Via Sounis: I had no idea that there were bonus short stories in Megan Whalen Turner‘s paperback releases of “The King of Attolia” or “A Conspiracy of Kings“. Even better, they’re available online via HarperCollins’ BrowseInside – click on Table of Contents on the top right and then scroll down to Bonus Page.
Category Archives: Megan Whalen Turner
Okay, so I am failing at this one review a month thing, but I have had no time to even think recently. To clear my backlog of interesting links:
An Eugenides fanfic which imagines how a scene in Megan Whalen Turner‘s “Queen of Attolia” could have played out. It’s rare to read a piece of fanfiction that feels just right – I think this one is spot on.
Kelley Armstrong‘s limited-edition novellas for Subterranean Press are also available as ebooks. While “Counterfeit Magic” is still in stock, “Angelic” is out of print and I have never been able to convince myself to pay $25 for a novella. I’ve bought the Kindle editions for both and liked, though they are probably priced slightly on the high side for short stories. Still, probably worth the cash for fans who wanted to read the novellas (that includes me).
And sticking with the ebook novella theme, Jo Beverley has also re-released “The Demon’s Bride”, a Georgian-set story, under Penguin’s eSpecial programme. I’ve bought it, but not have had a chance to read it yet, though I am wondering if I have the original anthology it appeared in (“Moonlit Lovers” according to her website).
I am not handling this back-to-work thing well. Especially since it’s pretty full-on at the moment. So many things to do, so little time…
I want to review Eileen Wilks‘ “Blood Challenge”, which I will, but probably not today, as I’m finding myself yawning at odd intervals, and will probably cave in and have a bit of a nap soon. So in lieu of actual content, here are some links:
Jennie has posted new Mary Stewart covers at her Mary Stewart Novels fansite, and I am totally in love with them. I am very tempted to get another copy of the “The Ivy Tree”, which is possibly my favourite Stewart!
At Sounis, the Megan Whalen Turner livejournal fan community, they’ve put up the concept art for the cover of ”A Conspiracy of Kings”, which is all kinds of fascinating.
And sticking with the cover art theme, here’s a new-to-me group blog called Muddy Covers, by some of the cover artists I love, and again, it’s really interesting behind-the-scenes stuff. For instance, Dan Dos Santos (who does the fantastic Mercy Thompson US covers, amongst others) blogs about his covers for Gini Koch‘s Alien SF books, which I am meaning to read at some point.
I’ve been neglecting my blog recently. And I don’t even have the excuse of the Olympics or Wimbledon or, well, anything else being on. But here’s a quick catch-up on a new release, a new-to-me author, and new books (despite a fangirl fail):
Mind Games heroine Justine Jones isn’t your typical kick-ass type – she’s a hopeless hypochondriac whose life is run by fear.
She’s lured into a restaurant, Mongolian Delites, by tortured mastermind Sterling Packard, who promises he can teach her to channel her fears. In exchange, she must join his team of disillusionists – vigilantes hired by crime victims to zing their anxieties into criminals, resulting in collapse and transformation.
Justine isn’t interested in Packard’s troupe until she gets a taste of the peace he can promise. Soon she enters the thrilling world of neurotic crime fighters who battle Midcity’s depraved and paranormal criminals.
Eventually, though, she starts wondering why Packard hasn’t set foot outside the Mongolian Delites restaurant for eight years. And about the true nature of the disillusionists.
A very cool premise and I’ve already bought my copy – ummm… okay, I’m going to admit it. I would have bought a copy regardless of reviews, because I love Carolyn’s blog and her wickedly funny posts. But it is an added bonus that fantastic reviews are popping up all over the place – I’m very excited about reading this.
Next, I’ve fallen completely for Seanan McGuire’s October Daye novels, so thank you to those of you who said things along the lines of “one of the best new UF series I’ve read last year” whenever I mentioned I had the first book, “Rosemary and Rue” in my TBR pile. You were right.
I think I’d almost despaired of finding something new and original in UF – preferably ferret free – and yet here it is.
And I completely agree. Too many UF series nowadays seem to blend into one another and there are only so many vampire and werewolf mythologies out there, unfortunately. Ms McGuire focuses on the world of Faerie, seamlessly bringing the fae into an urban setting, and in the process, creating a fresh new world. I loved that this is really a mystery whodunnit-type plot wrapped up in an urban fantasy, and a very-well realised cast of characters ticked the final box for me.
