Sunday, 18 July 2010

Books I Adopted This Week

It's funny to me: sometimes in a week I don't receive anything for days and then get a couple of packages on a Saturday; other weeks I receive a steady drip of a couple of parcels each day - this was one of those weeks. I love those weeks. It's like having a little present to open every day! I had a fairly mixed bag of books this week, I have to say - more below...

Ancestor by Scott Sigler

On a remote island in the Great Lakes, an unusual group of scientists are using extinct DNA to create the perfect organ donor. It could save millions of lives and win Dr Claus Rhumkorrf the Nobel Prize he craves. The donor animal is genetically the ancestor of all species on the planet - but Nature wiped it out two hundred million years ago. Rhumkorrf and his team are about to find out why.

Excited about this one on a few counts! For one, it came from my good friend Adam Christopher and highly recommended at that. For another, it sounds very Jurassic Park-esque, and I loved that book. Colour me thrilled - this one is moving up the TBR pile rapidly.

Published by Hodder & Stoughton on 19th August 2010

The Silent Land by Graham Joyce

A young couple are caught in an avalanche during a ski-ing holiday in the French Alps. They struggle back to the village and find it deserted. As the days go by they wait for rescue, then try to leave. But each time they find themselves back in the village. And, increasingly, they are plagued by visions and dreams and the realization that perhaps no-one could have survived the avalanche.

This book sounds haunting and beautiful. It is a slim read as well, which, right now, tends to mean I will reach out to it sooner rather than later. Just a shout out as well for the cover, which is just lovely. Pale and unusual, I can see it jumping off the shelves.

Published by Gollancz on 18th November 2010

Guardian of the Gate by Michelle Zink

Sixteen-year-old Lia Milthorpe must journey to the uncharted isle of Altus to continue her search for the missing pages of the Book of Chaos - the pages that could tell her how to end the prophecy that has turned generations of sisters against each other. But the journey will test more than just her courage, it will also test her loyalty to her beloved boyfriend, James. Meanwhile, twin sister Alice will stop at nothing to reclaim Lia's role as the Gate. And that's not the only thing she wants from her sister: there's also Lia's true love. The outcome of their battle could have consequences of Biblical proportions and, in the end, only one sister will be left standing.

This is the second book in a series, the first being Prophecy of the Sisters. I've had a look at the blurb for the first book and this definitely sounds like a series I would like to read in its entirety. The idea of two sisters being mortal enemies is pretty bleak but gives loads of opportunities for tension and drama.

Published by Atom on 5th August 2010

So Cold The River by Michael Koryta

Ninety-five-year-old millionaire Campbell Bradford is dying. His family have hired ex-filmmaker Eric Shaw to make a documentary about him, but Campbell's childhood is shrouded in mystery. The only clues to his past are the name of his hometown and an antique glass water bottle that he's kept his entire life. Arriving in West Baden with the bottle and a camera, Shaw begins to have vivid and disturbing visions. And the more he finds out about the town and the man, the more he suspects that something besides the West Baden Springs Hotel has just been restored ...Something dark and terrifying. And cold.

I received this one out of the blue and I'm really glad I did. It sounds entirely chilling, and I do like the odd thriller/horror to round out my reading. I also enjoy slow burn mysteries and it sounds very much as though this will fulfil all of this for me!

Published by Hodder & Stoughton on 2nd September 2010

Keys to the Repository by Melissa de la Cruz

Lavish parties. Passionate meetings in the night. Bone-chilling murders. Exams. The day-to-day life of Schuyler Van Alen and her Blue Bloods friends (and enemies) is never boring. But there's oh-so-much more to know about the beautiful and powerful Blue Bloods. Below the streets of Manhattan, within the walls of the Repository, lies a wealth of revealing short stories, journal entries, and never-before-seen letters about the vampire elite dating back through time. Won't you come inside?

I am not entirely sure why I received this book for review, based on the fact that my review of Blue Bloods was not that positive. I didn't enjoy it all that much, to be honest, and I'm not sure whether I want to delve into the same world again. In addition to that, this is a book of short stories - never my favourite style of writing. I'm really not sure how soon I'll be getting to this book.

Published by Atom on 29th June 2010

Misspent Youth by Peter F Hamilton

It is forty years in the future and, following decades of research and trillions of euros spent on genetics, Europe is finally in a position to rejuvenate a human being. The first subjest chosen for treatment is Jeff Baker, the father of the datasphere (whihc replaced the Internet) and philanthropist extraordinaire. After 18 months in a German medical facility, the 78-year-old patient returns home looking like a healthy 20-year-old." Misspent Youth" follows the effect his reappearance has on his friends and family - his young ex-model wife Sue, his teenage son Tim, and his long term pals, themselves all pensioners, who are starting to resent what Jeff has become.

