March 2021 books on my list

March books I might read–mysteries, fantasy, science fiction, dystopia, dogs

books-on-my-list

I keep a list of all the books I might want to read and add to it as the year goes on. As each month comes along I create a list on my blog for others and for me to keep track of as the months go by.

I don’t buy all these books–since I already have way too many books to read and some of the new books are expensive. I’m trying to stick to a budget!

I hope people reading my post may find some new books to read. I also hope these people will point me toward books I might not know about! The links to the following books will take you to the book on Goodreads.

March 2

The Conductors

by Nicole Glover

Series: Murder and Magic #1

Published by John Joseph Adams/Mariner Books

Genre: Historical Fantasy

386 pages

Synopsis: As a conductor on the Underground Railroad, Hetty Rhodes helped usher dozens of people north with her wits and magic. Now that the Civil War is over, Hetty and her husband Benjy have settled in Philadelphia, solving murders and mysteries that the white authorities won’t touch. When they find one of their friends slain in an alley, Hetty and Benjy bury the body and set off to find answers. But the secrets and intricate lies of the elites of Black Philadelphia only serve to dredge up more questions. To solve this mystery, they will have to face ugly truths all around them, including the ones about each other.

The Postscript Murders

by Elly Griffiths

Series: Harbinder Kaur #2

Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Genre: Mystery

336 pages

Synopsis: The death of a ninety-year-old woman with a heart condition should not be suspicious. Detective Sergeant Harbinder Kaur certainly sees nothing out of the ordinary when Peggy’s caretaker, Natalka, begins to recount Peggy Smith’s passing.

But Natalka had a reason to be at the police station: while clearing out Peggy’s flat, she noticed an unusual number of crime novels, all dedicated to Peggy. And each psychological thriller included a mysterious postscript: PS: for PS. When a gunman breaks into the flat to steal a book and its author is found dead shortly thereafter—Detective Kaur begins to think that perhaps there is no such thing as an unsuspicious death after all.

And then things escalate: from an Aberdeen literary festival to the streets of Edinburgh, writers are being targeted. DS Kaur embarks on a road trip across Europe and reckons with how exactly authors can think up such realistic crimes . . .

March 9

The Arrangement

by M. Ravenel

Series: Plainclothes Tootsie series #1

Published by Chikara Press

Genre: Mystery

206 pages

Synopsis: Another case has fallen onto the desk of Tootsie Carter; a female detective armed with a snub-nosed Colt .38, unmatchable wit, and a pocketful of Tootsie Rolls.

New York City, 1975

A missing wife. The seedy underbelly of the boxing world. Lace your gloves and ring the bell, PI Tootsie Carter is on the case.When a desperate man stumbles into her office, pleading for help locating his wife, Tootsie launches into the investigation. Following the clues, she uncovers a boxing racketeer with a deadly agenda. Can Tootsie deliver the one-two punch that brings the woman home safe? Or will more bodies fall to the mats?

We Shall Sing a Song Into the Deep

by Andrew Kelly Stewart

Published by Tor.com

Genre: Science Fiction Novella

160 pages

Synopsis: Remy is a Chorister, one of the chosen few rescued from the surface world and raised to sing the Hours in a choir of young boys. Remy lives with a devoted order of monks who control the Leviathan, an aging nuclear submarine that survives in the ocean’s depths. Their secret mission: to trigger the Second Coming when the time is right, ready to unleash its final, terrible weapon.

But Remy has a secret too— she’s the only girl onboard. It is because of this secret that the sub’s dying caplain gifts her with the missile’s launch key, saying that it is her duty to keep it safe. Safety, however, is not the sub’s priority, especially when the new caplain has his own ideas about the Leviathan’s mission. Remy’s own perspective is about to shift drastically when a surface-dweller is captured during a raid, and she learns the truth about the world.

March 16

Firekeeper’s Daughter

by Angeline Boulley

Published by Henry, Holt and Co.

Genre: YA Mystery

320 pages

Synopsis: As a biracial, unenrolled tribal member and the product of a scandal, eighteen-year-old Daunis Fontaine has never quite fit in, both in her hometown and on the nearby Ojibwe reservation. Daunis dreams of studying medicine, but when her family is struck by tragedy, she puts her future on hold to care for her fragile mother.

The only bright spot is meeting Jamie, the charming new recruit on her brother Levi’s hockey team. Yet even as Daunis falls for Jamie, certain details don’t add up and she senses the dashing hockey star is hiding something. Everything comes to light when Daunis witnesses a shocking murder, thrusting her into the heart of a criminal investigation.

Now, Daunis must learn what it means to be a strong Anishinaabe kwe (Ojibwe woman) and how far she’ll go to protect her community, even if it tears apart the only world she’s ever known.

Wild Sign

by Patricia Briggs

Series: Alpha and Omega #6

Published by Ace Books

Genre: Urban Fantasy

368 pages

Synopsis: In the wilds of the Northern California mountains, all the inhabitants of a small town have gone missing. It’s as if the people picked up and left everything they owned behind. Fearing something supernatural might be going on, the FBI taps a source they’ve consulted in the past: the werewolves Charles Cornick and Anna Latham. But Charles and Anna soon find a deserted town is the least of the mysteries they face.

Death sings in the forest, and when it calls, Charles and Anna must answer. Something has awakened in the heart of the California mountains, something old and dangerous — and it has met werewolves before.

March 18

Body of Stars

by Laura Maylene Walter

Published by Dutton Books

Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopia

368 pages

Synopsis: Celeste Morton has eagerly awaited her passage to adulthood. Like every girl, she was born with a set of childhood markings–the freckles, moles, and birthmarks on her body that foretell her future and that of those around her–and with puberty will come a new set of predictions that will solidify her fate. The possibilities are tantalizing enough to outweigh the worry that the future she dreams of won’t be the one she’s fated to have and the fear of her “changeling period” the time when women are nearly irresistible to men and the risk of abduction is rife.

Celeste’s beloved brother, Miles, is equally anticipating her transition to adulthood. As a skilled interpreter of the future, a field that typically excludes men, Miles considers Celeste his practice ground–and the only clue to what his own future will bring.

March 30

The Hiding Place

by Paula Munier

Series: Mercy & Elvis Mysteries #3

Published by Minotaur Books

Genre: Mystery, dogs

336 pages

Synopsis: Some people take their secrets with them to the grave. Others leave them behind on their deathbeds, riddles for the survivors to solve.

When her late grandfather’s dying deputy calls Mercy to his side, she and Elvis inherit the cold case that haunted him—and may have killed him. But finding Beth Kilgore 20 years after she disappeared is more than a lost cause. It’s a Pandora’s box releasing a rain of evil on the very people Mercy and Elvis hold most dear.

The timing couldn’t be worse when the man who murdered her grandfather escapes from prison and a fellow Army vet turns up claiming that Elvis is his dog, not hers. With her grandmother Patience gone missing, and Elvis’s future uncertain, Mercy faces the prospect of losing her most treasured allies, the only ones she believes truly love and understand her.

She needs help, and that means forgiving Vermont Game Warden Troy Warner long enough to enlist his aid. With time running out for Patience, Mercy and Elvis must team up with Troy and his search-and-rescue dog Susie Bear to unravel the secrets of the past and save her grandmother—before it’s too late.

………………………….

What books are you hoping to read this month?

Science fiction I want to read written by debut authors

Science fiction, debut authors–and great sounding books!

Connect Five Friday is hosted by Kathryn at Book Date. (The hashtag is #connect5books) This is a fun and creative way to think about my books and reading. Check out Kathyrn’s blog and link up your Friday Five!

The five book-related items need to connect in some way, but each person who participates can decide for themselves what the book subject and connection is. For example, you could write about five books read last year or five books you want to read. It could even be favorite bookstores or five movies made from books.

……………………..

Today I’m writing about the first books written by debut authors. These are all set to publish in 2021 and I hope I get a chance to read them.

Winter’s Orbit

by Everina Maxwell

Publishing date: Feb 2

Science Fiction, LGBT

I’ve already read this book and I loved it. I hope the author writes some more books soon!

Synopsis: While the Iskat Empire has long dominated the system through treaties and political alliances, several planets, including Thea, have begun to chafe under Iskat’s rule. When tragedy befalls Imperial Prince Taam, his Thean widower, Jainan, is rushed into an arranged marriage with Taam’s cousin, the disreputable Kiem, in a bid to keep the rising hostilities between the two worlds under control.

