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. 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 another good week for books. I bought one and one ARC (early unfinished copy) and three review copies showed up.

As far as reviews go, I wasn’t actually home enough last week enough to finish one. I’m working on one of After the Fall, Before the Fall, During the Fall by Nancy Kress, and I hope to write one of Banner of the Damned by Sherwood Smith after that. Both of these were books I enjoyed a lot!

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

I bought a copy of this young adult fantasy book because I have heard nothing but great things about it. Oh, and because it has dragons and sounds excellent!

Here are the reviews that made me want to read Seraphina in case you missed them:

Seraphina was released in hardcover, ebook, and audiobook earlier this month. According to the author’s website, she is working on a sequel. There is an excerpt available on the EW website (scroll down to see it), and a free short prequel titled “The Auditon” can be read online.

Residents of the US can enter to win one of ten copies of Seraphina being given away on Goodreads.

Four decades of peace have done little to ease the mistrust between humans and dragons in the kingdom of Goredd. Folding themselves into human shape, dragons attend court as ambassadors, and lend their rational, mathematical minds to universities as scholars and teachers. As the treaty’s anniversary draws near, however, tensions are high.

Seraphina Dombegh has reason to fear both sides. An unusually gifted musician, she joins the court just as a member of the royal family is murdered—in suspiciously draconian fashion. Seraphina is drawn into the investigation, partnering with the captain of the Queen’s Guard, the dangerously perceptive Prince Lucian Kiggs. While they begin to uncover hints of a sinister plot to destroy the peace, Seraphina struggles to protect her own secret, the secret behind her musical gift, one so terrible that its discovery could mean her very life.

In her exquisitely written fantasy debut, Rachel Hartman creates a rich, complex, and utterly original world. Seraphina’s tortuous journey to self-acceptance is one readers will remember long after they’ve turned the final page.

Darkwater by Catherine Fisher

Darkwater by Catherine Fisher

Darkwater is a young adult fantasy book that will be available in hardcover and ebook sometime this fall. My ARC says it is available in November, but I think it’s wrong. Darkwater is listed as for sale on both Barnes & Noble and Amazon starting on September 27th, which is also the date listed on the publisher’s website. I’d better update my list since this was one that looked interesting enough that I wanted to try to read and review around release date!

Catherine Fisher is a New York Times bestselling author and the first Young People’s Laureate for Wales. I’ve heard a lot of praise for her books Incarceron and Sapphique so I’m excited to read this book, which appears to be a stand alone.

What would you sell your soul for?

Sixteen-year-old Sarah Trevelyan would give anything to regain the power and wealth her family has lost, so she makes a bargain with Azrael, Lord of Darkwater Hall. He gives her one hundred years and the means to accomplish her objective–in exchange for her soul. Fast-forward a hundred years to Tom, a fifteen-year-old boy who dreams of attending Darkwater Hall School but doesn’t believe he has the talent. Until he meets a professor named Azrael, who offers him a bargain. Will Sarah be able to stop Tom from making the same mistake she did a century ago?

This is smart fantasy mixed with elements of horror from master storyteller Catherine Fisher. She says, “Darkwater Hall is an image of the power and knowledge we all desire. But what will we pay for them, and are they worth the price?”

Midnight Riot by Ben Aaronovitch

Midnight Riot (Peter Grant #1) by Ben Aaronovitch

This is the first book in a series I mentioned a couple of weeks ago when the soon-to-be-released third book, Whispers Under Ground, arrived in the mail. Random House sent me the first two books since I hadn’t read them. I think this series sounds really good, and it looks like a lot of my Goodreads friends enjoyed it.

Midnight Riot is known as Rivers of London in the UK where it is available in hardcover, paperback, ebook, and audiobook formats. It is available in mass market paperback and ebook in the US. An excerpt from Midnight Riot can be read on Scribd.

Probationary Constable Peter Grant dreams of being a detective in London’s Metropolitan Police. Too bad his superior plans to assign him to the Case Progression Unit, where the biggest threat he’ll face is a paper cut. But Peter’s prospects change in the aftermath of a puzzling murder, when he gains exclusive information from an eyewitness who happens to be a ghost. Peter’s ability to speak with the lingering dead brings him to the attention of Detective Chief Inspector Thomas Nightingale, who investigates crimes involving magic and other manifestations of the uncanny. Now, as a wave of brutal and bizarre murders engulfs the city, Peter is plunged into a world where gods and goddesses mingle with mortals and a long-dead evil is making a comeback on a rising tide of magic.

