Monday, March 14, 2016

Giveaway:THE SECRETS OF SOLACE by Jaleigh Johnson

The Secrets of Solace - Jaleigh Johnson

We have a giveaway for THE SECRETS OF SOLACE by Jaleigh Johnson. There are two copies for US addresses, and are courtesy of Random House. This giveaway is also attached to the Lucky Leprechaun Giveaway Hop which runs from March 15th to the 22nd. The hop is hosted by BookHounds.

Now for a bit more about this middle grade stand alone sequel. Which means that the book is part of a series but can be read without having to read the others in the series. It is also recommended for children above the age of 10. But is of course fun for adults too.

From Jaleigh Johnson, the acclaimed author of the New York Times bestseller The Mark of the Dragonfly, comes another thrilling adventure in the magical world of Solace.

Lina Winterbock lives in the mountain strongholds of Solace. She’s an apprentice to the archivists, the wise men and women whose lives are dedicated to cataloging, studying, and preserving the objects that mysteriously fall from the sky in the scrap towns.lucky leprechaun - 2016

Lina should be spending her days with books, but the Iron War has changed everything. The strongholds are now a refuge, and the people Lina once counted on no longer have time for her, so she spends her days exploring the hidden tunnels and passages of her home. The strongholds are vast and old, with twisting paths, forgotten rooms, and collapsed chambers, some of them containing objects that have been lost and forgotten even by the archivists.

And in one of the forgotten chambers, Lina discovers a secret.

Hidden deep in a cavern is a half-buried airship like nothing she has ever seen before. She’s determined to dig it out and restore it. But Lina needs help, and she doesn’t know anyone she can trust with her secret.

Then she meets Ozben, a mysterious boy who has a secret of his own—a secret that’s so dangerous it could change the course of the Iron War and the world of Solace forever.

Hardcover | $16.99 | Mar 08, 2016 | 384 Pages | Middle Grade (10 and up) | Random House

JALEIGH JOHNSON is a lifelong reader, gamer, and moviegoer. She loves nothing better than to escape into fictional worlds and take part in fantastic adventures. She lives and writes in the wilds of the Midwest, but you can visit her online at or on Twitter at @JaleighJohnson.

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Saturday, February 27, 2016

Giveaway: The Last Days of Magic by Mark Tompkins

The Last Days of Magic - Mark Tomkins

We have a giveaway for THE LAST DAYS OF MAGIC by Mark Tompkins for US residents, courtesy of Penguin Random House.

In addition to the book for the giveaway the winner will receive a promotional tarot card set pictured below. All packaged up in a gold envelope.

Fun stuff!

What’s even better is this giveaway is attached to the Leap Into Books Giveaway Hop where you can enter other bookish giveaways by linking on the blogs’ titles listed at the bottom of this post. The hop runs from Feb. 28 till March 7 and is hosted by BookHounds.

Here’s more about the book:

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.

Leap Into Books Hop 2016

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.

Last Days of Magic and Tarrot Cards giveaway

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.

Hardcover | Viking | Mar 01, 2016 | 400 Pages

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Thursday, February 25, 2016

Incoming Books: February 25, 2016

The Last Days of Magic - Mark Tomkins

We have our Incoming Books post for February 25, 2016.

Penguin Random House

The Last Days of Magic by Mark Tompkins

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.

Hardcover | Viking | Mar 01, 2016 | 400 Pages

Kingfisher - Patricia A McKillip

Kingfisher by Patricia A. McKillip

In the new fantasy from the award-winning author of the Riddle-Master Trilogy, a young man comes of age amid family secrets and revelations, and transformative magic.

Hidden away from the world by his mother, the powerful sorceress Heloise Oliver, Pierce has grown up working in her restaurant in Desolation Point. One day, unexpectedly, strangers pass through town on the way to the legendary capital city. “Look for us,” they tell Pierce, “if you come to Severluna. You might find a place for yourself in King Arden’s court.”

Lured by a future far away from the bleak northern coast, Pierce makes his choice. Heloise, bereft and furious, tells her son the truth: about his father, a knight in King Arden’s court; about an older brother he never knew existed; about his father’s destructive love for King Arden’s queen, and Heloise’s decision to raise her younger son alone.

As Pierce journeys to Severluna, his path twists and turns through other lives and mysteries: an inn where ancient rites are celebrated, though no one will speak of them; a legendary local chef whose delicacies leave diners slowly withering from hunger; his mysterious wife, who steals Pierce’s heart; a young woman whose need to escape is even greater than Pierce’s; and finally, in Severluna, King Arden’s youngest son, who is urged by strange and lovely forces to sacrifice his father’s kingdom.

