A Little Help for the BotM…

Doug Meeks worked his connections and got a couple of April’s potential book of the month releases early and sent over a couple of reviews. Let’s start with Faith Hunter‘s Dark Heir, which is released on April 7th.

dark heirWhat Doug said…

In any long running series there are a many things that have to happen and here are a few:

1. The main character has to have growth (you can’t write about a never changing character for 9 books)
2. There has to be interesting secondary characters that are more than cardboard cutouts (this series has them by the basket full)
3. While we need growth, the character can’t change so much that it is not the same character you bought books 1 & 2 and loved.
4. No repetitive plots (this one kills a LOT of good series)

Jane Yellowrock series has all these covered and probably a few more that I have forgotten but they never cease to entertain. The plots are multilevel and there is just enough humor thrown in with the action to keep you coming back for more.

This time you wonder if Jane has finally met her match in one of the strongest vampires alive but she feels it is her job to try to protect the people of New Orleans and marches on regardless of the odds.

About the only thing I can say in the way of negative is it seemed she spent a lot of time involved in self loathing/guilt which after a few times wore thin a bit (pretty much the ONLY thing you will see me write negative about this book). It started to make me think of the TV show Arrow, loved the first season when he was killing the bad guys, then he was “enlightened” to not kill any of the scumbags he runs up on (give me a break) so I left him to his “don’t kill the scum” plots. Jane was giving me those kinds of vibes for a bit there, I am pretty sure she got over it. Means I am still addicted to this series.

Jane and I share a common belief, if you kill them they really don’t bother you anymore and can’t hurt you :)

The action is fast and furious, the plot is wonderful, the interaction with other characters was amazingly good. Jane was Jane and THAT is always entertaining and there is never the same bad guy and seldom if ever the same solution to the plot (again, originality is spades).

Bottom Line: 4.5 Stars, rounded to 5 and I loved pretty much every minute of it and the strong points more than outweigh any negatives I may have had about this exceptional novel.

And then there is Diana Rowland‘s Vengeance of the Demon, which is also due out on April 7th.

vengeance of the demonWhat Doug said…

This was a difficult book for me to review since I have read every book in this series. This was neither my least favorite nor was it the best in the series for me.

This book felt a bit incomplete since the overarching storyline did not see much movement it would seem in many ways. This felt like book 1 of a trilogy in that it had a firm beginning and ending while leaving you thirsting for more but I felt that in all the crushing revelations of these last few books that the story we bought those first 2-3 books to read has disappeared totally in what amounts to a reboot. The question I kept asking myself was “does this make for a better series?” and I don’t think I got that question answered in this book. This progression that keeps knocking out the basis of the original plotlines seems to be heading into chaos, which might be ok if the reader was not left with so many questions that would not see any answers for another year.

This book while well written (since I never felt bored), never solved a ton of things that are going on around Kara. I have to wonder if we are seeing the series start to deteriorate under its own weight. Seven books is an impressive milestone in a series like this and it has been kept fresh by many startling revelations but even those are starting to feel like they are used for “shock value” rather than plot progression.

Our heroine and accompanying heroes are pulled from one emergency to another, we have horrible and puzzling revelations, we have a lot of self introspection, heartbreak and high emotion but some of it fell flat. I felt we had too many instances of people acting out of character……… but I could not put it down (hence the rating).

I am rambling here a bit but the fact is I enjoyed the book in spite of the various weaknesses I have mentioned, I am hoping we see some major resolution in the next book because at the end of the day I liked this book but it felt more akin to a “day-in-the-life” plot and left me with too many unanswered questions to say I loved it.

Bottom Line: I got to the end of the book and had way to many “What about ” type questions. There were minor progressions, surprisingly there was almost no sex which I give the author major kudos for not trying to force needless sex into a story that really did not require it at this point. On the positive side I got to around the 50% mark and I could not put the book down, part of this might have been looking for revenge I don’t think I got or waiting for the “big thing” I was expecting and instead got a really “big thing” I was not expecting (that might have been 2 big things).

