Uncategorized

Radio Silence for a Couple of Days

emoticonHey all, I won’t be around for a couple of days. Looks like I have to take a road trip (against my will, but I should quit whining), and I will only have my tablet with me until Friday. I have to take my father to the Doctor, and the whole appointment will be less than half an hour, but requires three days. The good news is that it is nothing urgent, in fact it is completely unnecessary (IMO), but he figured he might as well go “because he didn’t have anything else to do, and the neighbors said he should. So start booking the hotels and things, ok?” The bad news is that because it is a total waste of my time and I can’t get out of it, I will be bitchy for the next few days.

I might still be able to check in, so if anything exciting happens, please just drop a line in the comments section so I can stay up to date.

Cover Lover

Cover Lover – 8 New Titles

Time once again for a little cover lover post, starting with a new one from Diana Rowland. Legacy of the Demon is due out on October 4th.

legacy of the demonSidelined demon summoner Kara Gillian has her hands full when dimensional rifts allow demons to cause widespread panic and destruction on Earth. These aren’t the human-tolerant summonables she’s known before, but demons from the far reaches of the demon realm.

Add three demonic lords with conflicting ambitions to the mix, and Kara has the perfect recipe for global disaster.

This second one is from Christine Warren and her Gargoyles series. Hard to Handle has a release date of February 7th.

hard to handleThe only male among four sisters, Michael Drummond is no stranger to women’s strength and formidable will. His Dublin pub, the Skin & Bones, is his refuge, a reassuringly masculine retreat. Until a fierce woman warrior from another realm bursts into his life, bringing with her a battle between good and evil…and an explosive dose of desire.

The first and only of her kind, Ash is a lone female gargoyle, a creature destined to protect mankind from Demons determined to unleash their darkest forces. But her arrival on Earth is more confusing than she expected: her bone-deep instinct to do battle is matched only by her untamed attraction to stubborn, stalwart Drum. If they manage to keep the world safe, can they turn the passion crackling between them into a love that will withstand the test of time?

Chaos Unleashed, from Pippa DaCosta, will be released this December. It is the second book in the chaos Rises series.

chaos unleashed

And this last adult release comes from Abbie Roads. Hunt the Dawn is due out on December 6th.

hunt the dawnLathan Montgomery’s genetic anomaly allows him to smell and see people’s memories. He uses his skills to help the Ohio Department of Criminal Investigation, and is on the path of an active serial killer. When he saves plucky, down-on-her-luck Evanee Brown from an abusive encounter, he finds she’s the only person who doesn’t trigger his powers.

Evanee would escape her job, the town, and her abuser, if she could. Until she meets Lathan and her nightmares embroil her in his investigations.

Together they are an indomitable force, but everyone around them is trying to tear them apart.

These next titles are all young adult titles. Dawn Study is the third book in the Soulfinders series from Maria V. Snyder, and it will be out on January 31st.

dawn studyDespite the odds, Yelena and Valek have forged an irrevocable bond and a family that transcends borders. Now, when their two homelands stand on the brink of war, they must fight with magic and cunning to thwart an Ixian plot to invade Sitia.

Yelena seeks to break the hold of the insidious Theobroma that destroys a person’s resistance to magical persuasion. But the Cartel is determined to keep influential citizens and Sitian diplomats in thrall and Yelena at bay. With every bounty hunter after her, Yelena is forced to make a dangerous deal.

With might and magic, Valek peels back the layers of betrayal surrounding the Commander. At its rotten core lies a powerful magician and his latest discovery. The fate of all rests upon two unlikely weapons. One may turn the tide. The other could spell the end of everything.

This next one is from Victoria Aveyard. King’s Cage is the third book of the Red Queen series, and it will be released on February 7th.

king's cage.jpgIn the third book in the #1 New York Times bestselling Red Queen series, Mare is forced to play a psychological cat-and-mouse game with an old and deadly enemy, where the stakes are not only the future of the Red Rebellion but the sanctity of her own mind.

