Rachel Neumeier

Fantasy and Young Adult Fantasy Author

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Titles and Authors that have suddenly appeared on my radar —

You probably know that a lot of publishers, and also a lot of self-published authors, have bookmarks and cards made to advertise their books. They put their book cover on the front and a sentence or quote about the book on the back. Sometimes a publisher will make up a little booklet with the first chapter, or sometimes an author will include a link where you can go to download a free chapter or even the whole book. These materials are spread out over a couple tables at the World Fantasy Convention, not to mentioned handed out liberally during face-to-face chats.

Also, of course everybody on panels, and for that matter everybody you meet, recommends books and authors. If they sound like they might be good, of course you scribble the names down on a bit of paper or (these days) email yourself a reminder.

Not only that, but publishers also distribute copies of free books to the convention and the (extremely hardworking) WFC staff put selections of books in large tote bags and hand them out when you register. Attendees spend the whole weekend sorting through these books and discarding the ones they already have or the ones they have no interest in, while picking up books that they don’t have and think they might like.

So because of all this, I’ve got a whole lot of new titles and authors on my radar now. Like these:

Django Wexler – The Forbidden Library. I met Django Wexler and so I can now tell you that The Thousand Names is the first book of a longer series, five books if I remember correctly. He’s trying to keep them all self-contained, btw, but there will definitely be more than three. But I hadn’t realized he’d previously written this MG title, The Forbidden Library.

Forbidden library

So, yeah, now I need to look that up. I mean, they had copies in the dealer’s room, but it was hard enough getting the best things from the free book bag crammed into my single carry-on bag, so I wasn’t interested in actually picking up much from the dealers.

DB Jackson – The Thieftaker – “…a colonial America that is at once familiar and unlike any version of history or fiction that you’ve seen before.” I’m sure I’ve heard of this book before, but I don’t remember anything about it. Time to look at Goodreads reviews!

Alaya Dawn Johnson – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13453104-the-summer-prince?from_search=true – “A heart-stopping story of love, death, technology, and art set in a soaring glass city off the coast of a futuristic Brazil.” I like this “soaring glass city” thing. And I might like a futuristic Brazil. And the cover is nice:

Summer Prince

Sarah Beth Durst – The Lost – “It was supposed to be a small escape. A few hours driving before turning around and heading home. But once you arrive in Lost . . . well, it’s a place you really can’t leave.” It sounds like it might be edging on horror from that description. And the cover does nothing for me. But I liked Vessel quite a bit, more than well enough to be interested in this book.

J Kathleen Cheney – The Golden City – “. . . part fantasy, part romance, part police procedural, and part love letter to [Portugal] in the early 1900s.” (Kirkus) There was a card for this one, but in fact it was independently recommended to me by Sharon Shinn, so that definitely piqued my interest.

Suzanne Church — I had a nice chat with Suzanne and her husband and picked up her card. Dropping in at her website, I see that her short story collection got a starred review from Publisher’s Weekly. Also, she cleverly included extra background material about each story on her website. That’s an excellent idea. I should do something like that.

Other books that were recommended to me so that I emailed myself a quick note containing the title included Grave Witch by Kalayna Price, The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion, an Life After Life by Kate Atkinson.

Courtney Schafer – The Tainted City (sequel to The Whitefire Crossing). I didn’t passionately love the first book, but I liked it. And the main character is certainly in a pickle at the end of the first book; I want to see him get out of it. And Kristen at Fantasy Book Café loved the sequel, so there’s that. I’d have picked up a copy of The Tainted City at the convention but I just didn’t have room in my bag. Besides, I’d rather have Book 2 in e-format, to match the first book.

Genevieve Valentine – Persona – “You are cordially invited to meet Suyana Sapaki. If she lives that long.” Catchy hook, isn’t it? This is a book coming out early next year from Saga Press, and it looks like it might be good.

L Jagi Lamplighter — The Unexpected Enlightenment of Rachel Griffin. I listened to a brief reading from this and I thought it sounded promising.

