Release Day Review – Rock Hard

Thanks once again to Monika, who sent over her review for Nalini Singh‘s latest Rock Kiss book, Rock Hard. Personally, it was one of my most anticipated reads after first meeting Charlie and T-Rex in the first book. And, like Monika, I wasn’t disappointed…

rock hardWhat Monika said…

Ever since they appeared as secondary characters in Rock Addiction I wanted to read Charlie and T-Rex’ story and their dance turned out to be a very entertaining and funny read that I devoured in less than a day.

The company Charlotte works for is in trouble as a result of mismanagement. For this reason the owners hire Gabriel Bishop, former rugby player turned manager as a troubleshooter, since he specializes in turning around floundering businesses. He cuts a swath through the firm, weeding out incompetent staff. Since under the previous management her skills have been greatly undervalued, Charlotte is convinced she is going to be next. But when her new boss calls her to his office, it is not to fire her but to offer her a new job as his personal assistant. Though Charlotte is timid at first, she is also intelligent and possesses a quick wit, and as she is growing more confident the two of them begin to lock horns, in the office and outside of it.
From her conversations with Molly in Rock Addiction we know that Charlie secretly lusts after her new boss and his hot body (there just it something about tattoos). And although Charlie doesn’t  match his usual quarry, the T-Rex is quite taken with her and starts to gently pursue her. But before their blossoming romance can progress, they both have to overcome the shadows from their past, in Charlie’s case those are intimacy issues she has since a relationship turned horribly wrong and for Gabriel it’s the fear of being poor and coming to terms with his father…

As all of Nalini Singh’s books this one is well written and well-paced, with witty dialogue, interesting and likable main protagonists and fleshed-out secondary characters that you can’t help but fall in love with. Also, Singh manages to add just the right amount of local color to make you want to visit New Zealand. I am not a big fan of rugby, in fact know nothing about the game, but her descriptions make me want to learn more about it.
Molly’s and Fox’ story started with a big bang, and though Charlie’s and the T-Rex’s first encounter is also memorable, their relationship develops at a much slower pace. It takes quite a bit of time until they have their first date and even longer before they end up in bed together. Some readers complained that there was too much sex in Rock Addiction: they will not have much to complain on that score in Rock Hard. Not that that is necessarily is a bad thing, especially since it makes sense within the logic of the story.

For me Rock Hard is a bit too light and lacks the emotional intensity that is characteristic for Singh’s Psy/Changeling and Guild Hunter stories. It’s a sweet office romance but one that follows rather conventional lines.
Overall I would give this book 4.5 stars for an entertaining and carefree read that will leave you with an upbeat feeling.

What was your take on Rock Hard? Did it live up to expectations for you, too?

Updates and New Series Alerts…

Seeing the Burned pushback made me decide it was time to update the new release pages again, so all of the dates are current as of today (as listed by Amazon). There were a couple of other push-backs of note, too…

  • Darynda Jones’ The Dirt on Ninth Grave – from October 2015 to January 5th, 2016
  • C.L. Wilson’s the Sea King – from July 2015 to July 2016

Anyways, on to the one new series starting up this week. It is a young adult title from Jodi Meadows called The Orphan Queen. It is the first book of The Orphan Queen series.

the orphan queenSynopsis…

Wilhelmina has a hundred identities.

She is a princess. When the Indigo Kingdom conquered her homeland, Wilhelmina and other orphaned children of nobility were taken to Skyvale, the Indigo Kingdom’s capital. Ten years later, they are the Ospreys, experts at stealth and theft. With them, Wilhelmina means to take back her throne.

She is a spy. Wil and her best friend, Melanie, infiltrate Skyvale Palace to study their foes. They assume the identities of nobles from a wraith-fallen kingdom, but enemies fill the palace, and Melanie’s behavior grows suspicious. With Osprey missions becoming increasingly dangerous and their leader more unstable, Wil can’t trust anyone.

She is a threat. Wraith is the toxic by-product of magic, and for a century using magic has been forbidden. Still the wraith pours across the continent, reshaping the land and animals into fresh horrors. Soon it will reach the Indigo Kingdom. Wilhelmina’s magic might be the key to stopping the wraith, but if the vigilante Black Knife discovers Wil’s magic, she will vanish like all the others.

Purchase at Amazon.com

It Begins. Again.

