Shards of Hope. It is Mine.

shards of hope arcYes, this comes off as bragging, and probably seems sad to those who get ARC’s all the time, but I still get so excited to find one of these puppies in my mailbox. Nalini Singh has been kind enough to send over a copy of her last three books, with Shards of Hope being the latest. I am just over 200 pages in, and it is really, really good. I like the big, bold stories (Kaleb and Sahara), but I also like the quieter, more personal ones (Ivy and Vasic), and this one seems to fall in the middle.

What can I tell you without spoilers? Hmmm. It is longer than Shield of Winter, with the ARC clocking in at nearly 500 pages. It starts off with a bang, and Aden and Zaira are in trouble from the start. We have to play catch up along with them to figure out what is going on, and who is pulling the strings behind the scenes. Aden is the heart of the Arrows, and his story so far focuses more on the squad than Vasic’s did. Where Aden is calm, focused on the good of his people, and determined to see the Arrows find their way in a world where Silence has fallen, Zaira is a bit of a wild card. And I am not sure I would like to meet her in a dark alley.

On the Changeling side of things, there is a bit of DarkRiver, a bit of SnowDancer, and even a glimpse behind the scenes of the Russian wolf pack. But the star so far has been the RainFire pack, headed by Alpha Remi. I was a bit meh on a new pack being introduced until the remaining SnowDancer changelings had their stories told, but RainFire was a great addition. Now I can’t wait to get more into them. And there is a pack-member of RainFire we have briefly met before in another story, and I can’t tell you why but I was so excited to see them again it made me like RainFire even more.

So, that is how I am spending my evening, with Aden and his Arrows, and one very scary leading lady. How about you?

Cover Lover – Archangel’s Enigma

Nalini Singh just literally 2 minutes ago posted the cover for her next Guild Hunter book, Archangel’s Enigma. Yes, that means I have slightly stalkerish tendencies, but sometimes it pays off…

archangel's enigmaNaasir is the most feral of the powerful group of vampires and angels known as the Seven, his loyalty pledged to the Archangel Raphael. When rumors surface of a plot to murder the former Archangel of Persia, now lost in the Sleep of the Ancients, Naasir is dispatched to find him. For only he possesses the tracking skills required—those more common to predatory animals than to man.

Enlisted to accompany Naasir, Andromeda, a young angelic scholar with dangerous secrets, is fascinated by his nature—at once playful and brilliant, sensual and brutal. As they race to find the Sleeping archangel before it’s too late, Naasir will force her to question all she knows…and tempt her to walk into the magnificent, feral darkness of his world. But first they must survive an enemy vicious enough to shatter the greatest taboo of the angelic race and plunge the world into a screaming nightmare…

Me like. Pretty, eye catching, and leaves some mystery. Naasir will be more than a handful, you can bet. Look for Archangel’s Enigma on September 1st.

Release Day Review – Rock Hard

Thanks once again to Monika, who sent over her review for Nalini Singh‘s latest Rock Kiss book, Rock Hard. Personally, it was one of my most anticipated reads after first meeting Charlie and T-Rex in the first book. And, like Monika, I wasn’t disappointed…

rock hardWhat Monika said…

Ever since they appeared as secondary characters in Rock Addiction I wanted to read Charlie and T-Rex’ story and their dance turned out to be a very entertaining and funny read that I devoured in less than a day.

The company Charlotte works for is in trouble as a result of mismanagement. For this reason the owners hire Gabriel Bishop, former rugby player turned manager as a troubleshooter, since he specializes in turning around floundering businesses. He cuts a swath through the firm, weeding out incompetent staff. Since under the previous management her skills have been greatly undervalued, Charlotte is convinced she is going to be next. But when her new boss calls her to his office, it is not to fire her but to offer her a new job as his personal assistant. Though Charlotte is timid at first, she is also intelligent and possesses a quick wit, and as she is growing more confident the two of them begin to lock horns, in the office and outside of it.
From her conversations with Molly in Rock Addiction we know that Charlie secretly lusts after her new boss and his hot body (there just it something about tattoos). And although Charlie doesn’t  match his usual quarry, the T-Rex is quite taken with her and starts to gently pursue her. But before their blossoming romance can progress, they both have to overcome the shadows from their past, in Charlie’s case those are intimacy issues she has since a relationship turned horribly wrong and for Gabriel it’s the fear of being poor and coming to terms with his father…

