New book releases, week of July 9th: “Best” of Connie Willis is a bold claim

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this-weeks-new-book-releases

Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy:

Half Lives by Sara Grant

Half LivesI learned that surviving isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. If you survive, you’ve got to live with the guilt, and that’s more difficult than looking someone in the eye and pulling the trigger. Trust me. I’ve done both. Killing takes a twitch of the finger. Absolution takes several lifetimes.

Seventeen-year-old Icie’s parents have given her $10,000 in cash, a map of a top-secret bunker, and instructions to get there by any means necessary. They have news of an imminent viral attack and know that the bunker is Icie’s only hope for survival. Along with three other teens, she lives locked away for months, not knowing what’s happening in the outside world or who has survived. And are they safe in the bunker after all?

Generations in the future, a mysterious cult worships the very mountain where Icie’s secret bunker was built. They never leave the mountain, they’re ruled by a teenager…and they have surprising ties to Icie.

This high-stakes, original, and thought-provoking adventure from Sara Grant follows two unlikely heroes, hundreds of years apart, as they fight to survive.

Life’s a Witch by Brittany Geragotelis

This witch lives a charmed life…

Hadley’s the envy of every girl—and the desire of every guy. But being at the top of the social pyramid has its drawbacks. Hadley’s always kept her frenemies close and her secrets closer—one big secret in particular. Her key to magically having it all is that she’s an actual witch.

As a descendant of the first woman executed in the Salem Witch Trials, Hadley understands the consequences if her secret gets out. The only ones who know about her powers are members of her coven—other kids and parents who, like Hadley’s own family, have magic in their blood. But there’s no way to cover up an attack that causes every adult in the coven to vanish. All the evidence points to an age-old rival coven as the culprit. Now it’s up to Hadley to lead the young witches against the Parrishables and to rescue their missing parents. At the same time, she’s caught up in her feelings for a mysterious guy named Asher, who has plenty of secrets of his own. With everything at stake, can Hadley trust her magic—and her heart?

Only Ever Always by Penni Russon

Have you ever woken from a dream feeling it was more real than your world? Could there be someone exactly like you living another life? Claire lives in an ordinary world where everything is whole. But now she feels broken into pieces as her world is suddenly shattered with grief. The silvery notes of her music box help her escape from her pain into a dream world, into Clara’s world. Clara’s world has always been broken. Her fragmented life revolves around scavenging and swapping objects to survive. She is determined to face the sinister side of her cracked reality to save the only family she has ever known. But the cost may be more than she bargained for. Though Claire and Clara live in different worlds, their paths are set to collide when the people they love most are faced with death. But which world is the dream? Who is the dreamer? Penni Russon has written a spellbinding tale that stretches the imagination about what is possible.

Raven Flight: A Shadowfell Novel by Juliet Marillier

Raven FlightNeryn has finally found the rebel group at Shadowfell, and now her task is to seek out the elusive Guardians, vital to her training as a Caller. These four powerful beings have been increasingly at odds with human kind, and Neryn must prove her worth to them. She desperately needs their help to use her gift without compromising herself or the cause of overthrowing the evil King Keldec.

Neryn must journey with the tough and steadfast Tali, who looks on Neryn’s love for the double agent Flint as a needless vulnerability. And perhaps it is. What Flint learns from the king will change the battlefield entirely—but in whose favor, no one knows.

Who Needs Magic? by Kathy McCullough

The sequel to DON’T EXPECT MAGIC! Now that Delaney Collins knows she’s a fairy godmother, she’s ready to make magic happen. But first, she has to find her next client. And it’s not as easy as she thought it would be.

Delaney’s spending the summer working at Treasures, a secondhand store at the mall, surrounded by cool vintage boots—and potential clients. But when she finally feels a connection with Jeni, a girl who needs a life-changing, happily-ever-after wish . . . Jeni doesn’t want her help. And to make matters worse, Delaney finds herself competing with another f.g. Glittery, sparkly Ariella is an uber-f.g., granting wishes with a flick of her lemon candy stick, while Delaney can’t seem to make anything happen. Not even a summer romance with her boyfriend, Flynn.

