When browsing through sites I read today, I saw quite a few interesting book-related news and links.

Carol Berg mentioned that a new trade paperback edition of her novel Song of the Beast will be coming out on October 21.  I read this several years ago (after discovering Carol Berg’s wonderful Rai-kirah trilogy) and rather enjoyed it.  According to this post, there will also be a Song of the Beast novella, but there will be more on that later!

Seanan McGuire got ARCs of One Salt Sea, the fifth Toby Daye novel, and is giving one away!  A winner will be randomly selected on Friday June 24.

Tor.com posted an excerpt from The Children of the Sky by Vernor Vinge, the long-awaited sequel to A Fire Upon the DeepJohn reviewed Children recently, and really liked it – he thought it seemed to be leading up to a third book and if so it was one of the best bridge books he’d ever read.  If it was the end, he found it very good but not quite satisfying as a conclusion.  We haven’t heard any news of a third book, but he thinks it really seems like it has to have been setting up more.

Suvudu has a 50 page excerpt from City of Ruin by Mark Charan Newton, the sequel to Nights of Villjamur (which I got for my birthday and really need to read – it sounds really good!).

Yesterday I saw on Twitter that Courtney Schafer has an excerpt available from her upcoming novel The Whitefire Crossing. This first book in the Shattered Sigil series will be out in August.

Publisher’s Weekly reviewed The Tempering of Men, the sequel to Elizabeth Bear and Sarah Monette’s A Companion to WolvesThe Tempering of Men will be released in August.  I can’t wait to read it since I love both of these authors and loved the first book!


The giveaway for a copy of Deadline by Mira Grant is now over and a winner has been chosen.  It took a couple of tries since I never heard back from the first winner, but the book has found its home.  The winner is:

Jen from Wisconsin

Congratulations, I hope you enjoy the book!

Thanks to Grand Central Publishing, I have 3 copies of Naamah’s Blessing by Jacqueline Carey to give away!  This is the final book in the Naamah trilogy and the ninth Kushiel’s Legacy book, although it’s not necessary to read the first 2 trilogies before this one.  It will be released on June 29th.

I’m about a third of the way through Naamah’s Blessing right now and am really enjoying it. As usual, Jacqueline Carey’s writing is beautiful and even though this book is about 600 pages long, those pages are flying by!

About Naamah’s Blessing:

Naamah's Blessing by Jacqueline Carey

Returning to Terre d’Ange, Moirin finds the royal family broken. Wracked by unrelenting grief at the loss of his wife, Queen Jehanne, King Daniel is unable to rule. Prince Thierry, leading an expedition to explore the deadly jungles of Terra Nova, is halfway across the world. And three year old Desirée is a vision of her mother: tempestuous, intelligent, and fiery, but desperately lonely, and a vulnerable pawn in a game of shifting political allegiances.

As tensions mount, King Daniel asks that Moirin become Desirée’s oath-sworn protector. Navigating the intricate political landscape of the Court proves a difficult challenge, and when dire news arrives from overseas, the spirit of Queen Jehanne visits Moirin in a dream and bids her undertake an impossible quest.

Another specter from the past also haunts Moirin. Travelling with Thierry in the New World is Raphael de Mereliot, her manipulative former lover. Years ago, Raphael forced her to help him summon fallen angels in the hopes of acquiring mystical gifts and knowledge. It was a disastrous effort that nearly killed them, and Moirin must finally bear the costs of those bitter mistakes.

Giveaway Rules: One entry per person.  This giveaway is open in the United States and Canada only and will end on June 24.  Three winners will be randomly selected on June 25.  If any of the winners do not send their address by the end of the day on June 27, a new winner will be selected in their place.

If you’d like to enter to win Naamah’s Blessing, fill out the form below and you’ll be entered into the giveaway! Thanks and good luck!

Note: Now that the giveaway is over, the form has been removed.

Stupid Ned Stark

For now, at least, it’s all over but the wailing*: tonight’s episode of Game of Thrones on HBO was the season finale.  But for those of us who have been four books ahead of the television series all year, the main event is still to come.  The fifth book in A Song of Ice and Fire, A Dance with Dragons, is set to be released on July 12th.  But oh, it’s been a long, long wait–long enough that I’ve forgotten a lot of the intricate details that have made the books so great to begin with.  Unfortunately, I don’t have the time to go re-read the 4.5kg of books that have come so far.

This…is a problem for the Internet.

