Reading Wrap Up

After a particularly brutish work weekend, I am for once sort of out of words. In person, I have been pretty much reduced to blink once for yes and twice for no, so I am not going to dawdle on the reading wrap up, either. Maybe.

craveI did tackle the second book in J.R. Ward‘s Fallen Angels series, Crave. And like the first one, I find it quite decent. A solid, middle-of-the-road book for me. Nothing I didn’t like, but honestly nothing that made me rabid to start the next one, either. Interesting premise, decent characters, and no guarantee that the good guys will always win is in its favor, but it doesn’t have that something-something to suck me in. I plan on keeping on with the series for sure, but it might take a while before I get it finished.

And then there was Shadow Reaper. It was vintage shadow-reaperChristine Feehan, and she seems pretty much back on track after the issues of a couple of years ago. Love it or hate it, she has a style that either works for you or doesn’t, and this one is no exception. I find myself quite liking this newest series, but the only thing that pulled my enjoyment down was the Shibari side story. Honestly, I am not that exciting, but even I found that part dull. I mean, how much do I really need to know about rope? So, I skimmed those parts to get back into the story, and that worked for me. Decent, non Feehan Female Formula lead (Blonde! Never cooked! Don’t think she said honey even once!) was a really nice change, too.

portrait in deathI also pulled a re-read of Moonshadow by Thea Harrison, which I mentioned a bit in a post below, so not going to go on about it. I think the highlight of this bunch, though is my continued trek through the In Death series from J.D. Robb. I finished up Portrait in Death (Roarke backstory. Niiiiice), and am almost through Imitation in Death. Still loving them, and I show no signs of getting tired of them at all. Honestly, I get excited when it is time for the next one (I space them out a bit), and I already have the next one ready.

Your turn. What have you been loving the last couple of weeks? Did you find anything to fill the days between last month’s White Hot from Ilona Andrews and this weeks’ Silver Silence from Nalini Singh?

Reading Wrap Up

I have already bored everyone a couple of weeks back with my sudden love for e-books. I think I went bipolar or something, because something made me flip the switch from snobby contempt to raging love affair in the matter of a day. Well, the love is still going strong, and I am having a blast. I either packed up or un-hauled all of my mass market and trade paperback books, which emptied out three full six-shelf bookcases (I did keep pretty much all of my hardcovers and UK paperbacks, though). I did manage to spend a few hundred dollars over the last couple of weeks re-buying the must-haves, but it was worth it to free up the space. And as a sign of my special nerdness, I even edited some of the books when there were different versions of the covers I liked better. Yep, nerd.

And as bonus, I have exactly one physical TBR book. ONE. That has always been the goal, but it never seemed possible. Now it is a matter of “what do I feel like reading? One Click. Mine”. It is so freeing to not have Mount TBR mocking me from across the room anymore. I went all digital on music a while back, and I have been playing around with switching my blu-rays, too, but that one is hard. I still like “the collection”. At least for now.

blood kissedEh, back on topic. I did manage to get four books read recently. Well, three and a DNF, but whatever. I ended up “One Clicking” (totally a thing) Keri Arthur‘s Blood Kissed, which was the first book in her new Lizzie Grace series. I hadn’t planned on starting a new series, but my freedom as mentioned above went to my head. It was my first book by this author, and I enjoyed it. And strangely, I haven’t ever read a book set in Australia, either, which was a treat. It was a fast read, quite interesting, and I look forward to seeing where the series goes from here. There wasn’t much on the romance side of things, but the set up is done and things should get going in the next book. I might have to check out a few more series now, too.