But when it comes to light that Prince Taam’s death may not have been an accident, and that Jainan himself may be a suspect, the unlikely pair must overcome their misgivings and learn to trust one another as they navigate the perils of the Iskat court, try to solve a murder, and prevent an interplanetary war… all while dealing with their growing feelings for each other.

We Shall Sing a Song into the Deep

by Andrew Kelly Stewart

Publication date: Mar 9

Science fiction novella

Synopsis: Remy is a Chorister, one of the chosen few rescued from the surface world and raised to sing the Hours in a choir of young boys. Remy lives with a devoted order of monks who control the Leviathan, an aging nuclear submarine that survives in the ocean’s depths. Their secret mission: to trigger the Second Coming when the time is right, ready to unleash its final, terrible weapon.

But Remy has a secret too— she’s the only girl onboard. It is because of this secret that the sub’s dying caplain gifts her with the missile’s launch key, saying that it is her duty to keep it safe. Safety, however, is not the sub’s priority, especially when the new caplain has his own ideas about the Leviathan’s mission. Remy’s own perspective is about to shift drastically when a surface-dweller is captured during a raid, and she learns the truth about the world.

Body of Stars

by Laura Maylene Walter

Publication date: March 18

Science Fiction, Dystopia

Synopsis: Celeste Morton has eagerly awaited her passage to adulthood. Like every girl, she was born with a set of childhood markings–the freckles, moles, and birthmarks on her body that foretell her future and that of those around her–and with puberty will come a new set of predictions that will solidify her fate. The possibilities are tantalizing enough to outweigh the worry that the future she dreams of won’t be the one she’s fated to have and the fear of her “changeling period” the time when women are nearly irresistible to men and the risk of abduction is rife.

Celeste’s beloved brother, Miles, is equally anticipating her transition to adulthood. As a skilled interpreter of the future, a field that typically excludes men, Miles considers Celeste his practice ground–and the only clue to what his own future will bring. But when Celeste changes, she learns a devastating secret about Miles’s fate: a secret that could destroy her family, a secret she will do anything to keep. Yet Celeste isn’t the only one keeping secrets, and when the lies of brother and sister collide, it leads to a tragedy that will irrevocably change Celeste’s fate, set her on a path to fight against the inherent misogyny of fortune-telling, and urge her to create a future that is truly her own.

The Last Watch

by J.S. Dewes

Series: The Divide #1

Publication date: Apr 20

Science Fiction, Space Opera

Synopsis: The Divide.

It’s the edge of the universe.

Now it’s collapsing—and taking everyone and everything with it.

The only ones who can stop it are the Sentinels—the recruits, exiles, and court-martialed dregs of the military.

At the Divide, Adequin Rake, commanding the Argus, has no resources, no comms—nothing, except for the soldiers that no one wanted.

They’re humanity’s only chance.

Erebus Dawning

by A.J. Super

Series: Seven Stars Saga #1

Publication date: May 11

Science Fiction

Synopsis: Everyone wants the Star of Erebus. Space-pirate Nyx Marcus is no exception. With it, she can prove to her father that she is worthy of his legacy. But she’s come up empty-handed aboard the space-ship Thanatos and now Malcam, her father’s First Officer, is mutinying. As Nyx flees with a loyal skeleton crew, she discovers that the planet-killing weapon, named after one of the seven gods, is more than what it seems. Erebus isn’t a simple weapon, but an ancient AI and a technological god.
…………………………

Do you enjoy science fiction? Do any of these sound like books you’d like to read?

February 2021 books on my list

Books I’m excited about this month

books-on-my-list

I keep a list of all the books I might want to read and add to it as the year goes on. As each month comes along I create a list on my blog for others and for me to keep track of as the months go by.

I don’t buy all these books–since I already have way too many books to read and some of the new books are expensive. I’m trying to stick to a budget!

I hope people reading my post may find some new books to read. I also hope these people will point me toward books I might not know about! The links to the following books will take you to the book on Goodreads.

February 2

A Stranger in Town

by Kelley Armstrong

Series: Rockton #6

Published by Minotaur Books

Genre: Mystery, police procedural

368 pages

Synopsis: Detective Casey Duncan has noticed fewer and fewer residents coming in to the hidden town of Rockton, and no extensions being granted. Her boyfriend, Sheriff Eric Dalton, presumes it’s the natural flux of things, but Casey’s not so sure. Something bigger is happening in the small town they call home.

When an injured hiker stumbles from the woods, the sole survivor of a hostile attack, it’s all hands on deck. Even a member of the elusive Rockton council comes in to help. This council member also comes bearing news: Rockton is being shut down due to the hostile situation.

The Night Parade of 100 Demons

by Marie Brennan

A Legend of the Five Rings Novel

Published by Aconyte

Genre: Fantasy

336 pages

Synopsis: Chaos has broken out in the isolated Dragon Clan settlement of Seibo Mura. During the full moon, horrifying creatures rampage through the village, unleashing havoc and death. When the Dragon samurai Agasha no Isao Ryotora is sent to investigate, he faces even greater danger than expected. To save the village, he must confront his buried past – not to mention an unexpected Phoenix Clan visitor, Asako Sekken, who has his own secrets to hide. The quest to save Sebo Mura will take the two samurai into the depths of forgotten history and the shifting terrain of the Spirit Realms… and bring them face to face with an ancient, terrifying evil.

Finlay Donovan is Killing It

by Elle Cosimano

Published by Minotaur Books

Genre: Mystery

336 pages

Synopsis: Edgar-Award nominee Elle Cosimano’s adult debut, Finlay Donovan Is Killing It is the first in a witty, fast-paced mystery series, following struggling suspense novelist and single mom Finlay Donovan, whose fiction treads dangerously close to the truth as she becomes tangled in real-life murder investigations…

Winter’s Orbit

by Everina Maxwell

Published by Tor Books

Genre: Science Fiction

432 pages

Synopsis: While the Iskat Empire has long dominated the system through treaties and political alliances, several planets, including Thea, have begun to chafe under Iskat’s rule. When tragedy befalls Imperial Prince Taam, his Thean widower, Jainan, is rushed into an arranged marriage with Taam’s cousin, the disreputable Kiem, in a bid to keep the rising hostilities between the two worlds under control.

But when it comes to light that Prince Taam’s death may not have been an accident, and that Jainan himself may be a suspect, the unlikely pair must overcome their misgivings and learn to trust one another as they navigate the perils of the Iskat court, try to solve a murder, and prevent an interplanetary war… all while dealing with their growing feelings for each other.

Much Ado About You

by Samantha Young

Published by Berkley

Genre: Contemporary Romance

308 pages

Synopsis: At thirty-three-years old Evangeline Starling’s life in Chicago is missing that special something. And when she’s passed over for promotion at work, Evie realizes she needs to make a change. Some time away to regain perspective might be just the thing. In a burst of impulsivity, she plans a holiday in a quaint English village. The holiday package comes with a temporary position at Much Ado About Books, the bookstore located beneath her rental apartment. There’s no better dream vacation for the bookish Evie, a life-long Shakespeare lover.

February 9

The Electric Kingdom

by David Arnold

Published by Viking Books for Young Readers

Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopia

432 page

Synopsis: When a deadly Fly Flu sweeps the globe, it leaves a shell of the world that once was. Among the survivors are eighteen-year-old Nico and her dog, on a voyage devised by Nico’s father to find a mythical portal; a young artist named Kit, raised in an old abandoned cinema; and the enigmatic Deliverer, who lives Life after Life in an attempt to put the world back together. As swarms of infected Flies roam the earth, these few survivors navigate the woods of post-apocalyptic New England, meeting others along the way, each on their own quest to find life and light in a world gone dark. The Electric Kingdom is a sweeping exploration of love, art, storytelling, eternal life, and above all, a testament to the notion that even in an exterminated world, one person might find beauty in another.

A Lady’s Formula for Love

by Elizabeth Everett

Series: The Secret Scientists of London #1

Published by Berkley

Genre: Historical Romance

336 pages

Synopsis: Lady Violet Hughes is keeping secrets. First, she founded a clandestine sanctuary for England’s most brilliant female scientists. Second, she is using her genius on a confidential mission for the Crown. But the biggest secret of all? Her feelings for protection officer Arthur Kneland.

Solitary and reserved, Arthur learned the hard way to put duty first. But the more time he spends in the company of Violet and the eccentric club members, the more his best intentions go up in flames. Literally.

