Pick of the Week – and Best Day Ever!

2017 looks like it is going to be the year where a lot of series I faithfully follow are either wrapping up, spinning off, or changing direction. The Fever series from Karen Marie Moning is one of the latter. This week’s Feversong is the end of the second arc that focused on MacKayla Lane and Jerricho Barrons – or at least that is my understanding of it. Either way, Feversong is my pick of the week, and my pick of the month, and it was probably one of my picks of the year.

feversongSynopsis…

As Mac, Barrons, Ryodan, and Jada struggle to restore control, enemies become allies, right and wrong cease to exist, and the lines between life and death, lust and love, disappear completely. Black holes loom menacingly over Dublin, threatening to destroy the earth, yet the greatest danger is the one MacKayla Lane has unleashed from within: The Sinsar Dubh—a sentient book of unthinkable evil—has possessed her body and will stop at nothing in its insatiable quest for power.

The fate of Man and Fae rests on destroying the book and recovering the long-lost Song of Making, the sole magic that can repair the fragile fabric of the earth. But to achieve these aims, sidhe-seers, the Nine, Seelie, and Unseelie must form unlikely alliances and make heart-wrenching choices. For Barrons and Jada, this means finding the Seelie queen, who alone can wield the mysterious song, negotiating with a lethal Unseelie prince hell-bent on ruling the Fae courts, and figuring out how to destroy the Sinsar Dubh while keeping Mac alive.

This time, there’s no gain without sacrifice, no pursuit without risk, no victory without irrevocable loss. In the battle for Mac’s soul, every decision exacts a tremendous price.

I have the hardcover copy coming, and I was desperate enough to order the Kindle copy, too. And I waited up until 4:00am until it was delivered to my i-pad, just so I could “read the first few chapters”. Yeah, I finished it around 8:00am, but I have to admit that by the end of it I was just skimming things to find out what happened to Jada/Dani and Ryodan, Dancer and Christian. This one has a lot to wrap up, and it will need a much slower, more thorough read for me to get a handle on what I thought about it. My greed didn’t do me, or the book, any favors, and I won’t pull that again. I hope.

And on to the best news ever. I have been spamming Edelweiss with requests for a review copy of White Hot from Ilona Andrews. I mean at least three or four times a week I hit that “submit request” button. Today, I finally got a yes (and it didn’t come with a restraining order, so double win!). While Feversong is one of my most anticipated books of the year, I would go so far as to say that White Hot is tied for third as the book I am most excited for, along with Rituals from Kelley Armstrong and Silver Silence from Nalini Singh. Any guesses as to what I will be doing tonight?

New Series Alerts

As decent a month for new releases as January is, there aren’t many new series starting up – and what there are are mostly all out this week. Go figure. Let’s start with the new one from Jacquelyn Frank, which is called Thirst. It is the first book of the new Energy Vampires series.

thirstSynopsis…

A hidden society of vampires—and the humans they love—are at the heart of this opening novel in a biting, all-original series from the New York Times bestselling author of the Nightwalkers saga.

Rafe DaSilva is an energy vampire, soaking up nourishment from the sun—and, only when necessary, drawing sweet sustenance from humans who are pure in body and spirit. As the right-hand man to his queen, Rafe is a key player at a historic peace summit in New York City, which will unite the vampire nations against a common threat: the sycophants, who feed on humanity and kill indiscriminately. But Rafe’s fascination with a beautiful blond police detective may put everything at risk.

Detective Renee Holden has never worked a homicide quite like this. The victim has twin puncture wounds on his neck, and the only eyewitness swears she saw a vampire. Now’s definitely not the time to get distracted by a seductive stranger. But the suave, darkly austere, exotically handsome Rafe DaSilva is a hard man to deny, and as Renee falls under his spell, she also falls prey to his enemies. Desperate to protect her, Rafe lifts the veil on a shadow realm she can only visit—a world of intoxicating power, terrifying dangers, and forbidden pleasures.

The next two are both young adult. Frostblood is the first book of the Frostblood series, and it is written by Elly Blake.

frostbloodSynopsis…

Seventeen-year-old Ruby is a fireblood who must hide her powers of heat and flame from the cruel frostblood ruling class that wants to destroy all that are left of her kind. So when her mother is killed for protecting her and rebel frostbloods demand her help to kill their rampaging king, she agrees. But Ruby’s powers are unpredictable, and she’s not sure she’s willing to let the rebels and an infuriating (yet irresistible) young man called Arcus use her as their weapon.

All she wants is revenge, but before they can take action, Ruby is captured and forced to take part in the king’s tournaments that pit fireblood prisoners against frostblood champions. Now she has only one chance to destroy the maniacal ruler who has taken everything from her and from the icy young man she has come to love.

