New Books (June-July)

RocheLimit-Monadic-04

Featuring: Bradley Beaulieu, Darcey Bell, Morgan Grant Buchanan, Michael Chabon, Bill Clegg, Paul Cornell, Claudia Christian, Mason Cross, Allen Eskens, Alice Hoffman, Chris Holm, Bill James, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Antonio Garcia Martinez, Stephen Metcalfe, Liesa Mignogna, Sylvia Moreno-Garcia, Alexandra Oliva, Laurie Penny, Andy Remic, Michael J. Sullivan, Heather Skyler, Melinda Snodgrass, Gav Thorpe, Paul Vidich, Chuck Wendig, Kayla Rae Whitaker, Kai Ashanti Wilson, Tom Wolfe, Joakim Zander, Rob Ziegler

Above artwork: Roche Limit: Monadic #4 (crop), by Kyle Charles (Image Comics)

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AlexanderKC-1-NecrotechK.C. Alexander, NECROTECH (Angry Robot)

Street thug Riko has some serious issues — memories wiped, reputation tanked, girlfriend turned into a tech-fueled zombie. And the only people who can help are the mercenaries who think she screwed them over.

In an apathetic society devoid of ethics or regulation, where fusing tech and flesh can mean a killing edge or a killer conversion, a massive conspiracy is unfolding that will alter the course of the human condition forever. With corporate meatheads on her ass and a necro-tech blight between her and salvation, Riko is going to have to fight meaner, work smarter, and push harder than she’s ever had to. And that’s just to make it through the day.

This sounds pretty interesting. As it happens, the cover was revealed yesterday, so I was able to include it in this post. Published by Angry Robot Books on September 1st, 2016.

Review copy received via NetGalley

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BeaulieuZiegler-BurningLightBradley Beaulieu & Rob Ziegler, THE BURNING LIGHT (Tor.com)

Disgraced government operative Colonel Chu is exiled to the flooded relic of New York City. Something called the Light has hit the streets like an epidemic, leavings its users strung out and disconnected from the mind-network humanity relies on. Chu has lost everything she cares about to the Light. She’ll end the threat or die trying.

A former corporate pilot who controlled a thousand ships with her mind, Zola looks like just another Light-junkie living hand to mouth on the edge of society. She’s special though. As much as she needs the Light, the Light needs her too. But, Chu is getting close and Zola can’t hide forever.

I’m a fan of Beaulieu’s writing. This novella, co-written by Ziegler (who also wrote Seed), is an interesting look at a future, environmentally devastated and technologically advanced. I read this very soon after receiving it, and enjoyed it. There were some parts that were not as smooth as others, but overall this was an interesting, engaging and sometimes thought-provoking novella. Full review soon. Published by Tor.com, on November 1st, 2016.

Also on CR: Interview with Bradley Beaulieu; Guest Post on “On Co-Authoring Strata (w. Stephen Gaskell); Excerpt of Twelve Kings

Review copy received from publisher

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BellD-ASimpleFavorUSDarcey Bell, A SIMPLE FAVOR (Harper)

She’s your best friend.

She knows all your secrets.

That’s why she’s so dangerous.

It starts with a simple favour — an ordinary kindness mothers do for one another. When her best friend, Emily, asks Stephanie to pick up her son Nicky after school, she happily says yes. Nicky and her son, Miles, are classmates and best friends, and the five-year-olds love being together — just like she and Emily. A widow and stay-at-home mommy blogger living in woodsy suburban Connecticut, Stephanie was lonely until she met Emily, a sophisticated PR executive whose job in Manhattan demands so much of her time. 

But Emily doesn’t come back. She doesn’t answer calls or return texts. Stephanie knows something is terribly wrong — Emily would never leave Nicky, no matter what the police say. Terrified, she reaches out to her blog readers for help. She also reaches out to Emily’s husband, the handsome, reticent Sean, offering emotional support. It’s the least she can do for her best friend. Then, she and Sean receive shocking news. Emily is dead. The nightmare of her disappearance is over.

Or is it? Because soon, Stephanie will begin to see that nothing — not friendship, love, or even an ordinary favour — is as simple as it seems.

Could be interesting. Published by Harper in March 2017.

Review copy received via Edelweiss

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ChabonM-MoonglowUSMichael Chabon, MOONGLOW (Harper)

In 1989, fresh from the publication of his first novel, The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, Michael Chabon traveled to his mother’s home in Oakland, California to visit his terminally ill grandfather. Tongue loosened by powerful painkillers, memory stirred by the imminence of death, Chabon’s grandfather shared recollections and told stories the younger man had never heard before, uncovering bits and pieces of a history long buried and forgotten. That dreamlike week of revelations forms the basis for the novel Moonglow, the latest feat of legerdemain in the ongoing magic act that is the art of Michael Chabon. 

