The One Where I Nit Pick

spider's biteYou know when you start a new book or series, and you think that “yeah, this really has potential”? One where you like the world building, characters, tone, everything. Well, maybe not everything. I have finally gotten to Jennifer Estep‘s Elemental Assassin series, and so far, so good…except for this one little nit pick that is driving me crazy. It is the constant repetition of colors, like when someone is pulling up to a house, for example. It is described as something like “a gray house with a black roof and white flower boxes with yellow flowers by the green grass…” Color color color. Hair color is also a big one to be mentioned over and over, with Gin’s bleached blonde hair, Finn’s mahogany hair, etc.

But the biggest and most glaring, by far, is the beating to death of eye color. I did a search on my Kindle for ipad, and Gin’s gray eyes are mentioned 21 times, Donovan’s hazel eyes I think are mentioned an even 20, things like that, Finn’s green eyes are up there, too. And they were sometimes weirdly inserted. Like “I moved until he was looking straight into my gray eyes.” I know it is a small thing, but I noticed it right from the start and now I just can’t un-see it. I know it is a nit pick in a book I am otherwise completely enjoying, but it is taking me out of the story every time it comes up.

Your turn. Do you have any nitpicks that drive you up the wall? Any authors or series that have a quirk that you find it hard to get by? Do those little things pull you out of the story, too, or do you get used to it and move on?

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Be My Eyes And Ears?

question-markSo, I was wondering if any of you has heard anything about Lara Adrian? A month or so ago, she was scheduled to release Claimed in Shadows, but the release date for that came…and went…with no word or sign of the book. The only thing I found for it was over on Goodreads, which now just lists the release date as 2018. Lara’s official site just lists it as a summer release – last summer, that is. And I am getting the vibe the same thing is shaping up to happen with the first Hunter Legacy spin-off book, Born of Darkness. It is listed on Goodreads as being scheduled for release this December 1st, but it hasn’t shown up on any Amazon sites, and the official blurb is still missing.

I know Kresley Cole suffered a set-back when she broke her leg earlier this year, but did any of you get any dirt on why the big pushback on Shadow’s Kiss? It took a rather big jump, and now has a release date set for next December…which will mean the best part of two years between IAD releases. Ditto the fifth book of The Arcana Chronicles, The Dark Calling, which now is just showing as TBA. It makes me wonder if maybe she has something else in the works that I didn’t hear about, because it seems like a long time for no releases from a normally quite steady author.

And, have any of you heard anything about what Darynda Jones has in store? I just finished The Trouble with Twelfth Grave, and I am glad she will be wrapping things up with the next book. I would love to see an Osh-and-Beep centric series, or even an Amber-and-Quentin one – after a time jump for both, that is. I have been digging around to see what I can find out, but I haven’t had any luck yet. Have you? Any word of what’s going on?

Any gossip to share? I am not a fan of social media, so I think I might miss some info that you might have access to. Have you heard anything about what is going on with any of these authors? Or any excitement from any other authors?

Name that Series

question-markA reader here, Saria, sent over an email asking if I could help her figure out the name of a series she had forgotten. It isn’t PNR or UF so I was pretty much useless, but I thought you might be able to help a gal out.

From what Saria said, the series is based around a protection agency or something like that. Maybe private investigators or such, but mostly security. One book had the female lead as an artist and the male as maybe part of a crime family. He tried to stay away from her to keep her safe, but they ended up together, living in hiding on an island where he bought all of the airports and marinas so he could control who came in.

Another story had a male lead whose sister had been nearly killed by their father, or step father (mother’s boyfriend?) by being slammed into a wall and having all of her bones broken. He thought his sister had been killed when in fact she had lived and had been adopted by another family. The sister tracks him down at the end of his book, and then she gets her story told in the next one. She is still weak or disabled or something, but the fella she ends up helps her rebuild her strength somehow.

Can any of you help Saria out? She said she has been trying to remember the author and the series for months now but is drawing a blank. Thanks in advance!