Moon Over Soho by Ben Aaronovitch

Moon Over Soho (Peter Grant #2) by Ben Aaronovitch

This is the second book in the Peter Grant urban fantasy series by former Doctor Who writer Ben Aaronovitch. It’s available in mass market paperback and ebook in the US, and the next book in the series (Whispers Under Ground) will be released next week. An excerpt from Moon Over Soho is available on the publisher’s website.

The song. That’s what London constable and sorcerer’s apprentice Peter Grant first notices when he examines the corpse of Cyrus Wilkins, part-time jazz drummer and full-time accountant, who dropped dead of a heart attack while playing a gig at Soho’s 606 Club. The notes of the old jazz standard are rising from the body—a sure sign that something about the man’s death was not at all natural but instead supernatural.

Body and soul—they’re also what Peter will risk as he investigates a pattern of similar deaths in and around Soho. With the help of his superior officer, Detective Chief Inspector Thomas Nightingale, the last registered wizard in England, and the assistance of beautiful jazz aficionado Simone Fitzwilliam, Peter will uncover a deadly magical menace—one that leads right to his own doorstep and to the squandered promise of a young jazz musician: a talented trumpet player named Richard “Lord” Grant—otherwise known as Peter’s dear old dad.

Dearly Departed by Lia Habel

Dearly, Departed (Gone with the Respiration #1) by Lia Habel

This young adult novel will be released in trade paperback next month, and it is currently available in trade paperback, ebook, and audiobook. An excerpt is available on the publisher’s website.

A sequel titled Dearly, Beloved will be released in hardcover and ebook in September.

This is apparently futuristic zombie romance set in an a nation trying to emulate the Victorian era. I’m not so sure about this zombie romance trend myself, but then I’ve never been a zombie fan. I do kind of like the idea of New Victoria, though.

Love can never die.

Love conquers all, so they say. But can Cupid’s arrow pierce the hearts of the living and the dead—or rather, the undead? Can a proper young Victorian lady find true love in the arms of a dashing zombie?

The year is 2195. The place is New Victoria—a high-tech nation modeled on the manners, mores, and fashions of an antique era. A teenager in high society, Nora Dearly is far more interested in military history and her country’s political unrest than in tea parties and debutante balls. But after her beloved parents die, Nora is left at the mercy of her domineering aunt, a social-climbing spendthrift who has squandered the family fortune and now plans to marry her niece off for money. For Nora, no fate could be more horrible—until she’s nearly kidnapped by an army of walking corpses.

But fate is just getting started with Nora. Catapulted from her world of drawing-room civility, she’s suddenly gunning down ravenous zombies alongside mysterious black-clad commandos and confronting “The Laz,” a fatal virus that raises the dead—and hell along with them. Hardly ideal circumstances. Then Nora meets Bram Griswold, a young soldier who is brave, handsome, noble . . . and dead. But as is the case with the rest of his special undead unit, luck and modern science have enabled Bram to hold on to his mind, his manners, and his body parts. And when his bond of trust with Nora turns to tenderness, there’s no turning back. Eventually, they know, the disease will win, separating the star-crossed lovers forever. But until then, beating or not, their hearts will have what they desire.

In Dearly, Departed, romance meets walking-dead thriller, spawning a madly imaginative novel of rip-roaring adventure, spine-tingling suspense, and macabre comedy that forever redefines the concept of undying love.

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. 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 another giant week for books. I bought one and three ARCS (early unfinished copies) and three review copies showed up.

Three Parts Dead by Max Gladstone

Three Parts Dead by Max Gladstone

This novel will be released as a hardcover, ebook, and audiobook in October. It’s a debut novel and there is a quote by Jerry Pournelle on the back that ends with “I can’t wait for the second.” so it seems to be the first book in a series.

After looking at this, I’m really excited to read it. I LOVE worlds with gods, this has a first line that makes me want to know more, and it just sounds fantastic overall.

A god has died, and it’s up to Tara, first-year associate in the international necromantic firm of Kelethres, Albrecht, and Ao, to bring Him back to life before His city falls apart.Her client is Kos, recently deceased fire god of the city of Alt Coulumb. Without Him, the metropolis’s steam generators will shut down, its trains will cease running, and its four million citizens will riot.Tara’s job: resurrect Kos before chaos sets in. Her only help: Abelard, a chain-smoking priest of the dead god, who’s having an understandable crisis of faith.When Tara and Abelard discover that Kos was murdered, they have to make a case in Alt Coulumb’s courts—and their quest for the truth endangers their partnership, their lives, and Alt Coulumb’s slim hope of survival.Set in a phenomenally built world in which justice is a collective force bestowed on a few, craftsmen fly on lightning bolts, and gargoyles can rule cities, Three Parts Dead introduces readers to an ethical landscape in which the line between right and wrong blurs.

