Review

Reading Wrap Up

booksIt has only been a few weeks since I did my last reading wrap up post, but it seems like so much longer. That is probably because I managed to go through a decent number of books for a change, and I also managed to tackle some of my TBR pile, too. A win/win.

First things first, and this is a big one for me…

I did it. I finally, finally tackled some of my huuuge Sherrilyn Kenyon TBR pile. Her books make up just shy of HALF of my total books to be read – yes, almost half – and the pile staring at me had gotten so out of control that I figured if I didn’t jump in now I never would. Not quite sure where to start, I tackled the first five Chronicles of Nick books, and I ended up quite liking them. I figure it will give me a bit of a backdrop for when I do get to the Dark-Hunter books, too. The Nick books I read were fun, and I flew through them really quickly. I can’t say I will be caught up with all of Kenyon’s books anytime soon, but at least I have gotten a decent start.

Hm, what else…oh, yeah. I finally got to the latest from Darynda Jones, The Curse of Tenth Grave. I didn’t dislike this one, but it was…lacking, somehow. Maybe it was because of the distance between Charley and Reyes (both physical ad emotional) for the vast majority of the book, especially since it was based on what felt like soap-opera level drama. I think for me, just Charley isn’t quite enough to carry the book – she needs the gang around, and they weren’t around much. Things did pick up in the last quarter, so all is good again. But like I said, when Reyes, Garrett, Osh and the rest aren’t around, it doesn’t quite work as well for me. Still funny and all, but not quite as engaging.

Well, I also broke down and decided to borrow a book. Weird, for me, but there you have it. For quite a while, I have debated on picking up Dark Promises from Christine Feehan. There were a couple of issues I had – the biggest being that I loathed the character of Gabrielle since she was first introduced way back when. She just rubbed me wrong even in the little bit she had been seen in previous books, but I wasn’t stoked to read a whole book about her. I probably would’ve bitten the bullet and just picked the darn thing up anyways, but then I read the first chapter excerpt on Christine’s website, and I really couldn’t stand the way Gabrielle came off. Whiny, needy, demanding, and completely oblivious to pretty much everything going on around her, that one chapter completely turned me off her. Plus, I was strangely weirded out by the thought Grandma Trixie. Not sure why, but it just sounded odd. Add to that the less than stellar reviews I had heard, and negative reactions to the “hero”. So, not excited for the book. At all. But I do still have higher hopes for the next one.

However, I was thinking that if I didn’t give this one a try, I might miss some story set up for future books. You know, the introduction of new characters, possible leads on new lifemates, that sort of thing. But nope. I could’ve completely skipped this one and not missed a thing. I thought Gabrielle was a waste of page time, and to be honest I can’t even remember the name of her lifemate. Nope, no clue what his name was. Trixie wasn’t that bad – I ended up preferring her and Fane to Gabrielle and…unknown ancient dude…but I did roll my eyes a few times at nearly virginal, still incredibly hot and awesomely built, self sacrificing great grandma Trixie, but at least it was good for a laugh. And at least she was different. Gabrielle followed my “Feehan Female Formula” down to letter…but at least it was someone else who mentioned the “awesome boots” this time. Joy.

And I finished up Nalini Singh‘s Archangel’s Heart just last night. It has a different tone to it than previous books, but I liked it. It wasn’t my favorite by a long shot, but it is always great to get back into a favorite world. There is a lot of Aodhan, too, and he is making great strides towards taking back his life. I am still getting a Sparkle/Bluebell vibe, but I can’t be completely sure if it is just me.

So, what have you been reading lately? Have you managed to tackle any long-standing TBR monsters, or have you been hitting all new releases?

Cover Lover

Cover Lover – 6 New Titles

Well, when I went through the covers I had gathered up for a cover lover post, I realized I had a few too many to do all at once. So maybe today I will do the adult covers, and the young adult tomorrow. Or something like that. Here goes…

This first one is from Nalini Singh‘s Rock Kiss series. Rock Wedding is the fourth book of the series, and it is due out on July 19th.

rock weddingAfter a lifetime of longing for a real family, Sarah Smith thought she’d finally found her home with rock star Abe Bellamy, even if she knew Abe didn’t love her the way she loved him. But their brief relationship, filled with tragedy and heartache, nearly destroyed her. Alone, emotions in turmoil, and already shaky self-esteem shattered, Sarah struggles to pick up the pieces in the wake of their divorce.

