Monday, August 31, 2015

Cover Reveal: The Conclave of Shadow by Alyc Helms

The Qwillery is thrilled to reveal the cover for The Conclave of Shadow, the 2nd novel in the Dragons of Heaven / Missy Masters series, by Alyc Helms. This gorgeous cover is by Amazing15. The Conclave of Shadow will be published in early 2016.

About The Conclave of Shadow

Missy Masters — aka the legendary superhero Mr Mystic — owes a lot of people favours after the events in The Dragons of Heaven. And these aren’t easy favours to pay back. So when one of the Argent Aces, Abby Trent, asks for her help in retrieving a Shadow Realms artefact, she figures this will help her pay down at least one of her debts.

The problem: Abby is just as good at getting into trouble as Missy, and before they can recover the artefact, it’s stolen by Abby’s arch-nemesis (and half-sister), the djinni Asha.

They follow Asha to the Divan of the Djinn, a twilight court of Shadow Realms exiles and freedom fighters on the border between Pakistan and India… and Missy and Abby are not welcome there. Missy has to navigate the arcane network of enmities and raise her own status among the Shadow hierarchy to gain allies against Asha and her masters.


The Dragons of Heaven
Dragons of Heaven 1
Angry Robot Books, June 30, 2015  (North America Print)
      June 2, 2015 (eBook)
      June 4, 2015 (UK Print)
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 512 pages

Would you deal with the devil to save the world?

Street magician Missy Masters inherited more than the usual genetic cocktail from her estranged grandfather – she also got his preternatural control of shadow and his legacy as the vigilante hero, Mr Mystic. Problem is, being a pulp hero takes more than a good fedora and a knack for witty banter, and Missy lacks the one thing Mr. Mystic had: experience. Determined to live up to her birthright, Missy journeys to China to seek the aid of Lung Huang, the ancient master who once guided her grandfather.

Lung Huang isn’t quite as ancient as Missy expected, and she finds herself embroiled in the politics of Lung Huang and his siblings, the nine dragon-guardians of creation. When Lung Di, Lung Huang’s brother and mortal enemy, raises a magical barrier that cuts off China from the rest of the world, it falls to the new Mr Mystic to prove herself by taking down the barrier. But is it too great a task for a lone adventure hero?

File Under: Fantasy [ Sins of the Grandfather / Missy and Master / Geek Fu / Little Trouble in Big China ]

About Alyc

Alyc Helms fled her doctoral program in anthropology and folklore when she realized she preferred fiction to academic writing. She dabbles in corsetry and costuming, dances at Renaissance and Dickens fairs, gets her dander up about social justice issues, and games in all forms of media. She sometimes refers to her work as “critical theory fanfic,” which is a fancy way to say that she is obsessed with liminality, gender identity, and foxes.

She’s a freelance game writer and a graduate of Clarion West, and her short fiction has appeared in Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Daily Science Fiction, Crossed Genres, to name a few. Her first novel, The Dragons of Heaven, was published by Angry Robot Books in June 2015.

You can find Alyc online at and follow her @alychelms on Twitter.

The Giveaway

What:  Two entrants will win a copy of The Dragons of Heaven by Alyc Helms from Angry Robot Books. International

How:  Log into and follow the directions in the Rafflecopter below. Note that comments are moderated.

Who and When:  The contest is open to all humans on the planet earth with a US or Canadian mailing address. Contest ends at 11:59 PM US Eastern Time on September 12, 2015. Void where prohibited by law. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 years old or older to enter.

*Giveaway rules and duration are subject to change.*

a Rafflecopter giveaway

2015 Debut Author Challenge Update - Battlemage by Stephen Aryan

The Qwillery is pleased to announce the newest featured author for the 2015 Debut Author Challenge.

Stephen Aryan

Age of Darkness 1
Orbit, September 22, 2015
Trade Paperback and eBook, 512 pages

When you fight magic with magic, nothing is certain...

Balfruss is a battlemage, one of the last of a vanishing breed, sworn to fight and die for a country that fears and despises his kind.

Vargus is a soldier, and while mages shoot lightning from the walls of the city, he's down in the front lines getting blood on his blade.

Talandra is a princess and her father's spymaster, but the war may force her to take up a greater responsibility, and make the greatest sacrifice of all.

Known for their unpredictable, dangerous power, society has left battlemages untrained and shunned. But when a force unlike anything ever imagined attacks them, the few remaining are called upon to go to war -- to save those who fear them most, and herald in a new age of peace, built on the corpses of their enemies.

The View From Monday - August 31, 2015

Happy last Monday in August.

There are 7 debuts out this week!

Nod by Adrian Barnes;

Sorcerer to the Crown (Sorcerer Royal 1) by Zen Cho;

The Sparrow Sisters by Ellen Herrick;

Windswept (Windswept 1) by Adam Rakunas;

Updraft by Fran Wilde;

The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps by Kai Ashante Wilson;


The Gates of Evangeline by Hester Young.

