The Leaning Pile of Books is a feature where I talk about books I got over the last week – old or new, bought or received for review consideration. Since I hope you will find new books you’re interested in reading in these posts, I try to be as informative as possible. If I can find them, links to excerpts, author’s websites, and places where you can find more information on the book are included.

This week brought two books I hadn’t heard of before they showed up, but they both sound as though they could be rather interesting!

I was hoping to get a review up in the last week, but I’m not quite done with the review I’ve been working on. It’s almost done, though, so I’m hoping it can go up this week!

On to the books.

The Thousand Names by Django Wexler

The Thousand Names (The Shadow Campaigns #1) by Django Wexler

The Thousand Names, which will be released in hardcover/ebook on July 2, is a debut novel and the first book in a new series. An excerpt can be read on the author’s website. Goodreads currently has a US giveaway for 35 copies of The Thousand Names that ends on June 16.

 

Enter an epic fantasy world that echoes with the thunder of muskets and the clang of steel—but where the real battle is against a subtle and sinister magic….

Captain Marcus d’Ivoire, commander of one of the Vordanai empire’s colonial garrisons, was resigned to serving out his days in a sleepy, remote outpost. But that was before a rebellion upended his life. And once the powder smoke settled, he was left in charge of a demoralized force clinging tenuously to a small fortress at the edge of the desert.

To flee from her past, Winter Ihernglass masqueraded as a man and enlisted as a ranker in the Vordanai Colonials, hoping only to avoid notice. But when chance sees her promoted to command, she must win the hearts of her men and lead them into battle against impossible odds.

The fates of both these soldiers and all the men they lead depend on the newly arrived Colonel Janus bet Vhalnich, who has been sent by the ailing king to restore order. His military genius seems to know no bounds, and under his command, Marcus and Winter can feel the tide turning. But their allegiance will be tested as they begin to suspect that the enigmatic Janus’s ambitions extend beyond the battlefield and into the realm of the supernatural—a realm with the power to ignite a meteoric rise, reshape the known world, and change the lives of everyone in its path.

Monsters of the Earth by David Drake

Monsters of the Earth (The Books of the Elements #3) by David Drake

Monsters of the Earth will be released in hardcover/ebook in September. It’s the third of four books in The Books of the Elements, though each book is intended to stand on its own according to the author’s website. The first two novels in this fantasy series inspired by the Roman Empire are The Legions of Fire and Out of the Waters.

 

Governor Saxa, of the great city of Carce, a fantasy analog of ancient Rome, is rusticating at his villa. When Saxa’s son Varus accompanies Corylus on a visit to the household of his father, Crispus, a retired military commander, Saxa graciously joins the party with his young wife Hedia, daughter Alphena, and a large entourage of his servants, making it a major social triumph for Crispus. But on the way to the event, something goes amiss. Varus, who has been the conduit for supernatural visions before, experiences another: giant crystalline worms devouring the entire world.

Soon the major characters are each involved in supernatural events caused by a struggle between two powerful magicians, both mentored by the deceased poet and mage Vergil, one of whom wants to destroy the world and the other who wishes to stop him. But which is which? There is a complex web of human and supernatural deceit to be unravelled.

This new novel in David Drake’s ongoing chronicles of Carce, The Books of the Elements, is a gripping and intricate work of fantasy.

The Leaning Pile of Books is a feature where I talk about books I got over the last week – old or new, bought or received for review consideration. Since I hope you will find new books you’re interested in reading in these posts, I try to be as informative as possible. If I can find them, links to excerpts, author’s websites, and places where you can find more information on the book are included.

This week was a very good week since I bought one of my most anticipated books of the year, and a review copy of one of my other most anticipated books of the year showed up in the mail.

On the subject of reviews, I know it’s been awhile since I had any here. After blogging every day in April, I’ve had a bit of blogging fatigue, but I am starting to get back into working my way through the giant stack of books that needs to be reviewed! I am currently working on a review of A Taste of Blood Wine by Freda Warrington, a book I LOVED. Freda Warrington’s Aetherial Tales are wonderful books, but I actually loved this reprint of the first book in an older series by her even more than any of the Aetherial books and am now very excited for the re-release of the second book. A Taste of Blood Wine is my favorite book I’ve read this year, and that’s high praise since I have read some very good books this year.