This was an enjoyable but frustrating experience, but it was NOT a cliffhanger (yea!), there was just too much going on which I assume could not be resolved in this book but I am setting the bar very high for the next one. 4 Stars and wish it would have been 5 but at over 400 pages it had to end someplace. I had to work hard to avoid some major spoilers here but if I have to sum it up in one sentence “hugely enjoyable and ultimately frustrating” would have to be it. Thinking I have to wait a year to get answers just makes me grind my teeth a bit.

Cover Lover – 14 Titles

These new covers have been trickling out for the last few days, but I waited until I had enough to do up a decent post. Let’s start with the redesign for the Dark Metropolis series from Jaclyn Dolamore. The paperback re-release of the first book, Dark Metropolis, will be available on May 12th.

dark metropolisPurchase at Amazon.com

And book two, Glittering Shadows, will follow in hardcover on June 16th.

glittering shadowsPurchase at Amazon.com

Leigh Bardugo‘s new The Dregs series starts up on October 6th with the release of the first book, Six of Crows.

six of crowsPurchase at Amazon.com

Even Vampires Get the Blues is the 6th book in the Deadly Angels series from Sandra Hill, and it is due out on August 25th.

even vampires get the bluesPurchase at Amazon.com

I was surprised to see that the paperback re-release of Dark Skye from Kresley Cole was undergoing a design change for its release on April 21st.

dark skyePurchase at Amazon.com

And speaking of paperback re-releases, it looks like the complete Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare is also being redone. I really don’t get it, since the original covers are absolutely beautiful, but what do I know. City of Bones should be available with the new design on September 1st.

city of bonesPurchase at Amazon.com

The 11th book in the Katherine “Kitty” Katt series from Gini Koch, Alien Separation, will be released on May 5th.

Untitled-10Purchase at Amazon.com

Next up is the cover for Ice Like Fire, the second book in the Snow Like Ashes series from Sara Raasch, which is due out on October 13th.

ice like firePurchase at Amazon.com

Gail Carriger‘s follow up to Prudence is called Imprudence, and it is the second book of The Custard Protocol. Look for it sometime in 2016.

imprudenceCrap, I didn’t realize how many covers I had to upload. This next one is The Immortal Heights from Sherry Thomas. It is the third book in her Elemental Trilogy, and it is due out on October 13th.

the immortal heightsPurchase at Amazon.com

Author Rae Carson starts up a new series called The Gold Seer Trilogy on September 22nd, and the first book is called Walk on Earth a Stranger.

walk on earth a strangerPurchase at Amazon.com

Vengeance of the Demon is the seventh book from the Kara Gillian series by Diana Rowland, and it will be out on April 7th.

vengeance of the demonPurchase at Amazon.com

Let’s wrap this up with the two Deceptions. The first Deception is from D.B. Reynolds and the Vampires in America series, and it is due out on March 31st.

deceptionPurchase at Amazon.com

I was a bit bummed to see that the Cainsville series from Kelley Armstrong had gotten a design change for the third book, Deceptions. But it turns out that the Canadian version is keeping its design, which is great. I will be able to get my matching cover on August 7th.

deceptionsWhich one of these is your biggie? Mine is Deceptions, which I can’t wait for.

