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Peter Higgins, author of Wolfhound Century

Myke Cole, author of Shadow Ops Series

John Brown John, translator of the Zamonia Novels

Jim C. Hines author of Libriomancer

Nick Harkaway author of Angelmaker (review here)

Martha Wells author of The Cloud Roads

David Tallerman author of Giant Thief

Mazarkis Williams author of The Emperor's Knife

Rob Ziegler author of Seed

Steven Gould author of 7th Sigma

Douglas Hulick author of Among Thieves (review here)

Mark Charan Newton author of Nights of Villjamur (review here)

Kameron Hurley author of God's War (review here)

Brent Weeks author of The Black Prism (review here)

Anthony Huso author of The Last Page (review here)

Brandon Sanderson author of The Way of Kings (review here)

Lou Anders Editor of Pyr Books

Ian Tregillis author of Bitter Seeds (review here)

Sam Sykes author of Tome of the Undergates (review here)

Benjamin Parzybok author of Couch (review here)

Kristine Kathryn Rusch author of Diving Into the Wreck (review here)

Ken Scholes author of Lamentation

Cherie Priest author of Boneshaker (review here)

Lev Grossman author of The Magicians (review here)

Character Interviews

Alexia and Lord Maccon from Gail Carriger's Soulless

Lord Akeldama from Gail Carriger's Soulless

Eva Forge from Tim Akers's The Horns of Ruin

Atticus from Kevin Hearne's Hounded


The Daylight War by Peter V. Brett

A Memory of Light by Robert Jordan & Brandon Sanderson

Scoundrels by Timothy Zahn

Cold Days by Jim Butcher

Year Zero by Rob Reid

Alif: The Unseen by G. Willow Wilson

Scourge of the Betrayer by Jeff Salyards

Redshirts by John Scalzi

Control Point by Myke Cole

Angelmaker by Nick Harkaway
My BlogCatalog BlogRank Wikio - Top Blogs - Literature

Cover Unveiled for The Prisoner of Heaven by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Behold the cover for Zafon's The Prisoner of Heaven. As with many of Zafon's covers we can't escape an  ornate street light. Somehow that has become the symbol of Gothic Barcelona. But what is with the duck head at the top?

The Prisoner of Heaven is the third book in Carlos Ruiz Zafon's mosaic series that started with The Shadow of the Wind, followed by The Angel's Game. Shadow is one of my favorite books and while The Angel's Game doesn't hit nearly as a high mark it isn't too shabby either.  With The Prisoner of Heaven we're going back to spend more time with Sempere and Sons and what looks to be an extended visit to The Cemetery of Forgotten Books compared to the first two novels. Both these reasons have stuck a grin on my face every time I think about this book. Here's the blurb:
The Prisoner of Heaven returns to the world of The Cemetery of Forgotten Books and the Sempere & Sons bookshop, where Daniel, and his old friend Fermín Romero de Torres, are tending shop. Daniel is now married with a son, and Fermín is soon to follow. Both men lead relatively happy and quiet lives. Enter an enigmatic visitor--a grim old man with a piercing gaze--who inquires about Fermín’s whereabouts. When told he is not in, the old man proceeds to buy the most expensive item in the store, a first edition of The Count of Monte Cristo, adds a dedication and leaves it as a present for Fermín. When Daniel reveals the details of this unsettling encounter to his friend, Fermín reads the dedication, turns pale, and at Daniel’s insistence, decides to open up about a past that has come back to haunt him…a story that will leave Daniel questioning his very existence.
The Prisoner of Heaven will be released June 19th (just in time for my birthday) from Harper.

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Recommendations | Non-European Fantasy by Women

Fantasy by Women Who Broke Away from Europe
A List Complied by Martha Wells

This is a sampler list of fantasy novels and short story collections with non-European settings, or secondary fantasy worlds drawn from non-European influences, all by women writers.