From formerly featured Debut Author Challenge Authors:

The Secrets of Blood and Bone by Rebecca Alexander

Midnight Hunter (Execution Underground 4) by Kait Ballenger

Twelve Kings in Sharakai (Song of Shattered Sands 1) by Bradley P. Beaulieu;

Lady Magick (Noctis Magicae 2) by Sylvia Izzo Hunter;

Clash of Eagles (Clash of Eagles 1) by Alan Smale is out in Mass Market Paperback;


Aftermath (Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens: The Aftermath Trilogy 1) by Chuck Wendig.

August 31, 2015
Grave Expectations Lisa Gardiner PNR - Jess Vandermire, Vampire Hunter 4
Clockwork Secrets Boxed Set Dru Pagliassotti SP
Speak Easy Catherynne M. Valente F

September 1, 2015
If Then Matthew De Abaitua SF/AP/PA
The Secrets of Blood and Bone Rebecca Alexander HistF/UF
The Mortality Principle Alex Archer FairyT/FolkT/L&M - Rogue Angel 56
Child of Slaughter James Axler Dys - Deathlands 124
Midnight Hunter (e) Kait Ballenger PNR - Execution Underground 4
Nod (D) Adrian Barnes Dys
Twelve Kings in Sharakhai Bradley P. Beaulieu F - Song of Shattered Sands 1
Shifting Shadows: Stories from the World of Mercy Thompson (h2tp) Patricia Briggs UF - Mercy Thompson Stories
Geekographica Anthony Brown SF
Poison Fruit (h2mm) Jacqueline Carey UF - Agent of Hel 3
The Complete Morgaine C. J. Cherryh SF- Morgaine Cycle
Sorcerer to the Crown (D) Zen Cho HistF - Sorcerer Royal 1
Germanica Robert Conroy AH - More... 1
Consumed (h2tp) David Cronenberg LF
Nightbloom (e) Juliette Cross PNR - Nightwing 3
Future Wars . . . and Other Punchlines Hank Davis (ed) SF - Anthology
Tall, Dark and Immortal Cat Devon PNR - Entity 4
Ghost Summer: Stories Tananarive Due F - Collection
Dark Ghost Christine Feehan PNR - Carpathian 27
Black Cat Crossing Kay Finch CM -  Bad Luck Cat Mystery 1
Bat Out of Hell Alan Gold Th
The Last American Vampire (h2tp) Seth Grahame-Smith AH
The Abyss Beyond Dreams (h2mm) Peter F. Hamilton SF/SO - Commonwealth: Chronicle of the Fallers 1
The Drafter Kim Harrison UF -  Peri Reed Chronicles 1
The Sparrow Sisters (D) Ellen Herrick GB
Motherless Child (h2mm) Glen Hirshberg H - Motherless Children Trilogy 1
Dragon Heart: A Fantasy Novel Cecelia Holland F
Fifth Quarter (e) Tanya Huff F - Quarters 2
Lady of Magick Sylvia Izzo Hunter F - Noctis Magicae 2
J (h2tp) Howard Jacobson LF/Dys
A Discourse in Steel (ri) Paul S. Kemp F - Egil & Nix 2
The Hammer and the Blade (ri) Paul S. Kemp F - Egil & Nix 1
The Drowning God James Kendley Sup/Th
Clockwork Menagerie (e) Karen Kincy SP - Shadows of Asphodel Novella
A Debt to be Paid (e) Patrick Lacey H
In the Shadow of the Towers: Speculative Fiction in a Post-9/11 World Douglas Lain (ed) SF - Anthology
Be My Banshee (e) Joyce Lavene UF - Purple Door Detective Agency 1
Shadowfire (ri) Tanith Lee F - The Birthgrave Trilogy 2
The Fate of Ten Pittacus Lore SF - Lorien Legacies 6
Star Wars Trilogy George Lucas SF/SO - Star Wars
Knot the Usual Suspects Molly MacRae PM - Haunted Yarn Shop Mystery 5
A Red-Rose Chain Seanan McGuire UF - October Daye 9
Crucible Zero Devon Monk UF - House Immortal 3
Corum - The Oak and the Ram (ri) Michael Moorcock F - The Eternal Champion 5
Secondhand Souls (h2tp) Christopher Moore Hu
The Death House Sarah Pinborough Dys/CF
Lord of Janissaries Jerry Pournelle
Roland J. Green
The Shepherd's Crown Terry Pratchett F - Tiffany Aching 5 / Discworld 41
A Slip of the Keyboard: Collected Nonfiction (h2tp) Terry Pratchett Hu/LC/SF/F - Collection
Chapelwood Cherie Priest DF/H - The Borden Dispatches 2
Windswept (D) Adam Rakunas SF - Windswept 1
The Dragon Engine Andy Remic F - The Blood Dragon Empire 1
Kill by Numbers Loren Rhoads SF - In the Wake of the Templars 2
Germany: A Science Fiction Laurence A. Rickels SF/F/H&C
Steampunk: An Illustrated History of Fantastical Fiction, Fanciful Film and Other Victorian Visions (h2tp) Brian J. Robb SP
Bleedovers: A Dystopian Novella (e) William Todd Rose H
Archmage R. A. Salvatore F - Dungeons & Dragons: Forgotten Realms: Homecoming 1
Summit of the Wolf (e) Tera Shanley PNR - Silver Wolf clan 4
Archangel's Enigma Nalini Singh UFR/PNR - Guild Hunter 8
Clash of Eagles (h2mm) Alan Smale HistF/AH - Clash of Eagles Trilogy 1
The Orbs Omnibus (e) Nicholas Sansbury Smith SF/AC
The Desert and the Blade S. M. Stirling SF/AP/PA - Change 2
The Golden Princess (h2mm) S. M. Stirling SF/AP/PA - Change 1
Stanislaw Lem: Philosopher of the Future Peter Swirski LC/SF/F
Science Fiction Double Feature: The Science Fiction Film as Cult Text J. P. Telotte (ed)
Gerald Duchovnay (ed)
Supersymmetry David Walton SF
A Call to Duty (h2tp) David Weber SF - Manticore Ascendant 1
Updraft (D) Fran Wilde F
Sleeping Late On Judgement Day (h2mm) Tad Williams UF - Bobby Dollar 2
The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps (D) Kai Ashante Wilson F
Time of the Fourth Horseman (e) (ri) Chelsea Quinn Yarbro SF
Hyacinths (e) (ri) Chelsea Quinn Yarbro SF/CyP
Sins of Omission (e) (ri) Chelsea Quinn Yarbro H
Firecode (e) (ri) Chelsea Quinn Yarbro H
The Godforsaken (e) (ri) Chelsea Quinn Yarbro HistHorror
Beastnights (e) (ri) Chelsea Quinn Yarbro H
The Gates of Evangeline (D) Hester Young Th/Psy

