Sunday, 22 May 2011

Books I Adopted This Week

I am resurrecting the 'Books I Adopted This Week' feature, loosely based on In My Mailbox by The Story Siren. I stopped doing it because a) it takes a surprising amount of time to do each post and b) it felt a lot like me saying 'look at all the books I'm getting!' I'm resurrecting it because I'm now receiving way more books each week than I can expect to read in good time and I would still like to do some justice and give cover time to the books coming my way. I am NOT boasting. Please God, I don't want anyone to feel jealous. Instead, consider this my method of passing thanks to the publishers who have taken the time to send me novels they think I might like.

Without any more ado, let's get on - we have a lot to get through this week....

1) Mad Love - Suzanne Selfors

When you're the daughter of the bestselling Queen of Romance, life should be pretty good. But 16-year-old Alice Amorous has been living a lie ever since her mother was secretly hospitalised for mental illness. After putting on a brave face for months, time is running out. The next book is overdue and the Queen can't write it. Alice needs a story for her mother - and she needs one fast. That's when she meets Errol, a strange boy who claims to be Cupid, who insists that Alice write about the greatest love story in history: his tragic relationship with Psyche. As Alice begins to hear Errol's voice in her head and see things she can't explain, she must face the truth - that she's either inherited her mother's madness, or Errol is for real.

Mad Love is published by Bloomsbury on 6th June 2011.

I do like the sound of this. It reads in a quirky manner, and appears to include a chick lit element alongside mythology. I can imagine sitting and reading this in one sitting on a sunny Saturday afternoon - and imagine I shall be doing such over the summer!

2) Blood Oath - Christopher Farnsworth

'There are worse things in this world than al-Qaeda and North Korea, Zach. And they are just waiting for their chance at us.' Sharp and ambitious, Zach Barrows is on his way up. But when he gets a call from the White House, it's not quite the promotion he expected. Zach is to be the new political liaison officer to America's best kept secret: Nathaniel Cade. The President's vampire. And Cade is the world's only hope against a horrifying new terrorist threat advancing from the Middle East. The fight is deadlier than ever, and time is running out ...

Blood Oath is published by Hodder on 26th May 2011.

A vampire thriller! Sounds like some strange cross between Tom Clancy and Bram Stoker - or a grown up version of Department 19! I'm really intrigued by this. I didn't know anything about it when it arrived and now I really want to read it *grins*

3) Now You See Me - S. J. Bolton

Despite her fascination with Jack the Ripper, Detective Constable Lacey Flint has never worked a big case or seen a dead body up close. Until now...As she leaves a south London estate one night, she is horrified to find a woman has been viciously stabbed, right next to Lacey's car. Thrown headlong into her first murder hunt, Lacey's quiet life changes overnight. Then Lacey receives a familiar hand-delivered letter, written in red blood, and it is clear the police have a Ripper copycat on their hands. Lacey must be the bait if they are to prevent a second, brutal murder. But can this inexperienced DC outwit a killer whose infamous role model has never been found?...

Now You See Me is published by Bantam Press on 26th May 2011.

Now, I can never tell whether the crime books I receive are part of a long running series (has anyone else noticed that crime books seem to result in very long series?), but from what I've researched Now You See Me is a standalone. Can anyone confirm? As it happens, I am currently editing a book about Jack the Ripper and consequently this piques my interest whereas at another point in time it might have passed me by.

4) Promethean Sun - Nick Kyme

The Great Crusade reaches a feral world known only as One-Five-Four-Four. The forces of the Imperium arrive to deliver the primitive natives from enslavement at the hands of the alien eldar. The Iron Hands of Ferrus Manus and Mortarion’s Death Guard fight in theatres of war across the world, but the most vicious combat takes place in the deep jungles, where Vulkan and the Salamanders bring the Emperor’s wrath to the heathen aliens.

Vulkan and his sons must brave the deadly jungles, battle monstrous reptilian beasts and contend with the vile sorcery of the eldar if they are to liberate this world and bring the Emperor’s light to its backwards inhabitants.

Promethean Sun is a limited edition Horus Heresy novella that I bought myself from Black Library (yes, I do still buy a few books *grin* - special ones!)

