Linkage

Various (and random) items around the web that have caught my eye below.

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Discover a New Love’s $2.99 Georgette Heyer promotion is sadly only for US (or NA possibly?) readers (though bonus – their Heyer mini-site with excerpts and all), but I loved their blog post about favourite Heyer moments.  So much so that I’m tempted to do a massive Heyer re-read now.  What’s your favourite Heyer?  I’d completely forgotten about it, but I did a guest post for the Historical Tapestry gang a few years ago on my favourite Heyer books.  And I wrote about why I adore her COTILLION a while back as well.

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Sherry Thomas‘ debut book is still lying unread in my TBR pile, but her upcoming YA fantasy (fall 2013) sounds right up my alley – opening paragraphs:

Just before the start of Summer Half, 1883, a very minor event took place at Eton College, that venerable and illustrious English public school for boys.  A sixteen-year-old student named Archer Fairfax returned from a three-month absence, caused by a fractured femur, to resume his education. 

Amost every word in the preceding sentence is false.  Archer Fairfax had not suffered a broken limb.  He had never before set foot in Eton.  His name was not Archer Fairfax.  And he was, in fact, not even a he. 

This is the story of a girl who fooled a thousand boys, a boy who fooled an entire country, a partnership that would change the fate of realms, and a power to challenge the greatest tyrant the world had ever known.

Expect magic.

Intriguing, eh?

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Free and fun Sarah Rees Brennan short – it’s previously published and I think I’ve read it before, but it’s still as good on the second re-read!  And a brand new website as well.

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Courtney Milan always makes sense, and her post on the number of followers/subscribers/likes and how they translate to readers is just as articulate as you would expect it to be.

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The new Patricia Briggs cover for FROSTBURNED – I don’t think I’ve ever not liked a Dan Dos Santos cover.  I love that the design is so consistent with the previous books in the series.  Though I admit that it could be the ugliest cover ever and I’d still get it.  And while we’re on the topic of Patricia Briggs, Orbit UK is doing a two-in-one release of her fantasy books MASQUES and WOLFSBANE (titled ARALORN).  They’re not my favourite of her high fantasy books (and the cover is kind of generic blah fantasy), but I’m glad they’re getting a UK release.

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And while I don’t want to end on a down note… Hachette UK, really? DRM working well?  I kind of wish that they would trust that the “mainstream readers who are so valuable to us and our authors” will actually pay for their books, instead of spending additional money on applying a DRM solution which anyone with access to Google could remove in ten seconds.  I’d rather they spend their money on digital world rights.

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Books for August

So, dragging myself away from the Olympics (though I’m keeping half an eye on the rhythmic gymnastics – there are some jaw-dropping routines), here are the August new releases that I plan to get.

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JC Daniel‘s BLADE SONG (urban fantasy): It’s not often I’m tempted by an urban fantasy debut.  But JC Daniel is actually Shiloh Walker using a pseudonym and while I’ve never read any of her books before, she generally gets good reviews around the internets.  So I was curious, read the excerpt, and the book’s now sitting on my Kindle.

Blurb:

Kit Colbana—half breed, assassin, thief, jack of all trades—has a new job: track down the missing ward of one of the local alpha shapeshifters. It should be a piece of cake.

So why is she so nervous? It probably has something to do with the insanity that happens when you deal with shifters—especially sexy ones who come bearing promises of easy jobs and easier money.

Or maybe it’s all the other missing kids that Kit discovers while working the case, or the way her gut keeps screaming she’s gotten in over her head. Or maybe it’s because if she fails—she’s dead.

If she can stay just one step ahead, she should be okay. Maybe she’ll even live long to collect her fee…

Out now (excerpt)

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Sherwood Smith‘s THE SPY PRINCESS (children’s fantasy): A new Sherwood Smith!  One for younger readers, but that rarely stops me.  From a quick glance through the excerpt, this seems to be set in her main (only?) fantasy universe.

Blurb:

When twelve-year-old Lady Lilah decides to disguise herself and sneak out of the palace one night, she has more of an adventure than she expected–for she learns very quickly that the country is on the edge of revolution. When she sneaks back in, she learns something even more surprising: her older brother Peitar is one of the forces behind it all. The revolution happens before all of his plans are in place, and brings unexpected chaos and violence. Lilah and her friends, leaving their old lives behind, are determined to help however they can. But what can four kids do? Become spies, of course!