And this final one is from Veronica Roth. Her new Carve the Mark duology starts up this week with the release of the first book, also called Carve the Mark.

carve the markSynopsis…

On a planet where violence and vengeance rule, in a galaxy where some are favored by fate, everyone develops a currentgift, a unique power meant to shape the future. While most benefit from their currentgifts, Akos and Cyra do not—their gifts make them vulnerable to others’ control. Can they reclaim their gifts, their fates, and their lives, and reset the balance of power in this world?

Cyra is the sister of the brutal tyrant who rules the Shotet people. Cyra’s currentgift gives her pain and power—something her brother exploits, using her to torture his enemies. But Cyra is much more than just a blade in her brother’s hand: she is resilient, quick on her feet, and smarter than he knows.

Akos is from the peace-loving nation of Thuvhe, and his loyalty to his family is limitless. Though protected by his unusual currentgift, once Akos and his brother are captured by enemy Shotet soldiers, Akos is desperate to get his brother out alive—no matter what the cost. When Akos is thrust into Cyra’s world, the enmity between their countries and families seems insurmountable. They must decide to help each other to survive—or to destroy one another.

I dropped Jacquelyn Frank from my author list a few years back, mostly because I found that I always loved the first book or two from any series she wrote, but then the rest didn’t grab me at all. Which of these will you be checking out?

Review and Giveaway

A couple of days ago, Monika sent over a review for a book she really enjoyed. I should’ve posted it already, but I got behind updating the 101+ Series reading list, so I do owe a big apology for not getting this up in a timely fashion. The book is Dragon King of Treoir from Dianna Love, and it is the latest installment of the Belador series.

dragon-king-of-treoirWhat Monika said…

I’ve been a fan of Dianna Love’s exciting and multi-layered UF series set in Atlanta from the start and so far I have not been disappointed. Dragon King of Treoir is the 8th installment and heralds a new direction for the series. But before we go into that I have to stress that Dragon King is not a standalone, but very much builds on all the previous books of the series and without having read them it would be difficult to understand what is happening. From the beginning the series was set up as an ensemble piece with the interlocking fates of the three main protagonists Evalle, Tzader and Quinn, the history of the Beladors and the VIPER coalition which functions as a sort of policing force keeping the various supernatural factions in check and hidden from the majority of the human population.

In the previous book, Rogue Belador (Belador #7) Tzader was finally re-united with his Belador Princess Brina. The Goddess Macha was ousted from Treoir and the Gryphons freed Daegan, the dragon king, who had been cursed by Maeve into immobility to serve as her throne. The book ended with Maeve having cunningly maneuvered the tribunal into ruling that Quinn would be compelled to hand over the body of Kizira, his lover who was also a Medb priestess reluctantly serving Maeve and who had died saving his life during the battle over Treoir.

After previous books have seen Evalle finding love with Storm and Tzader finally getting his princess this book focuses on Quinn. Racked by guilt and sorrow Quinn entombed the body of his Kizira instead of burning it and scattering the ashes. Now he hast two days before he has to deliver it to Maeve who wants it to gain information through necromancy. The body might indeed hold crucial information and Quinn does not know what to do. But Maeve is not the only one who wants the body, and while Quinn is busy acting as maistir two other factions try to get their hands on the body while there is also an increase of supernatural attacks in Atlanta that the Beladors as part of the VIPER coalition have to deal with…

I have to admit that I felt heart-broken for Quinn when Kizira sacrificed herself to save him. But with many characters coming back from certain death and re-incarnating I was holding out hope for a happy end for Kizira and Quinn, but it has become clear that it is not to be. Instead there is a new character, who, though hurt herself, manages to shake Quinn out of his sorrow by her irreverent ways.

I really like the direction that the assession of Daegan to the throne of Treoir and the introduction of new characters have given to the plot. I can’t wait to find out where the story is going to go next and whether Quinn will find love again. The end seems very promising.

This is one of my favorite Urban Fantasy series. I love the Atlanta setting, the various supernatural beings with their different types of powers and magic, the combination of fantasy, action and mystery elements and that the story is following the fates of different protagonists that are all connected to each other.

And the Giveaway…

Monika also took it a step further, and offered to do her own giveaway. If you would like to win a Kindle copy of this book, just leave a comment in the comment section to enter. Again, this is for a Kindle copy, so the winner must have an account through Amazon. All entrants welcome, contest to close Wednesday at Midnight (Atlantic Time). Thanks again to Monika, and good luck to all!

Now It’s Your Turn

booksA couple of posts ago, I asked whether anyone still used the 101+ Series to Read Before You Die page, and I figured I would get a solid “Meh. What?” Since I had totally forgotten it was even there, I thought everyone else had, too, and I was figuring it was time to just get rid of it. But since many of you said that you still use it as a reference, it is time for an update. It hasn’t been touched in a couple of years, and I am sure we can all come up with new series that deserve to go on the list.

