New Year, New Books… (Dec/Jan)


Featuring: Megan Abbott, Kate Atkinson, John Ayliff, Elizabeth Brundage, M.R. Carey, Mike Carey, Linda Carey, Louise Carey, John Connolly, A.M. Dellamonica, Tim Federle, Patrick Gale, Addison Gunn, Antonia Hayes, Jeff Mariotte, K.S. Merbeth, Maggie Mitchell, Sarah Pinborough, Jennifer Ridyard, Marsheila Rockwell, James Rollins, Lilith Saintcrow, Emily Schultz, Peter Tieryas



AbbottM-YouWillKnowMeUSMegan Abbott, YOU WILL KNOW ME (Little, Brown)

Katie and Eric Knox have dedicated their lives to their fifteen-year-old daughter Devon, a gymnastics prodigy and Olympic hopeful. But when a violent death rocks their close-knit gymnastics community just weeks before an all-important competition, everything the Knoxes have worked so hard for feels suddenly at risk. As rumors swirl among the other parents, revealing hidden plots and allegiances, Katie tries frantically to hold her family together while also finding herself drawn, irresistibly, to the crime itself, and the dark corners it threatens to illuminate.

A new novel by Megan Abbott is always of interest. A fantastic writer. Published by Little, Brown in the US in July 2016.

Review copy received via Edelweiss


AtkinsonK-2-GodInRuinsUKPBKate Atkinson, A GOD IN RUINS (Black Swan)

A God in Ruins relates the life of Teddy Todd – would-be poet, heroic World War II bomber pilot, husband, father, and grandfather – as he navigates the perils and progress of the 20th century. For all Teddy endures in battle, his greatest challenge will be to face living in a future he never expected to have.

This gripping, often deliriously funny yet emotionally devastating book looks at war – that great fall of Man from grace – and the effect it has, not only on those who live through it, but on the lives of the subsequent generations. It is also about the infinite magic of fiction.Those who loved the bestselling Life After Life will recognise Teddy as Ursula Todd’s adored younger brother – but for those who have not read it, A God in Ruins stands fully on its own. Few will dispute that it proves once again that Kate Atkinson is one of the most exceptional novelists of our age.

This need to read Atkinson’s Life After Life, but it’s very nice to have them both, now.

Review copy received from publisher


AyliffJ-BeltThreeJohn Ayliff, BELT THREE (Voyager)

Worldbreakers do not think, do not feel and cannot be stopped.

Captain Gabriel Reinhardt’s latest mining mission has been brought to a halt by the arrival of a Worldbreaker, one of the vast alien machines that destroyed Earth and its solar system long ago. As he and his crew flee they are kidnapped by a pirate to be mind-wiped and sold into slavery, a fate worse than death in this shattered universe.

But Captain Reinhardt is hiding a secret. The real Gabriel Reinhardt died six years ago, and in his place is Jonas, one of the millions of clones produced for menial labour by the last descendants of Earth.

Forced to aid the pirate Keldra’s obsessive campaign against the Worldbreakers in exchange for his life, Jonas discovers that humanity’s last hope might just be found in the very machines that have destroyed it.

On a bit of a sci-fi kick, so I picked this up. I don’t recall seeing anyone review it, or comment on it, so I should be able to come at it completely uninfluenced. Published by Voyager.


BrundageE-AllThingsCeaseToAppearUSElizabeth Brundage, ALL THINGS CEASE TO APPEAR (Knopf/Doubleday)

Late one winter afternoon in upstate New York, George Clare comes home to find his wife killed and their three-year-old daughter alone — for how many hours? — in her room across the hall. He had recently, begrudgingly, taken a position at a nearby private college (far too expensive for local kids to attend) teaching art history, and moved his family into a tight-knit, impoverished town that has lately been discovered by wealthy outsiders in search of a rural idyll.

George is of course the immediate suspect — the question of his guilt echoing in a story shot through with secrets both personal and professional. While his parents rescue him from suspicion, a persistent cop is stymied at every turn in proving Clare a heartless murderer. And three teenage brothers (orphaned by tragic circumstances) find themselves entangled in this mystery, not least because the Clares had moved into their childhood home, a once-thriving dairy farm. The pall of death is ongoing, and relentless; behind one crime there are others, and more than twenty years will pass before a hard kind of justice is finally served. 