Out now (excerpt)

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KA Mitchell‘s BUT MY BOYFRIEND IS (m/m romance): KA Mitchell is one of my autobuy authors, so while I’m hoping this isn’t a GFY plot (not one of my favourite tropes), I’m definitely getting this.

Blurb:

The most dangerous lies are the ones you tell yourself.

Dylan Williams is not gay. Sometimes he gets off with other guys, but so what? He plans to get married someday—really married, like with a wife and kids. And he’s determined that his future family’s life will be the normal one he and his brothers never had.

Mike Aurietta is gay, but his job keeps him in the closet. He doesn’t usually risk frequenting infamous cruising places like Webber Park. But when he’s cutting through one night, he finds himself defending a victim from gay bashers.

It’s all Dylan can do to process the shock that anyone would want to hurt his quiet twin brother. At first he needs Mike’s eyewitness report to satisfy the gut-wrenching desire for revenge. Then he finds himself needing Mike’s solid, comforting presence…and the heat that unexpectedly flares between them.

In the aftermath, Mike quickly learns not to expect too much from his conflicted lover. Though he never thought his good deed would come back to bite him in the ass. Or that hanging on to the possibility of love could force too many secrets out of the closet—and cost them both everything.

Warning: Contains more denial than you can float a barge on, bigger issues than a special end-of-the-year compilation of your favorite magazine, and better sex than most people deserve. After all, it takes place in Texas.

Out August 21 (excerpt)

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Eloisa JamesTHE UGLY DUCHESS (historical romance): Speaking of autobuy authors, I’m all excited about this one.  Yes, fairytale retellings are not something I rush out to get, but Eloisa James spins a magical love story.

Blurb:

How can she dare to imagine he loves her…when all London calls her The Ugly Duchess ?

Theodora Saxby is the last woman anyone expects the gorgeous James Ryburn, heir to the Duchy of Ashbrook, to marry. But after a romantic proposal before the prince himself, even practical Theo finds herself convinced of her soon-to-be duke’s passion.

Still, the tabloids give the marriage six months.

Theo would have given it a lifetime…until she discovers that James desired not her heart, and certainly not her countenance, but her dowry. Society was shocked by their wedding; it’s scandalized by their separation.

Now James faces the battle of his lifetime, convincing Theo that he loved the duckling who blossomed into the swan.

And Theo will quickly find that for a man with the soul of a pirate, All’s Fair in Love—or War.

Out 28 August (excerpt)

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UNDER MY HAT: TALES OF THE CAULDRON edited by Jonathan Strahan (YA fantasy): And I’m also excited about this anthology.  I’m not entirely sure that it’s all new stories (in fact, I’m pretty sure I recognise some of the titles in this one) [ETA: They’re all looking like brand-new stories, so I take that back] but it’s a great collection of YA fantasy authors.

Blurb:

A stellar cast of acclaimed fantasy writers weave spellbinding tales that bring the world of witches to life. Boasting over 70 awards between them, including a Newbery Medal, five Hugo Awards and a Carnegie Medal, authors including Neil Gaiman, Garth Nix and Holly Black delve into the realms of magic to explore all things witchy… From familiars that talk, to covens that offer dark secrets to explore, these are tales to tickle the hair on the back of your neck and send shivers down your spine.

Introduction: Looking Under the Hat”, Jonathan Strahan
“Stray Magic”, Diana Peterfreund
“Payment Due”, Frances Hardinge
“A Handful of Ashes”, Garth Nix
“Little Gods”, Holly Black
“Barrio Girls”, Charles de Lint
“Felidis”, Tanith Lee
“Witch Work”, Neil Gaiman (poem)
“The Education of a Witch”, Ellen Klages
“The Threefold World”, Ellen Kushner
“The Witch in the Wood”, Delia Sherman
“Which Witch”, Patricia A. McKillip
“The Carved Forest”, Tim Pratt
“Burning Castles”, M. Rickert
“The Stone Witch”, Isobelle Carmody
“Andersen’s Witch”, Jane Yolen
“B Is for Bigfoot”, Jim Butcher
“Great-Grandmother in the Cellar”, Peter S. Beagle
“Crow and Caper, Caper and Crow”, Margo Lanagan

Out August 28 (though sadly October 4 in the UK)

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Kalayna Price‘s THIRD BLOOD (urban fantasy): I am rapidly becoming a bit of a Kalayna Price fangirl.  I think her other series (the Alex Craft grave witch books) is marginally better, but these Haven books are addictive fun too.