Anyway, there will be more on why I loved this book in the review! On to other books.

Cold Steel by Kate Elliott

Cold Steel (The Spiritwalker Trilogy #3) by Kate Elliott

I am so excited about the conclusion to The Spiritwalker Trilogy! It will be available in trade paperback and ebook on June 25, and the first two books in the series are Cold Magic and Cold Fire. I enjoyed the first book in this trilogy, but I LOVED the second book. Cold Fire is one of only a very few books I’ve given a rating of 10/10 because there is just no possible way I could have enjoyed it any more than I did.

Warning: There are spoilers for the previous book in the series in the following book description for Cold Steel.

 

Trouble, treachery, and magic just won’t stop plaguing Cat Barahal. The Master of the Wild Hunt has stolen her husband Andevai. The ruler of the Taino kingdom blames her for his mother’s murder. The infamous General Camjiata insists she join his army to help defeat the cold mages who rule Europa. An enraged fire mage wants to kill her. And Cat, her cousin Bee, and her half-brother Rory, aren’t even back in Europa yet, where revolution is burning up the streets.

Revolutions to plot. Enemies to crush. Handsome men to rescue.

Cat and Bee have their work cut out for them.

Frost Burned by Patricia Briggs

Frost Burned (Mercy Thompson #7) by Patricia Briggs

The newest book in the Mercy Thompson series was released in hardcover and ebook in March. It is also available as an audiobook. A sample chapter from Frost Burned is available on the author’s website.

The first six books in the series are as follows:

  1. Moon Called
  2. Blood Bound
  3. Iron Kissed
  4. Bone Crossed
  5. Silver Borne
  6. River Marked

This is one of my three favorite urban fantasy series, and the main reason is that Mercy Thompson is such a great character to read about.

Warning: There are spoilers for the previous books in the series in the following book description for Frost Burned.

 

Mercy Thompson returns in the seventh novel in the #1 New York Times bestselling series.

Mercy Thompson’s life has undergone a seismic change. Becoming the mate of Adam Hauptman—the charismatic Alpha of the local werewolf pack—has made her a stepmother to his daughter Jesse, a relationship that brings moments of blissful normalcy to Mercy’s life. But on the edges of humanity, what passes for a minor mishap on an ordinary day can turn into so much more…

After an accident in bumper-to-bumper traffic, Mercy and Jesse can’t reach Adam—or anyone else in the pack for that matter. They’ve all been abducted.

Through their mating bond, all Mercy knows is that Adam is angry and in pain. With the werewolves fighting a political battle to gain acceptance from the public, Mercy fears Adam’s disappearance may be related—and that he and the pack are in serious danger. Outclassed and on her own, Mercy may be forced to seek assistance from any ally she can get, no matter how unlikely.

The Leaning Pile of Books is a feature where I talk about books I got over the last week – old or new, bought or received for review consideration. Since I hope you will find new books you’re interested in reading in these posts, I try to be as informative as possible. If I can find them, links to excerpts, author’s websites, and places where you can find more information on the book are included.

This week brought 3 ARCs and 1 finished copy. I already mentioned the finished copy in another one of these posts, but if you want to read more about it, here’s the link:

All of this week’s books look rather interesting; of course, one of these would since it is an installment in one of my favorite series! As always, I included the blurb with these books, but I do want to note that the blurb for the first and last book in this post do contain spoilers for previous books in the series so you may not want to read them.

Chimes at Midnight by Seanan McGuire

Chimes at Midnight (October Daye #7) by Seanan McGuire

October Daye is one of my three favorite urban fantasy series, and the series keeps getting better and better! The last book kept me on the edge of my seat, and I’m looking forward to finding out what happens to Toby next. Chimes at Midnight will be released in mass market paperback and ebook in September 2013.

The previous books in the October Daye series are as follows:

  1. Rosemary and Rue
  2. A Local Habitation
  3. An Artificial Night
  4. Late Eclipses
  5. One Salt Sea
  6. Ashes of Honor

Warning: There is a spoiler for the previous book in the series in the following book description for Chimes at Midnight.

