Monday, June 30, 2014

Author Interview - Anna Kashina (2nd time)

Yup, now its time to interview the lovely author who was the first one that I interviewed on my blog. So, welcome again or should I say welcome back 'Anna Kashina' (who I previously interviewed and also there is a review of her first angry robot book on the blog). This time we talked about the sequel 'The Guild of Assassins'.

Q and A -
1) Hi and Welcome back. First please start off by telling us a bit about your new novel "The Guild of Assassins"?

Thanks! It is great to be back, and thank you for hosting this interview.
When I originally wrote “Blades of the Old Empire” I intended for it to be a complete stand-alone, with all the plot lines resolved. However, when I finished the book I could not escape the feeling that the story--as well as the relationships developed in this book--need to be followed up on. Among the story lines to wrap up, the most important one for me revolved around Kara’s status with the Majat Guild. Technically she is now free, but her freedom has been achieved by Mai putting himself on the line for her. Sooner or later the Majat Guild is bound to learn about his disobedience -- and act on it. This is the conflict that feeds the story in “The Guild of Assassins”. Of course, the Kaddim continue to play their part, trying to take advantage of this conflict to orchestrate the downfall of the entire Majat Guild.

2) Is the narrative still mostly from the viewpoint of 'Kythar' and 'Ellah' like the previous book, or do we get new narrators?

There is a major new narrator in the book: Kara. While previously it was important for me to keep out of her head to maintain an enigma around her character, with the way the story revolves around her in “The Guild of Assassins” I simply had to switch to her point of view. While previously she was shown only a superb fighter and a love interest (the fact that some readers actually complained about), in this book we finally get to learn what did she think about the whole situation and how she deals with it. I hope this will be rewarding to the readers who craved for her point of view in book 1.
Unfortunately, this shift means that Ellah has receded to a minor role in this book, but I hope to remedy that in the future installments of the series. Ellah is still very much in the picture, and her truthsense proves very important during the story.

3) Despite being somewhat in the shadows, Aghat Mai was one of the most interesting characters in the first book, so will he be more in the limelight in this book?

I am glad you asked! Mai is actually my favorite character in the series. It is strange for me now to think that he was originally conceived as no more than a plot device, a man who can pose a believable threat to Kara. He has become so much more. And yes, he does play a central role in “The Guild of Assassins” (as I hope is evident from the cover). In this book, he will show a range of different sides of his character, including some of the more ruthless and the more vulnerable ones. I hope it will be a treat for Mai’s fans.

4) As for 'Kythar', will we get to learn more about the his gift/ability?

Yes, of course. Kythar’s gift is still the main tool to defeat the Kaddim, and he still must develop it fully to do that. Moreover, defeating the Kaddim requires a combination of his gift with a Majat fighting force, and achieving it seems nearly impossible with the way the Majat never take sides and have now turned on their only two warriors capable of resisting the Kaddim mind control--Kara and Mai. Once again, the Kaddim’s mind games come into play to strike where they are least expected.
One of the fun aspects of writing “The Guild of Assassins” for me was to pitch Kyth against Mai. The two men are so opposite, and both are so important in the fight against the Kaddim. I had such a great time playing out this relationship in the book.

5) As I really liked the action bits and world building from the first book, tell us a bit about what more to expect in these regards?

More action, of course, and more world building. As the title suggests, this book will take us into the heart of the Majat Guild, and finally show some of the mysteries of this place not normally seen by outsiders. And, since Kara is now a major point of view character, the action around her rises to new heights--or so I hope.
Compared to the Blades, this book has more elements of romance too. While in the Blades we did have two major love interests, they both involved innocent teenagers and thus were more of the silent admiration and blushing type. Here the romance is more adult and thus revolves a bit more around physical aspects of it. I know some people were taken by surprise by romance in the previous book, so I just want to give the heads-up here and make sure the readers know what to expect.

6) So what's next for you, may I ask?

I am working on book 3 in the series. After that, we’ll see.

About 'The Guild of Assassins' -
Kara has achieved something that no Majat has ever managed – freedom from the Guild!

But the Black Diamond assassin Mai has been called back to face his punishment for sparing her life. Determined to join his fight or share his punishment, Kara finds herself falling for Mai.

But is their relationship – and the force that makes their union all-powerful – a tool to defeat the overpowering forces of the Kaddim armies, or a distraction sure to cause the downfall of the Majat?

Expected to be published on 5th August, 2014.

About Anna Kashina -
Anna Kashina grew up in Russia and moved to the United States in 1994 after receiving her Ph.D. in cell biology from the Russian Academy of Sciences. She works as a biomedical researcher and combines career in science with her passion for writing.

Anna's interests in ballroom dancing, world mythologies and folklore feed her high-level interest in martial arts of the Majat warriors. She lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Awards: 2013 Silver Medalist, ForeWord Book of the Year. 2014 Silver Medalist, Independent Publishers Book Award (IPPY).

Her links - Website, Facebook, Twitter

PS: Expect the review of the novel 'The Guild of Assassins' closer to the release date. You can check out her 'First Interview' and review of 'Blades of the Old Empire' 

Friday, June 27, 2014

New Book Review - The Leopard

Book - The Leopard  
Writer - K. V. Johansen   
Series - Marakand #1   
Published By - Pyr

First things first, I got this book from the publisher, so thank you Pyr for this opportunity.
Well, you have to merit innovative and imaginative world-building, of which this book has plenty. The richly imagined world was very fun to explore and the author can also write good characters. I quickly found myself fascinated by some of the characters and despite having not much action, found myself thoroughly devouring the pages; and then came the second part. As a two part book, the second part somehow didn't really gel with the first for me and at times felt forcefully detached.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Author Interview - David Annandale

Well, if you are a regular reader of my blog, you have noticed that I have started reading some books from Black Library recently. And among these I have really liked the works I have read so far from 'David Annandale' (Yarrick:Chains of Golgotha & Yarrick:A Plague of Saints). So I got in touch with the amazing author and asked if he would be willing to do an interview. He did agree, and I let the questions flow. Thanks again to him for being so kind and making time for me.

So, here goes -
1) Welcome to the blog. Please start by telling us a bit about yourself. Who is David Annandale?

I teach Film, Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Manitoba. I’ve been a horror fan forever, and wound up doing my PhD on horror literature and film. My first horror novel, Gethsemane Hall, came out a couple of years ago. I’ve also written a series of thrillers featuring rogue warrior Jen Blaylock.

2) Why did you decide to be a writer?

I’ve wanted to write for almost as long as I can remember. My first (incomplete) effort was when I was six. I think the drive is a need to tell the stories that I would like to read.

3) How did you start writing for the 'Black Library'?

The Warhammer 40k universe combines all the genres I love in one place: SF, horror, war, and so on. I knew, as soon as I started reading Black Library books, that I wanted to be part of this creative endeavour. My chance came when there was a call for submissions to the Treacheries of the Space Marines anthology. I sent in a pitch for “The Carrion Anthem.” It was accepted, and that’s where it all began for me.

4) So how does it feel to write for a series as enriched with many authors as Warhammer 40,000?

