Review

Reading Wrap Up

booksFor those who haven’t heard me whining before, Sherrilyn Kenyon books officially make up more than half of my total To Be Read collection. Seriously. Over half. I had 50 books from her various series – and three of them read. But I kept waiting for “the right time” to dive in. I always thought that the day I started on her books would be an event. You know, January 1st. My birthday. Something memorable to mark the day I started my very own TBR monster. Turns out one day I just grabbed one and dove in. Finally.

So, I made it through the Chronicles of Nick series, which wasn’t bad. I did find Instinct was a bit on the confusing side, but still manageable. Now I am five books into the Dark-Hunter series and still chugging along. I have been marathoning them for the last couple of weeks, and enjoying them so far. I did find myself getting a bit worn out from the overly tortured heroes, but then I hit Kiss of the Night which wasn’t nearly as tortured. So far, so good. The only thing that is weird to me is that Nick from Chronicles of Nick doesn’t really match up with Dark-Hunter Nick. I keep waiting for Caleb or Kody to show up, but then I remember that CoN has almost an alternate timeline going on.

I find myself flying through them, but I do seem to need to do some “homework”. I found some of the groups and terms weren’t explained well enough to get them into my head. I had to do a Wiki search to figure out who was who, and I still remain hazy on a bit of it. For example, I couldn’t keep straight some of the lesser-mentioned groups…Strati, Spathi, Talpinas, Tessera…that sort of thing. Maybe I need to not be so OCD, but I like to have all of the details straight. Hopefully I will get all of the groups straight as I read on.

My goal is to have all of the Dark-Hunter world books done by the end of the year, and I think it is doable. I have given the monster Acheron and Styxx books the evil eye since you know those suckers are going to not only take forever to get through, but are going to be heavy on top of it. I just know the break from the tortured hero isn’t going to last, but when it gets to be too much I will just take a break.

That is what I have been reading…and what I will be reading…for a while. What have you been up to? Have you pulled any long-standing titles off of your TBR lately?

Spotlight on...

Spotlight Wednesday – Lindsay Buroker

Thanks goes once again to Monika, who sent over her latest recommendation for a spotlight author. Monika gave Indie fantasy writer Lindsay Buroker a shot after seeing her works touted by none other than Ilona Andrews, and turns out she was hooked.

Lindsay has quite a few series on the go, but here will take a peek at the two Monika has already dove into – Dragon Blood and The Emperor’s Edge. The first book of the Dragon Blood series, Balanced on the Blade’s Edge, can be found for free on Amazon HERE.

balanced-on-the-blades-edgeSynopsis…

Colonel Ridge Zirkander isn’t the model of military professionalism – he has a tendency to say exactly what’s on his mind, and his record has enough demerits to wallpaper the hull of an airship – but as the best fighter pilot in the Iskandian army, he’s used to a little leniency from his superiors. Until he punches the wrong diplomat in the nose and finds himself issued new orders: take command of a remote prison mine in the inhospitable Ice Blades Mountains. Ridge has never been in charge of anything larger than a flier squadron — what’s he supposed to do with a frozen fortress full of murderers and rapists? Not to mention the strange woman who shows up right before he arrives…

Sardelle Terushan wakes from three hundred years in a mage stasis shelter, only to realize that she is the last of the Referatu, the sorcerers who once helped protect Iskandia from conquerors. Their subterranean mountain community was blown up in a treacherous sneak attack by soldiers who feared their power. Everyone Sardelle ever knew is dead, and the sentient soulblade she has been bonded to since her youth is buried in the core of the mountain. Further, what remains of her home has been infested by bloodthirsty miners commanded by the descendants of the very soldiers who destroyed her people.

Sardelle needs help to reach her soulblade — her only link to her past and her last friend in the world. Her only hope is to pretend she’s one of the prisoners while trying to gain the commander’s trust. But lying isn’t her specialty, especially when the world has changed so much in the intervening centuries, and if Colonel Zirkander figures out who she truly is, he’ll be duty-bound to sentence her to the only acceptable punishment for sorcerers: death.

The first book of The Emperor’s Edge series, also called The Emperor’s Edge, is another free read through Amazon. You can find it HERE.

