This week I’m excited about watching A Game of Thrones on HBO tonight – finally!  But first I’m going to talk about some books (yay!) and do some cleaning (boo!).  The OCD part of me also wants to decide what to read next since I just finished Dragonsbane by Barbara Hambly, which was a great fantasy book.

For the books – this week brought 3 ARCs and 2 finished review copies.

The Uncertain PlacesThe Uncertain Places by Lisa Goldstein

I’d never heard of this book or author before I was contacted about reviewing it, and I can’t believe I hadn’t heard of either because they both sound fantastic.  Lisa Goldstein has been a finalist for the Hugo, the Nebula, and the World Fantasy Award and has won the American Book Award for The Red Magician.  Also, first line from the press release:


What if magic existed — for a price — and fairy tales were as real as the Brothers Grimm, the Oxford English Dictionary, and the ’70s?

As you probably know, I love fantasy involving fairy tales and I also love the description about a family secret.

The praise section for the book also has quotes from Ursula Le Guin, Tim Powers, and Patricia McKillip.  Praise for the author has a quote from Diana Wynne Jones calling Lisa Goldstein “the perfect, born storyteller.”  After reading this, my anticipation level is pretty high.  I can’t wait to read it, but I’ll try to wait until it’s a little closer to its release on June 15 to read it.

An ages-old family secret breaches the boundaries between reality and magic in this fresh retelling of a classic fairy tale. When Berkeley student Will Taylor is introduced to the mysterious Feierabend sisters, he quickly falls for enigmatic Livvy, a chemistry major and accomplished chef. But Livvy’s family—vivacious actress Maddie, family historian Rose, and their mother, absent-minded Sylvia—are behaving strangely. The Feierabend women seem to believe that luck is their handmaiden, even though happiness does not necessarily follow. It is soon discovered that generations previous, the Feierabends made a contract with a powerful, otherworldly force, and it is up to Will and his best friend to unravel the riddle of this supernatural bargain in order to save Livvy from her predestined fate.

EmbassytownEmbassytown by China Mieville

I was fortunate enough to win an early copy of this from LibraryThing’s Early Reviewers program.  Ever since I saw it in the publisher’s catalog last year, I thought it sounded like a very interesting book and have really wanted to read it.  Embassytown will be released on May 17.  Since the ARC requests reviews be posted after release date, I’ll wait until early next month to start it.

China Miéville doesn’t follow trends, he sets them. Relentlessly pushing his own boundaries as a writer—and in the process expanding the boundaries of the entire field—with Embassytown, Miéville has crafted an extraordinary novel that is not only a moving personal drama but a gripping adventure of alien contact and war.

In the far future, humans have colonized a distant planet, home to the enigmatic Ariekei, sentient beings famed for a language unique in the universe, one that only a few altered human ambassadors can speak.

Avice Benner Cho, a human colonist, has returned to Embassytown after years of deep-space adventure. She cannot speak the Ariekei tongue, but she is an indelible part of it, having long ago been made a figure of speech, a living simile in their language.

When distant political machinations deliver a new ambassador to Arieka, the fragile equilibrium between humans and aliens is violently upset. Catastrophe looms, and Avice is torn between competing loyalties—to a husband she no longer loves, to a system she no longer trusts, and to her place in a language she cannot speak yet speaks through her.

Sleight of HandSleight of Hand by Peter S. Beagle

This is a finished copy of this story collection, which I had received as an ARC a little while ago.  I’m hoping to read it over the next couple of weeks.  Although novels are more to my liking than short stories, I loved The Last Unicorn and was excited to see one of the stories was about Schmendrick.  Also, I’ve heard some very good things about this particular book.  I might even read it next, but I’m also considering reading some books by authors I haven’t read yet who will be at BEA now that the schedule has been released.

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.

Born of ShadowsBorn of Shadows by Sherrilyn Kenyon

This was one of those surprise books that showed up.  Since Sherrilyn Kenyon is a New York Times bestselling author, I thought it might be nice to try reading this book, but it is actually the fourth book in the League series.  I looked them up and it sounds like each book in the series features different characters, though, so I’m not surely how closely connected they are.  So if anyone has read these books, do they stand alone?  If not, would it be worth getting the first book to read?

Born of Shadows will be released on April 26 in hardcover and as an ebook.  The other books in this series are (in order) Born of Night, Born of Fire, and Born of Ice.

In a world where the League and its assassins rule, where betrayal and treachery are everywhere . . . the only survivors are those ones who are . . .


For Caillen Dagan, a defiant soldier of fortune, survival isn’t a right, it’s a brutal daily battle. Moving through the Ichidaian universe like a wraith, his brushes with the law and death are legendary. But when an act of rare heroism reveals his hidden birthright, he’s forced into a world much more dangerous and cold-hearted than the bloody streets where he was raised-one of obscene wealth and lethal politics.

Ferocious and determined, Desideria serves as an official bodyguard for her queen. Born of questionable genetics, she will do anything to prove herself worthy of the weapons she carries and the position she’s won by combat. But when she uncovers a ruthless plot to assassinate the queen and overthrow her country’s government, Desideria is caught in the crosshairs.

With assassination contracts out on both of them, Caillen and Desideria must learn to fight together or die alone. And if they fail, their governments will fall into the hands of an unimaginable evil.

City of the SnakesCity of the Snakes by Darren Shan

This was another surprise book, and it will be released on June 2 in the US.  It’s the conclusion to The City trilogy following The Procession of the Dead and Hell’s Horizon.  Supernatural crime sounds like it could be fun, but I’m not sure about reading the series just because there are so many other books that look more interesting to me.  If you’re read them, feel free to let me know what you think, though!

For ten years Capac Raimi has ruled the City. Created by the first Cardinal to continue his legacy, Capac cannot be killed. 

Then Capac disappears. His trusted lieutenant, Ford Tasso, suspects the mysterious villacs, ancient and powerful Incan priests. To Ford, only one man has the cunning to outwit such adversaries-Al Jeery, who has taken the guise of his father, the terrifying assassin Paucar Wami.

Al has no love for Capac and no wish to tangle with the villacs. Until Ford promises him the one thing he truly craves-retribution against the man who killed those he loved most and destroyed his life. Lured into the twisted, nightmarish world of the Incan priests, Al will learn more about the City than he ever imagined, and be offered more power than he ever desired.

But in the City, everything comes at a cost…