Non-European fantasy can be hard to find, so this is meant to be a resource for readers and a way to focus on older or less well-known books by women writers. Hopefully at some point it can be expanded and annotated.

This list was compiled in a couple of days from my bookshelves and from recommendations, so I know there are many more authors and books that should be included. If you know of any fantasy novels that should be added, especially books published in languages other than English, please leave them in the comments. (Remember, the list is focusing on fantasy by women writers; there were some great books suggested but they were left off the list because they were categorized as science fiction.)

The main two things I was trying to avoid (at least for now) were 1) fantasies where European-type characters traveled to non-European settings (for example, Naomi Novik's Temeraire books) and 2) books primarily set in the US, even if they use a fantasy element from another source (like Tananarive Due's books). I did include a book by Judith Berman set in North America, but it has all Native American characters, is set before Europeans arrived, and a book by Sharon Shinn which is set mostly in an alt universe where China colonized North America.

Thanks to Kate Elliott, N.K. Jemisin, Kari Sperring, and Judith Tarr for suggestions and encouragement, and thanks to all the people who made suggestions on Twitter. Thanks to Marie Brennan for many additions from her similar list here. And thanks to the Mad Hatter Review.

At the moment, there are 96 97  100 102  106 writers on the list.

Lynn Abbey
Daughter of the Bright Moon

Alma Alexander
Secrets of Jin-Shei, Embers of Heaven

Elizabeth Bear
Range of Ghosts

Carol Berg

Judith Berman
Bear Daughter

Beth Bernobich
Fox and Phoenix

Clare Bell
The Jaguar Princess

Hilari Bell
Farsala Trilogy

Aliette de Bodard
Servant of the Underworld, Harbinger of the Storm, Master of the House of Darts

Alice Borchardt
The Silver Wolf

Gillian Bradshaw
The Horses of Heaven

Marie Brennan
Warrior, Witch

Octavia Butler
Wild Seed

Lillian Stewart Carl
Wings of Power

Rae Carson
The Girl of Fire and Thorns

Kylie Chan
White Tiger, Red Phoenix, Blue Dragon

Joy Chant
Red Moon, Black Mountain
The Grey Mane of Morning

C.J. Cherryh
Rusalka, Chernevog, Yvgenie
The Paladin

M. Lucie Chin
The Fairy of Ku-She

Catherine Cooke
Winged Assassin Trilogy

Juanita Coulson
The Web of Wizardry, The Death God's Citadel

Leah Cutter
The Jaguar and the Wolf
Paper Mage
The Caves of Buda

Kara Dalkey
Goa, Biajipur, Bhagavati
Little Sister
The Heavenward Path
The Nightingale

Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
The Brotherhood of the Conch series
The Palace of Illusions

Sara Douglass

Amanda Downum
The Drowning City, The Bone Palace

Doris Egan
Gate of Ivory

Kate Elliott
Crossroads Trilogy
Cold Fire

Jennifer Fallon
Lion of Senet, Eye of the Labyrinth, Lord of the Shadows

Nancy Farmer
The Ear, the Eye, and the Arm
The House of the Scorpion

Catherine Fisher
The Oracle Betrayed
The Sphere of Secrets
The Scarab

Susan Fletcher
Alphabet of Dreams

Eugie Foster
Returning My Sister's Face and Other Far Eastern Tales of Whimsy and Malice (short story collection)

Esther Friesner
Nobody's Princess, Nobody's Prize
Wishing Season
Sphinx's Princess, Sphinx's Queen
Child of the Eagle

