Shield of Winter Review…

review iconNalini Singh can do no wrong, of that I am sure. Of course, that is my personal opinion, but I am going with it. Nalini kindly sent me my very first ARC, which I devoured it in a day. Usually, I am hard on liking the heroines in a story, but Ivy jumps to the top of my favorites list, and the mysterious Vasic was already there. Doug Meeks recently got his ARC, and did up a review for the much-anticipated 13th Psy/Changeling novel, Shield of Winter.

shield of winterWhat Doug said…

Shield of Winter

Release date 3 Jun 2014

Nalini Singh is seriously messing with my head. This is not the first time I thought that the last book I read of hers was the best until I read the next one and then I feel kinda stupid.

In Shield of Winter she takes Vasic who is a stone cold killer from all appearances in previous books and pairs him up with Ivy an empath and carves a story of romance and sacrifice that defies description (that will be my excuse for this review).

In the early chapters I could not get past the feeling that I was reading something that could best be described as “The Love Life of Mr. Spock” and that mental image stuck with me for a good portion of the first half of the novel but at about 450 pages you know there is some serious changes coming. It was funny and touching before it got really serious and somewhat sad and frustrating.

The novel morphs into a “save the world” plot with the romance being an integral part of the story and add in a couple of very stressful subplots that add exceptional depth to this story and you have a formula for another masterpiece (no I don’t use that word much).

The fact that with the fate of the world hanging in the balance the romance never lets go and the emotional feelings that is imparted to the reader just all make me wonder why all authors can’t be this good instead of the mere handful writing today.

The loyalty of friends, the romance of people that never doubt their mates, the multi-layered plot all make this yet another of the better things I have read in the last year. She inserts most of the characters from previous books into this story in various places which I love. So, if you love a great romance, great action and a story you can’t forget, this is it (I also said a similar thing about Heart of Obsidian which was true). This is a true 5 Star novel and anyone that can’t appreciate this story really needs to schedule time with a professional therapist (yes it IS that good).

I know anticipation is high for this one, and it is rightly deserved. The next story is a novella in the Night Shift anthology, and it will be a return to DarkRiver and feature Bastien Smith.

May’s Book of the Month…

book of the monthMay is shaping up to be an interesting month…a few adult books I am looking forward to, and a few young adult.  A nice balance, which is good. As always, the title chosen as May’s book of the month will also be the next giveaway, and I have chosen 10 that caught my eye. If none of these are your big pick, just check “Other”, and leave your selection in the comments section. A complete list of May’s upcoming releases can be found HERE.

Personally, this is a bit tricky to pick. I am looking forward to Sixth Grave, for sure, but Hunt the Darkness from Alexandra Ivy is one I have been waiting for since the last Guardians book. Air Bound is a biggie, since it has been forever since we have had a Sisters of the Heart book. But I think I will have to pick City of Heavenly Fire, the last book in the Mortal Instruments series. All in all, a good, solid month.

Cover Lover – 5 New Titles

I don’t have a pick of the week to post this time, so instead it looks like cover lover time instead. There are five this go round, starting with a couple of novella covers. First up is Double Hexed, a Stormwalker story from Jennifer Ashley. Look for it on May 20th.

double hexedThe next novella is also from Jennifer Ashley, but it is from her Shifters Unbound series. Perfect Mate is also due out on May 20th.

perfect mate

The Girl Who Kissed a Lie is a prequel novella from Skylar Dorset and her Otherworld series. This one is due out on May 6th.

a girl who kissed a lie

Caris Roane‘s next Men in Chains book is called Unchained, and it is due out on November 25th.

unchained

Um, wow. This next one is…interesting. I am getting a jazz-dancer vibe, and the spandex legging things are not helping. Lord. Anyways, Lolita Lopez‘s next Dragon Heat story will be called Renegade Dragon, and it has a release date of August 5th.

renegade dragon

 

New Series Alerts…

That time of the week again, when we spotlight the new series coming our way, and there is just one to look forward to. Andrea Cremer, author of the Nightshade series, starts her new Inventor’s Secret world with the release of The Inventor’s Secret.

the inventor's secretSynopsis…

New from Andrea Cremer, the New York Times bestselling author of the Nightshade novels, comes an action-packed alternate-history steampunk adventure.

