Review

Reading Wrap Up

booksHey everyone. Time once again to touch base and see what we all have been reading recently. On my end, I finished up the Southern Witch series from Kimberly Frost. I did a mini-marathon of the final three books, and it turned out to be a quick, fun read. They gave me a Charley Davidson vibe in the humor department, and it was one of the few instances where a love triangle didn’t make me nuts. I wasn’t particularly fond of Tammy Jo swinging between the two fellas, but since there wasn’t much mystery as to whom she would end up with it worked out ok. I was glad I picked this series up.

I also did both a read and a re-read of Shadow Rider by Christine Feehan. All in all, not a bad first book of a series, and it read like a “real” Feehan book. I do know that there are a ton of characters, meaning a ton of potential books to come. The only thing that sort of bugged me was that we once again get a young, tortured and abused girl introduced that will of course be the mate of one of the male leads after she is old enough. Kind of like Skyler 2.0. I am not a huge fan of that particular plotline, and not looking forward to seeing it all play out again.

And I really enjoyed stepping outside the reading box for a change. Kelley Armstrong is an author that has moved up the ranks to be one of my favorites, and so I thought I would pick up her non-PNR Nadia Stafford series. Not only was it not at all paranormal, but the first couple of books can’t even be called romance. There are hints of romantic tension, but nothing really comes of it until the third story. Nadia Stafford was a police officer who killed a rapist and was thrown off of the force for it. Because of an event in her past, she has a vigilante streak and a willingness to kill, which leads her to the unusual profession of hitman. Nadia was an interesting character, what with her cop mentality and her criminal second life. This one was a treat.

Your turn. What have you been reading? I didn’t tackle much off of my TBR shelf this past couple of weeks, but hopefully I will make a dent the next couple of weeks. Did you manage to whittle down your collection at all, or did you add to it?

Release Info

The One Where I Change My Mind

A while back, I had a very pleasant, rational, adult, behind-the-scenes exchange with a reader here at Wicked Scribes. Since I don’t want to broadcast someone else’s personal opinions, I will leave the name out, but what we discussed was Cassandra Clare and her Shadowhunter world. What we debated was how much is too much, and when should she start wrapping up her series and start something else. “The Reader” thought that enough was enough, and that hopefully The Dark Artifices would finish things up. My take was, since I am a fan, you can never have too much. More = better, right?

Well, this is the one where I change my mind.

I hate to say it, but I have swung over to the other side. As I was looking at her upcoming schedule, I became completely overwhelmed by the sheer length of time it would take to actually get everything done. Between the second and third books of The Dark Artifices, the three books of The Last Hours trilogy, the rumored secret fifth Shadowhunter trilogy, and the upcoming adult Magnus Bane trilogy – at roughly one book a year – that take us to 2027. 20 freakin’ 27. The Shadowhunter world just keeps getting added to, extended, and expanded beyond belief.

For me, now, The Dark Artifices would be the perfect place to wrap things up. I am not a huge fan of this new series, nowhere near my love of The Mortal Instruments and especially The Infernal Devices, but it isn’t bad. But I think it is enough. A Magnus series (again, for me) would be pointless now, since we know he gets his happily ever after with Alec, and we already got a full set of novellas devoted to his past. I don’t really have any interest in Will and Tessa’s children in The Last Hours, either. And that mystery fifth trilogy isn’t even on my radar.

Part of what has changed for me is that I have been reading authors who say from the start how many books a series will have, like Kelley Armstrong‘s five book Cainsville series, or Anne Bishop‘s five book The Others series. I don’t like to see a great series wrap up, but I also don’t like to see a great series get dragged down by not knowing when to end. And as much as I love a good spin-off series, you can only spin-off so many times before things just get repetitive. What side do you fall on…carry on or wrap up? How much is too much for you? What other series (cough*Carpathians*cough) do you think should be looking towards a finale?

