New Releases, Week of February 6th, 2011

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Here’s a list of all of the sci-fi and fantasy coming out this week.

Released Monday, February 7th, 2011

Deep State, by Walter Jon Williams

By day Dagmar Shaw orchestrates vast games with millions of players spanning continents. By night, she tries to forget the sound of a city collapsing in flames around her. She tries to forget the faces of her friends as they died in front of her. She tries to forget the blood on her own hands.

But then an old friend approaches Dagmar with a project. The project he pitches is so insane and so ambitious, she can’t possibly say no. But this new venture will lead her from the world of alternate-reality gaming to one even more complex. A world in which the players are soldiers and spies and the name of the game is survival.

The Heroes, by Joe Abercrombie

This blood-drenched, thought-provoking dissection of a three-day battle is set in the same world as Abercrombie’s First Law Trilogy (The Blade Itself, etc.), but stands very well alone. Union commander Lord Marshal Kroy coordinates the fight with the aid of a motley group of incompetent, self-important officers. The strangely sympathetic Col. Bremer dan Gorst is officially a royal observer who nurses a burning desire to kill or be killed. Leading a much smaller army against the Union is Black Dow, whose grip on the throne of the Northmen is tenuous and based on fear and brutality. Calder, a slippery and cunning egotist, advocates peace while plotting to take Black Dow’s place. Abercrombie never glosses over a moment of the madness, passion, and horror of war, nor the tribulations that turn ordinary people into the titular heroes.

Released Tuesday, February 8th, 2011

Fire Dance, by Mike Sirota

LEGENDARY AUTHOR MIKE SIROTA RETURNS! The flames took them all. They spared no one. From the circle of dancers, spinning in their dementia, to the crazed killer in the dungeon below, every man and woman in Concordia Sanitarium was burned alive. Over a century later, few know the story of the fire. The ruins of the Sanitarium stand isolated in the lonely Anza-Borrego Desert until one gruesome murder after another rocks the nearby quiet community of Smoke Tree, California. A spirit has risen from the sand, an entity searching for a host to possess a host with two strong hands.

Mike Sirota is an absolute pro of a writer and, even for non-aficionados of ghost stories, these pages sing.

A Discovery of Witches, by Deborah Harkness

In Harkness’s lively debut, witches, vampires, and demons outnumber humans at Oxford’s Bodleian Library, where witch and Yale historian Diana Bishop discovers an enchanted manuscript, attracting the attention of 1,500-year-old vampire Matthew Clairmont. The orphaned daughter of two powerful witches, Bishop prefers intellect, but relies on magic when her discovery of a palimpsest documenting the origin of supernatural species releases an assortment of undead who threaten, stalk, and harass her. Against all occult social propriety, Bishop turns for protection to tall, dark, bloodsucking man-about-town Clairmont. Their research raises questions of evolution and extinction among the living dead, and their romance awakens centuries-old enmities. Harkness imagines a crowded universe where normal and paranormal creatures observe a tenuous peace. “Magic is desire made real,” Bishop says after both her desire and magical prowess exceed her expectations. Harkness brings this world to vibrant life and makes the most of the growing popularity of gothic adventure with an ending that keeps the Old Lodge door wide open.

Can You Survive the Zombie Apocalypse?, by Max Brallier

Inside these pages lies unspeakable horror. Bloodsplattering, brain-impaling, flesh-devouring horror. You’ve probably read your fair share of zombie stories. But this time it’s different. No longer can you sit idle as a bunch of fools make all the wrong moves. All hell is about to break loose—and YOU have a say in humanity’s survival.

You have choices to make.

Moral dilemmas.

Strategic decisions.

Weapons. Vehicles.

Will you be a hero?

Or will you cover your own ass at all costs?

Can you withstand the coming hours, days, weeks, and months? Or will you die amidst the chaos and violence of a zombie uprising?

Or, worst of all, will you become one of them?

The Iron Witch, by Karen Mahoney

When she was seven, a horrific fey attack killed Donna Underwood’s father and drove her mother mad. Her own nearly fatal injuries were fixed by alchemy—the iron tattoos branding her hands and arms. Now seventeen, Donna feels like a freak, doomed by the magical heritage that destroyed her parents and any chance she had for a normal life. Only her relationship with her best friend, Navin, is keeping her sane.

But when vicious wood elves abduct Navin, Donna is forced to accept her role in the centuries-old war between human alchemists and these darkest outcasts of Faerie. Assisted by Xan, a gorgeous guy with faery blood running through his veins and secrets of his own, Donna races to save Navin—even if it means betraying everything her parents fought to the death to protect.

Kindred, by Tammar Stein

The first time I meet an angel, it is Raphael and I am eighteen.

Miriam is an unassuming college freshman stuck on campus after her spring break plans fall through. She’s not a religious girl–when pressed she admits reluctantly to believing in a higher power. Truth be told, she’s about as comfortable speaking about her faith as she is about her love life, which is to say, not at all. And then the archangel Raphael pays Miriam a visit, and she finds herself on a desperate mission to save two of her contemporaries. To top it all off, her twin brother, Mo, has also had a visitation, but from the opposite end of the good-evil spectrum, which leaves Miriam to wonder–has she been blessed and her brother cursed or vice versa? And what is the real purpose behind her mission?

