Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Disney's A Wrinkle In Time Collection by ALEX AND ANI

Introducing Disney's A Wrinkle In Time Collection by

ALEX AND ANI Journeys Through Space and Time to Create a Collection Inspired by Disney's A Wrinkle In Time

PROVIDENCE, R.I., Feb. 28, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- ALEX AND ANI, the beloved lifestyle brand that creates meaningful, eco-conscious jewelry to positively empower and connect humanity, today announces a new, cosmically-inspired capsule: Disney's A Wrinkle In Time Collection by ALEX AND ANI. Available Friday, March 2, 2018,the 19-piece collection includes necklaces, bracelets and rings inscribed with iconic quotes and magical symbols from the cherished story of one young girl's epic adventure.

Hand-crafted with intention in Rhode Island, all ALEX AND ANI accessories harness power and meaning through symbolism, providing a vehicle for the wearer to express his or her individuality. Be it the magical flowers from the planet Uriel or the inspiring words from Mrs. Who, Mrs. Which and Mrs. Whatsit – every piece from Disney's A Wrinkle In Time Collection by ALEX AND ANI is meant to speak to one's heart, unleashing the triumphant powers of love and light.

To further celebrate this exciting collaboration, ALEX AND ANI and Disney jointly produced a video, capturing the interconnection of the film's powerful messaging to the brand. Both the collection and the video are designed to connect you to the mysteries outside of time and space, with the challenge to become a warrior for love - armored with the power in each ALEX AND ANI piece.

Disney's A Wrinkle In Time Collection by ALEX AND ANI will be available online at and at ALEX AND ANI stores around the world, as well as select retail locations. See below for descriptions of the full collection and be sure to share your journey on Instagram @ALEXANDANI.

Covers Revealed - Upcoming Works by DAC Authors

Here are some of the recent and upcoming novels by formerly featured DAC Authors. The year in parentheses is the year the author was featured in the DAC.

Curtis Craddock (2017)

An Alchemy of Masques and Mirrors
The Risen Kingdoms 1
Tor Books, June 19, 2018
Trade Paperback, 416 pages
Hardcover and eBook, August 29, 2017

An Alchemy of Masques and Mirrors is Curtis Craddock's delightful and engrossing fantasy debut featuring a genius heroine and her guardian, a royal musketeer, which Brandon Sanderson calls, "A great read!"

Born with a physical disability, no magical talent, and a precocious intellect, Princess Isabelle des Zephyrs has lived her life being underestimated by her family and her kingdom. The only person who appreciates her true self is Jean-Claude, the fatherly musketeer who had guarded her since birth.

All shall change, however, when an unlikely marriage proposal is offered, to the second son of a dying king in an empire collapsing into civil war.

But the last two women betrothed to this prince were murdered, and asorcerer-assassin is bent on making Isabelle the third. Isabelle and Jean-Claude plunge into a great maze of prophecy, intrigue, and betrayal, where everyone wears masks of glamour and lies. Step by dangerous step, Isabelle must unravel the lies of her enemies and discovers a truth more perilous than any deception.

“A setting fabulous and strange, heroes to cheer for, villains to detest, a twisty, tricky plot — I love this novel!” —Lawrence Watt Evans

“A thrilling adventure full of palace intrigue, mysterious ancient mechanisms, and aerial sailing ships!” —David D. Levine

Kevin Hearne (2011)

Besieged: Stories from The Iron Druid Chronicles
Del Rey, March 27, 2018
Mass Market Paperback, 304 pages
Hardcover and eBook, July 11, 2017

The ancient gods are alive and well in the modern world in this hilarious, action-packed collection of original short stories featuring Atticus O’Sullivan, the two-thousand-year-old Irishman from Kevin Hearne’s New York Times bestselling Iron Druid Chronicles.

• In ancient Egypt, Atticus agrees to raid a secret chamber underneath the library of Alexandria, dodging deadly traps, only to learn that on-site security includes two members of the Egyptian pantheon.
• At a Kansas carnival, fun and games turns to murder and mayhem, thanks to soul-snatching demons and flesh-craving ghouls luring visitors into an all-too-real house of horrors.
• Verily, in olde England, striking up a friendship with William Shakespeare lands both Atticus and the Bard in boiling hot water with a trio of infamous witches.
• During the Gold Rush, the avatar of greed himself turns the streets of San Francisco red with blood and upsets the elemental Sequoia. Atticus may have to fight fire with fire if he’s going to restore balance.

More, you say? Indeed there is—including bogeymen, vampire hordes, wrathful wraiths, and even a journey to the realm of the dead. Prepare to be besieged with nine tantalizing tales—not to be missed, never to be forgotten.

Nine - April 3, 2018
[click to embiggen]

Jon Hollins (Jonathan Wood) (2011)

The Dragon Lords: Bad Faith
The Dragon Lords 3
Orbit, August 14, 2018
Trade Paperback and eBook, 400 pages

Guardians of the Galaxy meets the Hobbit in this rollicking fantasy adventure.