The Gilded Ones

by Namina Forna

Series: Deathless #1

Published by Delacorte

Genre: YA Fantasy

432 pages

Synopsis: Sixteen-year-old Deka lives in fear and anticipation of the blood ceremony that will determine whether she will become a member of her village. Already different from everyone else because of her unnatural intuition, Deka prays for red blood so she can finally feel like she belongs.

But on the day of the ceremony, her blood runs gold, the color of impurity–and Deka knows she will face a consequence worse than death.

Then a mysterious woman comes to her with a choice: stay in the village and submit to her fate, or leave to fight for the emperor in an army of girls just like her. They are called alaki–near-immortals with rare gifts. And they are the only ones who can stop the empire’s greatest threat.

February 16

The Echo Wife

by Sarah Gailey

Published by Tor Books

Genre: Science Fiction, Mystery

256 pages

Synopsis: Martine is a genetically cloned replica made from Evelyn Caldwell’s award-winning research. She’s patient and gentle and obedient. She’s everything Evelyn swore she’d never be. And she’s having an affair with Evelyn’s husband.

Now, the cheating bastard is dead, and the Caldwell wives have a mess to clean up. Good thing Evelyn Caldwell is used to getting her hands dirty.

February 23

The Russian Cage

by Charlaine Harris

Series: Gunnie Rose #3

Published by Gallery/Saga Press

Genre: Fantasy, Western, Alternate History

304 pages

Synopsis: Picking up right where A Longer Fall left off, this thrilling third installment follows Lizbeth Rose as she takes on one of her most dangerous missions yet: rescuing her estranged partner, Prince Eli, from the Holy Russian Empire. Once in San Diego, Lizbeth is going to have to rely upon her sister Felicia, and her growing Grigori powers to navigate her way through this strange new world of royalty and deception in order to get Eli freed from jail where he’s being held for murder.

Night Wind

by Julie Mulhern

Series: Country Club Murder #12

Published by J & M Press

Genre: Historical Mystery

Synopsis: Spring is in the air, and Ellison Russell has places to go, people to see, bodies to find. Strike that. For once, Ellison doesn’t discover the body.

When Detective Anarchy Jones investigates a friend’s husband’s murder, Ellison can’t help but get involved.

What books are you excited to get your hands on this month?

Can’t-Wait Wednesday: Storm of Locusts by Rebecca Roanhorse

Can’t-Wait Wednesday is hosted by Tressa at Wishful Endings. This is a weekly meme to spotlight and discuss the books we’re excited about that we have yet to read. The books I choose aren’t released yet and usually won’t be published for at least two or three months. So I have a while to wait!

I love finding out about books which will publish in future months and I like to share my excitement about the books. I also like to find out about new books on other people’s blogs and hope they’ll sometimes find something to look forward to on my blog.

I’m excited to read . . .

Storm of Locusts by Rebecca Roanhorse

Series: Sixth World #2

Published by Saga Press

Publishing date: April 23

Genre: Urban Fantasy, Dystopia

Synopsis: It’s been four weeks since the bloody showdown at Black Mesa, and Maggie Hoskie, Diné monster hunter, is trying to make the best of things. Only her latest bounty hunt has gone sideways, she’s lost her only friend, Kai Arviso, and she’s somehow found herself responsible for a young girl with a strange clan power.

Then the Goodacre twins show up at Maggie’s door with the news that Kai and the youngest Goodacre, Caleb, have fallen in with a mysterious cult, led by a figure out of Navajo legend called the White Locust. The Goodacres are convinced that Kai’s a true believer, but Maggie suspects there’s more to Kai’s new faith than meets the eye. She vows to track down the White Locust, rescue Kai, and make things right between them both.

…………………………….

I read the first book in this series–Trail of Lightning–and loved it. The world that Rebecca Roanhorse has built is very unique.

Review: Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse

Trail of Lightning by Rebecca RoanhorseTrail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse

Series: The Sixth World #1

Genre: Urban Fantasy, Dystopia

Setting: Navajo Indian Reservation–called Dinétah in this future

Source: Ebook, purchased

Publishing Date: 2018

304 pages

Synopsis: While most of the world has drowned beneath the sudden rising waters of a climate apocalypse, Dinétah (formerly the Navajo reservation) has been reborn. The gods and heroes of legend walk the land, but so do monsters.

Maggie Hoskie is a Dinétah monster hunter, a supernaturally gifted killer. When a small town needs help finding a missing girl, Maggie is their last—and best—hope. But what Maggie uncovers about the monster is much larger and more terrifying than anything she could imagine.

Maggie reluctantly enlists the aid of Kai Arviso, an unconventional medicine man, and together they travel to the rez to unravel clues from ancient legends, trade favors with tricksters, and battle dark witchcraft in a patchwork world of deteriorating technology.

As Maggie discovers the truth behind the disappearances, she will have to confront her past—if she wants to survive.

Welcome to the Sixth World. 

My thoughts

I don’t read a lot of dystopian novels. I usually find them sad and depressing. This is a dystopian future, but the urban fantasy aspects make the book more hopeful.

I love the setting for this book–Dinétah (what was the Navajo Indian Reservation). The book is set in a dystopian future where much of the Midwest is under water. The Navajos had built a wall to keep out people who wanted to steal their land so they survived.

However, the Navajo lands have problems of their own–severe drought, monsters, Navajo gods coming back, some Navajos manifesting powers depending on their clans. Maggie Hoskie is a monster hunter. She uses her clan powers to hunt the monsters in the Dinétah lands. However, as the book opens she has spent nearly a year mourning the disappearance of her mentor. She goes on her first monster hunt since his disappearance and discovers a monster she’s never seen before. The rest of the book is a search for the Diné witch that must be making these monsters. Lots of action, Diné gods, twists and surprises.

The world building is just wonderful in this book. Ms. Roanhorse uses Navajo myths, legends and stories to create the new Dinétah world. I love the Tony Hillerman Leaphorn and Chee mysteries set on the Navajo Indian Reservation and think he does a good job showing how the Navajo myths affect the police work Chee and Leaphorn do. Ms. Roanhorse takes that even further. I highly recommend this book!

My Rating: B+

Have you read any books by this author?

Reading Challenges

Swords and Stars Reading Challenge hosted by MsNoseinaBook — Read a book that has a weapon on the cover

Can’t-Wait Wednesday: Terra Nullius by Claire G. Coleman

Can’t-Wait Wednesday is hosted by Tressa at Wishful Endings. This is a weekly meme to spotlight and discuss the books we’re excited about that we have yet to read. The books I choose aren’t released yet and usually won’t be published for at least two or three months. So I have a while to wait!

I love finding out about books which will publish in future months and I like to share my excitement about the books. I also like to find out about new books on other people’s blogs and hope they’ll sometimes find something to look forward to on my blog.

I’m excited to read . . .

Terra Nullius by Claire G. ColemanTerra Nullius by  Claire G. Coleman

Series: Unknown

Published by Small Beer Press

Publishing date: September 4 (published in Australia in 2017)

Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopia

304 pages

Synopsis:  Jacky was running. There was no thought in his head, only an intense drive to run. There was no sense he was getting anywhere, no plan, no destination, no future. All he had was a sense of what was behind, what he was running from. Jacky was running.

The Natives of the Colony are restless. The Settlers are eager to have a nation of peace, and to bring the savages into line. Families are torn apart, reeducation is enforced. This rich land will provide for all.

This is not Australia as we know it. This is not the Australia of our history. This TERRA NULLIUS is something new, but all too familiar.

This is an incredible debut from a striking new Australian Aboriginal voice.

…………………………….

(Note: I looked up the term terra nullius since I didn’t know what it meant–and that it’s actually a Latin term which means “nobody’s land.” Even though Australia probably had about 750,000 Aboriginal people living there when James Cook discovered it in 1770 he declared Australia terra nullius. This then affected how Great Britain treated the Aboriginal people.)

I like to read books by authors from other parts of the world. This sounds like historical fiction so I’m especially interested that it’s designated science fiction and dystopian. And I really like the simplicity of the cover.

November 2017 books on my list

I keep a list of all the books I might want to read and add to it as the year goes on. As each month comes along I create a list on my blog for others and for me to keep track of asbooks-on-my-listthe months go by.

I don’t buy all these books–since I already have way too many books to read and some of the new books are expensive. I’m trying to stick to a budget.

I hope people reading my post may find some new books to read. I also hope these people will point me toward books I missed.

November 1

A Long Way Down

by Ken McCoy

Series: Sep Black #2

Published by Severn House

Genre: Mystery, Police Procedural

240 pages

Synopsis: Detective Inspector Sep Black finds himself investigating two connected cold cases in the second of this exhilarating series of hard-hitting police procedurals. 

