The Qwillery | category: Patrick Weekes


The Qwillery

A blog about books and other things speculative

Melanie's Favourite books of 2015

I have read quite a few books in 2015 but I am going to share with you my top 5. This year I couldn't decide an order so these are in no particular order.

Melanie's Favourite books of 2015
UK Cover
Book 1 of my favourites for 2015 was The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman. I reviewed this book back in March and declared it one of my favourite books just a few months into the new year. For me, this book had almost every element that I enjoy in a book - a strong female lead, a richly textured world, the right amount of action and a great mystery. I loved the steampunky world where the main part of the story was set and Cogman sets up the Invisible Library as virtual cornucopia of future plots. Cogman cracked it with this fantastic debut.

Melanie's Favourite books of 2015
Another of my favourites is Ilona Andrews' serial novel Sweep in Peace. While I read this book over many months, it was released as a complete novel in November. I am a big fan of Andrews and have read everything the writing duo have released. I do however have a special love of the Innkeeper Chronicles. Dina is another great female lead with some pretty cool powers. She is strong and smart and she doesn't have to get pummeled every instalment to prove it. She does seem to have a predilection for near death experiences though. This instalment had crossover characters from The Edge series and I felt this worked well even though that is my least favourite Andrews series. It could have been a hit or miss and it was a big hit for me. There were a couple of mini stories threaded throughout the main plot which kept my interest as Andrews continued to develop Dina as a character. Overall, this a great read with beautiful illustrations.

Melanie's Favourite books of 2015
Patrick Weekes is a lucky author this year by getting 2 books of the same series into my top 5 with The Prophecy Con and the The Paladin Caper. I would have included book 1 - The Palace Job but I read that last year. I am a big fan of the Dragon Age series of video games which Weekes writes for. Many of the characters in this series reminded me of my favourite characters in the game which just made these two books even more enjoyable. You will notice a theme in my favourite books - strong female leads which both of these books have in spades. The strong female characters are supported by veritable cast of interesting characters - even the baddies. Weekes has bundled great characters, with amusing dialogue with a fantastic plot arc. There were so many twists and turns and double crosses that I almost got whiplash. This is a must read for anyone who likes fantasy, great characters and witty dialogue.

Melanie's Favourite books of 2015
UK Cover
The final book to make my top 5 is Uprooted by Naomi Novik. Again, another book with a strong female character this time in the form of the rather 'plain Jane' Agnieszka. Uprooted has a real folklory feel to it and I was gripped from page one through to the final sentence with Agnieszka's story of being taken away from her family and everything she holds dear to live in a tower as the companion to a rather reclusive dragon. Novik has a wonderful imagination and very skilled at characterization. This was a story I just didn't want to end.

As you know I read A LOT of books so to pick only 5 was difficult. I urge you to pick up one of these great books and looking forward to finding out what 2016 has in store.

Melanie's Favourite books of 2015
US Cover
The Invisible Library
The Invisible Library 1
Roc, June 14, 2016
Trade Paperback and eBook, 352

Collecting books can be a dangerous prospect in this fun, time-traveling, fantasy adventure from a spectacular debut author.

One thing any Librarian will tell you: the truth is much stranger than fiction…

Irene is a professional spy for the mysterious Library, a shadowy organization that collects important works of fiction from all of the different realities. Most recently, she and her enigmatic assistant Kai have been sent to an alternative London. Their mission: Retrieve a particularly dangerous book. The problem: By the time they arrive, it’s already been stolen.

London’s underground factions are prepared to fight to the death to find the tome before Irene and Kai do, a problem compounded by the fact that this world is chaos-infested—the laws of nature bent to allow supernatural creatures and unpredictable magic to run rampant. To make matters worse, Kai is hiding something—secrets that could be just as volatile as the chaos-filled world itself.

Now Irene is caught in a puzzling web of deadly danger, conflicting clues, and sinister secret societies. And failure is not an option—because it isn’t just Irene’s reputation at stake, it’s the nature of reality itself…

Published in the UK by Pan.

Melanie's Favourite books of 2015
Sweep in Peace
Innkeeper Chronicles 2
NYLA, November 13, 2015
eBook, 237 pages

Dina DeMille doesn’t run your typical Bed and Breakfast. Her inn defies laws of physics, her fluffy dog is secretly a monster, and the only paying guest is a former Galactic tyrant with a price on her head. But the inn needs guests to thrive, and guests have been scarce, so when an Arbitrator shows up at Dina's door and asks her to host a peace summit between three warring species, she jumps on the chance.

Unfortunately, for Dina, keeping the peace between Space Vampires, the Hope-Crushing Horde, and the devious Merchants of Baha-char is much easier said than done. On top of keeping her guests from murdering each other, she must find a chef, remodel the inn...and risk everything, even her life, to save the man she might fall in love with. But then it's all in the day's work for an Innkeeper…

Melanie's Favourite books of 2015
The Prophecy Con
Rogues of the Republic 2
47North, September 23, 2015
Trade Paperback and Kindle eBook, 512 pages

Book Two in the Rogues of the Republic series.

Who would have thought a book of naughty poems by elves could mean the difference between war and peace? But if stealing the precious volume will keep the Republic and the Empire from tearing out each other’s throats, rogue soldier Isafesira de Lochenville—“Loch” to friends and foes alike—is willing to do the dishonest honors. With her motley crew of magic-makers, law-breakers, and a talking warhammer, she’ll match wits and weapons with dutiful dwarves, mercenary knights, golems, daemons, an arrogant elf, and a sorcerous princess.

