The Steel Remains by Richard K Morgan


Synopsis: A dark lord will rise. Such is the prophecy that dogs Ringil Eskiath—Gil, for short—a washed-up mercenary and onetime war hero whose cynicism is surpassed only by the speed of his sword. Gil is estranged from his aristocratic family, but when his mother enlists his help in freeing a cousin sold into slavery, Gil sets out to track her down. But it soon becomes apparent that more is at stake than the fate of one young woman. Grim sorceries are awakening in the land. Some speak in whispers of the return of the Aldrain, a race of widely feared, cruel yet beautiful demons. Now Gil and two old comrades are all that stand in the way of a prophecy whose fulfillment will drown an entire world in blood. But with heroes like these, the cure is likely to be worse than the disease.

So this is another recommendation, though probably more like a nomination that was vetted, that I got from r/fantasy.  It doesn’t actually sound too bad.

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The Steel Remains by Richard K Morgan

The Heir of Night by Helen Lowe


Synopsis: Garrisoned by the Nine Houses of the Derai Alliance, the remote mountain range known as the Wall of Night is the final barrier between the lands of Haarth and the all-devouring Darkswarm—which the Derai have been fighting across worlds and time.     Malian, Heir to the warrior House of Night, knows the history of her people: the unending war; the legendary heroes blazing with long-lost power; the internal strife that has fractured the Derai’s former strength. Yet in the long stasis in the war between the Derai and their ancient enemy, she has known little of real danger—but now the Darkswarm is stirring again.

As the tide of shadow rises, Malian learns that she herself may be the key to both unravelling the Derai’s fractured past and ending the war against the Darkswarm once and for all. But with opportunity comes danger—and Malian knows that if she accepts the offer of ancient power, she must also prepare to pay the price.

I was excited when this book came out.  Fantasy authors from New Zealand are rare and so when one comes along, with a recommendation from Robin Hobb on the cover no less, I make time.  I didn’t get further than the first few pages when I started it the first time though before I got distracted, and, for one reason or another, never got round to picking it up again.  I figured I’d give it another chance.  If it’s good then I won’t have to hang around for the next book, the whole trilogy is out.

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The Heir of Night by Helen Lowe

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black


Synopsis: Tana lives in a world where walled cities called Coldtowns exist.  In them, quarantined monsters and humans mingle in a decadently bloody mix of predator and prey. The only problem is, once you pass through Coldtown’s gates, you can never leave.
One morning, after a perfectly ordinary party, Tana wakes up surrounded by corpses. The only other survivors of this massacre are her exasperatingly endearing ex-boyfriend, infected and on the edge, and a mysterious boy burdened with a terrible secret. Shaken and determined, Tana enters a race against the clock to save the three of them the only way she knows how: by going straight to the wicked, opulent heart of Coldtown itself.

I saw this come out and didn’t like the title, but the short story in Holly’s The Poison Eaters and Other Stories swayed me.

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The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

The Thousand Dollar Tan-Line by Rob Thomas and Jennifer Graham


Synopsis: Ten years after graduating from high school in Neptune, California, Veronica Mars is back in the land of sun, sand, crime, and corruption. She’s traded in her law degree for her old private investigating license, struggling to keep Mars Investigations afloat on the scant cash earned by catching cheating spouses until she can score her first big case.
Now it’s spring break, and college students descend on Neptune, transforming the beaches and boardwalks into a frenzied, week-long rave. When a girl disappears from a party, Veronica is called in to investigate. But this is not a simple missing person’s case. The house the girl vanished from belongs to a man with serious criminal ties, and soon Veronica is plunged into a dangerous underworld of drugs and organized crime. And when a major break in the investigation has a shocking connection to Veronica’s past, the case hits closer to home than she ever imagined.

I’m a fan of Veronica Mars though was not initially keen on this book after I saw the movie.  It tied things up nicely, but at the same time didn’t really leave me wanting more.

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The Thousand Dollar Tan-Line by Rob Thomas and Jennifer Graham

The Chemist by Stephenie Meyer


Synopsis: In this gripping page-turner, an ex-agent on the run from her former employers must take one more case to clear her name and save her life.
She used to work for the U.S. government, but very few people ever knew that. An expert in her field, she was one of the darkest secrets of an agency so clandestine it doesn’t even have a name. And when they decided she was a liability, they came for her without warning.
Now, she rarely stays in the same place or uses the same name for long. They’ve killed the only other person she trusted, but something she knows still poses a threat. They want her dead, and soon.
When her former handler offers her a way out, she realizes it’s her only chance to erase the giant target on her back. But it means taking one last job for her ex-employers. To her horror, the information she acquires only makes her situation more dangerous.
Resolving to meet the threat head-on, she prepares for the toughest fight of her life but finds herself falling for a man who can only complicate her likelihood of survival. As she sees her choices being rapidly whittled down, she must apply her unique talents in ways she never dreamed of.

I’ve known I was going to read this ever since it came out.  I know Twilight has always been rather polarising but I like to think I’m fairly neutral.

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The Chemist by Stephenie Meyer

Forgetting Foster by Diane Touchell


Synopsis: Foster suddenly recognised the feeling that rolled over him and made him feel sick. It was this: Dad was going away somewhere all on his own. And Foster was already missing him.
Foster Sumner is seven years old. He likes toy soldiers, tadpole hunting, going to school and the beach. Best of all, he likes listening to his dad’s stories.
But then Foster’s dad starts forgetting things. No one is too worried at first. Foster and Dad giggle about it. But the forgetting gets worse. And suddenly no one is laughing anymore.
A heartbreaking story about what it means to forget and to be forgotten.

I’m a fan of Diane Touchell’s first book, as I mentioned.  So I grabbed this when I saw it on the shelf on my recent trip to the library to get things to read.

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Forgetting Foster by Diane Touchell

Acorna: The Unicorn Girl by Anne McCaffrey


Synopsis: She was just a little girl, with a tiny horn in the center of her forehead, funny-looking feet, beautiful silver hair, and several curious powers: the ability to purify air and water, make plants grow, and heal scars and broken bones. A trio of grizzled prospectors found her drifting in an escape pod amid the asteroids, adopted her, and took her to the bandit planet Kezdet, a place where no questions are asked and the girl might grow up free.
But Kezdet has its own dark secret. The prosperity of the planet is based on a hideous trade in child slave labor, administered by “The Piper” — a mystery man with special plans for Acorna and her powers. But free little girls have a way of growing into freedom-loving young women, and Acorna has special plans all her own. . .

I picked this book up on a whim (a fairly regular occurrence, with mixed results).  I’ve never read anything by Anne McCaffrey unless you count an old graphic adaptation of a Dragonrider book which seemed alright.

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Acorna: The Unicorn Girl by Anne McCaffrey