In this world, sixteen-year-old Charlotte and her fellow refugees have scraped out an existence on the edge of Britain’s industrial empire. Though they live by the skin of their teeth, they have their health (at least when they can find enough food and avoid the Imperial Labor Gatherers) and each other. When a new exile with no memory of his escape  or even his own name seeks shelter in their camp he brings new dangers with him and secrets about the terrible future that awaits all those who have struggled has to live free of the bonds of the empire’s Machineworks.

The Inventor’s Secret is the first book of a YA steampunk series set in an alternate nineteenth-century North America where the Revolutionary War never took place and the British Empire has expanded into a global juggernaut propelled by marvelous and horrible machinery.

Are you checking out this newbie? I have the Nightshade books on Mount TBR, so I think I will try that out before I get into the new one.

Reader Reaction – The King

the kingWell, we have all had a couple of weeks to process J.R. Ward‘s latest Black Dagger Brotherhood novel, The King. None of the books in this series are something that I find you can breeze through, and I think I spent pretty much a solid week on it. As usual, there was a lot going on, but personally I thought it was a much easier read than the last book, Lover at Last. I did enjoy LaL, but by the time you kept everything that was going on straight it was a bit of a workout.

“What did you think of The King? I had some hesitation about going back to Wrath and Beth’s story, but I thought it worked. What do you think it contributed to the series overall? Are you hoping for a second book for the rest of the Brothers, as well?”

 

Instead of the something like 10 storylines and tangents that were going on in LaL, The King had a much more manageable 3 major arcs…which was great. Wrath and Beth’s personal and royal issues was one, Assail and Sola was a very strong second, and the developing Trez and iAm situations leading into the next book, The Shadows, was the third. Layla didn’t annoy my face off this time, and I am intrigued where things are going with her and Xcor again. Saxton moved way up in my estimation, and it was really nice to meet a Chosen (Selena) that didn’t aggravate me. Bonus.

What are your thoughts? Spoiler zone is wide open in the comments, so be warned going in. Rave, vent, whichever works for you.

Night Prince 3 News…

Jeanine Frost has upped some info over on her blog about her upcoming third and final Vlad book. Night Prince 3 is due out next January 26th, and the title will be…

Bound by Flames

And just because she is a tease, she also added a small piece of the step back for our enjoyment. Stay tuned for the official cover reveal, which should follow shortly.

Cover-teaser

 

Cover Lover – 9 New Titles

Usually, when I do a cover lover post, I hope to find at least one that is a stand-out. I didn’t have much luck this time around. There isn’t anything that makes me gag, but then there isn’t much that would make me grab the book off of the shelf to read, either.

First up, we have the second book from the new Chris Marie Green Jensen Murphy, Ghost for Hire series. Another One Bites the Dust will be released on November 4th.

another one bites the dustShona Husk is up next with To Love a King, which is from her Annywn series. It is due out on October 22nd.

to love a kingGena Showalter is re-releasing Tempt Me Eternally in e-format on June 2nd. It is #4.5 of her Alien Huntress series, and it was originally released in the Deep Kiss of Winter duology with Kresley Cole.

tempt me eternallyThe Winter Long, from Seanan McGuire, will be released on September 2nd. It is from her October Daye series.

the winter longThe third book from Sharon Shinn‘s Shifting Circle series, The Turning Season, will be released on November 4th.

the turning seasonJuliette Marillier starts her new Blackthorn and Grim series with Dreamer’s Pool. It is due out on November 4th.

dreamer's poolMolly Cochran revisits her Legacy series with a novella called Wishes. The e-book will be released on April 29th.

wishesJulie Kagawa‘s new YA Talon series gets its start on October 28th with the release of the first book, also called Talon.

9780373211395.inddAnd finally, we have Marie Lu‘s new The Young Elites. It is the first book of the series of the same name, and it is due out on October 7th.

the young elitesWhat do you think? I think that both Talon and The Young Elites are pretty, but they gave me more of a novella cover vibe rather than the first books of much anticipated new series from two successful authors.

