Spotlight Wednesday – Juliette Cross

Last week, I made a “blind buy” of new-to-me author Juliette Cross after seeing a feature of her latest book over on Hypeable. So I went all one-clicky on Amazon and ordered the first two books in her Vampire Blood series, The Black Lily and The Red Lily (which was just released a couple of days ago). I am almost finished the first one, and so far, so good.

The books are vampire historical fantasy retellings, with The Black Lily loosely based on the story of Cinderella, and the second on Little Red Riding Hood. You get the retelling vibe, but it doesn’t beat you over the head with it which I like. I have been really hit or miss with retellings – I very much enjoyed The Lunar Chronicles from Marissa Meyer, but I haven’t been too successful on getting a series I really like that isn’t young adult. This one is off to a good start.

the black lilyBook one, The Black Lily

Cinderella like you’ve never seen before…

With the threat of the vampire monarchy becoming stronger every day, the Black Lily must take drastic measures. As the leader of the underground resistance, Arabelle concocts the perfect idea to gain the attention of the Glass Tower. Her plan? Attend the vampire prince’s blood ball and kill him. Fortunately for Prince Marius, her assassination goes awry, and Arabelle flees, leaving behind only her dagger.

Marius is desperate to find the woman whose kiss turned into attempted murder, hunting for the mysterious assassin he can’t push out of his mind. But what he uncovers could change the course of his life forever…

the red lilyAnd book two, The Red Lily

When Red falls for the Big Bad Vampire…

The Black Lily resistance needs a larger army if they are to defeat the vampire monarchy. In order to do so, former lieutenant and traitor to the vampire Crown, Nikolai must seek help from the red-hooded temptress he needs to avoid at all costs. The secret he carries could prove dangerous for her if she gets too close…even though keeping her close—very close—is the only thing on his mind.

Sienna will do anything for the Black Lily, and when Nikolai asks for her assistance to gain the trust of the commonwealth, it’s the last thing she wants to do. The thought of leaving her woods and her wolves behind is terrifying…not to mention the danger being with Nikolai poses.

Ok, the covers are a bit cringy, I admit. Not in quality but in pose. But this is where I congratulate myself once again for going digital since the cover doesn’t really matter anymore. Yay me. If you are interested in checking out a different series by this author, the first book of her Nightwing series is free on Amazon, found HERE. You can also find exclusive extras over on Juliette Cross‘s website, found HERE.

Checking in on Hidden Legacy

I have been expanding the Hidden Legacy character guide to add a breakdown of known Houses, different magical abilities, that sort of thing. Things are a bit disorganized at the moment, but I will be proofing and editing it shortly.  I am almost finished with my re-re-re-read of White Hot, so I should have that info added in the next couple of days, too. So, like I did with the Elder Races series when I was updating it, I thought I would check in and see where you all stand with this latest Ilona Andrews series.

I haven’t made any secret of my raging love affair with it, and it seems pretty much everyone is feeling the love like I am. Did White Hot live up to your expectations? What would you like to see happen in Wildfire?

Cover Lover – 10 New Titles

It used to be pretty standard to do a cover lover post a week, but I find for the last while it is more like one a month or so. Not sure why, but it just feels like there isn’t as much info on new books coming out, either. At least for this batch, I found 10 covers to take a look at. Let’s start with the biggie of the group, which comes from Anne Bishop. Lake Silence is the 6th book set in The Others world, and it has a release date of March 6th.

lake silenceIn this thrilling and suspenseful fantasy, set in the world of the New York Times bestselling Others series, Vicki DeVine and her lodger, the shapeshifter Aggie Crowe, stumble onto a dead body . . . and find themselves enmeshed in danger and dark secrets.

Human laws do not apply in the territory controlled by the Others—vampires, shapeshifters, and paranormal beings even more deadly. And this is a fact that humans should never, ever forget . . .

After her divorce, Vicki DeVine took over a rustic resort near Lake Silence, in a human town that is not human controlled. Towns like Vicki’s have no distance from the Others, the dominant predators that rule most of the land and all of the water throughout the world. And when a place has no boundaries, you never really know what’s out there watching you.

Vicki was hoping to find a new career and a new life. But when her lodger, Aggie Crowe—one of the shapeshifting Others—discovers a dead body, Vicki finds trouble instead. The detectives want to pin the man’s death on her, despite the evidence that nothing human could have killed the victim. As Vicki and her friends search for answers, things get dangerous—and it’ll take everything they have to stay alive.

