Mailbox Monday & What I'm Reading

If it's Monday, then it must be time for Mailbox Monday, a weekly meme that provides a virtual gathering place for bloggers (and readers) to share the books that came their way over the past week. Originally hosted by Marcia, of To Be Continued..., it has since become something of a book tour, with a new host each month.

With the new year in full-swing I'm still trying to keep a limit on the review titles coming in, but there have been a few I just couldn't say no to:

A Darkling Sea by James L. Cambias
Tor Books (January 28, 2014)

On the planet Ilmatar, under a roof of ice a kilometer thick, a team of deep-sea diving scientists investigates the blind alien race that lives below. The Terran explorers have made an uneasy truce with the Sholen, their first extraterrestrial contact: so long as they don’t disturb the Ilmataran habitat, they’re free to conduct their missions in peace.

But when Henri Kerlerec, media personality and reckless adventurer, ends up sliced open by curious Ilmatarans, tensions between Terran and Sholen erupt, leading to a diplomatic disaster that threatens to escalate to war.

Against the backdrop of deep-sea guerrilla conflict, a new age of human exploration begins as alien cultures collide. Both sides seek the aid of the newly enlightened Ilmatarans. But what this struggle means for the natives—and the future of human exploration—is anything but certain, in A Darkling Sea by James Cambias.

A Burnable Book by Bruce Holsinger
William Morrow (February 18, 2014)

London, 1385. Surrounded by ruthless courtiers--including his powerful uncle,  John of Gaunt, and Gaunt's artful mistress, Katherine Swynford--England's young, still untested king, Richard II, is in mortal peril, and the danger is only beginning. Songs are heard across London--catchy verses said to originate from an ancient book that prophesies the end of England's kings--and among the book's predictions is Richard's assassination. Only a few powerful men know that the cryptic lines derive from a "burnable book," a seditious work that threatens the stability of the realm. To find the manuscript, wily bureaucrat Geoffrey Chaucer turns to fellow poet John Gower, a professional trader in information with connections high and low. Gower discovers that the book and incriminating evidence about its author have fallen  into the unwitting hands of innocents, who will be drawn into a labyrinthine conspiracy that reaches from the king's court to London's slums and stews--and potentially implicates his own son. As the intrigue deepens, it becomes clear that Gower, a man with secrets of his own, may be the last hope to save a king from a terrible fate.

Medieval scholar Bruce Holsinger draws on his vast knowledge of the period to add colorful, authentic detail--on everything from poetry and bookbinding to court intrigues and brothels--to this highly entertaining and brilliantly constructed epic literary mystery that brings medieval England gloriously to life.

The Book of the Crowman by Joseph D'Lacey
Angry Robot (February 25, 2014)

The world has been condemned. Only Gordon Black and The Crowman can redeem it.The search for the shadowy figure known only as the Crowman continues, as the Green Men prepare to rise up against the forces of the Ward.It is the Bright Day, a time long generations hence, when a peace has descended across the world.It is the Black Dawn, a time of environmental apocalypse, the earth wracked and dying.

The Summoning by F.G. Cottam
Severn House Publishers (May 1, 2014)

When student Adam Parker unearths a mysterious metal artefact during an archaeological dig in a Scottish forest, little does he realize that his life is about to change forever. For it is a sign that Adam has been summoned to fulfil his destiny, playing his part in an epic battle for supremacy that has been waged for centuries. Introduced to a dark shadow world that exists alongside our own, a place of despair and wilful cruelty, Adam will be tested to the very limits of his endurance. For within that shadow world lurks Rabanus Bloor, the man who has sworn to seek out Adam and destroy him - whatever it takes

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is another weekly meme, this time hosted by Book Journey. This one is focused on what books are spending the most time in your hands, as opposed to what's been added to your shelf.

With an eye towards reviews over the next few weeks, my imagination is currently split between a few different titles:

The Book of Apex: Volume Four of Apex Magazine edited by Lynne M. Thomas
With the likes of Bear, Rambo, Mandelo, and Monette included here, this has proven to be a strong collection. Fortunately, I was able to snag a paperback ARC, so I've been dipping into it one story at a time.

Red Sonja Volume 1: Queen Of Plagues by Gail Simone
This is next up in my return to the world of graphic novels, and one I'll be talking about in the Sword & Sorcery 'Heroines' group read over at Goodreads.

Maze by J.M. McDermott
I don't normally do weirdly surreal literature, but this one grabbed me right from the start - such depth of imagination, and carefully alignment of seemingly unrelated tangents.

To Sail a Darkling Sea by John Ringo 
The first book was good, but left me with a few lingering concerns. Hoping this one resolves them and lives up to the potential.

What's topping your shelves this week?


  1. That's nice to get some books and hard to say no :) Enjoy!

  2. I just had a spree on Amazon! I bought Paul Kearney's Macht trilogy, Kushiel's Dart by Jacqueline Carey, and Scott Oden's The Lion of Cairo. Finishing up Tigana by GGK, which is fucking amazing BTW. Assassins, whores, and grunts... I have a busy schedule ahead of me!

    1. Nice haul! I just got the first book of the Macht trilogy last week, so I'm looking forward to that. Kushiel's Dart is unlike any fantasy I've ever read before, but exceptionally well done. As for Tigana . . . well, it's hard to go wrong with Kay - that's probably my second favorite, next to River of Stars.

    2. I think I've heard Jacqueline Carey mentioned in a lot of fantasy forums since I started reading them years ago. It sounds like a fantasy staple. Tigana is just amazing... GGK has a way with words that makes me envious. I'll seriously read a sentence and shake my head and say to myself, "holy shit that was beautiful..."

  3. OOh nice! As usual, these are all new to me! Hope you enjoy reading them all!

    My STS post will be up tomorrow, so be sure to stop by then!

    Have a GREAT day!

    Old Follower :)

  4. Enjoy all of your new additions :) My STS

  5. Nice haul! Enjoy your lovely books :)

    My Showcase Sunday :)

  6. I'll be snagging The Darkling Sea as soon as it comes out. Looking forward to it.

  7. I have been working through the APEX volume myself. Hit or miss so far; as is typical of these types of stories.

    Kind of wish I had read Black Feathers, see a lot of people excited about its sequel.

    1. The Apex collection almost literally seems to be hit or miss. With a few exceptions, it's been good one, bad one, good one, bad one.

      Black Feathers is definitely worth the read. Give it a chance - it's one of those books that you'll roll through pretty fast.

  8. A Darkling Sea sounds good, and I love the cover!

  9. I Like the sound of McDermott's Maze too - will watch out for your review. Happy reading!

    1. A strange, trippy sort of book, but fascinating at the same time.

  10. A Burnable Book looks like an intriguing historical novel. Enjoy!
    Book Dilettante

  11. have a great reading week.

  12. Enjoy your new books and have a great week!


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