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Books’n’stuff received lately

Smokey being HELPFUL

Dark Matter Zine receives lots of stuff for review. This is the latest pile…

Contents with quicklinks to save scrolling

Very occasionally I get REALLY REALLY organised then I FORGET. Like with this post. I posted the mid-April to mid-May books and I forgot I’d set these up in a draft post. Gah.
Smaug: Unleashing the Dragon

Smaug: Unleashing the Dragon by Daniel Falconer

Sexy, sexy hardcover book with gold embossed title and border, filled with richly coloured, detailed images from the drawing board to the CGI dragon. Complete with foreward by Smaug himself, Benedict Cumberbatch. Need I say more? Apparently. A review will be coming soon.

HarperCollins says:

Packed with stunning, exclusive new images, Smaug: Unleashing the Dragon reveals how Smaug grew out of countless fantastical concept designs into the beast that is unleashed in awesome digital glory.

Compiled by the Academy Award-winning Weta Digital and Weta Workshop teams, who provide fascinating insights telling the story of the Dragon’s creation, this is the perfect companion for every fan who was blown away by Smaug, the Magnificent!

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Orphan Black season 1Orphan Black

I am LOVING this award-winning series!

Roadshow says:

Smart, sexy and pulsating with suspense, Orphan Black is a gripping action thriller featuring rising star Tatiana Maslany. Sarah (Maslany) is an outsider and orphan whose life changes dramatically after witnessing the suicide of a woman who looks just like her. Sarah assumes her identity, her boyfriend and her bank account but quickly finds herself caught in the middle of a deadly conspiracy and must race to find answers about who she is and how many others there are just like her. Filled with surprising twists and turns, this addictive new series will keep you on the edge of your seat from start to finish.

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Paris Review

The Paris Review, like the New York Review, is a seminal work highly regarded in literati circles. When I had the opportunity to snaffle a review copy, this was a ‘must’!

Allen & Unwin says:

The Paris Review is a groundbreaking publication bringing together fiction, poetry and prose from great writers all over the world. Its legendary interview series alone represents the single most important body of work that celebrates writing about writing.

Publishing quarterly, each issue is a tribute to the possibilities of the written word and under Lorin Stein’s canny editorial leadership it looks set to continue and expand on what it has achieved in its illustrious life to date.

If Miyazaki films were like other anime – aka why I like Miyazaki films because they’re not like this!

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and now we’ll settle in to some kind of order with the items…

The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness

This is the 3rd and final installment in the witchly paranormal romance trilogy.

Headline says:

The exciting third installment in the ALL SOULS trilogy following the No.1 internationally bestselling A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES and SHADOW OF NIGHT

Fall under the spell of Diana and Matthew once more in the stunning climax to their epic tale, following A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES and SHADOW OF NIGHT.

A world of witches, daemons and vampires. A manuscript which holds the secrets of their past and the key to their future. Diana and Matthew – the forbidden love at the heart of it.

After travelling through time in SHADOW OF NIGHT, the second book in Deborah Harkness’s enchant ing series, historian and witch Diana Bishop and vampire scientist Matthew Clairmont return to the present to face new crises and old enemies. At Matthew’s ancestral home at Sept-Tours, they are united with the cast of characters from A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES – with one significant exception. But the real threat to their future has yet to be revealed, and when it is, the search for Ashmole 782 and its missing pages takes on even more urgency. In ancestral homes and university laboratories, using ancient knowledge and modern science, from the hills of the Auvergne to the palaces of Venice and beyond, the couple at last learn what the witches discovered so many centuries ago.

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Cold Hand in Mine by Robert Aickman

C J will be ecstatic to receive another horror by Robert Aickman. Although her review of Dark Entries isn’t up yet, I know she’s loving it.

Faber & Faber says:

Cold Hand in Mine was first published in the UK in 1975 and in the US in 1977. The story ‘Pages from a Young Girl’s Journal’ won the Aickman World Fantasy Award in 1975. It was originally published in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction in 1973 before appearing in this collection. 

Cold Hand in Mine stands as one of Aickman’s best collections and contains eight stories that show off his powers as a ‘strange story’ writer to the full, being more ambiguous than standard ghost stories. Throughout the stories the reader is introduced to a variety of characters, from a man who spends the night in a Hospice to a German aristocrat and a woman who sees an image of her own soul. There is also a nod to the conventional vampire story (‘Pages from a Young Girl’s Journal’) but all the stories remain unconventional and inconclusive, which perhaps makes them all the more startling and intriguing. 

‘Of all the authors of uncanny tales, Aickman is the best ever … His tales literally haunt me; his plots and his turns of phrase run through my head at the most unlikely moments.’ Russell Kirk.

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Girl in the RoadGirl in the Road by Monica Byrne

Little, Brown says:

A gripping novel set in near-future India – and a young woman’s journey of escape and revelation.

A young woman called Meena wakes up one morning covered in blood. There are mysterious snakebites across her chest. She knows she’s in danger but something has happened to her memory. All she can do is run – but why? And from whom?

As Meena plots her escape she hears of the Trail – an extraordinary, forbidden bridge that spans the Arabian sea, connecting India to Africa like a silver ribbon. Its purpose is to harness the power of the ocean – Blue Energy – but it also offers a subculture of travellers a chance for sanctuary and adventure.

Convinced the Trail is her salvation, Meena gathers supplies – GPS, a scroll reader, a sealable waterproof pod. And so begins her extraordinary journey – both physical and spiritual – from India to Ethiopia, the home of her birth. But as she runs away from the threat of violence she is also running towards a shocking revelation about her past and her family.

‘The Girl in the Road is a brilliant novel – vivid, intense and fearless, with a kind of savage joy … utterly unforgettable’ – Kim Stanley Robinson

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How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell

This is the original book that inspired the major motion picture and the Arena Spectacular that I love SO MUCH. Anyone would think Hachette is listening to me ranting and raving on the webs…

This is NOT the cover I have in my hot little hands. MY cover is inspired by the movie, with Toothless staring over Hiccup’s shoulder.

Hachette says:

The story of Hiccup Haddock Horrendous III’s rise to fame, through his dragon-training exploits, told in his own words. Read the book that inspired the hit DreamWorks film How to Train Your Dragon.

Read the original books before you see the How to Train Your Dragon film! This book will be a hit with children and adults alike.

THE STORY BEGINS in the first volume of Hiccup’s How to Train Your Dragon memoirs…

Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III was an awesome sword-fighter, a dragon-whisperer and the greatest Viking Hero who ever lived. But it wasn’t always like that.

In fact, in the beginning, Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III was the most put upon Viking you’d ever seen. Not loud enough to make himself heard at dinner with his father, Stoick the Vast; not hard enough to beat his chief rival, Snotlout, at Bashyball, the number one school sport and CERTAINLY not stupid enough to go into a cave full of dragons to find a pet… It’s time for Hiccup to learn how to be a Hero.

How to Train Your Dragon is a DreamWorks film starring Gerrard Butler, America Ferrera and Jonah Hill, now out on DVD. Read the rest of Hiccup’s exploits in the How to Train Your Dragon series and check out the brilliant website at http://www.howtotrainyourdragonbooks.com It’s the place to go for games, downloads, activities and sneak peeks!

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Lascar’s Dagger by Glenda Larke

Ok, now I’m CONVINCED Hachette is listening to me on the webs because EVERYONE says Glenda Larke is one of THE fantasy authors, especially in Australia and New Zealand AND I HAVEN’T READ ANY OF HER BOOKS. YET.

Hachette says:

The start of a brand new epic fantasy trilogy from Glenda Larke, author of the Stormlord series – full of scheming, spying, action and adventure.


Saker looks like a simple priest, but in truth he’s a spy for the head of his faith. It’s a dangerous job, and more lives than merely his own depend on his secrecy.

When Saker is wounded by a Lascar sailor’s blade, the weapon seems to follow him home. Unable to discard it, nor the sense of responsibility that comes with it, Saker can only follow its lead.

It will put him on a journey to strange shores, on a path that will reveal terrible secrets about the empire, about the people he serves, and likely lead to his own destruction. The Lascar’s dagger demands a price, and that price will be paid in blood.

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Perilous ShieldLost Stars by Jack Campbell

Science fiction!

New South Books says:

Following a successful coup, the leaders of the rebel Midway Star System struggle to forge a government free enough to please its citizens yet strong enough to secure power. But in a world where former rulers have become new foes, an alien threat to humanity may turn old adversaries into uncertain allies…

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Nebula Awards Showcase 2014Nebula Awards Showcase 2014 edited by Kij Johnson

Even Tor got excited about this release.

Pyr says:

The latest volume of the prestigious anthology series, published annually across six decades!

The Nebula Awards Showcase volumes have been published annually since 1966, reprinting the winning and nominated stories in the Nebula Awards, voted on by the members of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America® . The editor selected by SFWA’s anthology committee (chaired by Mike Resnick) is American fantasy writer Kij Johnson, author of three novels and associate director of the Center for the Study of Science Fiction at the University of Kansas. 

This year’s Nebula winners, and expected contributors, are Kim Stanley Robinson, Nancy Kress, Andy Duncan, and Aliette de Bodard, with E.C. Myers winning the Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy Book.

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Mirror Sight by Kirsten Britain

Years have passed with our intrepid heroin – would you believe heroine? How about we stick to gender neutral ‘hero’? – trapped in a tomb. Now the sequel has finally been released…

Gollancz says:

A stunning new adventure from a NEW YORK TIMES bestselling novelist. Magic itself under threat – and the key to saving it lies far in the future…

Karigan G’ladheon is a Green Rider – a seasoned member of the royal messenger corps whose loyalty and her bravery have already been tested many times. And her final, explosive magical confrontation with Mornhavon the Black should have killed her.