 

Things are starting to look up for October “Toby” Daye. She’s training her squire, doing her job, and has finally allowed herself to grow closer to the local King of Cats. It seems like her life may finally be settling down…at least until dead changelings start appearing in the alleys of San Francisco, killed by an overdose of goblin fruit.

Toby’s efforts to take the problem to the Queen of the Mists are met with harsh reprisals, leaving her under sentence of exile from her home and everyone she loves. Now Toby must find a way to reverse the Queens decree, get the goblin fruit off the streets–and, oh, yes, save her own life, since more than a few of her problems have once again followed her home. And then there’s the question of the Queen herself, who seems increasingly unlikely to have a valid claim to the throne….

To find the answers, October and her friends will have to travel from the legendary Library of Stars into the hidden depths of the Kingdom of the Mists–and they’ll have to do it fast, because time is running out. In faerie, some fates are worse than death.

October Daye is about to find out what they are.

Vicious by V. E. Schwab

Vicious by V. E. Schwab

Vicious is the first adult book by Victoria Schwab, author of the young adult speculative fiction books The Near Witch and The Archived. Vicious will be released in hardcover and ebook in September 2013.

 

A masterful, twisted tale of ambition, jealousy, betrayal, and superpowers, set in a near-future world.

Victor and Eli started out as college roommates—brilliant, arrogant, lonely boys who recognized the same sharpness and ambition in each other. In their senior year, a shared research interest in adrenaline, near-death experiences, and seemingly supernatural events reveals an intriguing possibility: that under the right conditions, someone could develop extraordinary abilities. But when their thesis moves from the academic to the experimental, things go horribly wrong.

Ten years later, Victor breaks out of prison, determined to catch up to his old friend (now foe), aided by a young girl whose reserved nature obscures a stunning ability. Meanwhile, Eli is on a mission to eradicate every other super-powered person that he can find—aside from his sidekick, an enigmatic woman with an unbreakable will.

Armed with terrible power on both sides, driven by the memory of betrayal and loss, the archnemeses have set a course for revenge—but who will be left alive at the end?

A Clockwork Heart by Liesel Schwarz

A Clockwork Heart (The Chronicles of Light and Shadow #2) by Liesel Schwarz

A Clockwork Heart will be released in hardcover and ebook in August 2013. The first book in this series, A Conspiracy of Alchemists, was just released earlier this year. Sky Pirates, the third book, is scheduled for release early next year.

Warning: There are spoilers for the first book in the series in the following plot description.

 

FOR BETTER OR CURSE. That might as well have been the wedding vow of Elle Chance and her new husband, the ex-Warlock Hugh Marsh in the second book of this edgy new series that transforms elements of urban fantasy, historical adventure, and paranormal romance into storytelling magic.

As Elle devotes herself to her duties as the Oracle—who alone has the power to keep the dark designs of Shadow at bay—Marsh finds himself missing the excitement of his former life as a Warlock. So when Commissioner Willoughby of the London Metropolitan police seeks his help in solving a magical mystery, Marsh is only too happy to oblige. But in doing so, Marsh loses his heart . . . literally.

In place of the flesh-and-blood organ is a clockwork device—a device that makes Marsh a kind of zombie. Nor is he the only one. A plague of clockwork zombies is afflicting London, sowing panic and whispers of revolution. Now Elle must join forces with her husband’s old friend, the Nightwalker Loisa Beladodia, to track down Marsh’s heart and restore it to his chest before time runs out.

The Leaning Pile of Books is a feature where I talk about books I got over the last week – old or new, bought or received for review consideration. Since I hope you will find new books you’re interested in reading in these posts, I try to be as informative as possible. If I can find them, links to excerpts, author’s websites, and places where you can find more information on the book are included.

Since I haven’t done one of these posts in awhile with April’s series, this week I’ll just be discussing some of the books that came in since this feature has been on hiatus. I’m going to cover the books that look most intriguing and next week I’ll resume as usual.

There’s also a lot of catching up to do on reviews, and some of the books I still need to review are ones I thought were very good indeed (Shattered Pillars by Elizabeth Bear, Sister Mine by Nalo Hopkinson, and River of Stars by Guy Gavriel Kay, to name a few).

Onward to some books I’m quite looking forward to reading!