Will and his comrades went to war to overthrow the reign of dragons, winning battle after battle, and acclaim as conquering heroes.

But now they’ve angered the gods, and may just need the dragons to help them this time…

“Jon Hollins is a one-of-a-kind storyteller, a master of epic fun and nonstop action.” – Nicholas Eames, author of Kings of the Wyld

The Dragon Lords
The Dragon Lords: Fool’s Gold
The Dragon Lords: False Idols
The Dragon Lords: Bad Faith

Book 1
Book 2
[click to embiggen]

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Interview with Robert Ashcroft, author of The Megarothke

Please welcome Robert Ashcroft to The Qwillery as part of the 2018 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. The Megarothke is published on February 27th by Cinestate.

Please join The Qwillery in wishing Robert a very Happy Publication Day!

TQWelcome to The Qwillery. What is the first fiction piece you remember writing?

Robert:  My sophomore year of high school I wrote a piece of flash-fiction. Sort of a dramatization of the “Albatross Riddle” that ended up being around 1000 words. I remember showing it to my little sisters and cousins and thinking, “This stuff is pure gold.” I would highly recommend looking up the riddle online. I would not highly recommend reading my short story about it.

TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

Robert:  First of all, I’m not a fan of the word “pantser.” I feel that it is too negative. Like, how is it fair that one side gets the word “plot” included in their name and the other gets a variation of the word “pants?” What if the terms were “Creative Visionary” vs “Methodical Producer of Contrived Events Ready to be Turned into a Script for Hollywood Consumption?” Because I do think that over plotting can lead to a sort of air-tight movie structure, and I one of my favorite things about books is that they can still be so ragged. You can really get lost in a book.

And if you think I’m being overly defensive here, it’s because there’s a lot of condescension among the “plotters” of the world! You know who you are!

I like to think of writing a novel like the expedition of Lewis and Clark. You’re not exactly sure what’s going to happen, but you’ve got some guns, some rations, and god dammit―you are going to get to the Pacific Ocean. In the end, I much prefer G.R.R. Martin’s terms “Gardeners vs Architects.” Under these definitions, I’m a gardener.

TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Robert:  Finding the courage to write about difficult subjects. We all read sex scenes as if they were nothing. But then you think about your mom or your friend reading it and all of the sudden it’s NC-17. As you write it, you see everyone you know imagining you as that particular character. This is a rather debilitating aspect that a lot of people never really address.

Let’s say your character murders someone. Or contemplates suicide. There’s a certain barrier that comes with having a loving family and its mostly an artificial one. You have to realize that your writing, to them, is just like painting or fixing cars. An awkward little hobby that they put up with during conversation. Meanwhile you have to believe in yourself to the fullest extent, to live your work, and to write through all criticism and doubt.

TQWhat has influenced / influences your writing?

Robert:  I still think that J.D. Salinger is in the running for one of the greatest writers of all time. I reread Franny and Zooey recently and he’s got a masterful touch for scene variation, character description, weaving ideas into conversations―he just crushes it. As per the Megarothke specifically, here are the top ten influences:

1. I am Legend, Richard Matheson

2. Roadside Picnic, Arkady and Boris Strugatsky

3. Solaris, Stanislaw Lem

4. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, Philip K. Dick

5. Battle Royale, Koshun Takami

6. In the Miso Soup, Ryu Murakami

7. Girl, In Landscape, Jonathan Lethem

8. Annihilation, Jeff Vandermeer

9. Burning Chrome, William Gibson

10. Sharp Objects, Gillian Flynn

TQDescribe The Megarothke in 140 characters or less.

“A book about a monster that brings about the apocalypse and then lives under Los Angeles while abducting humans to perform experiments on them.”

TQHow do you pronounce "Megarothke"?

Robert:  I say it, “Mega-Roth-Key.” It’s worth pointing out that my grandma’s maiden name was Roth. I’m sure psychologically this factors in somehow, but I’m not a psychologist.

TQTell us something about The Megarothke that is not found in the book description.

Robert:  Sometimes I forget to mention that it’s based on the myth of the Minotaur. You’ve got Theo (Theseus), Aria (Ariadne) and the Megarothke (the Minotaur). I probably should have had it added to the description, but I was deployed during the early phases of the publishing process and really couldn’t spend as much time on it as I would have liked. That being said, the publishers wrote a really thorough two paragraph summary that really gets at the core of the book. I’m not sure I even really understood what the book was until they had summarized it for me.

TQWhat inspired you to write The Megarothke?

Robert:  The name came to me in a sort of dream-like state while living in South Korea in 2010. I wrote a short story with the same title and then began adding to it. Then it was a novella, and then a novel, and all throughout the process, people kept saying, “This is good, but you’ve got to change the name.” To me, the book only exists because of the name. I don’t think I can explain it rationally. I get these things sometimes, like an obsession, and my mind won’t let them go until the idea has been set free.