But rather than finding death, and peace, Karigan wakes to a darkness deeper than night. The explosion has transported her somewhere – and into a sealed stone sarcophagus – and now she must escape, somehow, before the thinning air runs out and her mysterious tomb becomes her grave.

Where is she? Does a trap, laid by Mornhavon, lie beyond her prison? And if she can escape, will she find the world beyond the same – or has the magic taken her out of reach of her friends, home and King forever…?

‘Kristen Britain is one of the most astonishing fantasy writers wroking today’ Tess Gerritsen, NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author.

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The Queen of Dark Things by C Robert Cargill

This looks interesting although if Cargill is white then delving into Aboriginal myth is fraught with pitfalls. Admittedly I haven’t (yet) investigated the Council guidelines for writing Indigenous stories. I may have to in order to review this story effectively.

Gollancz says:

This acclaimed work of dark and magical contemporary fantasy, perfect for fans of Neil Gaiman, moves into the world of aboriginal myth and story.

Compared by many to Neil Gaiman but also praised for establishing his own unique, powerful yet warm voice C. Robert Cargill has now moved his brilliant contemporary fantasy into a new world, a new mythology.

And a trip to Australia becomes a terrifying adventure amongst new gods, new spirits, new embodiments of an ancient land and power.

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Shield of Winter by Nalini Singh

No, no relation. Not me, no, not at all, even though I actually started typing “Nalini Haynes” as the author.

Gollancz says:

‘The alpha author of paranormal romance’ (BOOKLIST) draws us back into her extraordinary Psy-Changeling world, a world torn between violence and peace, passion and ice…

Assassin. Soldier. Arrow. That is who Vasic is, who he will always be. His soul drenched in blood, his conscience heavy with the weight of all he’s done, he exists in the shadows, far from the hope his people can almost touch – if only they do not first drown in the murderous insanity of a lethal contagion. To stop the wave of death, Vasic must complete the simplest and most difficult mission of his life.

For if the Psy race is to survive, the empaths must wake . . .

Having rebuilt her life after medical ‘treatment’ that violated her mind and sought to stifle her abilities, Ivy should have run from the black-clad Arrow with eyes of winter frost. But Ivy Jane has never done what she should. Now, she’ll fight for her people, and for this Arrow who stands as her living shield, yet believes he is beyond redemption.

But as the world turns to screaming crimson, even Ivy’s fierce will may not be enough to save Vasic from the cold darkness . . .

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Three by Sarah Lotz

Here’s another horror. I’M SO GLAD I FOUND CJ TO REVIEW THE HORRORS!!!

H&S says:

Utterly gripping from beginning to end, THE THREE is an astonishing, epic thriller.

They’re here … The boy. The boy watch the boy watch the dead people oh Lordy there’s so many … They’re coming for me now. We’re all going soon. All of us. Pastor Len warn them that the boy he’s not to… – The last words of Pamela May Donald (1961 – 2012)

Black Thursday. The day that will never be forgotten. The day that four passenger planes crash, at almost exactly the same moment, at four different points around the globe.

There are only four survivors. Three are children, who emerge from the wreckage seemingly unhurt. But they are not unchanged. The fourth is Pamela May Donald, who lives just long enough to record a voice message on her phone. A message that will change the world.

The message is a warning…

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Written in my own Heart’s Blood by Diana Gabaldon

Orion says:

The latest epic volume in the multi-million-copy bestselling Outlander series.

It is June 1778, and the world seems to be turning upside-down. The British Army is withdrawing from Philadelphia, with George Washington in pursuit, and for the first time, it looks as if the rebels might actually win. But for Claire Fraser and her family, there are even more tumultuous revolutions that have to be accommodated.

Her former husband, Jamie, has returned from the dead, demanding to know why in his absence she married his best friend, Lord John Grey. Lord John’s son, the ninth Earl of Ellesmere, is no less shocked to discover that his real father is actually the newly-resurrected Jamie Fraser, and Jamie’s nephew Ian Murray discovers that his new-found cousin has an eye for the woman who has just agreed to marry him.

And while Claire is terrified that one of her husbands may be about to murder the other, in the 20th century her descendants face even more desperate turns of events. Her daughter Brianna is trying to protect her son from a vicious criminal with murder on his mind, while her husband Roger has disappeared into the past…

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Truck Song by Andrew Macrae (the CD)

I went to the website to grab the cover art and info. I looked at the first page for about 20 seconds and ran away screaming. My excuse: I have vision issues and this website is not friendly. Fare thee well in finding more information.

Nalini is an award-winning writer and artist as well as managing editor of Dark Matter Zine.


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