My Sort-of Pick of the Week

Yes, I know, the title is not the most glowing recommendation for a pick of the week, but there is a reason. For some reason, I am having a bit of a hard time working up my excitement level for the Black Dagger Brotherhood book, The Shadows. But, on the other hand, it is a Black Dagger Brotherhood book, which pretty much makes it a pick of the week. You see the issue? As I have said numerous times before, J.R. Ward‘s BDB books are a solid favorite of mine, but I have to be in the right mood to read one since they are so…full. So many storylines and characters and plots going on at the same time that I have been known to wait months before I get myself psyched up to read one. It is looking like The Shadows might be on Mount TBR for a while, too…

the shadowsSynopsis…

Trez “Latimer” doesn’t really exist. And not just because the identity was created so that a Shadow could function in the underbelly of the human world. Sold by his parents to the Queen of the S’Hsibe as a child, Trez escaped the Territory and has been a pimp and an enforcer in Caldwell, NY for years- all the while on the run from a destiny of sexual servitude. He’s never had anyone he could totally rely on… except for his brother, iAm.

iAm’s sole goal has always been to keep his brother from self-destructing- and he knows he’s failed. It’s not until the Chosen Serena enters Trez’s life that the male begins to turn things around… but by then it’s too late. The pledge to mate the Queen’s daughter comes due and there is nowhere to run, nowhere to hide, and no negotiating.

Trapped between his heart and a fate he never volunteered for, Trez must decide whether to endanger himself and others- or forever leave behind the female he’s in love with. But then an unimaginable tragedy strikes and changes everything. Staring out over an emotional abyss, Trez must find a reason to go on or risk losing himself and his soul forever. And iAm, in the name of brotherly love, is faced with making the ultimate sacrifice…

So, that is my convoluted logic. What is your biggie for this week?

Random Updates…

Just a few quick updates:

  • Chicagoland Vampires number 12 from Chloe Neill has a title now. Midnight Marked will be released in March, 2016.
  • Jeaniene Frost has confirmed that her next trip into the Night Huntress world after Vlad and Leila’s fourth book will feature Ian. I have been whining for that one for a while, so good news all around.
  • I am very happy to say that there will be at least two more books in the Cainsville series from Kelley Armstrong. Since this is a favorite of mine, it is good news all around.
  • G.A. Aiken will release a Dragon Kin novella on October 27th called Dragon on Top. It will be Ghleanna’s story.
  • Lidayne sent over a note about Jacquelyn Frank. There will be one more book in the Nightwalker/Bodywalker series, but it will be released in e-format only. She also has stated that the book Seduce Me in Shadows, the third book of the Three Worlds series, probably won’t be released at all.

New Series Alerts…

Well, it was close for a while, but both Burn for Me and Magic Breaks advanced to the final four of the dabwaha contest, making my prediction of an all Ilona Andrews final a possibility. Not sure when the rest of the voting will start up, but I will be keeping an eye out.

On the subject of new series, there are a few to look forward to this week. Let’s start with the new one from Shelly Laurenston, Call of Crows. The first book is called The Unleashing, and I have been really trying to get into this one for a few weeks now, but I just can’t seem to make myself get interested in the story.

the unleashingSynopsis…

Kera Watson never expected to face death behind a Los Angeles coffee shop. Not after surviving two tours lugging an M16 around the Middle East. If it wasn’t for her hot Viking customer showing up too late to help, nobody would even see her die.

In uncountable years of service to the Allfather Odin, Ludvig “Vig” Rundstrom has never seen anyone kick ass with quite as much style as Kera. He knows one way to save her life—but she might not like it. Signing up with the Crows will get Kera a new set of battle buddies: cackling, gossiping, squabbling, party-hearty women. With wings. So not the Marines.

But Vig can’t give up on someone as special as Kera. With a storm of oh-crap magic speeding straight for L.A., survival will depend on combining their strengths: Kera’s discipline, Vig’s loyalty… and the Crows’ sheer love of battle. Boy, are they in trouble.

Purchase at Amazon.com

Shannon Mayer also fires up a new series this week with the release of Recurve, the first book of The Elemental Series.

recurveSynopsis…

I’ve been accused of attacking the queen, my wicked stepmother, and my life is suddenly on the line. I have only two options left to me: banishment, or training to become one of the King’s Elite Guards, an Ender.

Option one will kill me.
Option two is meant to break me, but is the only way to survive.

Did I mention I have no power like the rest of the elementals, and my connection to the earth is worth next to nothing?

Could things get any worse? Of course they can. Welcome to being an Elemental.

