So I've become really bad at keeping up with these posts on a biweekly basis, so I've decided to just do them monthly on the last Saturday of each month. So without further ado, here is our June 2013 Stacking the Shelves:
At the end of the sixteenth century, religious upheaval brings fear, superstition, and doubt to the lives of mortals. Yet unbeknownst to them, another world lies just beyond the Veil: the realm of the Sithe, a fierce and beautiful people for whom a full-mortal life is but the blink of an eye. The Veil protects and hides their world…but it is fraying at the edges, and not all think it should be repaired.
Discarded by his mother and ignored by his father, sixteen-year-old Seth MacGregor has grown up half wild in his father’s fortress, with only his idolized older brother, Conal, for family. When Conal quarrels with the Sithe queen and is forced into exile in the full-mortal world, Seth volunteers to go with him.
But life beyond the Veil is even more dangerous than they expected, and Seth and Conal soon find themselves embroiled in a witch-hunt—in which they are the quarry. Trapped between the queen’s machinations at home and the superstitious violence of the otherworld, Seth must act before both of them are fed to the witch-hunters’ fires…
Brimming with intrigue and rebellion, Firebrand is the first book in the Rebel Angels series by Gillian Philip, the Carnegie Medal–nominated author of Crossing the Line and multi-award-nominated Bad Faith.
Rebel Angels: Firebrand by Gillian Phillip isn’t urban fantasy, as it’s been labeled by some, but is more like a blending of fantasy and Celtic elements. It should be noted that this is the first volume in a series, and the next one won’t be released until this fall.
The central characters are two brothers, Seth and Conal, who are Sithe, and are involved in the politics of their world. However, when one of the brothers goes against the will of the Queen, he is banished to the human world. Seth follows his brother, and they discover that, not only do they have to try and find their way in this strange place, but also have to deal with the Sithe political dealings that have followed them.
Both of the brothers are ‘standard fantasy characters’ in that Conal is ‘the good guy,’ to what is an almost ridiculous degree. He’s the one that follows the rules, and it’s easy to see why that could get him into trouble when politics and other Sithe would rather ignore them. Seth, on the other hand, is more prone to reckless behavior, and more apt to jump and then make a joke when he lands wrong.
In some ways this book feels like setup for the rest of the series. It focuses on the ways that brothers deal with politics and the human world, and the story moves very slowly at times. There are medieval elements, such as the requisite paranoia about magic and witches, and the romance is kept to a minimum at this point.
The main lesson is that Sithe power struggles are extremely dangerous, and it’s better not to get in the middle of them. Unfortunately, the brothers don’t have any choice about it, and have to do their best to survive and help their loved ones.
For anyone who likes their fantasy with a large helping of politics and a more meandering plot, this will be a good read. Anybody who wants a fast paced tale is going to have to look elsewhere.
A Novel of the Earth Witches
Vicious Moon is the story of Nyx Ianira, an earth witch and former soldier turned mercenary guard. Nyx goes to Barrows section of Duivel, Missouri to find her missing sister, Marisol. In the Barrows, she meets her match in Etienne, a man with a past even more complex than her own. She also finds that it will require all her mercenary and magical skills to survive. Vicious Moon follows Viper Moon (2011) and Vengeance Moon (2012) in telling the tale of the earth witches and their companions as they fight evil. To understand any character, you often have to look a bit at them as a child. The events of childhood often shape and give definition to the adult.
Nyx Ianira is a classic example of a young, independent witch reacting to a coven that would force her into their own mold. She ran. She ran into an incredibly violent world that required strength and determination to survive. Others would have floundered and raced terrified back to the safe and familiar. Not Nyx. Nyx grew and thrived.
Somewhere along the way though, she lost something. She’d allowed people to drive her away from the land she loved. Away from close family and the magic of the deep mysterious place she called home. When she returns, she realizes exactly how much she has missed.
Nyx says: Twitch Crossing, Georgia is not on any maps. Carefully hidden by spells, it lies down a long, winding, white limerock road to the southeast of Fargo, Georgia and deep in the Okefenokee Swamp. The Native Americans had called the Okefenokee the Land of Trembling Earth, and it is a formidable place, filled with earth magic and mystery. Alligators and snakes swim in water black from the tannic acid of rotting vegetation. Unless you’re careful, it can to swallow you without a trace.
As a child I paddled the waterways in my canoe and followed trails through the pine woods and over the islands. I loved every square mile and feared nothing there. If the damned coven had left me alone, I might have stayed, or at least returned for a visit.
The Okefenokee is many things. Deep woods and pine forests covered some of the land, but watery swamp surrounded the raised road to my grandmother’s house. Cypress trees draped in veils of Spanish moss cast a cool shade over land and water. Birds sang from trees and frogs occasionally croaked while a feeding fish rippled the black liquid.
I walked onto the thirty-foot long solid wooden bridge that spanned a deeper section of open water. At the center of the span I leaned against the railing.
“Pen, are you there?” I didn’t shout. He’d know I was there. He would choose to come or not.
The water remained calm for a moment, then rippled at the approach of the immense black water dragon. Penrod had been my friend from the time I learned to walk. His long slender snake-like body stretched fifty feet. He had no wings, but when he lifted his massive head from the water, it was pure picture-book dragon. He gently swayed in front of me, water dripping from his scales like fine rain.
Missed you, his words slid into my mind.
Missed you, too. I was blessed with the ability to communicate with him the same way.
I reached out my hand and he lowered his head so I could touch him. Then he slid away into the deep.
Lee Roland began her writing career in middle school when she wrote a short story for her brother. He turned the story in to his teacher as his own work. To his amazement and terror, the teacher was so impressed that she read it aloud to the class—and asked him to write another one.
Lee notes that, other than motherhood, she’s never had an exciting job. She might have dreamed of being a lawyer, nurse or police officer, but finding the right person to share her life with changed her plans. Her only credentials for writing are a terrific imagination, life experience and the love of words in a good story. She reads voraciously, but particularly loves Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance.
Lee lives in Florida and is a full-time writer. She is a member of RWA National and the Florida based First Coast Romance Writers.
Before being published, Lee won many RWA Chapter contests and garnered a Golden Heart nomination in 2008 with her post apocalyptic novel, LILITH’S CHILD.
Lee is the author of the Earth Witches series published by NAL, beginning with VIPER MOON in 2011.
Ex-soldier and Earth Witch Nyx Ianira is working as a PI in San Francisco when she sees the last thing she ever wanted to see: the Sisters of Justice—the mysterious Earth Witch police force. Three Sisters, a Triad, is usually a squad of executioners. This time, thought, the Sisters mission is to capture and escort an unwilling Nyx back to Twitch Crossing, Georgia. Nyx ran away from Twitch Crossing ten years ago to escape the stiff rules and duties of being a true Witch. She wanted a life of her own. Now she’s been dragged back to her swampy hometown because another life is in danger—her little sister is missing, and Nyx is the only one who can go to Duivel, Missouri and track her down. But the key to finding her may lie with the dark and tempting Etienne—a sinister criminal with a fearsome reputation, a ruthless attitude, and a total immunity to magic…