TQThe Megarothke is described as "sci-fi/horror novel infused with Nietzschean philosophy..." What appeals to you about writing SF and Horror? Why Nietzsche?

Robert:  Nietzsche is a big part of the book in the sense that the Megarothke co-opts a lot of popular misinterpretations about the ubermensch. There is a sort of love affair in some tech circles with “improvement” and I really think that the natural extension of this would lead to an other-than-human form of life. Within Zarathustra, there are a lot of really empowering lines. Lines that encourage you to go above and beyond those around you. The problem with empowerment is that sometimes it leads to selfishness and cruelty. When we’re too powerful, we lose perspective and empathy.

I first read Thus Spoke Zarathustra when I was living alone in Mexico as a twenty year old. I didn’t understand it but I would go back and reread sections, almost like you read a religious text.

TQWhat sort of research did you do for The Megarothke?

Robert:  I spent a lot of time looking at maps of Los Angeles.

TQPlease tell us about the cover for The Megarothke.

Robert:  The cover design is styled to mimic a retro, straight-to-VHS science fiction movie. The word “gonzo” got used a lot during the conversations about it’s creation, and within the right film context that makes a lot of sense. When I look at designs online, minimalist renderings of famous works often catch my eye, but I have to think: What if I was looking at stand of twenty books by authors I’d never heard of before?

The more I see it out there, the more I love it. At the end of the day I think Cinestate and their designer, Ashley Detmering, did a great job.

TQIn The Megarothke who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Robert:  The easiest character was probably Takatoshi, because his lines just sort of came from a natural place. The hardest character was Aria, the semi-love interest, because she has her own unique story line and it’s hard to capture a strong female character without giving them a lot of screen time. To be honest, this was even harder than writing the transgendered character, Mathew, because he had a lot to say.

Aria is stuck within a power structure she can’t control, surrounded by a bunch of violent maniacs with very little to lose. She needed to be tough but vulnerable, strong but likeable―I’m not sure if I succeeded. I got a lot of input from some of the members of the writing group I was a part of in Harker Heights, TX: Alexandra Burt, Sandra Desjardins, Andrea McAuley and Kat Wooley. They would say things like, “No woman in the history of the world has ever thought this sentence.” At several key points, the actions of the female characters changed in response to their insight and it’s a much stronger book because of it.

I’ve also got about sixty pages of a parallel novel from Aria’s point of view. She definitely has the most unpublished backstory throughout the book.

TQWhy have you chosen to include or not chosen to include social issues in The Megarothke?

Robert:  There’s a transgendered character in the novel. In the end, I really believe that it’s a civil rights/human rights issue and I hope that comes across within the text. Mathew is probably the most complex character in the novel. He's not airbrushed and perfect, but he really does have goals and aspirations that mature and shift as the novel progresses. Without getting too political, I believe America is a country that should lead the way in creating a space where all people can live as they choose.

TQWhich question about The Megarothke do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!

Robert:  How much chocolate did you eat while writing the Megarothke?

Way too much. I went through entire phases of different brand loyalty and styles, and am still going through them. I write in the mornings, so I don’t even eat breakfast anymore. I just slam down chocolate with coffee until my stomach hurts and call it good. I heard once about George Harrison mentioning that he liked jelly beans (or jelly babies or some British nonsense) and then getting pelted with them on stage. I would gladly get pelted with chocolate. That being said, I’m not a Beatle.

TQGive us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery quotes from The Megarothke.

Robert:  This one gets brought up in a lot of reviews: “Intimacy can be sudden: a primal ache; a desperation that your whole life has been missing something up until that point.”

But I’m more partial to this one: “There are rooms you can sense before you actually trace their outlines, almost as if your body were able to inhale a portion of their expanding volume.”

TQWhat's next?

Robert:  I’m working on a military science fiction novel called The Bureaucracy and the Egregore. Much like The Megarothke, I’ve been told the title will never work. I hope to have the first draft finished by May, 2018, and then to be done within the year. I’ve been writing it for over a year now and I think that two to three years per novel is as fast as I can go and still feel I’m doing a good job.

TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

The Megarothke
Cinestate, February 27, 2018
Trade Paperback and eBook, 280 pages

Blade Runner meets Westworld via Resident Evil in this shocking, gripping debut sci-fi/horror novel infused with Nietzschean philosophy, exploring humanity's darkest desire for transcendence.

Seven years after the limitless depths of the Hollow War decimated Earth, leaving only 50,000 humans to fight for survival in Los Angeles, Theo Abrams is sent on a mission to destroy the enigmatic being that initiated this apocalypse, confronting the fact that humanity's yearning to transcend reality caused its downfall . . .