Red Moon Rising, by Peter Moore

Being only half-vamp in a high school like Carpathia Night makes you a whole loser. But Danny Gray manages to escape the worst of the specists at his school. Thanks to genetic treatments he had as an infant, most people assume Danny’s other half is human. Which is a good thing.

Ever since the development of synthetic blood – SynHeme – vamps have become society’s elite, while wulves like his father work menial jobs and live in bad neighborhoods.  Wulves are less than second class citizens; once a month they become inmates, forced to undergo their Change in dangerous government compounds.

For Danny, living with his vamp mother and going to a school with a nearly all-vamp student body, it’s best to pretend his wulf half doesn’t even exist.  But lately Danny’s been having some weird symptoms — fantastic night vision; a keener-than-usual sense of smell; and headaches, right around the full moon.

Even though it’s easy to be in denial, it’s hard to ignore evidence.  There’s only a month until the next few moon, and Danny’s time is running out.

Father of Lies, by Ann Turner

Truth or Lies?

Lidda knew, with a clarity that was like a candle in a dark room, that all had changed; something was loosed in the village—Devil or not—and they would pay for it, every last man, woman, and child.

Fourteen-year-old Lidda has always known she was different. She longs to escape Salem Village and its stifling rules—to be free to dance, to sing, to live as she chooses. But when a plague of accusations descends on the village and witch fever erupts, L idda begins to realize that she feels and sees things that others can’t, or won’t. But how will she expose the truth without being hung as a witch herself?

Gripping and emotional, Ann Turner’s retelling of the Salem witch trials captures one girl’s brave soul-searching amidst a backdrop of fear and blame.

Cryer’s Cross, by Lisa McMann

This horror/suspense offering never really gets a full shiver going, even though McMann infuses her story with a 50-year-old wooden school desk and a menacing collective of tortured souls possessing it. Even when the desk-spirits seem to explain the bizarre disappearances of two of several high school students in the tiny Montana town of Cryer’s Cross, the intended creep factor intended falls short. What doesn’t fall short is the solid characterization of Kendall, a senior who tries to keep control of her OCD even after Nico, her best boy-friend since infancy, goes missing. Weird carved messages show up on the desk he was using before his disappearance, and Kendall thinks she hears his voice when she sits at it. Luckily, she has the distractions of soccer, a new boy from Arizona who slowly warms up to her, and her family’s potato harvest to keep her from obsessing about Nico’s loss and the eerie desk-until they just become too compelling. Then she, too, faces danger from the trapped entities that inhabit the desk. The mystery of why and how the desk is possessed and urging teenagers to harm themselves is given a quick and illogical gloss over when explained. Discerning readers are unlikely to suspend disbelief, but they may find character and setting help redeem the book.

Shadow Walkers, by Brent Hartinger

Zach lives with his grandparents on a remote island in Puget Sound in Washington State. With only his little brother, Gilbert, to keep him company, Zach feels cut off from the world. But when Gilbert is kidnapped, Zach tries the only thing he can think of to find him: astral projection. Soon, his spirit is soaring through the strange and boundless astral realm—a shadow place. While searching for his brother, Zach meets a boy named Emory, another astral traveler who’s intriguing (and cute).

As Zach and Emory track the kidnappers from the astral realm, their bond grows—but each moment could be Gilbert’s last. Even worse, there’s a menacing, centuries-old creature in their midst that devours souls and possesses physical bodies. And it’s hungry for Zach.

From Brent Hartinger, the award-winning and critically acclaimed author of Geography Club.

How to be a Werewolf: The Claws-on Guide for the Modern Lycanthrope, by Serena Valentino

Celebrate your inner beast —and harness that newfound animal magnetism! — with this essential guide to the lycanthropic lifestyle.

Are you subject to savage moods, extreme and unexplained buffness, and cravings for meat on the rare side? Do you long for super speed and reflexes, along with rapid healing and maybe a talent for telepathy? Welcome to the pack — and get ready to howl — as you sink your claws into this guide to everything life as a werewolf has to offer. Among its abundant fur-raising topics:
— A look at good, bad, and ugly transformation styles, including an
answer to the question of what happens to your clothes.
— A quiz to determine if you’re a menace to society, and tips on
taking precautions
— Planning your social schedule around the lunar calendar
— Dating hints, from the risks and rewards of cross-species romance to
avoiding your sweetheart’s family pet
— Killer fashion suggestions, from urban (leather and hardware) to a
cute and foxy kitsune look
— Ideas, decorations, and recipes for a full-moon party
— Tales of real-life werewolves, plus lore and legends from around
the world
— Juicy reading material and gems of the silver screen

Cloaked, by Alex Flinn

I’m not your average hero. I actually wasn’t your average anything. Just a poor guy working an after-school job at a South Beach shoe repair shop to help his mom make ends meet. But a little magic changed it all.

It all started with a curse. And a frognapping. And one hot-looking princess, who asked me to lead a rescue mission.

There wasn’t a fairy godmother or any of that. And even though I fell in love along the way, what happened to me is unlike any fairy tale I’ve ever heard. Before I knew it, I was spying with a flock of enchanted swans, talking (yes, talking!) to a fox named Todd, and nearly trampled by giants in the Everglades.

Don’t believe me? I didn’t believe it either. But you’ll see. Because I knew it all was true, the second I got cloaked.

List from Borders.com and descriptions/reviews from Amazon.com

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