Moonglow unfolds as the deathbed confession, made to his grandson, of a man the narrator refers to only as “my grandfather.” It is a tale of madness, of war and adventure, of sex and desire and ordinary love, of existential doubt and model rocketry, of the shining aspirations and demonic underpinnings of American technological accomplishment at mid-century and, above all, of the destructive impact — and the creative power — of the keeping of secrets and the telling of lies. A gripping, poignant, tragicomic, scrupulously researched and wholly imaginary transcript of a life that spanned the dark heart of the twentieth century, Moonglow is also a tour de force of speculative history in which Chabon attempts to reconstruct the mysterious origins and fate of Chabon Scientific, Co., an authentic mail-order novelty company whose ads for scale models of human skeletons, combustion engines and space rockets were once a fixture in the back pages of Esquire, Popular Mechanics, and Boy’s Life. Along the way Chabon devises and reveals, in bits and pieces whose hallucinatory intensity is matched only by their comic vigor and the radiant moonglow of his prose, a secret history of his own imagination.

From the Jewish slums of prewar South Philadelphia to the invasion of Germany, from a Florida retirement village to the penal utopia of New York’s Wallkill Prison, from the heyday of the space program to the twilight of “the American Century,” Moonglow collapses an era into a single life and a lifetime into a single week. A lie that tells the truth, a work of fictional non-fiction, an autobiography wrapped in a novel disguised as a memoir, Moonglow is Chabon at his most daring, his most moving, his most Chabonesque.

Very much looking forward to reading this. It’s due to be published by Harper, on November 22nd, 2016. (Not sure I’ll be able to wait long before reading this… I’ll postpone the review until maybe September, though.)

Review copy received via Edelweiss

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9780765391155_JKTmech.inddClaudia Christian & Morgan Grant Buchanan, WOLF’S EMPIRE: GLADIATOR (Tor)

In the Galactic Roman Empire, eight noble houses fight for power. One gladiator fights for justice.

When her mother and brother are murdered, young noblewoman Accala Viridius cries out for vengeance. But the empire is being torn apart by a galactic civil war, and her demands fall on deaf ears. Undeterred, Accala sacrifices privilege and status to train as a common gladiator. Mastering the one weapon available to her — a razor-sharp discus that always returns when thrown — she enters the deadly imperial games, the only arena where she can face her enemies. 

But Fortune’s wheel grants Accala no favours — the emperor decrees that the games will be used to settle the civil war, the indigenous lifeforms of the arena-world are staging a violent revolt, and Accala finds herself drugged, cast into slavery and forced to fight on the side of the men she set out to kill. 

Set in a future Rome that never fell, but instead expanded to become a galaxy-spanning empire, Accala’s struggle to survive and exact her revenge will take her on a dark journey that will cost her more than she ever imagined.

Futuristic Roman Empire… This could be rather cool. Out now, published by Tor Books.

Review copy received from publisher

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CleggB-DidYouEverHaveAFamilyUKHCBill Clegg, DID YOU EVER HAVE A FAMILY (Jonathan Cape)

This book of dark secrets opens with a blaze. On the morning of her daughter’s wedding, June Reid’s house goes up in flames, destroying her entire family – her present, her past and her future. Fleeing from the carnage, stricken and alone, June finds herself in a motel room by the ocean, hundreds of miles from her Connecticut home, held captive by memories and the mistakes she has made with her only child, Lolly, and her partner, Luke. 

In the turbulence of grief and gossip left in June’s wake we slowly make sense of the unimaginable. The novel is a gathering of voices, and each testimony has a new revelation about what led to the catastrophe – Luke’s alienated mother Lydia, the watchful motel owners, their cleaner Cissy, the teenage pothead who lives nearby – everyone touched by the tragedy finds themselves caught in the undertow, as their secret histories finally come to light.

Lit by the clarity of understanding that true sadness brings, Did You Ever Have a Family is an elegant, unforgettable story that reveals humanity at its worst and best, through loss and love, fracture and forgiveness. At the book’s heart is the idea of family – the ones we are born with and the ones we create – and the desire, in the face of everything, to go on living.

This novel has been getting a lot of attention since it was published, and I decided to pick it up and give it a try. Published in the UK by Jonathan Cape, and in the US & Canada by Gallery.

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CornellP-L2-LostChildOfLychfordPaul Cornell, THE LOST CHIL OF LYCHFORD (Tor.com)

It’s December in the English village of Lychford – the first Christmas since an evil conglomerate tried to force open the borders between our world and… another.

Which means it’s Lizzie’s first Christmas as Reverend of St. Martin’s. Which means more stress, more expectation, more scrutiny by the congregation. Which means… well, business as usual, really.

Until the apparition of a small boy finds its way to Lizzie in the church. Is he a ghost? A vision? Something else? Whatever the truth, our trio of witches (they don’t approve of “coven”) are about to face their toughest battle, yet!

The follow-up to The Wytches of Lychford. This series looks rather interesting. Published by Tor.com, on November 22nd, 2016.

Also on CR: Interview with Paul Cornell (2013); Guest Post on “Stuck in the Middle with Sherlock”

Review copy received from publisher

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CrossM-3-TheTimeToKillUKMason Cross, THE TIME TO KILL (Orion)

It’s been five years since Carter Blake parted ways with top-secret government operation Winterlong. They brokered a deal at the time: he’d keep quiet about what they were doing, and in return he’d be left alone.

But news that one of Blake’s old allies, a man who agreed the same deal, is dead means only one thing — something has changed and Winterlong is coming for him.

Emma Faraday, newly appointed head of the secret unit, is determined to tie up loose ends. And Blake is a very loose end. He’s been evading them for years, but finally they’ve picked up his trace. Blake may be the best there is at tracking down people who don’t want to be found, but Winterlong taught him everything he knows. If there’s anyone who can find him — and kill him — it’s them.

