Sunday, June 08, 2014

Books Received…


Featuring: Rachel Aaron, Tanya Huff, Charlie Human, John Hornor Jacobs, Matthew K. Manning, Rachel Pollack, Robert Rotstein, Kieran Shea, Taylor Stevens, Daniel Wallace

Aaron-NiceDragonsFinishLastRachel Aaron, Nice Dragons Finish Last

As the smallest dragon in the Heartstriker clan, Julius survives by a simple code: stay quiet, don’t cause trouble, and keep out of the way of bigger dragons. But this meek behavior doesn’t cut it in a family of ambitious predators, and his mother, Bethesda the Heartstriker, has finally reached the end of her patience.

Now, sealed in human form and banished to the DFZ – a vertical metropolis built on the ruins of Old Detroit – Julius has one month to prove to his mother that he can be a ruthless dragon or lose his true shape forever. But in a city of modern mages and vengeful spirits where dragons are seen as monsters to be exterminated, he’s going to need some serious help to survive this test.

He only hopes that humans are more trustworthy than dragons.

I am a big fan of Aaron’s writing – her Eli Monpress fantasy series and her new sci-fi trilogy, written under the pseudonym “Rachel Bach” were great, light-hearted examples of the genre. I do have some catching up to do, though. This novel, the first in a new urban fantasy series, will be self-published by the author. It sounds interesting, too. An interesting twist on some popular UF tropes. I’ll hopefully be reading this pretty soon.


HuffT-C5-TruthOfValourUKTanya Huff, The Truth of Valour (Titan)

Having left the Marine Corps, former Gunnery Sergeant Torin Kerr is attempting to build a new life with salvage operator Craig Ryder. Turns out, civilian life is a lot rougher than she’d imagined. Torin is left for dead when pirates attack their spaceship and take Craig prisoner. But “left for dead” has never stopped Torin. Determined to rescue Craig, she calls in her Marines. And that’s when her mission expands from stopping the pirates to changing the balance of power in known space.

The fifth book in the Confederation series! Review soon.

Also on CR: Reviews of Valour’s Choice, The Better Part of Valour, The Heart of Valour, and Valour’s Trial


Human-KillBaxterUKCharlie Human, Kill Baxter (Century)


The world has been massively unappreciative of sixteen-year-old Baxter Zevcenko. His bloodline may be a combination of ancient Boer mystic and giant shape-shifting crow, and he may have won an inter-dimensional battle and saved the world, but does anyone care? No.

Instead he’s packed off to Hexpoort, a magical training school that’s part reformatory, part military school, and just like Hogwarts (except with sex, drugs, and better internet access). The problem is that Baxter sucks at magic. He’s also desperately attempting to control his new ability to dreamwalk, all the while being singled out by the school's resident bully, who just so happens to be the Chosen One.

But when the school comes under attack, Baxter needs to forget all that and step into action. The only way is joining forces with his favourite recovering alcoholic of a supernatural bounty hunter, Ronin, to try and save the world from the apocalypse. Again.

The anticipated follow-up to Apocalypse Now Now, I’ve been eagerly awaiting this. I think I’ll probably read it next, or next-but-one. Sounds fun.


JacobsJH-IncorruptiblesUKJohn Hornor Jacobs, The Incorruptibles (Gollancz)

In the contested and unexplored territories at the edge of the Empire, a boat is making its laborious way upstream. Riding along the banks are the mercenaries hired to protect it – from raiders, bandits and, most of all, the stretchers, elf-like natives who kill any intruders into their territory. The mercenaries know this is dangerous, deadly work. But it is what they do.

In the boat the drunk governor of the territories and his sons and daughters make merry. They believe that their status makes them untouchable. They are wrong. And with them is a mysterious, beautiful young woman, who is the key to peace between warring nations and survival for the Empire. When a callow mercenary saves the life of the Governor on an ill-fated hunting party, the two groups are thrown together.

For Fisk and Shoe – two tough, honourable mercenaries surrounded by corruption, who know they can always and only rely on each other – their young companion appears to be playing with fire. The nobles have the power, and crossing them is always risky. And although love is a wonderful thing, sometimes the best decision is to walk away. Because no matter how untouchable or deadly you may be, the stretchers have other plans.

I’ve actually already finished this. It was very good. Review either tomorrow or Tuesday.


WorldAccordingToWolverineMatthew K. Manning, The World According to Wolverine (Bantam)

In The World According to Wolverine, Marvel Comics’ favorite stoic loner finally opens up on a range of topics that are close to his mutant heart. With helpful tips on everything from clawed combat to outdoor survival and dealing with the agony of adamantium implantation, this book will delight fans who want to learn how to be just like the headstrong hero. Also featuring Logan’s ruminations on an extremely long and checkered life, his global travels, and the art of picking the perfect partner, The World According to Wolverine will offer unparalleled insight into one of the most fascinating and mysterious characters in the Marvel Comics universe. The book will also come with a number of removable items, including a postcard from Madripoor, snapshots of Wolverine’s lost loves, a wanted poster for Dog Logan, an exclusive Wolverine poster, and much, much more.