Julie Kagawa‘s Legion is up next. It is part of the Talon series, and it will be out on May 4th.

legionDragon hatchling Ember Hill was never prepared to find love at all–dragons do not suffer human emotions–let alone the love of a human and a former dragonslayer, at that. With ex-soldier Garret dying at her feet after sacrificing his freedom and his life to expose the deepest of betrayals, Ember knows only that nothing she was taught by dragon organization Talon is true. About humans, about rogue dragons, about herself and what she’s capable of doing and feeling.

In the face of great loss, Ember vows to stand with rogue dragon Riley against the dragon-slaying Order of St. George and her own twin brother Dante–the heir apparent to all of Talon, and the boy who will soon unleash the greatest threat and terror dragonkind has ever known.

Talon is poised to take over the world, and the abominations they have created will soon take to the skies, darkening the world with the promise of blood and death to those who refuse to yield.

And wrapping up this batch is the cover for The Valiant. It is the new one from Lesley Livingston, and it will be released on February 14th.

the valiantThe youngest daughter of a proud Celtic king, Fallon has always lived in the shadow of her older sister Sorcha’s legendary reputation as a warrior. But when Fallon was a young child, the armies of Julius Caesar invaded the island of Britain and her beloved older sister was killed in battle.

On the eve of her seventeenth birthday, Fallon is excited to follow in her sister’s footsteps and earn her rightful place in her father’s royal war band. But she never gets the chance. Instead, Fallon is captured by a band of ruthless brigands who sell her to an exclusive training school for female gladiators—and its most influential patron is none other than Julius Caesar himself. In a cruel twist of fate, Fallon’s worst enemy, the man who destroyed her family, might be her only hope of survival.

Now, Fallon must overcome vicious rivalries, chilling threats and the dangerous attention of Caesar himself to survive the deadly fights that take place both in and out of the arena—and claim her place in history among the Valiant.

There you have it for today. Are any of these on your reading radar?

Uncategorized

The Feehan Female Formula

faa581382D66a62D49f72D9be82D9b895cf85a3epapersToday was a nice day. I had a conversation with a person who came into where I work about books. That is always a treat, at least for me, because not a lot (meaning virtually no one) in my real life reads what I/we do, so to exchange actual spoken words with another human about a favorite topic is really rare. As we were mentioning upcoming releases and past favorites, the subject of Christine Feehan came up. And that talk got me thinking, which will probably get me in trouble again, but then again it won’t be the first time. Here goes…

I have to qualify this, once again, and say that I pick up all of her books, and Christine Feehan will probably always have a place in my collection. This isn’t me slamming her or her work. She is the author that got me interested in PNR and UF, and it was her books that brought me back to reading again after a years-long stop. I snicker and roll my eyes sometimes, but I am pretty much always counting down a new release day. That said, however, when the lady at work and I were discussing things, I realized that the last few female leads in recent Feehan novels had to me all become the same character. We have discussed here on the blog before the “Alphahole and the Doormat” trend in some of the recent books, but for me things have actually gone beyond that, and the characters have completely blurred together.

When I started to think about things, I realized that in five of the last six Feehan books I have read, you could pretty much substitute one female lead for the next and not know the difference. I am talking the last two Leopard books, the last two Ghostwalker books, and the new Shadows book. Here’s what I mean…

