Book of the Month

The first quarter of the year is over already, and it is time to take a look ahead and see what we have to look forward to for May. March and April were really great months, so here’s hoping the trend continues. I have chosen 10 that I thought had potential, but if you have a different choice in mind, just select “Other” and leave your pick in the comments section. A complete list of May’s new releases can be found HERE.

There are a couple I am looking forward to, but my book of the month by a long, long way is White Hot. I got my hands on an early ARC copy, and it was awesome. THEN I nabbed another ARC for Wildfire, which was just as good. Totally love this series, and it would be criminal for it to wrap up at only three books.

Pick of the Week

Posts have been kind of scare for the last little while, but honestly there just hasn’t been that much to talk about. There have been a few young adult cover releases, but not enough for a full post. There hasn’t been much in the way of new release info, or any word on the countless upcoming spin-offs of soon-to-end series, either. Hopefully business will pick up soon.

Anyways, there were a couple of solid books released this week, including the final Merit-and-Ethan Chicagoland Vampires book from Chloe Neill. I figured it would be my pick of the week, but for some strange reason my interest in the newest Immortals After Dark book has grown over the last few days. I have been on a bit of a downwards slide with Kresley Cole‘s last few books, and honestly the thought of a beauty and the beast redo didn’t get me all that excited, either. But then I started to get a bit optimistic, and I found myself looking forward to Wicked Abyss. I am a couple of hours in, and so far I am enjoying it. Is my IAD rah-rah back yet? Not really. But it is a start.

wicked abyssSynopsis…

The terrifying king of hell…

As a boy, Abyssian “Sian” Infernas had his heart shattered by a treacherous fey beauty who died before he could exact vengeance. Millennia later, a curse has transformed him into a demonic monster—just as she’s been reincarnated. Sian captures the delicate but bold female, forcing her back to hell.

Meets his match.

Princess Calliope “Lila” Barbot’s people have hated and feared Abyssian and his alliance of monsters for aeons. When the beastly demon imprisons her in his mystical castle, vowing revenge for betrayals she can’t remember, Lila makes her own vow: to bring down the wicked beast for good.

Can two adversaries share one happily-ever-after?

As Calliope turns hell inside out, the all-powerful Sian finds himself defenseless against his feelings for her. In turn, Lila reluctantly responds to the beast’s cleverness and gruff vulnerability. But when truths from a far distant past are revealed, can their tenuous bond withstand ages of deceit, a curse, and a looming supernatural war?

I would so love to go back to being IAD-obsessed rather than just mildly interested, and hopefully Wicked Abyss can help pull that off. What is the biggest-name series you have ever found yourself drifting away from, and did you ever manage to come back to your former level of enjoyment of it?

Stuff I Missed

It seems like it is more and more common for there to be last-minute releases that I end up finding out about too late to add to the new release pages. It gets on my nerves big time, I have to admit, so I thought I might start doing a monthly post where I can mention some of the titles that didn’t make it onto the regular lists. This won’t be a complete list by any means, since there are so damn many, but it will cover the ones I would’ve added if I had known about them in time.

  • Katie MacAlister – The Vampire Always Rises (Dark Ones #11) – April 25th
  • Anna Lowe – Lure of the Dragon (Aloha Shifters #1) – April 18th
  • Mandy M. Roth – Isolated Maneuver (Immortal Outcasts #3) – April 13th
  • Annmarie McKenna – Seeing Eye Mate (Mate Series #1 re-release) – April 7th
  • Annmarie McKenna – Checkmate (Mate Series #2 re-release) – April 14th
  • Annmarie McKenna – Ultimatum (Mate Series #3 re-release) – April 21st

Have you found any last-minute surprises lately? Have any popular or favorite authors popped up with an unexpected new release? I enjoyed the first two Mate Series books from Annmarie McKenna way back in the day, and I was surprised to find there was a third book I hadn’t even known about. It was another new purchase for my shiny Kindle for i-pad.

New Series Alerts

Well, everyone, looks like it is time again to check out any new series starting up this week. We only have one, and it comes from new author Deborah Wilde. The Unlikeable Demon Hunter is the first book in her new Nava Katz series.

the-unlikeable-demon-hunterSynopsis…

The age-old story of what happens when a foul-mouthed, romance impaired heroine with no edit button and a predilection for hot sex is faced with her worst nightmare–a purpose.

