2014…A Year in Review

2014-Happy-New-Year-Free-HD-Picture-1As we head into another year, it is time to take a look back at what stood out in 2014. Most of my choices will surprise no one, since I have my favorites and I am not shy about going on, and on, and on about them, but it never hurts to give a shout out where it is due.

I am looking forward to seeing how my choices stack up with yours, too, and if there was any that I missed. For today, let’s just do the look back at 2014.

What was the best new series that started in 2014?
  • For me, hands down, it was Hidden Legacy by Ilona Andrews. I had high, high hopes, and it met every one. No one else even came close.
Best new-to-me series in 2014?
  • Kelley Armstrong‘s Women of the Otherworld. Loving the Cainsville series made me start it, but I like it now in its own right.
What second book in a new series was as good or better than the first?
  • This one is a tie between Visions by Kelley Armstrong and Murder of Crows by Anne Bishop. Sometimes the second book of a great series can be a bit of a let-down, but if anything I thought that these two both took things up a notch.
Best series finale?
  • As much as it sucks to say goodbye, a great finale is a bit of a consolation. My vote for best finale was City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare, from her Mortal Instruments series. Loved that one, huge monster that it was. I like young adult, but it usually doesn’t rate as high as my adult books. This one did.
Most read author overall?
  • Mine was Kelley Armstrong, with 11 books (and still going). Ilona Andrews was next, since I re-read all of the Kate books for the character guide (and loved every minute of it).
Favorite authors of 2014?
  • Still the same – Ilona and Nalini. With Kelley Armstrong steadily moving up the list.
Best change of pace read?
  • I wasn’t going to do it, since I am not a huge New Adult fan, OR a fan of books where the main character is a famous musician (actor/athlete/model, etc), but because it was Nalini, I gave her new Rock Kiss series a try and liked it. Now, to be fair, I think my favorite part was the build up for book two featuring T-Rex and Charlie, but it still was a pleasant surprise.
Top 5 books of 2014?
What book did you find the biggest let-down in 2014?
  • I never thought Kresley Cole would ever, ever end up on the bad side of a list like this, but I found my biggest disappointment was Dark Skye. I didn’t find it was a terrible book, but it was just something I couldn’t get into. And after waiting years for the story, I went in planning an A+ read. It just didn’t happen. Runners up were The Beautiful Ashes by Jeaniene Frost and Night’s Honor by Thea Harrison.
What author/series did you finally give up on, if any?
  • Mine was Lara Adrian. I was never a huge Midnight Breed fan (except for Darker After Midnight, which was epic), but I had even less interest in the new arc. I tried for years to make myself get more into them, but then I decided that it was time to let it go.

My reading goal was 150 books, and I fell quite a bit short of that. Like, way short. I also got way behind on the Character guides, which is a bit of a pain in the ass since I am now playing a major game of catch-up, but I have higher hopes for 2015. All in all, though, I can’t complain. There was a lot more good than bad, and even the bad might look better this time next year.

Just Checking In…

question markOn the positive side, I am still alive. On the negative side, there isn’t much going on so things have been quiet. I am in the process of doing up a 2014 wrap up/ 2015 preview post, but I thought I would just check in and see what everyone is up to. What have you been reading? Anything to recommend heading into the end of the year? How goes the Christmas battle?

Cover Lover – 9 New Titles

It looks like the covers are starting to come out again heading into the new year, which is great. Scary that this year is almost a wrap, though. Let’s start this batch with some art from upcoming new series. Katie MacAlister‘s Dragon Fall will be the first book of the Dragon Fall series, and it is due for release on July 28th.

dragon fallYOU FLIRT WITH FIRE…

For Aoife Dakar, seeing is believing-and she’s seen some extraordinary things. It’s too bad no one else believes that she witnessed a supernatural murder at an outdoor fair. Returning to the scene for proof, Aoife encounters a wise-cracking demon dog-and a gloriously naked man who can shift into a dragon and kiss like a god. Now thrust into a fantastical world that’s both exhilarating and terrifying, Aoife is about to learn just how hot a dragon’s fire burns.