As all of Nalini Singh’s books this one is well written and well-paced, with witty dialogue, interesting and likable main protagonists and fleshed-out secondary characters that you can’t help but fall in love with. Also, Singh manages to add just the right amount of local color to make you want to visit New Zealand. I am not a big fan of rugby, in fact know nothing about the game, but her descriptions make me want to learn more about it.
Molly’s and Fox’ story started with a big bang, and though Charlie’s and the T-Rex’s first encounter is also memorable, their relationship develops at a much slower pace. It takes quite a bit of time until they have their first date and even longer before they end up in bed together. Some readers complained that there was too much sex in Rock Addiction: they will not have much to complain on that score in Rock Hard. Not that that is necessarily is a bad thing, especially since it makes sense within the logic of the story.

For me Rock Hard is a bit too light and lacks the emotional intensity that is characteristic for Singh’s Psy/Changeling and Guild Hunter stories. It’s a sweet office romance but one that follows rather conventional lines.
Overall I would give this book 4.5 stars for an entertaining and carefree read that will leave you with an upbeat feeling.

What was your take on Rock Hard? Did it live up to expectations for you, too?

Rock Hard Review-Type Thing…

rock hardNalini Singh‘s newsletter came out today (er, yesterday?), and in it she mentioned that Rock Hard was up for review at Netgalley. Yes, that Rock Hard, as in Charlie and T-Rex and one of my must-have-now books for this year (ok, there are a few of those, but I have a dull life). I don’t Netgalley, but for Nalini I am willing to try anything once. Surprisingly, I was approved, and it was mine. The only thing is that you are encouraged to review, of course, so here is what I wrote…

I have to preface this by making two points. First, I am not a huge contemporary romance fan. My reading of them is sparse, and the few times I break down and try one I am usually not all that impressed. The second point? I love Nalini Singh’s writing, and would read pretty much anything she wrote. Maybe the two points balance each other enough to give a fair review.

Simply put, this was a hell of a book. I, as have many others, have waited for Charlie and T-Rex’s story since they completely stole the show in Rock Addiction, and there was no disappointment at all. It was at times sweet, sad, funny, and sexy. T-Rex is Nalini’s special brand of alpha hero, but Charlotte more than held her own. As shy as she was, and as afraid as she could be, it was wonderful to watch her fight her way back to living a whole life. It wasn’t easy, but it was realistic.

We knew going into Rock Hard that Charlie had had a traumatic event in her past, and I sort of had an inkling as to what it was from bits and pieces we already knew. For that matter, Gabriel himself didn’t always have the easiest time of things, either. I think what I liked was that they don’t heal each other – they help each other heal themselves. And both are a work in progress.

So, in summary…great story, loved the characters, and can’t wait for the re-read. This was one of my most anticipated reads for the first half of the year, and it didn’t let me down.

I can’t call what I write reviews. I used to do these big, involved write ups that I spent a ton of time on, trying not to ramble too much or give too much away while still hitting the high points. They were actually stressing me out. So, instead I now just try to say whether I liked it or not, basically. I was so happy with this one. Sometimes I got frustrated when Charlotte would have a set back, but I was frustrated FOR her, not AT her or the story. And I want a T-Rex of my own. Just saying.

If you can, head over to Netgalley for your copy. If not, you only have a month to go before Rock Hard can be yours.

Cover Lover – 6 New Titles

I was going to post this last night, but I thought I would hold off for Nalini Singh‘s cover reveal for Rock Hard, the second book in her Rock Kiss series which is due out on March 10th. While I liked the first book, T-Rex and Charlie stole the show, and to say I am excited for their turn would be an understatement.

rock hardWealthy businessman Gabriel Bishop rules the boardroom with the same determination and ruthlessness that made him a rock star on the rugby field. He knows what he wants, and he’ll go after it no-holds-barred.

And what he wants is Charlotte Baird.