Things are changing in that kingdom. Oldmagic is on the rise. The immensely powerful artifact of an ancient god has come to light, and the king is gathering his knights to quest for this profound mystery, which may restore the kingdom to its former glory—or destroy it…

Hardcover | Ace | Feb 02, 2016 | 352 Pages

Tower of Thorns - Juliet Marillier

The Tower of Thorns (Blackthorn and Grim #2) by Juliet Marillier

Award-winning author Juliet Marillier’s “lavishly detailed”* Blackthorn & Grim series continues as a mysterious creature holds an enchanted and imperiled ancient Ireland in thrall.

Disillusioned healer Blackthorn and her companion, Grim, have settled in Dalriada to wait out the seven years of Blackthorn’s bond to her fey mentor, hoping to avoid any dire challenges. But trouble has a way of seeking out Blackthorn and Grim.

Lady GeilĂ©is, a noblewoman from the northern border, has asked for the prince of Dalriada’s help in expelling a howling creature from an old tower on her land—one surrounded by an impenetrable hedge of thorns. Casting a blight over the entire district, and impossible to drive out by ordinary means, it threatens both the safety and the sanity of all who live nearby. With no ready solutions to offer, the prince consults Blackthorn and Grim.

As Blackthorn and Grim begin to put the pieces of this puzzle together, it’s apparent that a powerful adversary is working behind the scenes. Their quest is about to become a life and death struggle—a conflict in which even the closest of friends can find themselves on opposite sides.

Hardcover | Roc | Nov 03, 2015 | 432 Pages

Dreaming Death - J Kathleen Cheney

Dreaming Death by J. Kathleen Cheney

Shironne Anjir’s status as a sensitive is both a gift and a curse. Her augmented senses allow her to discover and feel things others can’t, but her talents come with a price: a constant assault of emotions and sensations has left her blind. Determined to use her abilities as best she can, Shironne works tirelessly as an investigator for the Larossan army.

A member of the royal family’s guard, Mikael Lee also possesses an overwhelming power—he dreams of the deaths of others, sometimes in vivid, shocking detail, and sometimes in cryptic fragments and half-remembered images.

But then a killer brings a reign of terror to the city, snuffing out his victims with an arcane and deadly blood magic. Only Shironne can sense and interpret Mikael’s dim, dark dreams of the murders. And what they find together will lead them into a nightmare…

Paperback | Roc | Feb 02, 2016 | 432 Pages

Slavemakers - Joseph Wallace

Slavemakers (#2) by Joseph Wallace (ARC)

The new postapocalyptic thriller from the author of Invasive Species


Twenty years ago, venomous parasitic wasps known as “thieves” staged a massive, apocalyptic attack on another species—Homo sapiens—putting them on the brink of extinction. 

But some humans did survive. The colony called Refugia is home to a population of 281, including scientists, a pilot, and a tough young woman named Kait. In the African wilderness, there’s Aisha Rose, nearly feral, born at the end of the old world. And in the ruins of New York City, there’s a mysterious, powerful boy, a skilled hunter, isolated and living by his wits. 

As the survivors journey through the wastelands, they will find that they are not the only humans left on earth. Not by a long shot.

But they may be the only ones left who are not under the thieves’ control…

Mass Market Paperback | Ace | Dec 01, 2015 | 384 Pages

Ghost Story - Peter Straub

Ghost Story by Peter Straub

#1 New York Times bestselling author Peter Straub’s classic tale of horror, secrets, and the dangerous ghosts of the past…

What was the worst thing you’ve ever done?

In the sleepy town of Milburn, New York, four old men gather to tell each other stories—some true, some made-up, all of them frightening. A simple pastime to divert themselves from their quiet lives.

But one story is coming back to haunt them and their small town. A tale of something they did long ago. A wicked mistake. A horrifying accident. And they are about to learn that no one can bury the past forever…

Paperback | Berkley | Feb 02, 2016 | 528 Pages

The Deomists - Thomas E Sniegoski

The Demonists by Thomas E. Sniengoski (ARC)

There is more to our world than meets the eye—darker things, crueler things. Exorcist John Fogg and his wife, psychic medium Theodora Knight, know what lurks in the shadows. But even they’re not prepared for the worst Hell has to offer…

It was supposed to be a simple exorcism, a publicity stunt to firmly establish John and Theodora’s thriving paranormal investigation empire in the public eye. But something went wrong, leading to an on-air massacre that unleashed a malicious host of demons and left Theodora catatonic, possessed by countless spirits.