WHEN YOU DATE A DRAGON

Kostya has no time for a human woman with endless questions, no matter how gorgeous or tempting she is. He must break the curse that has splintered the dragon clans before more of his kind die. But his powerful attraction to Aoife runs much deeper than the physical-and there may be more to her than even his sharp dragon eyes can see. To survive the coming battle for the fate of his race, he needs a mate of true heart and soul . . .

Purchase at Amazon.com

This next one is from Lilith Saintcrow. Trailer Park Fae is the first book of her upcoming Gallow and Ragged series, and it is due out on June 23rd.

trailer park faeNew York Times bestselling author Lilith Saintcrow returns to dark fantasy with a new series where the fairy world inhabits diners, dive bars and trailer parks.

Jeremy Gallow is just another construction worker, and that’s the way he likes it. He’s left his past behind, but some things cannot be erased. Like the tattoos on his arms that transform into a weapon, or that he was once closer to the Queen of Summer than any half-human should be. Now the half-sidhe all in Summer once feared is dragged back into the world of enchantment, danger, and fickle fae – by a woman who looks uncannily like his dead wife. Her name is Robin, and her secrets are more than enough to get them both killed. A plague has come, the fullborn-fae are dying, and the dark answer to Summer’s Court is breaking loose.

Be afraid, for Unwinter is riding…

Purchase at Amazon.com

The second book from Lori Handeland‘s upcoming The Summer of Witches series will be called Heat of the Moment, and it is due out on June 30th.

heat of the momentA spell that tore three sisters apart is broken four hundred years later, when the magic in their blood reunites them. Now, one of them will discover her gift—and reignite a love long thought lost…

Flame-haired Becca Carstairs was born to be a veterinarian. Since childhood, her affinity for animals has been special, and her healing touch nothing short of magic. But only Becca knows the truth—that she alone can hear the creatures’ voices. She’s always trusted her sixth sense… until a string of missing pets, an attempted murder, and a face from her past converge into one explosive mystery, with her at its center.

Is haunted Owen McAllister, the boy who broke her heart ten years ago, related to the sinister crimes that have peaceful Three Harbors, Wisconsin, on its guard? Or is his reappearance part of the answer to questions that have troubled her all her life? As Becca delves into her strange heritage, she’ll have to fight for her life… and the man she will always love.

Purchase at Amazon.com

Jennifer Estep‘s next Elemental Assassin book will be called Spider’s Trap, and it will be out on July 28th.

spider's trapKeep your friends close but your enemies within stabbing distance.

One important lesson I’ve learned in the assassination business is that to be the best you have to roll with the punches. Now that I’m queen of Ashland’s underworld—by default, not by choice—a lot more punches are being thrown my way. But I suppose that’s the price of victory for taking down some of the underworld’s top dogs. Good thing I have my Ice and Stone magic to help me survive my volatile new position. Just when I think things are finally settling down, someone tries to murder me during a hush-hush underworld meeting. But the real surprise is how strangely familiar my shadowy assailant seems to be.

My job is to maintain order among killers, crooks, and thieves, and soon I’m embroiled in a bloody game where the ability to keep secrets could be the greatest superpower of all. My enemies have all sharpened their knives and laid their traps, waiting for me to fall. But this Spider weaves her own webs of death…

Purchase at Amazon.com

For some reason, I had thought I had heard that Jessica Sims had wrapped up her Midnight Liaisons series, but Goodreads is listing Between a Vamp and a Hard Place as a new one. The blurb doesn’t read like it is part of the series, but what do I know? Either way, it will be released on August 25th.

between a vamp and a hard placeIn the wickedly funny spirit of bestselling authors Kerrelyn Sparks and Molly Harper, this sexy paranormal romance features an estate broker and a 600-year-old vampire out for revenge.

Lindsey Hughes loves antiques and couldn’t be happier to make a living in the estate sale business. But when her assistant accidentally buys an entire estate without her approval, Lindsey is forced to clean up the mess herself.

