Cover Lover – 14 New Titles

I can’t believe how long it has been since I have done up a cover lover post featuring more than just one book. I have been holding onto some of these for a while, so might as well take a quick peek. Let’s start with a new one from Eve Langlais. Jilted Prince is the second book of her Hell’s Son series, and it will be released on March 29th.

jilted princeShe left him at the altar, but the Devil is making him keep his promise.

Destiny is calling Chris, yet someone forgot to give him an instruction manual on conquering the world. Being the Antichrist is all well and good, but how is he supposed to know how to bring about Armageddon? He’s still waiting for his army of minions, the glory, the riches. And where is the respect?

You’d think any woman would be ecstatic at the thought of marrying the future ruler of the world.

Not Isobel.

She keeps spouting things like “forced to get married,” “love me for myself, not because Daddy made you.”

It doesn’t help that his psychotic mother with a penchant for playing with dead things has taken an interest. However, having her henchman of the apocalypse attempt to kidnap him isn’t the way to get in his good graces.

Things are starting to get complicated on Earth. Dark forces are rising, Chris’s powers are still developing—and he’s pretty sure his dad, Lucifer, wants him dead. What’s the destroyer of the world to do?

Point him to the nearest bar. This calls for more beer.

This second one is from Ashlyn Chase. Hooked on a Phoenix is due out next March 6th.

hooked on a phoenixMisty Carlisle works as a bank teller in Boston’s financial district. She’s had more rotten luck in her life than most, except when her childhood crush shows up to cash his paycheck. Then her heart races and her mouth goes dry.

Gabe Fierro is a firefighter―and a phoenix. Like his brothers, his biggest challenge is finding a woman open-minded enough to accept a shapeshifter into her life. When his boyhood friend asks him to watch over his little sister Misty, he reluctantly agrees. But when the bank where she works gets held up, Gabe does everything he can to protect her. The two of them end up locked in the bank’s vault…where things get steamier than either of them ever imagined.

Terry Spear keeps cranking them out. Flight of the White Wolf is the 24th book of the Heart of the Wolf series, and it will be released on March 6th.

flight of the white wolfGavin Summerfield―an arctic wolf shifter with a fear of flying―has to fly into the vast lakeland wilderness of northern Minnesota to track down his suspect―where his ability to shift will come in very handy. Imagine his chagrin when his pilot turns out to be the woman who tasered him last time they saw each other. Things are off to a rocky start…again.

Arctic wolf shifter Amelia White isn’t entirely displeased to see Gavin again, but priorities shift when their plane is sabotaged and goes down in the middle of nowhere. As their attraction grows, Amelia hopes Gavin doesn’t discover the secret she’s been keeping…she knows he could never forgive her…

Storm Crossed is up next. It is the 4th book of the Grim series from Dani Harper, and it will be released on January 9th.

storm crossedHeir to a noble fae house, Trahern is forced to watch helplessly as his twin brother is cruelly changed into a grim—a death dog—as punishment for falling in love with the wrong person. Trahern doesn’t believe love exists, but he will do anything to keep his brother alive—even join the Wild Hunt and ride the night skies of the human world.

Lissy Santiago-Callahan believes in love but has no time for it. She’s busy juggling her career as an academic and her home life as a single mom to a young son with Asperger’s. Her hectic life in sleepy Eastern Washington is made even more chaotic with the sudden arrival of a demanding fae and his unusual “dog.”

Mortal and immortal have nothing in common, and the attraction between Lissy and Trahern surprises them both. But when their desire places Lissy and her child in the path of a deadly faery feud, will the connection last, or will their separate worlds prove too great a divide?

I have always been a big Jennifer L. Armentrout fan, but for some reason I never did get into this series. Brave is the 3rd book of A Wicked Saga, and it will be out on December 11th.

braveIvy Morgan hasn’t been feeling like herself lately. Not like anyone can blame her. After all, being held captive by a psychotic fae prince hell-bent on permanently opening the gates to the Otherworld is bound to leave some mental scars.

It’s more than that, though. Something dark and insidious is spreading throughout Ivy, more powerful than she could ever imagine… and it’s coming between her and the man she’s fallen deeply in love with, elite Order member Ren Owens.