It takes more than waving a chopstick to make big wishes come true. But what good is being an f.g. if you can’t make the boy you like want to be with you as much as you want to be with him?

Anomaly by Krista McGee

AnomalyThalli has fifteen minutes and twenty-three seconds to live. The toxic gas that will complete her annihilation is invading her bloodstream. But she is not afraid.

Decades before Thalli’s birth, the world was decimated by a nuclear war. But life continued deep underground, thanks to a handful of scientists known as The Ten. There they created genetically engineered human beings who are free of emotions in the hope that war won’t threaten the world again.

Thalli is an anomaly, born with the ability to feel emotions and a sense of curiosity she can barely contain. She has survived so far by hiding her differences. But then her secret is discovered when she’s overwhelmed by the emotion of an ancient piece of music.

The Ten quickly schedule her annihilation, but her childhood friend, Berk – a scientist being groomed by The Ten – convinces them to postpone her death and study her instead. While in the Scientists’ Pod, Thalli and Berk form a dangerous alliance, one strictly forbidden by the constant surveillance.

As her life ticks a way, she hears rumors of someone called the Designer – someone even more powerful than The Ten. What’s more, the parts of her that have always been an anomaly could in fact be part of a much larger plan. And the parts of her that she has always guarded could be the answer she’s been looking for all along.

Thalli must sort out what to believe and who to trust, before her time runs out.

Breaking Glass by Lisa Amowitz

On the night seventeen-year-old Jeremy Glass winds up in the hospital with a broken leg and a blood alcohol level well above the legal limit, his secret crush, Susannah, disappears. When he begins receiving messages from her from beyond the grave, hes not sure whether theyre real or if hes losing his grip on reality. Clue by clue, he gets closer to unraveling the mystery, and soon realizes he must discover the truth or become the next victim himself.

Glass God (Magicals Anonymous) by Kate Griffin

Sharon Li: apprentice shaman and community support officer for the magically inclined.

It wasn’t the career Sharon had in mind, but she’s getting used to running Magicals Anonymous and learning how to Be One With The City.

When the Midnight Mayor goes missing, leaving only a suspiciously innocent-looking umbrella behind him, Sharon finds herself promoted. Her first task: find the Midnight Mayor. The only clues she has are a city dryad’s cryptic message of doom and several pairs of abandoned shoes …

Suddenly, Sharon’s job feels a whole lot harder.

Shadow of the Mark by Leigh Fallon

Leigh Fallon’s Shadow of the Mark, the sequel to Carrier of the Mark, is a captivating love story set against the lush backdrop of Ireland.

Megan knew she was destined to be with Adam from the first moment she saw him and now they are determined to be together. But Megan and Adam are Marked Ones, and a romance between two Marked Ones is strictly forbidden…and could cause worldwide devastation.

Leigh Fallon’s Shadow of the Mark is a great choice for readers who love Becca Fitzpatrick’s Hush, Hush.

Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy:

The Best of Connie Willis: Award Winning Stories by Connie Willis

Best of Connie WillisFew authors have had careers as successful as that of Connie Willis. Inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame and recently awarded the title of Grand Master by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, Willis is still going strong. Her smart, heartfelt fiction runs the gamut from screwball comedy to profound tragedy, combining dazzling plot twists, cutting-edge science, and unforgettable characters.

From a near future mourning the extinction of dogs to an alternate history in which invading aliens were defeated by none other than Emily Dickinson; from a madcap convention of bumbling quantum physicists in Hollywood to a London whose Underground has become a storehouse of intangible memories both foul and fair—here are the greatest stories of one of the greatest writers working in any genre today.

All ten of the stories gathered here are Hugo or Nebula award winners—some even have the distinction of winning both. With a new Introduction by the author and personal afterwords to each story—plus a special look at three of Willis’s unique public speeches—this is unquestionably the collection of the season, a book that every Connie Willis fan will treasure, and, to those unfamiliar with her work, the perfect introduction to one of the most accomplished and best-loved writers of our time.

Star Wars Crucible by Troy Denning

Han Solo, Leia Organa Solo, and Luke Skywalker return in an all-new Star Wars adventure, which will challenge them in ways they never expected—and forever alter their understanding of life and the Force.

