Top 15 Must Read Titles of April 2013 (SF/F/Horror)

Today I’ve got the 10 15 books that I’m especially looking forward to in the SF/Fantasy/Horror category (click on the covers to pre-order). 10 just didn’t cut it for April…it’s quite a month for new releases. So, here they are, in no particular order…


AMatterofBloodA Matter of Blood (Forgotten Gods Book 1) by Sarah Pinborough (Ace-April 2nd)
Synopsis-In a world steeped in darkness, a new breed of evil has fallen…

London’s ruined economy has pushed everyone to the breaking point, and even the police rely on bribes and deals with criminals to survive. Detective Inspector Cass Jones struggles to keep integrity in the police force, but now, two gory cases will test his mettle. A gang hit goes wrong, leaving two schoolboys dead, and a serial killer calling himself the Man of Flies leaves a message on his victims saying “nothing is sacred.”

Then Cass’ brother murders his own family before committing suicide. Cass doesn’t believe his gentle brother did it. Yet when evidence emerges suggesting someone killed all three of them, a prime suspect is found—Cass himself.

Common links emerge in all three cases, but while Cass is finding more questions than answers, the Man of Flies continues to kill…

A suspense novel with supernatural elements, set in a ruined London, courtesy of one of the best horror writers out there? Yes, please!


shadowofblackbirdsIn the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters (Amulet-April 2nd)_
Synopsis- In 1918, the world seems on the verge of apocalypse. Americans roam the streets in gauze masks to ward off the deadly Spanish influenza, and the government ships young men to the front lines of a brutal war, creating an atmosphere of fear and confusion. Sixteen-year-old Mary Shelley Black watches as desperate mourners flock to séances and spirit photographers for comfort, but she herself has never believed in ghosts. During her bleakest moment, however, she’s forced to rethink her entire way of looking at life and death, for her first love—a boy who died in battle—returns in spirit form. But what does he want from her?

Featuring haunting archival early-twentieth-century photographs, this is a tense, romantic story set in a past that is eerily like our own time.


BloodTradeBlood Trade by Faith Hunter (St. Martins Press-April 16th)
Synopsis-Jane Yellowrock is a shape-shifting skinwalker who’s always up for a fight—even if it means putting her life on the line…

The Master of Natchez, Mississippi has a nasty problem on his hands. Rogue vampires—those who follow the Naturaleza and believe that humans should be nothing more than prey to be hunted—are terrorizing his city. Luckily, he knows the perfect skinwalker to call in to take back the streets.

But what he doesn’t tell Jane is that there’s something different about these vamps. Something that makes them harder to kill—even for a pro like Jane. Now, her simple job has turned into a fight to stay alive…and to protect the desperately ill child left in her care.

I am a HUGE fan of this series. It gets better and better with each book…


LondonFallingLondon Falling by Paul Cornell (Tor-April 16th)
Synopsis-Police officers Quill, Costain, Sefton, and Ross know the worst of London—or they think they do. While investigating a mobster’s mysterious death, they come into contact with a strange artifact and accidentally develop the Sight. Suddenly they can see the true evil haunting London’s streets.

Armed with police instincts and procedures, the four officers take on the otherworldly creatures secretly prowling London. Football lore and the tragic history of a Tudor queen become entwined in their pursuit of an age-old witch with a penchant for child sacrifice. But when London’s monsters become aware of their meddling, the officers must decide what they are willing to sacrifice to clean up their city.


hotbloodedHot Blooded (Jessica McClain #2) by Amanda Carlson (Orbit-April 23rd)
Synopsis-It hasn’t been the best week for Jessica McClain.
Her newly found mate has been kidnapped by a Goddess hell-bent on revenge, and Jessica is positive she can save him.

But being the only female werewolf in town comes with its own set of rules and powers… if only she understood them.

Aided by two vamps, two loyal Pack members, and one very reluctant human, Jessica must rescue her man while coming to terms with what being a wolf really means.

Loved the first novel in the series, Full Blooded, so my hopes are high for this one!


riverofnoreturnThe River of No Return by Bee Ridgway (Penguin-April 23rd)
Synopsis- You are now a member of the Guild. There is no return.” Two hundred years after he was about to die on a Napoleonic battlefield, Nick Falcott, soldier and aristocrat, wakes up in a hospital bed in modern London. The Guild, an entity that controls time travel, showers him with life’s advantages. But Nick yearns for home and for one brown-eyed girl, lost now down the centuries. Then the Guild asks him to break its own rule. It needs Nick to go back to 1815 to fight the Guild’s enemies and to find something called the Talisman.

In 1815, Julia Percy mourns the death of her beloved grandfather, an earl who could play with time. On his deathbed he whispers in her ear: “Pretend!” Pretend what? When Nick returns home as if from the dead, older than he should be and battle scarred, Julia begins to suspect that her very life depends upon the secrets Grandfather never told her. Soon enough Julia and Nick are caught up in an adventure that stretches up and down the river of time. As their knowledge of the Guild and their feelings for each other grow, the fate of the future itself is hanging in the balance.


wickedasshewantsWicked As She Wants by Delilah Dawson (Pocket-April 30th)
Synopsis-The second book in the darkly tempting Blud series, featuring a vampire princess who embarks upon a dangerous journey to claim what is rightfully hers.

