New Series Alert…

Man, things are so screwed up that I forgot it was Monday, so it is a bit late for the New Series Alert post.  This first new one is from Alexa EganDemon’s Curse is the first book of the Imnada Brotherhood.

demon's curseSynopsis…

A rising star on the Covent Garden stage, Bianca Parrino believes she has everything she wants. Independence. Wealth. And a life finally free of her violent, abusive husband. But when her close friend, Adam, is murdered, and Bianca is suspected in his death, she is unwittingly drawn into the search for his killer, and soon must question everything she believes—about her friend, about herself, and about a world she never knew existed.

A member of the mysterious race of shape-shifting Imnada and part of an elite military unit, Captain Mac Flannery gathered intelligence during the Napoleonic wars. As a result of a savage massacre, Mac and the men he served with are cursed. Now one of them has been found murdered, and Mac suspects the existence of the Imnada has been discovered at last. His only link to unearthing the truth is the beautiful actress who turns up unexpectedly at Adam’s funeral.

Before long, Mac has more to contend with than Bianca’s overt mistrust, his ill-fated attraction to the haughty and beautiful actress, and his ongoing search for an end to the curse. Because Adam’s killer is back, and Mac is next on his list.

The Imnada Brotherhood reading list can be found HERE.

The second new one is the much anticipated Alien Huntress spin-off from Gena ShowalterLast Kiss Tonight is the first book of the Otherworld Assassin series.

last kiss goodnightSynopsis…

A twisted menagerie exists, and otherworlders are the main attraction. Any time this zoo is about to be shut down, it vanishes and reappears somewhere else. When Solo’s latest mission is compromised, he wakes up in a cage, the newest “animal” on display.

Vika is his new handler—as well as the zoo owner’s daughter, and she’s been tasked with Solo’s care and feeding. They are supposed to be enemies, but they become lovers… until his feelings for her are used against him, and he’s put to the ultimate test.

The Otherworld Assassin reading list is HERE.

Unfortunately, it also seems that this week brings the end of a series, as well.  Blood Winter has recently been announced as the last book of Diana Pharaoh Francis‘ Horngate Witches series.  Sales for the well written series just weren’t what they should be, according to the author.

 

Guest Review – Blood Winter

Douglas Meeks has been really great about contributing guest reviews, and this one is no exception.  This time around, the review is for Diana Pharaoh FrancisBlood Winter, which is the fourth book in the Horngate Witches series (it will be available on December 26th).

