Magic Shifts Review…

Thanks once again to Doug Meeks, who got his hands on an early copy of Magic Shifts from Ilona Andrews. Yes, that Magic Shifts. Holy crap, that really is a treat. Anyways, Doug was kind enough to share his spoiler-free review, but the rest of us will have to wait until August 4th to get our hands on it.

magic shiftsWhat Doug said…

Where to start, I have written a review on most if not all of the books in this series and I find myself running out of superlatives. The plots are multi-layered, interesting and unpredictable. The characters (all of them not just the main couple) are fully developed, no cardboard cutouts and you actually grow to care about all of them. The thing though that makes this such a huge success is that Kate and Curran are deeply in love at all times, add in the best “graveyard” humor ever and you have a mix that can’t lose.

This time you have to wonder, after last book (shame on you if you have not read that epic) what could even give them any problems? It seems there are a ton of things in this world that Ilona Andrews has crafted that can do that and one of them has come to town (no I won’t tell you, it is part of the plot to find out).

Their future involvement with the Merc Guild is something that made me happy since I can see all kinds of fun things coming from that arrangement if everybody survives enough to make something happen.

As usual there are a multitude of plots, they all seem to be able to tie themselves back together by the end of the book and we are left with a tidbit or two towards a future book (not always the next one) and in addition to everything else Kate and Curran are trying to look like a family unit, kinda hard but, hey, they are giving it a really great effort. The fact that they have some minor problems with the self-appointed neighborhood HOA in the midst of everything else is just another level of humor here, in spite of end of the world plots I laughed more at this book than many romantic comedies I have read over the last year.

The ongoing [fill in the blank for what you call her relationship with her Dad] is still confusing to me, Kate leaves us no doubt as to where her feelings lie but they keep throwing just enough information into the mix that you have to remember some of the things from previous books to not start to like him a bit. He is still put forth as the big bad thing in some epic battle to be fought in the (I hope) distant future. There may be just the smallest bit of light at the end of that tunnel after this book but it was a teaser at the end of the book.

This book as many of the others revolves around complex relationships and loyalties between friends and loved ones and that is part of why this is such a great series, it is never as simple as “beat up the bad guys”, people’s emotions are involved and used to deepen plots, things that people would never risk are done for the sake of loved ones, and the list of such things is near endless but it takes this series from the swamp of interesting but average urban fantasy and raises it to the level of exceptionalism that you only get from one of the best series being written in this genre or any other.

You just know this one will be epic. After the game-changer that was Magic Breaks, it is anyone’s guess what will happen next. I am on the favorite-character-death-watch, though, which is always tense. Derek must live!

Cover Lover – 6 New Titles

Time for a quick cover lover post. Let’s start with Sweep in Peace, the second book of the Innkeeper Chronicles from Ilona Andrews. The release date for the print release hasn’t been set yet, but the serialized version on the authors’ blog should be wrapping up shortly.

sweep in peaceNext up is The Warrior Vampire from Kate Baxter, which has a release date of December 1st.

the warrior vampireNaya Morales has always been able to track stolen magic. Experienced and capable, her gift makes her the best at finding it—and punishing those who take it. But when one desirously alluring call of usurped magic leads her directly to a handsome thief, Naya feels an instant connection she refuses to break, even if it means risking her place within her tribe…

Ronan knows Naya is his mate. He aches for her body, hungers for her blood—he feels his soul anchored to her instantly. But Naya refuses to believe it. Promised to other members of their groups, Naya and Ronan cannot mate without disastrous consequences. But as Ronan is held prisoner, it is Naya he captivates—and fueled by desire, he will stop at nothing to convince her they are meant to be together for eternity…

Purchase at Amazon.com

Coming in at number three is the third and final book in the Vamp City series from Pamela Palmer. Of Blood and Passion is due out later this year.

passion_450-300x450In the gripping conclusion to the Vamp City trilogy, sorceress Quinn Lennox and vampire Arturo Mazza battle the dangerously powerful vampire master, Cristoff Gonzaga, in a desperate attempt to save both of their worlds. As Vamp City crumbles around them, their only chance of survival demands an unconditional trust that will test the very foundation of Quinn’s soul, and surrender to a powerful love neither can deny.