I received this book for an exciting new project I am going to be involved in later this year with Mark Chitty. I have the UK version of this book (which is set early on in Hamilton's Commonwealth universe) and, interestingly, there is also a US version which is pretty different - I wasn't aware of this until Mark told me. Anyway, look out for information about the project later this year!

Published by Pan MacMillan on 4th July 2003

The Oath by Michael Jecks

1326. In an England riven with conflict, knight and peasant alike find their lives turned upside down by the warring factions of Edward II, with his hated favourite, Hugh le Despenser, and Edward's estranged queen Isabella and her lover, Sir Roger Mortimer. Yet even in such times the brutal slaughter of an entire family, right down to a babe in arms, still has the power to shock. Three further murders follow, and bailiff Simon Puttock is drawn into a web of intrigue, vengeance, power and greed as Roger Mortimer charges him to investigate the killings.

I love historical fiction, and Michael has been asking me to review both this book and the last in his ongoing series (Knights Templar Mysteries). I am really keen to - it is just a matter of fitting it into my reading schedule! Promise I'll get to it soon, Michael!

Here is the full list of novels in the series:

1. The Last Templar
2. The Merchant's Partner
3. Moorland Hanging
4. The Crediton Killings
5. The Abbot's Gibbet
6. The Leper's Return
7. Squire Throwleigh's Heir
8. Belladonna at Belstone
9. The Traitor of St. Giles
10. The Boy Bishop's Glovemaker
11. The Tournament of Blood
12. The Sticklepath Strangler
13. The Devil's Acolyte
14. The Mad Monk of Gidleigh
15. The Templar's Penance
16. The Outlaws of Ennor
17. The Tolls of Death
18. The Chapel of Bones
19. The Butcher of St. Peter's
20. A Friar's Bloodfeud
21. The Death Ship of Dartmouth
22. The Malice of Unnatural Death
23. Dispensation of Death
24. The Templar, The Queen and Her Lover
25. The Prophecy of Death
26. The King of Thieves
27. No Law in the Land
28. The Bishop Must Die
29. The Oath

To all those who think they're prolific, just sit back and consider that list....

Published by Simon & Schuster on 8th July 2010

A Wild Light by Majorie M. Liu

Maxine finds herself covered in blood and crouched beside Jack's dead body, with no memory of what happened. Grief-stricken, Maxine isn't sure what to believe - or who to blame. Then an Avatar bounty hunter comes through the veil into our world, investigating a death of his own. Completely ruthless and subservient to those who bred him, his mission is to find Jack - dead or alive. Racing to stop the hunter, Maxine must also deal with the blood on her hands. But the answers she uncovers will be devastating, and the earth's salvation won't wait.

This series looks ace - I was also sent the first book from Orbit (but, curiously, not the second) and I said at the time that I really want to try them. I like the novelty factor of an urban fantasy series that ends in a timely manner and doesn't drag out for hundreds of books!


1. The Iron Hunt
2. Darkness Calls
3. A Wild Light

Published by Orbit on 5th August 2010

The Terminal State by Jeff Somers

Avery Cates is in better shape than ever with the top-class augments the army's fitted him with. Pity he's no more than a puppet then, because they've also got a remote that can fry his brain at any second. And now a corrupt colonel is selling his controls to the highest bidder. Avery has visions of escape and bloody revenge - until he realises just who's bought him. Because the highest bidder is Canny Orel himself, Avery's oldest enemy. And as the System slides into chaos, Canny wants Cates to do one last job. Avery just needs one chance to get back at the old gunner - but this time, it's Canny who's holding all the cards.

This is where it gets frustrating - my fourth book from the Little, Brown group (Atom and Orbit) and my fourth that is partway through a series. I deeply love getting books from publishers, but I don't like the dilemma of what to do when I want to read a series but don't have all the books in the series to hand *sigh*. That is exactly the case here - I have books three and four in the series, and I think it sounds so intriguing.

Series Titles:

1. The Electric Church
2. The Digital Plague
3. The Eternal Prison
4. The Terminal State

Just another mention: I really like the themed titles and the stark colours and shapes on the covers are amazing!

