Cover Lover – 9 New Titles

It seems like it has been forever since I have done a cover lover post, and I have a few new ones to show. Let’s start with Of Blood and Bone from Nora Roberts. It is the second book in the Chronicles of the One series, and it will be out on December 18th.

of blood and boneSynopsis…

They look like an everyday family living an ordinary life. But beyond the edges of this peaceful farm, unimaginable forces of light and dark have been unleashed.

Fallon Swift, approaching her thirteenth birthday, barely knows the world that existed before—the city where her parents lived, now in ruins and reclaimed by nature since the Doom sickened and killed billions. Traveling anywhere is a danger, as vicious gangs of Raiders and fanatics called Purity Warriors search for their next victim. Those like Fallon, in possession of gifts, are hunted—and the time is coming when her true nature, her identity as The One, can no longer be hidden.

In a mysterious shelter in the forest, her training is about to begin under the guidance of Mallick, whose skills have been honed over centuries. She will learn the old ways of healing; study and spar; encounter faeries and elves and shifters; and find powers within herself she never imagined. And when the time is right, she will take up the sword, and fight. For until she grows into the woman she was born to be, the world outside will never be whole again.

The next October Daye book from Seanan McGuire will be called Night and Silence, and it will be released on September 4th.

night and silenceSynopsis…

Things are not okay.

In the aftermath of Amandine’s latest betrayal, October “Toby” Daye’s fragile self-made family is on the verge of coming apart at the seams. Jazz can’t sleep, Sylvester doesn’t want to see her, and worst of all, Tybalt has withdrawn from her entirely, retreating into the Court of Cats as he tries to recover from his abduction. Toby is floundering, unable to help the people she loves most heal. She needs a distraction. She needs a quest.

What she doesn’t need is the abduction of her estranged human daughter, Gillian. What she doesn’t need is to be accused of kidnapping her own child by her ex-boyfriend and his new wife, who seems to be harboring secrets of her own. There’s no question of whether she’ll take the case. The only question is whether she’s emotionally prepared to survive it.

Signs of Faerie’s involvement are everywhere, and it’s going to take all Toby’s nerve and all her allies to get her through this web of old secrets, older hatreds, and new deceits. If she can’t find Gillian before time runs out, her own child will pay the price. One question remains:

Who in Faerie remembered Gillian existed? And what do they stand to gain? No matter how this ends, Toby’s life will never be the same.

This third one comes from Ashlyn Chase. More Than a Phoenix is part of her Phoenix Brothers series, and it will be released on October 2nd.

more than a phoenix

Jennifer Estep is branching out. She will be starting up her new Crown of Shards series with the release of the first book, Kill the Queen, on October 2nd.

kill the queenSynopsis…

Gladiator meets Game of Thrones: a royal woman becomes a skilled warrior to destroy her murderous cousin, avenge her family, and save her kingdom in this first entry in a dazzling fantasy epic from the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Elemental Assassin series—an enthralling tale that combines magic, murder, intrigue, adventure, and a hint of romance.

In a realm where one’s magical power determines one’s worth, Lady Everleigh’s lack of obvious ability relegates her to the shadows of the royal court of Bellona, a kingdom steeped in gladiator tradition. Seventeenth in line for the throne, Evie is nothing more than a ceremonial fixture, overlooked and mostly forgotten.

But dark forces are at work inside the palace. When her cousin Vasilia, the crown princess, assassinates her mother the queen and takes the throne by force, Evie is also attacked, along with the rest of the royal family. Luckily for Evie, her secret immunity to magic helps her escape the massacre.

Forced into hiding to survive, she falls in with a gladiator troupe. Though they use their talents to entertain and amuse the masses, the gladiators are actually highly trained warriors skilled in the art of war, especially Lucas Sullivan, a powerful magier with secrets of his own. Uncertain of her future—or if she even has one—Evie begins training with the troupe until she can decide her next move.

But as the bloodthirsty Vasilia exerts her power, pushing Bellona to the brink of war, Evie’s fate becomes clear: she must become a fearsome gladiator herself . . . and kill the queen.

Next up is Aliens Like Us, the 17th book of Gini Koch‘s Katherine “Kitty” Katt series. It has a release date of February 5th.

aliens like usSynopsis…

Katherine “Kitty” Katt faces off against aliens, conspiracies, and deadly secrets in the seventeenth novel in the Alien series, where sci-fi action meets steamy paranormal romance.

When a call for help from an unknown entity comes to Kitty, she figures it’s just business as usual for her life. Only the call isn’t from someone in her own universe but from one of the many others, where her life is even more different than the one she discovered in Bizarro World. And, this time, it’s not just Kitty who changes universes.

