It’s our Incoming Books feature which includes books won and received for review for the month of October.
And as always – please let us know which book or books would you pick up and read first?
Tor – Macmillan
Ironskin ~ by Tina Connolly (Tor Books; October 2012; Hardcover; 304 pages)
A steampunk, fantastical retelling of Jane Eyre – with an intriguing twist.
Jane Eliot wears an iron mask. It's the only way to contain the fey curse that scars her cheek. The Great War is five years gone, but its scattered victims remain—the ironskin.
When a carefully worded listing appears for a governess to assist with a “delicate situation”—a child born during the Great War—Jane is certain the child is fey-cursed, and that she can help.
Teaching the unruly Dorie to suppress her curse is hard enough; she certainly didn't expect to fall for the girl's father, the enigmatic artist Edward Rochart. But her blossoming crush is stifled by her scars and by his parade of women. Ugly women, who enter his closed studio...and come out as beautiful as the fey.
Jane knows Rochart cannot love her, just as she knows that she must wear iron for the rest of her life. But what if neither of these things are true? Step by step Jane unlocks the secrets of a new life—and discovers just how far she will go to become whole again.
Bowl of Heaven ~ by Gregory Benford and Larry Niven (Tor Books; October 2012; Hardcover; 416 pages)
A new hard science fiction collaboration from two masters of the genre.
A landing party is sent to investigate the Bowl, but when the explorers are separated—one group captured by the gigantic structure’s alien inhabitants, the other pursued across its strange and dangerous landscape—the mystery of the Bowl’s origins and purpose propel the human voyagers toward discoveries that will transform their understanding of their place in the universe.
In this first collaboration by science fiction masters Larry Niven (Ringworld) and Gregory Benford (Timescape), the limits of wonder are redrawn once again as a human expedition to another star system is jeopardized by an encounter with an astonishingly immense artifact in interstellar space: a bowl-shaped structure half-englobing a star, with a habitable area equivalent to many millions of Earths…and it’s on a direct path heading for the same system as the human ship.
Three Parts Dead ~ by Max Gladstone (Tor Books; October 2012; Hardcover; 336 pages)
An urban fantasy set in an alternative world with crime and legal elements, including a strong female lead.
A god has died, and it’s up to Tara, first-year associate in the international necromantic firm of Kelethres, Albrecht, and Ao, to bring Him back to life before His city falls apart.
Her client is Kos, recently deceased fire god of the city of Alt Coulumb. Without Him, the metropolis’s steam generators will shut down, its trains will cease running, and its four million citizens will riot.
Tara’s job: resurrect Kos before chaos sets in. Her only help: Abelard, a chain-smoking priest of the dead god, who’s having an understandable crisis of faith.
When Tara and Abelard discover that Kos was murdered, they have to make a case in Alt Coulumb’s courts—and their quest for the truth endangers their partnership, their lives, and Alt Coulumb’s slim hope of survival.
Set in a phenomenally built world in which justice is a collective force bestowed on a few, craftsmen fly on lightning bolts, and gargoyles can rule cities, Three Parts Dead introduces readers to an ethical landscape in which the line between right and wrong blurs.
People of the Black Sun (A People of the Longhouse Novel - North America's Forgotten Past # 20) ~ by Kathleen O’Neal Gear and W. Michael Gear (Tor Books; October 2012; Hardcover; 384 pages)
The stand alone conclusion to the four book series - People of the Longhouse.
Dekanawida has become known as “The Sky Messenger,” a prophet of immense power, and Hiawento is his Speaker. Thousands now believe in the Great Law of Peace and have joined the League. But they are still being harassed by marauding warriors from the People of the Mountain who steadfastly refuse to adopt the Great Law.
Dekanawida has prophesied destruction if the warfare continues. As one by one, portents start coming true, Dekanawida has one last chance to convince the People of the Mountain to join the League and save their world from utter destruction.