Charlotte knows she’s a mouse. Emotionally scarred and painfully shy, she just wants to do her job and remain as invisible as possible. But the new CEO—a brilliant, broad-shouldered T-Rex of a man who growls and storms through the office, leaving carnage in his wake—clearly has other plans. Plans that may be equal parts business and bedroom.

If Charlotte intends to survive this battle of wits and hearts, the mouse will have to learn to wrangle the T-Rex. Game on.

Purchase at Amazon.com

The rest of the batch is all young adult releases. First up is the somewhat unexpected fourth book from the Sweet trilogy from Wendy Higgins, Sweet Temptation. It is due out on September 8th.

sweet temptationBad boy Kaidan Rowe has never wanted for anything—money, popularity, musical talent…hot girls—but seducing them is part of his duty as a Nephilim, slave to the demon Dukes. As the son of the Duke of Lust, Kaidan has learned his father’s ways, becoming a master of passion, a manipulator of chemistry. Disobeying his father would mean certain death. Thankfully for Kaidan, he’s good at his job. And he enjoys it.

Until he meets Anna Whitt—sweet, smart, feisty, and inexplicably good—the one girl seemingly immune to his charms. The daughter of a guardian angel and a fallen one, she has a certain power over him, one that makes him wish for more than he could ever deserve.

Determined to save all the Neph from their dark lives as the influencers of sin, Anna joins forces with Kaidan to overcome the demons’ oppressive ways. In the light of her affections, Kaidan must undergo his toughest test of all, a battle of the heart.

Sensual and swoon worthy, this companion volume to the acclaimed Sweet Evil series from New York Times bestselling author Wendy Higgins, told from the perspective of the irresistibly sexy and mysterious Kaidan Rowe, gives readers revealing insights into his struggle, his intense connection to Anna, and most of all, the true emotions that drive him.

Purchase at Amazon.com

Ten Thousand Skies Above You is the second book from Claudia Gray‘s Firebird series, and it is due out on November 3rd.

ten thousand skies above youMarguerite Caine has done the impossible, traveling to alternate dimensions with the Firebird—the brilliant invention of her parents, her boyfriend, Paul, and their friend Theo. But she has also caught the attention of enemies willing to kidnap, blackmail, and even kill to use the Firebird for themselves.

When Paul’s soul is splintered into four pieces—pieces that are trapped within Pauls in other dimensions—Marguerite will do anything, and travel anywhere, to save him. But the price of his safe return is steep. If she doesn’t sabotage her parents in multiple universes, Paul will be lost forever.

Unwilling to sacrifice her family, Marguerite enlists the brilliant Theo to help. The two forge a plan to save Paul and the Firebird, but succeeding means outsmarting a genius and risking not only their lives but also the lives of their counterparts in every other dimension.

Their mission takes them to the most dangerous universes yet: a war-torn San Francisco, the criminal underworld of New York City, and a glittering Paris where another Marguerite hides a shocking secret. Each leap brings Marguerite closer to saving Paul—but her journey reveals dark truths that lead her to doubt the one constant she’s found between the worlds: their love for each other.

Purchase at Amazon.com

The third book of Amanda Sun‘s Paper Gods trilogy, Storm, is due out on June 30th.

stormAfter almost a year in Japan, Katie Greene has finally unearthed the terrible secret behind her boyfriend Tomohiro’s deadly ability to bring drawings to life—not only is he descended from Kami, the ancient Japanese gods, but he is the heir to a tragedy that occurred long ago, a tragedy that is about to repeat.

Even as the blood of a vengeful god rages inside Tomo, Katie is determined to put his dark powers to sleep. In order to do so, she and Tomo must journey to find the three Imperial Treasures of Japan. Gifts from the goddess Amaterasu herself, these treasures could unlock all of the secrets about Tomo’s volatile ancestry and quell the ink’s lust for destruction. But in order to complete their quest, Tomo and Katie must confront out-of-control Kami and former friend Jun, who has begun his own quest of revenge against those he believes have wronged him. To save the world, and themselves, Katie and Tomo will be up against one of the darkest Kami creations they’ve ever encountered—and they may not make it out alive.

Purchase at Amazon.com

Next up is Gabriel, the second book in Nikki Kelly‘s Styclar Saga, which is due out on October 27th.

gabrielThe handsome Angel from Lailah gets center stage in this continuation of Wattpad sensation Nikki Kelly’s romantic and action-packed series about mortals, vampires, and angels.

