Cover Lover

Cover Lover – Wicked Abyss

I was responding to some comments in the previous post whey Lidy mentioned that the cover was out for the next Immortals After Dark book by Kresley Cole, called Wicked Abyss. Here is how the couple of minutes after that discovery went “Yes! Cover! Yes, yes, yes…No! Ew. Really?” So, yeah, I am just going to say it…I think this one is pretty not cute. At all. But hopefully it will look better in person? Nah, who am I kidding. Still not cute. Either way, the story will focus on Sian, and it has a release date of March 28th.

wicked abyssHe never wanted to be a beast…

As a boy, Abyssian ‘Sian’ Infernas had his heart shattered by a treacherous fey beauty who died before he could exact vengeance. Millennia later, a curse has amplified his hell-demon blood, transforming him into an unrecognizable monster – just as she’s been reincarnated. Sian fantasizes about seducing and spurning her, but he can retain his former appearance for only one hour a day.

She never wanted to be a beauty…

When a beastly demon king abducts her, fey princess Liliana ‘Lili’ Barbot goes from one prison to another. The beast vows revenge for betrayals she can’t remember and punishes her with gruelling labour within his mystical castle. Her only solace is spending time with a fellow prisoner Bael, a devastatingly gorgeous male who is allowed to see her for only one hour a day.

Can they break the spell before it’s too late…?

In the guise of ‘Bael’, Sian toys with Lili’s heart and body. Yet as she falls deeper under his spell, Lili can’t help but respond to the beast’s vulnerability and pain, and her sympathy develops into something more. When truths from a far distant past are revealed and identities discovered, can their tenuous bond withstand ages of deceit – and a looming supernatural war?

Seriously, does anyone else think of bad fan art when they see this? And as someone who used to do bad fanart, I am usually a bit more forgiving. I don’t know if it is the flat yellow font with the basic drop shadow or the tacked on little title, but this one looks like a self-pubbed jobbie. Not feeling the cover, but not quite sure where I stand on the Beauty and Beast/IAD mashup. What might be throwing me is that I have read a few fairytale retellings lately, and they can be hit or miss.

Review

Reading Wrap Up

booksIt has only been a few weeks since I did my last reading wrap up post, but it seems like so much longer. That is probably because I managed to go through a decent number of books for a change, and I also managed to tackle some of my TBR pile, too. A win/win.

First things first, and this is a big one for me…

I did it. I finally, finally tackled some of my huuuge Sherrilyn Kenyon TBR pile. Her books make up just shy of HALF of my total books to be read – yes, almost half – and the pile staring at me had gotten so out of control that I figured if I didn’t jump in now I never would. Not quite sure where to start, I tackled the first five Chronicles of Nick books, and I ended up quite liking them. I figure it will give me a bit of a backdrop for when I do get to the Dark-Hunter books, too. The Nick books I read were fun, and I flew through them really quickly. I can’t say I will be caught up with all of Kenyon’s books anytime soon, but at least I have gotten a decent start.

Hm, what else…oh, yeah. I finally got to the latest from Darynda Jones, The Curse of Tenth Grave. I didn’t dislike this one, but it was…lacking, somehow. Maybe it was because of the distance between Charley and Reyes (both physical ad emotional) for the vast majority of the book, especially since it was based on what felt like soap-opera level drama. I think for me, just Charley isn’t quite enough to carry the book – she needs the gang around, and they weren’t around much. Things did pick up in the last quarter, so all is good again. But like I said, when Reyes, Garrett, Osh and the rest aren’t around, it doesn’t quite work as well for me. Still funny and all, but not quite as engaging.

Well, I also broke down and decided to borrow a book. Weird, for me, but there you have it. For quite a while, I have debated on picking up Dark Promises from Christine Feehan. There were a couple of issues I had – the biggest being that I loathed the character of Gabrielle since she was first introduced way back when. She just rubbed me wrong even in the little bit she had been seen in previous books, but I wasn’t stoked to read a whole book about her. I probably would’ve bitten the bullet and just picked the darn thing up anyways, but then I read the first chapter excerpt on Christine’s website, and I really couldn’t stand the way Gabrielle came off. Whiny, needy, demanding, and completely oblivious to pretty much everything going on around her, that one chapter completely turned me off her. Plus, I was strangely weirded out by the thought Grandma Trixie. Not sure why, but it just sounded odd. Add to that the less than stellar reviews I had heard, and negative reactions to the “hero”. So, not excited for the book. At all. But I do still have higher hopes for the next one.