Ren would do anything to keep Ivy safe. Anything. But when he makes a life altering choice for her, the fallout of his act has far reaching consequences that threaten to tear their lives apart. If Ivy is going to have any hope of surviving this, she must put aside the hurt and betrayal she feels, and work with not only those she loves, but with an enemy she would rather kill than ever trust. War is coming, and it soon becomes clear that what Ivy and Ren thought they knew about the Order, themselves, and even their enemies, has been nothing but a cluster of dangerous, deadly lies. Ivy knows she must be more than just brave to save those she loves–and, ultimately, to save herself.

Because behind every evil fae Prince, there’s a Queen…

Not long to wait for this next one. Fury of Denial from Coreene Callihan is the 7th book of the Dragonfury series, and it will be released on October 30th.

fury of denialHe’s an antisocial dragon shifter with a serious sweet tooth. She’s a pastry chef who won’t give him any sugar.

Blinded in an ambush, dragon warrior Wallaig has spent half a century in the dark with one thing on his mind—vengeance. When the rogue faction responsible returns to Scotland and targets a human female, he saves her life, determined to exact his revenge—even if it means using her as bait.

Smart-mouthed Amantha Leblanc is pastry chef with dreams of opening her own shop. The money is in the bank. Her mission is clear. The plan goes to hell the second Wallaig breaks into her apartment and she defends herself with a rolling pin. With a rogue pack of dragons circling, she is forced to rely on a man she doesn’t like—but isn’t able to resist.

Bec McMaster has a new one coming out on October 24th. Soulbound is the 3rd book of the Dark Arts series.

soulboundA dark force is rising in London…

Sebastian Montcalm knows freedom for the first time in his life, but it has come at the cost of his father’s soul. If he can learn to harness his uncontrollable sorcery then he might be able to save his father from a demon’s grip, but every move he makes leads to failure. The only thing that gives him hope is the innocent touch of Cleo Sinclair, the woman he was forced to marry. But will his darkness drown out her light?

He could be her destruction…

Cleo knew her father only ever loved her for the power of her visions, but when he bartered her away in marriage to a man she’d never met, she realized how little value she truly had. Her husband, Sebastian, was nothing more than a dark warmth in her bed, a stranger who refused to touch her. But together, the two tortured souls found friendship. And now, when he needs her the most, he won’t even look at her.

…Or she could be his salvation…

When Cleo receives a powerful vision of a darkness that threatens London, she knows she is the key to defeating it. Only by working together can she and Sebastian prevail. But is Sebastian the one who can end this prophetic doom, or the one bound to begin it?

The 20th Sisters of the Moon book from Yasmine Galenorn will be called Harvest Song, and it has a release date of May 8th.

harvest songWe’re the D’Artigo sisters: savvy half-human, half-Fae operatives for the Otherworld Intelligence Agency. My sister Camille is the Queen of Dusk & Twilight and married to three hunky men. Menolly is a vampire married to a gorgeous werepuma and a vampire prince. And me? I’m Delilah, a Death Maiden werecat, and I’m about to marry the love of my life. But in the midst of joy, we are facing the escalating war with Shadow Wing. About to attempt one of the most dangerous acts we’ve ever considered, can we keep the demon armies at bay while luring the demon lord into one final, coordinated attack?

My wedding day to Shade arrives, and somebody invited Murphy’s Law along to the ceremony. But the chaos only extends from there. Camille and her Keraastar Knights are finally united and ready. Menolly and Roman are aligning the vampires. And the dragons have pledged their help as the final battle with Shadow Wing draws near. But best laid plans go awry. As our plans fall apart, we must align ourselves with Trytian and the daemons. Will they be able to help us corner Shadow Wing when several of the portals fail and demons begin pouring into Seattle? Or are we too late and will Shadow Wing manage to break through, even without the help of the spirit seals?

This anthology seems like it could be interesting. Amid the Winter Snow will feature stories from Grace Draven, Thea Harrison, Elizabeth Hunter and Jeffe Kennedy, and it will available on December 12th.

amid the winter snow

December 5th is the release date for the 3rd Outcast book from Keri Arthur, The Black Tide.

the black tideThough Winter Halo – the pharmaceutical company behind the evil experimentation on both children and adults – has been destroyed, the danger is far from over. Not only do seven children remain unaccounted for, but some of the vampires are now able walk in light.

The key to stopping the unthinkable lies in finding Ciara Dream, the last member of the trio behind the plot to give full light immunity to both the vampires and the Others. But Ciara, like Tiger herself, is a shapeshifter, able to take on any human form she desires.

To find her, Tiger will need to use every skill in her formidable arsenal, and even that might not be enough to save the city and the people she has started to care about.

