Category Archives: Book News

Received in July

The following are the books, movies, television shows, etc. I received last month for review and/or giveaways:

Blu-Ray:
Rampage Blu-Ray
Ready Player One Blu-Ray
Counterpart Season 1 Blu-Ray

Mystery Boxes:
TeeBlox
Bam Box
ThinkGeek Apparel

Abrams / Amulet:
Ocean Renegades! Journey through the Paleozoic Era by Abby Howard

Ace:
Stars Uncharted by S. K. Dunstall

Apex Publishing:
Nexhuman by Francesco Verso

Berkley:
Shadow’s Bane by Karen Chance
Wild Hunger by Chloe Neill

Clarion Books:
Bluecrowne by Kate Milford

Daw:
Worldshaper by Edward Willett

Del Rey / Bantam:
Bright Ruin by Vic James
Dragon’s Code by Gigi McCaffrey
Star Wars: Thrawn: Alliances by Timothy Zahn
The Point by John Dixon
Seven Stones to Stand or Fall by Diana Gabaldon

Disney Hyperion:
Tales from the Haunted Mansion, Volume III: Grim Grinning Ghosts by Disney Book Group
Percy Jackson and the Olympians The Lightning Thief Illustrated Edition by Rick Riordan
Mother Knows Best: A Tale of the Old Witch by Serena Valentino

Pyr:
Keepers by Brenda Cooper
No Sleep till Doomsday by Laurence MacNaughton

Random House Children’s / Delacorte:
The Door to the Lost by Jaleigh Johnson
Rickety Stitch and the Gelatinous Goo Book 2: The Middle-Route Run by James Parks

St Martin’s Press:
Maze Master by Kathleen O’Neal Gear

Subterranean Press:
A Time to Scatter Stones by Lawrence Block

Titan Books:
Occupy Me by Tricia Sullivan
Strange Ink by Gary Kemble

Tor:
Mystic Dragon by Jason Denzel
Arabella The Traitor of Mars by David D. Levine
The Razor by Jack Barton Mitchell
Privateer by Margaret Weis
An Informal History of the Hugos by Jo Walton

Author Guest Post and Giveaway: Ann Aguirre – LIKE NEVER AND ALWAYS Blog Tour

Author Ann Aguirre joins SciFiChick today to talk about strong female characters and to promote her latest release – Like Never and Always! And keep reading below for a chance to win a copy of the book!

You have so many strong female leads, can you tell me about writing/creating strong female characters?

I can’t imagine writing women any other way. All women are strong, even if their strength isn’t apparent to others. I’ve written multiple heroines who are physically fit and capable of fighting, but that’s not the only type of strength that matters. Clever women who outthink their enemies are fantastic, too.

Growing up, I read fiction written by authors who treated their female characters as damsels in distress or as prizes to be won. I didn’t like seeing women regarded that way, especially in fantasy and science fiction. When I was a little girl, I can remember reading The Hobbit at the hospital when one of my relatives was sick. Even then, I recall wondering, Where are all the women? In a story of such grand scope, why are there no female characters at all?

Tolkien wasn’t the only writer who erased women from his stories. Many of the epic fantasies I read followed suit, and if there was a woman mixed in, she almost always served as a reward for the hero or a love interest only. Rarely did I find female characters who had their goals, who lived with agency, and might even part ways with the hero to pursue her own ends.

I was so excited when I found Anne McCaffrey, Ursula LeGuin, and Tanith Lee. They were the first female SFF writers that I fell in love with, and I’d say they’re still shaping my work to this day. Later, I read greats like Kate Elliott, Barbara Hambly, Robin McKinley, and a bit later, Sharon Shinn. Those were the books I had been missing as a pre-teen, ones that told me that women didn’t have to be an accessory—that they could have their own adventures.

Growing up, I didn’t read a lot of science fiction because I couldn’t find the sort I wanted to read. I cared more about the people than the technology, and too often, men stole the spotlight and women didn’t get enough page time for my tastes, so more often, I watched my science fiction, both on television and the big screen. Eventually, I would write the sort of science fiction that I wanted to read, though I’m taking a bit of a break from that right now.

So naturally, when I started writing for teens, I wanted to continue what I’d started in speculative fiction, giving girls fierce heroines to root for and thrilling stories they could experience vicariously. In Like Never and Always, I set up a strange scenario, and it’s definitely a departure in some ways because while there’s definitely bad guys in the story, there’s no big war to fight. It’s dark and deep story, kind of down the rabbit hole, where the farther down you go, the stranger it all gets. I’d call it a thriller with supernatural elements, but that’s also dependent on whether you believe the body switch has actually occurred. I was so thrilled when Kate Elliott blurbed this book! Her work is iconic and brilliant, so it’s amazing to me that my words could be validate by someone who lit the path for me in terms of writing strong women.

