Interview with BARBARA BARNETT

barnettb-authorpicLet’s start with an introduction: Who is Barbara Barnett?

That is always the hardest question for me to answer. One part science geek (with the academic credentials to prove it!), one part SFF fan (since I was but a wee lass and saw my first Twilight Zone episode), one part political science wonk (with the academic credential to prove that too!) and several parts writer with an often too-wild imagination. Is that too many parts? Hmmm.

Alchemy of Glass, the sequel to The Apothecary’s Curse, is due to be published by Pyr in April. How would you introduce the series to a potential reader? And what can fans of the first novel expect from this second book?

The Apothecary series follows the adventures of apothecary/antiquarian bookseller Gaelan Erceldoune, the descendent of Lord Thomas Learmont de Ercildoune (aka Thomas the Rhymer from British Legend). Made immortal by an error in judgement employing his ancient elaborately illuminated book of healing, Gaelan fears discovery most of all. Continue reading

Upcoming: CONSENSUAL HEX by Amanda Harlowe (Grand Central / Atlantic)

HarloweA-ConsensualHex

Consensual Hex has been pitched as “The Craft for the #MeToo era,” which is a pretty intriguing premise. (Very much a fan of The Craft, which I may have seen in the cinema.) Amanda Harlowe‘s debut is a campus novel with a difference, perhaps in the same sub-genre are Leigh Bardugo’s Ninth House and Lev Grossman’s The Magicians series, but with a dash of The Power?

Anyway, I’m really looking forward to reading this. Here’s the synopsis:

When Lee, a first year at Smith, is raped under eerie circumstances during orientation week by an Amherst frat boy, she’s quickly disillusioned by her lack of recourse. As her trauma boils within her, Lee is selected for an exclusive seminar on Gender, Power, and Witchcraft, where she meets Luna (an alluring Brooklyn hipster), Gabi (who has a laundry list of phobias), and Charlotte (a waifish, chill international student). Granted a charter for a coven and suddenly in possession of real magic, the four girls are tasked by their aloof Professor with covertly retrieving a grimoire that an Amherst fraternity has gotten their hands on. But when the witches realize the frat brothers are using magic to commit and cover up sexual assault all over Northampton, their exploits escalate into vigilante justice. As Lee’s thirst for revenge on her rapist grows, things spiral out of control, pitting witch against witch as they must wrestle with how far one is willing to go to heal.

CONSENSUAL HEX is both a gripping page-turner and a sensitive portrait of a young woman coming of age, uncovering the ways in which love and obsession and looking to fit in can go hand in hand. Lee, an outstanding, magical anti-heroine, refuses to be pigeonholed as a model victim or a horrific example. Instead, her caustic voice demands our attention, clawing out from every page, equally vicious and vulnerable as she lures us, then dares us, to transgress. Dark, biting, and archly camp, CONSENSUAL HEX announces Harlowe as a significant talent.

Consensual Hex is due to be published by Grand Central Publishing in North America (October 6th) and Atlantic Books in the UK (October 8th).

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Quick Review: BY FORCE ALONE by Lavie Tidhar (Tor Books/Head of Zeus)

Tidhar-ByForceAloneUSThe Shites of the Round Table…?

A retelling of Arthurian myth for the age of Brexit and Trump…

Everyone thinks they know the story of King Arthur and his knights of the Round Table.

The fact is they don’t know sh*t.

Arthur? An over-promoted gangster.
Merlin? An eldritch parasite.
Excalibur? A shady deal with a watery arms dealer.
Britain? A clogged sewer that Rome abandoned just as soon as it could.

A savage and cutting epic fantasy, equally poetic and profane, By Force Alone is at once a timely political satire, a magical adventure, and a subversive masterwork.

Lavie Tidhar is one of the most interesting storytellers writing today. Never shy of tackling sensitive topics and subjects (Hitler and Osama bin Laden to name but two recent-ish subjects), in By Force Alone he turns his attention to the Arthurian myth — in many ways, the closest the United Kingdom has to a founding mythology. This is not the Arthur, Merlin, Guinevere, and Lancelot you may know from other popular interpretations: This is an entirely new beast. It is a grim, grubby version of Camelot and post-Roman Britain. It is also very funny, engaging, and gritty. I really enjoyed this. Continue reading

Guest Post: “Influences & Inspirations” by Premee Mohamed

MohamedP-BeneathTheRisingMy parents said I was talking at eight months, and I believed them because many of my cousins also started super early; they said I was walking before I was a year old, and I believed them for the same reason. But when they told me that I could read when I was two, I made an earsplittingly loud raspberry noise. How could that even be possible?