Published by Orbit on 5th August 2010

Wings of Wrath by Celia Friedman

In a world where the price of magic is life itself, a group of seemingly immortal sorcerers appear to have cheated the system. And now Kamala has breached their secrets, she seeks to join their ranks as the first female Magister. But they would rather see her dead, forcing her to flee to the frozen north. There Kamala will find an evil far greater than a sorcerer's enmity, and will hear a dire prediction of a future war. In a past age, an ancient bloodline was cultivated to stand in the path of darkness. Now its warriors must unearth the truth at the heart of the legends, and stand firm against an enemy that brought mankind to the very edge of destruction. And Kamala must join their battle.

Following the Orbit theme of this week, here is book two in a trilogy! *grins* I have heard very good things about Celia Friedman in the past - her writing is said to be very good, without resorting to clunking fantasy cliches. I would like to try it out for myself.

Trilogy Titles:

1. Feast of Souls
2. Wings of Wrath
3. Legacy of Kings (coming 2011)

Published by Orbit on 5th August 2010

Traitors' Gate by Kate Elliott

Reeve Joss is struggling to defend a country ravaged by the assaults of twin armies. His men now patrol a land of burning villages and homeless refugees as Joss tries to separate traitor from friend. The Reeve's thoughts are also plagued by the intriguing Zubaidit, pleasure-giver, spy and temple-trained assassin. But Zubaidit is focused on a dangerous mission, her target being warped Guardian Lord Radas. His death would leave the invading militia in chaos, but the old tales tell truly of the Guardians' immortality - and of the powers they now wield to twist the hearts of men. Joss's nights are also troubled, disturbed by dreams of Marit. His lost love has returned from death to become a feared Guardian herself, but Marit rejected the corrupt temptations they offered. She now seeks others of her kind, praying some are yet uncontaminated by the blight on the land - and have the will to fight it.

Woefully I haven't yet read any Kate Elliott books - and she appears to be quietly and effectively producing quality fantasy fiction that strikes me as being under the radar somewhat. Certainly I don't know anyone who enthuses about her as being their favourite author, or urging me to read her books - do I have a false image about this? Where are all the Kate Elliott fans?

Anyway, this is the concluding part of the trilogy - I brought the first part myself, so in this case I'm just missing part two!

Trilogy Titles:

1. Spirit Gate
2. Shadow Gate
3. Traitors' Gate

Published by Orbit on 5th August 2010

As is usual, I open the floor to you - any that look particularly interesting? Does anyone own the books I'm missing and wants to donate? *cheeky*


  1. The Silent Land by Graham Joyce looks interesting. And the cover stands out! I wanted to give Blue Bloods a try sometime, but I'm not entirely sure now that I've read your comments on it. Happy reading!

  2. If you have a chance to pick up The Electric Church (Jeff Somers) and Feast of Souls (Celia S. Friedman), do so. I've read both in the past year, and I am looking forward to continuing both series. The concept for Friedman's series is very original (well, it was for me!) and she writes extremely well. Somers is wildly entertaining and his book was hard to put down.

  3. Some good looking books. I'm just getting into Peter F. Hamilton myself, might have to check that one out.

  4. You got such a nice assortment of books! I keep meaning to begin the series by Liu but just haven't yet. My mailboxes are here and here. Happy reading!

  5. It is a nice assortment of books. C.S. Friedman (as they are published in the US) is a good writer. I haven't read this series but others and enjoyed them.

  6. Amanda, I hope you enjoy Scott Sigler's book Ancester. I've read all his previous books and they've tended to be high-action sf with touches of horror.

  7. @irisonbooks - Ah, don't let me stop you reading Blue Bloods, that one has actually received a lot of love from people who read more YA than I. So it could have been a book clash with me and it. It is a nice slim read, so it wouldn't take up too much of your time to give it a go :-)

    @D-man - oooh, thanks for your thoughts on Somers and Friedman. As it happens, it looks as though I'll be getting my sticky paws on the first two books in the Somers series, so I shall look forward to starting that.

    @Daniel Chuter - since I haven't tried Misspent Youth myself, I can't comment with much authority, but it is my understanding that there are better books than that one to start with. I am reading it for a complete picture of the Commonwealth universe for a project - I think you could do worse than kick off with Pandora's Star, which is simply tremendous!

    @Kathy Martin - Ooh, you got a nice haul as well! I have been hearing great things about Shadow Hills and wouldn't mind trying it.

    @WonderBunny - which of her series have you read?

    @I.E.Lester - I plan on trying Ancestor pretty soon, since that was a gift from a friend who is desperate for me to read and review it :-)

  8. I wasn't aware of Michael Jecks' series of novels, but they look to be interesting. I love historical fiction, although I read it only from time to time and it falls in the waiting list behind other genres, so I think I'll try to read some of the books in this series :)