I requested this on a whim. It sounds interesting. Published by Knopf Doubleday in March 2016.

Review copy received via NetGalley


CareyMR-FellsideM.R. Carey, FELLSIDE (Orbit)

Fellside is a maximum security prison on the edge of the Yorkshire Moors. It’s not the kind of place you’d want to end up. But it’s where Jess Moulson could be spending the rest of her life.

It’s a place where even the walls whisper.

And one voice belongs to a little boy with a message for Jess.

Will she listen?

New Carey. Of course I’m excited about this — The Girl With All the Gifts is one of my favourite novels of the past five years (at least). Published by Orbit Books in April 2016.

Review copy received via Edelweiss


CareyMLL-HouseOfWar&WitnessMike, Linda & Louise Carey, HOUSE OF WAR AND WITNESS (ChiZine)

1740. With the whole of Europe balanced on the brink of war, an Austrian regiment is sent to the furthest frontier of the empire to hold the border against the might of Prussia. Their garrison, the ancient house called Pokoj.

But Pokoj is already inhabited, by a company of ghosts from every age of the house’s history. Only DROZDE, the quartermaster’s mistress, can see them, and terrifyingly they welcome her as a friend. As these ageless phantoms tell their stories Drozde gets chilling glimpses not just of Pokoj’s past but of a looming menace in its future.

Meanwhile the humourless lieutenant KLAES pursues another mystery. Why are the people of the neighbouring village so surly and withdrawn, so reluctant to welcome the soldiers who are there to protect them? What are they hiding? And what happened to the local militia unit that was stationed at Pokoj before the regiment arrived? The camp follower and the officer make their separate journeys to the same appalling discovery – an impending catastrophe that will sweep away villagers and soldiers alike. But to stop it would pit Klaes against his entire regiment and Drozde against the one man in the world she truly fears. Perhaps neither of them can prevail. If they do, it will be with the help of the restless dead…

Mike Carey is the author of one of my favourite recent novels (The Girl With All the Gifts) and a fair few of my favourite comic series (LuciferThe Unwritten, etc.). This sounds quite excellent, so I shall read it as soon as I can. The authors also wrote The Steel Seraglio, also published by ChiZine.

Review copy received from publisher


Connolly&Ridyard-CoI3-DominionUKJohn Connolly & Jennifer Ridyard, DOMINION (Headline)

They have cheated death.

Defied their people.

Changed beyond recognition.

Their love has survived the impossible.

But now they must learn to trust again: the future of their worlds depends on it.

The third novel in Connolly & Ridyard’s Chronicles of the Invaders, following Conquest and Empire. I have both of the first two novels, but I’m not sure why I haven’t got around to reading them yet. Maybe now I have an excuse to binge-read them. Published by Headline in the UK on February 25th, 2016.

Review copy received from publisher


DellamonicaAM-ADaughterOfNoNationA.M. Dellamonica, A DAUGHTER OF NO NATION (Tor)

As soon as Sophie Hansa returned to our world, she is anxious to once again go back to Stormwrack. Unable to discuss the wondrous sights she has seen, and unable to tell anyone what happened to her in her time away, Sophie is in a holding pattern, focused entirely on her eventual chance to return.

With the sudden arrival of Garland Parrish, Sophie is once again gone. This time, she has been called back to Stormwrack in order to spend time with her father, a Duelist-Adjudicator, who is an unrivaled combatant and fearsome negotiator. But is he driven by his commitment to seeing justice prevail, or is he a sociopath? Soon, she discovers something repellent about him that makes her reject him, and everything he is offering.

Adrift again, she discovers that her time spent with her father is not without advantages, however, for Sophie has discovered there is nothing to stop her from setting up a forensic institute in Stormwrack, investigating cases that have been bogged down in the courts, sometimes for years. Her fresh look into a long-standing case between two of the islands turns up new information that could get her, and her friends, pulled into something bold and daring, which changes the entire way she approaches this strange new world…

This is the second book in Dellamonica’s series, the first of which I haven’t read. This novel is not, therefore, too high on my TBR mountain, but I’ll try to get hold of book one to try.

Review copy received from publisher


FederleT-GreatAmericanWhateverUSTim Federle, THE GREAT AMERICAN WHATEVER (Simon & Schuster YA)

A wry and winning testament to the power of old movies and new memories — one unscripted moment at a time.