For me, it would be Innkeeper Chronicles and Hidden Legacy from Ilona Andrews, and In Death from J.D. Robb. Monika suggested the Irin Chronicles from Elizabeth Hunter, Stormwalker from Allyson James, and Emperor’s Edge and Dragon Blood from Lindsay Buroker. What would you like to see added to the list? Leave any suggestions in the comments section, and if you could include a description of what the series is about, genre, that sort of thing, it would be very handy. If not, I can always just add the blurb for the first book, or something along those lines.

Archangel’s Viper

I have been doing behind-the-scenes stuff for the last couple of days, so my usual info-hunting routine has been behind. So imagine my shock when I stumbled onto Nalini Singh‘s site to find the title and a non-official blurb for the next Guild Hunter book, Archangel’s Viper. And we all know who that’s about:

Return to the epic and dangerous world of the Guild Hunters in this new adventure from New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh, as immortal angels, vampires, and mortals struggle to build a new world order…

Venom has always been one of the most mysterious and seductive members of the Seven–Archangel Raphael’s personal guard. But even this powerful vampire has no idea what awaits when he returns to New York…and to a woman who might be the greatest threat of all…

Confession time – I firmly believed that Sorrow (whom I am completely assuming is the woman in question) would end up with Bluebell. Even against all of the signs, I was almost sure. I figured her terror of angels would bring the angst, and his love for humans would be covered in a way that didn’t involve his HEA having to turn vampire. And it now really makes me wonder about the Illium/Aodhan vibe I have gotten from the last book. Sigh.

Amazon.uk lists the next Guild Hunter book as a September 21st release. Countdown begins again.

– Wow. 1,000,000 –

thank-youAs you might’ve noticed, I have been changing a few things around. Layout is a little different, as are some of the graphics and things. I haven’t found anything I like yet for a header, so that is still in progress, but most of the visual stuff is on the way to being done. Yesterday, Kim pointed out that none of the links at all worked on the 101+ Series to Read Before You Die page. Honestly, I hadn’t even looked at that page in years. Weirdly enough, I was going to delete it yesterday in my remodel, but then I got Kim’s email. Do any of you use it? Is it worth holding on to?

I finished up the merging of the yearly and monthly new release pages, as well. I hope that works out for everyone. The first part of the page is a summary, listing author/title/series/ and whether or not it is a re-release, then there is the usual summary with covers and blurbs. I hope you find the new layout a bit more useful – I know I will for updating and such.

I am quite a bit behind on updating the guides, but I have hopes to get back into things as soon as I have the new design worked out completely. I also have quite a few new releases to add to the schedule, which is always fun to do.

Finally, I just want to say thanks. I was very surprised to notice yesterday that Wicked Scribes has gone up over the 1,000,000 hit marker. I don’t usually keep track of those sort of things, so it was a very pleasant surprise. While I do try and make this as user friendly as possible, first and foremost this started out as just a way for me to keep track of the books I like. To think that someone else gets any use out of it is a bonus.

Cover Lover – Wildfire

I go away for a couple of days, and I return to find that Ilona Andrews has released the cover for their upcoming third Hidden Legacies series, Wildfire. I have been quickly devouring every little snippet posted, hunting for any info, and desperately hoping that this one doesn’t end at a trilogy. The first book, Burn For Me, was probably the most addictive first-book in a series I have ever gotten my hands on, and I figure it can only get better from there.

wildfire.jpgSynopsis…

Nevada Baylor can’t decide which is more frustrating—harnessing her truthseeker abilities or dealing with Connor “Mad” Rogan and their evolving relationship. Yes, the billionaire Prime is helping her navigate the complex magical world in which she’s become a crucial player—and sometimes a pawn—but she also has to deal with his ex-fiancée, whose husband has disappeared, and whose damsel-in-distress act is wearing very, very thin.

Rogan faces his own challenges, too, as Nevada’s magical rank has made her a desirable match for other Primes. Controlling his immense powers is child’s play next to controlling his conflicting emotions. And now he and Nevada are confronted by a new threat within her own family. Can they face this together? Or is their world about to go up in smoke?

On a side note, you might notice I am changing things around a bit. I was going to go with a gold and black scheme, but everything I tried looked funny. So, green and blue it stays. I am changing the theme, though, so things might work a bit differently for a bit. Decorative items will be changed and arranged over the next few days, so let me know if you find anything that doesn’t work as it should or just looks weird.

Pick of the Week

Well, it is probably a good thing that I am planning on a bit of a site redesign, since I was playing around with things yesterday and managed to completely delete all of the custom features I had made over the blog since the beginning. Fonts and layout and widgets on the side were all gone. After I got done swearing and hyperventilating at the same time, I managed to get most of the things back to some version of normal. Most. Can I find the feature that will let you sign into WordPress? No. Fonts? Weird. Meh, bear with me.