Tankborn by Karen Sandler Awakening by Karen Sandler

Tankborn and Awakening (Tankborn #1-2) by Karen Sandler

These books are in a young adult science fiction trilogy by Karen Sandler, who also writes romance and mystery books. Awakening, the second book in the Tankborn trilogy, was just released in April. The final book in the trilogy, Rebellion, will be released next spring. Both Tankborn and Awakening are available in hardcover, and Tankborn appears to also be available as an ebook.

I’m intrigued by the premise of this series, plus I saw some of my Goodreads friends seemed to really like these books, so I’m excited to read them.

About Tankborn:

 

Best friends Kayla and Mishalla know they will be separated for their Assignments. They are GENs, Genetically Engineered Non-humans, and in their strict caste system, GENs are at the bottom rung of society. GENs are gestated in a tank and sent to work as slaves as soon as they reach age fifteen.

When Kayla is Assigned to care for Zul Manel, the patriarch of a trueborn family, she finds secrets and surprises; not least of which is her unexpected friendship with Zul’s great-grandson. Meanwhile, the children that Mishalla is Assigned to care for are being stolen in the middle of the night.

After weeks of toiling in their Assignments, mystifying circumstances enable Kayla and Mishalla to reunite. Together they hatch a plan to save the disappearing children. Yet can GENs really trust humans? Both girls must put their lives and hearts at risk to crack open a sinister conspiracy, revealing secrets no one is ready to face.

A Study in Silks by Emma Jane Holloway

A Study in Silks (The Baskerville Affair #1) by Emma Jane Holloway

I was basically sold on reading this book the moment I saw it was a novel about the niece of Sherlock Holmes. The cover quote by Jacqueline Carey didn’t hurt, either!

A Study in Silks will be released in mass market paperback and ebook in September. The next two books in the series will be following it closely with A Study in Darkness in October and A Study in Ashes in November. A two paragraph long excerpt from A Study in Silks is on the author’s website, but it will be replaced with a longer excerpt once the book has been copyedited.

 

Evelina Cooper, the niece of the great Sherlock Holmes, is poised to enjoy her first Season in London’s high society. But there’s a murderer to deal with—not to mention missing automatons, a sorcerer, and a talking mouse.

In a Victorian era ruled by a council of ruthless steam barons, mechanical power is the real monarch, and sorcery the demon enemy of the empire. Nevertheless, the most coveted weapon is magic that can run machines—something Evelina has secretly mastered. But rather than making her fortune, her special talents could mean death or an eternity as a guest of Her Majesty’s secret laboratories. What’s a polite young lady to do but mind her manners and pray she’s never found out?

But then there’s that murder. As Sherlock’s niece, Evelina should be able to find the answers, but she has a lot to learn. And the first decision she has to make is whether to trust the handsome, clever rake who makes her breath come faster, or the dashing trick rider who would dare anything for her if she would only just ask.

The City by Stella Gemmell

The City by Stella Gemmell

The first solo novel by Stella Gemmell (David Gemmell’s wife) will be released in hardcover and ebook on June 4. Dark epic fantasy featuring an immortal evil emperor—I’m definitely interested!

 

In her debut solo novel, Stella Gemmell, coauthor of the “powerful” (Booklist) conclusion to David Gemmell’s Troy series, weaves a dark epic fantasy about a war-torn civilization and the immortal emperor who has it clutched in his evil grasp.

The City is ancient, layers upon layers. Once a thriving metropolis, it has sprawled beyond its bounds, inciting endless wars with neighboring tribes and creating a barren wasteland of what was once green and productive.

In the center of the City lives the emperor. Few have ever seen him, but those who have recall a man in his prime, though he should be very old. Some grimly speculate that he is no longer human, if he ever was. A small number have come to the desperate conclusion that the only way to stop the war is to end the emperor’s unnaturally long life.

From the mazelike sewers below the City, where the poor struggle to stay alive in the dark, to the blood-soaked fields of battle, where few heroes manage to endure the never-ending siege, the rebels pin their hopes on one man—Shuskara. The emperor’s former general, he was betrayed long ago and is believed to be dead. But, under different aliases, he has survived, forsaking his City and hiding from his immortal foe. Now the time has come for him to engage in one final battle to free the City from the creature who dwells at its heart, pulling the strings that keep the land drenched in gore.

