Saturday, April 27, 2013

The Mermaid's Madness, by Jim C. Hines

Rating: 4.5/5
Publisher: DAW
339 pages
Source: Birthday present

Description: There is an old story — you might have heard it — about a young mermaid, the daughter of a king, who saved the life of a human prince and fell in love.

So innocent was her love, so pure her devotion, that she would pay any price for the chance to be with her prince. She gave up her voice, her family, and the sea, and became human. But the prince had fallen in love with another woman.

The tales say the little mermaid sacrificed her own life so that her beloved prince could find happiness with his bride.

The tales lie.
(From the back cover.)

A Counterfeit Betrothal, by Mary Balogh

Rating: 1/5
Publisher: Dell
259 pages
Source: LibraryThing Early Reviewers

Description: Lady Sophia Bryant has no intention of marrying anytime soon. Her one desire is to reunite her parents, who have been estranged for fourteen years. Surely, if she happens to announce her betrothal—even a false one—they will be forced to see each other. Devilishly handsome Lord Francis Sutton seems perfect for such deceit, always agreeable to games of passion in which he has nothing to lose. The trap is set—if only Lady Sophia can keep her foolish heart from falling prey to her brilliant snares. (From the back cover)

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Transition, by Iain M. Banks

Rating: 4/5
Publisher: Orbit
404 pages
Source: My collection

Description: There is a world that hangs suspended between triumph and catastrophe, between the dismantling of the Wall and the fall of the Twin Towers, frozen in the shadow of suicide terrorism and global financial collapse. Such a world requires a firm hand and a guiding light. But does it need the Concern: an all-powerful organization with a malevolent presiding genius, pervasive influence and numberless invisible operatives in possession of extraordinary powers?

Among those operatives are Temudjin Oh, of mysterious Mongolian origins, an un-killable assassin who journeys between the peaks of Nepal, a version of Victorian London and the dark palaces of Venice under snow; Adrian Cubbish, a restlessly greedy City trader; and a nameless, faceless state-sponsored torturer known only as the Philosopher, who moves between time zones with sinister ease. Then there are those who question the Concern: the bandit queen Mrs. Mulverhill, roaming the worlds recruiting rebels to her side; and Patient 8262, under sedation and feigning madness in a forgotten hospital ward, in hiding
from a dirty past.

There is a world that needs help; but whether it needs the Concern is a different matter.
(From the back cover.)

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Three Bags Full, by Leonie Swann

Rating: 4.5/5
Publisher: Flying Dolphin Press
341 Pages
Source: Library

Description: A sheep detective story. What more needs saying?

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Feersum Endjinn, by Iain M. Banks

US Cover
UK Cover
Rating: 3/5
Publisher: Bantam Spectra
311 pages
Source: My collection

The Cover: While neither of these covers seems to be the current cover art, they're roughly from the same period. I'm wondering what the American publisher was thinking. That art is just so bland. (Plus it has nothing to do with the content.)

Description: Count Sessine is about to die for the very last time...

Chief Scientist Gadfium to receive the mysterious message she has been waiting for from the Plain of Sliding Stones...

And Bascule the Teller, in search of an ant, is about to enter the chaos of the crypt...

And everything is about to change...

For this is the time of the Encroachment and, while the sun still shines on the vast, towering walls of the Serehfa Fastness, the end is close at hand. The King knows it, his closest advisors know it, yet still they prosecute the war against the clan Engineers with increasing savagery.

The crypt knows it too; so an emissary has been sent, an emissary who holds the key to all their futures. (From the back of the UK edition.)

Firelight, by Kristen Callihan

Rating: 4/5
Publisher: Forever
372 pages
Source: Barnes&

Description: Miranda Ellis is a woman tormented. Plagued since birth by a strange and powerful gift, she has spent her entire life struggling to control her exceptional abilities. Yet one innocent but irreversible mistake has left her family's fortune decimated and forced her to wed London's most nefarious nobleman.

Lord Benjamin Archer is no ordinary man. Doomed to hide his disfigured face behind masks, Archer knows it's selfish to take Miranda as his bride. Yet he can't help being drawn to the flame-haired beauty whose touch sparks a passion he hasn't felt in a lifetime. When Archer is accused of a series of gruesome murders, he gives in to the beastly nature he has fought so hard to hide from the world. But the curse that haunts him cannot be denied. Now, to save his soul, Miranda will enter a world of dark magic and darker intrigue. For only she can see the man hiding behind the mask. (From the back cover)