When Han and Leia Solo arrive at Lando Calrissian’s Outer Rim mining operation to help him thwart a hostile takeover, their aim is just to even up the odds and lay down the law. Then monstrous aliens arrive with a message, and mere threats escalate into violent sabotage with mass fatalities. When the dust settles, what began as corporate warfare becomes a battle with much higher stakes—and far deadlier consequences.

Now Han, Leia, and Luke team up once again in a quest to defeat a dangerous adversary bent on galaxy-wide domination. Only this time, the Empire is not the enemy. It is a  pair of ruthless geniuses with a lethal ally and a lifelong vendetta against Han Solo. And when the murderous duo gets the drop on Han, he finds himself outgunned in the fight of his life. To save him, and the galaxy, Luke and Leia must brave a gauntlet of treachery, terrorism, and the untold power of an enigmatic artifact capable of bending space, time, and even the Force itself into an apocalyptic nightmare.

The Executioner’s Heart (Newbury and Hobbes Investigation) by George Mann

Executioner's HeartIn Executioner’s Heart–the fourth Newbury & Hobbes steampunk mystery from George Mann–the detectives are up against the most frightening villainess England has yet seen.

It’s normal for Charles Bainbridge, Chief Inspector of Scotland Yard, to be called to the scene of a crime, but this is the third murder in quick succession where the victim’s chest has been cracked open and their heart torn out. Bainbridge suspects there’s a symbolic reason for the stolen hearts, so he sends for supernatural specialist Sir Maurice Newbury and his determined assistant, Miss Veronica Hobbes.

Unfortunately, neither of them are in much shape to take the case. Veronica has been hunting for some way to alleviate the mysterious forces that have been hounding her family of late, and

Newbury has been retained by a private client: Edward, Prince of Wales, who’s concerned that his mother, the Queen of England, is losing her grip on the nation.

However, the two detectives pull together long enough to determine that the killings may be the work of a mercenary known as the Executioner. French, uncannily beautiful, her flesh covered in tattoos and inlaid with precious metals, the Executioner is famed throughout Europe, with legends going back for hundreds of years. Something is keeping her in a form of living stasis, but her heart is damaged, leaving her an emotionless shell, inexplicably driven to collect her victims’ hearts as trophies.

Who is the Executioner targeting, and who hired her? Why has Veronica stopped trusting Bainbridge? What does the Prince of Wales really want? These are just some of the mysteries that Newbury and Hobbes will confront on the way to unearthing the secret of the Executioner’s Heart.

The River Awakens by Steven Erikson

In the spring of 1971, Owen Brand and his family move to the riverside town of Middlecross in a renewed attempt to escape poverty. For twelve-year-old Owen, it’s the opportunity for a new life and an end to his family’s isolation.  He quickly falls in with a gang of three local boys and forms a strong bond with Jennifer, the rebellious daughter of a violent, alcoholic father. As summer brings release from school, two figures preside over the boys’ activities: Walter Gribbs, a benign old watchman at the yacht club, and Hodgson Fisk, a vindictive farmer tormented by his past. Then the boys stumble on a body washed up on the riverbank—a discovery whose reverberations will result, as the year comes full circle, in a cataclysm that envelops them all….

Blood and Feathers: Rebellion by Lou Morgan

Blood and FeathersThis is the thrilling follow-up to Blood and Feathers, one of the most highly-regarded debuts of 2012. The battle between the Fallen and the Angels has turned into open warfare, on the streets of London.

“This is a war. The war. There is no stopping; no getting out. You’re in this – just like the rest of us – to the end.” Driven out of hell and with nothing to lose, the Fallen wage open warfare against the angels on the streets. And they’re winning. As the balance tips towards the darkness, Alice – barely recovered from her own ordeal in hell and struggling to start over – once again finds herself in the eye of the storm. But with the chaos spreading and the Archangel Michael determined to destroy Lucifer whatever the cost, is the price simply too high… and what sacrifices will Alice and the angels have to make in order to pay it? The Fallen will rise. Trust will be betrayed. And all hell breaks loose…

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