September 3, 2015
Lament for the Afterlife Lisa L. Hannett DF/Oc/P/UF

September 4, 2015
Aftermath: Chuck Wendig SF - Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens: The Aftermath Trilogy 1

D - Debut
e - eBook
ed - Editor
h2mm - Hardcover to Mass Market Paperback
h2tp - Hardcover to Trade Paperback
ri - reissue or reprint

AC - Alien Contact
AH - Alternate History
AP - Apocalyptic
CF - Contemporary Fantasy
CM - Cozy Mystery
CyP - Cyber Punk
DF - Dark Fantasy
Dys - Dystopian
F - Fantasy
FairyT -Fairy Tale
FolkT - Folk Tale
GB - Genre Bender
H - Horror
H&C - History and Criticism
HistF - Historical Fantasy
Hu - Humor
L&M - Legends and Myth
LC - Literary Criticism
LF - Literary Fiction
Oc - Occult
P - Paranormal
PA - Post Apocalyptic
PM - Paranormal Mystery
PNR - Paranormal Romance
Psy - Psychological
R - Romance
SF - Science Fiction
SO - Space Opera
SP - Steampunk
Sup - Supernatural
Th - Thriller
UF - Urban Fantasy
UFR - Urban Fantasy Romance

Sunday, August 30, 2015

2015 Debut Author Challenge Update - Last Song Before Night by Ilana C. Myer

The Qwillery is pleased to announce the newest featured author for the 2015 Debut Author Challenge.

Ilana C. Myer

Last Song Before Night
Tor Books, September 29, 2015
Hardcover and eBook, 416 pages

A high fantasy following a young woman's defiance of her culture as she undertakes a dangerous quest to restore her world's lost magic in Ilana C. Myer's Last Song Before Night.

Her name was Kimbralin Amaristoth: sister to a cruel brother, daughter of a hateful family. But that name she has forsworn, and now she is simply Lin, a musician and lyricist of uncommon ability in a land where women are forbidden to answer such callings-a fugitive who must conceal her identity or risk imprisonment and even death.

On the eve of a great festival, Lin learns that an ancient scourge has returned to the land of Eivar, a pandemic both deadly and unnatural. Its resurgence brings with it the memory of an apocalypse that transformed half a continent. Long ago, magic was everywhere, rising from artistic expression-from song, from verse, from stories. But in Eivar, where poets once wove enchantments from their words and harps, the power was lost. Forbidden experiments in blood divination unleashed the plague that is remembered as the Red Death, killing thousands before it was stopped, and Eivar's connection to the Otherworld from which all enchantment flowed, broken.

The Red Death's return can mean only one thing: someone is spilling innocent blood in order to master dark magic. Now poets who thought only to gain fame for their songs face a challenge much greater: galvanized by Valanir Ocune, greatest Seer of the age, Lin and several others set out to reclaim their legacy and reopen the way to the Otherworld-a quest that will test their deepest desires, imperil their lives, and decide the future.

2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - August Winner

The winner of the August 2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars is Graynelore by Stephen Moore with 52 votes equaling 36% of all votes. The cover was designed by Cherie Chapman, part of the design team at Harper Collins.

The Results

The August 2015 Debut Covers

Thank you to everyone who voted, Tweeted, and participated. The 2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars will continue with voting on the September Debut covers starting on September 15, 2015 with 17 covers to choose from!