covetI also dove into one that had long been on the former Mount TBR. I have faithfully followed J.R. Ward‘s Black Dagger books for years, but I never made the jump to the Fallen Angels until now. I didn’t have much in the way of good or bad expectations for Covet, but it ended up being a decent read. I have to admit that I was looking for more Brother sightings, but a quick little run-in with an unnamed Phury was a treat. I liked the characters, it was an interesting premise, and it was nice to have a Ward book that wasn’t so over-the-top brand-name dropping and slangy, but still with some humor and snark. I wouldn’t pull an epic marathon and read them all in a row, but spaced out it could be a good thing. Oh, and Devina needs to die. Now-ish.

purity in deathAaand my J.D. Robb trek continues, this time with Purity in Death (#15). I can’t say much I haven’t said before, still loving them, still look forward to each new story, still haven’t even gotten slightly bored, either. Great characters, great premise, great promise for more to come. The supporting cast just keeps getting better, and while there are still times I would like to slap Eve around, it is part of the enjoyment. And Roarke may be one of my dream guys. It is a series I still pick up in physical copy, and the UK paperbacks look so pretty it should be a crime. Love.

talisman chroniclesHonestly, I can’t quite be sure what made me “One Click” the Young Adult (which I don’t read anymore) The Talisman Chronicles by T.M. Franklin (whom I have never heard of until now), but I did. It was a collection of six previously-released short stories about six kids who must fight the forces of darkness, but I only made it through the first story. It wasn’t bad, but it did make me remember why I had given up on YA. I could’ve kept reading, it would’ve been fine, but I didn’t care if I did or not so I figured it was time to hit the old delete button. If it doesn’t grab me, I figure why waste the time?

So, your turn. Come across anything exciting lately? How goes your TBR battles?

This and That

Meh, there hasn’t been a ton going on lately, and it has been a while since I have done one of these little update posts. Still, there are a couple of things to mention.

  • Ilona Andrews recently did a blog post where they answered some frequently asked questions. It looks like there is a Roman-based trilogy in the works, which might be headed our way next year. Oh, and Hugh’s book will be called Iron and Magic. But I totally have to confess that I broke down and emailed Ilona and asked about Hidden Legacy having more books. They were kind enough to answer back and say that if sales are good, the series would probably continue on with Avon, but if that doesn’t work out they will probably self-pub. The happy dance I did was not pretty, but I don’t even care.
  • Kelley Armstrong‘s third Rockton/Casey Duncan book has a title and release date. This Fallen Prey will be out on February 6th, 2018.
  • Dark in Death will be the title of the 46th In Death book from J.D. Robb, and it will be released next February.
  • Anyone like me who waited forever for Gena Showalter to write Dallas’s story was probably pretty happy with the Blood Red Kiss anthology. Dark Swan will be re-released as a stand-alone e-book this October 2nd.
  • The third book from Gena Showalter‘s young adult trilogy, Everlife, will also be called Everlife, and it has a release date of February 27th.
  • Christine Feehan‘s first Torpedo Ink story will be called Judgment Road, and it will out at the end of next January.
  • Christine Warren is starting up a new series called Alphaville, and the first book is called Baby I’m Howling For You. Look for it on January 30th.
  • Larissa Ione is one of several authors doing a sort of mash-up of their series with Lexi Blake‘s Masters and Mercenaries series, and her contribution will be called Her Guardian Angel. It has a release date of April 10th. I am going to dig around a bit more and see what I can find on these stories, since I think the concept is pretty interesting.
  • Chloe Neill‘s Chicagoland Vampires spin-off series featuring Elisa and Connor will get its start next March. The first book will be called Wild Hunger.
  • Next March will also see the third book of Kerrelyn Sparks‘s The Embraced series released, and this one is called Eight Simple Rules For Dating a Dragon.
  • Oh, and C.L. Wilson‘s delayed second book of the Weathermages of Mystral series, The Sea King, has been rescheduled for this October 31st.

Well, that was more than I thought, but it has been a while. Anything you are looking forward to?