Quinn Roberts is a sixteen-year-old smart aleck and Hollywood hopeful whose only worry used to be writing convincing dialogue for the movies he made with his sister Annabeth. Of course, that was all before — before Quinn stopped going to school, before his mom started sleeping on the sofa… and before Annabeth was killed in a car accident.

Enter Geoff, Quinn’s best friend who insists it’s time that Quinn came out—at least from hibernation. One haircut later, Geoff drags Quinn to his first college party, where instead of nursing his pain, he meets a guy — a hot one — and falls hard. What follows is an upside-down week in which Quinn begins imagining his future as a screenplay that might actually have a happily-ever-after ending — if, that is, he can finally step back into the starring role of his own life story.

Spotted this on Edelweiss shortly after seeing someone else mention it on Goodreads (what an interconnected online biblio-community we have created…). My request was approved. Sounds interesting. Published by Simon & Schuster for Young Readers in March 2016.

Review copy received via Edelweiss


GaleP-APlaceCalledWinterUSPatrick Gale, A PLACE CALLED WINTER (Grand Central)

A privileged elder son, and stammeringly shy, Harry Cane has followed convention at every step. Even the beginnings of an illicit, dangerous affair do little to shake the foundations of his muted existence — until the shock of discovery and the threat of arrest cost him everything.

Forced to abandon his wife and child, Harry signs up for emigration to the newly colonised Canadian prairies. Remote and unforgiving, his allotted homestead in a place called Winter is a world away from the golden suburbs of turn-of-the-century Edwardian England. And yet it is here, isolated in a seemingly harsh landscape, under the threat of war, madness and an evil man of undeniable magnetism that the fight for survival will reveal in Harry an inner strength and capacity for love beyond anything he has ever known before.

In this exquisite journey of self-discovery, loosely based on a real life family mystery, Patrick Gale has created an epic, intimate human drama, both brutal and breathtaking. It is a novel of secrets, sexuality and, ultimately, of great love.

This was a huge hit in the UK, if I remember correctly, so I’m very happy to be able to give it a try. Published in the US by Grand Central, in March 2016.

Review copy received via Edelweiss




Four years in the military, training for a war that never happened, left Alexander Miller disillusioned and apathetic. Now, as second in command of COBALT, a corporate bodyguard unit for the biotech giant Schaeffer-Yeager, he’s little more than a glorified chauffeur to the wealthy elite. But times change.

A threat from the ancient past has reawakened, and like a Biblical plague it threatens to consume every ecosystem on Earth. Hordes of parasite-infected humans riot against the increasingly powerless authorities as vast fungal blooms destroy crops and terrifying beasts stalk city streets.

The last time this happened, T-Rex found itself on the menu. But mankind’s got more than teeth – it’s got guns. Miller and the men and women of COBALT are pressed into service to fight the onslaught, but they have no idea how cut-throat their corporate masters can be…

This sounds like it could be a blast. The story is being released in eBook episodes, of which Solaris has sent me the first two: Honshu Wolf (February 2016) and Wild Tarpan (March 2016). It will then be collected in print in May 2016.

Review copy received from publisher


HaleyG-HH-PharosGuy Haley, PHAROS (Black Library)

With the noble Emperor Sanguinius ruling from Macragge, Imperium Secundus stands as a lone beacon of hope even as the Warmaster’s forces continue to ravage the rest of the galaxy. Roboute Guilliman, still Master of Ultramar, has convinced his brother that Terra has fallen and that the mysterious Mount Pharos on Sotha now holds the key to mankind’s future. But the Night Lords, those cruel and pitiless sons of Konrad Curze, have been watching from the shadows, and make ready to launch their long-planned attack on the Pharos itself…

The 34th novel in the Horus Heresy series. Still need to read the 33rd (Nick Kyme’s Deathfire), but I’m keen to catch up. Only 16 more to go, apparently…

Also on CR: Interview with Guy Haley


HayesA-RelativityUKAntonia Hayes, RELATIVITY (Corsair)

“Help,” he said. “He’s not breathing.”

A tiny baby is rushed to hospital. Doctors suspect he was shaken by his father, who is later charged and convicted. The baby grows up in the care of his mother. Life goes on.

Twelve years later, Ethan is a singular young boy. Gifted with an innate affinity for physics and astronomy, Ethan sees the world in ways others simply can’t — through a prism of light, time, stars and space.

