Tuesday, May 31, 2011

New Releases May 29-31 & Reader's Choice Contest

It's a big week for new releases, so we’re going to do Reader’s Choice for two days! Here are the May 29-31 releases in spec fiction―science fiction, fantasy, urban fantasy, paranormal romance, and YA paranormal. See what strikes your fancy…and win your choice in the contest. There are some h-o-t covers here! As always, open internationally. Check back on FRIDAY for another Reader’s Choice!

Blood of the Wicked, by Karina Cooper
(May 31, Avon)
As an independent witch living off the grid, Jessie Leigh has spent her life running, trying to blend in among the faceless drudges in the rebuilt city. She thought she was finally safe, but now she’s been found in a New Seattle strip club—by a hard-eyed man on a mission to destroy her kind. A soldier of the Holy Order, Silas Smith believes in the cause: trawling the fringes of society for the murderous witches who threaten what's left of the world. Forced into a twisting web of half-truths and lies, he has to stay close to the most sensuous and electrifying woman he has ever seen and manipulate her into leading him to the witch he has to kill: her brother. First in the new Dark Mission series.

Concrete Savior, by Yvonne Navarro
(May 31, Pocket)
Once an irresistible, soul-destroying seducer of men and women through the ages, fallen angel Brynna Malak has fled Hell to seek redemption. But is such a thing possible? While dodging the brutal Hunters sent to retrieve her she must also save the life of a teenaged girl fathered by an angel and whose destiny is to complete a preordained task. At her side is a Chicago police officer who fights his undeniable attraction to her. And Brynna has made up her mind: she will die for eternity rather than return to Hell or give up her quest. Second in the Dark Redemption series.

Damned Busters, by Matthew Hughes
(May 31, Angry Robot)
Chesney Arnstruther: by day, mild mannered insurance man; by night, fearless superhero crime fighter. By his side, his wisecracking demonic sidekick, in a somewhat ill-fitting costume. Watch out all you freaks, weirdos, werewolves and assorted furry monsters, the Damned Busters are on your trail! First in the Hell to Pay series. U.S. Release.

The Darkness Beyond, by Alexis Morgan
(May 31, Pocket)
D.J. Clayborne has finally met his match. After weeks of playing cyber tag, a mysterious hacker bests D.J. at his own game. His nemesis downloads a top-secret history of the Paladins, forcing him to go on the hunt. The trail leads D.J. straight to Regina Morrison, a woman who is as sexy as she is talented in the cyber world.Reggie has been working around the clock to stop a legendary computer hacker from accessing her clients’ files, but the last thing she expects is to have D.J. show up at her door. Or that he’s even hotter than his evasive avatar. Newest in the Paladins series..

Dead of Veridon, by Tim Akers
(May 31, Solaris)
Trouble finds Jacob Burn. Kicked out of his house, out of his comfortable life, out of everything that is familiar, even turned away from his circle of criminal friends and interesting enemies. Two years after he saved an ungrateful city from a mad angel, thwarting the plans of every powerful faction in Veridon, Jacob is still trying to pull his life together. And still trouble finds him. A bad job goes worse, and soon old enemies present themselves as allies, and former friends set themselves against Jacob as he tries to put the dead to rest and the living to justice. Everything gets more difficult when he’s appointed by the Council to investigate the rise of the cog-dead, while some hold him personally accountable, and others in the city work to use the chaos to their advantage.

Dead on the Delta, by Stacey Jay
(May 31, Pocket)
Once upon a time, fairies were the stuff of bedtime stories and sweet dreams. Then came the mutations, and the dreams became nightmares. Mosquito-size fairies now indulge their taste for human blood—and for most humans, a fairy bite means insanity or death. Luckily, Annabelle Lee isn’t most humans. The hard-drinking, smart-mouthed, bicycle-riding redhead is immune to fairy venom, and able to do the dirty work most humans can’t.  Including helping law enforcement— and Cane Cooper, the bayou’s sexiest detective—collect evidence when a body is discovered outside the fairy-proof barricades of her Louisiana town. First in a new series.