And as expected, the Internet is on top of things. If you’re in my situation, here’s a few sites that will help:

The Tower of the Hand:  A huge site with an extensive, chapter-by-chapter recap of the story thus far and some fun speculative essays.  It also has a really great scope filter that allows you to hide information on character and history pages based on how many books you’ve already read.  If somebody would implement this filter across the entire Web, it would mark the dawn of a golden age.  The clouds would part, trumpet-bearing cherubim would descend to play a fanfare of glory, and the light would be so wondrous it would make Edward self-immolate like the real vampire he isn’t.  Alas.

A Wiki of Ice and Fire:  Part of the westeros.org empire, it’s exactly what it says on the label–a wiki of ASOIAF info.  Though I find it a bit harder to navigate than The Tower of the Hand (wikis are meant for searching, not browsing) it’s got just as much info.  Several other parts of westeros.org are great too, including the forums and the vaguely-stalkerish So Spake Martin.  (The fun kind of stalker, not the creepy kind…I think.)

Wiki:  Yeah yeah yeah, it’s Wikipedia, moving on then.

Wertzone:  As of earlier today, Adam at The Wertzone was apparently thinking along similar lines and has begun a recap of the last 12,000-odd years, part 1 of which is now up.  I took one look at it and said “screw that”, you’ll get links and you’ll like them.  He’s a better man than I.

And, um, well…that’s it.  Not entirely of course, but I started this post expecting to Google about a bit and find a bunch of sites that had recaps and I’m not finding much.  Maybe those two sites are just so encyclopedic, and the story itself so long and involved, that anybody who was tempted to make their own just saw the existing sites and decided it wasn’t worth the effort.  Or maybe my Google-fu is lacking.  Either way, what I didn’t find was a site that fit somewhere in between the volumes of the first two and the brief gloss of Wikipedia.  A nice, thorough-but-not-exhaustive review site would be welcome.  Any thoughts, Internet?

* The wailing.  Oh, the wailing of those who haven’t read the books.  Since I’m putting up links, here’s a couple for those who want to watch the fallout…I suspect that the twitterplosion won’t be quite as fun for episode ten as it was for nine, but nonetheless:

The Television Without Pity forums

The TV Club newbies thread

Live Twitter feed for #gameofthrones (click the chart on the right to go back in time to the end of the episode).

This week brought 3 new review copies, but I’m only going to write about 2 of them.  That is because I received the finished copy of a book I already mentioned when I got the ARC.  Also, I will be talking about that book on Monday when I give away some copies!  (Plus I’m reading it now so I’d say this book is already pretty well covered for discussion here, and I don’t want to mention it so many times you all get sick of hearing about it!)

Miserere: An Autumn Tale by Teresa FrohockMiserere: An Autumn Tale by Teresa Frohock

This debut novel is scheduled for publication on July 1, but it appears to already be available on both Amazon and Barnes and Noble.  It is Book 1 of the Katharoi and there will also be a book 2 and a book 3 according to the author’s website.  They will be titled Dolorosa: A Winter’s Dream and Bellum Dei: Blood of the Lambs, respectively.  Chapters 1 – 4 are available to read online.

I’m really looking forward to this one a lot.  It’s supposed to be character-driven dark fantasy, which is a special favorite for me, and I also love to discover new authors to read!

Exiled exorcist Lucian Negru deserted his lover in Hell in exchange for saving his sister Catarina’s soul, but Catarina doesn’t want salvation. She wants Lucian to help her fulfill her dark covenant with the Fallen Angels by using his power to open the Hell Gates. Catarina intends to lead the Fallen’s hordes out of Hell and into the parallel dimension of Woerld, Heaven’s frontline of defense between Earth and Hell. When Lucian refuses to help his sister, she imprisons and cripples him, but Lucian learns that Rachael, the lover he betrayed and abandoned in Hell, is dying from a demonic possession. Determined to rescue Rachael from the demon he unleashed on her soul, Lucian flees his sister, but Catarina’s wrath isn’t so easy to escape!

The Urban Fantasy Anthology edited by Peter S. Beagle and Joe R. LansdaleThe Urban Fantasy Anthology edited by Peter S. Beagle and Joe R. Lansdale

This collection of 20 urban fantasy stories is divided into three main sections, each with an introduction: Mythic Fiction, Paranormal Romance, and Noir Fantasy.  It will be released in August.

I’m not always a short story person, but the list of authors so intriguing that I’m really excited about reading it.  Here’s the breakdown by section:

Mythic Fiction contains stories by Charles de Lint, Neil Gaiman, Emma Bull, Jeffrey Ford, and Peter S. Beagle.

Paranormal Romance contains stories by Charles de Lint (again!), Patricia Briggs, Carrie Vaughn, Kelley Armstrong, Norman Partridge, Bruce McAllister, Suzy McKee Charnas, and Francesca Lia Block.

