This week’s post is pretty long since I got 11 books over this past week – 6 review copies, 3 gifts and 2 I bought myself. It’s times like this I wish I could read a lot faster since there are quite a few of these I’d like to read right now.

As far as reviewing goes, I’m just about caught up finally. I have a draft of Naamah’s Kiss written. I haven’t started a review of the last book I read, but since I just finished it early this morning, I don’t feel behind yet. Now I’m trying to decide what to read next since I want to read one shorter book then start on Naamah’s Curse.

Back to the books…

The King’s Bastard by Rowena Cory Daniells

This is the first book in The Chronicles of King Rolen’s Kin trilogy. It just came out this month, and the next two books will each be released one month after the previous book. The Uncrowned King will be available in August, and The Usurper will be available in September. It sounds pretty good, and since I got my copy from the author she signed it (I just love signed books).

The Kingdom of Rolencia sleeps as rumours of new Affinity Seeps, places where the untamed power wells up. By royal decree all those afflicted with Affinity must serve the Abbey or face death. Sent to the Ab­bey, the King’s youngest son, Fyn, trains to become a warrior monk. Elsewhere others are tainted with Affinity and must fight to survive. Political intrigue and magic combine in this explosive first book in an exciting new fantasy trilogy.

Briar Rose by Jane Yolen

This one was an anniversary gift from my husband (apparently it’s easy to find gifts for a paper anniversary for me). It’s been on my wish list for a little while since I love fairy tale retellings and I enjoyed some of Jane Yolen’s other books (The Pit Dragon trilogy). This particular novel combines the story of Sleeping Beauty with the Holocaust. It was a Nebula nominee and won the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award in the adult literature category. (Right now it is only in print as a young adult novel, but it was originally published as an adult novel.)

Boneshaker by Cherie Priest

This was another anniversary gift from my husband. I got an ARC of Dreadnought, the second book in The Clockwork Century series, signed at BEA. It’s supposed to be fine to start with the second book since it’s not a direct sequel, but maybe I’ll read this one first since I have it now. Boneshaker won a Locus Award and was nominated for both the Nebula and the Hugo Award this year.

In the early days of the Civil War, rumors of gold in the frozen Klondike brought hordes of newcomers to the Pacific Northwest. Anxious to compete, Russian prospectors commissioned inventor Leviticus Blue to create a great machine that could mine through Alaska’s ice. Thus was Dr. Blue’s Incredible Bone-Shaking Drill Engine born.

But on its first test run the Boneshaker went terribly awry, destroying several blocks of downtown Seattle and unearthing a subterranean vein of blight gas that turned anyone who breathed it into the living dead.

Now it is sixteen years later, and a wall has been built to enclose the devastated and toxic city. Just beyond it lives Blue’s widow, Briar Wilkes. Life is hard with a ruined reputation and a teenaged boy to support, but she and Ezekiel are managing. Until Ezekiel undertakes a secret crusade to rewrite history.

His quest will take him under the wall and into a city teeming with ravenous undead, air pirates, criminal overlords, and heavily armed refugees. And only Briar can bring him out alive.

Naamah’s Curse by Jacqueline Carey

The second book in Jacqueline Carey’s latest trilogy set in her alternate earth just came out last month. This series takes place many years after the first two Kushiel’s Legacy trilogies and follows a descendant of Alais de la Courcel. I recently read the first book, Naamah’s Kiss, and really enjoyed it so I’m looking forward to reading this one too.

Jacqueline Carey, New York Times bestselling author of the Kushiel’s Legacy series, delivers book two in her new lushly imagined trilogy featuring daughter of Alba, Moirin. NAAMAH’S CURSE Far from the land of her birth, Moirin sets out across Tatar territory to find Bao, the proud and virile Ch’in fighter who holds the missing half of her diadh-anam, the divine soul-spark of her mother’s people. After a long ordeal, she not only succeeds, but surrenders to a passion the likes of which she’s never known.

The Crowded Shadows by Celine Kiernan

The second book in the Moorehawke trilogy became available the beginning of this month, and the third book The Rebel Prince will be out in October. I read the first book, The Poison Throne, earlier this year and found it mostly enjoyable in spite of some issues (review). It will be interesting to see what happens in this latest installment.

Every tyrant who ever threatened the Kingdom is gathering to Alberon’s table, and the forest is alive with spies, wolves, and bandits. Within these crowded shadows, Protector Lady Wynter Moorehawke travels alone and unprotected, determined that she shall find the rebel prince and heal the rift that has come between the King and his legitimate heir. But who is an ally and who is a foe?

In this, the second volume of The Moorehawke Trilogy, old friends and even older enemies ensure that Wynter is never certain of who she can trust.

Tracking the Tempest by Nicole Peeler

This is the second book in the Jane True series and it just became available this month. The third book, Tempest’s Legacy, will be released in January 2011. I read the first book, Tempest Rising. Although it had a couple of issues that didn’t quite mesh with my personal taste, I did think it was mostly fun with a couple of interesting characters and a wide variety of supernatural creatures (review). I did like enough about it that I intend to read this one, though, especially since I heard it should have more of one of the characters I really liked.

