Here are the new releases in SF, Fantasy, and Horror for July 2014. Enjoy!
July 1st-3rd, 2014:
Here are the new releases in Mystery, Suspense, and Fiction for July 2014. Enjoy!
July 1st-7th, 2014:
The Caretaker by AX Ahmad (Minotaur,May 2013)-Ranjit Singh has been working odd jobs in Martha’s Vineyard during the summer, after quitting the job at his wife’s uncle’s Indian shop in Boston. He’s sick of feeling beholden to her uncle for the money spent to bring them to the US, and the smugness on his face when he hands Ranjit his paltry pay is only the icing on an already dreadful situation. He’s worried about the oncoming winter and the ramshackle shack that his family is staying in, but salvation seems to come in the form of Anna McNeal, the wife of a prominent Senator. She offers him a caretaker job for the winter, and indeed, her husband gives him leads for even more caretaker jobs for the area’s other wealthy residents. In spite of the good news, he can see that his wife’s mental state is deteriorating every day, and it’s obvious that she misses India. When their living conditions become untenable, Ranjit thinks about the empty McNeal mansion and the keys heavy in his pocket. Surely it wouldn’t be any trouble to move his family into that huge house, just for a few days until he can find something else, but little does he know, he’s about to become the center of a political firestorm, and he’ll need to call on his past in order to survive the present.
Looking for a suspense read that’s a bit different? Look no further than The Caretaker. Ranjit Singh is an honorable and brave man, trying desperately to hold onto his Sikh faith in a country, that, at times, feels very unwelcoming, and he’s determined to do the right thing for his family. However, he finds himself harboring a forbidden attraction to the Senator’s lovely wife and in possession of something that could have international repercussions. In India, he was a decorated Captain, but the tragedy that befell his last mission still haunts him, and he’s plagued with hallucinations. For fear of his life, and the lives of his family, returning to India isn’t an option, but he feels like he’s fast running out of options if he doesn’t find out why he’s hunted by men who are prepared to assassinate him.
Ranjit Singh is a new hero to root for, and although The Caretaker is certainly an effective mystery, it’s also a portrait of a man trying to stay true to himself, and keep his dignity intact, even as he strives to acclimate to a new country, with vastly different rules. The present day narrative is interspersed with scenes from his doomed mission on the Siachen glacier, and serves to round out his fascinating background. Ahmad’s particular strength is in his three dimensional characterizations, especially as he explores racial and cultural divide. This is a superior debut.
All the Birds, Singing by Evie Wyld (Pantheon, April 2014)-An isolated British island is the main setting for this riveting novel. Jake Whyte lives with her collie, Dog, on a sheep farm on the island, and she’s as close to peace as she’s ever been, but when someone, or something, starts brutally killing her sheep, she doesn’t know where to turn. The local law enforcement is friendly, but not at all helpful, and Jakes own ghosts are threatening to overwhelm her. When a stranger shows up in her shed, she reluctantly lets him in, and a very unlikely friendship slowly takes root, even as the author reveals the utter darkness that Jake is forever running from.
All the Birds, Singing is a wonderfully strange, compulsively readable story, and if its non-linear telling seems confusing at first, don’t worry, you’ll get the hang of it, and Wyld uses this to draw out tension to near unbearable effect. You know immediately that Jake is kind of hiding out from someone, and once that someone is revealed, you’ll think that’s what’s haunting Jake so completely, but while that time in her life is harrowing, and those passages disturbing and sometimes downright scary, it’s another, earlier, event that really started Jake’s journey and set her on such a self-destructive path. Wyld’s writing is lovely, even when she’s detailing an act of casual violence (of which Jake’s life is rife with.) I’ve read few novels that capture a sense of place so perfectly and she handles Jake’s humanity without flinching. Jake’s nothing if not pragmatic and she has a keen survival instinct. If you think you’d never do some of the things Jake does to survive, don’t be so quick to judge. Many things make up Jake, and the author shakes out the sheets pretty thoroughly, but not all at once, and even though much of the book is dark, that’s ok, it just serves to highlight the moments of beauty and joy that Jake takes from the very simplest of things. I kind of loved this book, and if this is any indication, Evie Wyld is an author to keep your eye on. Don’t expect a tidy ending, and you’ll surely have a few questions when the book ends, but that’s not the purpose of this book. It’s an examination of a life, and if there are heartbreaking moments, there are some achingly lovely, and redemptive ones, as well. Captivating.
Please welcome Katherine Harbour to the blog! Her debut novel THORN JACK just came out last week, and she stopped by to answer a few of my questions about the book, her writing, and more!
Congrats on the new book! You wrote THORN JACK when you were just 17. What made you decide to revisit and polish it up?
Thank you! I decided to rewrite THORN JACK two years ago, after reading Visions and Beliefs in the West of Ireland by Lady Gregory. It’s a collection of fairy folklore and it reminded me of THORN JACK, which I wrote when I was seventeen. So I took apart the THORN JACK manuscript, keeping the original plot based on the ballad ‘Tam Lin’, and made it more of a ghost story with faery folk.
What did you enjoy most about writing Thorn Jack, and why do you think readers will connect with Finn and Jack?
I enjoyed conveying the autumn atmosphere and the sense of the uncanny—just when the Fatas (who are faeries) seem human, something happens, like a glitch, to reveal that they are the children of night and nothing. I think readers will connect to Finn and Jack because, even though their relationship begins as an attempted enchantment, it blossoms into friendship and love. Because of their chemistry, the conversations between them came naturally and, I think, reveal their character.