I bought the second book, “A Local Habitation”, pretty much as soon as I finished R&R, and can happily say it is as good, if not better, than the first. The third book, “An Artificial Night” is due out in September, and I can’t wait.
Finally, new books for me…
Megan Whalen Turner’s “A Conspiracy of Kings” arrived on my doorstep today *happy dance* I may have stroked the cover several times, and peeked at the inside jacket blurb, but I haven’t yet opened it properly. Because I know as soon as I start reading, I’m not going to want to put it down, and unfortunately, I can’t afford the time to do that today. But this weekend, most definitely.
And I have Kelley Armstrong’s “Tales of the Otherworld”, her second short story collection. It’s officially out in a couple of weeks, but Ms Armstrong was in London for a signing (thanks Nath for the heads up) and Forbidden Planet had out the paperback version of “Frostbitten” as well as this for the event. Anyway, I turned up at about half-six (the signing started at six) and the queue was halfway around the store. At which point, I decided to get the (unsigned) book and disappear, because as much as I like her books, I realised that didn’t quite extend to waiting 30 minutes or more to get the book signed. I fail at fangirl-ness.
Though I was bemoaning the lack of new releases in February, March more than makes up for it. Seriously. Here are the books I’m getting this month:
Deanna Raybourn’s “The Dead Travel Fast” (historical mystery): I’m a big fan of her Silent books, and while I’m ever-so-slightly disappointed that this new book isn’t the latest installment in that series, it sounds just as wonderfully gothic and fascinating:
A husband, a family, a comfortable life: Theodora Lestrange lives in terror of it all.
With a modest inheritance and the three gowns that comprise her entire wardrobe, Theodora leaves Edinburgh — and a disappointed suitor — far behind. She is bound for Roumania, where tales of vampires are still whispered, to visit an old friend and write the book that will bring her true independence.
She arrives at a magnificent, decaying castle in the Carpathians replete with eccentric inhabitants: the ailing dowager; the troubled steward; her own fearful friend, Cosmina. But all are outstripped in dark glamour by the castle’s master, Count Andrei Dragulescu.
Bewildering and bewitching in equal measure, the brooding nobleman ignites Theodora’s imagination and awakens passions in her that she can neither deny nor conceal. His allure is superlative, his dominion over the superstitious town, absolute — Theodora may simply be one more person under his sway.
Before her sojourn is ended — or her novel completed — Theodora will have encountered things as strange and terrible as they are seductive. For obsession can prove fatal…and she is in danger of falling prey to more than desire.
Out now (excerpt here)
Lisa Lutz’s “The Spellmans Strike Again” (mystery): I became addicted to this off-the-wall series last year – I liked the first book well enough, but it was the second book that hooked me. They’re hilarious with heart, and as a reader, I’m very invested in Izzy and her family. “The Spellmans Strike Again” is the fourth in the series and here’s the blurb:
At the ripe old age of 32, former wild child Isabel "Izzy" Spellman has finally agreed to take over the family business. Let’s just say the transition won’t be a smooth one.
Her first priorities as head of Spellman Investigations are to dig up some dirt on the competition—slippery ex-cop Rick Harkey—and to track down a stolen screenplay called The Snowball Effect. Next, faced with a baffling missing-persons case at the home of an aging millionaire, Izzy hires an actor friend to infiltrate the mansion as an undercover butler. Only he enjoys the role a little too much.
Meanwhile, Izzy is being blackmailed by her mother, who threatens to distribute photographic evidence of Prom Night 1994 unless Izzy commits to regular blind dates with promising professionals—an arrangement that doesn’t thrill Connor, an Irish bartender on the brink of becoming ex-boyfriend #12.
At Spellman headquarters, it’s business as unusual. Doorknobs and light fixtures are disappearing every day, Mom’s been spotted crying in the pantry, and a series of increasingly demanding Spellman Rules (Rule #27: No Speaking Today) can’t quite hold the family together. Izzy also has to decipher weekly "phone calls from the edge" from her octogenarian lawyer Morty, as well as Henry Stone’s mysterious interest in rekindling their relationsh … well, whatever it was.