Cover Lover – 8 New Titles

Covers, covers everywhere. A few adult, and a few young adult. Let’s start this batch with Darkness Bound, the next book from J.T. Geissinger‘s Night Prowler series, which is due out on June 24th.

darkness boundThis next one is Burning Desire from Donna Grant‘s Dark Kings series. Look for it on September 30th.

burning desireKeri Arthur‘s re-releases continue with Generation 18, the second book of her Spook Squad series, which is due out on September 30th.

generation 18Son of No One, which is part of Sherrilyn Kenyon‘s monster Dark-Hunter series, will be released on September 2nd.

son of no oneThe Three Fates of Ryan Love, which is the second book in Erin Quinn‘s Beyond series, will be released on September 30th.

the three fates of ryan loveI have been keeping an eye out for this one for a while now. How the White Trash Zombie Got Her Groove Back, from Diana Rowland, will be released on July 1st.

how the white trash zombie got her groove backLisa Kessler‘s next Night series book, Night Child, has seen more than its share of delays, but now it looks like it will be out in e-format on April 28th.

night childNumber 8 is the young adult release from Amalie Howard. Oceanborn is the second book of the Aquarathi series, and it will be out on July 29th.

oceanborn

Cover Lover – 13 New Titles

It looks like there was a decent crop of covers released in the last few days, or at least my peek over at Goodreads turned up some I hadn’t seen before. First up is Forged, the fourth book in Jacquelyn Frank‘s World of Nightwalkers series. It is due out on April 29th.

forgedThis next one is the cover for the upcoming Chicagoland Vampires novella by Chloe Neill. Howling For You features Jeff Christopher, and it will be out on January 7th.

howling for y ouDarkest Flame, the next book in Donna Grant‘s Dark Kings series, will be released on April 29th.

darkest flameAlexa Egan‘s next Imnada Brotherhood book, Warrior’s Curse, will be released on April 29th.

warrior's curseVirna DePaul fires up her new Belladonna Agency series early next year with the release of Turned. It is due out on April 1st.

turnedThe third book in Amy Raby‘s Hearts and Thrones series now has a pretty cover, too. Prince’s Fire will be released on April 1st.

prince's heartNext up is Fury of the Demon, which is part of Diana Rowland‘s Kara Gillian series. It will be out on January 7th.

fury of the demonThere is a new anthology heading our way featuring several favorite authors like Charlaine Harris and Seanan McGuire. Games Creatures Play will be out on April 1st.

games creatures playLisa Kessler‘s second book from her Moon series, Hunter’s Moon, will be released in e-format in a couple of weeks.

hunter's moonNow on to a few young adult titles. I have been hearing a lot about author Libba Bray recently, but I still haven’t tried any of her books. Her next Diviners novel, called Lair of Dreams, will be out on April 22nd.

lair of dreamsThe third and final book of Jessica Spotswood‘s Cahill Witch Chronicles series, Sisters’ Fate, will be out next spring.

sisters' fateAmy Plum is starting a new series next year called After the End. The first book is also called After the End, and it will be released on May 6th.

13601681And the final one for today is the cover from Kiera Cass‘s upcoming print anthology of her novellas from The Selection. Featuring the stories The Prince and The Guard, The Selection Stories will be released on February 4th.

selection stories

Review – White Trash Zombie Apocalypse

Thanks one again to Doug Meeks, who sent over his take on Diana Rowland‘s White Trash Zombie Apocalypse, which will be released on July 2nd.

white trash zombie apocalypseWhat Doug said…

White Trash Zombie Apocalypse
By
Diana Rowland

Summary:

Our favorite white trash zombie, Angel Crawford, has enough problems of her own, what with dealing with her alcoholic, deadbeat dad, issues with her not-quite boyfriend, the zombie mafia, industrial espionage and evil corporations. Oh, and it’s raining, and won’t let up.

But things get even crazier when a zombie movie starts filming in town, and Angel begins to suspect that it’s not just the plot of the movie that’s rotten. Soon she’s fighting her way through mud, blood, bullets and intrigue, even as zombies, both real and fake, prowl the streets.

Angel’s been through more than her share of crap, but this time she’s in way over her head. She’ll need plenty of brainpower to fit all the pieces—and body parts—together in order to save herself, her town, and quite possibly the human race.

