New Books (October)


Another interesting and varied selection of review copies and recent purchases. Many of the ARCs are for books that aren’t out for quite some time, so reviews probably won’t be up for a little while. They are, however, all highly anticipated by me, so I wanted to get them mentioned ASAP.

Featuring: Jennifer Banash, Marc Collins, Laura Hankin, CJ Leede, Kate Manning, Holly Goldberg Sloan, Tom Rob Smith, Karin Tanabe, Adrian Tchaikovsky, Gav Thorpe, Martha Wells


BanashJ-RiseAndFallOfAvaArcanaUSHCJennifer Banash, THE RISE AND FALL OF AVA ARCANA (Lake Union Publishing)

An electrifying novel about a woman in thrall to the exhilarating rhythms of Manhattan, lost in the dizzying promise of youth, and fatally naive to the dark pressures of fame.

When Rolling Stone journalist Kayla McCray is assigned a cover story on pop icon Lexi Mayhem, Kayla stumbles across a startling new angle to the exposé. Years ago, another rising star from Lexi’s past mysteriously leaped to her death. Some things are better off forgotten, Lexi says. Kayla disagrees.

It’s 2005 and Ava Petrova moves to New York with a notebook full of songs and a dream. Then she meets Lexi, an up-and-coming singer who brands Ava with an enigmatic new stage name and introduces her to an intoxicating city alive with possibilities. From fast friends and kindred spirits to creative muses and inseparable soul mates, Ava and Lexi embark on a parallel journey to stardom, but there is room for only one at the top.

As past and present converge, Kayla chases the ghost of a young woman doomed by betrayal and erased by a secret, and unravels the truth that it takes more than ambition to become a star.

Thought this sounded interesting. Haven’t read anything by the author before, and only heard about the book when I spotted it available via NetGalley. Looking forward to trying it. The Rise and Fall of Ava Arcana is due to be published by Lake Union Publishing in North America and in the UK, on April 4th, 2023.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter
Review copy received via NetGalley


BrooksM-WH40kRenegades-HarrowmasterMike Brooks, RENEGADES: HARROWMASTER (Black Library)

The Alpha Legion are devious beyond measure, but deceit is a double-edged sword. As the Indomitus Crusade pushes into the far reaches of the Ultima Segmentum, and Solomon Akurra and his warband the Serpent’s Teeth encounter the feared Primaris Marines, the Alpha Legion is faced with a choice – fade into the shadows, or adapt and strike back.

Solomon intends to take the title of Harrowmaster and bind together the feuding heads of the hydra that make up his Legion, but his allies are disparate and unproven, and his enemies march with the might of the Imperium at their back. Much is not as it seems, and the odds are stacked against the sons of Alpharius… but Solomon is armed with a weapon the Imperium cannot ignore: the truth.

After Brooks’s Alpharius, part of the Horus Heresy: Primarchs series, it’s pretty much guaranteed that I’ll read anything he writes about the Alpha Legion. Very much looking forward to getting around to this one. Renegades: Harrowmaster is out now, published by Black Library in North America and in the UK.

Also on CR: Interview with Mike Brooks (2015)

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter, Instagram


CollinsM-WH40kRT-VoidKingMarc Collins, VOID KING (Black Library)

Proud Lamertine. Fierce Helvintr. Cunning Radrexxus.

Since the halcyon days of the Great Crusade, these noble rogue trader dynasties have plied the void in the Emperor’s name, answering to whomsoever sits as the king of the Davamir Compact. There has been profit and adventure and abundance in these times… Yet now the galaxy is changed, divided by the birth of the Great Rift. As plans are drawn up for the most immense crusade imaginable, the Emperor’s reborn son demands that the Compact seek a way across the Rift.

When tragedy and betrayal threaten all their endeavours, it is the Lamertine heir, Erastus, who must rise to the fore – to guide the disparate forces of the Compact in service to their sacred mission, to avenge the wounds done to them by hidden hands, and to reveal the darkest secrets threatening the Imperium’s dreams of unity…

I’ve always been intrigued by the rogue traders in WH40k — in an otherwise highly-controlled future universe for humanity (not to mention highly dangerous), the rogue traders roam the stars looking for booty, worlds, and more. They are, in some ways, the closest the WH40k setting gets to characters like Han Solo… Maybe. It’s an imperfect analogy, but the point is that I find them interesting. Looking forward to reading this novel as soon as I can. Void King is out now, published by Black Library in North America and in the UK.

Follow the Author: Goodreads, Twitter


HankinL-DaydreamsUSHCLaura Hankin, THE DAYDREAMS (Berkley)

A deliciously entertaining novel about the stars of a popular teen show from the early 2000s — and the reunion special, thirteen years after their scandalous flameout, that will either be their last chance at redemption, or destroy them all for good.