When a wealthy businessman suffers a fatal fall from his office window, the forensic evidence points to murder. But with no suspects, no clues and no apparent motive, the police investigation stalls. It’s passed over to the Cold Case Unit where it remains on file, inactive until further evidence emerges.

Some months later, an attractive widow approaches DI Sep Black with a request that he look into the murder of her husband. Freelance journalist James Boswell had been working on a major story – and his widow Sandra believes it had something to do with his death. What did Boswell discover that got him killed?

As he starts to ask questions, Black uncovers a possible connection between the two murders. But before he can find out more, an almost-successful attempt on his life reveals that someone is determined to stop him finding out the truth – whatever it takes.

The New Dark

by Lorraine Thomson

Series: Unknown

Published by Bastei Entertainment

Genre: YA Science Fiction Dystopia

187 pages

Synopsis: “She thought she knew who she was and where she came from.Then her home was destroyed. Her brother lost amongst the ashes. And the boy she loves vanished. She owed her own survival to a mutant — the very forces behind the destruction. Now Sorrel will never be the same again.” 

There is no “Before”, there is only “Now”. Because now there’s no internet, no TV, no power grid. Food is scarce, and the world’s a hostile place. But Sorrel lives a quiet life in the tiny settlement of Amat. It’s all she’s ever known …

Until a gang of marauding mutants destroys the village, snatching her brother Eli, and David, her boyfriend. Sorrel sets out after them, embarking on a journey fraught with danger. Can she survive? The only thing that keeps her going is Eli and David. They are out there somewhere. They must be alive. And if she has her way, she will find them.

 

November 7

Written in Blood

by Layton Green

Series: Unknown

Published by Seventh Street Books

Genre: Mystery

320 pages

Synopsis: Detective Joe “Preach” Everson, a prison chaplain turned police officer, is coming home. After a decade tracking down killers in Atlanta, and with a reputation as one of the finest homicide detectives in the city, his career derailed when he suffered a mental breakdown during the investigation of a serial killer who was targeting children. 

No sooner does Preach arrive at home in Creekville, North Carolina–a bohemian community near Chapel Hill–than a local bookstore owner is brutally killed, the first murder in a decade. The only officer with homicide experience, Preach is assigned to the case and makes a shocking discovery: the bookstore owner has been murdered in exactly the same manner as the pawnbroker in Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment. 

With the help of Ariana Hale, a law student and bibliophile who knew the victim, Preach investigates the local writer’s community. As their questions increase, a second body is found, this time eerily resembling the crime scene in a famous Edgar Allan Poe novella. Preach and Ariana realize that their adversary is an intelligent, literate killer with a mind as devious as it is disturbed–and one or both of them may be his next target.

The Shadow District

by Arnaldur Indridason

Series: Unknown

Published by Minotaur Books

Genre: Mystery

304 pages

Synopsis: A deeply compassionate story of old crimes and their consequences, The Shadow District is the first in a thrilling new series by internationally bestselling author Arnaldur Indridason.

THE PAST
In wartime Reykjavik, a young woman is found strangled in ‘the shadow district’, a rough and dangerous area of the city. An Icelandic detective and a member of the American military police are on the trail of a brutal killer.

THE PRESENT
A 90-year-old man is discovered dead on his bed, smothered with his own pillow. Konrad, a former detective now bored with retirement, finds newspaper cuttings reporting the WWII shadow district murder the dead man’s home. It’s a crime that Konrad remembers, having grown up in the same neighborhood.

A MISSING LINK
Why, after all this time, would an old crime resurface? Did the police arrest the wrong man? Will Konrad’s link to the past help him solve the case and finally lay the ghosts of WWII Reykjavik to rest?

Let Darkness Bury the Dead

by Maureen Jennings

Series: Detective Murdoch #8

Published by Titan

Genre: Mystery

400 pages

Synopsis: Canada’s premier author of historical mystery fiction returns with a brand new and highly anticipated Murdoch Mystery, with an older and wiser Detective Murdoch.

It is November 1917. The Great War is grinding on, chewing up young men by the thousands. Initially, in the loyal Dominion of Canada, people are mostly eager to support the Motherland and fight for the Empire. Men perceived as slackers or cowards are shunned. But the carnage is horrendous and with enforced conscription, the enthusiasm for war is dimming.
William Murdoch is a widower, a senior detective who, thanks to the new temperance laws, spends his time tracking down bootleggers and tipplers; most unsatisfying. His wife, Amy, died giving birth to their second child, a girl who lived only a few hours more. Murdoch, racked by grief, withdrew from four-year-old, Jack. This he regrets and would dearly love to make up for his negligence.

As we enter the story, Jack, now twenty-one, has returned from France after being wounded and gassed at the Battle of Passchendaele. It is soon apparent that he is deeply troubled but he’s not confiding in his father. He does, however, seem to be bound by shared secrets to another wounded former soldier, Percy McKinnon.

Murdoch suddenly has much more serious crimes than rum-running on his hands. The night after Jack and McKinnon arrive home, a young man is found stabbed to death in the impoverished area of Toronto known as the Ward. Soon after, Murdoch has to deal with a tragic suicide, also a young man. Two more murders follow in quick succession. The only common denominator is that all of the men were exempted from conscription.

Increasingly worried that Jack knows more than he is letting on, Murdoch must solve these crimes before more innocents lose their lives. It is a solution that will give him only sorrow.

Unholy City

by Carrie Smith

Series: Claire Codella Mystery #3

Published by Crooked Lane Books

Genre: Mystery

287 pages

Synopsis: Despite their rocky history, Detective Claire Codella and Precinct Detective Brian Haggerty come together when senior churchwarden Philip Graves’s bloody body is found lying in the herb garden of historic St. Paul’s Episcopal Church on Manhattan’s Upper West Side just two days before Good Friday. Upon first glance, it looks like a random act of big city violence, but it soon becomes clear churchwarden Philip’s death was the result of a meticulously calculated ploy by someone who knew him.

There are five vestry members and a choir director in addition to the ten homeless men asleep in the church basement. Any one of them could have done it, but what did Philip Graves do to warrant such a merciless death? Struggling to share the case and salvage their personal relationship, Claire, Brian and trusted Detective Eduardo Munoz work around the clock to uncloak the desires, secrets, and resentments that find home through the iron gates and into the hidden beauty of one historic Romanesque church in Unholy City, the haunting third installment in Carrie Smith’s Claire Codella mysteries.

City of Lies

by Victoria Thompson

Series: Counterfeit Lady #1

Published by Berkley

Genre: Historical Mystery

304 pages

Synopsis: Elizabeth Miles scours 1920’s Washington, D.C. for a killer in the first Counterfeit Lady novel from the author of the New York Times bestselling Gaslight mysteries.

Every woman plays a part—but some are more dangerous than others…

Like most women, Elizabeth Miles assumes many roles; unlike most, hers have made her a woman on the run. Living on the edge of society, Elizabeth uses her guile to relieve so-called respectable men of their ill-gotten gains. But brutal and greedy entrepreneur Oscar Thornton is out for blood. He’s lost a great deal of money and is not going to forgive a woman for outwitting him. With his thugs hot on her trail, Elizabeth seizes the moment to blend in with a group of women who have an agenda of their own.

She never expects to like or understand these privileged women, but she soon comes to respect their intentions, forming an unlikely bond with the wealthy matriarch of the group whose son Gabriel is the rarest of species—an honest man in a dishonest world. She knows she’s playing a risky game, and her deception could be revealed at any moment, possibly even by sharp-eyed Gabriel. Nor has she been forgotten by Thornton, who’s biding his time within this gilded orbit, waiting to strike. Elizabeth must draw on her wits and every last ounce of courage she possesses to keep her new life from being cut short by this vicious shadow from her past.

November 14

The Ghost of Christmas Past

by Rhys Bowen

Series: Molly Murphy #17

Published by Minotaur Books

Genre: Historical Mystery

288 pages

Synopsis: Semi-retired private detective Molly Murphy Sullivan is suffering from depression after a miscarriage following her adventure in San Francisco during the earthquake of 1906. She and her husband, Daniel, are invited for Christmas at a mansion on the Hudson, and they gratefully accept, expecting a peaceful and relaxing holiday season. Not long after they arrive, however, they start to feel the tension in the house’s atmosphere. Then they learn that the host couple’s young daughter wandered out into the snow ten years ago and was never seen again. Molly can identify with the mother’s pain at never knowing what happened to her child and wants to help, but there is so little to go on. No ransom note. No body ever found. But Molly slowly begins to suspect that the occupants of the house know more than they are letting on. Then, on Christmas Eve, there is a knock at the door and a young girl stands there. “I’m Charlotte,” she says. “I’ve come home.” 