Robert Ashcroft, trained as cryptologic linguist, has worked as a State Department contractor and was recently mobilized to serve abroad with the US Army Reserve.

About Robert

Robert Ashcroft, trained as cryptologic linguist, has worked as a State Department contractor and was recently mobilized to serve abroad with the US Army Reserve.

Website  ~  Twitter @AshcroftAuthor


Monday, February 26, 2018

Happy Birthday, Theodore Sturgeon

Today would be the 100th birthday of Theodore Sturgeon, the Hugo and Nebula-award winning author of science fiction and fantasy.

Open Road Media is commemorating this milestone by offering Sturgeon's Selected Stories at the special price of US$1.99. The collection contains 13 of his best short stories. Grab the eBook at US$1.99 through this link to Amazon:

Selected Stories
Open Road Media Sci-Fi & Fantasy, April 30, 2013
eBook, 450 pages

Wondrous, horrifying, achingly human: The best short stories by “one of the greatest writers of science fiction and fantasy who ever lived” (Stephen King).

One of science fiction’s most beloved trailblazers, Hugo and Nebula–Award winning author Theodore Sturgeon wrote novels and short fiction that inspired and amazed readers and critics alike.

In Selected Stories, thirteen of Sturgeon’s very best tales have been gathered into one collection: Here are stories of love and darkness, transcendence and obsession, alien contact and human interaction. In the devastating wake of a nuclear holocaust, an actress performs her swan song before a small audience of survivors. A machine is possessed and intent upon destruction. Humankind’s place in the vast cosmos is explored, as is the strange humanity of evil. In the author’s acclaimed story “The Man Who Lost the Sea,” a life is reconstructed in bizarre shattered fragments. And in “Slow Sculpture,” Sturgeon’s award-winning classic, a breast cancer patient surrenders to a healer’s most unorthodox methods. Lyrical, often witty, frequently provocative, and always surprising, Selected Stories covers a wide range of human and inhuman emotion and experience, deftly traversing the borders between science fiction, dark fantasy, and horror.

This ebook features an illustrated biography of Theodore Sturgeon including rare images and never-before-seen documents from the University of Kansas’s Kenneth Spencer Research Library and the author’s estate, among other sources.

The View From Monday - February 26, 2018

Happy Monday!

There are 2 debuts this week:

The Megarothke by Robert Ashcroft;


Echoes the Roger Arthur Smith.

Clicking on a novel's cover will take you to its Amazon page.

From formerly featured DAC Authors:

Zero Day (The Hatching 3) by Ezekiel Boone;

The Hatching Ebook Box Set by Ezekiel Boone;

Starfire: Memory's Blade (The Starfire Trilogy 3) by Spencer Ellsworth;

The Trouble with Twelfth Grave (Charley Davidson 12) by Darynda Jones is out in Mass Market Paperback;

Red Sister (Book of the Ancestor 1) by Mark Lawrence is out in Mass Market Paperback;


It Takes a Coven (A Witch City Mystery 6) by Carol J. Perry.

Clicking on a novel's cover will take you to its Amazon page.

Debut novels are highlighted in blue. Novels, etc. by formerly featured DAC Authors are highlighted in green.

February 27, 2018
The Sea Beast Takes a Lover: Stories Michael Andreasen LF
Planet of the Apes Omnibus 4 William Arrow SF - Planet of the Apes
The Megarothke (D) Robert Ashcroft SF/AP/PA
Gridlinked (e) Neal Asher SF - Agent Cormac 1
The Skinner (e) Neal Asher SF - Spatterjay 1
Brass Man (e) Neal Asher SF - Agent Cormac 3
Hauntings of the Western Lunatic Asylum Steve E. Asher Sup
The Initiation Chris Babu Dys
The Tangled Lands Paolo Bacigalupi
Tobias S. Buckell
Witch Creek Laura Bickle UF - Wildlands 2
Zero Day Ezekiel Boone H - The Hatching 3
The Hatching Ebook Box Set: The Hatching, Skitter, and Zero Day (e) Ezekiel Boone H
The Black Elfstone: The Fall of Shannara (h2mm) Terry Brooks F - The Fall of Shannara 1
Witchy Eye D.J. Butler F
The King in Yellow, Deluxe Edition Robert W. Chambers H/Sup
Starfire: Memory's Blade Spencer Ellsworth SF/SO - The Starfire Trilogy 3
Praetorian of Dorn (tp2mm) John French SF - The Horus Heresy 39
The Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter (h2tp) Theodora Goss F - The Extraordinary Adventures of the Athena Club 1
Eternity Gate Traci Harding F - Time Keeper Trilogy 2
Hawkyn: A Demonica Underworld Novella Larissa Ione PNR
The Trouble with Twelfth Grave (h2mm) Darynda Jones PM - Charley Davidson 12
The Kill Society (h2tp) Richard Kadrey UF - Sandman Slim 9
Fire in the Ocean K.D. Keenan CF- Gods of the New World 2
Red Sister (h2mm) Mark Lawrence F - Book of the Ancestor 1
Relics (tp2mm) Tim Lebbon DF
Deadland 2: Immortal Paul Mannering SF/AP/PA
The Listener Robert McCammon H
The Hyperspace Trap Christopher Nuttall SF/SO
The Dead Road Seth Patrick H - Reviver Trilogy 3
It Takes a Coven Carol J. Perry PCM - A Witch City Mystery 6
Arcanum Unbounded: The Cosmere Collection (h2mm) Brandon Sanderson F
Echoes (D) Roger Arthur Smith H
Blade and Bone Jon Sprunk F - The Book of the Black Earth 3
Borne (h2tp) Jeff VanderMeer LF
The Strange Bird Jeff VanderMeer LF
Dark Masques J.N. Williamson (Ed) H - Anthology
Angeleyes (h2mm) Michael Z. Williamson SF - Freehold 7