The Wind Witch by Susan Dexter

The Wind Witch (The Warhorse of Esdragon #2) by Susan Dexter

I became interested in this book when Angie recommended it as an underappreciated book she really enjoyed in her Women in SF&F post. It came to my attention again when Michelle reviewed it at See Michelle Read and also loved it. I checked to make sure it was on my wish list (it was!) and noticed that there was a new copy available for the same price mass market paperbacks normally go for. So I snatched it up while it was there since it is an out of print book.

While it is the second book in a series, it can be read without reading the first book. Here’s what Angie said about the series in her post:


I am continually amazed that Susan Dexter’s books remain out of print. And so glad I bought my copies when I had the chance. This trilogy features three separate heroines and one fascinating warhorse. If pressed, I choose The Wind-Witch as my favorite, but they are each excellent and do not have to be read in order.

Faithful wife to a small landholder, Druyan had lived her life in other people’s shadows. And if she could sometimes hold the clouds at bay or whistle up a wind, Druyan made sure to keep that talent to herself. Then war came, and Druyan found herself a widow, with no one to help during the harvest but Kellis, the wounded prisoner her husband had locked in the root cellar the day he marched away. But when Druyan freed Kellis from the cellar, she unlocked a Pandora’s box, for Kellis had secrets and magic of his own . . .

Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes

Falling Kingdoms (Falling Kingdoms #1) by Morgan Rhodes

Falling Kingdoms is the first book in a new young adult fantasy series by Morgan Rhodes, a pen name for paranormal romance, urban fantasy, and YA fantasy author Michelle Rowen. This novel will be released in hardcover and ebook in December 2012, and the next book titled Rebel Spring is scheduled for release in 2013.

This is one I’ve had my eye on, so I was really excited to find this inside the package that came in the mail. The back cover says it is “ideal for fans of George R. R. Martin and Kristin Cashore.” While part of me is skeptical that it can be as good as the description makes it sound, the other part thinks I must try it because of that description. After reading the first line, I am definitely thinking I should listen to the part that says I should try it, though. It also sounds like it has a lot of things I like – a cast with a few different characters and power struggles, for instance.

In a land where magic has been forgotten but peace has reigned for centuries, a deadly unrest is simmering. Three kingdoms grapple for power—brutally transforming their subjects’ lives in the process. Amidst betrayals, bargains, and battles, four young people find their fates forever intertwined:

Cleo: A princess raised in luxury must embark on a rough and treacherous journey into enemy territory in search of a magic long thought extinct.

Jonas: Enraged at injustice, a rebel lashes out against the forces of oppression that have kept his country impoverished—and finds himself the leader of a people’s revolution centuries in the making.

Lucia: A girl adopted at birth into a royal family discovers the truth about her past—and the supernatural legacy she is destined to wield.

Magnus: Bred for aggression and trained to conquer, a firstborn son begins to realize that the heart can be more lethal than the sword…

The only outcome that’s certain is that kingdoms will fall. Who will emerge triumphant when all they know has collapsed?

Chasing Magic by Stacia Kane

Chasing Magic (Downside Ghosts #5) by Stacia Kane

Chasing Magic is now available in ebook, mass market paperback, and audiobook. An excerpt is available on the publisher’s website.

The previous books in this urban fantasy series are as follows:

  1. Unholy Ghosts (Excerpt)
  2. Unholy Magic
  3. City of Ghosts
  4. Sacrificial Magic (Excerpt)

(There are no excerpts for 2 and 3 because those particular books did not have them on the publisher’s site.)

Between this and the Aaronovitch book, I think it’s time to make a book order for the first books in some UF series (and Gunmetal Magic by Ilona Andrews since that will be out soon). I have wanted to read this series for awhile now. It’s supposed to be really dark, but I don’t have a problem with that at all.