Jane Gaskell
The Serpent, Atlan, The City, Some Summer Lands

Pauline Gedge
The Scroll of Saqqara

Heather Gladney
Teot's War

Lisa Goldstein
The Red Magician

Allison Goodman
Eon: Dragoneye Reborn

Angelica Gorodischer
Kalpa Imperial

Hiromi Goto
Half World

Jo Graham
Black Ships
The Hand of Isis

Kathryn Grant
The Phoenix Bells
The Black Pearl Road
The Willow Garden

Kerry Greenwood

Shannon Hale
Book of a Thousand Days

Barbara Hambly
Sisters of the Raven, Circle of the Moon

Anne Harris
Inventing Memory

Lian Hearn
Across the Nightingale Floor, Grass for His Pillow, Brilliance of the Moon, The Harsh Cry of the Heron, and Heaven's Net is Wide

P.C. Hodgell

Nalo Hopkinson
The Salt Roads
The New Moon's Arms
Skin Folk (short story collection)

N.K. Jemisin
The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, The Broken Kingdoms, The Kingdom of the Gods
The Killing Moon, The Shadowed Sun

K. V. Johansen

Alaya Dawn Johnson
Racing the Dark, The Burning City

Kij Johnson
The Fox Woman, Fudoki

Sylvia Kelso

Lee Killough
The Leopard's Daughter

Patrice Kindl
Lost in the Labyrinth

Naomi Kritzer
Freedom's Gate, Freedom's Apprentice, Freedom's Sisters

Glenda Larke
Watergivers trilogy
The Mirage Makers trilogy
The Isles of Glory trilogy

Ursula LeGuin
Earthsea Books

Tanith Lee
Tamastara (short story collection)
Night's Master
Death's Master
Delirium's Mistress
Night's Sorceries
A Heroine of the World

Grace Lin
Where the Mountain Meets the Moon

Malinda Lo

Karen Lord
Redemption in Indigo

Nathalie Mallet
The Princes of the Golden Cage, The King's Daughters

Zoe Marriott
Shadows on the Moon

Ardath Mayhar
The Seekers of Shar-Nuhn
How the Gods Wove in Kyrannon

Carole McDonnell
Wind Follower

Juliet E. McKenna
Aldebreshin Compass series

Antonia Michaelis
Tiger Moon

Karen Miller
Godspeaker Trilogy

Sasha Miller

Miyuki Miyabe
The Book of Heroes
Ico: Castle in the Sky

Donna Jo Napoli

Andre Norton
Wraiths of Time
Shadow Hawk
Dragon Magic
Empire of the Eagle (co-written with Susan Shwartz)
Imperial Lady: A Fantasy of Han China (co-written with Susan Shwartz)

Noriko Ogiwara
Dragon Sword and Wind Child

Nnedi Okorafor
Zahrah the Windseeker
Akata Witch
Who Fears Death

Fuyumi Ono
The Twelve Kingdoms

Holly Phillips
The Engine's Child

Cindy Pon
Silver Phoenix, Fury of the Phoenix

Jessica Amanda Salmonsen
Tomoe Gozen, Thousand Shrine Warrior, The Golden Naginata

Fay Sampson
Star Dancer

Marella Sands
Sky Knife
Serpent and Storm

Courtney Schafer
The Whitefire Crossing

Susan Shwartz
Heirs to Byzantium Trilogy
The Grail Of Hearts
Silk Roads and Shadows
Arabesques I and II, editor
Empire of the Eagle (co-written with Andre Norton)
Imperial Lady: A Fantasy of Han China (co-written with Andre Norton)

Carol Severance
Demon Drums, Storm Caller, Sorcerous Sea

Nisi Shawl
Filter House (story collection)

Josepha Sherman
The Horse of Flame
The Shining Falcon

Sharon Shinn
General Winston's Daughter

Kari Sperring
The Grass King's Concubine

Nancy Springer
The White Hart, The Silver Sun, The Sable Moon

Suzanne Fisher Staples
Shiva's Fire

Judith Tarr
Alamut, The Dagger and the Cross
A Wind in Cairo
The Hall of the Mountain King, The Lady of Han-Gilen, A Fall of Princes
Arrows of the Sun, Spear of Heaven, Tides of Darkness
Lord of the Two Lands
Pillar of Fire
King and Goddess
Throne of Isis
The Shepherd Kings
White Mare's Daughter, Lady of Horses, Daughter of Lir
The Golden Horn