Dark Deeds

by Mike Brooks

Series: Keiko #3

Published by Saga Press

Genre: Science Fiction, Space Opera

336 pages

Synopsis: In the third book of the “entertaining” (Kirkus Reveiws) Keiko series, Captain Ichabod Drift and his crew find themselves in another mess as a ship-wide vacation leads to their second-in-command taken hostage by the planet’s criminal mastermind.

After the riotous civil war in Dark Sky, the crew of the Keikodecides to go on vacation at an illegal gambling port for a little fun. What they don’t realize is that the casinos are run by an ex-client who didn’t get his shipment due to the war. The mob boss decides to take Tamara Rouke, the Keiko’s second-in-command, and hold her hostage until the crew raises enough money to pay him back for the lost shipment. If they don’t pay up in time, Rouke will be killed.

Captain Ichabod Drift and his crew agree. But as they find a way to get the funds, one will betray everyone and one will die…

A Season to Lie

by Emily Littlejohn

Series: Detective Gemma Monroe #2

Published by St. Martin’s Press

Genre: Mystery, Police Procedural

336 pages

Synopsis: Following her acclaimed debut Inherit the Bones, this is Emily Littlejohn’s next mesmerizing mystery featuring Colorado police officer Gemma Monroe.

In Emily Littlejohn’s follow-up to her acclaimed debut, Inherit the Bones, police officer Gemma Monroe has just returned to work from maternity leave. And what a first day back: a blizzard is blowing into her idyllic Colorado ski town, and while Gemma hopes for a quiet, warm evening in, she knows it will mean plenty of calls out for snow-related accidents. But when an anonymous caller reports seeing a lurker at the local high school, Gemma gets far more than she bargained for. Behind the school building, half covered in a drift of snow, lies the gruesomely murdered body of a world-famous author—whose presence in town was meant to be a secret.

The Woman in the Camphor Trunk

by Jennifer Kincheloe

Series: Anna Blanc #2

Published by Seventh Street Books

Genre: Historical Mystery

304 pages

Synopsis: Los Angeles, 1908. In Chinatown, the most dangerous beat in Los Angeles, police matron Anna Blanc and her former sweetheart, Detective Joe Singer, discover the body of a white missionary woman, stuffed in a trunk in the apartment of her Chinese lover. Her lover has fled. If news gets out that a white woman was murdered in Chinatown, there will be a violent backlash against the Chinese. Joe and Anna plan to solve the crime quietly and keep the death a secret. So does good-looking Mr. Jones, a prominent Chinese leader who has mixed feelings about helping the LAPD and about Anna.

Meanwhile, the Hop Sing tong has kidnapped two slave girls from the Bing Kong tong, fuelling existing tensions. They are poised on the verge of a bloody tong war that would put all Chinatown residents in danger.

Joe orders Anna out of Chinatown to keep her safe, but to atone for her own family’s sins, Anna must stay to solve the crime before news of the murder is leaked and Chinatown explodes.

Seeds of Revenge

by Wendy Tyson

Series: Greenhouse Mystery #3

Published by Henry Press

Genre: Mystery, Cozy

259 pages

Synopsis: It’s the holiday season, and the mood in Winsome is anything but jolly…

Megan Sawyer is determined to farm year-round. She’s braving a December snowstorm after pitching her greenhouse greens to Philadelphia chefs when she sees a stranger stranded on the side of the road. It’s Merry Chance’s niece Becca, who’s headed to Winsome to sell her “love potions” at holiday events—or so she thinks.

Merry has an ulterior motive in inviting her niece to Winsome, but Merry’s plan to reunite Becca with her estranged father goes awry when Becca’s father turns up dead. Megan soon realizes that Becca was not the only person in Winsome who despised her father. When Megan’s aunt, the famous mystery author, is implicated through her novels, things become personal. Megan must follow the literary clues while sifting through the victim’s sordid past, but can she uncover the truth before someone else in Winsome is murdered?

The Emerald Circus

by Jane Yolen

Series: None

Published by Tachyon

Genre: Fantasy, Short Stories

288 pages

Synopsis: Enter the Emerald Circus and be astonished by the transformations of your favorite tales. Ringmaster and internationally bestselling author Jane Yolen (Briar Rose, Sister Emily’s Lightship) spins modern fantasy classics in tales that go well beyond Wonderland and Oz, down the rabbit hole and back again.

Where is Wendy? Leading a labor strike against the Lost Boys, of course!

It’s time to go back to—and beyond—the treasured tales you thought you knew: The Wizard of Oz, Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan and many more. Ringmaster and internationally bestselling author Jane Yolen (Briar Rose, Sister Emily’s Lightship) spins modern fantasy classics for delighted readers. A girl blown away from Kansas returns as a sophisticate with unusual gymnastic abilities. A talented apprentice, forging her first sword, is suddenly left to the mercies of Merlin. Alice’s infamous nemesis has jaws and claws, but also lacks the essential: a sense of humor.

Witty and bold, and unexpected, these tales go well beyond the rabbit hole and back again.

Artemis

by Andy Weir

Series: Unknown

Published by Crown Publishing

Genre: Science Fiction

384 pages

Synopsis: Jazz Bashara is a criminal.

Well, sort of. Life on Artemis, the first and only city on the moon, is tough if you’re not a rich tourist or an eccentric billionaire. So smuggling in the occasional harmless bit of contraband barely counts, right? Not when you’ve got debts to pay and your job as a porter barely covers the rent.

Everything changes when Jazz sees the chance to commit the perfect crime, with a reward too lucrative to turn down. But pulling off the impossible is just the start of her problems, as she learns that she’s stepped square into a conspiracy for control of Artemis itself—and that now, her only chance at survival lies in a gambit even riskier than the first.

November 28

Shadow Sun Seven

by Spencer Ellsworth

Series: Starfire #2

Published by Tor.com

Genre: Science Fiction, Space Opera

336 pages

Synopsis: Shadow Sun Seven continues Spencer Ellsworth’s Starfire trilogy, an action-packed space opera in which the oppressed half-Jorian crosses have risen up to supplant humanity.

Jaqi, Araskar and Z are on the run from everyone – the Resistance, the remnants of the Empire, the cyborg Suits, and right now from the Matakas – and the Matakas are the most pressing concern because the insectoid aliens have the drop on them. The Resistance has a big reward out for Araskar and the human children he and Jaqi are protecting. But Araskar has something to offer the mercenary aliens. He knows how to get to a huge supply of pure oxygen cells, something in short supply in the formerly human Empire, and that might be enough to buy their freedom. Araskar knows where it is, and Jaqi can take them there. With the Matakas as troops, they break into Shadow Sun Seven, on the edge of the Dark Zone.

Weave a Circle Round

by Kari Maaren

Series: Unknown

Published by Tor

Genre: YA Fantasy

336 pages

Synopsis: Freddy wants desperately to not be noticed. She doesn’t want to be seen as different or unusual, but her step-brother Roland gets attention because he’s deaf, and her little sister Mel thinks she’s a private detective. All Freddy wants to do is navigate high school with as little trouble as possible.

Then someone moves into the house on Grosvenor Street. Two extremely odd someones.

Cuerva Lachance and Josiah aren’t . . . normal. When they move in next door, the house begins to exhibit some decidedly strange tendencies, like not obeying the laws of physics or reality. Just as Freddy thinks she’s had enough of Josiah following her around, she’s plunged into an adventure millennia in the making and discovers the truth about the new neighbors.

What books are you excited about this month?

Arena by Holly Jennings

arenaArena by Holly Jennings
Series: Unknown
Genre: Science Fiction (Dystopia)
Setting: 2054
Published by Ace, 2016
Format: e-Arc (Release Date: April 5)
–I received a review copy of this book from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. The opinions stated here are entirely my own.
336 pages
Grade: C+
Synopsis: Every week, Kali Ling fights to the death on national TV.
She’s died hundreds of times. And it never gets easier…
 
The RAGE tournaments—the Virtual Gaming League’s elite competition where the best gamers in the world compete in a no-holds-barred fight to the digital death. Every bloody kill is broadcast to millions. Every player is a modern gladiator—leading a life of ultimate fame, responsible only for entertaining the masses.

And though their weapons and armor are digital, the pain is real.

