Reading Roundup…

It has been a while since I did a reading roundup post, so I thought maybe we could go over what we thought of the good, the bad and the ugly of some recent releases. Spoilers are possible, so proceed with caution if you haven’t read any of these.

night's honorNight’s HonorThea Harrison‘s latest Elder Races book almost read like a stand-alone title to me. We have only briefly seen Xavier in the past, and next to nothing about the Nightkind demense has been featured in previous books, so it was interesting to see inside another branch of the Elder Races. I liked the world-building, but I found myself a bit underwhelmed by the romance side of things, and dare I say it, but I found the characters a bit on the dull side. I didn’t really connect with them, especially with Tess, who was just too bland to hold my interest. Final Thoughts: Here’s hoping that things pick up again for the next one, Midnight’s Kiss.

dark bloodDark Blood – Hm, this one is a bit tricky. Christine Feehan is one of my guilty pleasures, but you go into her books knowing exactly what you are going to get (and this one was no different). I am glad to see this Lycan angle wrap up. I didn’t enjoy is the whole Carpathian language thingy (which grates on my nerves every book now), but it was especially distracting here. I don’t mind a small phrase or two in the Carpathian, but whole sentences followed by their translations gets awkward and takes me out of the flow of the story. Also, believe it or not, I found myself thinking a time or two that things were, well, unrealistic (ha!). I rolled my eyes at the Xavier/Xavion/Xav-something triplets angle, and the whole climactic battle scene actually struck me as funny. But I did like the characters, the acceptance of their mating early on, and I liked seeing so many old favorites, no matter how briefly. Plus – no flower scene! Bonus. Final Thoughts: Ok, not bad, not great. Hopefully on to another angle for the Carpathians.

shifting shadowsShifting Shadows – This collection of short stories from the world of Mercy Thompson is actually turning out to be quite interesting. Not all, or even most, feature our well known leads of Mercy, Adam, Charles or Anna, but they are set within the same world and have the same tone. I am enjoying reading one here and there before bed when I don’t want to get too involved in a full book and then stay up all night reading. The short story Alpha and Omega is what got me reading Patricia Briggs in the first place, and I loved reading it again in Shifting Shadows (for something like the 5th time, I’m sure). Final Thoughts: A nice collection, which looks great on the shelf with its pretty cover. Now, if only we could get a Kate Daniels world collection like this, I would be extra happy.

visionsVisions – The second book in Kelley Armstrong‘s Cainsville series was one of my most anticipated reads, and it lived up to my excitement. Book one read like a mystery with some paranormal aspects, but book two has much more of a supernatural feel to it. I liked the slow progression of the story, the development of the characters, the growing bond between Olivia and Gabriel (and, well, I like Gabriel). Final Thoughts: Great book. Great series. Looking forward to the re-read, and can’t wait for the next one.

We are now heading into the last few months of 2014, but there are some much-anticipated books that should keep me warm this winter. The absolute top pick for me is Ilona AndrewsBurn for Me (since I already read Archangel’s Shadows, that is). Seventh Grave and No Body from Darynda Jones should be intense, and Gena Showalter‘s long-awaited Torin story, The Darkest Touch, is also on the list. And while anthologies are not usually much to get excited about for me, the Ilona Andrews and Nalini Singh entries in Night Shift make this a biggie, too. Add in a few young adult titles that I am eying, and the rest of the year isn’t shaping up too badly at all.

Which of these have you read, and what was your take on them? Did you come across anything exciting (or disappointing, for that matter) recently, and what are you most looking forward to for the last quarter of the year?

How I Spent My Summer Vacation…

question markYou know when you have time off and you make big plans to get a ton of stuff done? Things that you have been putting off for months, that you tell yourself “I will get ALL of that done when I am off”, but the list has gotten so damned big that you can’t possibly get to it all? That was me, this week. Here is how my reading/blogging to-do list looked at the start of my vacation…

  • reformat all author pages to include all of their non-PNR/UF series, change the links and do new graphics for the character guide links.
  • add a couple of new Featured Author pages.
  • finish re-doing the links for at least three pages of the Series Reading List pages.
  • check to make sure all of the new release dates were current, and add all new cover art and blurbs to the monthly summaries.
  • add the new releases I have gathered over the last couple of weeks.
  • get at least 4 character guides up to date.

Yeah, most of that didn’t happen. I did get the new release dates double checked and covers and blurbs added, so things are current as of September 1st. Surprisingly, there weren’t a lot of shifts in release dates this time, so mostly what you were looking forward to should still be on schedule.