Melanie's Week in Review - August 30, 2015

Happy Bank Holiday to any readers in the UK. I hope you are having a good one. I am trying to avoid getting too wet as, of course, it is raining. Apologies for not posting a WIR last week but I didn't even finish 1 book *gasp*. I was very lucky to be selected to beta read Michael Sullivan's newest book The Death of Dulgath which is finds us back again in Riyria in the company of two of my favourite heroes - Royce and Hadrian. Needless to say I can't tell you much about it other than its a great read. So what have I been able to read in the last two weeks?

I started the week with Crossed which is the third and final instalment of the Soul Eaters series by Eliza Crewe. The part demon part Beacon Meda Melange is back and fighting to save the world from certain annihilation from the demons. The Crusaders, who Meda has been living with, fighting for and being friends with are being wiped out as the war escalates. Meda doesn't know where to turn or what to do as friends become enemies and enemies become allies especially when Jo does the unthinkable. Everything looks like it is going to Hell when in fact that is exactly where Meda and her fiends end up. Can they escape, can they save humanity?

I have enjoyed this series especially the first instalment where Crewe uses one of my all time favourite words - hangry (when you are so hungry you are angry). Crewe really ramps up the body count as nearly everyone apart from a Meda and her closest friends die at the hands of the demons. This instalment starts out with some great scenes between Meda and Jo but this soon devolves into more stereotypical, teenage hysteria and melodrama. There few points in the later chapters that I was hoping that a demon would take out Jo just so I didn't have to read anymore of her childish rants. No such luck. I feel that Crewe ruined what could have been a great ending if it hadn't been for Jo. I was just a tad disappointed with the ending but do not regret reading the series.

Book 2 was Dannika Dark's Two Minutes which is the sixth book in the Seven series. The story is set about 10 years after the end of Three Hours. This time Dark tells the story of Maizy, the young human sister of Lexi and her childhood protector Denver. Maizy comes home after years in boarding school and living in England. She may have grown up but Denver is conflicted over the feelings he has for the beautiful young woman Maizy has become. Maizy still feels safe in the arms of her childhood protector but the more she is with him the more she comes to realise that he is much more than just her protector. Will true love prevail or will Maizy miss out on her fairy tale ending?

I have always found the Seven series nice easy reads that don't tax my brain too much and Two Minutes was no exception. In fact, this instalment was light on the plot as there was one too many coincidences for Maizy and Denver. A lot was made of Maizy being human and why she wasn't a suitable partner for a shifter so when it turns out that she isn't actually human and can turn into any type of shifter this seemed like a bit of a cop out. This really felt like the end of the series but apparently there is another book to go. I don't really know who is left to pair up so will be interested to find out how Dark decides to finish this series.

The final book I am going to tell you about is One Part Human by Viola Grace which is the first instalment of the Obscure Magic series. I came across it in my Amazon recommendations. Boy did Amazon get that one wrong. I got 60% of the way through and gave up on the story of Benny who is so magically special that she has stayed hidden for most of her life. She hides away as a food blogger until she is made to patrol with the Extranormal Investigation Agency. So despite trying to keep her powers hidden she makes a point of solving every case with her 'special skills' and ends up blabbing her hidden secret by the end of the fourth chapter. Not only was it dull it was also confusing but I was soo bored reading it that I couldn't be bothered trying to figure out what was going on with the lackluster plot.

That is it for me for this week. I wish I had some super great books to tell you about but it seems I have had a rather mediocre week in books. Wish me luck for next week. Until then Happy Reading.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

2015 Debut Author Challenge Update - Lightless by C.A. Higgins

The Qwillery is pleased to announce the newest featured author for the 2015 Debut Author Challenge.

C.A. Higgins

Del Rey, September 29, 2015
Hardcover and eBook, 304 Pages

With deeply moving human drama, nail-biting suspense—and bold speculation informed by a degree in physics—C. A. Higgins spins a riveting science fiction debut guaranteed to catapult readers beyond their expectations.

Serving aboard the Ananke, an experimental military spacecraft launched by the ruthless organization that rules Earth and its solar system, computer scientist Althea has established an intense emotional bond—not with any of her crewmates, but with the ship’s electronic systems, which speak more deeply to her analytical mind than human feelings do. But when a pair of fugitive terrorists gain access to the Ananke, Althea must draw upon her heart and soul for the strength to defend her beloved ship.

While one of the saboteurs remains at large somewhere on board, his captured partner—the enigmatic Ivan—may prove to be more dangerous. The perversely fascinating criminal whose silver tongue is his most effective weapon has long evaded the authorities’ most relentless surveillance—and kept the truth about his methods and motives well hidden.

As the ship’s systems begin to malfunction and the claustrophobic atmosphere is increasingly poisoned by distrust and suspicion, it falls to Althea to penetrate the prisoner’s layers of intrigue and deception before all is lost. But when the true nature of Ivan’s mission is exposed, it will change Althea forever—if it doesn’t kill her first.

