Subscriber-Only Content; You must be a PW subscriber to access the backissue database. PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital edition via our app or online. For more information on PW's new integrated subscription plan, click here. If you are currently a PW subscriber, click "Login" for full access to the site (if you have not done so already, you will need to set up your account for the new system by going here), or click the "Subscribe" button to become a PW subscriber. Email service@publishersweekly.com with questions.

Login or
Sugar Daddy

Sawyer Bennett. Loveswept, $3.99 e-book (227p) ISBN 978-1-101-96812-3

Bennett's trilogy opener starts in a very dark place, with 26-year-old Sela watching TV and seeing the man who led a gang-rape of her 11 years before. That man, Jonathon "JT" Townsend, is now the successful head of Sugar Daddy, a creepy dating site that matches rich older men with young women in need of money. Sela decides she'll get into his life, find out who else was involved with the rape, and kill them all. Her plan eventually leads to her seducing JT's business partner and friend, perpetual bachelor Beck, but both she and Beck find themselves falling for each other as they realize how incredibly sexually compatible they are. Of course, Sela continues to attempt to investigate JT while hoping that Beck wasn't a part of the group that raped her. Bennett writes copious hot sex scenes and also does a solid job of making her characters multifaceted, but the choice to split Sela's story into three short novels (and resultant lack of any closure here) might disappoint some readers. Agent: Michelle Johnson, Inklings Literary. (May)

Reviewed on 07/22/2016 | Details & Permalink

show more
Sword and Star

Sunny Moraine. Riptide, $19.99 trade paper (415p) ISBN 978-1-62649-303-2

In this triumphant conclusion to the Root Code trilogy, Moraine (Fall and Rising) brings all the threads of their romantic space opera together, with various factions preparing for an epic confrontation in the heart of the Terran Protectorate. Newlyweds Adam Yuga and Lochlan D'Bideshi want to heal the people of the Protectorate, who are slowly succumbing to a genetic breakdown; for this, they're branded as outcasts and anathema. Their ragtag rebel fleet is on the run and suffering from a series of inexplicable losses. They must root out a traitor and find new allies in order to have a chance of winning the inevitable war. Meanwhile, ambitious Isaac Sinder has found his own terrifyingly powerful partner and is launching a plan to destroy his enemies and seize control for himself. Moraine crafts a drama built on emotion and mysticism as much as action and adventure, leading to a conflict that plays on all levels. After a substantial buildup, the resolution is almost anticlimactic, with many character stories left open-ended and much of the universe still to be explored. (May)

Reviewed on 07/22/2016 | Details & Permalink

show more
Writers of the Future, Vol. 32

Edited by David Farland. Galaxy Press, $16 trade paper (496p) ISBN 978-1-61986-502-0

The 32nd installment of the Writers of the Future contest, a showcase for new and exceptional speculative fiction and artwork, is an engaging mix of thought-provoking and inventive stories, accompanied by equally impressive illustrations. Several of these tales, such as the opening story, John Lasser's "The Star Tree," in which a family battles with loss across star systems, and Christopher Weber's "Möbius," in which a father's dream is global immortality, deal with vexing questions about the human condition. Others are as quirky as they are entertaining, such as editor Farland's "Hellfire on the High Frontier," a delightful steam punk tale that follows a ranger as he hunts his quarry across the American frontier, and Rachael K. Jones's "Dinosaur Dreams in Infinite Measure," a tale of an old woman's legacy as the inventor of a dinosaur-making machine. Interspersed throughout are essays by L. Ron Hubbard and others on the development of the genre over the decades. This carefully curated selection will appeal to both casual and seasoned readers of speculative fiction. (May)