Anyways, on to my pick of the week. Granted, there isn’t a ton to chose from this week, but I have been looking forward to Breath of Fire by Amanda Bouchet, which tied for first place in the book of the month poll. I was surprised by how well it did, since I figured it would come quite a ways down the list after Feversong, Eleventh Grave and Power Game, but then hype surrounding the series has been building for a while now.

breath of fireSynopsis…

SHE’S DESTINED TO DESTROY THE WORLD…
“Cat” Catalia Fisa has been running from her destiny since she could crawl. But now, her newfound loved ones are caught between the shadow of Cat’s tortured past and the threat of her world-shattering future. So what’s a girl to do when she knows it’s her fate to be the harbinger of doom? Everything in her power.

BUT NOT IF SHE CAN HELP IT
Griffin knows Cat is destined to change the world-for the better. As the realms are descending into all-out war, Cat and Griffin must embrace their fate together. Gods willing, they will emerge side-by-side in the heart of their future kingdom…or not at all.

I so have to go back and skim the ending of the first book again, since I honestly can’t remember what happened at all. I did grab this one for my ipad, but I won’t be able to dive in for a few days. It will be interesting to see if reviews are universally positive, or if they are a bit more divided like Doug Meeks (review HERE). Which side of the line did you fall on for this second book of The Kingmaker Chronicles?

New Release Spotlight

Well, it is time for the first official book-related post of the new year, and it focuses on author Anna Lowe. A while back, Anna was featured in our Author Spotlight series, and she checked in again to mention that she has a new book coming out this week called Deception. It is the fifth book of her Blue Moon Saloon series, and it will be released in digital format on January 5th.

bms5-750x500Synopsis…

Nothing is more dangerous than forbidden love.
She-wolf Summer Smith is desperate to make up for a past she can’t deny — and the best way to accomplish that is to take on a deadly mission for her new pack. She’ll sacrifice anything to clear her name and protect the people she loves. With the future of shifters across the Southwest resting in her hands, it’s the worst possible time to fall in love — with a bear, no less.

Burly bear shifter Drew Kovacs hasn’t traveled to the Southwest to look for trouble, and he sure isn’t looking for love. But the second he lays eyes on the she-wolf with a mesmerizing smile and haunted eyes, he knows she’s the one. There’s just one problem — Summer is about to plunge head-first into danger, and he sure as hell won’t let her go alone. But he can’t show up and blow her undercover mission, either. Unless…

From what I understand, while it is the fifth book in the series it is also stand-alone, so no getting lost without the backstory and no cliffhangers to drive you crazy.

I know there were several people from the last spotlight who mentioned they were going pick up one of Anna’s books…what did you think? Did you keep up with her series?

A Look Back…And a Look Ahead

2016 feels like the year that I finally got myself organized and under control. As anyone who has ever read a post on this blog probably knows that I like things to be arranged and in place. I like plans and goals and organization, and my book collection was way, way out of whack for quite a few years. I wouldn’t say I am a minimalist or anything, but I don’t like my space cluttered by things I can’t or won’t use, and my monster TBR pile always bugged me for that reason. Instead of being a pleasure, it was like a burden I was just trying to get through.

It was for that reason that I finally pulled the plug on my Sherrilyn Kenyon TBR pile. I made it through the first 10 or 12, but I really just lost interest as the stories went on. I did plan on getting to Acheron’s book, but I realized I liked him as a character too much to read about him getting the crap beaten out of him for 400 pages. The Dark-Hunters were probably my big fail of 2016, but it was still hard to part with my 40+ Kenyon books. I was really happy, though, when I realized that getting rid of them dropped my TBR down to just 17 books. Yep, 17.

On the other hand, I also had a big winner in 2016. After much procrastinating, I finally took the plunge and gave J.D. Robb‘s In Death series a shot. Even though I am only about 12 or 13 books in at this point, it is a definite winner. I haven’t been disappointed yet, and I look forward to each new story. I can totally see why Roarke has always been at the top of everyone’s favorite hero list – just saying.

For me, I think 2017 is going to shape up as the year of ends. Several high-profile series I follow will be wrapping up, or at the very least ending a story-arc before seeing spin-offs start up in 2017. Between The Others, Fever series, Chicagoland Vampires, Cainsville, and the Kate Daniels series, that is a lot of goodbyes (or farewell for nows). As much as I don’t look forward to that, the bonus is that 2018 should be the year of new beginnings. Hopefully.

How did your 2016 shape up, and what do you think 2017 will look like? I couldn’t really pick my best and worst reads for the past year, or even my top 10, but what stood out for you? Did you end up pulling the plug on anything you have held on to for way too long?