2015 Debut Author Challenge Update - The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps by Kai Ashante Wilson

The Qwillery is pleased to announce the newest featured author for the 2015 Debut Author Challenge

Kai Ashante Wilson

The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps, September 1, 2015
Trade Paperback and eBook, 224 pages

Critically acclaimed author Kai Ashante Wilson makes his commercial debut with this striking, wondrous tale of gods and mortals, magic and steel, and life and death that will reshape how you look at sword and sorcery.

Since leaving his homeland, the earthbound demigod Demane has been labeled a sorcerer. With his ancestors' artifacts in hand, the Sorcerer follows the Captain, a beautiful man with song for a voice and hair that drinks the sunlight.

The two of them are the descendants of the gods who abandoned the Earth for Heaven, and they will need all the gifts those divine ancestors left to them to keep their caravan brothers alive.

The one safe road between the northern oasis and southern kingdom is stalked by a necromantic terror. Demane may have to master his wild powers and trade humanity for godhood if he is to keep his brothers and his beloved captain alive.

Review: Devil's Pocket by John Dixon

Devil's Pocket
Author:  John Dixon
Publisher:  Gallery Books, August 4, 2015
Format:  Trade Paperback and eBook, 352 pages
List Price:  $10.99 (print); $8.99 (eBook)
ISBN:  9781476738666 (print); 9781476738710 (eBook)
Review Copy: Provided by the Publisher

The follow-up to the critically acclaimed Phoenix Island, which reads like “Lord of the Flies meets Wolverine and Cool Hand Luke” (F. Paul Wilson, creator of Repairman Jack) and inspired the CBS TV show Intelligence.

With a chip in his head and hundreds more throughout his body, sixteen-year-old Carl Freeman was turned from an orphan with impulse control issues into a super-soldier. Forced into the mercenary Phoenix Force group, he begins to fear he’ll never escape. Sent to a volcanic island to fight for them, he’ll compete in a combat tournament that awards teens with survival for merciless brutality. But just when all looks lost, he spies a friendly face…and possibly a way out.

Trinitytwo's Point of View

In the hard hitting sequel to John Dixon's award winning Phoenix Island protagonist Carl Freeman finds himself in the Devil's Pocket. The chip that has enhanced Carl's mind and body has transformed him into the ultimate fighting machine. It's made him stronger and faster, but has also unleashed a murderous rage which takes all of his discipline to curb. When Commander Stark offers a new assignment with a reward he can't refuse, Carl happily accepts. His mission is to win the Funeral Games in which fighters from all over the world will battle in a secret arena. Stark promises Carl the position of second in command if he triumphs, which would allow Carl the opportunity to get the information he desperately needs to destroy Phoenix Island for good. If there is one thing Carl knows, it's how to fight and he finds himself excited to be a part of this blood sport competition. However, the stakes at the Funeral Games are deadlier than Carl ever imagined and even his enhancement chip won't prevent him from ending up against the ropes.

Devil's Pocket is a combination of jabs, crosses and uppercuts that will keep its readers engrossed in its pages. Dixon's sequel packs a punch and the savagery of the cage fighting sequences really had me on the edge of my seat. I like the unexpected twists and turns in the storyline. Unlike Phoenix Island, this book is not a straightforward psychological thriller, as Dixon adds a healthy dose of intrigue and espionage to the mix. He also reunites Carl with some old allies and enemies with accompanying complications. The novel's ominous setting creates the perfect backdrop for the action. Dixon definitely knows his fighting techniques, so much so that this book may not be for those squeamish souls who cringe at blood. Not being one of those people, I really enjoyed the fighting choreography and at times felt I was sitting ringside. Another positive is Carl's character development. It rang true that his limited life experiences would cause him heartache. I appreciated that even though the chip has made Carl something of a superhuman, at heart he is still a teenage boy struggling with difficult decisions and the fallout of his own mistakes.

Devil's Pocket can definitely stand alone, however I would point prospective readers in the direction of Phoenix Island to start. I highly recommend this book to readers who like fast-paced, action-packed thrillers.

Read Trinitytwo's review of Phoenix Island here.

Friday, August 28, 2015

2015 Debut Author Challenge Update - The Sparrow Sisters by Ellen Herrick

The Qwillery is pleased to announce the newest featured author for the 2015 Debut Author Challenge.

Ellen Herrick

The Sparrow Sisters
William Morrow Paperbacks, September 1, 2015
Trade Paperback and eBook, 384 pages

With echoes of the alchemy of Practical Magic, the lushness of Saving CeeCee Honeycutt, and the darkly joyful wickedness of the Witches of Eastwick, Ellen Herrick’s debut novel spins an enchanting love story about a place where magic whispers just beneath the surface and almost anything is possible, if you aren’t afraid to listen.

The Sparrow Sisters are as tightly woven into the seaside New England town of Granite Point as the wild sweet peas that climb the stone walls along the harbor. Sorrel, Nettie and Patience are as colorful as the beach plums on the dunes and as mysterious as the fog that rolls into town at dusk.