Weekly Wrap Up

ceremony in deathOnce again, I didn’t get as much read this week as I had originally planned on. I am doing a re-read of Ceremony in Death from J.D. Robb for the character guide, which is always great, and it made me notice how much things have changed. While Ceremony is the 5th book of the series, I am also doing a “first-time read” of Seduction in Death, which is something like book 13. What is really standing out from reading them at the same time is how much Eve and Roarke’s relationship has evolved. Eve especially is much less wary and much more accepting of the realness of Roarke’s feelings, and I can image that that only continues as the books go on (and on. And on). It is so nice to have a consistently good series to look forward to, and with 30+ more books to go, I won’t run out of reading material for the foreseeable future.

into the fireFor some weird reason, I wasn’t that excited to get my hands on Into the Fire by Jeaniene Frost. I was looking forward to it in a general way, but not in the whole “countdown the minutes” fangirlyness I can sometimes pull. But weirdly enough, when I got my copy in the mail, I couldn’t wait to dive in. I read almost all of it in one overnight stretch, and it turns out I really enjoyed it. Details from the previous books came back to me pretty quickly, and there was lots of Ian to keep me happy (so looking forward to him and Veritas in the Night Rebel books). I might be wrong, but did anyone else get a whole Maximus and Gretchen vibe? Not sure how I feel about that, since Gretchen annoys me a bit. She always gave me a Justine-lite feeling, which isn’t a compliment.

What did you pick up this week? Any great reads to share? What did you think of the Night Prince wrap up?

Reading Wrap Up

February was supposed to be a big TBR-hitting month for me before the monster releases of March, but…not so much. Not sure why, maybe it is just a reading slump, but I didn’t get through nearly the books I thought I would.

tales from the shadowhunter academyI started out DNF’ing Tales From the Shadowhunter Academy from Cassandra Clare. I was iffy on picking it up, but it was so pretty and it would go so well with the rest of them on my shelf that I gave in. Then I realized that I had absolutely no interest in reading it. Nothing against the book itself – I didn’t make it far enough into it to judge if it was good or bad – but I am so far out of the whole YA thing that it just didn’t appeal to me. Another one for the donation pile, I guess.

I was much more successful with the novella Interlude In Death from J.D. Robb. I am loving the In Death series more each book, and even the short stories are a treat. This one was set off-world at Roarke’s Olympus resort, which was a nice change of pace, and had a really nice amount of Roarke and his backstory. I have only read a couple of novellas at this point, but they are just as good as the full-length books.

white-hotBut the star of this week is actually my re-read of White Hot from Ilona Andrews. As fan-girly as it might sound, I so love this series. Burn for Me was awesome, White Hot is even better. I am putting together a cheat sheet for the beginning of the Hidden Legacy character guide that lists out all of the different Houses and types of magic since there is so much to keep track of, but it is fun to do.

So that wraps this week up for me…what did you read this week? Are you finding anything new and exciting, or going back to old favorites?

Reading Wrap Up

I am hoping to have a Weekly Wrap Up feature every Sunday, looking back at what we all read over the past week. At least, that is the plan. Maybe we can even have it as an open discussion thread for the books that were released in the past week, that sort of thing. At least, that is the goal.

eleventh grave in moonlightIt took a while, but I finally got around to Eleventh Grave in Moonlight from Darynda Jones. I find myself torn over this one, honestly, and it probably isn’t going to be the popular opinion. The first half or so didn’t really work for me. I didn’t feel the usual connection between Reyes and Charley – they came of more as adversaries than a couple, at least to me. Once they get back on the same page, I got more into the story, but it took a while.