John sets out on a desperate quest to find a cure for his wife, but his obsession brings him face-to-face with an even more terrifying problem: Theodora’s possession is only one piece of a deadly plot that is threatening the entire world. Because an ancient evil is about to make Earth its battlefield—and without John and Theodora’s intervention, there is no chance for salvation…

Paperback | Roc | Apr 05, 2016 | 336 Pages

I, Robot To Preserve - Mickey Zucker Reichert

I, Robot: To Preserve (#3) by Mickey Zucker Reichert

2037: Robotic technology has evolved into the realm of self-aware, sentient mechanical entities. But despite the safeguards programmed into the very core of a robot’s artificial intelligence, humanity’s most brilliant creation can still fall prey to those who believe the Three Laws of Robotics were made to be broken…

N8-C, better known as Nate, has been Manhattan Hasbro Hospital’s resident robot for more than twenty years. A prototype, humanoid in appearance, he was created to interact with people. While some staff accepted working alongside an anthropomorphic robot, Nate’s very existence terrified most people, leaving the robot utilized for menial tasks and generally ignored.

Until one of the hospital’s physicians is found brutally murdered with Nate standing over the corpse, a blood-smeared utility bar clutched in his hand. As designer and programmer of Nate’s positronic brain, Lawrence Robertson is responsible for his creation’s actions and arrested for the crime.

Susan Calvin knows the Three Laws of Robotics make it impossible for Nate to harm a human being. But to prove both Nate’s and Lawrence’s innocence, she has to consider the possibility that someone somehow manipulated the laws to commit murder…

Hardcover | Roc | Feb 02, 2016 | 368 Pages

The Thorn of Dentonhill - Marshall Ryan Maresca

The Thorn of Dentonhill (Maradaine #1) by Marshall Ryan Maresca

Veranix Calbert leads a double life. By day, he’s a struggling magic student at the University of Maradaine. At night, he spoils the drug trade of Willem Fenmere, crime boss of Dentonhill and murderer of Veranix’s father. He’s determined to shut Fenmere down.

With that goal in mind, Veranix disrupts the delivery of two magical artifacts meant for Fenmere’s clients, the mages of the Blue Hand Circle.  Using these power-filled objects in his fight, he quickly becomes a real thorn in Fenmere’s side.

So much so that soon not only Fenmere, but powerful mages, assassins, and street gangs all want a piece of “The Thorn.” And with professors and prefects on the verge of discovering his secrets, Veranix’s double life might just fall apart. Unless, of course, Fenmere puts an end to it first.

Explore the back alleys of the city in this street-level fantasy adventure, the first novel of the Maradaine series. Then see Maradaine from a new perspective, with Maresca’s a second, concurrent series set in the same city: A Murder of Mages begins the Maradaine Constabulary novels, featuring an unlikely partnership of two detectives in the city’s constabulary.

Mass Market Paperback | DAW | Feb 03, 2015 | 400 Pages

The Song of Hartgrove Hall - Natasha Solomons

The Song of Hartgrove Hall by Natasha Solomons

A captivating novel that evokes the author’s New York Times bestseller The House at Tyneford

Natasha Solomons’s breathtaking new novel has it all: a love triangle, family obligations, and rediscovering joy in the face of grief, all set against the alluring backdrop of an English country estate perfect for fans of Downton Abbey

It’s a terrible thing to covet your brother’s girl

New Year’s Eve, Dorset, England, 1946. Candles flicker, a gramophone scratches out a tune as guests dance and sip champagne— for one night Hartgrove Hall relives better days. Harry Fox-Talbot and his brothers have returned from World War II determined to save their once grand home from ruin. But the arrival of beautiful Jewish wartime singer Edie Rose tangles the threads of love and duty, and leads to a devastating betrayal.

Fifty years later, now a celebrated composer, Fox reels from the death of his adored wife, Edie. Until his connection with his four-year old grandson – a music prodigy – propels him back into life, and ultimately to confront his past. An enthralling novel about love and treachery, joy after grief, and a man forced to ask: is it ever too late to seek forgiveness?

Paperback | Plume | Dec 29, 2015 | 416 Pages

Vienna Nocturne - Vivien Shotwell

Vienna Nocturne by Vivien Shotwell

Vienna Nocturne recounts the turbulent life and brilliantly successful career of young British opera singer Anna Storace, a child prodigy who is taken by her parents to Italy at age thirteen to advance her career. In love with life and wildly ambitious, Anna wants everything–to be famous, to be loved–and this leads her to make some fatal choices. We watch her turn from a carefree young girl to a passionate young woman, and it is during this transformation that her affair with Mozart blossoms. The story of their love, no less powerful for being forbidden, is reminiscent of the passionate thwarted romances described in Loving Frank and Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet. Written in melodious prose by a young author studying opera at Yale, Vienna Nocturne is dramatic story of a woman’s battle to find love and fame in an 18th-century world that controls and limits her at every turn.

Paperback | Anchor Canada | Oct 27, 2015 | 304 Pages

Tor - Macmillan


Solar Express by L.E. Modesitt, Jr.

You can't militarize space. This one rule has led to decades of peaceful development of space programs worldwide. However, increasing resource scarcity and a changing climate on Earth's surface is causing some interested parties to militarize, namely India, the North American Union, and the Sinese Federation.