Magic-wielding Churchwitch and secret addict Chess Putnam knows better than anyone just how high a price people are willing to pay for a chemical rush. But when someone with money to burn and a penchant for black magic starts tampering with Downside’s drug supply, Chess realizes that the unlucky customers are paying with their souls—and taking the innocent with them, as the magic-infused speed compels them to kill in the most gruesome ways possible.
As if the streets weren’t scary enough, the looming war between the two men in her life explodes, taking even more casualties and putting Chess squarely in the middle. Downside could become a literal ghost town if Chess doesn’t find a way to stop both the war and the dark wave of death-magic, and the only way to do that is to use both her addiction and her power to enter the spell and chase the magic all the way back to its malevolent source. Too bad that doing so will probably kill Chess—if the war doesn’t first destroy the man who’s become her reason for living.

The Wanderers by Paula Brandon

The Wanderers (Veiled Isles #3) by Paula Brandon

This final book in a fantasy trilogy will be released in trade paperback and ebook on July 31. An excerpt can be read on the publisher’s website.

The previous books in the series are:

  1. The Traitor’s Daughter (Read the first 50 pages)
  2. The Ruined City (Excerpt)

This is another series I’ve been wanting to read and the first book is on my wishlist.

Paula Brandon’s acclaimed fantasy trilogy comes to a triumphant conclusion in an unforgettable collision of magic, intrigue, and romance.
Time is running out. Falaste Rione is imprisoned, sentenced to death. And even though the magical balance of the Source is slipping and the fabric of reality itself has begun to tear, Jianna Belandor can think only of freeing the man she loves. But to do so, she must join a revolution she once despised—and risk reunion with a husband she has ample reason to fear.
Meanwhile, undead creatures terrorize the land, slaves of the Overmind—a relentless consciousness determined to bring everything that lives under its sway. All that stands in the way is a motley group of arcanists whose combined powers will barely suffice to restore balance to the Source. But when Jianna’s father, the Magnifico Aureste Belandor, murders one of them, the group begins to fracture under the pressures of suspicion and mutual hatred. Now humanity’s hope rests with an unexpected soul: a misanthropic hermit whose next move may turn the tide and save the world.

Coup d'Etat by Harry Turtledove

Coup d’Etat (The War That Came Early #4) by Harry Turtledove

This World War II alternate history will be released in hardcover, ebook, and audiobook on July 31. An excerpt is available on the publisher’s website.

The previous books are:

  1. Hitler’s War (Excerpt)
  2. West and East (Excerpt)
  3. The Big Switch (Excerpt)

In 1941, a treaty between England and Germany unravels—and so does a different World War II.

In Harry Turtledove’s mesmerizing alternate history of World War II, the choices of men and fate have changed history. Now it is the winter of 1941. As the Germans, with England and France on their side, slam deep into Russia, Stalin’s terrible machine fights for its life. But the agreements of world leaders do not touch the hearts of soldiers. The war between Germany and Russia is rocked by men with the courage to aim their guns in a new direction.

England is the first to be shaken. Following the suspicious death of Winston Churchill, with his staunch anti-Nazi views, a small cabal begins to imagine the unthinkable in a nation long famous for respecting the rule of law. With civil liberties hanging by a thread, a conspiracy forms against the powers that be. What will this daring plan mean for the European war as a whole?

Meanwhile, in America, a woman who has met Hitler face-to-face urges her countrymen to wake up to his evil. For the time being, the United States is fighting only Japan—and the war is not going as well as Washington would like. Can Roosevelt keep his grip on the country’s imagination?

Coup d’Etat captures how war makes for the strangest of bedfellows. A freethinking Frenchman fights side by side with racist Nazis. A Czech finds himself on the dusty front lines of the Spanish Civil War, gunning for Germany’s Nationalist allies. A German bomber pilot courts a half-Polish, half-Jewish beauty in Bialystock. And the Jews in Germany, though trapped under Hitler’s fist, are as yet protected by his fear of looking bad before the world—and by an outspoken Catholic bishop.

With his spectacular command of character, coincidence, and military and political strategies, Harry Turtledove continues a passionate, unmatched saga of a World War II composed of different enemies, different allies—and hurtling toward a horrific moment. For a diabolical new weapon is about to be unleashed, not by the United States, but by Japan, in a tactic that will shock the world.

Black City by Elizabeth Richards

Black City (Black City Chronicles #1) by Elizabeth Richards

This young adult post-apocalyptic novel will be released in hardcover in November. (It may be in ebook as well; I can’t find anything on that but it’s not coming out until close to the end of the year so there may just not be information online about that yet.)

According to the author’s Goodreads page, there will be a second and third book in the series.