However, I was thinking that if I didn’t give this one a try, I might miss some story set up for future books. You know, the introduction of new characters, possible leads on new lifemates, that sort of thing. But nope. I could’ve completely skipped this one and not missed a thing. I thought Gabrielle was a waste of page time, and to be honest I can’t even remember the name of her lifemate. Nope, no clue what his name was. Trixie wasn’t that bad – I ended up preferring her and Fane to Gabrielle and…unknown ancient dude…but I did roll my eyes a few times at nearly virginal, still incredibly hot and awesomely built, self sacrificing great grandma Trixie, but at least it was good for a laugh. And at least she was different. Gabrielle followed my “Feehan Female Formula” down to letter…but at least it was someone else who mentioned the “awesome boots” this time. Joy.

And I finished up Nalini Singh‘s Archangel’s Heart just last night. It has a different tone to it than previous books, but I liked it. It wasn’t my favorite by a long shot, but it is always great to get back into a favorite world. There is a lot of Aodhan, too, and he is making great strides towards taking back his life. I am still getting a Sparkle/Bluebell vibe, but I can’t be completely sure if it is just me.

So, what have you been reading lately? Have you managed to tackle any long-standing TBR monsters, or have you been hitting all new releases?

Spotlight on...

Wednesday Spotlight – J.T. Geissinger

Today’s author spotlight post was suggested by Monika, who recommended author J.T. Geissinger and her Night Prowler Series. It is a set of six books, with the last one being published in 2014, so you won’t be having any unresolved cliffhangers and endless waits for the next book, which is always a bonus.

Let’s go back to the beginning and check out the very first book, Shadow’s Edge. It is free if you subscribe to Kindle Unlimited, or on for just $3.99 on Amazon.com if you don’t. To check out an excerpt, click HERE.

shadow's edgeSynopsis…

Leander McLoughlin is leader of the Ikati, an ancient tribe of beautiful, savage shape-shifters who live hidden in the forests of England. Their survival is rooted in secrecy, a secrecy threatened by the very existence of one raised outside the tribe. Charged with capturing her before she can expose their secret, Leander tracks the unsuspecting outsider to Southern California. The great warrior is prepared for a fight — but not for the effect the courageous young beauty has on his heart.

Jenna Moore spent her childhood in hiding, on the run from an unseen enemy. Now her mother is dead and her father has vanished without a trace, leaving Jenna alone to contend with sudden strange, superhuman abilities. When handsome, enigmatic Leander McLoughlin appears, promising answers to all of her questions, she knows she shouldn’t trust him. But their connection is as undeniable as the dangerous destiny drawing her home…

Other books in the series:

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jt geissingerAbout the author: J.T. Geissinger is an Amazon #1 bestselling author of smart, sexy romance. Writing in the contemporary romance, romantic suspense, and paranormal romance genres, her eleven published novels all include a high level of sensuality, intense emotional connections, and plot twists galore. She is the recipient of the Prism Award for Best First Book, the Golden Quill Award for Best Paranormal/Urban Fantasy, and was a finalist for the prestigious RITA© Award from the Romance Writers of America. Her work has also finaled in the Booksellers’ Best, National Readers’ Choice, and Daphne du Maurier Awards.

. . . . .

Your turn again, everyone. Which great author do you think deserves a bit of a spotlight? Is there anyone you feel is an undiscovered gem? Just drop a line in the “Contact Me” and tell me who you would like to share with your fellow readers.