February 28, 2018
Hellraiser: The Toll Mark Alan Miller H
Penric's Fox Lois McMaster Bujold F
Widow's Point Richard Chizmar
Billy Chizmar

March 1, 2018
Last Dragon Standing (Ke) Rachel Aaron CyP/UF Heartstrikers 3
Awakening the Shifter (e) Jane Godman PNR
Into the Thinnest of Air: A paranormal country house murder mystery Simon R. Green PM - An Ishmael Jones Mystery 5
An American Witch in Paris (e) Michele Hauf PNR
Harlequin Nocturne March 2018 Box Set: An American Witch in Paris\Awakening the Shifter (e) Michele Hauf
Jane Godman
H.P. Lovecraft: Selected Works, Critical Perspectives and Interviews on His Influence
H.P. Lovecraft
Leverett Butts (Ed)
H - Collection

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

AC - Alien Contact
AP - Apocalyptic
CF - Contemporary Fantasy
CyP - Cyberpunk
DF - Dark Fantasy
Dys - Dystopian
F - Fantasy
FairyT - Fairy Tales
FolkT - Folk Tales
FR - Fantasy Romance
GH - Ghost(s)
GN - Graphic Novel
H - Horror
HC - History and Criticism
Hist - Historical
HistF - Historical Fantasy
HSF - Hard Science Fiction
LF - Literary Fiction
LitCol - Literary Collection
LM - Legend and Mythology
MR - Magical Realism
MTI - Media Tie-In
NR - Near Future
P - Paranormal
PA - Post Apocalyptic
PCM - Paranormal Cozy Mystery
PM - Paranormal Mystery
PNR - Paranormal Romance
SF - Science Fiction
SFR - Science Fiction Romance
SO - Space Opera
Sup - Supernatural
SupTh - Supernatural Thriller
Th - Thriller
TT - Time Travel
UF - Urban Fantasy

Note: Not all genres and formats are found in the books, etc. listed above.

2018 Nominees for the Compton Crook Award 36

The Baltimore Science Fiction Society has announced the 2018 Nominees for the Compton Crook Award 36:

Nicky Drayden for The Prey of Gods published 6/13/2017 by Harper Voyager with ISBN-13: 978-0062493033

Elan Mastai for All Our Wrong Todays published 2/7/2017 by Dutton with ISBN-13: 978-1101985137

Robyn Bennis for The Guns Above: A Signal Airship Novel published 5/2/2017 by Tor Books with ISBN-13: 978-0765388766

Karin Tidbeck for Amatka published 6/27/2017 by Vintage with ISBN-13: 978-1101973950

Vic James for Gilded Cage (Dark Gifts) published 2/14/2017 by Del Rey with ISBN-13: 978-0425284155

Theodora Goss for The Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter published 6/20/2017 by Saga Press with ISBN-13: 978-1481466509

Cat Sparks for Lotus Blue published 3/7/2017 by Talos with ISBN-13: 978-1940456706

The members of the Baltimore Science Fiction Society, Inc. (BSFS) created the Compton Crook Award in 1982 to honor the best first novel of the year written by an individual author (collaborations are not eligible) in the Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror genre. Since its inception, the award has been presented at Balticon — the four-day annual Maryland regional science fiction convention produced by BSFS, currently held on Memorial Day weekend in the Baltimore, MD area.

The Award was named in memory of Towson State College Professor of Natural Sciences Compton Crook, who wrote under the name Stephen Tall, and who died in 1981. Professor Crook was active for many years in the Baltimore Science Fiction Society and was a staunch champion of new works in the fields eligible for the award.

The Prey of Gods
Harper Voyager, June 13, 2017
Trade Paperback and eBook, 400 pages

*A Wall Street Journal "Summer Reading: One expert. One book" pick for 2017!

*The RT Book Reviews "June 2017: Seal of Excellence" pick!