Purchase at Amazon.com

And this final one is a young adult release from Kady Cross. Sisters of Blood and Spirit is the first book in the series of the same name.

sisters of blood and spiritSynopsis…

Wren Noble is dead—she was born that way. Vibrant, unlike other dead things, she craves those rare moments when her twin sister allows her to step inside her body and experience the world of the living.

Lark Noble is alive but often feels she belongs in the muted Shadow Lands—the realm of the dead. Known as the crazy girl who talks to her dead sister, she doesn’t exactly fit in with the living, though a recent suicide attempt and time in a psych ward have proved to her she’s not ready to join her sister in the afterlife.

Now the guy who saved Lark’s life needs her to repay the favor. He and his friends have been marked for death by the malevolent spirit of a vicious and long-dead serial killer, and the twins—who should know better than to mess with the dead—may be their only hope of staying alive.

Purchase at Amazon.com

Which of these will you be trying out? I am a bit bummed by The Unleashing, but I am going to try and pick it up again in the next few days. Here’s hoping I was just too distracted the other times and I can actually give it a full read.

Time to Vote..

I am not sure how many of you follow the dabwaha book-thingy, but Ilona Andrews is part of the final eight competitors – twice. Magic Breaks has already made its way through to the final four, but if you are interested in showing your Ilona love Burn For Me voting is still open. Ditto for Meljean BrooksThe Kraken King.

So, if you have a couple of minutes, you can head over to the dabwaha site and vote.

A Little Help for the BotM…

Doug Meeks worked his connections and got a couple of April’s potential book of the month releases early and sent over a couple of reviews. Let’s start with Faith Hunter‘s Dark Heir, which is released on April 7th.

dark heirWhat Doug said…

In any long running series there are a many things that have to happen and here are a few:

1. The main character has to have growth (you can’t write about a never changing character for 9 books)
2. There has to be interesting secondary characters that are more than cardboard cutouts (this series has them by the basket full)
3. While we need growth, the character can’t change so much that it is not the same character you bought books 1 & 2 and loved.
4. No repetitive plots (this one kills a LOT of good series)

Jane Yellowrock series has all these covered and probably a few more that I have forgotten but they never cease to entertain. The plots are multilevel and there is just enough humor thrown in with the action to keep you coming back for more.

This time you wonder if Jane has finally met her match in one of the strongest vampires alive but she feels it is her job to try to protect the people of New Orleans and marches on regardless of the odds.

About the only thing I can say in the way of negative is it seemed she spent a lot of time involved in self loathing/guilt which after a few times wore thin a bit (pretty much the ONLY thing you will see me write negative about this book). It started to make me think of the TV show Arrow, loved the first season when he was killing the bad guys, then he was “enlightened” to not kill any of the scumbags he runs up on (give me a break) so I left him to his “don’t kill the scum” plots. Jane was giving me those kinds of vibes for a bit there, I am pretty sure she got over it. Means I am still addicted to this series.

Jane and I share a common belief, if you kill them they really don’t bother you anymore and can’t hurt you :)

The action is fast and furious, the plot is wonderful, the interaction with other characters was amazingly good. Jane was Jane and THAT is always entertaining and there is never the same bad guy and seldom if ever the same solution to the plot (again, originality is spades).

Bottom Line: 4.5 Stars, rounded to 5 and I loved pretty much every minute of it and the strong points more than outweigh any negatives I may have had about this exceptional novel.

And then there is Diana Rowland‘s Vengeance of the Demon, which is also due out on April 7th.

vengeance of the demonWhat Doug said…

This was a difficult book for me to review since I have read every book in this series. This was neither my least favorite nor was it the best in the series for me.

This book felt a bit incomplete since the overarching storyline did not see much movement it would seem in many ways. This felt like book 1 of a trilogy in that it had a firm beginning and ending while leaving you thirsting for more but I felt that in all the crushing revelations of these last few books that the story we bought those first 2-3 books to read has disappeared totally in what amounts to a reboot. The question I kept asking myself was “does this make for a better series?” and I don’t think I got that question answered in this book. This progression that keeps knocking out the basis of the original plotlines seems to be heading into chaos, which might be ok if the reader was not left with so many questions that would not see any answers for another year.

This book while well written (since I never felt bored), never solved a ton of things that are going on around Kara. I have to wonder if we are seeing the series start to deteriorate under its own weight. Seven books is an impressive milestone in a series like this and it has been kept fresh by many startling revelations but even those are starting to feel like they are used for “shock value” rather than plot progression.