The fate of the multiverse is now resting on Kitty and company’s shoulders, but they may not be able to save it alone–and the help Kitty’s come to rely on may not be able to intervene, assist, or even show up to watch.

Or, as the multiverse calls it: Game On.

And Sarah Fine will also start up a new series soon. The Serpent is the first book of the Immortal Dealers, and it will be released this July 24th.

37647550Synopsis…

Ernestine “Ernie” Terwilliger has put her dreams aside to look after her eccentric mother. Case in point: saving her from a mysterious stranger who’s just stormed the terrified woman’s antique store wearing a rattlesnake tattoo, leveling threats, and brandishing the weirdest deck of cards Ernie’s ever seen.

When Ernie grabs some of the cards and runs, she’s launched into a world she never knew existed—one her mother may know more about than she’s revealing. With a handful of stolen cards, Ernie has just been made an unwilling player in a game of good versus evil. But she’s not even playing with a full deck, and its original owner is more than happy to kill to get his cards back.

Suddenly Ernie’s matching wits and plays with the supernatural Immortal Dealers, who can raise empires, damn souls, and shape the world’s destiny. It’s up to Ernie to defeat the most brutal member of their order. And if her roguish new ally isn’t bluffing, he can help. The mystery is all in the cards, and to save her life—and humanity—Ernie had better learn how to deal.

Lipstick Voodoo is the title of the second Kincaid Strange book from Kristi Charish, and it will be available on January 8th.

32203755Synopsis…

Kincaid Strange cannot catch a break. After dealing with a spate of paranormal murders, there’s barely time to recuperate–let alone sleep in–before there’s a new problem in Kincaid’s world of paranormal activity.

When her roommate, Nathan Cade–the ghost of a grunge-rocker with a pathological lack of self-control–comes home bound to a dead body, it’s up to Kincaid to figure out how to free him. Ideally before her new mentor, Gideon, a powerful sorcerer’s ghost, discovers that Nate is trapped in the body he’d coveted for himself.

It looks like Cheryl Brooks will be doing a spin off of her Cat Star Chronicles. The first book of the Cat Star Legacy series will be called Maverick, and it should be out on September 4th.

51ySXlkKRALSynopsis…

Zetithians are back. And they’re hotter than ever…
Having the Zetithian feline gene gives Larry Tshevnoe awesome beauty, fearsome strength, sensuality and sexual prowess unmatched by any other males in the universe. But it can make the quest for true love…complicated.

Enter childhood friend and fellow Zetithian Althea Banadänsk. Her empathic powers make her the only one who can show Larry what he truly desires, and she’ll do anything to help…even if that means hiding her desperate craving for him.

But when a distress call sends them off course—and into danger—they find more than their hearts are at stake. Now it’s up to them to become the champions of truth and justice throughout the galaxy…or risk losing it all.

And finally, this last one comes from Terry Spear. A Billionaire Wolf for Christmas is part of her Billionaire Wolf series, and it will be released on October 2nd.

51VKyIu5vRL.jpg

So, there you have it. Anything you are looking forward to? If you were just going by the cover alone, would any of these make you want to read them?

 

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Reading Wrap Up – The Purge Edition

Is-It-Time-To-Say-Goodbye-300x261Usually when I do a reading wrap up post, I blather on about all of the things I have read in the last couple of weeks, mostly so I can look back and get a refresher of my thoughts on the books. But for something different this time, I thought I might share what I have decided to purge from my Kindle in a recent unhaul. When I exclusively read print books, I got pretty good at culling Mount TBR down to the bare essentials. I figured it was time to be just as ruthless with the e-books, too.

I tried. I mean I really tried to get into Jennifer Estep‘s Elemental Assassin series. It ticked all of the boxes of what I would usually love, but I just couldn’t connect with it. Well, I connected with part of it – like most of the supporting characters – but that was about it. I wasn’t a fan of Gin, and the constant repetition of details so prevalent in the early books (eye color, anyone?) colored my judgment of the whole series. So, to that end, I did a delete of the first 10 Elemental Assassin books and a couple of novellas, too. I am still toying with trying out her upcoming Kill the Queen, but I guess we will have to see.

I also dropped the couple of Lindsay J. Pryor books I had. I did give them a decent try, but once again it is just a matter of something that everyone else seems to love not working for me. I DNF’d both the first and second books of Blackthorn series at the 50% mark, and I really had to give my head a shake when I found myself over on Amazon ready to 1-click the third. Sometimes you just have to give up and move on.