Sheree R. Thomas, editor
Dark Matter: Reading the Bones, Speculative Fiction from the African Diaspora

Heather Tomlinson
Toads & Diamonds

Nahoko Uehashi
Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit, Moribito II: Guardian of the Dark

Catherynne Valente
The Grass-Cutting Sword

Mary Victoria
Tymon's Flight

Martha Wells
City of Bones
Wheel of the Infinite
The Cloud Roads, The Serpent Sea

Elizabeth E. Wein
A Coalition of Lions
The Sunbird
The Lion Hunter
The Empty Kingdom

Michelle West
The Sun Sword series

Leona Wisoker
Secrets of the Sands

Carol Wilkinson
Dragon Keeper

Cherry Wilder
A Princess of Chameln, Yorath the Wolf, The Summer King

Liz Williams
Snake Agent, The Demon and the City, Precious Dragon, The Shadow Pavillion, The Iron Khan

Sarah Zettel
Sword of the Deceiver


Many thanks to Martha Wells for compiling this huge list. Again please chime in the comments with any other recommendations that fit with this list.

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INTERVIEW | Karen Miller author of The Prodigal Mage
INTERVIEW | Martha Wells author of The Cloud Roads

Mad Hatter's Reading Log - February

In my long road of getting this blog up-to-date here is what I in February. Many of these were read on a short vacation to New Orleans and a work trip to the West Coast.

11.  The Sugar Frosted Nutsack by Mark Leyner - This book made my head hurt. A lot. It will go down in history as the most self-referential and recursive book ever. It is an absurd story, with what little actual story there is, but if you like bizarre, gonzo, or just plain odd fiction you've found your messiah in Leyner's Nutsack. Although a lot of people will find the book utter nonsense, which I don't think Leyner would mind as he skewers mythology, worship, and gravy.
12.  The Waters of Eternity by Howard Andrew Jones - This short e-only collection is comprised of a half dozen previously published stories starring Dabir and Asim from The Desert of Souls [reviewed here]. Some are stories referenced in the novel fill-in some nice gaps, while others are long after the events of the novel showing this is a duo who will have many adventures. If you're at all on the fence about this Sword & Sorcery series try out this little collection. The title story was the most entertaining and had a very nice twist on the fountain of youth. Recommended. I'm eagerly awaiting the next Dabir and Asim novel The Bones of the Old Ones coming this December.
13.  Royal Street by Suzanne Johnson - The Paranormal and New Orleans clash in this very satisfying Urban Fantasy debut. There are plenty of UF cliches, but the setting is done quite well and I did fall for fledgling wizard DJ more than a little. It probably didn't hurt that I read it while on a trip to New Orleans either. This could certainly be the start to a strong series. Recommended. I'm definitely going to check out the sequel River Road in a few months.

14.  Ragnarok: The End of Gods by A.S. Byatt - A retelling of the Norse myths framed through the lens of young girl in WWII. This is the most faithful adaptation I've read of Ragnarok. Byatt has done a wonderful job retelling and not reinterpreting or modernizing version of the Norse Gods and Ragnarok. Its very faithful yet approachable. Highly recommended.
15.  Arctic Rising by Tobias Buckell - Buckell envisions a very realistic future in which the north pole has become a nation on to itself as temperatures and water levels rise. Highly recommended. Review hopefully to come.
16.  Fated by Benedict Jacka - Another Urban Fantasy debut. This one fits in almost too perfectly in the Dresden Universe, which made it standout a little less. There is even a nod to Dresden early on. The pacing and tension were the saving graces. Jacka does a good job at dangling the mysteries out quite well. I'll hold a recommendation until I've read another volume, but if you're a UF addict take a dip in to test the waters.