Next up is Perfect Gravity from Vivien Jackson. It is the second book of the Tether series, and it has a release date of November 7th.

perfect gravityKellen Hockley usually keeps quiet about his past, but once upon a time he loved a girl named Angela. He hasn’t seen her in a decade, but now he has to break the news to her that his team of rogue treasure hunters accidentally killed her husband. He’s had better days…

It’s not the news that’s delivered to Angela Neko that breaks her apart–it’s the rumbly, Texas drawl delivering it. She can’t believe she’s hearing Kellen’s voice again. But there’s no time for distractions. When Angela’s own life is threatened, yielding up all of her lies and secrets, she and Kellen must figure out how to reverse the geopolitical firestorm she lit to save the world, to save Kellen’s cat…and just maybe to save each other.

And Isabel Cooper has a new one due out also on November 7th. Highland Dragon Rebel is the second book of the Dawn of the Highland Warrior series.

highland dragon rebelMadoc of Avandos is on a journey to cement alliances. Targeted by an assassin, he needs a companion who can fight. When dragon shifter Moiread MacAlasdair returns from war, he knows she’s the best woman for the job. Duty and political strength compel Moiread to agree, but when they cross into the otherworld and Madoc’s life is threatened, Moiread jumps into protection mode-and will do whatever it takes to keep the man of her dreams alive.

This next one is from Kerrelyn Sparks. Eight Simple Rules for Dating a Dragon is the third book of The Embraced series, and it will be released on March 27th.

eight simple rules for dating a dragonGwennore has a talent. An Elf able to track down the cause of an illness and heal it, she’s a valuable asset to her people. But when the kidnapping of a young girl thrusts Gwennore into the very heart of the realm of the dragons, she discovers not only a place of power and magic, but also a haunted land, plagued by an ancient curse that all but ensures extinction to the royal family. But when she meets the smoldering General Silas Dravenko, they strike a bargain—save the country from its cursed illness, and he will return the kidnapped girl. She’s been raised never to trust a dragon, but never did making a deal with the devil feel so good…

Silas has no way of curing the family he’s loyally served for years. But when a beautiful elf, long considered the enemy of the dragons, comes bursting into his world, Silas is awakened to passion and desire in a way he’s never felt before. But can he trust a sworn enemy to save the very existence he holds dear? And can their love survive those that threaten to tear them apart?

This is another one on my “one day” list. Eileen Wilks‘ 14th World of the Lupi book will be called Dragon Blood, and it will be out on December 5th.

dragon blood

January 30th is the release date for Baby I’m Howling For You, which is the first book of the Alphaville series from Christine Warren.

baby i'm howling for youRenny Landry is a wolf on the run. Pursued by a shapeshifting stalker and his slobbering pack of killer coyotes, she is forced to flee her job as a librarian to find sanctuary in the wooded hills of Alpha, Washington. A well-secluded safe space for troubled shifters, Alpha is Renny’s last hope. But the first person she meets there is a gorgeous alpha male with fiery eyes, fierce tattoos, and one ferocious appetite—for her…

Mick Fischer thought he left his past behind when he moved to Alpha. But fate has a way of biting him in the tail when a female wolf shows up on his property. Wounded, desperate—and disarmingly hot—Renny brings out the snarling, protective alpha beast in Mick like no other woman he’s known. Can these two haunted, hunted wolves manage to mate for life…even as the deadliest past demons howl at their heels?

This next cover is for Aliens Abroad, the 16th book of the Katherine “Kitty” Katt series from Gini Koch. It will be out on December 5th.

aliens abroad.jpgWith the human population growing and alien refugees pouring in from around the galaxy, Earth is becoming too overcrowded to sustain itself—and the solar system is filling up with the alien overflow. Advanced technology from the Alpha Centauri and Vatusan systems offers one possible solution. It’s time to explore new planets and see if any uninhabited ones can be claimed.

The President and First Lady, aka Jeff and Kitty Katt-Martini, aren’t supposed to be on this mission, but what looks like a snafu during a political photo op on the newly christened Distant Voyager spaceship turns out to be a call for help from a planet that might be Earth’s salvation…or its destruction.

The discovery of a world at the opposite end of the galaxy that seems like it could be a twin to Earth creates the usual issues for Kitty & Company. It also raises questions of Z’porrah and Ancient influence—not to mention cloning, the multiverse, and, scariest of all, whether or not the Black Hole Universe Police are starting to take too much of an interest in this particular universe.