So... I love Horus Heresy. I am starting to get a taste for limited edition releases. The fact that I bought this one myself shows a massive intent to read!

5) The Queen Must Die - K.A.S. Quinn

Why is Katie Berger-Jones-Burg under a sofa in Buckingham Palace? The last thing she can remember is reading in her bedroom, trying to block out the sound of the TV. Now she is in London, at the height of Queen Victoria's reign. Something very strange is going on. Together with her two new friends - Princess Alice, the young daughter of Queen Victoria, and James O'Reilly, the son of the royal doctor - Katie must discover why she has been sent back in time. And who are the weird and frightening creatures who seek her out? The key, it seems, lies with the enigmatic Bernardo DuQuelle. As the dark forces moving through the royal household begin to take control, Katie and her friends uncover a plot to assassinate the Queen and unearth an even darker mystery...

The Queen Must Die is published by Corvus on 1st June 2011.

I was offered this one for review, so you'll definitely see a review within the next few weeks. It was offered on the basis of being a fast-paced time travel adventure, which sounds excellent. I particularly enjoy this type of children's book because it is something I can share with my two nephews if I believe they will like it too.

6) The Order of the Scales - Stephen Deas

As the various factions fight for control of the Adamatine Palace mankinds nemesis approaches. The realms dragons are awakening from their alchemical sedation and returning to their native fury. They can remember why they were created and they now know what mankind has done to them. And their revenge will be brutal. As hundreds of dragons threaten a fiery apocalypse only the Adamantine Guard stand between humanity and extinction. Can Prince Jehal fight off the people who want him dead and unite their armies in one final battle for survival? Noted for its blistering pace, awesome dragons and devious polticking Stephen Deas's landmark fantasy trilogy moves to a terrifying epic conclusion in The Order of the Scales.

The Order of the Scales is published by Gollancz on 19th May 2011.

Woe. Woe is me. Stephen Deas I would count now amongst my friends. He has been producing consistently well received novels for the past few years. And DRAGONS! Why have I not read his Memory of Flames trilogy yet? With the release of this third novel, I do think I'll be correcting this oversight. In fact, can I see The Adamantine Palace from here....? *gets distracted*

7) Wonder - Robert J. Sawyer

The Internet has become sentient. The world's governments are terrified, it seems the evolution of a new intelligence might have left mankind behind. It is up to one blind girl, a maths genius, to convince mankind that this new digital life is not its enemy. Perfect for fans of Charles Stross and Vernor Vinge this is a rich imagining of a future that may be just around the corner.

Wonder will be published by Gollancz on 19th May 2011.

So, the third in another trilogy that I have not managed to read the prior two novels of! This happens more commonly than you'd think. Watch and Wake have both looked to receive decent reviews, and I do like the idea of a sentient Internet, but I can't see me getting to this too soon with some of the other books I've been receiving.

8) Tiger's Curse - Colleen Houck

Would you risk it all to change your destiny? The last thing Kelsey Hayes thought she'd be doing this summer was trying to break a 300-year-old Indian curse. With a mysterious white tiger named Ren. Halfway around the world. But that's exactly what happened. Face-to-face with dark forces, spellbinding magic, and mystical worlds where nothing is what it seems, Kelsey risks everything to piece together an ancient prophecy that could break the curse forever.

Tiger's Curse will be published by Hodder on 26th May 2011.

I cannot express how beautiful this cover is in the flesh. It is truly gorgeous, and I can imagine it really jumping out when placed on the (almost universally) black table of 3 for 2 offers in Waterstones. Handily the story itself also seems to be something pretty decent and I'm genuinely excited about reading Tiger's Curse.

9) Magus of Stonewylde - Kit Berry

Sylvie is dying. A victim of crippling allergies, poisoned by the pollution and chemicals of modern life, Sylvie is trapped in a hospital bed while her mother and doctors watch her life slipping away. But one of them offers her a chance. There's an alternative community - Stonewylde - hidden away behind high boundary walls in a corner of Dorset. If their leader, the charismatic Magus, would let Sylvie visit then perhaps the clean air and green lifestyle may restore her vitality. Or at least give her some measure of peace before she dies. It's a chance, and when Sylvie and her mother take it, they find themselves in a haven of tranquillity and beauty. But it's not all idyllic. The Magus sends a moody, secretive Village boy to work in their garden as a punishment. He warns them to stay away from him - he's rebellious and in deep trouble. But Sylvie is curious about Yul and, as their forbidden friendship grows, she sees that all is not quite as it seems at Stonewylde. Why was she told to keep away from Yul - and why are she and her mother so drawn to the Magus? Is the crone on the hill really a powerful wise-woman, or just a crazed old hag bent on destroying the peace with her wild prophecies? And what exactly is the magical secret at the heart of this seemingly perfect community?