And I finally pulled the plug on the last of my young adult books, too. Jennifer L. Armentrout has long been a favorite of mine, but I found that my interest in keeping up with her later books had waned. As much as I liked the Lux, Titan and Sentinel books, I am Ok with moving on. The same goes for The Royals series by Erin Watt. I surprised myself by how much I enjoyed the first four books – I devoured them one after the other over the course of a couple of days – but I don’t have any interest in picking up the next one, either.

Outlander from Diana Gabaldon and A Game of Thrones from George R. R. Martin also got deleted. I knew I was never going to get to them, so I decided to let them go. A couple of Sarah J. Maas books didn’t make the cut, either – I don’t usually have a lot of luck with paranormal stories that have a historical feel, no matter how good they are. I think it was like the fourth time I had bought them, but who’s counting?

So, that is my reading wrap up un-haul. Have you purged anything lately? Given up on any series – either ones you used to really like, or couldn’t get into no matter how hard you tried?

Covers and Blurbs and all that Stuff…Part 2

Yep, just like the title says, this is a continuation of yesterday’s post. Let’s jump right in with the next Elemental Assassin release from Jennifer Estep. Venom in The Veins is the 17th title in the series (and I believe the first to be self-pubbed), and it will be released on June 12th.

venom in the veinsBlood might be thicker than water, but venom is stronger than just about anything …

It was supposed to be a nice, quiet, simple dinner with friends—but nothing is ever nice, quiet, or simple when you’re Gin Blanco, the Spider, notorious assassin and current queen of the Ashland underworld.

This time around, someone seems to be targeting Stuart Mosley, the president of First Trust bank. Lots of people have grudges against Mosley, but the more I investigate, the more Mosley’s problems seem to be connected to some of my own, especially when it comes to the Circle, the evil, shadowy group that is secretly responsible for much of the crime and corruption in Ashland.

But when another blast from my dark and deadly past as the Spider comes to light, I wonder if I’ll be able to survive this dangerous new enemy, who has a burning thirst for revenge that will only be satisfied with one thing: my death.

I am quite looking forward to this next one. A Wolf Apart is the second title in Maria Vale‘s new The Legend of All Wolves series, and it will be out on August 7th.

a wolf apartWhen the Great North Pack is on the verge of falling apart, Pack wolf Elijah Sorensson wants to give up on his successful life in the human world to return home. But the Alpha says no–Elijah must continue to play his role to protect the Pack from those who want to destroy it.

Knowing he needs strength by his side, he seeks out human Thea Villalobos, a woman he’s admired from the moment he met her. He hopes she can help him break through his human shell before the ailing wolf inside him dies, and before the Pack is betrayed again. But can Thea accept who and what Elijah really is?

Kelly Meding has a new series firing up, too. Stray Magic is the first title in The Strays series, and it will be out on June 19th.

stray magicShiloh Harrison was hoping for a few days off to recover from a particularly nasty assignment, preferably with the help of the talented hands (and, well, the rest of his body too) of her sexy boyfriend, Vincent. But when a group of vampires takes an entire trailer park hostage, there’s nothing to do but make her apologies and get to the scene.

Such is the life of a Federal Marshal in the Paranormal Investigators Unit.

Yet this isn’t like her typical track-and-nab case: something is going on that has vampires scared, and it takes all her strength not to imagine what could frighten such powerful creatures. Unfortunately, she doesn’t have that option. Her boss is MIA, someone is snatching vampires, and there’s a ticking clock that can only end one way: a bloodbath.

Unless she can stop it.

It has been a while since I have seen anything from Jim Butcher‘s Dresden Files, but it looks like the dry spell is ending soon. Brief Cases is a collection of novellas, and it will be released on June 5th.

brief casesThe world of Harry Dresden, Chicago’s only professional wizard, is rife with intrigue–and creatures of all supernatural stripes. And you’ll make their intimate acquaintance as Harry delves into the dark side of truth, justice, and the American way in this must-have short story collection.

From the Wild West to the bleachers at Wrigley Field, humans, zombies, incubi, and even fey royalty appear, ready to blur the line between friend and foe. In the never-before-published “Zoo Day,” Harry treads new ground as a dad, while fan-favorite characters Molly Carpenter, his onetime apprentice, White Council Warden Anastasia Luccio, and even Bigfoot stalk through the pages of more classic tales.

With twelve stories in all, Brief Cases offers both longtime fans and first-time readers tantalizing glimpses into Harry’s funny, gritty, and unforgettable realm, whetting their appetites for more to come from the wizard with a heart of gold.