Site Updates

question markI have been chugging along trying to get the character guides updated, and I have a couple of more I can check off. The Fever World guide is updated – and edited, thank god – to include the info from Feversong, and to hopefully streamline things a little bit. I also have the Power Game info added for the Ghostwalkers guide, and I edited the beginning breakdown a bit to try and include more about the girls. Only seems fair.

There are still a crap-load that I am behind on, but I thought that I might set up a guide for Jane Yellowrock (since I am on the big series read and all). I find the people less confusing to keep track of then the characters, to be honest, so I think I might do a glossary for this one as well. But I am a bit torn as to just what stories to include.

You see, I want to make it for the entire Jane Yellowrock world so I can include the Soulwood series as well. But when I was doing my research to set up the page, I came across Faith Hunter‘s official reading list for the whole “Universe”, and it is a whopper. There are short stories for characters I have never heard of, so I have no idea how they even tie into things. I am thinking to just include the info for stories that pertain directly to characters featured in the two main series – like Bruiser, Beast, Leo or Katie stories. I don’t really see the point of tracking down a story featuring…Ayatas FireWind (who?) or Ethan Kaille (who, too?). Just to show you what I mean, here is what I cobbled together for the COMPLETE reading list…oy.

Jane Yellowrock #1 – Skinwalker

Jane Yellowrock #2 – Blood Cross

Jane Yellowrock #3 – Mercy Blade

Jane Yellowrock #4 –  Raven Cursed

Jane Yellowrock #5 – Death’s Rival

Jane Yellowrock #6 – Blood Trade

Jane Yellowrock #7 – Black Arts

Jane Yellowrock #8 – Broken Soul

Jane Yellowrock #9 – Dark Heir

Soulwood #1 – Blood of the Earth

Jane Yellowrock #10 – Shadow Rites

  • Anzu, Duba, Beast (Jane Yellowrock): found in WERE

Soulwood #2 – Curse on the Land

Jane Yellowrock #11 – Cold Reign

Soulwood #3 – Flame in the Dark

Jane Yellowrock #12 – Dark Queen

What do you think? Would that be a cop-out to pick and choose which ones I add? Have any of you actually tackled all of these titles, or are you like me and didn’t even realize that half of them existed?

To Read or Not To Read?

question markSince I have finished up one of my target series, J.R. Ward‘s Fallen Angels, I have decided to tackle another one – Faith Hunter‘s Jane Yellowrock series. I think I was at maybe book three when I stepped away, but my love of the Soulwood spin-off has made me really want to go back and finish it. I have decided that a complete start-over is called for, but I have a question – are the many, many novellas a must-read?

I usually don’t mind novellas, but honestly, there are just so darn many collections and companions and side stories that it throws me off. And when I bought Cat Tales from Amazon? There is no cover image, so I will have to edit and add a cover and then send to my ipad as a document so my OCD doesn’t slap me around. Unless I skip them altogether?

Did any of you tackle all of the many side stories, or have you stuck to the main book releases?

Feversong – What Did You Think?

feversongIt has been a couple of weeks now since Karen Marie Moning‘s Feversong, the ninth book of the Fever series, was released. It was set to be the final book of the main series focused on MacKayla Lane and Jericho Barrons, but it left several loose ends that will hopefully be addressed in subsequent stories.

For me, I was so anticipating this one that I couldn’t wait to dive in. I pulled an all-nighter reading it, and by the end I was so tired I found myself skimming a lot just to get to Jada, Ryodan, Christian and Dancer sections. I honestly can’t even tell you how things wrapped up for Mac and Barrons or the King and Queen. Nada.I definitely didn’t do the book or myself any favors by trying to rush through such a complex finale in one long sitting. I did very much enjoy what I did absorb, I just didn’t take in enough. I will soon be doing a slower, much more thorough re-read, and I am looking forward to it.