But getting their hands on the prize—while keeping their heads attached to their necks—means Loch and company must battle their way from a booby-trapped museum to a monster-infested library, and from a temple full of furious monks to a speeding train besieged by assassins. And for what? Are a few pages of bawdy verse worth waging war over? Or does something far more sinister lurk between the lines?

Melanie's Favourite books of 2015
The Paladin Caper
Rogues of the Republic 3
47 North, October 27, 2015
Trade Paperback and Kindle eBook, 480 pages

A thief’s good deeds are never done.

Loch and her crew are determined to stop the ancients from returning to reclaim the world they once ruled, but the kidnapping of a friend throws their plans awry. When a desperate rescue turns into a shocking reunion, the ancients return and seize power. Determined to stop them, Loch and the group look for a way to close the gate to the ancients’ world, but this time, they find themselves up against an enemy that has insinuated itself into the highest ranks of the Republic. Cruel, cunning, and connected, the ancients target the crew’s families and histories, threatening to tear friendships apart.

If that weren’t bad enough, Loch must deal with her treacherous assassin sister, her turncoat ancient friend, and a daemon who has sworn to hunt her to the ends of the earth. In order to save the Republic and pull off her largest con ever, Loch will need her friends…and maybe her enemies too.

Melanie's Favourite books of 2015
North America Cover
Del Rey, May 19, 2015
Hardcover and eBook, 448 pages

Naomi Novik, author of the New York Times bestselling and critically acclaimed Temeraire novels, introduces a bold new world rooted in folk stories and legends, as elemental as a Grimm fairy tale.

“Every so often you come upon a story that seems like a lost tale of Grimm newly come to light. Uprooted is such a novel. Its narrative spell is confidently wrought and sympathetically cast. I might even call it bewitching.”—Gregory Maguire, bestselling author of Wicked and Egg & Spoon

“Our Dragon doesn’t eat the girls he takes, no matter what stories they tell outside our valley. We hear them sometimes, from travelers passing through. They talk as though we were doing human sacrifice, and he were a real dragon. Of course that’s not true: he may be a wizard and immortal, but he’s still a man, and our fathers would band together and kill him if he wanted to eat one of us every ten years. He protects us against the Wood, and we’re grateful, but not that grateful.”

Agnieszka loves her valley home, her quiet village, the forests and the bright shining river. But the corrupted Wood stands on the border, full of malevolent power, and its shadow lies over her life.

Her people rely on the cold, driven wizard known only as the Dragon to keep its powers at bay. But he demands a terrible price for his help: one young woman handed over to serve him for ten years, a fate almost as terrible as falling to the Wood.

The next choosing is fast approaching, and Agnieszka is afraid. She knows—everyone knows—that the Dragon will take Kasia: beautiful, graceful, brave Kasia, all the things Agnieszka isn’t, and her dearest friend in the world. And there is no way to save her.

But Agnieszka fears the wrong things. For when the Dragon comes, it is not Kasia he will choose.

Published in the UK by Macmillan.

Melanie's Week in Review - October 11, 2015

Melanie's Week in Review - October 11, 2015

Firstly, to all those reading this in Canada - Happy Thanksgiving. To everyone else Happy October 11th. I hope you have all had a great week. I didn't get a lot read but the two books I did finish were excellent. So what did I read?

Melanie's Week in Review - October 11, 2015
I was really excited when I found The Paladin Caper by Patrick Weekes on NetGalley. I had it on pre-order from Amazon but now I got a chance to finish the last book of the fantastic Rogues of the Republic earlier than it's release date of October 27th. In this instalment Loch and her merry band of thieves and rogues are back trying to save the Republic from not only, the ancients but in many cases from itself. It all kicks off when the innocent/central figure in a diabolical prophecy - Dairy is kidnapped and going to be used to open the gate that will bring the ancients back. Unfortunately the rescue attempt wasn't completely successful and the ancients get through and start to insinuate themselves in the very highest ranks of the Republic. Loch and her crew need to use every resource, contact, friend and sometimes enemy to try to send the ancients back where they belong.

When we last left Loch she had almost died and almost everyone still thought she was dead, including her uncle. She doesn't have time to stay dead after Dairy is kidnapped and the ancients start to take over high ranking Republic officials (including her uncle) through the paladin bands which have been sold, as what could only be described in modern speak as a type of Apple watch. Now batting for the bad guys is the sentient warhammer Ghyl that has inside knowledge of Loch's crew after years of living with the love/death priestess Desidora. The odds are almost impossibly stacked against them especially as Loch's assassin sister and a rampaging daemon all want to see Loch really and truly dead. All is not lost for the Republic as Loch is joined with her friend and fellow soldier Kail, Desidora, the virgin loving unicorn Ululenia, the lockpick Tern, and her magician boyfriend Hessler, the former acrobat Icy, and the innocent farm-boy Dairy. This motley crew have it cut out for them in this exciting conclusion to the series.

I LOVED this book. It has everything in it I like - some action but not too much, great characters, excellent world building, well balanced humour and a tiny bit of romance (just enough to make it believable). The ending has so many twists and double crosses it had my head spinning. Weekes also writes for Bioware games including Mass Effect and the Dragon Age series. I really felt there was a resonance between some of the characters in the the Rogues of the Republic series and Dragon Age but love the games so more than happy to enjoy this author in a completely different medium. I can't recommend this series enough but start with The Prophecy Con as you don't want to miss one single word about any of these characters. Looking forward to whatever Weekes has in store next.