Paige Tyler continues her SWAT series with the release of In the Company of Wolves on December 1st.

in the company of wolvesThere’s a new gang of criminals in town and it’s organized, ruthless, and, most importantly, a pack of wolf shifters. Eric Becker and his Dallas SWAT Team are determined to rid their streets of these lowlifes, but when his fellow cops collide with the criminals in a shoot-out, he finds himself face–to-face with the most beautiful woman he’s ever seen.

Incapable of shooting or arresting the alluring shifter who’s stolen his heart, Becker decides to hide her and leave the scene with the rest of his team. Now Jayna, his mystery woman, is left not only wondering why she was protected, but also what a street-savvy thief like her is going to do with a hot alpha wolf officer like him…

Purchase at Amazon.com

The next two are young adult releases. Alexandra Bracken starts an as-yet un-named series on January 5th with the release of Passenger.

passengerViolin prodigy Etta Spencer had big plans for her future, but a tragedy has put her once-bright career at risk. Closely tied to her musical skill, however, is a mysterious power she doesn’t even know she has. When her two talents collide during a stressful performance, Etta is drawn back hundreds of years through time.

Etta wakes, confused and terrified, in 1776, in the midst a fierce sea battle. Nicholas Carter, the handsome young prize master of a privateering ship, has been hired to retrieve Etta and deliver her unharmed to the Ironwoods, a powerful family in the Colonies–the very same one that orchestrated her jump back, and one Nicholas himself has ties to. But discovering she can time travel is nothing compared to the shock of discovering the true reason the Ironwoods have ensnared her in their web.

Another traveler has stolen an object of untold value from them, and, if Etta can find it, they will return her to her own time. Out of options, Etta and Nicholas embark on a perilous journey across centuries and continents, piecing together clues left behind by the mysterious traveler. But as they draw closer to each other and the end of their search, the true nature of the object, and the dangerous game the Ironwoods are playing, comes to light — threatening to separate her not only from Nicholas, but her path home… forever.

Purchase at Amazon.com

And wrapping up this batch is Dark Tide. It is the third book in the Waterfire Saga by Jennifer Donnelly, and it is due out on October 13th.

dark tideOnce a lost and confused princess, Serafina is now a confident leader of the Black Fin Resistance (BFR). While she works on sabotaging her enemy and enlisting allies for battle, her friends face challenges of their own. Ling is in the hold of Rafe Mfeme’s giant trawler, on her way to a prison camp. Becca meets up with Astrid and learns why the Ondalinian mermaid is always so angry: she is hiding a shameful secret. Ava can’t return home, because death riders await her arrival. And it is getting more and more difficult for Mahdi, Serafina’s betrothed, to keep up the ruse that he is in love with Lucia Volerno. If Lucia’s parents become suspicious, his life–and all of Sera’s hopes–will be extinguished. Political intrigue, dangerous liaisons, and spine-tingling suspense swirl like a maelstrom in this penultimate book in the WaterFire saga.

Purchase at Amazon.com

So, which ones will you be picking up? I have actually been following along with Sweep in Peace at Ilona Andrews’ website, but I am looking forward to giving the whole book a re-read when I pick up the print version. That is probably it for me from this batch. What about you?

Vote! Vote! Vote!

O.K. everyone, time to show Ilona Andrews some love – a couple of times. The final four voting is on at dabwaha, and both Burn for Me and Magic Breaks are up. When I picked the brackets at the beginning, since there were no Nalini Singh books to pick from, I had both of Ilona’s books as the final two. It could still happen.

If you have a moment, pleas vote HERE. Oh, and as a bribe, Ilona has upped a Twitter conversation between Kate and Curran. It involved laundry.

New Series Alerts…

Well, it was close for a while, but both Burn for Me and Magic Breaks advanced to the final four of the dabwaha contest, making my prediction of an all Ilona Andrews final a possibility. Not sure when the rest of the voting will start up, but I will be keeping an eye out.

On the subject of new series, there are a few to look forward to this week. Let’s start with the new one from Shelly Laurenston, Call of Crows. The first book is called The Unleashing, and I have been really trying to get into this one for a few weeks now, but I just can’t seem to make myself get interested in the story.

the unleashingSynopsis…

Kera Watson never expected to face death behind a Los Angeles coffee shop. Not after surviving two tours lugging an M16 around the Middle East. If it wasn’t for her hot Viking customer showing up too late to help, nobody would even see her die.

In uncountable years of service to the Allfather Odin, Ludvig “Vig” Rundstrom has never seen anyone kick ass with quite as much style as Kera. He knows one way to save her life—but she might not like it. Signing up with the Crows will get Kera a new set of battle buddies: cackling, gossiping, squabbling, party-hearty women. With wings. So not the Marines.