The discovery of a strange artifact by Dr. Alayna Wong precipitates a crisis. What appears to be a hitherto undiscovered comet is soon revealed to be an alien structure on a cometary trajectory toward the sun. Now there is a race between countries to see who can study and control the artifact dubbed the "Solar Express" before it perhaps destroys itself.

Leading the way for the North American Union is Alayna's friend, Captain Christopher Tavoian, one of the first shuttle pilots to be trained for combat in space. But, as the alien craft gets closer to its destination, it begins to alter the surface of the sun in strange new ways, ways that could lead Alayna to revolutionary discoveries-provided Chris can prevent war from breaking out as he navigates among the escalating tensions between nations.

Solar Express is a thrilling, new, hard science fiction novel from New York Times bestselling author L. E. Modesitt, Jr.

Tor Books | November 2015 | Hardcover | 448 pages

The Bands of Mourning by Brandon Sanderson

The Bands of Mourning (Mistborn #6) by Brandon Sanderson

The #1 New York Times bestselling author returns to the world of Mistborn with the follow-up to Shadows of Self

With The Alloy of Law and Shadows of Self, Brandon Sanderson surprised readers with a New York Times bestselling spinoff of his Mistborn books, set after the action of the trilogy, in a period corresponding to late 19th-century America.

Now, with The Bands of Mourning, Sanderson continues the story. The Bands of Mourning are the mythical metalminds owned by the Lord Ruler, said to grant anyone who wears them the powers that the Lord Ruler had at his command. Hardly anyone thinks they really exist. A kandra researcher has returned to Elendel with images that seem to depict the Bands, as well as writings in a language that no one can read. Waxillium Ladrian is recruited to travel south to the city of New Seran to investigate. Along the way he discovers hints that point to the true goals of his uncle Edwarn and the shadowy organization known as The Set.

Tor Books | January 2016 | Hardcover | 447 pages

Barsk - Lawrence M. Schoen

Barsk: The Elephants’ Graveyard by Lawrence M. Schoen

The Sixth Sense meets Planet of the Apes in a moving science fiction novel set so far in the future, humanity is gone and forgotten in Lawrence M. Schoen's Barsk: The Elephants' Graveyard

An historian who speaks with the dead is ensnared by the past. A child who feels no pain and who should not exist sees the future. Between them are truths that will shake worlds.

In a distant future, no remnants of human beings remain, but their successors thrive throughout the galaxy. These are the offspring of humanity's genius-animals uplifted into walking, talking, sentient beings. The Fant are one such species: anthropomorphic elephants ostracized by other races, and long ago exiled to the rainy ghetto world of Barsk. There, they develop medicines upon which all species now depend. The most coveted of these drugs is koph, which allows a small number of users to interact with the recently deceased and learn their secrets.

To break the Fant's control of koph, an offworld shadow group attempts to force the Fant to surrender their knowledge. Jorl, a Fant Speaker with the dead, is compelled to question his deceased best friend, who years ago mysteriously committed suicide. In so doing, Jorl unearths a secret the powers that be would prefer to keep buried forever. Meanwhile, his dead friend's son, a physically challenged young Fant named Pizlo, is driven by disturbing visions to take his first unsteady steps toward an uncertain future.

Tor Books | December 2015 | Hardcover | 384 pages

A Daughter of No Nation - AM Dellamonica

A Daughter of No Nation (Hidden Sea Trails #2) by A.M. Dellamonica

As soon as Sophie Hansa returned to our world, she is anxious to once again go back to Stormwrack. Unable to discuss the wondrous sights she has seen, and unable to tell anyone what happened to her in her time away, Sophie is in a holding pattern, focused entirely on her eventual chance to return.

With the sudden arrival of Garland Parrish, Sophie is once again gone. This time, she has been called back to Stormwrack in order to spend time with her father, a Duelist-Adjudicator, who is an unrivaled combatant and fearsome negotiator. But is he driven by his commitment to seeing justice prevail, or is he a sociopath? Soon, she discovers something repellent about him that makes her reject him, and everything he is offering.

Adrift again, she discovers that her time spent with her father is not without advantages, however, for Sophie has discovered there is nothing to stop her from setting up a forensic institute in Stormwrack, investigating cases that have been bogged down in the courts, sometimes for years. Her fresh look into a long-standing case between two of the islands turns up new information that could get her, and her friends, pulled into something bold and daring, which changes the entire way she approaches this strange new world. . . .

Tor Books | November 2015 | Hardcover | 352 pages

Good Girls - Glen Hirshberg

Good Girls (Motherless Children Trilogy #2) by Glen Hirshberg

Still in college, Rebecca is the “responsible one.” She keeps her friends from getting too crazy—though Human Curling is kind of out there. She’s a safety valve for Joel, her foster father, and helps out at Halfmoon House, which he runs with his wife, Amanda—Rebecca’s foster mother, who makes sure her children able to protect themselves. To take care of themselves.

