Sunday, July 01, 2012

2012 Debut Author Challenge - July 2012 Debuts

There are 12 debuts for July.  Please note that I use the publisher's publication date in the United States, not copyright dates or non-US publication dates.

The July debut authors and their novels are listed in alphabetical order by author (not book title or publication date). Pick one or more and let us know in the comments which one(s) you'll be reading. If I've missed any, let me know in the comments.

Take a good look at the covers. Voting for your favorite July cover for the 2012 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars will take place later this month.

Author:  Ania Ahlborn
Publisher:  47North
Pub Date:  July 17, 2012
Format:  Trade Paperback, 250 pages 
Price:  $14.95
Genre:  Horror
ISBN:  978-1612183664

With nothing but the clothes on his back—and something horrific snapping at his heels—Jack Winter fled his rural Georgia home when he was still just a boy. Watching the world he knew vanish in a trucker’s rearview mirror, he thought he was leaving an unspeakable nightmare behind forever. But years later, the bright new future he’s built suddenly turns pitch black, as something fiendishly familiar looms dead ahead.

When Jack, his wife Aimee, and their two small children survive a violent car crash, it seems like a miracle. But Jack knows what he saw on the road that night, and it wasn’t divine intervention. The profound evil from his past won’t let them die…at least not quickly. It’s back, and it’s hungry; ready to make Jack pay for running, to work its malignant magic on his angelic youngest daughter, and to whisper a chilling promise: I’ve always been here, and I’ll never leave.

Country comfort is no match for spine-tingling Southern gothic suspense in Ania Ahlborn’s tale of an ordinary man with a demon on his back. Seed plants its page-turning terror deep in your soul, and lets it grow wild.


Albert of Adelaide
Author:  Howard Anderson
Publisher:  Twelve
Pub Date:  July 10, 2012
Format:  Hardcover, 240 pages
Price: $24.99
Genre:  Fantasy
ISBN:  9781455509621

ALBERT OF ADELAIDE follows the story of a duck-billed platypus who escapes from Australia's Adelaide Zoo and embarks on a journey through the outback in search of 'Old Australia,' a land of liberty, promise and peace. Encountering a motley assortment of characters--a pyromaniac wombat, a pair of invariably drunk (and vaguely gay) bandicoots, some dingoes, a group of kangaroos and a wrestling Tasmanian devil--this unlikely hero discovers a strength and skill for survival he could not have known he possessed. At once an old-fashioned-buddy-novel-shoot-em-up and a work of deliciously imagined fantasy, ALBERT OF ADELAIDE is a haunting story of a world where something has gone horribly awry.


Author:  Madeline Ashby
Series:  Machine Dynasty
Publisher:  Angry Robot Books
Pub Date:  July 31, 2012 US/Canada
                  August 2, 2012 UK/RoW
Format:  Trade Paperback, 448 pages
Price:  $7.99
Genre:  Science Fiction
ISBN:  9780857662620

Amy Peterson is a von Neumann machine, a self-replicating humanoid robot.

For the past five years, she has been grown slowly as part of a mixed organic/synthetic family. She knows very little about her android mother’s past, so when her grandmother arrives and attacks her mother, little Amy wastes no time: she eats her alive.

Now she carries her malfunctioning granny as a partition on her memory drive, and she’s learning impossible things about her clade’s history – like the fact that the failsafe that stops all robots from harming humans has failed… Which means that everyone wants a piece of her, some to use her as a weapon, others to destroy her.

File Under: Science Fiction [ Von Neumann Sisters | Fail Safe Fail | The Squid & the Swarm | Robot Nation ]


Charlotte Markham and the House of Darkling
Author:  Michael Boccacino
Publisher:  William Morrow Paperbacks
Pub Date:  July 24, 2012 
Format:  Trade Paperback
Price:  $14.99
Genre:  Gothic/Supernatural/Victorian
ISBN:  9780062122612

When the nanny to the young Darrow boys is found mysteriously murdered on the outskirts of the village of Blackfield, Charlotte Markham, the recently hired governess, steps in to take over their care. During an outing in the forest, they find themselves crossing over into The Ending, "the place for the Things Above Death," where Lily Darrow, the late mother of the children, has been waiting. She invites them into the House of Darkling, a wondrous place filled with enchantment, mystery, and strange creatures that appear to be, but are not quite, human.

However, everything comes with a price, and as Charlotte begins to understand the unspeakable bargain Mrs. Darrow has made for a second chance at motherhood, she uncovers a connection to the sinister occurrences in Blackfield and enters into a deadly game with the master of Darkling—one whose outcome will determine the fate of not just the Darrows but the world itself.

Charlotte Markham and the House of Darkling is a Victorian Gothic tale about family ties, the realm beyond the living, and the price you pay to save those you love.


A Once Crowded Sky
Author:  Tom King
Publisher:  Touchstone
Pub Date:  July 10, 2012
Format:  Hardcover, 336 pages
Price:  $26.00
Genre:  Fantasy
ISBN:  9781451652000

A tour de force debut novel from a former CIA counter-terrorism officer, A Once Crowded Sky fuses the sensibility of bombastic, comic-book-style storytelling with modern literary fiction to bring to life a universe of super men stripped of their powers, newly mortal men forced to confront danger in a world without heroes.

