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Feed Your To-Read List!

Hello! For my first post I aim to help you add to your already impossibly long to-read lists. There are some upcoming SFF titles, as well as a few that have been languishing on my shelf that need to move up on the pile.

My general rule is “I live in the real world, I don’t want to read about it.” Fantasy has long been my warm, welcoming escape from everyday life. Below are some books coming out in the next 3 months that have me counting down the days until their release.

Dying is My Business by Nicholas Kaufmann

Publication Date: October 8, 2013

Looks like someone has opened Pandora’s box and there is going to be a lot of collateral damage and action before the tale is done.

Here’s the synopsis:

Given his line of work in the employ of a psychotic Brooklyn crime boss, Trent finds himself on the wrong end of too many bullets. Yet each time he’s killed, he wakes a few minutes later completely healed of his wounds but with no memory of his past identity. What’s worse, each time he cheats death someone else dies in his place.

Sent to steal an antique box from some squatters in an abandoned warehouse near the West Side Highway, Trent soon finds himself stumbling into an age-old struggle between the forces of good and evil, revealing a secret world where dangerous magic turns people into inhuman monstrosities, where impossible creatures hide in plain sight, and where the line between the living and the dead is never quite clear. And when the mysterious box is opened, he discovers he has only twenty-four hours to save New York City from certain destruction.

The Faceless One by Mark Onspaugh

Publication Date: October 28

I wanted to read this as soon as I found out that the main character starts out in a retirement home. As much as I enjoy reading about the coming of age tales, I do love it when a character comes into the action at midlife or in their golden years.

Here’s the synopsis:

In 1948, when he was just a boy, Jimmy Kalmaku trained with his uncle to be the shaman of his Tlingit village in Alaska. There he learned the old legends, the old myths, the old secrets. Chief among them was that of a mask locked in a prison of ice, and of the faceless god imprisoned within: a cruel and vengeful god called T’Nathluk, dedicated to the infliction of pain and suffering.

Now all but forgotten in a Seattle retirement home, Jimmy finds his life turned upside down. For when an unwitting archaeologist pries the mask free of its icy tomb, he frees T’Nathluk as well. Stuck in spirit form, the Faceless One seeks a human to serve as a portal through which he can enter our reality. The Faceless One can control—and mercilessly torture—anyone who touches the mask, which means there is no shortage of slaves to ferry it across the country to its chosen host.

Yet the Faceless One has foes as well: Stan Roberts, a tough New York cop whose pursuit of justice will lead him into a dark abyss of the soul; Steven, Liz, and Bobby, the family of the doomed archaeologist; and Jimmy Kalmaku, who must at last become the shaman of his boyhood dreams.

Two Serpents Rise by Max Gladstone

Publication Date: October 29

I really enjoyed the very difficult to categorize yet engaging Three Parts Dead (currently $2.99 on Kindle), so I am looking forward to what Gladstone throws at us this go-round.

Here’s the synopsis:

In Two Serpents Rise by Max Gladstone, shadow demons plague the city reservoir, and Red King Consolidated has sent in Caleb Altemoc—casual gambler and professional risk manager—to cleanse the water for the sixteen million people of Dresediel Lex. At the scene of the crime, Caleb finds an alluring and clever cliff runner, Crazy Mal, who easily outpaces him.

But Caleb has more than the demon infestation, Mal, or job security to worry about when he discovers that his father—the last priest of the old gods and leader of the True Quechal terrorists—has broken into his home and is wanted in connection to the attacks on the water supply.

From the beginning, Caleb and Mal are bound by lust, Craft, and chance, as both play a dangerous game where gods and people are pawns. They sleep on water, they dance in fire…and all the while the Twin Serpents slumbering beneath the earth are stirring, and they are hungry.

Dead Set by Richard Kadrey

Publication Date: October 29

I would have looked at this anyways, given it is by Kadrey, but the word “standalone” made me very happy as well. I read many series, but sometimes it is nice to know that when you start a book, you will not be waiting years for the story to come to some sort of conclusion.

Here’s the synopsis:

Acclaimed New York Times bestselling author Richard Kadrey creates a wonderful, stand-alone dark fantasy

After her father’s funeral, Zoe moved to the big city with her mother to start over. But change always brings trials, and life in the city is not so easy. Money is tight, and Zoe’s only escape, as has always been the case, is in her dreams—a world apart from her troubled real life where she can spend time with her closest companion: her lost brother, Valentine.

But something or someone has entered their dreamworld uninvited. And a chance encounter at a used record store, where the vinyl holds not music but lost souls, has opened up a portal to the world of the restless dead. It’s here that the shop’s strange proprietor offers Zoe the chance to commune with her dead father. The price? A lock of hair. Then a tooth. Then…

November 5

This is a young adult book that looks like a very creepy tale. I’m also guessing there will be no love triangles nor bad-boy love interests.