Demon, by Kristina Douglas
(May 31, Pocket)
Azazel should have extinguished the deadly Lilith when he had the chance. Now, faced with a prophecy that will force him to betray the memory of his one true love and wed the Demon Queen, he cannot end her life until she leads him to Lucifer. Finding the First is the Fallen’s only hope for protecting mankind from Uriel’s destruction, but Azazel knows that ignoring his simmering desire for the Lilith will be almost as impossible. Rachel Fitzpatrick wonders how Azazel could confuse her with an evil seductress. She’s never even been interested in sex! At least not before she set eyes on her breathtaking captor. And now she can’t think about anything else—besides escape. Second in The Fallen series.

Desdaemona, by Ben Macallan
(May 31, Solaris)
Jordan helps kids on the run find their way back home. He’s good at that. He should be – he’s a runaway himself. Sometimes he helps the kids in other, stranger ways. He looks like a regular teenager, but he’s not. He acts like he’s not exactly human, but he is. He treads the line between mundane reality and the world of the supernatural, including the awesome Powers That Be. Desdaemona also knows the non-human world far too well. She tracks Jordan down and enlists his aid in searching for her lost sister Fay, who did a Very Bad Thing involving an immortal. This may be a mistake – for both of them.

Devil without a Cause, by Terri Garey
(May 31, Avon)
Temptation and seduction are the tricks of the Devil's trade, and when offered the chance to regain his wings by playing guardian angel, Sammy Divine is hell-bent on doing things his way. Faith McFarland is in need of a miracle. So desperate to save her sick child, she's willing to make a deal with the Devil: steal a ring worn by Finn Payne, the bad boy rock star who long ago sold his soul for rock n' roll. Temptation and seduction become necessary evils, yet Faith's salvation means Finn's damnation—because the ring is all that stands between him and Hell. First in the Devil’s Bargain series.

Infernal Affairs, by Jes Battis
(May 31, Ace)
A dead body on the beach turns out to be a live demon on the run from some of the nastiest bounty hunters in this dimension - or the next. Protecting one demon from another, Tess gets wrapped up in a case that's as dangerous as it is mind-boggling, especially when it begins to involve her own past. Fourth in the OSI series.

Kiss of Snow, by Nalini Singh
(May 31, Berkley Hardcover)
Since the moment of her defection from the PsyNet and into the SnowDancer wolf pack, Sienna Lauren has had one weakness. Hawke. Alpha and dangerous, he compels her to madness.  Hawke is used to walking alone, having lost the woman who would've been his mate long ago. But Sienna fascinates the primal heart of him, even as he tells himself she is far too young to handle the wild fury of the wolf. Then Sienna changes the rules-and suddenly, there is no more distance, only the most intimate of battles between two people who were never meant to meet. Yet as they strip away each other's secrets in a storm of raw emotion, they must also ready themselves for a far more vicious fight. A deadly enemy is out to destroy SnowDancer, striking at everything they hold dear. Tenth in the Psy/Changeling series.

Magic Slays, by Ilona Andrews
(May 31, Ace)
Kate Daniels has quit the Order of Merciful Aid, but starting her own business isn't easy when the Order starts disparaging her good name. And being the mate of the Beast Lord doesn't bring in the customers, either. So when Atlanta's premier Master of the Dead asks for help with a vampire, Kate jumps at the chance. Unfortunately, this is one case where Kate should have looked before she leapt. Fifth in the Kate Daniels series.

The Midnight Palace, by Carlos Ruin Zafon
(May 31, Little, Brown)
Set in Calcutta in the 1930s, The Midnight Palace begins on a dark night when an English lieutenant fights to save newborn twins Ben and Sheere from an unthinkable threat. Despite monsoon-force rains and terrible danger lurking around every street corner, the young lieutenant manages to get them to safety, but not without losing his own life. Years later, on the eve of Ben and Sheere's sixteenth birthday, the mysterious threat re-enters their lives. This time, it may be impossible to escape. US release.

The Neon Graveyard, by Vicki Pettersson
(May 31, Eos)
Once she was a soldier for the Light, the prophesied savior who would decide the outcome of the eternal conflict raging unseen in the dark corners of her glittering hometown. Now Joanna Archer is just another mortal -- still born of an impossible union of Shadow and Light, still hunted by both -- and carrying the unborn child of a lover held captive by a depraved demon goddess. Joining forces with a band of rogue Shadow agents, Joanna's ready to storm the stronghold of her demonic foe, risking everything to enter this ghastly, godforsaken realm where the price of admission is her eternal soul. Sixth in the Signs of the Zodiac series.

The Reluctant Vampire, by Lynsay Sands
(May 31, Avon)
Harper lost his lifemate, Jenny, during her turn and has blamed himself for her death ever since, so he's rather happy for the distraction when Tiny and Mirabeau arrive with a young immortal in tow. Stephanie McGill is a young, newly turned immortal who is being hunted by a mad no-fanger named Leonius. When Anders and Drina Argenis (Argeneau) arrive to help, Harper finds himself working with the beautiful young Spanish woman. But things get interesting when Stephanie decides to take on the role of cupid and bring Drina and a reluctant Harper together. How much trouble could a newly turned teenage vamp be? Fifteenth in the Argeneau series.

Timecaster, by Joe Kimball
(May 31, Ace)
Chicago, 2064: Talon Avalon is a timecaster, one of a select few peace officers who can operate a TEV, the Tachyon Emission Visualizer, which records events (most specifically, crimes) that have already happened. With crime at an all-time low, Talon has little to do except give lectures to schoolkids and obsess on his wife's profession as a licensed sex partner. Until one of her clients asks Talon to investigate a possible murder. When Talon uses the TEV to view the crime, the identity of the killer is unmistakable. It's him, Talon Avalon.

The Vampire Narcise, by Colleen Gleason
(May 31, Harlequin)
Skilled in the seduction of men, both mortal and immortal, Narcise Moldavi is the greatest weapon in her twisted brother's war among the Dracule. Until she falls for Giordan Cale. Her first searing encounter with Giordan brands them with a passionate love. But Giordan's vow to help Narcise escape her brother's rule is followed by a betrayal more agonizing than sunlight. Wounded but determined, Narcise ensnares vampire hunter Chas Woodmore in her quest for revenge and to reclaim her life. He wants her, worships her, will kill for her. And the Dracule never forget a wrong – nor do they forgive. Third in the Regency Draculia series.

See anything you want? I’m drooling over about half of these! So…Reader’s choice―you tell me. As always, four entries possible and please include your e-mail: +1 for comment, +1 for blog follow, +1 for Twitter follow @Suzanne_Johnson, and +1 for a Tweet or RT about the contest. Now….go!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Happy Day: Read a Book

Happy Memorial  Day everyone. I hope we all remember our veterans, both active and past. I'll tip my hat to my late father, who served as a U.S. Navy seaman on a mine-sweeper in the Pacific Theater during World  War II. Have a lovely day, and see you tomorrow with the first of two Reader's Choice contests this week!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Review & Contest: AFTER MIDNIGHT by Lynn Viehl

Ready for some YA this Sunday? I’m giving away a copy of the new book by Lynn Viehl, After Midnight. Think mysterious boys riding horses at midnight, romance, ancient rivalries.
THE OFFICIAL BLURB: Sophomore Catlyn Youngblood is used to the nomadic existence she and her two older brothers have shared since the death of their parents. When they settle down for good in the sleepy backwoods town of Lost Lake, Florida, Cat thinks they might finally fit in. Instead, they're shunned by the locals. While riding her horse late one night, Cat meets an enigmatic and handsome boy named Jesse Raven. Even more strange than her overpowering attraction to him is Jesse's apparent aversion to the sun. As their attraction intensifies, long-kept secrets come to light. Cat learns that the Ravens are a centuries-old vampire clan . . . and worse still, that she and her brothers are descendents of Abraham Van Helsing, the world-famous vampire hunter. Mortal enemies by blood, the two families do all they can to keep them apart. But Cat and Jesse will risk everything to be together—including death.