Another novella comes our way from Gail Carriger, as well. How to Marry a Werewolf is from the Claw & Courtship series, and it has a release date of May 13th.

how to marry a werewolfGuilty of an indiscretion? Time to marry a werewolf.

WEREWOLVES

The monsters left Faith ruined in the eyes of society, so now they’re her only option. Rejected by her family, Faith crosses the Atlantic, looking for a marriage of convenience and revenge.

But things are done differently in London. Werewolves are civilized. At least they pretend to be.

AMERICANS

Backward heathens with no culture, Major Channing has never had time for any of them. But there’s something special about Faith. Channing finds himself fighting to prove himself and defend his species. But this werewolf has good reason not to trust human women.

Even if they learn to love, can either of them forgive?

Cecilia Lane has a new Shifters of Bear’s Den book due soon, as well. Runaway Mate will be released on May 9th.

runaway mateA bear prowling the edge of danger.
Gray Jennings has a problem. One that could get him put down by his alpha. It started when a rogue military commander laid siege to the town of Bearden and months later, Gray is still shifting in his sleep. His lack of control marks him as a hazard to both humans and other shifters.

He’s being watched.

He knows the danger he poses.

So when rich girl Meghan Wilcox comes to town, he vows to stay far away. The last thing Gray needs is a distraction. Even if Meghan’s curves and fragile beauty bring out his protective nature.

But the girl’s got a secret and worse, her sweet scent stirs his angry bear.

A girl hiding from her enemies.
Meghan’s on the run, hiding from a vengeful ex-fiance after she dumped him at the altar. He’s humiliated and hunting for her, intent on payback. Out of sheer desperation she seeks safety in the small town of Bearden. Tucked away in a secret cabin, Meghan feels the glimmers of hope. Finally. But a new threat soon arrives in the shape of a terrifying shifter.

A bear who has shifted in his sleep. Gray Jennings.

Meghan gentles him and they form a tentative truce. A bond links her to the formidable shifter, but he’s savage and unpredictable. Has she traded one danger for another?

Meghan’s past won’t stay quiet. Just when her heart is on the edge of loving this untamed shifter, danger looms, threatening all she holds dear. The only one who can save her is the wild and feral bear.

Gray Jennings…

There isn’t long to wait for the next Vampires in America book from D.B. Reynolds. Quinn is the 12th title in the series, and it will be out on April 27th.

quinnBrilliant and ambitious, Quinn Kavanagh was aiming for the top, even before he was turned. But now, as a powerful vampire lord, he’s driven by the demands of his blood, compelled to conquer and destroy, to defeat Ireland’s criminal ruler, and make the territory a better place for all its vampires and humans alike.

Smart and beautiful, Eve Connelly was a graduate student with life’s endless possibilities stretched out before her. She knew nothing of vampires and didn’t care . . . until she watched two of them murder her beloved brother. Now she’s driven, too. But she doesn’t want to help Ireland’s vampires—she just wants to kill them.

Bound together by love and hate, Quinn and Eve will risk everything to bring down the bloody regime of Ireland’s current vampire ruler. But in order to find revenge for Eve and the ultimate power for Quinn, they first have to learn to trust each other. And that might be the most dangerous thing of all.

And this final one is from Elizabeth Hunter. The Storm is actually a stand-alone re-release of the Irin Chronicles story that was first published in the Amid the Winter Snow anthology. Look for it on April 17th.

the stormOn the darkest night of winter, can he bring light to her wounded heart?

Scarred by loss, Irina warrior Renata has held the world at a distance. Fighting the Grigori and protecting humanity are her goals, but her heart remains frozen to the bonds of family and love. Only one scribe, Maxim of Riga, has managed to see through Renata’s armor.

On the darkest night of winter, in the halls of her ancestral home, Renata is forced to face her past. Can a fierce storm and a stubborn scribe coax her back to life, or will she retreat into duty forever?

Newly republished as a stand-alone with bonus novella Song for the the Dying.

When a letter arrives from a remote scribe house in Latvia, Leo and Max must return to their childhood home to face the father and grandfather who raised them. The past is inescapable, but can it be overcome? Is it possible to build a future of happiness from a foundation of pain?

There you have it. That wraps up some of the new stuff I stumbled across recently. What are you most looking forward to?

Reading Wrap Up

widow's webMy reading wrap ups usually follow the “I read this and I thought this what about you?” trend, but this time it is more a series specific post. The last couple of weeks, I have been doggedly reading Jennifer Estep‘s Elemental Assassin series – and I still can’t tell you how I feel about it. Weird.