Lindsey travels to the newly purchased, age-old house in Venice, Italy, and soon discovers more than she (never) bargained for. While digging through the hoarder’s trove that fills every floor, she finds a secret staircase behind a wall that leads to a strange coffin…with an even stranger inhabitant.

Vampire Rand FitzWulf has been in his coffin for 600 years. But now that he’s awake, he’s ravenous, and there’s a delicious-smelling woman with a rare blood type in his basement. Luckily, Lindsey has more to offer than blood: she agrees to travel throughout Europe with Rand to help him get revenge on the one who turned him. But as the unlikely pair grows closer, will the billionaire vampire be overtaken by his thirst for blood—or his thirst for love?

Purchase at Amazon.com

It has been a while since there was any Dianne Duvall stuff to share, but it looks like her next Immortal Guardians book, Shadows Strike, will be released on August 25th.

shadows strikeThe Immortal Guardians protect the innocent in secret. Sometimes the secret gets out…

U.S. law enforcement agent Heather Lane can read minds. But not the future. The dream of battle and blood that recurs every night must be a fluke, some obscure terror from her own mind. What its significance might be, she can’t guess: an attack from seven psychotic vampires at once, only separated from nightmare by an eighth very different immortal. A handsome, brave man fighting at her side, a man she misses when she wakes.

Then the dream comes true. Heather is flung into a war between predators and protectors of humanity, the man from her dreams beside her again. Except now that she’s awake, she isn’t sure she can trust Ethan, or the shadow organization he represents. The U.S. military doesn’t trust either of them. But against an onslaught of evil like the one that’s coming, it will take everything they have just to survive…

Purchase at Amazon.com

Donna Grant continues her Dark Kings series with Soul Scorched, which is due for release on June 30th.

soul scorchedDarcy was floating on a cloud of pure passion. Everywhere he touched, Warrick was leaving a mark on her, forever changing her. She could feel it through her skin and muscle, through bone and into her soul. It was as if he was changing her. And she welcomed it…Her power is a blessing.

Born on the Isle of Skye, Darcy is a beautiful woman of many gifts. Fortune-telling is her forte, and she remains the only Druid who could unlock the secrets—and desires—of a Dragon King. His name is Warrick. And now that Darcy’s seen into his dragon heart, nothing will ever be the same…

His passion is a curse.
Warrick never intended to put Darcy in harm’s way. But ever since she revealed a shocking truth, Darcy has been hunted by the Dark Fae, who want to use her powers for their own evil purposes. Now it’s up to Warrick to do whatever it takes to keep the woman who sets his soul on fire safe. But protecting Darcy means putting himself—and his entire race—in jeopardy. Is his desperate longing for one woman worth the risk of losing everything…for eternity?

Purchase at Amazon.com

Kitty Saves the World, which is the 14th title in the Kitty Norville series from author Carrie Vaughn, will be released on August 4th. And from what I am seeing, it looks like it will be the final book in the series, too.

kitty saves the worldIt’s all come down to this, following the discoveries made by Cormac in Low Midnight, Kitty and her allies are ready to strike. But, when their assassination attempt on the evil vampire Dux Bellorum fails, Kitty finds herself running out of time. The elusive vampire lord has begun his apocalyptic end game, and Kitty still doesn’t know where he will strike.

Meanwhile, pressure mounts in Denver as Kitty and her pack begin to experience the true reach of Dux Bellorum’s cult. Outnumbered and outgunned at every turn, the stakes have never been higher for Kitty. She will have to call on allies both old and new in order to save not just her family and friends, but the rest of the world as well.

Purchase at Amazon.com

And wrapping things up for today is Night of the Highland Dragon, which is the 3rd book in the Highland Dragon series from Isabel Cooper. Look for it on June 2nd.

night of the highland dragonAcclaimed author Isabel Cooper’s thrilling paranormal romance series continues with a sexy Highland dragon shapeshifter and an inquisitive hero…

William Arundell is a detective working for a secret branch of the English government. When a young man is found dead, William’s investigation leads him to a remote Highland village and the intoxicatingly beautiful lady who rules MacAlasdair Castle.