NOTE:  This is the third book in the series, the reading order is:

My Life As A White Trash Zombie  Book 1
Even White Trash Zombies Get The Blues  Book 2
White Trash Zombie Apocalypse  Book 3 (Release Date 2 July 2013)

Review:

Where do I start for this third installment of the life of Angel?  Angel is still trying to have something that resembles a normal life even if she is a zombie (well adjusted as she is) but life just isn’t going to let that happen just yet.

The fact that there is a zombie movie being filmed in her town is just a complication in some of the things that are going to happen.  Add to it that fact that it rains almost the whole book which gives a whole new level of stress to everything and just adds to the “life sucks and then you die” type of atmosphere in much of this novel.

The story starts off interweaving a bit of the previous story of how Angel got to be a zombie which is good if this is the first book of the series you have read although you have missed some very good novels if you don’t read them all (preferably in order) .

It doesn’t take long before Angel starts to attract trouble (did I mention people trying to kill/capture her) and so we have the “zombie mafia”, corporate intrigue, a bit of a science fiction flavor and less we forget there seems to be the beginning of more than one love interest.  Curious to see where that one is going to go since Marcus the seemingly permanent love interest previously seems to have some competition.

As with previous books in this series the mystery/thriller to solve is the prime mover in this novel and it is done well, a bit multi-layered but not done to the point of confusion.

If I have any complaints about this book it would be that my violent revenge junkie was not fed that well, since I am usually rooting for the hero/heroine to put all the bad guys 6 feet under.  Trust me there are some violent encounters in this story but I felt cheated out of some of the more satisfying examples of revenge but the above mentioned “multi-layered” plot does not really allow that … at least not yet.

I do like to be surprised and I got that, along with some additional interrelationship with her Dad which I predict you will enjoy.  I can’t say much more on that one without selling the farm.

Reviewer’s Note:  many people (including me) really do not like the covers since they do not reflect the story or the character of Angel but only serve to give an untrue picture in line with the title.  The author with a large publisher has little control over these things.

Bottom Line:  I loved it, kept me interested and someplace around the 50% mark it became a “I can’t put it down” story that kept me up late and losing sleep so I could finish it.  Her confusing relationship with her Dad presents a bit more “humanity” to this zombie story it would not otherwise have and gives it some added emotional depth.  5 Stars for a great story and a well written one.

This is a series that has been on my radar for a while – probably because of the covers, I must admit. What is your take on the White Trash series?

Cover Lover – 7 New Titles

It seems I haven’t been finding that many covers that catch my eye lately – or maybe things are just slow this time of year. Either way, I grabbed this first one from All Things Urban Fantasy, so many thanks. It is from the White Trash Zombie series by Diana Rowland. White Trash Zombie Apocalypse will be released on July 2nd.

white trash zombie apocalypse

This next one was a surprise. For some reason, there will be a re-release of Gena Showalter‘s The Darkest Angel (Lysander and Bianka’s story), along with the story Shadow Hunter by Kait Ballenger. This duology will be called After Dark, and it will be released on June 25th.

after dark

Lucy Monroe continues her Children of the Moon series with the release of Warrior’s Moon on July 2nd.

warrior's moon

This fourth cover is from Vicki Lewis Thompson. Werewolf in Alaska will be released on July 2nd.

werewolf in alaska

Tes Hilaire‘s third Paladin Warrior’s series, Prince of Shadows, will be released on December 1st.

prince of shadows

Lauren Kate starts her new young adult Teardrop Trilogy this October 22nd with the release of the first book, also called Teardrop.

teardrop

And the final one for today is from Maggie Stiefvater. The second Raven Boys book, The Dream Thieves, will be released on September 17th.

the dream thieves

Which one of these is your favorite? Any you are looking forward to?

Early Guest Review – Touch of the Demon

Doug Meeks kindly sent over a review for Diana Rowland‘s upcoming Touch of the Demon, which will be released at the end of the year (fella has connections).  Like Doug said, it gives people who haven’t read the earlier books a chance to get caught up on the series.  Looks like another one I am going to have to try to add to the mountain.

