End it, Already!

american-english-idioms-book-with-wordsI am officially declaring August my “End it, Already”! month. There are a few new releases I am of course dying to get (I am looking at you, Magic Shifts and Deceptions), but for the most part my goal in August is to let go and finally read the final book in some of my series.

See, I have this weird thing. If I don’t read the last book, then the series isn’t really over. Logical? Nope. But I have the strange habit of putting off reading the last book in a series indefinitely. Just one little book, sitting there, and I don’t read it. I believe last time I counted, I had 12 that were ready to wrap up that I had left hanging. To the point that I don’t even remember what happened in the story, and now I will have to do a re-read or skim through of the previous books just to get back in gear.

I have already tackled the Lynburn Legacy by Sarah Rees Brennan, and my re-read of the first two books is almost complete. One down, 11 to work on. Yay?

What strange reading habits do you have that make sense to no one but you? Do you have any books that need to be tackled so you can chalk up another series in the read column? Which ones have you left hanging?

Weekly Wrap Up…

booksThis is the post where I try and keep track of what I read, and what I thought about it, since I seem to be blurring a lot of books together in my mind. Getting old blows. Anyways, this was less of a reading week, and more of a re-reading week, but whatever works.

I actually went back and re-read MacRieve by Kresley Cole for some unknown reason. I was walking by my shelves and I just ended up grabbing it. I don’t usually do that, but I was glad I did. I liked it more with this second read. Not enough to have me super-excited for the next Immortals After Dark book, which is a big honkin’ shame, but it was still a bonus. I never, ever thought that the wheels would fall off of my IAD love, but it seems they have. It went from my absolute favorite to being a second-tier series (second tier isn’t bad in my world, but I just never thought it would fall. Ever).

I also plugged along on Mercy Blade by Faith Hunter. I have to admit, I am struggling a bit with this series. I like it, but I have no problem putting a book down and walking away for a week or two. As interesting as they are, they don’t grab and hold my attention for some reason. I suspect it is because the whole Rick/Leo/Bruiser romantic situation distracts me from the story. I like a story with a well-defined pairing, and anything else throws me off (I am looking at you, dreaded young adult love triangle. Die). I will definitely be keeping on with these books, but they are going to take a while.

Also on the re-read list is the first three Drake Sisters books. It has been a while, and I decided to go back and expand the Sisters of the Heart character guide to include all of the books set in Sea Haven, since it looks like that world will not be wrapping up anytime soon. It amazes me how much I had forgotten from these books, but it also made me miss the old Christine Feehan stories. Re-reading the older ones makes the changes in tone and style of the new ones really stand out. They were great stories, not everyone was emotionally scarred, tortured and battered beyond comprehension, and there was a bit more than just sex. Meh, I miss the old days.

So, what did you read this week? Did anything great come your way, or did you find yourself in the dreaded reading slump? Oh, and it is only a few more hours until Kate and Curran. Time should always be measured in terms of release dates, I figure.

August BotM and Giveaway…

giveaway bannerI guess nobody is too surprised to find out that Ilona Andrews and Magic Shifts are the winners for the August book of the month poll. Because I figured that was the way it would go, I actually threw my support behind Kelley Armstrong‘s third Cainsville book, Deceptions. I am so looking forward to both of those puppies. Anyways, time for a little giveaway. If you are interested in winning a hardcover copy of Magic Shifts, just leave a comment in the comment section. Because this one is only days away, lets wrap things up quickly at say, Midnight Atlantic time on Monday? Contest open to all, winner to be chosen at random. Good luck!

magic shiftsSynopsis…

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…

Cover Lover – 9 New Titles

Sort of a mish-mash for this cover lover post, but there are a couple of interesting ones. Let’s start with one from Kim Harrison. Sideswiped is from her new Peri Reed Chronicles, and I believe it is a prequel novella that is due out on August 10th.

sideswipedEvery hero, even the accidental ones, have a beginning.

Silas’s radical theory that drafters are not replaying time as much as they are temporarily sliding into an alternate universe has never been well-received, but frankly, the darling of Opti’s research has enough clout not to care, until a professor with a grudge tries to put a permanent end to it. Love can’t alter time, and sometimes, even being able to rub out a single mistake isn’t enough…

This next one is from Deborah Blake. I haven’t heard anything about Veiled Magic at all, other than it is due out on November 17th.

veiled magicI guess Amanda Bonilla‘s Shaede Assassin series is now being released only in e-format. The fifth book will be called Shadows at Midnight, and it is due out on September 24th.

shadows at minightHas Darian’s past finally caught up with her?