Patience is the town healer and when a new doctor settles into Granite Point he brings with him a mystery so compelling that Patience is drawn to love him, even as she struggles to mend him. But when Patience Sparrow’s herbs and tinctures are believed to be implicated in a local tragedy, Granite Point is consumed by a long-buried fear—and its three hundred year old history resurfaces as a modern day witch-hunt threatens. The plants and flowers, fruit trees and high hedges begin to wither and die, and the entire town begins to fail; fishermen return to the harbor empty-handed, and blight descends on the old elms that line the lanes.

It seems as if Patience and her town are lost until the women of Granite Point band together to save the Sparrow. As they gather, drawing strength from each other, will they be able to turn the tide and return life to Granite Point?

The Sparrow Sisters is a beautiful, haunting, and thoroughly mesmerizing novel that will capture your imagination.

2015 Debut Author Challenge Update - Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho

The Qwillery is pleased to announce the newest featured author for the 2015 Debut Author Challenge.

Zen Cho

Sorcerer to the Crown
Sorcerer Royal 1
Ace, September 1, 2015
Hardcover and eBook, 384 pages

In this sparkling debut, magic and mayhem clash with the British elite…

The Royal Society of Unnatural Philosophers, one of the most respected organizations throughout all of England, has long been tasked with maintaining magic within His Majesty’s lands. But lately, the once proper institute has fallen into disgrace, naming an altogether unsuitable gentleman—a freed slave who doesn’t even have a familiar—as their Sorcerer Royal, and allowing England’s once profuse stores of magic to slowly bleed dry. At least they haven’t stooped so low as to allow women to practice what is obviously a man’s profession…

At his wit’s end, Zacharias Wythe, Sorcerer Royal of the Unnatural Philosophers and eminently proficient magician, ventures to the border of Fairyland to discover why England’s magical stocks are drying up. But when his adventure brings him in contact with a most unusual comrade, a woman with immense power and an unfathomable gift, he sets on a path which will alter the nature of sorcery in all of Britain—and the world at large…

2015 Debut Author Challenge Update - Windswept by Adam Rakunas

The Qwillery is pleased to announce the newest featured author for the 2015 Debut Author Challenge.

Adam Rakunas

Windswept 1
Angry Robot Books, September 1, 2015
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 400 pages

Padma Mehta has to save her city, her planet, and Occupied Space from a devastating crop-killing plague — all before Happy Hour.

Labor organizer Padma Mehta is on the edge of space and the edge of burnout. All she wants is to buy out a little rum distillery and retire, but she’s supposed to recruit 500 people to the Union before she can. She’s only thirty-three short. So when a small-time con artist tells her about forty people ready to tumble down the space elevator to break free from her old bosses, she checks it out — against her better judgment. It turns out, of course, it was all lies.

As Padma should know by now, there are no easy shortcuts on her planet. And suddenly retirement seems farther away than ever: she’s just stumbled into a secret corporate mission to stop a plant disease that could wipe out all the industrial sugarcane in Occupied Space. If she ever wants to have another drink of her favorite rum, she’s going to have to fight her way through the city’s warehouses, sewage plants, and up the elevator itself to stop this new plague.

File Under: Science Fiction [ Plagues, Plots & Planets • One-Eyed Wonder • Bad Tips, Good Tipples • This Little Bar I Know ]

Thursday, August 27, 2015

2015 Debut Author Challenge Update: A Crucible of Souls by Mitchell Hogan

The Qwillery is pleased to announce the newest featured author for the 2015 Debut Author Challenge.

Mitchell Hogan

A Crucible of Souls
Sorcery Ascendant Sequence 1
Harper Voyager, September 22, 2015
Trade Paperback and eBook, 512 pages

An imaginative new talent makes his debut with the acclaimed first installment in the epic Sorcery Ascendant Sequence, a mesmerizing tale of high fantasy that combines magic, malevolence, and mystery.

When young Caldan’s parents are brutally slain, the boy is raised by monks who initiate him into the arcane mysteries of sorcery.

Growing up plagued by questions about his past, Caldan vows to discover who his parents were, and why they were violently killed. The search will take him beyond the walls of the monastery, into the unfamiliar and dangerous chaos of city life. With nothing to his name but a pair of mysterious heirlooms and a handful of coins, he must prove his talent to become apprenticed to a guild of sorcerers.

But the world outside the monastery is a darker place than he ever imagined, and his treasured sorcery has disturbing depths he does not fully understand. As a shadowed evil manipulates the unwary and forbidden powers are unleashed, Caldan is plunged into an age-old conflict that will bring the world to the edge of destruction.

Soon, he must choose a side, and face the true cost of uncovering his past.

Guest Blog by Gerrard Cowan - The beginning, middle and end of planning a trilogy

Please welcome Gerrard Cowan to The Qwillery as part of the 2015 Debut Author Challenge Guest Blogs. The Machinery will be published by Harper Voyager UK on September 10, 2015.

The beginning, middle and end of planning a trilogy

I always knew I wanted my fantasy novel, The Machinery, to be the first in a trilogy. I liked the clarity of it: the sense of a beginning, a middle and an end.

The scale of the story provides a breadth of opportunities, but there have also been challenges I’m only just starting to comprehend.