It feels pretty extraordinary, to put it mildly. There are challenges and responsibilities that come with the exhilaration, of course. Quite apart from keeping the work consistent with the fluff and the work of my colleagues, I very much want to live up to the level of craft they have established.

5) If you were a person living in the world of Warhammer 40k what sort of a man/machine/alien would you want to become?

Oh, good question. And a hard one! I will say this: in that grim era, Ghazghkull Thraka actually appears to be enjoying himself. I think it would be pretty fun to be him.

6) I have been enjoying your work with 'Commissar Yarrick' a lot, your idea to do the work at first person narrative was brilliant, how did you come up with this idea?

Thank you! It was actually Nick Kyme who suggested I try that, when we first discussed my taking on the character. As soon as I started work on Yarrick, it felt absolutely right. I hear his voice in my head now, whenever I sit down to give him a new adventure.

7) Read any good book this year?

Not as many as I would like! My To Be Read pile is reaching for the skies! But most recently I have read (and very much enjoyed) John French’s Tallarn: Executioner and Ann Leckie’s Ancillary Justice.

8) Now a fan question, will you be writing more on 'Sebastian Yarrick' in the future?

Oh, yes! Much more to come! I’m writing several short stories about him this summer, as well as the next novel. The plan is for there to be many books to come. After all, Imperial Creed is just the start of his career. There is a lot to explore between then and Armageddon.

9) Can you give us some information on your upcoming projects?

Coming soon is Overfiend, the hardcover collection of three linked novellas: Stormseer, Shadow Captain and Forge Master. And not too long after that is the release of my first Horus Heresy novel, The Damnation of Pythos. Meanwhile, I’ve also been busy with the Grey Knights, and you should be hearing more details about those projects very soon.

PS: I am reading a few more works from 'David Annandale', expect more reviews of his works in the near future.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

New Book Review - King of Thorns

Book - King of Thorns   
Writer - Mark Lawrence    
Series - The Broken Empire #2    
Published By - Ace/Voyager

[The review of the second book in the broken empire series, by Mark Lawrence, who is one of my favorite writers. This book I read on September 2012, and am reviewing now as part of my tribute to the release of 'Prince of Fools'. Check out the review of 'Prince of Thorns' too if you will.]
Mark Lawrence had already amazed me with 'Prince of Thorns', so when the sequel was released I didn't waste any time on grabbing it. And to be honest it was a lot different than I expected. There is that dose of unadulterated Jorg, but there is so much more. There are some newly introduced characters including one intriguing villain and a possible love interest as well as Jorg getting some maturity in dealing with his problems while being as selfish, arrogant and as unpredictable as ever. Although for me the author in trying to work with a bit more world-building and giving Jorg some new dimensions did lose a bit of the addictive rawness of the first book the overall plot with its twists and turns and the methodically whimsical yet delicious approach at telling the story more than makes up for it.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Author Interview - Michael R. Underwood

So, I recently read 'Shield and Crocus' & absolutely loved it. Here is the review if you are interested. So, now I have its brilliant author 'Michael R. Underwood' to answer a few of my questions.

Without further wasting time -

 1) Welcome to the blog and thanks for making time for talking to me. So, why don't you start by telling us what makes you new novel 'Shield and Crocus' unique?

MU) Thanks for having me! The most distinct thing about Shield and Crocus is probably that it’s a combination of the New Weird and Superhero action. Superhero novels are not common, but are far from unheard of. But few of them are set in a fantasy world or combine heroic action with a New Weird setting – a city built among the bones of a long-dead titan, transmogrifying storms that come and go without warning, and so on.

2) So what genre/genres would you say this book belongs to?

MU) As above, I’d call it New Weird and Superheroes. I think we could say that Heroic Fantasy is in there as the glue between the two genres. For those not familiar with New Weird, I was inspired by Perdido Street Station, The Scar, and Iron Council by China Mieville, City of Saints and Madmen by Jeff VanderMeer, and The Etched City by KJ Bishop, among others.

3) The book blurb of 'Shield and Crocus' gives a hint of superheroes, would you please divulge a bit more info on this?

MU) My superheroes in Shield and Crocus are more defined by their skills and will to fight than their incredible powers. In the world of Audec-Hal (where the book is set), each of the races has a special birthright, which let me re-create superhero archetypes:

The Pronai are my speedsters – they’re incredibly fast, but live far shorter lives.
The Freithin are bruisers/bricks – incredibly strong and tough. If they aren’t killed, Freithin never stop growing.
Qava are my mentalists – they’re all telepathic and telekinetic.

And so on. My heroes have powers, but they’re really just the most skilled members of their own race, pushing their natural powers to an incredible degree. Some of them, including my protagonist First Sentinel, have been fighting for fifty years. They’re seasoned veterans, heroes of countless battles and a decades-long campaign to free the city.

4) On the topic of superheroes, just for fun, what would be your catch-phrase if you were a superhero/super villain?

MU) Oh, nice.I think mine would have to be “For Great Awesomeness!” as I try to focus on the positive side of life, and seek to support awesome work by creative and to tell awesome stories myself. As a hero, I’d want to inspire people to be optimistic and creative.

5) Can you tell us a bit about the influences you had behind writing this novel?

MU) Shield and Crocus began at the Clarion West 2007 workshop in Seattle. A classmate wrote a powerful New Weird short story, and I was inspired to write my own New Weird story, since I was (and still am) a big fan of that sub-genre, its ambition, its inventiveness, and the powerful sense of atmosphere and sense of place that is so common in works in that sub-genre.

The specific concept came from a desire to combine the New Weird with the superhero genre, to bring the action/adventure and optimism of supers to the New Weird. The superhero stories that were a most direct influence on the heroes in Shield and Crocus would be Grant Morrison’s Justice League, The Authority, as well as years of reading The Avengers, The X-Men, and more.

6) 2014 has seen the releases of quite a lot of good books so far, can you tell us about some of your favorite novels from this year?

MU) I don’t get to read a whole lot for pleasure, as I’m constantly reading for my work with Angry Robot – which is awesome, but it’s also work.

Some of my favorite books from 2014 include:

The Goblin Emperor, by Katherine Addison. This was a great change from the recent string of grimdark epic fantasies, for me. I’m more of an optimistic fantasy reader, so this was really up my alley. Maia, the titular emperor, is totally unprepared for ruling, and his struggles with the political situation he's inherited are well-drawn. Most delightful, for me, is how much of a hero Maia is and tries to be, making amends for past wrongs, bringing people together, and making his own way without just tearing down everything that had come before.

The Martian, by Andy Weir. This book was just a whole lot of fun. It’s McGuyver on Mars, with a breezy, likeable voice, tons of science worker to dig into if you like, and impressive pacing. The book had been self-published before, but hit the bookstore shelves in a traditionally-published edition from Crown Books this February. It’s already been making some great waves, and I recommend it for anyone looking for a fun SF read.

And to do one short Angry Robot plug:

The Mirror Empire, by Kameron Hurley. Hurley is a multiple award-winning author, and The Mirror Empire starts off a new Inter-dimensional Epic Fantasy series. When we held the acquisitions meeting at Angry Robot to decide whether we were going to offer on The Mirror Empire, I told my colleagues that I would knife fight a man to get this book on our list.Having read the whole revised novel, I would have fought three.