Thanks so much for having me on the blog! I welcome all questions and comments.

Continue reading Author Guest Post and Giveaway: Ann Aguirre – LIKE NEVER AND ALWAYS Blog Tour

Book Giveaway: Shadow’s Bane

Courtesy of Berkley, I have a copy of Shadow’s Bane by Karen Chance for one lucky winner!

Contest is open to US residents only. No PO Boxes please. To enter, just fill out the form below. Contest ends August 17. I’ll draw a name on August 18, and notify winner via email.

ENTER DAILY TO INCREASE YOUR CHANCE OF WINNING!

Good luck!

Continue reading Book Giveaway: Shadow’s Bane

FearlessWomen Tour: Book Excerpt: The Calculating Stars

fearless women banner

CALCULATING STARS Excerpt

In the East. At the euphemism, the saleslady’s eyes widened and her brows peaked with pity. “Oh— you poor dear.” And then curiosity followed, like a predator drawn to blood. “Where were you?”

“The Poconos.”

Mrs. Lindholm pulled out a navy blue dress from the rack and held it up. “She doesn’t have anything except the clothes on her back.”

A middle-aged white woman appeared from between the racks of clothing. “You were really there? You saw the meteor?”

“Meteorite. A meteor breaks up before impact.” As if anyone cared about scientific accuracy. I think this might have been the last time I corrected someone. “Meteorite,” for whatever quirk of the English language, sounded almost cute. “But no, we were three hundred miles away.”

THE CALCULATING STARS Summary:
On a cold spring night in 1952, a huge meteorite fell to earth and obliterated much of the east coast of the United States, including Washington D.C. The ensuing climate cataclysm will soon render the earth inhospitable for humanity, as the last such meteorite did for the dinosaurs. This looming threat calls for a radically accelerated effort to colonize space, and requires a much larger share of humanity to take part in the process.

Elma York’s experience as a WASP pilot and mathematician earns her a place in the International Aerospace Coalition’s attempts to put man on the moon, as a calculator. But with so many skilled and experienced women pilots and scientists involved with the program, it doesn’t take long before Elma begins to wonder why they can’t go into space, too.

Elma’s drive to become the first Lady Astronaut is so strong that even the most dearly held conventions of society may not stand a chance against her.

About Mary Robinette Kowal:
Mary Robinette Kowal is the author of the historical fantasy novels Ghost Talkers and the five books in The Glamourist Histories series. She is also a multiple Hugo Award winner. Her short fiction has appeared in Uncanny, Tor.com, and Asimov’s. Mary, a professional puppeteer, lives in Chicago with her husband Robert and over a dozen manual typewriters.

About #FearlessWomen:
Women are shining in every genre of speculative fiction, and it is no longer enough to say “Women are here.” Instead, #FearlessWomen everywhere are taking a stand to say “Women will thrive here.”

Highlighting major titles from bestselling authors V.E. Schwab, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Jacqueline Carey as well as titles from acclaimed and debut authors such as Mary Robinette Kowal, Tessa Gratton, Sam Hawke, and Robyn Bennis, #FearlessWomen will be a coordinated social media celebration encouraging fans to start a dialogue about women in publishing, their worlds, their voices, and their unique stories.

Tor Books’ handles across Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram (@torbooks) will be using the hashtags #FearlessWomen (and #FearlessFantasy and #FearlessSF) to promote excerpts, exclusive content, quizzes and giveaways beginning in May. There will also be exclusive giveaways at BookCon, San Diego Comic-Con, and New York Comic Con. Follow Tor Books online, join the conversation – and get reading!

FearlessWomen Tour: Book Excerpt: City of Lies

fearless women banner

CITY OF LIES Excerpt –

It had come without warning. One minute the attackers seemed at ease, the next a wedge of them had charged out of the falling afternoon sun. The woman reporting this to me sweated in her ill-fitting armor and gulped mouthfuls of air between sentences. A week ago she’d probably never seen violence of any kind. I listened, shoving a pointed helmet on my own head while someone buckled a resin-hardened plate around my chest, unable to pretend I was any less scared than she.

The sun had been in our sentries’ eyes, and none had noticed the ladders until the army had rushed across most of the gap. They had simply emerged, rising from the ranks like magic.

CITY OF LIES Summary:
Poison. Treachery. Ancient spirits. Sieges. The Poison Wars begin now, with City of Lies, a fabulous epic fantasy debut by Sam Hawke

I was seven years old the first time my uncle poisoned me…

Outwardly, Jovan is the lifelong friend of the Chancellor’s charming, irresponsible Heir. Quiet. Forgettable. In secret, he’s a master of poisons and chemicals, trained to protect the Chancellor’s family from treachery. When the Chancellor succumbs to an unknown poison and an army lays siege to the city, Jovan and his sister Kalina must protect the Heir and save their city-state.

