2014…A Year in Review

2014-Happy-New-Year-Free-HD-Picture-1As we head into another year, it is time to take a look back at what stood out in 2014. Most of my choices will surprise no one, since I have my favorites and I am not shy about going on, and on, and on about them, but it never hurts to give a shout out where it is due.

I am looking forward to seeing how my choices stack up with yours, too, and if there was any that I missed. For today, let’s just do the look back at 2014.

What was the best new series that started in 2014?
  • For me, hands down, it was Hidden Legacy by Ilona Andrews. I had high, high hopes, and it met every one. No one else even came close.
Best new-to-me series in 2014?
  • Kelley Armstrong‘s Women of the Otherworld. Loving the Cainsville series made me start it, but I like it now in its own right.
What second book in a new series was as good or better than the first?
  • This one is a tie between Visions by Kelley Armstrong and Murder of Crows by Anne Bishop. Sometimes the second book of a great series can be a bit of a let-down, but if anything I thought that these two both took things up a notch.
Best series finale?
  • As much as it sucks to say goodbye, a great finale is a bit of a consolation. My vote for best finale was City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare, from her Mortal Instruments series. Loved that one, huge monster that it was. I like young adult, but it usually doesn’t rate as high as my adult books. This one did.
Most read author overall?
  • Mine was Kelley Armstrong, with 11 books (and still going). Ilona Andrews was next, since I re-read all of the Kate books for the character guide (and loved every minute of it).
Favorite authors of 2014?
  • Still the same – Ilona and Nalini. With Kelley Armstrong steadily moving up the list.
Best change of pace read?
  • I wasn’t going to do it, since I am not a huge New Adult fan, OR a fan of books where the main character is a famous musician (actor/athlete/model, etc), but because it was Nalini, I gave her new Rock Kiss series a try and liked it. Now, to be fair, I think my favorite part was the build up for book two featuring T-Rex and Charlie, but it still was a pleasant surprise.
Top 5 books of 2014?
What book did you find the biggest let-down in 2014?
  • I never thought Kresley Cole would ever, ever end up on the bad side of a list like this, but I found my biggest disappointment was Dark Skye. I didn’t find it was a terrible book, but it was just something I couldn’t get into. And after waiting years for the story, I went in planning an A+ read. It just didn’t happen. Runners up were The Beautiful Ashes by Jeaniene Frost and Night’s Honor by Thea Harrison.
What author/series did you finally give up on, if any?
  • Mine was Lara Adrian. I was never a huge Midnight Breed fan (except for Darker After Midnight, which was epic), but I had even less interest in the new arc. I tried for years to make myself get more into them, but then I decided that it was time to let it go.

My reading goal was 150 books, and I fell quite a bit short of that. Like, way short. I also got way behind on the Character guides, which is a bit of a pain in the ass since I am now playing a major game of catch-up, but I have higher hopes for 2015. All in all, though, I can’t complain. There was a lot more good than bad, and even the bad might look better this time next year.

Graphic Novel Adaptations…Yes or No?

question markDammit, I am needy this week. I am starting the overhaul of the Patricia Briggs author section, and I was slammed in the face with the fact that I have not included any graphic novel information for any authors. I know Cassandra Clare has some for her Shadowhunter world, and Patricia Briggs has several for her Mercyverse. So, my question is…

Do you consider a graphic novel as part of a series?


I never have. In fact, I never thought of them at all. But in a case like Patricia Briggs, she has both adaptations of existing books and totally new stories in graphic novel format. For example, the origins of how Mercy actually ended up as a mechanic and how she met Adam and the pack are available in a graphic novel called Homecoming. I think that would be great…I am just not personally into comic books. Or, would you say something with all new material counts while novels that have been adapted don’t? So. Confusing.

Hitting a Roadblock…

question markSo, I have hit what for me as a reader is a big pain in the butt. I am chugging along, reading Kelley Armstrong‘s Women of the Otherworld series (which I have really been enjoying), and then I hit a dud. Well, maybe dud is overstating things, but Haunted just isn’t doing it for me. It is the fifth book of the series, with the first two featuring the werewolves Elena and Clayton, and the next two featuring witch Paige Winterbourne. This time around, it is the, uh, ghost? spirit? dearly departed? Eve. So, total change in storyline, not much interaction with any existing characters (since only one can actually see or hear her), and lots of ghost-y stuff. Not feeling it.

Anyways, now the painful part…drag myself through it, or give up and move on? I don’t usually surrender easily, but I have been trying to get through this sucker for close to two weeks now and it just isn’t happening. But to NOT finish means perhaps missing details that will affect the rest of the series.

What do you do when you hit a snag in an otherwise great series? Do you keep reading, or just give up and move on to the next story and hope for better? Has this ever happened to you? If it has, which series?