Remember Burned? Karen Marie Moning‘s seventh Fever World book that was pushed back something like 4 times and 2 years? That Burned. Well, it will be followed by book eight, Feverborn, this October! Right? Uh…nope. As per Amazon today:

feverborn delayedSo, this is a thing. Alexandra and I had a little conversation about this very scenario, with both of agreeing that we were a bit skeptical of an October release. Turns out we weren’t too far off of the mark. New predicted release date, at least by me, is…July 2016. Placing bets, anyone?

Blurb Triple Play – Blood Kiss, Shadow Kiss and White Hot

As much as I love covers, I also get excited to finally see the official back cover blurb of a book. I figured I would round up three that caught my eye and post them for other nerds like me, starting with a brief one from the upcoming second book in Ilona Andrews‘ Hidden Legacy series, White Hot, which will be out on October 27th.

Nevada Baylor and Connor Rogan are back in the fight against corruption and the dark forces of Houston’s elite. Once again, they’ve been drawn together to fight a common enemy, but something is growing between them, too. Something that’s becoming more difficult to ignore with every heated touch and meaningful glance. But with new foes rising from all sides and danger ever present, they’ll have to work that much harder to protect one another – and any future they might have together.

Way back in Lord’s Fall, I believe, I figured Graydon’s mate was going to be Beluviel. Looks like I was right, and Thea Harrison‘s Shadow’s End will be their story. It has a release date of December 1st.

For Beluviel, consort to the Elven High Lord, and Graydon, gryphon and First Sentinel of the Wyr, even the slightest desire for each other is forbidden. But two hundred years ago, after a desperate play to save Beluviel’s stepson left them indebted to the cruel Djinn Malphas, they found their fates inexorably linked together—and the hunger between them growing too strong to ignore…

Two centuries later, with their debt to Malphas coming due, Beluviel and Graydon realize that, if they are to stand any chance of saving their souls, they must once again work together—this time more closely than ever before. But every moment they spend with each other brings them nearer to losing something even more vital—their hearts…

And finally, when J.R. Ward recently announced her new series would in fact basically be a continuation of the original Black Dagger Brotherhood stories, most people were quite excited, including me. The first book of the Black Dagger Legacy will be called Blood Kiss, and it too will be out on December 1st.

Paradise, blooded daughter of the king’s First Advisor, is ready to break free from the restrictive life of an aristocratic female. Her strategy? Join the Black Dagger Brotherhood’s training center program and learn to fight for herself, think for herself…be herself. It’s a good plan, until everything goes wrong. The schooling is unfathomably difficult, the other recruits feel more like enemies than allies, and it’s very clear that the Brother in charge, Butch O’Neal, a.k.a. the Dhestroyer, is having serious problems in his own life.

And that’s before she falls in love with a fellow classmate. Craeg, a common civilian, is nothing her father would ever want for her, but everything she could ask for in a male. As an act of violence threatens to tear apart the entire program, and the erotic pull between them grows irresistible, Paradise is tested in ways she never anticipated–and left wondering whether she’s strong enough to claim her own power…on the field, and off.

So, that is it for this batch. Not much news on the White Hot front, but I don’t care. That sucker is at the top of my wish list, and staying there. I wasn’t a big fan of the idea of Beluviel and Graydon as a couple, for some odd reason, but since Graydon is my favorite I still have high hopes. And I am excited to return to the “Old School” BDB world, too, so all in all things are looking good. Which of these has you most excited?

Cover Lover – 3 New Titles

Another quick cover post for today, but there are a couple of good ones to make up for the small number. This first one is from Marie Lu. The Rose Society is the second book in The Young Elite series, and it is due out on October 6th.

the rose societyOnce upon a time, a girl had a father, a prince, a society of friends. Then they betrayed her, and she destroyed them all.

Adelina Amouteru’s heart has suffered at the hands of both family and friends, turning her down the bitter path of revenge. Now known and feared as the White Wolf, she and her sister flee Kenettra to find other Young Elites in the hopes of building her own army of allies. Her goal: to strike down the Inquisition Axis, the white-cloaked soldiers that murdered her love, the Crown Prince Enzo Valenciano.

But Adelina is no heroine. Her powers, fed only by fear and hate, have started to grow beyond her control. She does not trust her newfound Elite friends. Teren Santoro, leader of the Inquisition, wants her dead. And her former friends, Raffaele and the Dagger Society, want to stop her thirst for vengeance. Adelina struggles to cling to the good within her. But how can someone be good, when her very existence depends on darkness?

Purchase at Amazon.com

These last two are both from Sherrilyn Kenyon, one new and one older. The hardcover re-release of the Dark-Hunter series continues with Seize the Night up next. It will be released again on December 1st.

seize the nightI was born the noble son of a legendary Roman senator. I walked through the ancient world as a general, admired and supreme until a brutal betrayal caused me to bargain my soul. Now I’m an immortal Dark-Hunter, bound to protect mankind from the evil scourge that haunts it. Over the centuries, I’ve seen many frightening things: plagues, pestilence, disco music…

And now Tabitha Devereaux. A human, she has trained herself to fight vampires every bit as capably as any Dark-Hunter. Idiosyncratic and off-beat, she is my personal bane-and yet she beguiles me. There are only two small problems. She happens to be the twin of my mortal enemy’s wife. More than that, Tabitha and her sister are being stalked by a power that will not rest until everyone she holds dear is dead.

Unlike my Dark-Hunter brethren, I rely on no one but myself. They spurned me and I turned my back on them. But the only way to save Tabitha and her family is to find some way to bridge a two thousand-year-old feud.

They say opposites attract, but can they stay together when even the Fates conspire to keep them apart? Then again, the Fates have never dealt with the likes of Tabitha Devereaux before. They’re going to be in for quite a fight…

Purchase at Amazon.com

And this third and final one is Born of Betrayal, the 9th book in the League series from Sherrilyn Kenyon. It is a November 3rd release.

born of betrayalYears ago, family loyalty caused Fain Hauk to give up everything he loved: His military career. His planet. His fiancée. Even his name.

Now decades later, everything has changed. He’s built a new life out of the ashes of his old, and he’s vowed to never let anything threaten his loved ones again.

But when old enemies align themselves with new ones, he’s caught in the middle of a brutal war. And when fate throws his former fiancée back into his world and she has her own agenda that includes taking his head for what he did to her years ago, more than just his life is at stake. The fate of the Ichidian universe and that of his brothers-in-arms hangs in the balance. Winner take all.

It’s killed or be killed, and never has the battle been more fierce…

Or more fun.

Purchase at Amazon.com

I do love me the hardcover re-releases, so I will be all over Seize the Night. And Born of Betrayal, too. Will you be picking up any of these?

Vision in Silver Giveaway Winner…

winner bannerSorry this is a few hours later than I had planned, but work called. Yay. Anyways, it is time to chose the winner of Anne Bishop‘s Vision in Silver, the great third book in The Others series. There were 39 entrants, and the randomly chosen winner (through Random.org), is #22…

Leila

randomCongratulations, Leila. I will be contacting you shortly for your info.

Oh, and fans of the series will be happy to learn that the fourth book, Marked in Flesh, will be out next March.

Cover Lover – 7 New Titles

Time for another cover post, starting with the next Dark series book from Christine Feehan. Dark Ghost is due out on September 8th.

feehan dark ghostHe wasn’t civilized or tame. He had his own code and he lived by it.

Monk. Bounty hunter. Vampire slayer. Andre Boroi has spent centuries battling the undead, holding out against the dark with honor. But now, gravely wounded by master vampire Costin Popescu, Andre will be easy to track—his spilled blood marking the killing trail for Popescu and his hungry band of underlings. Andre’s only chance is to disappear into the gray mist of the Carpathians. To wait. To hope.

She had a healing touch and a scent that was his lifeblood. In the mountains in search of a precious crystal, geologist Teagan Joanes suddenly finds herself hunted by those she once trusted. Then she comes across the warrior—wounded, wanting and irresistible. Andre has been craving her for an eternity: his lifemate. Her warmth envelops him. Her scent pulsates. And with every beat of her heart, Teagan surrenders to a passion she can’t possibly comprehend.

Now they are bound by destiny, but is it enough to keep them safe from a stalking, relentless darkness that threatens to swallow them alive?

Purchase at Amazon.com

About a Vampire, the next book in the Argeneau series from Lynsay Sands, is due out on September 29th.

about a vampireIn New York Times bestselling author Lynsay Sands’ new Argeneau novel, a vampire accustomed to seducing every woman he meets finds the one determined to resist him…

With immortal good looks and scorching charisma, Justin Bricker has yet to meet a woman he can’t win over. His potential life mate should be no different. But instead of falling into his bed, Holly Bosley runs away and ends up mortally wounded. To save her, he has to turn her. And then Bricker learns the shocking truth: Holly’s already married.

Holly wakes up with a bump on her head, a craving for blood, and a sexy stranger who insists they belong together. She needs Bricker’s help to control her new abilities, even as she tries to resist his relentless seduction. Choosing between the world she knows and the eternity he offers is impossible. But Justin is fighting for his life mate—maybe even his life—and he’ll break every rule to do it.