17.  The Serpent Sea by Martha Wells - This is the sequel to The Cloud Roads. Wells again surprised me by broadening an already rich world. Highly recommended. This is a series not to be missed by any Fantasy fan.
18.  The Drowning Girl by Caitlin R.Kiernan - Imelda (or Imp to her few friends), an unreliable narrator tells 3 stories about her life. Some are true. Some are mostly true. And some are lies. But she isn't sure which are which. This is a story that messes with your head in beautiful  way. Highly recommended.
19.  After the Fall, Before the Fall, During the Fall by Nancy Kress - A story told from 3 different points in time. One of the strands doesn't even have any characters while in another people are trapped in a giant shell. Sounds a bit odd, right? But this mix of time travel, first contact, and survival works well together with believable characters and an even if you see it coming wouldn't be any less effective for it.. Recommended.

20.  Forerunner by Andre Norton - As far as I can remember this is my first Norton novel despite her very long career. Taking place on an alien world the story comes off as more a Fantasy then Science Fiction. Told in a simple yet evocative style, it reminded me of the style Wells employs with with The Cloud Roads . Highly recommended. This won't be my last Norton, that's for sure.
21.  A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs - A brush-up before the movie was needed. Overall, it was a good, action filled time, but certain negative aspect seem more opaque then ever. Recommended if you're in the mood for a classic Sword and Planet adventure. And for god sake read this and not the novelization of the movie!
22.  Heartless by Gail Carriger - Relationships are the key to this Steampunk series, which has remained on a even level ever since the start with Soulless. And this is the penultimate volume to the series and it is nearly  time for the finale.The series is as witty and charming as its main characters. Recommend, especially if you're in the mood for something light.

Overall, February was one of the strongest months of reading I've had in sometime. 7 out of 12 reads were by women, which is probably higher than average for me in any given month. I think variety was the key. I didn't try to read anything based off publication time frames, but more about what I was excited by or what I've been meaning to read for awhile. And it had a little of everything from Classic Genre (A Princess of Mars, Forerunner) to some that will become classics of the genre (The Drowning Girl, The Serpent Sea).

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Cover Unveiled for Charles Yu's Sorry Please Thank You: Stories

Charles Yu's fiction always seems to draw austere, clean designs and his publishers just may have met the limits of what that can mean for his second short story collection Sorry Please Thank You: Stories. The question is have they taken that idea too far? For me the answer is yes, as if it didn't have Yu's name on it I would gloss over it on the shelf at a bookstore. There is just nothing about it that gives me an urge to pick it up otherwise. I was introduced to Yu by finding his first collection Third Class Superhero [seen at the bottom] in a store while traveling and the cover sold me right away. It was colorful and perfect to convey the odd and funny stories it contained. While this one just seems overly dry. Here's the official blurb for Sorry Please Thank You: Stories:
A big-box store employee is confronted by a zombie during the graveyard shift, a problem that pales in comparison to his inability to ask a coworker out on a date . . . A fighter leads his band of virtual warriors, thieves, and wizards across a deadly computer-generated landscape . . . A company outsources grief for profit, their tagline: "Don't feel like having a bad day? Let someone else have it for you." Drawing from both pop culture and science, Charles Yu is a brilliant observer of contemporary society, filling his stories with equal parts laugh-out-loud humor and piercing insight into the human condition. He has already garnered comparisons to such masters as Kurt Vonnegut and Douglas Adams, and in Sorry Please Thank You, we have resounding proof of a major new voice in American fiction
Doesn't all of that sound a bit more colorful? Sorry Please Thank You: Stories will be out July 24th.

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Update on Cold Days by Jim Butcher

One of the most searched terms that lands people here are Dresden Files queries and the Cold Days search is getting ever more popular. My Dresden Files Has Jumped the Shark post has gotten so crazy I shut down the comments as I was just tired of being the place where people went to argue about it. I stand by that post and still feel very much the same way. I've discussed the story with a lot of other people in person and I'm not the only one who feels the same. Don't get me wrong some of my friends loved it too. But I digress...