Our heroine and accompanying heroes are pulled from one emergency to another, we have horrible and puzzling revelations, we have a lot of self introspection, heartbreak and high emotion but some of it fell flat. I felt we had too many instances of people acting out of character……… but I could not put it down (hence the rating).

I am rambling here a bit but the fact is I enjoyed the book in spite of the various weaknesses I have mentioned, I am hoping we see some major resolution in the next book because at the end of the day I liked this book but it felt more akin to a “day-in-the-life” plot and left me with too many unanswered questions to say I loved it.

Bottom Line: I got to the end of the book and had way to many “What about ” type questions. There were minor progressions, surprisingly there was almost no sex which I give the author major kudos for not trying to force needless sex into a story that really did not require it at this point. On the positive side I got to around the 50% mark and I could not put the book down, part of this might have been looking for revenge I don’t think I got or waiting for the “big thing” I was expecting and instead got a really “big thing” I was not expecting (that might have been 2 big things).

This was an enjoyable but frustrating experience, but it was NOT a cliffhanger (yea!), there was just too much going on which I assume could not be resolved in this book but I am setting the bar very high for the next one. 4 Stars and wish it would have been 5 but at over 400 pages it had to end someplace. I had to work hard to avoid some major spoilers here but if I have to sum it up in one sentence “hugely enjoyable and ultimately frustrating” would have to be it. Thinking I have to wait a year to get answers just makes me grind my teeth a bit.

April’s Book of the Month…

March was a pretty stellar month for new releases, to the point that it was hard to choose just one for book of the month.

I don’t see the same problem for April.

In fact, I am having a hard time picking 10 titles to even add to the poll. Oh well, hopefully that means I take another bite out of the TBR pile. As always, if your choice isn’t there just select “Other” and leave your pick in the comments section. A complete list of April’s releases can be found HERE.

That’s about it. Actually, I can personally tell you that the only one that tempts me at all is Dark Heir, but I am only on the second book of the series so I have a ways to go yet. I like Jennifer Ashley, but I have drifted away from the Shifters Unbound series for some reason. Meh, looks like it is time to play catch-up.

Cover Lover – 5 New Titles

As I keep an eye out for the White Hot cover from Ilona Andrews (which should be released soon), I came across a few others to highlight. Looks like shades of red is the theme of the day, starting with the next one from Jacquelyn Frank. Bound in Sin is part of the Immortal Brothers series, and it is due out on September 29th.

bound by sinAfter being chained to a star to burn endlessly as punishment for stealing immortality from the gods, Jaykun has been unshackled to wage war alongside his brothers. But his freedom comes with a price: Each night Jaykun must still suffer—his body burning from the inside out. One early morning, recovering from his torment, he encounters a beautiful stranger on the beach. Naked from her midnight-black hair to her sandy toes, she approaches him with starry-eyed innocence and the unmistakably full body of a woman.

Soon Jaykun is swept up with the force of a comet, his desire for this woman hotter than any sun. His brothers fear he is blinded by her radiant beauty, and that she has been sent by their enemies to seduce and destroy him. Jileana is indeed from another world—one Jaykun cannot begin to imagine. But will their passion burn brightly enough to light the way through the darkness that threatens to consume all in its path?

Purchase at Amazon.com

The second book in the Black Dragon series from Katie MacAlister will be called Dragon Storm, and it is due out on November 24th.

dragon stormAccording to some (including himself), Constantine is one of the greatest heroes of dragonkin who ever lived. Too bad he’s now lonelier than ever and his biggest adventure involves a blow-up sheep-until he has an opportunity to save his kind once again. All Constantine has to do is break into a demon’s dungeon, steal an ancient artifact, and reverse a deadly curse. The plan certainly does not involve rescuing a woman . . .

Bee isn’t sure whether to be infuriated or relieved when Constantine pops up in her prison. The broody, brawny shifter lights her fire in a way no one ever has before, yet how far can she really trust him? Their chemistry may be off the charts, but when push comes to shove, Constantine will have to make a crucial choice: to save the dragons or the woman he’s grown to love with fierce intensity.

Purchase at Amazon.com

Katie Reus will release a novella from her Moon Shifter series on May 19th called Protective Instinct.

protective instinctThe next book in the Dark Caravan Cycle series from Heather Demetrios will be called Blood Passage, and it is due out on October 6th.

blood passageA jinni who’s lost everything.

A master with nothing to lose.

A revolutionary with everything to gain.