Purchase at Amazon.com

Cover number three is from Heather Graham and her Krewe of Hunters series. The Hidden will be released on September 29th.

the hiddenCan the same killer strike again—a hundred and fifty years later?

Estes Park, Colorado, is a place of serenity. But it wasn’t always so serene. Shortly after the Civil War, Nathan Kendall and his wife were murdered there, leaving behind a young son. The crime was never solved.

Now…historian Scarlet Barlow is working at a small museum attached to a B and B, the same building where that murder occurred. She recently came to Colorado, reeling after her divorce from FBI agent Diego McCullough. Diego—who’s just been asked to join the Krewe of Hunters, a unit dealing with “unusual” situations…

When Scarlet unwittingly takes pictures of people who’ve been murdered—just like the Kendalls a hundred and fifty years before—the police look at her with suspicion. Then the museum’s statues of historic people, including Nathan Kendall, begin to talk to her, and she knows it’s time to call her ex-husband. Diego heads to Estes Park, determined to solve the bizarre case that threatens Scarlet’s life—and to reunite with the woman he never stopped loving.

Purchase at Amazon.com

Jim Butcher starts his new Cinder Spires series on September 29th with the release of The Aeronaut’s Windlass.

the aeronaut's windlassSince time immemorial, the Spires have sheltered humanity, towering for miles over the mist-shrouded surface of the world. Within their halls, aristocratic houses have ruled for generations, developing scientific marvels, fostering trade alliances, and building fleets of airships to keep the peace.

Captain Grimm commands the merchant ship, Predator. Fiercely loyal to Spire Albion, he has taken their side in the cold war with Spire Aurora, disrupting the enemy’s shipping lines by attacking their cargo vessels. But when the Predator is severely damaged in combat, leaving captain and crew grounded, Grimm is offered a proposition from the Spirearch of Albion—to join a team of agents on a vital mission in exchange for fully restoring Predator to its fighting glory.

And even as Grimm undertakes this dangerous task, he will learn that the conflict between the Spires is merely a premonition of things to come. Humanity’s ancient enemy, silent for more than ten thousand years, has begun to stir once more. And death will follow in its wake…

Purchase at Amazon.com

On the young adult side of things, Richelle Mead will publish her first stand alone fantasy on November 17th, called Soundless.

dcdd19c9aa748046d72395b950fa4082For as long as Fei can remember, there has been no sound in her village, where rocky terrain and frequent avalanches prevent residents from self-sustaining. Fei and her people are at the mercy of a zipline that carries food up the treacherous cliffs from Beiguo, a mysterious faraway kingdom.

When villagers begin to lose their sight, deliveries from the zipline shrink and many go hungry. Fei’s home, the people she loves, and her entire existence is plunged into crisis, under threat of darkness and starvation.

But soon Fei is awoken in the night by a searing noise, and sound becomes her weapon.

Richelle Mead takes readers on a triumphant journey from the peak of Fei’s jagged mountain village to the valley of Beiugo, where a startling truth and an unlikely romance will change her life forever…

Purchase at Amazon.com

This one is from Josephine Angelini. Firewalker is the second book in the Worldwalker Trilogy, and it will be released on September 1st.

fire walkerYou think I’m a monster, but my choices, as ruthless as they seem, are justified.

Lily is back in her own universe, and she’s ready to relax with Rowan. True, she almost died in the Pyre that fueled their escape, and must hide her magic for the safety of the world, but compared to fighting the monstrous Woven and leading armies in the alternate Salem, life is looking good.

Unfortunately, Lillian, ruthless ruler of the 13 Cities, is not willing to let Lily go that easily. If she can’t persuade Lily to return to her world, she’ll have to find a way to make her come back.

Purchase at Amazon.com

And the final one for today is from Debra Driza. The third book of the Mila  2.0 series is called Redemption, and it will be out on October 27th.

mila 2.0 redemptionMila has been running for her life for so long. But there might be nowhere left for her to go. Especially now that she’s an incredible danger to herself and anyone who dares get close to her.

That’s why Mila has gone into hiding with her friend, tech expert Lucas. She can’t take the risk of hurting people worse than the way she hurt Hunter: the boy she’ll always love, the boy who might never forgive her for what she’s done.

But then Mila discovers that General Holland has plans that are an even bigger threat to humanity than she is. Mila must make a choice: either push aside her fears and fight him with everything she’s got…or turn her back on the world forever.