For some reason, I thought this next one was young adult, but apparently I was mistaken. Bannerless, the first book of the Bannerless Saga from Carrie Vaughn, is an adult dystopian. It is due out this July 11th.

bannerlessDecades after economic and environmental collapse destroys much of civilization in the United States, the Coast Road region isn’t just surviving but thriving by some accounts, building something new on the ruins of what came before. A culture of population control has developed in which people, organized into households, must earn the children they bear by proving they can take care of them and are awarded symbolic banners to demonstrate this privilege. In the meantime, birth control is mandatory.

Enid of Haven is an Investigator, called on to mediate disputes and examine transgressions against the community. She’s young for the job and hasn’t yet handled a serious case. Now, though, a suspicious death requires her attention. The victim was an outcast, but might someone have taken dislike a step further and murdered him?

In a world defined by the disasters that happened a century before, the past is always present. But this investigation may reveal the cracks in Enid’s world and make her question what she really stands for.

These next two are both young adult, starting with Inferno from Julie Kagawa. It is the 5th book of the Talon series, and it will be released on April 24th.

inferno

And the last one for today is from Kristen Simmons. Pacifica is a stand-alone young adult science fiction release which is due out on March 6th.

pacificaMarin is cosario royalty, a pirate like her father and his father before him. Sailing the ocean to chase adventure is in her blood. But these days no one cares that the island town her people call home is named after her grandfather. They have a new leader, one who promises an end to their hunger – and one who thinks that girls are meant for the kitchen or the brothel. Marin knows she’s meant for more than that, and with the sudden influx of weapons on the island, and rumors of a pending deal with the enemy oil nation in her wake, she knows a big score to gain the council’s favor is the only way to save her people, and herself.

Ross lives a life of privilege. As the president’s son he wants for nothing, but he longs for a life of adventure. On a dare, he convinces his best friend Adam to sneak out to the Docks, the site of local race riots between the poor Shorlings and the upper class. But when Adam is arrested along with the other Shorlings, and not even the president is willing to find him, Ross finds himself taking matters into his own hands. He journeys back into the Docks, ready to make deals with anyone, even a beautiful pirate, if it means Adam’s safe return.

When Marin and Ross meet in dangerous Shoreling territory he sees a way to get his friend back and she sees her ticket home. The ransom a president’s son would command could feed her people for years and restore her family’s legacy. But somewhere in the middle of the ocean, Marin must decide if her heart can handle handing over the only person who has ever seen her as more than a pirate.

There you have it. Any standouts for you? I admit that I like Lake Silence – it echoes the first five, but still has its own vibe. It is my favorite of the batch, for sure.

Blind Buy Spotlight

Every couple of weeks or so, I hope to randomly do a “One Click” buy on a completely new-to-me author, one that I probably wouldn’t have thought to order in print format. But since I have fully embraced the e-book love like a psycho, I figured it might be a good time to expand my horizons a bit, too. I no longer have a monster TBR pile guilting me into not starting anything new, either. I did do a couple of out-of-the-blue buys last week, but unfortunately they didn’t grab my attention enough for me to finish the books (or remember the author’s names, sadly). But let’s take a look at this week’s blind buy, which is The Black Lily from Juliette Cross.

the black lilySynopsis…

Cinderella like you’ve never seen before…

With the threat of the vampire monarchy becoming stronger every day, the Black Lily must take drastic measures. As the leader of the underground resistance, Arabelle concocts the perfect idea to gain the attention of the Glass Tower. Her plan? Attend the vampire prince’s blood ball and kill him. Fortunately for Prince Marius, her assassination goes awry, and Arabelle flees, leaving behind only her dagger.

Marius is desperate to find the woman whose kiss turned into attempted murder, hunting for the mysterious assassin he can’t push out of his mind. But what he uncovers could change the course of his life forever…

Most of my last few fairy tale re-tellings have been more on the young adult side of things, but since I can’t seem to stomach YA anymore this might work out better for me. Have you had any blind buys from new authors lately? Which ones worked and which ones not so much? I haven’t actually heard of Juliette Cross before – are there any fans of hers around?

Lake Silence Blurb

I do so love it when info on a much-anticipated book comes out – makes me weirdly happy. I get particularly happy when they get listed on Amazon, since it makes them feel like real, in-the-works books. Well, the pre-order for the next Others book from Anne Bishop, Lake Silence, was put up a couple of days ago…complete with blurb.

In this thrilling and suspenseful fantasy, set in the world of the New York Times bestselling Others series, Vicki DeVine and her lodger, the shapeshifter Aggie Crowe, stumble onto a dead body . . . and find themselves enmeshed in danger and dark secrets.

