Cover Lover – Magic Shifts

My last post was the recently released blurb for Magic Shifts by Ilona Andrews, and so I figured that it would be it for a while. Imagine my surprise when I got home from work tonight and saw the cover had been released. I found a few more new covers, too, but they can wait until a later post. Behold, Magic Shifts, which will be released next August 4th.

magic shiftsPurchase at Amazon.com

There has been a change in cover model, which actually doesn’t bother me as long as the basic feel of a cover stays the same throughout a series. I am liking this one, and the greenish tones will stand out well on the shelf.

 

Magic Shifts Blurb…

Last week, we got our hands on the title and blurb for the upcoming Nalini Singh book, Shards of Hope. Well, this week it looks like the blurb for Ilona AndrewsMagic Shifts has gone public (well, maybe it was around before and I missed it). But once again, if you are not up to date on the Kate Daniels series…BEWARE!

spoiler banner

You have been warned…

In the latest Kate Daniels novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Ilona Andrews, magic is coming and going in waves in post-Shift Atlanta—and each crest leaves danger in its wake…

After breaking from life with the Pack, mercenary Kate Daniels and her mate—former Beast Lord Curran Lennart—are adjusting to a very different pace. While they’re thrilled to escape all the infighting, Curran misses the constant challenges of leading the shapeshifters.

So when the Pack offers him its stake in the Mercenary Guild, Curran seizes the opportunity—too bad the Guild wants nothing to do with him and Kate. Luckily, as a veteran merc, Kate can take over any of the Guild’s unfinished jobs in order to bring in money and build their reputation. But what Kate and Curran don’t realize is that the odd jobs they’ve been working are all connected.

An ancient enemy has arisen, and Kate and Curran are the only ones who can stop it—before it takes their city apart piece by piece…

There have been a few snippets posted over on Ilona’s blog, and unlike Magic Breaks it looks like this one is going to be Curran-heavy. Nice. And can you imagine what Jim is up to? Anyways, I don’t consider a release date official until Amazon has them up for pre-order, and in the last couple of days it has put up the links for both Shards of Hope (June 2nd) and Magic Breaks (August 4th). Let the count-downs begin.

Burn For Me Review

I don’t think anyone who stumbles across this blog has missed the fact that I am super looking forward to Ilona AndrewsBurn For Me. Ever since I heard that there was a new series in the works from them, I have been excited, and the brief teasers and snippets that have been released have justified that excitement. Well, while we have just under two weeks to wait, Doug Meeks got his hands on an early copy and was kind enough to share his review.

burn for meWhat Doug said…

Ok, let me start by just saying it was freaking awesome, if you are surprised by this this must be your first novel by Ilona Andrews (or you are terribly slow)

This is a world similar to our own but different due to magical powers being discovered during the 1700/1800 period which has changed the course of the world drastically in places and less so in others. The magical world is broken up into “Houses” which kind of divide up almost any chunk of real estate (in this case it is Houston).

Nevada Baylor runs her own private investigations company and prides herself on having some honor and client loyalty, a trait not as in demand as you might think which is part of the reason her company is mortgaged to the hilt to one of the “houses” which plays into the plot in them being able to assign her a case she is most likely to fail if not die in the process. The person they want her to bring in is a magical person with pyromaniac tendencies and he is powerful.

Enter Mad Rogan, scourge of Mexico (they will tell you why) and arrogant and self centered as they come because he is one of the most powerful magical beings on the planet, I won’t bore you with how they get together (read the book) but they are NOT a match made in heaven or any place else but their evolving relationship is entertaining beyond belief. I wondered several times if I should go back and read book 1 of Kate Daniels and see if Curran was this bad when they first met.

The crux of the plot (outside of any romance or lack thereof between Nevada and Mad Rogan) is that her assigned target for capture can set almost anything on fire and has plans to do exactly that a LOT more and they have to stop him somehow. Throw in some near death experiences (USUALLY a good ice breaker for a romance) and some magical discoveries, this is an exciting story that never really allows you to get bored other than possibly the reader being more forgiving of Mad Rogan than Nevada is, although it should be mentioned she has valid reasons. (Suspecting him of government sanctioned mass murder ranks high on the list)

This is a story you are never quite sure where it is going and trying to guess will only make your head hurt. Excellent job of hiding some things until the epilogue, imagine my surprise, very nice touch. Never saw it coming at all.

Bottom Line: Exceptional story, multi-layered plot, intriguing characters that you really want to see more of, add all that to some nice little perks for veterans and you have a story that is hard to beat with enough similarity to our own world to make you feel at home just a bit (well a small bit minus the magic). 5 Stars, highly recommended which is actually more than I think I gave the first Kate Daniels book (but to be fair she had a horrible job of building a totally new world we had never seen). So go buy this book as soon as you can, no cliffhangers either I should mention.

Who else is on board for this one? It is my most anticipated read for the rest of the year, and most of the reviews I am allowing myself to peek at are overwhelmingly positive. Did I mention less than two weeks now?