  • All of the female leads are small, curvy, and have long, almost inhumanly thick dark hair.
  • All of them are on the run from the VBM (very bad man) who has hurt them and/or killed someone they love.
  • They are all without family, and only one has a true friend.
  • They all find safety with their VOH (very own hero), but make a half-hearted try to run to save him from the VBM. This is of course stopped before they actually get out the door, but it is the thought that counts.
  • No matter what has happened to them, they have remained innocent and without anger or bitterness. Only sweetness, with a deep core of inner strength (uh, ok).
  • All but one have absolutely nothing to their name, and their VOH buys them long, ruffled skirts and ruffled boots (Seriously. They all have ruffled boots).
  • They are all immediately accepted into their VOH’s very exclusive inner circle and immediately become part of the family. Usually a family that doesn’t trust any outsiders, either, but they are instantly embraced and protected to the death by one and all.
  • All of them are brilliant cooks, or determined to learn to cook perfectly, so they can be the most very perfect homemaker for their VOH. No takeout here, folks. No “make your own sandwich, and me one while your at it”, either. Just brilliant, instantly-made meals that usually leads to a different kind of dessert. Usually on the kitchen floor.
  • Oh, and each and every one of them tempers their VOH’s overbearing, possessive flashes of jealous rage with sweetness, placating, and surrender. Oh, and each one calls their special fella Honey. Not babe, not pumpkin, not any other pet name. Just honey. For all of them. As in “Ok, honey, I understand and I won’t ever, ever do that again. Ever. Even though I didn’t do anything, I won’t do it again. Honey.”

These are just the instances I could think of off of the top of my head. And I guess this formula works for me because I still keep picking up the books (except the last Carpathian book, because I loathed Gabrielle and was a bit horrified by the thought of Grandma Trixie). I have to admit, though, that what I am really getting tired of in the Feehan books is the young, physically and sexually abused girl who ends up being rescued from her horror only to have her story told in a future book. It was done with Skyler in the Dark series, and now there is another one in The Shadows in…Nicoletta? Nicole? Something like that. Maybe it just comes off as too tragic for me, but I could do with that not coming up again anytime soon.

Your turn. Do you think I am nuts, or have you started to see a “female formula” in Christine Feehan’s work? Do you like it, or is it getting old for you? Have you had this sense of deja vu with any other authors that you can think of? Oh, and did my skipping the last Dark book about Gabrielle make me miss anything good, or did it set up any new characters/stories for down the road?

Adaptations

Well, This is Just Plain Weird

I was doing my nightly scan through things to see what happened while I was at work today, and I came across a very, very weird article. Weird enough that I literally stopped for a second to figure out if it was April Fools Day, or the article I read was dated April 1st. But nope, it is still July, and this is my random weirdness for today.

Do you remember how the powers that be decided to split the final movie adaptation from Veronica Roth‘s Divergent series, Allegiant, into two parts? Yeah, they followed the trend (or more likely they followed the money), and decided to make two movies, Allegiant and Ascendant. Ok, here is where the weirdness comes in…it looks like Ascendant will NOT be heading to a theater near you. Instead, it will be a straight to television release. You heard that right, folks. No theatrical release. There haven’t been any details on exactly where you will be finding it (Network? Netflix? Who knows), but Ascendant will be exclusively on the small screen. And that isn’t even all of it. Nope.

It seems that the ultimate goal is to THEN spin things off into a full fledged TV show. They would wrap things up with the existing cast of Shailene Woodley, Theo James and company, introduce all new players, and continue on in some form or another. And may I once again repeat…THIS IS WEIRD.

Granted, if you look at the numbers, this franchise hasn’t been the biggest success. But still, this seems so very odd to me. And kind of like beating a dead horse. Either film it or forget it, but this plain out of left field. And screams of desperation.

What is your take? I might’ve mentioned that I find this plain weird once or twice (or way more than that), but do you think this is a good idea? Have you been watching the movies, and do you plan to follow it to the small screen? Can you see a TV show succeeding where the movies have obviously failed?

Release Info

Stephenie Meyer Announces New Book

As I was doing my daily check over at Hypable today, I saw that Twilight and The Host author Stephenie Meyer has announced a new book is coming our way on November 16th of this year. This time around, it is an adult action/thriller called The Chemist.

the chemist.jpgIn this gripping page-turner, an ex-agent on the run from her former employers must take one more case to clear her name and save her life.

She used to work for the U.S. government, but very few people ever knew that. An expert in her field, she was one of the darkest secrets of an agency so clandestine it doesn’t even have a name. And when they decided she was a liability, they came for her without warning.

Now she rarely stays in the same place or uses the same name for long. They’ve killed the only other person she trusted, but something she knows still poses a threat. They want her dead, and soon.