Just when it looks like things can’t go more haywire, little sister Rae’s internship, researching pro bono legal cases leads the youngest Spellman to launch a grass-roots campaign that could get an innocent man out of jail—or land her in it.
Out March 16 (excerpt here)
Patricia Briggs’ “Silver Borne” (urban fantasy): I’ve already pre-ordered it (and yes, I’ve gone for the UK paperback, even though I’m madly envious about those who get the US hardcover version – I’ll just lust over the cover online). It’s a close call between the Mercy series and the Anna & Charles one for me at the moment, but Mercy just edges it, so to say I’m madly excited about this fifth book is probably an understatement.
Being a mechanic is hard work. Mercy Thompson, for instance, just spent the last couple of months trying to evade the murderous queen of the local vampire seethe, and now the leader of the werewolf pack – who’s maybe-more-than-just-a-friend – has asked for her help. A book of fae secrets has come to light and they’re all about to find out how implacable – and dangerous – the fae can be. OK, so maybe her troubles have nothing to do with the job. But she sure could use a holiday…
Out March 30 (excerpt here)
Megan Whalen Turner’s “A Conspiracy of Kings” (YA fantasy): Speaking of wildly excited, I cannot wait to get my hands on the latest book in MWT’s Thief series (or whatever the “official” series name is). I completely appreciate that I’ve only had to wait a year or so (probably less, actually) whereas die-hard fans have been waiting years for this, but still! Just reading the blurb gives rise to this massive sense of anticipation:
Sophos, under the guidance of yet another tutor, practices his swordplay and strategizes escape scenarios should his father’s villa come under attack. How would he save his mother? His sisters? Himself? Could he reach the horses in time? Where would he go? But nothing prepares him for the day armed men, silent as thieves, swarm the villa courtyard ready to kill, to capture, to kidnap. Sophos, the heir to the throne of Sounis, disappears without a trace.
In Attolia, Eugenides, the new and unlikely king, has never stopped wondering what happened to Sophos. Nor has the Queen of Eddis. They send spies. They pay informants. They appeal to the gods. But as time goes by, it becomes less and less certain that they will ever see their friend alive again.
Across the small peninsula battles are fought, bribes are offered, and conspiracies are set in motion. Darkening the horizon, the Mede Empire threatens, always, from across the sea. And Sophos, anonymous and alone, bides his time. Sophos, drawing on his memories of Gen, Pol, the magus—and Eddis—sets out on an adventure that will change all of their lives forever.
Out March 23 (excerpt here)
Anne Bishop’s “Shalador’s Lady” (fantasy): I’m getting this one because I’m a long-time Black Jewels fan, but I will admit her more recent books have not quite done it for me. Still, I do want to see where this storyline goes (this book is the sequel to last year’s “The Shadow Queen”) and I’ve been hearing good things about this one. The blurb:
For years the Shalador people suffered the cruelties of the corrupt Queens who ruled them, forbidding their traditions, punishing those who dared show defiance, and forcing many more into hiding. And even though the refugees found sanctuary in Dena Nehele, they have never been able to call it home.
Now that Dena Nehele has been cleansed of tainted Blood, the Rose-Jeweled Queen, Lady Cassidy, makes it her duty to restore the land and prove her ability to rule. She knows that undertaking this task will require all her heart and courage as she summons the untested power within her, a power capable of consuming her if she cannot control it.
And even if Lady Cassidy survives her trial by fire, other dangers await. For the Black Widows see visions within their tangled webs that something is coming that will change the land—and Lady Cassidy—forever…
Out now (excerpt here)
Richelle Mead’s “Succubus Shadows” (urban fantasy): Ms Mead’s Vampire Academy YA series seem to be getting more attention nowadays, but I read her Succubus books first. A lot has happened since the first book – heck, a lot happens in each book, and I really want to know what happens next.
Georgina Kincaid has formidable powers. Immortality, seduction, shape-shifting into any human form she desires, walking in heels that would cripple mere mortals—all child’s play to a succubus like her.
Helping to plan her ex-boyfriend’s wedding is a different story. Georgina isn’t sure which is worse—that Seth is marrying another woman, or that Georgina has to run all over Seattle trying on bridesmaid dresses. Still, there are distractions. Georgina’s roommate, Roman, is cluttering her apartment with sexual tension. Then there’s Simone, the new succubus in town, who’s intent on corrupting Seth.