Anyway, this was supposed to be an update on Cold Days. Well, there is no firm update. Butcher started writing the book in earnest around the beginning of the year after finishing a trio of Bigfoot/Dresden short stories. So it is coming, but being a 2012 release is pretty out the door. I tweeted back and forth with Jim's US editor briefly and she said it has not been decided/announced yet. There is a 2013 listing for Cold Days on Amazon UK with a January 2013 release, but I wouldn't set that in stone until Jim says so. January is probably the hope, but we'll see.

Jim has said that he is also working on a pitch for a Steampunk novel, which seems likely to be his next project after Cold Days. Those hoping he would do a run of a couple Dresden books in a row will have to be disappointed. Butcher mentioned many times he needs to take a breather from that world every other book. Before the Alera books did this. I was mostly hoping for his Sci-Fi cop series United System Marshalls to be the next, but I certainly wouldn't turn a Steampunk read down.

And for all those fans that can't wait for the next Dresden files I point you towards Kevin Hearne's Hounded, Benedict Jacka's Fated, and Seanan McGuire's Rosemary and Rue. Those series should definitely tide you over.

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VIDEO | SNL Does Game of Thrones

(via SFSignal)

I saw this live and laughed my ass off. I searched all over Sunday and yesterday for this clip, but apparently there are rights issues so check it out while it is still up. Enjoy!

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New Procurements

Lots of lovelies have shown-up recently and I can hardly decide where to begin. At the beginning I guess.

First up is Before I Got to Sleep by S .J. Watson, which was very well lauded last year, which I picked-up used. That shiny blue number is Christopher Moore's Sacre Bleu, which is a work of book art, printed in 2 colors for the text, but also containing a few 4-color paintings related to the text. The story takes place in 19th century France and includes many well known artists as characters. It seems like more of a Tom Robbins book then the zany Moore I usually look forward to, but I'm more than willing to give it a chance. Next is Broken Universe by Paul Melko, which is the sequel to The Walls of the Universe. I've been awaiting this release for a few years as there were some big mysteries left open. I bought the graphic novel Elephantmen by Richard Starkings after a mention over at SFSignal.

Three A.M. by Steven John looks to a Dystopian story in the Noir vein in which a city and its inhabitants are trapped in a thick fog along with a plague. I've been on a Dystopian kick lately as I just finished Brian Evenson's Immobility, but I need a breather before going into another. The next couple are two of my highly anticipated sequels for the year. I've gone on about the troubles Ian Tregillis has seen in getting The Coldest War to the public, so this is going high on the list. Beaulieu's The Straits of Galahesh is so tempting I've already started it. Definitely great so far and fans of behemoth Fantasy need to dive into the series before it looks too daunting on the shelf. At the bottom is Carol Wolf's debut Summoning and another debut Faustus Resurrectus by Thomas Morrissey. The latter sounds quite interesting and looks to be close to the Felix Castor books so I may take a dip-in to test the waters.

Pod by Stephen Wallenfels might be good for a quick Sci-Fi read in which mysterious orbs surround the world killing anyone who ventures outdoors and those in doors fight to survive. Land of Hope and Glory by Geoffrey Wilson is another debut about an alternative past in the mid-1800s in which steam technology and magic abound in The Indian Rebellion. I'll admit to buying this because of the awesome elephant on the cover. I also finally got around to buying a copy of The Left Hand of Darkness by LeGuin after many years of telling myself I would. I plan on getting to it sometime this year. That red number is the sure-to-be-instant-best-seller Amped by Daniel H. Wilson that I've mentioned before. Next are a trio of review copies from Subterranean Press. Zeuglodon by James P. Blaylock takes place in the same world as his The Digging Levithan. Noctuary by Thomas Ligotti is the latest in the definitive editions of his work. Lastly is the collection The Man Who Married a Cloud by Jonathan Carroll, who I must confess to only having read a few stray short stories before. I want to try them all out, but will probably start with Ligotti as I've never read this collection.

