2014…A Year in Review

2014-Happy-New-Year-Free-HD-Picture-1As we head into another year, it is time to take a look back at what stood out in 2014. Most of my choices will surprise no one, since I have my favorites and I am not shy about going on, and on, and on about them, but it never hurts to give a shout out where it is due.

I am looking forward to seeing how my choices stack up with yours, too, and if there was any that I missed. For today, let’s just do the look back at 2014.

What was the best new series that started in 2014?
  • For me, hands down, it was Hidden Legacy by Ilona Andrews. I had high, high hopes, and it met every one. No one else even came close.
Best new-to-me series in 2014?
  • Kelley Armstrong‘s Women of the Otherworld. Loving the Cainsville series made me start it, but I like it now in its own right.
What second book in a new series was as good or better than the first?
  • This one is a tie between Visions by Kelley Armstrong and Murder of Crows by Anne Bishop. Sometimes the second book of a great series can be a bit of a let-down, but if anything I thought that these two both took things up a notch.
Best series finale?
  • As much as it sucks to say goodbye, a great finale is a bit of a consolation. My vote for best finale was City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare, from her Mortal Instruments series. Loved that one, huge monster that it was. I like young adult, but it usually doesn’t rate as high as my adult books. This one did.
Most read author overall?
  • Mine was Kelley Armstrong, with 11 books (and still going). Ilona Andrews was next, since I re-read all of the Kate books for the character guide (and loved every minute of it).
Favorite authors of 2014?
  • Still the same – Ilona and Nalini. With Kelley Armstrong steadily moving up the list.
Best change of pace read?
  • I wasn’t going to do it, since I am not a huge New Adult fan, OR a fan of books where the main character is a famous musician (actor/athlete/model, etc), but because it was Nalini, I gave her new Rock Kiss series a try and liked it. Now, to be fair, I think my favorite part was the build up for book two featuring T-Rex and Charlie, but it still was a pleasant surprise.
Top 5 books of 2014?
What book did you find the biggest let-down in 2014?
  • I never thought Kresley Cole would ever, ever end up on the bad side of a list like this, but I found my biggest disappointment was Dark Skye. I didn’t find it was a terrible book, but it was just something I couldn’t get into. And after waiting years for the story, I went in planning an A+ read. It just didn’t happen. Runners up were The Beautiful Ashes by Jeaniene Frost and Night’s Honor by Thea Harrison.
What author/series did you finally give up on, if any?
  • Mine was Lara Adrian. I was never a huge Midnight Breed fan (except for Darker After Midnight, which was epic), but I had even less interest in the new arc. I tried for years to make myself get more into them, but then I decided that it was time to let it go.

My reading goal was 150 books, and I fell quite a bit short of that. Like, way short. I also got way behind on the Character guides, which is a bit of a pain in the ass since I am now playing a major game of catch-up, but I have higher hopes for 2015. All in all, though, I can’t complain. There was a lot more good than bad, and even the bad might look better this time next 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?

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?

Reader Reaction – Dark Skye

dark skyeAs we get ready to pick the book of the month for September, I thought we might take a look back at this month’s book, Dark Skye. Kresley Cole‘s 14th Immortals After Dark book was released on August 5th, and I figure we have all dove in already.

I didn’t make any secret of the fact that I was underwhelmed by it, but I still can’t figure out why. I didn’t dislike it, nothing like that, but I just couldn’t get into it. I didn’t like the backstory of Thronos and Lanthe – well, I liked when they were children together, but I didn’t like how Thronos suffered in the centuries after. That really took me out of the story, and I ended up not liking Lanthe much because of it.

If I am going to be completely honest, I didn’t have much excitement going into it. I don’t know if I was having a premonition that I wasn’t going to be too excited by the book, or my lack of interest made me not enjoy the book as much, but it wasn’t meant to be. I had no problem putting the book down, and it ended up taking me almost a week to read. Unheard of for me.

What did you think of the long-awaited Thronos and Lanthe book? Were you happy with it, or did it leave you wanting more?

Adding to the Author Pages…

question markBecause I like to try and keep things interesting, I was wondering who you would like to see added to the author pages? Lorraine mentioned Lynsay Sands, but are there any others you find tricky to keep track of and would like to see organized into their own section?

Also, I have pretty much limited the info on the authors I have already done to cover only their paranormal/urban fantasy series, but would you like it to expand to cover the other genres? For example, Cynthia Eden has added romantic suspense to her works, Kresley Cole has gone to some more erotic types, and Nalini Singh has a New Adult series in the works. Let me know if expanding is something you would find useful, and I will see what comes up.

Dark Skye Winner…

winner bannerI have to say, my excitement for Dark Skye is growing after a bit of a slow start, and I still can’t quite put my finger on what was holding me back. Thronos and Lanthe have been my must-read couple since the beginning, so not sure what is going on. Well, enough about moi.

There were 37 entrants for the latest Kresley Cole book, and the randomly chosen winner (through Random.org) was #26…

dgoodridge84

 

Congratulations! I will contact you shortly for your info.

 

August’s Book of the Month Giveaway…

giveaway bannerThere was another landslide victory this month, even though there were some great books to choose from. Jeaniene Frost‘s The Beautiful Ashes, Kelley Armstrong‘s Visions, and Lara Adrian‘s last traditionally published Midnight Breed book are all heading our way, but August belongs to Kresley Cole and Dark Skye.

If you are interested in winning a hardcover copy when it is released on August 5th, 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 Sunday night at midnight (Atlantic time). Good luck!

dark skyeSynopsis…

Eternal Obsession

As a boy, Thronos, Lord of Skye Hall, loved Lanthe, a mischievous Sorceri girl who made him question everything about his Vrekener clan. But when the two got caught in the middle of their families’ war, tragedy struck, leaving Thronos and Lanthe bitter enemies. Though centuries have passed, nothing can cool his seething need for the beautiful enchantress who scarred his body—and left an even deeper impression on his soul.

Endless Yearning

Lanthe, a once-formidable sorceress struggling to reclaim her gifts, searches for love and acceptance with all the wrong immortal suitors. But she’s never forgotten Thronos, the magnificent silver-eyed boy who protected her until she was ripped from the shelter of his arms. One harrowing night changed everything between them. Now he’s a notorious warlord with a blood vendetta against Lanthe, hunting her relentlessly.

Can the heat of desire burn brighter than vengeance?

With their families locked in conflict and battles raging all around them, will Thronos and Lanthe succumb to the brutal chaos that threatens everything they cherish? Or will the fragile bond they formed so long ago spark a passion strong enough to withstand even the darkest doubts?

 

August’s Book of the Month…

book of the monthI am actually a day late doing this poll up, and I blame the fact that I didn’t realize it was already the end of the month. Stupid as it sounds, I was actually a week behind. So, it might be a day late, but it is time to vote for your most anticipated book for August. And for a change, I don’t have a clear-cut front runner this month…it could be between a couple of big ones, so it is anyone’s guess.

Whatever book wins will then be offered in a giveaway at the first of the month. I have chosen 10 that seem to be among the most popular, but as always if your choice isn’t there just select “Other” and leave your pick in the comments section. A complete list of August’s releases can be found HERE.

If you had told me a year ago that I wouldn’t automatically choose a Kresley Cole book, I would’ve laughed at you. And pointed. And laughed some more. But as much as I have wanted Thronos and Lanthe’s story for years, my buzz meter just isn’t revved up for this one. I am hoping that once it is in my hands I will have a change of attitude, but for now I am more excited for Kelley Armstrong‘s Visions. Who knew?

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?

This and That…

So, it looks like the majority would find linking to Goodreads better than Amazon, and thanks to all who took the time to leave a comment. I will slowly work at changing over the new release date links and reading series links, but might take a while. Now, for a bit of tentative info on some upcoming releases…

  • thanks to PheonixFyre, who sent over some info on J.R. Ward. It looks like she will be starting not one, but two new series in 2015. She will also keep up on the Brothers, with The Shadows due on March 5th.
  • also, PheonixFyre said that Sherrilyn Kenyon‘s next two League books after the upcoming will be Born of Betrayal (Feb. 2015) and Born of Defiance (Nov. 2015)
  • March 3rd is the release date for Dead Heat, the fourth book from Patricia Briggs‘ Alpha and Omega series.
  • The next Anita Blake book from Laurell K. Hamilton will be out next June 4th, 2015
  • Chloe Neill‘s next Chicagoland Vampires book, Dark Debt, will be out on March 5th.
  • Alyssa Day‘s delayed League of the Black Swan book, The Unforgiven, now looks like a June 19th, 2015 release.
  • May 1st of next year will be the release date for another Immortals After Dark book from Kresley Cole.
  • and Thea Harrison‘s next Elder Races book will be called Midnight’s Kiss, and it will be out on May 1st.