It’s time for Carter Blake to up his game.

The third novel in the excellent Carter Blake series, following The Killing Season and The Samaritan. I pre-ordered this before I’d even finished the first novel. Published by Orion in the UK, The Time to Kill is out now.

Also on CR: Review of The Killing Season The Samaritan

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DickinsonR-TheTouristRobert Dickinson, THE TOURIST (Redhook)

THE FUTURE HAS ALREADY HAPPENED.

It is expected to be an excursion like any other. There is nothing in the records to indicate that anything out of the ordinary will happen.

A bus will take them to the mall. They will have an hour or so to look around. Perhaps buy something, or try their food.

A minor traffic incident on the way back to the resort will provide some additional interest – but the tour rep has no reason to expect any trouble.

Until he notices that one of his party is missing.

Most disturbingly, she is a woman who, according to the records, did not go missing.

Now she is a woman whose disappearance could change the world.

This has been getting some interesting, if obscure teasing around the internets. Could be really interesting. Review hopefully sooner rather than later. Due to be published by Redhook on October 18th, 2016.

Review copy received via Edelweiss

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EskensA-2-HeavensMayFallAllen Eskers, THE HEAVENS MAY FALL (Seventh Street Books)

Detective Max Rupert and attorney Boady Sanden’s friendship is being pushed to the breaking point. Max is convinced that Jennavieve Pruitt was killed by her husband, Ben. Boady is equally convinced that Ben, his client, is innocent.

As the case unfolds, the two are forced to confront their own personal demons.

Max is still struggling with the death of his wife four years earlier, and the Pruitt case stirs up old memories. Boady hasn’t taken on a defense case since the death of an innocent client, a man Boady believes he could have saved but didn’t. Now he is back in court, with student Lila Nash at his side, and he’s determined to redeem himself for having failed in the past.

Vividly told from two opposing perspectives, the story of Jennavieve Pruitt’s death disrupts many lives — and the truth remains a mystery till the very end.

This sounds like a good series — this is the follow-up to The Life We Bury. Due to be published on October 4th, 2016.

Review copy received from publisher

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HoffmanA-FaithfulUSAlice Hoffman, FAITHFUL (Simon & Schuster)

Growing up on Long Island, Shelby Richmond is an ordinary girl until one night an extraordinary tragedy changes her fate. Her best friend’s future is destroyed in an accident, while Shelby walks away with the burden of guilt.

What happens when a life is turned inside out? When love is something so distant it may as well be a star in the sky? Faithful is the story of a survivor, filled with emotion — from dark suffering to true happiness — a moving portrait of a young woman finding her way in the modern world. A fan of Chinese food, dogs, bookstores, and men she should stay away from, Shelby has to fight her way back to her own future. In New York City she finds a circle of lost and found souls — including an angel who’s been watching over her ever since that fateful icy night.

Here is a character you will fall in love with, so believable and real and endearing, that she captures both the ache of loneliness and the joy of finding yourself at last. For anyone who’s ever been a hurt teenager, for every mother of a daughter who has lost her way, Faithful is a roadmap.

I thought this sounded like it could be interesting and quite different to my usual reading material. Due to be published by Simon & Schuster in November 2016.

Review copy received via Edelweiss

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HolmC-H2-RedRightHandChris Holm, RED RIGHT HAND (Mulholland)

If the good guys can’t save you, call a bad guy.

When viral video of an explosive terrorist attack on San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge reveals that a Federal witness long thought dead is still alive, the organization he’d agreed to testify against will stop at nothing to put him in the ground.

FBI Special Agent Charlie Thompson is determined to protect him, but her hands are tied; the FBI’s sole priority is catching the terrorists before they strike again. So Charlie calls the only person on the planet who can keep her witness safe: Michael Hendricks.

Once a covert operative for the US military, Hendricks makes his living hitting hitmen… or he did, until the very organization hunting Charlie’s witness — the Council — caught wind and targeted the people he loves. Teaming up with a young but determined tech whiz, Cameron, on the condition she leave him alone after the case, Hendricks reluctantly takes the job.

Of course, finding a man desperate to stay hidden is challenging enough without deadly competition, let alone when the competition’s shadowy corporate backer is tangled in the terrorist conspiracy playing out around them. And now Hendricks is determined to take the Council down, even if that means wading into the center of a terror plot whose perpetrators are not what they seem.

The sequel to The Killing Kind. Very much looking forward to reading this. Published by Mulholland Books on September 13th, 2016.

Also on CR: Interview with Chris Holm (2012); Excerpt from The Wrong Goodbye

Review copy received via NetGalley

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JamesB-ThePrincipalsBill James, THE PRINCIPALS (Severn House)

This sharply satirical novel concerns a battle royal between two academic institutions and their principals.

It’s all-out war in this witty satire on academic life. Two universities in the same city each aim to destroy the other and take over one another’s buildings, students and, above all, bank balance. It’s Dr Lawford Chute of the revered Sedge University versus Dr Victor Tane of Charter Mill: who will win these ferocious academic fights?

A satirical novel about academia. Could be great. Or awful. I’m hoping for the former, of course. Published by Severn House in the UK (July 29th) and US (November 1st).