When Blud princess Ahnastasia wakes up, drained and starving in a suitcase, she’s not sure which calls to her more: the sound of music or the scent of blood. The source of both sensations is a handsome and mysterious man named Casper Sterling. Once the most celebrated musician in London, Sangland, he’s fallen on hard times. Now, much to Ahna’s frustration, the debauched and reckless human is her only ticket back home to the snow-rimmed and magical land of Freesia.

Together with Casper’s prickly charge, a scrappy orphan named Keen, they seek passage to Ahna’s homeland, where a power-hungry sorceress named Ravenna holds the royal family in thrall. Traveling from the back alleys of London to the sparkling minarets of Muscovy, Ahna discovers that Freesia holds new perils and dangerous foes. Back in her country, she is forced to choose between the heart she never knew she had and the land that she was born to rule. But with Casper’s help, Ahna may find a way to have it all….

I really enjoyed Wicked As They Come, so this one should be a blast!

 


Graveyard ChildGraveyard Child by MLN Hanover (Pocket -April 30th)
Synopsis-It’s a homecoming, of sorts, for Jayné Heller—and she wants some long-awaited answers to her past, in this fifth book in the acclaimed Black Sun’s Daughter urban fantasy series.

After years on her own, Jayné Heller is going home to find some answers. How did the powerful spirit calling itself the Black Sun get into her body? Who was her uncle Eric, and what was the grand plan to which he devoted his life? Who did her mother have an affair with, and why? And the tattoo—seriously—what was that about?

Jayné arrives during the preparations for her older brother’s shotgun wedding, but she’s not the only unexpected guest. The Invisible College has also come to town, intent on stopping the ceremony. They claim an ancient evil is threatening the child that would be Jayné’s niece, and that the Heller family has been rotten at the core for generations. The deeper Jayné looks, the more she thinks they might not be wrong. And behind them all, in the shadows of Jayné’s childhood home, a greater threat waits that calls itself the Graveyard Child…

This is one of the best urban fantasy series out there right now, hands down. That is all.


bronzegodsBronze Gods by AA Aguirre (Ace-April 30th)
Synopsis-Danger stalks the city of steam and shadows.
Janus Mikani and Celeste Ritsuko work all hours in the Criminal Investigation Division, keeping citizens safe. He’s a charming rogue with an uncanny sixth sense; she’s all logic—and the division’s first female inspector. Between his instincts and her brains, they collar more criminals than any other partnership in the CID.

Then they’re assigned a potentially volatile case in which one misstep could end their careers. At first, the search for a missing heiress seems straightforward, but when the girl is found murdered—her body charred to cinders—Mikani and Ritsuko’s modus operandi is challenged as never before. It soon becomes clear the bogeyman has stepped out of nightmares to stalk gaslit streets, and it’s up to them to hunt him down. There’s a madman on the loose, weaving blood and magic in an intricate, lethal ritual that could mean the end of everything…

A steampunk noir adventure written by Ann Aguirre and her husband? This one is a no brainer!


livesoftaoThe Lives of Tao by Wesley Chu (Angry Robot-April 30th)
Synopsis-When out-of-shape IT technician Roen woke up and started hearing voices in his head, he naturally assumed he was losing it.

He wasn’t.

He now has a passenger in his brain – an ancient alien life-form called Tao, whose race crash-landed on Earth before the first fish crawled out of the oceans. Now split into two opposing factions – the peace-loving, but under-represented Prophus, and the savage, powerful Genjix – the aliens have been in a state of civil war for centuries. Both sides are searching for a way off-planet, and the Genjix will sacrifice the entire human race, if that’s what it takes.

Meanwhile, Roen is having to train to be the ultimate secret agent. Like that’s going to end up well…


nos4a2NOS4A2 (HarperCollins-April 30th)
Synopsis-Don’t slow down

Victoria McQueen has an uncanny knack for finding things: a misplaced bracelet, a missing photograph, answers to unanswerable questions. When she rides her bicycle over the rickety old covered bridge in the woods near her house, she always emerges in the places she needs to be. Vic doesn’t tell anyone about her unusual ability, because she knows no one will believe her. She has trouble understanding it herself.

Charles Talent Manx has a gift of his own. He likes to take children for rides in his 1938 Rolls-Royce Wraith with the vanity plate NOS4A2. In the Wraith, he and his innocent guests can slip out of the everyday world and onto hidden roads that lead to an astonishing playground of amusements he calls Christmasland. Mile by mile, the journey across the highway of Charlie’s twisted imagination transforms his precious passengers, leaving them as terrifying and unstoppable as their benefactor.

And then comes the day when Vic goes looking for trouble . . . and finds her way, inevitably, to Charlie.

That was a lifetime ago. Now, the only kid ever to escape Charlie’s unmitigated evil is all grown up and desperate to forget.