Magus of Stonewylde is published by Orion on 5th May 2011.

For me the most interesting part of the story is that Kit Berry shipped the Stonewylde books round 13 publishers originally, and was rejected by all. So she self-published, and managed to grow a community around her novels. When she realised that she was unable to both promote her novels and write future books in the Stonewylde series, she decided to try the agented route again - and, happily, Orion picked up the series. Four books will be published in four months, and I'm definitely intrigued enough to pick up the first at least.

10) The Foxes Come At Night - Cees Nooteboom

Set in the cities and islands of the Mediterranean, and linked thematically, the eight stories in The Foxes Come At Night read more like a novel, a meditation on memory, life and death. Their protagonists collect and reconstruct fragments of lives lived intensely, and now lost, crystallized in memory or in the detail of a photograph. In 'Paula', the narrator evokes the mysterious, brief life of a woman he once loved; in 'Paula II', the same woman is aware of the man thinking of her. No longer a body, she is slowly fading into the distance, remembering the time they spent together, and his fear of the black night when the foxes appear. And yet the tone of these stories is far from pessimistic: it seems that death is nothing to be afraid of. Nooteboom is a superb stylist who observes the world with a combination of melancholy and astonishment. These stories are textured with humour, pathos and vast knowledge, the hallmarks of this outstanding and highly respected European writer.

The Foxes Come at Night will be published by MacLehose on 26th May 2011.

Now and then an absolute gem will drop through my mailbox - something utterly unexpected, and out of my regular reading zone. The last such was the absolutely delightful Benny and Shrimp, and I'm hoping that The Foxes Come at Night will prove similar. Certainly Cees Nooteboom appears to be extremely well-regarded in European literary circles and I look forward to dipping into this collection of short stories.

11) The Emperor's Gold - Robert Wilton

This is an intense, imaginative and darkly atmospheric historical spy thriller set in 1805, when Britain was within hours of invasion and defeat by Napoleon. O'Brian meets le Carre with a nod towards "Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell". 1805. The armies of France have beaten every challenger. Now they camp by the English Channel, awaiting only safe passage to complete Napoleon's domination of Europe. Britain is militarily weak, politically divided, unsettled by her rioting poor and under constant threat of another Irish insurrection. Into this feverish environment, ripe for treason and sedition, comes a dead man. Pulled half-drowned from a shipwreck, his past erased, Tom Roscarrock is put to work for the Comptrollerate-General for Scrutiny and Survey, a dubious and obscure off-shoot of the Government operating independently and to uncertain ends. He is thrown into a bewildering world of political intrigue and violence, moving from the refined salons of Francophile London high society to brutal skirmishes between the militia and food-rioters and shadowy underground meetings where revolution is now close to fruition. In France, a plan is underway to neutralise the Royal Navy and shatter the last of England's political stability. In England, the man who recruited Roscarrock has disappeared, Comptrollerate-General agents keep turning up dead, and reports of a secret French fleet are panicking the authorities. Roscarrock begins to realise that his mission is a deliberate device to reveal the British spy network in France...His own past, previously opaque even to himself, is now the key to the conspiracy. What to everyone else is a battle of Empires becomes for Tom Roscarrock a quest for private vengeance. Will he prove nemesis or saviour?

The Emperor's Gold will be published by Corvus on 1st June 2011.

This ticks a lot of boxes for me. I love a good historical novel, and I appreciate the comparisons with Susanna Clarke as well. I am pleased that Robert Wilton has agreed to do a guest post for me within the next few weeks to discuss the influences that caused him to write The Emperor's Gold.