Review copy received via Edelweiss

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KenyonS-DarkHuntersColouring1Sherrilyn Kenyon, DARK HUNTER COLORING BOOK (Dabel Brothers)

An interesting idea… I’ve still not actually read/used/coloured in any adult colouring books. So, not entirely sure how to review them. But, this is pretty well made and I’m sure fans of Kenyon’s series will enjoy having/reading/colouring this. I’ve had a good flick through it, and the artwork is quite nice — a ‘clean’ comic style, seemingly manga-influenced. Pretty cool. It’s out now.

Review copy received from publisher

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MartinezAG-ChaosMonkeysAntonio Garcia Martinez, CHAOS MONKEYS (Harper Collins)

Liar’s Poker meets The Social Network in an irreverent exposé of life inside the tech bubble, from industry provocateur Antonio García Martínez, a former Twitter advisor, Facebook product manager and startup founder/CEO.

The reality is, Silicon Valley capitalism is very simple:

Investors are people with more money than time.

Employees are people with more time than money.

Entrepreneurs are the seductive go-between.

Marketing is like sex: only losers pay for it. 

Imagine a chimpanzee rampaging through a datacenter powering everything from Google to Facebook. Infrastructure engineers use a software version of this “chaos monkey” to test online services’ robustness — their ability to survive random failure and correct mistakes before they actually occur. Tech entrepreneurs are society’s chaos monkeys, disruptors testing and transforming every aspect of our lives, from transportation (Uber) and lodging (AirBnB) to television (Netflix) and dating (Tinder). One of Silicon Valley’s most audacious chaos monkeys is Antonio García Martínez.

After stints on Wall Street and as CEO of his own startup, García Martínez joined Facebook’s nascent advertising team, turning its users’ data into profit for COO Sheryl Sandberg and chairman and CEO Mark “Zuck” Zuckerberg. Forced out in the wake of an internal product war over the future of the company’s monetization strategy, García Martínez eventually landed at rival Twitter. He also fathered two children with a woman he barely knew, committed lewd acts and brewed illegal beer on the Facebook campus (accidentally flooding Zuckerberg’s desk), lived on a sailboat, raced sport cars on the 101, and enthusiastically pursued the life of an overpaid Silicon Valley wastrel.

Now, this gleeful contrarian unravels the chaotic evolution of social media and online marketing and reveals how it is invading our lives and shaping our future. Weighing in on everything from startups and credit derivatives to Big Brother and data tracking, social media monetization and digital “privacy,” García Martínez shares his scathing observations and outrageous antics, taking us on a humorous, subversive tour of the fascinatingly insular tech industry. Chaos Monkeys lays bare the hijinks, trade secrets, and power plays of the visionaries, grunts, sociopaths, opportunists, accidental tourists, and money cowboys who are revolutionizing our world. The question is, will we survive?

I’ve been listening to this over a few days, and I’m not sure what I think about it. At times, it is excellent, informative and entertaining. At other times, it feels as though the author is trying just a little too hard to be a Bro, or cool, and instead comes across like a bit of a douche. Full review soon, hopefully. Out now, published by Harper Collins.

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MetcalfeS-PracticalNavigatorUSStephen Metcalfe, THE PRACTICAL NAVIGATOR (St. Martin’s Press)

Michael Hodge has been many things in life. A surfer. A husband. A father. A son. A business owner. A lover. Abandoned.

Ever since Michael’s wife, Anita, ran off leaving him to raise their child on his own, he has been struggling to pick up the pieces. And after seven years, he’s finally starting to put his life back together. He has given up his dream of surfing and now manages his own construction business, he works hard to be the best father possible to his autistic son, and he’s falling for a new woman. But when Anita returns to town unannounced wanting to be a part of their lives again, and his mother begins showing early signs of Alzheimer’s, Michael’s carefully reconstructed world begins to fall apart. Now, Michael must decide whether or not to give Anita a second chance or to protect his son, and himself, from being hurt yet again.

Stephen Metcalfe is also the author of The Tragic Age, which I’ll be reading very soon. The Practical Navigator is due to be published by St. Martin’s Press, on August 9th, 2016.

Review copy received via NetGalley

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MignognaL-LastNightSuperheroSavedMyLifeUSLiesa Mignogna (ed.), LAST NIGHT, A SUPERHERO SAVED MY LIFE (Thomas Dunne)

As broad as our exponentially growing cultural fascination with caped crusaders is, it runs just as deep as this long awaited anthology underscores. Liesa Mignogna the VP, Editorial Director at Simon Pulse and editor of this anthology can expound on the virtues of Batman (her wedding was even Batman-themed) but it’s her retelling of incredibly harrowing yet ultimately inspiring encounters with The Dark Knight over the years, as she struggled to coexist with the supervillains in her own family that birthed this collection.

Last Night, A Superhero Saved My Life gives readers the chance to connect to their beloved authors, while those same authors connect to their beloved superheroes, and within that feedback loop of respect and admiration lies a stellar, and phenomenally accessible, anthology full of thrills, chills, and spills.

Contributors include New York Times bestsellers Christopher Golden, Leigh Bardugo, Brad Meltzer, Neil Gaiman, Carrie Vaughn, Jodi Picoult, and Jamie Ford, as well as award-winners and mainstays like Joe R. Lansdale, Karina Cooper, and Ron Currie, Jr among many others. Last Night, A Superhero Saved My Life’s authors share their most hilarious and most heart wrenching experiences with their chosen defender to explain why superheroes matter, what they tell us about who we are, and what they mean for our future.