*A B&N Sci Fi and Fantasy Blog "Best Science Fiction & Fantasy Books of 2017 So Far" pick!

*A Book Riot Best Books of 2017 Pick!

*A Vulture "The 10 Best Fantasy Books of 2017" Pick!

From a new voice in the tradition of Lauren Beukes, Ian McDonald, and Nnedi Okorafor comes The Prey of Gods, a fantastic, boundary-challenging tale, set in a South African locale both familiar and yet utterly new, which braids elements of science fiction, fantasy, horror, and dark humor.

In South Africa, the future looks promising. Personal robots are making life easier for the working class. The government is harnessing renewable energy to provide infrastructure for the poor. And in the bustling coastal town of Port Elizabeth, the economy is booming thanks to the genetic engineering industry which has found a welcome home there. Yes—the days to come are looking very good for South Africans. That is, if they can survive the present challenges:

A new hallucinogenic drug sweeping the country . . .

An emerging AI uprising . . .

And an ancient demigoddess hellbent on regaining her former status by preying on the blood and sweat (but mostly blood) of every human she encounters.

It’s up to a young Zulu girl powerful enough to destroy her entire township, a queer teen plagued with the ability to control minds, a pop diva with serious daddy issues, and a politician with even more serious mommy issues to band together to ensure there’s a future left to worry about.

Fun and fantastic, Nicky Drayden takes her brilliance as a short story writer and weaves together an elaborate tale that will capture your heart . . . even as one particular demigoddess threatens to rip it out.

All Our Wrong Todays
Dutton, February 7, 2017
Hardcover and eBook, 384 pages
Trade Paperback published February 20, 2018

One of Wall Street Journal’s Best of 2017

“Entertainingly mixes thrills and humor.”Entertainment Weekly

“[An] amazing debut novel. . . . Dazzling and complex. . . . Fearlessly funny storytelling.”—The Washington Post

“Instantly engaging. . . . A timeless, if mind-bending, story about the journeys we take, populated by friends, family, lovers, and others, that show us who we might be, could be—and maybe never should be—that eventually leads us to who we are.”USA Today

Elan Mastai’s acclaimed debut novel is a story of friendship and family, of unexpected journeys and alternate paths, and of love in its multitude of forms.

It’s 2016, and in Tom Barren’s world, technology has solved all of humanity’s problemsthere’s no war, no poverty, no under-ripe avocadoes. Unfortunately, Tom isn’t happy. He’s lost the girl of his dreams. And what do you do when you’re heartbroken and have a time machine? Something stupid.

Finding himself stranded in a terrible alternate realitywhich we immediately recognize as our 2016Tom is desperate to fix his mistake and go home. Right up until the moment he discovers wonderfully unexpected versions of his family, his career, and the woman who may just be the love of his life.

Now Tom faces an impossible choice. Go back to his perfect but loveless life. Or stay in our messy reality with a soulmate by his side. His search for the answer takes him across continents and timelines in a quest to figure out, finally, who he really is and what his futureour futureis supposed to be.

Filled with humor and heart and packed with insight, intelligence, and mind-bending invention, All Our Wrong Todays is a powerful and moving story of life, loss, and love.

The Guns Above
A Signal Airship Novel 1
Tor Books, May 2, 2017
Hardcover and eBook, 352 pages
Trade Paperback to be published April 17, 2018

Robyn Bennis’s THE GUNS ABOVE is an adventurous military fantasy debut about a nation's first female airship captain.

They say it’s not the fall that kills you.

For Josette Dupre, the Corps’ first female airship captain, it might just be a bullet in the back.

On top of patrolling the front lines, she must also contend with a crew who doubts her expertise, a new airship that is an untested deathtrap, and the foppish aristocrat Lord Bernat, a gambler and shameless flirt with the military know-how of a thimble. Bernat’s own secret assignment is to catalog her every moment of weakness and indecision.

So when the enemy makes an unprecedented move that could turn the tide of the war, can Josette deal with Bernat, rally her crew, and survive long enough to prove herself?
“Full of sass and terrific characters. Great storytelling. Loved it.” —Patricia Briggs

Vintage, June 27, 2017
Trade Paperback and eBook, 224 pages


A surreal debut novel set in a world shaped by language in the tradition of Margaret Atwood and Ursula K. Le Guin.

Vanja, an information assistant, is sent from her home city of Essre to the austere, wintry colony of Amatka with an assignment to collect intelligence for the government. Immediately she feels that something strange is going on: people act oddly in Amatka, and citizens are monitored for signs of subversion.

Intending to stay just a short while, Vanja falls in love with her housemate, Nina, and prolongs her visit. But when she stumbles on evidence of a growing threat to the colony, and a cover-up by its administration, she embarks on an investigation that puts her at tremendous risk.

In Karin Tidbeck’s world, everyone is suspect, no one is safe, and nothing—not even language, nor the very fabric of reality—can be taken for granted. Amatka is a beguiling and wholly original novel about freedom, love, and artistic creation by a captivating new voice.

