Amidst a lot going on outside of my blogging life lately I've had a bit of difficulty keeping up with my reading, but during May I was able to offer a solid six reviews and read a couple more books than that even. Yet, I'm still behind my goals for the year in reading, and a few notable titles which I've really been meaning to read, like Peter Orullian's The Unremembered and Mark Chadbourn's The Scar-Crow Men (only just started), I haven't gotten to yet. I expect to see a bit more time freed up in June, so as you will see below, I've been a bit more ambitious in the number of books I plan to review. I am also, for example, still waiting on my copy of Stephen Deas' The Order of the Scales, despite it having dispatched over two weeks ago. Nevertheless, there's quite a good mix down there, I think, but please let me know what you think!

Miserere, Teresa Frohock (Night Shade)

I've already finished Teresa Frohock's surprising debut. It was the beautiful artwork for the cover that originally caught my eye, but the intriguing, somewhat unorthodox blurb really got me interested. It's a bit of strange and original mix of secondary world fantasy and Christian mythology (but not in the Christian Fiction sense). This was a surprising book because I really didn't expect it to like it so much. It's not perfect by far, but it's a short and sweet read and if the blurb interests you too, consider checking it out. Full review to come very soon.

Sam Sykes, Black Halo (Pyr/Gollancz)

A signed copy of this novel actually just came in through my door today. After lasts year's fantastic debut, Tome of the Undergates, I have high expectations for Sam Sykes' sophomore effort. I'm looking forward to a lot more of his characteristic wit and dark sense of humor as well as plenty of Dragonman action and wild adventures with Lenk and the gang. This one better be good, Sykes...

The Falling Machine, Andrew Mayer (Pyr)

It's been a while since I've read anything from Pyr or any steampunk, so I wholeheartedly look forward to plunging into this American steampunk offering they have. The Falling Machine is writer Andrew Mayer's debut novel and supposedly holds potential attraction to younger readers. Preliminary reports have been good so far, and I hope to be able to add my review to those soon. If the cover is anything to go by (and really, it probably isn't) then this promises to be a very exciting novel, indeed.

The Book of Tranformations, Mark Charan Newton (Tor UK)

In recent years Mark Charan Newton has managed to establish himself as quite the original and quality writer. He first wowed fantasy readers with his debut Nights of Villjamur, which though good still lacked a certain polish. Meanwhile City of Ruins, the second in the Legend of the Red Sun series, was a much more mature, satisfying read. If this trend holds, The Book of Transformations, third in the series, should be expected to outdo both its predecessors and be excellent in its own right. I trust Newton to be able to achieve this, but I guess we'll find out soon!

Songs of the Earth, Elspeth Cooper (Gollancz)

Elspeth Cooper's debut effort has been the subject of much talk lately, receiving rave reviews from reviewing blogs I have much respect for and Mrs. Cooper herself being featured in interviews on many of these same blogs. Touted as one of the fantasy debuts of the year, it's been described by some as the best new thing to come to the fantasy genre since Rothfuss' The Name of the Wind. Those are big shoes to fill, and I'm always wary of such lofty comparisons, but I must admit, I'm curious to see how Songs of the Earth holds up.

Fuzzy Nation, John Scalzi (Tor Books)

Since his debut novel, Old Man's War, John Scalzi has gained much fame and popularity for his work. Fuzzy Nation is his latest offering, a literary 'remake' of H. Beam Piper's 'Fuzzy' books. I've never heard of the source material, but just Scalzi's name on the cover makes me anxious to jump in. His 'Old Man's War' sequence I absolutely loved, so I can only hope that Scalzi will work his magic once more and make my fall in love with his prose and stories another time. Look for a review of this near the end of the month.

That's it for new(ish) book picks for this month, but you can expect reviews of other titles to pop up on LBR. I'm part way through Chadbourn's The Scar-Crow Men now, and I'm going to try - time allowing - to finish The Unremembered, take a look at Gavin Smith's Veteran, M.L.N Hanover's (Daniel Abraham) Unclean Spirits and get a start on a couple of exciting ARCs I've received. Coming next week, you can also expect a new Graphic Novel Review, this time of the Alan Moore's classic, Watchmen. Hopefully I'll have one other graphic novel read and reviewed by the end of the month and if amongst all this I find the time, you can look forward to the return of author interviews on the blog - they've been absent for too long.