After seven years of thumping away on a keyboard, killing off characters major and minor, inventing and destroying subplots, I am done with Book One. I sent in the final copy edits of The Machinery a few weeks ago, though I probably could have kept tweaking it for the rest of my natural existence. It’s out of my hands, and from September 10th it will have to make its own way in the world.

I’m now deep into the writing of Book Two, The Strategist, which should be ready to send to HarperVoyager in a couple of months time. I suppose that puts me about halfway through the entire project; once The Strategist is done, I’ll move straight on to the as-yet-untitled Book Three.

In a way, writing the first book is fairly easy. In my case, The Machinery was also my first novel, so at the beginning I was really writing it for myself. I was the only person who ever saw it, apart from a few friends and family members who cast their eyes over the early drafts. I had the benefit of time, as no one was expecting the novel by a certain deadline. However, I was also only beginning to develop my own writing routine, so there was a lot of trial and error before I really got into the rhythm of it.

I found that there are certain challenges unique to writing a book that is intended to be one of a series. If you’re writing a standalone novel, everything is contained within its pages. You don’t have to worry about the effect a certain tweak might have on the narrative of later books. This is true even if you think there might be a sequel on the cards later.

To an extent, the same rules apply when you’re writing the first novel of a planned trilogy, especially when that novel is your first crack at publishing in general. If HV hadn’t picked up The Machinery, I’m not sure I would be writing the second book right now. Maybe I would have gone down the self-publishing route – I really don’t know. The point is that I wrote the first book with the second book in the back of my mind, not at the front of my thoughts.

Of course, that all changed when I signed a deal for three books. As I reworked and edited the Machinery, I had to consider the impact every decision might have on the next two novels. This added a whole new layer of complexity.

Writing the second book is trickier still. Not only do you have to keep in mind the coming events of Book Three; just as importantly, you are required to remember the events of Book One. Now, obviously you remember the major twists and turns. However, you also need to think about the details: the colour of someone’s eyes, any injuries they may have sustained in the previous book, the type of food they hate, etc.

The second book also poses more serious challenges. The first book in a trilogy should suck the reader in, and the third book should be the culmination of everything you’ve been building towards. But the second book is a bridge, across which the narrative flows from Book One to Book Three. It’s essential to maintain a balance between building the foundations of Book Three and ensuring that the second book is exciting and interesting as a standalone novel.

I haven’t come to Book Three yet, but I can already see the pitfalls that lie ahead. It’s like reaching the end of an expedition, when you can see the destination; you’d better hope you brought the right equipment to take you the last few steps up the mountain. If you laid things out wrong in books one and two, there’s not much you can do about it now. Those books are not only written – they’re out there for all to see.

All that being said, I have thoroughly enjoyed it. As I said at the beginning, the real pleasure is in the sheer range of possibilities that writing a trilogy provides. In the end, it’s been best for me to see it as one novel, broken into three books; if you look at the narrative as a single entity – which is what it is – then it somehow becomes less daunting.

I’m not going to take much of a break between finishing The Strategist and moving on to Book Three. Why would I? I would only be two-thirds of the way through my novel.

The Machinery
The Machinery Trilogy 1
Harper Voyager UK, September 10, 2015
eBook, 400 pages

For ten millennia, the leaders of the Overland have been Selected by the Machinery, an omnipotent machine gifted to their world in darker days.

The city has thrived in arts, science and war, crushing all enemies and expanding to encompass the entire Plateau.

But the Overland is not at ease, for the Machinery came with the Prophecy: it will break in the 10,000th year, Selecting just one leader who will bring Ruin to the world. And with the death of Strategist Kane, a Selection is set to occur…

For Apprentice Watcher Katrina Paprissi, the date has special significance. Life hasn’t been the same since she witnessed the kidnapping of her brother Alexander, the only person on the Plateau who knew the meaning of the Prophecy.

When the opportunity arises to find her brother, Katrina must travel into the depths of the Underland, the home of the Machinery, to confront the Operator himself and discover just what makes the world work…

About Gerrard

Gerrard Cowan is a writer and editor from Derry, in the North West of Ireland. His debut fantasy novel, The Machinery, will be published by HarperVoyager UK in September 2015. It is the first in a trilogy.

His first known work was a collection of poems on monsters, written for Halloween when he was eight; it is sadly lost to civilisation.

Website  ~  Facebook  ~  Twitter @gerrardcowan

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

2015 Debut Author Challenge Update - The Traitor Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson

The Qwillery is pleased to announce the newest featured author for the 2015 Debut Author Challenge.

Seth Dickinson

The Traitor Baru Cormorant
Tor Books, September 15, 2015
Hardcover and eBook, 400 pages

In Seth Dickinson's highly-anticipated debut The Traitor Baru Cormorant, a young woman from a conquered people tries to transform an empire in this richly imagined geopolitical fantasy.

Baru Cormorant believes any price is worth paying to liberate her people-even her soul.

When the Empire of Masks conquers her island home, overwrites her culture, criminalizes her customs, and murders one of her fathers, Baru vows to swallow her hate, join the Empire's civil service, and claw her way high enough to set her people free.