I did just see that the next book set in the fever world will be called High Voltage, and it will be a Dani/Jada centric story (but it does not pick up where Feversong ended). I wasn’t thrilled when the series changed direction mid-stream and veered away from the proposed Dani trilogy, since I liked Dani much more than Mac. And for me, Mac’s story was wrapped up in the first five books. But maybe things worked out for the best, because now we can get a full Dani/Jada story with her as an adult – and hopefully a resolution to her and Ryodan’s story. After that, I can totally see a Christian book, which would also resolve the whole Dageus situation, as well. I hope.

Ok, what did you think of Feversong? Was it a fitting “end”, or did it leave you wanting more? Were you like me and found Mac’s POV getting old, or did you like the second arc of her story? What did you like best (and least) about this Fever finale?

What’s Up With the Arcana Chronicles? Updated…

day zeroHere is where I sound bitchy (and whiny) again. Has anyone heard what the blue-hell is going on with Kresley Cole‘s Arcana Chronicles? I have been staking out her Facebook and Web pages, where everyone is pretty much asking the same questions I am, but the questions have been glossed over and the lack of answers has been pretty much consistent. Here’s what I mean…

The first three books of The Arcana Chronicles were released in hardcover format by Simon and Schuster. Then, heading into the release of the third book, still with Simon and Schuster, there was a total cover redesign, which lead to a re-release of the first two books with the new cover style, in paperback. Ok, I am still following that. Now we are heading into the Day Zero novella (which is being called book #4 by some, or story #3.5 by others) and the fourth full book, Arcana Rising, under the publishing company Valkyrie Press. A reader here mentioned that Valkyrie Press is Kresley’s own self-pubbed company name, which makes sense. But did anyone hear she was going self-pubbed? It looks like her Gamemaker series went the same way – the first stories were published by Gallery, then the last one or two are from Valkyrie Press.

Here is my problem, though. The first three Arcana books were hardcover, albeit with an annoying cover design change. Fine. But Day Zero and Arcana Rising are showing up only as paperback and Kindle – and that is only through the American Amazon site. For me, in Canada? E-book only. Even the American Barnes and Noble website only has a Nook listing, so does that mean that the only place to get a print copy of either story is Amazon.com, and the rest of us are stuck with e-format only? Is there a physical copy in the future? I really don’t want to get stuck having to get the Kindle version and then find out that the print version was in the works. Since the novella is being released tomorrow and the next full book in a couple of weeks, I don’t think I am being unreasonable wanting to know what is going on already.

Lack of info bugs me, especially since Kresley is very active at promoting her works on Facebook. You can’t miss the constant repeat of the same questions I have asked in the comments sections in pretty much every post she makes, so how do we find out the answers? What really annoys me is no one else’s fault but my own, but I ended up re-buying the first three books in the new cover design so that things would match up, meaning I have two versions of each book  – hardcover and paperback – but now might be stuck with Kindle versions for the rest. Ugh. These things always (total exaggeration, I know) seem to happen when a super-successful author goes indie. I know it is a business and I wish them well, but is it really so hard to keep readers a bit in the loop?

Updated: So, I went to sleep around 6 o’clock this morning, the release date of Day Zero, and at that time it was still listed as Kindle only. When I finally dragged myself out of bed this afternoon, there is a paperback listing for it on the Canadian Amazon…at $19.22 for a novella. Bwahahaha…Still no info on Arcana Rising in print, but if you are like me and not willing/able to purchase through Amazon.com, it looks like you might be in luck. You just have to wait until the last minute to figure things out. It looks like it is from 3rd party sellers, but at least it is something.

New Feature?

question markEvery Monday, I do a New Series Alert post (when applicable), and Tuesday is the day for my pick of the week post (again, when there is one). I am thinking about adding another weekly or bi-weekly feature where I highlight a new, new-to-me, or reader recommended author. Maybe under the Author Spotlight heading I have used before, like I did last week for Julie McElwain and her new book, A Murder In Time. Does a regular feature sound like something you would be interested in? What about spots on authors who request I feature their books in publicity tours and that sort of thing? Do you have any preference?

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.