Review

Release Day Review – A Promise of Fire

I have already said a few times that my attention was caught a few months back when I saw the cover and blurb for this book from new author  Amanda Bouchet. I even made it one of my spotlight author features sight unseen. Well, it turns out that Monika got her hands on an ARC of A Promise of Fire, and it looks like it will live up to the hype…

a breath of fireWhat Monika said…

Review A Promise of Fire

Mythical creatures, magical powers, mysterious prophesis, exciting adventures, interfering gods, a daring hero, and a reluctant but feisty heroine, this epic tale of fantasy and romance has it all. A truly entrancing debut novel!

I picked this book up on a whim; I liked the cover (you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but in this case the writing more than matches the beautiful cover art), I was intrigued by the synopsis and it also seemed to have a good buzz going. Many debut books that get hyped then turn out to be quite a disappointment, but not this one. It’s actually one of the most exciting debut novels I have read in years.

It is set in a fantasy world comprised of three kingdoms, where the inhabitants have different levels of magical abilities or no magic at all. Cat, our heroine, is hiding in a circus from her family and a painful past. She masquerades as a clairvoyant and her act has been very successful, that is, until Griffin. The warlord has conquered the realm through a coup, but because of his apparent lack of magical ability he is looking for some strong magicians to recruit as advisors. He recognizes what Cat really is and approaches her with a proposal. When Cat refuses to enter his service, he abducts her in short order. Although Cat is afraid to become a pawn once more and fears to be discovered by the people she is hiding from, she is not immune to Griffin’s charm and that of his companions and his family. Also – albeit quite reluctantly – she lusts after his body…

The story is told from the POV of Cat in first person narrative. Her voice is in turn snarky, irreverent, jaded and innocent and as she carries a lot of emotional baggage, sometimes also a bit angsty. It is saved from being annoying, because she is also quite self-deprecating.
The banter between Cat and Griffin is very entertaining and sexy, often quite funny, and her interactions with his companions and his family are kind of sweet, as it is quite baffling to her to be met with kindness.
The world-building is mostly original and convincing; the descriptions of the landscape, the people and customs are woven seemlessly into the story and the secondary characters are well-fleshed out and memorable.

There are some areas that could be considered shortcomings: one of them are Cat’s powers. Her magical abilities seem to grow (that could still be credible), but she also develops new abilities just as she needs them to deal with a difficulty or a challenge and if her own powers are not enough she is miraculously helped by one god or another. There were quite a few deus-ex-machina moments and I have to admit I am not too fond of that device, especially when it is employed repeatedly. To me this shows a weakness in plot development; the situation cannot be resolved by the heroine or through external circumstances, so a god has to step in and save the day. Even (or especially) in a magical realm where everything is possible and the only constraint is the imagination of the author, seemingly hopeless situatons should be resolved differently.

One reviewer also objected to this book because the hero initially takes the heroine against her will. That is sort of the definition of an abduction. So for that reviewer everything that happens after is colored by how the two main protagonists came to be together and hence their relationship appears in a problematic light. I have to admit that for me the abduction formed part of the appeal of the story, and – contrary to that reviewer’s claim – the hero did not abuse the heroine in any way. Also, before they ever had sex, Griffin set Cat free and she remained with him of her own free will.

But even with the few shortcomings mentioned above this is a very powerful and gripping story that will leave you wanting more of this magical world and the creatures that inhabit it. I cannot wait to see what happens with Cat and Griffin and their families next and whether Griffin will be able to hold on to the kingdom he has conquered. Since it is a debut novel I am inclined to be lenient with the author and give this book 4.5 stars because it surprised me with its freshness.

Who else is looking forward to picking this one up? I am on a new-series ban until I get a few of my existing series caught up, but it is definitely going on my To-Be-Bought list for a future purchase.

New Series Alerts

New Series Alerts

I meant to post this a few hours ago (you know, when it was still Monday), but I went into my bedroom to get something and then woke up three hours later. Damn that sitting on the bed “for a minute”. Yeah.