Gabriel is an Angel Descendant. He’s also an ally to a generation of vampires who want to break away from the demon who controls them. His faith in the power of good over evil wavers, however, when he discovers that Lailah, the woman he considers his only true love, may be both angel and demon. Is their love enough to overcome the dark forces who are ready to go to war with Gabriel, the vampire Jonah, and the angel and vampire forces? And can Gabriel compete with Jonah, who is also in love with Lailah?

Once again, Nikki Kelly looks deeply into the heart and soul of good and evil to create a romantic, action-packed reading adventure.

Purchase at Amazon.com

Originally, the Penryn and the End of Days series was rumored to be six books, but it looks like it will be ending at three. Susan Ee‘s End of Days will be released on May 12th.

end of daysAfter a daring escape from the angels, Penryn and Raffe are on the run. They’re both desperate to find a doctor who can reverse the twisted changes inflicted by the angels on Raffe and Penryn’s sister. As they set off in search of answers, a startling revelation about Raffe’s past unleashes dark forces that threaten them all.

When the angels release an apocalyptic nightmare onto humans, both sides are set on a path toward war. As unlikely alliances form and strategies shift, who will emerge victorious? Forced to pick sides in the fight for control of the earthly realm, Raffe and Penryn must choose: Their own kind, or each other?

Purchase at Amazon.com

There are a few good ones in this batch, but my biggie is of course Rock Hard. There is a couple chapter long excerpt that went up yesterday, and it looks like it will be a fun read.

Guild Hunter #8 Reveal

Today, over on Nalini Singh‘s blog, she did the big reveal for Guild Hunter #8. At this point in the series, I really am happy with anyone’s story. There isn’t one I am looking forward to more than the others – Illium, Aodhan, Venom, Raphael and Elena – all are welcome. But I have to admit that I was more than a little excited to see that Archangel’s Enigma will in fact be Naasir’s story.

Naasir is the most feral of the powerful group of vampires and angels known as the Seven, his loyalty pledged to the Archangel Raphael. When rumors surface of a plot to murder the former Archangel of Persia, now lost in the Sleep of the Ancients, Naasir is dispatched to find him. For only he possesses the tracking skills required—those more common to predatory animals than to man.

Enlisted to accompany Naasir, Andromeda, a young angelic scholar with dangerous secrets, is fascinated by his nature—at once playful and brilliant, sensual and brutal. As they race to find the Sleeping archangel before it’s too late, Naasir will force her to question all she knows…and tempt her to walk into the magnificent, feral darkness of his world. But first they must survive an enemy vicious enough to shatter the greatest taboo of the angelic race and plunge the world into a screaming nightmare…

Archangel’s Enigma will be released this September. Anyone else excited to see more Naasir? You just know this one is going to be quite a wild time.

November Wrap Up…

This might be a couple of days early, but since things have been so quiet around lately I thought maybe we could take a look back at the month that was.

Personally, November was a truly meh month. There were a couple of highlights, but I spent a good portion of it trying to drag myself through one book. I was too stubborn to give up on it, and too uninterested to keep going. Tricky.

Haunted – This fifth book in the Women of the Otherworld series by Kelley Armstrong wasn’t bad. Not really. I just found myself unable to get into it. I don’t think I am  big on the whole ghost thing, I guess, since I found it rather dull. Maybe part of it was because there was so little interaction with the other characters that it read like a stand alone, too. It didn’t have the same feel as the other books for me, and while that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it just didn’t work for me here. Now it is time to dive back in and get caught up on the novellas.

Night Shift – To be fair, I am judging this one based on only reading half of the stories (yet), but I thought the Ilona Andrews and Nalini Singh novellas in the Night Shift anthology were awesome. I don’t think I could pick a favorite between the two, but secretly I will admit that I was thrilled to finally see a softer side of Jim. This collection ended up being the highlight of my month.

And, other than a couple of random e-books that I don’t even remember the titles of, that was pretty much my pathetic reading for November. I am still waiting for my copy of Gena Showalter‘s The Darkest Touch and G.A. Aiken‘s new one, Light My Fire, but hopefully they will could towards a great December.