I did also manage to get the character guide updated for Gena Showalter‘s Angels of the Dark series, and half of the Dark Skye info added for the Immortals After Dark one, too. I am half-way through the re-read of Rule Breaker, so the Breeds one should be done soonish, as well. That means I am only behind on 8 or 9 now. Beauty.

As for the author pages, I got a grand total of two done. The Alexandra Ivy and Cassandra Clare sections, to be precise. Things are pretty much the same, but I have added a few new things. I dropped the biographical stuff, for the most part, but I did add a listing of all of their series and what genre they were on the front page (like adding Alexandra Ivy’s historicals written under the name Deborah Raleigh, that sort of thing). I also added a little “On the Horizon” section for those upcoming titles where there isn’t much info yet. If you find it awkward or confusing, just let me know.

The biggest thing I did manage to get done was all of my bookshelves cleaned and organized, and all of my books vacuumed. Individually. One. By. One. It is at those moments that I really hate my love of book hoarding. But see…the pretty…

hardcoversoftcoverHow did you spend your summer vacation? Any excitement, action, or drama? Or were you like me and it blew by before you knew it?

Happy Endings and New Beginnings…

Pheonix was kind enough to send me over her notes from the RT book convention about some PNR/UF series that are coming to a close soon, and that got me thinking about who is wrapping up one world, and starting on a new one. It is hard to let go of a favorite series, but when you have something new to look forward to it takes some of the sting out of it.

  • Kim Harrison‘s popular Hollows series is calling it quits with the release of the 13th book, The Witch With No Name, on September 9th. She went on to give a little bit of info on her new project, which will be about a slightly older female heroine, written from the third person point of view. “It’s a twist on what I usually write, and I’m so excited about it,” she added.
  • Larissa Ione is also wrapping up the Demonica/Lords of Deliverance series. She said “I didn’t want to keep adding new characters and I didn’t want to keep adding new sequel bait.” I haven’t seen anything listed after Revenant‘s book, so I wonder if that is the finale? Interestingly, she and Stephanie Tyler are returning to their Sydney Croft ACRO series with a couple of new novellas in the works.
  • P.C. Cast‘s House of Night series is finished this October with the release of Redeemed. No word yet on what is in store after that.
  • Not one but two series from Gena Showalter are wrapping up soon, with both The White Rabbit Chronicles and Otherworld Assassin stories finishing at a trilogy. And she is replacing them with two new series. She has a new four book YA series in the works, and a New Adult Contemporary trilogy + novella called The Original Heartbreakers. The novella will be called The One You Want, and the first full book called The Closer You Are will follow next March. It will be followed by The Hotter You Burn and then The Harder You Fall.
  • Apparently, the publisher has chosen not to go ahead with Cassie Alexander‘s Edie Spence series, so she has turned to a new series called Sleeping With Monsters. This one seems to be a bit more on the steamy side of things. Book one is called The Haunted, and it will be followed by The Hunted in August.
  • We have talked before about J.R. Ward finishing up her Fallen Angels books with the sixth title, Immortal, which is due out this October. Aaand I am still on the hunt for info about the rumored two new series heading our way. More to come on that one.
  • Chloe Neill still has at least three more full books and a novella in her Chicagoland Vampire series, but she is already looking ahead and planning a new series for 2015. No title is available as yet, but a bit of a teaser is out. “After humans overcome a shocking attack by supernaturals centered in the Crescent City—the Second Battle of New Orleans—supernaturals are forced into a walled community known as the District. It’s not good—or safe—to have magic, so Claire Connolly risks everything when she uses her secret magic to protect a friend. Claire quickly learns the world is more complicated than she ever knew . . . and allies are hard to come by.” Interesting…
  • Night Huntress has been done for a few months now, and the end is in sight for Night Prince, but we have Jeaniene Frost‘s New Adult Broken Destiny series to look forward to. The Beautiful Ashes heads our way at the end of August.
  • And Delilah S. Dawson ended her popular Blud series this past January, but has since turned her attention to more stand-alone (and varied) stories. Her YA paranormal Servants of the Storm comes out this August, and a very interesting book called Hit will come out next April. It is an alternate future/romantic suspense mash up where the United States was bought out by a Bank, and those in debt become the hunted. Or the hunters. Hm, like I said, interesting…
  • Oh, and on a positive note, both Kresley Cole and Nalini Singh have confirmed that their IAD and Psy/Changeling series have no end in sight. Nalini has said that the next book, featuring Aden, is the end of the second arc, but a new arc shall begin. Very, very good new indeed.

