My Bookish Ways

August 2014 Must Reads in Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror

Here are the  books that I’m especially looking forward to in SFF for July (click on the covers to pre-order)! Note I took out the Top 10, because I never (ever) can keep it to just 10. August is an AMAZING month for SFF!


broken soulsBroken Souls by Stephen Blackmoore (DAW-August 5th)

Synopsis-Sister murdered, best friend dead, married to the patron saint of death, Santa Muerte. Necromancer Eric Carter’s return to Los Angeles hasn’t gone well, and it’s about to get even worse.
His link to the Aztec death goddess is changing his powers, changing him, and he’s not sure how far it will go. He’s starting to question his own sanity, wonder if he’s losing his mind. No mean feat for a guy who talks to the dead on a regular basis.

While searching for a way to break Santa Muerte’s hold over him, Carter finds himself the target of a psychopath who can steal anyone’s form, powers, and memories. Identity theft is one thing, but this guy does it by killing his victims and wearing their skins like a suit. He can be anyone. He can be anywhere.

Now Carter has to change the game — go from hunted to hunter. All he has for help is a Skid Row bruja and a ghost who’s either his dead friend Alex or the manifestation of Carter’s own guilt-fueled psychotic break.

Everything is trying to kill him. Nothing is as it seems. If all his plans go perfectly, he might survive the week.

He’s hoping that’s a good thing.
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Tomorrow and Tomorrow by Thomas Sweterlitsch

tomorrowandtomorrowTomorrow and Tomorrow by Thomas Sweterlitsch (Putnam, July 10th, 2014)-Tomorrow and Tomorrow is an odd novel (this isn’t a bad thing), but if you like your murder mystery with an SF, future twist, with a very strong shot of noir, then you really can’t go wrong here. Tomorrow and Tomorrow takes place 10 years after a blast that decimated Pittsburgh, and just about everywhere you go, there are memorials of Pittsburgh survivors ranging from the glossy to the makeshift, gatherings of the dead in pen and ink or etched in stone. We’re in the mid to late-ish 2000s at this point, so there’s quite a bit of future tech on display, including the AdWare that people have wired directly into their brains, providing a constant stream of information, which, being a child of the 80s, I would find crazymaking, but in this narrative, it’s the norm. Retinal cameras, VR beyond your wildest imagination, you name it-it’s what makes up the basis of this book.

John Dominic Blaxton is a Pittsburgh survivor, out of town during the blast, a cruel twist of fate that left him unscathed and his pregnant wife dead. He hasn’t gotten over Theresa, and he’s obsessed with spending time with her in the Archive, a virtual reality reconstruction of Pittsburgh before the blast. Theresa is only a construct, but it’s all he has, and he’ll do anything to hold on to it. For now, he’s working for a firm that investigates deaths for insurance companies, and by using the Archive, they can glean facts about these cold cases, hopefully providing closure, or a payout, for the victims’ families. Dominic is good at his job, but he’s also an addict, and after a particularly bad round of the drug brown sugar, he’s forcibly detoxed and fired from his job. He also finds out that his psychiatric care has been transferred to another therapist, who goes by the name of Timothy, and as it happens, he has a job offer for Dominic. Waverly, a very rich, very powerful man wants Dominic to find his daughter , and ethereal beauty named Albion, for him. She was killed in the Pittsburgh blast, but she’s being systematically erased from the Archive and Waverly wants to know who’s behind it. Soon Dominic is immersed in the Archive, using everything in his arsenal to track down even a small trace of Albion, but as he searches, he starts to make other connections that lead him back to the murder of a woman named Hannah, the last case he worked for his former firm, that he never wrapped up. He’s also being warned off the search for Albion within the Archive, but why? VR and reality soon start to blur for Dominic as pressure mounts to find Albion and prevent a tragedy that might hit him very close to home. But soon, more people start dying by a sadistic killer’s hand, and it seems to all lead back to his investigation.

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The 2014 ITW Thriller Award winners have been announced!

ITWThe 2014 ITW (International Thriller Writers) Thriller Award winners were announced over the weekend, so congrats to all of the winners! I’ve also included a cover gallery of all the nominees underneath the winners, and of course, they’re all books worthy of your reading list!


BEST HARDCOVER NOVEL
Andrew Pyper – THE DEMONOLOGIST (Simon & Schuster)

BEST FIRST NOVEL
Jason Matthews – RED SPARROW (Scribner)

BEST PAPERBACK ORIGINAL NOVEL
Jennifer McMahon – THE ONE I LEFT BEHIND (William Morrow Paperbacks)

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Interview: Mary Kubica, author of The Good Girl

Mary Kubica’s first book, THE GOOD GIRL, will be out on the 29th, and she kindly stopped by to talk about it, and much more! Please give her a warm welcome!