This looked like it could be fun. Out now, published by Thomas Dunne.

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MorenoGarciaS-CertainDarkThingsUSSylvia Moreno-Garcia, CERTAIN DARK THINGS (Thomas Dunne)

Welcome to Mexico City, an oasis in a sea of vampires. Here in the city, heavily policed to keep the creatures of the night at bay, Domingo is another trash-picking street kid, just hoping to make enough to survive. Then he meets Atl, the descendant of Aztec blood drinkers. Domingo is smitten. He clings to her like a barnacle until Atl relents and decides to let him stick around. 

But Atl’s problems, Nick and Rodrigo, have come to find her. When they start to raise the body count in the city, it attracts the attention of police officers, local crime bosses, and the vampire community. Atl has to get out before Mexico City is upended, and her with it.

I’ve been looking forward to this ever since it was announced — I very much enjoyed the author’s debut, Signal to Noise, and this looks even more interesting. Published by Thomas Dunne on October 25th, 2016.

Review copy received via Edelweiss

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FlanneryMurphyS-PossessionsUSSara Flannery Murphy, THE POSSESSIONS (Harper)

In an unnamed city, Eurydice works for the Elysian Society, a private service that allows grieving clients to reconnect with lost loved ones. She and her fellow workers, known as “bodies”, wear the discarded belongings of the dead and swallow pills called lotuses to summon their spirits — numbing their own minds and losing themselves in the process. Edie has been a body at the Elysian Society for five years, an unusual record. Her success is the result of careful detachment: she seeks refuge in the lotuses’ anesthetic effects and distances herself from making personal connections with her clients.

But when Edie channels Sylvia, the dead wife of recent widower Patrick Braddock, she becomes obsessed with the glamorous couple. Despite the murky circumstances surrounding Sylvia’s drowning, Edie breaks her own rules and pursues Patrick, moving deeper into his life and summoning Sylvia outside the Elysian Society’s walls.

After years of hiding beneath the lotuses’ dulling effect, Edie discovers that the lines between her own desires and those of Sylvia have begun to blur, and takes increasing risks to keep Patrick within her grasp. Suddenly, she finds her quiet life unraveling as she grapples not only with Sylvia’s growing influence and the questions surrounding her death, but with her own long-buried secrets.

A tale of desire and obsession, deceit and dark secrets that defies easy categorization, The Possessions is a seductive, absorbing page-turner that builds to a shattering, unforgettable conclusion.

This sounds like it could be interesting — interesting and maybe a little weird? Literary urban fantasy, perhaps. Due to be published by Harper Collins in February 2017.

Review copy received via Edelweiss

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OlivaA-TheLastOneUSAlexandra Oliva, THE LAST ONE (Ballantine)

Survival is the name of the game as the line blurs between reality TV and reality itself…

She wanted an adventure. She never imagined it would go this far.

It begins with a reality TV show. Twelve contestants are sent into the woods to face challenges that will test the limits of their endurance. While they are out there, something terrible happens — but how widespread is the destruction, and has it occurred naturally or is it man-made? Cut off from society, the contestants know nothing of it. When one of them — a young woman the show’s producers call Zoo — stumbles across the devastation, she can imagine only that it is part of the game.

Alone and disoriented, Zoo is heavy with doubt regarding the life — and husband — she left behind, but she refuses to quit. Staggering countless miles across unfamiliar territory, Zoo must summon all her survival skills — and learn new ones as she goes.

But as her emotional and physical reserves dwindle, she grasps that the real world might have been altered in terrifying ways — and her ability to parse the charade will be either her triumph or her undoing.

This is one of my most-anticipated novels of the year. I’ve already finished it and… it was very well written, but the execution was a little off for me. The premise is great, but despite being populated with interesting characters, never quite delivered as much as I had hoped. It’s still worth reading, certainly, but not as good as it could have been. Published in North America by Ballantine, and in the UK by Michael Joseph.

Review copy received from publisher

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PennyL-EverythingBelongsToTheFutureLaurie Penny, EVERYTHING BELONGS TO THE FUTURE (Tor.com)

Time is a weapon wielded by the rich, who have excess of it, against the rest, who must trade every breath of it against the promise of another day’s food and shelter. What kind of world have we made, where human beings can live centuries if only they can afford the fix? What kind of creatures have we become? The same as we always were, but keener.

In the ancient heart of Oxford University, the ultra-rich celebrate their vastly extended lifespans. But a few surprises are in store for them. From Nina and Alex, Margo and Fidget, scruffy anarchists sharing living space with an ever-shifting cast of crusty punks and lost kids. And also from the scientist who invented the longevity treatment in the first place.

This sounded very interesting. I read it very soon after receiving it, and I enjoyed it a fair bit. Very well-written, briskly paced. A bit blunt at times, which felt at odds with the novella as a whole, but not necessarily weaker for it. Everything Belongs to the Future is published by Tor.com on October 18th, 2016.

Review copy received from publisher

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PitoniakA-TheFuturesUSAnna Pitoniak, THE FUTURES (Lee Boudreaux Books)

A heart-wrenching debut novel about a young couple trying to find out what they really want in life — and whether or not that includes each other.

