Sunday, 12 June 2011

Books I Adopted This Week

Here we go with another wonderful week of books received. And, I have to say, there is not a single book here that I don't want to read! Thanks to all the publishers involved: Black Library, Headline, Bloomsbury, Gollancz, Hodder & Stoughton, Tor, William Heinemann, Transworld Ireland, Bantam Press and Simon & Schuster. You're all awesome!

1) The Book of Transformations - Mark Charan Newton

A new and corrupt Emperor seeks to rebuild the ancient structures of Villjamur to give the people of the city hope in the face of great upheaval and an oppressing ice age. But when a stranger called Shalev arrives, empowering a militant underground movement, crime and terror becomes rampant. The Inquisition is always one step behind, and military resources are spread thinly across the Empire. So Emperor Urtica calls upon cultists to help construct a group to eliminate those involved with the uprising, and calm the populace. But there's more to The Villjamur Knights than just phenomenal skills and abilities - each have a secret that, if exposed, could destroy everything they represent. Investigator Fulcrom of the Villjamur Inquisition is given the unenviable task of managing the Knights', but his own skills are tested when a mysterious priest, who has travelled from beyond the fringes of the Empire, seeks his help. The priest's existence threatens the church, and his quest promises to unweave the fabric of the world. And in a distant corner of the Empire, the enigmatic cultist Dartun Sur steps back into this world, having witnessed horrors beyond his imagination. Broken, altered, he and the remnants of his cultist order are heading back to Villjamur. And all eyes turn to the Sanctuary City, for Villjamur's ancient legends are about to be shattered...

The Book of Transformations was published by Tor on 3rd June 2011.

The third novel in Newton's Legends of the Red Sun series and I'm going to sound like a broken record when I say that I haven't read the previous two novels *sighs* Thing is, on the one hand, Mark was one of the first authors to welcome me to the blogosphere and to encourage my reviews. On the other hand, he is a definite advocator of the weird fantasy revolution, and I'm not sure that is absolutely my bag. So I'm hesitant at starting the series - but it has received some wonderful reviews from bloggers I trust. Probably time I started!

2) The House by the Sea - Santa Montefiore

Ten-year-old Floriana is captivated by the beauty of the magnificent Tuscan villa that overlooks the sea just outside her small village. She likes to spy from the crumbling wall into the gardens, and imagine that one day she'll escape her meagre existence and live there. One day, Dante, the son of the villa's powerful industrialist owner, invites her inside. From that moment on Floriana knows that her destiny is there, with him. But as they grow up they cross an unseen line, jeopardising the very thing they hold most dear. Decades later and hundreds of miles away, a beautiful old country house hotel on England's Devon coast has fallen on hard times. Its owner, Marina, advertises for an artist-in-residence to stay the summer and teach the guests how to paint. Rafael Santoro is charismatic and wise, and soon begins to pacify the discord in her family. However, Rafa is not who he seems. He has his own agenda. Whether to destroy, to seduce, or to heal, it is certain to affect them all.

The House by the Sea will be published by Simon & Schuster on 21st July 2011.

In the summer I adore reading sprawling family sagas - they suit the long lazy summer afternoons. I haven't read any novels by Santa Montefiore before, but I've always loved the covers in a shallow way! I'm going to save this one for my holiday later on this year, I think, and really savour it while I drink cocktails!

3) The Watchers - Jon Steele

Lausanne, Switzerland. In the cathedral tower lives a strange boy with a limp who talks to the bells. In a luxury penthouse lives a high-class prostitute who's in mortal danger. And in a low-rent hotel lives a private investigator who has no idea how he got there. Jay Harper finds himself in Switzerland on the trail of a missing Olympic athlete. A hard drinker, he can barely remember how he got home last night, let alone why he accepted this job. When he meets the stunning but aloof Katherine in a hotel bar, he quickly realises that he's not the only one in town who's for hire. She's a high-class hooker who can't believe her luck. Which is about to change. For the worse. In the meantime, Marc Rochat spends his time in the belfry talking to the statues, his cat and the occasional ghost. His job is to watch over Lausanne at night and to wait for the angel his mother told him he'd one day have to save. When he sees Katherine, he thinks his moment has come. Which indeed it has. But not in a good way...

The Watchers was published by Bantam Press on 9th June 2011.

Sort of like John Connolly, right? A thriller with supernatural elements? This one has been receiving a huge push on the run up to publication - so it could either be like The Passage (very successful and critically acclaimed) or The Left Hand of God (really NOT good). I'm hoping for the former.

4) Blackout - Connie Willis

BLACKOUT is the opening movement of a vast, absorbing two-volume novel that may well prove to be Connie Willis' masterpiece. Like her multi-award winning THE DOOMSDAY BOOK, this stunning new work marries the intricate mechanics of time travel to the gritty - and dangerous - realities of human history. The narrative opens in Oxford, England in 2060, where a trio of time traveling scholars prepares to depart for various corners of the Second World War. Their mission: to observe, from a safe vantage point, the day-to-day nature of life during this critical historical moment. As the action ranges from the evacuation of Dunkirk to the manor houses of rural England to the quotidian horrors of London during the Blitz, the objective nature of their roles gradually changes. Cut off from the safety net of the future and caught up in the chaotic events that make up history, they are forced to participate, in unexpected ways, in the defining events of the era.