7) Well, thanks again for talking with me about your new novel, I would like to end with asking you for some info on your upcoming projects (books & others)?

MU) I’ve got a lot going on. I’m revising Hexomancy, the third Ree Reyes novel, and I have a new project on submission with editors right now. I wrote a short story for the Tianxia RPG, which was funded via Kickstarter. The main game is available now, and the anthology with my story should be coming out later this year. My last publication of 2014 is going to be The Younger Gods, the start of a new urban fantasy series about the only moral son from a family of demon worshippers who want to kick off the apocalypse. The lead is socially awkward and was raised with a very twisted view of the world, and he was an incredibly rewarding challenge to write.

Thanks for having me by for the interview!

 About Shield and Crocus -
In a city built among the bones of a fallen giant, a small group of heroes looks to reclaim their home from the five criminal tyrants who control it.
The city of Audec-Hal sits among the bones of a Titan. For decades it has suffered under the dominance of five tyrants, all with their own agendas. Their infighting is nothing, though, compared to the mysterious "Spark-storms" that alternate between razing the land and bestowing the citizens with wild, unpredictable abilities. It was one of these storms that gave First Sentinel, leader of the revolutionaries known as the Shields of Audec-Hal, power to control the emotional connections between people'a power that cost him the love of his life.
Now, with nothing left to lose, First Sentinel and the Shields are the only resistance against the city's overlords as they strive to free themselves from the clutches of evil. The only thing they have going for them is that the crime lords are fighting each other as well--that is, until the tyrants agree to a summit that will permanently divide the city and cement their rule of Audec-Hal.
It's one thing to take a stand against oppression, but with the odds stacked against the Shields, it's another thing to actually triumph.
In this stunning, original tale of magic and revolution, Michael R. Underwood creates a cityscape that rivals Ambergris and New Crobuzon in its depth and populates it with heroes and villains that will stay with you forever.

About Michael R. Underwood -
Michael R. Underwood is the author of GEEKOMANCY, CELEBROMANCY, ATTACK THE GEEK, as well as the forthcoming SHIELD AND CROCUS and THE YOUNGER GODS. By day, he's the North American Sales & Marketing Manager for Angry Robot Books. Mike grew up devouring stories in all forms, from comics to video games, tabletop RPGs, movies, and books. Always books.

Mike lives in Baltimore with his fiance, an ever-growing library, and a super-team of dinosaur figurines & stuffed animals. In his rapidly-vanishing free time, he studies historical martial arts and makes pizzas from scratch. He is a co-host on the Hugo-nominated Skiffy and Fanty Show.

Michael R. Underwood
Ree Reyes series - Geekomancy, Celebromancy, Attack the Geek (4/7/14)
Shield and Crocus (6/10/14)
The Younger Gods (12/15/2014)
His Twitter & Goodreads.

PS: Check out my review of 'Shield and Crocus'.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Releasy Day Post & Giveaway for 'Chasers of the Wind'

Do you wanna know about a great book that was released today? Its an amazing epic fantasy from an award winning & brilliant Russian author by the name of 'Alexy Pehov'. Admit it you are quite intrigued.

Tor Books is excited to announce the release of 'CHASERS OF THE WIND', the first book in a new series from the internationally bestselling author Alexey Pehov. Chasers of the Wind is set in the same world as Pehov’s immensely popular Chronicles of Siala and has already garnered much attention in the author’s native Russia, having received the prestigious Silver Kadeuzei award.
And the book is getting released today, that is on the 17th June, 2014.

About the book - 
After years of reassembling the Empire after the War of the Necromancers, disaster strikes again when the Nabatorians join forces with the necromancers of Sdis to take over the Empire, one city at the time. Luk, a soldier who narrowly escapes the pillaging of the city when his place at the Gates of the Six Tower is attacked, and Ga-Nor, a northern Barbarian, flee the advances of the Nabatorian hordes together, finding safety in numbers. They encounter a married couple and Harold, the hero of the Chronicles of Siala, and the five set forth to escape and find peace within the Empire. The mysterious married duo, Grey and Layan, were once part of a secret assassin group until they took one job too far and now have a price on their head in the seedy underworld of the Empire. Unfortunately,on their way to safety, the group has made a powerful enemy in Tia, a dark sorceress and one of the Damned. Instead of submitting to Tia’s will, the rag tag band attempts to kill her and ends up separating her from her mortal body, leaving her spirit to follow them, intent on revenge.

As Tia pursues the unlikely group, they encounter hordes of the undead and hidden magical talents, only to realize that the battles have begun to spread and nowhere is safe. Eventually, Grey and Layan, with the help of their new found allies, discover that they may be the only ones who can defeat The Damned and save the Empire.

CHASERS OF THE WIND starts out in a whirlwind of fast paced battles and high intensity characters and continues this speed until the last gut wrenching pages of the book. The reader finds themselves drawn into a magical world where anything is possible, from villages murdered then brought back to life, to creatures who hover above the ground. This adrenaline filled novel starts with a bang and will keep readers eagerly awaiting the next book.

About the Author -
Alexey Pehov is the award-winning author of "The Chronicles of Siala," a bestselling series in his native Russia. SHADOW PROWLER (first published in Russia in 2002 as STEALTH IN THE SHADOWS) was the first book in the series THE CHRONICLES OF SIAL, and became one of Russia’s biggest, most successful debuts. His novel UNDER THE SIGN OF THE MANTIKOR was named "Book of Year" and "Best Fantasy Novel" in 2004 by Russia's largest fantasy magazine, World of Fantasy. His novel Mockingbird was named Book of Year in 2009 by Russia’s largest fantasy magazine, World of Fantasy.

Find out more about him on his Website.


And The Giveaway -
- the form below must be filled out
- the giveaway is for a hardcover copy of 'Chasers of the Wind'
- open to all those with US or Can mailing address
- must be entered on or before 06/28/14
- book is provided by the wonderful people at Tor/Forge
- "Giveaway rules and duration are subject to change without any notice"

a Rafflecopter giveaway

PS: The review is most probably coming close to the end of this month. 

Monday, June 16, 2014

Author Interview - Heather Marie

Yup, it is that time again. Time for another author interview. Featuring 'Heather Marie', the beautiful author of 'The Gateway Through Which They Came', being published from 'Curiosity Quills Press' on August 25th 2014. Thanksto the author for taking the time to answer my questions and to the amazing people at 'Curiosity Quills' for making it happen.

Here comes the Q and A -
1) Welcome to the blog. Please start by telling us a bit about yourself.
Hey there! Thanks for having me. So I’m Heather Marie. I write YA supernatural or what most people consider paranormal. I prefer the term supernatural, to be honest. *wink* I live in Northern California with my husband and spend most of my time at home reading or writing. Before I was a writer, I worked as a hairstylist/makeup artist for several years. I did mostly print, weddings, and some independent films, as well as all things hair at a salon in Midtown Sacramento.

I’m a huge fan of Ghost Adventures and Universal Monsters. Boris Karloff is one of my favorite actors of all time. If I could have one wish, it would be that horror movies would go back to the way they were in the 80s—more scares/storytelling, less gore/shock factor.

