Friday, July 4, 2014

Summer Reading Lists: GROWN UP EDITION

Happy Independence Day!  Since you've got the day off and you've got nothing better to do than read, pick up one of these adult titles and dive into our summer reading list right now.  Well adult?  It has some... unfortunate connotations.  So, we're going with the Grown Ups.  Regardless, here's the list:

Shield and Crocus by Michael R. Underwood

In a city built among the bones of a fallen giant, a small group of heroes looks to reclaim their home from the five criminal tyrants who control it. 
The city of Audec-Hal sits among the bones of a Titan. For decades it has suffered under the dominance of five tyrants, all with their own agendas. Their infighting is nothing, though, compared to the mysterious “Spark-storms” that alternate between razing the land and bestowing the citizens with wild, unpredictable abilities. It was one of these storms that gave First Sentinel, leader of the revolutionaries known as the Shields of Audec-Hal, power to control the emotional connections between people—a power that cost him the love of his life. 
Now, with nothing left to lose, First Sentinel and the Shields are the only resistance against the city’s overlords as they strive to free themselves from the clutches of evil. The only thing they have going for them is that the crime lords are fighting each other as well—that is, until the tyrants agree to a summit that will permanently divide the city and cement their rule of Audec-Hal 
It’s one thing to take a stand against oppression, but with the odds stacked against the Shields, it’s another thing to actually triumph.


Mr. Underwood gave this to me at Phoenix Comicon and I dove right in.  It's superheros and high fantasy and awesome.  It moves quickly for an adult epic fantasy book, which is my major beef with fantasy in general.  Gratefully, he doesn't spend what feels like eons writing about the street his character is walking down.  You find out the details you need before need them, but you're still allowed the freedom to think and picture things in your own light, which to me?  Is paramount for successful world building.


Hemlock Grove by Brian McGreevy

The body of a young girl is found mangled and murdered in the woods of Hemlock Grove, Pennsylvania, in the shadow of the abandoned Godfrey Steel mill. A manhunt ensues—though the authorities aren’t sure if it’s a man they should be looking for.  
Some suspect an escapee from the White Tower, a foreboding biotech facility owned by the Godfrey family—their personal fortune and the local economy having moved on from Pittsburgh steel—where, if rumors are true, biological experiments of the most unethical kind take place. Others turn to Peter Rumancek, a Gypsy trailer-trash kid who has told impressionable high school classmates that he’s a werewolf. Or perhaps it’s Roman, the son of the late JR Godfrey, who rules the adolescent social scene with the casual arrogance of a cold-blooded aristocrat, his superior status unquestioned despite his decidedly freakish sister, Shelley, whose monstrous medical conditions belie a sweet intelligence, and his otherworldly control freak of a mother, Olivia. 
At once a riveting mystery and a fascinating revelation of the grotesque and the darkness in us all, Hemlock Grove has the architecture and energy to become a classic in its own right—and Brian McGreevy the talent and ambition to enthrall us for years to come.

Have you seen the Netflix exclusive series?  It's based on this gothic novel. And it's fabulous.  I'm planning on reading the book before I watch the second season! The second season premiers July 11th, by the way.


Vicky Peterwald: Target by Mike Shepherd

Her Imperial Highness the Grand Duchess Victoria Maria Teresa Inez Smythe-Peterwald, daughter of wealth and power, was raised to do little except be attractive and marry well. Then everything changed—her brother, her father’s favorite and the heir apparent, was killed in battle by Lieutenant Kris Longknife, daughter of the Peterwald’s longtime enemies. Vicky vowed revenge, but her skill set was more suitable for seduction than assassination, and she failed. Angry and disappointed, her father decided she needed military training and forced her to join the Navy.
Now Ensign Vicky Peterwald is part of a whole new world, where use of her ample charms will not lead to advancement. But her father is the Emperor, and what he wants he gets. What he wants is for Vicky to learn to be efficiently ruthless and deadly. 
Though the lessons are hard learned, Vicky masters them—with help from an unexpected source: Kris Longknife.

This is a new spin off from Mr. Shepherd's Kris Longknife series.  I'm intrigued by a main character who fails at her goal because she is more of a seductress than a warrior, who is then sent off to the Navy to learn, aren't you?

Midnight Crossroad by Charlaine Harris

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...
A brand new series from the mind behind Sookie Stackhouse?  Bring. It. On.


California Bones by Greg van Eekhout

When Daniel Blackland was six, he ingested his first bone fragment, a bit of kraken spine plucked out of the sand during a visit with his demanding, brilliant, and powerful magician father, Sebastian. 
When Daniel was twelve, he watched Sebastian die at the hands of the Hierarch of Southern California, devoured for the heightened magic layered deep within his bones. 
Now, years later, Daniel is a petty thief with a forged identity. Hiding amid the crowds in Los Angeles—the capital of the Kingdom of Southern California—Daniel is trying to go straight. But his crime-boss uncle has a heist he wants Daniel to perform: break into the Hierarch's storehouse of magical artifacts and retrieve Sebastian's sword, an object of untold power. 
For this dangerous mission, Daniel will need a team he can rely on, so he brings in his closest friends from his years in the criminal world. There's Moth, who can take a bullet and heal in mere minutes. Jo Alverado, illusionist. The multitalented Cassandra, Daniel’s ex. And, new to them all, the enigmatic, knowledgeable Emma, with her British accent and her own grudge against the powers-that-be. The stakes are high, and the stage is set for a showdown that might just break the magic that protects a long-corrupt regime.
Greg's second novel for grown ups, I'm completely intrigued by what these bones are going to do for Daniel.  Join me and find out in this intriguing tale that will surely crossover from grown ups to young adults.