Anyways, after the wasteland that was July, there are some really good books to look forward to for August, and these new series don’t seem to be any exception. Let’s start with one that caught my eye way back a few months ago, and that is A Promise of Fire from Amanda Bouchet. It is the first book of The Kingmaker Chronicles.

a breath of fireSynopsis…

Catalia “Cat” Fisa is a powerful clairvoyant known as the Kingmaker. This smart-mouthed soothsayer has no interest in her powers and would much rather fly under the radar, far from the clutches of her homicidal mother. But when an ambitious warlord captures her, she may not have a choice…

Griffin is intent on bringing peace to his newly conquered realm in the magic-deprived south. When he discovers Cat is the Kingmaker, he abducts her. But Cat will do everything in her power to avoid her dangerous destiny and battle her captor at every turn. Although up for the battle, Griffin would prefer for Cat to help his people willingly, and he’s ready to do whatever it takes to coax her…even if that means falling in love with her.

This next one comes from Lisa Kessler. Lure of Obsession is the first book in her new The Muse Chronicles series.

lure of obsessionSynopsis..

Melanie Jacoby teaches English at Crystal City High School. She’s also the reborn Muse of Tragic Poetry, but she isn’t prepared for the tragedy of finding her roommate dead at the bottom of the stairs.

Nate Malone is the detective assigned to the case, but as the evidence points to an accidental fall, the visions begin. He sees a killer in a gold Kronos mask.

Mel is the next target.

The Order of the Titans are eager to bring about the return of the Golden Age of Man, and they’re prepared to kill the Muses to complete their mission. But Nate’s desire to protect Mel is almost as strong as his hunger for her.

And tragedy isn’t part of his plan.

This next one is a biggie, and it comes from Faith Hunter. Soulwood is a spin-off series from the Jane Yellowrock books, and it features a character we have already met briefly in a novella, Nell Ingram. The first book is called Blood of the Earth.

blood of the earthSynopsis…

Set in the same world as the New York Times bestselling Jane Yellowrock novels, an all-new series starring Nell Ingram, who wields powers as old as the earth.

When Nell Ingram met skinwalker Jane Yellowrock, she was almost alone in the world, exiled by both choice and fear from the cult she was raised in, defending herself with the magic she drew from her deep connection to the forest that surrounds her.

Now, Jane has referred Nell to PsyLED, a Homeland Security agency policing paranormals, and agent Rick LaFleur has shown up at Nell’s doorstep. His appearance forces her out of her isolated life into an investigation that leads to the vampire Blood Master of Nashville.

Nell has a team—and a mission. But to find the Master’s kidnapped vassal, Nell and the PsyLED team will be forced to go deep into the heart of the very cult Nell fears, infiltrating the cult and a humans-only terrorist group before time runs out…

I have already bored everyone more than once in my strange interest in the Soulwood series, but sometimes things work that way for me. A spin-off can jump start my interest in the original series, which would be great. I would love to pull a Jane Yellowrock marathon, now that I know that the endless cycle of her potential love interests eventually does get resolved. That will spur me on to finish, for sure. I know Ricky Bo has a lot of hate going on for his character, but I am not far enough into the Jane Yellowrock books yet to know why. This could be interesting.

Which of these will you be trying out? It looks like at least one of these should appeal to most everyone, since they do vary quite a bit. Check back tomorrow (uh, later today?) for Monika’s review of A Promise of Fire, too. That one sounds like it has major potential…

Question Time

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.

Review

Review – Blood of the Earth

Ever since I saw that Faith Hunter was planning a spin-off of her Jane Yellowrock series, I have been looking forward to it. As backwards as it sounds, it was actually word of this series that got me to finally pick up the first few Jane Yellowrock books and give them a try. But as I have said on a few occasions, my enjoyment of the Jane books is thrown off by the lack of defined love interest, but I am hoping that reading the Soulwood series will kick-start a Jane marathon. I was really happy to see that Doug Meeks had sent over his review of the first book, Blood of the Earth, and it sounds as awesome as I had hoped.

blood of the earthWhat Doug said…

Well let me start off by saying that this is a spin-off from the Jane Yellowrock series and while it might help a small bit to read that series it is really not required to enjoy this one, especially since a lot of things we thought we knew prove to be false.

OK, this story revolves around Nell Ingram who is a bit magical, a bit homespun botanist, and a lot hermit who really does not care for people when this book starts. Nell is an incredibly complex character and so there is a lot of pages required to try to reveal to us (and to Nell) who Nell really is and some questions are not answered easily and some will be revealed as we go down the road in this series. We get enough information fed to us along to keep the reader interest high and it gets more intense as the book progresses.