The charismatic Judith MacAlasdair is not what William expected. The only daughter in a long line of shape-changing dragons, Judith is wary of William and his unrelenting questions. However, when William’s investigation takes an interesting turn, they must put aside years of bad blood and a mutual distrust of outsiders to band together to save the British Islands from its deadliest foe…

Purchase at Amazon.com

Do you have any favorites from this batch? What is your take on the new MacAlister, Saintcrow and Handeland series? Do they sound like something that might interest you? I am going to try the Handeland books, I figure, and maybe the MacAlister one, too. They would both be new-to-me authors, and a new series is a good place to jump in.

Cover Lover – Four New Titles

Wow – new posts TWO days in a row! That has been a rare thing this month. This time around, it is a little cover lover post, with a couple of decent ones, too. First up is The Sea King, the second book from the Weathermages of Mystral series by C.L. Wilson. It is due out on July 28th.

the sea kingFrom the author of THE WINTER KING comes a breathtaking new tale of love and adventure, set in the mystical land of Mystral.

Summer Coruscate has grown up the daughter of royalty, a Princess of the Rose and a weathermage, but over the past three years of war, Summerlea has been rendered a shadow of its former self. Now, after the joining of her younger sister Khamsin and the Winter King in marriage, her kingdom is finally at peace.

A Calbernan warrior and seafarer, Dilys Merimydion has always possessed the ability to control the animals of the sea and uses their sight to chart his way through the dark, sometimes savage waters.

Purchase at Amazon.com

This next one is from Seanan McGuire and her InCryptid series. Pocket Apocalypse is due out on March 3rd.

pocket apocalypseEndangered, adjective: Threatened with extinction or immediate harm. Australia, noun: A good place to become endangered.

Alexander Price has survived gorgons, basilisks, and his own family—no small feat, considering that his family includes two telepaths, a reanimated corpse, and a colony of talking, pantheistic mice. Still, he’s starting to feel like he’s got the hang of things…at least until his girlfriend, Shelby Tanner, shows up asking pointed questions about werewolves and the state of his passport. From there, it’s just a hop, skip, and a jump to Australia, a continent filled with new challenges, new dangers, and yes, rival cryptozoologists who don’t like their “visiting expert” very much.

Australia is a cryptozoologist’s dream, filled with unique species and unique challenges. Unfortunately, it’s also filled with Shelby’s family, who aren’t delighted by the length of her stay in America. And then there are the werewolves to consider: infected killing machines who would like nothing more than to claim the continent as their own. The continent which currently includes Alex.

Survival is hard enough when you’re on familiar ground. Alex Price is very far from home, but there’s one thing he knows for sure: he’s not going down without a fight.

Purchase at Amazon.com

I didn’t even know there was going to be another book in Keri Arthur‘s Souls of Fire series, but it looks like Wicked Embers will be released on July 7th.

wicked embersCrimson Death, the plague like virus spawned from a failed government experiment to isolate the enzymes that make vampires immortal, continues to spread. Emberly and her partner, Jackson Miller, are desperately seeking the stolen research for a cure before the virus becomes a pandemic.

But their mission is jeopardized by another threat uncovered in Emberly’s prophetic dreams. A creature of ash and shadow has been unleashed on a murdering spree. Now Emberly must summon all her gifts and investigative knowledge to put an end to this entity’s brutal rampage—even if it means placing herself in harm’s way….

Purchase at Amazon.com

And this final one is a young adult release from Rachel Caine. Ink and Bone is the first book of new The Great Library series, and it is due out on July 7th.

ink and boneIn an exhilarating new series, New York Times bestselling author Rachel Caine rewrites history, creating a dangerous world where the Great Library of Alexandria has survived the test of time.…

Ruthless and supremely powerful, the Great Library is now a presence in every major city, governing the flow of knowledge to the masses. Alchemy allows the Library to deliver the content of the greatest works of history instantly—but the personal ownership of books is expressly forbidden.

Jess Brightwell believes in the value of the Library, but the majority of his knowledge comes from illegal books obtained by his family, who are involved in the thriving black market. Jess has been sent to be his family’s spy, but his loyalties are tested in the final months of his training to enter the Library’s service.

