Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Preternatura Book Club: HALFWAY TO THE GRAVE, Chapters 1-2


Welcome to this week’s “meeting” of the Preternatura Book Club! Today, by reader vote, we’re beginning a new read, with the first book in Jeaniene Frost’s Night Huntress series, Halfway to the Grave.

This is a new series for me, although you guys have been singing the praises of Cat and Bones on this blog forever. So if you’re new to the series, or an old pro, hope you’ll join in and share your thoughts as we read. (And OMG. I totally love Bones already!)

Here’s how it works. Each week, I’ll post a summary (spoiler alert!) on two chapters, and we’ll chat about them. Try to minimize spoilers beyond what’s happened in the book we’ve read so far. You can read along, read ahead, or just stop by and read the summaries. After the Book Club has been up a few days, I’ll move it to archives so you can still come back and read. There’s a “Book Club” tab above. So, let’s get started!

HALFWAY TO THE GRAVE, CHAPTERS 1-2

The book begins with Cat being pulled over at 4 a.m. by the sheriff of Licking Falls, Ohio, and praying he won’t find the body in the back of her truck.

First chapters are always interesting, because the author has to cleverly pile in enough backstory to put the scene in context without overloading the reader.

So here’s what we learn about Cat from this chapter, besides the fact she has a body in the back of her truck, hidden under bags of cherries. Her name is Catherine Crawfield, daughter of Justina, granddaughter of the owner of Crawfield Cherry Orchard—but she does her “night work” as Cat Raven. The sheriff’s deputy implies, or at least Cat thinks so, that her mother was the town tramp. Cat was born out of wedlock. She is half-human, half the daughter of a vampire rapist, and something happens when she gets angry to shed that human veneer. We don’t yet know the scope of her abilities.

Now, Cat spends her nights hawking nightclubs, picking up vampires and killing them. (Daddy issues much?)

The next weekend, Cat goes out vampire hunting again. It’s a slow night, but she finally spots a vampire at a corner booth (she can feel the energy in the air change when they’re about). He’s blond and British, with dark eyes and flawless “diamonds-and-cream” skin. She saunters over and feeds him a pickup line, and he blows her off. She keeps trying, finally giving him a blunt “Let’s f***”—not a phrase she’s ever said before, and it makes her blush. He gives her a careful once-over, but still shoos her away. Unaccustomed to rejection, she runs to the ladies’ room to inspect her appearance and decides maybe the handsome vampire is gay.

Fortunately for Cat, another vamp comes along and she entices him just fine, luring him to a secluded spot for their rendezvous. When his eyes glow green and he dips his head for a taste, she stakes him.

Next night, she goes back to the same bar and has her back turned, totally missing the crackle of energy, when the British vampire tells her he’s “ready to f** now.” She blushes again, and realizes this guy is different. She can’t bat her eyelashes and manipulate him, for one thing. He insists on going now, not walking out ahead of her, making her drive (which puts her stake on the wrong side), and refusing to tell her his name. Not to mention he calls her “Kitten” instead of Cat, which she doesn’t like.

When she drives to her favorite murder spot to “shag,” he’s even more uncooperative. He wants to do it in the truck. He wants her to take off her clothes to see what she has and, when she balks, says fine, they’ll both undress at once. When she turns away in her modesty to keep from seeing more of him than she wants to, he punches her lights out.

Cat awakens chained to a wall in a cave in her underwear, with the vampire making bad Tweety Bird jokes. He wants to know who she works for and when she says no one, he slaps her around a bit—but laughs when she calls him “ass-munch” and “suck-neck.”

The vampire (okay, I might as well call him Bones even though we haven’t been told his name yet) tells her the vamp she staked the night before was the person he was at the bar to find—he followed them, watched her stake him, then followed her home and watched her chop his head off and bury him in pieces. He can also smell vampire on Cat, and assumes she has a vampire boss who gives her some of his blood.

Finally, Cat tells him the truth—that she’s part vampire, her father a rapist, she was born after five months, she figured out on her own how to kill them (silver stake covered in wood to make it look harmless). He’s hardly a sympathetic listener and doesn’t believe her until he sees her eyes glow green as his.

Now, Bones is excited. He tells her she’s only been killing baby vampires but could never take on a master vampire like himself. So he wants to partner with her, use her as bait to hunt and kill other powerful vampires. (We don't yet know his motives.) Either that, or he can drain her. Her choice. She agrees—unless she can take him down in a fight. Winner take all.


LET’S CHAT!

Can’t decide how I feel about Cat yet, although her humiliation at the hands of Bones is really hilarious. I mean, the girl goes out, picks up vamps, seduces them (or at least makes them think so), and then stakes them and cuts their heads off. But she’s this almost-virginal girl who blushes every other minute? Okay, because Bones is utterly charming, I’m gonna give Cat the benefit of a doubt and go with it for now.

And, really, what’s with mom? Mom endorses and encourages this behavior in her daughter? We don’t really know how old Cat is at this point, but I’m guessing college age. So is mom really unbalanced? Guess so—apparently she’s afraid to leave the house.

Overall, I’m loving this story and had trouble stopping after two chapters. Talk to me. What do you like about this series? Do you find Cat’s innocence a little contradictory? And how very sexy is Bones, anyway?

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Sci-Fi Review & Contest: THE MOON MAZE GAME by Larry Niven and Steven Barnes


Any RPGers out there? What if your RPG wasn’t online... but was on the moon? What if, thanks to some terrorists, it turned real? Pretty good novel premise, at least, huh? Today, we’re looking at The Moon Maze Game, by science fiction veterans Larry Niven and Steven Barnes, published by Tor Books. Want a copy? Read on!

THE OFFICIAL BLURB: The Year: 2085. Humanity has spread throughout the solar system. A stable lunar colony is agitating for independence. Lunar tourism is on the rise...Against this background, professional “Close Protection” specialist Scotty Griffin, fresh off a disastrous assignment, is offered the opportunity of a lifetime: to shepherd the teenaged heir to the Republic of Kikaya on a fabulous vacation. Ali Kikaya will participate in the first live action role playing game conducted on the Moon itself. Having left Luna--and a treasured marriage--years ago due to a near-tragic accident, Scotty leaps at the opportunity.
            Live Action Role Playing attracts a very special sort of individual: brilliant, unpredictable, resourceful, and addicted to problem solving. By kidnapping a dozen gamers in the middle of the ultimate game, watched by more people than any other sporting event in history, they have thrown down an irresistible gauntlet: to “win” the first game that ever became “real.” Pursued by armed and murderous terrorists, forced to solve gaming puzzles to stay a jump ahead, forced to juggle multiple psychological realities as they do...this is the game for which they’ve prepared their entire lives, and they are going to play it for all it’s worth.

MY THOUGHTS: Every once in a while I like a good old thriller of a science fiction story, and this is one. Should start off by saying that this is a standalone novel even though it’s technically part of a series the coauthors began over a decade ago. It’s set in the same world but that’s about the only connection.
            Scotty Griffin is one of those standup guys who’s kind of on his last try (think some of those old Bruce Willis movies), still in pretty good shape but running out of options. He botches a seemingly simple protection job, so he jumps at the odd request to see the spoiled, rich prince-turned-gamer to the Moon game. He’s unaware, of course, that the prince and his corrupt daddy have amassed enemies who see the “game” as a chance for some serious anarchy.
            It’s a tense read, which means it’s fast and fun. And makes me think gaming is most definitely not for me.

Want to win a copy of The Moon Maze Game? Tell me if you'd want to play a "live action" RPG? Not me! I'm too big a chicken. It’s the usual the drill: +1 for comment, +1 for blog follow, +1 for Twitter follow @Suzanne_Johnson, and +1 for Tweet or Retweet. Now, start playing!

Monday, August 29, 2011

New Releases Aug. 29-Sept. 2 & Reader's Choice Contest


So, remember those quiet, peaceful release weeks we’ve had the last two weeks? No more! We have a monster-pile of new releases this week and next in all genres, so strap on your helmets and wade on in. What do YOU want to read? As always, a Reader’s Choice giveaway—and it’s international. Get to reading!

Aftermath, by Ann Aguirre (Ace)
During the war against murderous, flesh-eating aliens, grimspace “jumper” Sirantha Jax decided to go it alone. The cost of her actions: the destruction of modern interstellar travel—and the lives of 600 Conglomerate soldiers. Now she’s on trial for dereliction of duty, desertion, mass murder, high treason—and her life. Fifth in the Sirantha Jax series. SF

Anna Dressed in Blood, by Kendare Blake (Tor Teen)
Cas Lowood has inherited an unusual vocation: He kills the dead. So did his father before him, until he was gruesomely murdered by a ghost he sought to kill. Now, armed with his father's mysterious and deadly athame, Cas travels the country with his kitchen-witch mother and their spirit-sniffing cat. Together, they follow legends and local lore, trying to keep up with the murderous dead—keeping pesky things like the future and friends at bay. When they arrive in a new town in search of a ghost the locals call Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas doesn't expect anything outside of the ordinary. What he finds instead is a girl entangled in curses and rage, a ghost like he's never faced before.  YA

Awakenings, by Edward Lazellari (Tor)
Cal MacDonnell is a happily married New York City cop with a loving family. Seth Raincrest is a washed-up photographer who has alienated even his closest friends. The two have nothing in common—except that they both suffer from retrograde amnesia. It’s as if they just appeared out of thin air thirteen years ago, and nothing has been able to restore their memories. Now their forgotten past has caught up to them with a vengeance. Cal’s and Seth’s lives are turned upside down as they are stalked by otherworldly beings who know about the men's past lives. But these creatures aren't here to help; they’re intent on killing anyone who gets in their way. UF

The Bible Repairman and Other Stories, by Tim Powers (Tachyon)
Gathering short fiction previously available only in limited editions, this collection explores the mysteries of souls—whether they are sacrificed on the pinnacle of Mount Parnassus or lodged in a television cable box. The cornerstone of the collection is a postscript to the novel of the haunting of the Romantic poets, The Stress of Her Regard. Once Byron and Shelley break free of the succubus that claimed them, their associate, Trelawny, forges an alliance with Greek rebels to reestablish the deadly connection between man and the nephilim. UF

Blood Rules, by Christine Cody (Ace)
After the man named Gabriel came to the Bloodlands, Mariah Lyander was forced to face her true nature, and the horrible things she had done. To redeem herself, she embarks on a quest to find a rumored cure for her were-creatures hoping to recover her own humanity—and Gabriel's love. Second in the Bloodlands Trilogy. PNR

Blood Sacrifice, by Maria Lima (Pocket)
Talk about wedding crashers from hell. Keira Kelly and her sexy vampire king, Adam, are about to tie the proverbial knot—sort of—when an uninvited blood relative shows up to cast a long, dark shadow over the happy occasion. Adam’s brother Gideon comes bearing the one-size-fits-all gift of bad news: an ancient, convoluted Challenge thrown down upon the entire Kelly clan. It seems the dreaded forces of the Dark Fae have declared war on Keira’s family, and at stake is the land that is rightfully theirs. Fifth in the Blood Lines series. PNR

Canyons of Night, by Jayne Castle (Jove)
The island of Rainshadow is home to the mysterious, privately owned woods known only as the Preserve. Now, after 15 years away, both Charlotte Enright and her teen crush, Slade Attridge, have returned. But will their psi talents and Slade’s dust bunny companion be enough to keep them from getting drawn into the darkness at the heart of the Preserve? Third in the Looking Glass series and the twelve Arcane Society novel by Jayne Ann Krentz writing as Jayne Castle. PNR?

Circle of Enemies, by Harry Connolly (Del Rey)
Former car thief Ray Lilly is now the expendable grunt of a sorcerer responsible for destroying extradimensional predators summoned to our world by power-hungry magicians. Luckily, Ray has some magic of his own, and so far it’s kept him alive. But when a friend from his former gang calls him back to his old stomping grounds in Los Angeles, Ray may have to face a threat even he can’t handle. Third in the Twenty Palaces series. UF

Crossroads, by Jeanne C. Stein (Ace)
After the death of Anna's old vampire mentor causes ripples in the mortal world, Anna needs to lie low. But when Max—an FBI agent and Anna’s former flame—comes to her with reports that bodies are showing up on the Mexican border drained of blood, Anna has no choice but to get involved, both with the case and with the man who broke her heart. Seventh in the Anna Strong Chronicles series. UF

The Crown of the Conqueror, by Gav Thorpe (Angry Robot)
Ullsaard has the crown. But when he is confronted with a truth too shocking to contemplate, he has to make the impossible choice between power and honor. And now the real battle has begun in this sequel to The Crown of the Blood, packed with gargantuan battles, demonic magic and treacherous politics. F

Damned, by Nancy Holder and Debbie Viguié (Simon Pulse)
Antonio would do anything for his beloved fighting partner Jenn. He protects her, even suppresses his vampire cravings to be with her. But tensions threaten to fracture their hunting team and his loyalty—his love—is called into question. Jenn, the newly appointed Hunter, aches for revenge against the Cursed One who converted her sister. With an even more sinister power on the rise, she must overcome her personal vendettas to lead her team into battle.  Antonio and Jenn need each other to survive, but evil lurks at every turn. Second in the Crusade series. YA

The Dark Glamour, by Gabriella Pierce (William Morrow)
Jane Boyle married her prince charming and moved into his Upper East Side castle—but it’s hard to live happily ever after when your controlling mother-in-law is literally a witch, determined to steal the magical powers you didn’t know you had. Jane narrowly avoided Lynne Doran’s clutches when she escaped on her wedding day, but she can’t hide forever. When Jane learns of the one thing Lynne wants most, she sets out to provide it, hoping her good turn will persuade her mother-in-law to stop hunting her. Unfortunately, Jane’s daring plan will send her right back into the witches’ den—the Doran clan’s multistory townhouse on Park Avenue. Second in the 666 Park Avenue series. UF

Devil’s Business, by Caitlin Kittredge (St. Martin’s)
Pete Caldecott did everything she could to save Jack from Hell, even reigning in the dark machinations of the Morrigan to help bring him home. Still, Black London has not welcomed Jack back with open arms. So when a friend in Los Angeles asks for help tracking a sorcerous serial killer, Pete and Jack decide a change of scenery couldn’t hurt. But the shadow side of the City of Angels turns out to be more treacherous than they ever imagined. Fourth in the Black London series. UF

Evangelina, by MaryJanice Davidson and Anthony Alongi (Ace)
A fatal incident at a medical facility sends U.S. government agents on the trail of Evangelina Scales—Jennifer’s sister and an extraordinary figure with deadly intent. But not everything is as it seems. Sixth in the Jennifer Scales series. UF.

The Evil Inside, by Heather Graham (Mira)
For as long as it has stood overlooking New England’s jagged coastline, Lexington House has been the witness to madness and murder. But in recent years the malice that once tormented so many has lain as silent. Until now. A member of the nation’s foremost paranormal forensic team, Jenna Duffy has made a career out of investigating the inexplicable. Yet nothing could prepare her for the string of slayings once again plaguing Lexington House, or for the chief suspect—a boy barely old enough to drive. Fourth in the Krewe of Hunters series. UF

The Fox Inheritance, by Mary E. Pearson (Henry Holt)
Once there were three. Three friends who loved each other—Jenna, Locke, and Kara. And after a terrible accident destroyed their bodies, their three minds were kept alive, spinning in a digital netherworld. Even in that disembodied nightmare, they were still together. At least at first. When Jenna disappeared, Locke and Kara had to go on without her. Two-hundred-and-sixty years later, they have been released at last. Given new, perfect bodies, Locke and Kara awaken to a world they know nothing about, where everyone they once knew and loved is long dead. Everyone except Jenna Fox. Second in the Jenna Fox Chronicles.  YA

Fury, by Elizabeth Miles (Simon Pulse)
It’s winter break in Ascension, Maine. The snow is falling and everything looks pristine and peaceful. Emily loves the holidays. And this year’s even better—the guy she’s been into for months is finally noticing her. But Em knows if she starts things with him, there’s no turning back. Because his girlfriend is Em’s best friend. On the other side of town, Chase is having problems of his own. The stress of his home life is starting to take its toll, and his social life is unraveling. But that’s nothing compared to what’s really haunting him. Chase has done something cruel...something the perfect guy he pretends to be would never do. And it’s only a matter of time before he’s exposed. In Ascension, mistakes can be deadly. And three girls—three beautiful, mysterious girls—are here to choose who will pay. YA

Ghost of a Smile, by Simon R. Green (Ace)
The Ghost Finders answer a distress call from the private research center of one of the biggest drug companies in the world, where a team of police enforcement agents have vanished. They have no idea what they’re facing—except a deadline that threatens to remove the entire building from existence if they fail to get to the bottom of the mystery. Second in the Ghostfinders series. UF

Grave Expectations, by Charles Dickens and Sherri Browning Irwin (Gallery)
A literary mashup that rewrites Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations with Pip as a werewolf and Estella as a vampire slayer. UF

The Gray Wolf Throne, by Cinda Williams Chima (Hyperion)
Han Alister thought he had already lost everyone he loved. But when he finds his friend Rebecca Morley near death in the Spirit Mountains, Han knows that nothing matters more than saving her. The costs of his efforts are steep, but nothing can prepare him for what he soon discovers: the beautiful, mysterious girl he knew as Rebecca is none other than Raisa ana’Marianna, heir to the Queendom of the Fells. Han is hurt and betrayed. He knows he has no future with a blueblood. And, as far as he’s concerned, the princess’s family killed his own mother and sister. But if Han is to fulfill his end of an old bargain, he must do everything in his power to see Raisa crowned queen.  YA

Hades, by Alexandra Adornetto (Feiwel & Friends)
Even the love of her boyfriend, Xavier Woods, and her archangel siblings, Gabriel and Ivy, can’t keep the angel Bethany Church from being tricked into a motorcycle ride that ends up in Hell. There, Jake Thorn bargains for Beth’s release back to Earth. But what he asks of her will destroy her, and quite possibly her loved ones as well. Can he be trusted in this wager? Second in the Halo series. YA

The Hour of Dust and Ashes, by Kelly Gay (Pocket)
Protecting Atlanta from the off-world criminals of Underground is tough enough, but now Detective Charlie Madigan and her siren partner, Hank, learn that the addicts of the offworld drug ash have begun taking their own lives. Ash makes humans the perfect vessels for possession, and something or someone is leading them to their deaths. Charlie is desperate to save her addicted sister, Bryn, from a similar fate. As New Year’s Eve approaches and time runs out, Charlie makes a deadly bargain with an ancient race of beings and embarks on a dangerous journey into hellish Charbydon with Hank and the Revenant Rex to save Bryn and make it back before it’s too late. Third in the Charlie Madigan series. UF

Never Been Bit, by Lydia Dare (Sourcebooks Casablanca)
Alec MacQuarrie’s afterlife has become an endless search for pleasure in an effort to overcome his despair. Wandering through the seedy world of London's demimonde, he’s changed into a dark creature even he doesn’t recognize until he stumbles into a woman who gives him a glimpse of the life he could have had. After watching each of her coven sisters happily marry, Sorcha Ferguson is determined to capture a Lycan husband of her very own. Over his dead body is Alec going to allow her to throw herself away on an unworthy werewolf, but he’s the worst monster of them all. PNR

No Proper Lady, by Isabel Cooper (Sourcebooks Casablanca)
England, 1888. The trees are green, the birds are singing, and in 200 years demons will destroy it all. Unless Joan, an assassin from the future, can take out the dark magician responsible. But to get close to her target she’ll need help learning how to fit into Victorian society. Simon has his own reasons for wanting to destroy Alex Reynell, and Joan may be his perfect revenge. But as each day passes, Simon is less sure he wants her anywhere near Reynell. PNR

One Grave at a Time, by Jeaniene Frost (Avon)
Having narrowly averted an (under)world war, Cat Crawfield wants nothing more than a little downtime with her vampire husband, Bones. Unfortunately, her gift from New Orleans’ voodoo queen just keeps on giving—leading to a personal favor that sends them into battle once again, this time against a villainous spirit. Sixth in the Night Huntress series. UF

The Postmortal, by Drew Magary (Penguin)
John Farrell is about to get “The Cure.” Old age can never kill him. The only problem is, everything else still can. Imagine a near future where a cure for aging is discovered and—after much political and moral debate—made available to people worldwide. Immortality, however, comes with its own unique problems, including evil green people, government euthanasia programs, a disturbing new religious cult, and other horrors.  SF

Reality 36, by Guy Haley (Angry Robot)
Something is amiss in the renegade digital realm of Reality 36. Richards, a Level 5 AI with a PI fetish, and his partner, a decommissioned German military cyborg, are on the trail of a murderer, but the killer has hidden inside an artificial reality. Richards and Klein must stop him before he becomes a god—for the good of all the realms. Sf

The Recollection, by Gareth L. Powell (Solaris)
When his brother disappears on a London Underground escalator, failed artist Ed Rico and his brother’s wife Alice have to put aside their feelings for each other to find him. Their quest through the ‘arches’ will send them hurtling through time, to new and terrifying alien worlds. Four hundred years in the future, Katherine Abdulov must travel to a remote planet in order to regain the trust of her influential family. The only person standing in her way is her former lover, Victor Luciano, the ruthless employee of a rival trading firm. Hard choices lie ahead as lives and centuries clash and, in the unforgiving depths of space, an ancient evil stirs.  Sf

Regicide, by Nicholas Royle (Solaris)
Carl meets Annie Risk and falls for her. Hurt by a recent relationship, she resists becoming involved. A chance find offers distraction when Carl stumbles across part of a map to an unknown town. He becomes convinced it represents the city of his dreams, where ice skaters turn quintuple loops and trumpeters hit impossibly high noteswhere Annie Risk will agree to see him again. But if he ever finds himself in the streets on his map, will they turn out to be the land of his dreams or the world of his worst nightmares? UF

Roil, by Trent Jamieson (Angry Robot)
Shale is in trouble—the creature-filled darkness known as the Roil is expanding, consuming the land, swallowing cities whole. Where once there were 12 metropolises, now only four remain. It’s up to a drug addict, an old man and a woman bent on revenge to try to save their city—and the world. First in a new series. F

The Sookie Stackhouse Companion, by Charlaine Harris (Ace)
Fans of Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse series get an in-depth look at Sookie, her family, friends, enemies, adventures, and—of course—the lovers who set her world on fire. Readers can tour Bon Temps; read transcripts of Eric and Bill’s private conversations; examine all the branches of Sookie’s family tree; learn the fine points of the distinctions between vampire, shifter and fae; and get must-have Bon Temps recipes, including Caroline Bellefleur’s famous chocolate cake. UF

Soul Thief, by Jana Oliver (St. Martin’s)
Riley Blackthorne is beginning to learn that there are worse things than death by demon. And love is just one of them. Seventeen-year-old Riley has about had it up to here. After the devastating battle at the Tabernacle, trappers are dead, her boyfriend Simon is injured, and now her late father’s been illegally poached from his grave by a necromancer. As if that’s not enough, there’s Ori, one sizzling hot freelance demon hunter, and Beck, an overprotective “friend” who acts more like a grouchy granddad. As Atlanta’s demon count increases, the Vatican finally sends its own Demon Hunters to take care of the city’s little problem, and pandemonium breaks loose. Second in the Demon Trappers series. YA

Supernatural (anthology), by Larissa Ione, Alexandra Ivy, Jacquelyn Frank, G.A. Aiken (Zebra)
Four novellas including “Vampire Fight Club” by Larissa Ione; “Darkness Eternal” by Alexandra Ivy; “Kane” by Jacquelyn Frank; and “Dragon on Top” by G.A. Aiken. PNR

Tempted, by Elisabeth Naughton (Sourcebooks Casablanca)
Demetrius is the hulking, brooding warrior his fellow Guardians avoid. Too dark. Too damaged. For Isadora’s own protection, he had done all he could to avoid the fragile princess—his soul mate. But Isadora has been kidnapped. And finally letting her into his heart may be the only way to save them both. PNR