Forge of Darkness (The Kharkanas Trilogy #1) ~ by Stephen Erikson (Tor Books; September 2012; Hardcover;
The first in a new dark epic fantasy series, and the prequel to the Malazan series.
Now is the time to tell the story of an ancient realm, a tragic tale that sets the stage for all the tales yet to come and all those already told...
It's a conflicted time in Kurald Galain, the realm of Darkness, where Mother Dark reigns. But this ancient land was once home to many a power. and even death is not quite eternal. The commoners' great hero, Vatha Urusander, is being promoted by his followers to take Mother Dark's hand in marriage, but her Consort, Lord Draconus, stands in the way of such ambitions. The impending clash sends fissures throughout the realm, and as the rumors of civil war burn through the masses, an ancient power emerges from the long dead seas. Caught in the middle of it all are the First Sons of Darkness, Anomander, Andarist, and Silchas Ruin of the Purake Hold...
Steven Erikson entered the pantheon of great fantasy writers with his debut Gardens of the Moon. Now he returns with the first novel in a trilogy that takes place millennia before the events of the Malazan Book of the Fallen and introduces readers to Kurald Galain, the warren of Darkness. It is the epic story of a realm whose fate plays a crucial role in shaping the world of the Malazan Empire.
Martian War ~ by Kevin J. Anderson (Titan Books; Paperback: 352pp; 28 September 2012)
A re-publication of this re-imagining of The War of the Worlds.
What if the Martian invasion was not entirely the product of H. G. Wells's vivid imagination? What if Wells witnessed something that spurred him to write The War of the Worlds as a warning? From drafty London flats to the steamy Sahara, to the surface of the moon and beyond, The Martian War takes the reader on an exhilarating journey with Wells and his companions.
Remember Why You Fear Me ~ by Robert Shearman (Chizine Publications; October 2012; Paperback, 425 pages)
A collection of satirical horror short stories from an award winning author.
A woman rejects her husband's heart—and gives it back to him, still beating, in a plastic box. A little boy betrays his father to the harsh mercies of Santa Claus. A widower suspects his dead wife's face is growing over his own. A man goes to Hell, and finds he's roommate to the ghost of Hitler's pet dog. Giant spiders, killer angels, ghost cat photography, and the haunted house right at the centre of the Garden of Eden.
Deliciously frightening, darkly satirical, and always unexpected, Robert Shearman has won the World Fantasy Award, the British Fantasy Award, the Shirley Jackson Award, and the Edge Hill Reader's Prize. Remember Why You Fear Me gathers together his best dark fiction, the most celebrated stories from his acclaimed books, and ten new tales that have never been collected before.
Every House is Haunted ~ by Ian Rogers (Chizine Publications; October 2012; Paperback; 300 pages)
A debut anthology of ghost stories.
"There are haunted places in the world, all existing in reality and every bit as tangible and accessible as the house next door. Sometimes it is the house next door."
In this brilliant debut collection, Ian Rogers explores the border-places between our world and the dark reaches of the supernatural. The landscape of death becomes the new frontier for scientific exploration. A honeymoon cabin with an unspeakable appetite finally meets its match. A suburban home is transformed into the hunting ground for a new breed of spider. A nightmarish jazz club at the crossroads of reality plays host to those who can break a deal with the devil...for a price. With remarkable deftness, Rogers draws together the disturbing and the diverting in twenty-two showcase stories that will guide you through terrain at once familiar and startlingly fresh.
Signal 8 Press
Watering Heaven ~ by Peter Tieryas Liu (Signal 8 Press; October 2012; Paperback, 206 pages)
A surreal and literary short story collection, from a debut author.
What would you do if you found out your girlfriend laid an egg every time she had sex? Who would you be if you were invited to a party in Beijing but had to make up a brand-new identity for six weeks?
