Monday, 30 June 2014

Books Received in June, 2014

My continued thanks to the publishers who send me books for review.  I feel bad that I can't review every book that crosses my desk, but I try my best to get to as much as possible, especially when what arrives sounds as good as the stuff in this month's pile.

Valour and Vanity by Mary Robinette Kowal - I loved the previous 3 books in this series and fully expect to love this book as well.

After Melody's wedding, the Ellsworths and Vincents accompany the young couple on the their tour of the continent. Jane and Vincent plan to separate from the party and travel to Murano to study with glassblowers there, but their ship is set upon by Barbary corsairs while en route. It is their good fortune that they are not enslaved, but they lose everything to the pirates and arrive in Murano destitute.
Fortunately, one of the gentlemen from the ship is a local banker and arranges for a line of credit and a place to live. Relieved, the Vincents begin the work for which they have come to Italy.
All is proceeding apace until a solicitor arrives at their house and charges them with illegal trespass. Jane and Vincent produce letters from their banking friend, but they are all forgeries, and worse, he has used their forged letters to clean out their funds in England. Now, Jane and Vincent owe money to a number of people in town and are forbidden from travel. They manage to find some small work, but it is obvious to both of them that this path will not maintain them for long.
Instead, Vincent hatches a reckless plan to get their money back. The ensuing adventure is a glorious envisioning of all the best parts of heist narratives, but in a Regency setting with magic.

The Merchant Emperor by Elizabeth Haydon - This is the 7th book in a fantasy series I'm somewhat ashamed to admit I've never read.  It's long been on my 'to read' list, but it's hard to justify the time required for established series right now.  But I've heard good things about this series.

The long awaited seventh book in Elizabeth Haydon's critically-acclaimed epic fantasy series, the Symphony of Ages.

The war that they had feared is now upon them. Ashe and Rhapsody, leaders of the Cymrian Alliance, are gathering their allies to combat the machinations of Talquist, who will soon be crowned emperor of Sorbold. Gwydion Navarne remains by Ashe's side. Anborn, Lord Marshal, has taken to the field. And Rhapsody has been forced into hiding to protect the life of her infant son.

The Merchant Emperor of Sorbold has unintentionally allied himself with a pair of demons and has begun targeting the dragons that remain on the Middle Continent. Talquist will stop at nothing until the Cymrians are wiped out and the entire continent and the rest of the Known World is under his rule.

Assailed by danger from all sides, surrounded by lies and intrigue, Rhapsody is left with one undeniable truth: if their forces are to prevail, she must join the war herself, wielding the Daystar Clarion, an ancient weapon whose power is nearly unparalleled. As she struggles to reconcile her duties as a mother and ruler, a danger far more devastating than Talquist is stirring beneath the surface of the land itself.

Strange Country by Deborah Coates - The third book in this series that started with Wide Open, I haven't had the chance to start this series but it sounds pretty interesting.

After facing Death himself and banishing a reaper bent on the destruction of Sheriff's deputy Boyd Davies, Hallie Michaels had hoped things would finally settle down; that she and Boyd would find more time to spend together, and that the ghosts she attracts would stay in the cemeteries where they belong.
But on a wintry night in mid-December, a woman is murdered with a high-powered rifle. Not long after, another of West Prairie City's citizens is killed in exactly the same way, drawing the attention of state investigators. But the connection between the victims is not easily uncovered.
Meanwhile, Hallie finds a note tied to post outside her home. "What do you fear most?" it asks, accompanied by a set of map coordinates. Over the next few days she receives an anonymous phone call, and a letter left for Hallie at the local ag supply. All pose the same question and offer the same set of coordinates. The mystery deepens, and Hallie must solve it before the body count rises again, in Strange Country by Deborah Coates.

The Boost by Stephen Baker - This book just sounds so cool.

Ralf is a software prodigy. He works in the US government office that updates the software in the population's boosts-networked supercomputers contained in a chip implanted within the brains of 99 percent of the world's population. Invented by Chinese researchers in 2032, the boost is credited with leading humanity to its most significant cognitive leap since the discovery of fire.
Days before a national upgrade, Ralf notices that the update includes an open surveillance gate-meaning that Americans, who had negotiated high levels of privacy with the Chinese manufacturers, will now be subjected to the invasive Chinese standard. Ralf attempts to hack the boost, but is caught by agents working for Washington's preeminent lobbyist. His boost is ripped from his head, and Ralf barely escapes with his life.
Pursued by the lobbyist's mercenary cadre, Ralf flees to the US-Mexico border, where there are others like him-"wild" humans on the fringes of society, unenhanced by technology. It's a frightening and backward world controlled by powerful drug lords. Ralf's only hope is to somehow work with these wild bosses of the analog world-in hopes of winning back freedom in the digital one.

Gemsigns by Stephanie Saulter - I thought this book sounded awesome when I heard about it and so requested it on Netgally.  It's the next book I read.

For years the human race was under attack from a deadly Syndrome, but when a cure was found - in the form of genetically engineered human beings, Gems-the line between survival and ethics was radically altered. Now the Gems are fighting for their freedom, from the oppression of the companies that created them, and against the Norms who see them as slaves. And a conference at which Dr Eli Walker has been commissioned to present his findings on the Gems is the key to that freedom. But with the Gemtech companies fighting to keep the Gems enslaved, and the horrifying godgangs determined to rid the earth of these 'unholy' creations, the Gems are up against forces that may just be too powerful to oppose.

The Tower Broken by Mazarkis Williams - I read and really enjoyed the previous books in this trilogy and will have a review of this book up soon.

The Cerani Empire reaches a tipping point in the thrilling conclusion to the Tower and Knife trilogy.
The world is at its breaking point. The nothing, a terrible darkness caused by the festering wounds of a god, bleeds out the very essence of all, of stone, silk—and souls. Emperor Sarmin thought he had stopped it, but it is spreading toward his city, Cerana—and he is powerless to halt the destruction.
Even as Cerana fills with refugees, the Yrkmen armies arrive with conquest in mind, but they offer to spare Sarmin's people if they will convert to the Mogyrk faith.
Time is running out for Sarmin and his wife, Mesema. The Mage's Tower is cracked; the last mage, sent to find a mysterious pattern-worker in the desert, has vanished; and Sarmin believes his kidnapped brother, Daveed, still has a part to play. The walls are crumbling around them . . .

No comments: