What Do You Know?

question-markWhat with there being no new series starting up this week, that meant no regular Monday post. And no books I was interested in meant no Tuesday post. Aaaand only one or two new covers meant no cover lover posts, either. What is a book blogger to do but turn the tables?

Have you seen anything interesting around? Any info that caught your eye, or cover reveal that got you excited?

Weekly Wrap Up…

booksGood Lord, this seemed like one long, long sucker of a week (my weekends begin on Sunday nights). I didn’t get a ton read, but I have been pretty good about my August goal of wrapping up a few one-book-left series.

It took quite a while, but I managed to get back into the swing of Rick Riordan‘s Heroes of Olympus series and finish off Blood of Olympus. I had totally lost track of the storyline heading into this one, and I have to admit that there were quite a few things mentioned from previous books that I didn’t remember at all. Even so, it was a fun read, and hopefully now I am ready for the start of the new Norse mythology series featuring Magnus Chase when it begins in October.

I also tackled a couple of books from favorite authors, with varying results. First up was Deceptions from Kelley Armstrong, which is the third book of her Cainsville series. This was one of my most anticipated books for the year, and I wasn’t disappointed. A lot questions are answered, which I wasn’t expecting this early on (there are two more books to come, after all). There are also some developments on the romantic front, and as much as I have come to dread the whole love triangle thing, for some reason I don’t mind it here. The only problem I have with it is that I just can’t tell which way it will go…Ricky or Gabriel? I preferred Gabriel going into this one, but Ricky has really grown on me. I guess I will just have to wait until next August to find out, since that is when Betrayals is scheduled for release.

My second book didn’t work out quite as well for me. In trying to branch out, I decided to pick up the young adult contemporary thriller, Don’t Look Back, from Jennifer L. Armentrout. Unfortunately, I just couldn’t get into it. It seemed like an interesting story, but it just didn’t grab me at all. It has actually become one of my very rare Did Not Finish books, and I will be adding it to the donation pile. To be perfectly fair, though, I usually have trouble when I stray away from the PNR/UF genre, especially in terms of young adult or new adult. I know better, but I still try something different every now and then with disappointing results. I guess I should learn that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

What did you read this week? Did you start up any new series worth sharing, or did you manage to whittle down the TBR pile at all?

Pick of the Week…and a Giveaway

I have bored pretty much everyone with my enjoyment of the Cainsville series from Kelley Armstrong. It is a bit outside my usual straight-up paranormal fare, but the supernatural elements that were only hinted at in the first book were more developed in the second, and promise to carry over to this week’s release, Deceptions. Maybe it was because it was so different that it caught my attention, I don’t know, but to say that I am excited to read this third book is a bit of an understatement. It was actually tied with Magic Shifts as my big read for the month, if not the whole fall. But holy crap, we have to wait until next August for book four, Betrayals. Bummer.

deceptionsSynopsis…

Olivia’s life has exploded. She’s discovered she’s not only adopted, but her real parents are convicted serial killers. Fleeing the media frenzy, she took refuge in the oddly secluded town of Cainsville. She has since solved the town’s mysteries and finds herself not only the target of its secretive elders, but also her stalker ex-fiancé.

Visions continue to haunt her: particularly a little blond girl in a green sundress who insists she has an important message for Olivia, one that may help her balance the light and darkness within herself. Death stalks Olivia and the two men most important to her, as she desperately searches to understand whether ancient scripts are dictating their triangle. Will darkness prevail or does Olivia have the power to prevent a tragic fate?

giveaway bannerNow on to the giveaway portion. If you are interested, I will be giving away the first book of the series, Omens, in paperback (more like a trade paperback).

omensSynopsis

Twenty-four-year-old Olivia Taylor Jones has the perfect life. The only daughter of a wealthy, prominent Chicago family, she has an Ivy League education, pursues volunteerism and philanthropy, and is engaged to a handsome young tech firm CEO with political ambitions.