Ethan is the centre of his mother’s universe. Claire has tried to protect him from finding out what happened when he was a baby. But the older Ethan gets, the more questions he asks about his absent father.

A single handwritten letter is all it takes to set off a dramatic chain of events, pulling both parents back together again into Ethan’s orbit. As the years seem to warp and bend, the past is both relived and revealed anew for each of them.

I spotted this cover a while ago, Tweeted it (because it’s fantastic), and the publicist very kindly sent me a review copy. Really looking forward to reading it. Published by Corsair in April 2016.

Review copy received from publisher


MerbethKS-BiteK.S. Merbeth, BITE (Orbit)

“Need a ride?”

Kid has no name, no family and no survival skills whatsoever. But that hasn’t stopped her from striking out on her own in the wasteland that the world has become.

When Kid accepts a ride from two strangers, she suddenly becomes the newest member of a bloodthirsty raider crew. Dragged on a messy chase, through shootouts and severed limbs, the group must outrun everyone they’ve wronged. In a world that’s lost its humanity, not everything is as it seems and this time it isn’t the monsters that crave flesh…

Who doesn’t like the idea of reading about a zombie post-apocalypse? Well, a fair few people, but I’m not one of them. I think this sounds like a lot of fun. Published by Orbit Books in July 2016.

Review copy received via Edelweiss


MitchellM-PrettyIsUKPBMaggie Mitchell, PRETTY IS (Orion)

Lois and Carly-May were just twelve when they were abducted by a stranger and imprisoned in a cabin in the woods for two months.

That summer, under the watchful gaze of their kidnapper, they formed a bond that would never be broken.

Decades later, both women have new lives and identities. But the events of that summer are about to come back with a vengeance.

Lois and Carly-May must face the truth about their secret, shared past…

What really happened in the woods that summer?

I’ve heard so much about this novel — some have loved it, while others have found it disturbing. I can’t wait to decide for myself. Published in paperback in the UK by Orion Books, in April 2016.

Review copy received from publisher


PinboroughS-13MinutesUKSarah Pinborough, 13 MINUTES (Gollancz)

Natasha was dead for 13 minutes. And it changed her world completely…

I was dead for 13 minutes.

I don’t remember how I ended up in the icy water but I do know this — it wasn’t an accident and I wasn’t suicidal.

They say you should keep your friends close and your enemies closer, but when you’re a teenage girl, it’s hard to tell them apart. My friends love me, I’m sure of it. But that doesn’t mean they didn’t try to kill me. Does it?

13 MINUTES by Sarah Pinborough is a gripping psychological thriller about people, fears, manipulation and the power of the truth. A stunning read, it questions our relationships – and what we really know about the people closest to us…

Love Pinborough’s work, especially her previous novel The Death House. Can’t wait to read this, so I’ll probably read it either next or next-but-one. Published in the UK by Gollancz on February 18th, 2016.

Also on CR: Reviews of The Death House, The Language of Dying, Poison, Mayhem

Review copy received from publisher


RockwellMariotte-7SykosMarsheila Rockwell & Jeff Mariotte, 7 SYKOS (Voyager Impulse)

Detached from the world, how are seven psychopaths going to save it?

Phoenix is one of the most populated cities in America… but not for long. With a mysterious sickness spreading through the streets, two things are becoming very clear: there’s no cure, and it doesn’t necessarily kill you.

Instead, the so-called “Infecteds” have become a living plague, killing and eating everyone they come into contact with. Chaos is spreading, and no one is safe.

No one, that is, except for a group of psychos.

Somehow unaffected by the disease — and with promises of clemency for their monstrous pasts — a group of seven is sent downtown to hopefully find the cause of the disease… and therefore a cure. But when the asylum is the size of a city, it no longer matters who is running things.

Not when everyone is running for their lives.

This has been described as akin to “The Walking Dead meets The Andromeda Strain“, which sounds pretty cool. Published by Voyager Impulse, on January 21st, 2016.