How did your November reading fare? Any standouts, either good or bad, surprises or excitements?

 

Pick of the Week…

Even though I couldn’t wait for my copy of Nalini Singh and Ilona Andrews‘ new release, Night Shift, so I actually decided to order a copy through Kindle (and waited up until 4:00 am so I could read it), I am going with something different for my pick of the week. Getting Jim and Dali and Bastien stories in the same anthology is a real treat, but I think getting Torin’s Lords of the Underworld series is going to just edge it out for this post. Strangely enough, Gena Showalter hasn’t upped any info about upcoming Lords stories, which makes me wonder if she is going to concentrate on her two new series she is starting up rather than finish up what she already has going. Anyways, my pick is going to be The Darkest Touch

the darkest touchSynopsis…

Fierce immortal warrior. Host to the demon of Disease. Torin’s every touch causes sickness and death—and a worldwide plague. Carnal pleasure is utterly forbidden, and though he has always overcome temptation with an iron will, his control is about to shatter.

She is Keeley Cael. The Red Queen. When the powerful beauty with shocking vulnerabilities escapes from a centuries-long imprisonment, the desire that simmers between her and Torin is scorching. His touch could mean the end for her, but resisting her is the hardest battle he’s ever fought—and the only battle he fears he can’t win.

So, there it is. What did you think of the great books that came out this week? I loved Night Shift, and both Nalini and Ilona delivered. Next up for me is The Darkest Touch…has anyone else given it a shot yet? What did you think of the long-awaited story of Torin?

Kate Daniels Swag and Night Shift Giveaway…

giveaway bannerThis one is actually a joint giveaway, with 99% of the credit going to Danielle Pless. She very kindly offered to donate some of her great Kate Daniels’ swag to Wicked Scribes for a giveaway, and I thought I would add another copy of the upcoming Night Shift anthology to top it off. Danielle has a shop over on the Etsy site called Altered Expressions, where she offers charm bracelets, key chains, book marks and pendants, among other things. Take a peek…she has some great things for the Kate fan.

Danielle is offering up all of the following bag charms, zipper pulls, and keychains…

1il_570xN.622424731_f6upil_570xN.622434745_5em7il_570xN.665010938_orjnPlus, the next Kate world story…

night shiftSynopsis…

Four masters of urban fantasy and paranormal romance plunge readers into the dangerous, captivating world unearthed beyond the dark…

New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh delivers a smoldering story with Secrets at Midnight , as the scent of Bastien Smith’s elusive lover ignites a possessiveness in him that’s as feral as it is ecstatic. And now that he’s found his mate, he’ll do anything to keep her.

In #1 New York Times bestselling author Ilona Andrews’ novella, Magic Steals , when people start going missing, shapeshifting tigress Dali Harimau and jaguar shifter Jim Shrapshire must uncover the truth about the mysterious creatures responsible.

From Milla Vane—a warrior princess must tame The Beast of Blackmoor to earn a place among her people. But she quickly discovers that the beast isn’t a monster, but a barbarian warrior who intends to do some taming himself.

It’s seer Makenna Frazier’s first day on the job at Supernatural Protection and Investigations, and her first assignment is more than she bargained for when bodyguard duty for a leprechaun prince’s bachelor party goes every which way but right in national bestselling author Lisa Shearin’s Lucky Charms.

If you would like to enter this giveaway, just leave a comment in the comment section below. Contest open to all, winner to be chosen at random. Let’s wrap this one up on Wednesday at Midnight, Atlantic time. Good luck…and thanks again to Danielle.

Hidden Legacy Character Guide

Just a quick note to say that I have started a Character Guide for the new Ilona Andrews‘ series, Hidden Legacy (it is easier to start when the series is new than to go back later and try and do 6 or 7 books). I also removed the guide for the Mythos Academy series from Jennifer Estep, because I really just didn’t think anyone, me included, ever actually used it.

Oh, and does anyone think they want a guide for Nalini Singh‘s new Rock Kiss series? I have done her two previous series, so I wouldn’t mind keeping up and adding another, but I am not sure it is something many would actually use. Let me know if you think I should add it, since it wouldn’t take long.