What Doug said…

by
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Release Date 26 December 2012
For details/info on this series first 3 books go here:
SETTING:
Ages ago, the Guardians of the Earth created an army of creatures—faeries, banshee, chimeras, oni, lamia, kelpies, angels…the Uncanny and Divine things that populate myth and legends that most humans suppose never really existed. It was an army meant to contain the human population, to keep them from overrunning the earth…hungry parasites taking more than the host can provide.
The army failed. The Guardians were too benevolent and did not prune back the weed of humanity as severely as needed. As a result, cold iron took a heavy toll on the creatures of the Uncanny and Divine.
Centuries later, the Guardians have decided to act before it is too late—before the magic dies entirely. This time, they are holding nothing back. Over centuries, the creatures of the Uncanny and Divine have grown less susceptible to iron, and they will no longer let mercy or pity get in the way of saving the earth and it’s magic.
A war is beginning, one that will remake the earth and decimate much of humanity. It will move mountains and drain oceans. Magical beings will once again walk the earth, more powerful than ever before. Will anyone protect humanity? Who will survive when the war ends? The line in the sand between good and evil is smudged and crooked and right and wrong is impossible to know. But no one will be left on the sidelines; everyone will have to choose side.
SUMMARY:
Set in apocalyptic America and featuring a magically enhanced heroine who is “a riveting mixture of guts, compassion, and furious anger as she struggles with a world coming apart at the seams” (Romantic Times), the fourth in a dynamic dark urban fantasy series unlike anything you’ve ever read before.
Winter is coming to Montana and Shadowblade warrior Max is expecting trouble. People are hoarding everything. They are banding together, many flocking to the congregation of Sterling Savage, a fire-and-brimstone preacher. A charismatic cult leader who claims to be the Hand of God, he’s determined to create a human utopia and destroy all magic, starting with witches.
Unbeknownst to him, the “divine” voice he’s been hearing isn’t God but a demon that feeds on hate, death, and destruction. Savage is the perfect puppet for the demon’s ambitions. Max and her people at Horngate are all that stand in its way, and they are woefully unprepared.
Conducting terrible, bloody ceremonies to boost his own power and that of the demon riding him, Savage starts a war between his congregants and two other powerful gangs in the city, fighting for food, fuel, clothing and territory. He manages to capture Max’s niece, brother, and several teenagers from Horngate and Savage intends to burn them at the stake. Going undercover in the cult compound, Max swiftly realizes just how seductive Savage is. His charisma is reinforced with magic. His followers adore him and will do anything for him. Anything.
But courage, loyalty, and friendship are powerful forces—and Max doesn’t like to lose.
REVIEW:
This is the 4th book in the Horngate witches series (which is a bit of a misnomer since the books are largely about Max and her fellow Shadowblades). This novel starts with the apocalypse already in full swing and the need to find and store basic necessities is a primary concern for most people but Max does not live a normal life and food while necessary is far from the forefront of her problems.
A so called preacher with powers that suggest powers far beyond what any human could/should have has emerged and is building an army of dangerous sycophants who are enthralled with him. His main targets are witches who are actually one of the forces holding the world in check and without whom chaos and death will rule the earth.
The witches of Horngate and Max in particular (although she is no witch) seem to be the target for his venomous attacks and sadistic desires. The relationship (or lack thereof) between Max and Alexander adds in an overwhelming amount of angst into the mix. The “sleeping” angels have not awoke so once again Max is putting her life on the line for others.
The thing that makes this novel (and others in the series) work so well is the level of sacrifice that Max and others show during these novels; it brings them to a bit higher level in the emotional involvement of the reader.
The level of evil displayed by the enemies in this novel don’t make it hard to figure out which side you are on but I do question a couple of more benevolent moments and would have liked to have a bit more closure, maybe I will get it in the next book.
RATING:
This addition to the series was a bit harder to rate than the others because of the depth of suffering and the myriad plots and subplots occurring. Additionally, a large amount of the “action” takes place in Max’s head which can be a confusing place.
At the end of the novel though you are pleased with most things (but not everything) and are not left with a sense of things left undone, you have more questions but most good authors leave a few crumbs to attract readers to the next book, which is not a bad thing if done with a light touch as it is here.
Bottom Line: 5 Star reading, dismal environment, sacrificial heroine, soaring ending. What more can you ask? It was great, when can I get the next one? Get this series, get this book.
I have heard great things about this series – are there any other fans out there?  Who else is excited for the next book?

Reader Recommendation…

Doug Meeks kindly sent over another Reader Recommendation (I do love getting these).  Looks like he is on to a really good series I have seen around forever but never gotten into myself, The Horngate Witches from Diana Pharaoh Francis.  Right now, there are three books available, with the fourth due out at the end of this year.