Two Serpents Rise by Max Gladstone

Two Serpents Rise by Max Gladstone

Two Serpents Rise is set in the same world as Max Gladstone’s debut, Three Parts Dead. While I wasn’t madly taken with it, I did think Three Parts Dead was a very good debut so I’m curious about the author’s second book. Two Serpents Rise will be released in hardcover and ebook in October.

 

The new novel set in the addictive and compelling fantasy world of Three Parts Dead

Shadow demons plague the city reservoir, and Red King Consolidated has sent in Caleb Altemoc — casual gambler and professional risk manager — to cleanse the water for the sixteen million people of Dresediel Lex. At the scene of the crime, Caleb finds an alluring and clever cliff runner, crazy Mal, who easily outpaces him.

But Caleb has more than the demon infestation, Mal, or job security to worry about when he discovers that his father — the last priest of the old gods and leader of the True Quechal terrorists — has broken into his home and is wanted in connection to the attacks on the water supply.

From the beginning, Caleb and Mal are bound by lust, Craft, and chance, as both play a dangerous game where gods and people are pawns. They sleep on water, they dance in fire… and all the while the Twin Serpents slumbering beneath the earth are stirring, and they are hungry.

A Taste of Blood Wine by Freda Warrington

A Taste of Blood Wine (Blood Wine #1) by Freda Warrington

I love Freda Warrington’s Aetherial Tales so I’m thrilled about the re-release of her vampire series starting with A Taste of Blood Wine! It became available again in the UK earlier this month, and the other two books plus a brand new book in the series will follow.

I have been particularly curious about this book since seeing it reviewed on my local library’s blog. Currently, I am running a giveaway for a signed copy of A Taste of Blood Wine and there is an extract from a related short story by Freda Warrington with the giveaway post.

 

Karl von Wultendorf, though a vampire himself, is completely under the power of his maker, Kristian, who demands total servitude.

Charlotte Neville is the daughter of a Cambridge professor. She has grown up questioning all that she sees. Because of this, she is seen as a wallflower by British society. She lives with her father and assists him with his experiments at their home.

When Karl meets, and falls in love with, Charlotte, he realizes that he must find a way to kill Kristian, for Kristian has decided to teach Karl a lesson in power, by devouring Charlotte.

Today I am very excited to be participating in the blog tour for Freda Warrington’s A Taste of Blood Wine! This first book in her Blood series was re-released earlier this month, and the other two books plus a brand new book in the series will be following. Since I’ve become a big fan of Freda Warrington’s writing because of her Aetherial Tales, I’m looking forward to reading these. I’m thrilled this particular series is being re-released since I’ve wanted to read A Taste of Blood Wine since reading a review on my local library’s blog.

As part of the blog tour today, there is a giveaway for a signed copy of A Taste of Blood Wine, plus I have an extract from Freda Warrington’s new short story set in the same world as the Blood series, “Little Goose.” The next part of the story will be posted tomorrow, and the details on how to find it are at the end of the story excerpt. I hope you enjoy reading the beginning of “Little Goose”!

A Taste of Blood Wine by Freda Warrington

From award-winning British fantasy author Freda Warrington, A Taste of Blood Wine (Titan Books, May 2013) is the first novel of a gothic vampire melodrama.

To celebrate the return of the critically acclaimed Blood Books in collectable paperback and e-book edition, Titan Books and Freda Warrington are serialising two rare and risqué stories set within the universe of the Blood Books across a series of websites and blogs. 

We’re publishing the first part of a short story called “Little Goose.”

Little Goose: Part 1
By Freda Warrington

Spring was swelling the land, the night I met her. Sap was jumping like clear blood through the veins of leaves, flowers slithering yolk-yellow from fat white bulbs, lambs somersaulting in the moist red wombs of their mothers. In the city, tourists revealed plump limbs to the sun. So much fecundity, so much insolent life, and I picked my way through it like a journalist stalking a battlefield. I, vampire, outcast, voyeur. Like a skeleton I tiptoed, bone-white, bone-dry, infertile, looking upon this rich green egg of a season with a mixture of revulsion and tongue-lolling appetite.