Because the vampires are coming, and this time, the lights won’t stop them.

Donna Grant has a new release coming, too. Torched is part of the Dark Kings series, and it will be out on May 29th.

torched.jpgThe King of Silvers. Cunning, perceptive, resourceful. Determined. Banished from Dreagan eons ago because of a betrayal that shattered his entire existence, his sole focus in life is to exact revenge against the Dragon Kings. A formidable fighter with centuries of rage on his side, Ulrik will stop at nothing to take down those who exiled him.

He has been alone, trusting no one for thousands of years. Until she walks into his life. He should not yearn for her, but there is no stopping the fiercely burning attraction. When he’s with her, he isn’t thinking of war or revenge. He only thinks of her, craves her. Burns for her. But soon he will be forced to choose: Will he continue on his course of destruction or will he be able to set aside his vengeance to save the woman who risked everything for him.

This next one is an anthology that will feature Eve Langlais, Milly Taiden and Kate Baxter. The Big Alpha in Town will be released on May 15th.

the big alpha in townThree hot stories about three sexy shifters from a trio of today’s hottest paranormal romance authors, headlined by bestselling authors Eve Langlais and Milly Taiden!

Bearing His Name
Meeting his mate should have been cause for celebration. There’s just one teeny tiny problem. Jade thinks Ark might have impregnated her sister. He didn’t, but convincing Jade is going to take a bit of honey.

Owned by the Lion
Keir’s been told to stop playing the field and settle down—difficult advice for a hard and hot man with a lion’s heart to follow. But his sights have always been set on Ally. She’s his mate, plain and simple. With her sweet and delicious curves, she’s nothing but sugar and trouble all rolled into one. But he’s known her and sparred with her for years. She’s his best friend’s little sister, and it’s going to take a whole new level of convincing that he’s the mate for her.

No Need Fur Love
Moving with his pack to the tiny town of Stanley, Idaho has Owen Courtney a little on edge. With literally no women in sight, Owen will be lucky to find a date, let alone his true mate. But you know the saying about a werewolf walking into a bar…

Gorgeous wood nymph Mia Oliver is on a mission: Find a suitable male to get her good ‘n pregnant and provide her with an heir. But when Mia decides to pick up a gorgeous and oh-so willing werewolf at the bar, she realizes she might be in over her head.

Almost done. Shadow Hunt is the 3rd book from Melissa F. Olson‘s Disrupted Magic series, and it will be out next February 13th.

shadow huntFor years now, Scarlett Bernard has counted on two things: her ability to nullify magic, and Shadow, the bargest who guards Scarlett with her life. But after a sudden revelation turns Scarlett’s world upside down, she panics and leaves town without warning, leaving Shadow with her partner, Jesse. In the chaos that follows, the bargest is stolen—and Jesse nearly dies from a brutal psychic assault.

It seems that an old enemy has returned for revenge…and the attack on Shadow was only the beginning. As Scarlett races home to find the bargest and rescue her friends, she is dragged deeper into a terrifying legend that has somehow found its way to present-day Los Angeles.

Now she will have to recruit every possible ally for a battle that will test her null ability to the limit. Scarlett has been in over her head before, but now she risks losing everything—and she’s never had more to lose.

And this final one is the one I am most looking forward to. Caught in Time is the 3rd book of the time-travel/police procedural/mystery Kendra Donovan series from Julie McElwain, and it will be out on July 3rd.

caught in timeOctober 1815: There is only one place Kendra Donovan wants to travel—back to her own time period in the twenty-first century. But since that’s not happening, she agrees instead to travel with her new guardian, the Duke of Aldridge, to one of his smaller estates in Lancashire. Their journey takes them through Yorkshire, a region whose breathtaking beauty masks a simmering violence brought on by the Industrial Revolution, which pits mill owner against worker.

When Kendra and the Duke encounter a band of Luddites on a lonely, fog-shrouded road, the Duke informs the authorities in the nearby village of East Dingleford that mischief may have been done at the local mill. However, it isn’t just mischief but murder that is discovered, when the body of the mill manager, Mr. Stone, is found brutally bludgeoned to death in his office.

The Constable is certain the radical-minded Luddites committed the murder. One look at the crime scene and Kendra knows they did not, prompting the Duke to shock the locals by volunteering their services to catch the real killer. Joined by lover Alec and Bow Street Runner Sam Kelly, Kendra must sort through the puzzle of Stone’s rather unsavory life, picking apart alibies and dissecting carefully created deceptions from a growing list of suspects.