When her former handler offers her a way out, she realizes it’s her only chance to erase the giant target on her back. But it means taking one last job for her ex-employers. To her horror, the information she acquires only makes her situation more dangerous.

Resolving to meet the threat head-on, she prepares for the toughest fight of her life but finds herself falling for a man who can only complicate her likelihood of survival. As she sees her choices being rapidly whittled down, she must apply her unique talents in ways she never dreamed of.

Well. Interesting. I did read the first Twilight book, but never felt the need to pick up the other three after I watched the movies. In fact, I just got rid of all of them in my latest unhaul. But I did very much like The Host, and her adult sci-fi alien story makes me want to give this one a shot. Speaking of The Host, I have finally given up the ghost on the long-rumored two followup books, The Seeker and The Soul, so maybe this one can take their place.

Will you be giving this new one from Stephenie Meyer a try? I don’t know if it has a paranormal element to it, but it sounds like it could be fun. The author credited her love of Jason Bourne for the inspiration, which is never a bad thing. Another one to add to the list, it looks like.

Review

What She Said – Rock Kiss Review

Thanks once again go to Monika, who sent over her review for Nalini Singh‘s latest Rock Kiss book, Rock Wedding. I loved me some Rock Hard – that was a total winner for me. Couldn’t get enough of Charlie and T-Rex.  I was meh about picking up Noah and Kit’s story until I started reading, and then I really enjoyed it. But for some reason right from the start I haven’t been all that interested in Abe and Sarah’s story, and I didn’t know quite why. But from what Monika said, I might not be alone…

rock weddingWhat Monika said…

Too much… of everything (especially shirts, swearing, sweetness and weddings)

I’ve read almost everything Nalini Singh has ever written and loved all of it (some more and some a bit less), so it pains me to write a less than stellar review and rate one of her books only 3 stars.
This was also the first Nalini Singh book I did not finish in a day or two, but which I had to force myself to continue reading, and I only plodded thru to the end because I needed to write a review.

But first things first: this is the fifth story in the Rock Kiss series, and it’s about Abe and Sarah, of whom we have seen glimpses in previous installments. Abe is the band’s keyboard player and sometime vocalist and he has serious abuse problems: drugs, drinks, and dimwitted groupies, he does it all. Sometime along the way he inexplicably falls in lust with Sarah, marries her, doesn’t change his habits and treats her like dirt, until finally she can’t take it anymore and divorces his ass (takes her long enough). Then, at the end of Rock Redemption, at the Zenith event, we see Sarah get slapped around by her new boyfriend. The band members rally behind her and Abe finally realizes that he is still very much in love with Sarah and finally decides to get his shit together and seeks help for his abuse problems. So, that’s were we stand at the beginning of this book.

I actually do like second chance and/or redemption stories, but somehow this one didn’t click for me. I think the main reason was the characterization of the two main protagonists. I had a difficult time to swallow the complete about-turn in Abe’s behavior towards Sarah: when they were married before he behaved like a complete heel to her, he treated her as convenient fuck-buddy and occasional arm-candy, but otherwise he kept emotionally distant from her, was not interested in anything about her as a person, about her past or what her interests were or even her dreams. And even though he did not physically lay a hand on her, he would psychically abuse her every time he went into a drug-induced fit of rage. But say you paint you hero that way (and I do love reformed bad boys), but then they at least need a horrible past to explain their behavior, even though there is no excuse for it. But far from it, Abe is from a loving, supportive upper middle-class family and ever since he met the guys from Schoolboy Choir his friends have stood by him and had his back. There is a huge personal tragedy in his past, but for me it’s just not enough of a justification.