Julia and Evan fall in love as undergraduates at Yale. For Evan, who grew up in a small town in Canada, Yale is a whole new world, and Julia — blond, beautiful and rich — is part of his vision for a successful future. After they graduate in 2008, they move together to New York city, where Evan takes a job at a hedge fund — another step forward in the life he imagines for himself.

Julia, who has only known a life of privilege, graduates with an art history degree and no plan for her own future. She lands a low paying assistant job at a nonprofit, unsure about what she really wants, and wondering when everyone else figured that out for themselves. 

With the market crashing and banks failing around him, Evan becomes involved in an increasingly high-stakes deal at work, and begins to realize that the price of privilege may come with dangerous strings attached. Meanwhile, Julia reconnects with someone from her past — someone who offers her a vision of a different kind of life.

Told in alternating perspectives, The Futures is a vivid story about love — falling in and out of it — betrayal, and the burning desire to be valued.

This has been getting some (very) early buzz, so I was rather happy to be approved for an eARC. Due to be published by Lee Boudreaux Books on January 17th, 2017. I may read it very soon, but then hold off on the review for a few months — something that shouldn’t be too difficult, given how slowly I’m actually writing reviews at the moment…

Review copy received via Edelweiss

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RemicA-WWI3-IronBeastAndy Remic, THE IRON BEAST (Tor.com)

A war is being waged in an impossible world. 

The Skogsgra and the Naravelle have launched their final offensive, and Private Jones and his companions are caught in the melee.

Tens of thousands will die before the battle is over.

They travel deep underground, to find and release the Iron Beast… the one creature that can end not one world war, but two.

But at what cost…?

The conclusion to Remic’s No Man’s Land very good trilogy. Published by Tor.com on November 8th, 2016.

Also on CR: Interview with Andy Remic (2015); Review of A Song For No Man’s Land

Review copy received from publisher

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SilvaD-GA-BlackWidowUSDaniel Silva, THE BLACK WIDOW (Harper Collins)

Gabriel Allon, the art restorer, spy, and assassin described as the most compelling fictional creation “since Ian Fleming put down his martini and invented James Bond” (Rocky Mountain News), is about to become the chief of Israel’s secret intelligence service. But on the eve of his promotion, events conspire to lure him into the field for one final operation. ISIS has detonated a massive bomb in the Marais district of Paris, and a desperate French government wants Gabriel to eliminate the man responsible before he can strike again.

Acclaimed novelist Daniel Silva has thrilled, entertained and educated readers with eighteen thoughtful and gripping spy novels featuring a diverse cast of compelling characters and ingenious plots that have taken them around the globe and back — from the United States to Europe, Russia to the Middle East. From its shocking opening to its explosive denouement in Washington, D.C., The Black Widow reveals itself as Silva’s most timely and powerful novel yet. Following the success of his smash hit The English Spy, this electrifying thriller showcases Silva’s consummate skill and brilliant imagination, and is sure to be a must read for his multitude of current and future fans.

Silva’s Gabriel Allon series is on my Must Read list. With each year, he releases a new novel, which makes the prospect of getting caught up a little daunting, but I nevertheless fully intend on doing so. Hopefully I’ll start soon. Published in Canada by Harper Collins. In fact, I’d like to start catching up with many of the books that have managed to slip by me — either through lack of time, very late discovery, or because I got distracted by a different New Shiny — with the hope of reading one “old” title per month at least. Who knows if I’ll be able to stick to this, given the ever-shifting whims of my reading habits, mood and taste. We’ll see.

*

 

SnodgrassM-I1-HighGroundUKMelinda Snodgrass, THE HIGH GROUND (Titan Books)

Emperor’s daughter Mercedes is the first woman ever admitted to the High Ground, the elite training academy of the Solar League’s Star Command, and she must graduate if she is to have any hope of taking the throne. Her classmate Tracy has more modest goals — to rise to the rank of captain, and win fame and honor. But a civil war is coming and the political machinations of those who yearn for power threaten the young cadets. In a time of intrigue and alien invasion, they will be tested as they never thought possible.

I read the first couple of chapters of this novel a while ago, and the pages certainly whet my appetite to read the rest of the novel. I’ll be getting to this very soon, I hope. The High Ground is out now in the UK and US.

Also on CR: Guest Post on “My Top Five Sci-Fi/Fantasy Novels”

Review copy received from publisher

*

SullivanMJ-LoFE1-AgeOfMythUSMichael J. Sullivan, AGE OF MYTH (Del Rey)

Since time immemorial, humans have worshipped the gods they call Fhrey, truly a race apart: invincible in battle, masters of magic, and seemingly immortal. But when a god falls to a human blade, the balance of power between humans and those they thought were gods changes forever.

Now only a few stand between humankind and annihilation: Raithe, reluctant to embrace his destiny as the God Killer; Suri, a young seer burdened by signs of impending doom; and Persephone, who must overcome personal tragedy to lead her people. The Age of Myth is over. The time of rebellion has begun.

This is the first in a new series, set I believe centuries before his first series, the Riyria Chronicles (which I thoroughly enjoyed). I’ve fallen a little behind on his Riyria novels — after the original series, he wrote three prequels, which I haven’t finished, yet. I’ll try to get caught up soon. Age of Myth is published by Del Rey.