So, any you can add to the list? Anything new on the horizon from an old favorite?

Cover Lover – The Darkest Touch

Today is Monday. Not yesterday. If that fact would’ve occurred to me yesterday, I would’ve realized that I was a day early for the New Series Alerts post. Stupid extra day off threw my days out of whack. Anyways…

Torin!

Yep, Gena Showalter has released the cover for the next Lords of the Underworld book, The Darkest Touch, which is due out on November 25th. Torin is my favorite Lord, by far, and I so hope he gets a great story.

the darkest touchYes? No? Don’t care as long as you get the book? I was expecting long hair, but other than that I like it. Love the background.

Pick of the Week…

I know that there has been a bit of a change in the writing of Gena Showalter over the course of her last few books. From what I understand, some changes in her personal life and way of thinking led to a toning down in the steamier aspects of her books, but she has heard her fans and is heading back to more of the style that made her famous. No matter what, I always enjoy the worlds that she creates, and that makes her latest Angels of the Dark book, Burning Dawn, my pick of the week.

burning dawnSynopsis…

New York Times bestselling author Gena Showalter returns with a sizzling Angels of the Dark tale about a winged warrior renowned for his ruthlessness, and the woman who becomes his obsession….

A tormented past has left Thane with an insatiable need for violence, making him the most dangerous assassin in the skies. He lives by a single code: no mercy. And as he unleashes his fury on his most recent captor, he learns no battle could have prepared him for the slave he rescues from his enemy’s clutches—a beauty who stokes the fires of his darkest desires.

Elin Vale has her own deep-rooted scars, and her attraction to the exquisite warrior who freed her challenges her every boundary. But Thane’s unwavering determination to protect her means she must face her greatest fears—and enter a world in which passion is power, and victory means breathtaking surrender.

What is your pick of the week? Is this one your must read, or has something else caught your fancy?

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.

This and That…

After a great few days for finding new cover art, I thought I would do just a random post about some info I also came across. This is a bit of a mixed bag, but hopefully you will find something interesting…

  • many thanks to Darchelle M., who let me know that Christine Feehan has announced that there is another Ghostwalker book on the horizon. Viper Game, from all indication, will be Wyatt Fontenot’s book (Raoul’s brother and member of the mysterious team four). If the schedule holds, then we could have our hands on this in her usual December/January release spot.
  • I am not sure how many of you followed the recently wrapped up e-serial Bane Chronicles from Cassandra Clare, but the pre-order links are now up for the hardcover release as well. It will be out on November 11th.
  • I had seen a couple of references around to Gena Showalter‘s next Lords of the Underworld book (The Darkest Touch, due out November 25th), and someone called “the Red Queen”. I had no clue what that was about until I found the cover blurb earlier today…

From New York Times bestselling author Gena Showalter comes the long-awaited story of Torin, the most dangerous Lord of the Underworld yet….

Fierce immortal warrior. Host to the demon of Disease. Torin’s every touch causes sickness and death—and a worldwide plague. Carnal pleasure is utterly forbidden, and though he has always overcome temptation with an iron will, his control is about to shatter.

She is Keeley Cael. The Red Queen. When the powerful beauty with shocking vulnerabilities escapes from a centuries-long imprisonment, the desire that simmers between her and Torin is scorching. His touch could mean the end for her, but resisting her is the hardest battle he’s ever fought—and the only battle he fears he can’t win.

  • also from blurb-landia comes the one for Night’s Honor, which is the next Elder Races book from Thea Harrison that is due out on September 2nd…

In USA Today bestselling author Thea Harrison’s latest Novel of the Elder Races, a woman finds herself in need of protection—and seduced by honor…

On the run from her former employer, Tess knows that she’s vulnerable on her own amongst the Elder Races. That’s why she decides to audition to become the human attendant of a powerful Vampyre of the Nightkind demesne. But while her position affords her the safety she seeks, her protector turns out to be more than she bargained for.

The right-hand man of the Nightkind King, Xavier del Torro is both terrifying and alluring. While his true nature frightens Tess, she can’t ignore the appeal of his innate sense of integrity and self-restraint. Thrown into Xavier’s world, Tess must quickly learn to navigate the dangers—both to her life and to her heart. But the biggest threat comes from her own past…

  • fans of Robin D. Owens will be glad to know that the second book of her new Ghost Seer series, Ghost Layer, will be out on September 2nd. But, really? Ghost Layer?

That is about it. What about you, have you heard or seen anything interesting about upcoming releases?