Peter Tieryas Liu's Watering Heaven is a travelogue of and requiem for the American dream in all its bizarre manifestations and a surreal, fantastic journey through the streets, alleys, and airports of China. Whether it's a monk who uses acupuncture needles to help him fly or a city filled with rats about to be exterminated so that the mayor can win his reelection bid, be prepared to laugh, swoon, and shudder at the answers Liu offers in this provocative debut collection.
Wisdom of the House of Night Oracle Cards ~ created by PC Cast and Colette Baron-Reid - Illustrations by Jena DellaGrottaglia (Random House; October 2012)
A 50-Card Deck and Guidebook based on the very popular young adult series – House of Night.
For the fans of the best-selling House of Night series, the Wisdom of the House of Night Oracle Cards provides a unique interactive experience with the vampyre Goddess Nyx. Packaged in a keepsake box with a guidebook, the deck contains fifty gorgeously illustrated cards, many of which are based on characters in the books.
To begin, simply ask Nyx a question: What should I do in this situation? What is going on with my relationship? What will result from my next action? Then select a card and consult the guidebook to discover the message that Nyx intends for you. Just like Zoey Redbird and the other fledglings of the House of Night, you will be encouraged to trust your intuition and make powerful decisions about your life!
The Wisdom of the House of Night Oracle Cards is an original divination system, created by P. C. Cast and oracle expert Colette Baron-Reid. It draws inspiration from the Tarot, Norse runes, and the I Ching, but no special expertise is required to use these cards. The illustrations are by digital artist Jena DellaGrottaglia.
Judging a Book by Its Lover ~ by by Lauren Leto (Harper Perennial; October 2012; Paperback; Pages 288)
A non-fiction guide book for the literary minded.
Want to impress the hot stranger at the bar who asks for your take on Infinite Jest? Dying to shut up the blowhard in front of you who’s pontificating on Cormac McCarthy’s “recurring road narratives”? Having difficulty keeping Francine Prose and Annie Proulx straight?
For all those overwhelmed readers who need to get a firm grip on the relentless onslaught of must-read books to stay on top of the inevitable conversations that swirl around them, Lauren Leto’s Judging a Book by Its Lover is manna from literary heaven! A hilarious send-up of—and inspired homage to—the passionate and peculiar world of book culture, this guide to literary debate leaves no reader or author unscathed, at once adoring and skewering everyone from Jonathan Franzen to Ayn Rand to Dostoyevsky and the people who read them.
Cash Out ~ by Greg Bardsley (Harper Perennial ; October 2012; Trade Paperback; Pages: 400)
Side-splittingly funny and full of larger-than-life characters, Cash Out is like Office Space as reimagined by the creators of The Hangover—a sly caper gone outrageously, unforgettably awry.
It's 2008. In three days, family man and Silicon Valley speechwriter Dan Jordan will see his start-up stock vest. He'll cash out with $1.1 million, turn in his frenetic Valley life in for a slower one on the beach with his wife and two children, and finally live the life he's supposed to live. Or so he thinks. Before he can collect his cash and get outta Dodge, all hell breaks loose. Dan is kidnapped by a gang of tiny IT nerds who threaten to get him fired before the options can vest, stalked by a potentially murderous corporate security muscle man, and confronted with the possible disintegration of his marriage, all while his sociopath neighbor, Crazy Larry, threatens to ruin everything. . . .
Simon and Schuster
Targets of Deception ~ by Jeffrey S. Stephens (Pocket Books; September 2012; Mass Market Paperback, 432 pages)
AGENTS CAN RETIRE. TERROR NEVER DOES.
Old instincts die hard. Although CIA agent Jordan Sandor has left active duty and become a journalist, when the crack of automatic weaponry shatters the peace on a rural New York back road, his quick reactions save his close friend and a severely wounded police officer. But why did two strangers react to a routine traffic stop with deadly violence before speeding away? And what was their motive for torturing and then murdering the man Jordan was going to meet—a retired merc with a story to tell? Like it or not, Sandor has been called back into the service of his country.