Review copy received via Edelweiss


RollinsJ-SF11-BoneLabyrinthUSJames Rollins, THE BONE LABYRINTH (Harper Collins)

A war is coming, a battle that will stretch from the prehistoric forests of the ancient past to the cutting-edge research labs of today, all to reveal a true mystery buried deep within our DNA, a mystery that will leave readers changed forever…

In the remote mountains of Croatia, an archaeologist makes a strange discovery: a subterranean Catholic chapel, hidden for centuries, holds the bones of a Neanderthal woman. In the same cavern system, elaborate primitive paintings tell the story of an immense battle between tribes of Neanderthals and monstrous shadowy figures. Who is this mysterious enemy depicted in these ancient drawings and what do the paintings mean?

Before any answers could be made, the investigative team is attacked, while at the same time, a bloody assault is made upon a primate research center outside of Atlanta. How are these events connected? Who is behind these attacks?  The search for the truth will take Commander Gray Pierce of Sigma Force 50,000 years into the past. As he and Sigma trace the evolution of human intelligence to its true source, they will be plunged into a cataclysmic battle for the future of humanity that stretches across the globe… and beyond.

With the fate of our future at stake, Sigma embarks on its most harrowing odyssey ever — a breathtaking quest that will take them from ancient tunnels in Ecuador that span the breadth of South America to a millennia-old necropolis holding the bones of our ancestors. Along the way, revelations involving the lost continent of Atlantis will reveal true mysteries tied to mankind’s first steps on the moon. In the end, Gray Pierce and his team will face to their greatest threat: an ancient evil, resurrected by modern genetic science, strong enough to bring about the end of man’s dominance on this planet.

Only this time, Sigma will falter — and the world we know will change forever.

The latest Sigma Force novel, which I am woefully behind on — I’ve now got three to read in order to be caught up, I think. It’s a great, fun action-adventure series. Not sure why I let it slide… Out now in North America, published by Harper Collins; due to be published in the UK by Harper Collins in August 2016 (no idea why the incredible delay).


SaintcrowL-TPF2-RoadsideMagicLilith Saintcrow, ROADSIDE MAGIC (Orbit)

Robin Ragged has revenge to wreak and redemption to steal. As for Jeremy Gallow, the poison in his wound is slowly killing him, while old friends turn traitor and long-lost enemies return to haunt him.

In the dive bars and trailer parks, the sidhe are hunting. War looms, and on a rooftop in the heart of the city, the most dangerous sidhe of all is given new life. He has only one thought, this new hunter: Where is the Ragged?

The second novel in Saintcrow’s Gallow & Ragged urban fantasy series. I have the first in the series, Trailer Park Fae, also, but have yet to have a chance to dig in. Maybe soon. I’ve always wanted to try Saintcrow’s work, but I keep forgetting I have any of it… Published by Orbit in January 2016.

Review copy received via NetGalley


SchultzE-TheBlondesCAEmily Schultz, THE BLONDES (Anchor Canada)

Hazel Hayes is a grad student living in New York City. As the novel opens, she learns she is pregnant (from an affair with her married professor) at an apocalyptically bad time: random but deadly attacks on passers-by, all by blonde women, are terrorizing New Yorkers. Soon it becomes clear that the attacks are symptoms of a strange illness that is transforming blondes — whether CEOs, flight attendants, skateboarders or accountants — into rabid killers.

Hazel, vulnerable because of her pregnancy, decides to flee the city — but finds that the epidemic has spread and that the world outside New York is even stranger than she imagined. She sets out on a trip across a paralyzed America to find the one woman — perhaps blonde, perhaps not — who might be able to help her.

A friend got it for Christmas, and it looked like fun, so I picked it up. Published in Canada by Anchor, and in the US by Thomas Dunne.


TieryasP-UnitedStatesOfJapanPeter Tieryas, UNITED STATES OF JAPAN (Angry Robot)

Decades ago, Japan won the Second World War. Americans worship their infallible Emperor, and nobody believes that Japan’s conduct in the war was anything but exemplary. Nobody, that is, except the George Washingtons — a group of rebels fighting for freedom. Their latest terrorist tactic is to distribute an illegal video game that asks players to imagine what the world might be like if the United States had won the war instead.

Captain Beniko Ishimura’s job is to censor video games, and he’s tasked with getting to the bottom of this disturbing new development. But Ishimura’s hiding something…kind of. He’s slowly been discovering that the case of the George Washingtons is more complicated than it seems, and the subversive videogame’s origins are even more controversial and dangerous than the censors originally suspected.

Sounds suitably strange and interesting. Published by Angry Robot Books in March 2016.

Review copy received via NetGalley

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