great Sword of the Dawn, which can end the Dark Empire once and for all.
Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal - My wife has already read Kowal's debut and she had quite a few nice things to say. I'm grinding her down on doing her second review here.
Shades of Milk and Honey is exactly what we could expect from Jane Austen if she had been a fantasy writer: Pride and Prejudice meets Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell. It is an intimate portrait of a woman, Jane, and her quest for love in a world where the manipulation of glamour is considered an essential skill for a lady of quality.
Jane and her sister Melody vie for the attentions of eligible men, and while Jane’s skill with glamour is remarkable, it is her sister who is fair of face. When Jane realizes that one of Melody’s suitors is set on taking advantage of her sister for the sake of her dowry, she pushes her skills to the limit of what her body can withstand in order to set things right—and, in the process, accidentally wanders into a love story of her own.
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