HomeAll postsSF, fantasy, thrillers and comedies received for April/May 2014

SF, fantasy, thrillers and comedies received for April/May 2014

There’s a leaning tower of Piza on my dining table but it’s not made of pizza. It’s made of books, DVDs and blurays. Before it topples over, I thought I’d share them with you. I’m hoping that a few reviewers come to visit soon to relieve me of some of these books.

Contents – links to save scrolling

Books – children
Books – YA and adults
DVDs and blurays
Note with regards to review copies

Memory of Water looks fabulous but won’t be reviewed because I cannot access my review copy from Eidelweiss. I’ve sent in a request for assistance but apparently I have to change my email address to receive the book. I don’t have time to mess around with all the different agencies providing inaccessible review copies.

Please – also no Adobe Digital Editions! Adobe either won’t let me download them at all or won’t let me transfer review copies onto my laptop. I do not have time to deal with Adobe; historically it has taken several hours of repeated phone calls to get Adobe to – maybe – fix one thing at a time.

It’s all very ironic because electronic copies – if they work properly (not as common as you’d think) – are more disability accessible than paper, allowing me to read away from my desktop magnifier. However, if I can’t get hold of the review copy or I can’t transfer it to my laptop, then electronic review copies are not accessible at all.

I’m disappointed at not being able to review Memory of Water and the other books provided in Digital Editions or from Edelweiss but, with university full-time as well as Dark Matter, I have limited hours to spend trying to get hold of review books.

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Incy Wincy Spider by Karen Erasmus

This cute picture book tells the story of Incy’s further adventures. I anticipate children will giggle with their ‘oldies’ over this book.

Hachette Childrens says:

In this fun and lively story, Incy tries to find a place to rest but keeps getting into strife! When he crawls under the house, he comes face to face with a hungry cat. In the living room, he nearly gets sucked up by Gran’s vacuum cleaner, and his comfy resting place in the laundry hamper leads to a wet and wild ride in the washing machine.

The adventures of this determined little spider are brought to life by Karen Erasmus’ brightly coloured and irresistible illustrations.

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BoundBound by Alan Baxter

This is a martial arts fantasy from a guy who actually does martial arts. I interviewed Alan a couple of years ago.

Alan can be quite entertaining on Twitter and in his blog; his hatred of Prometheus was so entertaining that I offered to pay for his cinema ticket to see Prometheus 2. Sadly, he declined.

Bound is Alan’s next book, due for release on 1 July 2014.

HarperCollins says:

Alex Caine, a fighter by trade, is drawn into a world he never knew existed – a world he wishes he’d never found. Alex Caine is a martial artist fighting in illegal cage matches. His powerful secret weapon is an unnatural vision that allows him to see his opponents’ moves before they know their intentions themselves. An enigmatic Englishman, Patrick Welby, approaches Alex after a fight and reveals, ‘I know your secret.’ Welby shows Alex how to unleash a breathtaking realm of magic and power, drawing him into a mind-bending adventure beyond his control. And control is something Alex values above all else. A cursed grimoire binds Alex to Uthentia, a chaotic Fey godling, who leads him towards chaos and murder, an urge Alex finds harder and harder to resist. Befriended by Silhouette, a monstrous Kin beauty, Alex sets out to recover the only things that will free him – the shards of the Darak. But that powerful stone also has the potential to unleash a catastrophe which could mean the end of the world as we know it.

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Dark Entries by Robert Aickman

This collection is a ‘must-have’ according to C J, DMZ‘s horror reviewer.

Faber & Faber say:

Aickman’s ‘strange stories’ (his preferred term) are constructed immaculately, the neuroses of his characters painted in subtle shades. He builds dread by the steady accrual of realistic detail, until the reader realises that the protagonist is heading towards their doom as if in a dream.

Dark Entries was first published in 1964 and contains six curious and macabre stories of love, death and the supernatural, including the classic story ‘Ringing the Changes’.

‘Reading Robert Aickman is like watching a magician work, and very often I’m not even sure what the trick was. All I know is that he did it beautifully.’ Neil Gaiman

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Deep BlueDeep Blue by Jennifer Donnelly

The first in the new Waterfire Saga from New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Donnelly, Deep Blue is a very sexy hardcover, eagerly anticipated by DMZ reviewer Liz Manthos.

Hachette says:

When Serafina, a mermaid of the Mediterranean Sea, awakens on the morning of her betrothal, her biggest worry should be about reuniting with handsome Prince Mahdi, her childhood crush. Instead she finds herself haunted by strange dreams foretelling the return of an ancient evil, and dealing with the deaths of her parents as assassins storm the betrothal ceremony, plunging the city into chaos.

 Led only by her shadowy dreams and pursued by the invading army, Serafina and her best friend Neela embark on a quest to avenge her parents’ death and prevent a war between the mer nations. In the process they discover a plot that threatens their – and our – world’s very existence.