Anyway, later on I researched hyperlexia and (with sinking stomach and moistening skin) realized that they might have been right after all. I cannot remember a time when I couldn’t read. So when I think about the influences on my personality, decisions, preferences, and proclivities, I think: it’s books, it’s always books. It’s always been books and it’s always going to be books. Continue reading

Interview with S.A. HUNT

HuntSA-AuthorPic (Kate Pierce)Let’s start with an introduction: Who is S.A. Hunt?

S.A. Hunt is… a hillbilly, a witch, a soldier, a wanderer, a rock chick, a gunslinger, a lover, a dreamer, a doer…

… Good God, that all sounds pretentious, doesn’t it? But I feel like at this point I’ve earned the right to editorialize my life a little bit. I’m Samara Hunt, but my friends call me Salem. I’m a horror author living on the shores of Lake Michigan, a transplant from the Appalachian hills of Georgia. I love dogs and bicycles. I’m 80% Irish, 10% coffee, and 10% nightmares.

Your next novel, the brilliantly-titled I Come With Knives, is due to be published by Tor Books in May. The sequel to Burn the Dark, it looks really cool. How would you introduce it to a potential reader? And what can fans of the first novel expect from the sequel?

If you liked where things were going in Burn the Dark, the story continues in I Come With Knives, and everything gets turned up to eleven. I can’t wait for y’all to read the vineyard scene and the new, expanded ending. There’s at least two car accidents, dismemberment, and lots of running from cat-possessed people. Continue reading

Upcoming: TROUBLE THE SAINTS by Alaya Dawn Johnson (Tor)

JohnsonAD-TroubleTheSaintsUSThe cover and synopsis for Alaya Dawn Johnson‘s upcoming new novel, Trouble the Saints were met with quite a bit of excitement and anticipation. That cover is certainly gorgeous and is bound to grab attention. I was reminded of it when it appeared on NetGalley earlier today. A cover isn’t everything, of course, and so if you do happen to pick it up, spot the great blurb from N.K. Jemisin, and read the back cover copy, I think your interest will be cemented (mine certainly was):

Amid the whir of city life, a young woman from Harlem is drawn into the glittering underworld of Manhattan, where she’s hired to use her knives to strike fear among its most dangerous denizens.

Ten years later, Phyllis LeBlanc has given up everything — not just her own past, and Dev, the man she loved, but even her own dreams.

Still, the ghosts from her past are always by her side — and history has appeared on her doorstep to threaten the people she keeps in her heart. And so Phyllis will have to make a harrowing choice, before it’s too late — is there ever enough blood in the world to wash clean generations of injustice?

Trouble the Saints is a dazzling, daring novel — a magical love story, a compelling exposure of racial fault lines — and an altogether brilliant and deeply American saga.

Described as “The dangerous magic of The Night Circus meets the powerful historical exploration of The Underground Railroad” the “unsettling” novel is “set against the darkly glamorous backdrop of New York City, where an assassin falls in love and tries to fight her fate at the dawn of World War II.” I think this sounds fantastic, and I can’t wait to read it.

Trouble the Saints is due to be published by Tor Books in North America and in the UK, on June 2nd, 2020.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Upcoming: CREATURES OF CHARM AND HUNGER by Molly Tanzer (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

TanzerM-CreaturesOfCharmAndHungerI stumbled across this novel on NetGalley, and it caught my attention. I’ve been aware of Molly Tanzer‘s fiction for a while, and it’s always interesting. The synopsis for Creatures of Charm and Hunger is very intriguing:

Two young witches, once inseparable, are set at odds by secrets and wildly dangerous magic.

In the waning days of World War II, with Allied victory all but certain, desperate Nazi diabolists search for a demonic superweapon to turn the tide. A secluded castle somewhere in the south of Germany serves as a laboratory for experiments conducted upon human prisoners, experiments as vile as they are deadly.

Across the English Channel, tucked into the sleepy Cumbrian countryside, lies the Library, the repository of occult knowledge for the Société des Éclairées, an international organization of diabolists. There, best friends Jane Blackwood and Miriam Cantor, tutored by the Société’s Librarian — and Jane’s mother — Nancy, prepare to undergo the Test that will determine their future as diabolists.

When Miriam learns her missing parents are suspected of betraying the Société to the Nazis, she embarks on a quest to clear their names, a quest involving dangerous diabolic practices that will demand more of her than she can imagine. Meanwhile Jane, struggling with dark obsessions of her own, embraces a forbidden use of the Art that could put everyone she loves in danger.

As their friendship buckles under the stress of too many secrets, Jane and Miriam will come face to face with unexpected truths that change everything they know about the war, the world, and most of all themselves. After all, some choices cannot be unmade — and a sacrifice made with the most noble intention might end up creating a monster.

The novel is the third in the Diabolist Library series, following Creatures of Want and Ruin and Creatures of Will and Temper.

I’m really looking forward to reading this. Creatures of Charm and Hunger is due to be published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt on April 21st, 2020, in North America and in the UK.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter