Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Books Received (May/June)…


A quieter couple of weeks, thankfully. This gives me some (miniscule) hope of catching up a little bit…

Featuring: Samit Basu, Joanna Briscoe, Troy Denning, Kevin Hearne, Hugh Howey, Bruce McCabe, Sandra Newman, Karin Slaughter, Anne Thayer, Angus Watson, Louise Welsh

Basu-T2-ResistanceSamit Basu, Resistance (Titan)

Eleven years after the passengers of flight BA142 from London to Delhi developed extraordinary abilities corresponding to their innermost desires, the world is overrun with supers. Some use their powers for good, others for evil, and some just want to smash up iconic monuments and get on TV. But now someone is hunting down supers, killing heroes and villains both, and it’s up to the Unit to stop them…

This actually turned up at my old address in New York (which I left in January 2013…). I still need to get around to reading Turbulence, but I am very much looking forward to catching up and reading this.


BriscoeJ-TouchedJoanna Briscoe, Touched (Hammer)

1963: Rowena Crale and her family have recently moved into an old house in a small English village.

But the house appears to be resisting all attempts at renovation.

Walls ooze damp. Stains come through layers of wallpaper. Ceilings sag. And strange noises – voices – emanate from empty rooms.

As Rowena struggles with the upheaval of builders while trying to be a dutiful wife to her husband and a good mother to her five small children, her life starts to disintegrate.

And then her eldest and prettiest daughter goes missing.

Out in the village, a frantic search is mounted – while inside the house reveals its darkest secret: a hidden room with no windows and no obvious entrance.

Boarded up, it smells of old food, disinfectant – and death…

Set in a world where appearances are everything, and nothing is as it seems, Touched is unsettling, claustrophobic, and utterly gripping.

Never heard of the novel before it arrived in the mail. Could be interesting. May get to it.


SW-Crucible(Denning)PBTroy Denning, Crucible (Arrow)

Han Solo, Leia Organa Solo, and Luke Skywalker return in an all-new Star Wars adventure, which will challenge them in ways they never expected – and forever alter their understanding of life and the Force.

When Han and Leia Solo arrive at Lando Calrissian’s Outer Rim mining operation to help him thwart a hostile takeover, their aim is just to even up the odds and lay down the law. Then monstrous aliens arrive with a message, and mere threats escalate into violent sabotage with mass fatalities. When the dust settles, what began as corporate warfare becomes a battle with much higher stakes – and far deadlier consequences.

Now Han, Leia, and Luke team up once again in a quest to defeat a dangerous adversary bent on galaxy-wide domination. Only this time, the Empire is not the enemy. It is a pair of ruthless geniuses with a lethal ally and a lifelong vendetta against Han Solo. They will stop at nothing to control the lucrative Outer Rim mining trade – and ultimately the entire galactic economy. And when the murderous duo gets the drop on Han, he finds himself outgunned in the fight of his life. To save him, and the galaxy, Luke and Leia must brave a gauntlet of treachery, terrorism, and the untold power of an enigmatic artifact capable of bending space, time, and even the Force itself into an apocalyptic nightmare.

I remain woefully behind on my Star Wars reading. I just couldn’t get into Apocalypse, the final book in the final (I hope) nine-book arc that comes just before this (and Mercy Kill). I hope, at some point, to finish off Apocalypse, in order to get to this novel. It sounds good, and I like the prospect of a stand-alone after so many multi-book stories.


Hearne-7-ShatteredKevin Hearne, Shattered (Orbit)

For nearly two thousand years, there was only one Druid left walking the Earth – Atticus O’Sullivan, the Iron Druid, whose sharp wit and sharp sword kept him alive while pursued by a pantheon of hostile deities. Now he’s got company.

Atticus’s apprentice Granuaile is finally a full Druid herself. What’s more, Atticus has defrosted an archdruid long ago frozen in time, a father figure (of sorts) who now goes by the modern name Owen Kennedy.