What Doug said…

          Horngate Witches Series:
Disclaimer:
These books were furnished to me at no cost and without conditions in expectation of a fair and honest review. It should be noted that after reading about 20% of Bitter Night I bought them all in Kindle format at my own cost (that should be considered a large recommendation)
Summary:
Ages ago, the Guardians of the earth created an army of creatures—faeries, banshee, chimeras, oni, lamia, kelpies, angels…the Uncanny and Divine things that populate myth and legends that most humans suppose never really existed. It was an army meant to contain the human population, to keep them from overrunning the earth…hungry parasites taking more than the host can provide.
The army failed. The Guardians were too benevolent and did not prune back the weed of humanity as severely as needed. As a result, cold iron took a heavy toll on the creatures of the Uncanny and Divine.
Centuries later, the Guardians have decided to act before it is too late—before the magic dies entirely. This time, they are holding nothing back. Over centuries, the creatures of the Uncanny and Divine have grown less susceptible to iron, and they will no longer let mercy or pity get in the way of saving the earth and its magic.
A war is beginning, one that will remake the earth and decimate much of humanity. It will move mountains and drain oceans. Magical beings will once again walk the earth, more powerful than ever before. A new army is rising, and the portents are here. Fires, hurricanes, earthquakes, volcanoes…a collapsing bridge, a sinkhole swallowing a city block, a tidal wave to kill an island.
Witches will be at the heart of the war. They have kept the fires of magic burning for centuries. The Guardians call on them to lead the fight. But uniting the witches is no easy task. Many are enemies, while others see the rising tide of magic as a chance to build empires.
Questions arise. Will anyone protect humanity? Who will survive when the war ends? The line in the sand between good and evil is smudged and crooked and right and wrong is impossible to know. But no one will be left on the sidelines; everyone will have to choose sides and they will have to do it VERY soon..
Once, Max dreamed of a career, a home, a loving family. Now all she wants is freedom…and revenge. A witch named Giselle transformed Max into a warrior with extraordinary strength, speed, and endurance. Bound by spellcraft, Max has no choice but to fight as Giselle’s personal magic weapon — a Shadowblade — and she’s lethally good at it. But her skills are about to be put to the test as they never have before….
So the story begins …
Review:
Max is the very angry, very capable heroine and my initial impression after getting into the book was “How have I missed this series??” it had me hooked quickly. My favorite characters in PNR/UF have always been the more violent ones (Kate Daniels, Jane Yellowrock, BDB, etc) but I could not believe how great the character of Max was in these books. She embodies a bit of all of them and keeps a pace in these books that made me tired just reading them.
I was initially a bit disappointed in the first book because I did not get the revenge “fix” I felt like I really needed but the author while feeding my violent addiction took a higher road on the revenge thing and had it all make sense by book 3 (I still wanted her to get her revenge and I guess she did in a way).
A large part of these books is her relationship (totally nonsexual) with Giselle (the witch in charge of Horngate and former best friend) which is horribly complex and is still the most frustrating part of these books for me, I wish I could explain it better but since it is an evolving thing I can’t do it without spoilers. I think in Blood Winter (book #4) it will get a bit more resolution it would seem to indicate.
Make no mistake that there is most definitely a love interest in Alexander (another Shadowblade) and it runs cold and hot but when you are spending a huge amount of time trying to stay alive or protecting others, your sex life suffers a bit, not from the lack of Alexander’s efforts. As with most relationships, it too is very complicated.
These are books setting up the beginning of an apocalypse (read the summary) and she is a survivor and once she considers you one of “hers” she is a “fight till you die” type of personality which you have to love and actually has a soft core that you don’t get to see much of until about halfway through book 2.
The cast of characters is endless and every species in UF shows up (or a variation of it), there are the Shadowblades, Sunspears, witches, mages, angels, etc. If you can think about it, chances are you will see at least a mention of it in one of the first 3 books (and a couple you never thought of)
The reason these books work so well is that Max is extremely passionate about her responsibility to take care of all around her and that loyalty is reflected back by the loyalty of those she cares for (and a couple she puts up with anyway).
The stories are a bit stressful, the odds impossible at times and death is a constant companion and pain is just part of life in apocalyptic America. I tend to dislike dystopia type books but this series is so good it overcomes my dislike with ease. While each book has a main plot, the theme of this whole series is Max doing whatever it takes to protect people weaker than her and she never forgets it.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This is a 5 Star rated series and I can’t wait to read more, she leaves you wanting more at the end of each book but be forewarned, don’t get to the end of book 2 without book 3 right there ready to be read since you WILL want to get right to it (trust me). Book #4 Blood Winter will be released at Christmas and I hope to have an ARC to review a few weeks in advance of that date. You really should grab these books now to be ready for Blood Winter at Christmas, if you want nice girls, pages of hot passionate sex and are a fan of nonviolence …. you are in the wrong place. This is about survival of the fit and justice for those who prey on the weak, all she needs is a cape with a big S on the front. You will be thrilled with her success and suffer over her history of betrayals by people she trusted, but all of her tortured past serve to make her into someone whose story you cannot resist. Strong heroine is such an understatement in describing Max , you are going to love her.
Who else loves this one?  Anyone going to give this one a start if you haven’t already?

Cover Lover – Blood Winter

I have been busy working on the new design, which I hope to have up early next week, but in the meantime I only stumbled across one new cover for this post.  Diana Pharaoh Francis‘ next Horngate Witches book, Blood Winter.  I really like this cover, it is such a nice change from the usual dark tones you see in these books.  Look for it to hit the shelves on December 26th.

New Release Info

I am still on an updating quest, and there are a few new ones to add to the new release section, and a couple of little tidbits.

  • There will be a fourth book in Elle Jasper‘s Dark Ink series, called Black Fallen.  It is due out in December.
  • The preorder links are up for two upcoming Darynda Jones‘ books.  Death and the Girl Next Door will be out on October 2nd, and Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet will be out on October 30th.
  • The fourth Nola O’Grady book from Katharine Kerr will be called Love on the Run, and should be out on August 7th.
  • Seanan McGuire‘s second InCryptid book will be called Midnight Blue-Light Special, and it will be out in March 2013.
  • Richelle Mead will be starting a new adult series next year called Age of X.  The first book will be called Gameboard of the Gods.
  • A Trace of Moonlight will be the next Abby Sinclair book from Allison Pang, and it is due out on October 30th.
  • The next Linda Robertson Persephone Alcmedi book will be called Shattered Circle.  Look for in on November 27th.
  • There will be a new Horngate Witches book from Diana Pharaoh Francis this December called Blood Winter.
  • November 27th will be the release date of the first Alien Huntress spin-off book, Last Kiss Goodnight.  The new Gena Showalter series is called Otherworld Assassin.
  • Poison Princess, the first book from Kresley Cole‘s upcoming Young Adult series, will be released on October 2nd.