A dark and tender post-apocalyptic love story set in the aftermath of a bloody war. In a city where humans and Darklings are now separated by a high wall and tensions between the two races still simmer after a terrible war, sixteen-year-olds Ash Fisher, a half-blood Darkling, and Natalie Buchanan, a human and the daughter of the Emissary, meet and do the unthinkable–they fall in love. Bonded by a mysterious connection that causes Ash’s long-dormant heart to beat, Ash and Natalie first deny and then struggle to fight their forbidden feelings for each other, knowing if they’re caught, they’ll be executed–but their feelings are too strong. When Ash and Natalie then find themselves at the center of a deadly conspiracy that threatens to pull the humans and Darklings back into war, they must make hard choices that could result in both their deaths.

Scourge of the Betrayer
by Jeff Salyards
320pp (Hardcover/Ebook)
My Rating: 5/10
Amazon Rating: 4.4/5
LibraryThing Rating: 3.42/5
Goodreads Rating: 4.2/5

Scourge of the Betrayer is Jeff Salyard’s debut novel and the first book in a new fantasy series, Bloodsounder’s Arc. (Though additional books in the series are forthcoming, I haven’t been able to find much information about them.) When I received it I was interested because it was said to be a “gritty” fantasy novel, and I hadn’t read one of those in awhile. While I thought there was some decent parts about Scourge of the Betrayer, I ended up deciding it was just an okay book once I had finished it.

The main story revolves around the mysterious Captain Braylar Killcoin as seen through the eyes of Arkamondos, a scribe nicknamed “Arki” he hired to chronicle his exploits. The captain and his men (and one woman, Lloi) are a rough-talking, violent crowd compared to the well-mannered, soft-spoken Arki. Killcoin and his fellow Syldoon are rumored to be quite despicable yet Arki finds the prospect of traveling with them and observing them quite fascinating and much more exciting than writing about the dull lives of merchants. He cannot resist the allure of Captain Killcoin’s dramatic and cryptic argument:


All empires crumble. All borders change. All kingdoms die. Where I’m taking you, you’ll witness the death of a body politic, the expiration of a way of life, the redrawing of a map. Something singular and priceless. [pp. 10]

I couldn’t resist this persuasive plea to accompany Killcoin on his journey, either, and settled in to find out just what this momentous statement meant – only to end up very disappointed and underwhelmed by the revelations I was given.

Before I discuss why this didn’t entirely work for me, I do want to say I do not think this is a bad book and the series shows promise. As a narrator, Arki has a very engaging voice and I enjoyed viewing the rough characters through the eyes of someone who had a gentle nature. For awhile, I was reading this book at a good clip, carried along by Arki’s voice, the dialogue, the often humorous quips by Captain Killcoin, the conversations between Arki and Lloi, and the lure of answers. I wanted to know what object was in the box Captain Killcoin was so secretive about and why there were certain subjects he avoided. Gradually, throughout the course of the book there were some answers, but I felt they were not particularly original or as groundbreaking as the beginning promised. This is the first book in a series so there’s certainly time for it become as earth-shattering as promised in later volumes, but I needed more to hook me and make me want to read the next book in the series than I got in this installment. As it was, I got to the end and was quite underwhelmed by finding out what Captain Killcoin was being so secretive about.

Scourge of the Betrayer is not a long book, but it is long for the amount that happens in it. It relies more on dialogue and mystery than huge plot developments and there is a lot of travel. In a lot of cases, I actually prefer books that have this sort of focus over plot, but there wasn’t enough depth to the characters or their relationships to carry it. Captain Killcoin was initially a compelling fellow, but by the end I’d lost interest after seeing again and again how mysterious he was – at some point, a character with such mystery about them needs to have an appropriate payoff, not just additional buildup. Arki himself is an engaging character, and I did enjoy his reactions to everything he saw and the changes in his character toward the end of the book. I also enjoyed his scenes with Lloi, who was the other outcast in Killcoin’s company due to the fact that she was both female and foreign. Lloi was more intriguing to me than the captain was, and I found the camaraderie she and Arki eventually had quite compelling.

That said, Lloi is the only major female character and this novel does fail the Bechdel test. Those looking for fantasy where women are well-represented will want to look elsewhere. While she is in the company only because she has knowledge that makes her valuable to the captain, I didn’t think she only existed to be useful to him. She has a past of her own and an unusual attitude toward her circumstances, and Arki does develop respect for her as an individual on her own merits. I certainly thought she was one of the better-developed and more intriguing characters in a book that didn’t have a lot of character depth.