What Doug said…

Touch of the Demon by Diana Rowland

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

NOTE/DISCLAIMER: This is the 5th book in an exceptional series that I highly recommend so obviously I would stress that you read the other 4 books prior to this one. (all of which are exceptional reading, no bad novels in this series). Additionally, I do NOT read books about the occult, the summoning and such in these novels is more akin to a science and the demons are denizens of another world who can only travel to this world with the help of “summoners”. I thought I should mention that to anyone like myself that tend to avoid the occult. I was furnished this ARC by the author unconditionally. I highly suggest you get this series and start reading, it is exceptional.

Series reading order at this link: (with some excerpts)
http://www.dianarowland.com/index.html

SUMMARY:
Kara Gillian is in Seriously Deep Trouble.
She’s used to summoning supernatural creatures from the demon realm to our world, but now she’s the one who’s been summoned. Kara is the prisoner of the demonic Lord Mzatal, but quickly discovers that she’s far more than a mere hostage. He has his own plans to use Kara and keep her from Rhyzkahl-the demonic lord she is sworn to serve. However, waiting for rescue has never been Kara’s style, and she has no intention of being a pawn in someone else’s game.

Yet intrigue and treachery run rampant among all lords, and Kara is hard pressed to keep her wits about her. Her abilities as a homicide detective are put the test as she seeks the truth about FBI Agent Ryan Kristoff, Rhyzkahl, and herself. But, the answers she finds only raise more questions. She soon discovers that she has her own history in the demon realm-one that goes back farther than she could have ever imagined. But that history may yet spell her doom as she’s faced with a peril beyond mortal comprehension.

She’s going to need all the strength and tenacity she’s developed as a cop and a summoner, or the hell she endures may well last forever.


REVIEW:

Well folks, Kara has stumbled into the worst time of her life in this book, for those that read Sins of the Demon (book #4) of this series and screamed like I did at the horrible cliffhanger ending, this should help a bit.

Kara finds herself betrayed, imprisoned, and used as a pawn in struggles that began long before she was born. For those of you that love angst, pain and torture; you will get your fill, for those (like me) who want revenge, uh, justice, you will get that in ways you never expected (I mean it, you NEVER expected). Let us not forget the bit of passion and near erotic nature of previous novels, yep, that is here also, what’s not to love?

You should be forewarned that this book is going to be more of an independent novel in comparison to the previous books and I suppose it was needed to keep the series from becoming stale. The changes here will breathe fresh air into an already exceptional series for several more novels.

The myriad plots and subplots that Ms Rowland throws out throughout the book keep you guessing and also provide enough action for her to do some new world building and fill in some history of this new world without boring the reader. Additionally, revelations concerning instances of Kara’s own recent history previously hidden will be revealed, almost NOTHING is as it seemed. If this review seems lacking in details it is because almost anything more would be a spoiler because so much is changing in the life of Kara Gillian, change can be uplifting, powerful and breathtaking …… but there is always a painful price to pay. For those geeks among us, this is Kara Gillian 2.0 but make no mistake, the end goal is always to get back home.

RATING:

This is a well crafted novel that serves the purpose of soothing readers that were less than happy about the ending of Sins of the Demon (book #4) and takes the series off in new directions while holding the same level of excellent writing exhibited in previous novels. Fans of this series are going to love this, there may be some stress and concern in the early and middle portions of the book but you will cheer the ending …… trust me :) The level of surprises in this novel do not allow me to describe much of the story, you will just have to take the ride.  5 Star reading and twists you NEVER thought of are coming …..

5 Stars easy and more great novels in this series still to come!

CLICK HERE TO READ CHAPTERS 1, 2 & 3

This is another one that I have seen around but never took the plunge and gotten into.  Anyone else behind like me?  I think the White Trash Zombies look like fun, too.
 