But Vig can’t give up on someone as special as Kera. With a storm of oh-crap magic speeding straight for L.A., survival will depend on combining their strengths: Kera’s discipline, Vig’s loyalty… and the Crows’ sheer love of battle. Boy, are they in trouble.

Purchase at Amazon.com

Shannon Mayer also fires up a new series this week with the release of Recurve, the first book of The Elemental Series.

recurveSynopsis…

I’ve been accused of attacking the queen, my wicked stepmother, and my life is suddenly on the line. I have only two options left to me: banishment, or training to become one of the King’s Elite Guards, an Ender.

Option one will kill me.
Option two is meant to break me, but is the only way to survive.

Did I mention I have no power like the rest of the elementals, and my connection to the earth is worth next to nothing?

Could things get any worse? Of course they can. Welcome to being an Elemental.

Purchase at Amazon.com

And this final one is a young adult release from Kady Cross. Sisters of Blood and Spirit is the first book in the series of the same name.

sisters of blood and spiritSynopsis…

Wren Noble is dead—she was born that way. Vibrant, unlike other dead things, she craves those rare moments when her twin sister allows her to step inside her body and experience the world of the living.

Lark Noble is alive but often feels she belongs in the muted Shadow Lands—the realm of the dead. Known as the crazy girl who talks to her dead sister, she doesn’t exactly fit in with the living, though a recent suicide attempt and time in a psych ward have proved to her she’s not ready to join her sister in the afterlife.

Now the guy who saved Lark’s life needs her to repay the favor. He and his friends have been marked for death by the malevolent spirit of a vicious and long-dead serial killer, and the twins—who should know better than to mess with the dead—may be their only hope of staying alive.

Purchase at Amazon.com

Which of these will you be trying out? I am a bit bummed by The Unleashing, but I am going to try and pick it up again in the next few days. Here’s hoping I was just too distracted the other times and I can actually give it a full read.

Time to Vote..

I am not sure how many of you follow the dabwaha book-thingy, but Ilona Andrews is part of the final eight competitors – twice. Magic Breaks has already made its way through to the final four, but if you are interested in showing your Ilona love Burn For Me voting is still open. Ditto for Meljean BrooksThe Kraken King.

So, if you have a couple of minutes, you can head over to the dabwaha site and vote.

Cover Lover – 5 New Titles

As I keep an eye out for the White Hot cover from Ilona Andrews (which should be released soon), I came across a few others to highlight. Looks like shades of red is the theme of the day, starting with the next one from Jacquelyn Frank. Bound in Sin is part of the Immortal Brothers series, and it is due out on September 29th.

bound by sinAfter being chained to a star to burn endlessly as punishment for stealing immortality from the gods, Jaykun has been unshackled to wage war alongside his brothers. But his freedom comes with a price: Each night Jaykun must still suffer—his body burning from the inside out. One early morning, recovering from his torment, he encounters a beautiful stranger on the beach. Naked from her midnight-black hair to her sandy toes, she approaches him with starry-eyed innocence and the unmistakably full body of a woman.

Soon Jaykun is swept up with the force of a comet, his desire for this woman hotter than any sun. His brothers fear he is blinded by her radiant beauty, and that she has been sent by their enemies to seduce and destroy him. Jileana is indeed from another world—one Jaykun cannot begin to imagine. But will their passion burn brightly enough to light the way through the darkness that threatens to consume all in its path?

Purchase at Amazon.com

The second book in the Black Dragon series from Katie MacAlister will be called Dragon Storm, and it is due out on November 24th.

dragon stormAccording to some (including himself), Constantine is one of the greatest heroes of dragonkin who ever lived. Too bad he’s now lonelier than ever and his biggest adventure involves a blow-up sheep-until he has an opportunity to save his kind once again. All Constantine has to do is break into a demon’s dungeon, steal an ancient artifact, and reverse a deadly curse. The plan certainly does not involve rescuing a woman . . .

Bee isn’t sure whether to be infuriated or relieved when Constantine pops up in her prison. The broody, brawny shifter lights her fire in a way no one ever has before, yet how far can she really trust him? Their chemistry may be off the charts, but when push comes to shove, Constantine will have to make a crucial choice: to save the dragons or the woman he’s grown to love with fierce intensity.

