My Bookish Ways

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

Here are the  books that I’m especially looking forward to in SFF for October! What are you looking forward to?


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The Boy Who Killed Demons by Dave Zeltserman (Overlook-Oct. 16th)

Synopsis-“My name’s Henry Dudlow. I’m fifteen and a half. And I’m cursed. Or damned. Take your pick. The reason? I see demons.”

So begins the latest novel by horror master Dave Zeltserman. The setting is quiet Newton, Massachussetts, where nothing ever happens. Nothing, that is, until two months after Henry Dudlow’s 13th birthday, when his neighbor, Mr. Hanley, suddenly starts to look . . . different. While everyone else sees a balding man with a beer belly, Henry suddenly sees a nasty, bilious, rage-filled demon.

Once Henry catches onto the real Mr. Hanley, he starts to see demons all around him, and his boring, adolescent life is transformed. There’s no more time for friends or sports or the lovely Sally Freeman—instead Henry must work his way through ancient texts and hunt down the demons before they steal any more innocent children. And if hunting demons is hard at any age, it’s borderline impossible when your parents are on your case, and your grades are getting worse, and you can’t tell anyone about your chosen mission.

A very scary novel written with verve and flashes of great humor, The Boy Who Killed Demons is Dave Zeltserman’s most accomplished and entertaining horror novel yet.
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Cover Reveal: Seriously Wicked by Tina Connolly

I adore Tina Connolly’s Ironskin series, and it turns out, SERIOUSLY WICKED, her new YA novel, comes out in 2015 from Tor Teen! She kindly asked me to share the cover-enjoy!


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October 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 October! Enjoy!


maliceMalice by Keigo Higashino (Minotaur-Oct. 7th )

Synopsis -Acclaimed bestselling novelist Kunihiko Hidaka is found brutally murdered in his home on the night before he’s planning to leave Japan and relocate to Vancouver. His body is found in his office, a locked room, within his locked house, by his wife and his best friend, both of whom have rock solid alibis. Or so it seems.

At the crime scene, Police Detective Kyochiro Kaga recognizes Hidaka’s best friend, Osamu Nonoguchi. Years ago when they were both teachers, they were colleagues at the same public school. Kaga went on to join the police force while Nonoguchi eventually left to become a full-time writer, though with not nearly the success of his friend Hidaka.

As Kaga investigates, he eventually uncovers evidence that indicates that the two writers’ relationship was very different that they claimed, that they were anything but best friends. But the question before Kaga isn’t necessarily who, or how, but why. In a brilliantly realized tale of cat and mouse, the detective and the killer battle over the truth of the past and how events that led to the murder really unfolded. And if Kaga isn’t able to uncover and prove why the murder was committed, then the truth may never come out.
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A Walk Among the Tombstones by Lawrence Block, and more Matt Scudder books are under $5 on Kindle

Looking forward to A Walk Among the Tombstones starring Liam Neeson? I am, and you can get the book that it’s based on, and many more of the Matt Scudder novels (all except books 2, 9, and 17), for under $5 on Kindle-and I listed them in order because I love you. Enjoy!


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Double Feature: Those Across the River and The Necromancer’s House

thoseacrosstheriverThose Across the River by Christopher Buehlman (Ace, Sept. 2011)-When Frank Nichols and his wife Dora move into his aunt’s house in rural Whitbrow, Georgia, they’re eager for a fresh start. Frank plans to write a book about the nearby Savoyard Plantation, which belonged to his great-grandfather, and Dora will teach at the local school. They quickly settle into the rhythm of small town life and find the people to be friendly and welcoming, and in particular, Frank befriends the local eccentric (and taxidermist), a man named Martin Cranmer, who sees in Frank a fellow academic mind and spirit. Frank knows he must begin writing his novel, but first he needs to find a guide willing to take him across the river to comb the woods for the remains of his great-grandfather’s plantation. This isn’t going to be easy, because Whitbrow’s citizenry is wary of those woods, and Frank thinks he understands why. They’re overgrown, very thick, and quite intimidating, but really, it’s the history of the plantation that gives them their undeniable menace. His great-grandfather was a slave-owner of the cruelest sort and his depravity has not been forgotten. So, Frank must make the journey himself, and it’s on this first excursion that Frank discovers all may not be well in Whitbrow.