I hadn’t been aware of this title (nor the Spider-Man one, below) before they arrived in the mail. I’ve had a flick through them both already, and I must say they’re rather fun. I’ll have them reviewed in the coming week.


PollackR-ChildEaterUKRachel Pollack, The Child Eater (Jo Fletcher Books)

On Earth, the Wisdom family has always striven to be more normal than normal. But Simon Wisdom, the youngest child, is far from normal: he can see the souls of the dead. And now the ghosts of children are begging him to help them, as they face something worse than death. The only problem is, he doesn’t know how.

In a far-away land of magic and legends, Matyas has dragged himself up from the gutter and inveigled his way into the Wizards’ college. In time, he will become more powerful than all of them – but will his quest blind him to the needs of others? For Matyas can also hear the children crying.

But neither can save the children alone, for the child eater is preying on two worlds…

This sounds pretty interesting. Another Wizards’ College novel, but I have always had something of a weakness for such novels. I’ll hopefully be getting to this soon.


RotsteinR-2-RecklessDisregardRobert Rotstein, Reckless Disregard (Seventh Street)

Parker Stern’s last case was highly publicized, so it’s no surprise when he is asked to defend a video game designer in a libel suit brought by a Hollywood media mogul, who may also be a murderer.

Former topnotch attorney Parker Stern, still crippled by courtroom stage fright, takes on a dicey case for an elusive video game designer known to the world only by the name of “Poniard.” In Poniard’s blockbuster online video game, Abduction!, a real-life movie mogul is charged with kidnapping and murdering a beautiful actress who disappeared in the 1980s. Predictably, the mogul – William “the Conqueror” Bishop – has responded with a libel lawsuit. Now it’s up to Parker to defend the game designer in the suit.

In defending Poinard, Parker discovers that people aren’t who they claim to be and that nothing is as it seems. At one point, his client resorts to blackmail, threatening to expose a dark secret about Parker. Then, many of the potential witnesses who could have helped the case die prematurely, and the survivors are too frightened to talk. Parker begins to feel as if he’s merely a character in a video game, fighting malevolent Level Bosses who appear out of nowhere and threaten to destroy him.

Reckless Disregard explores the lure of celebrity, the limits of the legal system to get to the truth, and the elusive assumptions that we make about the people and the reality around us.

I haven’t read Rotstein’s first novel, but this sounds pretty interesting. I shall endeavour to get to it before I move to Canada (a point at which I am going to have to bid farewell to too many of my books, and begin the slow, laborious and expensive process of replacing ARCs with eBooks). It does sound really good, mind…


SheaK-KokoTakesAHolidayKieran Shea, Koko Takes a Holiday (Titan)

Five hundred years from now, ex-corporate mercenary Koko Martstellar is swaggering through an easy early retirement as a brothel owner on The Sixty Islands, a manufactured tropical resort archipelago known for its sex and simulated violence. Surrounded by slang-drooling boywhores and synthetic komodo dragons, Koko finds the most challenging part of her day might be deciding on her next drink.

That is, until her old comrade Portia Delacompte sends a squad of security personnel to murder her.

I’ve dipped into this already, and I think it sounds pretty interesting and bonkers. It feels like ages ago, though, that I first heard about the novel. The book and one-sheet are covered in praise from other authors, many of whom I am already familiar with. I have high hopes for this.


StevensT-M2-TheInnocentUKTaylor Stevens, The Innocent (Arrow)

Eight years ago, a man walked five-year-old Hannah out the front doors of her school and spirited her over the Mexican border, taking her into the world of a cult known as The Chosen.

Now, after years of searching, childhood survivors of the group have found the girl in Argentina. But getting her out is a whole new challenge.

For the rescue they need someone who is brilliant, fearless and utterly ruthless.

They need Vanessa Michael Munroe.

Because the only way to get Hannah out is for Munroe to go in

This series has been described as being perfect “for fans of Lisbeth Salander, Jack Reacher and Jason Bourne”. That’s a pretty interesting selection, so I’m hoping to get to this soon. I’ve heard very good things, but have been oh-so-slow about getting around to reading anything by Stevens.

Also on CR: Interview with Taylor Stevens


WorldAccordingToSpiderManDaniel Wallace, The World According to Spider-Man (Bantam)

It’s not easy being a Super Hero when you’ve got a steady job to hold down and girlfriend problems to deal with. Somehow, Peter Parker (aka Spider-Man) manages to do it while regularly saving New York City from a rogues’ gallery of super villains. In The World According to Spider-Man, the wisecracking hero spills the beans on how he balances his two lives and manages to keep his trademark sense of humor, even while he’s tangling with Doc Ock or the Green Goblin. The book comes with a wealth of incredible inserts, including clippings from the Daily Bugle, snapshots taken by Spidey on his adventures, a letter from Oscorp, a note from Mary Jane Watson, a page from Uncle Ben’s diary, schematics showing how the web-shooters work, and much, much more.

See my earlier comments, above, about The World According to Wolverine. Both of these Marvel characters are among my favourite from that publisher, so I’ve enjoyed the quick reads of them both already.



  1., you are moving to Canada, I didn't know that.....btw, you do get pretty awesome books as ARC's.....

    1. I am. And I really do. I'm truly bibliographically blessed. ;)