Chosen to be the first female captain in RAGE tournament history, Kali Ling is at the top of the world—until one of her teammates overdoses. Now, she must confront the truth about the tournament. Because it is much more than a game—and even in the real world, not everything is as it seems.

The VGL hides dark secrets. And the only way to change the rules is to fight from the inside…

Initial impressions

  • I really enjoyed the gaming aspect of the story.

The story

  • The beginning starts with Team Defiance losing for the first time in the RAGE tournaments–a virtual gaming league. Team Defiance has three women and two men on the team.
  • Clarence who put their team together makes Kali the Captain of the team. She’s the first female captain the league has had, but it appears he does it more for ratings than because he thinks she will be a good leader.
  • Then she discovers one of her teammates dead of a drug overdose. Soon he’s replaced and forgotten.
  • Team Defiance is in the loser’s bracket of the tournament and has to win every game to make it to the top and meet the winner of the winner’s bracket.
  • Kali wants people to know that addiction and drugs are a big problem in the virtual world, but the sponsors and heads of the teams don’t want to know about it anyone to know that ugly secret.

Pluses

  • For some reason I thought this book was going to go in a different direction than it did!
  • The beginning of the book really drew me in.
  • I like the gaming aspect of the book. Of course, it reminds me a bit of Ready Player One.
  • However, in Arena players are pro athletes, because your skills carry-over into the virtual world. They use all their skills and physical agility in the virtual world. They are their own avatars. They feel pain and feel when they die in the virtual world. They wake up in the “real” world alive, but with the memory of pain and/or death.
  • The resemblance to elite sports today is well-done–both the good aspects (the joy and love of the game, the physicality of sports and competition) and the bad aspects (sponsors and team owners who control the players, the dangers of addiction).
  • I like that Kali gets back to her roots as a half Chinese gamer who grew up with Tao philosophy and books. That helps her overcome many of her problems.
  • With the help of other people including her team Kali slowly learns leadership skills and what is really important to her.

Minuses

  • To me this seems more of a coming of age book…learning to grow up and to believe in yourself. That is what Kali has to do in this book. Even though the characters are older I felt it was more of a young adult book.
  • Kali is too perfect. Everything seems to work out the way she wants it regardless of what she does. Just seems too easy to me.
  • There isn’t a lot of world building in the book–just vague references to the cost of education, difficulty getting jobs. I get the idea of a dystopian future, but the people competing in the elite games are doing just fine.
  • During the book I kept expecting bad things to happen to Kali and her team…things they would have to overcome. Because so much money is involved I expected Clarence who put together the team to control the team more than he did. I thought there would be plotting behind the scenes. I guess I’m too cynical!
  • This book doesn’t really need to be science fiction or set in the future. It could as easily be set today. The only science fiction aspect is the total immersion in virtual reality.

And concluding thoughts . . .

  •  I think because I was expecting more adventures and plots I didn’t enjoy the book as much as I might have if I’d realized the theme of the book was more the importance to stand up for what you believe.

Have you read this book? How did you like it?

Author info

  • Holly Jennings’ debut novel Arena is set in the not-too-distant future and was inspired by a documentary about young adults striving to make it as pro gamers (professional video game players). Tired of so many people looking down on those who enjoy games, Ms. Jennings created a future where gamers are the ultimate celebrity athletes. Thanks to fully-immersive virtual reality, pro gamers compete in nationwide tournaments and build their skillsets in the real world by training in weapons and martial arts. I hope that Arena is the first of many set in this world. 

Reading Challenges

  • 2016 Goodreads Challenge
  • Netgalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge–hosted by Falling for YA
  • New Author Challenge–hosted by the Literary Escapism blog
  • New Release Challenge–hosted by Lexxie at Unconventional Book Views and Stormi @ Books, Movies, Reviews Oh My!
  • Science Fiction/Fantasy Bingo Reading Challenge–hosted by the B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog — Debut Novel

March books on my list

books-on-my-listEach month I write about the books I’ve noticed and think might be good. Sometimes they’re from favorite authors and sometimes new author strikes my fancy.

I don’t buy all the books (not during the month they’re released at least)–since I already have way too many books to read. I’m trying to limit the new books I buy each month to the ones I’m going to read soon.

But the list I make each month helps me not forget books. The Goodreads links help me keep track of these books.

And I hope people reading my post may find some new books, too! I also hope they will point me toward books I missed.

Mar 1

 borderlineBorderline

by Mishell Baker

Series: Arcadia Project Trilogy #1

Published by Saga Press

Genre: Urban Fantasy

400 pages

Synopsis: A year ago, Millie lost her legs and her filmmaking career in a failed suicide attempt. Just when she’s sure the credits have rolled on her life story, she gets a second chance with the Arcadia Project: a secret organization that polices the traffic to and from a parallel reality filled with creatures straight out of myth and fairy tales.

For her first assignment, Millie is tasked with tracking down a missing movie star who also happens to be a nobleman of the Seelie Court. To find him, she’ll have to smooth-talk Hollywood power players and uncover the surreal and sometimes terrifying truth behind the glamour of Tinseltown. But stronger forces than just her inner demons are sabotaging her progress, and if she fails to unravel the conspiracy behind the noble’s disappearance, not only will she be out on the streets, but the shattering of a centuries-old peace could spark an all-out war between worlds.

No pressure.

 the-courierThe Courier

by Gerald Brandt

Series: San Angeles #1

Published by DAW

Genre: Science Fiction Dystopia

304 pages

Synopsis: A far-future science fiction debut set in San Francisco—action adventure with a cyberpunk tone.

Kris Ballard is a motorcycle courier. A nobody. Level 2 trash in a multi-level city that stretches from San Francisco to the Mexican border, where corporations make all the rules. A runaway since the age of 14, Kris struggled to set up her life, barely scraping by, working hard to make it without anyone’s help. Witnessing the murder of one of her clients changes everything. Now she’s stuck with a mysterious package that everyone seems to want.

Now the corporations want Kris gone, and are willing to go to almost any length to make it happen. Hunted, scared, and alone, she retreats to the only place she knows she can hide: the Level 1 streets. Running from people that seem to know her every move, she is rescued by Miller—a member of an underground resistance group—only to be pulled deeper into a world she doesn’t understand. They work together to stay ahead of the corporate killers, until Miller falls into their hands. Kris realizes being alone isn’t the answer, and she’s willing to do anything to get him back.

 

the-devil-you-knowThe Devil You Know

by K.J. Parker

Series: Unknown

Published by Tor.com

Genre: Fantasy novella

126 pages

Synopsis: The greatest philosopher of all time is offering to sell his soul to the Devil. All he wants is twenty more years to complete his life’s work. After that, he really doesn’t care.

But the assistant demon assigned to the case has his suspicions, because the philosopher is Saloninus–the greatest philosopher, yes, but also the greatest liar, trickster and cheat the world has yet known; the sort of man even the Father of Lies can’t trust.

He’s almost certainly up to something; but what?

the-winged-historiesThe Winged Histories

by Sofia Samatar

Series: Unknown

Published by Small Beer Press

Genre: Fantasy

300 pages

Synopsis: Four women, soldier, scholar, poet, and socialite, are caught up on different sides of a violent rebellion. As war erupts and their families are torn apart, they fear they may disappear into the unwritten pages of history. Using the sword and the pen, the body and the voice, they struggle not just to survive, but to make history.

arkwrightArkwright

by Allen Steele

Series: None

Published by Tor

Genre: Science Fiction

336 pages

Synopsis: Written by a highly regarded expert on space travel and exploration, Allen Steele’s Arkwright features the precision of hard science fiction with a compelling cast of characters. In the vein of classic authors such as Robert Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, and Arthur C. Clarke, Nathan Arkwright is a seminal author of the twentieth century. At the end of his life he becomes reclusive and cantankerous, refusing to appear before or interact with his legion of fans. Little did anyone know, Nathan was putting into motion his true, timeless legacy.

Convinced that humanity cannot survive on Earth, his Arkwright Foundation dedicates itself to creating a colony on an Earth-like planet several light years distant. Fueled by Nathan’s legacy, generations of Arkwrights are drawn together, and pulled apart, by the enormity of the task and weight of their name.

This is classic, epic science fiction and engaging character-driven storytelling, which will appeal to devotees of the genre as well as fans of current major motion pictures such as Gravity and Interstellar.

united-states-of-japanUnited States of Japan

by Peter Tieryas

Series: None

Published by Angry Robot

Genre: Science Fiction

400 pages

Synopsis: Decades ago, Japan won the Second World War. Americans worship their infallible Emperor, and nobody believes that Japan’s conduct in the war was anything but exemplary. Nobody, that is, except the George Washingtons – a shadowy group of rebels fighting for freedom. Their latest subversive tactic is to distribute an illegal video game that asks players to imagine what the world might be like if the United States had won the war instead.

