It’s my first leaning pile of books post on the new site!  I’ve also finished a draft of a review of The Spirit Thief by Rachel Aaron so I’m hoping to have my first book review at the new site up on Tuesday.  Today I’m hoping to get most of the way through a review of Elfland by Freda Warrington as well.

Before getting to the books, I just wanted to mention a couple of bargains I just noticed at Amazon for those of you in the US who may be planning to participate in either The Women of Fantasy or The Women of Science Fiction book club next year.  Lilith’s Brood and Indigo Springs are both available as bargain books (or at least they were a little while ago).  They are both trade paperbacks and they were both about $10 off.

Now on to books from this week – 3 review copies (2 of which I will be reading immediately) and 1 purchased (and already read) by my husband.

The Broken Kingdoms by N. K. Jemisin

This is the second book in the Inheritance trilogy, following The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms which was just released earlier this year.  The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms was one of my very favorite books I’ve read this year (review). It had such an engaging narrative style and a wonderful mythology so I’ve been really looking forward to this one.  I somehow ended up with 2 review copies so I am giving away the duplicate copy.  This giveaway is open worldwide, and it looks like I’m far from the only person excited about this book since it was already the most popular one I’d ever had after less than 24 hours of being posted.  The Broken Kingdoms will be released on November 3. In the meantime, the first three chapters are available online: Chapter One, Chapter Two, Chapter Three.

In the city of Shadow, beneath the World Tree, alleyways shimmer with magic and godlings live hidden among mortalkind. Oree Shoth, a blind artist, takes in a strange homeless man on an impulse. This act of kindness engulfs Oree in a nightmarish conspiracy. Someone, somehow, is murdering godlings, leaving their desecrated bodies all over the city. And Oree’s guest is at the heart of it. . .

The Habitation of the Blessed by Catherynne M. Valente

This is volume 1 of A Dirge for Prester John.  There will be two more books in the series, The Folded World and The Spindle of Necessity.  These books will all be released a year apart in November 2010, November 2011, November 2012.  Ever since I first heard about this book I’ve been really looking forward to it.  Valente’s The Orphan’s Tales: In the Night Garden (review) is imaginative, beautifully written and unlike anything else I’ve read before.  As soon as I finish reading The Broken Kingdoms, I’m starting this one.

This is the story of a place that never was: the kingdom of Prester John, the utopia described by an anonymous, twelfth-century document which captured the imagination of the medieval world and drove hundreds of lost souls to seek out its secrets, inspiring explorers, missionaries, and kings for centuries. But what if it were all true? What if there was such a place, and a poor, broken priest once stumbled past its borders, discovering, not a Christian paradise, but a country where everything is possible, immortality is easily had, and the Western world is nothing but a dim and distant dream?

Brother Hiob of Luzerne, on missionary work in the Himalayan wilderness on the eve of the eighteenth century, discovers a village guarding a miraculous tree whose branches sprout books instead of fruit. These strange books chronicle the history of the kingdom of Prester John, and Hiob becomes obsessed with the tales they tell. The Habitation of the Blessed recounts the fragmented narratives found within these living volumes, revealing the life of a priest named John, and his rise to power in this country of impossible richness. John’s tale weaves together with the confessions of his wife Hagia, a blemmye–a headless creature who carried her face on her chest–as well as the tender, jeweled nursery stories of Imtithal, nanny to the royal family. Hugo and World Fantasy award nominee Catherynne M. Valente reimagines the legends of Prester John in this stunning tour de force.

Bitten in Two by Jennifer Rardin

Even though I’ve never read Jennifer Rardin’s books, it was with some sadness I saw this one since I had read that she passed away recently.  This is the seventh book in the Jaz Parks series.  I have heard this series was good and have been wanting to read the first one but I’ve got some catching up to do before reading this one…  It will be released on November 8 and the final book in the series, The Deadliest Bite, is scheduled to be released in June 2011.

Jaz Parks here. I. Am. Pissed. Just as Vayl and I arrive in Morocco to secure an ancient artifact, he wakes up calling me by another woman’s name. And it’s not even a good one. But since any form of argument transforms him into an unholy terror, I’m forced to play along until the gang and I can figure out what kind of power has so vastly altered his perceptions.

So it’s time for me to do what any well-trained assassin in my position might do. I attack. What follows is a hair-raising, breath-taking bullet train ride to the finish as the crew battles on multiple fronts. I now know what I have to do – I must return to hell one last time.

Cryoburn by Lois McMaster Bujold

A long-awaited new book in the Miles Vorkosigan series just came out!  I’m not caught up to this one yet, but my husband recently read a good chunk of the series and had to pre-order this one.  Thankfully, since after he finished the last Miles book he kept asking me to recommend him more books.  Then every time I handed him a book he’d ask me if it had Miles in it and reject it when, of course, it did not.  Unfortunately, he already finished this one two days ago so he may be back to requesting more books with Miles in them…

Miles Vorkosigan is back!

Kibou-daini is a planet obsessed with cheating death. Barrayaran Imperial Auditor Miles Vorkosigan can hardly disapprove-he’s been cheating death his whole life, on the theory that turnabout is fair play. But when a Kibou-daini cryocorp-an immortal company whose job it is to shepherd its all-too-mortal frozen patrons into an unknown future-attempts to expand its franchise into the Barrayaran Empire, Emperor Gregor dispatches his top troubleshooter Miles to check it out.

On Kibou-daini, Miles discovers generational conflict over money and resources is heating up, even as refugees displaced in time skew the meaning of generation past repair. Here he finds a young boy with a passion for pets and a dangerous secret, a Snow White trapped in an icy coffin who burns to re-write her own tale, and a mysterious crone who is the very embodiment of the warning Don’t mess with the secretary. Bribery, corruption, conspiracy, kidnapping-something is rotten on Kibou-daini, and it isn’t due to power outages in the Cryocombs. And Miles is in the middle-of trouble!