Reviewed on 07/22/2016 | Details & Permalink

show more
Addicted

Elle Kennedy. Signet Eclipse, $7.99 mass market (368p) ISBN 978-0-451-47445-2

Kennedy's second Outlaws erotic dystopian tale (after Claimed) is a tightly plotted, sizzling, enjoyable roller coaster ride with a pleasurable finish. The titular outlaws struggle to survive in a postapocalyptic land where most resources are concentrated in four cities run by the vicious Global Council. After nearby town leader Reese calls on the Outlaws for help, lifelong best friends Jamie and Lennox leave the relative safety of their compound to train Reese's troops. Gruff, protective Lennox wants more than just friendship with Jamie, and Jamie's had her own lustful moments regarding Lennox. After a hot scene, Jamie and Lennox are on uncertain ground—if they follow their hearts, they might destroy their most cherished friendship. But the dreaded Enforcers appear, ready to rape and pillage, and Jamie and Lennox realize that there's nothing they wouldn't do for each other. The red-hot sex scenes mostly show female/male couples but also include male/male and ménage encounters. Uniting them Kennedy's obvious affection for the characters of her world, a fondness that her readers will undoubtedly share. Agent: Don Fehr, Trident Media Group. (June)

Reviewed on 07/22/2016 | Details & Permalink

show more
All I Ever Wanted

Katrina Mills. Owl City, $3.99 e-book (320p) ISBN 978-1-5242-1966-6

Former childhood best friends find comfort in each other while dealing with bitter pasts and learning lessons of forgiveness in Mills's debut novel, which launches her Summer Love contemporary romance series. Schoolteacher Kinsley Bailey returns to her hometown, Staunton, Va., After the death of her absentee father, who'd had nothing to do with her since she was eight years old. The situation was difficult enough without her running into and entering a business agreement with the only other man who'd ever broken her heart: Sebastian "Bass" Harris. The betrayals of his ex-wife and best friend pretty much cemented Bass's single status, but he's perfectly happy to make good no-strings-attached use of Kinsley's remaining time in town. When steamy nights are offset by meaningful conversation and joyous times with Bass's daughter, Kinsley begins to battle those old feelings. She's longer the naïve teenager Bass once knew, and she leaves him with two options: admit his romantic inclinations or let her go. Small-town connections between well-developed, moderately witty characters will leave readers satisfied and anticipating the sequel. (June)

Reviewed on 07/22/2016 | Details & Permalink

show more
Augments of Change

Kelvin Christopher James. Harvard Square, $22.95 (322p) ISBN 978-1-941861-10-3

Contemporary themes are swathed in a mishmash of science fiction trappings in this plot-driven near-future story that fails to say anything new or convincing. A prologue introduces a doughty band of "sub-sentient" alien "particles" who travel from galaxy to galaxy and world to world on a mysterious mission. With Earth nearing ecological collapse, powerful businessmen (yes, they're all men) plot to control the world's economy by cornering the market on critical technologies and discrediting the government by releasing video of politicians accepting bribes. Meanwhile, a violet-eyed white man puts aside his bigotry to fall in love with a black woman scientist, and their child exhibits mutant abilities. When a mysterious virus targets those of "pure blood," the survival of humankind depends on mixed-race people. This is a story brimming with themes of race, climate change, genetic engineering, and out-of-control plutocracy, but James spends so much time having characters explain things that he never manages to weave his elements into a compelling story. (May)

Reviewed on 07/22/2016 | Details & Permalink

show more
Imprudence

Gail Carriger. Hachette Book/Orbit, $25 (320p) ISBN 978-0-316-21221-2

The second installment of Carriger's Custard Protocol series picks up not long after the events of 2015's Prudence, set in an alternate Victorian England populated by various paranormal entities. Series heroine Rue, the daughter of previous protagonists Lord and Lady Maccon, is chastised for her unconventional and unauthorized approach to diplomacy and stripped of her legal protections by Queen Victoria. Undaunted, Rue carries on; when a family emergency requires that she use her airship, the Spotted Custard, to transport her parents to Egypt, she seizes the opportunity to see more of the world. Their journey is fraught with danger, with attackers appearing like clockwork, and it's all Rue and her eclectic crew can do to fend them off. The trip is made ever more complicated by matters of the heart: Rue is falling for her chief engineer, Quesnel Lefoux, but is determined to keep things casual. Romance and mayhem are described with a tongue-in-cheek mannerly tone as Rue and her friends try to discover why they're being attacked and to stop it before things get out of hand. Carriger remains deft at mixing comedy with action in her idiosyncratic steampunk and paranormal setting. Agent: Kristin Nelson, Nelson Literary Agency. (July)