With all that being said, I’m an introvert and I care a lot about people. But I also have a twisted mind that likes to mix the grotesque with the beautiful. My books tend to reflect this fact.

2) 'The Gateway Through Which They Came' is your debut novel. So how does it feel to be published?
I guess technically I’m not published until August 25th, yes? haha No, but it feels amazing. It’s been a long time coming, and it feels incredible knowing that all that hard work has paid off. All the blood, sweat, and tears were absolutely worth every second. I’m grateful for everything that has come my way thus far. I hope this is only the beginning.

3) Got any advice for all the aspiring writers out there?
Stop putting so much pressure on yourself. Sometimes that pressure tends to rush us, which then rushes our work. Take your time. Be patient with yourself and your writing. It’ll happen. I promise.

4) People say Young Adult is a genre which is quite saturated with mediocrity, so what makes your novel unique? What do you think will make it stand out among the huge amount other YA books coming out this year?
Oof. This is a tough question. Both of them, actually. I think we all want to believe that our book(s) are unique, but they all stem from something. Ideally, yes, I want to believe that my idea is so unheard of that the masses will flock to it for something different, but as it is, people will find similarities in everything I do. Ultimately, I hope that the characters are unique in their own right, and that people will find them entertaining and/or relatable. I think that’s all any writer could hope for.

5) Tell us a bit about Aiden. What makes him special?
Aside from him being a Gateway for the dead… Aiden really struggles with his identity. He’s left with this gift without truly understanding his purpose. It’s because of this that causes him to lose faith in himself and the world around him. I think this struggle is realistic as we all experience this back-and-forth with ourselves throughout life. He not only has to confront who he is within himself, but all these other forces that challenge his true nature.

6) Will you tell us a bit about the things that inspired you to be a writer?
Words. Books. Imagination. I’ve always loved words. Even when I would write in someone’s birthday card or whatever, I couldn’t just write simplicities. It had to have meaning. Words are art. As a kid, I would write short stories, poems, even journal entries that went off on tangents just to feel the ink sinking into the paper. Nothing fascinates me more than the way letters can form such fascinating stories that make your imagination to do incredible things. How beautiful is that?

7) So what more books are you currently working on if I may ask?
As it is, I’m keeping everything under wraps. Even though it is absolutely killing me, I have to force myself to stay quiet. For now anyway. Once things move along, I’ll definitely tell everyone, but there’s so much going on behind-the-scenes, that I can’t say. haha However, I can tell you that I’ll be sticking with my YA supernatural. That will always be my one true writing love.

8) Tell us a bit about some books you are looking forward to in 2014?
Oh gosh. So many. To start off, The Lovely and the Lost by Page Morgan is very high on my list. It was released last month and I can’t wait to get my hands on it. Also, my beautiful friend Andrea Hannah has her debut releasing in October titled Of Scars and Stardust. I’ve already pre-ordered my copy.

About the author -
Heather Marie lives in Northern California with her husband, and spends the majority of her time at home reading. Before she followed her dreams of becoming a writer, Heather worked as a hairstylist and makeup artist for several years. Although she enjoyed the artistic aspect of it all, nothing quite quenched her creative side like the telling of a good story. When the day had come for her to make a choice, she left behind her promising career to start another, and never looked back.

Her debut, THE GATEWAY THROUGH WHICH THEY CAME, is a YA supernatural horror due to be released from Curiosity Quills, Summer 2014. 
Social Links -  Website, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads

About 'The Gateway Through Which They Came' -
To seventeen-year-old Aiden Ortiz, letting the dead walk through his body to reach the other side comes with the territory. Being a Gateway isn’t an easy job, but someone’s gotta send Bleeders where they belong. Heaven. Salvation. Call it whatever you want. Dead is dead. But when his search for Koren Banks––the girl who went mysteriously missing seven months ago––leaves him with more questions than answers, he finds himself involved in something far more sinister and beyond his control.
As if the onslaught of Bleeders heading his way isn’t enough, Aiden is confronted by a Dark One––a Bleeder gone rogue––who infects him with an evil that threatens to rid him of his humanity. What could be worse than a Gateway losing all touch with its human emotions? A Gateway whose veins are polluted with a curse only the Dark Priest could control.
When the Dark Priest is resurrected by the Brethren of Shadows, Aiden is forced to discover his identity and stop him from summoning his demon brothers, The Order, from hell. But time is limited, and Aiden’s blood is slowly turning him into a monster only the Dark Priest can control. Saving himself from becoming the Dark Priest’s puppet, Aiden must find it in himself to become the Gateway he’s meant to be, or allow himself to fall into the Dark Priest’s clutches and watch the world as he knows it, succumb to the darkness of hell on earth.

PS: The review will be up closer to the release date of the book, keep on the look out.

New Metal Reviews - "The Satanist" by Behemoth

Album Name - The Satanist
Band Name - Behemoth
Genre - Black/Death Metal
Label - Nuclear Blast/Metal Blade Records
Release Date - February 3rd, 2014
Line Up -
  Nergal - Guitars, Vocals, Lyrics
  Inferno - Drums, Percussion
  Orion - Bass, Vocals (backing)

                                                     "I decompose in rapture ov hells
                                                         Dissolve divide disintegrate
                                                                     I am yours
                                                                In euphoria below"

Behemoth is a band that is rightly considered by many as one of current greats of extreme metal. Their style has changed so much from their early days. They started of as a traditional black metal outfit with fine guitar work and imagery and was acclaimed for their works. Then they changed their style into blackened death metal and finally emerged as a total death metal outfit with 'Zos Kia Cultus' and had a whole new batch of fans with their newer works. Then came the leukemia for Nergal, he battled the cancer, had bone marrow transplantation and still kept making music. After 5 years of the last release 'The Satanist' was released on 2014. And yet again Behemoth has evolved into another level of originality and style, releasing a great album befitting their status as one of the giants of underground metal.

Friday, June 13, 2014

New Book Review - Shield and Crocus

Book - Shield and Crocus
Writer - Michael R. Underwood
Published By - 47North

First things first, I got this book from NetGalley, so thank you netgalley and 47North for this opportunity.
Who doesn't love a good mash-up of genres? And that is what 'Shield and Crocus' can be defined as in a simple way, an immensely entertaining mas-up of various genres and innovative world-building which keeps the reader always on their toes. The action scenes are realistic in a weird way and the beautifully imagined city of Audec-Hal is a treat. I really hope this is the start of a new series featuring these characters and this world.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Scooped - A Flash Fiction by 'James Wymore'

Yup, a totally new kind of post arrives. All thanks to 'James Wymore' and the wondeful people at Curiosity Quills Press.
Its time for a flash fiction by 'James Wymore' celebrating release of "Exacting Essence', which is out today.

James Wymore

Todd Price shoved his hands deep into the pockets of his tan trench coat.  The cameras, the boom mics, the strange electrical equipment with wiggling needles set to detect odd ranges of electromagnetic waves—he’d seen it all before dozens of times.  In a dark building, late at night, the pseudo-uniformed members of the Salt City Union of Paranormal Detectives, or SCUPD, bustled quietly around the dilapidated building.  Outside the full moon peeked out between storm clouds, sending high contrast shadows across the dusty wooden floors.
Deadly serious, the ghost chasers used only the dimmest of red lights to find their way when then the moon was obscured.  Stepping softly, they couldn’t help the occasional creak from decaying boards.  Each time it happened one of them would whisper, “That was me,” to keep the record straight about which sounds they had made and which might be super natural.
Todd already knew he was wasting his time.  These people didn’t even understand ghosts.  The odds of an old, abandoned house being a haunt were truly minimal.  Most ghosts didn’t last a month—this place had been empty for decades.  Ghosts usually manifested in cities where violent crimes occurred.  They didn’t sit in rocking chairs, whiling away the hours in a dilapidated Victorian building.
“There!” called one of the crew.  “Keep the cameras rolling.”
Todd turned to the shadowy corner of the room.  No moonlight crossed this section beyond the stone fireplace.  Todd moved from the edge of the wall where he’d been silently watching, to get a better view.
“Are you sure?” a woman with gigantic headphones asked from behind the table of equipment.
“Run it back.”  They all kept their eyes locked on the dark corner while she uncovered the small monitor, flooding the far side of the room with bluish light.
“I saw it,” the larger ghost hunter said.  “Just there again.”
“It shows up on the camera!” the woman said, pulling one headphone off.
“Keep it rolling.  Don’t stop for anything.”
She covered the monitor again and they spent the next hour in rapt attention.  Each time thunder rolled outside, Todd saw a small smile break across their faces.  SCUPD has their best evidence to date.

*    *    *

Late that night, in his dreams, Todd Price found the old house again.  The trees surrounding the property were black and leafless, growing freely in the forgotten gardens and the long dirt path up the property.  Here, in Essentia, the dreaming world, the dreamers had been making this place into a classic movie-style haunted house.
One of the members of SCUPD must have dreamed here.  Such dreams would be common for paranormal obsessed locals.  Suddenly Todd found his interest piqued.  In all the times he’d reported on people chasing the supernatural, he’d never seen a dream equivalent so very dense and well built.  Could this really be the one?  Was there really a ghost living here?
After years of growing jaded by hoaxes and amateurs, Todd found it difficult to hope.  Yet a glimmer of excitement lifted his spirit.  He savored the moment, pulling out a cigarette and lighter.  For just a moment he stopped himself.  Am I dreaming or awake?  Dreaming.  He struck the lighter.
This scene was too dark for the waking world.  What’s more, he never carried actual cigarettes awake.  He’d sworn them off for her.  And when she died, he vowed to never go back.  His constant craving would remind him forever of his lost love.  But here, in his dreams, he could take some relief.
As the small cloud of exhaled smoke rose to join the heavy black clouds above, Todd stepped onto the soft wooden porch.  The doorframe had been broken, so he just pushed the door.  It made a marvelous moaning sound as it slowly revealed the interior.
Just like the one he’d seen before falling asleep, this room had a tall fireplace on the far wall.  There in the dark corner, an old woman rocked in a wooden chair.
“Hello?” Todd said.
She looked up with a distant stare.  “Who are you?”  He could feel her trying to feed off his interest.
“I’m Todd Price.  I’m a reporter.  I’d like to ask you some questions.”
“I’m not dead,” she said.  “Just makes a little show once in a while for the fellers on the other side.  It’s what they made me to do.”  She offered him a toothless grin.
“You’re not a ghost?”
“Not a bit.”
“You’re a nightmare, given life by all the ghost hunters.”
“You’re smarter than the last reporter.”
“The last reporter?”  Todd couldn’t believe what he was hearing.
“Sure, came a couple days ago asking all kinds of questions.  Said I’m going to be famous.”
Todd wagged his head.  SCUPD had been scooped.

About 'Exacting Essence' -

Remember waking up late in the night after a nightmare? Your mother holding you tight and whispering everything would be all right? She lied.

Evil clowns haunted Megan’s dreams for years. Even though nobody ever said she was crazy, she knew they were all thinking it. With her life falling apart, she turns suicidal until a new therapist suggests the impossible: dreams are real. Nightmares are living, breathing predators, feeding off dreamer’s fears by exacting essence.

Most, of course, forget theirs as soon as they wake up. Megan is not so lucky. She is also not so powerless.

But is even a power nurtured in her dreams enough to fight off the horrors lurking just beyond the veil of sleep?

Date of Publication:June 12th, 2014
Cover Artist: Alexandria Thompson (

About the Author -
Tall tales and imagination filled James Wymore’s formative years as he moved around the American West.  Constantly in pursuit of a gateway to another world, he failed to find a literal door to another reality.  However, he learned to travel everywhere fantastic through writing.
As an adult, James voyaged to other continents, where new philosophies and cultures fed his desire to see life from different perspectives.  He then immersed himself in studying nature, in the hopes of finding a loophole.  Along the way, he continued creating stories about alternate worlds like the ones hiding just out of sight.
James finally settled in the Rocky Mountains with his pet wolf, Kilgore, and started publishing his work.  With three books and six short stories in print after just one year, he celebrates the best supernatural portal he’s found so far—the mind.

Social Media Links:
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon

Check out my review of the authors last novel 'Salvation' and also 'my interview' of the author regards to that novel. 

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Cover Reveal - 'Caller 107' by Matthew Cox

Yup, I know its been a long time since a post like this. But here is a cover reveal for you. Its the cover reveal of 'Caller 107' by Matthew Cox from Curiosity Quills Press.

"When thirteen-year-old Natalie Rausch said she would die to meet DJ Crazy Todd, she did not mean to be literal.

Two years is a long time to be stuck between two people that want nothing more than to destroy each other. A tween crush on the larger-than-life jock from a local radio station is the only trace of a once-happy life ruined by warring parents.

Whenever WROK 107 ran a contest, she would dive for the phone, getting busy signals and dead air every time. She never expected to get through, but at least with her best friend at her side, it used to be fun.

Before her parents ruined that too.

Her last desperate attempt to get their attention, falling in with a dangerous group of older teens, goes as wrong as possible. With no one left to blame for her mess of a life but herself, karma comes full circle and gives her just a few hours to make up for two years’ worth of mistakes–or be forever lost."

Date of Publication:July 22nd, 2014
Cover Artist: Polina Sapershteyn (
Goodreads: Link

About Matthew Cox -
Born in a little town known as South Amboy NJ in 1973, Matthew has been creating science fiction and fantasy worlds for most of his reasoning life. Somewhere between fifteen to eighteen of them spent developing the world in which Division Zero, Virtual Immortality, and The Awakened Series take place. He has several other projects in the works as well as a collaborative science fiction endeavor with author Tony Healey.
Matthew is an avid gamer, a recovered WoW addict, Gamemaster for two custom systems (Chronicles of Eldrinaath [Fantasy] and Divergent Fates [Sci Fi], and a fan of anime, British humour (<- deliberate), and intellectual science fiction that questions the nature of reality, life, and what happens after it.

Social Links:Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Excerpt - 'Lost on the Edge of Forever' by Michael Haley

A new day, time for a new excerpt, from 'Lost on the Edge of Forever' by Michael Haley, as part of his bog tour.