Back in 2004, The Daydreams had it all: a cast of innocent-seeming teenagers acting and singing their hearts out, amazing ratings, and a will-they-or-won’t-they romance that steamed up fan fiction forums. Then, during the live season two finale, it all imploded, leaving everyone scrambling to understand why.

Afterward, the four stars went down very different paths. Kat is now a lawyer in Washington, DC. Liana is the bored wife of a famous athlete. Noah, the show’s golden boy, emerged unscathed and is poised to become a household name. And Summer, the object of Noah’s fictional (and maybe real-life) affections, is the cautionary tale.

But now the fans are demanding reunion special. The stars all have private reasons to come back: forgiveness, revenge, a second chance with a first love. But as they tentatively rediscover the magic of the original show, old secrets threaten to resurface — including the real reason behind their downfall.

Will this reunion be a chance to make things right? Or will it be the biggest mess the world has ever seen? No matter what, the ratings will be wild.

This sounded interesting, so I thought I’d give it a try. The Daydreams is due to be published by Berkley in North America and in the UK, on May 2nd, 2023.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter
Review copy received via Edelweiss


LeedeCJ-MaeveFlyCJ Leede, MAEVE FLY (Tor Nightfire)

A blood-soaked love letter to Los Angeles and a gleeful send-up to iconic horror villains…

By day, Maeve Fly works at the happiest place in the world as every child’s favorite ice princess.

By the neon night glow of the Sunset Strip, Maeve haunts the dive bars with a drink in one hand and a book in the other, imitating her misanthropic literary heroes.

But when Gideon Green — her best friend’s brother — moves to town, he awakens something dangerous within her, and the world she knows suddenly shifts beneath her feet.

Untethered, Maeve ditches her discontented act and tries on a new persona. A bolder, bloodier one, inspired by the pages of American Psycho. Step aside Patrick Bateman, it’s Maeve’s turn with the knife.

An intriguing cover and premise. Perhaps a bit outside my usual reading fare (not the biggest fan of horror), but I’m intrigued, so thought I’d give it a shot. Maeve Fly is due to be published by Tor Nightfire in North America and in the UK, on June 6th, 2023.

Follow the Author: Goodreads, Instagram
Review copy received via NetGalley


ManningK-GildedMountainUSHCKate Manning, GILDED MOUNTAIN (Scribner)

Set in early 1900s Colorado, the unforgettable tale of a young woman who bravely faces the consequences of speaking out against injustice.

In a voice spiked with sly humor, Sylvie Pelletier recounts leaving her family’s snowbound mountain cabin to work in a manor house for the Padgetts, owners of the marble-mining company that employs her father and dominates the town. Sharp-eyed Sylvie is awed by the luxury around her; fascinated by her employer, the charming “Countess” Inge, and confused by the erratic affections of Jasper, the bookish heir to the family fortune. Her fairy-tale ideas of romance take a dark turn when she realizes the Padgetts’ lofty philosophical talk is at odds with the unfair labor practices that have enriched them. Their servants, the Gradys, formerly enslaved people, have long known this to be true and are making plans to form a utopian community on the Colorado prairie.

Outside the manor walls, the town of Moonstone is roiling with discontent. A handsome union organizer, along with labor leader Mary Harris “Mother” Jones, is stirring up the quarry workers. The editor of the local newspaper — a bold woman who takes Sylvie on as an apprentice — is publishing unflattering accounts of the Padgett Company. Sylvie navigates vastly different worlds and struggles to find her way amid conflicting loyalties. When the harsh winter brings tragedy, Sylvie must choose between silence and revenge.

Drawn from true stories of Colorado history, Gilded Mountain is a tale of a bygone American West seized by robber barons and settled by immigrants, and is a story infused with longing — for self-expression and equality, freedom and adventure.

The synopsis caught my attention, shortly after I spotted it on, I think, the publisher’s Instagram account. I’ve been craving something in the vein of Maggie Shipstead’s Great Circle, and I thought this might serve. Certainly looking forward to reading it — unfortunately, it was published very shortly after I received the DRC (and just as I was starting a beast of a book for work), so I wasn’t able to get this read before it was released. Gilded Mountain is out now, published by Scribner in North America.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, InstagramTwitter
Review copy received via Edelweiss


SloanHG-PiecesOfBlueUSHCHolly Goldberg Sloan, PIECES OF BLUE (Flatiron)

A hilarious and heartfelt novel about a family trying to restore a ramshackle beachside motel — and their own lives

What good was thinking the future only held cloudy skies? Wasn’t the reality that pieces of blue were always there, waiting to break through?