But Olivia’s world is shattered when she learns that she’s adopted. Her real parents? Todd and Pamela Larsen, notorious serial killers serving a life sentence. When the news brings a maelstrom of unwanted publicity to her adopted family and fiancé, Olivia decides to find out the truth about the Larsens.

Olivia ends up in the small town of Cainsville, Illinois, an old and cloistered community that takes a particular interest in both Olivia and her efforts to uncover her birth parents’ past.

Aided by her mother’s former lawyer, Gabriel Walsh, Olivia focuses on the Larsens’ last crime, the one her birth mother swears will prove their innocence. But as she and Gabriel start investigating the case, Olivia finds herself drawing on abilities that have remained hidden since her childhood, gifts that make her both a valuable addition to Cainsville and deeply vulnerable to unknown enemies. Because there are darker secrets behind her new home and powers lurking in the shadows that have their own plans for her.

Contest open to all, winner to be chosen at random. Giveaway to end Thursday, August 20th at midnight (Atlantic time). Good luck!

New Series Alert…

There is only one new series starting up with week, and it is from Kate Elliott. Court of Fives is the first book of the series of the same name. While Kate Elliott has written several other series, this is her first young adult release.

court of fivesSynopsis…

In this imaginative escape into an enthralling new world, World Fantasy Award finalist Kate Elliott begins a new trilogy with her debut young adult novel, weaving an epic story of a girl struggling to do what she loves in a society suffocated by rules of class and privilege.

Jessamy’s life is a balance between acting like an upper class Patron and dreaming of the freedom of the Commoners. But at night she can be whomever she wants when she sneaks out to train for The Fives, an intricate, multi-level athletic competition that offers a chance for glory to the kingdom’s best competitors. Then Jes meets Kalliarkos, and an unlikely friendship between a girl of mixed race and a Patron boy causes heads to turn. When a scheming lord tears Jes’s family apart, she’ll have to test Kal’s loyalty and risk the vengeance of a powerful clan to save her mother and sisters from certain death.

Will you be checking out this new series? Have you tried any other Kate Elliott books?

Weekly Wrap Up…

booksIt is time once again to check out what we all have been reading this week. I was a week behind, but I got my hands on Magic Shifts from Ilona Andrews, and it was well worth the wait. I am pretty sure I have said in many, many other posts that I was really happy with this one. I liked the whole Guild direction, the changing dynamics of some of the main players, and the hints of what is to come. If I had one small complaint, it would be that I missed seeing more of the supporting characters – Derek, Ascanio, Andrea, Raphael – they were there, but not to the degree that they usually are, and I did miss them. It was a very Kate-and-Curran centric story, and that is ok, too.

My other biggie for this past week was the third and final book in the Sisters of the Craft series from Lori Handeland. Smoke on the Water saw the three sisters reunited, come into their powers, and take on the big bad. It was a really nice wrap-up for a series that I found to be a very pleasant surprise. And the very best part? The whole trilogy was released over the course of something like 8 weeks, so details stayed fresh and enthusiasm stayed high. It was great. This was my introduction to Lori Handeland’s work, and I am looking forward to trying more.

Aaaand, I have continued my “end it, already” quest to finish up some one-book-left series that I just couldn’t seem to bring myself to let go of. I am about half-way through Blood of Olympus, which is the final book in Rick Riordan‘s Heroes of Olympus series. I know, I know. I didn’t read Harry Potter, but I am a total Percy Jackson fan (and way, way too old for them, but moving on). The problem is that I am totally, completely lost. I couldn’t justify a re-read of the previous four monster-length books, so I thought that I should be able to handle a kiddie book without a week-long recap, right? Nope. I had totally forgotten the whole storyline up to this point, I keep having to google things mentioned in the book, and I barely remembered who half of the characters are. Being beaten by a kids book knocks you down a peg or two, to be sure.

Ok, your turn. What did you try out this week? Anything surprisingly good (or bad), or anything you would recommend?

What’s On Your Wishlist?

question-markAt the start of the year, I did a post about your most anticipated reads for 2015. I thought that well over half of the year has flown by, it was time to do another check in and see what you are looking forward to in these last months of 2015.

For me, there is surprisingly few. Since I already got an ARC of Nalini Singh‘s Archangel’s Enigma, I am down to just a couple of books that I would say fall into the “can’t wait for” category. First up is Deceptions by Kelley Armstrong, and luckily it is due out next week so the wait is almost over. The second one is Winter from Marissa Meyer, which it the final book in the young adult Lunar Chronicles series. If there was one series that I would love to see a few more books from, this would be at the top of the list.

There are a couple that should be on the list but didn’t quite make it. J.R. Ward‘s Blood Kiss, for example, should have me excited. But for some reason I am more in a “whatever” mood about it. Ditto Kresley Cole‘s Sweet Ruin. Actually, I am past “whatever” and onto “meh” for Sweet Ruin, which is sad. Also, I have been waiting for Thea Harrison to write Graydon’s story for her Elder Races series for what seems like forever, but I can’t work any excitement up for his leading lady, so that took care of Shadow’s End.

So, what books are you still looking forward to for the rest of the year? Do you have any, like me, that you should be excited about but just aren’t for some strange reason?

This and That

Ok everyone, this is going to be a strange little catch-all post, but at least it should be brief-ish.

First off, I have updated the new release pages through until something like May 2016. There wasn’t a ton of shifting around to do, but several titles did do a disappearing act from Amazon and I ended up removing them from my listings, too. Also, I am in the process of adding quite a few new titles, which is always fun.

I don’t have any new series to highlight for my usual Monday post, and in fact there isn’t anything I really feel like choosing for my usual Tuesday pick of the week post, either. So, I decided to rewind time since I spazzed out and forgot to up my pick for last week. Without further ado, my “Pick of the Previous Week” is Smoke on the Water by Lori Handeland, since Magic Shifts has already gotten all the love this month.

smoke on the waterSynopsis…

Abandoned beneath a black willow tree on the banks of a northern Wisconsin creek, Willow Black spent her entire childhood in foster care. Her entire life she’s had terrifying visions, and it is these visions that eventually land her in a psychiatric facility. And so Willow takes her meds and believes she is getting better. Until she meets a fellow patient who doesn’t think she is crazy at all. She thinks Willow is a witch.

Willow’s psychiatrist, Dr. Sebastian Crane, works hard to resist his feeling that he and Willow are destined to be together while also working to convince her that strange occurrences aren’t the result of witchcraft… until he is thrown into the middle of a storm of supernatural events that can’t be explained any other way…

And speaking of Magic Shifts, tomorrow is my once-a-year run away from home book vacation. I will be taking off for the night, all by myself, and finally picking up Magic Shifts. Then I will have 24 glorious hours of peace, quiet, room service and reading (ok, and shopping, but mostly reading). No TV, no phone, no yelling or whining unless I am the one doing it. Total bliss. I will check back in on Wednesday.

Weekly Wrap Up…

booksAnother week has flown by, which means it is time to see what we all read this week. I kept to my goal of trying to finally be a big girl and finish off some of the series I have only had one book left on, but of course because I put things off so long I had to do a re-read of the first books, first. I started off with Sarah Rees Brennan‘s The Lynburn Legacy series, which was a surprise young adult favorite of mine. I will be finishing off the third and final book tonight, and I have to admit I will be sad to see this one wrap up. Between the very original premise, the non-standard characters, and the humor, it was definitely no hardship for the re-reads. Much enjoyment was had.

Those three books pretty much took up my week, but I did manage to grab the new Carpathian novella from Christine Feehan that just came out in Edge of Darkness (of course, I didn’t read the other two stories. Um, yet? Maybe? Probably not). This one was actually quite a surprise for a couple of reasons. First off, there was a total change of setting. Instead of the Carpathian mountains (not bad) or the jungle (ugh), this one was very much city based, and a really nice change of pace. It was a short story, yes, but I can say that it manages to open up a whole new direction for the Dark books, and that I liked where it was going.