Scourge of the Betrayer is an okay book and there’s certainly some engaging writing, humor, and dialogue. However, I needed more to truly hook me – more plot, more character depth, more surprises that lived up to the promise set in the beginning. As it is, it’s a lot of people being violent, talking rough, and a lot of buildup centering around the mystery of the Syldoon and Captain Killcoin that just ended up being a letdown as it was revealed.

My Rating: 5/10

Where I got my reading copy: Review copy from the author.

Read an Excerpt

Other Reviews:

Today I’m one of the participants in SF Signal’s Mind Meld, which is about monarchies in fantasy. The question we’re responding to is:

Q: Why are kingdoms with monarchs the default political setup in many secondary fantasy world novels? What are the advantages and disadvantages of such political structures? What are some exceptions to this?

A Clash of Kings

It’s a pretty interesting question to consider, especially since I decided my initial response to it was only a piece of the puzzle. There are some pretty good points made about why this is often the case, and there is quite a fantastic lineup of authors who have something to say on the subject. Author guests include Daniel Abraham, Jim C. Hines, Martha Wells, and Sherwood Smith (an author I now must read more by after reading her recent novel Banner of the Damned).

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. 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 I bought two books I’ve been wanting to read, and four review copies and one ARC showed up in the mail. The latter is one of my most anticipated books of this year so I was quite happy to see it – I think my husband thought I was excited to the point of insanity over it!

Ashes of Honor by Seanan McGuire

Ashes of Honor (October Daye #6) by Seanan McGuire

October Daye has become one of my favorite urban fantasy series so I was thrilled to open a package containing the sixth installment. The books have just been getting better and better with 4 and 5 as my favorites in the series to date. I just love Toby’s humorous narrative voice and all of the characters in this series (especially Tybalt!). Also, I cannot predict what will happen. The end of book 5 took me completely by surprise. Can’t wait to find out what happens next!

Ashes of Honor will be released in mass market paperback, audiobook, and ebook in September. The previous books in the series are as follows:

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

It’s been almost a year since October “Toby” Daye averted a war, gave up a county, and suffered personal losses that have left her wishing for a good day’s sleep. She’s tried to focus on her responsibilities—training Quentin, upholding her position as Sylvester’s knight, and paying the bills—but she can’t help feeling like her world is crumbling around her, and her increasingly reckless behavior is beginning to worry even her staunchest supporters.

To make matters worse, Toby’s just been asked to find another missing child…only this time it’s the changeling daughter of her fellow knight, Etienne, who didn’t even know he was a father until the girl went missing. Her name is Chelsea. She’s a teleporter, like her father. She’s also the kind of changeling the old stories warn about, the ones with all the strength and none of the control. She’s opening doors that were never meant to be opened, releasing dangers that were sealed away centuries before—and there’s a good chance she could destroy Faerie if she isn’t stopped.

Now Toby must find Chelsea before time runs out, racing against an unknown deadline and through unknown worlds as she and her allies try to avert disaster. But danger is also stirring in the Court of Cats, and Tybalt may need Toby’s help with the biggest challenge he’s ever faced.

Toby thought the last year was bad. She has no idea.

Albert of Adelaide by Howard L. Anderson

Thieftaker (Thieftaker Chronicles #1) by D. B. Jackson

The author, who has a Ph.D. in U.S. History, has written epic fantasy novels as David Coe. With this series, he is writing a historical fantasy set in Boston in the year 1765. I really like the sound of this one a lot and am considering it as one of my next reads after I finish Banner of the Damned.

Thieftaker was released in hardcover and ebook on July 3. Thieves’ Quarry, the second book in the series, will be released in 2013.

The first three chapters from Thieftaker can be read online. The short story “A Spell of Vengeance” is also available to read on

Boston, 1767: In D.B. Jackson’s Thieftaker, revolution is brewing as the British Crown imposes increasingly onerous taxes on the colonies, and intrigue swirls around firebrands like Samuel Adams and the Sons of Liberty. But for Ethan Kaille, a thieftaker who makes his living by conjuring spells that help him solve crimes, politics is for others…until he is asked to recover a necklace worn by the murdered daughter of a prominent family.