Cover Lover – 8 New Titles

I am a bit surprised to have come across so many new covers just a couple of days after my last cover post, but I guess you take what you can get, right? There are a couple of interesting ones in this pile, too, like Gena Showalter‘s The Queen of Zombie Hearts. The third and final book of her White Rabbit Chronicles will be out on September 30th.

the queen of zombie heartsI thought this next one was pretty, but then all of the covers from Yasmine Galenorn‘s Otherworld series have been. Priestess Dreaming is due out this October.

9780515154757_PriestessDreaming.inddNot quite sure about this next one, especially since the first cover in the Twixt series was quite eye catching and this one…isn’t. Anyways, Invisible from Dawn Metcalf is due out on September 30th.

invisibleIt looks like Meljean Brook is splitting up her next Iron Seas book into an 8-part serial, and the first installment of will be called The Kraken King and the Scribbling Spinster. Look for it on April 15th in e-book format.

the kraken king part 1I usually consider myself decently informed about books and authors (I spend enough time hunting down covers and info and the like), but somehow I had totally missed that there is a new series in the works from Devon Monk. I saw the cover for House Immortal over on All Things Urban Fantasy, and it looks like it will be out this September.

House Immortal.inddOne thing that triggers my OCD is when there is a change in cover design after the first book of a series is already released. That happened with Gennifer Albin‘s Crewel World, among others. Unraveled is the the third book in the series, and it will be out on October 7th.

unraveledNext up is the second book from C.C. Hunter‘s Shadow Falls: After Dark series, Eternal. This one has a release date of November 18th.

eternalAnd this final one is from Amanda Sun‘s Paper Dolls series. Rain is due out on June 24th.

rainWhat do you think of this batch? Anything stand out for you, or anything you are dying to get your hands on?

From the Author Pages…

I just want to start this post by saying thanks. Many of you have been sending me e-mails and leaving comments about the site, and I much appreciate you taking the time to drop a line. I plan on FINISHING adding the recommendations to the 101 Series page this set of days off – what is taking so long is the fact that I suck at trying to summarize a whole series into a paragraph. Especially one I haven’t read myself.

Oh, the character guides are pretty much up to date now. I am only behind on adding Endless Knight (up next), Archangel’s Legion (hopefully by next week), and Kinked (haven’t gotten my copy yet). I am also still plugging away on the Fever Series guide, but not in a rush since Burned was pushed back to July. And PhoenixFyre is working on both of J.R. Ward’s series, which is a huge undertaking.

There are a few random tidbits that came up from updating the author pages, too. For example, the blurb was released for the second book of Cynthia Eden‘s upcoming Phoenix Fire series, Once Bitten, Twice Burned.

once bitten twice burnedSynopsis…

Blood–And Lust

Ryder Duncan keeps his secrets. With a twisted scientist starving him in a 10 x 12 cell, it’s not easy to conceal the abilities that set him apart from other vampires, or his plans for escape. But survival–and revenge–are worth waiting for. Until the so-called doctor tempts his appetites with something special: a woman, with a soft Southern accent and a scent like flowers. Sabine.

Sabine Acadia didn’t volunteer to be dinner. She was kidnapped and tossed into the cage of a monster. A monster with fierce green eyes, a body that speaks of ruthless power–but a touch gentle as a caress. Ryder knows things about her, secrets Sabine needs to learn fast. Because while they might soon escape this prison, she’s fighting an urge to set all her desires free. . .

Oh, and the synopsis for Charley Davidson #6 from Darynda Jones also went public last week. Sixth Grave on the Edge is due out on May 20th.

sixth graveSynopsis…

Few things in life can come between a grim reaper and her coffee, but the sexy, sultry son of Satan is one of them. Now that Reyes Farrow has asked for her hand, Charley Davidson feels it’s time to learn more about his past, but Reyes is reluctant to open up. When the official FBI file of his childhood abduction lands in her lap, Charley decides to go behind her mysterious beau’s back and conduct her own investigation. Because what could go wrong?

Unfortunately, another case has fallen into her lap—one with dangerous implications. Some very insistent men want Charley to hunt down a witness who is scheduled to testify against their boss, a major player in the local crime syndicate. If Charley doesn’t come up with an address in 48 hours, the people closest to her will start to disappear.

Add to that a desperate man in search of the soul he lost in a card game, a dogged mother determined to find the ghost of her son, and a beautiful, young Deaf boy haunted by his new ability to see the departed as clearly as he sees the living, and Charley has her hands full. The fact that Reyes has caught on to her latest venture only adds fuel to the inferno that he is. Good thing for Charley she’s used to multi-tasking and always up for a challenge…especially when that challenge comes in the form of Reyes Farrow.

