Due to a busy week, I haven’t had a chance to finish any of those reviews, but I’m hoping to at least finish the one I have started today so I can post it sometime next week.  However, next week is going to be busy as well since John and I decided to drive the 4 hours to go to one of George R. R. Martin’s signings on the A Dance With Dragons tour!  I’m very excited since this has been one of my favorite fantasy series since close to the beginning of my foray into reading fantasy books like an addict. And I may have reserved 2 copies so I can give away one to someone who will not be able to attend one of the book tour signings…

So, anyway, on to the books – 1 review copy, 1 bargain book bought, and 2 graphic novels received as gifts.

Under Heaven by Guy Gavriel KayUnder Heaven by Guy Gavriel Kay

I’ve wanted to read this book for a while so when I found a hardcover copy for about $5 once shipping was added, I snatched it up.  It’s a stand alone fantasy inspired by Tang dynasty China, which sounds awesome enough on its own, but Guy Gavriel Kay also wrote Tigana, an excellent fantasy novel I absolutely loved.  (Here’s the review, but it’s a really early one so I’m hesitant to link to it).  I really must read more of his work.

Under Heaven came out in hardcover in 2010, and it was recently released in trade paperback. It is also available as an ebook.

In his latest innovative novel, the award-winning author evokes the dazzling Tang Dynasty of 8th-century China in a story of honor and power.

Inspired by the glory and power of Tang dynasty China, Guy Gavriel Kay has created a masterpiece.

It begins simply. Shen Tai, son of an illustrious general serving the Emperor of Kitai, has spent two years honoring the memory of his late father by burying the bones of the dead from both armies at the site of one of his father’s last great battles. In recognition of his labors and his filial piety, an unlikely source has sent him a dangerous gift: 250 Sardian horses.

You give a man one of the famed Sardian horses to reward him greatly. You give him four or five to exalt him above his fellows, propel him towards rank, and earn him jealousy, possibly mortal jealousy. Two hundred and fifty is an unthinkable gift, a gift to overwhelm an emperor.

Wisely, the gift comes with the stipulation that Tai must claim the horses in person. Otherwise he would probably be dead already…

Hard Spell by Justin GustainisHard Spell by Justin Gustainis

Hard Spell is the first book in a new urban fantasy series, an Occult Crimes Unit Investigation.  It will be released as a mass market paperback in the US and Canada on July 26th, but it is already available as an ebook.  It is also already available as a paperback in the UK.  There will be at least 3 books in this series with more to come if it sells well enough.  Justin Gustainis is also the author of the Morris/Chastain Investigations series (Evil Ways and Black Magic Woman with Sympathy for the Devil coming out soon).

Stan Markowski is a Detective Sergeant on the Scranton PD’s Supernatural Crimes Investigation Unit.

Like the rest of America, Scranton’s got an uneasy ‘live and let unlive’ relationship with the supernatural. But when a vamp puts the bite on an unwilling victim, or some witch casts the wrong kind of spell, that’s when they call Markowski. He carries a badge. Also, a crucifix, some wooden stakes, a big vial of holy water, and a 9mm Beretta loaded with silver bullets.

God Loves, Man Kills by Chris Claremont and Brent AndersonX-Men: God Loves, Man Kills by Chris Claremont and Brent Anderson

Ever since seeing X-Men: First Class in the theater recently (and becoming addicted to the movie soundtrack which I’ve now listened to about 80 times), I’ve been curious about learning more about the original source material.  I liked the movies and want to watch them again soon, and John and I have also been watching the TV show from the 1990s on Netflix streaming recently.  So I wasn’t surprised when a gift-giving occasion came up and John got me a couple of X-men graphic novels (with a third one that is out of print coming later).

The Uncanny X-Men. Magneto, master of magnetism. The bitterest of enemies for years. But now they must join forces against a new adversary who threatens them all and the entire world besides… in the name of God. One of Chris Claremont’s most powerful and influential stories, the partial basis for “X-Men 2,” is reprinted here for the first time in years.
Collects Marvel Graphic Novel #5: God Loves, Man Kills.

X-Men: Magneto Testament by Greg Pak and Carmine di GiandomenicoX-Men: Magneto Testament by Greg Pak and Carmine di Giandomenico

I especially like Magneto as a character so John got me his origin story, which is supposed to be more about growing up in Nazi Germany than it is superheroes/superpowers.  It sounds pretty interesting as well, and I’m looking forward to reading it. (And if anyone has X-Men recommendations, feel free to let me know which ones you like.  I can’t remember what the other one is I’m getting, but I’ve been told we also have House of M already.)

Today, the whole world knows him as Magneto, the most radical champion of mutant rights that mankind has ever seen. But in 1935, he was just another schoolboy – who happened to be Jewish in Nazi Germany. The definitive origin story of one of Marvel’s greatest icons begins with a silver chain and a crush on a girl – and quickly turns into a harrowing struggle for survival against the inexorable machinery of Hitler’s Final Solution From X-Men: Phoenix – Endsong writer Greg Pak and award-winning artist Carmine Di Giandomenico. Collects X-Men: Magneto Testament #1-5