When Paul Hill drowns in a surfing accident, he leaves his wife, Lindsey, and their three children with broken hearts and a mountain of debt. Once Paul’s life insurance finally comes through, Lindsey impulsively uses the money to buy a charmingly ramshackle motel in Hawai’i, hoping for a fresh start. Teenage Olivia quickly develops a crush on a handsome but monosyllabic skateboarder. Twelve-year-old Carlos reinvents himself as a popular kid named Carl. And Sena, the youngest, will do whatever it takes to protect her beloved motel chickens.

But while the kids adjust, Lindsey is flailing, trying to pretend she knows how to bring a motel — and herself — back to life. Then a handsome stranger rolls into the motel parking lot, and she’s surprised to feel a long-dormant part of herself stirring. She accepts his offer to help, unaware that he may have secrets of his own. And all the while, out in the Pacific, the trade winds are fiercely blowing.

Funny and tender, full of twists and turns and heart, Pieces of Blue is a portrait of an irresistible family learning to start over.

The synopsis for Pieces of Blue caught my attention, and I was lucky enough to get a review copy. Really looking forward to reading it (hopefully soon), and I’ll post a review closer to release. Pieces of Blue is due to be published in North America by Flatiron Books, on May 9th, 2023.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter
Review copy received via Edelweiss


SmithTR-ColdPeopleUSHCTom Rob Smith, COLD PEOPLE (Scribner)

A suspenseful and fast-paced novel about an Antarctic colony of global apocalypse survivors seeking to reinvent civilization under the most extreme conditions imaginable.

The world has fallen. Without warning, a mysterious and omnipotent force has claimed the planet for their own. There are no negotiations, no demands, no reasons given for their actions. All they have is a message: humanity has thirty days to reach the one place on Earth where they will be allowed to exist…Antarctica.

Cold People follows the perilous journeys of a handful of those who endure the frantic exodus to the most extreme environment on the planet. But their goal is not merely to survive the present. Because as they cling to life on the ice, the remnants of their past swept away, they must also confront the urgent challenge: can they change and evolve rapidly enough to ensure humanity’s future? Can they build a new society in the sub-zero cold?

Interesting premise. Smith is an author I’ve always intended to read — indeed, I have many of his books — but for some reason I keep forgetting I have his books. This is not because I lose interest, just because I have a terrible memory for whatever I have as an eBook… Hopefully, I’ll finally break this habit, and I think I’ll start with this one. Cold People is due to be published by Scribner in North America (February 7th, 2023) and Simon & Schuster in the UK (January 19th).

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Instagram
Review copy received via Edelweiss


TanabeK-SunsetCrowdUSHCKarin Tanabe, THE SUNSET CROWD (St. Martin’s Press)

Money and fame: in 1970’s Los Angeles, everyone is fighting to reach the top, but very few have the talent, ambition, and luck to get there.

Meet LA darling Evra Scott. The daughter of an Oscar-winning director and a Brazilian bombshell actress, Evra is the city’s reigning style queen. By day, she’s at the helm of Sunset on Sunset, the store beloved by Hollywood’s young and beautiful. By night, she’s on the arm of Kai de la Faire, Hawaii’s hottest export, and the screenwriter of the moment.

Enter Theodora Leigh. The twenty-something Paramount assistant looks like a big screen star, but her sights are firmly set behind the scenes, as she fights to become a movie producer in a town where sex and sexism sell. Theodora’s got the talent and instincts, but she’s not willing to wait. Luckily, getting ahead by any means necessary is LA’s mantra.

Observing it all is Bea Dupont, a photographer for Rolling Stone and Vogue, who never misses the party, but always keeps to its fringes. A Manhattan blue blood turned West Coast bohemian, Bea holds Evra’s Sunset crowd together. She’s also Kai’s oldest friend, and she’s harbored a not-so-secret flame for him since they met at an elite Swiss boarding school.

But in Hollywood, no one stays on top forever. And it’s not long before Theodora’s unrelenting ambition sets in motion a dramatic quest for power in an industry that is as glamorous as it is duplicitous.

Probably redundant for me to remind readers that I am a fan of Los Angeles-based fiction… This one sounds very much of interest. Not out for a long while, but I think I’ll be reading it pretty soon nevertheless. The Sunset Crowd is due to be published by St. Martin’s Press in North America and in the UK, on July 4th, 2023.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, InstagramTwitter
Review copy received via Edelweiss


Tchaikovsky-CoT3-ChildrenOfMemoryUKHCAdrian Tchaikovsky, CHILDREN OF MEMORY (Orbit)

The modern classic of space opera that began with Children of Time continues in this extraordinary novel of humanity’s battle for survival on a terraformed planet.