Why fairies? Will you tell us a little more about the world of Thorn Jack?
In Celtic mythology, fairies were spirits who could either help or harm on a whim. They’re also strongly identified with the dead. Their ability to shapechange, to trick and seduce mortals would, I thought, make them fascinating antagonists.
Curling up with a good book is a favorite part of the weekend for me, so how about some under $5 Kindle deals to feed your reader. No matter what kind of mystery you like, we’ve got you covered! Scandinavian crime-check! Cozies-check! Southern crime-check! And much more. As always, double check the price before you click the BUY button, and enjoy!
Please welcome Sarah Zettel to the blog! The third book in her American Fairy Trilogy series, BAD LUCK GIRL, just came out, and she kindly answered a few questions about it, and the series! Also, you can win a copy of BAD LUCK GIRL, so check out the details at the bottom of the post!
Sarah, will you tell us a little about BAD LUCK GIRL and the American Fairy Trilogy?
I’d be glad to. The thumbnail description I usually give is “fairies in the Dust Bowl.”
What did you enjoy most about writing Callie, and why do you think readers will connect with her?
Callie is a girl in the soup. She’s discovering the world around her is not what she thought it was, that she herself is far different and more powerful than she had previously believed. Yes, most people are not going to find out they’re half-fairy or that the Seelie and Unseelie courts are ready to go to war over them, but we all are in the process of discovery about our lives, and ourselves. This discovery, I think, it one of the strongest, deepest roots of storytelling.
What’s your writing process like? Are you a plotter or a pantser?
I always start out with an outline, partly because editors more or less require one so they can be sure you’ve got a complete idea if you’re not submitting a completed manuscript. However, by about page 100, the outline has gone sailing out the window and me and the story are both flying by the seat of our collective pants.
It’s been a little while since I’ve caught up with AM Dellamonica, so I’m very excited to have her back on the blog to talk about her new fantasy, CHILD OF A HIDDEN SEA! Please welcome her back!
Welcome back to the blog!
Thank you! It’s nice to be here.
Will you tell us a little bit about your new book, Child of a Hidden Sea, and what inspired you to write it?
One primary inspiration was the idea of fun. I love my first two books, Indigo Springs and Blue Magic, but there’s a fair amount of sadness and betrayal in the story of Astrid Lethewood. The heroes of that novel see a lot of tragedy. While I’ll probably never write anything that doesn’t have those dark elements, I wanted my new books to allow the protagonist and those closest to her to enjoy themselves, at least here and there.
I wanted them to be fun to write and fun to read, too.
As a result, Sophie Hansa is outdoorsy and adventurous–the sort of person who hikes, and bikes, and goes spelunking, and dives–and she lands in a world where there’s an almost infinite variety of natural wonders and unknown-to-her animal and plant species. What’s more, the locals are using that genetic treasure trove to work a unique form of magic called inscription.
Why do you think readers will root for Sophie, and what did you enjoy most about writing her character?
I have in the past tended to create fairly tight-lipped protagonists, people who think before they act. They’re a little buttoned down, self-contained. Their motivations can seem a little murky. Sophie, on the other hand, overshares. She’s terrible at keeping secrets. If she’s feeling something, she’s apt to spill it, possibly at the top of her lungs. When she’s upset, there’s no stiff upper lip–she bursts into tears. She’s very open-hearted, and my hope is that readers will respond to that.
BLACK CURRENT, Karen Keskinen’s followup to BLOOD ORANGE, just came out this month, and she was kind enough to answer a few of my questions about the new book, and more! Please welcome her to the blog!
BLACK CURRENT, the 2nd book in your series featuring P.I. Jaymie Zarlin, just hit the shelves this month! Will you tell us a bit about it?
Several months have passed since Jaymie Zarlin solved the Solstice Murders, as the residents of Santa Barbara now call them. Certain people, especially members of the local PD, would prefer to think Jaymie’s success was a fluke – but she pays them no mind. Jaymie and her office manager, Gabi Gutierrez, have settled back into their usual line of work, which mainly consists of locating missing people.
Then, in the early hours of an August morning, Jaymie gets a call from her old friend (and occasionally more than friend) Zave Carbonel. Zave has a job for her: if Jaymie will jump on her bike straight away and pedal down to the wharf, she’ll earn a grand just for snapping some pictures inside the Santa Barbara Aquarium. Coffers are low and the office rent looms at the end of the month, so Jaymie accepts. How hard can this be?
Twenty minutes later Jaymie finds herself gazing into a massive cylindrical tank, where a single blue box jellyfish, suspended in the salt water, sways from side to side. Wrapped in its eight-foot long tentacles is the body of a handsome young man. The victim’s face, now a death mask, is twisted in a grimace of excruciating pain.
Jaymie manages to snap the required photos, then quickly departs. This is one case she has no desire to be part of. But fate – and the dead boy’s family – have other plans in store.
A BETTER WORLD, the followup to the excellent BRILLIANCE, by Marcus Sakey, is already one of my favorite books of 2014 so far, and on of the unique things about it is the sign text sprinkled throughout the book that gives insight about the state of Sakey’s alternate US. An example of one of these, complete with graphics, is below, and we’re also giving away a copy of A BETTER WORLD to one lucky winner, so be sure to check out the giveaway details below the post (US only)!