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Earth StarEarth Star by Janet Edwards

Earth Star is part two of an excellent YA story engaging with social issues including disability and disability discrimination. Rebecca Muir reviewed Earth Girl (part one) and I’ve reviewed both Earth Girl and Earth Star.

Pyr sent a sexy hardcover version of Earth Star!

Pyr says:

Romance, science fiction, action, and a look at the false assumptions we make about others combine in this light-hearted, fun, and well-conceived science fiction future.

Only She Can Save the World.

Eighteen-year-old Jarra has a lot to prove. After being awarded one of the military’s highest honors for her role in a daring rescue attempt, she finds herself-and her Ape status-in the spotlight. Jarra is one of the unlucky few born with an immune system that cannot survive on other planets. Derided as an “ape”-a “throwback”-by the rest of the universe, she is on a mission to prove that Earth Girls are just as good as anyone else.

Except now the planet she loves is under threat by what could be humanity’s first ever alien contact. Jarra’s bravery-and specialist knowledge-will once again be at the center of the maelstrom, but will the rest of the universe consider Earth worth fighting for? 

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Home and hearth Home and Hearth by Angela Slatter

Home and Hearth is a short story by Australian writer Angela Slatter.

Spectral Press says:

Caroline’s son returns to home and hearth at last. She’s a good parent or so she tells herself. She did everything a mother could to bring Simon back, even lied for him. The only problem is that Caroline’s not sure she actually wants him here anymore. Has Simon changed? Or is he still a danger? And does it matter now that the shadows are beginning to stir in the empty rooms of Caroline’s house? 

“Angela Slatter’s writing is deceptively charming but once she lures you in out come the claws, and the claws make you bleed.” – Robert Shearman

28pg A5 print booklet with card covers, signed and numbered, 125 only.

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 Manifestations - items receivedManifestations by David M Henley

The sequel to the Hunt for Pierre Jnr, Manifestations  will be released on 1 June 2014.

HarperCollins says:

The thrilling follow-up to The Hunt for Pierre Jnr. The Weave is left reeling after an explosion devastates the city of Busan. Who is behind it? What does it mean for the psis? Pete Lazarus has been taken captive and Colonel Pinter is discovering the joys of rejuvenation, while the most powerful telepath ever born marches steadily towards world domination, collecting subservient Citizens in his wake. In this second instalment in the trilogy, following on from The Hunt for Pierre Jnr, David Henley immerses us into a world of ambiguity where the end does not always justify the means. ‘A fantastic look at the idea of human prejudice and fear … another Peter F Hamilton or Daniel Suarez’ – fantasybookreview.co.uk 

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Memory of WaterMemory of Water by Emmi Itäranta

HarperCollins says:

An amazing, award-winning speculative fiction debut novel by a major new talent, in the vein of Ursula K. Le Guin.

Global warming has changed the world’s geography and its politics. Wars are waged over water, and China rules Europe, including the Scandinavian Union, which is occupied by the power state of New Qian. In this far north place, seventeen-year-old Noria Kaitio is learning to become a tea master like her father, a position that holds great responsibility and great secrets. Tea masters alone know the location of hidden water sources, including the natural spring that Noria’s father tends, which once provided water for her whole village.

But secrets do not stay hidden forever, and after her father’s death the army starts watching their town—and Noria. And as water becomes even scarcer, Noria must choose between safety and striking out, between knowledge and kinship.

Imaginative and engaging, lyrical and poignant, Memory of Water is an indelible novel that portrays a future that is all too possible.

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Midnight Crossroad by Charlaine Harris

Already reviewed by the eager C J, Midnight Crossroad is highly recommended for Charlaine Harris fans and those who enjoy horror/romance crossroads. C J’s review is here.

Hachette says:

From the bestselling author who created Sookie Stackhouse and her world of Bon Temps, Louisiana, comes a darker locale populated by more strangers than friends. But then, that s how the locals prefer it

Welcome to Midnight, Texas, a town with many boarded-up windows and few full-time inhabitants, located at the crossing of Witch Light Road and Davy Road. It s a pretty standard dried-up western town.

There s a pawnshop (someone lives in the basement and is seen only at night). There s a diner (people who are just passing through tend not to linger). And there s new resident Manfred Bernardo, who thinks he s found the perfect place to work in private (and who has secrets of his own).

Stop at the one traffic light in town, and everything looks normal. Stay awhile, and learn the truth…

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Mirror Sight by Kristen Britain

The fifth in the New York Times bestselling Green Rider series, Mirror Sight has been long-awaited. I interviewed Kristen Britain around the time of the release of her previous book.

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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Mortal FireMortal Fire by Elizabeth Knox

Highly recommended by Kelly Link and Margo Lanagan, this New Zealand Post Book Award finalist for Young Adult Fiction is intriguing!