As a bonus, the focus was turned towards some Carpathians we haven’t seen much from. The triplets play a decent supporting role, and Tariq Asenguard is pretty much front and center. I am not sure if Christine is sticking to the Lost Dark Book storyline for Tariq, but Dark Crime makes me sort of hope that there is a new direction planned for him. And as a total bonus? A side storyline that seemed to be completely dropped way-back-when actually becomes relevant here. I don’t want to say what because of potential spoilers, but it always bugged me that it was hinted at and never followed up on. Oh, there is also another “legendary ancient hunter” introduced by the name of Val Zhestokly. This is totally a Dancing With the Stars name, and every time I read it I snickered like a kid. So sad.

The only downside I can see is the timing for this one. If Tariq or one of the triplets’ stories was up next, it would be great. Instead, we have not one but two books before we get back to this new offshoot of the Dark World. Tariq’s story will be called Dark Carousel, but we will probably have to wait until late 2016/ early 2017 to get it. To me, it would’ve made more sense to hold off a bit before coming out with this one.

Ok, that was my week. How did yours shape up? I assume most of you probably dove into Magic Shifts, but I have to wait until this Tuesday for my turn. You can be sure next week will be an equally long-winded rave about it, though.

Spotlight on…Anna Lowe

anna loweAuthor Anna Lowe sent me an email this past week that mentioned her Wolves of Twin Moon Ranch series, and I thought it looked really interesting. So far there are three books and a few short stories, and it looks like more to come. I browsed through the reviews, which have been consistently solid, on both Amazon and Goodreads, as well. Plus, I like the covers, so I thought maybe I would do up a little author spotlight post to see if this is something that might appeal to all of you, or to get your take on it if you have already read it.

desert moonBook one is called Desert Moon.

Lana Dixon knows well enough to steer clear of alpha males, but Ty Hawthorne is as impossible to avoid as the sizzling Arizona sun. Her inner wolf just won’t give up on the alpha who’s tall, dark, and more than a little dangerous. One midnight romp under the full moon is enough for Lana to know she’ll risk her life for him — but what about her pride?

Ty puts duty above everything — even the overwhelming instinct that says Lana’s the one. She’s the Juliet to his Romeo: forbidden. And with a pack of poaching rogues closing in, it’s hardly the time to yield to his desires. Or is love just what this lonely alpha needs to set his spirit free?

desert bloodBook two is Desert Blood.

Heather Luth knows nothing about the paranormal world until one awful night changes everything. Now she’s on the run — straight into the arms of forbidden love. Her mind knows better than to fall for Cody Hawthorne’s sunny smile and mesmerizing voice, but her heart — and destiny — have other ideas.

On the surface, Cody is warm, witty, and fun, but beneath his carefree facade, Heather sees a real man struggling to break free. Day by day, Heather and Cody grow closer and closer, unable to resist their simmering passion — while day by day, a serial murderer closes in on his prey. Duty fights desire; fear wrestles trust as the human world clashes with the paranormal in a tale of forbidden love.

desert fateAnd number three is called Desert Fate.

Kyle Williams is a lone wolf just trying to settle in to a new skin. But when a brown-eyed girl from his past turns up, bloodied by a rival male, the instinct to protect overrides everything — including duty to his pack. He’s ready to risk everything for her. But what’s love, and what’s an illusion?

Oh, and as a bonus, Anna also offers two free books over on her website, which is a great introduction to her work. You can get your hands on the novella Desert Wolf, which is story #1.5 in the series, by signing up for her newsletter HERE.

desert wolfFree short story Desert Wolf.

Lana Dixon may have won her destined mate’s heart, but that was in Arizona. Now, she’s bringing her desert wolf home to meet her family — the sworn enemies of his pack. How far will they push her mate to prove himself worthy? And is their relationship ready for the test?

Ok, who has checked this series out? What did you think? Will you be taking advantage of the free story to give her work a try?