Mary Kubica, author "The Good Girl"Congrats on the new book! Will you tell us a bit about The Good Girl and what inspired you to write it?
I would love to! And thank you so much for having me. I’m so excited to be able to chat with you here at My Bookish Ways!

I often tell people that it was my characters who inspired THE GOOD GIRL, as I often found myself thinking about them – perhaps obsessing? – at all hours of the day and night while I wrote the novel. I didn’t have the plot mapped out before I began to write, but found that ideas came to me as I was writing or, from time to time, in my dreams, and I accredit my characters – Mia and Colin, especially – with this inspiration.

THE GOOD GIRL is a story about the kidnapping of a young woman, Mia Dennett. She’s an art teacher at an alternative high school in Chicago, much to her family’s chagrin. When she disappears, her mother and a detective do everything they can to find her. We learn almost immediately that Mia survives the ordeal and returns home months later, suffering from amnesia and unable to recall her time in captivity. The novel alternates back and forth, in chapters labeled Before or After, from the perspectives of Mia’s mother, the detective and the captor, as the reader tries to piece together the puzzle of what happened to Mia while she was gone.

Have you always wanted to be a writer? Will you tell us more about yourself and your background?
Of course! I grew up in the suburbs of Chicago with my parents and two older sisters. I was 11 or 12 years old when I first discovered I wanted to be an author after reading a story that a cousin of mine had written. Until then I had never considered where books came from before they arrived at the bookstore, but I knew then and there that I wanted to be an author, and I started writing immediately. The idea of having a career as a published author, however, sat right there between Olympic gymnast and a Hollywood actress for me; I didn’t think it would happen, no matter how much I wished it could. I went to college at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, and studied history and American literature, and went on to be a high school history teacher – a job that I loved. But after giving birth to my daughter, I decided to stay home and raise her, and it was then that I found myself with some time on my hands, and started writing the THE GOOD GIRL.

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August 2014 Must Reads in Mystery, Suspense, and Fiction

Here are the  books that I’m especially looking forward to in Mystery, Suspense, and Fiction for August-and it’s a bumper crop this month (click on the covers to pre-order)! Note I took out the Top 10, because I never (ever) can keep it to just 10. 


thekillsThe Kills by Richard House (Picador-August 5th )

Synopsis (all synopsis are from Amazon or B&N)-A MASTERWORK OF INTERNATIONAL INTRIGUE SET IN THE ASHES OF WAR-TORN IRAQ, ITALY, AND AREAS IN BETWEEN.

The Kills is an epic novel of crime and conspiracy told in four books. It begins with a man on the run and ends with a burned body. Moving across continents, characters, and genres and with the intelligence of John le Carré’s The Spy Who Came in from the Cold and the scope of Roberto Bolaño’s 2666, there will be no more ambitious or exciting novel published this year.
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The 2013 Shirley Jackson Award winners have been announced!

shirley_jackson_awardCongrats to all of the winners of the 2013 Shirley Jackson Awards! I don’t know how they do it, since there were so many great titles to pick from, but they did, and here they are!


NOVEL

American Elsewhere, Robert Jackson Bennett (Orbit)

NOVELLA

Burning Girls, Veronica Schanoes (Tor.com)

NOVELETTE

Cry Murder! In a Small Voice, Greer Gilman (Small Beer Press)

SHORT FICTION

 “57 Reasons for the Slate Quarry Suicides,” Sam J. Miller (Nightmare Magazine, December 2013)

SINGLE-AUTHOR COLLECTION

Before and Afterlives, Christopher Barzak (Lethe Press) and North American Lake Monsters, Nathan Ballingrud (Small Beer Press)

EDITED ANTHOLOGY

Grimscribe’s Puppets, edited by Joseph S. Pulver, Sr. (Miskatonic River Press)

Interview: Letitia Trent, author of Echo Lake

Please welcome Letitia Trent to the blog! Her brand new novel, ECHO LAKE, just came out from Dark House Press, and she was kind enough to answer a few of my questions about it, and more!


letitiatrentWhat made you decide to dive into the world of dark gothic in Echo Lake? Will you tell us a little about it and what inspired the book?
My favorite books are a little dark, a little violent, and has a big dose of the gothic, so this was a natural way for me to go in my own writing. A couple of specific things inspired the book. First, I learned about the flooding of a man-made lake near where I spent my teenage years in Oklahoma. When the lake flooded, a nearby cemetery flooded, too, and many of the coffins dislodged from the ground and floated up to the surface. I loved the image of unearthed coffins, floating along the water, and how much that image made me think of the things that we bury coming up to the surface. Second, in the same town, there was a gruesome and still unsolved murder of an elderly woman in her home; she was found with her throat cut, no signs of burglary, no motive as far as anyone could tell.