Mostly Rebecca takes care of everyone else. She works at the university’s crisis center, doing whatever she can to help the troubled souls who call the hotline. Until the night he calls.

Jess has lost so much: her job, her home…her daughter Natalie, no longer human thanks to the creature who called himself the Whistler. She tried desperately to save Natalie, but in the end, Jess herself pulled the trigger and killed her child.

Deep in mourning, Jess flees, with the remnants of her family: the man she loved, seriously injured; her infant grandson, somehow still innocent and pure. And Sophie.

Natalie’s best friend, Jess’s almost-daughter, and a mother herself, though her son is dead. Sophie’s alive but not alive—half-mad, half vampire, half a person…and Jess’s responsibility.

The Whistler is hunting Jess. She killed his Mother…and Natalie, who was his “destiny.” But he’s not so single-minded that he can’t have a little fun along the way, take what he needs from Rebecca’s friends and family…take Rebecca for his own….

Fates collide in a small town where fear and love are two sides of the same coin and life and death lie far too close together.

Tor Books | February 2016 | Hardcover | 352 pages

Bigfootloose and Fancy Free - Randy Henderson

Bigfootloose and Finn Fancy Free (Finn Fancy Necromancy #2) by Randy Henderson

In this sequel to Randy Henderson's acclaimed debut novel, Finn Fancy Necromancy, Finn Gramaraye is settling back into the real world after his twenty-five-year-long imprisonment in the otherworld of the Fey. He's fallen in love with a woman from his past, though he worries she may love a version of him that no longer exists. He's proved his innocence of the original crime of Dark Necromancy, and he's finding a place in the family business--operating a mortuary for the Arcane, managing the magical energies left behind when an Arcane being dies to prevent it from harming the mundane world.

But Finn wants more. Or different. Or something. He's figured out how to use the Kinfinder device created by his half-mad father to find people's True Love, and he'd like to convert that into an Arcane Dating Service. It's a great idea. Everyone wants True Love! Unfortunately, trouble always seems to find Finn, and when he agrees to help his friend, the Bigfoot named Sal, they walk right into a Feyblood rebellion against the Arcane Ruling Council, a rebellion being fomented by unknown forces and fueled by the drug created by Finn's own grandfather.

Tor Books | February 2016 | Hardcover | 432 pages

UFO Hunters Book Two - William J Birnes

UFO Hunters Book Two (#2) by William J. Birnes

A young girl digs up a thousand-year-old humanoid skull from a cave in northern Mexico. But the skull contains no human DNA.

An amateur videographer taking footage of lights over Mount Shasta, California, captures a giant floating triangle on tape. It's not a plane. It's not a helicopter. What is it?

These questions and more are answered in UFO Hunters Book Two. Using eyewitness accounts and information from footage never before seen on television, author William Birnes takes readers on the hunt for the real truth about flying saucers, what they are, and why they're here. This is the second companion to the popular HISTORY series and should delight fans in every way.

Tor Books | January 2016 | Hardcover | 368 pages

The Silver Witch TPB - Paula Brackston

The Silver Witch by Paula Brackston (paperback)

A year after her husband's sudden death, ceramic artist Tilda Fordwells finally moves into the secluded Welsh cottage that was to be their new home. She hopes that the tranquil surroundings will help ease her grief, and lessen her disturbing visions of Mat's death. Instead, the lake in the valley below her cottage seems to spark something dormant in her – a sensitivity, and a power of some sort. Animals are drawn to her, electricity shorts out when she's near, and strangest of all, she sees a new vision; a boatful of ancient people approaching her across the water.

On this same lake in Celtic times lived Seren, a witch and shaman. She was respected but feared, kept separate from the community for her strange looks. When a vision came to her of the Prince amid a nest of vipers she warned of betrayal from one of his own. Prince Brynach both loved and revered her, but could not believe someone close to him wished him harm, even as the danger grew.

In her own time, Tilda's grief begins to fade beside her newfound powers and a fresh love. When she explores the lake's ancient magic and her own she discovers Seren, the woman in her vision of the boat. Their two lives strangely mirror each other's, suggesting a strong connection between the women. As Tilda comes under threat from a dark power, one reminiscent of Seren's prophecy, she must rely on Seren and ancient magic if death and disaster are not to shatter her life once more. Paula Brackston does it once again with The Silver Witch crafting an enchanting tale as timeless as it is engrossing.