Ari Katz is intelligent, driven, and will make an excellent demon hunter once initiated into the Brotherhood of David. However, this book is about his twin Nava: a smart-ass, self-cultivated hot mess, who is thrilled her brother is stuck with all the chosen one crap.

When Nava half-drunkenly interrupts Ari’s induction ceremony, she expects to be chastised. What she doesn’t expect is to take her brother’s place among the–until now–all-male demon hunters. Even worse? Her infuriating leader is former rock star Rohan Mitra.

Too bad Rohan’s exactly what Nava’s always wanted: the perfect bad boy fling with no strings attached, because he may also be the one to bring down her carefully erected emotional shields. That’s as dangerous as all the evil fiends vying for the bragging rights of killing the only female ever chosen for Demon Club.

Odds of survival: eh.

Odds of having a very good time with Rohan before she bites it: much better.

The second book of the series, The Unlikeable Demon Hunter: Sting, will be released in June.

I’ve Turned to the Dark Side

heartsIf you have checked out Wicked Scribes for any length of time, you have probably heard me rant about several things – but the big one is probably e-books. Yep, I have always been a die-hard physical book lover, but over the last year or so I have gone from barely contained disdain, to a grudging admission that perhaps they are not the devil’s handiwork, to a cautious foray into all things digital. But all that has changed.

Yep, I have gone to the dark side over the last month or so. Honestly, I have been loving my e-books. I mean loving. I would never, EVER have thought it possible, but there it is. I ended up with both a physical and an e-book copy of the same book a couple of weeks ago (duh, it happens more than you would think), and I found myself reaching for the digital copy. I mean that I never even cracked the spine of the print book at all. That was a bit eye-opening, I have to admit.

On top of that, I spent all day yesterday cleaning my books. I actually don’t mind doing that, but what I did notice was that my paperbacks were not faring well. Even though most only had one read, a lot of them were looking shabby. Dirty and discolored, with the pages turning brown and the covers getting scuffed. I don’t like scruffy, and it was probably the final shove that pushed me over the edge. That and my recent dislike of clutter didn’t help, either.

And the best part is like what you all said all along…no worrying about format changes, crap covers, nothing like that. I have been picking up some duplicates for a while now, and I have been having fun editing the books to have covers I like, organizing them into collections, that sort of thing. My plan is to keep getting physical copies of my hardcover series and my UK book versions, but other than that? I am making the switch to e-book. I plan on swapping out all of my mass markets over time, and I am having fun keeping an eye out for Kindle sales. I got the first couple of IAD books (with pretty new covers) for only a couple of dollars each. Beauty.

I figured that since I was so vocal about my dislike, it would only be fair to say that I had changed my mind. Never thought I would see the day, but there you go. Now if I could only get a handle on my Blu-ray collection, too.

Reading Wrap Up

Happy Easter, everyone. This has been a busy week, but I still managed to get a few books under my belt, and to say that I covered a rather wide variety of books is a bit of an understatement.

a twist in timeI got started with A Twist in Time from Julie McElwain. It is the second book in her time-travel murder mystery series featuring former FBI Profiler Kendra Donovan, who is accidentally pulled back through time to Regency England. I enjoyed the first book, but it took a while for me to get into the swing of things for the second. I don’t read much in the way of historical, and it makes a nice change of pace. What threw me off for the first half of this one, though, was Kendra herself. I get that she is stuck in a time not her own – a time where women are incredibly limited as to what they are supposed to be or do, but she was on the edge of being whiny for a while. It didn’t last long and then things got rolling, but it still made the first part of the story drag a bit for me.

shadows-seductionTo continue my trend of reading something different, I finally got to Shadow’s Seduction from Kresley Cole. I am not a big fan of m/m stories, and I even though of giving this one a pass what with my dwindling interest in the IAD series. But since I needed it to keep the character guide current, I decided to take the plunge. I ended up liking the overall storyline, and Cas and Mirceo were great. But it was way, way more explicit than I was expecting. My only other m/m story was Lover at Last from J.R. Ward, and while Qhuinn and Blay had some scenes of their own, they were a very small part of the overall story. Not so much here. So not bad at all, I liked the story better than the last few full books of the series, but I was surprised by the hot factor.