 

Random Updates…

I have been updating the new release pages over the last week or so, and there were a few things that popped up worth noting…

  • Kate Daniels 6 now officially has a name, and any info on an upcoming Ilona Andrews‘ book is a good thing.  Magic Rises will be released next July.
  • It looks like the next Morganville Vampire book from Rachel Caine will be called Fall of Night, and it will be released in hardcover on May 7th.
  • Jean Johnson will be writing what appears to be a spin-off of her Sons of Destiny series.  This one is called Guardians of Destiny, and the first book is The Tower, which should be released on June 4th.
  • Kady Cross will release the third book of her Steampunk Chronicles series, The Girl With The Iron Touch, on June 1st.
  • Looks like the Zombies are back.  White Trash Zombie Apocalypse, the third book of Diana Rowland‘s White Trash Zombies series, will be released early next year.
  • Book number 22 (if I remember correctly) of Laurell K. Hamilton‘s Anita Blake series will be called Affliction.  Look for it in hardcover on June 4th.
  • The next Yasmine Galenorn Indigo Court book, Night Vision, will be coming out on July 2nd.
  • Book two of Kris DeLake‘s Assassin’s Guild series, Killer Rivals, will be released on July 1st.
  • Donna Grant will have at least four more titles in her Dark Warriors series.  Midnight’s Kiss will be out on June 4th, and Midnight’s Captive will be out June 25th, with two more to follow later in the year.
  • Alexandra Ivy‘s new series, called The Sentinels, will start off with a novella in the anthology Predatory.  It also features Nina Bangs, Dianne Duvall and Hannah Jayne, and it is due out on May 7th.
  • The third book of Jessica Shirvington‘s The Violet Eden Chronicles, Emblaze, will be out on March 1st.
  • Cold Copper is the title of the next Age of Steam novel from Devon Monk, and it will be on the shelves on July 2nd.

I finished my third read of the second Darynda Jones Charley Davidson book, Second Grave on the Left, and I will update the character guide for it by tomorrow night.  I had read both books two and three once for enjoyment, and then once for the guides.  Then I deleted all of the notes I had made, so this is actually round three.  I want to have them updated by the time Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet hits the shelves on October 30th.  Also, the Thea Harrison novella Hunter’s Season (I hate e-books) slipped by me, and that will be added to the Elder Races guide within the next couple of days, as well.  WordPress has been bitchy and not updating properly, so I had to take a bit of a break.  That will hopefully get back to normal tomorrow.

Cover Lover – 3 New Titles

Thanks to All Things Urban Fantasy for the first couple of these.  Diana Rowland‘s second Zombie book, Even White Trash Zombies Get the Blues, looks like a fun one.  It should be available on July 3rd.

The second one is from Kalayna Price and her Alex Craft series.  Grave Memory is due out on July 3rd.

And the final one for today is the second book from Kristen Callihan‘s new Darkest London series.  Moonglow will be available on August 1st.

Cover Lover – 4 New Titles

This is typical.  I find some new covers, do my happy dance, and then post them.  Good.  A while later, what do I find, but more covers?  So instead of one big post, I have a bunch of little posts, which is annoying.  But anyhow.  I have four more to add to the scheme of things this go round.

I do believe I have a Kathryne Kennedy book on the TBR pile, and that is something like 4 books ago, so I am way behind.  This one is called The Lord of Illusion (I believe it was originally called Loving the Lord of Illusion).  It is the third book in her Elven Lords series, and should be out on February 1st.

Raven Calls is the next cover.  It is the seventh book from C.E. Murphy‘s Walker Papers series, due out on February 21st.

Sins of the Demon is the fourth book in Diana Rowland‘s Kara Gillian series, due out on January 3rd.  The first two books of the series had a pretty, YA feel to them, but books three and four have gone a whole new direction.

The last one up tonight (before I go and watch Damon on Vampire Diaries) is a pretty one.  Now or Never is the second book from Michele Bardsley‘s Wizards of Nevermore series, due out on March 6th.