51pojbdtyflSynopsis…

The adventure starts here…

Imperial law enforcer Amaranthe Lokdon is good at her job: she can deter thieves and pacify thugs, if not with a blade, then by toppling an eight-foot pile of coffee canisters onto their heads. But when ravaged bodies show up on the waterfront, an arson covers up human sacrifices, and a powerful business coalition plots to kill the emperor, she feels a tad overwhelmed.

Worse, Sicarius, the empire’s most notorious assassin, is in town. He’s tied in with the chaos somehow, but Amaranthe would be a fool to cross his path. Unfortunately, her superiors order her to hunt him down. Either they have an unprecedented belief in her skills… or someone wants her dead.

Other Works to Consider:

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Psy-Changeling News

Nalini Singh has posted some Psy-Changeling news over on her website, giving a little hint of the things to come. Allegiance of Honor, the “reunion book”, was officially the end of the first chapter of the series, but in no way was it an ending.

According to Nalini, the next book will be called Silver Silence – which is a change in naming format, but I like it. And while it will be the 16th title overall, it will officially be the first book of the Psy-Changeling Trinity series. The Trinity Accord is just the focus of this arc, as the fall of Silence was the focus of the last one. We will be introduced to new characters, but there will also be stories focused on previous characters who haven’t had their stories told as yet.

I know that Allegiance of Honor was a love it or hate it book for a lot of people, and I was surprised by the number people who made the break from the series. I loved seeing everyone again, so for me it was a win, but it did feel like a bit of an ending for the first chapter. I am very excited for this new arc, which I figure will feature Silver (duh), Pax, Bo, and hopefully some BlackSea changelings.

Do you like the idea of a whole new arc, complete with new naming format and change in series title? Even if you weren’t a huge fan of Allegiance of Honor, will you be trying out this new season?

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Pick of the Week

Jennifer Ashley‘s Shifters Unbound is one of those series that I always enjoy, but I find myself getting some of the characters and storylines mixed up in my head. But as a bonus, one of the few characters I still have straight is Zander, the main character in this book. I have been interested in his story since he was introduced a few books back, and Guardian’s Mate is it.

guardian's mateSynopsis…

She wasn’t ready to lead…

Chosen as the Guardian of her Montana Shiftertown, wolf Shifter Rae Lyall is facing opposition—for no woman has ever been selected for this powerful position. Still adjusting to the new authority thrust upon her, Rae travels to train with Zander Moncrieff, a Shifter healer, tasked with teaching her about her new role and its responsibilities.

He wasn’t ready to love…

A polar bear Shifter, Zander wears no Collar and follows no rules but his own. Rae finds him arrogant and demanding, yet compelling and intriguing. Zander has no wish to mate but the sassy Guardian is drawing him out of his shell, stirring feelings long suppressed. And when a new threat looms over Rae’s home, she and Zander must race to the rescue, forced closer to danger…and to each other.

Is anyone else finding this series starting to blend together for them? Not that they are bad stories at all, but between the few different Shiftertowns featured, several guardians, and similar names on a lot of the male characters, I find myself losing track of where things are. Throw in several different novellas, and I find myself getting a bit lost.

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Site Updates

Just a quick drive-by post to mention that the Character guide for the In Death series has been redone in a book-by-book format, as was requested. I also added the official blurb for each book, so hopefully it will be easier to keep track of what’s what.

I also added a guide for the new Shadows series from Christine Feehan. This one might come in handy, because I don’t know about you but that many similar sounding Italian names was a bugger to keep track of. That is one tangled family tree – and I can’t wait until the focus turns to one of the other branches. Ugh.

Cainsville and Psy/Changelings will hopefully be updated soon-ish, but I have been a bit stalled on the Dragonkin guide. I can’t actually remember the last time I worked on it, so for those who messaged me as to when it will be done I honestly can’t say. Probably not by the end of the year, but maybe January. Hopefully before the next release, anyways.

