Later I’ll be announcing next week’s guests for Women of SF&F Month. I hope everyone has been enjoying the posts as much as I have!

I had trouble deciding whether or not to continue this feature this month, but I do like to give people a heads up about all the books that are out there in case they want to check them out for themselves since it could be a while before some of them get read and reviewed. So I am going to try to continue it, assuming I get books this month to talk about. Since Monday was my birthday, I do have birthday books to talk about this week! Birthday books that look really good, I might add. My husband knows how to pick the good ones!

Mirror Sword and Shadow Prince by Noriko OgiwaraMirror Sword and Shadow Prince written by Noriko Ogiwara, translated by Cathy Hirano, and illustrated by Miho Satake

This is the second of the Tales of the Magatama, a Japanese fantasy trilogy. I’m giving away the first one, Dragon Sword and Wind Child, this week!

The hardcover edition of this is a GORGEOUS book (my particular copy’s beauty is lessened slightly by the fact that I found a squished bug inside when I opened it, but I’m going to assume most copies don’t have insects squashed against the front inside cover). I’m really looking forward to it since I loved Dragon Sword and Wind Child (my review). Noriko Ogiwara wrote these books with the intent of having something similar to British/American fantasy books but with myths from the Kojiki as the foundation instead of the oft-used Celtic elements.

The third book has not been translated into English, but since this book just came out last year and is not yet available in paperback, I’m hoping the third one may yet be translated and released. If not, the first one did stand alone very well so I’m hoping this one does too.

When the heir to the empire comes to Mino, the lives of young Oguna and Toko change forever. Oguna is drafted to become a shadow prince, a double trained to take the place of the hunted royal. But soon Oguna is given the Mirror Sword, and his power to wield it threatens the entire nation. Only Toko can stop him, but to do so she needs to gather four magatama, beads with magical powers that can be strung together to form the Misumaru of Death. Toko’s journey is one of both adventure and self-discovery, and also brings her face to face with the tragic truth behind Oguna’s transformation. A story of two parallel quests, of a pure love tried by the power of fate, the second volume of Tales of the Magatama is as thrilling as Dragon Sword and Wind Child.

Myths of Origin by Catherynne M. ValenteMyths of Origin by Catherynne M. Valente

Catherynne M. Valente is one of those authors I just tend to collect books by as fast as I can because I adore her writing. It’s gorgeous, lyrical, and deep. Myths of Origin is a collection of four of her short novels that were written before a lot of the books she’s best known for. I absolutely love myths so I’m super excited about these, especially after seeing one of the stories is based on a myth from the Kojiki (like the book I discussed above).

The short novels included in this edition are The Labyrinth, Yume No Hon: The Book of Dreams, The Grass-Cutting Sword, and Under in the Mere.

Live the Myth! New York Times best-seller Catherynne M. Valente is the single most compelling voice to emerge in fantasy fiction in decades. Collected here for the first time, her early short novels explore, deconstruct, and ultimately explode the seminal myths of both East and West, casting them in ways you’ve never read before and may never read again.

The Labyrinth – a woman wanderer, a Maze like no other, a Monkey and a Minotaur and a world full of secrets leading down to the Center of it All.

Yume No Hon: The Book of Dreams – an aged woman named Ayako lives in medieval Japan, but dreams in mythical worlds that beggar the imagination . . . including our own modern world.

The Grass-Cutting Sword – when a hero challenges a great and evil serpent, who speaks for the snake? In this version of a myth from the ancient chronicle Kojiki, the serpent speaks for himself.

Under in the Mere – Arthur and Lancelot, Mordred and le Fay. The saga has been told a thousand times, but never in the poetic polyphony of this novella, a story far deeper than it is long.