Suddenly, he faces another conjurer of enormous power, someone unknown, who is part of a conspiracy that reaches to the highest levels of power in the turbulent colony. His adversary has already killed—and not for his own gain, but in the service of his powerful masters, people for whom others are mere pawns in a game of politics and power. Ethan is in way over his head, and he knows it. Already a man with a dark past, he can ill afford to fail, lest his livelihood be forfeit. But he can’t stop now, for his magic has marked him, so he must fight the odds, even though he seems hopelessly overmatched, his doom seeming certain at the spectral hands of one he cannot even see.

Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers

Grave Mercy (His Fair Assassin #1) by Robin LaFevers

I have wanted to read Grave Mercy ever since Angie said she was reading and enjoying it. Her review just made me want to read it more. Historical fantasy, political intrigue, and a female assassin as the main character! Reminiscent of Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder! I must read this book! So when I found this while browsing in the bookstore, I snatched it up.

The author’s website describes the His Fair Assassin trilogy as “YA books about assassin nuns in medieval France.” This series just keeps sounding better and better to me…

Grave Mercy is available in hardcover, ebook, and audiobook. The first chapter is available online.

Why be the sheep, when you can be the wolf?

Seventeen-year-old Ismae escapes from the brutality of an arranged marriage into the sanctuary of the convent of St. Mortain, where the sisters still serve the gods of old. Here she learns that the god of Death Himself has blessed her with dangerous gifts—and a violent destiny. If she chooses to stay at the convent, she will be trained as an assassin and serve as a handmaiden to Death. To claim her new life, she must destroy the lives of others.

Ismae’s most important assignment takes her straight into the high court of Brittany—where she finds herself woefully under prepared—not only for the deadly games of intrigue and treason, but for the impossible choices she must make. For how can she deliver Death’s vengeance upon a target who, against her will, has stolen her heart?

I Am Not a Serial Killer by Dan Wells

I Am Not a Serial Killer (John Cleaver #1) by Dan Wells

I was really interested in both books by Dan Wells that were at BEA this year, but I missed them both. So I bought one of his older titles that also sounds really interesting to me (“older” being from 2 years ago).

It’s available in hardcover (although this one may be harder to find), trade paperback, mass market paperback, ebook, and audiobook. Goodreads has a Google Preview for this book so you can read a little of it.

The second and third books in this series are Mr. Monster and I Don’t Want to Kill You.

John Wayne Cleaver is dangerous, and he knows it.

He’s spent his life doing his best not to live up to his potential.

He’s obsessed with serial killers, but really doesn’t want to become one. So for his own sake, and the safety of those around him, he lives by rigid rules he’s written for himself, practicing normal life as if it were a private religion that could save him from damnation.

Dead bodies are normal to John. He likes them, actually. They don’t demand or expect the empathy he’s unable to offer. Perhaps that’s what gives him the objectivity to recognize that there’s something different about the body the police have just found behind the Wash-n-Dry Laundromat—and to appreciate what that difference means.

Now, for the first time, John has to confront a danger outside himself, a threat he can’t control, a menace to everything and everyone he would love, if only he could.

Dan Wells’s debut novel is the first volume of a trilogy that will keep you awake and then haunt your dreams.

Whispers Underground by Ben Aaronovitch

Whispers Under Ground (Peter Grant #3) by Ben Aaronovitch

Since this is the third book in a series I haven’t read, I have a question for those of you have read the first book: Is the first book worth reading? Or, do you know if each book stands alone pretty well?

The first book in this urban fantasy series is called Rivers of London in the UK and Midnight Riot in the US, and the second book is Moon Over Soho. Whispers Under Ground will be available in mass market paperback and ebook in the US on July 31. An excerpt from this latest novel is available online.


It begins with a dead body at the far end of Baker Street tube station, all that remains of American exchange student James Gallagher—and the victim’s wealthy, politically powerful family is understandably eager to get to the bottom of the gruesome murder. The trouble is, the bottom—if it exists at all—is deeper and more unnatural than anyone suspects . . . except, that is, for London constable and sorcerer’s apprentice Peter Grant. With Inspector Nightingale, the last registered wizard in England, tied up in the hunt for the rogue magician known as “the Faceless Man,” it’s up to Peter to plumb the haunted depths of the oldest, largest, and—as of now—deadliest subway system in the world.

At least he won’t be alone. No, the FBI has sent over a crack agent to help. She’s young, ambitious, beautiful . . . and a born-again Christian apt to view any magic as the work of the devil. Oh yeah—that’s going to go well.

The Passage by Justin Cronin

The Passage by Justin Cronin

This was a widely buzzed release when in 2010, and this version is the mass market paperback that will be on sale on July 31. It includes a preview from the sequel, The Twelve, which will be released in October of this year.