Blurb (WARNING: spoilers for first two books):

Going home after five years is difficult. It’s harder still if you’ve changed species in the interim.

Kita Nekai, once the smallest shifter in Firth but now the newest vampire in the city of Haven, has no intention of returning home or informing her father and clan what she’s become. Not that she has a choice. When the mage who holds her death certificate in his hands demands Kita return to Firth as his errand runner, she has to comply. Of course, there is no leaving her sire, Nathanial, behind. Which means introducing daddy dearest to the man—well, vampire—she may be falling for and confessing that she’s lost the ability to shift. Talk about awkward.

Her homecoming goes from bad to worse when an attempt is made on her life, and Kita finds herself facing an unknown threat in a hostile world she never fit into in the first place. Can she survive long enough to complete the judge’s task, stand trial before the elders for the rogues she created while on the run, and help defend her father’s territory from an encroaching band of misfit shifters? Or is this cat down to her last life?

Out this month, but unfortunately no firm release date

The Weekly Update?

It’s going to feel strangely quiet once the Olympics wraps up in just over a week’s time.  What are we going to do without having three (or more) TV channels screening different events with countless other streams online plus that live BBC text commentary?  Everyone’s been following the Olympics – I suspect productivity is not what it could have been.  And oh, the drama.  My favourite moment is probably when both the TV commentators at the men’s gymnastics team event practically screamed in (unplanned) unison that “…Great Britain has the silver medal!!!”.  However, that was followed five minutes later by Japan’s successful appeal and GB’s demotion to bronze.  Which was still the first medal in years and completely unexpected.  Good times.

Transport-wise (because I know you’re all dying for an update), it’s actually been good.  That first Monday of the Olympics felt a bit like a weekend morning – while quite not empty, peak-hour trains were not exactly packed.  It’s starting to get busier now, especially since the athletics have started, but the issue now is that shops and restaurants in central London are complaining that both visitors and locals have been scared away by the travel warnings and they’re losing business.  Ha.  And yes, since you ask, I’m still madly jealous of the people I see at the stations waving around their Olympics tickets.

Links – I tweeted these, but with more commentary:

And finally, reading!  I am having a good week – primarily because I’ve started reading Ilona Andrews‘ GUNMETAL MAGIC.  I am totally loving Andrea.  And Raphael.  And Ascanio.  And well, just about everyone else.  I was (ever so) slightly dubious about this book – sure, I liked Andrea, but would she be able to carry her own book?  The answer is an emphatic YES.  I’m about 2/3s through and only stopped because I was literally falling asleep last night.  And on that cross-genre thing, although GUNMETAL MAGIC probably sits in UF, it is very much a romance.

I also finished Wen Spencer‘s ELFHOME (ignore the cover, btw – oh Baen!).  I’m a fan of Wen Spencer, ever since I glommed her Ukiah Oregon series way back when, but I haven’t read any of her books for a long time.  ELFHOME is the third book in her Tinker series – here’s where I admit I thought I had read the second book, but realised probably about a quarter of the way through ELFHOME that I hadn’t.  Ooops.  By that time, I was too engrossed in the story that I didn’t want to put it down and find the second book, which probably gives you quite a good indication that Wen Spencer can tell a story.  The Tinker world is a unusual amalgamation of magic and technology, with both elves and computers coming together in a not-quite-Pittsburgh setting (and this was probably more unique when the first book was released back in 2003 than it is now).  ELFHOME had a good-triumphing-over-evil, feel-good story line – I really enjoyed it.

And I kind of think if I’m going to be doing this weekly wrap-up posts going forward, I’m going to have to think up a catchy title for them 😉