31 December 2010

TOR'S JANUARY 2011 FANTASY RELEASES

For those of you interested in Fantasy, Tor have given a list of 'January Releases for Fantasy' (click for link).

Fiction Affliction is a monthly column written by Royal Street author Suzanne Johnson that examines upcoming releases by genre or sub-genre including fantasy, young adult paranormal, and science fiction. The following are  new releases in FANTASY. I've added links to Goodreads as well as Suzanne Johnson's summaries.


The Soul Mirror, by Carol Berg (Jan. 4, Roc)
In a royal city beset by hauntings, avian plagues and strange sinkholes that swallow light and buildings, whispers of necromancy swirl about the queen’s volatile sorcerer. Scholarly, reclusive Anne de Vernase rejoices that she lacks magical talent since her father’s pursuit of illicit sorcery left her family in ruins. But a plague of murders compels Anne to investigate matters beyond science—a centuries-old rivalry, the boundaries of death, and the most dangerous sorcerer in Sabria. Second in the Collegia Magica trilogy.

Of Truth and Beasts (Noble Dead), by Barb Hendee and JC Hendee (Jan. 4, Roc)
In the newest Noble Dead outing, young Journeyor Wynn Hygeorht finds herself cast into the wilds on a dangerous quest for knowledge that may instead lead to her doom. This is the third book of Noble Dead, Series Two. The first book of Series Three is scheduled for release in January 2012.

Spellweaver, by Lynn Kurland (Jan. 4, Berkley)
Lynn Kurland returns to the Nine Kingdoms for another story of magical romance. Ruith had long managed to ignore the magic in his veins, until aiding Sarah with her ill-fated quest forced him into places where his heritage was impossible to deny. Faced with an ever-increasing number of enemies who covet his power, Ruith must accept his birthright and gather his father’s spells so he can destroy them—or turn away and allow his father’s evil to overcome the Nine Kingdoms. Romance alert!

House Name, by Michelle West (Jan. 4, DAW)
The House War series centers on the most popular character in The Sun Sword series—a young woman named Jewel who survives both the everyday perils of being an orphan in the slums of the city of Averalaan and the demonic dangers of the Undercity. She rises to become a key figure in House Terafin, the most important of the Ten Houses of the Essalieyan Empire. At the close of The Sun Sword series, the House War is about to begin. Now the war begins.

The Hammer, by K.J. Parker (Jan. 5, Orbit)
Gignomai is the youngest brother in the current generation of met’Oc, a once-noble family exiled on an island for its role in a vaguely remembered civil war. On this island, a colony was founded seventy years ago to mine silver. Now, an uneasy peace exists between the colonists and the met’Oc, who are tolerated since they alone possess the weapons considered necessary protection against the island’s savages. Gignomai is about to discover exactly what it is expected of him, and what it means to defy his family. He is the hammer who will provide the spark that ignites a brutal and bloody war.

Harbinger of the Storm, by Aliette de Bodard (Jan. 25, Angry Robot)
In the second Obsidian and Blood novel, death, magic and intrigue are pervasive in the Aztec world, which teeters on the brink of extinction. As the political infighting starts within the imperial court, Acatl, High Priest for the Dead, makes a macabre discovery in the palace: a high-ranking nobleman has been torn to pieces by an invocation—and it looks like the summoner belongs to the court itself.

The Sentinel Mage, by Emily Gee (Jan. 25, Solaris)
Her magic may be the only thing that can save a prince—and the Seven Kingdoms. In a distant corner of the Seven Kingdoms, an ancient curse festers and grows, consuming everything in its path. Only one man can break it: Harkeld of Osgaard, a prince with mages’ blood in his veins. But Prince Harkeld has a bounty on his head, and assassins at his heels. At his side as his armsman is Innis, a gifted shapeshifter posing as a man. Only the magic Harkeld loathes may stand between him and death.

The Warlord’s Legacy, by Ari Marmell (Jan. 25, Spectra)
Corvis Rebaine, the Terror of the East, a man as quick with a quip as he is with a blade, returns in this sequel to The Conqueror’s Shadow. Now Marmell raises the stakes in a story with the humor and action of its predecessor, plus a new villain evil enough to be a match for Rebaine himself, who returns in his trademark suit of black armor and skull-like helm, armed with a demon-forged axe, in command of a demonic slave, and with allies that include a bloodthirsty ogre.