Melanie's Week in Review - October 11, 2015
The second book I read this week also came from NetGalley which was Mind of the Phoenix by Jamie McLachlan. This book was released by in September so you can go order it the minute you finish reading this post. The story is set in the late 1800's and starts in a dark and filthy jail cell where the empath Moira is facing execution for murdering her master. Moira lives in a world where empaths are kept as either concubines or blockers but they are all owned nonetheless. Moira was once a concubine and repeatedly torture and abused by her master and killed him trying to escape. No one is more surprised than her when the police offer her a deal - a chance to have her sentence commuted if she helps them catch a serial killer who has murdered several powerful city leaders. Moira is soon paired with a handsome, yet somewhat mysterious Keenan Edwards who is not swayed by her beauty. When Moira discovers that the Phoenix (the serial killer's moniker) is another empath she is both determined to stop him/her before he/she murders someone else and is partly supportive of the crimes as the victims were cruel and merciless masters. What Moira doesn't anticipate is her growing attraction to the detective and her desire to see justice done even if it means she has no chance to escape being just another kind of slave.

I wasn't anticipating enjoying this book quite as much as I did. Based on the description it could have gone either way for me with either being too graphic or too romantic but I think Lachlan got the balance right. This is a very dark story as Moira's life and those of the other empaths are truly horrid. Forced into prostitution from an early age Moira has hardly had any kind of life. She was bought at nineteen by someone who is even more abusive than the owner of the pleasure house where she lived and this taints her outlook on life and plagues her very dreams. The Phoenix murder plot is well paced but not solved by the end of the book which just adds to the tension of the 'who dunnit'. There is however a murder sub-plot that is resolved. I felt that Lachlan could have left this second story line out completely as it was very predictable and somewhat stereotypical. I am still trying to figure out who the Phoenix is and will really be looking forward to the next book in this series.

That is it for me this week. I hope you have a great week ahead and Happy Reading!

The Paladin Caper
Rogues of the Republic 3
47 North, October 27, 2015
Trade Paperback and Kindle eBook, 480 pages

Melanie's Week in Review - October 11, 2015
A thief’s good deeds are never done.

Loch and her crew are determined to stop the ancients from returning to reclaim the world they once ruled, but the kidnapping of a friend throws their plans awry. When a desperate rescue turns into a shocking reunion, the ancients return and seize power. Determined to stop them, Loch and the group look for a way to close the gate to the ancients’ world, but this time, they find themselves up against an enemy that has insinuated itself into the highest ranks of the Republic. Cruel, cunning, and connected, the ancients target the crew’s families and histories, threatening to tear friendships apart.

If that weren’t bad enough, Loch must deal with her treacherous assassin sister, her turncoat ancient friend, and a daemon who has sworn to hunt her to the ends of the earth. In order to save the Republic and pull off her largest con ever, Loch will need her friends…and maybe her enemies too.

Mind of the Phoenix
The Memory Collector 1
Penner Publishing, September 14, 2015
Trade Paperback and eBook, 286 pages

Melanie's Week in Review - October 11, 2015
Moira is a powerful empath, a psychic graced with the ability to read emotions and memories. Her skill is as much a curse as a gift, for in the harshly stratified city of Braxton empaths are slaves. Clever and beautiful, Moira has learned to rely on no one but herself. Determined to escape life as a concubine, she kills her master, and is imprisoned for the crime.

This could be the end for Moira, but the government has need of her skills. A mysterious serial killer known as the Phoenix has been planting suggestions in his victims' minds that drive them to murder and suicide. To gain her freedom, Moira partners with Keenan Edwards, a handsome young detective, to stop the killer.

Hunting the Phoenix will bring Moira on a more dangerous road than she imagined, forcing her to confront dark minds, twisted moralities, and her growing feelings for the detective. to confront dark minds, twisted moralities, and her growing feelings for the detective.

Melanie's Week in Review - March 29, 2015

Melanie's Week in Review  - March 29, 2015

I'm back! Did you miss me? Apologies for missing last week. I am very ashamed to say that I didn't get through enough books to tell you about. I was slightly better but not much. So what did I read over the last two weeks?

Melanie's Week in Review  - March 29, 2015
I finally got around to reading Symbiont by Mira Grant (Orbit, November 25, 2014). This is the second in the Grant's Parasitology series. The story continues with the world in chaos as the tapeworms that people used to prolong their health and lives are now turning them into zombies. Well not everyone. Sal is one of the few exceptions as a sentient tapeworm living in the body of a girl who died in a car accident. Book 2 focuses on Sal's struggle with coming to terms with who and what she is. She also has to come to terms with her 'cousins' being the cause of the ruination of mankind. This lesson comes at a cost and mostly to herself as Sal finds herself kidnapped not once but twice. How unlucky can 1 sentient tapeworm be? She isn't the only one who is kidnapped, tortured and experimented on. Tansy, who had sacrificed herself to save Sal at the end of book one - Parasite finds herself the subject of Dr Banks to quite a chilling end. Humanity is on the brink of destruction and Sal may be the key to its survival.

I have rather mixed views of Symbiont. It was pretty action packed but at the same time rather dull. I thought the middle part of the book really dragged and I was almost wishing a tapeworm zombie would munch one of the main characters - particularly Sal. The Hubinator did not like this book at all but I thought it was 'ok'. My problem with this book in particular was Sal herself. I realise that she trying to come to terms with what she was but boy, she was dull and an uber wimp. Even though I didn't really like Sal, I thought the parts where Sal ponders her humanity were compelling.