Purchase at Amazon.com

Pick of the Week…

Once in a while, there is an epic week for new releases, one where there are just too many great books to chose from. And this is one of those weeks. With all of the great books hitting the shelves today, I had to debate which book to chose as my pick of the week. Since Vision in Silver is the book of the month, and Doug already did a review of Dead Heat and that had its own post, I figured I would pick the other biggie this week, Dark Debt by Chloe Neill.

dark debtSynopsis…

Between standing Sentinel of Cadogan house and making society appearances with House Master Ethan Sullivan, a new member of the American Association of Vampires, Merit has her hands full. The last thing she needs is trouble, especially of the deadly kind.

But when an old friend shows up in need, Merit can’t refuse. Morgan Greer, Master of House Navarre, has gotten himself into serious debt with a dangerous Chicago crime syndicate known as the Triad. And they’re willing to exact more than a pound of flesh for payback—unless Merit can find a way to stop them.

Only the Triad’s connections go deeper than Merit knows, and even one wrong move could be her last…

Purchase at Amazon.com

Ok, your turn. I actually picked my third most anticipated book as the pick of the week so I wouldn’t repeat posts already done, but it is still up there. And I think we have all already said what we were looking forward to most, so instead, I will ask how your reading week is shaping up? I already finished Vision in Silver, which was great, and I am just starting Dead Heat (and can’t wait), so mine is so far, so good.

New Series Alert…

Only one new series to mention this week, and it is from author Terri Brisbin. Rising Fire is the first book of the Stone Circle series.

rising fireSynopsis…

What if the standing stones and stone circles across the old Celtic world had a secret origin and use? What if some opened into another world? What if the goddess of fire was trapped beneath one?

Lovely and innocent, Brienne of Yester has always been able to manipulate fire, but when her powers suddenly surge, the simple life she once knew explodes.

Handsome, fearless, and commanding, William de Brus has been summoned by the king to investigate a nobleman rumored to have powers linked to the fabled fire goddess. When he chances upon Brienne, his desire for her is immediate. But as his mystical quest unfolds, William realizes that she is at the center of it — for Brienne possesses the very power he has been sent to vanquish….

As their attraction deepens, William attempts to free Brienne from the dark force beginning to control her — even when his duty demands that he treat her as an enemy. With emotions flaring, fire rising, and evil threatening at every turn, can the two lovers survive the coming battle and save all of humanity?

Purchase at Amazon.com

Dead Heat Review…

review iconThanks once again to Doug Meeks, who sent over his review for the new Alpha and Omega release, Dead Heat. Patricia Briggs is a solid, consistent favorite, and getting a Mercyverse release is always something to look forward to. The official release date for this one is tomorrow, so not long now to wait. Another great book in a week of great books.

Dead HeatWhat Doug said…

This series revolves around Charles and Anna (the Alpha & Omega of the series name) and they have all been done exceptionally IMHO. This one was no exception to this parade of 5 Star reading in this series.

The premise is basically that the Fae are beginning to turn loose some of the most vile creatures in their world upon the human world (due partly to events in previous novels) and one of the most vile is a creature that preys upon children. Obviously, this is something that our fearless couple must deal with regardless of any other loyalties.

The interaction between characters takes up a good bit of this novel which I many times find boring but not in this case, the rest is a combination of police procedural, mystery and of course an epic ending. The point that is subtly dropped on us is that this may just be the opening move in a war with the Fey.

There is also the usual pages devoted to Charles & Anna moving their relationship to a bit deeper level. I commend Ms Briggs for not taking the road that I see in many authors in filling pages with meaningless sex. I have no problem with sex in my novels but when it is used to do nothing more than add pages to a novel I tend to skip over those parts and wonder how many useless pages a reader paid for in such novels. Patricia Briggs always seems to know the perfect balance of such things.

While I will be rounding off this novel to 5 Stars I actually rated it 4.5 because in the last 25% of the book I did have to resort to some scanning due to:

A: Nothing was really happening
B: You KNEW something big was going to happen and you wanted to get to it.

Bottom Line: Amazing story, amazing characters (love the way the secondary characters have actual personalities and not cardboard cutouts) and of course the epic ending. 4.5 Stars only because of the scanning I did in the last 25%, highly recommended BUT I am not sure this is a series you can pick up in the middle, you really need to start from Alpha & Omega and proceed from there to Cry Wolf.

I already got my copy, and choosing whether to read Vision in Silver or Dead Heat first was hard. Vision in Silver just edged it out, but I am getting antsy to get into Dead Heat.