In comparison I liked Sarah a bit more, even though (at least in the beginning of the book) she was as close to a doormat as I could stand. She is deeply insecure and very needy, and lets Abe get away with shit and tries to be supportive. Most of this I can overlook, because she was very young when she met Abe, all alone in the world, and she did have a horrible past, so I could kind of relate to her for being awestruck by being noticed by a rock star and also her need to cling to the person that she believed loved her even a little. I also liked that after her divorce she started to build her own life and career, although – even with the suspension of disbelief – I had a hard time believing how she went in two or three years from a rather low-end job to owning her own successful business, especially as apart from going to one or two meetings and making a few phone calls we never see her working.

Now to some other problems in this book, chief among them the (needless) repetition: a reviewer of Allegiance of Honor complained that there were a gazillion descriptions of the clothes that the characters wore and I went “come on, describing dresses adds texture to the story and besides, I did not even notice it”. Unfortunately I  did notice here, mostly because Abe is always wearing a variation of the same thing, mainly a suit, either black, or charcoal or dark grey, with either a black, charcoal or dark grey shirt. Sadly, the repetition does not end there: Sarah is endlessy fascinated by his stunning physique and his bulging biceps. We already know Abe is a hunk, so no need to reiterate it every time he strips. She in turn is repeatedly described as feeling too tall and too curvy, and even though she claims she is (finally) happy with her body the constant preoccupation with said body actually creates the impression of an unhealthy attitude towards one’s own body image.

Obviously I am the last person who should complain about the occasional swear word, and really I don’t mind swearing, but it should at least be creative. Fuck, fucker, fucking appear a total of 91 times, mostly used either as an expletive or an intensifier and only three times to actually refer to intercourse, so it was just a bit too much for me.

Nothing against a feel-good romance but there was just too much of the happy feeling in this book. Aside from the main protagonists, everybody is deliriously happy all the time, deeply and disgustingly in love (they don’t even fight so that they can have make-up sex), and to top it off, there are no less than four! perfect weddings that naturally go off without even the tiniest hitch! Sorry, but ‘gag’! It’s like eating bar after bar of sinful chocolate, until you get sick of it and crave something savory! And there is even more ‘sweetness’, but I won’t mention it, because it would be a major spoiler!

So now I have to go find me some gritty UF novel with a kick-ass heroine who worries more about her fighting prowess than her looks or some dark romance with a deliciously bad anti-hero to get this feeling of cloying sweetness outta my head!

I think, for me, part of the problem is that I am not a huge fan stories where the couple already has a romantic history/divorce, that sort of thing. I have always felt that in that situation, it feels like being dropped into the middle of the story. Not sure that makes sense, but it is harder for me to get involved in the couple when so much of their story isn’t shown in the pages of the book. I do have high hopes for Gabriel’s brother’s books, though – they were awesome in Rock Hard. What did all of you think about Rock Wedding? Any fans, or were you like Monika and just found it too much?

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Site Updates

I have gotten a couple of emails and comments wondering when I was going to add the info from Allegiance of Honor to the Psy/Changeling character guide. The good news? All done. The bad news? That sucker is a hot mess and needs a complete edit, which should happen over the next week or so. So if you see totally contradictory info listed under someone’s name, I hope to have that straightened out soonish. It gets hard when the guides get that damn big and characters keep evolving to keep everything making sense, which it doesn’t always right now. Then on to updating Charley Davidson and setting one up for the new Christine Feehan series. Oy.

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Cover Lover – Silence Fallen

It seems like every few days one of my much-anticipated releases has their cover reveal, and today’s book is Silence Fallen from Patricia Briggs. I already did the blurb reveal a while back, but might as well do it again, right? This one is dark and beautiful, and has a release date of March 7th.

silence_fallen_layout.inddIn the #1 New York Times bestselling Mercy Thompson novels, the coyote shapeshifter has found her voice in the werewolf pack. But when Mercy’s bond with the pack and her mate is broken, she’ll learn what it truly means to be alone…

Attacked and abducted in her home territory, Mercy finds herself in the clutches of the most powerful vampire in the world, taken as a weapon to use against alpha werewolf Adam and the ruler of the Tri-Cities vampires. In coyote form, Mercy escapes only to find herself without money, without clothing, and alone in the heart of Europe…

