October’s Book of the Month…

book of the monthI have been looking forward to October 28th ever since I realized that it was the day that both Nalini Singh‘s Archangel’s Shadows and Ilona AndrewsBurn for Me were being released (among some other great ones). I will be doing my annual get-away where I hit the book store, a pizza joint, and a hotel room and settle in all night to read. Can’t wait.

Anyways, it is time again to vote for your most anticipated book for October. The title with the most votes will then be the next giveaway book. I have listed 10 upcoming releases, but as always if your choice isn’t there just select “Other” and leave your pick in the comments section. A complete list of October’s releases can be found HERE.

Since I already got my ARC of Archangel’s Shadows (thanks to the kindness of Nalini Singh), my absolute must-read is Burn for Me. Actually, it is my pick for the rest of the year, to be honest. I can’t wait to dive into a new Ilona Andrews world, and the teasers I have read have gotten me even more excited for it.

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?

Love Them, Love Them Not…

question markFor the last little while, I have been noticing a slight change in my reading habits – or rather, in who I have been looking forward to reading. As I have bored everyone with for the last few weeks, my total disinterest in Kresley Cole‘s Dark Skye is something that I never, ever would’ve saw coming. Kresley Cole was always, ALWAYS tied for my favorite author, along with Nalini Singh. That was just a given. Now? I still like her work, but I have found myself not as excited as I once was.

Alyssa Day and Lara Adrian are two more that I find myself drifting away from. I was never a rabid fan of their stuff, but it was something that I enjoyed while reading then promptly forgot (with the exception of Lara’s Darker After Midnight, which was a brilliant, game-changing book). I have gotten to the point where I am happy saying goodbye to both the Warriors of Poseidon and the Midnight Breed, so I probably won’t be picking up any more of their books.

But, on the other side, my adoration for Ilona Andrews has only continued to grow, and now I can honestly say that Ilona has supplanted Kresley as tied for my favorite author. Like Nalini, I haven’t yet read anything by them that I didn’t love, and that shows no signs of changing soon. Burn for Me is my most anticipated book for this fall (since I have already read Archangel’s Shadows, that is), and Magic Breaks was one of the best reads of summer.

And a recent development is my obsession with all things Kelley Armstrong. The Cainsville books have me completely hooked, and when I finally took Amber’s recommendation to start the Women of the Otherworld series I was pleasantly surprised. I have even been reading her middle grade Blackwell Pages written with Melissa Marr, and liking that (sort of like Percy Jackson).

How about you? What authors have risen, and which have fallen, in your must-read list? Are any old favorites losing their shine, or is there any new author you can’t get enough of?

Reader Reaction…Magic Breaks

magicbreaksI am pretty sure by now that everyone who is going to has already devoured the latest Kate and Curran book from Ilona Andrews, Magic Breaks. It is the first of the series to hit the shelves in hardcover, and from what the authors have said over on their site it has done really, really well in sales. That has to be a big relief for them, since from what I understand changing format like that can sometimes be stressful. But, on to the good stuff.

What did you think of Magic Breaks? To say that this one is a game changer is a bit of an understatement, and a lot of it I didn’t see coming (which I totally love). I thought it was one hell of a book, and I think I enjoyed it even more because I had just finished a re-read of the entire series heading into it so past events were really fresh in my mind. Sound off in the comments section below, spoilers welcome. Oh, and if you are waiting for the paperback version to match up to the rest of your collection, it now has a due date of February 24th.

Pick of the Week…

There were a few books that were in the running for my pick of the week. Magic Breaks is the obvious one, but since it has already been pick of the month I figured I would let that one slide (although it is terrific, if you haven’t gotten it yet you are in for a hell of a ride). It is also the week that C.L. Wilson‘s The Winter King comes out, which I have been looking forward to, as well. But I think I am going to have to go with Richelle Mead‘s Silver Shadows, which is the fifth book in her Bloodlines series. I also got that one a week early (along with Magic Breaks), but I haven’t been able to start it yet.

silver shadowsSynopsis…

Sydney Sage is an Alchemist, one of a group of humans who dabble in magic and serve to bridge the worlds of humans and vampires. They protect vampire secrets—and human lives.

In The Fiery Heart, Sydney risked everything to follow her gut, walking a dangerous line to keep her feelings hidden from the Alchemists.

Now in the aftermath of an event that ripped their world apart, Sydney and Adrian struggle to pick up the pieces and find their way back to each other. But first, they have to survive.

For Sydney, trapped and surrounded by adversaries, life becomes a daily struggle to hold on to her identity and the memories of those she loves. Meanwhile, Adrian clings to hope in the face of those who tell him Sydney is a lost cause, but the battle proves daunting as old demons and new temptations begin to seize hold of him. . . .

Their worst fears now a chilling reality, Sydney and Adrian face their darkest hour in this heart-pounding fifth installment in the New York Times bestselling Bloodlines series, where all bets are off.

Purchase at Amazon.com

What was your big one for this week? Did you get your hands on Magic Breaks yet, or are you still waiting?

Magic Breaks Review…

review iconIt won’t be long now until we get our hands on the next Kate Daniels book from Ilona Andrews, Magic Breaks. It was by far the most anticipated book of July for most people, and seeing the series make the jump to hardcover makes it even better. Doug Meeks got his hands on an early review copy, and sent over his thoughts. From everything I have heard, it is a pivotal book in the series, and I am just left hoping that all of my favorites survive it.

magicbreaksWhat Doug said…

OK, I am tired of typing “The best one yet” on every one of these Kate Daniels reviews so just act like I never said that …… again.