When Nalia arrives in Morocco to fulfil Malek’s third and final wish she’s not expecting it to be easy. Though Nalia is free from the shackles that once bound her to Malek as his slave, she’s in more danger than ever before.

Meanwhile, Malek’s past returns with a vengeance as he confronts the darkness within himself, and Raif must decide what’s more important: his love for Nalia, or his devotion to the cause of Arjinnan freedom.

Set upon by powerful forces that threaten to break her, Nalia encounters unexpected allies and discovers that her survival depends on the very things she thought made her weak. From the souks of Marrakech to the dunes of the Sahara, The Arabian Nights come to life in this dazzling second instalment of the Dark Passage Cycle.

Purchase at Amazon.com

The odd man out from this batch is Down the Rabbit Hole, a novella collection featuring an Eve Dallas story from J.D. Robb. It has a release date of September 29th.

down the rabbit holeYou’re late for a very important date…

Enter a wonderland of mesmerizing tales. It’s a place that’s neither here nor there, where things are never quite as they seem. Inspired by Lewis Carroll’s whimsical masterpiece, ranging from the impossible to the mad to the curiouser, these stories will have you absolutely off your head.

Don’t be afraid to follow them…Down the Rabbit Hole.

Purchase at Amazon.com

Shards of Hope. It is Mine.

shards of hope arcYes, this comes off as bragging, and probably seems sad to those who get ARC’s all the time, but I still get so excited to find one of these puppies in my mailbox. Nalini Singh has been kind enough to send over a copy of her last three books, with Shards of Hope being the latest. I am just over 200 pages in, and it is really, really good. I like the big, bold stories (Kaleb and Sahara), but I also like the quieter, more personal ones (Ivy and Vasic), and this one seems to fall in the middle.

What can I tell you without spoilers? Hmmm. It is longer than Shield of Winter, with the ARC clocking in at nearly 500 pages. It starts off with a bang, and Aden and Zaira are in trouble from the start. We have to play catch up along with them to figure out what is going on, and who is pulling the strings behind the scenes. Aden is the heart of the Arrows, and his story so far focuses more on the squad than Vasic’s did. Where Aden is calm, focused on the good of his people, and determined to see the Arrows find their way in a world where Silence has fallen, Zaira is a bit of a wild card. And I am not sure I would like to meet her in a dark alley.

On the Changeling side of things, there is a bit of DarkRiver, a bit of SnowDancer, and even a glimpse behind the scenes of the Russian wolf pack. But the star so far has been the RainFire pack, headed by Alpha Remi. I was a bit meh on a new pack being introduced until the remaining SnowDancer changelings had their stories told, but RainFire was a great addition. Now I can’t wait to get more into them. And there is a pack-member of RainFire we have briefly met before in another story, and I can’t tell you why but I was so excited to see them again it made me like RainFire even more.

So, that is how I am spending my evening, with Aden and his Arrows, and one very scary leading lady. How about you?

A Beginning and an End

Keri Arthur is one of many established authors who are starting up new series in the coming months. It seems to be somewhat a time of transitioning between ending popular existing series and setting up new ones, and Keri Arthur‘s next venture will be called The Outcasts. The first book is City of Light, and it will be released on January 6th.

city of lightAnd I was really surprised in my last batch of updating to find out that MaryJanice Davidson is wrapping up her Queen Betsy/Undead series in 2016. The as-yet-untitled book is the 15th of the series.

What is your take on the beginning of a new one and the end of an old one? Any thoughts on the end of Queen Betsy? I haven’t read them myself, but in what I have heard about them people usually say they should’ve wrapped up quite a while back.

Cover Lover – Blood Kiss

It looks like J.R. Ward‘s Black Dagger Legacy series covers will make a return to the old-school BDB style. Blood Kiss will be released on December 1st.

blood kissParadise, blooded daughter of the king’s First Advisor, is ready to break free from the restrictive life of an aristocratic female. Her strategy? Join the Black Dagger Brotherhood’s training center program and learn to fight for herself, think for herself…be herself. It’s a good plan, until everything goes wrong. The schooling is unfathomably difficult, the other recruits feel more like enemies than allies, and it’s very clear that the Brother in charge, Butch O’Neal, a.k.a. the Dhestroyer, is having serious problems in his own life.

And that’s before she falls in love with a fellow classmate. Craeg, a common civilian, is nothing her father would ever want for her, but everything she could ask for in a male. As an act of violence threatens to tear apart the entire program, and the erotic pull between them grows irresistible, Paradise is tested in ways she never anticipated—and left wondering whether she’s strong enough to claim her own power…on the field, and off.

Purchase at Amazon.com