Nell after being approached by the PsyLED team starts to reveal a natural ability for investigative thinking in addition to whatever magical powers she might possess (which are kind of murky and get a bit clearer as we go along but still very mysterious). She hopes it will also give her some measure of safety on her own land from the cult that watches her.

For the first book of a series this has a very complex multifaceted plot in addition to the plotline of just trying to figure out who/what Nell is and what she can actually do, something she does not have the answer for when this story starts.

The main story revolves around the religious cult that Nell escaped from many years ago and to solve this crime she will have to revisit her previous life and a lot of things will be revealed along the way. The story is amazing.

Bottom line: First books in a series are usually much lighter than this one because the author usually wants to hook you in quickly. This one starts slow and continues to build throughout the story and you are indeed hooked long term by the end of this book. The characters are good, the ones on the team that are not fleshed out here will be in subsequent books I am sure since Nell seems to be the central character, this is a team story and we only get depth from 2-3 of them for this story. So 5 Stars for a excellent first book in the series and an exceptional story that just grabs you a bit tighter the farther in you go. I am glad I don’t have to wait too long for the next one Curse on the Land in Nov 2016 .

Ok, everyone, how excited are you to pick up this new book set in the Jane Yellowrock world? Where does Jane fall in your list of top heroines?

Book of the Month

August’s Book of the Month

I swear that it feels like it was just last week that I was doing up the July book of the Month list and whining that there wasn’t really anything that was must-have for me. Well, I can’t say the same thing about August – at all. For me, August usually shapes up to be second only to March in terms of anticipated new releases, and there are some good ones to choose from. As always, I have listed 10 upcoming titles for you to choose from, but if you have something else in mind just select “Other” and leave your pick in the comments section. A complete list of August’s new releases can be found HERE

Brace yourselves, because this is about the only time in history that Nalini Singh is releasing a book and I am not making it my pick of the month. Seriously. My runaway pick is absolutely Betrayals from Kelley Armstrong, the second from last book of the Cainsville series (Noooo, only one left after this). I have a strangely intense love for this series, and if you asked me I can’t even really tell you why. I guess sometimes a storyline just clicks for you, and this one did for me. I am excited for Wild Embrace, too, of course, and I have very high hopes for Blood of the Earth. I haven’t bonded with Jane Yellowrock that much, something about her multiple potential love interests has thrown me off a bit, but I am excited for Nell’s story. Amanda Bouchet‘s first book, A Promise of Fire, intrigued me since I first saw it listed months ago, and I find myself even looking forward to Christine Feehan‘s next Carpathian book, Dark Carousel, mostly because it is city-based rather than the usual jungle-or-mountain thing that has been going on. Yep, going to be a big, big month.

Uncategorized

Back in Action

Hey everyone, I made it back in one piece – and even brought my father home with me. And not in the trunk. Anyways, we survived our road trip/adventure relatively intact, but it was wonderful to get home. And what made it even more wonderful was what was waiting for me when I got here…

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My photographic skills are completely non-existent, I mean seriously cringe-worthy, but the beauty of this one speaks for itself. I seriously didn’t expect to get sent this one, but once again I am so grateful for it. I am trying to hold off until my days off before I start it so I can marathon, but it is hard. So hard.

Uncategorized

Radio Silence for a Couple of Days

emoticonHey all, I won’t be around for a couple of days. Looks like I have to take a road trip (against my will, but I should quit whining), and I will only have my tablet with me until Friday. I have to take my father to the Doctor, and the whole appointment will be less than half an hour, but requires three days. The good news is that it is nothing urgent, in fact it is completely unnecessary (IMO), but he figured he might as well go “because he didn’t have anything else to do, and the neighbors said he should. So start booking the hotels and things, ok?” The bad news is that because it is a total waste of my time and I can’t get out of it, I will be bitchy for the next few days.

I might still be able to check in, so if anything exciting happens, please just drop a line in the comments section so I can stay up to date.