This Week’s Mine Shaft

What new releases are the canaries eyeing this first week of the new year?

Altered by Jennifer Rush

YA SciFi/Adventure/Romance

They were made to forget. But they’ll never forgive.

An ominous tagline paired with a smexy cover? I’m in. Anna’s life is strange to say the least. Her father works for a secret (government?) company, The Branch, and his latest project included hording genetically altered teenage boys in a lab below their farmhouse. And, as any father who has a holding pen of teenage boys should anticipate, Anna falls for one of them – Sam. When The Branch comes to take the boys away, Anna finds herself on the run with them as an even darker secret is revealed: the person The Branch really wants is Anna herself.

Great North Road by Peter F. Hamilton

Science Fiction/Murder Mystery

Great North Road is billed as a science fiction murder mystery with a hefty does of political thriller.  Most writers likely wouldn’t be able to pull off so many genre descriptors, but Hamilton has proven to be more than up to the task. A current master of the space opera genre, Hamilton has a knack of weaving together a loom-worth of threads, making for exciting, satisfying reads. Such thread weaving also makes it nearly impossible to describe the plot concisely, but here’s a shot at it:

Centuries from now, when humans have conquered space travel and their colonies stretch out across the galaxy, an investigator, Sid, is mired in the task of discovering the truth behind who murdered a member of the single most influential family in the brave new world. Angela, the woman accused of the crime, not only claims her innocence, but she also states that it was a giant alien monster who did the killing. No one would believe her but more people are being killed – even while Angela is behind bars. It’s up to the two of them to find the killer, but at what cost?

Prophecy by Ellen Oh

The first book in The Dragon King Chronicles

YA Fantasy/Adventure

The blurb for this one sums the story up quite well, so I’m going to let it do the talking:

“The greatest warrior in all of the Seven Kingdoms . . . is a girl with yellow eyes.

Kira’s the only female in the king’s army, and she’s also the prince’s bodyguard. She’s a demon slayer and an outcast, hated by nearly everyone in her home city of Hansong. And, she’s their only hope. . . .

Murdered kings and discovered traitors point to a demon invasion, sending Kira on the run with the young prince. He may be the savior predicted in the Dragon King’s prophecy, but the legendary lost ruby treasure just might be the true key to victory. With only the guidance of the cryptic prophecy, Kira must battle demon soldiers, an evil shaman, and the Demon Lord himself to find what was once lost and raise a prince into a king.”

Star Wars: Scoundrels by Timothy Zahn

Science Fiction/Media Tie-In

I feel like this book needs no further pitching. Just look at that cover and revel in its geekiness. Plus, it’s Timothy Zahn’s and Star Wars, a combination that is always a treat. It appears to take place some time after A New Hope and before The Empire Strikes Back — for anyone curious as to what our favorite scoundrels were doing during that time.

Chewbacca and Lando Calrissian join Han Solo as he attempts to infiltrate the headquarters of the Black Sun, a crime syndicate that no sane man would go up against. But Han has a debt to pay and only a hefty score will see him come through it alive. After all, the only thing worse that the Black Sun are the Hutts, and it’s Jabba that Han will have to answer to if he fails.

Without Warning by John Birmingham

Science Fiction/Dystopia

“When a wave of inexplicable energy slams into the United States, America as we know it vanishes. From a Texas lawyer who happens to be in the right place at the right time to an engineer in Seattle who becomes his city’s only hope, from a war journalist trapped in the Middle East to a drug runner off the Mexican coast, this is a story of survival, violence, and a new, soul-shattering reality.”

I’ve been reading a lot of YA dystopia recently, so I think it might be time to give adult dystopia a look-see. A promising premise, Without Warning make be just the way to kick off a new year of reading.

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What about you? What are the books on your to-read list?

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