12) (and technically 13 and 14 as well) The Numbers trilogy by Rachel Ward

Post-Chaos 2029. Adam, Sarah and Mia are living together, struggling with the fame of seeing numbers - the dates when people will die. But something is about to tear them apart. During The Chaos Mia swapped her number for another. Suddenly her powerful new ability makes her a terrifying target. Everyone wants to live for ever.

On 2nd June Chicken House are releasing the third novel in the Number series by Rachel Ward. When I was offered the third, I realised that I hadn't read any of them and so *very* cheekily asked for the first two as well, so that I could review all three. I was kindly sent them and so shall guarantee reviews sooner rather than later! I'm looking forward to these - and can I just say that the covers look brilliant side by side.

15) Rockoholic - C J Skuse

Jody loves Jackson Gatlin. At his only UK rock concert, she's right at the front. But when she's caught in the crush and carried back stage she has more than concussion to contend with. Throw in a menacing manager, a super-wired super-star, and a curly-wurly, and she finds herself taking home more than just a poster. It's the accidental kidnapping of the decade. But what happens if you've a rock-god in your garage who doesn't want to leave Jody's stuck between a rock-idol and a hard place! From the pen of C.J. Skuse, author of 2010's super cool debut "Pretty Bad Things", comes a tale of rock star obsession gone nuts.

Rockoholic was published by Chicken House on 7th March 2011.

After reading and loving Withering Tights by Louise Rennison, I'm definitely ready for another humorous and quirky tale about girls getting caught in madcap sitations. I'm jealous of the fact that these sorts of novels are available for tweens now - I would have devoured them if they'd existed when I was a younger reader!

16) Flawless - Lara Chapman

Sarah Burke is just about perfect. She has killer blue eyes, gorgeous blonde hair and impeccable school grades. She has just one tiny flaw - her nose! But even that's not so bad as Sarah has the bestest friend and big goals for print journalism fame. On the first day of senior year, Rock Conway walks into Sarah's journalism class and rocks her world. The problem is, her best friend, Kristen, falls for him too, and when Rock and Kristen stand together, it's like Barbie and Ken come to life. So when Kristen begs Sarah to help her attract Rock, Sarah does the only thing a best friend can do - she agrees. What was she thinking? This retelling of "Cyrano de Bergerac" is a sweet and witty romance that gently reminds us that we should all embrace our flaws.

Flawless was published by Bloomsbury on 3rd May 2011.

I do like it when an old story is given a new spin - this time the telling of Cyrano de Bergerac and his overly large nose. Flawless sounds lovely, and the book is a nice slim 272 pages, so I can see myself getting to this shortly. I've also seen some rather good reviews, which makes me more inclined to read.

17) Savage City - Sophia McDougall

Imagine a world where Rome never fell. Now the Empire stretches across the Atlantic. Slaves are constructing a giant bridge over the Persian Gulf. Magnetic railways span the globe. But political tensions are growing at home and abroad, and one man's ambition is about to change the face of the earth. A massive explosion at the Coliseum kills the Emperor Faustus, making his nephew and heir, Marcus Novius, the new leader of the Roman Empire. Marcus, the healer Sulien and Una, his sister - and Marcus' own love - have been together through thick and thin, fighting for freedom, fighting for their lives, fighting for justice. Marcus' ascension to the Roman throne was supposed to be the start of something magnificent ...But Marcus himself is horribly wounded in the explosion, and Sulien is having problems fighting his way through the terrible devastation to get to his friend, the new emperor. It's not long before Sulien and Una realise the explosion did far more damage than just killing the old emperor, and life is never going to be the same again.

Savage City was published by Gollancz on 19th May 2011.

Sophia McDougall is a truly lovely lady. And I read older versions of Romanitas and Rome Burning, so Savage City is a must for me. I did buy the first two novels in the trilogy at Eastercon (again!) so that I could have the new versions with the gorgeous covers and I plan on skimming them once more to check out what changes have been made for the repackaging. Look out for reviews of all three *smiles*

18) Before I Go To Sleep - S J Watson

As I sleep, my mind will erase everything I did today. I will wake up tomorrow as I did this morning. Thinking I'm still a child. Thinking I have a whole lifetime of choice ahead of me ...' Welcome to Christine's life.