When he inadvertently commits heresy by creating a device that could change the world, Jess discovers that those who control the Great Library believe that knowledge is more valuable than any human life—and soon both heretics and books will burn.…

Purchase at Amazon.com

Out of this batch, I like the cover for Ink and Bone, and I think it sounds interesting, too. I have been cutting back on my blind-buying YA books lately after hitting a few duds in a row, but I think I will be checking that one out.

Oh, do you like the addition of the blurbs to the cover lover posts? They aren’t always available when the cover is revealed, but I thought I would try adding them to see how it worked out.

Insurgent Trailer…

So, that Insurgent trailer is a thing. Either my memory is really wonky, or there are a few changes from Veronica Roth‘s book. I don’t actually mind changes, as long as they make sense, but I am having a bit of a hard time figuring out what the trailer is going for – Matrix type vibe? Love story? I don’t think it looks bad, actually, but it is a bit hard to get a handle on (but it is way more interesting than the teaser trailer that came out earlier).

 

What do you think? For those who have read the book, do you think it suits the source material, and for those who haven’t read it, does this trailer make you want to?

Cover Lover – 7 New Titles

December is shaping up to be a totally crap month for book releases, book news, the whole works, and the slump doesn’t show any signs of letting up any time soon. I did find a few new covers, but even among these there wasn’t much to get me excited. Let’s start with the young adult stuff for a change of pace. This first one is The Replaced by Kimberly Derting, and it is due out on April 28th.

the replacedPurchase at Amazon.com

This second young adult cover is Resonance from Erica O’Rourke, which is due out on July 21st. It is the second book in the Dissonance series.

resonancePurchase at Amazon.com

Next up is Paula Weston‘s Burn, which is the 4th book in the Rephaim series. No official release date has been given, as yet.

burnNow, I don’t usually include the George R.R. Martin books on Wicked Scribes because from what I understand they don’t fall in any way under the classification of a romance, but since it is quiet I thought I might as well. The long delayed sixth book, The Winds of Winter, still doesn’t have a release date, but there is a cover.

the winds of winterNext up is The Lost Chalice from Anita Clenney, which is the second book in the Relic Seekers series. It will be released on February 10th.

Untitled-1Purchase at Amazon.com

Christine Warren‘s Any Witch Way She Can is novella that was previously released in the No Rest For the Witches anthology. You will be able to pick it up as a stand-alone e-story on March 3rd.

any witch way she canPurchase at Amazon.com

And finally, there is the cover for the long delayed Black Wolves from Kate Elliott. It’s release date has shifted around so many times that I couldn’t be sure I hadn’t already upped the cover, to be honest, but it looks like this is a debut. As of right now, this one is scheduled for release on October 6th.

the black wolvesSo, that is that for today. Nothing too exciting going on, but are any of these releases on your must-read list? I did check out the first book of Kimberly Derting’s The Taken series, so I will be getting The Replaced, but that is about it for this pile for me (I haven’t tried the Game of Thrones books, and probably won’t. Too…epic-y).

From the Author Pages…

I am trying to be good and keep up with the author pages, and this recent updating brought a few new bits of info…

  • Alexandra Ivy might be winding down her Guardians of Eternity series (or at least through traditional publishing), but she will still be busy. There is a new shifters series in the works, co-written with Carrie Ann Ryan, which starts up next year. Stories 1 and 2 are book one, called Stolen and Forgiven, which is due out on July 14th. It will be followed by Abandoned and Unseen on September 15th. You can find the series overview and cover art HERE.
  • After a couple of year wait, Christine Feehan is returning to the world of the Ghostwalkers (thank God – love those books). Viper Game comes out in just over a month, and Christine has upped a first-chapter preview over on her website member’s section. The great thing about the preview is that it begins to answer a few questions I have had since way back in Gator’s book…like when exactly did Wyatt become a Ghostwalker, and how did he end up not being with Joy after she was rescued? There is also a new book trailer available, as well…
  • Fans of the Elemental Assassin series by Jennifer Estep will be happy to know that the 13th book will be called Spider’s Trap, and it will be out on July 28th.  I don’t know when it was released, but I did find the blurb today (Potential spoilers…maybe?)

