Sunday, September 18, 2016

Diversion: Exciting Idaho-Set Fantasy from Annie Bellet, LEVEL GRIND

The release date for LEVEL GRIND is October 4, but collectors may want to spring into action now, because this suspenseful page-turner -- yes, it's fantasy, but it reads like a good thriller! -- has a very unusual background. Author Annie Bellet is already a USA Today bestselling author. Fans know her through her e-books, especially the seven of them that make up the "Twenty-Sided Sorceress" series. And in a marvelous action from Simon & Schuster via its Saga Press imprint, the first four "books" of the seven are packed into the book LEVEL GRIND.

So, collectors, pay attention here: The October 4 release will provide a first edition hardcover. But the "true first" will be the print-on-demand versions of Bellet's e-books. You know the drill from here ...

This is a paranormal series, set -- of all places! -- in snowy Idaho. Magic-endowed protagonist Jade Crow has Native American background, difficult-to-reach family members from whom she is estranged, gamer/nerd friends like herself (she's a "new adult" who owns a gaming shop), and a terrible enemy: the most powerful sorcerer alive, who happens to be her ex-boyfriend.

Jade's loyalty to her friends, struggles to gain her own Dungeons & Dragons-related skills, and pressing peril combine to make this a highly memorable series. I won't say exactly what steps I took after devouring an advance copy of LEVEL GRIND ... except to say that the reading was so good, I didn't stop there!

If you enjoy paranormal twists, check out Bellet's website and catch up with the excitement around these books. You'll see them marketed as "young adult" (YA), and they're certainly good for that age group, but maybe even better for those of us who'll understand the classic lines quoted from Star Trek and the many gaming references tossed in. (Got mine from listening as my sons grew up.) All fun, and one of the most enjoyable non-mysteries to cross my review desk this year!

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