Melanie's Week in Review  - March 29, 2015I was shamelessly looking through my Amazon recommendations and came across Forbidden Forest which was book 1 of the Legends of Regia by Tenaya Jayne (Cold Fire Publishing, December 5, 2013).  I had high hopes for this book as I was very sensible and read the sample first I thought the story of Forbidden Forest is the story of the crossbreed elf/shifter Forest who has been bonded against her will to an evil vampire could be interesting. Forest, who had been living on Earth is summoned back to her home of Regia to escort the blind vampire prince across a forest. Needless to say they are destined to be soulmates but Forest isn't sure she can trust another vampire with her life let alone her heart.

When I was reading this book I thought it had been written for the younger urban fantasy fan as despite the events that led to Forest to be slaved bonded  for a more mature reader the characters weren't written as such. Both Forest and Prince Syrus were so busy eating fruit loops and mooning over each other that the convoluted plot was hard to follow or even be interested in. This book was quite a disappointment but it was free so I can't complain too much.

Melanie's Week in Review  - March 29, 2015
The final book I want to tell you about is The Prophecy Con by Patrick Weekes ( 47North, September 23, 2014). This is the second book of the Rogues of the Republic series which finds one of my favourite gangs back together. This instalment follows closely on the heels of The Palace Job where Loch and her gang save the Heaven's Spire and all its inhabitants. In the process she unmasks a madman, finds her long lost sister and hooks up with the dutiful justicar Pyric. In book 2 she has been asked to steal an ancient book from the elves in order to stop a war. There is so many twists and turns, mysteries and intrigues that if I tell you anymore I risk spoiling the whole thing. What I can tell you is that Weekes has created a whole set of characters that you are invested in from page 1. It is very rare for me to like each character equally but Weekes has done it. This series and especially this book are an excellent example of story telling, action and characterisation. If you are a gamer and played either Mass Effect or Dragon Age then you will recognise Weekes' writing style. If not, hurry up and get playing!

Finally, I read and enjoyed The Lemoncholy  Life of Annie Aster by Scott Wilbanks (Sourcebooks Landmark, August 4, 2015). This is a debut novel and Wilbanks has written a cracking book. I will be writing a full review so keep your eye out.

That is enough for me this week and I hope I have made it up to you with this instalment of my WIR. Until next week happy reading.

Melanie's Week in Review - January 11, 2015

Melanie's Week in Review - January 11, 2015

First week back to work and back to big long commutes. While all memory of my nice long break is over I did manage to read a couple of excellent books. So what did I read?

Melanie's Week in Review - January 11, 2015
I started the week with a present from my friend Richard - The Masked Empire by Patrick Weekes. This is one of a series of books based on the Dragon Age series (video game). This particular book is set in the Kingdom of Orlais in the court of Empress Celene. Orlais is a country of wealth where the nobles wear masks and play deadly political games. Celene has ruled the kingdom since she was a young girl and her constant companion (and lover) is the elf Briala. When an elven uprising threatens the peace  in Orlais Celene rides in with her guards to administer swift justice. What she doesn't realise is that the Grand Duke Gaspard has set a very careful trap for Celene so that he can gain the throne himself. The game is afoot!

While this story is set within the world of the Dragon Age series this book is self contained and would be suitable even for those who aren't familiar with either the characters or the environment. I thoroughly enjoyed the story and thought the plot was well crafted and didn't rely on previous knowledge of Orlais or its history/politics.

Melanie's Week in Review - January 11, 2015My second book this week was one I received from the lovely people at Solaris via NetGalley - Cannonbridge by Jonathan Barnes. Dr. Toby Judd's life is about the change whether he wants it to or not. Judd decides to make a stand and declare that the prodigious author Matthew Cannonbridge is a fake. This declaration, so close to the bicentenary celebration of Cannonbridge's most famous works sets off a deadly chain of events. The story moves quickly between Toby in present day and Cannonbridge's life as he meets almost every famous literary character from Byron and Shelley, to Charles Dickens and Oscar Wilde. Cannonbridge is a mystery indeed as the saviour to some and the downfall of others, he never changes and never grows old. Can Toby discover the truth before its too late?

Cannonbridge is an excellent book. I have to warn you though that housework or homework won't get done the minute you start this book. It definitely falls into the 'can't put down' category. I was never quite sure what was going to happen and couldn't help but cheer Toby on even though he was rather pathetic. Cannonbridge was a complete mystery and darkness personified. This book will be released by Solaris on the February 10th and I can't urge you enough to pre-order it now.

Melanie's Week in Review - January 11, 2015
I discovered via Facebook that there was a new of Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences anthology - Ministry Protocol.  Needless to say I quickly downloaded it.. I have only read a few short stories so far as you can only have so much fun at once! I particularly enjoyed the contribution by Karina Cooper. More to come over the next few weeks.

Melanie's Week in Review - January 11, 2015
Continuing on the short story/novella theme I downloaded the The Curious Case of the Clockwork Menace by Bec McMaster. This is a mini mystery from the London Steampunk series. The Nighthawks Gareth and Perry are involved in the case of the missing actress. This story is set immediately before these two characters full length novel Forged by Desire and is a bit of a teaser for the romance to come. I thought the story was OK but McMaster made a big point about one of the plot items and then seemed to forget about it towards the end. I also thought the cover, including the model, was too similar to the latest books in Karina Cooper's Cherry St. Croix series but that is just me being a book cover snob.

That is it for me for this week. I have been buying books recently so I hope to have a few more updates to tell about next week. Until then Happy Reading.