The superheroes of Arcadia City fight a wonderful war and play a wonderful game, forever saving yet another day. However, after sacrificing both their powers and Ultimate, the greatest hero of them all, to defeat the latest apocalypse, these comic book characters are transformed from the marvelous into the mundane.

After too many battles won and too many friends lost, The Soldier of Freedom was fine letting all that glory go. But when a new threat blasts through his city, Soldier, as ever, accepts his duty and reenlists in this next war. Without his once amazing abilities, he's forced to seek the help of the one man who walked away, the sole hero who refused to make the sacrifice--PenUltimate, the sidekick of Ultimate, who through his own rejection of the game has become the most powerful man in the world, the only one left who might still, once again, save the day.


Liquid Lies
Author:  Hanna Martine
Series: The Elementals
Publisher:  Berkley
Pub Date: July 3, 2012
Format:  Mass Market Paperback, 368 pages
Price:  $7.99
Genre:  Paranormal Romance

Magic is corporate America's best-kept secret, and Gwen Carroway is the best at selling it...

With her ability to pick up any language in an instant, Gwen Carroway is taking her family business global. As dutiful future leader of water elementals, she'll do anything to protect her people's secrets and bloodlines--including enter an arranged marriage. Inside, however, she yearns for the forbidden.

Reed is a mercenary addicted to the money and adrenaline rush of his work. After he inadvertently saves Gwen's life, he ignites her taboo desire for men without magic--and with bodies of gods. Just as things heat up, Reed discovers that Gwen is exactly who he's been hired to kidnap. He resolves to put work before lust, yet her luscious beauty and fiery spirit unravel him...

But there is a terrible truth behind Gwen's family business--and now, caught between the kinsmen she no longer trusts and an enemy bent on vengeance, the only ally she has is her abductor...


Blood and Feathers
Author:  Lou Morgan
Series:  Blood and Feathers
Publisher:  Solaris
Pub Date:  July 31, 2012 (US and Canada)
                   August 2, 2012 (UK)
Format:  Trade Paperback, 384 pages
Price:  $9.99
Genre:  Urban Fantasy
ISBN:  9781781080191

"What's the first thing you think of when I say 'angel'?" asked Mallory. Alice shrugged. "I don't know... guns?"

Alice isn't having the best of days. She was late for work, she missed her bus, and now she's getting rained on. What she doesn't know is that her day's about to get worse: the epic, grand-scale kind of worse that comes from the arrival of two angels who claim everything about her life is a lie.

The war between the angels and the Fallen is escalating; the age-old balance is tipping, and innocent civilians are getting caught in the cross-fire. If the balance is to be restored, the angels must act - or risk the Fallen taking control. Forever.

That’s where Alice comes in. Hunted by the Fallen and guided by Mallory - a disgraced angel with a drinking problem and a whole load of secrets - Alice will learn the truth about her own history… and why the angels want to send her to hell.

What do the Fallen want from her? How does Mallory know so much about her past? What is it the angels are hiding - and can she trust either side?

Caught between the power plays of the angels and Lucifer himself, it isn't just hell's demons that Alice will have to defeat...


Up Jumps the Devil
Author:  Michael Poore
Publisher:  Ecco
Pub Date:  July 3, 2012
Format:  Trade Paperback, 368 pages
Price:  $13.99
Genre:  Fantasy
ISBN:  9780062064417

A stunningly imaginative, sharp, funny, and slyly tender novel featuring the Devil himself, John Scratch.

He's made of wood. He cooks an excellent gumbo. Cows love him. And he's the world's first love story . . . and the world's first broken heart. Meet the darkly handsome, charming John Scratch, aka the Devil. Ever since his true love, a fellow fallen angel named Arden, decided that Earth was a little too terrifying and violent, John Scratch has been trying to lure her back from the forgiving grace of Heaven. Though neither the wonders of Egypt nor the glories of Rome were enough to keep her on Earth, John Scratch believes he's found a new Eden: America.

John Scratch capitalizes on the bounty of this arcadia as he shapes it into his pet nation. Then, one dark night in the late 1960s, he meets three down-on-their-luck musicians and strikes a deal. In exchange for their souls, he'll grant them fame, wealth, and the chance to make the world a better place. Soon, the trio is helping the Devil push America to the height of civilization—or so he thinks. But there's a great deal about humans he still needs to learn, even after spending so many millennia among them.

Overflowing with imagination, insight, and humor, rippling with history and myth, Up Jumps the Devil is as madcap and charming as the Devil himself.


No Peace for the Damned
Author:  Megan Powell
Series:  Damned
Publisher:  47North
Pub Date:   July 10, 2102
Format:  Trade Paperback
Price:  $14.95
Genre  Urban Fantasy
ISBN:  978-1612183602

Magnolia Kelch is no stranger to pain. Beautiful and powerful, she’s spent her entire life at the mercy of her sadistic father and the rest of the Kelch clan, who have tortured her and tested the limits of her powers. After one particularly heinous night that leaves Magnolia nearly dead, she finally sees her chance for escape…

But this first taste of freedom is short-lived when she collides with Thirteen, head of the Network—a secret organization dedicated to fighting supernatural criminals—who recruits her into the group. Even as she’s coming to grips with this new life and the horrific memories that still haunt her, she’s conflicted by her growing attraction to fellow team member Theo and the emergence of new, untested abilities. After months of grueling training, her loyalty to the team is tested when she learns her target is the Network’s most wanted: the Kelch family.