New Series Alerts

New Series Alerts

Even though I was just whining that July is a bit of a meh release month, there are a couple of new series starting up to look at. Terry Spear starts up her new Billionaire Wolf series with the release of Billionaire in Wolf’s Clothing.

billionaire in wolf's clothingSynopsis…

Real estate mogul werewolf Rafe Denali didn’t get where he is in life by being a pushover. When sexy she-wolf Jade Ashton nearly drowns in the surf outside his beach house, he knows better than to bring her into his home and his heart. But there’s something about her that brings out his strongest instincts…

Rafe has good reason to be suspicious. Jade Ashton and her baby son are pawns in an evil wolf’s fatal plan. How can Jade betray the gorgeous man who rescued her? But if she doesn’t, her baby will die, and her own life hangs in the balance…

To get to the truth, Rafe is going to have to gain Jade’s trust. If he can do that, he just might be her last—and best—hope…

And this next one is from Victoria Schwab. This Savage Song is the first book of the young adult Monsters of Verity series.

this savage songSynopsis…

This Savage Song tells the story of two teens in a broken world, where violent acts start breeding actual monsters. Some are shadows with teeth that feed on flesh and bone. Some are corpses that feed on blood. And some can pass for human. Those rare creatures feed on souls.

It’s the story of Kate Harker, the only daughter of a crime boss, and August Flynn, the son of a man trying to hold his city together. Kate is a human who wants to be a monster, and August a monster who wishes he were human.

That’s it for this week. I had some Terry Spear books in my TBR back in the day, but they were pulled in an early un-haul. She has a ton of books, but I never hear much about her. Are there any Terry Spear fans? Who would you compare her works to?

Release Info

Book of the Month Updates – Part 2

Sigh. Really? Not that it matters now, but man July is looking like a screwed up month, which can be seen just by looking at the books I put in the poll for book of the month. I mentioned a couple of posts ago that C.L. Wilson‘s The Sea King got a very last minute push back to as as-yet unknown date. Well, Rachel Caine‘s Weather Warden reboot Red Hot Rain was also supposed to be out on July 1st, but that date has come and gone with no sign of the book. Aaand, within the last couple of days, Alyssa Day‘s next Tiger’s Eye Mystery, Evil Eye, seems to have been delayed, too. Well, itunes still lists it for July 5th, but Barnes and Noble has a new release date of September 1st. Ugh.

So, things are really mixed up this month. I can usually catch changes, but the last minute ones drive me nuts. Especially when they occur within a few days of the original release date. I do a double-check of all release dates about every two weeks, and a specific check before I list them in the book of the month polls. And still the buggers slip by.

Basically, July was a crappy month to start with, and the changes made it worse. Actually, I don’t remember a poorer new-release month in recent memory. I won’t be picking up any new releases at all, but on the plus side, I might get to tackle a few more off of my TBR. Always an upside.

On a similar note, I am going to stop listing which books are e-book releases, mostly because that can change between countries. For example, Amazon.ca will show a book as an e-release only, but Amazon.com will show both Kindle and paperback versions. To stop the confusion, I am just going to remove it all together. Hope that doesn’t confuse anyone.

Cover Lover

Cover Lover – 6 New Titles

I have done a few stand-alone cover lover posts for some major upcoming releases, but now it is time for the rest. This first one is a young adult release from Sharon Cameron called The Forgetting, and it will be released on September 13th.

the forgettingWhat isn’t written, isn’t remembered. Even your crimes.

Nadia lives in the city of Canaan, where life is safe and structured, hemmed in by white stone walls and no memory of what came before. But every twelve years the city descends into the bloody chaos of the Forgetting, a day of no remorse, when each person’s memories – of parents, children, love, life, and self – are lost. Unless they have been written.

In Canaan, your book is your truth and your identity, and Nadia knows exactly who hasn’t written the truth. Because Nadia is the only person in Canaan who has never forgotten.

But when Nadia begins to use her memories to solve the mysteries of Canaan, she discovers truths about herself and Gray, the handsome glassblower, that will change her world forever. As the anarchy of the Forgetting approaches, Nadia and Gray must stop an unseen enemy that threatens both their city and their own existence – before the people can forget the truth. And before Gray can forget her.

MaryJanice Davidson‘s very last Queen Betsy book is up next. Undead and Done has a release date of October 4th.

undead and doneIt had been a well-kept secret for centuries, but now the existence of vampires is all over the news, thanks to Betsy Taylor’s half sister (and frustrated former Antichrist), Laura. Life for the undead will never be the same, and it’s up to Betsy to do some damage control. But her interview on the local news doesn’t exactly put out the fire. It more or less pours kerosene on it.