Melanie's Week in Review - October 26, 2014

Melanie's Week in Review - October 26, 2014

I am baaaaccccckkkkk. I may have to change the title of this to Melanie's Two Weeks in Review.  I hope you haven't missed me too much.  I went home to Canada and had a great Thanksgiving with my family and now back in the UK to a very mild October. I am not only recovering from jetlag but also the clocks going back.  I used to love the extra hour in bed but now I just lament hardly ever seeing the sun! Anyway, I digress.You are probably thinking you wish she would just get to what she read!

Melanie's Week in Review - October 26, 2014
I started my holiday with Binary by Stephanie Saulter which is the second book of the Gemsigns series.  Saulter was part of the Debut Author Challenge in May this year with her first book Gemsigns which I reviewed. I loved this first book and book 2 didn't disappoint. I will be writing a full review of Binary so I don't want to give too much away. I would advise you to start reading Gemsigns if you haven't already.

Melanie's Week in Review - October 26, 2014I decided that I needed quick and easy reads while I was on holiday so I popped over to NetGalley to see if they had any HEA for me to read. I found Light My Fire by G.A. Aiken. I have been reading the Dragon Kin novels despite them being a bit too 'erotica' for my liking. I found the first two or three novels (I started at the second novel About a Dragon) amusing and with enough humour I could forgive the non-stop sex. The further I get into the series the more I am getting a bit bored. I feel that Aiken needs to pair off almost every character in some 'stop it, I love it' tale. Light My Fire was set about 10 years after How to Drive a Dragon Crazy and tells the story of Celyn the Charming and the human Elina Shestokova from the Outer Plains. Celyn was your fairly typical drop dead gorgeous dragon who has something to prove and paired with Elina who I thought jumped out of From Russia with Love. Their love story was quite dull but I did enjoy the passages dedicated to Gwenvael and Dagmar who have featured in the last few novels. Normally, Aiken focuses the story from the female lead characters but even in the sub-plots there was much more male dominance in this instalment. I also thought that Aiken almost repeats the ending of book 5 in this book which made me wonder despite the wait, whether this one was a bit of a rush job.

Melanie's Week in Review - October 26, 2014
Book 2 from NetGalley was 'Til Dragons Do Us Part by Lorenda Christensen. I was hoping that this was going to be a 'feel good' read as I was going to read it during my flight back. I was glad this was a quick read as boy, it was boring. This is the story of of Savanagh, dragon shifter and art thief. One last heist may well be her very last of everything. Savanagh needs to steal a famous painting from a another dragon's horde but all her plans look like they are going to be foiled by the hunky head of security, Cameron.

The cover is definitely the best part of this book as the plot line was dull, dull, dull. Savanagh was just too good and caring to be considered a famous thief. Cameron was slightly more believable but only just slightly. It was pretty clear that he wasn't that good at his job as he totally missed the fact that a dragon shifter was posing as a wedding planner. I haven't read the other books in this series so perhaps they are better than this one but I don't think I will attempt to find out.

Melanie's Week in Review - October 26, 2014I will only tell you about one more book that I read on my return. My third NetGalley treat was The Palace Job by Patrick Weekes. I was super excited when I read that Patrick Weekes also writes for my 2 all time favourite video games - Mass Effect and Dragon Age. This first instalment of the Rogues of the Republic series brings together the 'dream team'. The baroness/ex-soldier/thief Loch assembles a motley crew to pull the biggest heist ever. She is determined to steal back the priceless elven manuscript from the man that killed her family and turned her into an outcast. Together with a unicorn, a death priestess, a talking war hammer, a magician and a boy with a mysterious birthmark Loch embarks on a journey to break into the most impregnable fortress ever - Heaven's Spire. 

This is a great read which I thoroughly enjoyed. Weekes has combined great characters, humour and adventure. There is also a smattering of romance for those of you who don't want to read about swashbucklers. In parts I felt like I was reading a script from Dragon's Age but as I love these games it wasn't a problem. Weekes really knows how to create great characters and ones  you want to spend more time with. I am really looking forward to what happens next. Also, I LOVE the cover!

That is it for me. I am sure to have more to tell you about next week as with the clocks going back I have a whole extra hour to read something new! Until next week Happy Reading.

The View From Monday - April 7, 2014

Happy first Monday in April. I hesitate to say this, but I think Spring may finally be here. Shhhhh.

The View From Monday - April 7, 2014

This is a relatively light release week with 1 Debut:

The Word Exchange by Alena Graedon.

From formerly featured Debut Author Challenge Authors:

Attack the Geek: A Ree Reyes Side-Quest by Michael R. Underwood;

Promise of Blood (Powder Mage Trilogy 1) by Brian McClellan comes out in Trade Paperback;


Dragon Age: The Masked Empire by Patrick Weekes.

April 7, 2014
Twisted Miracles (e) AJ Larrieu PNR - The Shadowminds
Attack the Geek: A Ree Reyes Side-Quest Michael R. Underwood UF - Ree Reyes