the struggleAnd finally, I flew through The Struggle, the third book of Jennifer L. Armentrout‘s New Adult Titan series. What makes this one different for me is that, by and large, I am not a huge new adult fan. And by that I mean I usually just plain don’t like it. But honestly, this one reads as more adult, and I am pretty much a fan of all things Armentrout which is a double win. This was a nice change of pace – it was a fast, easy read, and even though it has been quite a while since I picked up the previous book I had no trouble getting back into the swing of things.

So, that wraps up my unusual reading week. Have you been trying anything different lately? Found anything interesting?

Next Up From J.R. Ward

It was recently announced that J.R. Ward‘s upcoming 16th book of the Black Dagger Brotherhood series will be called The Thief, and it will be Sola and Assail’s story. But while we have to wait until April 3rd of next year for The Thief, we also have another story to look forward to. The third Black Dagger Legacy book will be called Blood Fury, and it will be released on January 9th. Looks like it is Novo and Peyton’s turn.

blood furySynopsis…

A tough vampire warrior in training and her fellow aristocratic trainee struggle to deny the attraction they feel for one another as they prepare for the looming war ahead. The latest in a new paranormal romance series set in the world of the #1 New York Times bestselling Black Dagger Brotherhood.

Brothers at the Black Dagger Brotherhood training center push recruits to the limit to become faster and stronger than ever before as they continue preparing for the fight against the lessening society. Novo, a resilient survivor and a bit rough around the edges, has overcome a great deal, including her intense attraction to suave, aristocratic Peyton. The two fighters shared a passionate physical connection. But when Peyton finally comes to terms with and admits his true feelings for Novo she rejects him for a more stable male. Now they must train in close quarters and eventually confront the feelings they still undoubtedly harbor for one another.

I’m not sure how excited I am for a Peyton/Novo pairing at this point, but things could change once I get into their story more. I think I am more interested in who the featured Brother will be. Maybe Qhuinn? He could use some major image rehabbing after his complete douchbaggy-ness in The Chosen, so maybe he can redeem himself a little helping out Peyton and Novo. But it would have to be pretty epic, because it is going to take me a while to get over how huge a tool he was.

Reading Wrap Up

Hey everyone…time to check in and see what we all have been reading this past week (or so). Time is flying, ain’t it? Might be mild spoilers below, so proceed with caution.

blade boundI did get to Blade Bound from Chloe Neill, which I reviewed below. Not bad, but not as epic as I was hoping for. I did manage a solid liking for it, but then that was pretty much my feelings on the whole series right from the start. Good, but not one of my top picks. I am interested in checking out the upcoming spin-off, though, since I thought it looked like there were hints of who it would be about in the epilogue. Maybe. Does anyone else see a time jump with Connor and Elisa, or is it just me? I could be reaching, but finding out about the next series was what had me so interested to pick this one up. And I really like the idea of more about the shifters.

ward_comp.inddI also finished The Chosen from J.R. Ward. I went into it with a major case of the gags about Layla – she annoyed me to no end every single time she showed up in previous books. I went into her story prepared to loath every scene she was in…but I didn’t. I ended up liking her, honestly, which I never would’ve thought possible. But Qhuinn? Yeah, he was a tool who was in need of a really good beat-down, and Tohr rubbed me wrong with all of his woe-is-me crap for most of the book. And reading about V was like watching a train wreck. As much as I felt for him, he is straying into territory that you just don’t come back from. Ever. I am assuming his book is up next, and that could get ugly fast. I ended up really liking this one, even though the ending was a little heavy on the happy in happily ever after, but that was nice for a change. At least no one got a horrible wasting disease and died (cough*Selena*cough).

And for something a little lighter, I am just starting the newest Dragons of Eternity story from Alexandra Ivy, Charred by Darkness. I like these Guardians of Eternity spin-offs – they are fast reads, you don’t have to do a crash-course on past books to try and keep things straight, and you always get to see characters from previous books again. Of course, being a self-pubbed e-book, I had no clue it had even come out on March 28th. But no, I am not going to rant about trying to keep track of books for the new release pages that all of a sudden just appear. Nope. Not one word. Just read and enjoy.