As a special agent for the FBI, Kendra thought she’d encountered every kind of evil. But when another, even more vicious murder rocks East Dingleford, Kendra realizes that they’re dealing with a stone-cold killer—one who has a shocking secret that he will do anything to protect.

Ok, that was way longer than I thought it was going to be. Anything catch your eye? There are a couple I will be picking up for sure, and a couple more that I might get to one day, if I am lucky.

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Last Minute and Late Additions

This would usually be the point where I would whine about trying to keep track of last-minute new releases, but I am going to let that one go for now. My latest run-through of Amazon and Goodreads did lead to a few titles that I had let slip through the cracks (and a few new-to-me ones, too)…

  • Alexandra Ivy – Dragons of Eternity Collection (Dragons of Eternity #1-3) – October 3rd
  • Thea Harrison – A Dragon’s Family Album II – October 6th
  • Elizabeth Cole – Keep Me Close (The Brothers Salem #1) – October 24th
  • Bec McMaster – Soulbound (Dark Arts #3) – October 24th
  • Coreene Callahan – Fury of Denial (Dragonfury #7) – October 30th
  • D.B. Reynolds – Relentless (Vampires in America #11.5) – October 30th
  • Elizabeth Hunter – Midnight Labyrinth (Elemental Legacy #4) – November 7th
  • Lisa Shearin – The Myth Manifestation (SPI Files #5) – November 7th
  • Izzy Shows – Blood Exile (Ruled by Blood #3) – November 14th
  • Devon Monk – Paper Stars (Ordinary Magic #3.6) – November 27th

The TBR-OD Bucket List

After years of nearly drowning under a TBR pile that got as high as almost 400 books at one point, I am very careful about not letting myself go down the rabbit hole again. I am not a fan of being disorganized, so after my switch to e-books I made a vow to not let things get out of control again. That said, though, I do have some series that are on my “To Be Read – One Day” bucket list.

I have checked a couple of them off already – Sherrilyn Kenyon‘s Dark-Hunter series (which didn’t work out so well), and J.R. Ward‘s Fallen Angels books (which did). I am still plugging away on J.D. Robb‘s In Death monster, which is an absolute favorite, and just getting into Faith Hunter‘s Jane Yellowrock world…again. But my bucket list doesn’t end there.

As it stands now, my immediate list would look something like this:

  • Diana Gabaldon‘s Outlander – I haven’t seen the show, but I am circling that, too. I would love another really good book/show adaptation to get into.
  • George R.R. Martin‘s A Song of Ice and Fire – Love the show, and I think it would be great to pick up the books, too. Plus at this point I actually know who is who, which is a bonus.
  • Stacia Kane‘s Downside Ghosts – This has been a target for a long time now, but what is holding me back is the complete lack of info about the state of the series. The last book came out over five years ago, and finding any info about the next one is like trying to track down bigfoot. Apparently the new predicted release date for Unholy Luck is December 1st, 2018. Eh, we’ll see.
  • Jennifer Estep‘s Elemental Assassin – Another one that has been on the radar for a long time now. Mostly, I am attracted to the pretty covers, but it seems like a good, solid series that shows no signs of stopping anytime soon. And I did like all of the young adult series of hers that I read.
  • Kim Harrison‘s The Hollows – Honestly, I have been meaning to get into this one for years. YEARS. And somehow I just keep skipping over it. Not sure why, but it will be nice to pick up a new series that has already ended its run – no painful cliffhangers that way.

A few others would be Eileen WilksWorld of the Lupi, the Sookie Stackhouse series from Charlaine Harris, and the October Daye and InCryptid series from Seanan McGuire have been tempting me, too. Oh, and any of the Elizabeth Hunter series are up there, as well. Sigh.

What are your bucket list series? If you have read any of mine, what did you think of them? Any favorites?

 

Now It’s Your Turn

booksA couple of posts ago, I asked whether anyone still used the 101+ Series to Read Before You Die page, and I figured I would get a solid “Meh. What?” Since I had totally forgotten it was even there, I thought everyone else had, too, and I was figuring it was time to just get rid of it. But since many of you said that you still use it as a reference, it is time for an update. It hasn’t been touched in a couple of years, and I am sure we can all come up with new series that deserve to go on the list.

For me, it would be Innkeeper Chronicles and Hidden Legacy from Ilona Andrews, and In Death from J.D. Robb. Monika suggested the Irin Chronicles from Elizabeth Hunter, Stormwalker from Allyson James, and Emperor’s Edge and Dragon Blood from Lindsay Buroker. What would you like to see added to the list? Leave any suggestions in the comments section, and if you could include a description of what the series is about, genre, that sort of thing, it would be very handy. If not, I can always just add the blurb for the first book, or something along those lines.

‘Tis the Season…For an Unhaul

I was pretty sure that my last book unhaul was my last. Just like I thought the one before that was the last. And so forth. But I am almost positive that this last one is the final one. Maybe. Sigh.

Anyways, I was ruthless once again and managed to pull almost 100 books from my little collection – and in doing so, I even managed to drop Mount TBR to below 40 books. Beauty!

There have been several authors I haven’t picked up a book from in years. Lara Adrian, Christina Dodd, and Jacquelyn Frank fall into that category, so I finally managed to let them go. A few other authors have series that seem to have petered out, like Alyssa Day and her Warriors of Poseidon and Larissa Ione and the Demonica books…so they got the heave, too. Add in a few more young adult titles, and things are looking good.

I might’ve cheated a bit, though. Since I have decided relatively recently that e-books aren’t exactly the work of the devil, I was all bold and stuff and got rid of a few physical books with the intention of picking them up again for my Kindle. People like Elizabeth Naughton, Elizabeth Hunter, Jessica Sims and even Ilona Andrews‘ Innkeeper Chronicles will now be picked up only in e-format. And the best part? I don’t list the books on my Kindle to be official TBR titles, so I don’t feel like such an epic failure with all the books I haven’t read.

Have you done any big clean outs lately? What old favorite authors could you purge from your collection, or which ones are on the verge?

News From The Others

heartPretty much everyone who comments here on Wicked Scribes is a fan of Anne Bishop‘s The Others. In fact, I can’t remember if anyone has ever said anything even remotely negative about it, and that is pretty rare (the only other authors universally praised here I can think of are Elizabeth Hunter and Ilona Andrews). And if you are like me, you haven’t been exactly thrilled with the thought of The Others wrapping up in five short months with the release of Etched in Bone. There have been a few rumors of it not really being the end, but they have been just that – rumors. Until now.

Over on Happy Ever After, the announcement has been made that the series will continue on. Not only that, but there are even a few details to get us excited. I personally had figured that if the series was extended, the focus would shift to someone we had already met in the Courtyard, maybe Vlad, for example. Turns out I was way off base. The publisher shared this about the 2018 release:

quotation marksSet in the country of Thaisia, a present-day alternate North America, the strange and beautiful world of The Others is one where humans live alongside shapeshifters, vampires and a host of beings even more deadly known as the terra indigene. The first five books of The Others have focused on the inhabitants of the Lakeside Courtyard — a private terra indigene community whose residents are tasked with keeping watch over the humans in the city.
Bishop’s new novel takes readers to a human village nestled in the terra indigene-controlled Finger Lakes region of Northeast Thaisia. It stars divorcee Victoria “Vicki” DeVine, owner of The Jumble — a small, self-sufficient community located on the shore of Lake Silence. Vicki and the town’s residents soon find themselves caught up in a chilling mystery, after a series of vicious murders rock the small community.

You can read a few small excerpts, and get a feel for some of the characters, by checking out the official announcement HERE.

While I am a bit sad to find out it won’t be focused on the Lakeside Courtyard, I am still intrigued by this new direction and new set of characters. Are you intrigued by the thought of delving into a whole new area of this world, or were you hoping for more from the characters we already know?

Spotlight Wednesday – Elizabeth Hunter

Because there is always so much good buzz around Elizabeth Hunter, and to celebrate her new release, Monika has put her up as this week’s spotlight author. As I have said anytime I have done a post about her work, I have never heard anyone say they weren’t a fan (and I can’t even say that about Nalini Singh or Ilona Andrews, which is something).

Elizabeth Hunter has quite a few releases under her belt, with her Cambio Springs books, the Irin Chronicles, and three separate series set in the Elemental World. But for this spotlight post, we are going to go way back to the beginning and the Elemental Mysteries series featuring Giovanni and Beatrice. The book that started it all is called A Hidden Fire, which was published in 2011.

a hidden fireSynopsis…

“No secret stays hidden forever.”