Ahhh, now just to find the time to read them all. Dreams, my bookish followers. Dreams.

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Mad Hatter's Reading Log - January

Ahh, a fresh year. Back to book 1. I've been very remiss in posting my log so expect the February list quite soon as well. And yes, I am trying to get back on to a regular review schedule. I'm in the process of selling my house. We have an offer and it looks to be closing in the next few weeks after which a sigh of relief will be head round the world.

1.  Faith by John Love - Full review here.
2.  Shadow Ops: Control Point by Myke Cole - After a false start I couldn't put this contemporaneity military fantasy down. Wizard/special ops FTW. A very character driven story with lots of flashy magic. Review to hopefully come soon.
3.  A Little Gold Book of Ghastly Stuff by Neil Gaiman - A fun little trip down Gaiman lane with a few early and rare stories, poems, and popular blog posts. The opening poem "Before You Read This" particularly set things off quite nicely. Also included is "Featherquest," his first published story, which shows how much he has grown and also how much Moorcock he read in his earlier years. Definitely recommend for hardcore fans, but already a little difficult to track down.
4.  Miss Tamara, The Reader by Zoran Zivkovic - A nice suite of stories all taking a different path relating to books. Some are quite strange while others are more mundane, but as a whole the collection shows the different facets of adulthood and turns into a very introspective read given the questions the author poses. What would you want the last book you read to be if you could choose? Highly recommended.

5.  Perfect Shadow by Brent Weeks - A must for Night Angel fans telling the origin story of Druzo Blint. The story itself is a little clunky towards the end, but rekindles the world quite nicely. Getting to see Momma K develop was actually more a joy though.
6.  The Thorn and the Blossom by Theodora Goss - A gorgeously designed flip book unlike you've ever seen. Really something to behold and the story matches the level of care of the packaging. It is a pair of stories told from opposite points of view in a budding romance in a very endearing fashion. Though it can be read first from either the man or woman's perspective I think it is best to go with the woman's. Highly recommended.
7.  Throne of the Crescent Moon by Saladin Ahmed - Sword & Sorcery done in a gritty style with a protagonist who is been there, killed that, and needs to retire. Reviewed here.
8.  Hitchers by Will McIntosh - A very different style and tone then McIntosh employed in his debut Soft Apocalypse [reviewed here] with a more offbeat quality. The story deals with comic strips, mass murder, and the return of spirits hitching a ride. Recommended.

9.  Stories for Nighttime and Some for The Day by Ben Loory - A delightful collection of new fables. It reminded me of Zivkovic only with a lot more humor. I'm eager to see what else Loory can do as this is one of the best collections I've read recently. Recommended.
10. Tale of Sand by Jim Henson and Jerry Juhl - Beautifully odd just like nearly everything Henson created early in his career. Archaia and the artist have done his legacy proud and given it a trippy feel. One would also think if this lost screenplay ever got produced while he was alive might have led him in an entirely different direction.
11. Dragon's Deal by Robert Asprin and Jody Lynn Nye - This is a DNF despite the fact I enjoyed the first two books in this UF series Dragons Wild and Dragons Luck. The series is set in New Orleans, a setting I generally love. I tried my best to get through it, but too much focus on card playing just dragged things down.  Part of the problem stems from the fact that Asprin passed away before the book was complete and Nye was working from an outline and some written sections. Oh, well.

Although this was a bit of a slow start to reading this year things are looking good for genre fiction if we're to judge by Saladin Ahmed, John Love, and Myke Cole's debuts. They each offer a different flavor. Ahmed with his action, Love with his psychological explorations, and Cole bringing a modern flare to Military Fantasy. You can't go wrong with any of them.

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