Here’s the synopsis:

Merciful Truth and her brother, Gospel, have just pulled their dead mother into the kitchen and stowed her under the table. It was a long illness, and they wanted to bury her—they did—but it’s far too cold outside, and they know they won’t be able to dig into the frozen ground. The Minister who lives with them, who preaches through his animal form, doesn’t make them feel any better about what they’ve done. Merciful calms her guilty feelings but only until, from the other room, she hears a voice she thought she’d never hear again. It’s her mother’s voice, and it’s singing a lullaby…

Engines of the Broken World is a chilling young adult novel from Jason Vanhee.

Katya’s War by Jonathan L. Howard

November 5

Book 2 in Howard’s young adult Sci Fi series. Book 1, Katya’s World (currently $1.39 on Kindle), was one of my favorite books last year. Lots of action on a water-logged planet, refreshing lack of romance in a young adult novel, and the bulk of the story took place on submarines.

Here’s the synopsis:

The battle lines have been drawn. The people of Russalka turn upon one another in a ruthless and unwavering civil war even while their world sickens and the deep black ocean is stained red with their blood. As the young civilisation weakens, its vitality fuelling the opposing militaries at the cost of all else, the war drums beat louder and louder.

Katya Kuriakova knows it cannot last. Both sides are exhausted – it can only be a matter of days or weeks before they finally call a truce and negotiate. But the days and weeks pass, the death toll mounts, and still the enemy will not talk.

Then a figure from the tainted past returns to make her an offer she cannot lightly refuse – a plan to stop the war. But to do it she will have to turn her back on everything she has believed in, everything she has ever fought for, to make sacrifices greater even than laying down her own life. To save Russalka, she must become its greatest enemy.

The Grendel Affair by Lisa Shearin

December 31

I enjoyed Shearin’s Raine Benares series, so her new urban fantasy is a must read.

Here’s the synopsis:

We’re Supernatural Protection & Investigations, known as SPI. Things that go bump in the night, the monsters you thought didn’t exist? We battle them and keep you safe. But some supernatural baddies are just too big to contain, even for us…

When I moved to New York to become a world famous journalist, I never imagined that snagging a job at a seedy tabloid would change my career path from trashy reporter to undercover agent. I’m Makenna Fraser, a Seer for SPI. I can see through any disguise, shield, or spell that a paranormal pest can come up with. I track down creatures and my partner, Ian Byrne, takes them out.

Our cases are generally pretty routine, but a sickle-wielding serial killer has been prowling the city’s subway tunnels. And the murderer’s not human. The fiend in question, a descendant of Grendel—yes, that Grendel—shares his ancestor’s hatred of parties, revelry, and drunkards. And with New Year’s Eve in Times Square only two days away, we need to bag him quickly. Because if we don’t find him—and the organization behind him—by midnight, our secret’s out and everyone’s time is up.

New books are always exciting, but I also have many that are on the shelf waiting their turn. Moving up to the starting gate are two books that I need to read in the last quarter of 2013.

Tarnished by Karina Cooper

Book 1 in The St. Croix Chronicles. Looks like a dark world with a troubled, opium-addicted heroine navigating polite society and the criminal underworld.

Here’s the synopsis:

My name is Cherry St. Croix. Society would claim that I am a well-heeled miss with an unfortunate familial reputation. They’ve no idea of the truth of it. In my secret world, I hunt down vagrants, thieves . . . and now, a murderer. For a monster stalks London’s streets, leaving a trail of mystery and murder below the fog.

Eager for coin to fuel my infatuations, I must decide where my attentions will turn: to my daylight world, where my scientific mind sets me apart from respectable Society, or to the compelling domain of London below. Each has a man who has claimed my time as his—for good or for ill. Though as the corpses pile, and the treacherous waters of Society gossip churn, I am learning that each also has its dangers. One choice will see me cast from polite company . . . the other might just see me dead.

The Drunken Botanist by Amy Stewart

Admittedly, this is a nonfiction book. However, it is about booze, so it gets a pass.

Here’s the synopsis:

Sake began with a grain of rice. Scotch emerged from barley, tequila from agave, rum from sugarcane, bourbon from corn. Thirsty yet? In The Drunken Botanist, Amy Stewart explores the dizzying array of herbs, flowers, trees, fruits, and fungi that humans have, through ingenuity, inspiration, and sheer desperation, contrived to transform into alcohol over the centuries.

Of all the extraordinary and obscure plants that have been fermented and distilled, a few are dangerous, some are downright bizarre, and one is as ancient as dinosaurs—but each represents a unique cultural contribution to our global drinking traditions and our history.

This fascinating concoction of biology, chemistry, history, etymology, and mixology—with more than fifty drink recipes and growing tips for gardeners—will make you the most popular guest at any cocktail party.

This should keep me busy, at least until January hits.

About Kathy F. (8 Articles)
Reader, reviewer, lazy crafter, amateur mixologist, destroyer of book budgets.

4 Comments on Feed Your To-Read List!

  1. I’ve heard really good things about Max Gladstone, and wow, the cover art on The Faceless One is really cool!!

    • The thought occurred to me the other day that if more courtroom dramas were like Three Parts Dead, I would totally watch them. I’m really excited to see what is next in this world.

      I have 1 more book to read then I get to The Faceless One. I am looking forward to it!

  2. Yeah, like I really needed a longer to-read list. Curse you, Kathy! (And thanks.)

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