But Charlie Manx hasn’t stopped thinking about the exceptional Victoria McQueen. On the road again, he won’t slow down until he’s taken his revenge. He’s after something very special—something Vic can never replace.

As a life-and-death battle of wills builds—her magic pitted against his—Vic McQueen prepares to destroy Charlie once and for all . . . or die trying. . . .

Yes. Just…yes.


clubmonstrosityClub Monstrosity by Jesse Petersen (Pocket Star-April 29th)
Synopsis-Natalie’s one of Frankenstein’s creations and works in a New York City morgue. So of course she needs therapy. She and her friends—er, fellow monsters—have formed the world’s most exclusive, most dysfunctional support group. What could go wrong?
Undetected in the modern world and under pressure to stay that way, Natalie Grey, Dracula, Bob the Blob, and others (including the fetching wolfman Alec) meet regularly to talk about the pressures of being infamous in the Big Apple. Topics include how long it’s been since their last sighting, how their “story” creates stereotypes they can’t fulfill, and—gasp—sometimes even their feelings. But when their pervy Invisible Man, Ellis, is killed in a manner reminiscent of the H.G. Wells novel, it’s clear someone’s discovered their existence and is down for some monster busting.

Led by Natalie—and definitely not helped by Hyde’s bloodthirsty tendencies—the members of Monstofelldosis Anonymous band together for security and a little sleuthing. And maybe—maybe—if they don’t end up dead, they’ll end up friends somewhere along the way.

I love anything Jesse Petersen writes, and her Living With the Dead series is a treat, so this should be pretty awesome!


strangeletsStrangelets by Michelle Gagnon (SOHO Teen-April 9th)
Synopsis-17-year-old Sophie lies on her deathbed in California, awaiting the inevitable loss of her battle with cancer…
17-year-old Declan stares down two armed thugs in a back alley in Galway, Ireland…
17-year-old Anat attempts to traverse a booby-trapped tunnel between Israel and Egypt…

All three strangers should have died at the exact same moment, thousands of miles apart. Instead, they awaken together in an abandoned hospital—only to discover that they’re not alone. Three other teens from different places on the globe are trapped with them. Somebody or something seems to be pulling the strings. With their individual clocks ticking, they must band together if they’re to have any hope of surviving.

Soon they discover that they’ve been trapped in a future that isn’t of their making: a deadly, desolate world at once entirely familiar and utterly strange. Each teen harbors a secret, but only one holds the key that could get them home. As the truth comes to light through the eyes of Sophie, Declan, and Anat, the reader is taken on a dark and unforgettable journey into the hearts of teens who must decide what to do with a second chance at life.


emilieandthehollowworldEmilie and the Hollow World (Strange Chemistry-April 2nd)
Synopsis-While running away from home for reasons that are eminently defensible, Emilie’s plans to stow away on the steamship Merry Bell and reach her cousin in the big city go awry, landing her on the wrong ship and at the beginning of a fantastic adventure.

Taken under the protection of Lady Marlende, Emilie learns that the crew hopes to use the aether currents and an experimental engine, and with the assistance of Lord Engal, journey to the interior of the planet in search of Marlende’s missing father.

With the ship damaged on arrival, they attempt to traverse the strange lands on their quest. But when evidence points to sabotage and they encounter the treacherous Lord Ivers, along with the strange race of the sea-lands, Emilie has to make some challenging decisions and take daring action if they are ever to reach the surface world again.


juggernautJuggernaut by Adam Baker (St. Martins Press-April 2nd)
Synopsis-THEY SEARCHED FOR GOLD. THEY FOUND DEATH.

Iraq 2005. Seven mercenaries hear an enticing rumor: somewhere, abandoned in the swirling desert sands, lies an abandoned Republican Guard convoy containing millions of pounds of Saddam’s gold. They form an unlikely crew of battle-scarred privateers, killers and thieves, veterans of a dozen war zones, each of them anxious to make one last score before their luck runs out.

After liberating the sole surviving Guard member from US capture, the team makes their way to the ancient ruins where the convoy was last seen. Although all seems eerily quiet and deserted when they arrive, they soon find themselves caught in a desperate battle for their lives, confronted by greed, betrayal, and an army that won’t stay dead.

3 Comments:

  1. You’re right, April has a lot of great new releases! I’ve read Wicked as She Wants and Club Monstrosity and both were really good. I’m also looking forward to Dark Days by Caitlin Kittredge and Plague Nation by Dana Fredsti.

  2. just wanted to thank you for your blog…recently read thru your archives and noted several books of interest…was slogging thru FEED but was put off by the teeny tone and then your review encouraged me to persevere and I read the entire 1,800 page trilogy in 4 days…since then I’m real excited to check out other books you recommended (THE GAMES, FURNACE, THOSE ACROSS THE RIVER, DEAD OF WINTER, DISCOUNT ARMEGEDDON, DAMNABLE, GREYFRIAR)

    big thanks
    seattlejohn449

    • *seattlejohn449: Thanks so much for your kind words, you made my day!! So glad you finished up Feed and went the distance, it’s one of my favorite series!

Comments are closed