A phone call from an old friend sets Dr. Giovanni Vecchio back on the path of a mystery he’d abandoned years before. He never expected a young librarian could hold the key to the search, nor could he have expected the danger she would attract. Now he and Beatrice De Novo will follow a twisted maze that leads from the archives of a university library, through the fires of Renaissance Florence, and toward a confrontation they never could have predicted.

I did look around and try to find an excerpt, but I didn’t have any luck. It turns out, though that you can check this book out for free through Amazon right now, just click HERE. I have the paperback version on the TBR, but I am going to download the freebie in hopes that I will finally be able to move it up the reading list.

Also to consider:

elizabeth hunter banner

I nabbed the banner from google, so credit goes to whomever created it.

. . . . .

5251202About the author: Elizabeth Hunter is a contemporary fantasy and romance author. She is a graduate of the University of Houston Honors College and a former English teacher. She currently lives in Central California with her son, two very ineffective canine assistants, and a pitifully empty fish tank. She is the author of the Elemental Mysteries and Elemental World series, the Irin Chronicles, the Cambio Springs Mysteries, and other works of fiction.

Ok, everyone. It’s up to you. How many other Elizabeth Hunter fans are out there, and if you haven’t tried her before do you think you will? What hidden gem of an author would you like to share with your fellow readers? Just send me an e-mail under the “Contact Me” button and we can maybe spread the word.

He Said/She Said Review – The Staff and the Blade

Elizabeth Hunter is an author that I have only heard great things about, and today we have not just one but two reviews of her newest release, The Staff and the Blade. Doug Meeks has been a longtime fan, and Monika is a newer but no less enthusiastic convert, so let’s check out this latest release…

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000032_00049]Warriors. Lovers. Enemies. Legends.

Their union became pivotal in Irin history, but to understand Damien and Sari’s ending, you must go back to their beginning. Four hundred years ago, a young singer and a hardened warrior met and loved each other, but their life was torn apart by violence.

Love. Desire. Grief. Betrayal.

No matter how much pain and anger stain their lives, bonds in the Irin race cannot be abandoned. Damien and Sari will never truly leave each other, because those who are destined cannot be ignored.

The Staff and the Blade is a four part stand-alone book of approximately 480 pages. It is the fourth book in the Irin Chronicles.

DREAMS: Damien of Bohemia was a legend content to live in obscurity. Weary from a century of human and Irin bloodshed, he took shelter among those who would not question his silence or the martial spells he wore over his body. Until an earth singer of raw power and no delicacy came to the village where he hid. Sari of Vestfold wasn’t intrigued by the mysterious warrior or his moody silences. And she wasn’t interested in listening for the whisper of his soul. Even when those whispers promised a connection that could tie them for eternity.

GHOSTS: A new posting in Paris during Napoleon’s reign leads Sari and Damien back to familiar faces and the Council politics Damien has tried so hard to avoid. But the Irin world has changed in the two hundred years since their mating. The singers have become more isolated. The scribes are more martial. And the Grigori flood growing cities and lay in wait. When Sari’s sister envisions the future, she sees emptiness, chaos, and a darkness that threatens to overtake their world.

MEMORIES: Hidden from Irin society, the Irina have learned to take their revenge on the Grigori. They answer to no one. They ask for no mercy. And forgiveness? That’s the last thing on anyone’s mind. Two hundred years after the Rending, Damien and Sari are thrown together to face a new threat, a girl who might be key to the healing of the Irin race. If they can survive the anger and grief that has separated them for two hundred years.

VISIONS: The Irin and Irina are together again. Society is being rebuilt. But what do you do when the foundation of your world has crumbled? Where do you go when all the boundaries have been redrawn? For Damien and Sari, charting a new path into the future means confronting the demons of the past. They’ve forgiven each other, but can they forgive themselves?

Doug sent his review over first so let’s see What Doug said…

Well let me start by disagreeing with the line in the synopsis that says “The Staff and the Blade is a four part stand-alone book”. I cannot see anyone really enjoying this book to its fullest without a lot of prior knowledge from previous books in this series. Since the last book was a bit over a year ago I had to move some brain cells around to remember certain things and the action skips over events that took place in previous books so I do not see this book as any type of “stand alone” other than the love story is self contained, much of the rest of the book is detailing things that happened in previous books but were not part of those plots or it skips certain events completely that were detailed in previous books.

OK, now let me mention that this book is laid out a bit different in that it is 4 parts (or 4 books as the author refers to them) that tell a story that covers centuries, mainly revolving around an epic romance between Damien and Sari. It covers a love story that begins with passion and love, almost destroyed by tragedy and decades of separation and regret before we get to a most satisfying ending.