The Sworn, by Gail Z. Martin (Jan. 25, Orbit)
Summoner-King Martris Drayke must attempt to gather an army from a country ravaged by civil war. Tris seeks new allies from among the living and the dead as an untested generation of rulers face their first battle. Meanwhile, the legendary Dread are stirring in their burrows after millennia of silence and no one knows what hand wakes them and whom they will serve when they rise. Now, Drayke turns to the Sworn, a nomadic clan of warriors bound to protect the Dread. But even the mighty Sworn do not know what will happen when the Dread awaken. The Sworn is the beginning of a new adventure set in the world of The Chronicles of the Necromancer.

Heart of the Exiled, by Pati Nagle (Jan. 25, Del Rey)
The Bitter Wars left a world divided. Now the ├Žlven governors convene at Glenhallow, while the savage kobalen gather in numbers not seen in five centuries. Vastly outnumbered, the ├Žlven clans will send barely trained guardians to confront the kobalen, and a young female warrior, Eliani, will be entrusted with the most crucial mission of all: to reach distant Fireshore and learn why their governor has not responded to the call to war. But Eliani cannot see the dark force watching from the Ebon Mountains.

The Griffin’s Flight, by K.J. Taylor (Jan. 25, Ace)
In the newest installment in the Fallen Moon series, Arren Cardockson—brought back to life by a power beyond his understanding—flees for the frozen sanctuary of the North. With the man-eating griffin Skandar by his side and an entire country hunting him, Arren has little hope of reaching the place of his ancestry and of lifting his curse. But then he comes across a wild woman who may hold the key to making his lifeless heart beat once more. Romance alert!

The Executioness, by Tobias S. Buckell (Jan. 31, Subterranean)
In paired novellas both illustrated by J.K. Drummond, Tobias Buckell and Paolo Bacigalupi explore a shared world where magic is forbidden and its use is rewarded with the axe.
In the The Alchemist: In the beleageured city of Khaim, a lone alchemist seeks a solution to the bramble, a plant that feeds upon magic. It presses upon Khaim, nourished by the furtive spellcasting of its inhabitants and threatening to strangle the city under poisonous vines. Driven by desperation and genius, the alchemist constructs a device that transcends magic, unlocking the mysteries of bramble s essential nature. But the power of his newly-built balanthast is even greater than he dreamed. Where he sought to save a city and its people, the balanthast has the potential to save the world entirely—if it doesn’t destroy him and his family first.
In the The Executioness: In Khaim, the price is your head if you’re found using magic. For the use of magic creates bramble, a creeping menace that has covered majestic ancient cities and felled civilizations. In order to prevent the spread of the bramble, many lose their heads to cloaked executioners such as Tana, who takes the job from her ailing father in secret, desperate to keep her family from starvation. But now her family has been captured by raiders and taken to a foreign city, so Khaim's only female executioner begins a quest to bring her family back together.

Brayan’s Gold, by Peter V. Brett (Jan. 31, Subterranean)
Return to the world of The Warded Man and The Desert Spear in a new novella by Peter V. Brett, illustrated by Lauren K. Cannon. Humanity has been brought to the brink of extinction. A scant few hamlets and half-starved city-states are all that remain of a once-proud civilization, and it is only by hiding behind wards, ancient symbols with the power to repel demons, that they survive. A handful of Messengers keep the lines of communication open between the increasingly isolated populace. Arlen Bales is seventeen, an apprentice Messenger about to go out for the first time on a simple overnight trip. Instead, he finds himself on a frozen mountainside, carrying a dangerous cargo to Count Brayan’s gold mine, one of the furthest points in the duchy.

30 December 2010

HOW TO GET WHAT YOU WANT THIS YEAR

At the start of every year, many of us make resolutions and goals to help us achieve something new. The tradition goes way back to 153 B.C. when Janus, a mythical king of early Rome, was placed at the head of the calendar. Depicted with two faces, Janus could look back on the past year and forward to the new, and thus became the symbol for New Year resolutions.

In more recent years, our personal goals have often focused on lifestyle changes such as losing weight or getting a new job. Sadly, research has shown that only 12% of us achieve our goals and actually get what we want.

Women succeed 10% more when they make their goals public and get support from their friends, so I've decided to make an image board and share my goals. (In the past I’ve never set resolutions, but this year I want something to work towards).
 If I need motivation, I can look at my collage and visualise what makes me happy and what my goals are.... books (reading and blogging), sushi (I could eat it every day!) and moving jobs.

Have you made any resolutions or personal goals for the new year?

27 December 2010

IN SANTA'S SACK

I hope you all had a lovely Christmas, and got to spend time with your friends and family.

I'm spending a few days back in Cardiff with all my family. There's 7 of us all squeezed in together which can be a tad trying - don't get me wrong, I love my family - but as they say, everything in moderation! Thank goodness Santa brought me some lovely pressies to help me catch up on some great reads. It means I can escape off for a bit of peace as I read 'Soulless'!