New Series Alerts

New Series Alerts

It is time once again to check out a few new series getting their start this week, beginning with a new one from MaryJanice Davidson. Deja Who is the first book of the Insighter series.

deja whoSynopsis…

Leah Nazir is an Insighter. Reincarnation is her business. But while her clients’ pasts are a mess, Leah’s is nothing short of tragedy. She’s been murdered. A lot. If left to that bitch, destiny, it’ll happen again. Leah wants to know who’s been following her through time, and who’s been stalking her in the present…

P.I. Archer Drake has been hired by Leah’s mother to keep an eye on her. But the more time he spends watching, the more he finds himself infatuated. Before long, he even finds himself agreeing to help find the person who wants her dead. Over and over again.

Now going full-on “rewind,” Leah hopes it can stave off the inevitable. After all, she’s grown fond of this life—and even fonder of nerdy Archer. But changing her pattern means finding out who her killer is today. And as Leah fears, that could be anyone she has come to know and trust. Anyone.

And this second one is from Kathy Lyons. The Bear Who Loved Me is the first book of the Grizzlies Gone Wild series, and there are at least two more to come in the next few months.

the bear who loved meSynopsis…

Between singlehandedly running her bakery and raising her teenaged nephew, Becca Weitz thought she had a decent grip on “normal.” Then her nephew vanishes, and life as she’s known it changes forever. Local legends are true: bear shifters exist . . . and her nephew is part of their clan. As is Carl Carman, the sexy, larger-than-life man who has sworn to find her nephew-and the other young shifters who’ve gone missing.

As the leader of his clan, Carl is surrounded by enemies. He’s learned the hard way that keeping a firm leash on his inner beast is key to survival, though his feelings for Becca test his legendary control. Then danger stalks too close, and Carl realizes he must unleash the raging, primal force within to protect everything he holds dear. But can Becca trust his grizzly side with her life-and her heart?

I read an earlier Kathy Lyons series back in the day and quite enjoyed it, but believe it or not I have never tried anything from MaryJanice Davidson. With her Queen Betsy series wrapping up, this would be a good time to check out her writing style with this new book. Are you giving either of these a shot? What other new series are you most waiting for?

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This and That and Book of the Month

book of the monthI know it is a total shock, but Magic Binds has been chosen for the book of the month for September. Rather than asking which book was going to be chosen, it would’ve been a better question to ask what margin Ilona Andrews was going to win by. This was completely a race for second place, which went to the next ever popular In Death installment from J.D. Robb, Apprentice in Death.

On a side note, I have gotten a few emails over the last couple of days, ever since I got rid of the author sections, where people have been asking me if I am quitting blogging. Nope, I am sticking around. I am just trying to streamline things, and get rid of what doesn’t really work or doesn’t come in handy. I am the worst person for dumping things that I don’t need or use, even in my “real life”. I am not a big fan of clutter, or holding on to things that don’t serve a purpose – hence my many, many book unhauls, things like that. So, just to verify, I am still chugging along. Just in a bit more streamlined fashion.

But even though I have rearranged things a bit, if you have any suggestions as to things you would like to see added, changed, or refined here, let me know in the comments section. I might not be able to do it, but I can look into whatever suggestions you might make.

I am getting a lot done on my time off – a lot which should’ve been done a while ago, but whatever. I have two major vacations a year, and I take the opportunity to rip my entire house apart, donate/throw out what I don’t use, and clean. And it is the only time when I so wish I made the switch to e-books. Honestly. I take all of the books out, vacuum each one to get out the dust and cat hair, clean the shelves and then drag them out to clean behind for all of the hidden treasures, then rearrange everything. All together, it takes about 5 hours (and a bunch of Tylenol). And what scares me is that I have fewer books than I used to have. This is about 1/3rd of the bunch…

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You know, it never fails, I get to this point in something – books all over the place, closet ripped apart and everything flung all over the place – and then I don’t feel like doing any more. I really wanted a nap, but unfortunately didn’t have any place to have one so I had to finish it. The good news is that as of this point, I think I have done my very last un-haul. I dropped another 15 books during the course of my clean up, and now I am at the bare minimum for my TBR. There are probably a few already-read books I could pull since I have moved on from the series, but for right now I am about as efficient as I am going to get.