MY THOUGHTS: One of the official blurbs for this first in a new series by veteran author Lynn Viehl called it a cross between Twilight and Romeo and Juliet, and that’s pretty spot-on, I think. I was having serious Twilight flashbacks in the very beginning, what with the loner girl heading to her new school, complete with disastrous lunchroom scene. Ho-hum.
            But then the plot begins a slow twist into something deeper and more interesting than girl-loves-vampire. Cat is the descendant of an infamous vampire hunter, for one thing, with her own interesting family history she’s trying to unravel even as she falls for mysterious Jesse Raven, a pale, black-haired boy who (like Cat) loves to ride his horse after midnight.
            Ultimately, the Twilight comparison isn't fair. Viehl takes readers deeper into the question of identity and belonging, family loyalty and the power of love. Oh yeah, that’s the Romeo and Juliet thing.
            After Midnight is a good, quick read. Jesse won’t send hearts a’flutter like Edward, nor will he send other teeth a’grinding. And that’s a good thing. Cat’s a likeable, down-to-earth teen heroine with a couple of Very Interesting older brothers. Don’t know what’s coming up next in this series, but I hope it’s the story of Cat’s sexy older brother Gray, a mystery himself.

Want to win a copy of After Midnight? Tell me your favorite: Twilight, or Romeo and Juliet? I’ll go with the morbid R&J, I think. Yeah, so, everybody dies (not everyone can glitter!). You know the drill: +1 for comment, +1 for blog follow, +1 for Twitter follow @Suzanne_Johnson, and +1 for Tweet or Retweet. Fly!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Candles in the WIN

Because I never tire of bad winning puns.

The shameless little plug for what's coming on Preternatura next week:

We’ll have a two-part Reader’s Choice Contest this week (with two winners, of course) on Tuesday and Thursday. Because Monday’s a blog holiday, y’all, and because there are LOTS of new releases this week!

Reviews & giveaways coming up on Sunday and Friday featuring a new YA from Lynn Viehl, After Midnight, and a uber-cool new sci-fi from John Scalzi, Fuzzy Nation.

And, of course, Wednesday is Preternatura Book Club day, with the next two chapters from Kim Harrison’s Dead Witch Walking.

Okay, what's new today? Why, we have new contest winners, of course (if you prefer an electronic version, please let me know). I’d like to thank reader and fellow blogger Merlino Atanacio (aka Jayjay), who has developed a terrific little freeware random name generator to more easily choose winners for blog contests. It works a lot better than random.org (sorry, random, buh-bye). If you want to check out the program, click here. Jayjay says just leave your blog URL in the comments and request the program.

And here we go...

* Congratulations to LISA R for winning Lavie Tidhar’s Camera Obscura.

* Congrats to AMBER STULTZ for winning this week’s Reader’s Choice. She picked Kim Harrison’s Something Deadly This Way Comes.

* Congrats to JOSIAH for winning Cameron Haley’s Skeleton Crew.

* Congrats to KARA-KARINA for winning Meg Cabot’s Abandon..

* Congrats to TANYA1224 for winning Sable Grace’s Ascension..

Winners, I'll be contacting you next week for mailing info. If you want to beat me to the punch, you can
e-mail me!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Review & Contest: ASCENSION by Sable Grace

First, I'm being interviewed by author Marissa Farrar today at her blog--stop by here if you get a chance and say hello!

Now, ready for some steamy Friday paranormal romance? Today, we welcome the Queen―that would be MM, The Queen of English, a writing-workshop instructor who is taking on a new paranormal romance called Ascension. Read on, and enter for a chance to win!