April 8, 2014
The Dragon Business Kevin J. Anderson F - Dragon Business 1
Mine to Claim (e) A.C. Arthur PNR - Shadow Shifters: Damaged Hearts 1
Steles of the Sky Elizabeth Bear F - Eternal Sky 3
Shipstar Gregory Benford
Larry Niven
SF - Bowl of Heaven 2
Balance Point Robert Buettner SF - Orphan's Legacy 3
I Am the New God (e) Nicole Cushing F
The Word Exchange (D) Alena Graedon Dys/Tech
Darkest Flame: Part 1 (e) Donna Grant PNR - Dark Kings
You (h2tp) Austin Grossman VG/M
The Abomination (h2tp) Jonathan Holt M/Th - Carnivia Trilogy 1
Revelations Paul Antony Jones SF/Ap/PA - Extinction Point 3
Coldbrook Tim Lebbon H
No Lasting Burial Stant Litore H - Zombie Bible 4
The Girl, the Gold Watch & Everything John D. MacDonald SF
Promise of Blood (h2tp) Brian McClellan F - Powder Mage Trilogy 1
The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August Claire North TT
Turtle Recall: The Discworld Companion. . .So Far Terry Pratchett F - Discworld
The Adjacent Christopher Priest AH
The Islanders (h2tp) Christopher Priest AH
Gotrek & Felix: The Serpent Queen Josh Reynolds F - Gotrek & Felix 15
The Immortal Collection Eva García Sáenz F - Saga of the Ancient Family
Operation Shield Joel Shepherd SF - Cassandra Kresnov 5
Fiend (h2tp) Peter Stenson H
Welcome to the Monkey House: The Special Edition: Stories Kurt Vonnegut SF - Collection
A Dance in Blood Velvet Freda Warrington DF - Blood 2
Cauldron of Ghosts David Weber
Eric Flint
SF - Crown of Slaves 3
Dragon Age: The Masked Empire Patrick Weekes F - Dragon Age 4
Robot Uprisings Daniel H. Wilson (ed)
John Joseph Adams (ed)
SF - Anthology

April 9, 2014
Something Going Around: A Tor.Com Original Harry Turtledove SF

D - Debut
e - eBook
h2tp - Hardcover to Trade Paperback

AH - Alternate History
Ap - Apocalyptic
DF - Dark Fantasy
Dys - Dystopia
F - FantasyH - Horror
M - Mystery
PA - Post Apocalyptic
PNR - Paranormal Romance
SF - Science Fiction
Tech - Technological
Th - Thriller
TT - Time Travel
 UF - Urban Fantasy
VG - Video Games

The View From Monday - October 7, 2013

Happy first Monday in October! This is such a fun month - New York Comic Con takes place this coming weekend and Halloween is later this month. I just purchased a rather large skull that lights up on the inside (pictures at some point) and the kids and I are planning our Halloween graveyard.

I started reading Debra Mullins Prodigal Son (Tor, October 1, 2013). This is Debra's first paranormal romance novel. She has written many historical romance novels. So far I'm liking it but if one of the main characters mentions again that she put up her condo as collateral for a bond for someone who skipped and she may lose her condo, I may just delete the book. It's really annoying. I get that she's worried about it. I actually got it the first time. I tend to remember what I read. Now it's just annoying. I think I will keep count to see how many times it is mentioned.

Have you ever read a book where something is mentioned ad nauseum? Did it bother you? Did you finish the book?  What makes you stop reading a book?

The View From Monday - October 7, 2013

There is one debut this week - The Palace Job by Patrick Weekes.

And from formerly featured Debut Author Challenge Authors:

Cold Blooded (Jessica McClain 3) by Amanda Carlson.

October 6, 2013
Dark Annie Joseph J. Christiano H

October 7, 2013
Ghost Stories of Old New Orleans Jeanne Delavigne Gh - Collection
Rogue's Possession Jeffe Kennedy FR - Covenant of Thorns 2

October 8, 2013
The Vengeance of Hera (e) (ri) John Gregory Betancourt F - Hercules 2
Cold Blooded Amanda Carlson UF - Jessica McClain 3
Zombies vs Robots: This Means War Nancy A. Collins Z/SF - Zombies vs Robots Anthology
The Diamond Deep Brenda Cooper SF - Ruby's Song 2
A Dance of Cloaks David Dalglish F- Shadowdance 1
The Night Eternal (ri) Guillermo Del Toro
Chuck Hogan
H - Strain Trilogy 3
The Circle Dave Eggers L/SF
Tales of the Wold Newton Universe Philip Jose Farmer SF - Wold Newton Collection
The Black Spider Jeremias Gotthelf H
Midnight's Promise: Part 1 (e) Donna Grant PNR - Dark Warriors
Slayers: The Making of a Mentor: A Tor.Com Original (e) C. J. Hill F/UF
The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror 24 Stephen Jones (ed) H - Anthology
Lighthouse Island Paulette Jiles Dys
Close to You (e) Stacia Kane UF -  A Downside Ghosts Story
Dying Is My Business Nicholas Kaufmann UF
Rasputin's Shadow Raymond Khoury Th/H/SF - Templar 4
The Fall of the Governor Robert Kirkman
Jay Bonansinga
Z - The Walking Dead 3
Dark Days Manel Loureiro Z - Apocalypse Z 2
The Republic of Thieves Scott Lynch F - Gentleman Bastard 3
V-Wars (h2tp) Jonathan Maberry (ed) H
Old Mars George R.R. Martin (ed)
Gardner Dozios (ed)
SF - Anthology
The Lincoln Conspiracy (h2tp) Timothy L. O'Brien AH
The Devil's in the Details Kimberly Raye PNR
A Taste of Blood Wine Freda Warrington F - Blood 1
The Palace Job (D) Patrick Weekes F
The Lords of Salem (h2tp) Rob Zombie H

October 11, 2013
Legends of Lone Wolf Omnibus 3 Joe Dever F - Legend of the Lone Wolf

D - Debut
e - eBook
h2tp - Hardcover to Trade Paperback
ri - reissue or reprint

AH - Alternate History
Dys - Dystopia
F - Fantasy
FR - Fantasy Romance
GH - Ghosts
H - Horror
L - Literary
PNR - Paranormal Romance
SF - Science Fiction
Th - Thriller

UF - Urban Fantasy
Z - Zombies

2013 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - October 2013

It's time for the 2013 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars for October 2013!