About the Book -
Leila, an ambitious and brilliant student, is murdered during her final semester at college, yet discovers she’s been reborn as a spirit resigned to haunt the school of her death. Alejandro, a listless and depressed freshman, arrives on campus eager to reinvent himself after eighteen years of awkwardness, as well as a devastating family tragedy, shake his sense of worth and faith to their cores.

The two lonely souls meet under the auspice of moonlit rain, and soon find themselves irrevocably, passionately attracted to each other. Leila discovers her spiritual body reawakening with sensations that make her feel alive again, and Alejandro discovers a kindred spirit who understands him like no one else. Intoxicated with each other, the impossible lovers begin to dream of finding a way to hold onto their own private miracle. Forever.

Yet how can Alejandro explain to skeptical friends and family that his soul-mate is dead? Why does Leila get the nagging suspicion that within their relationship lies the secret of her continued existence? An unexpected act of evil ignites these unavoidable questions, only to reveal in its aftermath the true purpose of Leila and Alejandro’s star-crossed romance. Will their love allow them to accept a profound destiny that surpasses time and perhaps even God, or is their love destined to die loud and young?

Links :
Amazon US: Link
Amazon UK: Link
Barnes & Nobel: Link
Kobo: Link
Goodreads: Link

About Michael Haley -
Michael Haley was born in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and cultivated in its neighboring vicinities. He graduated with a degree in Psychology from Iowa State University, and now lives with his wife and little-dude-to-be in Bloomington, Illinois. When not writing, he loves indulging and dissecting books, film, and pop art from all canons and genres. Lost on the Edge of Forever is his first novel.
Social Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Excerpt -

I stood in front of the memorial and stared at the naked granite inscription:
Leila Sepehri.

I read the etched name from left to right, right to left, word for word and letter for letter. Was this what Leila’s gravestone looked like?
Leila is dead. I am alive.
Leila is dead. Leila is dead. Leila is dead. I am alive. I am alive. I am alive.
I am alive. Leila is dead.
Leila’s body, her real body that I would only ever see in old photographs, real body that lived and breathed naturally, was lying below six feet of earth, decomposing into congealed muscle, bone, and dust. Yet that body could no way be lying underground because Leila was still right here, right now, and couldn’t be logically be anywhere else.
Leila’s thoughts about God came to mind. Humbling. There had to be a reason why God chose to accept the rest of the victims into heaven or maybe hell. There had to be a reason God left her behind. Yet I couldn’t believe God would leave a beautiful girl like Leila alone in a world as shitty as ours. But if heaven doesn’t exist, then wouldn’t any kind of existence be better than none at all?
Leila. Leila Alaina Sepehri. Why could I see her when no one else could? The fact I could see her meant, definitively, something happened after death. But if something happened after death, then maybe death really wasn’t death at all, but a new kind of life? And why, despite the fact Leila’s continued existence caused me to question everything I knew about life, a not-so small part of me honestly cared less if Leila was a ghost and cared more about wantingher like I’ve never wantedanyone before in my life?
Why did I like her? Why did I really, really like her? What was it about that girl that inflamed my desire so lustfully as her mere visage confirmed she was the most gorgeous human being I had ever, ever seen? That despite everything I knew about Leila’s death, I still wanted to hold, touch, kiss, and taste her while she screamed with the wildest kind of delight my body could possibly give her? And why did even the mere thought of her make me feel happy in a way I haven’t felt in a long fuckin’ time?
All questions with no answer from the silent voice above. Or, perhaps, below.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Short Story Review - Yarrick: A Plague of Saints

Short Story - Yarrick: A Plague of Saints  
Writer - David Annandale 
Series - Warhammer 40'000   
Published By - Black Library

My first read from 'David Annandale' was very impressive so I had to carry on. And this is as good as, if not better than the first experience. Annandale once again portrays Commissar Yarrick in a very original way and crafts an interesting story from his rich history. There is enough action to sate any fans of Warhammer 40k and also some nice character play to boost. Once you start this story believe me you won't be able to stop till it ends.

Video Game Music Review - Transistor The Original Soundtrack

Album Name - Transistor The Original Soundtrack  
Released On - May 20, 2014  
Composed By - Darren Korb
Vocals Performed By - Ashley Barret
Lyrics By - Darren Korb   
Published By - Supergiant Games

To be honest, 2014 has not been a good year for official video game soundtracks in my book (Pokemon Recochestrated: Double team was quite good though). So when I picked up this release I wasn't very optimistic. But this one far acceded my expectations. This is a post rock album with electronic influences at its core with some nice vocals for added charm. And the whole album has a very refreshing sound, overall balance in quality of all the songs and quite high re-play value.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

New Novella Review - Yarrick: Chains of Golgotha

Book - Yarrick: Chains of Golgotha
Writer - David Annandale 
Series - Warhammer 40'000 
Published By - Black Library

I got into this book imagining tons of action, gutsy dialogue play and characters dying left and right. And that is what I got exactly, but with much more. In the short space of the novella the author really puts a lot into our prospective. He gets really into the minds of his characters and through the balls to the wall action he still manages to make us like even the minor side characters and keeps us guessing as to the next little twist or turn of the story.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Some Books I Got Recently - May ARC Recap

I am thinking about making this kind of a monthly deal. Since I am kinda dying to tell people about my hauls each month whether ARC or not. This is not a complete list, but mostly my highlight acquisitions for the month of May.
Thanks to all the publishers who provided me with their ARC's.

Books I got as ARC from Netgalley
  (not a complete list)

"Against the Dawn" by Amanda Bonilla from NYLA
Six months can feel like just a couple of weeks when you’ve been away in another realm. Literally.
Now that Darian is back in Seattle, she’s ready to face the life—and the man—she left behind. But it’s not going to be easy when a ghost from her past shows up looking to wreak havoc on Seattle’s supernatural crime scene.
Darian isn’t as careless as she used to be, though. She and Tyler, her sexy Jinn protector, have come a long way in the trust department. And it’s a good thing too—because when Ty contracts her to assassinate a wickedly powerful supernatural who goes by the name of Mithras, it will take all her faith in Ty, and herself, to get the job done.
While Darian does whatever it takes to get to her mark, Xander, the Shaede King is busy making plans of his own. With Darian’s attention divided between Lorik’s secrets and her mission she might not be able to stop Xander from doing anything in his power to separate Darian from her sworn protector and in the process, destroy his own kingdom…

[This I got in the form of an invitation, it is the 4th book in a series, so I am kinda torn about starting from the 1st book or to just read this, but the goodread reviews speak very highly of the book, so I am a bit intrigued]

"Alias Hook" by Lisa Jensen from St. Martin's Press/Thomas Dunne Books  
"Every child knows how the story ends. The wicked pirate captain is flung overboard, caught in the jaws of the monster crocodile who drags him down to a watery grave. But it was not yet my time to die. It's my fate to be trapped here forever, in a nightmare of childhood fancy, with that infernal, eternal boy."
Meet Captain James Benjamin Hook, a witty, educated Restoration-era privateer cursed to play villain to a pack of malicious little boys in a pointless war that never ends. But everything changes when Stella Parrish, a forbidden grown woman, dreams her way to the Neverland in defiance of Pan’s rules. From the glamour of the Fairy Revels, to the secret ceremonies of the First Tribes, to the mysterious underwater temple beneath the Mermaid Lagoon, the magical forces of the Neverland open up for Stella as they never have for Hook. And in the pirate captain himself, she begins to see someone far more complex than the storybook villain.
With Stella’s knowledge of folk and fairy tales, she might be Hook’s last chance for redemption and release if they can break his curse before Pan and his warrior boys hunt her down and drag Hook back to their neverending game. Alias Hook by Lisa Jensen is a beautifully and romantically written adult fairy tale.