Gecko Press says:

When sixteen-year-old Canny of the Pacific island, Southland, sets out on a trip with her stepbrother and his girlfriend, she finds herself drawn into enchanting Zarene Valley where the mysterious but dark seventeen-year-old Ghislain helps her to figure out her origins.

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Thief’s Magic by Trudi Canavan

I’ve interviewed Trudi a couple of times about her writing and her career, in 2011 and 2012. Way back in 2011, Trudi was planning this new series that has finally hit the bookshelves.

Orbit says:

In a world where an industrial revolution is powered by magic, Tyen, a student of archaeology, unearths a sentient book called Vella. Once a young sorcerer-bookbinder, Vella was transformed into a useful tool by one of the greatest sorcerers of history. Since then she has been collecting information, including a vital clue to the disaster Tyen’s world faces.

Elsewhere, in a land ruled by the priests, Rielle the dyer’s daughter has been taught that to use magic is to steal from the Angels. Yet she knows she has a talent for it, and that there is a corrupter in the city willing to teach her how to use it – should she dare to risk the Angels’ wrath.

But not everything is as Tyen and Rielle have been raised to believe. Not the nature of magic, nor the laws of their lands.

Not even the people they trust.

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The VoicesThe Voices by F R Tallis

Horror author F R Tallis wrote a psychological thriller. C J is planning to review this for DMZ!

Pan MacMillan says:

In the scorching summer of 1976 – the hottest since records began – Christopher Norton, his wife Laura and their young daughter Faye settle into their new home in north London. The faded glory of the Victorian house is the perfect place for Norton, a composer of film soundtracks, to build a recording studio of his own. But soon in the long, oppressively hot nights, Laura begins to hear something through the crackle of the baby monitor. First, a knocking sound. Then come the voices. For Norton, the voices mark an exciting opportunity. Putting his work to one side, he begins the project of a lifetime – a grand symphony incorporating the voices – and becomes increasingly obsessed with one voice in particular. Someone who is determined to make themselves heard . . .

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The Cat Returns The Cat Returns from Studio Ghibli

I saw this once before on DVD, several years ago now. I’m looking forward to seeing the remastered version. Studio Ghibli produces fabulous animated movies suitable for children and adults.

Madman says:

From the creators of the Academy-Award® winning SPIRITIED AWAY (Best Animated Feature, 2002): A visually stunning, magical adventure. FOR THE FIRST TIME ON BLU-RAY: The classic restored, enhanced and better than ever. THE BEST VERSION IN THE WORLD: Combining extras from Japan and the US. Starring English voice cast: Anne Hathaway (THE DARK KNIGHT RISES), Cary Elwes (THE PRINCESS BRIDE), Elliott Gould (OCEAN’S ELEVEN), Kristen Bell (VERONICA MARS).

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Gilded CageGilded Cage

Madman says:

Maria and José emigrated from Portugal 30 years ago. Ever since, they have lived in the modest ground floor lodgings of a chic apartment building in Paris, raising their now adult daughter and teenage son, and becoming utterly indispensible to all around them. 

When José learns he has inherited the family winery and the couple’s dream of returning to Portugal is now possible, they are elated – but struggle with how to tell those around them. However, word of the big news spreads anyway, and soon their family, neighbours, friends and employers are scrambling behind the scenes to find ways to prevent them from leaving…

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Princess MononokePrincess Mononoke from Studio Ghibli

Madman says:

A beautifully realized tale of civilization versus nature, PRINCESS MONONOKE is a true epic by Japan’s master animator Hayao Miyazaki. 

While protecting his village from a rampaging boar-god, the young warrior Ashitaka becomes afflicted with a deadly curse. To find the cure that will save his life, he journeys deep into sacred depths of the Great Forest Spirit’s realm where he meets San (Princess Mononoke), a girl raised by wolves. It’s not long before Ashitaka is caught in the middle of a battle between iron-ore prospecting humans and the forest dwellers. He must summon the spirit-powers and all his courage to stop man and nature from destroying each other.

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Third HalfThird Half

Madman says:

Set during one of the most turbulent times in history – the Second World War – and inspired by true events, THE THIRD HALF is a story of one of the most important things in the world: football. 

Dimitry, the owner of the small Macedonia Football Club, has more pressing worries on his mind than the war: his team hasn’t won a match and his star player, Kosta the Count, is more focused on gambling, pick-pocketing and skirt chasing than football. Unbelievably, the situation only worsens when Kosta falls in love with Rebecca, the stunning daughter of a stern Jewish banker. 

As the team continues to lose one game after another, a desperate Dimitry hires notorious task master Rudolf Spitz: a German legendary for his inflexible discipline and hard work. But just as Spitz’s work begins to pay off, the Nazi tanks roll through Macedonia, and the team finds itself at the very center of the war.

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And that’s it for this month, folks!

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


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