The Rakshasa queen, Padma, has a score to settle—she wants those responsible for her son’s death to pay and to pay dearly. Darian, Tyler and Xander are all at risk—and Padma’s powers could force them to live the rest of their lives in the madness of the Realm of Illusions…

While Darian is taken and is the first to suffer, she’s soon rescued by Tyler, the one man to never disappoint. But what Darian doesn’t know is that her freedom comes at a steep price—Xander’s the King of Shaedes, imprisonment. Darian knows what horrors await in Padma’s dungeon. A rescue mission won’t be easy and she can’t do it alone.

Deep in the bowels of Goblin Valley, Darian, Tyler, and her small band of Shaede warriors fight their way through a dark labyrinth. In a realm where illusions rule, with danger at every turn, the odds are stacked against them. Time isn’t on their side, every second spent in Padma’s custody will be another step Xander takes toward madness. A kingdom can’t be ruled without its king and the wolves are at the door, waiting. If Darian can’t get to Xander before he succumbs to the illusions, an entire kingdom’s future is at stake…

The second book of the Thieves spin-off series from Lexi Blake will be called Addict, and it will be released on September 22nd.

addictIn order to destroy a legendary monster and save the royal family, Kelsey must make a deal with a devil…

When Kelsey Owens returns home to Dallas, she is a changed woman. After months of training with Marcus Vorenus , she has more control over her abilities. She’s ready to start her new job, even if it means dealing with the King of All Vampire and his partner, Devinshea Quinn. Her first assignment, however, will force her to face her past. Grayson Sloane is in trouble and she has to find him.

With the help of Gray’s brother, a full empath demon, Kelsey tracks her one time lover down. Before she knows it, she’s pulled into Gray’s undercover operation in a demon sex club and sitting across from a Duke of Hell. Abbas Hiberna plans to use her city to test his new drug, Brimstone. It doesn’t just give supernatural creatures a high. It also leaves them vulnerable to demonic persuasion.

When the king’s own men begin to turn against him, even the royal family is in danger. Keeping them safe will put Kelsey in the duke’s crosshairs and test her fledgling relationship with Marcus. With her new life crumbling around her, a dark secret about her former lover is revealed and Kelsey will have to choose between saving Gray Sloane and the revenge she’s waited a lifetime for.

Aaand Lynsay Sands will continue her Rogue Hunter books with the release of Runaway Vampire on February 23rd.

runaway vampireBuckle up—the Argeneaus are back in a sexy, witty new novel from New York Times bestselling author Lynsay Sands.

Dante Notte has heard it said that love hurts. He just wasn’t expecting it to run him over in an RV. Still, a punctured lung and broken ribs are nothing compared to the full-body shock he feels whenever he’s near the vehicle’s driver, Mary Winslow. He needs to keep her safe from their pursuers while he rescues his brother. Most challenging of all, he needs to claim this smart, stubborn woman as his life mate.

The naked, injured, insanely gorgeous younger man who clambered into her RV insists they belong together. If Mary wasn’t feeling their incredible connection in every inch of her being, she wouldn’t believe it. But now that the men who took Dante’s twin are after her too, trusting her gut means risking her life for an immortal who’s the very definition of a perfect stranger.

Heading into the young adult side of things, the second book from the Sisters of Blood and Spirit series from Kady Cross will be called Sisters of Salt and Iron, and it will be out on March 30th.

sisters of salt and ironAs Halloween approaches, twin sisters Lark, who is alive, and Wren, a tethered spirit, find themselves drifting apart. While Lark is happy with new boyfriend Ben, Wren is still hurting over her own still-alive-and-kicking love-interest, Kevin, who may or may not have kissed another girl. Spending more time on the Other Side, and less time with her sister in the land of the living, Lark becomes close with the spirit of a young man, Noah, who was killed years ago. But Noah is not as nice as he seems, and his thirst for vengeance has a dark and sudden influence on Wren. With the veil between the worlds thinning for Halloween, the spirits are getting stronger and it will be up to Lark and her friends to stop Noah and save Wren from becoming a monster. But the only way to do that could be to kill the boy that Wren is falling in love with.

Not only are these final three from the same author, they are from the same series. Victoria Aveyard‘s Red Queen series will include several e-novellas, starting with Queen Song on September 1st…

queen songIn this 55-page prequel novella set in the Red Queen world, Queen Coriane, first wife of King Tiberias, keeps a secret diary—how else can she ensure that no one at the palace will use her thoughts against her? Coriane recounts her heady courtship with the crown prince, the birth of a new prince, Cal, and the potentially deadly challenges that lay ahead for her in royal life.

Another novella will follow on January 6th called Steel Scars, which will this time focus on secondary character Farley.

steel scarsFarley was raised to be strong, but being tasked with planting the seeds of rebellion in Norta is a tougher job than expected. As she travels the land recruiting black market traders, smugglers, and extremists for her first attempt at an attack on the capital, she stumbles upon a connection that may prove to be the key to the entire operation—Mare Barrow.