Those Across the River takes place in the 30s, about 17 years since the end of WWI, and Frank, in fact, is a veteran that is still haunted by the war and the death of his best friend, a haunting which manifests itself in vivid, terrible dreams. These dreams soon take a backseat, however, to the terror that Frank and Dora find themselves embroiled in after a very fateful decision is made to do away with a long held tradition in Whitbrow. I’m being vague because I really don’t want to spoil the hair raising fun of realizing exactly what it is that lurks in those dark woods, and the ties that bind it to Savoyard Plantation.

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Guest Post: Kameron Hurley on worldbuilding and The Mirror Empire

THE MIRROR EMPIRE came out last month, and since worldbuilding is such an important part of this kind of novel, Kameron Hurley was kind enough to break her process down for us and give us a glimpse of what went into creating something as rich and complete as Raisa. Please give her a warm welcome, and be sure to visit Kameron’s website for all of her blog tour stops!


Deconstructing Raisa: How I Built the World of The Mirror Empire
by Kameron Hurley

Those familiar with my fiction – from the blasted, post-apocalyptic, bug-infested cities of God’s War to the toxic, flesh-eating plant jungles of The Mirror Empire – know that I take a great delight in building new and different worlds. I get asked a lot how I do it. The reality is that you build a world once piece, one image, one creature, one mountain, at a time. In the case of the world of The Mirror Empire, called, Raisa, the process of building it actually happened over many years. It’s a geographic sandbox I’ve been playing in since I was twelve, growing and evolving in complexity as I got older.

Here are the major things I considered when putting Raisa together.

mirrorempireGeography

Mountains and rivers and tectonic magical events, oh my! Raisa started out with a small map of a very small country that I now call Tordin. Tordin gets only a passing reference in The Mirror Empire, but we get more face-time there later. I set a bunch of short fiction in Tordin in my teens, which began to become book length work as I got older. As the stories grew, so too did the map – Aaldia, Dorinah and Dhai joined Tordin on the little thumbprint of an island that I decided resided off the coast of a far larger, colder continent.

Once I had the island down where the main events took place, I sketched out the continent of Saiduan, all tundra and windswept ice fields and colorful port cities. Once I had one major continent I wanted to see what the rest looked like. Hrollief, the larger southern continent, gets a shout-out in the book, but it’s likely we won’t see the eastern half of the world and its islands and continents in this series. That’s fine. Always leave room for more.

Geography is important to have down rather quickly. In my God’s War books, the contaminated desert itself is as much a character as my protagonists. Geography can provide literal obstacles for protagonists, from cliffs and rivers to mountains and deserts. But most importantly, environments also have a big impact on cultures. How resource-rich they are will play a part in the types of societies that are built in those areas. While most fantasy writers start with geography, it’s fascinating to me how few spend as much time on creating the cultures that inhabit that geography. But we’ll get there.

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Your weekly Kindle deal round up, and they’re all under $5!

Here I am again, with your TBR busting weekend round-up! Suspense, SFF, fiction, it’s all here and you’re sure to find something to sink your teeth into over the weekend, all under $5!


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A chat with Caragh O’Brien, author of The Vault of Dreamers, and a giveaway!

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THE VAULT OF DREAMERS goes on sale Sept. 16th, and Caragh O’Brien stopped by to answer a few questions about the book! We’ve also got a copy of the book to give away to one lucky winner (US only), so be sure to fill out the widget and I’ll pick a winner on Sept. 19th!


