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.

Cover Lover – 5 New Titles

Wow, there hasn’t been much going on for the last few days. Well, there were a couple of announcements to ponder, but that is about it. Kresley Cole has announced that the tv and motion picture rights for her Arcana Chronicles series has been optioned by a major studio. Now, that doesn’t mean that we will necessarily get a movie or show out of it (still waiting for Sherrilyn Kenyon‘s adaptations to appear), but it is at least a good sign.

Oh, and Darynda Jones has also announced a new project she has been working on. Brighter Than the Sun will be an e-novella released on October 6th, and it will be a Reyes-centric story about the first time he and Charley met. Sounds interesting.

Ok, on to the covers. It looks like Rachel Caine is revisiting her Morganville Vampires world with a novella collection called Midnight Bites. It is due out on March 1st.

midnight bitesWELCOME TO MORGANVILLE.
YOU’LL NEVER WANT TO LEAVE.
 
By day, Morganville, Texas, is just a typical college town. By night, the vampires emerge and take control….

In a town where it’s not safe to be out after dark, student Claire Danvers and her friends have had their fair share of thrills. But Morganville still has a few secrets left to tell.

Now, in this collection, you can venture down the town’s strange streets, revisit all the tales you’ve come to love, and experience six new stories featuring your favorite Morganville residents—both human and vampire…

Next up is Vendetta, the next Deadly Curiosities book from Gail Z. Martin. It has a release date of December 29th.

vendettaAn old enemy of Sorren’s is back in town. Sariel is a nephilmancer, a powerful sorcerer able to summon the nephilim, tainted eternal spirits that watch humanity and stand in judgment. Sariel is looking for vengeance, because a century ago, during their last battle, Sorren killed Sariel’s son and helped the Alliance send Sariel into harsh exile. Because of Sorren’s long affiliation with Charleston, Sariel has decided that the city must be destroyed, and in retaliation for his own loss, Sariel vows to destroy the mortal helpers Sorren protects. To do this, Sariel must bring five of the Watchers through a portal from another realm. When all five are present, judgment will fall, and the nephilim will reap and feed on the souls of the dead.

Number three is from Heather Graham. The Hidden is the 17th Crewe of Hunters book, and it is due out on September 29th.

The HiddenCan the same killer strike again—a hundred and fifty years later?  

Estes Park, Colorado, is a place of serenity. But it wasn’t always so serene. Shortly after the Civil War, Nathan Kendall and his wife were murdered there, leaving behind a young son. The crime was never solved.

Now…historian Scarlet Barlow is working at a small museum attached to a B and B, the same building where that murder occurred. She recently came to Colorado, reeling after her divorce from FBI agent Diego McCullough. Diego—who’s just been asked to join the Krewe of Hunters, a unit dealing with “unusual” situations…

When Scarlet unwittingly takes pictures of people who’ve been murdered—just like the Kendalls a hundred and fifty years before—the police look at her with suspicion. Then the museum’s statues of historic people, including Nathan Kendall, begin to talk to her, and she knows it’s time to call her ex-husband. Diego heads to Estes Park, determined to solve the bizarre case that threatens Scarlet’s life—and to reunite with the woman he never stopped loving.

Lisa Shearin‘s The Brimstone Deception, which is part of her SPI Files series, will be released on January 26th.

the brimstone deceptionMen in Black meets Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum in the new urban fantasy novel starring seer Makenna Fraser and her fellow agents at Supernatural Protection & Investigation.

The agents of Supernatural Protection & Investigations (SPI) know that fighting evil is a full-time job, especially when a new designer drug—with mind-blowing side effects—hits the streets…

It’s called Brimstone. And after the first few hits, you’ll see every supernatural beast sharing the sidewalk, train, or office with you. After that, you’ll start seeing the really scary stuff.

I’m Makenna Fraser, seer for the SPI. And the collateral damage caused by Brimstone is something I’d like to unsee: dead drug dealers missing their hearts—and souls. Because your local pusher doesn’t stand a chance against the new cartel muscling its way into New York. And since the drug can only be produced with magic and molten brimstone fresh from Hell, that means a rift to the underworld is open somewhere in the city.

And when—not if—the cartel loses control of it, well…

It’s going to be Hell on earth.