Reading Roundup…

Time again to bore everyone with what I have been reading, and what I thought of it. I have been a bit more eclectic than usual, even branching out into non paranormal (god, been a while since I can say that).

the beautiful ashesThe Beautiful Ashes – Might as well start with the hard one. I picked up the first book of Jeanine Frost‘s new Broken Destiny series as soon as it was released, but I didn’t really have any burning desire to dive right in. As I took a non-spoilery peek at some reviews, I found they veered wildly from “OMG Awesome!!!!” to “DNF”. I fall somewhere in the middle.  Well, it was…ok. I should say up front that I was not one of those looking for another Cat and Bones, either – it didn’t have to “live up” to the Night Huntress books, for me. I didn’t hate it, I made it through to the end, but I finished more out of duty than desire to see how it all ended. I guess the easiest way to say it is that I didn’t connect to it – characters, world-building, none of it drew me in. Will I pick up the next book? Probably, just because I already have the first one. If I had read it on my i-pad and didn’t have the physical copy of the first one? Probably not. Unless the reviews were stellar. All in all, a disappointment. On a ratings scale, I would say…2 out of 5.

the iron trialThe Iron Trial – This one is the first book of a new middle grade series from authors Holly Black and Cassandra Clare called The Magisterium. The most common thing I have heard about this one is “Harry Potter rip-off”. In fact, some were quite up in arms about that. Well, since I am about the last person in the world who hasn’t read Harry Potter, I can’t comment on that. Personally, I liked it. It was a fast, fun read with quite a bit of action and a few twists and turns that should lead to some very interesting storylines in coming books. Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Rock Addiction coverRock AddictionNalini Singh is my favorite author, and I have never made a secret of that (along with Ilona Andrews, but that is a debate for another day). That said, however, I still really wasn’t driven to pick up Rock Addiction for one strange reason…I have never liked books where one of the characters is supposed to be famous. Models, actors, athletes, race car drivers…rock stars…they have never done it for me. And the strange reason is that I find them unrealistic. Yep, I said it. A chick who reads pretty much all PNR and UF finds a book about famous people more unrealistic than vampires and dragon shifters. If it was written by anyone other than Nalini I wouldn’t have given it a second look even if it was free. But because it is Nalini, I did take the plunge – and I liked it. I know that a lot of people didn’t like the insta-love or the abundance of sex scenes, but neither bothered me. I think, for me, there was enough story to balance that out. I didn’t even mind the rock star angle, which for me was a big hurdle. I do have to admit, though, that I thought Gabriel and Charlie completely stole the show, and I cannot wait to get my hands on their story. That one is going to be fun. So, I can say I am glad I overcame my bias against famous characters and tried this one, and I am first in line for Charlotte and Gabriel’s turn. Rating: 4 out of 5.

How has your reading been stacking up? Any standouts, good or bad? What was your take on any of these relatively new releases?

Double Giveaway Winner…

winner bannerWow, the response to this giveaway was, I think, the biggest to date with 57 entrants. It won’t be long now before we all get a chance to pick up both Nalini Singh‘s Archangel’s Shadows and Ilona AndrewsBurn For Me, and I can’t wait. The randomly chosen winner (through Random.org) is #40…

Terri

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

October BotM…and a Double Giveaway

giveaway bannerOctober had just too many good books to pick from for the Book of the Month, but Nalini Singh once again takes the title with her Guild Hunter release, Archangel’s Shadows (as she does every month she has a new book come out). But, October is also the month for Ilona AndrewsBurn For Me, which I absolutely cannot wait to get my hands on.

So, I thought that this month, I would offer BOTH Archangel’s Shadows and Burn For Me for the giveaway. If you would like to win a paperback copy of each of these great books, just leave a comment in the comments section. 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!

archangel's shadowSynopsis…

In the wake of a brutal war, the archangel Raphael and his hunter consort, Elena, are dealing with the treacherously shifting tides of archangelic politics and the people of a battered but not broken city. The last thing their city needs is more death, especially a death that bears the eerie signature of an insane enemy archangel who cannot— should not—be walking the streets.

This hunt must be undertaken with stealth and without alerting their people. It must be handled by those who can become shadows themselves…

Ash is a gifted tracker and a woman cursed with the ability to sense the secrets of anyone she touches. But there’s one man she knows all too well without a single instant of skin contact: Janvier, the dangerously sexy Cajun vampire who has fascinated and infuriated her for years. Now, as they track down a merciless killer, their cat-and-mouse game of flirtation and provocation has turned into a profound one of the heart. And this time, it is Ash’s secret, dark and terrible, that threatens to destroy them both.

burn for meSynopsis…

Nevada Baylor is faced with the most challenging case of her detective career—a suicide mission to bring in a suspect in a volatile case. Nevada isn’t sure she has the chops. Her quarry is a Prime, the highest rank of magic user, who can set anyone and anything on fire.

Then she’s kidnapped by Connor “Mad” Rogan—a darkly tempting billionaire with equally devastating powers. Torn between wanting to run or surrender to their overwhelming attraction, Nevada must join forces with Rogan to stay alive.

Rogan’s after the same target, so he needs Nevada. But she’s getting under his skin, making him care about someone other than himself for a change. And, as Rogan has learned, love can be as perilous as death, especially in the magic world.

Since I was lucky enough to get an ARC of Archangel’s Shadows, Burn For Me is my biggie. And the little teasers Ilona has been posting have been great fun. Nalini and Ilona are my two absolute favorites, so October is a great month, for sure.

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.