Posts Tagged ‘fantasy’

Due to an insanely busy schedule punctuated by my son’s bronchitis, I failed to blog last week (bad agent, no cookie), though I did manage to tweet, Facebook and almost the whole nine yards. So this week I’ve very excited to wish one belated and two on-target happy book birthdays!

Last week saw the publication of HARSH GODS by Michelle Belanger, sequel to CONSPIRACY OF ANGELS, which Laurell K. Hamilton called, “A singular reading experience.”  This week (today, in fact) we have the release of the US edition of Genevieve Cogman’s acclaimed novel THE MASKED CITY, which both Barnes & Noble and Amazon have named to their lists of Best SF & Fantasy for September and also the wonderfully inventive and unique middle-grade novel UN/FAIR by Steven Harper.  More on all of these books below.

A few quick things first:

-Big shout out to Faith Hunter for BLOOD OF THE EARTH and Christie Golden for Warcraft: DUROTAN, both on Audible’s list of Five-Star Favs, this month’s top rated SF/F!

-Another big shout out to Amy Christine Parker, whose novel GATED (about a girl who grows up in a cult) made B&N Teen’s list of the 10 of the Best First Lines in YA thrillers.  I agree and have also added to my teetering TBR pile due to this list and others like it. Booksellers, you’re certainly good at your jobs!

-Alert! Now is your chance to win a copy of Barbara J. Hancock’s BRIMSTONE SEDUCTION over on GoodReads before it releases on October 4th!

And now…

harsh gods HARSH GODS by Michelle Belanger (Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Books-a-Million)

“A darkly vivid world… Her characters are intriguing, her pacing swift. More, please!”—Jim Butcher, creator of The Dresden Files 

The last thing Zack Westland expects on a frigid night is to be summoned to an exorcism.

Demonic possession, however, proves the least of his problems. Father Frank, a veteran turned priest, knows Zack’s deepest secrets, recognizing him as Anakim, an angel belonging to that hidden tribe. And Halley, the girl they’ve come to save, carries a secret that could unlock a centuries-old evil. She chants an eerie rhyme, and she isn’t alone…

“HANDS TO TAKE AND EYES TO SEE,
A MOUTH TO SPEAK. HE COMES FOR ME.”

As Zack’s secrets spill out, far more than his life is at stake, for Halley is linked to an ancient conspiracy. Yet Zack can’t help her unless he’s willing to risk losing his immortality—and reigniting the Blood Wars.

Masked City US.jpg THE MASKED CITY by Genevieve Cogman (Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Books-a-Million)

Librarian-spy Irene and her apprentice Kai are back in the second in this “dazzling”* book-filled fantasy series from the author of The Invisible Library.
 
The written word is mightier than the sword—most of the time…
 
Working in an alternate version of Victorian London, Librarian-spy Irene has settled into a routine, collecting important fiction for the mysterious Library and blending in nicely with the local culture. But when her apprentice, Kai—a dragon of royal descent—is kidnapped by the Fae, her carefully crafted undercover operation begins to crumble.

Kai’s abduction could incite a conflict between the forces of chaos and order that would devastate all worlds and all dimensions. To keep humanity from getting caught in the crossfire, Irene will have to team up with a local Fae leader to travel deep into a version of Venice filled with dark magic, strange coincidences, and a perpetual celebration of Carnival—and save her friend before he becomes the first casualty of a catastrophic war.

But navigating the tumultuous landscape of Fae politics will take more than Irene’s book-smarts and fast-talking—to ward off Armageddon, she might have to sacrifice everything she holds dear….

“A dazzling bibliophilic debut.”—*Charles Stross, Hugo Award-winning author of the Laundry Files

unfair.png UN/FAIR by Steven Harper (Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Books-a-Million)

It’s difficult enough to live in the neighborhood “freakazoid” house. It’s even more difficult when you’re autistic and neither your family nor best friend really understands you. So when Ryan November wakes up on his eleventh birthday with the ability to see the future, he braces himself for trouble. But even his newfound power doesn’t help him anticipate that the fair folk—undines, salamanders, gnomes, and sylphs—want him dead, dead, dead. Ryan races to defend himself and his family against unrelenting danger from the fairy realm so he can uncover the truth about his family history—and himself. Except as Ryan’s power grows, the more enticing the fairy realm becomes, forcing him to choose between order and chaos and power and family. And for an autistic boy, such choices are never cut and dry.