And the final one for today is from Katie MacAlister. Dragon Soul is the third book in her Black Dragons series, and it will be out on January 26th.

dragon soulNew York Times and USA Today bestselling author Katie MacAlister continues her riotously funny and super steamy paranormal series with Dragon Soul. A foe to all of dragonkind, an alchemist known as the Dragon Breaker is about to undergo the transformation of a lifetime. But his love for a beautiful woman may change him even more…

So, that wraps things up for today. What is your take on the Arcana Chronicles news? I think that it has the potential to be different than a lot of the other YA adaptations that have recently headed our way, but I am still hating the damn love triangles. Seriously, I haven’t even read the last book yet because of the Aric/Evie/Jack loooove thing. Ugh. Triangles must die.

Cover Lover – The Beast

One good thing about J.R. Ward is that we get to see the covers of her books early. Really early. Her next Black Dagger Brotherhood book is called The Beast, and it is a return to Rhage’s story. It will be released on April 5th.

the beastHis name is Rhage—the deadliest fighter and most voracious lover of all the Brotherhood, whose inner beast could never be tamed. But Rhage found his eternal love in Mary Luce, a woman who once bore a life-threatening curse, while dreaming of eternity with her vampire warrior and protector.

They’ve made it to hell and back. Now their story continues in a new novel sure to draw fans back into the “frighteningly addictive” (Publishers Weekly) world of the Black Dagger Brotherhood.

I like. They brought the pretty with this one, and while I was a bit hesitant about a return to the original brothers, the idea is slowly growing on me. The “main” couple plays such a small role in the overall scheme of things that I don’t think it really matters who the story is officially considered to be about.

My Mind. The Pain.

insaneSo, I am diving into updating the character guide for The Breeds. Usually it takes me a while to do it, mostly because I have to brace myself to tackle the endless issues that come with it. The errors and changes in backstory make me nuts, since I have to basically re-edit the entire thing every time a new book comes out. Physical descriptions change within books, histories are altered, that sort of thing. But Bengal’s Quest takes the pain to a Whole. New. Level.

Potential Spoilers…Beware

There is Claire Martinez. There is Fawn Corrigan. And now there is Cat/Catarina. I have one biography for Fawn as Claire. One for Fawn, since she was really a different character. Now there is Cat, who basically is a whole new character, and to top it off, there is the real Claire Martinez. Sort of. Not quite sure how to even begin to tackle that one. And Judd? He was Klah Hunter, but somehow became Cullen Maverick. I think. And he went from light brown hair and brown eyes to black hair and green eyes. I hate it when that happens. Keegan just became Keenan, too. And his eyes changed color.

Oh, and for the screw up hall of fame award, I present to you Lincoln Martinez. Formerly the son of Terran Martinez and brother to Chelsea and Isabelle Martinez. Now? Son of Raymond and Maria Martinez and brother of Claire/Fawn/Cat/Catarina/Claire. There. Top that one. Changing of eye color? I can let that one slip by. Changing of family? Eh, harder to handle.

My plan is to try and condense, get rid of some of the conflicting information, and simplify some of the multiple-names for the same characters under one biography. Not sure it will work, but it can’t be much more confusing than it is already.

Updating And All That Stuff…

I had big plans for this day off. Things that needed to be done, even if they aren’t fun. Cleaning stuff, laundry, bill paying, that sort of thing. But did it get done? Nope. Nothing did. And who do I blame? Why, I blame Nalini Singh

photoAnd yes, I did read it, in all its Naasir glory. What can I tell you? Naasir is just as unique and fun as I expected, and Andromeda was a great match for him. It took me a bit to wrap my brain around how he came to be, but then I had cooked up some truly bizarre theories on my own. The mission they are on is a biggie, and there were a few developments on that front I didn’t see coming, either. Let’s just say that things should be getting very interesting for the Cadre in the near future. Oh, and Illium, too. I was really happy to see some development for his situation, too. But I sort of went to a…trying to remain spoiler free, but those who have read it will know what I mean…interesting place with Bluebell. And Aodhan. Might be. Might not. But I got a vibe.