Deceptions Cover Reveal…and a Reader Question

First off, I have a quick question sent over by Peggy. She is heading to the Immortal book signing by J.R. Ward (lucky), and she was wondering if the books sold there were offered at discount or full price? I haven’t been to a book signing, so I had no clue. Can anyone else help Peggy out and tell her how things work?

I thought I had dug up most of the new covers, but Amber sent over a link to the new cover for Deceptions, the third book from Kelley Armstrong‘s Cainsville series. I haven’t made any secret of my love for this new series, and I am excited to get my hands on this one when it comes out…next October. Ugh. There has been a big design change for the US version, and that makes me wonder what the Canadian one will look like. I really liked the US covers for the first two, but this one looks very interesting, too.

deceptionsAnd a little blurby goodness to go along with the cover reveal…

Olivia’s life has exploded. She’s discovered she’s not only adopted, but her real parents are convicted serial killers. Fleeing the media frenzy, she took refuge in the oddly secluded town of Cainsville. She has since solved the town’s mysteries and finds herself not only the target of its secretive elders, but also her stalker ex-fiancé.

Visions continue to haunt her: particularly a little blond girl in a green sundress who insists she has an important message for Olivia, one that may help her balance the light and darkness within herself. Death stalks Olivia and the two men most important to her, as she desperately searches to understand whether ancient scripts are dictating their triangle. Will darkness prevail or does Olivia have the power to prevent a tragic fate?

Love Them, Love Them Not…

question markFor the last little while, I have been noticing a slight change in my reading habits – or rather, in who I have been looking forward to reading. As I have bored everyone with for the last few weeks, my total disinterest in Kresley Cole‘s Dark Skye is something that I never, ever would’ve saw coming. Kresley Cole was always, ALWAYS tied for my favorite author, along with Nalini Singh. That was just a given. Now? I still like her work, but I have found myself not as excited as I once was.

Alyssa Day and Lara Adrian are two more that I find myself drifting away from. I was never a rabid fan of their stuff, but it was something that I enjoyed while reading then promptly forgot (with the exception of Lara’s Darker After Midnight, which was a brilliant, game-changing book). I have gotten to the point where I am happy saying goodbye to both the Warriors of Poseidon and the Midnight Breed, so I probably won’t be picking up any more of their books.

But, on the other side, my adoration for Ilona Andrews has only continued to grow, and now I can honestly say that Ilona has supplanted Kresley as tied for my favorite author. Like Nalini, I haven’t yet read anything by them that I didn’t love, and that shows no signs of changing soon. Burn for Me is my most anticipated book for this fall (since I have already read Archangel’s Shadows, that is), and Magic Breaks was one of the best reads of summer.

And a recent development is my obsession with all things Kelley Armstrong. The Cainsville books have me completely hooked, and when I finally took Amber’s recommendation to start the Women of the Otherworld series I was pleasantly surprised. I have even been reading her middle grade Blackwell Pages written with Melissa Marr, and liking that (sort of like Percy Jackson).

How about you? What authors have risen, and which have fallen, in your must-read list? Are any old favorites losing their shine, or is there any new author you can’t get enough of?

Have you Heard?

question markA couple of readers have sent me questions over the past little while, and no matter how much I have dug I can’t seem to find any answers. So, lets see if maybe you have…

  • Is there any sign of a new Breeds book from Lora Leigh? Her website is a pain, and it still lists Rule Breaker as “Coming Soon”.
  • What’s up with Karen Marie Moning. Originally, there were to be three Dani O’Malley books, followed by two more Mac and Barrons books. Then rumor was that there were going to be three more books, total. Has anyone heard any updates?
  • J.R. Ward has not one, but two new series in the works (along with continuing the Black Dagger Brotherhood). Rumor had one as being a shifter series…any gossip on this to share?
  • This one is all me…seriously, what is up with Entangled Publishing? I swear that there isn’t one title that doesn’t get a push-back at the very last minute…and usually the print run is cancelled leaving only an e-release. I get that for a story or two, but not the vast, vast majority of there titles. I have my heart set on the new Jennifer L. Armentrout Covenent series spin-off featuring Seth, and it is due out next February. Maybe?

Reader Question…

question markTina Folker (hey Tina) had a question I couldn’t help with, so we once again take it to the experts. Tina was wondering if there are any authors who ever do signings in Australia, or any author conventions? Also, Tina was hoping to put together a list of some good Australian paranormal/romance authors, if you can think of any.

Can you think of any authors who tour to Australia for signings and the like, and what are your favorite Australian authors?