I have found myself struggling a little bit with the Charley Davidson series the last few books, and I couldn’t figure out why. Then it finally clicked when I was reading this one – I am not a huge fan of the God angle. I like Charley the reaper and Reyes the son of Satan, whose daughter is destined to save the world. I don’t even mind Charley with her “extra” powers. But God Charley and God Reyes and the Gods of Uzan and the bad God Eidolon and Gods in the God Glass and Reyes’ big brother the God Jehovah doesn’t quite do it for me. I find myself skimming all of those sections just to get back to the day-to-day of Charley and Reyes and the great supporting cast. Hopefully I can get more on board with it, since it doesn’t look like that storyline is going anywhere soon.

power gameNext up was Christine Feehan‘s Power Game, the thirteenth GhostWalker book (and the first to be released in hardcover. The last two books were ok, but different. Like way heavy on the Alphahole and the Doormat scale of things. They didn’t feel like they belonged to the series at all, but Power Game seems to bring things back in line again. I liked this one quite a bit, and I have to say it was a relief to back to the “old style” GhostWalker books. In fact, Wyatt and Trap don’t even make an appearance, so it was like their two stories never happened.

I wasn’t completely thrilled when I knew this book was going to be a return to the swamp, but Power Game got me interested in team four again. I still miss the first teams, and I would like to see a return to some of the original girls like Cami, but I am ok with more of team four, too. All in all, I like this one. A few missteps and changes in tone gave my love of the series a few hits over the last couple of years, but things seem to be back on the right track.

betrayal-in-deathThere really isn’t much to say about Betrayal in Death from J.D. Robb. It is the twelfth book of the In Death series and I show no signs of slowing down on the series. I am still excited when it is time to pick up a new book, and I find myself compulsively devouring them.

The supporting cast is great in this one, and I so enjoy getting glimpses of Roarke’s past life. The bad guy in this one was a particular scum-bag, and his takedown made me very happy. I don’t always like Eve, honestly, and sometimes I think that Roarke gets the short end of the stick when it comes to where he falls in her life, but she is getting better at putting him first. I save these in the UK paperback version, and they look awesome on the shelf. Onto the next one!

how to tame a beast in seven daysI wasn’t too lucky with How to Tame a Beast in Seven Days, though. It was my first Kerrelyn Sparks book, and since this is a new series I thought it would be a good chance to check one of the authors on my “must try” list off. Unfortunately, though, I wasn’t a big fan of the book. I won’t go into details since it was a NetGalley copy and I will be upping my full, rambling review probably next week, but it fell pretty flat for me. It wasn’t a bad story, and I liked the potential, but there wasn’t any tension, any drama, any sense of excitement. It was almost a DNF – not because I hated it, but just because I found it too easy. It is hard for me to get involved in the story when it seems like the characters themselves aren’t. I am probably going to be in the minority for this one, but I guess it just didn’t work for me. If you are looking for a light, breezy read with a decent love story, it might work out better for you.

I picked up A Game of Thrones and A Clash of Kings from George R.R. Martin, and I picked up e-book copies of The Sweetest Dark and The Darkest Night from Shana Abe, to go along with The Fiercest Joy. I already have them in hardcover, but I think the third book (which is supposed to be out this week) will be e-format so now they match. And I got Blade Bound, the final Chicagoland Vampires book from Chloe Neill, as a review copy. Looks like I won’t be bored this week, either.

How about you? What did you manage to read this week? What did you think of any of the “big” releases from the last couple of weeks?

Pick of the Week

There aren’t a lot of series that you can point to that have 40+ highly successful books. There are even fewer yet that still feel fresh and exciting that far in. Hell, to be honest, a lot of series half that length are starting to show their age and make me think that they are overstaying their welcome. But J.D. Robb‘s In Death books are still going strong, and show no sign of slowing down. My pick of the week is #44, Echoes in Death.

echoes in deathSynopsis…

After a party in New York, Lieutenant Eve Dallas rides home with her billionaire husband, Roarke, happy to be done with cocktails and small talk.

After another party, not far away, a woman retires to her bedroom with her husband—and walks into a brutal nightmare.

Their paths are about to collide…

When the young woman—dazed, naked, and bloody—wanders in front of their car, Roarke slams on the brakes just in time, and Eve, still in glittering gown and heels, springs into action. It’s been a long night for the tired homicide cop, and it’s far from over.