I think the thing is, I want to like it more than I do. Or, more specifically, I really like parts of it, but others I just can’t warm up to. I have already covered the repetition that annoyed me so much at the beginning – describing the same thing (eye color, weapons arrangement, etc.) over and over in the same book made my OCD twitchy. That has mostly been worked out, or at least I have moved on from it, but other things are starting to make me nitpick. Phrases used so, so much – not just within a book but from book to book – are having the same effect as the eye color. Mostly, it is the way the people in Gin’s life are constantly described. Owen is “my lover”. We get that, but you don’t need to say “my lover” every single time he is mentioned. Ditto with the almost belittling “Goth Dwarf” being tossed around every couple of pages for life-long friend Sophia. Once or twice is fine in a story, but every few pages is overkill.

Another thing I seem to be struggling with is that I am not the biggest fan of Gin. I can’t put my finger on why, but it just isn’t there for me. I don’t despise her or anything, but I can’t warm up to her, either. The sad thing is, I pretty much enjoy all of the side characters way more than I do her, and it is the side characters I keep reading for. I don’t think it is normal to skim over the main character parts searching for more of the secondary characters, but that is what I am doing. I like Finn, Sophia, JoJo and the gang a lot, and find myself wanting more of them. I just finished Deadly Sting, though, and my liking for Owen took a nosedive. Honestly? I thought he needed a good stiff boot to the balls for most of the last of books, so not sure I will be reading his parts anymore, either. Meh.

So, I guess where I am at is that there is enough I like to keep me wanting to read it, but it is hard to justify devoting my time to a series where I have started to skim over any sections involving the main character. I am “finishing” a book in a bit over an hour that way, and at $10 dollars a book…well, yeah. Not doing that math again.

What is your “trying so hard to love it” series? When do you throw in the towel and admit defeat? I already picked up the next two stories – both novellas – because they were only a couple of dollars each. Not sure after that, though.

 

Reading Wrap Up

Happy end of weekend, everyone. Time to take a little look at what we have all been reading this week.

hell's bellLast year, I read my first Keri Arthur book and quite enjoyed it, so I was looking forward to getting my hands on the next one, Hell’s Bell. It was a decent read – but maybe not quite what I hoped for. I was hoping that the romance angle only hinted at in the first book would be developed this time around, but it didn’t pan out as much as I would’ve liked. Decent storyline and world-building, but it did leave me wishing for a bit more.

9780451488510_JudgmentRoad_FCO_mech.inddAnd I just finished up the first Torpedo Ink book from Christine Feehan, Judgment Road. Sea Haven is one of my favorite fictional worlds, so I am always happy to get one of these stories. Judgment Road was a bit of a change of pace, though, since the “magical ability” angle that was so strong in the other books takes a back seat in this one, and it was a nice change. It was my first motorcycle-club based read, and while I am not a huge fan of the “property of” status and “old lady” handles, all in all I enjoyed it. It was Reaper and Anya’s book, but it was the secondary characters that made the story for me. But for the down side, while I don’t so much mind the bringing up the traumatic pasts of the Torpedo Ink gang, it is getting a bit old to have every book focus on rapists. It isn’t as bad as the Bound Together kiddie gang rape in progress scenes, but it is still a theme here, and I would like them to move on. There are other scum-bags to hunt – killers, terrorists, drug dealers – all while dealing with their own brutal pasts. So, I liked it for what it was, but I have hopes for some changes in future books.

thread of deathI picked up the Thread of Death novella in the Elemental Assassin series, too, which was a nice, quick read. It added a bit of closure to Mab and Gin saga, and while it wasn’t a necessary read, I was glad I picked it up. I am still annoyed by Jennifer Estep‘s constant references to Sophia and JoJo as the dwarves, but the eye-color thing has finally died a solid death (along with some of the other repetition that drove me nuts in the first couple of books), and that is a plus. Still chugging along on this one, and still enjoying it overall.

forbidden mateMy goal is to try at least one new-to-me author a month, and the one I picked for January was Cecilia Lane. I had been eyeing her Shifters of Bear’s Den series since it started last year, and I finally decided to take the plunge with Forbidden Mate. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out for me. I found it difficult to get into, and I had the urge to start skimming at about the 15% mark. That is never a good sign, and couple it with main characters that didn’t interest me and it is downhill from there. I probably would’ve kept going, but there are a couple of things that are a giant character no-no for me, and the female lead pulled one when she betrayed the trust of her HEA, then didn’t have the guts to come clean immediately, I was done. I don’t like to DNF a book, but I just wasn’t interested after that, so I might as well cut my losses and move on.