Release Day Review…The Kraken King

review iconDonna Grant is doing it. So is A.C. Arthur. Lynn Viehl. And Cassandra Clare. It seems like a new trend is developing, and that is to serialize a new release over the course of a few weeks (or months) before the print release. Meljean Brook has entered the fray with her new Iron Seas story, The Kraken King, which has been divided into eight separate parts to be released over the next eight weeks. Doug Meeks got his hands on the first three installments, and did up a quick review.

the kraken king part 1What Doug said…

Meljean Brook sent me the first 7 parts of her new serialized novel The Kraken King and it may be the best thing i have read in a very long time and I am only through part 3.  Thought I would send this along since it releases tomorrow and she will release another book each week at $1.99, this isn’t my best work but writing a review on what seems to the reader to be a work in progress is difficult at best :)

dcm

——————————————————————–

The Kraken King Part 1

I am giving this 5 Stars because I loved the story and this first installment just gives you the basics of a great story and several mysteries.

The heroine has many secrets and you the reader will only know a few of them, the Kraken King (one of his many titles) is more of a mayor of a town that kills a lot of the krakens.

There is the beginning touches of a good romance but this short story only gives us the very basics, these stories being serialized and released about a week apart might prove to be a source of frustration because this has all the earmarks of a really great story and romance.

I will have to see who I can beg/bribe/threaten to get the rest of these as soon as possible :)

NOTE: Maybe it was just me but the first few chapters brought up memories of Romancing the Stone (the movie) but now that I have finished I think that was a misconception on my part since our heroine has a LOT of secrets.

The Kraken King Part 2

Well there is only so much I can write about this continuing story without injecting spoilers but this second part moves the story along nicely and some unforeseen problem.

Ariq is determined to stay close to Zenobia for reasons that he does not allow himself to believe at times. They are a perfect couple as far as a opposites attract couple. The secrets they both are holding start to come out just a small bit but it muddies the water more than provides clarity plus the story takes a sudden turn towards the end of this part that sends us off the intended track a bit.

The romance is still not moving along as hoped but I am sure it will eventually but some misconceptions need to be cleared up and of course that constant threat of death always messes up a good romance :)

Still 5 Star addiction and so I will be grabbing Part 3 soon and continuing on in this addicting story. If you can’t enjoy this you need to get counseling :)

The Kraken King Part 3

So many of my favorite series seem to have a third book that stands above the rest and this is no exception, of the three books so far this one knocks my socks off as far as progress, action, romance, and a bit more info for the reader,

Zenobia and Ariq (the Kraken King) end up in a smuggler’s den due to circumstance in the last book and as you might think there is danger everywhere.

Our heroine manages to find trouble as you might expect but things will happen that will leave you smiling and a good place for me to take a break before moving on with book #4 since I have other reviews to write :)

I haven’t really gotten into the whole steampunk genre, myself. I have read precisely one story…which was the first novella from this series…but I found I very much enjoyed it. Not sure actually why I didn’t continue, but now I just might have to give it another shot.

What do you think of the serial idea? Do you read them as they come out, or do you hold off and wait for the entire release in print form? I think the idea of the serialized story is actually quite brilliant – and profitable. At only $1.99 per entry, you are still getting almost $16.00 for that one story before it ever makes its print debut. Not bad at all.

New Series Alerts…

Hey again, everyone. I was completely caught up on new releases, but then Amazon upped a bunch more today (including Gena Showalter’s The Darkest Touch). Updates are coming again.

On the new series side of things, there are a few making their debut this week. First up is the new e-book series from Marcella Burnard, Living Ink. The first story is called Nightmare Ink.

nightmare inkSynopsis…

With her art and magic, Isa Romanchzyk has the power to create or destroy. In her tattoo shop, Nightmare Ink, Isa helps those in need by binding the power embedded in their Live Ink—the magical tattoos that can enhance the life of the wearer, or end it. But binding tattoos has earned Isa the contempt of her fellow artists—including her former lover Daniel.

When a friend comes to the shop with a tattoo on the verge of killing him, Isa can’t turn him away. For the first time in years, she works Live Ink—something she swore she’d never do again. But a broken vow soon becomes the least of her problems.

The real nightmare begins when she’s abducted and inked with a Living Tattoo against her will. Now, saddled with a powerful, amoral entity willing to do anything to win his freedom, Isa must fight to keep her Living Tattoo from consuming her completely…

–Living Ink reading list HERE

Another e-book series is up next. Wolf at the Door is the first book of the Salvation Pack, written by N.J. Walters.

wolf at the doorSynopsis…

When Gwendolyn Jones inherits a Tennessee cabin from a great aunt she never knew, she quits her job and follows her dream to write full time. Meeting a stranger in a local cemetery isn’t a risk she normally takes, but she needs the information on his flash drive for an article she’s writing on werewolves. Later that night, when two honest-to-God werewolves come knocking on her cabin door, they’re definitely “not” Photoshopped.