Captain Beniko Ishimura’s job is to censor video games, and he’s working with Agent Akiko Tsukino of the secret police to get to the bottom of this disturbing new development. But Ishimura’s hiding something… He’s slowly been discovering that the case of the George Washingtons is more complicated than it seems, and the subversive videogame’s origins are even more controversial and dangerous than either of them originally suspected.

Part detective story, part brutal alternate history, United States of Japan is a stunning successor to Philip K Dick’s The Man in the High Castle.

 the-last-days-of-magicThe Last Days of Magic

by Mark Tompkins

Series: None

Published by Viking

Genre: Fantasy

400 pages

Synopsis: An epic novel of magic and mysticism, Celts and faeries, mad kings and druids, and the goddess struggling to reign over magic’s last outpost on the Earth

What became of magic in the world? Who needed to do away with it, and for what reasons? Drawing on myth, legend, fairy tales, and Biblical mysteries, The Last Days of Magic brilliantly imagines answers to these questions, sweeping us back to a world where humans and magical beings co-exist as they had for centuries.

Aisling, a goddess in human form, was born to rule both domains and—with her twin, Anya—unite the Celts with the powerful faeries of the Middle Kingdom. But within medieval Ireland interests are divided, and far from its shores greater forces are mustering. Both England and Rome have a stake in driving magic from the Emerald Isle. Jordan, the Vatican commander tasked with vanquishing the remnants of otherworldly creatures from a disenchanted Europe, has built a career on such plots. But increasingly he finds himself torn between duty and his desire to understand the magic that has been forbidden.

As kings prepare, exorcists gather, and divisions widen between the warring clans of Ireland, Aisling and Jordan must come to terms with powers given and withheld, while a world that can still foster magic hangs in the balance. Loyalties are tested, betrayals sown, and the coming war will have repercussions that ripple centuries later, in today’s world—and in particular for a young graduate student named Sara Hill.

The Last Days of Magic introduces us to unforgettable characters who grapple with quests for power, human frailty, and the longing for knowledge that has been made taboo. Mark Tompkins has crafted a remarkable tale—a feat of world-building that poses astonishing and resonant answers to epic questions.

Mar 8

 the-cold-betweenThe Cold Between

by Elizabeth Bonesteel

Series: Central Corp #1

Published by Harper Voyager

Genre: Science Fiction

528 pages

Synopsis: When her crewmate Danny is murdered on the colony of Volhynia, Central Corps engineer Commander Elena Shaw is shocked to learn the main suspect is her lover, Treiko Zajec. She knows Trey is innocent—he was with her when Danny was killed. So who is the real killer and why are the cops framing an innocent man?

While retracing Danny’s last hours, they discover that his death may be tied to a mystery from the past: the destruction of a Central Corps starship at a wormhole near Volhynia. For twenty-five years, Central Gov has been lying about the tragedy, even willing to go to war with the outlaw tribe PSI to protect their secrets.

With the authorities closing in, Elena and Trey head to the wormhole, certain they’ll find answers on the other side. But the truth that awaits them is far more terrifying than they ever imagined—a conspiracy deep within Central Gov that threatens all of human civilization throughout the inhabited reaches of the galaxy . . . and beyond.

 marked-in-fleshMarked in Flesh

by Anne Bishop

Series: The Others #4

Published by Penguin/Roc

Genre: Urban Fantasy

416 pages

Synopsis: For centuries, the Others and humans have lived side by side in uneasy peace. But when humankind oversteps its bounds, the Others will have to decide how much humanity they’re willing to tolerate—both within themselves and within their community…

Since the Others allied themselves with the cassandra sangue, the fragile yet powerful human blood prophets who were being exploited by their own kind, the delicate dynamic between humans and Others changed. Some, like Simon Wolfgard, wolf shifter and leader of the Lakeside Courtyard, and blood prophet Meg Corbyn, see the new, closer companionship as beneficial—both personally and practically.

But not everyone is convinced. A group of radical humans is seeking to usurp land through a series of violent attacks on the Others. What they don’t realize is that there are older and more dangerous forces than shifters and vampires protecting the land that belongs to the Others—and those forces are willing to do whatever is necessary to protect what is theirs…

 fire-touchedFire Touched

by Patricia Briggs

Series: Mercy Thompson #9

Published by Ace

Genre: Urban Fantasy

352 pages

Synopsis: Mercy Thompson has been hailed as “a heroine who continues to grow and yet always remains true to herself.”* Now she’s back, and she’ll soon discover that when the fae stalk the human world, it’s the children who suffer…

Tensions between the fae and humans are coming to a head. And when coyote shapeshifter Mercy and her Alpha werewolf mate, Adam, are called upon to stop a rampaging troll, they find themselves with something that could be used to make the fae back down and forestall out-and-out war: a human child stolen long ago by the fae.

Defying the most powerful werewolf in the country, the humans, and the fae, Mercy, Adam, and their pack choose to protect the boy no matter what the cost. But who will protect them from a boy who is fire touched?

rebel-of-the-sandsRebel of the Sands

by Alwyn Hamilton

Series: Rebel of the Sands #1

Published by Penguin

Genre: YA Fantasy

320 pages

Synopsis: She’s more gunpowder than girl—and the fate of the desert lies in her hands.

Mortals rule the desert nation of Miraji, but mystical beasts still roam the wild and barren wastes, and rumor has it that somewhere, djinni still practice their magic. But there’s nothing mystical or magical about Dustwalk, the dead-end town that Amani can’t wait to escape from.

Destined to wind up “wed or dead,” Amani’s counting on her sharpshooting skills to get her out of Dustwalk. When she meets Jin, a mysterious and devastatingly handsome foreigner, in a shooting contest, she figures he’s the perfect escape route. But in all her years spent dreaming of leaving home, she never imagined she’d gallop away on a mythical horse, fleeing the murderous Sultan’s army, with a fugitive who’s wanted for treason. And she’d never have predicted she’d fall in love with him…or that he’d help her unlock the powerful truth of who she really is.

 the-lyre-thiefThe Lyre Thief

by Jennifer Fallon

Series: Hythrun Chronicles: War of the Gods Trilogy #1

Published by Tor Books

Genre: Fantasy

448 pages

Synopsis: Ten years have passed since the events of the Demon Child books that left the god Xaphista dead, the nation Karien without a religion or king and the matriarchal country of Medalon ruled by men. But it is in the kingdoms of the south that things really heat up. When Princess Rakaia of Fardohnya discovers she is not of royal birth, she agrees to marry a much older Hythrun noble in a chance to escape her ‘father’s wrath. Rakaia takes nothing but her jewels and her base-born half-sister, Charisee, who has been her slave, handmaiden and best friend since she was six years old. And who can pass as Rakaia’s double.

These two sisters embark on a Shakespearian tale of switched identities, complicated love triangles…and meddlesome gods. Rakaia is rescued on the road by none other than the Demon Child, R’shiel, still searching for a way to force Death to release her near immortal Brak. Charisee tries to act like the princess she was never meant to be and manages to draw the attention of the God of Liars who applauds her deception and only wants to help.

Then there is the little matter of the God of Music’s magical totem that has been stolen…and how this theft may undo the universe.

Powerful magics, byzantine politics, sweeping adventure, and a couple of juicy love stories thrown in for good measure, The Lyre Thief is classic Fallon that is sure to appeal to her fans.

 forest-of-memoryForest of Memory

by Mary Robinette Kowal

Series: None

Published by Tor.com

Genre: Fantasy novella

88 pages

Synopsis: Katya deals in Authenticities and Captures, trading on nostalgia for a past long gone. Her clients are rich and they demand items and experiences with only the finest verifiable provenance. Other people’s lives have value, after all.

But when her A.I. suddenly stops whispering in her ear she finds herself cut off from the grid and loses communication with the rest of the world.

The man who stepped out of the trees while hunting deer cut her off from the cloud, took her A.I. and made her his unwilling guest.