The nights were frost-bound still and left the blossom burned brown at the edges and curling. All along the walkway to the museum, petals were falling like wistful confetti on a bridal bower. I love museums and galleries by night, when the visitors have gone, when birds have pecked every last crumb from beneath the green trees and gone to roost in the branches. (Above my head I imagined their tender nests full of eggs.) I love the stillness inside; the exhibits, frozen effigies in a great, taut silence through which a footfall snaps like gunshot. The tremble of a questing torchbeam, the terrified face of the security guard as his eyes meet mine…

I have learned not to set off alarms, nor to appear on security cameras. Such diversions have afforded me amusement in the past but the excitement palls. What I seek is that exquisite vast stillness, and all that treasure spread out for my eyes alone.

This night, though, the museum was not quite deserted. They had been setting up a new exhibition – jewellery design of some kind, the poster said, though I had only half-glanced at it – and accompanied by the fading sounds of people calling goodnight, locking up, leaving, one woman still remained.

The display cases looked tiny in the grand vaulted hall. It was a corridor for the gods, going on forever. And in this half-lit sepulchre a small figure remained, her dark head poised over the sloped glass of the cases; perusing, moving on in a slow, slow reverie; pausing again. Her knuckles were taut, her breath unsteady. Her scent and body heat came enticingly to me, and all her coiled emotion.

I was loath to interrupt, so for a while I only watched. There was something compulsive in this secret intercourse. Her, I mean, with the exhibits… and me with her.

Points of light winked in the cases, tiny enamel gleams. Drawing closer, I saw that the exhibition was on a theme, and one appropriate to the time of year. In each case, nested upon crushed velvet of darkest purple-blue, sat eggs of every scale; quail-eggs, duck-eggs, goose-eggs. But fashioned for emperors were these, of nacre and diamond, of ivory, jet and heavy silver, eggs hinged and lined with sapphires, eggs crowned with gold flame and circled with rubies.

I moved from one case to the next, shadowing the woman. Here were eggs of green jade and of crystal, so exquisite you would wish to touch your tongue to them, to feel the cool ice of them sliding and melting. Quartz, clear as glass, and the polished greens of turquoise and chrysocolla, clasped in webs of silver, set with amethyst and pearl. How deliciously the fruits of the sea and the earth blended, clinging like lovers.

I opened my lips, wanting to taste their coldness, wanting it as badly as the soft heat of a victim’s throat under my lips. I smiled. Their solid perfection made me want to laugh with simple joy

‘Fabergé,’ I whispered, because they called to mind the famed maker of jewelled eggs, the only one whose name I knew. I did not mean that I thought these were his; they were too modern, too different in style. But the woman heard me.

In the background was the throb of machinery; heating, plumbing, or some such in the museum’s underworld. Against this metallic heartbeat she turned to me, her face waxen, her eyes huge shadows.

‘Not Fabergé, of course not,’ she said, startled to see me, and angry. Her expression read, who is this ignoramus?

From the tail of my eye, with my marvellous vampire eyesight, I took in the gist of a poster that was curled around a pillar yards away. Rebirth. A journey in jewels by Bartholomew de Grise.

‘I meant,’ I said, lifting one eyebrow, ‘that de Grise is surely the only natural heir of Fabergé.’

Really, I sicken myself sometimes. But it worked; my words threw her on the back foot, yet pacified her.

‘You’re not the first to make that observation,’ she retorted. She had a strong look; big nose, intense Cleopatra eyes, masses of earth-coloured hair. She wore a white pashmina and ropes of garnets around her neck. Jeans underneath. Too much driving lifeforce for such a small frame. Her energy washed me in red waves, drew me in.

‘You must like his work,’ I said. ‘The exhibition is not even open yet.’

‘He is my father,’ she snapped back. ‘And no, the exhibition is not open.’

‘I’m over from a Dublin museum,’ I lied glibly. ‘Forgive the intrusion, Miss de Grise. But it was too much of a temptation to see all this before the crowds come. And a great honour to meet you.’