 

 

fifth season First of all, the most tremendous of all shout outs to N.K. Jemisin for winning the Hugo Award for Best Novel this past weekend for THE FIFTH SEASON. This is such an amazing novel and you’re such an incredible writer.  I’m thrilled to see you getting the recognition you deserve!  And readers, check out this great list of nominees! I can’t claim to have read every one, but I’ve read at least one other novel by each of these authors and can highly recommend them for your teetering TBR piles!

The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin (Orbit)

  • Uprooted by Naomi Novik (Del Rey)
  • Ancillary Mercy by Ann Leckie (Orbit)
  • Seveneves: A Novel by Neal Stephenson (William Morrow)
  • The Cinder Spires: The Aeronaut’s Windlass by Jim Butcher (Roc)

Need more books for those TBR piles? (Sure you do!) Amazon has posted their buzzworthy books for fall, and lists THE MASKED CITY by Genevieve Cogman, CURSE ON THE LAND by Faith Hunter and THE OBELISK GATE by N.K. Jemisin among their top reads in science fiction and fantasy!

inkandbone_FINAL And more? How about 13 Books Like Harry Potter for Adults from Early Bird Books, including INK AND BONE by Rachel Caine?

Conspiracy of Angels harsh gods

And don’t forget that HARSH GODS, the sequel to Michelle Belanger’s CONSPIRACY OF ANGELS will be out next week, but is available for pre-order now!

Finally, in the category of books I’ve read and loved but in which I have no stake – Blake Crouch’s DARK MATTER.  Read it. Seriously. This is not a drill.

 

So excited about today’s new releases: THE OBELISK GATE by N.K. Jemisin and THE SIGHT by Chloe Neill, coincidentally both on this month’s list by Smart Bitches, Trashy Books of exciting August releases! As a quick intro, THE OBELISK GATE is the sequel to N.K. Jemisin’s THE FIFTH SEASON, which had been up for a whole host of sf/f awards and is a current Hugo Award and World Fantasy Award finalist!  THE SIGHT is the sequel to THE VEIL, the first in bestselling author Chloe Neill’s Devil’s Isle series.  Want more? Here you go!

obelisk gate THE OBELISK GATE by N.K. Jemisin (Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Books-a-Million, Powells)

“VERDICT Jemisin’s follow-up to THE FIFTH SEASON is exceptional. Those who anxiously awaited this sequel will find the only problem is that the wait must begin again once the last page is turned.” —Library Journal, Starred Review

“In this compelling, challenging, and utterly gripping work that combines elements of fantasy, science fiction, and horror, Jemisin draws readers deeper into the extraordinary setting and characters she introduced in The Fifth Season… Once again Jemisin immerses readers in a complex and intricate world of warring powers, tangled morals, and twisting motivations.” — Publisher Weekly, Starred Review

“Jemisin builds off of the strong foundation laid in the previous novel, further exploring the cosmology and history of her engaging setting, all the while maintaining the strong characterization and plotting that grounds the at times expansive scope of the series’ action. This novel should be of interest to general fantasy readers looking for an interesting new series as well as already avid Jemisin fans.” —Booklist

Cover Copy:

Continuing the trilogy that began with the multi-award-nominated The Fifth Season

  • Shortlisted for the Hugo, Nebula, Audie, and Locus Awards
  • The inaugural Wired.com book club book

This is the way the world ends, for the last time.

The season of endings grows darker, as civilization fades into the long cold night.

Essun — once Damaya, once Syenite, now avenger — has found shelter, but not her daughter. Instead there is Alabaster Tenring, destroyer of the world, with a request. But if Essun does what he asks, it would seal the fate of the Stillness forever.

Far away, her daughter Nassun is growing in power – and her choices will break the world.

the sight THE SIGHT by Chloe Neill (Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Books-a-million, Mysterious Galaxy)

“Neill’s sequel to The Veil continues to prove her adept at worldbuilding and nonstop action. Claire’s honesty and straightforward attitude make her a great character for a harrowing time.” —Library Journal

“The battle for what is left of New Orleans after a magical war heats up in Neill’s terrific Devil’s Isle series…This story is an excellent showcase of how both physical and political threats can warp individuals.” —Romantic Times

Cover Copy:

From the New York Times bestselling author of the Chicagoland Vampire novels, a brand new Devil’s Isle Novel…

The paranormal war that engulfed New Orleans seven years ago is over.  But the battle for the city is just beginning . . .

Claire Connolly is a Sensitive, infected with magic when the Veil that divides humanity from the world beyond fell. Magic can easily consume and destroy a Sensitive, and if Claire’s secret is discovered she’ll be locked into the walled district of Devil’s Isle along with every other Paranormal left in the city.

Bounty hunter Liam Quinn discovered Claire’s secret, but refused to turn her in. Together they saved New Orleans from the resurgence of magic that nearly destroyed it. But now a dangerous cult is on the rise, and it will take both Claire and Liam—and magical allies within Devil’s Isle’s towering walls—to defeat the growing threat before magic corrupts them both…

I really love this new How I Met My Client/Agent series on the blog and hope you do too! One of my favorite things about it is that it illustrates the many paths to finding representation.

I first met Carol Berg at a pitch appointment at the Pikes Peak Writers Conference in 1999. Now, I’m going to tell you a secret—I met a lot of people at that conference. As I remember, they worked their guests pretty hard, with hours upon hours of back to back appointments day after day, so that by the time it was over I’d have been lucky to put any face to any name or pitch. However, I very cleverly asked Carol to send me her material. Full disclosure—as long as a pitch is in a genre I represent and doesn’t sound too off the wall or done to death or glaring with logic gaps, I will ask to see a portion, because some people are amazing writers and poor pitchers or vice versa. It’s the material that truly tells you what you need to know.

song of the beast And Carol’s material was incredible! As you might guess, I was swamped with submissions after the conference and also in general, because this was back when I was the first reader for everything at the office, not just my own submissions. So, I read always and everywhere. In bed, in the bathtub, on trains, planes and…well, not in automobiles. I get car sick when I read in the car. Except…well, my husband and I had to take a road trip and he was driving and I had so much to read that I thought maybe I could knock out a few submission reads on the way. I got to exactly one. Carol Berg had sent me synopses for four books and sample chapters for two of them.

Those chapters absolutely blew me away. In fact, I was so impressed that I read pages out loud to my husband, interjecting with pithy commentary like “Wow” and “She’s incredible!” He agreed, of course, because he is a man of perspicacity and taste. So, I read and read until I was stopped by the state of my stomach. It was worth every second.

As soon as I was back in the office, I requested fulls and was thrilled when they lived up to the promise of the partials I’d already seen.

As Carol says in her piece (up next), it wasn’t long before we had offers and a deal. Not too long thereafter, we had covers and release dates and amazing reviews pouring in.   I’m so thrilled the world has gotten to see what Pete and I knew right off the bat—that Carol Berg is a force for fantasy. We’ve been together now through her Rai-Kirah series (TRANSFORMATION, REVELATION, RESTORATION), her stand-along SONG OF THE BEAST (winner of the Colorado Book Award for Science Fiction/Fantasy), her Bridge of D’Arnath series (SON OF AVONAR, GUARDIANS OF THE KEEP, THE SOUL WEAVER and DAUGHTER OF ANCIENTS), the Lighthouse Duet (FLESH AND SPIRIT and BREATH AND BONE, Mythopoeic Award winners), the Collegica Magica series (THE SPIRIT LENS, THE SOUL MIRROR and THE DAEMON PRISM) and, most recently, the Sanctuary duology (DUST AND LIGHT and ASH AND SILVER).

She’s written some of the most memorable characters in fantasy (the tortured Seyonne from the Rai-Kirah series arguably my favorite, but there’s some very stiff competition here!). I’m so thrilled that every time a new Carol Berg novel comes in, I get to read it first!

___________

How I Met My Agent by Carol Berg

I was a latecomer to professional fiction writing—a software engineer with three mostly grown sons, an exceptional spouse who bleeds hardware, and an omnivorous reading habit. But a friend had seduced me into writing letters “in character” to feed her own writing hobby, and I fell in love with writing fantasy novels for fun. I call it the hobby that ate my life. In 1998, I started a new story which felt different from those that had come before. It was as if I got itit being a notion that I was sitting inside the head of my hero, knowing exactly what he was feeling and experiencing. Either I had stepped to another level of writing, or I was going slightly crazy – or maybe those are really something the same.

My friend and I decided to try out the Pikes Peak Writers Conference to see what we could learn about the publishing industry. And wow, did we get an earful. Besides craft workshops, we listened to actual agents and editors talk about what they were looking for and how the publishing process works. We also met our first Real Published Author, who sat and talked to us about her career, all the good, bad, and elsewise. This generous person was Christie Golden – who, as it happens, appeared in this very column not so long ago!

That conference also introduced me to the Friday afternoon Read-and-Critique session. The R&C, aka the “split your chest open in front of the whole world session,” is where eight or ten writers read the first few pages of their work for a pro and get a critique on the spot. I tried it, and truly thought I was going to bleed out before I’d ever read a word. But the reception was positive, so I came back a year later and tried it again. By this time, my breakthrough story had won the first novel contest at Pikes Peak, and I had started a new story to read for a fantasy/science fiction editor from Roc Books.

The editor hardly said anything. I didn’t think she liked it. But when my friend shoved me into a ten-minute pitch session with her, in which I babbled incoherently for eight minutes, the editor said she wanted to see that book when I was finished with it.

Amid stunned incoherence, my ever trusty friend and I retreated to our computer and started researching agents. And what did we find out? One of the guest agents at Pikes Peak that year was Lucienne Diver, who not only had a stellar reputation, but represented Christie Golden, who had been so kind and open the previous year! So I squeezed in an appointment with Lucienne, and immediately decided that this was the person I wanted to help me through this new adventure. Calm, professional, exuding smarts and common sense, she agreed to read some chapters of my completed book, the contest winner. A few weeks later she offered representation, and when I finished the book Roc had requested, I sent it straight to her. Six days later we had an offer, and was I ever delighted that I had Lucienne in my corner.

On that day, and many days since, I have appreciated her knowledge of the market and the industry, and her support for my writing. Despite my initial, let us call it incoherent exuberance, I was a grown-up, and she has never treated me otherwise, providing the necessary information and context for me to make my own decisions. I love that, and Lucienne!

___________

Other Installments of How I Met My Client/Agent:

Christie Golden

Amy Christine Parker

Before I even get into new releases – and July is an incredible month for them! – I want to give huge shout outs to N.K. Jemisin for her World Fantasy Award Nominee THE FIFTH SEASON and to Genevieve Cogman, whose novel THE INVISIBLE LIBRARY has just come out in the US to great acclaim and was one of Good Morning America’s beach read recommendations this past week!

And now, the new releases. Already this month we’ve had PAPER AND FIRE by Rachel Caine, MIDNIGHT SERENADE by Alli Sinclair and TEMPTING THE DRAGON by Karen Whiddon.  Today we have one all-new book – RED QUEEN by Christina Henry, sequel to her hit novel ALICE – and three exciting reissues – the Path novels by Diana Pharaoh Francis, her first-ever trilogy. Check them out!  (And later this month, we have SMASH & GRAB by Amy Christine Parker and RED RIGHT HAND by Levi Black, but now I’m getting ahead of myself!)

red_queen_front mech.inddRedQueen UK RED QUEEN by Christina Henry (US: B&N, Amazon; UK: Titan Books)

The author of Alice takes readers back down the rabbit hole to a dark, twisted, and fascinating world based on the works of Lewis Carroll…
 
The land outside of the Old City was supposed to be green, lush, hopeful. A place where Alice could finally rest, no longer the plaything of the Rabbit, the pawn of Cheshire, or the prey of the Jabberwocky. But the verdant fields are nothing but ash—and hope is nowhere to be found.

Still, Alice and Hatcher are on a mission to find his daughter, a quest they will not forsake even as it takes them deep into the clutches of the mad White Queen and her goblin or into the realm of the twisted and cruel Black King.

The pieces are set and the game has already begun. Each move brings Alice closer to her destiny. But, to win, she will need to harness her newfound abilities and ally herself with someone even more powerful—the mysterious and vengeful Red Queen…

Path series: PATH OF FATE (B&N, Amazon), PATH OF HONOR (B&N, Amazon), PATH OF BLOOD (B&N, Amazon)

I’ve put  only the cover copy for PATH OF FATE below to avoid any spoilers, but trust me when I say you’ll want the whole series!

Unlikely heroine Reisil and her goshawk companion face their unexpected destiny in this captivating first novel of an epic fantasy trilogy.

Orphaned by her mother and passed from family to family in the village of Kallas in the land of Kodu Riik, Reisil feels as if she will never truly belong. But her training as a tark, or healer, offers her the promise of acceptance by the townsfolk, and as her talents emerge, it appears she will finally be able to hold her head high.

But fate has another path in store: A goshawk named Saljane swoops into her life, and Reisil discovers that she is able to communicate telepathically with the animal. This is an undeniable sign that Reisil has been chosen by Lady Amiya, the goddess of Kodu Riik, to become an ahalad-kaaslane—a guardian of the land who must live a life of constant travel and forgo the very bonds of family and community the girl healer so desires.

Though the role of ahalad-kaaslane is a noble one, Reisil cannot bear the thought of losing the ties with society she has worked so hard to form. She rejects the Lady’s appointment, ignoring the goshawk no matter how persistently it follows her. But when a kidnapping plot breaks a treaty with the neighboring country of Patverseme, Reisil realizes the sentient bird of prey is the only creature capable of tracking the traitors down and saving Kodu Riik from the evils of war.

Reluctantly, Reisil accepts her destiny as an ahalad-kaaslane, and embarks on a dangerous pursuit of the kidnappers—and a perilous trek of self-discovery—in order to save two kingdoms.

A feminist fantasy of honor and perseverance that features a special soul-to-soul bond with a blessed animal, Path of Fate was nominated for the Mary Roberts Rinehart Award.

I have three very different but all awesome new releases coming out next week.  Since it’s a holiday weekend coming up, I wanted to spread the word early (often is good too!).

All to be found in the wild on July 5th:

 PAPER AND FIRE by Rachel Caine (US, UK), sequel to INK AND BONE, which was one of Barnes & Nobles’ Best Science Fiction and Fantasy novels of 2015

In Ink and Bone, New York Times bestselling author Rachel Caine introduced a world where knowledge is power, and power corrupts absolutely. Now, she continues the story of those who dare to defy the Great Library—and rewrite history…  

With an iron fist, The Great Library controls the knowledge of the world, ruthlessly stamping out all rebellion, forbidding the personal ownership of books in the name of the greater good.   Jess Brightwell has survived his introduction to the sinister, seductive world of the Library, but serving in its army is nothing like he envisioned. His life and the lives of those he cares for have been altered forever. His best friend is lost, and Morgan, the girl he loves, is locked away in the Iron Tower and doomed to a life apart.   Embarking on a mission to save one of their own, Jess and his band of allies make one wrong move and suddenly find themselves hunted by the Library’s deadly automata and forced to flee Alexandria, all the way to London.   But Jess’s home isn’t safe anymore. The Welsh army is coming, London is burning, and soon, Jess must choose between his friends, his family, or the Library willing to sacrifice anything and anyone in the search for ultimate control…

midnight serenade

MIDNIGHT SERENADE by Alli Sinclair (Called LUNA TANGO in Australia, where it won 2014 Book of the Year in the AusRom Today Readers’ Choice Awards and the author won Best New Romance Author at the Australian Romance Readers Association Convention)

On the sultry streets of Buenos Aires, the daughter of a world class tango diva searches for answers about the mother who abandoned her-and uncovers decades of lies and deception… After twenty years of wondering why her mother chose the tango over her, Dani McKenna finally travels to Argentina. What was it about this beautiful, mysterious land that enticed one woman away from her own child-and broke another’s heart? As a journalist, Dani may have the opportunity to find out. And an enigmatic tango dancer may hold the key to her quest-if she can break down his defensive walls. Carlos Escudero had been Dani’s mother’s protege. Tragedy ended his career and he refuses to be interviewed. But he will give Dani some insights, on one condition: she must agree to his tango lessons. As the two begin the intricate dance of passion, Dani’s quiet, logical world is exchanged for one of music, motion-and mystery. For the clues to a tango legend’s murder may lead Dani to the truth about the past and its impact on her family-and free her to move toward a future she can claim as her own at last…”

tempting the dragon.jpg

TEMPTING THE DRAGON by Karen Whiddon

Investigative reporter Rance Sleighter had promised to prove the mythical Lake Creature existed. But its protector had already given him a heap of trouble, as well as inspired one too many hot fantasies. If Rance was going to get some answers, he’d have to get on the gorgeous Jade Burnett’s good side…and keep her away from his bed!