Sent as an Imperial agent to distant Aurdwynn, another conquered country, Baru discovers it's on the brink of rebellion. Drawn by the intriguing duchess Tain Hu into a circle of seditious dukes, Baru may be able to use her position to help. As she pursues a precarious balance between the rebels and a shadowy cabal within the Empire, she orchestrates a do-or-die gambit with freedom as the prize.

But the cost of winning the long game of saving her people may be far greater than Baru imagines.

Review: Faces by E. C. Blake

Author:  E. C. Blake
Series:  Masks of Aygrima 3
Publisher:  DAW, July 7, 2015
Format:  Hardcover and eBook, 336 pages
List Price:  $19.95 (print); $9.99 (eBook)
ISBN:  9780756409395 (print); 9780756411473 (eBook)
Review Copy:  Provided by the Publisher

The spellbinding third novel of The Masks of Aygrima is set in a land where people are forced to wear spell-imbued Masks that reveal any traitorous thoughts they have about their ruler, the Autarch.

Mara Holdfast is a young woman gifted with the ability to see and use all the colors of magic. Two other people share this talent: the Autarch, who draws upon the very life-force of his subjects to fuel his existence and retain his control over the kingdom; and the legendary Lady of Pain and Fire, the only person who has ever truly challenged the Autarch’s despotic reign.

After a devastating battle that takes a dreadful toll on both the rebel unMasked Army and the forces of Prince Chell, their ally from across the sea, Mara and her fellow survivors have no one to turn to for help but the Lady of Pain and Fire.

As the Lady leads them to her haven beyond the mountain borders of the kingdom, Mara feels that she has found the one person who truly understands her, a mentor who can teach her to control and use her power for the greater good. Together, they may be able to at last free Agryma from the Autarch’s rule.

Living within the Lady’s castle, cut off from her friends in the village far below, Mara immerses herself in her training. Still, she can’t entirely escape from hearing dark hints about the Lady, rumors that the Lady may, in her own way, be as ruthless as the Autarch himself.

Yet it is not until they begin their campaign against the Autarch that Mara discovers where the real danger lies. Driven by the Lady’s thirst for revenge, will Mara and all her friends fall victim in a duel to the death between two masters of magic?

Brannigan's Review

E.C. Blake's Faces, the third book in the Masks of Aygrima series, closes out a spectacular story arc. I believe this won't be the last time I read a story with Mara as the protagonist, which is a wonderful prospect.

Blake has done a marvelous job of creating a very sympathetic protagonist in Mara, a teenage girl discovering she has the power within her to overturn the villainous ruler of a small nation. The only
problem is her gift seems to do more harm than good to the people she cares about. In the third book she finally learns to control her power, but with the control comes a darker problem. The supporting characters are all fully fleshed.

My one and only complaint with this series is never resolved, as I never get to truly know or understand the villain. He remains a mystery and frankly a very minor role in the series. A second villain, that from the start of the series seemed minor at best, takes on a more prominent role in this book, which was nice. I would have preferred if the main antagonist was treated in the same way. It would have made the ending more powerful.

The world building, like the characters, is pretty much established with little to no new developments or details added to strengthen the world. I felt this could have been improved on as it would only add to strengthen future books. It is however understandable as the majority of the story was spent resolving issues and revealing secrets.

I felt satisfied with how the story was resolved. There are still minor things left unexplained, but in no way did it hinder the overall story. It gives the story a realistic feel, by leaving some mystery. I particularly enjoy how Blake set up a possible future for the series.

Blake's Faces is a wonderful story with some great characters and world-building. I was completely satisfied with how Faces ended and can honestly say I hope Mara returns. There are descriptive acts of violence, minor language and minor sexual situations, so I'd recommend it to older teens and adults. Anyone who started the series or have been waiting to see how it ends needs to finish it. You won't regret it. Fans of realistic heroines will love Mara.

See Brannigan's review of Masks (Masks of Aygrima 1) here.
See Brannigan's review of Shadows (Masks of Aygrima 2) here.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

2015 Debut Author Challenge Update: The Machinery by Gerrard Cowan

The Qwillery is pleased to announce the newest featured author for the 2015 Debut Author Challenge.

Gerrard Cowan

The Machinery
Harper Voyager UK, September 10, 2015
eBook, 400 pages

For ten millennia, the leaders of the Overland have been Selected by the Machinery, an omnipotent machine gifted to their world in darker days.

The city has thrived in arts, science and war, crushing all enemies and expanding to encompass the entire Plateau.

But the Overland is not at ease, for the Machinery came with the Prophecy: it will break in the 10,000th year, Selecting just one leader who will bring Ruin to the world. And with the death of Strategist Kane, a Selection is set to occur…

For Apprentice Watcher Katrina Paprissi, the date has special significance. Life hasn’t been the same since she witnessed the kidnapping of her brother Alexander, the only person on the Plateau who knew the meaning of the Prophecy.

When the opportunity arises to find her brother, Katrina must travel into the depths of the Underland, the home of the Machinery, to confront the Operator himself and discover just what makes the world work…