Abe knows he’s to blame for the end of his marriage. Caught in a web of painful memories, he pushed away the best thing in his life – the sexy, smart woman he adores – breaking them both in the process. Then fate throws him a second chance to get things right, to prove to Sarah that she means everything to him. Abe desperately wants that second chance at love…even if he knows he doesn’t deserve it.

But can he convince Sarah – now strong and independent without him – to risk her wounded heart one more time?

Sherrilyn Kenyon‘s Until Death Do We Part, a Dark-Hunter novella previously released in the Love at First Bite anthology, will be out in e-format on July 5th.

until death do we partThe only thing worse than being Dracula’s only daughter is falling in love with his bitterest enemy– a dark sorcerer warlord whose powers make a mockery of the legendary monster known for impalement and massacre. Forced to flee her father’s wrath over her secret marriage, Esperetta willing to sacrifice anything for Velkan Danesti, until she learns that he’s tied their immortal souls together without her permission– a lesson she doesn’t learn until after her father kills them and her husband sells both their souls to a Greek goddess and makes them eternal Dark-Hunters sworn to protect mankind from the demons who prey on them.

Now after living centuries apart, they must come together to fight an old enemy– that is if Retta doesn’t kill Velkan first.

This next one is also a re-do of a previously released Sherrilyn Kenyon story, but this time it is Sins of the Night, which will be re-released in hardcover on November 29th.

sons of the knightHarm no human. Drink no blood. Never fall in love.

But every now and again a Dark-Hunter thinks himself above the Code. That’s when I’m summoned. Who am I? I’m the one thing the fearless fear. Step over the line, and it’s my wrath you will face. Nothing can touch me. Nothing can sway me. I am relentless and unfeeling.

Or so I thought until I met a Dark-Hunter who goes by the name of Danger—it’s not just her name, it’s how she lives her life. She doesn’t trust me at all. And who could blame her? I’m here to be judge, jury, and the executioner of her friends. Yet she is my key to saving some of them. Without her, they will all die.

But as we try to save them, Dangereuse St. Richard is a deadly distraction. Something about her is reawakening feelings I’m not supposed to have. Especially compassion, which is a deadly emotion in a race against evil.

The only hope mankind has is that I do my duty. And yet how can I do my duty when it means that I will have to sacrifice the only woman I’ve ever loved?

I might only be on book 7, but I am hooked on J.D. Robb‘s In Death series. #44 will be called Echoes in Death, and it has a release date of February 2nd.

echoes in deathAfter 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?

This next one is from author Sandra Hill. Good Vampires Go To Heaven is from her Deadly Angels series, and it will be out on November 29th.

good vampires go to heavenWHEN HE WAS BAD . . .

Two-thousand-year-old vampire demon Zeb is supposed to spend eternity turning mortal sinners into bad guy Lucipires like himself. That way, they can grow their numbers and fight the vampire angels known as Vangels. But Zeb is a bad boy in a good way—secretly working as a double agent for none other than St. Michael the Archangel in hopes of one day earning his wings. Problem is, Zeb’s betrayal is discovered.

Hello, demon dungeon.

HE WAS VERY BAD . . .

Until Regina, a foxy, flame-haired Vangel witch on a rescue mission, busts out Zeb, along with three oddball Lucipire witches. Hello, temptation!

BUT TOGETHER THEY WERE VERY GOOD . . . !

Their escape unleashes a war to defeat all Vangels forevermore. In an epic madcap battle between good and evil, a Demon just might earn his wings . . . and spend eternity with the Vangel of his wildest dreams.