But the real danger lies in the mysterious force that’s visiting her thoughts, trying to draw her into a dark, otherworldly realm. Sooner or later, Georgina knows she’ll be too weak to resist. And when that happens, she’ll discover who she can trust, who she can’t—and that Hell is far from the worst place to spend eternity…
Out March 18 UK, March 30 US (excerpt here)
And the maybes?
Jenna Black’s fifth book in her Morgan Kingsley series, “The Devil’s Playground” (urban fantasy, out March 23) – this series has been a bit hit or miss for me, with more misses than hits recently. I have heard this is the final book in the series (though I can’t remember where now, and could be completely wrong), so I may get it to see how it all pans out.
Lee Child’s latest Jack Reacher book (suspense), “61 hours”, is out in the UK on March 18. I usually end up buying these books sooner or later, though the recent ones haven’t grabbed me the way the earlier ones did.
“Warriors”, a fantasy anthology edited by George RR Martin and Gardner Dozois, with some excellent contributors, including Diana Gabaldon and Naomi Novik. The reason I’m hesitating on this one is the price, it’s showing up as £21 on The Book Depository. And as much as I love those two authors, that’s a bit too pricey for me – fingers crossed for a UK edition.
Continuing my January to June recap, here’s the second half of my 2009 in books:
I finally got around to reading Megan Whalen Turner’s “The Thief” and yes, kicked myself in the what-took-me-so-long kind of way. Because this series is an indisputable gem, so cleverly written and populated with wonderful characters.
I hit double-digits in terms of books read this month, a whole eleven books, most of which were good. On the not-so-good side, I think I gave up on Janet Evanovich’s Plum books. Or at least buying the hardcover.
I also loved Robin McKinley’s “The Hero and the Crown” (YA fantasy, and a beautifully-told coming-of-age story), which I picked up thanks to a rec from Angie, and heaved a huge sigh as I turned over the final page of Megan Whalen Turner’s “King of Attolia”. Ah, Gen.
And with eleven books read this month, this quarter was looking good.
Wait for it… I read a massive 21 books. Yes, I was on holiday.
Lisa Kleypas’s contemporary romances “Blue-Eyed Devil” and “Smooth-Talking Stranger” impressed me with the way she dealt with serious issues while keeping the romance firmly at the centre of the story – her contemporaries are now autobuys for me.
I also got around to reading Mary Ann Schaffer & Annie Barrows’ “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society” – it made me laugh and cry (at different times, before you ask). A proper feel-good book.
And I also enjoyed Lisa Lutz’s “Curse of the Spellmans” (mystery, funny with heart), Ellen Crosby’s “The Merlot Murders” (mystery, loved the winemaking focus), and Mary Kay Andrews’ “Savannah Blues” (contemporary romance, filled with Southern charm and lots of humour).
So after the wonder that was September, I read seven books in October. But they were mostly good. I loved Sharon Shinn’s “Quatrain” (fantasy anthology) because her writing is beautiful and it was like revisiting old friends.
I finished my mini-glom of Joanne Dobson’s Karen Pelletier books (mystery) – I very much enjoyed the small-town college setting and the literature element of the mysteries. And I really liked Ilona Andrews’ “On the Edge” (paranormal romance, which felt almost like a frontier-set historical romance) and Ellen Emerson White’s “The President’s Daughter” (YA, and read thanks to another rec from Angie – no prizes for guessing who was responsible for quite a bit of my book spending this year).
A measly four books read (I think this was payback for September). I made time to read Juliet Mariller’s “Heart’s Blood” (fantasy), and it was very much worth it. Not quite as magical as her Sevenwaters world perhaps, but a very good read.
And really, that’s all I can say about November, which saw my number of blog posts also fall to a dismal three during the month.
But before that, I also loved Eloisa James’ “A Duke of Her Own” (historical romance), which wowed me with the very sexy and steamy chemistry between the hero and the heroine. Unusually standalone for an Eloisa James book as well.
And technically a 2010 release, except I read it this side of the new year (just), I adored Karen Chance’s “Death’s Mistress” (urban fantasy), which was packed full of action and humour, and sneaked into my list of top reads for the year.
And that brought my total number of books read over the year to 115, which, while 40 fewer than what I read during 2008, had some truly excellent books.
One more post with lists and numbers, and that’ll be it for 2009, I promise!