Purchase at Amazon.com

Katie Reus will release a novella from her Moon Shifter series on May 19th called Protective Instinct.

protective instinctThe next book in the Dark Caravan Cycle series from Heather Demetrios will be called Blood Passage, and it is due out on October 6th.

blood passageA jinni who’s lost everything.

A master with nothing to lose.

A revolutionary with everything to gain.

When Nalia arrives in Morocco to fulfil Malek’s third and final wish she’s not expecting it to be easy. Though Nalia is free from the shackles that once bound her to Malek as his slave, she’s in more danger than ever before.

Meanwhile, Malek’s past returns with a vengeance as he confronts the darkness within himself, and Raif must decide what’s more important: his love for Nalia, or his devotion to the cause of Arjinnan freedom.

Set upon by powerful forces that threaten to break her, Nalia encounters unexpected allies and discovers that her survival depends on the very things she thought made her weak. From the souks of Marrakech to the dunes of the Sahara, The Arabian Nights come to life in this dazzling second instalment of the Dark Passage Cycle.

Purchase at Amazon.com

The odd man out from this batch is Down the Rabbit Hole, a novella collection featuring an Eve Dallas story from J.D. Robb. It has a release date of September 29th.

down the rabbit holeYou’re late for a very important date…

Enter a wonderland of mesmerizing tales. It’s a place that’s neither here nor there, where things are never quite as they seem. Inspired by Lewis Carroll’s whimsical masterpiece, ranging from the impossible to the mad to the curiouser, these stories will have you absolutely off your head.

Don’t be afraid to follow them…Down the Rabbit Hole.

Purchase at Amazon.com

Updating…

Just a couple of quick notes for today. All of the new release pages have been updated to reflect current release dates, and as always there has been a bit of shifting around (and some have disappeared all together). If there was anything you had your heart set on, take a peek and see if things are still on schedule. Oh, and I finally got quite a few new titles added, as well, which was long overdue.

I also got the author pages updated during my last storm day, and there were a couple of little things that popped up…

  • Hidden Legacy #2 from Ilona Andrews now has a title! White Hot will be released on October 27th.
  • Kerrelyn Sparks has a new series in the works. Absolutely no clue about it, but details should follow soonish.
  • I had really thought that there would be another Vampire Academy/Bloodlines world series focused on Jill and Eddie, but it looks like I was wrong. Richelle Mead has said that The Ruby Circle was the end, which was a big surprise for me. But, she does have a third Age of X book in the works called The Eye of Andromeda, along with a YA fantasy stand-alone called Soundless which is due out on November 15th.
  • Not sure if I mentioned this before or not, but the next Mercy Thompson book by Patricia Briggs will be called Fire Touched. The downside? It is due out next March.

From the Author Pages…Bad News, No News, and Spoilers

Once again, it was time to do my duty and update the author pages. In the process, there were a few things that came to light. Beware, though, there will be what can be called major spoilers at the end, but it will be marked. Several times. You can’t unsee that sucker, much as I wish.