Gilded Cage
Dark Gifts 1
Del Rey, February 14, 2017
Hardcover and eBook, 368 pages
Trade Paperback published July 25, 2017


In a darkly fantastical debut set in modern-day Britain, magic users control everything: wealth, politics, power—and you. If you’re not one of the ultimate one-percenters—the magical elite—you owe them ten years of service. Do those years when you’re old, and you’ll never get through them. Do them young, and you’ll never get over them.

This is the darkly decadent world of Gilded Cage. In its glittering milieu move the all-powerful Jardines and the everyday Hadleys. The families have only one thing in common: Each has three children. But their destinies entwine when one family enters the service of the other. They will all discover whether any magic is more powerful than the human spirit.

Have a quick ten years. . . .

The Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter
Saga Press, June 20, 2017
Hardcover and eBook, 416 pages
Trade Paperback to be published on February 27, 2018

Based on some of literature’s horror and science fiction classics, this is the story of a remarkable group of women who come together to solve the mystery of a series of gruesome murders—and the bigger mystery of their own origins.

Mary Jekyll, alone and penniless following her parents’ death, is curious about the secrets of her father’s mysterious past. One clue in particular hints that Edward Hyde, her father’s former friend and a murderer, may be nearby, and there is a reward for information leading to his capture…a reward that would solve all of her immediate financial woes.

But her hunt leads her to Hyde’s daughter, Diana, a feral child left to be raised by nuns. With the assistance of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, Mary continues her search for the elusive Hyde, and soon befriends more women, all of whom have been created through terrifying experimentation: Beatrice Rappaccini, Catherin Moreau, and Justine Frankenstein.

When their investigations lead them to the discovery of a secret society of immoral and power-crazed scientists, the horrors of their past return. Now it is up to the monsters to finally triumph over the monstrous.

Lotus Blue
Talos, March 7, 2017
Trade Paperback and eBook, 388 pages

“Imaginative and richly rendered . . . Sparks frames all of this in haunting, near-poetic detail, such that the readers can smell the toxic red sand and perhaps taste the blood. Recommended for people who crave fresh post-apocalypse chaos—because Sparks’s post-apocalyptic chaos is pretty fresh, at that.”—NK Jemisin, The New York Times

Powerful war machines of the far-future collide across a barren desert world in this post-apocalyptic debut novel from award-winning Australian author Cat Sparks.

Seventeen-year-old Star and her sister Nene are orphans, part of a thirteen-wagon caravan of nomadic traders living hard lives travelling the Sand Road. Their route cuts through a particularly dangerous and unforgiving section of the Dead Red Heart, a war-ravaged desert landscape plagued by rogue semi-sentient machinery and other monsters from a bygone age.

But when the caravan witnesses a relic-Angel satellite unexpectedly crash to Earth, a chain of events begins that sends Star on a journey far away from the life she once knew. Shanghaied upon the sandship Dogwatch, she is forced to cross the Obsidian Sea by Quarrel, an ancient Templar supersoldier. Eventually shipwrecked, Star will have no choice but to place her trust in both thieves and priestesses while coming to terms with the grim reality of her past—and the horror of her unfolding destiny—as the terrible secret her sister had been desperate to protect her from begins to unravel.

Meanwhile, something old and powerful has woken in the desert. A Lotus Blue, deadliest of all the ancient war machines. A warrior with plans of its own, far more significant than a fallen Angel. Plans that do not include the survival of humanity.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Melanie's Week in Review - February 25, 2018

Fear not gentle reader, I am back with my Week in Review :)  I thought I would give you a short break from my WIR and share two of my SPFBO 2017 reviews. I hope you enjoyed them. Keep your eye on the blog for reviews from my fellow Qwillery reviewers on what they thought of the books they read for the competition.

I had a little pooch at NetGalley this week and was surprised by two books I had read last year but hadn't yet reviewed.  Lately books have been available months before their publish date and then I get all excited about reading them. This time I had convinced myself that I had actually posted a review here but after some checking it transpired I hadn't left you a review so check out what I read.

First up is The Queen of All Crows by Rod Duncan which is the first instalment of The Map of Unknown Things, published by Angry Robot on January 2nd. This series is set in the same world as Duncan's The Fall of the Gas-lit Empire series with Elizabeth Barnabus back in her role of spy but this time with the dreaded Patent Office. When airships start to disappear, along with someone close to Elizabeth, she decides to take action and goes undercover, again as a man. As the science officer on a whaler far out to sea Elizabeth is desperate to find out what has happened and more importantly, who is responsible. Elizabeth finds herself in the middle of a mystery and in more danger than anything the Patent Office could do to her. It will take every ounce of her ingenuity and bravery to discover what has happened and survive long enough to report back.