[A Peter Pan fairy tale with a twist and from the point-of-view of Captain Hook, with a bit of romance thrown in the mix. Really looking forward to reading this actually.]

"City of Stairs" by Robert Jackson Benett from Crown Publishing/Broadway Books   
A densely atmospheric and intrigue-filled fantasy novel of living spies, dead gods, buried histories, and a mysterious, ever-changing city-from one of America's most acclaimed young SF writers.
Years ago, the city of Bulikov wielded the powers of the Gods to conquer the world. But after its divine protectors were mysteriously killed, the conqueror has become the conquered; the city's proud history has been erased and censored, progress has left it behind, and it is just another colonial outpost of the world's new geopolitical power. Into this musty, backward city steps Shara Divani. Officially, the quiet mousy woman is just another lowly diplomat sent by Bulikov's oppressors. Unofficially, Shara is one of her country's most accomplished spymasters-dispatched to investigate the brutal murder of a seemingly harmless historian. As Shara pursues the mystery through the ever-shifting physical and political geography of the city, she begins to suspect that the beings who once protected Bulikov may not be as dead as they seem-and that her own abilities might be touched by the divine as well.

[ A Very interesting setting got my interests piqued for this, and then I saw the glowing reviews it got from all over the internet. Should be very good]

"Monster Hunter Nemesis" by Larry Correria from Baen Books
#5 in multiple New York Times bestseller Larry Correia's Monster Hunter series.
Agent Franks of the U.S. Monster Control Bureau is a man of many parts - parts from other people, that is. Franks is six foot five and all muscle. He's nearly indestructible. Plus he's animated by a powerful alchemical substance and inhabited by a super-intelligent spirit more ancient than humanity itself. Good thing he's on our side. More or less. Sworn to serve and protect the United States of America from all monsters by one of the country's founding fathers, Franks has only one condition to the agreement: no matter what the government learns of him, no matter what is discovered concerning his odd physiology or the alchemy behind the elixir that made him, the government is never, ever allowed to try and make more like him. Such is absolutely forbidden and should the powers-that-be do so, then the agreement is null and void.
Project Nemesis: in a secret location, using sophisticated technology and advanced genetic engineering, the director of the very agency Franks works for is making more like him. And the director is not content with making one. Nope, he's making thirteen. Now all bets are off, and Hell hath no fury like a monster betrayed. Particularly if that monster happens to be an undying killing machine capable of taking out vampires and werewolves with one hand tied behind his back.

[Once again I am guilty of trying to pick up a series in the middle, but how can I pass up the chance when I saw this at netgalley? Urban fantasy has never been my favorite genre but the recent reads from this genre impressed me a lot, and this is an established series, so I got my hopes up]

"Reach for Infinity" from Rebellion/Solaris
An original collection of new short science fiction from the biggest and most exciting names in the genre. The latest in the Infinities collections edited and comissioned by multiple award-winning anthologist Jonathan Strahan.
What happens when humanity reaches out into the vastness of space? The brightest names in SF contribute new orginal fiction to this amazing anothology from master editor Jonathan Strahan. Including new work by Alastair Reynolds,Greg Egan,Ian McDonald, Ken Macleod, Pat Cadigan, Karl Schroeder, Hannu Rajaniemi, Karen Lord, Adam Roberts, Kathleen Ann Goonan, Aliette de Bodard Peter Watts, and others!

[I do love some good shorts, and the list of writers on this has me nearly salivating. I am gonna enjoy this in small bites]

"Manifest Destiny Volume 1" by Chris Dingess, Matthew Roberts from Image Comics/Diamond Book Distributors
In 1804, Captain Meriwether Lewis and Second Lieutenant William Clark set out from St. Louis, Missouri with the intent of blazing a trail to the western coast of North America-a trip that would set the foundation for the future of the United States of America.
But what the history books don't tell you is the true purpose of Lewis and Clark's journey to the west…
In this imaginative retelling of their famous trek, Lewis and Clark embark on a secret mission under direct orders from President Thomas Jefferson.
They are going to do more than explore the wild frontier: they're going to catalog exotic life and eliminate the monsters that stand in the way of the safe and rapid expansion of the United States.

[Seems very promising in its setting and a good graphic novel is always a nice addition to the TBR pile]

"Pretty Deadly Volume 1" by Kelly Sue Deconnick, Emma Rios & Jordie Bellair from Image Comics/Diamond Book Distributors
Kelly Sue DeConnick (Avengers Assemble,Captain Marvel) and Emma Rios (Dr. Strange,Osborn) present the collected opening arc of their surprise-hit series that marries the magical realism of Sandman with the western brutality of Preacher.
Death's daughter rides the wind on a horse made of smoke and her face bears the skull marks of her father.
Her origin story is a tale of retribution as beautifully lush as it is unflinchingly savage.

[Seems like a mash-up of fairy tale & western, who wouldn't wanna read this?]

"The Little Green Book of Chairman Rahma" by Brian Herbert from Tor-Forge Books
A revolution has taken over the government of the United States and the environment has been saved. All pollution has been banned and reversed. It's a bright, green new world. But this new world comes with a great cost. The United States is ruled by a dictatorship and the corporations are fighting back. Joining them are an increasing number of rebels angered by the dictatorship of Chairman Rahma. The Chairman's power is absolute and appears strong, but in The Little Green Book of Chairman Rahma by Brian Herbert, cracks are beginning to show as new weapons are developed by the old corporate powers, foreign alliances begin to make inroads into America's influence . . . and strange reports of mutants filter through the government's censorship.

[The setting is very unique, a future world ruled by a dictator of a green government? Lets just see how good the book actually is]

"The Scorched Earth" by Drew Karpyshyn from Del Rey
New York Times bestselling author Drew Karpyshyn has long thrilled readers with his kinetic, fast-paced storytelling style. Now he returns with The Scorched Earth, the second novel in his acclaimed series about four young people who will either save the world or bring about its destruction.
The Children of Fire—four mortals touched by the power of Chaos—each embody one aspect of a fallen and banished immortal champion: Keegan, the wizard; Scythe, the warrior; Cassandra, the prophet; Vaaler, the king. Grown to adulthood, the Children are in search of the ancient Talismans that can stop the return of Daemron the Slayer, ancient enemy of the Old Gods. But in acquiring Daemron’s Ring, they unleashed a flood of Chaos magic on the land—leaving death, destruction, and a vengeful queen in their wake.
Now, beset on all sides by both mortal and supernatural enemies, they realize that their strength and faith will be tested as never before. And their greatest trial will be finding Daemron’s Sword, the last of the ancient Talismans, before the entire mortal world is engulfed in the war and Chaos that will herald the return of the Slayer.