Also on CR: Interview with Michael J. Sullivan (2011); Guest Posts on “On Gritty vs. Heroic Fantasy” and “History & Riyria”; Reviews of Theft of SwordsRise of Empire and Heir of Novron

*

SkylerH-VegasGirlsUSHeather Skyler, VEGAS GIRLS (Skyhorse)

Vegas Girls begins when three former high school friends, now in their mid-thirties, reunite in their hometown of Las Vegas — a city they vowed to escape as soon as they could — to celebrate their new lives and revisit old haunts. But what starts out as a week-long, sun-kissed reunion takes a strange turn as mysterious gifts appear, familiar faces pop up in unexpected places, and each woman reveals a secret, private quest.

Ramona is searching for a son she gave up for adoption before their high-school graduation. Jane is trying to leave her husband of eleven years, even with her two kids in tow. And Ivy, who has a new baby, is haunted by the memory of her mother abandoning her twenty years ago — and she has begun spotting her everywhere. Add to this a darkly charismatic ex-boyfriend of Ivy’s who won’t give up hope of rekindling their romance, and a strange, new friend of Jane’s in need of help, and the week quickly begins to unravel.

Set against desert heat, swimming pools, and casino lights, and told masterfully through five different points of view, Vegas Girls is about how we navigate the present while carrying the ghosts of our past; about growing up with one eye glued to the rearview mirror; and about what happens when the past you thought you left behind turns out to have been with you all along.

Could be interesting, thought I’d give it a try. Published by Skyhorse Publishing on October 4th, 2016.

Review copy received via Edelweiss

*

ThorpeG-HH-AngelsOfCalibanGav Thorpe, ANGELS OF CALIBAN (Black Library)

The First Legion go to war, and their primarch’s brutal actions threaten to tear apart the fragile alliance of Imperium Secundus.

With the Dark Angels spread across a hundred systems, primarch Lion El’Jonson stands as Lord Protector of Ultramar – though his true motives are known to few indeed, and old rivalries on the home world threaten to tear the Legion in half. But when word comes of the Night Lords’ attack on Sotha, the Lion’s brutal actions bring Imperium Secundus once again to the brink of civil war. Not even the most fearsome warriors of the Dreadwing, nor any arcane secret of the Order, can guarantee victory if he sets himself against his loyal brothers.

The 38th novel in the Horus Heresy series. Kind of amazing that it has actually made it this far… But then, they have planned 50 books (a growing number are anthologies, as I’ve grumbled about before). I had some catching up to do, with three previous novels still to read. However, I powered through them in two weeks, and will be posting reviews over the course of a fortnight. This was good, but I much preferred the storyline on Imperium Secundus, featuring the four Primarchs, over the events on Caliban. Published by Black LibraryAngels of Caliban is out now.

Also on CR: Interview with Gav Thorpe (2011) & Catch-Up (2016); Reviews of The Curse of Khaine and Deliverance Lost

*

VidichP-AnHonorableManPaul Vidich, AN HONORABLE MAN (Atria)

Washington D.C., 1953. The Cold War is heating up: McCarthyism, with all its fear and demagoguery, is raging in the nation’s capital, and Joseph Stalin’s death has left a dangerous power vacuum in the Soviet Union.

The CIA, meanwhile, is reeling from a double agent within their midst. Someone is selling secrets to the Soviets, compromising missions around the globe. Undercover agents have been assassinated, and anti-Communist plots are being cut short in ruthlessly efficient fashion. The CIA director knows any news of the traitor, whose code name is Protocol, would be a national embarrassment and compromise the entire agency.

George Mueller seems to be the perfect man to help find the mole: Yale-educated; extensive experience running missions in Eastern Europe; an operative so dedicated to his job that it left his marriage in tatters. The Director trusts him. Mueller, though, has secrets of his own, and as he digs deeper into the case, making contact with a Soviet agent, suspicion begins to fall on him as well. Until Protocol is found, no one can be trusted, and everyone is at risk.

This looks really interesting. Out now, it’s published by Atria/Emily Bestler Books. The sequel, The Good Spy, is due to be published in April 2017 (and looks equally interesting).

*

Wendig-SW-Aftermath2-LifeDebtChuck Wendig, STAR WARS: AFTERMATH — LIFE DEBT (Century)

The Emperor is dead, and the remnants of his former Empire are in retreat. As the New Republic fights to restore a lasting peace to the galaxy, some dare to imagine new beginnings and new destinies. For Han Solo, that means settling his last outstanding debt, by helping Chewbacca liberate the Wookiee’s homeworld of Kashyyyk.

Meanwhile, Norra Wexley and her band of Imperial hunters pursue Grand Admiral Rae Sloane and the Empire’s remaining leadership across the galaxy. Even as more and more officers are brought to justice, Sloane continues to elude the New Republic, and Norra fears Sloane may be searching for a means to save the crumbling Empire from oblivion. But the hunt for Sloane is cut short when Norra receives an urgent request from Princess Leia Organa. The attempt to liberate Kashyyyk has carried Han Solo, Chewbacca, and a band of smugglers into an ambush — resulting in Chewie’s capture and Han’s disappearance.