There, that wraps up my reads for this past week. What were yours? What story line situations make you give up on a book? Mine are main characters cheating on each other, a betrayal-then-cover up done by the female lead that puts everyone else in danger (it is always the females, honestly), and walking into in-progress rape scenes are getting there for me, too. They make me highly uncomfortable – as they should – and take away of my enjoyment of a story. And why else do we read if not for enjoyment? I get that it is a real-life thing, but it is becoming the recurring theme of pretty much every recent Feehan book, and I am finding it to be just too much. Sermon ends here.

Reading Wrap Up

On a side note, I have done an update of the new release pages, and there were a couple of little changes here and there. But one of them made me happy – Keri Arthur‘s second Lizzie Grace book, Hell’s Bell, has actually been pushed UP by a month. Instead of a late February release, it will now be out on January 23rd. The first book of the series was my first Keri Arthur read, and I have been looking forward to getting my hands on the second one ever since.

spider's revengeBut as for the reading wrap up portion of things, there hasn’t been a ton to mention. I did plow through another Elemental Assassin book from Jennifer Estep, Spider’s Revenge. There was a lot going on in this one – it was a pretty pivotal book, and it was nice to see everyone get what they deserved. I figured Mab the big bad would be a series-long nemesis, so I was honestly surprised that that angle was wrapped up only 5 books in. Either the repetition has been toned way down, or I have just gotten used to it, because it hasn’t been something I have been focused on for the last couple of books (thankfully). Well, the constant referring to Sophia as “The Goth Dwarf” still grates on my nerves, but that is about the only thing now that I can point to that bugs me, so that is a bonus.

guardian's bondOh, and I also got my hands on a review copy of a book I mentioned a couple of days ago in my “Things that have caught my eye” post. I was lucky enough to get a copy of Guardian’s Bond from Rhenna Morgan, and so far I am very much enjoying it. It is the insta-mate thing which turns some readers off, but for me I thought it was well done and not as melodramatic as some I have read. There are only two little nitpicks that I had – one, I had a bit of trouble with the world-building at the start. I felt like maybe I had missed a novella or something that introduced the world, the power-structure and abilities, that sort of thing, but it doesn’t appear to be the case. I kind of like to get all of that stuff out of the way at the start so I know who’s who and what is what, but I figured it out as I went and it didn’t impact my enjoyment.

The second gripe is the one where I sound like a spoiled brat, but I can’t help it. I was very lucky to get an ARC, and I am grateful, but…but, it was the formatting. I haven’t had many ARCs, so maybe it is standard, but way the book was physically laid out aggravated me to no end. Spacing issues and formatting almost made parts of it feel run-on and unedited (even though it wasn’t), and messed with my reading flow. Not the fault of the author or story at all, but it did get distracting. Sigh, I am such a princess, but what can you do?

bound-togetherAnd finally, I am re-reading Bound Together from Christine Feehan for the Sea Haven guide update. This is another one where I sound like a weirdo, but as much as I like the book (and I do), and as much as I enjoy all of the books in all of the Sea Haven series (and I do), the story was heavier the second time around. I loved seeing the Drakes with the Sisters of the Heart and all of the Prakenskiis, and I find myself very intrigued by the Torpedo Ink gang, but what threw me off a bit was all of the rape survivors. Human trafficking is an issue that Christine Feehan has been focusing on recently, in several books and in different series, but man did you see it here. I didn’t really notice it until I was almost finished, but if you start adding up who had been a rape survivor/torture victim/human trafficking rescue, they outnumber the ones who weren’t. Elle. Jackson. Lexi. Most of the Prakenskiis. All of the Torpedo Ink club members. The four kids Airiana and Max are adopting. The young girls and teenaged boy Viktor and his team rescued. Kidnapped and raped. Raped and tortured by their “teachers”. Rape survivors. Kids being gang raped in real time. Ugh. I know it is a real-world issue, but it was getting a bit gruesome at times – and I was getting numb to the impact, which is worse. So, still a favorite series set in a favorite world, but I do hope that the whole human trafficking focus is wrapped up soon.

Ok, I rambled enough. What are you reading and enjoying this week? Are there any plotlines that you are getting worn out on? Anything you think needs to be addressed that isn’t?