Cover Lover

Cover Lover – 6 New Titles

Time once again to see what some of our upcoming releases will look like. Hm, let’s start with the next Christine Feehan Ghostwalker book, Power Game, which will be released in hardcover (uh, yay? Maybe?) on January 24th. At least this female lead doesn’t sound like the “yes, honey” type. I hope.

power game

And this second one is from Faith Hunter. Cold Reign is the 11th book in the Jane Yellowrock series, and it will be released on May 2nd. It is my goal to be caught up on the series by then, too.

cold reignSynopsis…

Jane Yellowrock is a shape-shifting skinwalker…and the woman rogue vampires fear most. Jane walks softly and carries a big stake to keep the peace in New Orleans, all part of her job as official enforcer to Leo Pellisier, Master of the City. But Leo’s reign is being threatened by a visit from a delegation of ancient European vampires seeking to expand their dominions.

But there’s another danger to the city. When she hears reports of revenant vampires, loose in NOLA and out for blood, Jane goes to put them down—and discovers there’s something unusual about these revenants. They never should have risen.

Jane must test her strength against a deadly, unnatural magic beyond human understanding, and a ruthless of cadre of near-immortals whose thirst for power knows no bounds…

Coming in at number three is the new one from the Belador series by Dianna Love. Dragon King of Treoir is the 8th book of the series that started as a collab with Sherrilyn Kenyon.

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I used to read Cecy Robson‘s Weird Girls books before they made the jump to self-pubbed, but for some reason I though the series had already wrapped up. This next one is called Of Flame and Light, and it will be released this October 16th.

of flame and lightSynopsis…

Taran Wird holds the unique ability to conjure fire and lightning. She is mated to Gemini, Second in Command to the Squaw Valley Pack of the Lake Tahoe Region, and the sole werewolf to possess the ability to split into two wolves. And although they are mates, Taran’s insecurities have driven them apart.

Devastated by an injury that left her with a zombie-like limb, Taran struggles to regain command over her magic. But when her arm and her power turn against her, lashing out on those she most loves, she knows she can no longer carry this burden alone. Not that she likes the alternative.

The only way to regain control of her magic is to align and learn from the local coven of witches―the very ones who sought to banish her when she and her three unique sisters first moved to the mystical region. But although Taran is trying, the teachings don’t come easy, and the tasks leave her weak and emotionally shattered.

Yet Taran must learn and learn fast. Time is running out. The fire she once mastered so easily has become her greatest adversary and is now slowly burning her alive . . .

Paige Tyler continues her X-Ops series with the release of Her True Match, which is due out on March 7th.

her true matchSynopsis…

After a long game of cat-and-mouse

Feline shifter Dreya Clark picks the wrong penthouse to rob and ends up arrested by sexy detective Braden Hayes. But Braden isn’t the only one who’s been watching the cat burglar. Agents from the Department of Covert Operations swoop in to offer her a deal. If she wants to stay out of jail, she’ll have to work with them—and pair up with the hot cop. Great.

Danger throws this unlikely pair together

Braden isn’t thrilled about the DCO meddling in his investigation. He’s been chasing Dreya for years. Thrown together on a dangerous covert mission, fur flies and temperatures flare. But when danger closes in on them, their game of cat and mouse turns deadly-serious, and they’ll have to rely on each other to make it out alive.

This final one is from Jennifer Ashley. Red Wolf is the 10th book in the Shifters Unbound series, and it will be released next May 2nd.

red wolfSynopsis…

Lupine Shifter Dimitri has always had to defend himself to other Shifters. As a red wolf, he’s not considered a “pure” wolf, and the battles have honed him into a tough fighter, a champion of the fight clubs. Jaycee Bordeaux, a leopard Shifter, is Dimitri’s staunchest defender and oldest friend. Dimitri is determined to turn that friendship into a mate bond.

Jaycee loves that idea, but she knows that a mate bond can’t be forced. And when Dimitri and Jaycee are called on to go undercover to protect collared Shifters, she knows the dangers ahead will make or break their future together.

That is it for this batch. Not sure how I am feeling about the Ghostwalker jump to hardcover, honestly. If you had asked me before the recent Feehan change in writing style (and a couple of disappointing Ghostwalker books), I would’ve been all over it like the fan-girl I have always been. Now? Not so sure it will be worth it, and that is painful to say.