Breaking away from their official mission and racing toward Kashyyyk, Norra and her crew prepare for any challenge that stands between them and their missing comrades. But they can’t anticipate the true depth of the danger that awaits them — or the ruthlessness of the enemy drawing them into his crosshairs.

The sequel to Aftermath, which I still haven’t had a chance to read. As I’ve said (seemingly ad infinitum), I’ve cooled on Star Wars fiction. I have heard good things about the recent books (Bloodline, for example), so maybe I should give these a try. We’ll see. Maybe.

Also on CR: Reviews of Double Dead and Bad Blood

Review copy received from publisher

*

WhitakerKR-AnimatorsUSKayla Rae Whitaker, THE ANIMATORS (Random House)

She was the first person to see me as I had always wanted to be seen. It was enough to indebt me to her forever.

At a private East Coast college, two young women meet in art class. Sharon Kisses, quietly ambitious but self-doubting, arrives from rural Kentucky. Mel Vaught, brash, unapologetic, wildly gifted, brings her own brand of hellfire from the backwaters of Florida. Both outsiders, Sharon and Mel become fervent friends, bonding over Ren and Stimpy, R. Crumb, and dysfunctional families. Working, absorbing, drinking. Drawing: Mel, to understand her own tumultuous past, and Sharon, to lose herself altogether.

A decade later, Sharon and Mel are an award-winning animation duo, and with the release of their first full-length feature, the “spitting, twitching tour-de-force of epic freaking proportions” Nashville Combat, they stand at the cusp of success. But while on tour to promote the film, cracks in their relationship begin to form: Sharon begins to feel like a tag-along and suspects that raucous Mel is the real artist. When unexpected tragedy strikes, long-buried resentments rise to the surface, threatening their relationships with their families, their lovers, and each other — and hastening a reckoning no one sees coming.

Thought this sounded like it could be interesting. Published by Random House in the US, on November 29th, 2016.

Review copy received via NetGalley

*

WilsonKA-2-ATasteOfHoneyKai Ashante Wilson, A TASTE OF HONEY (Tor.com)

Long after the Towers left the world but before the dragons came to Daluça, the emperor brought his delegation of gods and diplomats to Olorum. As the royalty negotiates over trade routes and public services, the divinity seeks arcane assistance among the local gods.

Aqib bgm Sadiqi, fourth-cousin to the royal family and son of the Master of Beasts, has more mortal and pressing concerns. His heart has been captured for the first time by a handsome Daluçan soldier named Lucrio. in defiance of Saintly Canon, gossiping servants, and the furious disapproval of his father and brother, Aqib finds himself swept up in a whirlwind romance. But neither Aqib nor Lucrio know whether their love can survive all the hardships the world has to throw at them.

The sequel to The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps, and a series I really want to read. Hopefully get something up on the site soon(ish). A Taste of Honey is due to be published by Tor.com on October 25th, 2016.

Review copy received from publisher

*

WolfeT-KingdomOfSpeechUSTom Wolfe, THE KINGDOM OF SPEECH (Little, Brown)

The maestro storyteller and reporter provocatively argues that what we think we know about speech and human evolution is wrong.

Tom Wolfe, whose legend began in journalism, takes us on an eye-opening journey that is sure to arouse widespread debate. THE KINGDOM OF SPEECH is a captivating, paradigm-shifting argument that speech — not evolution — is responsible for humanity’s complex societies and achievements.

From Alfred Russel Wallace, the Englishman who beat Darwin to the theory of natural selection but later renounced it, and through the controversial work of modern-day anthropologist Daniel Everett, who defies the current wisdom that language is hard-wired in humans, Wolfe examines the solemn, long-faced, laugh-out-loud zig-zags of Darwinism, old and Neo, and finds it irrelevant here in the Kingdom of Speech.

I haven’t read much of Wolfe’s work, but I loved I Am Charlotte Simmons, so I’m interested in seeing what he has to say about language. Published by Little, Brown, on August 30th, 2016.

Review copy received via Edelweiss

*

ZanderJ-BelieverUSJoakim Zander, THE BELIEVER (Harper)

Yasmine Ajam has fled her past in the rough Stockholm borough Bergort, reinventing herself as a trend spotter in New York City. One day she receives a startling message: there are riots erupting on the streets of Stockholm and they appear to be connected with the disappearance of her brother, Faadi. 

Following rumors that Faadi was radicalized and died fighting for ISIS in Syria, Yasmine returns to Stockholm to discover what really happened to her brother. There she becomes entangled in a dangerous web of allegiances and violence that stretches far beyond the gangs on her childhood streets.

Meanwhile, in London, Klara Walldéen has landed a job at a human rights research institute working on a report to predict the effects of privatizating police forces. When Klara travels to Stockhom to present her findings to European Union policy makers, her laptop is stolen and one of her colleagues is pushed in front of an oncoming subway train. As her path collides with Yasmine’s, Klara begins to realize that she may unwittingly be contributing to the sinister agendas of powerful interests who will stop at nothing to attain their goals.

This is the stand-alone sequel to The Swimmer, which I have also picked up. Due to be published by Harper on January 17th, 2017 (this gives me plenty of time to get the first novel read). Heard good things. The Swimmer and The Believer are (or will) be published in the UK by Head of Zeus — the latter is published as The Brother in the UK.

Review copy received via Edelweiss

*

Which of these grabs your attention? Anything else you think I should keep my eyes open for?

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