Jacque LaForge is on a mission to retrieve a flash drive before it endangers his pack. He never thought he’d find a mate, but the chemistry between him and Gwen is unmistakably off the charts. Now to convince her he’s only trying to protect her from his vengeful former pack-led by his own father.

Gwen’s first instinct to flee only gets her a smashed car and a concussion. She wakes up in a dangerous new world she never thought existed-and in the arms of the one man who stands between her and certain death.

–Salvation Pack reading list HERE

Alivia Anders‘ Young Adult Black Symphony Saga was actually supposed to start last year, but A Shard of Ice was given the push-back treatment. Good to see this one finally making its debut.

a shard of iceSynopsis…

THEIR SOULS, REAWAKENED.

When 13-year-old Lilix Morgan is found alive and floating on a bed of ice at sea, everyone counts it a miracle. Kidnapped nearly four weeks earlier, she remembers nothing of her mysterious abduction. When she tries to remember what happened, she hears only a melody – a faint and delicate set of notes, strung together in a tune she doesn’t understand.

THEIR POWER, UNMATCHED.

A year later and desperate to put the lingering nightmares of her past behind her, Lilix crosses the country to enroll at Baelmorte Academy, aiming to become the violinist she once dreamt of. Things seem to be finally going well, and Lilix settles into a routine of sheet music and inspiration among new friends.

Then the dreams start.

The melody and night terrors she thought she’d left behind return with a vengeance, threatening to ruin her fragile version of normalcy. Then an unlikely ally tells her that she isn’t alone. That there are others just like her, fighting to hide their own shocking truths from coming to light. That they know who she is, and what she’s been through. Now, accompanied by four other girls, Lilix discovers her nightmares are larger than a single trauma; they’re a window to a hidden part of her soul, a place of immense power with a destiny that cannot be ignored.

THEIR BATTLE, IS ONLY BEGINNING.

With this knowledge comes a new and frightening reality. For Lilix has been reawakened to stop an age-old enemy, one thought to have been destroyed centuries ago. Trapped by her destiny, Lilix is torn between what feels right and what she remembers. Her memories tell her of a star-crossed love waiting to be reunited, of friendships and trust broken in the past. But can she save that love when reality brings her an enemy, and an evil that will be the undoing of them all if they don’t destroy it?

–The Black Symphony Saga reading list HERE

Which of these are you looking forward to? I have been watching for A Shard of Ice for a while now, and I will be keeping an eye on the reviews to see how things shape up for it. It is going on my To Be Watched list.

TBR Plans and Schemes…

question markOk, I really, really thought I was making headway on getting through Mount TBR. I really did. The last time I had actually sat down and counted, I had around 190 books. I was a bit ashamed, so I put more of a concerted effort into getting things into a reasonable range. Fast forward to today, when I did another count to see how I was doing…and my TBR now totals 270. 270?!? How…when…WHAT?

A book buying ban is the fastest way to turn me into a raging bitch, so that will never happen. Instead, I have decided on a rethink of how I order, what I order, and when I order it. Instead of grabbing everything that catches my eye, I am going to try buying new releases from my existing series (that I have already read from and decided that I like). I will pick up the first book from a new series only when I have completed a series from Mount TBR. For example, I finished the third and final book in the Divergent series, Allegiant, so I decided to try out Robin D. Owens‘ new Ghost Seer book. Also, I will make myself buy only the first book of a series to see if I actually like it before I pick up the whole set – that is, except for the Dark-Hunter stuff, which makes me snicker every time I see the shelves of them that I have never read.

I have also come up with a way to organize the TBR monster. I have six full bookcases of six shelves each, and I rotate between cases. That way, I alternate between paperback, hardcover, young adult and trade paperback. And I have given myself challenges, too…like this go round, I must read one book from each bookcase that either finishes up a series, or gets me caught up to the most current release. The next round might be something like each book from the six must have a blue cover, or something like that. It actually makes me read something that I might otherwise have passed over yet again.

How does your TBR shape up? Do you have a technique for organizing it, or do you just wing it? Have any of you come up with a way to keep the numbers down while still having plenty to chose from, or are you overrun, too? Are you loud and proud, or slightly ashamed of the number of books demanding your attention?