I told her my name; she extended a wary hand, bent like a ballerina’s, to clasp mine. Ah, how I love the slow dance of seduction! I added, for I was already in love with these wondrous objects, ‘Your father seems to have had a great change of style… from the use of classic materials, gold and silver, enamel and gems, to these…’ I indicated the semi-precious ones, those of sea-green and pearl, held in nests of jet, stabbed with great chunks of amethyst. ‘These, which have a more contemporary feel.’

Tiny muscles tensed in her cheeks. ‘My father’s style has developed over the years. But the ones you are pointing to, those are mine.’

‘Of course,’ I breathed, and caught the small print just in time. ‘Rebecca de Grise. Forgive me, I’ve had a long day.’

She arched the firm black bows of her eyebrows. ‘You’ve heard of me?’

I hadn’t, but I could dissemble for Ireland. ‘You mind, that your name is in much smaller type than your father’s?’

She smiled. Her eyes flashed rusty fire. ‘Naturally I don’t. He is the world-famous jeweller; I am, as yet, only his apprentice.’

Her modesty seemed genuine, not bitter. ‘He must be very proud of you.’

‘He is the finest of teachers.’

‘He had better look to his crown,’ I said softly. ‘The king is dead. Long live the queen.’

She gave the tiniest gasp of shock. ‘Sacrilege,’ she said. But she was pleased, and embarrassed by the fact. Relaxing, she took my arm, and took me on a tour of her father’s work, pointing out the skill, the attention to detail, his artistry, his mastery. See this one, all gold leaf, garnets and rubies, an egg within an egg; the inner one rising on a tiny mechanism when the outer one is opened, like a smooth little womb. Marvellous. Her father had made the outer shell, Rebecca said, and she the inner.

‘Are these Christian eggs or Pagan eggs?’ I said, halting her flow.

‘What?’

‘Rebirth. Do they symbolise the resurrection of Our Lord, or the rebirth of the land in spring? Or something else… more personal?’

She paused, staring aggressively at me with her head cocked on one side. Then a spiky whisper. ‘Whichever you want. They are just eggs.’

The first book in Freda Warrington’s Blood series, A Taste of Blood Wine, is out now from Titan Books, £7.99. To read the next instalment of “Little Goose” click here: http://titanbooks.com/blog/freda-warringtons-blood-wine-tour/

© Freda Warrington

Courtesy of Titan Books, I have one signed copy of A Taste of Blood Wine to give away! This giveaway is open to those with a mailing address in the US, UK, or Australia.

Giveaway Rules: To be entered in the giveaway, fill out the form below OR send an email to kristen AT fantasybookcafe DOT com with the subject “Blood Wine Giveaway.” One entry per person and one winner will be randomly selected. Those from the US, UK, or Australia are eligible to win this giveaway. The giveaway will be open until the end of the day on Saturday, May 25. The winner has 24 hours to respond once contacted via email, and if I don’t hear from them by then a new winner will be chosen (who will also have 24 hours to respond until someone gets back to me with a place to send the book).

Please note email addresses will only be used for the purpose of contacting the winner. Once the giveaway is over all the emails will be deleted.

Good luck!

(Now that the giveaway is over, the form has been removed.)

Women in SF&F Month Banner

Like last year, I just wanted to add a few thoughts in closing now that Women in SF&F Month is over (don’t worry, I promise this won’t be as long as last year’s final post!).

First, I want to say a big thank you to everyone who participated in this past month’s event! I had such a great time reading all the articles and recommendations, and I now don’t think I will ever run out of books to read (not that I was really in danger of that anyway!). Also, a big thank you to John for making graphics last month and for helping me set up the text and images in posts, especially during the 2 weeks of April I was really sick.

We’ve still got the list of favorite books by women that Renay is working on coming up. Thank you to everyone who contributed some of their favorites! There was a bigger response than anticipated so it is going to take longer to put together than expected, but the fact that so many books were added to the list is AWESOME! I am so excited to see it.