With all the added attention on supernatural beings, the werewolves are more than a little agitated (never a good thing) and demand that Betsy gets her interview skills, and her family, in order. And while things go from bad to worse in the world, Hell continues to be hell—especially when Betsy’s new parole program gets about as complicated as you’d expect.

With a PR team launching a vampire-friendly campaign, the Devil at large and out to make trouble, and mermaids on hand to see who falls—and how hard—the end isn’t just near. It’s here. And if anyone knows how to go out with a bang, it’s the Queen of Hell.

Snared, which is the 16th book of the Elemental Assassin series from Jennifer Estep, will be released on January 31st.

snaredIrony 101—The Spider herself snared in someone else’s web…

Another week, another few clues trickling in about the Circle, the mysterious group that supposedly runs the city’s underworld. Gathering intel on my hidden enemies is a painstaking process, but a more immediate mystery has popped up on my radar: a missing girl.

My search for the girl begins on the mean streets of Ashland, but with all the killers and crooks in this city, I’m not holding out much hope that she’s still alive.

A series of clues leads me down an increasingly dark, dangerous path, and I realize that the missing girl is really just the first thread in this web of evil. As an assassin, I’m used to facing down the worst of the worst, but nothing prepares me for this new, terrifying enemy—one who strikes from the shadows and is determined to make me the next victim.

The second book of Sophie Jordan‘s Reign of Shadows series is called Rise of Fire, and it will be released on February 7th.

rise of fireLuna and Fowler have escaped the kingdom of Relhok, but they haven’t escaped the darkness. When a battle against the dark dwellers mortally injures Fowler, Luna is faced with a choice: put their fate in the hands of mysterious strangers or risk losing Fowler forever.

Desperate to keep the one bright part of her life alive, Luna accepts the help of soldiers from a nearby kingdom. Lagonia’s castle offers reprieve from the dangerous outside world—until the king discovers both Fowler’s and Luna’s true ties to Relhok and their influence over the throne.

Now pawns in each kingdom’s political game, Luna and Fowler are more determined than ever to escape and build the life they’ve been dreaming of. But their own pasts have a tight hold on their hearts and their destinies. Luna must embrace the darkness and fire within her before she loses not only Fowler, but the power she was destined to inherit.

Christine Feehan‘s next Leopard book will be called Leopard’s Fury, and it has a release date of November 8th.

leopard's furyWith her own bakery in San Antonio, Evangeline Tregre made a new life far from the brutal lair of shifters she was born into. Though she is all too aware of her leopard-shifter blood, she never felt the sensation of a wild animal stirring inside her. Not until Alonzo Massi walked into her bakery. The powerful shifter is as irresistible as he is terrifying, but his icy demeanor tells her to keep her distance.

Alonzo knows better than to let himself get involved with someone like Evangeline. She doesn’t deserve the type of danger that follows him, or the threat of his Amur leopard. But even with his lean muscle and iron will, Alonzo isn’t strong enough to stay away from the one woman who can make him feel at peace. And when their secret lives draw a mortal threat, Alonzo unleashes the feral passion he keeps pent up inside himself.

This next one is a two-for-one deal. Gena Showalter and Jeaniene Frost will be paired up for a re-release of two of their previous works. Gena’s The Nymph King and Jeaniene’s The Beautiful Ashes will be out in an e-format duology called Forbidden Craving, which will be out on April 1st.

9780373801916_1f3cfThe Nymph King 

Gena Showalter 

Females young and old, beautiful and plain crave Valerian’s touch. None can resist his blatant sensuality and potent allure—until he steals Shaye Holling from a Florida beach and holds her prisoner in his underwater kingdom. Now Valerian must fight for the privilege of claiming her as his own. Because there’s one thing Shaye doesn’t know…when a nymph discovers his true mate, she’s his for life.

Includes all new scenes! 