Gena Showalter has announced the title of her third White Rabbit Chronicles book, too. The Queen of Zombie Hearts will be out in September 2014. That will be followed by Torin’s Lords of the Underworld book, The Darkest Touch, in November. Torin, Torin, Torin. Please let this one be good. Please…

Of course, after I had posted this update, I then came across the blurb for the next Sisters of the Heart book from Christine Feehan. Air Bound will be released on May 27th.

Synopsis…

For as far back as she can remember, Airiana Ridell has always been aware of her extraordinary gift. She can intuit revealing and illuminating ‘patterns’ in the air around her-whether in a spray of mist, in billowing clouds, or in the dense swirls of an impenetrable fog. Her abilities led to her placement in a secret government training facility when she was a child, but everything changed after her mother was murdered.

Airiana fled the program, but she couldn’t outrun the desperate members of a shadowy cabal who want her, who need her, who will kill to get her. Kidnapped and held aboard a ship bound for dangerous seas, her only chance for rescue is Maxim Prakenskii. He has his reasons for helping her, but he isn’t about to reveal them to Airiana. Not yet. Not as the two are drawn together as moth to flame. Not when there are so many secrets yet untold that could shatter the quaint community of Sea Haven and all who reside there…

I am still haunting Ilona Andrews‘ blog for snippets of their new Avon series, and a new brief one was released today. I am ridiculously excited for this (especially based on a couple of snippets, but it looks damn good), but that doesn’t mean I have forgotten Kate. The blurb for Magic Breaks is out…and it sounds great too.

magicbreaksSynopsis…

No matter how much the paranormal politics of Atlanta change, one thing always remains the same: if there’s trouble, Kate Daniels will be in the middle of it…

As the mate of the Beast Lord, Curran, former mercenary Kate Daniels has more responsibilities than it seems possible to juggle. Not only is she still struggling to keep her investigative business afloat, she must now deal with the affairs of the pack, including preparing her people for attack from Roland, a cruel ancient being with god-like powers. Since Kate’s connection to Roland has come out into the open, no one is safe—especially those closest to Kate.

As Roland’s long shadow looms ever nearer, Kate is called to attend the Conclave, a gathering of the leaders from the various supernatural factions in Atlanta. When one of the Masters of the Dead is found murdered there, apparently at the hands of a shapeshifter, Kate is given only twenty-four hours to hunt down the killer. And this time, if she fails, she’ll find herself embroiled in a war which could destroy everything she holds dear…

I know there was a bit of confusion about the Elemental Assassin series from Jennifer Estep. I had heard questions of whether the upcoming tenth book, The Spider, would be the last. Turns out there will be at least two more books, with Poison Promise being released next June 24th.

Jennifer L. Armentrout‘s great The Covenant series recently ended with the release of Sentinel (I haven’t read it yet, because if I don’t read it, it isn’t done. Simple logic). She is also wrapping up the even better Lux series next year, but we have a new series to look forward to. The title of the second full book in her upcoming The Dark Elements series has been released, and it looks like Stone Cold Touch will be out sometime next fall.

I haven’t been able to track down much J.R. Ward info lately, but it does appear that the sixth Fallen Angels book is in the works. Immortal should be out next September or October, if she holds to her current release schedule.

Just today I found a new listing for Kresley Cole over on Amazon called Dark Skye. This pre-order link shows a release date of August 5th, and as a 384 page hardcover book, that can only mean IAD. Which can only mean Lanthe and Thronos…which can only mean almost a year to wait.

Lara Adrian‘s next Midnight Breed book, Crave the Night, has been pushed back quite a ways. Originally slated for a February 25th release, it is now being listed for August 5th. Nearly 6 months, which is a bummer.

There was a Q&A session with Nalini Singh on Facebook recently, and she has stated that she thinks the next Guild Hunter book will feature Ashwini and Janvier (thanks to Lidy who pointed it out, too). I do love me some Janvier and Ash, and you just know their story will be a great addition to the series. From what Nalini said, there will be some overlap between the events in their book and Archangel’s Legion, so we may get a ground-level take on the huge battle. And more Nassir. Nice. And as a bonus, she said there is a good chance the next Psy/Changeling book after Shield of Winter will be about Aden (and Alice. I swear it is).

That about wraps it up. Anything catch your eye? What are you most looking forward to heading into 2014?