Since Cover Wars was so much fun as part of the 2012 Debut Author Challenge, we're doing it again for the 2013 Debut Author Challenge. Each month you will be able to vote for your favorite cover from each month's debut novels. At the end of the year the 12 monthly winners will be pitted against each other to choose the 2013 Debut Novel Cover of the Year. Please note that a debut novel cover is eligible in the month in which the novel is released in the US. Cover artist/illustrator information is provided when I have it.

I'm using Blogger's poll widget because it's easier for everyone. I'll keep an eye on the poll for anomalies.

Cover art by John Harris.

2013 Debut Author Challenge - October Debuts

2013 Debut Author Challenge - October Debuts

There are  debuts 8 debuts for October. Please note that I use the publisher's publication date in the United States, not copyright dates or non-US publication dates.

The October debut authors and their novels are listed in alphabetical order by author (not book title or publication date). Pick one or more and let us know in the comments which one(s) you'll be reading. If I've missed any, let me know in the comments.

Take a good look at the covers. Voting for your favorite October cover for the 2013 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars will take place later this month.

Please note that this may not be the definitive list. I'm still working on the full October Release List and I may (or may not) discover more debuts.

Emma Chapman

How to be a Good Wife
Publisher:  St. Martin's Press, October 15, 2013
Format:  Hardcover and eBook, 288 pages
List Price:  $24.99 (print)
ISBN:  9781250018199 (print)

2013 Debut Author Challenge - October Debuts
In the tradition of Emma Donoghue's Room and S.J. Watson’s Before I Go to Sleep, How To Be a Good Wife by Emma Chapman is a haunting literary debut about a woman who begins having visions that make her question everything she knows

Marta and Hector have been married for a long time. Through the good and bad; through raising a son and sending him off to life after university. So long, in fact, that Marta finds it difficult to remember her life before Hector. He has always taken care of her, and she has always done everything she can to be a good wife—as advised by a dog-eared manual given to her by Hector’s aloof mother on their wedding day.

But now, something is changing. Small things seem off. A flash of movement in the corner of her eye, elapsed moments that she can’t recall. Visions of a blonde girl in the darkness that only Marta can see. Perhaps she is starting to remember—or perhaps her mind is playing tricks on her. As Marta’s visions persist and her reality grows more disjointed, it’s unclear if the danger lies in the world around her, or in Marta herself. The girl is growing more real every day, and she wants something.

J. Lincoln Fenn

Publisher: 47North, October 22, 2013
Format:  Trade Paperback and Kindle eBook, 328 pages
List Price:  $14.95 (print)
ISBN:  978-1477848166

2013 Debut Author Challenge - October Debuts
2013 Winner — Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award — Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror

It’s Halloween, and life is grim for twenty-three-year-old Dimitri Petrov. It’s the one-year anniversary of his parents’ deaths, he’s stuck on page one thousand of his Rasputin zombie novel, and he makes his living writing obituaries.

But things turn from bleak to terrifying when Dimitri gets a last-minute assignment to cover a séance at the reputedly haunted Aspinwall Mansion.

There, Dimitri meets Lisa, a punk-rock drummer he falls hard for. But just as he’s about to ask her out, he unwittingly unleashes malevolent forces, throwing him into a deadly mystery. When Dimitri wakes up, he is in the morgue—icy cold and haunted by a cryptic warning given by a tantalizing female spirit.

As town residents begin to turn up gruesomely murdered, Dimitri must play detective in his own story and unravel the connections among his family, the Aspinwall Mansion, the female spirit, and the secrets held in a pair of crumbling antiquarian books. If he doesn’t, it’s quite possible Lisa will be the next victim.

Ann Leckie

Ancillary Justice
Series:  Imperial Radch 1
Publisher:  Orbit, October 1, 2013
Format:  Trade Paperback and eBook, 416 pages
List Price:  $15.00 (print)
ISBN:  9780316246620 (print)

2013 Debut Author Challenge - October Debuts
On a remote, icy planet, the soldier known as Breq is drawing closer to completing her quest.

Breq is both more than she seems and less than she was. Years ago, she was the Justice of Toren--a colossal starship with an artificial intelligence linking thousands of corpse soldiers in the service of the Radch, the empire that conquered the galaxy.

An act of treachery has ripped it all away, leaving her with only one fragile human body. And only one purpose--to revenge herself on Anaander Mianaai, many-bodied, near-immortal Lord of the Radch.

Matthew Quinn Martin

Publisher:  Pocket Star,  October 21, 2013
Format:  eBook, 384 pages,
List Price:  $1.99
ISBN:  9781476746890

2013 Debut Author Challenge - October Debuts
For centuries an ancient evil has slept beneath the streets of New Harbor. This Halloween, it wakes up.

An action-packed debut horror novel from talented new writer Matthew Quinn Martin, Nightlife pits a feisty bartender and a mysterious loner against bloodthirsty terrors as alluring as they are deadly.

Nightclub bartender and serial heartbreaker Beth Becker might be a cynic. But when her best friend goes missing Halloween night, Beth knows it’s up to her to find out what happened.

Her quest will take her on an odyssey through the crumbling city of New Harbor, Connecticut. Along the way she meets a homeless prophet warning of something he calls the “Night Angel”—a bloodthirsty creature that feeds on the forgotten. And she will form an unlikely bond with a hunted stranger who knows all too well what stalks the streets at night.