[Although I haven't read the 1st book in the series this looks like a compelling enough Epic/Traditional Fantasy.]

"The Guild of Assassins" by Anna Kashina from Angry Robot Books
Kara has achieved something that no Majat has ever managed – freedom from the Guild!
But the Black Diamond assassin Mai has been called back to face his punishment for sparing her life. Determined to join his fight or share his punishment, Kara finds herself falling for Mai.
But is their relationship – and the force that makes their union all-powerful – a tool to defeat the overpowering forces of the Kaddim armies, or a distraction sure to cause the downfall of the Majat?

[While certainly not perfect the first book was quite a fun read (my review) and I am looking forward to the subtle role changes that this seems to be offering. I also am hoping to interview the author again (the first interview)]

Books I got as ARC directly from Publishers

"Ragtime Cowboys" by Loren D. Estleman from Tor-Froge Books
In prohibition-era Southern California, real life detectives Charles D. Siringo and Dashiell Hammett must solve a mystery involving a ruthless politician—Joseph P. Kennedy. With sharp dialogue and rich historical background, Ragtime Cowboys is an exciting, suspenseful tale in which the Old West and Hollywood collide. Los Angeles, 1921: Ex-Pinkerton Charlie Siringo is living in quiet retirement when Wyatt Earp knocks on his door and asks him to track down his missing horse. What begins as horse thievery turns into a deeper mystery as Siringo and another ex-Pinkerton, the young Dashiell Hammett, follow clues that take them from the streets of Los Angeles to Jack London's farm, until they discover a conspiracy masterminded by the notorious and powerful Joseph P. Kennedy. From the first page to the closing chapter, these ragtime cowboys chase the truth in Loren D. Estleman's compelling tale of the Old West and early Hollywood.

[Siringo and Hammett combine forces to solve a case, what an original and intriguing plot. I was interested after I read the blurb, hopefully will review it soon]

"The Dark Between the Stars" by Kevin J. Anderson from Tor-Forge Books
Twenty years after the elemental conflict that nearly tore apart the cosmos in The Saga of Seven Suns, a new threat emerges from the darkness. The human race must set aside its own inner conflicts to rebuild their alliance with the Ildiran Empire for the survival of the galaxy.
Galactic empires clash, elemental beings devastate whole planetary systems, and factions of humanity are pitted against each other. Heroes rise and enemies make their last stands in the climax of an epic tale seven years in the making.

[Was interested by the promise of a epic space opera, started reading this and it is almost as good so far as I was hoping]

'The Leopard' by K. V. Johansen from Pyr Books
Part one of a two-book epic fantasy, set in a world as richly drawn as J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle Earth, but with Mideastern and Eastern flavors
In the days of the first kings in the North, there were seven devils…
Ahjvar, the assassin known as the Leopard, wants only to die, to end the curse that binds him to a life of horror. Although he has no reason to trust the goddess Catairanach or her messenger Deyandara, fugitive heir to a murdered tribal queen, desperation leads him to accept her bargain: if he kills the mad prophet known as the Voice of Marakand, Catairanach will free him of his curse. Accompanying him on his mission is the one person he has let close to him in a lifetime of death, a runaway slave named Ghu. Ahj knows Ghu is far from the half-wit others think him, but in Marakand, the great city where the caravan roads of east and west meet, both will need to face the deepest secrets of their souls, if either is to survive the undying enemies who hunt them and find a way through the darkness that damns the Leopard.
To Marakand, too, come a Northron wanderer and her demon verrbjarn lover, carrying the obsidian sword Lakkariss, a weapon forged by the Old Great Gods to bring their justice to the seven devils who escaped the cold hells so long before.

[The blurb suggesting mixture of Mideastern and Eastern flavors caught my attention and the cover art is gorgeous. The generous people at Pyr then granted my request for a digital ARC, hopefully it will be as good to read as it looks.]

"REX'D: Welcome to Scholomance" by J.B. Skelter & Jax Reher from Curiosity Quills Press
MONDAYS. Oh, the horror. Going back to school after a nice weekend. Homework. Tests. Gym class. It's even worse for Rex Gerard, the "new kid" at Scholomance High. Making friends, navigating the rough halls, avoiding trouble...
But on this particular Monday, it's also Halloween. Rex's favorite holiday. It was his mom's too before she passed away. And today, Rex will learn exactly how she died and what his purpose is in this life as he unlocks the hair-raising mysteries and lurking monsters of Scholomance.
But is he... is ANYONE... ready?

[After my experience reading 'The Book of Bart" (review here), I have gained a bit of a faith for YA books, as this is from the same publishers it I decided to give it a try.]

'Zero Point" by Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed from Curiosity Quills Press
Mass riots
Economic meltdown
Black outs
And a new oil war in Iraq to keep the world economy afloat
Fourth Iraq War veteran & war crimes whistle-blower, David Ariel, is sick of violence, and trying to make ends meet working for police specialist protection. But after Prime Minister Carson is brutally assassinated by extremists on Ariel's watch, he is covertly targeted by a compromised police investigation.
When forensics discover that Carson's assassination inexplicably defied the very laws of physics, bodies drop like flies. Key witnesses are murdered in impossible circumstances.
Fleeing for his life while London is locked-down under martial law, Ariel gets a phone call from Iraq he will never forget: his estranged girlfriend, journalist Julia Stephenson, warns that the Carson killing is just the beginning of a wider plot to bring the west to its knees.
Then she disappears.
Ariel's blood-soaked race against time to track the terror cells behind Carson's death tumbles into the cross-fire of a hidden battle between mysterious rogue intelligence agencies. Their goal: to monopolise black budget technologies which could unlock the universe's darkest, arcane secrets.
As the world he thought he knew unravels, Ariel faces off against bent coppers, double-crossing agents, psychic killers and super soldiers to complete a black ops mission like no other:
Stop Quantum Apocalypse

[I have never been a big thriller fan, specially since the last few Dan Brown novels disappointing me so much. But I will give this a try just cause of my faith in the publishers mainly, I am quite optimistic though.]

"The Gateway Through Which They Came" by Heather Marie from Curiosity Quill Press
To seventeen-year-old Aiden Ortiz, letting the dead walk through his body to reach the other side comes with the territory. Being a Gateway isn’t an easy job, but someone’s gotta send Bleeders where they belong. Heaven. Salvation. Call it whatever you want. Dead is dead. But when his search for Koren Banks––the girl who went mysteriously missing seven months ago––leaves him with more questions than answers, he finds himself involved in something far more sinister and beyond his control.
With the threat of the Dark Priest's resurrection, and his plan to summon his demon brothers from hell, Aiden is left to discover his identity before the Dark Priest's curse infecting his blood consumes him, and before the world as he knows it succumbs to the darkness of hell on earth.

[Another Curiosity Quill YA, another hopeful leap of faith.]

PS: Thanks to all the publishers for providing me with the ARC's. Although I have currently got a huge back-log I will try to post my reviews as soon as I can.