Valentine’s Day is fast approaching, and Ryu – Jane’s bloodsucking boyfriend – can’t let a major holiday go by without getting all gratuitous. An overwhelming dose of boyfriend interference and a last-minute ticket to Boston later, and Jane’s life is thrown off course. Ryu’s well-intentioned plans create mayhem, and Jane winds up embroiled in an investigation involving a spree of gruesome killings. All the evidence points towards another Halfling, much to Jane’s surprise…

Wizard Squared by K. E. Mills

This is the third book in the Rogue Agent series by K. E. Mills, a pseudonym for author Karen Miller. It just came out in the U.S. this month, and the first two books are The Accidental Sorcerer and Witches Incorporated in that order. I actually hadn’t heard of this series before, but it sounds like fun with trouble in alternate realities.

When the staff of Witches Incorporated receive a visitor from an alternate reality, they are shocked to learn that life in the parallel world next door is anything but a bed of roses … and it’s all because of Gerald Dunwoody.

At a crucial moment in time, their Gerald turned left … but the alternate reality Gerald turned right. Now the parallel world next door is in the grip of terror, staring down the barrel of a thaumaturgical war — a war that threatens to spill across the dimensions and plunge every reality into a nightmare.

The only person who can stop a rogue wizard gone mad is another rogue wizard. But what do you do when another rogue wizard can’t be found?

WIZARD SQUARED is the third novel in the Rogue Agent series, from one of fantasy’s newest stars.

The Reluctant Mage by Karen Miller

This is the second book in the Fisherman’s Children series following The Prodigal Mage. It will be released in just a few weeks on July 28.

It’s been many months since Rafel ventured over Barl’s Mountains into the unknown, in a desperate bid to seek help for their ravaged land. With his father’s Weather Magic exhausted, there seemed no other hope. Now this too has died.

Only Deenie believes Rafel still lives, sensing her brother in tortured dreams. She also knows she must try to find him, as only Rafel’s talents could heal their land. The prospect terrifies Deenie, yet she sees no other choice.

She soon learns of a dangerous new power. Deenie comes to suspect that not only is her brother involved, but that the evil their father destroyed is somehow reborn. And if she can’t save Rafel, then through him, Morg’s vast power could once again command their world.

Renegade’s Magic by Robin Hobb

This was the only book I was missing in the Soldier Son trilogy so when I found it in hardcover for about $5 I had to get it. Now I have the entire set in hardcover. I really need to read these as well as the two Rain Wilds Chronicles books that recently came out.

Loyal, privileged, and brave, Nevare Burvelle proudly embraced his preordained role as soldier in the service of the King of Gernia—unaware of the strange turns his life would ultimately take. Exposed to a plague of enemy sorcery that felled many of his compatriots, he prevailed, but at a terrible cost to his soul, body, and heart. Now he stands wrongly accused of unspeakable crimes—including murder, the most heinous of them all.

Condemned by his brother soldiers and sentenced to death, Nevare has no option but to escape. Suddenly he is an outcast and a fugitive—a hostage to the Speck magic that shackles him to a savage alter ego who would destroy everything Nevare holds dear. With nowhere to turn—except, perhaps, to the Speck woman Lisana, the enemy whom he loves—he is mired in soul-rending despair. But from out of the darkness comes a bright spark of hope.

Perhaps, somehow, the hated magic that has long abused Nevare can be used by him instead. Could he not learn to wield this mighty weapon for his own purposes rather than be enslaved by it? But down what perilous road will this desperate new quest lead him? And what will be the outcome and the ultimate new incarnation of Nevare Burvelle?

Summon the Keeper by Tanya Huff

This is the first book in the Keeper’s Chronicles series. I actually came across it on Calico Reaction since it is the book club selection for the category “Cats in Fantasy.” I love cats and really liked the sound of it so I ordered it when I needed just one more item for that free shipping. Since there are a crazy number of books coming out in the next few months that I want to review around the release date, I probably won’t be reading it in time for the book club, though.

Magic taps an energy force outside the real world leaving a hole in the barrier separating the physical from the magical plane. Holes are monitored by Cousins, offsprings of Adam and Lilith to insure no evil can escape. When a hole is big enough for a magical creature, a keeper works to seal it up. Claire Hansen is just such a keeper. She is summoned to the Elysian Fields guest-house where she is tricked into becoming the carekeeper. Her first job is to seal a hole without awakening the evil upstairs in a guest room. While pondering her project, Claire must deal with her loquacious cat, who runs her life, catch the imps causing minor mischief, resist the wiles of an amorous ghost, and protect the odd assortment of guests that visit in the house.

Fire and Hemlock by Diana Wynne Jones

This was another one of the anniversary gifts. It’s out of print and I’ve really been wanting to read it since it’s a Tam Lin retelling and of course by Diana Wynne Jones.

A photograph called “Fire and Hemlock” that has been on the wall since her childhood. A story in a book of supernatural stories — had Polly read it before under a different title? Polly, packing to return to college, is distracted by picture and story, clues from the past stirring memories. But why should she suddenly have memories that do not seem to correspond to the facts?

Fire and Hemlock is an intricate, romantic fantasy filled with sorcery and intrigue, magic and mystery, all background to a most unusual and thoroughly satisfying love story.