I think if there was a theme that kept coming up this past month, it’s that the conversation about women writing science fiction and fantasy is nothing new even though women writing SFF is not new. Frankenstein, considered the first science fiction book, was written by Mary Shelley. Sherwood Smith discussed women’s involvement in fandom and the great number of women attending SFF conventions along with her in the 1970s. Patricia McKillip expressed her delight at the sheer volume of women in SFF—both as authors and characters—by the middle of the 1980s after growing up mostly reading books by and about men. Yet, even today, there are still comments that women don’t write science fiction or fantasy or that women are not interested in science fiction and fantasy, which is simply not true. Both this April and last we’ve heard from several women who are writing science fiction and fantasy or are blogging about science fiction and fantasy (or doing both since the two are not mutually exclusive and many writers began as fans as Sherwood Smith noted!). And that’s just the tip of the iceberg that is female fandom in speculative fiction.

Juliet McKenna wrote a thorough analysis of the inequality of the visibility of women writing science fiction and fantasy, and I’d like to refer you to that if you haven’t read it already since it is a very detailed look at the situation from the statistics on frequency of reviews of women’s books when compared to men’s to the circular nature of increased visibility for books by men (such as bookstore employees who are not familiar with SFF finding lists online dominated by men and making prominent bookstore displays composed of only SFF books by men). While there certainly are some who deliberately avoid SFF written by women, there are also a lot of people who just read the books they are recommended by friends. If they’re not told about great books by women, they’re not going to be able to read great books by women and tell their own friends in turn to read these books. Heidi gave an example of this in her guest post. She was shocked to find out her boyfriend didn’t read books by women, but she learned he wasn’t intentionally avoiding them, he just didn’t know about books written by female science fiction authors until she gave him one to read. I’ve talked before about it being so important to me to read and recommend SFF by women because I realized I wasn’t reading very many of them when I saw them mentioned, and I found all the names that jumped to my mind first were male authors and it was harder to think of books by women. I knew of women, but not as many, and their names were whispered while the men’s were often shouted.

As Kate Elliott noted, it’s important to keep speaking up about the amazing women whose work we do read. There are many women writing science fiction and fantasy books that have inspired others to become fans of SFF or writers of SFF. It’s sad that there are still comments about women not writing or being interested in SFF, and I’m always glad when I see others discussing the women who write SFF they love. Harry Markov spent April sharing some women in genre who have inspired him personally. Kari Sperring started the #Womentoread tag on Twitter to spread the word about books by women that we love. By shouting their names, hopefully someday there will no longer be amazement at the very thought of women being a big part of the SFF world.

Finally, I do want to address the response to one of the posts that went up toward the end of the month.  I have said since it began that one of the biggest reasons I put in the work of hosting Women in SF&F Month is because I want to have a place where interesting people can come together and talk about the great things they do in the SF&F world.  Their perspectives vary, but Sarah’s post in particular seems to have set off an energetic response.  I would point out two things on that post.  First, it is part of a spectrum of experiences and – while it may have been more bluntly stated than other posts here and around the blogosphere – aspects of her argument are being made by many people in many places.  That she disagrees with other people I have hosted this month is not reason to silence her.

Second, when a post with a different take on things appears, how is the community to respond?  My hope, with everything that I’ve hosted this month, is that it would be seen as an opportunity to have a productive discussion about the differences in the perspectives.  The goal of the month is not to create an echo chamber in which we all hold and reinforce the same opinions, the goal is to show that there are women out there doing interesting things that are often overlooked.  Some of them will disagree with each other about the larger issues faced by women in SF&F, but when that happens I think we can still talk about the good work to be done.  Except in extreme circumstances, I don’t moderate comments for the same reason that I don’t moderate posts, but the danger of that is that sometimes what starts out as a good discussion will get rough.  In this case it did, which was not my goal but was bound to happen eventually.  I take the fact that it happened once in 60-odd posts about an emotional issue as a very good sign indeed and can only hope that my friends and allies across the blogosphere will understand the value I put on allowing people to speak their mind.  One argument does not cancel out the many great discussions that have appeared throughout the month.

Women in SF&F Month has been a great experience for the last two years.  If I saw a collection of essays with names on the cover like Lois McMaster Bujold, Jacqueline Carey, Patricia McKillip, Nancy Kress, Elizabeth Bear, N.K. Jemisin, Carol Berg, and the many other authors who have stopped by I’m pretty sure it would be an insta-buy for me.  I’m looking forward to hearing from even more great authors and bloggers next year, and I hope you’ll come back to read them with me!  Oh, and you can stick around in between as well, I do do this whole review and commentary thing myself the rest of the year!