Reviewed on 07/22/2016 | Details & Permalink

show more
In the Shadow of Frankenstein: Tales of the Modern Prometheus

Edited by Stephen Jones. Pegasus, $27.95 (736p) ISBN 978-1-68177-145-8

Despite a roster of skilled writers, this volume of 24 stories and one poem fails to escape Mary Shelley's distinguished shadow. There are some memorable contributions from lesser-known authors who merit a higher profile. David Case's touching and suspenseful short novel, "The Dead End," begins with a cryptozoological premise, as an ambitious British anthropologist is sent to the wilds of Tierra del Fuego to probe reports of a mysterious hominid, but becomes much more than a monster hunt. R. Chetwynd-Hayes's "The Creator" is an irreverent look at an effort to emulate Victor Frankenstein. And in "Poppi's Monster," Lisa Morton make effective use of Shelley's theme to movingly portray a 10-year-old abused by her brutish father. But the inclusion of Shelley's classic novel only serves to accentuate her innovative and well-imagined "cross-breeding of the Gothic and the scientific romance," as Neil Gaiman succinctly puts it in his foreword, and to provide a standard that most of the other works don't come close to meeting. (July)

Reviewed on 07/22/2016 | Details & Permalink

show more
The Dragon Lords: Fool's Gold

Jon Hollins. Orbit, $14.99 trade paper (400p) ISBN 978-0-316-30823-6

Hollins's seat-of-the-pants fantasy comedy snowballs wildly into a glorious disaster of fire, magic, multiple threats to people's intestines, and fun—for the reader, if not the characters. Will Fallows's only ambition is to hold on to the farm he inherited from his parents, an unlikely goal considering the high taxes demanded by Mattrax the dragon. Mattrax's soldiers kick Will out and he ends up in the company of mercenary Lette; her partner, the eight-foot-tall barbarian lizard man Balur; the dragon-specializing scholar Quirk, who is trying to leave behind her magic heritage; and Will's former farmhand, the delusional Firkin. Among them they hatch a plan to get rich and take revenge by robbing dragon gold. Their mishap-ridden accidental successes, advertised by Firkin's ranting about a dragon-killing "prophet," spark religious fervor and a war with the surviving dragons. Will and his motley companions might have a slim chance of living another day through if they throw themselves into the fray headfirst—and don't kill one another. Their constant stumbles and suffering will be a dragon's hoard for any fan of comic fantasy. Agent: Howard Morhaim, Howard Morhaim Literary. (July)

Reviewed on 07/22/2016 | Details & Permalink

show more
The Rain-Soaked Bride: The Clown Service Series, Book 2

Guy Adams. Del Rey, $16.95 trade paper (336p) ISBN 978-0-09-195317-1

The second book of the Clown Service series (after the eponymous launch title) combines dark arts and dark humor. When trade talks between the U.K. and South Korea are plagued by deaths that reek of the supernatural, Toby Greene and August Shining of British Intelligence's Section 37 are called in to help. But even their expertise in the occult may not be enough. Adams does a much better job this time providing a compelling thriller plot, taking the reader down credible false leads on multiple occasions and keeping the speculative elements on topic. The scope is smaller, but feels more powerful due to the proximity and individuality of the death scenes. Some issues remain, such as the way magic always manages to do whatever the plot requires and the need for Toby and August to save the female characters, but the merging of James Bond and the X-Files is still delightful enough to overcome these flaws. (July)

Reviewed on 07/22/2016 | Details & Permalink

show more
X
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
X
X
X
Email Address

Password

Log In Lost Password

PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital editions of PW (online or via our app). For instructions on how to set up your accout for digital access, click here. For more information, click here.

The part of the site you are trying to access is now available to subscribers only. Subscribers: to set up your digital subscription with the new system (if you have not done so already), click here. To subscribe, click here.

Email pw@pubservice.com with questions.

Not Registered? Click here.