Daphne Strazza is rushed to the ER, but it’s too late for Dr. Anthony Strazza. A brilliant orthopedic surgeon, he now lies dead amid the wreckage of his obsessively organized town house, his three safes opened and emptied. Daphne would be a valuable witness, but in her terror and shock the only description of the perp she can offer is repeatedly calling him “the devil” . . .

While it emerges that Dr. Strazza was cold, controlling, and widely disliked—and that he treated Daphne like a trophy wife—this is one case where the evidence doesn’t point to the spouse as the first suspect. So Eve and her team must get started on the legwork, interviewing everyone from dinner-party guests to professional colleagues to caterers, in a desperate race to answer some crucial questions:

What does the devil look like? And where will he show up next?

I am only on In Death #12, I admit, but I am still loving them and I can’t see that changing. I do spread them out a bit, but I could honestly see myself happily marathoning a bunch of them and not getting bored at all. I look forward to each new story, and every book is a treat. How far are you into the In Death series? Has your interest waned at all, or are you still a fan?

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.

A Look Back…And a Look Ahead

2016 feels like the year that I finally got myself organized and under control. As anyone who has ever read a post on this blog probably knows that I like things to be arranged and in place. I like plans and goals and organization, and my book collection was way, way out of whack for quite a few years. I wouldn’t say I am a minimalist or anything, but I don’t like my space cluttered by things I can’t or won’t use, and my monster TBR pile always bugged me for that reason. Instead of being a pleasure, it was like a burden I was just trying to get through.

It was for that reason that I finally pulled the plug on my Sherrilyn Kenyon TBR pile. I made it through the first 10 or 12, but I really just lost interest as the stories went on. I did plan on getting to Acheron’s book, but I realized I liked him as a character too much to read about him getting the crap beaten out of him for 400 pages. The Dark-Hunters were probably my big fail of 2016, but it was still hard to part with my 40+ Kenyon books. I was really happy, though, when I realized that getting rid of them dropped my TBR down to just 17 books. Yep, 17.

On the other hand, I also had a big winner in 2016. After much procrastinating, I finally took the plunge and gave J.D. Robb‘s In Death series a shot. Even though I am only about 12 or 13 books in at this point, it is a definite winner. I haven’t been disappointed yet, and I look forward to each new story. I can totally see why Roarke has always been at the top of everyone’s favorite hero list – just saying.

For me, I think 2017 is going to shape up as the year of ends. Several high-profile series I follow will be wrapping up, or at the very least ending a story-arc before seeing spin-offs start up in 2017. Between The Others, Fever series, Chicagoland Vampires, Cainsville, and the Kate Daniels series, that is a lot of goodbyes (or farewell for nows). As much as I don’t look forward to that, the bonus is that 2018 should be the year of new beginnings. Hopefully.

How did your 2016 shape up, and what do you think 2017 will look like? I couldn’t really pick my best and worst reads for the past year, or even my top 10, but what stood out for you? Did you end up pulling the plug on anything you have held on to for way too long?

Cover Lover – 5 New Titles

There have been a few new covers released in the last couple of days, so I thought that it was time for a little cover lover post. Let’s start with the one that I can’t quite get a handle on. All of the covers for both The Mortal Instruments and The Infernal Devices series from Cassandra Clare are gorgeous. Lady Midnight wasn’t quite as good, but still better than a lot of other covers out there. But Lord of Shadows? Not quite sure if I like it or not yet, but it might be one of those that looks better in person. Either way, it will be released on May 23rd.

lord-of-shadowsEmma Carstairs has finally avenged her parents. She thought she’d be at peace. But she is anything but calm. Torn between her desire for her parabatai Julian and her desire to protect him from the brutal consequences of parabatai relationships, she has begun dating his brother, Mark. But Mark has spent the past five years trapped in Faerie; can he ever truly be a Shadowhunter again?