There are no Authenticities or Captures to prove Katya’s story of what happened in the forest. You’ll just have to believe her…

 those-who-walk-in-darknessThose Who Walk in Darkness

by Joyce & Jim Lavene

Series: Jacks Jackson Mystery #1

Published by J. Lavene

Genre: Mystery

266 pages

Synopsis: Three years ago, Julia Jackson was a well to do young woman from Boston whose fiancé, Jonathon, was killed right before her eyes. Obsessed with finding the killer, a man whose face she saw only in a flash as he walked up and shot Jonathon, she leaves her family and her life behind. She starts a new life as ‘Jacks’ Jackson—a cigar smoking, dead eye, female Pinkerton agent…pretending to be a man.

Now Allan Pinkerton needs Jacks to find the man who kidnapped the wife and son of a railroad official, David Boyd. Their only clues are the severed finger from the man’s wife, complete with wedding ring, and a map of the Qualla boundary, the Cherokee reservation in North Carolina.

Jacks doesn’t like the way the whole thing sounds from the beginning. David Boyd isn’t important enough to target for a kidnapping. And why travel so far with two hostages?

But Pinkerton tells her that he believes the man responsible for the kidnapping worked with Jonathon’s murderer in a train robbery five years ago. Jacks agrees to go after the kidnapper with hopes of catching him before he can reach his home grounds.

Pinkerton insists that Jacks bring three men with her—Boyd, her new partner, and a Cherokee guide named Running Wolf, who’s always watching her, like he’s trying to figure it out.

Can Jacks catch the kidnapper with her secret—and her life—intact?

Mar 15

the-eloquence-of-the-deadThe Eloquence of the Dead

by Conor Brady

Series: Joe Swallow #2

Published by New Island

Genre: Mystery

360 pages

Synopsis: When a Dublin Pawnbroker is found murdered and the lead suspect goes missing, Sergeant Joe Swallow is handed the poisoned chalice of the investigation. With authorities pressing for a quick resolution, the public living in fear of attack and the newspapers happy to point to the police’s every mistake, Swallow must use every trick in his arsenal to crack the case.

On the way he uncovers deep-rooted corruption, discovers the power of new, scientific detection techniques and encounters a ruthless adversary.

Following leads from Trim to the Tower of London, The Eloquence of the Dead is the second of the Joe Swallow books and is a fast-paced and gripping crime thriller from the pen of a truly talented writer.

May 29

death-sits-down-to-dinnerDeath Sits Down to Dinner

by Tessa Arlen

Series: Lady Montfort Mystery #2

Published by Minotaur Books

Genre: Mystery

320 pages

Synopsis: Filled with deceptions both real and imagined, Death Sits Down to Dinner is a delightful Edwardian mystery set in London.

Lady Montfort is thrilled to receive an invitation to a dinner party hosted by her close friend Hermione Kingsley, the patroness of England’s largest charity. Hermione has pulled together a select gathering to celebrate Winston Churchill’s 39th birthday. Some of the oldest families in the country have gathered to toast the dangerously ambitious and utterly charming First Lord of the Admiralty. But when the dinner ends, one of the gentlemen remains seated at the table, head down among the walnut shells littering the cloth and a knife between his ribs.

Summoned from Iyntwood, Mrs. Jackson helps her mistress trace the steps of suspects both upstairs and downstairs as Hermione’s household prepares to host a highly anticipated charity event. Determined to get to the bottom of things, Lady Montfort and Mrs. Jackson unravel the web of secrecy surrounding the bright whirlwind of London society, investigating the rich, well-connected and seeming do-gooders in a race against time to stop the murderer from striking again.

silenced-in-the-surfSilenced in the Surf

by Kate E. Dyer-Seeley

Series: Pacific Northwest #3

Published by Kensington

Genre: Mystery (cozy)

304 pages

Synopsis: Covering a windsurfing competition should have been a breeze for reporter Meg Reed, but with a killer in the curl, she’s headed for rough waters…

Hood River in the Columbia River Gorge is the windsurfing capital of the world, and Meg is stoked to cover the King of the Hook event for Portland’s Northwest Extreme magazine. Before the competition gets under way, Meg has a chance to try some windsurfing on her own. But when the current sweeps her downriver, she spots a body snagged on the rocks. The dead man is Justin Cruise, aka Cruise Control, a celebrity windsurfer and not exactly a nice guy. It’s soon clear his death was no accident, and Cruise had no shortage of enemies. As Meg dives right in to discover who wiped out the windsurfer, she’ll need to keep her balance—or she too may get blown away.

a-muddied-murderA Muddied Murder

by Wendy Tyson

Series: A Greenhouse Mystery #1

Published by Henery Press

Genre: Mystery (cozy)

288 pages

Synopsis: When Megan Sawyer gives up her big-city law career to care for her grandmother and run the family’s organic farm and café, she expects to find peace and tranquility in her scenic hometown of Winsome, Pennsylvania. Instead, her goat goes missing, rain muddies her fields, the town denies her business permits, and her family’s Colonial-era farm sucks up the remains of her savings.

Just when she thinks she’s reached the bottom of the rain barrel, Megan and the town’s hunky veterinarian discover the local zoning commissioner’s battered body in her barn. Now Megan is thrust into the middle of a murder investigation—and she’s the chief suspect. Can Megan dig through small-town secrets, local politics, and old grievances in time to find a killer before that killer strikes again?

 

What books are you excited about this month?

Review: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

ready-player-oneReady Player One
by Ernest Cline
Series: None
Genre: Science Fiction (Dystopia)
Setting: Oklahoma City, OK and Columbus, OH, 2045
Published by Crown, 2011
E-book, purchased
375 pages
Grade: A
Synopsis: In the year 2044, reality is an ugly place. The only time teenage Wade Watts really feels alive is when he’s jacked into the virtual utopia known as the  OASIS. Wade’s devoted his life to studying the puzzles hidden within this world’s digital confines, puzzles that are based on their creator’s obsession with the pop culture of decades past and that promise massive power and fortune to whoever can unlock them. When Wade stumbles upon the first clue, he finds himself beset by players willing to kill to take this ultimate prize. The race is on, and if Wade’s going to survive, he’ll have to win—and confront the real world he’s always been so desperate to escape.

Then the Hunt for Halliday’s Easter egg began. That was what saved me, I think. Suddenly I’d found something worth doing. A dream worth chasing.

. . .

The moment I began searching for the egg, the future no longer seemed so bleak.

and

…there was no escaping the truth. In real life, I was nothing but an antisocial hermit. A Recluse. A pale-skinned pop culture-obsessed geek. An agoraphobic shut-in. with no real friends, family, or genuine human contact. I was just another sad, lost, lonely soul, wasting his life on a glorified videogame.

Cheers

  • I loved this! It’s a love fest for all things 1980’s!
  • This book is so different and original. Great world building.
  • “Real” life is very difficult and depressing and most people live in a virtual world called the OASIS. Many of them play on-line games. That is what Wade Watts does in his free time.
  • Wade even attends school in the OASIS. When the book begins Wade lives with his aunt in a trailer house. The trailer houses are stacked one on top of another with narrow space between the next stack of trailer houses. The mid-twenty-first century slum.
  • We don’t see very much of the “real” world.
  • The book reminds me a little of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, because there is a contest in Ready Player One also. However, the stakes are much higher in Ready Player One since the winner in this story inherits everything the creator of the OASIS owned when he died. The whole world goes wild trying to find the clues hidden in the OASIS.
  • James Halliday (creator of the OASIS) was worth billions and was obsessed with the 1980’s–the decade he was a teenager. The contest he has created is filled with 1980’s pop culture references and video games.
  • The contest takes years and individuals aren’t the only ones interested in winning. And not everyone plays nice.
  • As I read the book I could see it as a movie–and now I see it will become a movie!

Jeers

  • None

And a few thoughts . . .

  • I was so surprised when I read this book. I hadn’t heard of the author or the book until a few weeks before I bought and read it. I’m so glad I found it!
  • And I’m happy that Mr. Cline’s second book–Armada–is coming out in July.

Awards

  • Prometheus Award for Best Novel (2012)
  • ALA Alex Award (2012)
  • Abraham Lincoln Award Nominee (2014),
  • Tähtivaeltaja Award Nominee (2013)
  • Green Mountain Book Award Nominee (2015)

Have you read this book? How did you like it?

Author info

  • Ernest Cline is a novelist, screenwriter and self-confessed geek. This is his first novel and it’s a New York Times bestseller! The book is set to become a movie by Warner Bros. with Steven Spielberg as the director.

Reading Challenges

  • 2015 Goodreads Challenge
  • New Author Challenge–hosted by the Literary Escapism blog
  • Ultimate Reading Challenge–hosted by the Popsugar blog (a book with a number in the title)