Twisted, by Gena Showalter (Harlequin Teen)
Sixteen-year-old Aden Stone has had a hell of a week. He’s been tortured by angry witches.  Hypnotized by a vengeful faery. Spied on by the most powerful vampire in existence. And, oh, yeah. Killed—twice.  His vampire girlfriend might have brought him back to life, but he’s never felt more out of control. There’s a darkness within him, something taking over . . . changing him. But the more vampire Aden becomes, the more human Victoria becomes, until everything they know and love is threatened. Third in the Intertwined series. YA

White Tiger, by Kylie Chan (Harper Voyager)
Emma Donahoe has just started her new job as nanny to Simone, the daughter of John Chen, a rich Hong Kong businessman. She understands that Simone may be a target for kidnappers but she does not expect to be drawn into a world of martial arts, magic and extreme danger, where both gods and demons can exist in the mortal domain. When John and his American bodyguard, Leo, teach Emma their particular style of martial arts, they begin to realize that Emma herself is more than she seems. First in the Dark Heavens series. UF

Wings of Fire, by Caris Roane (St. Martin’s)
By night, the winged warrior Antony Medichi fights the death vampires who threaten his world. By day, he hunts the rogue vampires who invade Mortal Earth. But deep in his heart rages the fiercest battle of all—his soul-searing passion for the one mortal he is sworn to protect. Parisa Lovejoy is so beautiful, and so powerful, that Antony cannot fight the feelings she arouses. But his unexpected love only intensifies his strength as her Guardian—a strength that is put to the ultimate test when Parisa is abducted. Third in the World of Ascension series. PNR

Witchlanders, by Lena Coakley (Atheneum)
High in their mountain covens, red witches pray to the Goddess, protecting the Witchlands by throwing the bones and foretelling the future. It’s all a fake. At least, that’s what Ryder thinks. What danger is there to foretell now that his people’s old enemy, the Baen, has been defeated? But when a terrifying new magic threatens both his village and the coven, Ryder must confront the beautiful and silent witch who holds all the secrets. Everything he’s ever believed about witches, the Baen, magic and about himself will change, when he discovers that the prophecies he’s always scorned are about him. YA

With Fate Conspire, by Marie Brennan (Tor)
Marie Brennan returns to the Onyx Court, a fairy city hidden below Queen Victoria's London. Now the Onyx Court faces its greatest challenge. Seven years ago, Eliza’s childhood sweetheart vanished from the streets of Whitechapel. No one believed her when she told them that he was stolen away by the faeries. But she hasn’t given up the search. It will lead her across London and into the hidden palace that gives refuge to faeries in the mortal world. That refuge is now crumbling, broken by the iron of the underground railway, and the resulting chaos spills over to the streets above. Fourth in the Onyx Court series.  UF

See anything you want? (How could you not?!) So…International Reader’s Choice―you tell me. Just a note: if you like a title but it isn’t the first in a series, you can always request the first in that series instead. 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!


Sunday, August 28, 2011

Happy Sunday

No blog today--if you're really desperate, head on over to the Castles & Guns blog today, where I'm talking about a couple of milestones I reached this week in the road toward publication.

Come by tomorrow for a MONSTROUS list of new releases!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Whence Go the Winners


Thoughts are with all my friends on the U.S. East Coast this weekend. May Irene fizzle out and all the fuss be for nothing!

I do feel some winners blowing in, though, and here they are!

Congrats to KRISTA for winning Felix Palma’s The Map of  Time.

Congrats to CAIT for winning the week’s Reader’s Choice contest. She chose Possess.

Congrats to BHAND35 for winning David Chandler’s Den of Thieves.

Congrats to MARIEE for winning the five-book prize pack. She picked Chance of a Lifetime; Blood Cursed; The Vampire Next Door; Siren; and Awaken the Highland Warrior.

Finally, congrats to ROGER, who won a signed cover flat for my upcoming release Royal Street. I wish I had more of these to share, but I thank everyone for their wonderful support for the book and the awesome cover art! I’ll have more swaggishness coming up as we march toward release.

Winners, please email me HERE with your mailing info as soon as possible. Don’t make me chase you down!