The Beautiful Ashes 

Jeaniene Frost 

With her sister missing, Ivy discovers a startling truth—the disturbing, otherworldly hallucinations she’s always had are real, and her sister is trapped in a demon realm. The one person who can help her is the dangerously attractive rebel who’s bound by an ancient legacy to betray her. With destiny on one side and desire on the other, Adrian and Ivy must work together to save her sister. Yet he knows the truth about Ivy’s destiny, and sooner or later, it will be Ivy on one side, Adrian on the other and nothing but ashes in between…

There you have it for this batch. Are you checking any of these out? The write up for The Forgetting sounds really good, but I am still anti-YA. I will be picking up Leopard’s Fury, but that is probably about it for this batch. Are you sad to say goodbye to Queen Betsy, or is it past time to wrap things up?

Book of the Month

July’s Book of the Month

Ok, some months are awesome with too many books to choose from. Some months are…not. This one, at least for me, is a not. What with the last-minute change in release day for one book, the lack of purchase links at Amazon for a couple of others, and a general lack of “wow” factor, this isn’t my favorite month.

Anyways, you have voted, and July’s book of the month is Illusion Town by Jayne Castle. Is anyone else completely surprised by this? I am. Nothing against the book at all, but it seemed to come out of nowhere. My choice was Alyssa Day‘s Evil Eye (which isn’t even listed on Goodreads yet. Oy), but I figured playing the odds that the winner would be Elizabeth Hunter‘s The Staff and the Blade. Show what I know.

illusion town

Synopsis…

A new adventure begins on Harmony…

With its opulent casinos and hotels, the desert city of Illusion Town is totally unique—and will take you on a thrill ride you’ll never forget.

Hannah West isn’t the first woman to wake up in Illusion Town married to a man she barely knows, but she has no memory of the ceremony at all. For that matter, neither does Elias Coppersmith, her new husband. All either can remember is that they were on the run…

With Hannah’s dubious background and shaky para-psych profile, she could have done much worse. The cooly competent mining heir arouses her curiosity—as well as other parts of her mind and body. And even her dust bunny likes him.

But a honeymoon spent retracing their footsteps leads Hannah and Elias into the twisting underground catacombs, where secrets from both their pasts will come to light—and where the energy of their clashing auras will grow hot enough to burn…

I think I have asked this one before, but how many Jayne Castle (and other pseudonyms) fans are out there? I do know that there are about 11 million books published under her several names, so there must be something for everyone. If you were new to this author, which series would you most recommend?

Release Info

Book of the Month Update

grumpy_thumbs_downA few days ago, I went through the new release dates book by book and did a publication date check, which I do every month. As of Monday, everything was either good or switched around to where it should be, like Jeaniene Frost‘s next Night Prince book which had been pushed back to next February. Sounds good, right? Nope.

Thanks goes to Dee, who sent me over a message that, surprisingly precisely no one, C.L. Wilson‘s next book has been pushed back. So, if you were down for getting a copy of The Sea King on July 15th, you are out of luck. The really funny thing is that just two days ago, when I did my double-check, I actually said to myself “wow, looks like this one is going to be on time”. I don’t ever, EVER remember one that came out on release day, and I will probably get a few chastising messages about my snarky tone, but this is actually what made me give up on her books even though I really enjoyed them. I just got tired of the endless waits, delays, and lack of info.

I feel bad, because authors have lives too and I understand that things can happen, but every single book being pushed back and delayed isn’t great. So, are you disappointed, or did you see it coming? I really didn’t on this one, but I guess you just never know.

Book of the Month

July’s Book of the Month

It seems like we get a really good release month (like June), then a…less that jam-packed one, like July. It was tricky to find 10 releases that I thought could be in the running for book of the month, to be honest, and if none of these grab you, you can just select “Other” and leave your choice in the comments section. A complete list of July’s releases can be found HERE.

I have to go with Evil Eye from Alyssa Day. I am surprised by just how much I am loving this paranormal-mystery series, even though it is very light on the romance as yet. They are quick, fun reads, and I seem to enjoy each one more than the last. And let’s be honest – Jack really does deserve his own HEA after getting basically squat in the Warriors of Poseidon series, right?