Earth failed. In a desperate bid to escape, the spaceship Enkidu and its captain, Heorest Holt, carried its precious human cargo to a potential new paradise. Generations later, this fragile colony has managed to survive, eking out a hardy existence. Yet life is tough, and much technological knowledge has been lost.

Then strangers appear. They possess unparalleled knowledge and thrilling technology – and they’ve arrived from another world to help humanity’s colonies. But not all is as it seems, and the price of the strangers’ help may be the colony itself.

Children of Memory by Arthur C. Clarke Award-winning author Adrian Tchaikovsky is a far-reaching space opera spanning generations, species and galaxies.

The third novel in the Children of Time series (which is impressive, considering it was originally intended as a stand-alone). The first novel, Children of Time is one of the best science fiction novels I’ve read, and I cannot recommend it highly enough. The sequel, Children of Ruin took things in interesting new directions, offering a different perspective on this fictional universe. Overall, very highly recommended. Children of Memory is due to be published by Orbit Books in North America (January 31st, 2023) and Tor Books in the UK (November 24th).

Also on CR: Interview with Adrian Tchaikovsky (2012); Guest Posts on “Nine Books, Six Years, One Stenwold Maker”, “The Art of Gunsmithing”, “Looking for God in Melnibone Places” and “Eye of the Spider”; Excerpt from Guns of the Dawn; Reviews of Children of RuinEmpire in Black & GoldGuns of the DawnSpiderlight, One Day All This Will Be Yours, Shards of Earth, and Ogres

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter
Review copy received via Edelweiss


ThorpeG-HHP16-RogalDornGav Thorpe: ROGAL DORN: THE EMPEROR’S CRUSADER (Black Library)

As the Great Crusade enters its sixth decade, the fleets and armies of the Emperor spear out into the galaxy to bring the Imperial Truth to thousands of worlds. Expansion has been swift, but must now be tempered with consolidation. Even so, the Emperor demands that the boundaries of the Imperium be pushed further into the unknown.

The Master of Mankind tasks four primarchs with the dangerous mission of securing the worlds of the Occluda Noctis – hundreds of star systems on the far side of the Northern Major Warp Storm, whose warp-churning presence casts a shadow on the guiding light of the Astronomican and blinds even the Emperor’s psychic sight. Rogal Dorn leads his Imperial Fists directly into the heart of this cosmic twilight. Isolated, battling a foe the likes of which nobody has encountered before, Dorn must use all of his strategic genius and irresistible will to conquer the darkness in the name of the Emperor.

This is the sixteenth novel in the Horus Heresy Primarchs spin-off series. As a long-time fan of Thorpe’s writing for BL, I was looking forward to reading this. (I’ve never been a huge fan of the Imperial Fists Legion/Chapter — not really sure why, but maybe it’s the garish yellow livery…) I read this pretty soon after getting it, and I’m pleased to report that I very much enjoyed it — it felt like a more substantial read than some of the Primarchs novels, even though it wasn’t appreciably longer or anything. I also enjoyed the scenes that showed the relationships between the four Primarchs mentioned, and the added layers it provided. Nicely done. Recommended to fans of the Imperial Fists and WH40k in general. Rogal Dorn is out now, published by Black Library in North America and in the UK.

Also on CR: Interviews with Gav Thorpe — 2011 & 2016; Reviews of Deliverance Lost, Angels of Caliban, The First Wall, and The Wolftime

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter
Review copy received via Edelweiss


WellsM-WitchKingUSHCMartha Wells, WITCH KING (

“I didn’t know you were a… demon.”
“You idiot. I’m the demon.”
Kai’s having a long day….

After being murdered, his consciousness dormant and unaware of the passing of time while confined in an elaborate water trap, Kai wakes to find a lesser mage attempting to harness Kai’s magic to his own advantage. That was never going to go well.

But why was Kai imprisoned in the first place? What has changed in the world since his assassination? And why does the Rising World Coalition appear to be growing in influence?

Kai will need to pull his allies close and draw on all his pain magic if he is to answer even the least of these questions.

He’s not going to like the answers.

A new fantasy novel from the author of the superb, best-selling Murderbot Diaries series. Really looking forward to reading this. (I’ll wait to post a review until a bit closer to release, though.) Witch King is due to be published by in North America and in the UK, on May 30th, 2023.

Also on CR: Reviews of All Systems Red, Artificial Condition, Rogue Protocol, Exit Strategy, Network Effect, and Fugitive Telemetry

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter
Review copy received via Edelweiss

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