What have you been up to this week? Anything new catch your eye, or are you working your way through any old favorites?

Pick of the Week

My pick for this first week in April is A Twist in Time from Julie McElwain. I was kindly sent a copy of the first book in the Kendra Donovan series, A Murder in Time, and it was one I really enjoyed. It gave me a whole Outlander-meets-In Death vibe, which is never a bad thing.

a twist in timeSynopsis…

Former FBI agent Kendra Donovan’s attempts to return to the twenty-first century have failed, leaving her stuck at Aldridge Castle in 1815. And her problems have just begun: in London, the Duke of Aldridge’s nephew Alec—Kendra’s confidante and lover—has come under suspicion for murdering his former mistress, Lady Dover, who was found viciously stabbed with a stiletto, her face carved up in a bizarre and brutal way.

Lady Dover had plenty of secrets, and her past wasn’t quite what she’d made it out to be. Nor is it entirely in the past—which becomes frighteningly clear when a crime lord emerges from London’s seamy underbelly to threaten Alec. Joining forces with Bow Street Runner Sam Kelly, Kendra must navigate the treacherous nineteenth century while she picks through the strands of Lady Dover’s life.

As the noose tightens around Alec’s neck, Kendra will do anything to save him, including following every twist and turn through London’s glittering ballrooms, where deception is the norm—and any attempt to uncover the truth will get someone killed.

The other biggie for me this week was J.R. Ward‘s The Chosen. My copy actually arrived yesterday, so got a little start on it last night. And guess what?!? I haven’t wished Layla a painful, screaming death even one time yet! That makes me very happy, since I was planning on sneering through all of her scenes and skimming them to get to the other stories. On the negative side, though – Qhuinn is being a bit of a douche. More to follow.

Blade Bound Review

I am still trying to get a handle on the whole reviewing thing, and this time around it is for the final Chicagoland Vampires book from Chloe Neill, Blade Bound. I was kindly provided a review copy from NetGalley.

blade boundMy spoiler free review of Blade Bound…

After 13 books, the Chicagoland Vampires series is wrapping up – or more precisely, Merit and Ethan’s story is. In book time, it has only been a year since Merit was turned vampire against her will, and she and Ethan have packed a lot of living into those 12 short months. Not only have they waged pretty much non-stop battle against several supernatural baddies, and saved Chicago on more than one occasion, they have also had to fight the prejudices of the very people they try so hard to protect.

There is a lot going on in Blade Bound, both supernaturally and personally, for Merit and Ethan. But the weird thing is, for 90% of the story, it didn’t feel like a finale to me. There is tons of action, lots of drama, some humor and snark, and a long-awaited celebration, but most of it felt to me more like a step towards the end of the series more than the end itself, if that makes any sense. I only got a sense of “The End” in the prologue, which sort of left things feeling rushed. Granted, I really liked the prologue – it was my favorite part of the whole book – but it just didn’t give me the epic finale I was hoping for.

To be fair, I have a weird relationship with Chicagoland Vampires. I want to love it. I have tried to make myself love it. It has everything I like in an urban fantasy, it checks all of the boxes, but I could never get above a solid liking for it. I liked Merit and Ethan, but I enjoyed the supporting cast more. I can’t even blame a hotly debated even in one of the earlier books that turned a lot of people off – I was like that from the start. And it was no different for Blade Bound. I wanted to love it, I wanted to get really involved in Ethan and Merit’s last story, but I couldn’t get above a solid liking. I read most of the book hoping for a clue about who the spin-off will be about, and it might’ve been teased in the final few pages, but I can’t be sure yet. Kind of a let down, but if I am right it could be all kinds of fun.

So, to sum up, Blade Bound had lots going on, but it lacked a bit of the “big book” feel I was expecting. There are some epic events, but squeezing that much in made things feel a little rushed. I got what I was hoping for in the finale, but it was only in the last few pages. If I was doing the star review thingy, I would say a solid 3.

Where do you stand on the Chicagoland Vampires? Where does it rank on your “must read” series scale?