Review

Magic Binds Review

Yes, we are on the final countdown for Magic Binds, the next installment of the Kate Daniels series from Ilona Andrews, which is due out on the 20th. Doug Meeks sent over his early review, and it sounds like it doesn’t disappoint. Not that any of us thought it ever would.

magic bindsWhat Doug said…

My head is still trying to grasp all the things that happened in this book and more importantly the question of “What happens next??” As for the question, I don’t know and trying to guess what the authors will come up with would be the textbook definition of “exercise in futility”.

OK, to get things started and to raise the stress level of the reader, we get an oracle who sees all kinds of horrible things in Kate’s future and almost no way to avoid them which sets this book off on a series of small adventures leading up to a middle sized adventure which leads to an epic battle, so what could we add?

Did you forget the wedding? Yes, the wedding which they choose the most unlikely priest who has never been asked to do a wedding and becomes a “wedding planner” and he and others pursue Kate all through the book to add some serious humor to a very stressful story. It is things like this that make this book rise above almost every other series in this genre, they can make you laugh at the best and worst times.

Let’s not forget about Roland, the loving Father and homicidal megalomaniac that has been the monster since book 1 pretty much but has become a mixed bag over the last few books. Is he the horrible monster or just a misunderstood psychopath? Well, you get a lot more information in this book and just when you think you know all the answers The Andrews Mafia give it a twist to make you run for your Advil. We do get a LOT more history of Roland in this book than we have in this whole series up until now.

One of the things in every almost every novel in this genre I have ever read is any character with enormous powers has to fight their own inner demons to avoid becoming a monster and this happens with Kate a lot in this book but it is SO subtle at the time that you don’t realize she has crossed a line until it is pointed out to you and THAT folks is just plain old good writing.

Another thing I have noticed in recent books is that a few characters I really liked have become somewhat unlikable but still remain uneasy friends. They take this small tidbit of a plot twist and blow it into the stratosphere in this one, you will not believe who Kate is bringing home for a visit.

You been wondering about Christopher you say? Answers will be forthcoming and it is just one of MANY surprises in this book.

I keep wondering about Julie and what the future plans for her are, she is still a bit of an unknown power and she is still spending time with Roland. When I think of this series ending it is more than a bit depressing but I can see this carrying on with Julie as the lead character in the future.

Let us get back to the wedding planning, it is pure chaos and in addition to all the “girly” stuff that Kate must suffer through Roland wants to attend and make it into a feast for the ages. Ya gotta love family LOL. If all the monsters and evil villains can’t kill Kate, this wedding might do it.

I think I will end this horribly long review with a question …. where is Hugh, we don’t see him at all in this book and I don’t believe for a minute that he is really gone. Is that April Fool joke about him getting his own book going to become a reality?

Bottom Line: WTF can I say that has not already been said, I get tired of saying how this one is better than the last. I have already run out of superlatives and to repeat how awesome/exceptional/amazing/[ fill in the blank ] this series is just makes me look inept. Let’s just call it in a class with maybe 3-4 other series at most and give it 5 Stars only because they don’t allow more.

My Favorite Line (and you have to read it in context to enjoy it): “My impersonation of a peacock is proceeding as planned.”

Since it would be stupid to ask if you are looking forward to this one, I will ask instead what you would like to see after this series wraps up. The mysterious Hugh book? More Derek stories? How about a Roman-centric series?

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Site Updates

Welp, I jumped in and removed all of the featured authors sections, and I have moved all of the character guides over to this blog. You can find the list of them over in the sidebar on the right ——>. I have left some re-direct links over on the author pages that had guides so people can update their bookmarks, if needed, but I will probably take them down in a few months.

Maria actually suggested that for the In Death guide, I could maybe change the format a bit and do a breakdown of the recurring characters at the beginning, then do a book-by-book listing for those one-shot characters that are never seen again. That sounds easy enough to do now because I am only like three books in, so playing around with the format is pretty easy at this point. Does anyone else have any suggestions they would like to see that could make things run a little smoother? I was toying with the idea of adding a forum section, but I will have to see how realistic that could be. I was thinking that maybe it would be a way to organize the various authors and series and have a place to chat, but not sure that would get used much. Let me know what you think.