And the faerie courts are not silent. The Unseelie King is tired of the Cold Peace, and will no longer concede to the Shadowhunters’ demands. Caught between the demands of faerie and the laws of the Clave, Emma, Julian, and Mark must find a way to come together to defend everything they hold dear—before it’s too late.

The third book from Rachel Caine‘s The Great Library series, Ash and Quill, will be released on July 11th. I thought the cover for this one was pretty eye-catching, actually.

ash-and-quillHoarding all the knowledge of the world, the Great Library jealousy guards its secrets. But now a group of rebels poses a dangerous threat to its tyranny….

Jess Brightwell and his band of exiles have fled London, only to find themselves imprisoned in Philadelphia, a city led by those who would rather burn books than submit. But Jess and his friends have a bargaining chip: the knowledge to build a machine that will break the Library’s rule.

Their time is running out. To survive, they’ll have to choose to live or die as one, to take the fight to their enemies—and to save the very soul of the Great Library.

And still going in the YA side of things, Ann Aguirre will release her Razorland companion book, Vanguard, on July 25th.

vanguardA companion fourth book in the New York Times—bestselling Razorland YA series reunites Deuce, Fade and Tegan as they fight a new war with the evolving and more intelligent Freaks.

The Razorland saga continues. Since the war ended, Tegan has dreamed of an epic journey, sowhen she has the opportunity to sign on as ship’s doctor, she can’t wait. It’spast time to chart her course. Millie Faraday, the kindest girl in the freeterritories, also yearns to outrun her reputation, and warrior-poet JamesMorrow would follow Tegan to the ends of the earth.

Their company seems set, but fate brings one more to theirnumber. Tegan will battle incredible odds while aiding Szarok, the Urochvanguard, who has ventured forth to save his people. Szarok is strange andbeautiful, like a flower that blooms only in the dark. She shouldn’t allow himclose, as such a relationship is both alien and forbidden. But through stormyseas and strange lands, she will become stronger than she ever knew.

Claudia Gray‘s new young adult sci-fi series will get its start next April with the release of the first book, Defy the Stars.

defy-the-starsNoemi Vidal is a teen soldier from the planet Genesis, once a colony of Earth that’s now at war for its independence. The humans of Genesis have fought Earth’s robotic “mech” armies for decades with no end in sight.

After a surprise attack, Noemi finds herself stranded in space on an abandoned ship where she meets Abel, the most sophisticated mech prototype ever made. One who should be her enemy. But Abel’s programming forces him to obey Noemi as his commander, which means he has to help her save Genesis–even though her plan to win the war will kill him.

Together they embark on a daring voyage through the galaxy. Before long, Noemi begins to realize Abel may be more than a machine, and, for his part, Abel’s devotion to Noemi is no longer just a matter of programming.

This final one for today is the lone adult release on the list. J.D. Robb‘s In Death books seem to have gotten a design change for the last couple of releases, but since it is the 45th title I guess I can let it slide. Secrets in Death is an August 8th release.

secrets-in-deathThe chic Manhattan nightspot Du Vin is not the kind of place Eve Dallas would usually patronize, and it’s not the kind of bar where a lot of blood gets spilled. But that’s exactly what happens one cold February evening.

The mortally wounded woman is Larinda Mars, a self-described “social information reporter,” or as most people would call it, a professional gossip. As it turns out, she was keeping the most shocking stories quiet, for profitable use in her side business as a blackmailer. Setting her sights on rich, prominent marks, she’d find out what they most wanted to keep hidden and then bleed them dry. Now someone’s done the same to her, literally—with a knife to the brachial artery.

Eve didn’t like Larinda Mars. But she likes murder even less. To find justice for this victim, she’ll have to plunge into the dirty little secrets of all the people Larinda Mars victimized herself. But along the way, she may be exposed to some information she really didn’t want to know…

There you have it. Any thoughts? Winners or losers in the design department?