Before I Go To Sleep was published by Doubleday on 28th April 2011.

Okay, this wasn't on my radar at all - but then Ben from Transworld started conducting THE best publicity campaign. First of all, I received through the post a couple of extracts of the novel to whet my appetite. Then I received a key, which mystified me. Finally the novel itself arrived, all padlocked up and the message 'Don't Trust Ben' on the outside. I might be shallow, but anything like this will pique my curiosity and have me wondering what the book is all about. Add into that a high concept plot and some wonderful write ups, and I want to read Before I Go To Sleep.

19) Child Wonder - Roy Jacobsen

Finn lives with his mother in an apartment block in a working-class suburb of Oslo. It is 1961, a time when 'men became boys and housewives women', the year the Berlin Wall is erected and Yuri Gagarin becomes the first man to travel into space. Life is electrical, beautiful and stubbornly social-democratic. One day a mysterious half-sister appears 'with an atom-charge in a light blue suitcase', and she turns his life upside-down. Over an everlasting summer, Finn attempts to grasp the incomprehensible adult world and his place within it. His mother appears to carry a painful secret, but one which pushes them ever further apart. And why is his new sister so different from every other child? Child Wonder is a powerful and unsentimental portrait of childhood, a coming-of-age novel full of light and warmth. Through the eyes of a child Roy Jacobsen has captured the complexities of his characters through their actions, and has produced an immensely uplifting novel that shines with humanity.

Child Wonder will be published by MacLehose on 26th May 2011.

Another out-of-the-blue sweet looking novel from MacLehose. I enjoy being included on these literary lists so that I can try something incredibly new to me.

20) Trial By Fire - Jennifer Lynn Barnes

At seventeen, Bryn is has the usual schoolgirl worries: a new boyfriend, a new school and a new home. But she has one major concern that her friends don't have: she is an alpha - a human girl in charge of her own werewolf pack. When Bryn and her closest friends, Dev and Lake, broke from the werewolf Callum's pack, it had all felt right. Together with Chase, Bryn's new love, they had rescued some newly made female werewolves from a despicable master and established their own pack, with Bryn as leader. Yet Bryn has always resented the rules of Pack life - the constant bowing to authority, the submission to the alpha. And she is determined to live differently, to run this pack openly and justly. Then one night, a badly beaten werewolf shows up on her territory. He needs help, sanctuary, care. But taking him in could violate inter-pack rules, and no one knows better than Bryn the costs of challenging those rules. Obedience is law in Pack life, but Bryn is going to break the rules, again.

Trial By Fire will be published by Quercus on 26th May 2011.

I never did read Raised By Wolves, although that was incredibly well-received by reviewers around the blogosphere. With the arrival of the second it reminded me that I always intended to read the first! I will be attempting to get in quick reviews of both, but look at the list of books above that I also want to review! There are TOO MANY BOOKS!

Okay, so that's the lot. I know I've been exceptionally lucky! Which of the above are you interested by?


  1. Thanks to this, I'll be buying a few of these; and I've already pre-ordered one title. ;)

    Your blog work has paid off, Magemanda. :)

    ~ Natalie.

    P.S. Are you anal about spine-creasing your paperbacks? Enquiring minds wanna know. Lol.

  2. Rockoholic, The Queen Must Die and Mad Love all sounds really good.

    And I really wanted to read the Cees Nooteboom for my month of Dutch lit in June. I think a copy *might* be on the way. I hope so :)

  3. Hey Natalie - thanks for the comment! I'm afraid I brutally crease every paperback spine I own *blush* You can tell my favourite books by the creasing in the spine :-)

    Hey Iris - the Cees Nooteboom does sound absolutely wonderful, doesn't it? I do hope you get a copy as well!

  4. I started Blood Oath last night - blitzed through 100 pages at a very good clip. It's good fun. Your "Tom Clancy meets Bram Stoker" is a good description, too. Great fun.

  5. Shit...they send you A LOT of books! Wowzers. Consider me impressed, and a number of those look like great reads!

  6. Some very nice titles there Amanda, each have thier merits. You've got a treat with Stephen's trilogy (just about to start the third myself) and the first Raised by Wolves is a treat that you really have to pick up.

    Hope you enjoy your little readathon.