  • I actually put off doing up this little post for a few days because I was waiting for the big reveal of the next IAD couple by Kresley Cole. It has been teased for a while now, and today was the big day. And the couple is…still unknown. Huh. Turns out she is working on more than one story, and whichever one gets off the ground first will be it. Have to admit, that wasn’t quite the news I was expecting. I would rather it be “heh…it’s a surprise!” Rather than “uh, I dunno”, but that is probably just me.
  • On the other hand, there is no question about what Christine Feehan has going on, at all. I have said a few times that Christine Feehan is on a major writing roll lately, getting back to routinely putting out books for all of her series. I didn’t realize how much of a roll, though. Dark Ghost is due out the September, and it will be followed by Dark Promise in March, 2016. Then it will be Dark Carousel (Tariq from the Lost Dark Book is the hero), plus a novella in the Edge of Darkness anthology. There are two more Leopard books after Cat’s Lair (Wild Cat and Leopard’s Fury). The next Sisters of the Heart book, Fire Bound, is already complete, and from what I understand so is the next Ghostwalkers book, Spider Game (featuring Trap and Cayenne). Nice.
  • Thanks go to Lidy for this one. It turns out that Gena Showalter is devoting 2015 to her new contemporary romance series, The Original Heartbreakers. That means no word on any new Lords of the Otherworld stories for a while, or Angels of the Dark either, for that matter. That is a bummer. What is even more of a bummer is that it looks like both the Alien Huntress and Otherworld Assassin series are dead in the water, as Gena is no longer with that publisher. She has not completely ruled out new stories, but she would have to go the self-pubbed route for those and I just don’t see it myself. That means no Dallas story, and no finishing the Otherworld Assassin trilogy with John’s story. I know things happen, and I don’t get a vote, but I hate it when a series ends with literally only one story left to tell. Drives me nuts.
  • I already posted this one back a couple of days ago, but we now have an official release date for the second book in the Hidden Legacy series by Ilona Andrews. There isn’t a title yet (other than one of my most anticipated reads for this coming year), but it will be ours on October 27th.
  • Kelley Armstrong will be releasing a collection of novellas from her various series called Led Astray. Not much info is known as yet, but it will be out on September 15th.
  • Bound to Darkness, the next book of Lara Adrian‘s Midnight Breed series (and the first to be self-pubbed) now has a release date. It is looking like a December 31st release, and it will be available in trade paperback, audio and e-format, from what I understand. Not ideal for physical book collectors, since now it covers mass market, hardback and trade, but what are you going to do?
  • Oh, and on to my 2015 target author (er, which I haven’t started. Yet. But I still have time!), Sherrilyn Kenyon. Her 7th Chronicles of Nick book will be called Invision, and it is due out on April 8th of next year.
  • This one was welcome news. Thea Harrison is working on Graydon’s story now, and it will be called Shadow’s End. Unfortunately, we just have to wait until December 3rd to get it.
  • Now, for the spoiler part of the post. While I was hunting for Darynda Jones info, I came across the blurb for The Dirt on Ninth Grave. Unfortunately, I can’t unsee that sucker, because I consider it major spoilery for what happens in Eighth Grave After Dark. I will post it here for those of you who, like me, have no control but wish you did…but be warned.

SPOILERS! SPOILERS – READ AT YOUR OWN RISK, CHARLEY DAVIDSON FANS!

In a small village in New York lives Jane Doe, a girl with no memory of who she is or where she came from. So when she is working at a diner and slowly begins to realize she can see dead people, she’s more than a little taken aback. Stranger still are the people entering her life. They seem to know things about her. Things they hide with lies and half-truths. Soon, she senses something far darker. A force that wants to cause her harm, she is sure of it. Her saving grace comes in the form of a new friend she feels she can confide in and the fry cook, a devastatingly handsome man whose smile is breathtaking and touch is scalding. He stays close, and she almost feels safe with him around.

But no one can outrun their past, and the more lies that swirl around her—even from her new and trusted friends—the more disoriented she becomes, until she is confronted by a man who claims to have been sent to kill her. Sent by the darkest force in the universe. A force that absolutely will not stop until she is dead. Thankfully, she has a Rottweiler. But that doesn’t help in her quest to find her identity and recover what she’s lost. That will take all her courage and a touch of the power she feels flowing like electricity through her veins. She almost feels sorry for him. The devil in blue jeans. The disarming fry cook who lies with every breath he takes. She will get to the bottom of what he knows if it kills her. Or him. Either way.

2015…A Look Ahead

Well, we took a look back at the year that was, so now let’s check out what is ahead for 2015.

What new series are you most looking forward to?
  • For this one, I am going to have to go with The Dark Artifices by Cassandra Clare. I love the Shadowhunter world, and the main character of Emma got a great start in City of Heavenly Fire.
Most anticipated new-to-me series for 2015?
  • Yep, I am going to do my damndest this year to tackle Sherrilyn Kenyon‘s Dark-Hunter series. There are a few others that I plan on getting into, too, but this monster is my main goal. Wish me luck?
Highest hopes for a second book in a series?
  • This one was a no-brainer – the as yet untitled second Hidden Legacy book from Ilona Andrews. When the first book makes your best of the year list, you just know the second book will be awesome. It isn’t like Ilona has ever let me down yet, either.
Most anticipated series finale?
  • I am lucky to be able to say that there is only one series wrapping up for me this year, and I am ok with it winding down. It is the Bloodlines series from Richelle Mead. I think I am ok with it ending because I suspect that there will be another series featuring Jill and Eddie down the line.
Top 10 most anticipated books of 2015?
Reading goals for 2015?

I have several, actually. I want to read the Dark-Hunter books, which is a monster goal on its own. I also want to finally finish the last book in a few series that wrapped up recently. My reading goal is going to be to read 120 books this coming year, or 10 books per month. I figure it is more reasonable than the 150 I had planned for this year, anyways.