St. Martin's Griffin | February 2016 | Trade Paperback | 320 pages

The Return of the Witch - Paula Brackston

The Return of the Witch (The Witch’s Daughter #2) by Paula Brackston (ARC)

Paula Brackston's debut novel, The Witch's Daughter, was the little book that could--with a captivating story, remarkable heroine, and eye-catching package, it has now netted over 200,000 copies in all formats. Now Paula returns with its sequel The Return of the Witch, another bewitching tale of love and magic, featuring her signature blend of gorgeous writing, a fabulous and intriguing historical backdrop, and a headstrong and relatable heroine readers will cheer for.

After five years in the Summerlands, Gideon has gained his freedom. Elizabeth knows he will go straight for Tegan, and that she must protect the girl she had come to regard as her own daughter. In the time since she the dramatic night in Batchcombe woods, Tegan has traveled the world learning from all manner of witches, and she is no longer the awkward teenager and novice spellcaster she once was. However, her skills are no match for Gideon's dark, vengeful power, and he succeeds in capturing her. Will Elizabeth be able to find her? Will they be able to defeat their nemesis once and for all?

In a breathless journey that takes them through history to the 17th and 19th centuries, witch pursues warlock. Three people steeped in magic weave a new story, but not all will survive until the end.

Thomas Dunne Books | March 2016 | Hardcover | 320 pages

Simon and Schuster

The Game and the Governess - Kate Noble

The Game and the Governess (Winner Takes All #1) by Kate Noble

Trading Places meets Pride and Prejudice in this sexy, saucy romance—first in a new series from the author of YouTube sensation The Lizzie Bennet Diaries.

Three friends. One Wager. Winner takes all.

The Earl—‘Lucky Ned’ Ashby. Pompous, preening, certain that he is beloved by everyone.
The Miller—John Turner. Proud, forced to work as the Earl’s secretary, their relationship growing ever more strained. The Doctor—Rhys Gray. Practical, peace-loving, but caught in the middle of two warring friends.

Their wager is simple: By trading places with John Turner and convincing someone to fall in love with him, Ned plans to prove it’s him the world adores, not his money. Turner plans to prove him wrong.

But no one planned on Phoebe Baker, the unassuming governess who would fall into their trap, and turn everything on its head…

Three best friends make a life-changing bet in the first book in a witty, sexy new Regency trilogy from acclaimed author Kate Noble, writer of the wildly popular Emmy award–winning web series The Lizzie Bennet Diaries.

Pocket Books |  432 pages |  July 2014 | Mass Market Paperback

The Lie and the Lady - Kate Noble

The Lie and the Lady (Winner Takes All #2) by Kate Noble

Following The Game and the Governess comes the second novel in the witty, sexy Winner Takes All series of Regency romances from Kate Noble, the writer behind the wildly popular, award-winning web series The Lizzie Bennet Diaries.

Clerk John Turner thought only of winning a bet when he switched places with his friend, Lord Edward Granville, at a country house party. But while posing as a lord, he fell for a lady—the Countess Letitia! Now she's learned the truth, and he must win her back as plain John Turner. He'd better hope that love truly conquers all...

Lady Letty was publicly humiliated when it came out that she had fallen for the man, not the master. When she meets him again, she's determined to avoid him, but some things are too intoxicating to be denied. Letty knows what choice she must make to survive, but if she turns her back on her dashing rogue—again—will she lose her chance at love forever?

Pocket Books | 384 pages | December 2015 | Mass Market Paperback

My Sweet Audrina - VC Andrews 

My Sweet Audrina (#1 Audrina Series) by V.C. Andrews

V.C. Andrews has enthralled millions with her suspenseful, gothic family sagas, including the bestselling Dollanganger series that began with Flowers in the Attic. Now, one of her strangest, most beloved classics My Sweet Audrina—a haunting story of love and deceit, innocence and betrayal, and the suffocating power of parental love—is soon to be a major Lifetime movie event.

The idea of her sister hovered above them all.

Audrina fiercely desired to be as good as her sister. She knew her father could not love her as he loved that other girl, for her sister was so special, so perfect—and dead.
Upstairs in a locked room awaited her sister’s clothes and dolls, her animals and games—and her sacred rocking chair. Now Audrina will rock and rock and rock to reclaim all of her gone sister’s special gifts.

And then finally she’ll learn the secrets everyone else knows but her.

Pocket Books | 560 pages | December 2015 | Media Tie-In Mass Market Paperback 

Sage's Eyes - VC Andrews

Sage’s Eyes by V.C. Andrews

From V.C. Andrews, bestselling author of Flowers in the Attic (the first in a series of Lifetime movie events about the Dollanganger family), comes the tale of a young girl kept under the watchful eye of her adoptive parents, as if they fear who—or what—she’ll become…

Sixteen-year-old Sage is a lonely child. Her adoptive parents watch her obsessively, as if studying her for warning signs of…something. And maybe they’re right to—even she can’t make sense of the strange things she sees and hears. She possesses knowledge that other teenagers don’t, that her parents and teachers—no adult—could possibly have. So when Sage finally makes a friend who understands her alarming gift, he becomes her confidant, a precarious link to the truth about who she really is. For Sage and the alluring new boy at school share many things in common. Perhaps, they’ll learn, far too many things.