Will you be checking out The Magisterium?

question markAuthors Holly Black and Cassandra Clare are teaming up for a 5-book series called The Magisterium, which will focus on reluctant but magically gifted Callum Hunt. At first glance, one can’t help but draw comparisons to the other magical boy sent to a magic school. You know the one I mean. So, the question is, will you be giving The Magisterium series a try when the first book, The Iron Trial, is released on September 9th, or is this just too Young Adult?

the iron trial

From NEW YORK TIMES bestselling authors Holly Black and Cassandra Clare comes a riveting new series that defies what you think you know about the world of magic.

From two bestselling superstars, a dazzling and magical middle-grade collaboration centering on the students of the Magisterium, an academy for those with a propensity toward magic. In this first book, a new student comes to the Magisterium against his will — is it because he is destined to be a powerful magician, or is the truth more twisted than that? It’s a journey that will thrill you, surprise you, and make you wonder about the clear-cut distinction usually made between good and evil.

Sometimes I struggle a bit with what actually to include here on the blog. The Adult fiction is easy enough to classify, but the whole Young Adult/New Adult thing can get a bit tricky, and now I wonder what YA is just too young to bother with. Personally, while I haven’t read Harry Potter, I did very much enjoy the Percy Jackson books which are aimed at this same demographic. Will the fact that is it by two very well known authors sway you to try it, or will you be giving it a pass?

The Book Depository…Discount No More

question-markOne of my long winded, probably pointless rants ahead. Be warned.

Way back in probably 2010, I discovered the online book retailer The Book Depository. Not an earth-shattering event for most people, but as one who buys books on a very regular basis, finding a site where there was not only a significant discount but also free shipping was a cause for celebration, especially since I live in Canada. At my usual 7-8 books a week (between my books and those I also buy for my father), the savings was great. In the good old days, the savings was easily $20-25 a week.

Those days are gone.

In 2011, it was announced that Amazon had bought out The Book Depository. I wasn’t happy, but I figured that any changes would be slow in coming. And for the most part, I was right. Pricing stayed low, shipping was fast (and free), and everything seemed to chug along as usual. It was probably around the beginning of 2013 that I started to notice a slow but steady price increase – things went from a standard 25% off, to maybe 20%, to now where it is maybe 10% off, if we are lucky.

For example, take Shelly Laurenston‘s Bite Me. Amazon.ca lists it for $12.24…and the “bargain” Book Depository price is $18.12. Nearly 1/3 more. J.R. Ward‘s The King? Amazon.ca is $16.47. The Book Depository? $27.77…over $10 more. For the once-in-a-while book buyer, it is doable. As a steady book buyer? That hurts. Barnes and Noble does ship to Canada, but with a $3.99 per order and a $2.49 per item charge, it just doesn’t make sense for me, personally. Amazon it is.

This is an older graphic, I know, but I thought it was interesting. It shows the stranglehold Amazon has over not just online book buying, but online shopping in general (click for larger scale)…

amazon's strangleholdHave you found yourself gently herded back to Amazon? Mine was a gradual process, but I can honestly say that I went from buying only a couple of books from Amazon in 2010 to 95% of my purchases being through them today. I do still manage to get my paperbacks from The Book Depository, not because the discount is that great but because the base price seems to be set on the American standard rather than the Canadian, which is quite a bit higher.

For me, the good news is that I had totally forgot about Chapters. I am not sure if they exist outside of Canada, but they have become a viable option for my book buying needs. I had bought from them years ago, before the Book Depository, and when I dusted off their website I discovered that they price themselves the same as Amazon. I have decided to not buy from Amazon wherever possible. Am I boycotting? No. I just would like to have a viable alternative. Now I just have to hope Amazon doesn’t notice and buy them, too.

Where do you buy the bulk of your books? Or at least those of you who still are on the dead tree bandwagon, like me. Have you found another way to get your fix, or does Amazon meet all of your needs?


Reader Reaction – Up From the Grave

up from the graveOk, it has been a couple of weeks since the Night Huntress series from Jeaniene Frost wrapped up with the release of Up From the Grave. I personally just finished it last night, since I have a hard time making myself read the last book in a series (like I always say, if I haven’t read the last book, the series isn’t over). While it is always sad to see one wrap up, it is good to go out when the time is right rather than drag things on and produce filler books that cheapen the series as a whole. My question is…

What did you think of the end of Cat and Bones? Were you satisfied with their send off, or did developments leave you thinking there was still more story to tell?

Personally, I enjoyed the book, but it didn’t have a “THE END” feel to me. I was happy with the story, liked the action and seeing almost all of the old gang again, and thought the pacing was great. Maybe I was so amused by Ian that he stole the show for me (as he usually does), or maybe because I was waiting for big deaths or big losses, but it didn’t feel like a goodbye. It did, however, make me more excited than ever for an Ian book. There must be one. There simply must.

I have kept things spoiler free in the post, but feel free to leave spoilers in the comments. What is your take on the end of Night Huntress?