Book Cover: Open Skies

Ilsa’s talent for hacking and Kai’s people skills make them experts at following a cold scent, and they’ve built a successful business on finding things. But when Eleazar Dantes offers them double the usual fee if he can accompany them across the galaxy in their search for his daughter, they find themselves in unknown territory – professionally and personally.

Book cover: Windswept - Adam RakunasPadma Mehta needs to recruit 33 more people to the Union and claim the signing bonus if she’s to buy the Old Windswept distillery. When an opportunity comes by that would put her over the line, she can’t pass it up, even if it is put her way by smelly loser Vytai Bloombeck. Padma’s forgotten that if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. The next few days will test what she’s really willing to do to make her numbers – and save her planet.

Book cover: The Masked CityIrene is a Librarian with a capital L – a secret agent who recovers books of note for the Library, hopping from one alternate reality to another. Irene settled down in a Victorian steampunk alternate when her apprentice is kidnapped by local Fae. But Kai is actually a dragon prince. If Irene can’t get him back, this will be the opening move in a multiverse-wide war between order and chaos.

reaperofstoneIf the goal of a short story is to leave you wanting more, A Reaper of Stone is a stunning success.

Elinor is the King’s Reaper, duty-bound to demolish the ancient keeps of the marches to prevent them falling into hostile hands. When the Lady of Timberline dies, Elinor is sucked into the vicious politics of Resa’s grasping nobility. Will she confirm the new Lord who seeks the title, or investigate the Lady’s unexpected death?

When my inner child dragged my beloved to see the fourth Indiana Jones film, he didn’t put up much of a fight. When we came out, his piquant review was ‘Thank you, Mr Spielberg, for pissing on my childhood’ (needless to say, he didn’t put himself through all the Star Wars ‘prequels’). This neatly sums up the hazards of revisiting childhood favourites – even when the same creator revisits a work, there’s no guarantee it will be a success (Mr Lucas, I’m looking at you).

Book Cover: The Apex Book of World SF 4I received this as a LibraryThing Early Reviewer title – it’s the latest in a series of collections of speculative / science fiction shorts from around the world. I took it as a great opportunity to broaden my horizons and get to know the works of non-Anglo/American authors, many of whom I hadn’t previously heard of. And generally, the quality here is very good – even the stories that weren’t to my taste were well-written and accomplished.

unnamedmidwifeI picked this up in the wake of links highlighting award nominees beyond this year’s poisonous Hugo debate. Winner of this year’s Philip K Dick award, The Book of the Unnamed Midwife is a brutal apocalyptic novel set in a nearly-now. The world has been ravaged by a flu-like sickness that has spread like wildfire, killing 98% of infected men – and more women.