Keep your friends close but your enemies within stabbing distance.

One important lesson I’ve learned in the assassination business is that to be the best you have to roll with the punches. Now that I’m queen of Ashland’s underworld—by default, not by choice—a lot more punches are being thrown my way. But I suppose that’s the price of victory for taking down some of the underworld’s top dogs. Good thing I have my Ice and Stone magic to help me survive my volatile new position. Just when I think things are finally settling down, someone tries to murder me during a hush-hush underworld meeting. But the real surprise is how strangely familiar my shadowy assailant seems to be.

My job is to maintain order among killers, crooks, and thieves, and soon I’m embroiled in a bloody game where the ability to keep secrets could be the greatest superpower of all. My enemies have all sharpened their knives and laid their traps, waiting for me to fall. But this Spider weaves her own webs of death…

Cover Lover – 5 New Titles

After a bit of what can only be called a dry spell, a few new covers have started trickling out (I imagine things will pick up after Christmas is out of the way). This first one is from Amanda Ashley. Night’s Surrender is part of the Children of the Night series, and it is due out on August 25th.

night's surrenderPurchase at Amazon.com

This second one comes from Lori Handeland. In the Air Tonight is the first book of the new Summer of Witches trilogy, and it is due out on June 2nd.

in the air tonightPurchase at Amazon.com

Yasmine Galenorn is also starting a new series. Flight From Death is the first book of the Fly By Night series, and it is due out on July 7th.

flight from deathPurchase at Amazon.com

This next one is Earth Bound by Christine Feehan. It is the 4th book of the Sisters of the Heart series, and it will be released on July 7th.

earth boundPurchase at Amazon.com

And this final one is a Young Adult cover. Sisters of Blood and Spirit is written by author Kady Cross, and it will be released on March 31st.

sisters of blood and spiritPurchase at Amazon.com

There you have it for today. I swear, one day I am going to pick up the Galenorn books just for the pretty covers. Her entire Otherworld series has great artwork, and this spin-off series does, too. I wish all series could look that good.

Revenant Giveaway Winner…

winner bannerTime to pick the last book of the month giveaway winner. This month’s choice was Revenant, which is apparently the last full book in the Demonica/Lords of Deliverance series from Larissa Ione. There were 19 entrants for this giveaway, and the randomly chosen winner was #7…

december winnerLisa

Congratulations, Lisa. I will contact you shortly for your info.

Cover Lover – Dead Ice (The Zombie Porn Book)

Sooo, there is another Anita Blake book from Laurell K. Hamilton in the works, this one called Dead Ice. It is due out on June second, and the cover and blurb were recently released. And what a blurb it is. Zombie porn. Wait, zombie porn? Seriously? Pretty cover, though…

dead iceAnita Blake has the highest kill count of any vampire executioner in the country. She’s a U.S. Marshal who can raise zombies with the best of them. But ever since she and master vampire Jean-Claude went public with their engagement, all she is to anyone and everyone is Jean-Claude’s fiancée.

It’s wreaking havoc with her reputation as a hard ass—to some extent. Luckily, in professional circles, she’s still the go-to expert for zombie issues. And right now, the FBI is having one hell of a zombie issue.

Someone is producing zombie porn. Anita has seen her share of freaky undead fetishes, so this shouldn’t bother her. But the women being victimized aren’t just mindless, rotting corpses. Their souls are trapped behind their eyes, signaling voodoo of the blackest kind.

It’s the sort of case that can leave a mark on a person. And Anita’s own soul may not survive unscathed . . .

Purchase at Amazon.com

Now I am talking as one who has never read a Laurell K. Hamilton book, mostly because I was repeatedly warned off of them. What I have commonly heard was that the first books were really good, then it sort of spiraled off into all-sex-no-story territory. The write up for this one doesn’t tempt me to start, either. What is your take? Has the series gone off the rails for you, and if it has do you think you would ever pick it back up again? Are there any other series whose storyline direction has stopped you from being a fan?