If you have read the other books in the series you know some of what is coming and you are so involved that you wish you could prevent some of it but are swept away by the history that has already been shared in previous books and is touched upon lightly in places and horrible detail in others.

You will be caught up in the emotion and scope of this romance and epic story as it slides across centuries while telling not only the evolving love story but also the evolving history of the Erin/Erina race.

Bottom Line: It has been more than a year since I read The Secret and there was a lot of things from that book you needed to know so read it first if you have not already. This is an amazing story and I can see why it took over a year for her to get it done, it covers a LOT of Erin history and tells a love story that is tempered by passion, love and tragedy. As always when I finish one of her books I am breathless and wishing there were more pages to read but it does have a satisfying conclusion and I hope we get to see a bit more of these characters in future books. So I give it 5 Stars without any reservations since you have a love story, adventure, tragedy, revenge, battles, sex, and overall an epic story you will remember long after you read the last page. What more could you want .

And not to be outdone, now it is Monika‘s turn…

A hauntingly beautiful tale of love, suffering, sacrifice, and ultimately forgiveness that spans centuries.

Ever since Sari and Damien did battle in a meadow in “The Singer” and Damien held back (some) so that Sari could vent her rage on him, I have been dying to read their story. As they both appear as important secondary characters in Malachi and Ava’s story it is strongly recommended that new readers start with the first three books of the Irin Chronicles.

Damien is an Irin scribe and a warrior by blood and training. But years of war, killing and doing unspeakable things in the service of the council of his race have left him battle weary and empty. So he retreats to a little community in the Orkneys were he can tend to his manuscripts and fields and otherwise be left in peace. Until Sari, a young but powerful earth singer, is stationed there to help improve the crops. She is fascinated with the taciturn warrior who keeps to himself but as far as she can discover he doesn’t seem interested in women in general. But when he sees her work magic for the first time his soul recognizes hers. Sari doesn’t believe in fate and soulmates, she wants to forge her own destiny. When Damien is called away on a long mission Sari realizes that she wants to choose him, too, not because it was ordained by fate, but because of who he is.
Just as their relationship seems settled, the “Rending” occurs, the most traumatic event in the history of their people. The society of the Irin is structured in a way that the (male) scribes are the warriors and protectors, while the (female) singers tend home and hearth and maybe follow artistic pursuits. To protect the women they are segregated in so called retreats in the country, while the scribes hunt  their enemies in the cities. This proves disastrous as their enemies mount a concentrated large scale attack, drawing the scribes away, leaving the retreats that were believed to be safe unprotected. Mostly Irin women and children loose their lives, with many warriors following their mate, rather than go on without them. Sari survives because she insisted that Damien train her to fight, but she blames Damien, who was the watcher of their community, for what has happened. Damien blames himself, and so he not only carries his own pain, but takes on hers as well. In the aftermath they disagree on how what remains of their society should be restructered: Damien still adheres to the dictates of the council while Sari is building safe havens for the Irina all over the world, where they are free of council mandates. Their rare meetings become so painful that they stop seeing each other altogether, except for in their dreams. Then Ava’s mate is killed and Damien decides to take her to Sari’s safe haven in order for her to heal and to learn to control her magic. Will Damien and Sari be able to overcome the rift between them that was caused by pain, betrayal, and loss? Will they be able to forgive each other and themselves? And will they be able to fight the calcified structures of their council in order to reform their society?

I loved everything about this book: the love story between Damien and Sari that starts out sweet and poignant and then turns so heart-breaking; the two main protagonists, Sari with her independent spirit and sometimes abrasive demeanor and her kick-ass personality, Damien, who is strong and honorable (and hot), and brave enough to lay his soul bare. I also liked how the characters developed and grew throughout the novel, and how they learnt from their mistakes. And I found it extremely refreshing that their union is one of choice, that they came together out of love and not because of duty or fate or some inescapable mate bond.
Then there is the superb world-building with just the right amount of historical and local detail to weave a fascinating tapestry; it serves as the perfect backdrop for this epic tale of the descendants of fallen angels that fight to keep humanity safe. The overarching plot revisits and continues threads that were developed in the first three books, but also changes some of the premises set up at the beginning oft he series: the boundaries between good and evil are starting to get blurred.
The most fascinating aspect for me was the strong gender criticism pervading this book: the structures of Irin society have become very patriarchal, with men making all the decisions and the women being segregated “for their own protection”, instead of being taught how to protect themselves. It is precisely this thinking that has led to the worst tragedy in Irin history. The Irina/singers have different magic than the Irin/scribes, but it is just as powerful. Damien, though, always wished for a mate that could match him strength for strength. Hopefully the council can be brought to realize that a more egalitarian approach to the gender question will strengthen their society and not weaken it.