But treachery lurks in every corner, and the ancient spirits of the land are rising…and angry.

About Sam Hawke:
A black belt in jujitsu, Sam Hawke lives with her husband and children in Australia. CITY OF LIES is her first novel.

About #FearlessWomen:
Women are shining in every genre of speculative fiction, and it is no longer enough to say “Women are here.” Instead, #FearlessWomen everywhere are taking a stand to say “Women will thrive here.”

Highlighting major titles from bestselling authors V.E. Schwab, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Jacqueline Carey as well as titles from acclaimed and debut authors such as Mary Robinette Kowal, Tessa Gratton, Sam Hawke, and Robyn Bennis, #FearlessWomen will be a coordinated social media celebration encouraging fans to start a dialogue about women in publishing, their worlds, their voices, and their unique stories.

Tor Books’ handles across Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram (@torbooks) will be using the hashtags #FearlessWomen (and #FearlessFantasy and #FearlessSF) to promote excerpts, exclusive content, quizzes and giveaways beginning in May. There will also be exclusive giveaways at BookCon, San Diego Comic-Con, and New York Comic Con. Follow Tor Books online, join the conversation – and get reading!

Received in June

The following are the books, movies, television shows, etc. I received last month for review and/or giveaways:

Blu-Ray:
Tomb Raider 4k Blu-Ray
Escape Plan 2: Hades Blu-Ray
A Quiet Place 4K Blu-Ray

Mystery Boxes:
TeeBlox
Bam Box

Ace:
Marked by Benedict Jacka

BBC Books:
Doctor Who: Borrowed Time by Naomi Alderman
Doctor Who: The Triple Knife by Jenny T Colgan

Berkley:
Smoke and Iron by Rachel Caine

Del Rey:
Salvation by Peter F. Hamilton
World of Warcraft: Before the Storm by Christie Golden

Disney Hyperion / Freeform:
Willa of the Wood by Robert Beatty
The Darkest Legacy by Alexandra Bracken
9 From the Nine Worlds by Rick Riordan
The Life and Death Parade by Eliza Wass
Hocus Pocus and the All-New Sequel by A. W. Jantha
Incredibles 2: A Real Stretch: An Elastigirl Prequel Story by Carla Jablonski
Incredibles 2 Read-Along Storybook and CD by Disney Book Group

Gallery Books:
Star Trek: Discovery: Fear Itself by James Swallow
HALO: Bad Blood by Matt Forbeck

Harper Collins / William Morrow:
Fragile Things: Short Fictions and Wonders by Neil Gaiman
The Cabin at the End of the World by Paul Tremblay

Harper Voyager:
Roar of Sky by Beth Cato
The Black Khan by Ausma Zehanat Khan
Record of a Spaceborn Few by Becky Chambers
The Rift Coda by Amy S. Foster

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers:
Empress of All Seasons by Emiko Jean
Grim Lovelies by Megan Shepherd
Once a King by Erin Summerill

John Joseph Adams Books / Mariner:
The Wild Dead by Carrie Vaughn

Kensington / Rebel Base:
Android Chronicles: Reborn by Lance Erlick

Little, Brown:
Defy the Worlds by Claudia Gray
Defy the Stars by Claudia Gray

Macmillan Teen / Feiwel and Friends / FSG:
The Tomb by S. A. Bodeen
Unclaimed Baggage by Jen Doll
What the Woods Keep by Katya de Becerra
Check, Please!: # Hockey by Ngozi Ukazu

Random House Books for Young Readers:
Babymouse Tales from the Locker: Miss Communication by Jennifer L. Holm

Pyr:
The Last Sun by K. D. Edwards

Scholastic:
Spirit Animals: Fall of the Beasts, Book 8: The Dragon’s Eye by Sarwat Chadda
Dragon Rider #2: The Griffin’s Feather by Cornelia Funke
Dragon Rider by Cornelia Funke
Wings of Fire, Book 11: The Lost Continent by Tui T. Sutherland
Cross Fire by Fonda Lee
Ozland by Wendy Spinale
Bright Burns the Night by Sara B. Larson

Subterranean Press:
Kingdom of Needle and Bone by Mira Grant

Tor:
Outcasts of Order by L. E. Modesitt Jr.
Summerland by Hannu Rajaniemi
In the Eye of Heaven by David Keck
Drop by Drop by Morgan Llywelyn
Low Chicago by George R. R. Martin
The Stars Now Unclaimed by Drew Williams

Tor Teen / Starscape:
Max’s Story: A Dog’s Purpose Puppy Tale by W. Bruce Cameron

Vintage Crime:
The Sword of Justice by Leif G. W. Persson

Book Giveaway: Defy the Stars

Courtesy of Little, Brown, I have a paperback copy of Defy the Stars by Claudia Gray for one lucky winner!