Did you get any books in your Christmas sack?

23 December 2010

LITTLE BUNDLES OF JOY

In the run up till Christmas, I just love buying people presents. But I think I love wrapping them even more. Last year, I bought some stamps (the old fashioned ink kind) and since then I have personalised all the gift wrapping/labels I use. I just love seeing presents all wrapped and pretty ready for someone to receive.

I always hope that my family like the presents Ive bought them – I try to put thought into my gifts, but often my family tell me what they want. I don’t mind this, as I know they are getting something they want, but you lose that feeling of excitement which we all had as kids tearing away at the paper not knowing what might be inside. So I try to buy a few small surprises as well.


Which do you enjoy more...buying presents / wrapping them / watching people open them / receiving gifts from others?

19 December 2010

WRITING SUBMISSIONS & COMPETITIONS

Occasionally, but not often enough, I put pen to paper to try and write my own YA/fantasy stories. I have submitted a short story for one competition, but think that in 2011 I really should practice my writing skills more. Competitions can be a good way to motivate myself to write, as often the stories only need to be short in length and have prize giveaways too. So far I’ve found the following places that run short story writing competitions:

§   London School of Journalism
§   Mslexia (although you have to pay to enter)
§   Red Dress Club
§   British Fantasy Society

If you know anywhere else that runs similar writing competitions, let me know so I can add it to my list.

16 December 2010

WHAT MAKES A GOOD REVIEW?

When I was back in school, we were given the task of writing a review for a TV programme we liked. My review then was pretty poor, and got some bad feedback from the teacher. Sadly I doubt my review writing skills have improved much since then.

As there so many great book bloggers and book reviewers, I thought it would be good to get some advice on what to cover in a review. I would look at some of the following areas as a starting point:




* General Information: Title, author, copyright date, publisher, and genre.
* Plot summary
* Themes/issues explored
* Characters
* Style
* Star rating, and my reasoning behind the decision.


Are there other things you like to read in a review, or areas I have missed out?

14 December 2010

PLOT SUSPENSE

I recently read a book where I could already guess what would happen at the end and who the ‘bad guy’ was, long before the actually end of the story. At first I felt triumphant at my cleverness (apologies for my lack of modesty), but then felt quite perturbed that the second half of the book held no new revelations for me.


As it the mystery and suspense in a storyline that helps keep us reading, I started thinking...


HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT A BOOK WHEN YOU CAN GUESS
WHAT WILL HAPPEN AT THE END?

From the point of view of the writer, should there be more twists and turns etc to stop the reader from guessing exactly what will happen?



Thoughts please...

11 December 2010

BOOK BLOGGER HOP

This week I decided I should catch up on some old series' that I never got around to reading before ... The Night World series by LJ Smith and The Morganville Vampires by Rachel Caine. So I've just finished reading 'Book Two: The Dead Girls' Dance' and started reading 'Volume 2: Dark Angel, The Chosen and Soulmate'. I still haven't figured out whether I actually like The Morganville Vampires series. I don't know why exactly, but there's nothing that really makes me want to keep reading the series. Maybe I don't feel that much attachment to the main character Claire....anyone else love the series, or not that bothered by it?

I'm excited about another book I've got... 'Metamorphosis' by Ola Laniyan-Amoako. I've looked it up on Goodreads but as of yet there aren't any reviews, ratings or even a synopsis. It's nice to find a book that hasn't been splashed on every blog, so I won't have formed an expectation of it before I even read it. So I figure I will review it and be the first to post on Goodreads :)


And finally over to this week's Book Blogger Hop - which is a weekly event hosted by Jennifer at Crazy-For-Books.
The Hop is a fantastic way to find other cool blogs that you didn't know about before, make new friends, support each other, and generally just share our love of books! If you want to join, visit Jenn at Crazy-for-Books!!

This week's question comes from Angela at 'Library Book Reads':

"WHAT IS THE THING YOU LIKE MOST ABOUT READING BOOK BLOGS?
IS IT THE REVIEWS, AUTHOR GUEST POSTS, ARTICLES, GIVEAWAYS,
OR SOMETHING ELSE ENTIRELY?"


Ok, I finally have to admit...I often skip over reviews without reading the whole thing. I know I should be getting an idea of whether the book sounds like something I would want to read and judge whether I should go buy it, but at the same time I don't want to be influenced by others' ideas on books. I don't mind reading the review after I've read the book, to see what others think then. Sounds silly, I know, but what can I say.... But what I really like is seeing what books are coming up, finding out more about the lovely bloggers themselves and finding out about other peoples' own writing experiences. Ok, giveaways are great too - but they're just aren't enough open to the UK!

What do you like reading about on other book blogs?