From New York to Florida, Paris, and the Italian Riviera, the lethal trail reveals a complex plan linked to Al Qaeda—a wave of attacks putting millions at risk with poison nerve gas. And when Jordan discovers a rogue agent behind the plot, he realizes he is on his own. . . .
Four New Messages ~ by Joshua Cohen (Graywolf Press; August 2012; 208 pages)
A QUARTET OF AUDACIOUS FICTIONS THAT CAPTURE THE PATHOS AND ABSURDITY OF LIFE IN THE AGE OF THE INTERNET, FROM THE AUTHOR OF WITZ
A spectacularly talented young writer has returned from the present with Four New Messages, urgent and visionary dispatches that seek to save art, sex, and even alienation from corporatism and technology run rampant.
In “Emission,” a hapless drug dealer in Princeton is humiliated when a cruel co-ed exposes him exposing himself on a blog gone viral. “McDonald’s” tells of a frustrated pharmaceutical copywriter whose imaginative flights fail to bring solace because of a certain word he cannot put down on paper. In “The College Borough” a New York novelist exiled to the Midwest refuses to read his students’ stories, asking them instead to build a replica of the Flatiron Building. “Sent” begins mythically in the woods of Russia, but in a few virtuosic pages plunges into the present, where an aspiring journalist finds himself in a village that shelters all the women who’ve starred in all the internet porn he’s ever enjoyed.
Highbrow and low-down, these four intensely felt stories explain what happens when the virtual begins to colonize the real—they harness the torrential power and verbal dexterity that have established Joshua Cohen as one of America’s most brilliant younger writers.
The Shortest Way Home ~ by Juliette Fay (Penguin; Oct 2012; 416 pages)
A NOVEL FULL OF HUMOR AND HOPE FOR FINDING YOURSELF WHERE YOU LEAST EXPECTED
Sean has spent twenty years in Third World war zones and natural disaster areas, fully embracing what he’d always felt was his life’s mission. But when burnout sets in, Sean is reluctantly drawn home to Belham, Massachusetts, the setting of Fay’s much-loved Shelter Me. There, he discovers that his steely aunt, overly dramatic sister, and quirky nephew are having a little natural disaster of their own. When he reconnects with a woman from his past, Sean has to wonder if the bonds of love and loyalty might just rewrite his destiny.
Completely relatable, The Shortest Way Home is another perfect serving of a slice of life from the irresistible Fay.
The Spy Lover ~ by Kiana Davenport (Thomas & Mercer; August 2012; 303 pages)
Thrust into the savagery of the Civil War, a Chinese immigrant serving in the Union Army, a nurse doubling as a spy for the North, and a one-armed Confederate cavalryman find their lives inextricably entwined.
Fleeing drought and famine in China, Johnny Tom arrives in America with dreams of becoming a citizen. Having survived vigilantes hunting “yellow dogs” and slave auction- blocks, Johnny is kidnapped from his Mississippi village by Confederate soldiers, taken from his wife and daughter, and forced to fight for the South. Eventually defecting to the Union side, he is promised American citizenship in exchange for his loyal services. But first Johnny must survive the butchery of battles and the cruelties inflicted on non-white soldiers.
Desperate to find Johnny, his daughter, Era, is enlisted as a spy. She agrees to work as a nurse at Confederate camps while scouting for the North. Amidst the unspeakable carnage of wounded soldiers, she finds solace in Warren Petticomb, a cavalryman who lost an arm at Shiloh. As devastation mounts in both armies, Era must choose where her loyalties lie—with her beloved father in the North, or with the man who passionately sustains her in the South.
A novel of extraordinary scope that will stand as a defining work on the Chinese immigrant experience, The Spy Lover is a paean to the transcendence of love and the resilience of the human spirit.
That’s all for October. Please – tell us which book(s) would you pick up and read first?