Contest is open to US residents only. No PO Boxes please. To enter, just fill out the form below. Contest ends July 20. I’ll draw a name on July 21, and notify winner via email.

ENTER DAILY TO INCREASE YOUR CHANCE OF WINNING!

Good luck!

Continue reading Book Giveaway: Defy the Stars

Author Guest Post: Patrick S. Tomlinson on First Contact!

From an up-and-coming new science fiction author comes an entertaining tale of first contact, exploration, and desperately trying not to screw up: GATE CRASHERS (A Tor Paperback Original; $15.99; On-sale: June 26, 2018). Humankind ventures further into the galaxy than ever before … and immediately causes an intergalactic incident. A planet full of bumbling, highly evolved primates has just put itself on a collision course with a far wider, and more hostile, galaxy that is stranger than anyone can possibly imagine.

Patrick S. Tomlinson joins SciFiChick.com today to talk about First Contact!

What’s it Like Writing First Contact?

It’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for! For real, though. All of humanity has been waiting for this moment since Giordano Bruno first infuriated the Church with the heretical notion that what we knew as stars are actually suns, and that those suns have their own Earths, with their own plants, their own animals, maybe even their own people.

It is, perhaps, the question that has most preoccupied mankind for the better part of five centuries. So it should come as no surprise that speculations and flights of fancy about the answer keep cropping up in literature, film, art, music, in all creative endeavors, really. The moment the universe coughs up its greatest secret and our place within it is finally, conclusively defined.

Of course, that’s not how it will go. At all. The answer to “Are we alone” won’t define our place in the universe if that answer is “Hell no.” Instead, it’ll throw us into a frenzied struggle to fight for our seat at the interstellar table.

I’ve written about First Contact before. In my debut trilogy starting with The Ark from Angry Robot Books, mankind got the better end of the deal, landing on a planet full of ambulatory sentient cuttlefish that hadn’t had the advantage of plentiful metals with which to move out of their Stone Age. In that series, humanity struggled and sometimes failed to avoid the mistakes of our past, colonialism, gentrification, racism, all of it.

Now, with Gate Crashers, the shoe is on the other foot. We dig too greedily and too deep and find a whole Balrog’s worth of trouble we’re not remotely prepared for. So screwed we end up being, a book called “First Contact for Dummies” features prominently in the early decision-making process of the humans present.
Because I really believe that’s about how it’s going to go down when it happens. At critical moments in history, people just… push through. No one’s ready for it. The “right” people are seldom present. And whoever is there, on all sides, just does what they can and hopes for the best.

The only real difference is, unlike other turning points that are often only recognized as pivotal moments in history after the fact, or played up by historians trying to establish a narrative, no one is going to be confused about the importance of First Contact. Whether that means everyone present will know to be on their A game, or the stress will make them even more prone to missteps that end in calamity, we can’t know until it happens.

Personally, considering the scale of the universe and the fact we haven’t already been overrun by flying saucers, I suspect anyone within our technological arm’s reach is going to be flailing about just as blindly and desperately as we are, clawing for someone to latch onto for comfort in the dark, hoping they don’t end up grabbing the monster under their bed.

I really hope to live long enough to see that moment. Until then, I’ll continue fantasizing about it on the page, and fighting in realspace to straighten out our species so we don’t end up being the monsters.
Looking around our country today, I could really use some help on the second part.

About the Author:
PATRICK S. TOMLINSON is a man of many hats. In addition to writing Sci-Fi novels and shorts, he prowls theaters, clubs, and bars throughout the midwest performing as a stand-up comedian. Between gigs, cons, and rewrites, he works as a pundit and frequent political contributor, with columns appearing in publications such as The Hill and The New York Times. In the little downtime remaining, Patrick enjoys hobbies such as motorcycling, model-building, and shooting. He lives in Milwaukee with his fiancee, two cats, a bearded dragon, and a 2008 Bullitt Edition Mustang named Susan.
You can find him online at www.patrickstomlinson.com and on Twitter as @stealthygeek.

Check out the rest of the Gate Crashers Blog Tour below:
Tuesday, June 26 Books, Bones & Buffy
Tuesday, June 26 Espresso Coco
Wednesday, June 27 Civilian Reader
Thursday, June 28 Bibliosanctum
Friday, June 29 For Winter Nights
Saturday, June 30 Just a World Away