Then I’m not sure about these next ones – I have cards about them to allow WFC attendees to download partial or full books. All of these look interesting enough to at least check into:

Lawrence M Schoen – Calendrical Regression

Kater Cheek – Mulberry Wands

Sally Wiener Grotta – The Winter Boy

CR Fladmark – The Gatekeeper’s Son

Then, you know, panelists recommend stuff, and these were recommended as excellent narrative nonfiction:

John Keegan – The Face of Battle

Roger Crowley – 1453

And, finally, Del Rey put out a pamphlet containing the first chapter of Uprooted, Naomi Novik’s new YA. I read a few pages, but frankly it looked too good to go on with. I want the real thing in my hands before I keep going with it. It’s due out June 2015.

uprooted

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10 Comments Titles and Authors that have suddenly appeared on my radar —

  1. Maureen E

    I personally disliked Thieftaker A LOT. Not sure if I even finished it.

    I keep meaning to read The Golden City, but I haven’t done it yet.

    And after Girls at the Kingfisher Club, I will probably read everything Genevieve Valentine writes.

  2. Craig

    Most of these, I’ve never even heard of. THE FORBIDDEN LIBRARY certainly looks like it plays to my interests, though I haven’t checked out THE THOUSAND NAMES yet.

    Keegan’s THE FACE OF BATTLE is a tremendously good look at the experience of battle from medieval to modern times, though the subject matter makes it unavoidably grim. I’ve heard of but not read 1453.

  3. Elaine T

    I didn’t bounce off THIEFTAKER, but it certainly didn’t make a big impression on me. It was less irritating than the other Revolutionary America fantasy I picked up recently.

    I did bounce hard off the Lamplighter. I found myself critiquing instead of reading for story. The Teen leaned over my shoulder and found herself counting … I think it was adjectives… anyway, it didn’t work for either of us. I keep trying Lamplighter because they seem like I ought to love them, but I don’t.

    MUST pick up FORBIDDIn LIBRARY.

    Craig, have you heard anything of Grossman’s ON KILLING? how to train soldiers to do so?
    (speaking of the history of battle….)

  4. Craig

    Elaine, I think I’ve vaguely heard of Grossman’s ON KILLING, but I don’t recall what and I certainly haven’t read it. History is my avocation, but I have no special interest in military history and less than that in general military matters.

    I know what you mean about Rachel Griffin, though my experience was a bit more positive. I’ve read the first one; I didn’t think it was *bad*, but I didn’t love it and even the elements that I should have really liked (e.g. the high concept illustrated on the cover) didn’t work for me as well as it seems like they should have.

  5. Kristen

    I’ll be interested to see what you think of The Tainted City if you get a chance to read it. Hope it works better for you than the first book! I also liked but did not love the first book.

    Thieftaker didn’t do much for me either. I didn’t dislike it, but I didn’t like it enough to read the second book in the series.

    Uprooted sounds excellent. I can’t wait for that one!

  6. Rachel

    Hi, Kristen — good to know that you liked The Tainted City better than The Whitefire Crossing. I definitely plan to try it. Thieftaker is sounding pretty iffy given everybody’s comments, but I’m getting curious about the Lamplighter title. Now I’m primed to notice adjectives, though.

    And yes, I can’t wait for Uprooted!

  7. Kristina

    I read MG occasionally so I picked up The Forbidden Library earlier this year. It was a solid read but I didn’t feel it broke any new ground. It works better for the intended audience than an adult reader, I think.

    At the risk of repeating what others have said about Thieftaker, I’ll report that I made it through but felt no need to look for the second title in the series.

  8. Rachel

    Yes, sometimes MG works for me, but often it really doesn’t because it simply reads too young. Still, I’ll probably look for it — at this point, I doubt I’ll look at Thieftaker.

  9. Sally Wiener Grotta

    And now you’re on my radar, too — thanks to Yahoo Alerts sending me an email that you mentioned me and “The Winter Boy” on your website. I’m delighted that my publisher participated in the WFC book bag specifically because it has given me the opportunity of engaging in conversations with new folks. I’ll look forward to learning more about your work.

  10. Rachel

    Hi, Sally — beautiful cover, and I hope I love your book. I’d be delighted to see one of mine appear in the WFC book bag in a few years, that’s for sure!

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