I loved this book, it starts out with a bit of a character guide including a bit of info on who they are and what part they play/played.  Then there is a bit of a “the story up until now” in a narrated Chapter 1 and combined with the detailed character guide which is written in such a manner as to be part of the story it is a unique and exceptional way to catch us all up without the chore of rereading past books, wonderfully done and make me wonder “why doesn’t everybody do this?”.

OK, assuming you read Magic Rises (and if you have not then you need to stop and read it before you go any farther) you know that a ton of stuff hit the fan last book and there are debts to be paid and blood to be shed and my revenge junkie is almost in a coma from all this drug of choice.

Roland is coming but first she has to head off Hugh (who really needs killing) who is now trying to start a war with The Pack and that is just not going to happen if Kate has anything to say about it.  Curran is off on a mission and not here to advise her so Kate tried to handle things in her own unique fashion, start the fun-o-meter.

The thing about these novels is that there is always a main plot and several very interesting secondary plots going, all of which lead to a great reading experience, the same applies to this book, we know Roland is coming (yes we will get to meet him), we know Kate has to do something about Hugh, let us not forget a date she has promised Hibla (revenge junkie is really cheering about this one), the wolf Alpha needs to be replaced and is causing problems, throw in a couple more small plots and you have a very busy book.  I was really too sick to be reading during this time but once I started it was impossible to put it down.

The fact that with all the plots and violence going around, one of the things I will always remember and reread is Kate purchasing a donkey, no way I can explain it to you, it actually caused me physical pain to read it since I was laughing so hard.

That is why these books are always auto-buys for so many of us, there is no other Kate/Curran clone to read.  There are other great stories and other great authors but there is only 1 Kate Daniels and she is just another heroine without Curran to balance her out, together they are always exceptional and unstoppable.

Bottom Line:  Exceptional as always, plots that never go exactly the way you thought, stories that bring it home to the reader in emotional ways that only great writing can do, no 2 dimensional characters you love them all.  This is a series many of us had to struggle through the first two books because there was so much there but almost all of us were hooked for life by the end of book 3, this is another breaking point in the series, not really sure where it goes from here but I can already see it will never be dull or lackluster, 5 Stars only because they don’t allow more, well done once again Ilona and Gordon.  I can’t wait to see where this goes.

NOTICE:  There is a very good short story about Julie at the end of the book, it is exceptional and I think may contain some future characters for this series or maybe a new one.

It sounds like we won’t be disappointed at all (not that I was expecting to be, but you know how it goes). Let the countdown begin…

Magic Breaks Winner…

winner banner

Sorry about the delay for posting, but dear Hurricane Arthur knocked our power out for the last 15 hours or so (and I am way, way luckier than most). This is really rare for where I live…I think the longest we have ever gone without power is something like an hour, maybe two. Anyways, back to business.

There were 39 entrants for the Ilona Andrews Magic Breaks giveaway, and the randomly chosen winner (through Random.org) was #21…

Ann

Congratulations, Ann. I will be contacting you for your info shortly.

July’s Book of the Month and Giveaway…

giveaway banner

I am pretty sure no one is too shocked but July’s book of the month is Magic Breaks by Ilona Andrews. I am finishing up the re-read of the entire series for the character guide, and to say that I expect big things from this one is a huge understatement. Surprisingly, though, I have found myself more focused on Burn for Me (the new Avon series) than this one, but the excitement is building now. And hardcover! Yay! (My inner nerd just broke free).

If you are interested in winning a copy when it is released on July 29th, just leave a comment in the section below.

Contest open to all, winner to be chosen at random through random.org. Let’s end this Friday night at midnight (Atlantic time). Good luck!

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…

Cover Lover – 7 New Titles

It seems like so long since I have put together a cover lover post…I think I was just waiting on a “big” one…and having Nalini Singh and Ilona Andrews in the same book definitely constitutes as big. They both are contributing stories to the Night Shift anthology, along with Lisa Shearin and Milla Vane (aka Meljean Brooks). Look for it on November 25th.

night shiftI picked up the first two books from Suzanne Johnson‘s Sentinels of New Orleans series dirt cheap from the Book Outlet a couple of weeks ago, and so I will be keeping an eye out for Pirate’s Alley when it is released next April.

pirates alleyUp next is Of Silk and Steam from Bec McMaster. It is part of her London Steampunk series, and it is due out on March 1st.

of silk and steamNancy Holzner continues her Deadtown series with the release of Firestorm, which is due out on March 31st.

firestormMarch 31st is also the release date for Sherrilyn Kenyon‘s next Chronicles of Nick book, Instinct.

instinctNext up is Aimee Carter‘s Captive, the second book from her Blackcoat Rebellion series. It is due out on November 25th.

captiveAnd the last one for today comes from Alexandra Bracken. In the Afterlight is the third and final book from her Darkest Minds trilogy, and it is due out on October 28th.

in the afterlightNot a bad bunch, at all. Of course, I am most excited to get my hands on a Psy/Changeling novella (featuring Bastien Smith) and a Kate Daniels novella (Jim and Dali), especially in the same book, but the rest aren’t bad, either.

Site Updates…

Just a quick note to say that I have updated and re-upped the character guide for Christine Feehan‘s Sisters of the Heart series. I was hoping to go back and do all of the Drake Sisters books and make one big guide, but that didn’t happen. Yet. I thought that with the release of the third book, Air Bound, on May 27th, I might as well just put up what I already had in case anyone needs a refresher of who’s who.

Not all of the guides are completely up to date, and it will be a while before they are. I am planning on starting one for Ilona Andrews‘ Kate Daniels series tonight, and I am really hoping to have it done before Magic Breaks comes out in July. It sounds like a long time, but actually I will be pushing it trying to get it finished. Can’t wait for a re-read of the series, I must admit. After that, I will catch up on what I am behind. Promise.