ABOUT THE BOOK: The gates of hell have opened, and one woman will stand in the crossfire as the Dark Breed—vampyre, demons, shape shifters—and mankind fight their last battle for survival. Kyana is half Vampyre, half Lychen . . . and the last of her kind. Determined, dangerous, and damned, she has no love for the mortals who have imprisoned and misused her. But when the Order of Ancients entrusts her with a mission—to find the key that will send the Dark Breed back into Hell for eternity—Kyana has no choice but to accept. She is furious to learn her assignment comes with an escort . . . Ryker, a demigod and fierce warrior who long ago found a way under her skin and stayed there. In a shaky alliance, they discover an ancient cult with dangerous motive and a god who seeks to destroy all others. And as Kyana begins to feel the heat that threatens to bind her to Ryker, she knows she has to resist. For it could only mean the undoing of them both . . .

THOUGHTS FROM THE QUEEN OF ENGLISH: Ascension is the debut novel of the writing team of Heather Waters and Laura Barone under the pen name of Sable Grace. This urban fantasy takes place in St. Petersburg, Florida in the near future. Humans are at war with the Dark Breed, evil monsters who had been locked up in Tartarus until someone stole the key to the underworld prison and opened its door.
       Battling the monsters is Kyana, who is half Vampyre and half Lychen. The blending of vampire and werewolf has made her the best of the trackers, who take their orders from the Order of Ancients, Greek gods and goddesses. The Order gives her the mission to find the key that will send the Dark Breed back to Tartarus forever.
       That’s when things get interesting! Kyana is known to be a hot-head. The Order sends along Ryker, bastard child of Ares, with her to make sure she doesn’t kill the thief before they get to interrogate him. I did appreciate the irony here – the son of Ares, the original hot-head, is the cool-headed one.
       Ryker is also noble. Ten years ago Kyana tried to seduce him, but he refused. Not that he didn’t want her, as she believes, but … you’ll have to read to find out.  In the midst of danger and intrigue, her Lychen half seeks to bond with Ryker much to the dismay of her Vampyre half. Ryker wants forever, but Kyana promises only today.
       Kyana faces terrifying monsters and personal loss with the same kick-ass attitude. Thank goodness, Ryker is there to save her from her head-strong nature. The characters are fleshed out. No one is totally evil just as no one is totally good. Their adventures are scary and original.
       On my Grading Rubric for Books, Ascension earns a 3 out of 4 rating, or a B. Actually that’s very good, considering only classics earn A’s from me. If you like urban fantasy, a kiss-ass heroine, a strong, handsome, noble hero, and frightening situations and monsters, you’ll like Ascension.
       When you finish, you’ll be begging for a sequel. I know I am.

About MM, THE QUEEN OF ENGLISH: MM the Queen of English is a self-professed language arts geek. Being an English teacher for fifteen years has contributed to her geekiness. Becoming line editor for Black Velvet Seductions two years ago just made her geekiness official. The Queen believes her gift is understanding how to use the mechanics of English to effectively communicate with others. In other words, she knows how to make subjects agree with verbs and pronouns agree with their antecedents. She knows the how to use the verbs lie and lay correctly. You may applaud now.
     The reason the Queen decided to start her own workshop business, Workshops with MM the Queen of English, is reflected in the saying, “Give a hungry man a fish, and he eats for a day. Teach him how to fish, and he never goes hungry again.”
     Her goal is to teach writers what they need to know about English mechanics so that they won’t need an editing service to find those kinds of mistakes.
     If you’d like more information about the Queen’s workshops, visit her blog at http://queenofenglish.wordpress.com.

Thanks, MM (or should I say, ‘Your Majesty’)!

Want to win a copy of ASCENSION? You know the drill: +1 for comment, +1 for blog follow, +1 for Twitter follow @Suzanne_Johnson, and +1 for Tweet or Retweet. Go!