5+ stars from me. I strongly hope Elizabeth Hunter will continue to write stories in this fascinating and darkly compelling world.

I have been trying to get to her stuff for over a year now, since I have one of her books on my TBR pile. To be honest, I have never heard anyone say they haven’t enjoyed her books, and that is incredibly rare. Anyone else anxious to get their hands on this one?

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?

Cover Lover – 5 New Titles

Happy weekend, everyone. It is time for a little cover lover post, this time looking at only 5 new titles. Let’s start with a new one from Elizabeth Hunter and her Irin Chronicles series. The Staff and the Blade will be released on July 12th.

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000032_00049]Lovers. Warriors. Enemies. Legends.

Damien and Sari. Their union became pivotal in Irin history. But to understand their ending, you must go back to the beginning. A young singer and a hardened warrior meet and mate, but their life is torn apart by violence, betrayal, and grief.

Yet no matter how much pain and anger stain their lives, bonds in the Irin race cannot be abandoned. Damien and Sari will never truly leave each other, because those who are destined cannot be ignored.

The Staff and the Blade is a novel in four parts. It is the fourth book in the Irin Chronicles.

This second one is from Sharon Shinn. Unquiet Land is part of the Elemental Blessings series, and it will be released on November 1st.

unquiet landLeah Frothen has returned home to rebuild the life she’s avoided for years. But she can scarcely catch her breath before she is summoned to meet with the regent, Darien Serlast, the man who made her a spy. Leah is reluctant to take on a new assignment, but Darien has dangled the perfect lure to draw her in…

Leah finds she enjoys the challenges of opening a shop catering to foreign visitors, especially since it affords her the opportunity to get to know Mally, the child she abandoned five years ago. Leah is simultaneously thrilled, terrified, hopeful, moved, and almost undone as she slowly attempts to become part of her daughter’s life.

But when the regent asks her to spy on ambassadors from a visiting nation, she develops a dangerous friendship with a foreign woman and finds herself falling in love with a man from her past. Soon Leah learns that everyone—her regent, her lover, and even her daughter—have secrets that could save the nation, but might very well break her heart.

Lets look at Susan Dennard‘s next book, Windwitch, which has a release date of January 31st. It is the second book in her young adult fantasy series, The Witchlands.

windwitch

Empire of Storms, the fifth book of Sarah J. Maas‘s young adult Throne of Glass series, will be released on September 16th.

empire of stormsThe long path to the throne has only just begun for Aelin Galathynius. Loyalties have been broken and bought, friends have been lost and gained, and those who possess magic find themselves at odds with those don’t.

As the kingdoms of Erilea fracture around her, enemies must become allies if Aelin is to keep those she loves from falling to the dark forces poised to claim her world. With war looming on all horizons, the only chance for salvation lies in a desperate quest that may mark the end of everything Aelin holds dear.

Aelin’s journey from assassin to queen has entranced millions across the globe, and this fifth installment will leave fans breathless. Will Aelin succeed in keeping her world from splintering, or will it all come crashing down?

And this final one is from Veronica Roth. Her new duology will start up early next year with the release of Carve the Mark.

carve the markOn a planet where violence and vengeance rule, in a galaxy where some are favored by fate, everyone develops a currentgift, a unique power meant to shape the future. While most benefit from their currentgifts, Akos and Cyra do not — their gifts make them vulnerable to others’ control. Can they reclaim their gifts, their fates, and their lives, and reset the balance of power in this world?

Cyra is the sister of the brutal tyrant who rules the Shotet people. Cyra’s currentgift gives her pain and power — something her brother exploits, using her to torture his enemies. But Cyra is much more than just a blade in her brother’s hand: she is resilient, quick on her feet, and smarter than he knows.

Akos is from the peace-loving nation of Thuve, and his loyalty to his family is limitless. Though protected by his unusual currentgift, once Akos and his brother are captured by enemy Shotet soldiers, Akos is desperate to get his brother out alive — no matter what the cost. When Akos is thrust into Cyra’s world, the enmity between their countries and families seems insurmountable. They must decide to help each other to survive — or to destroy one another.