And all of the novellas will be combined into a print-format bind-up called Cruel Crown, and it is looking like a January 5th release.

cruel crownOk, there you have it. Any fans of Victoria Aveyard’s Red Queen series? I quite enjoyed it myself, even though I have been going through a bit of a young adult rebellion lately. A lot of them haven’t held my interest, and I have really cut back on which ones I am picking up (pretty covers or not).

Mockingjay Part 2

I am a bit behind on posting this, but the trailer for the final Hunger Games movie, Mockingjay Part 2, recently came out. This one is going to be a biggie, and it totally is going to call for a re-watch of the first three to get me in the spirit of things.

Anyone else counting down the days for this one? I hate to see a favorite end, but at the same time it is my most anticipated movie for the rest of the year. I just wish other adaptations could live up to this one.

Pick of the Week

I don’t usually go to the young adult side of things for my pick of the week, but since Jennifer L. Armentrout‘s last Dark Elements book, Every Last Breath, is due out, I am making an exception.

every last breathSynopsis…

Some loves will last ’til your dying breath

Every choice has consequences—but seventeen-year-old Layla faces tougher choices than most. Light or darkness. Wickedly sexy demon prince Roth, or Zayne, the gorgeous, protective Warden she never thought could be hers. Hardest of all, Layla has to decide which side of herself to trust.

Layla has a new problem, too. A Lilin—the deadliest of demons—has been unleashed, wreaking havoc on those around her…including her best friend. To keep Sam from a fate much, much worse than death, Layla must strike a deal with the enemy while saving her city—and her race—from destruction.

Torn between two worlds and two different boys, Layla has no certainties, least of all survival, especially when an old bargain comes back to haunt them all. But sometimes, when secrets are everywhere and the truth seems unknowable, you have to listen to your heart, pick a side—and then fight like hell…

Purchase at Amazon.com

Jennifer is a solid favorite, so I always look forward to something of hers. And that reminds me that I have to pull a marathon and get some of her other series finished up. What will you be checking out this week?

New Series Alerts…

Well, just one new series starting up this week, and it comes from Katie MacAlister. Dragon Fall is the first book of the Black Dragons series, which is a spin-off from her other Dragon series.

dragon fallSynopsis…

YOU FLIRT WITH FIRE…

For Aoife Dakar, seeing is believing-and she’s seen some extraordinary things. It’s too bad no one else believes that she witnessed a supernatural murder at an outdoor fair. Returning to the scene for proof, Aoife encounters a wise-cracking demon dog-and a gloriously naked man who can shift into a dragon and kiss like a god. Now thrust into a fantastical world that’s both exhilarating and terrifying, Aoife is about to learn just how hot a dragon’s fire burns.

WHEN YOU DATE A DRAGON

Kostya has no time for a human woman with endless questions, no matter how gorgeous or tempting she is. He must break the curse that has splintered the dragon clans before more of his kind die. But his powerful attraction to Aoife runs much deeper than the physical-and there may be more to her than even his sharp dragon eyes can see. To survive the coming battle for the fate of his race, he needs a mate of true heart and soul . . .

Purchase at Amazon.com

I tried a couple of the Aisling Grey books a while back, and while I didn’t mind them, I didn’t feel the need to continue on with the series (or any of the spin-offs). Are you looking forward to another MacAlister Dragon series?

Magic Shifts Review

Well, no one can deny that Magic Shifts is going to be a biggie, but Doug Meeks did up a review that confirms it. The last book was a total game-changer in more ways than one, but Ilona Andrews always somehow manages to top themselves.

magic shiftsWhat Doug said…

Where to start, I have written a review on most if not all of the books in this series and I find myself running out of superlatives. The plots are multilayered, interesting and unpredictable. The characters (all of them not just the main couple) are fully developed, no cardboard cutouts and you actually grow to care about all of them. The thing though that makes this such a huge success is that Kate and Curran are deeply in love at all times, add in the best “graveyard” humor ever and you have a mix that can’t lose.

This time you have to wonder, after last book (shame on you if you have not read that epic) what could even give them any problems? It seems there are a ton of things in this world that Ilona Andrews has crafted that can do that and one of them has come to town (no I won’t tell you, it is part of the plot to find out).

In addition to occasionally saving the world (or at least Atlanta), they seem to now need some kind of a job to go with their new lifestyle in suburbia and so they are getting involved with the Merc Guild which is something that makes me happy since I can see all kinds of fun things coming from that arrangement, providing everybody survives long enough to make something happen. The fact that they have some minor problems with the self-appointed neighborhood HOA in the midst of everything else is just another level of humor here, in spite of end-of-the-world plots I laughed more at this book than many romantic comedies I have read over the last year.