And Owen has some catching up to do.

Atticus takes pleasure in the role reversal, as the student is now the teacher. Between busting Atticus’s chops and trying to fathom a cell phone, Owen must also learn English. For Atticus, the jury’s still out on whether the wily old coot will be an asset in the epic battle with Norse god Loki – or merely a pain in the arse.

As the trio of Druids deals with pestilence-spreading demons, bacon-loving yeti, fierce flying foxes, and frenzied Fae, they’re hoping that this time… three’s a charm.

This is the seventh book in Hearne’s Iron Druid series. I’ve only read the first two – both of which I very much enjoyed – so I’ll have to get my arse in gear to get caught up.


HoweyH-SandUKHugh Howey, Sand (Century)

The old world is buried. A new one has been forged atop the shifting dunes. Here in this land of howling wind and infernal sand, four siblings find themselves scattered and lost.

Palmer has never been the same since his father walked out twelve years ago. His elder sister, Vic, is trying to run away from the past; his younger brothers, Connor and Rob, are risking their lives to embrace it. His mother, left with nothing but anger, is just trying to forget.

Palmer wants to prove his worth, not only to his family, but to himself. And in the barren, dune-covered landscape of his home, there is only one way to earn respect: sand-diving. Plunging deep below the desert floor in search of relics and scraps of the old world. He is about to embark on the most dangerous dive of his young life, aiming to become the first to discover the rumoured city below.

Deep within the sand lies the key to bringing his family together – and tearing their world apart.

Still haven’t read anything by Hugh Howey. I am intrigued by the whole Wool saga. I just never got my hands on the first one when I could read it, so it’s fallen by the wayside. This seems to be a standalone, or the start of a new series, so I think I may start with this one.


McCabeB-SkinjobUKMcCabe, Skinjob (Transworld)

A bomb goes off in down town San Francisco. Twelve people are dead. But this is no ordinary target. This target exists on the fault line where sex and money meet.

Daniel Madsen is one of a new breed of federal agents armed with a badge, a gun and the Bureau’s latest piece of technology. He’s a fast operator and his instructions are simple: find the bomber – and before he strikes again.

In order to understand what is at stake, Madsen must plunge into a sleazy, unsettling world where reality and fantasy are indistinguishable, exploitation is business as usual, and the dead hand of corruption reaches all the way to the top. There’s too much money involved for this investigation to stay private...

This sounds like an interesting thriller. I’ve seen mixed responses from others, but I’m intrigued enough that I’m going to give it a try.


Newman-CountryOfIceCreamStarSandra Newman, The Country of Ice Cream Star (Knopf)

A post-apocalyptic literary epic in the tradition of The Handmaid’s Tale, Divergent and Cloud Atlas, and a breakout book in North America for a writer of rare and unconventional talent.

From Guardian First Book Award finalist Sandra Newman comes an ambitious and extraordinary novel of a future in which bands of children and teens survive on the detritus – physical and cultural – of a collapsed America. When her brother is struck down by Posies – a contagion that has killed everyone by their late teens for generations – fifteen-year-old Ice Cream Star pursues the rumour of a cure and sets out on a quest to save him, her tribe and what’s left of their future. Along the way she faces broken hearts and family tragedy, mortal danger and all-out war – and much growing up for the girl who may have led herself and everyone she loves to their doom.

That first paragraph in the synopsis gets rather close to raising expectations rather too high… Nevertheless, this is a novel I’ve known about for a while. It sounds interesting, so I’ll try to get to it relatively soon. In fact, perhaps very soon, as I’m currently experiencing some post-novel What-To-Read-Next indecisiveness…


SlaughterK-CopTownUKKarin Slaughter, Cop Town (Century)

An epic story of a city in the midst of seismic upheaval, a serial killer targeting cops, and a divided police force tasked with bringing a madman to justice.