Picks of the Week

Pick of the Week

There are some good releases coming out this week, but I think for my pick I am going to have to go with The Curse of Tenth Grave from Darynda Jones. I am interested to see how things progress after the events in Ninth Grave.

the curse of tenth graveSynopsis…

Part-time PI and full-time grim reaper, Charley Davidson has asked a lot of questions throughout her life: Why can I see dead people? Who is the hot supernatural entity following me? How do I get gum out of my sister’s hair before she wakes up? But, “How do I trap not one god, but three?” was never among them. Until now. And since those gods are on earth to kill her daughter, she has little choice but to track them down, trap them, and cast them from this dimension.

But one of them stole her heart a very long time ago. Can a god of absolute death and destruction change his omniscient spots, or will his allegiance lie with his brothers?

Those are just some of the questions Charley must answer, and quick. Add to that a homeless girl on the run for her life, a man who’s been framed for murdering a woman who is still very much alive, and a pendant made from god glass that has the entire supernatural world in an uproar, Charley has her hands full. If she can manage to take care of the whole world-destroying-gods thing, we’re saved. If not, well…

I got my copy already, but I chose to read Shadow Riders by Christine Feehan first, which I have been quite enjoying. It reads like a “Feehan” book, unlike some of the past few stories have. All in all, this is a nice release week, I must say.

New Series Alerts

New Series Alerts

It has been a while since there have been any number of new series starting up to highlight, but this week isn’t shaping up too badly at all. Cynthia Eden‘s new Bad Things fires up with the release of Devil in Disguise.

the devil in disguiseSynopsis…

Don’t make the devil angry…

Luke Thorne loves having one hell of a good time. As the ruler of every dark creature to walk the earth, he certainly has more than a bit of a bad side. He lives for danger and isn’t the type to lose his heart—mostly because he doesn’t have one. Then she walks into his life.

Mina James is seduction in the flesh, a perfect temptation that the devil himself couldn’t pass up. Too late, Luke realizes he’s let a real siren into his life, a woman who is bent on using his dark powers to free herself from hidden enemies. Since Luke isn’t the type of man to be used, he should walk away from her, but…something about Mina draws him close.

Soon he’s realizing that she isn’t who she appears to be. Not dark and cold, but burning red hot. Mina is a woman fighting for her life—and the Lord of the Dark suddenly finds himself in an unlikely role…hero. Luke isn’t going to let her enemies destroy Mina. He will fight heaven and hell to keep her. But in the end, the secrets they both carry may just rip apart a love that should never have been…

This next one is from Christine Feehan. Shadow Rider is the first book of The Shadows series.

shadow riderSynopsis…

Whether it’s fast cars or fast women, Stefano Ferraro gets what he wants. When he’s not fodder for the paparazzi, he commands Ferarro family businesses—both legitimate and illegitimate.

While their criminal activity is simply a rumor yet to be proven, no one knows the real truth. The Ferraros are a family of shadow riders capable of manipulating light and dark, an ability Stefano thought ran in his family alone—until now…

With little left to her name, Francesca Cappello has come to Chicago in hopes of a new life. She wasn’t expecting to attract the attention of a man with primal hunger in his eyes, driven to claim her as his to protect and to please. And if he discovers her secret, it could ruin her…

And this last one comes from Pippa DaCosta. Chaos Rises is the first book of the Chaos series.

chaos risesSynopsis…

When the veil fell, any half bloods not strong enough to withstand Chaos were torn apart. Some, like me and my brother, survived The Fall. Most did not.

That’s the good news. The bad news saw a whole other world try and devour ours. Demons, we call them. They came in countless waves. Destroying. Killing. Many people thought it was the end…

The Fall lasted a week.

Tens of thousands died.

Hell almost claimed our world as its own.

And then, from one day to the next, it was over. The veil came back, stronger than ever. I’m not sure if anyone knows how it was put right. But I do know it’s been six months since The Fall, me and my brother are on the run, and the leftover demons aren’t the most dangerous things in LA.

We are.

I actually already got my copy of Shadow Rider today, and I am really tempted to dive in. I did of course head to the back to read the excerpt for the next book, Dark Carousel, which will be Tariq’s story. I like the change from the mountains/jungles to a more urban setting that was started in a previous novella. And it looks we will finally get some payoff on that whole “psychic testing center” tangent that started quite a few books back, which is great since I don’t like dangling plotlines that never get resolved.