The Passage is already available in hardcover, trade paperback, ebook, and audiobook. An excerpt is available online.

I’m considering trying this one, but not quite yet since it is almost 900 pages long and I am just finishing up a huge (but very good) novel that has taken me forever to read!

An epic and gripping tale of catastrophe and survival, The Passage is the story of Amy—abandoned by her mother at the age of six, pursued and then imprisoned by the shadowy figures behind a government experiment of apocalyptic proportions. But Special Agent Brad Wolgast, the lawman sent to track her down, is disarmed by the curiously quiet girl and risks everything to save her. As the experiment goes nightmarishly wrong, Wolgast secures her escape—but he can’t stop society’s collapse. And as Amy walks alone, across miles and decades, into a future dark with violence and despair, she is filled with the mysterious and terrifying knowledge that only she has the power to save the ruined world.

Darksiders: The Abomination Vault by Ari Marmell

Darksiders: The Abomination Vault by Ari Marmell

This is about the history of the world from the Darksiders videogame, which I know nothing about. I have heard good things about Thief’s Covenant by Ari Marmell, though!

Darksiders: The Abomination Vault will be released in trade paperback and ebook on July 24. An excerpt is available on the publisher’s website.

Ride with the Horsemen of the Apocalypse as they seek to unearth a plot that could plunge all of Creation into chaos!
Ages before the events of Darksiders and Darksiders II, two of the feared Horsemen—Death and War—are tasked with stopping a group of renegades from locating the Abomination Vault: a hoard containing weapons of ultimate power and malice, capable of bringing an end to the uneasy truce between Heaven and Hell . . . but only by unleashing total destruction.
Created in close collaboration with the Darksiders II teams at Vigil and THQ, Darksiders: The Abomination Vault gives an exciting look at the history and world of the Horsemen, shining a new light on the unbreakable bond between War and Death.

Instead of writing one huge post of all the books I’m looking forward to in 2012 with info on them, I had decided to highlight some of these books in their own posts throughout the rest of 2011. I’ve decided to carry this feature forward into this year as I discover new books coming out this year that sound interesting and continue with books of 2013 as it gets closer to the end of the year.

Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff

This has very quickly become one of my MOST HIGHLY anticipated books of this year. Let me count the ways it’s making me want it now:

  1. Aesthetically pleasing red and black cover. (What can I say, red and black quite often make for a pretty eye-catching cover.)
  2. This quote by Patrick Rothfuss, author of The Name of the Wind and The Wise Man’s Fear:

    What’s that? You say you’ve got a Japanese Steampunk novel with mythic creatures, civil unrest, and a strong female protagonist? I’m afraid I missed everything you said after “Japanese Steampunk.” That’s all I really needed to hear.

    (Yeah, that’s all I need to hear, too, although the strong female protagonist, mythic creatures, and civil unrest are all huge bonuses.)
  3. This excerpt of the first three chapters on (Usually I look at excerpts and find myself less excited by the book. In this case, it made me much more excited.)
  4. Early reviews on Goodreads have been very positive. (And what the author had to say about it just made me WANT IT MORE.)

Stormdancer is a debut novel and the first book in The Lotus War trilogy. It will be released in hardcover and ebook in the US and the UK in September. (September?! But that’s 2 months away…)

About Stormdancer:

The first in an epic new fantasy series, introducing an unforgettable new heroine and a stunningly original dystopian steampunk world with a flavor of feudal Japan.

The Shima Imperium  verges on the brink of environmental collapse; an island nation once rich in tradition and myth, now decimated by clockwork industrialization and the machine-worshipers of the Lotus Guild. The skies are red as blood, the land is choked with toxic pollution, and the great spirit animals that once roamed its wilds have departed forever. 

The hunters of Shima’s imperial court are charged by their Shōgun to capture a thunder tiger – a legendary creature, half-eagle, half-tiger. But any fool knows the beasts have been extinct for more than a century, and the price of failing the Shōgun is death. 

Yukiko is a child of the Fox clan, possessed of a talent that if discovered, would see her executed by the Lotus Guild. Accompanying her father on the Shōgun’s hunt, she finds herself stranded: a young woman alone in Shima’s last wilderness, with only a furious, crippled thunder tiger for company. Even though she can hear his thoughts, even though she saved his life, all she knows for certain is he’d rather see her dead than help her.

But together, the pair will form an indomitable friendship, and rise to challenge the might of an empire.

Other Books of 2012: