First, a quick update: I’ve finished a draft of a review of Dust by Elizabeth Bear, so I’m hoping to get that up over the next day or two.  Now that it’s almost time for Late Eclipses, the fourth October Daye novel by Seanan McGuire, to be released, I’m also working on that review and hope to have it up soon.  After that, I’m caught up on reviews, but I’m taking a break from a book that is taking a long time to read. Before I go back to it, I’m reading Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones after reading Ana’s review and being further tempted by Janicu, who convinced me to go track down my copy.  That shouldn’t take long to finish at all – I just started it a couple of days ago and am halfway through it now.

This week brought four review copies, all of which look very good.

Sleight of HandSleight of Hand by Peter S. Beagle

This collection of short stories by Peter S. Beagle is coming in April according to the press release I received with it.  Amazon and Goodreads have it listed as March 1, though, so you may actually be able to get a hold of it sooner than that.  Peter S. Beagle is probably best known for The Last Unicorn, although he has written many other books (such as A Fine and Private Place and Tamsin) and short stories.  I love The Last Unicorn so I am particularly excited about the first story in this collection, “The Woman Who Married the Man in the Moon,” which is about Schmendrick the Magician before the time of The Last Unicorn.

Abundant with tales of quiet heroism, life-changing decisions, and determined searches for deep answers, this extraordinary collection of contemporary fantasy explores the realms between this world and the next. From the top of the Berlin Wall to the depths of the darkest seas, gods and monsters battle their enemies and innermost fears, yet mere mortals make the truly difficult choices. A slightly regretful author and a vengeful-but-dilapidated dragon square off over an abandoned narrative; the children of the Shark God demand painful truths from their chronically absent father; and a bereaved women sacrifices herself to change one terrible moment, effortlessly reversed by a shuffle of the deck. Whether melancholic, comedic, or deeply tragic, each new tale is suffused with misdirection and discovery, expressed in the rich and mesmerizing voice of a masterful storyteller.

Badass: The Birth of a LegendBadass: The Birth of a Legend by Ben Thompson

This book from the creator of the Badass of the Week website will be available on March 15.  It looks like a lot of fun – it’s stories about all sorts of badass figures from myths, legends, movies and books divided up into four sections:

1. Gods, Goddesses, and Other Kickass Celestial Beings (i.e., Anubis, Kali, Thor)
2. Heroes, Heroines, and Over-the-Top Do-Gooders (i.e., Beowulf, Captain James T. Kirk, Finn McCool)
3. Villains, Sorcerers, Antiheroes, and Psychotic Merciless Bastards (i.e., Sauron, Darth Vader, Skeletor, Skuld)
4. Monsters, Fiends, Hellspawn, and Worse (i.e., Dragons, Baba Yaga, El Chupacabra)

Personally, I’m most looking forward to section 3 which also covers Professor Moriarty and a lot of others that sound fun to read about.  What can I say – I like a good villain, antihero or psychotic merciless bastard in my reading.

From sex-crazed gods to ravenous monsters, Ben Thompson brings legendary titans to life in tales of adventure, bloodlust, and unrelenting badassitude.

Since the beginning of human history people have created myths, tall tales, superheroes, and arch-villains—men and women who embarked on insane adventures, performed extraordinary feats of unparalleled awesomeness, and overcame all odds to violently smite their foes into bloody pulp. In Badass: The Birth of a Legend, Ben Thompson compiles these fantastical tales from the beginning of time to today and tells them in the completely over-the-top manner in which they were intended, including:

The Indian god-king who led an army of monkeys against the King of All Demons

The Viking god of thunder and awesome hair, who crushed the skulls of giants with a ridiculously huge hammer

An Anglo-Saxon hero so hardcore he could arm-wrestle monsters’ joints out of their sockets

The hate-filled literary behemoth who obliterated ship hulls with his face

The Norse necromancer queen who summoned a horde of zombie berserkers

Dirty Harry Callahan
The prototypical modern-day antihero and very embodiment of badass

Never Knew AnotherNever Knew Another by J. M. McDermott

The first book in the Dogsland trilogy came out last month.  I’ve been wanting to read it after reading some reviews and also because I enjoyed the debut novel from the author, Last Dragon (review).  So when the author asked if I had copies of his newest books for review, I was glad for the opportunity to read them.  Since I have the e-book versions I’ll have to try out the Kindle I got my husband for Christmas, too – I’m not a huge fan of reading on the iPad but I’m hoping reading on the Kindle won’t be as distracting.

Fugitive Rachel Nolander is a newcomer to the city of Dogsland, where the rich throw parties and the poor just do whatever they can to scrape by. Supported by her brother Djoss, she hides out in their squalid apartment, living in fear that someday, someone will find out that she is the child of a demon. Corporal Jona Lord Joni is a demon’s child too, but instead of living in fear, he keeps his secret and goes about his life as a cocky, self-assured man of the law. The first book in the Dogsland Trilogy, Never Knew Another is the story of how these two outcasts meet.

Maze by J. M. McDermott

There does not yet seem to be a cover or description for this yet, but it is a mosaic novel coming from Apex sometime this spring (most likely March, April, or May). Apex also recently reprinted Last Dragon, McDermott’s first novel.