Noir fantasy contains stories by Holly Black, Joe R. Lansdale, Thomas M. Disch, Susan Palwick, Steven R. Boyett, Tim Powers, and Al Sarrantonio.

Star-studded and comprehensive, this imaginative anthology brings a myriad of modern fantasy voices under one roof. Previously difficult for readers to discover in its new modes, urban fantasy is represented here in all three of its distinct styles—playful new mythologies, sexy paranormal romances, and gritty urban noir. Whether they feature tattooed demon-hunters, angst-ridden vampires, supernatural gumshoes, or pixelated pixies, these authors—including Patricia Briggs, Neil Gaiman, and Charles de Lint—mash-up traditional fare with pop culture, creating iconic characters, conflicted moralities, and complex settings. The result is starkly original fiction that has broad-based appeal and is immensely entertaining.

Samus says Women can do SF&F

Today I learned about the Russ Pledge from this week’s SF Signal Mind Meld post, which addressed the importance of it in science fiction today. In case you don’t know what it is, it was proposed by Nicola Griffith and it’s a very simple idea – it simply means making an effort to talk about female writers and their work.  The name comes from Joanna Russ, who wrote the book How to Suppress Women’s Writing.  This has been a hot topic of late, and has also lead to the inception of the SF Mistressworks site.

I wanted to write about my personal experience with this because I actually took this pledge before it had a name, and it is something I strongly believe in.  I had thought maybe it was becoming less of an issue than when I first decided to make an effort to find and talk about women writers of fantasy and science fiction, but these posts, along with the ones that inspired them and a recent post on Freda Warrington’s blog about her research for an Eastercon panel, are making me rethink that theory.  It may just be that the sites I now tend to pay attention to are the ones that do discuss books by women quite often.  Or maybe it really is getting better, but we’re just still not there yet.

Back in the days before I ever even had a blog, I remember a conversation coming up somewhere online that got me thinking about this.  I don’t remember much about it at this point other than it mentioning female authors of fantasy and science fiction – and I realized I couldn’t think of many at all off the top of my head.  So I asked John if he could think of any, and he also couldn’t think of many.  We could think of Nancy Kress, one of John’s favorite authors whose Beggars trilogy I’d also read on his recommendation, and Robin Hobb, whose books we had both read.  I remember wondering if there just weren’t that many women writing fantasy and science fiction.

Later, when I actually did start my blog and was just reviewing every book I read, I came to a realization that most of these books were written by men.  At this point, I was solely reading books I bought myself because I heard they were good, and it seemed like a lot of the fantasy and science fiction books being talked about were written by men.  It made me pay more attention to recommendations for books by women, and I did find out there are a LOT of women writing fantasy and science fiction.  I just had to work a little harder to find them because their books didn’t seem to be talked about as much.  I made it a personal mission to read and review some of these books to do my own small part to try to bring awareness to some of these authors and have discovered so many wonderful writers along the way.  These  include the following (some of which I really need to read more by since there are a few on this list I’ve only read one book by!):

  • Sarah Monette
  • Elizabeth Bear
  • Freda Warrington
  • Catherynne Valente
  • Catherine Asaro
  • Joan D. Vinge
  • N. K. Jemisin
  • Lane Robins
  • Barbara Hambly
  • C. S. Friedman
  • Ekaterina Sedia
  • Storm Constantine
  • Vera Nazarian
  • Jaida Jones and Danielle Bennett
  • Lyda Morehouse
  • Jacqueline Carey

That’s just a few of them – there are so many more with lots more on my list of authors to read a book by!

It’s something I like to try to do in general, talking about books/authors that I’m not seeing discussed as much. That doesn’t mean I only read books by female authors and never, ever read popular books (sorry, all, but when A Dance With Dragons is finally out I’m reading it as soon as possible and I’ll be talking about it right along with the rest of the world!).  But often when trying to decide which book to review next out of a few books I want to read I make my decision based on just how much I’ve seen the book being discussed – and pick the book I haven’t seen reviewed very much.  Sometimes I select a pool of books to choose from specifically because I haven’t seen any of them talked about much.

That’s my view on it, and that’s why I think that this is a real issue.  I noticed it myself and in my own reading habits when I tended to just read the books it seemed I was hearing about the most.  I don’t think the pledge means trying to read a certain ratio of books written by both genders or getting all worked up about making a formula for reading a certain number of books by women.  It simply means being aware of the issue and doing what you can to make a difference just by reading and discussing at least some books written by women.  That’s the only way the cycle of women’s books seeming invisible will be broken – by more people reading them and recommending them so more people read them.