The strange man tells Beth the hideous truth about the nightmare creatures that have haunted mankind’s imagination for eons—creatures the world calls vampires. Together they are the only hope for New Harbor, but to defeat what lurks in the shadows they’ll have to conquer something far stronger than fear—their own desires.

Fiona McFarlane

The Night Guest
Publisher:  Faber and Faber Inc., October 1, 2013
Format:  Hardcover and eBook, 256 pages
List Price:  $26.00 (print)
ISBN:  9780865477735 (print)

2013 Debut Author Challenge - October Debuts
A mesmerizing first novel about trust, dependence, and fear, from a major new writer

Ruth is widowed, her sons are grown, and she lives in an isolated beach house outside of town. Her routines are few and small. One day a stranger arrives at her door, looking as if she has been blown in from the sea. This woman—Frida—claims to be a care worker sent by the government. Ruth lets her in.

Now that Frida is in her house, is Ruth right to fear the tiger she hears on the prowl at night, far from its jungle habitat? Why do memories of childhood in Fiji press upon her with increasing urgency? How far can she trust this mysterious woman, Frida, who seems to carry with her own troubled past? And how far can Ruth trust herself?

The Night Guest, Fiona McFarlane’s hypnotic first novel, is no simple tale of a crime committed and a mystery solved. This is a tale that soars above its own suspense to tell us, with exceptional grace and beauty, about ageing, love, trust, dependence, and fear; about processes of colonization; and about things (and people) in places they shouldn’t be. Here is a new writer who comes to us fully formed, working wonders with language, renewing our faith in the power of fiction to describe the mysterious workings of our minds.

Libby McGugan

The Eidolon
Publisher:  Solaris, October 29, 2013 (US/Canada)
Format:  Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 336 pages
List Price: $7.99 (print)
ISBN:   9781781081570

2013 Debut Author Challenge - October Debuts
A contemporary SF thriller. The divide between science and the human spirit is the setting for a battle for the future.

When physicist Robert Strong loses his job at the Dark Matter research lab and his relationship falls apart, he returns home to Scotland. Then the dead start appearing to him, and Robert begins to question his own sanity. Victor Amos, an enigmatic businessman, arrives and recruits Robert to sabotage CERN’S Large Hadron Collider, convincing him the next step in the collider’s research will bring about disaster. Everything Robert once understood about reality, and the boundaries between life and death, is about to change forever. And the biggest change will be to Robert himself... Mixing science, philosophy and espionage, Libby McGugan’s stunning debut is a thriller like no other.

Mark Onspaugh

The Faceless One
Publisher:  Hydra (Random House), October 28, 2013
Format:  eBook, 410 pages
List Price:  $2.99
ISBN:  978-0-345-54918-1

2013 Debut Author Challenge - October Debuts
From a brilliant new voice in horror comes a riveting nightmare of ancient evil unleashed—and the bravery and sacrifice of those called to combat it.

In 1948, when he was just a boy, Jimmy Kalmaku trained with his uncle to be the shaman of his Tlingit village in Alaska. There he learned the old legends, the old myths, the old secrets. Chief among them was that of a mask locked in a prison of ice, and of the faceless god imprisoned within: a cruel and vengeful god called T'Nathluk, dedicated to the infliction of pain and suffering.

Now all but forgotten in a Seattle retirement home, Jimmy finds his life turned upside down. For when an unwitting archaeologist pries the mask free of its icy tomb, he frees T’Nathluk as well. Stuck in spirit form, the Faceless One seeks a human to serve as a portal through which he can enter our reality. The Faceless One can control—and mercilessly torture—anyone who touches the mask, which means there is no shortage of slaves to ferry it across the country to its chosen host.

Yet the Faceless One has foes as well: Stan Roberts, a tough New York cop whose pursuit of justice will lead him into a dark abyss of the soul; Steven, Liz, and Bobby, the family of the doomed archaeologist; and Jimmy Kalmaku, who must at last become the shaman of his boyhood dreams.

Patrick Weekes

The Palace Job
Publisher:  47North, October 8, 2013
Format:  Trade Paperback and Kindle eBook, 438 pages
ISBN:  9781477848203 (print)
List Price:  $14.95 (print)
(first in own world)

2013 Debut Author Challenge - October Debuts
Loch is seeking revenge.

It would help if she wasn’t in jail.

The plan: to steal a priceless elven manuscript that once belonged to her family, but now is in the hands of the most powerful man in the Republic. To do so Loch—former soldier, former prisoner, current fugitive—must assemble a crack team of magical misfits that includes a cynical illusionist, a shapeshifting unicorn, a repentant death priestess, a talking magical warhammer, and a lad with seemingly no skills to help her break into the floating fortress of Heaven’s Spire and the vault that holds her family’s treasure—all while eluding the unrelenting pursuit of Justicar Pyvic, whose only mission is to see the law upheld.

What could possibly go wrong?

The Palace Job is a funny, action-packed, high-fantasy heist caper in the tradition of Scott Lynch’s Gentleman Bastards series, from debut author Patrick Weekes.

Melanie's Favourite books of 2015Melanie's Week in Review - October 11, 2015Melanie's Week in Review  - March 29, 2015Melanie's Week in Review - January 11, 2015Melanie's Week in Review - October 26, 2014The View From Monday - April 7, 2014Excerpt from The Palace Job by Patrick Weekes and Giveaway - October 25, 2013The View From Monday - October 7, 20132013 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - October 20132013 Debut Author Challenge - October Debuts

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