Human laws do not apply in the territory controlled by the Others–vampires, shapeshifters, and paranormal beings even more deadly. And this is a fact that humans should never, ever forget . . .

After her divorce, Vicki DeVine took over a rustic resort near Lake Silence, in a human town that is not human controlled. Towns like Vicki’s have no distance from the Others, the dominant predators that rule most of the land and all of the water throughout the world. And when a place has no boundaries, you never really know what’s out there watching you.

Vicki was hoping to find a new career and a new life. But when her lodger, Aggie Crowe–one of the shapeshifting Others–discovers a dead body, Vicki finds trouble instead. The detectives want to pin the man’s death on her, despite the evidence that nothing human could have killed the victim. As Vicki and her friends search for answers, things get dangerous–and it’ll take everything they have to stay alive.

Hm, sounds interesting – more mystery based than the first five books were. Now we just have to wait until March 6th to find out. I am very much looking forward to seeing the cover for this one, too.

Reading Wrap Up

silver-silenceSooo, I am back from my little book-based vacation, where I devoured Silver Silence in, well, complete silence. All by myself, no noise, no tv, just peace and quiet and a great book. It was heaven. I loved Silver Silence, but I expected nothing less from a Nalini Singh book. The bears were a great addition to the world, and I hope we get back to them soon. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a Pavel and Arwen novella in our future, either. Maybe Bo up next? That would be great, since it has been a while since a human was in the mix.

I also pulled a re-read of White Hot – and loved it just as much this time around. That is one hell of a world Ilona Andrews has created, and it has honestly jumped to the top of my favorites list…I might go so far as to say it could be my absolute favorite, beating out even the Psy/Changelings and Kate Daniels. Bold statement, but it just might be true.

the-darkest-promiseOh, then there is The Darkest Promise from Gena Showalter. I managed to get a solid start on that one, too, but…eh. The humor is falling flat, I don’t have much interest in the characters or the world, and the romance just isn’t doing it for me. I am skimming over pages, which is bad when you are only a third of the way in, and I find myself a bit bored and feeling like I have read it all before. Honestly, it might just be that I read and re-read two great books just before it, but at this point I keep thinking that either the series should change direction or just wrap it up. Maybe focus on the angels, or William and the four horsemen, or move on. I am going to put it down for a while and hopefully I can get more involved after a break. Or I will just skim the sucker and get it over with. We’ll see.

If you feel like spoiler talk on any of this week’s books, let it fly in the comments section. How did you like the new Trinity storyline for the Psy/Changelings? Am I just being bitchy about the LotU or do you feel it is in a bit of a decline, too? What have you felt the need to re-read lately?

Pick of the Week

Hahahaha….yeah. Like you were all on the edge of your seat just waiting to see what I would pick, right?

Anyways, I am off to grab the pick of the week, get a hotel room and a pizza, and have 24 hours of complete alone-ness with Silver Silence. I do this once a year (had to skip last year, and missed it a lot), and I can’t wait. My own version of silver silence, I guess.

Reading Wrap Up

After a particularly brutish work weekend, I am for once sort of out of words. In person, I have been pretty much reduced to blink once for yes and twice for no, so I am not going to dawdle on the reading wrap up, either. Maybe.

craveI did tackle the second book in J.R. Ward‘s Fallen Angels series, Crave. And like the first one, I find it quite decent. A solid, middle-of-the-road book for me. Nothing I didn’t like, but honestly nothing that made me rabid to start the next one, either. Interesting premise, decent characters, and no guarantee that the good guys will always win is in its favor, but it doesn’t have that something-something to suck me in. I plan on keeping on with the series for sure, but it might take a while before I get it finished.

And then there was Shadow Reaper. It was vintage shadow-reaperChristine Feehan, and she seems pretty much back on track after the issues of a couple of years ago. Love it or hate it, she has a style that either works for you or doesn’t, and this one is no exception. I find myself quite liking this newest series, but the only thing that pulled my enjoyment down was the Shibari side story. Honestly, I am not that exciting, but even I found that part dull. I mean, how much do I really need to know about rope? So, I skimmed those parts to get back into the story, and that worked for me. Decent, non Feehan Female Formula lead (Blonde! Never cooked! Don’t think she said honey even once!) was a really nice change, too.

portrait in deathI also pulled a re-read of Moonshadow by Thea Harrison, which I mentioned a bit in a post below, so not going to go on about it. I think the highlight of this bunch, though is my continued trek through the In Death series from J.D. Robb. I finished up Portrait in Death (Roarke backstory. Niiiiice), and am almost through Imitation in Death. Still loving them, and I show no signs of getting tired of them at all. Honestly, I get excited when it is time for the next one (I space them out a bit), and I already have the next one ready.