Blackout was published by Gollancz on 1st June 2011.

Ooh! Seen lots about this from other bloggers! I was so desperate to read it, and jumped around a little bit when it arrived in the post. I think this is going to be one of those massively talked about books, and I can't wait to start it.

5) A Long, Long Sleep - Anna Sheehan

Rosalinda Fitzroy had been asleep for 62 years when she was woken by a kiss. Locked away in the chemically-induced slumber of a stasis tube in a forgotten sub-basement, sixteen-year-old Rose slept straight through the Dark Times that killed millions and utterly changed the world she knew. Now, her parents and her first love are long dead, and Rose - hailed upon her awakening as the long-lost heir to an interplanetary empire - is thrust alone into a future in which she is viewed as either a freak or a threat. Desperate to put the past behind her and adapt to her new world, Rose finds herself drawn to the boy who kissed her awake, hoping that he can help her to start fresh. But when a deadly danger jeopardizes her fragile new existence, Rose must face the ghosts of her past with open eyes - or be left without any future at all.

A Long, Long Sleep will be published by Gollancz on 18th August 2011.

Wow, this one came out of nowhere... Such a stunning cover, and a fantastic mash-up of Sleeping Beauty and dystopian future. It's not even been on my radar, and I'm really surprised I haven't heard anything about it. Gollancz seem to be slipping this out almost apologetically, and I think there should be a fanfare! Really excited about it.

6) The Straight Razor Cure - Daniel Polansky

Welcome to Low Town. Here, the criminal is king. The streets are filled with the screeching of fish hags, the cries of swindled merchants, the inviting murmurs of working girls. Here, people can disappear, and the lacklustre efforts of the guard ensure they are never found. Warden is an ex-soldier who has seen the worst men have to offer; now a narcotics dealer with a rich, bloody past and a way of inviting danger. You'd struggle to find someone with a soul as dark and troubled as his. But then a missing child, murdered and horribly mutilated, is discovered in an alley. And then another. With a mind as sharp as a blade and an old but powerful friend in the city, he's the only man with a hope of finding the killer. If the killer doesn't find him first.

The Straight Razor Cure will be published by Hodder & Stoughton on 18th August 2011.

I've got a funny feeling that The Straight Razor Cure has been published elsewhere as Low Town. I've seen some bloggers receive copies of Low Town, and I think they've come from the States. Anyhow, it looks GREAT! And that cover is going to look tremendous on the shelves (although there is a *ahem* hooded man on the cover *grins*).

7) Red Glove - Holly Black

The Sopranos meets Six Feet Under - a wonderfully dark, supernatural vision of modern day America. Cassel has discovered the dark secret of his past, the secret that set him apart from his family. Now he must take his new knowledge and his new powers out into the world. A dark and twisting contemporary fantasy set in a beautifully rendered, subtly different world this is a wonderfully nuanced and involving fantasy, at once melancholy, ironic and terrifying. It is perfect for fans of Neil Gaiman.

Red Glove will be published by Gollancz on 16th June 2011.

Ready for that broken record again? Not read White Cat. Wanted to, but didn't manage to fit it in last year. The sterling reviews make me think I ought to *smiles*

8) The Traitor's Gate - Sarah Silverwood

It's Christmas-time, and Finmere Tingewick Smith (Fin to his friends) is back in Orrery House, with Christopher, one of his two best friends. They're there for the Initiation of the new Knights of Nowhere. The boys have tried to find some normalcy after their recent adventures, but they're badly missing Joe. He's stuck in the Nowhere, guarding two of the Five Eternal Stories that weave all the worlds together; they're held inside his own body. In the Somewhere, Christmas is a time of glad tidings and gifts and goodwill, Christmas trees, carols and the celebration of good things. But there is no Christmas in the Nowhere, and in both worlds, things are not as settled as they look, for Justin Arnold-Mather is getting ready to make his move. In the Nowhere, something is moving through the streets, attacking people - random victims - and leaving them mad and disfigured. And in Orrery House, a tiny crack has appeared in the Prophecy table. The Prophecy is coming alive. The battle lines will be drawn between even the closest of friends, for the fight is on. The Dark King is rising.

The Traitor's Gate was published by Gollancz on 2nd June 2011.

Rather than tell you I didn't read the first novel in this series (yes, it's true), I'd rather raise the issue I have with the cover. I don't know if it's just me but it looks a little bit.... unfinished. Like, a proof copy cover rather than the final version. Anyone else think that?

9) Tiger's Quest - Colleen Houck

Back in Oregon, Kelsey tries to pick up the pieces of her life and push aside her feelings for Ren. But danger lurks around the corner, forcing her to return to India where she embarks on a second quest-this time with Ren's dark, bad-boy brother Kishan, who has also fallen prey to the Tiger's Curse. Fraught with danger, spellbinding dreams, and choices of the heart, TIGER'S QUEST brings the trio one step closer to breaking the spell that binds them.