 

Reading Wrap Up

tangled threadsHey all. It’s time to take a look at what we all have been reading lately. I am continuing on my Jennifer Estep Elemental Assassin mini-marathon, and I seem to be settling in. The repetition thing that bugged me so much in the first two books seems to be working itself out. I finished up both Venom and Tangled Threads, and it is chugging along pretty well. It isn’t jumping on my favorite series list yet, but it isn’t bad, either. I like the world-building and pretty much all of the supporting cast, but I’m not so sure how I feel about Gin. It isn’t that I dislike her character, I just can’t seem to warm up to her for some reason. Sometimes she comes off as a bit smug and superior, and it throws me off. Not enough to make me stop reading, but enough to get on my nerves once in a while.

something to howl aboutI also dove back into Christine Warren (in a small way). She used to be a must-read for me, and some of the books from her The Others series are among my all-time favorites. But during the course of the series, it seemed like I went from loving them, to being a bit bored, to actively disliking some of the characters, so I stopped reading her a few years back. Fast forward to this week, and I decided to pick up the novella from her new Alphaville series, Something to Howl About. It is sort of a spin-off of The Others, and it seemed to go back to what I enjoyed about the original series. I didn’t expect much, but I was pleasantly surprised.

And I did a re-read of all three Innkeeper Chronicles books from Ilona Andrews. It was a treat to get back into the world, and it was fun to pull a mini-marathon. It had been a while since I read them, and it made me realize all over again that I don’t think Ilona could ever write anything that I wouldn’t love. It sounds gushy to say that everything they write becomes an instant favorite, but it is true.

wicked abyssIt was also time to do a re-read of Wicked Abyss from Kresley Cole to update the Immortals After Dark character guide. I think I enjoyed this one more on my second read, honestly. I have found my IAD love really taking a down-turn the last couple of years, and for a while that made me sad. I don’t actively count down the days until the next release, I don’t get disappointed if the release date is pushed back, and I don’t actively hunt down any and all tidbits I can find about upcoming stories. It has settled into a solid, mid-range series for me, I guess – I enjoy it for what it is.

So, that’s me. What about you? What have you been reading and enjoying so far in 2018? Anything great (or not so great) to share?

Reading Wrap Up – Repeat Edition

wildfireYep, so it has been a bit since my last reading wrap up post, and things haven’t been too bad. I dove into Flame in the Dark from Faith Hunter, and I loved it. Totally worth staying up all night for, and I can’t wait to see where things go from here. Love Nell, love Occam, and love seeing their potential coupledom take a few big leaps forward, too. I also got back into the In Death series from J.D. Robb after a couple months long break, and that was welcome, too. The great thing is that it is like coming back to old friends, and with this series I never feel lost even after a bit of time away from them. Works out well. And I finally did my re-read of Wildfire from Ilona Andrews. I seriously can’t even tell you just how much I love the Hidden Legacy books. They are absolute favorites – like top 5 series of all time – and I do so hope for more.

I also tackled a new to me series I have been meaning to get to for forever, with…interesting results. I read a couple of Jennifer Estep‘s young adult offerings over the years, and actually quite enjoyed them. But I am having a little bit of an issue with the Elemental Assassin books. I mentioned in a post from last week that I thought I was nitpicking, but that the constant repetition of everyone’s eye color was getting on my last nerve. I liked pretty much everything else, but that one detail bugged the crap out of me. Once, twice, three times… I am fine with that. Repeating a characters eye color more than 40 times in one book – sometimes multiple times on a page – was over the top. Well, that was what I found in the first book, and my issue has expanded a bit.

Now, I have learned to basically skip the eye color thing. I might roll my hazel eyes a few times, but I was dealing. Until the rest of the repetition reared its ugly, ugly head. Descriptions and phrases are said pretty much word for word, over and over (and over) again, without end. The repetition was never ending.

I repeat: the repetition was never ending.

Gin’s 5 point weapons arrangement. Finn’s love of chicory coffee. Bria’s shaggy blonde hair. JoJo’s painted toenails. Sophia’s monosyllabic grunts. Over and over and over. But the one that really bugged me was weird. It was the way she referred to Sophia – long time friend, co-worker, helper, basically extended family member. She is either called The Dwarf or the Goth Dwarf 90% of the time, and for me it became insulting. Saying what she is a few times is fine, but she has a name. Use it. One of my friends is a bit older than me, and French, but I call her by her name, not the “old French chick”. I believe there was one page where she was referred to as the dwarf or the goth dwarf four times. ON ONE PAGE. I REPEAT – ON. ONE. PAGE. It got to the point where I was mixing up the names of the “Dwarf sisters” because Sophia’s name was so rarely used.