CaraghO'Brien(c)TomyO'Brien (2)Congrats on the new book! Will you tell us a bit about THE VAULT OF DREAMERS and what inspired you to write it?
Thanks, Kristin! And thanks for having me by My Bookish Ways. The Vault of Dreamers takes place at a very unusual arts school which doubles as the set for a reality TV show, where each student is the star of his or her own feed. Cameras are everywhere, and they’re always on. At night, students are compelled to sleep for 12 hours, ostensibly to make them more creative, but when a first year student, Rosie Sinclair, skips her pill, she discovers the school doctor tending one of the sleeping girls in a sinister way. Nobody’s dreams are safe. The Vault of Dreamers is a novel of ideas, about dreams and art, and I really don’t know anything else like it. I was inspired by a combination of factors, especially the creative students I used to teach, reality TV shows, the elusive links between dreams and inspiration.

Why do you think readers will connect with Rosie Sinclair?
Hopefully, some readers will be drawn to the creative, imaginative way that Rosie thinks. She’s grown up in a gritty boxcar community with few luxuries, and she wants to be a filmmaker. One of her quirks is that she can see the world as if through a moving camera lens. She’s very honest and brave, but she isn’t perfect, either. Trying to figure out how art and manipulation work at the Forge School is a challenge for her.

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Interview: Tawni O’Dell, author of One of Us

Please welcome Tawni O’Dell to the blog! Her brand new book, ONE OF US, was out in August, and she kindly stopped by to answer a few of my questions!


Photo by John Mark Rafacz

Photo by John Mark Rafacz

Will you tell us a bit about your new book, ONE OF US, and what inspired you to write it?
One of Us is about Dr. Sheridan Doyle, a brilliant, successful forensic psychologist on the surface but beneath his polished, pedantic façade he’s still Danny Doyle, the awkward, bullied, bookish boy from a coal mining family plagued by tragedy including an ancestor’s execution as part of a band of rebellious Irish miners and his mentally ill mother’s incarceration for killing his infant sister. He returns to his hometown to visit his ailing grandfather and while there discovers a body near the infamous Lost Creek gallows. The victim has a mysterious tie to the coal baron who was responsible for the deaths of the miners more than a hundred years ago and whose descendants still control the area. Danny joins forces with a local police detective he’s known since his youth when another body is found and as he begins to close in on the killer’s identity, he also discovers shattering truths about himself, his family, and the town’s legacy of violence.

As with all my novels, what inspired me to write One of Us was the appearance of a character in my head, in this case Danny Doyle, who had a story to tell and I knew I had to tell it if I wanted to get him out of my head. In this particular novel, I was also inspired by the very real group of Irish coal miners living in Pennsylvania during the late 19th century known as the Mollie Maguires. Their story is one I’ve been fascinated by since I was a child and I always knew I’d put a fictionalized version of them in a novel someday. I just had to wait for the right novel.

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Cover Reveal: The Younger Gods by Michael R. Underwood

Micheal R. Underwood’s brand new book, THE YOUNGER GODS, will be out on the 13th from Pocket Star, and I’m happy to share the cover with you! Enjoy!


The Younger Gods-c1 (2)
The first in a new series from the author of Geekomancy (pop culture urban fantasy) and Shield and Crocus (New Weird superhero fantasy)

Jacob Greene was a sweet boy raised by a loving, tight-knit family…of cultists. He always obeyed, and was so trusted by them that he was the one they sent out on their monthly supply run (food, medicine, pig fetuses, etc.).

Betrayed by his family, Jacob flees the family’s sequestered compound and enters the true unknown: college in New York City. It’s a very foreign place, the normal world and St. Mark’s University. But Jacob’s looking for a purpose in life, a way to understand people, and a future that breaks from his less-than-perfect past. However, when his estranged sister arrives in town to kick off the apocalypse, Jacob realizes that if he doesn’t gather allies and stop the family’s prophecy of destruction from coming true, nobody else will…

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