When I was reading about this murder, I saw several comments on message boards by people in town saying things like “somebody knows who did this: they need to talk” or “A lot of us know who did this and he will get his justice”. It made me think of how “justice” in an isolated, rural place can be very different from justice in a suburb or city and how isolated places can be incredibly secretive and closed off to the outer world.

Tell us more about Emily Collins. Why do you think readers will connect with her?
She’s a character who feels very much unmoored, who doesn’t have a home, doesn’t have a family, and isn’t completely sure who she is or how she fits in the world. In the beginning of the book, she lets life happen to her, like many people do. By the end, she has a bit more autonomy and is making choices about how she wants to live. Still yet, everything isn’t “fixed” for her. I hope that people recognize that struggle of individuation in themselves and also see how one’s history, and the history of our parents, affects our own choices.

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Giveaway: The Apex Book of World SF 3 (anthology) edited by Lavie Tidhar

Wanna win a copy of THE APEX BOOK OF WORLD SF 3 edited by Lavie Tidhar? Of course you do! You can choose either print or digital, courtesy of the lovely folks at Apex, but if you choose print, you MUST have a US mailing address, if digital, anywhere on Planet Earth! So, check out the book, fill out the widget and good luck (I’ll pick a winner on July 19th)!


apexbookAbout THE APEX BOOK OF WORLD SF 3:
“The Apex Book of SF series has proven to be an excellent way to sample the diversity of world SFF and to broaden our understanding of the genre’s potentials.”
–Ken Liu, winner of the Hugo Award and author of The Grace of Kings

These stories run the gamut from science fiction, to fantasy, to horror. Some are translations (from German, Chinese, French, Spanish, and Swedish), and some were written in English. The authors herein come from Asia and Europe, Africa and Latin America. Their stories are all wondrous and wonderful, and showcase the vitality and diversity that can be found in the field. They are a conversation, by voices that should be heart. And once again, editor Lavie Tidhar and Apex Publications are tremendously grateful for the opportunity to bring them to our readers.

Table of Contents:
Introduction — Lavie Tidhar
Courtship in the Country of Machine-Gods — Benjanun Sriduangkaew (Thailand)
A Hundred Ghosts Parade Tonight — Xia Jia (China)
Act of Faith — Fadzilshah Johanabos (Malaysia)
The Foreigner — Uko Bendi Udo (Nigeria)
The City of Silence — Ma Boyong (China)
Planetfall — Athena Andreadis (Greece)
Jungle Fever — Zulaikha Nurain Mudzor (Malaysia)
To Follow the Waves — Amal El-Mohtar (Lebanon/Canada)
Ahuizotl — Nelly Geraldine García-Rosas (Mexico)
The Rare Earth — Biram Mboob (Gambia)
Spider’s Nest — Myra Çakan (Germany)
Waiting with Mortals — Crystal Koo (Philippines)
Three Little Children — Ange (France)
Brita’s Holiday Village — Karin Tidbeck (Sweden)
Regressions — Swapna Kishore (India)
Dancing on the Red Planet — Berit Ellingsen (Korea/Norway)

Cover art by Sophia Tuska.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

How about some Kindle deals in SFF and Mystery-all under $5?

Looking for a good read this weekend that won’t break the bank? I’ve got you covered with a ton of Kindle titles under $5! As always, doublecheck the price before clicking the BUY button, and enjoy (there’s a little bit of everything here, so you’re sure to find something you’ll like)!


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Interview (& Giveaway): Thomas Sweterlitsch, author of Tomorrow and Tomorrow

Please welcome Thomas Sweterlitsch to the blog! His debut novel, TOMORROW AND TOMORROW, just came out yesterday, and he kindly answered a few of my questions about it. Also, courtesy of the nice folks at Putnam, we’ve got a copy of the book to give away to one lucky winner, so be sure to check out those details at the botto of the post!


thomassweterlitschCongrats on the new book-it’s already gotten great buzz! Will you tell us about Tomorrow and Tomorrow and what inspired you to write it?
Thank you!

Several years after our honeymoon in Prague, I came across the fold-out walking map my wife and I had used to find our way around that city. I traced out different streets, remembering what we’d seen and where, remembering what the feel of the place was like…and couldn’t help but wonder if I would ever make it back to Prague, or if I would only be able to relive my trip through this map and our photographs. I wrote a short story about that idea called “The City Lies Within” about a man living in Prague who could only revisit his memories of his destroyed home city through an interactive map. That short story was the seed for Tomorrow and Tomorrow, a novel about a grieving man who discovers a murder in the digital reconstruction of a destroyed city called the “Archive.”

You have a library background, but what made you finally decide to take the plunge and write a novel?
My job as a library assistant at the Carnegie Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped was meant to be a one year temporary job before finding an MFA or PhD program—but I grew to love the work and the people I worked with and ended up staying there for twelve years! I was always writing during that time, though—every morning I’d wake at 5:30 to scratch out a few hours of writing before clocking in at the library.

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