Pocket Books | 400 pages | January 2016 | Mass Market Paperback 


Blood of Innocents - Mitchell Hogan

Blood of Innocents (Sorcery Ascendant Sequence #2) by Mitchell Hogan

A novice sorcerer may hold the key to saving his world—or be the instrument of its destruction—in this second book in The Sorcery Ascendant Sequence, a mesmerizing saga of high fantasy that combines magic, malevolence, and mystery.

Anasoma, jewel of the Mahruse Empire, has fallen.

As orphaned, monk-raised Caldan and his companions flee the city, leaving behind their hopes for a new beginning, horrors from the time of the Shattering begin to close in.

With Miranda’s mind broken by forbidden sorcery, Caldan does the unthinkable to save her: he breaks the most sacrosanct laws of the Protectors. But when the emperor’s warlocks arrive to capture him, Caldan realizes that his burgeoning powers may be more of a curse than a blessing, and the enemies assailing the empire may be rivaled by more sinister forces within.

And soon, the blood of innocents may be on Caldan’s own hands.

Harper Voyager | 02/02/2016 | Pages: 592 | Trade Paperback

Daughter of Blood - Helen Lowe

Daughter of Blood (Wall of Night #3) by Helen Lowe

A Gemmell Award-Winning Series.

Malian of Night and Kalan, her trusted ally, are returning to the Wall of Night—but already it may be too late. The Wall is dangerously weakened, the Nine Houses of the Derai fractured by rivalry and hate. And now, the Darkswarm is rising . . .

Among Grayharbor backstreets, an orphan boy falls foul of dark forces. On the Wall, a Daughter of Blood must be married off to the Earl of Night, a pawn in the web of her family's ambition. On the Field of Blood, Kalan fights for a place in the bride's honor guard, while Malian dodges deadly pursuers in a hunt against time for the fabled Shield of Heaven. But the Darkswarm is gaining strength, and time is running out—for Malian, for Kalan, and for all of Haarth . . .

Harper Voyager | 1/26/2016 | Pages: 768 | Mass Market Paperback


The Napkin Art of Tim Burton - Tim Burton

The Napkin Art of Tim Burton by Tim Burton

This mini companion to the award winning The Art of Tim Burton provides a glimpse into the mind of a man who spends much of his life on the road.  Often finding himself in random surroundings, Burton conveys thoughts, ideas and memories with simple sketches on the most convenient surface available a napkin.

Artwork by: Tim Burton, Design Editing by: Holly Kempf, Co-editing by: Leah Gallo

Hardcover | 140 pages | October 29th 2015 | Steeles Publishing, Inc.

The Old Fashioned - Robert Simonson

The Old-Fashioned by Robert Simonson

A complete history of one of the world’s most iconic cocktails–now the poster child of the modern cocktail revival–with fifty recipes for classic variations as well as contemporary updates.

No single cocktail is as iconic, as beloved, or as discussed and fought-over as the Old-Fashioned. Its formula is simple: just whiskey, bitters, sugar, and ice. But how you combine those ingredients—in what proportion, using which brands, and with what kind of garnish—is the subject of much impassioned debate.

The Old-Fashioned is the spirited, delightfully unexpected story of this renowned and essential drink: its birth as the ur-cocktail in the nineteenth century, darker days in the throes of Prohibition, re-ascension in the 1950s and 1960s (as portrayed and re-popularized by Don Draper on Mad Men), and renaissance as the star of the contemporary craft cocktail movement.

Also featured are more than forty cocktail recipes, including classic variations, regional twists, and contemporary updates from top bartenders around the country. All are accessible, delicious, and elegant in their simplicity, demonstrating the versatility and timelessness of the Old-Fashioned formula.

With its rich history, stunning photography, and impeccable recipes, The Old-Fashioned is a celebration of one of America’s greatest bibulous achievements. It is a necessary addition to any true whiskey- or cocktail-lover’s bookshelf, and destined to become a classic on par with its namesake beverage.

Hardcover | Ten Speed Press| May 13, 2014 | 176 Pages

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Review: PLANETFALL by Emma Newman

Planetfall - Emma Newman

Review by John for PLANETFALL by Emma Newman.

John’s quick take:    A novel and excellent story detailing a woman’s poignant struggle against mental illness, set within a science fiction tale of a fragile human colony struggling to survive and to uncover the truth of humanity’s place within the cosmos.