Unable to contact Adam and the rest of the pack, Mercy has allies to find and enemies to fight, and she needs to figure out which is which. Ancient powers stir, and Mercy must be her agile best to avoid causing a war between vampires and werewolves, and between werewolves and werewolves. And in the heart of the ancient city of Prague, old ghosts rise…”

This is one of my favorite covers of the whole series. Some of the previous Mercy covers, while all pretty, showed a little bit more of Mercy than I sometimes thought went with the character. Mercy never struck me as the plunging neckline and midriff baring type of gal, so this suits my version more. And I like the dark, intense vibe, too. So, are you a yes or a no on this one?

Spotlight on...

Spotlight Wednesday – Elizabeth Hunter

Because there is always so much good buzz around Elizabeth Hunter, and to celebrate her new release, Monika has put her up as this week’s spotlight author. As I have said anytime I have done a post about her work, I have never heard anyone say they weren’t a fan (and I can’t even say that about Nalini Singh or Ilona Andrews, which is something).

Elizabeth Hunter has quite a few releases under her belt, with her Cambio Springs books, the Irin Chronicles, and three separate series set in the Elemental World. But for this spotlight post, we are going to go way back to the beginning and the Elemental Mysteries series featuring Giovanni and Beatrice. The book that started it all is called A Hidden Fire, which was published in 2011.

a hidden fireSynopsis…

“No secret stays hidden forever.”

A phone call from an old friend sets Dr. Giovanni Vecchio back on the path of a mystery he’d abandoned years before. He never expected a young librarian could hold the key to the search, nor could he have expected the danger she would attract. Now he and Beatrice De Novo will follow a twisted maze that leads from the archives of a university library, through the fires of Renaissance Florence, and toward a confrontation they never could have predicted.

I did look around and try to find an excerpt, but I didn’t have any luck. It turns out, though that you can check this book out for free through Amazon right now, just click HERE. I have the paperback version on the TBR, but I am going to download the freebie in hopes that I will finally be able to move it up the reading list.

Also to consider:

elizabeth hunter banner
I nabbed the banner from google, so credit goes to whomever created it.

. . . . .

5251202About the author: Elizabeth Hunter is a contemporary fantasy and romance author. She is a graduate of the University of Houston Honors College and a former English teacher. She currently lives in Central California with her son, two very ineffective canine assistants, and a pitifully empty fish tank. She is the author of the Elemental Mysteries and Elemental World series, the Irin Chronicles, the Cambio Springs Mysteries, and other works of fiction.

Ok, everyone. It’s up to you. How many other Elizabeth Hunter fans are out there, and if you haven’t tried her before do you think you will? What hidden gem of an author would you like to share with your fellow readers? Just send me an e-mail under the “Contact Me” button and we can maybe spread the word.

Cover Lover

Eleventh Grave in Moonlight Cover and Blurb

Yep, you have to love it when one book comes out, and you get info about the next one a couple of weeks later. It makes the wait so much easier when you have something to look forward to. Darynda Jones is always great about keeping her readers updated, and now we have the cover and blurb release for Eleventh Grave in Moonlight, which is due out on January 24th.

eleventh grave in moonlight.jpgA typical day in the life of Charley Davidson involves cheating husbands, missing people, errant wives, philandering business owners, and oh yeah…demons, hell hounds, evil gods, and dead people. Lots and lots of dead people. As a part time Private Investigator and full-time Grim Reaper, Charley has to balance the good, the bad, the undead, and those who want her dead. In this eleventh installment, Charley is learning to make peace with the fact that she is a goddess with all kinds of power and that her own daughter has been born to save the world from total destruction. But the forces of hell are determined to see Charley banished forever to the darkest corners of another dimension. With the son of Satan himself as her husband and world-rocking lover, maybe Charley can find a way to have her happily ever after after all.

I will admit that I haven’t read 10th Grave yet, so I am not reading the blurb, but I am always happy to see signs of the next book. Not sure where things are going in the next few books, but it should be an interesting ride.