As usual there are a multitude of plots, they all seem to be able to tie themselves back together by the end of the book and we are left with a tidbit or two towards a future book (not always the next one) and in addition to everything else Kate and Curran are trying to look like a family unit, kinda hard but, hey, they are giving it a really great effort (nobody in the HOA was harmed in the reading of this book).

The ongoing [fill in the blank for what you call her relationship with her Dad] is still confusing to me, Kate leaves us no doubt as to where her feelings lie but they keep throwing just enough information into the mix that you have to remember some of the things from previous books to not start to like him a bit. He is still put forth as the big bad thing in some epic battle to be fought in the (I hope) distant future. There may be just the smallest bit of light at the end of that tunnel after this book but it was a teaser at the end of the book.

This book as many of the others revolves around complex relationships and loyalties between friends and loved ones, which is part of why this is such a great series, it is never as simple as “beat up the bad guys”, people’s emotions are involved and used to deepen plots, things that people would never risk are done for the sake of loved ones, and the list of such things is near endless but it takes this series from the swamp of interesting but average urban fantasy and raises it to the level of exceptionalism that you only get from one of the best series being written in this genre or any other.

I was going to do a trek to the nearest big city, pick up a copy, and get a hotel room for the night and just read. I even had a room booked in the best hotel in the city, but I had to change it to the week after because of work. Boo. I guess an extra week won’t kill me. Right?

August’s Book of the Month

Well, last month was one of the most “meh, whatever” book of the month polls I can remember. Ever. Well the same can’t be said for this one at all. This one could be very, very interesting. I picked 10 titles, but if you have a different choice for your book of the month, just click “Other” then leave your selection in the comments section. A complete list of August’s releases can be found HERE. Once again, the winning title will be offered as a giveaway for August.

 

Cover Lover – 4 New Titles

I try not to do two cover lover posts in a row, but then there wasn’t a ton else going on. This first one is the surprise novella from Darynda Jones, Brighter Than the Sun. It is a Reyes POV story, and it will be released on October 6th.

brighter than the sunAll his life, Reyes Alexander Farrow has suffered the torments of the damned. Only one thing has given him hope: the woman who radiates a light that no mortals can see; a light that only the departed can see…

Told from his point of view, BRIGHTER THAN THE SUN chronicles the first time Reyes ever encountered Charley, and how their relationship has been the one thing that can either save him or doom him.

Cover two is from Karen Chance. Ride the Storm is the next Cassie Palmer book, and it is due out on April 5th.

ride the stormEver since being stuck with the job of pythia, the chief seer of the supernatural world, Cassie Palmer has been playing catch up. Catch up to the lifetime’s worth of training she missed being raised by a psychotic vampire instead of at the fabled pythian court. Catch up on the dangerous world of supernatural politics. Catch up to the powerful, and sometimes seductive, forces trying to mold her to their will. It’s been a trial by fire that has left her more than a little burned.

But now she realizes that all that was the just the warm up for the real race. Ancient forces that once terrorized the world are trying to return, and Cassie is the only one who can stop them...

The next two are young adult. Sarah Rees Brennan‘s next one is called Tell the Wind and Fire, and it will be released early next year.

tell the wind and fireTell the Wind & Fire is about a young girl called Lucie who lives in a New York very different from the New York we know: the city is torn between two very different kinds of magic, and Lucie’s own family was torn apart years ago by that conflict. Lucie wears magic rings and carries a burden of guilt she can’t share with anyone.

The light in her life is her sweetheart boyfriend Ethan, but it turns out Ethan has a secret too: a soulless doppelganger created by dark magic, who has to conceal the face identical to Ethan’s with a hood fastened by a collar nobody but a Light magician with magical rings can take off… and who introduces himself to both of them by, for reasons nobody can understand, saving Ethan’s life…

And the final one for today comes from Megan Crewe. The third and final book of the Earth and Sky series, A Sky Unbroken, will be released on October 13th.

a sky unbrokenThe rebels have been disbanded, their plans ruined. Betrayed by those she trusted most, Skylar finds herself herded, along with a small group of Earthlings, into a living museum—a human zoo—on the Kemyates’ space station, subject to her captors’ every whim. Any move Skylar makes could result in the extinction of her people—but giving in means losing any hope of freedom.

Meanwhile, Win returns home and evades punishment by pretending to be loyal to Kemya. But he can’t bear knowing that Skylar is imprisoned or watch his fellow Kemyates swallow the Council’s lies about Earth. He must bring the truth to the Kemyate public and see the Earthlings freed—even if it means openly challenging his world’s rulers.

In this final book of the action-packed Earth & Sky trilogy, neither Skylar nor Win knows they are about to uncover an even deeper conspiracy—one that could push the future they’re fighting for completely out of reach.