John’s description:   After Lee Suh-Mi had a vision of a world far beyond Earth that was calling out to humanity, her friend Renata Ghali and a large group of faithful followers gave up everything to leave the troubled Earth behind on a voyage of exploration, knowing that they could never return. Suh-Mi guided them to a distant planet where an advance party makes planetfall and finds a strange alien structure.  

Suh-Mi apparently disappears into the structure and consequently many of the following group are lost while trying to land on the planet. Renata and the other survivors set up a colony beside the enigmatic alien structure, believing that Suh-Mi is speaking to God and will return to them when she is ready. But now twenty two years have passed and it feels to Renata like a web of secrets and lies are crushing her. She is party to information which would surely destroy the colony, but feels like she can no longer bear the weight of that burden.

When a young stranger who bears a striking resemblance to Suh-Mi appears next to the colony, most of the colonists go into a frenzy of excitement believing this must be a sign of Suh-Mi’s imminent return. But for Renata the stranger’s appearance pushes her beyond her breaking point.

John’s thoughts:   I love good science fiction and this book fits the bill. But what I particularly like about it is that the intriguing science fiction story is just the backdrop and the real story is the struggle of Renata to maintain her grip on her sanity. Newman’s description of what Renata is going through and the demons that she is trying to keep under control is really powerful and it makes for a compelling read.

Apart from the science fiction aspects and the powerful character study, the novel also has a cast of believable supporting players that have some depth to them. All too often in science fiction novels I find that characters are rather two dimensional and that stories rely too much on the science and the novelty – I’m pleased to say that is not the case with this book.

There is one aspect of story that I feared I was going to find bothersome and that was the potential religious overtone. Thankfully that didn’t turn out to be an issue. The foundation of the plot was the search for knowledge and for answers from greater beings, but that didn’t result in a story that was overtly religious in nature – which is something that would have really have turned me off. So potential readers need have no fears on that front.

Did the novel have any negatives for me? Well, the ending came rather quickly and lots of things were wrapped up in a very small number of pages. That was mostly ok but I’m still not sure if I actually enjoyed and appreciated the ending. Don’t let my possible concerns on that front put you off though. This is a very good novel and I’d rate if four stars. 

Roc | Trade Paperback | $15.00 | 336 pages | November 3, 2015

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Review: PUNCH BOWLS by Kelley and Tenaglia

Puch Bowls & Pitcher Drinks - Kelley & Tenaglia

Review by Shellie of PUNCH BOWLS & PITCHER DRINKS by Jeanne Kelley and Sarah Tenaglia.

A sweet and tasty little book that has loads of punches with relatively easy recipes and great pictures.

A thing about trying and tasting punch recipes is that you either have to have a party, drink a whole punch bowl yourself, or break down the ingredients into smaller portions. To save my sanity and liver I resorted to the later - and regardless of the lack of a party I had fun doing so. How could you not, especially if the recipes are tasty?

I tried the authors’ versions of some classic drinks - Pimm’s Punch (a low-alcohol version of the Pimm’s Cup which I love and gives the drinker a taste of an English summer); the Old Fashioned Manhattan Punch (a delicious cross between the two classic cocktails which also uses orange juice as an ingredient); a Skinny Moscow Mule (a low-cal version of the Moscow Mule with diet ginger ale and vodka); and Jungle Juice (a variation on the potent College Punch that is a combo of six juices and four different kinds of booze). The last one really packed a punch (pun intended), but all of them were refreshing and delicious.

As for the book’s appearance and usability, it’s a hardcover and a small book so it’s easy to handle. It only has 112 pages. But it packs a wallop with 50 different punches. Almost every recipe has an additional corresponding page with a pretty idea-laden photograph of the punch. With each recipe there’s a short description, the ingredients listed logically, then simple yet specialized directions.The authors have also included tips for ice molds (which are suggestively and gorgeously pictured throughout the book) and directions on how to make the specialized simple syrups (a homemade water and sugar blend) needed for the punches. There is also a page that lists punches by types of alcohol and lastly an index that includes names of each punch as well as the individual ingredients so that you can find each punch by its name or content.

The recipes are broken down into Classic Cocktail-Inspired Punches (which includes the above punches that I tried), a section on wine called Sangrias and Champagne-Based Punches, Tropical and Exotic Drinks, Lazy Sundays (including a boozy iced tea called Palm Springs), Height of Summer (that has an interesting-sounding Spiked Spa Water), Fireside Cocktails (including Aztec Chocolate Punch which is a spicy hot chocolate drink with tequila), and Nonalcoholic Punches (which includes an orange juice and ice cream combo called Fifty-Fifty Punch) which are perfect for a children’s get-together.

As you can see that this is a fun book that I had a blast researching it. It’s a perfect gift for a host or hostess which can come in handy during the upcoming holidays or for any party or season. I give PUNCH BOWLS a 4-star rating.

Mar 03, 2015 | 112 Pages | Hardbound | Crown Books

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

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