I did get a bit done last night, before my precious arrived. The author pages have been updated, and I added a few books to the new release pages…

  • Jennifer Estep – Bitter Bite (Elemental Assassin #14) – February 23rd, 2016
  • Christine Feehan – Dark Promises (Dark Series #28) – March 15th, 2016
  • Shelly Laurenston – The Undoing (Call of Crows #2) – March 29th, 2016
  • Katie MacAlister – Dragon Soul (Black Dragons #3) – March 29th, 2016
  • Jennifer Ashley – White Tiger (Shifters Unbound #8) – April 5th, 2016
  • Terri Brisbin – Blazing Earth (Stone Circles #3) – April 5th, 2016
  • Ashlyn Chase – I Dream of Dragons (Boston Dragons #1) – April 5th, 2016
  • Faith Hunter – Shadow Rites (Jane Yellowrock #10) – April 5th, 2016
  • Diana Rowland – Legacy of the Demon (Kara Gillian #8) – April 5th, 2016
  • Christine Feehan – Fire Bound (Sisters of the Heart #5) – April 26th, 2016
  • Kerstin Gier – Dream On (Silver #2) – May 3rd, 2016
  • Gini Koch – Camp Alien (Katherine “Kitty” Katt #13) – May 5th, 2016

So that about wraps up what I got accomplished. I don’t even mind, since Archangel’s Enigma was the unexpected highlight of my week. Maybe my month. Oh, and Nalini also announced that the third Rock Kiss book will be called Rock Redemption, and it will be released this October 6th. And here is the blurby bonus…

Kit Devigny could have loved rock guitarist Noah St. John. Their friendship burned with the promise of intense passion and searing tenderness…until the night Noah deliberately shattered her heart.

Noah knows he destroyed something precious the night he chose to betray Kit, but he’d rather she hate him than learn his darkest secret. All he has left is his music. It’s his saving grace, but it doesn’t silence the voices that keep him up at night. Chasing oblivion through endless one-night-stands, he earns a few hours’ sleep and his bad boy reputation.

When a media error sees Noah and Kit dubbed the new “it” couple, Kit discovers her chance at the role of a lifetime hinges on riding the media wave. Wanting—needing—to give Kit this, even if he can’t give her everything, Noah agrees to play the adoring boyfriend. Only the illusion is suddenly too real, too painful, too beautiful…and it may be too late for the redemption of Noah St. John.

To be honest, I am not driven to pick this one up. I will, of course, but for me Gabriel and Charlie was the pinnacle, the must-have story, and I could easily wrap up the series right there. Of course I won’t, but it will be hard to top T-Rex for me.

New Series Alerts…

Well, there is only one new series starting up this week, but it consists of two stories. Alexandra Ivy and Carrie Ann Ryan have teamed up on the new Branded Packs books, which is available in print format only through Amazon.com, e-book format everywhere else. This first collection is called Stolen & Forgiven.

stolen-and-forgivenSynopsis…

Stolen

The first rule of being Alpha of the Canine Pack is to protect their secrets from the humans at all cost. One look at the dying human at his doorstep and Holden Carter knows he will have to break it. The broken woman with no hope at survival is his mate. When he forces the change on her to save her life, he not only sets forth motions that could risk both their lives, but the lives of every shifter in the world.

Ariel Sands grew up in a post-Verona infection world and under the care of the very humans she thought had cured the disease. When they betray her in the worst ways imaginable, she finds herself not only mated to the Alpha of a the very species she’s been taught to fear, but the focal point of a traitor and path to destruction for everyone’s way of life. It will take more than trust and a mating bond for Ariel and Holden to not only survive their enemies, but the burn of their own temptations.

Forgiven

Soren Slater is a Beta wolf who understands that duty to his Pack comes before his own needs. At a young age he takes a position as a liaison between his Pack and the other species of shifters. He never expected his enticing flirtations with Cora Wilder, a Tiger Princess, would encourage her cat to consider him a potential mate. He’s forced to walk away, choosing a partner among the wolves to try and strengthen his Pack.

Cora has no intention of forgiving or forgetting Soren’s rejection. Not even when the Packs are forced to live together and she discovers Soren’s former mate has died. But then, she’s kidnapped by the SAU and she has no choice but to work with Soren to escape. Together they must put the past behind them if they’re to survive the human’s evil plot.

Purchase at Amazon.com

I am not a huge fan of the limited-print books, to be honest. Living in Canada, between exchange rate, shipping (and sometimes duty), it can cost more than a hardcover book. I have to really, really want the book for me to take the plunge now.