Atlanta, 1974: As a brutal murder and a furious manhunt rock the city’s police department, Kate Murphy wonders if her first day on the job will also be her last. She’s determined to defy her privileged background by making her own way – wearing a badge and carrying a gun. But for a beautiful young woman, life will be anything but easy in the macho world of the Atlanta PD, where even the female cops have little mercy for rookies. It’s also the worst day possible to start given that a beloved cop has been gunned down, his brothers in blue are out for blood, and the city is on the edge of war.

Kate isn’t the only woman on the force who’s feeling the heat. Maggie Lawson followed her uncle and brother into the ranks to prove her worth in their cynical eyes. When she and Kate, her new partner, are pushed out of the citywide search for a cop killer, their fury, pain, and pride finally reach the boiling point. With a killer poised to strike again, they will pursue their own line of investigation, risking everything as they venture into the city’s darkest heart.

Relentlessly paced, acutely observed, wickedly funny, and often heartbreaking, Cop Town is Karin Slaughter’s most powerful novel yet – a tour de force of storytelling from our foremost master of character, atmosphere, and suspense.

This is apparently Slaughter’s first stand-alone novel. Which is handy, as I’ve never read anything by the author buy have always wanted to. My series OCD means I would always want to go back to the beginning. This sounds pretty good, though, so I may be able to get to this rather soon. Maybe even next, I still can’t decide what I’m going to read next (currently reading non-fiction only, because I couldn’t decide).


Anna Thayer, The Traitor’s Heir & The King’s Hand (Lion Fiction)


In an epic and mystical tale that resonates with modern times, the young Eamon Goodman goes on a journey of discovery. A journey which sees him taking an increasingly pivotal role in the battle between the rival forces of the king and the master, and takes him from being a young soldier in his home of Edesfield to being a fast-rising hero in the dense and rotten city of Dunthruik.

Under the watchful eye of Lord Cathair, in the loving arms of Lady Alessia Turnholt, and torn between enemy forces, Eamon’s experiences lead him to question the nature and true meaning of some of the most important things in life – love and friendship, loyalty and honour, and who he really is. But will the answers he finds lead him to become true to himself and true to his name? Will they lead him to become a good man?

These could be interesting. If maybe a bit derivative. The author is a lecturer on and scholar of J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, apparently.


WatsonA-AgeOfIronAngus Watson, Age of Iron (Orbit)


Dug Sealskinner is a down-on-his-luck mercenary traveling south to join up with King Zadar’s army. But he keeps rescuing the wrong people.

First Spring, a child he finds scavenging on the battlefield, and then Lowa, one of Zadar’s most fearsome warriors, who has vowed revenge on the king for her sister’s execution.

Now Dug’s on the wrong side of the thousands-strong army he hoped to join – and worse, Zadar has bloodthirsty druid magic on his side. All Dug has is his war hammer, one small child, and one unpredictable, highly-trained warrior with a lust for revenge that’s going to get them all killed…

Another new grimdark fantasy? Well, yes. And no. It seems to be a fantasy version of the Iron Age, with Britons versus Romans. This could be very cool, in other words.


WelshL-ALovelyWayToBurnUKLouise Welsh, A Lovely Way To Burn (Hodder & Stoughton)

It doesn’t look like murder in a city full of death. A pandemic called “The Sweats” is sweeping the globe. London is a city in crisis. Hospitals begin to fill with the dead and dying, but Stevie Flint is convinced that the sudden death of her boyfriend Dr. Simon Sharkey was not from natural causes. As roads out of London become gridlocked with people fleeing infection, Stevie's search for Simon’s killers takes her in the opposite direction, into the depths of the dying city and a race with death.

A Lovely Way to Burn is the first outbreak in the Plague Times trilogy. Chilling, tense and completely compelling, it’s Louise Welsh writing at the height of her powers.

Actually got this a while ago via NetGalley, but I couldn’t get the PDF eARC to work. It suddenly dropped quite dramatically in price for Kindle, though, so I snapped it up. I’ll get to it pretty soon, I’m sure.

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