I loved Duncan's The Fall of the Gas-lit Empire series and thought that Elizabeth was a complex, gutsy heroine. Normally, I am a bit nervous when an author creates a new series for one their characters as it usually means they don't want to let go and new books usually aren't as good. I prefer a shorter, excellent series than a long mediocre, drawn out one. However, Duncan doesn't disappoint and this is an excellent start to what I feel is going to be a compelling series. At the beginning of the story I had pretty much guessed what was going to happen, but midway through every thing changed and I couldn't really guess what was going to become of Elizabeth. This is a difficult book to review because I don't want to give anything away. I want you to discover what happens to Elizabeth on your own because it is such a tasty tale. I have read too many reviews that spell everything out and basically rewrite the book so I don't want to do that here. What I can say is that Duncan fleshes out Elizabeth even more and the new landscape in which this story is set is rich and bleak in equal measure. If I had to sum up this story I would describe it as a story of the power of friendship. Cruel, beautiful, warm, and chillingly lonely. It's all these things and a great mystery as well. If you haven't read the original series don't miss out and then join Elizabeth in The Queen of All Crows.

The second book I would like to tell you about is The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden. This is the second in her Winternight Trilogy and follows not long after the events of book 1 - The Bear and the Nightingale. Vasya is on the run. She has been cast out of her village following the death of her father and she faces either being married off  - to become a girl in a tower - or joining a convent. Neither option appeals to her so when the opportunity presents itself she disguises herself as a boy and joins the Grand Prince of Moscow's retinue. When a mysterious and possibly magical force threatens the kingdom Vasya risks everything, including her freedom, to save the Prince, her family and her kingdom.

I can't believe that it is less than a year from the time that Arden released her debut The Bear and the Nightingale (check out my review here). Book 2 does not disappoint. In fact Arden has built upon the strengths of these characters and takes this from a mere fairy tale into some more like folklore. While this is fiction Arden has created characters who are credible, who make you believe they were actually alive, centuries ago. I have to admit I did spend a lot of the story thinking to myself  'poor Vasya' as things seem to go from bad to worse for our teenage heroine. She is forced to grow up quickly but at the same time stays innocent from how cruel the world can really be.

Again, this is another book that I could recount half the plot for you in this review but why would I ruin the journey that you need to take? Join Vasya on her journey of self discovery. Well done Arden, another great book. I can hardly wait for the final in this trilogy, The Winter of the Witch.

That is it for me this week. Apologies for not getting these reviews to you sooner. Better late than never! Until next time Happy Reading.

The Queen of All Crows
The Map of Unknown Things 1
Angry Robot Books, January 2, 2018
Trade Paperback and eBook, 352 pages

Only one woman can stop the world from descending into endless war, in the thrilling new series in the world of the Gas-Lit Empire
The year is 2012 but it might as well be the Victorian age. The nations of the world are overseen by the International Patent Office, and its ruthless stranglehold on technology.

When airships start disappearing in the middle of the Atlantic, the Patent Office is desperate to discover what has happened. Forbidden to operate beyond the territorial waters of member nations, they send spies to investigate in secret.

One of those spies is Elizabeth Barnabus. She must overcome her dislike of the machinations of her employers, disguise herself as a man, and take to the sea in search of the floating nation of pirates who threaten the world order.

File Under: Fantasy [ A Lost Airship | On the Sargasso | Stowaway Bay | The Crow Queen ]

The Girl in the Tower
Winternight Trilogy 2
Del Rey, December 5, 2017
Hardcover and eBook, 384 pages

A remarkable young woman blazes her own trail, from the backwoods of Russia to the court of Moscow, in the exhilarating sequel to Katherine Arden’s bestselling debut novel, The Bear and the Nightingale.

Katherine Arden’s enchanting first novel introduced readers to an irresistible heroine. Vasilisa has grown up at the edge of a Russian wilderness, where snowdrifts reach the eaves of her family’s wooden house and there is truth in the fairy tales told around the fire. Vasilisa’s gift for seeing what others do not won her the attention of Morozko—Frost, the winter demon from the stories—and together they saved her people from destruction. But Frost’s aid comes at a cost, and her people have condemned her as a witch.

Now Vasilisa faces an impossible choice. Driven from her home by frightened villagers, the only options left for her are marriage or the convent. She cannot bring herself to accept either fate and instead chooses adventure, dressing herself as a boy and setting off astride her magnificent stallion Solovey.

But after Vasilisa prevails in a skirmish with bandits, everything changes. The Grand Prince of Moscow anoints her a hero for her exploits, and she is reunited with her beloved sister and brother, who are now part of the Grand Prince’s inner circle. She dares not reveal to the court that she is a girl, for if her deception were discovered it would have terrible consequences for herself and her family. Before she can untangle herself from Moscow’s intrigues—and as Frost provides counsel that may or may not be trustworthy—she will also confront an even graver threat lying in wait for all of Moscow itself.