Cover Lover – 2 New Titles

I came back from my little vacation thinking that I would be so far behind updating this site that there would be too much to post.  Er, no.  Turns out that I came back to pretty much nothing at all going on.  Huh.  Anyhow, hopefully getting back on track, I have found a whopping two new covers released recently.

First up is the third book from Diana Pharaoh Francis‘ Horngate Witches series.  Shadow City is a December 27th release.

Originally, the next book in Kristina Douglas‘ Fallen series was supposed to be titled The Siren.  Somewhere along the line, it got a name change to Warrior.  Either way, it will be hitting the shelves on April 24th.

Random Updates

Hard to believe, but there is some concrete info starting to come out about the 2012 releases…man, I am still writing 2010 on everything.  Looks like I need to get caught up.

  • November 1st, Christine Feehan will have a sort of new release.  Darkest at Dawn is a trade-paperback size re-release of two previous Dark series stories – Dark Secret and Dark Hunger (from the Hot Blooded anthology).
  • from what I can gather, Nancy Gideon starts a new series this November with the release of Hunter of Shadows.
  • the second book in Linda Howard and Linda Jones‘ Blood Born series seems to have been pushed back yet again.  Warrior Rising is now looking like an April 2012 release.
  • Lothaire it is.  The preorder links for the Kresley Cole Immortal After Dark release have gone up at Amazon, so it looks like the title is a done deal.  The official release date is now January 10th.
  • Lydia Dare adds to her Regency Vampire series this September 1st with the release of Never Been Bit.  It is the third book in the series.
  • Rachel Caine‘s Morganville Vampires book number 11 will be called Last Breath.  Look for it on November 1st.
  • The third book from Sophie Renwick‘s The Chronicles of Annwyn now has a title.  Velvet Moon will be released on December 6th.
  • A new one from Rachel Vincent will be available on August 23rd.  Blood Bound is an adult release, the first book in her new Unbound series.
  • After a very long delay, it looks like the third book from Elisabeth Naughton‘s Eternal Guardians series will finally be coming out.  Tempted now has a September 1st release date.
  • It’s All Greek To Me is the name of the early December release from Katie MacAlister.
  • Amanda Ashley will follow up August’s Bound by Night with Bound by Blood.  It is scheduled for the end of September.
  • Donna Grant‘s Dark Sword series will be getting a spin-off.  The Dark Warriors series (set in the same world) will have four releases in 2012.  Midnight’s Master will be out in June, followed by Midnight’s Lover in July.  Midnight’s Seduction will be available in November, and Midnight’s Warrior will round things off in December.
  • January 1st is the date for the next Linda Wisdom book, A Demon Does it Better.
  • Stephanie Rowe‘s third Soulfire book, Hold Me if You Can, will be out January 1st, 2012.
  • December 1st will be the release date for the next Terry Spear Wolf series book, this one called Dreaming of the Wolf.
  • The second Forgotten Goddesses series book from Stephanie Julian will be called How to Worship a Goddess.  It should be out on December 1st.
  • Sidney Ayers will follow up Demons Prefer Blondes with Icing on the Demon, available on December 1st.
  • Shadow City will be the title of the third Horngate Witches series from Diana Pharaoh Francis, due out on December 27th.
  • December 27th will also be the date for the next Persephone Alcmedi book, Wicked Circle, from Linda Robertson.
  • Virtual Virgin is the title of the next Delilah Street book from Carole Nelson Douglas, due out on November 29th.
  • and finally, it looks like Kim Harrison will be releasing a reference book, The Hollows Insider, at the end of October.

Spotlight on…Diana Pharaoh Francis

Crimson Wind is the second book in the Linda Robertson Horngate Witches series, following Bitter Moon.  Book two will be hitting the shelves on December 28th, and the cover and synopsis are available now…

Synopsis…

Max is a Shadowblade—a supernatural warrior created to serve and protect her witch, Giselle. She was made to kill and she’s very good at it. But there are some troubles you can’t solve with a gun. Since the devastation of her covenstead four weeks ago and the revelation of the coming apocalypse, Max has been itching to bring her family back to the safety of Horngate. The only trouble is they think she was murdered thirty years ago. So she’s a little worried about how they’ll feel when she tells them she’s alive and never bothered to get in touch. But first she has to deal with an enraged wannabe lover who can destroy worlds, an angry mage, and a stubborn witch.