Revenge may course through her veins, but so does the blood of the Kelches. And opposing her family may cost her the thing she treasures most. After all, Magnolia is still a Kelch. And the Kelch are damned.


Year Zero
Author:  Rob Reid
Publisher:  Del Rey
Pub Date:   July 10, 2012
Format:  Hardcover, 384 pages
Price:  $25.00
Genre:  Science Fiction / Humor
Fiction debut

An alien advance party was suddenly nosing around my planet.
Worse, they were lawyering up. . . .

In the hilarious tradition of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Rob Reid takes you on a headlong journey through the outer reaches of the universe—and the inner workings of our absurdly dysfunctional music industry.

Low-level entertainment lawyer Nick Carter thinks it’s a prank, not an alien encounter, when a redheaded mullah and a curvaceous nun show up at his office. But Frampton and Carly are highly advanced (if bumbling) extraterrestrials. And boy, do they have news.

The entire cosmos, they tell him, has been hopelessly hooked on humanity’s music ever since “Year Zero” (1977 to us), when American pop songs first reached alien ears. This addiction has driven a vast intergalactic society to commit the biggest copyright violation since the Big Bang. The resulting fines and penalties have bankrupted the whole universe. We humans suddenly own everything—and the aliens are not amused.

Nick Carter has just been tapped to clean up this mess before things get ugly, and he’s an unlikely galaxy-hopping hero: He’s scared of heights. He’s also about to be fired. And he happens to have the same name as a Backstreet Boy. But he does know a thing or two about copyright law. And he’s packing a couple of other pencil-pushing superpowers that could come in handy.

Soon he’s on the run from a sinister parrot and a highly combustible vacuum cleaner. With Carly and Frampton as his guides, Nick now has forty-eight hours to save humanity, while hopefully wowing the hot girl who lives down the hall from him.


Author:  James Treadwell
Publisher:  Atria/Emily Bestler Books
Pub Date:   July 3, 2012
Format:  Hardcover,  464 pages
Price:  $26.00
Genre:  Fantasy
ISBN:  9781451661644

A drowning, a magician’s curse, and a centuries-old secret.

1537. A man hurries through city streets in a gathering snowstorm, clutching a box in one hand. He is Johann Faust, the greatest magician of his age. The box he carries contains a mirror safeguarding a portion of his soul and a small ring containing all the magic in the world. Together, they comprise something unimaginably dangerous.

London, the present day. Fifteen-year-old Gavin Stokes is boarding a train to the countryside to live with his aunt. His school and his parents can’t cope with him and the things he sees, things they tell him don’t really exist. At Pendurra, Gavin finds people who are like him, who see things too. They all make the same strange claim: magic exists, it’s leaking back into our world, and it’s bringing something terrible with it.

First in an astonishingly imaginative fantasy trilogy, Advent describes how magic was lost to humanity, and how a fifteen-year-old boy discovers that its return is his inheritance. It begins in a world recognizably our own, and ends an extraordinarily long way from where it started—somewhere much bigger, stranger, and richer.


Author:  Michael R. Underwood
Publisher:  Pocket Star (Simon&Schuster)
Pub Date:  July 10, 2012
Format:  eBook, 400 pages
Price:  $1.99
Genre  Urban Fantasy
ISBN:  9781451698138

Clerks meets Buffy the Vampire the Slayer in this original urban fantasy eBook about Geekomancers—humans that derive supernatural powers from pop culture.

Ree Reyes’s life was easier when all she had to worry about was scraping together tips from her gig as a barista and comicshop slave to pursue her ambitions as a screenwriter.

When a scruffy-looking guy storms into the shop looking for a comic like his life depends on it, Ree writes it off as just another day in the land of the geeks. Until a gigantic “BOOM!” echoes from the alley a minute later, and Ree follows the rabbit hole down into her town’s magical flip-side. Here, astral cowboy hackers fight trolls, rubber-suited werewolves, and elegant Gothic Lolita witches while wielding nostalgia-powered props.

Ree joins Eastwood (aka Scruffy Guy), investigating a mysterious string of teen suicides as she tries to recover from her own drag-your-heart-through-jagged-glass breakup. But as she digs deeper, Ree discovers Eastwood may not be the knight-in-cardboard armor she thought. Will Ree be able to stop the suicides, save Eastwood from himself, and somehow keep her job?


  1. Madeline's book looks the most interesting to me.

    1. I'm probably going to read 10 of these in my copious free time. I would like to read 10, but I will probably read vN, Albert of Adelaide, Advent (I bought the UK version, which came out earlier this year), Blood and Feathers, and Up Jumps the Devil. And maybe Seed since I haven't read much horror lately.