The problem is that I do like the storyline, and pretty much all of the characters – except Gin. Because the story is told from her first-person POV, I keep hearing her repeating everything so my annoyance has transferred to her. But I do like Finn, The “Goth Dwarf” and her sister, and Owen seems like he has potential (I am only on the third book, Venom). I really do want to keep going with the series, but I find myself skimming a bit when the verbal replays get too much. And as one of you warned me in the previous Nitpick post, apparently Gin picks up a nick-name for what I will assume is Owen that will really push me over the edge. Sigh. Something to look forward to. I repeat….eh, never mind.

New Series Alerts

Happy Monday, everyone. It is time to take a look at the new series starting up this week (which, surprisingly, are also the only new series I have listed for the whole month of December). This first one is actually a young adult release from Jennifer Estep. Spartan Heart is the first book of the Mythos Academy spin-off called Mythos Academy: Colorado.

spartan heartSynopsis…

New school year, same old problems . . .

At Mythos Academy, everyone knows exactly who I am: Rory Forseti, Spartan girl and the daughter of Reapers.

Even though I fought alongside my cousin Gwen Frost to save the mythological world from Loki and his evil Reapers of Chaos, I’m still the most hated girl at the academy because of all the horrible things my parents did. I had hoped that this school year would be different, but the other kids just won’t let me forget about my parents.

But something strange is going on at the Colorado Academy. First, I run into a Viking guy who dislikes me more than most. Then I notice some odd artifacts in the Library of Antiquities. And worst of all, I start hearing rumors about a new group of Reapers who can summon mythological monsters.

I might be the most hated girl at Mythos Academy, but I’m also the only one who can save it.

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And the second newbie is from Nora Roberts. Year One is the first book of her Chronicles of the One series, which from what I understand isn’t so much a romance as a post-apocalyptic dystopia.

year oneSynopsis…

It began on New Year’s Eve.

The sickness came on suddenly, and spread quickly. The fear spread even faster. Within weeks, everything people counted on began to fail them. The electrical grid sputtered; law and government collapsed—and more than half of the world’s population was decimated.

Where there had been order, there was now chaos. And as the power of science and technology receded, magic rose up in its place. Some of it is good, like the witchcraft worked by Lana Bingham, practicing in the loft apartment she shares with her lover, Max. Some of it is unimaginably evil, and it can lurk anywhere, around a corner, in fetid tunnels beneath the river—or in the ones you know and love the most.

As word spreads that neither the immune nor the gifted are safe from the authorities who patrol the ravaged streets, and with nothing left to count on but each other, Lana and Max make their way out of a wrecked New York City. At the same time, other travelers are heading west too, into a new frontier. Chuck, a tech genius trying to hack his way through a world gone offline. Arlys, a journalist who has lost her audience but uses pen and paper to record the truth. Fred, her young colleague, possessed of burgeoning abilities and an optimism that seems out of place in this bleak landscape. And Rachel and Jonah, a resourceful doctor and a paramedic who fend off despair with their determination to keep a young mother and three infants in their care alive.

In a world of survivors where every stranger encountered could be either a savage or a savior, none of them knows exactly where they are heading, or why. But a purpose awaits them that will shape their lives and the lives of all those who remain.

The end has come. The beginning comes next.

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I did enjoy the original Mythos Academy books, but I gave them up in an early book purge. Year One keeps calling to me, but if it isn’t much on the romance side then it might not be my thing. I guess I will have to keep an eye on the reviews to see what others think of it. Which of these will you be picking up? Any takers?

 

The One Where I Nit Pick

spider's biteYou know when you start a new book or series, and you think that “yeah, this really has potential”? One where you like the world building, characters, tone, everything. Well, maybe not everything. I have finally gotten to Jennifer Estep‘s Elemental Assassin series, and so far, so good…except for this one little nit pick that is driving me crazy. It is the constant repetition of colors, like when someone is pulling up to a house, for example. It is described as something like “a gray house with a black roof and white flower boxes with yellow flowers by the green grass…” Color color color. Hair color is also a big one to be mentioned over and over, with Gin’s bleached blonde hair, Finn’s mahogany hair, etc.

But the biggest and most glaring, by far, is the beating to death of eye color. I did a search on my Kindle for ipad, and Gin’s gray eyes are mentioned 21 times, Donovan’s hazel eyes I think are mentioned an even 20, things like that, Finn’s green eyes are up there, too. And they were sometimes weirdly inserted. Like “I moved until he was looking straight into my gray eyes.” I know it is a small thing, but I noticed it right from the start and now I just can’t un-see it. I know it is a nit pick in a book I am otherwise completely enjoying, but it is taking me out of the story every time it comes up.

Your turn. Do you have any nitpicks that drive you up the wall? Any authors or series that have a quirk that you find it hard to get by? Do those little things pull you out of the story, too, or do you get used to it and move on?