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Hot off the Press: New Fantasy Releases

“Hot off the Press” is a new feature that I’m adding to the blog. It will include the latest releases in the Fantasy and YA genres that I think are going to totally rock. I’m doing the work of finding great new reads so you don’t have to!

January and February Releases

1A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

Genre: Fantasy- Magic and Wizards, Romantic

Release Date: Feb 8, 2011 (Marked as Amazon Best of the Month for Feb. 2011)

Excitement Level: 7/10,

Lately, I’ve read some reviews of A Discovery of Witches that have run the gamut- some are obsessed, others loathe it. Anna from The Book Smugglers didn’t even finish it. With 562 pages, some readers may struggle to complete this book even if they loved it. Like some of us with a book challenge, perhaps??

Still the premise seems unique, and all you history buffs out there should really love it!

Description from GoodReads.com, “Deep in the stacks of Oxford’s Bodleian Library, young scholar Diana Bishop unwittingly calls up a bewitched alchemical manuscript in the course of her research. Descended from an old and distinguished line of witches, Diana wants nothing to do with sorcery; so after a furtive glance and a few notes, she banishes the book to the stacks. But her discovery sets a fantastical underworld stirring, and a horde of daemons, witches, and vampires soon descends upon the library. Diana has stumbled upon a coveted treasure lost for centuries-and she is the only creature who can break its spell.”

2The Iron Witch by Karen Mahoney

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Release Date: Feb. 8, 2011

Excitement Level: 10/10

I was really captured by the cover art (ohhh pretty!) and am really interested in the idea of “iron tattoos.” The story seems like it could be a bit heavy at times, but I think this book is absolutely worth a read! I haven’t read a good fairy book since Holly Black’s Tithe, and, I’m pretty sure I was in middle school at the time. I’m ready to dig in!

Description from GoodReads.com: “Freak. That’s what her classmates call seventeen-year-old Donna Underwood. When she was seven, a horrific fey attack killed her father and drove her mother mad. Donna’s own nearly fatal injuries from the assault were fixed by magic—the iron tattoos branding her hands and arms. The child of alchemists, Donna feels cursed by the magical heritage that destroyed her parents and any chance she had for a normal life. The only thing that keeps her sane and grounded is her relationship with her best friend, Navin Sharma.

When the darkest outcasts of Faerie—the vicious wood elves—abduct Navin, Donna finally has to accept her role in the centuries old war between the humans and the fey. Assisted by Xan, a gorgeous half-fey dropout with secrets of his own, Donna races to save her friend—even if it means betraying everything her parents and the alchemist community fought to the death to protect.”

3Jane Goes Batty  (Jane Bites #2) by Michael Thomas Ford

Genre: Urban Fantasy mixed with alternative history

Release Date: Feb. 1, 2011

Excitement Level: 5/10

I have no idea what to expect from this book, I mean Jane Austen is undead and owns a book store. What do you do with that?

I haven’t read the first book, Jane Bites Back yet either and will most definitely start there. This book is totally out of my normal “comfort zone” of genres and storylines, but what the heck? It seems fun, and I’m sure there’s nothing else like it out there.

Description from GoodReads.com: “Life was a lot easier for Jane when she was just an unknown, undead bookstore owner in a sleepy hamlet in upstate New York. But now the world embraces her as Jane Fairfax, author of the bestselling novelConstance—and she’s having a killer time trying to keep her true identity as the Jane Austen a secret. Even the ongoing lessons in How to Be a Vampire, taught by her former lover Lord Byron, don’t seem to be helping much. Jane can barely focus on her boyfriend, Walter, while keeping him in the dark about her more sanguine tastes.

To make matters worse, Walter announces that his mother is coming for a visit—and she’s expecting Jane to be Jewish. Add in a demanding new editor, a convention of romance readers in period costume, a Hollywood camera crew following Jane’s every move, and the constant threat of a certain bloodsucking Brontë sister coming back to finish her off, and it’s enough to make even the most well-mannered heroine go batty!”

4The Desert of Souls by Howard Andrew Jones

Genre: Fantasy- Magic and Wizards, Romantic

Release Date: Feb. 15, 2011

Excitement Level: 9/10

Again, what a gorgeous cover! With an exotic locale like Baghdad, I’m sure I haven’t read a book with this setting, like…ever. The Desert of Souls seems like it’ll be a great mystery read that mixes in my fav- romance- along with magic and history.

Now, if only I could get a tan just from reading about the desert…

Description from GoodReads.com: “In 9th century Baghdad, a stranger pleads with the vizier to safeguard the bejeweled tablet he carries, but he is murdered before he can explain. Charged with solving the puzzle, the scholar Dabir soon realizes that the tablet may unlock secrets hidden within the lost city of Ubar, the Atlantis of the sands. When the tablet is stolen from his care, Dabir and Captain Asim are sent after it, and into a life and death chase through the ancient Middle East.

Stopping the thieves—a cunning Greek spy and a fire wizard of the Magi—requires a desperate journey into the desert, but first Dabir and Asim must find the lost ruins of Ubar and contend with a mythic, sorcerous being that has traded wisdom for the souls of men since the dawn of time.”

5The Fallen Blade by John Courtenay Grimwood

Genre: Fantasy- Alternative History, Dark Fantasy

Release Date: Jan. 27, 2011

Excitement Level: 6/10

Renaissance Venice complete with vampires, witches and werewolves?? It’s crazy-talk! I haven’t read a ton of alternative history books, but I feel like I could really dig in without feeling too weird about vampires roaming Italy alongside Prince Leopold. Yeah, not too weird…but still weird. 🙂

I’m undecided about the political vein of the novel as I often skim over that aspect of books. At its best, politics in books can drive the plot and add extra layers of mystery and intrigue. At its worst- it’s just plain boring and difficult to follow. I really hope The Fallen Blade falls into the former category.

Description from BandN.com: “Venice in the early fifteenth century is at the height of its power. In theory Duke Marco commands. But Marco is a simpleton so his aunt and uncle rule in his stead. Within the Serene Republic, their word is law, but for all their influence, Venice’s fate still lies in other hands . . .

Lady Giulietta is the Duke’s cousin. She enjoys greater privilege than many can even dream of, but her status will demand a terrible price.

Atilo Il Mauros is head of the Assassini, the shadow army that enforces Venice’s will – both at home and abroad.

Prince Leopold zum Bas Friedland is the bastard son of the German emperor and leader of the krieghund – the only force in Venice more feared than Atilo’s assassins.

And then there is Atilo’s angel-faced apprentice. Only a boy, Tycho is already stronger and faster than any man has a right to be. He can see in the dark, but sunlight burns him. It is said that he drinks blood. Award-winning author Jon Courtenay Grimwood seamlessly blends history, politics and dark fantasy in a compelling vision of a Venice that might have been.”

Later this week, I’ll post my review of The False Princess by Eilis O’Neal!

About Lisa Parkin

I'm a hardcore lover of young adult fiction and have been reviewing books since 2011. Other interests include Downton Abbey, heat lightning storms, Harry Potter land and (begrudingly) one orange tabby.