Tiger's Curse was published by Hodder Children's on 9th June 2011.

Ha! I'm changing the tune. Yes, I haven't read the first, but it did only arrive a couple of weeks ago *grins* I have a week off work in the not too distant future and I will be reading both back to back. Also? GLORIOUS cover!

10) The Borrower - Rebecca Makkai

Lucy Hull, a young children's librarian in Hannibal, Missouri, finds herself both kidnapper and kidnapped when her favourite patron, ten-year-old Ian Drake, runs away from home. The precocious Ian is addicted to reading, but needs Lucy's help to smuggle books past his overbearing mother, who had enrolled Ian in weekly anti-gay classes.

Lucy, a rebel at heart beneath her librarian's exterior, stumbles into a moral dilemma when she finds Ian camped out in the library after hours with a backpack of provisions and an escape plan. Desperate to save him from the Drakes, Lucy allows herself to be hijacked by Ian. The odd pair embark on an improvised road trip from Missouri to Vermont, with ferrets and an inconvenient boyfriend thrown in their path. Along the way, Lucy struggles to make peace with her Russian immigrant father and his fugitive past, and is forced to use his shady connections to escape discovery.

The Borrower will be published by William Heinemann on 7th July 2011.

What a lovely sounding book! I do enjoy it when books are a big feature of stories. Although... does anyone else think of The Borrowers when they see the title? I can't get past that right now...

11) A Serpent Uncoiled - Simon Spurrier

Hmm, no cover image available right now, will try to chase one up from Headline.

Dan Shaper's sins are a sickness. Working as a fixer in London's criminal underworld has brought him to the edge of breakdown, and the drugs don't bury the nightmares like they used to. He needs to straighten-up and rebuild his life, but instead gets the attention of his old gangland masters and a job-offer from George Glass: an eccentric old man convinced he's secretly an ancient Messiah. Normally Shaper would recoil from Glass's senile brand of New Age salvation, but the case is as tantalising as it is lucrative: A missing mobster. A bizarre spiritualist society. Three accidental deaths, unconnected but for a chilling forensic detail. And a note: "You're on a list." Adrift amidst liars and thugs, Shaper must push his capsizing mind beyond its limits: stalked not only by a unique and terrifying murderer, but by the ghosts of his own brutal past.

A Serpent Uncoiled will be published by Headline on 4th August 2011.

Apparently, this one is an utterly unique take on the classic private eye novel, which is intriguing. It's difficult these days to find any novel that is utterly unique! It looks like a snappy read anyhow and I'll be pleased to dip into it.

12) David - Mary Hoffman

Michelangelo's statue of David is renowned all over the world. Thousands flock to Florence to admire the artistry behind this Renaissance masterpiece, and to admire the beauty of the human form captured in the marble. But the identity of the model for this statue that has been so revered for over five hundred years has been lost ...In this epic story Mary Hoffman uses her persuasive narrative skills to imagine the story of Gabriele, an eighteen-year-old who, by becoming Michelangelo's model, finds himself drawn into a world of spies, politicking, sabotage and murder. Set against the backdrop of Florence, this is a rich, colourful and thrilling tale.

David will be published by Bloomsbury on 4th July 2011.

I'm really glad to be a stop on the blog tour for David that is coming over the next month or so (you can see a little button on my sidebar that takes you to the blog tour schedule), and I'm thrilled to have received my copy of David so that I can start reading. It looks brilliant, and Mary Hoffman is a massively talented author.

13) Champagne Secrets - Amanda Brunker

Eva the Diva is back! And she's going undercover...After capturing a bust up on an airplane between a group of footballers' wives on her camera phone, Eva is offered the chance of a lifetime - a new job as an undercover TV reporter. Her exciting new career means moving herself and little daughter Daisy to London and keeping the exact nature of her work secret from her colleagues at the TV production company. Even the new man in her life doesn't know what she's up to...It's not all high glamour in the big city though - a single mum in a new town needs support, so Eva moves in with her aunt's large brood, where the rough and tumble of family life is a stark contrast to the celebrity restaurants and nightclubs she visits in her quest to uncover all sorts of WAG drama. But as the intrigue deepens and Eva is forced to tell more and more lies to hold her cover, will her secret prove to be her downfall? And will there ever be a real Mr Right? One things for sure, there'll be lots of naughty fun and games along the way...

Champagne Secrets was published by Transworld Ireland on 24th June 2010.

Since this isn't a new release I'm a little mystified as to why I was sent it. I do love me a bonkbuster, but I'm not keen on Eva the Diva (just too cutesy for me) and this is the third in the series, I believe, so I reckon this will be down the list for me...

14) and 15) Nagash the Sorcerer and Nagash the Unbroken - Mike Lee

These came through as the result of a very cheeky request by myself *blushes*. Nagash Immortal was sent to me by Black Library, which is the third in the trilogy, so I asked the lovely Andy Smillie whether he'd send me the first two. He kindly obliged *grin*

So, that was my lot this week. Any you're interested in reading? What did you get this week?

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