For generations, Jade’s shape-shifting pack had kept the Creature safe. Now Rance’s appearance had her rethinking all her vows. She’d seen him in her dreams, knew he was a shifter and that they possibly shared a life-changing bond. Yet could she find the courage to trust the dragon with the truth…and her own fragile heart?

I love book birthdays, don’t you?  I only wish they came with cake.  But I suppose with the sedentary reading lifestyle, it’s probably a good thing they don’t.  Still and all, these new releases are absolutely worth curling up with a good cup of tea (or, in my case, coffee), even if you leave off the biscuits!

inkandbone_FINAL INK AND BONE by Rachel Caine (paperback edition)

In an exhilarating new series, New York Times bestselling author Rachel Caine rewrites history, creating a dangerous world where the Great Library of Alexandria has survived the test of time.…

Ruthless and supremely powerful, the Great Library is now a presence in every major city, governing the flow of knowledge to the masses. Alchemy allows the Library to deliver the content of the greatest works of history instantly—but the personal ownership of books is expressly forbidden.

Jess Brightwell believes in the value of the Library, but the majority of his knowledge comes from illegal books obtained by his family. Jess has been sent to be his family’s spy, but his loyalties are tested in the final months of his training to enter the Library’s service.

When his friend inadvertently commits heresy by creating a device that could change the world, Jess discovers that those who control the Great Library believe knowledge is more valuable than any human life—and soon both heretics and books will burn.…

shadow-rites SHADOW RITES by Faith Hunter (mass market)

Slaying vampires is child s play for skinwalker Jane Yellowrock. But handling the complicated politics of New Orleans supernatural players is another story…

Jane is keeping the peace between visiting groups of witches and vamps in the city, but then trouble comes knocking on her doorstep. When her house is magically attacked, the wild chase to find her assailants unearths a mystery that has literally been buried deep.
A missing master vampire, presumed long deceased, is found chained in a pit…undead, raving mad, and in the company of two human bodies. Now it s up to Jane to find out who kept the vampire hidden for so long and why, because the incident could tip already high supernatural tensions to an all-out arcane war.

red flags.jpg RED FLAGS by Tammy Kaehler (hardcover & paperback)

When Kate Reilly arrives in Long Beach, California, a week ahead of the Grand Prix, she’s immediately plunged into a new social scene—as well as a murder investigation. Her cousin Billy is found dead, with Kate’s card in his pocket. The cops want to know why, and sponsors and race organizers—anxious to keep racing’s image clean—want Kate to investigate. Doubting she can solve another murder, especially that of a relative she despised, Kate reluctantly agrees.
At the same time, coaching a gorgeous and talented actress for a celebrity race brings Kate into the orbit of Hollywood’s hottest bachelor. And then a local FBI agent takes notice of more than her driving and sleuthing skills. She goes from Sony Studios to Venice Beach and from Rodeo Drive to the Hollywood Hills, attending parties, power-shopping, and dodging unwelcome paparazzi. Kate’s ballooning media exposure generates national commentary, testing her composure and forcing her to get ahead of the stories—whether critical or flattering.
Kate’s professional dreams are also coming true. The upcoming Grand Prix is her first race with a new sponsor that’s also funding an IndyCar test drive and a ride in next year’s Indy 500—along with future possibilities in NASCAR. The downside? New sponsor Frame Savings is owned by her family, and its management, outside of her long-estranged father, is unfriendly to her…even rivalrous.
Kate must stay on her toes as the Long Beach race weekend begins. She’s negotiating the next steps in her career, driving two racecars and coaching a third, discovering more about the disreputable members of her father’s family than she wanted to know, and juggling questions and suspects. On track, red flags fly to warn her of danger. Off track, Kate struggles to interpret warning signs and stay out of a killer’s grasp.