Black Blade Blues

by J. A. Pitts
Tor Books
Trade Paperback – 15.99

Sarah Beauhall has more on her plate than most twenty-somethings: day job as a blacksmith, night job as a props manager for low-budget movies, and her free time is spent fighting in a medieval re-enactment group.

The lead actor breaks Sarah’s favorite one-of-a-kind sword, and to avoid reshooting scenes, Sarah agrees to repair the blade. One of the extras, who claims to be a dwarf, offers to help. And that’s when things start to get weird. Could the sword really be magic, as the “dwarf” claims? Are dragons really living among us as shapeshifters?

And as if things weren’t surreal enough, Sarah’s girlfriend Katie breaks out the dreaded phrase… “I love you.”  As her life begins to fall apart, first her relationship with Katie, then her job at the movie studio, and finally her blacksmithing career, Sarah hits rock bottom. It is at this moment, when she has lost everything she has prized, that one of the dragons makes their move.

And suddenly what was unthinkable becomes all too real…and Sarah will have to decide if she can reject what is safe and become the heroine who is needed to save her world.

Deborah reviewed Black Blade Blues just last week, and she loved it. Check it out here!

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Song of Scarabaeus
by Sara Creasy
HarperCollins
MM Paperback – 7.99

The best cypherteck in the galaxy, Edie can reinvent planets with little more than a thought. Trained since childhood in advanced biocyph seed technology by the all-powerful Crib empire, her mission is to terraform alien worlds while her masters bleed the outlawed Fringe populations dry. When renegade mercenaries kidnap Edie, she’s not entirely sure it’s a bad thing… until they leash her to a bodyguard, Finn—a former freedom fighter-turned-slave, beaten down but never broken. If Edie strays from Finn’s side, he dies. If she doesn’t cooperate, the pirates will kill them both.

But Edie’s abilities far surpass anything her enemies imagine. And now, with Finn her only ally as the merciless Crib closes in, she’ll have to prove it or die on the site of her only failure… a world called Scarabaeus.

This looks like a complicated but engaging plot. It’s being compared to Ann Aguire’s science fiction, which I enjoyed, and I haven’t read any science fiction in a while. Allow me one critique–I do hate that cover. If she’s all that powerful, then why is she at that guy’s feet, clinging to his leg a la Princess Leia??? Crikey! I thought we were over covers like that!

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Orion You Came and You Took All My Marbles

by Kira Henehan
Milkweed Editions
Trade Paperback – $16

Welcome to the off-kilter world of Finley, an investigator of indiscernible origins and prowess. Her assignment: the mysterious Professor Uppal and his puppets. The objective: impossible to say. But Finley is unassailable. She forges ahead with occasional assistance and hindrance from her colleagues Murphy, The Lamb, and Binelli, as well as the professor’s beautiful daughter and her sinister artiste boyfriend. In her meticulous and completely unbiased report, Finley tracks the investigation’s slow spiral back upon itself, as the clues she uncovers reveal questions that lead directly back to her own forgotten past.

No, this isn’t a self-published novel, just a novel with a quirky title. It won the Milkweed National Fiction Prize, which appears to be a contest run by the publisher.