Your turn. What have you been loving the last couple of weeks? Did you find anything to fill the days between last month’s White Hot from Ilona Andrews and this weeks’ Silver Silence from Nalini Singh?

Checking in on the Elder Races

I have gotten the Character Guide updated for The Elder Races series by Thea Harrison, and it is now up-to-date as of the latest release, Moonshadow. I thought it might be interesting to check and see what all of you think of the series now.

I still enjoy it, but to be honest my interest dropped off a bit around Night’s Honor. I loathed the main female character of Tess so much that it soured me a bit. Part of it was the crap-ton of novellas, too, which threw me off, since at that time I wasn’t e-reading and it was kind of a pain. I am at my best with the series when they are full-length stories focused on the Wyr, I guess. I am still liking the series a lot, but maybe not quite as much as before. I did like Moonshadow, but I’m not doing a countdown until I can get my hands on the next one, Spellbinder. I’m sure I will enjoy it, but right now it isn’t even on my radar.

So your turn. Are you still big into it, or has your attention drifted away at all? Have you found any changes since it went self-pubbed? How do you like the focus switching to England?

This and That

There isn’t a ton going on, but I do have a couple of tidbits to share about some upcoming books…

  • There is only a few days left until Gena Showalter‘s latest Lords of the Underworld book, The Darkest Promise, is released. But if you would like a sneak peek, there is an excerpt available on Hypable (HERE). I find myself saying this more and more, but honestly I can’t remember much of the Lazarus/Cameo set up from the previous books. Like, I remember something about Cameo being sucked into the Pairing Rod, then…nada. Sigh, getting old.
  • I just saw that Darynda Jones will be wrapping up her Charley Davidson series with the release of the as-yet untitled 13th book, which is due out next January 4th. Honestly, I am…ok with it. As much as I have enjoyed the series, the recent God angle didn’t quite work for me, and I found myself skipping over those parts. I have even been much more interested in the supporting gang – Osh, Beep, Quentin and Amber, Garrett – than in Reyes and Charley. And according to the interview Darynda Jones did over on Heroes and Heartbreakers (HERE) she is interested in exploring a spin-off series focused on Beep, which could be all kinds of interesting (like Chloe Neill is doing with her new Elisa Sullivan series).
  • Welp, from what I can tell, it looks like Kresley Cole‘s Dacian books will be absorbed into the larger Immortals After Dark series (kind of like what Gena Showalter is doing with her Angels of the Dark books merging with the LotU). Or, as the official write up states, Shadow’s Kiss will “bridge the world” between the Dacians and the IAD. It is also making the jump to hardcover. It looks like the heroine will be Mina, and I had thought that maybe just because of the age similarity she might’ve been paired with Thad, but it doesn’t sound like it is shaping up that way…

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Kresley Cole comes this highly anticipated romantic adventure that bridges the world of the Dacians to her “fresh and enthralling” (RT Book Reviews) Immortals After Dark series.

Overprotected vampire princess Kosmina “Mina” Daciano—part merciless swordswoman/part bashful, awkward damsel—has never been allowed to venture from her antiquated and isolated home realm of Dacia. But Lothaire, the half-mad king, overrules Mina’s older brother and uncles and dispatches her out into the mortal world, reasoning that she’ll either “broaden her horizons or die. As nature intended.”

If the shy Mina can survive life outside of a sun-protected vampire kingdom, where blood is always on tap, will she be able to navigate a modern-day relationship with a ruthless warrior hero?

There you have it. Any thoughts? I am not sure how much I am into the whole trend of merging spin-offs back into the main series thing. Even though I am now a proud e-book reader, I still collect many series in hardcover and it annoys me. You have a hardcover main series, and a mass market spin off – great. But after a book or two, the paperback series goes hardcover, too, and it is a pain. You end up with a gap in your collection. Like with J.R. Ward‘s Black Dagger Legacy, you have one random paperback to deal with, Kresley Cole’s Dacians is one a mass market and one trade paperback novella, and Gena Showalter’s Angels of the Dark is three paperbacks. If they were re-released in hardcover, it would be fine, but that doesn’t seem to be happening. Ugh.