And wrapping up this batch is Rebecca Zanetti‘s Deadly Silence, which is the first book of her new Blood Brothers series. Look for it on October 4th.

deadly silence

There you have it. Which of these are on your must-read lists? I will be picking up Rock Wedding for sure, even though the though of Abe’s story doesn’t really grab me. Who am I kidding? I was that way about Noah’s book, too, and ended up loving it. I am way behind on the In Death books, so this one won’t be on my radar for a while, and I haven’t even touched Kenyon yet. Sigh. So little time…

Cover Lover

Cover Lover – 7 New Titles

Well, let’s take a peek at some covers  for upcoming releases, starting with a couple from Alexandra Ivy. This first one isn’t PNR, but instead it comes from her ARES series. Kill Without Shame is the second book of the series, and it will be released on December 27th.

kill-without-shameLucas St. Clair’s prestigious family had a political future neatly planned out for him—one that didn’t include his high school sweetheart, Mia Ramon. Under their pressure, Lucas gave her up. But since surviving captivity, he’s a changed man—and a crucial member of ARES Security. When he discovers a dead man clutching a picture of Mia that bears a threatening message, his fiercest protective instincts kick in, and he knows he must go to her.

Mia has never forgiven Lucas for breaking her heart, and she’s convinced her feelings for him are in the past. But it’s soon clear that isn’t true for either of them. Now, determined to solve the crime and keep Mia safe, with his ARES buddies backing him up, Lucas will have to reconstruct the murder victim’s last days—and follow a lethal trail that leads right back to the fate of the woman he still loves…

This second Ivy cover is actually an e-format re-release of Taken by Darkness, a story originally published in the Yours For Eternity anthology, and it is due out on December 6th.

taken-by-darknessThe daughter of a witch, Juliet Lawrence has inherited magical powers – powers that could be quite useful to Victor, Marquess DeRosa, London’s most powerful vampire. But that’s not all Victor desires of Juliet. He wants the unpredictable beauty in his bed – and he is accustomed to getting what he wants…

Lisa Shearin‘s next SPI Files book will be called The Ghoul Vendetta, and it will be out on January 31st.

the ghoul vendettaA vampire gangster’s nephew is abducted off his yacht by a bunch of low-rent Creatures from the Black Lagoon. A slew of banks are knocked over by what looks like the cast of Night of the Living Dead. All of this may seem like the movies, but, I promise you, it’s not.

I’m Makenna Fraser, seer for SPI, and I know the culprits aren’t wearing disguises or makeup. They’re real. Deadly real. Especially their leader—an ancient shapeshifter who leaves a trail of chaos and blood in his wake. Now, he’s taken my partner, Ian—and his intentions aren’t pretty.

The worst part? This is only the beginning…

The beginning of the end of the human race.

This next one is from Paige Tyler and her SWAT series. Wolf Unleashed is the fifth book in the series, and it has a release date of December 6th.

wolf unleashedWolf shifter Alex Trevino has fallen hard for veterinarian Lacey Barton. Getting her to agree to a date is a lot of work—and winning her heart proves even harder.

Lacey can’t deny her crazy attraction to Alex, but she has no intention of letting herself fall for him. In her less than stellar experience, men don’t stick around.

When Lacey’s sister is kidnapped, it’s up to Alex to crack the case—and prove to Lacey that he isn’t going anywhere.

Sylvain Reynard‘s final book in The Florentine series will be called The Roman, and it will be out this December.

the romanRaven and her sister, Cara, are at the mercy of a small detachment of Florentine vampyres, who are delivering them as a peace offering to the feared Curia in Rome.

Though she’s unsure William survived the coup that toppled his principality, Raven is determined to protect her sister at all costs, even if it means challenging Borek, the commander of the detachment.

In an effort to keep Raven from falling into the hands of his enemies, William puts himself at the mercy of the Roman, the dangerous and mysterious vampyre king of Italy. But the Roman is not what he expects …

Alliances and enmities will shift and merge as William struggles to save the woman he loves and his principality, without plunging the vampyre population into a world war.

This next one is Born of Vengeance from Sherrilyn Kenyon, which is the part of the League series. Yeah, I am not feeling this style change in the last couple of books. They were awesome when they just had the sword on the front, but the addition of the dude really takes away from the design for me. Either way, this one will be out on February 1st.

born of vengeanceA fate worse than death . . .

Bastien Cabarro survived the brutal slaughter of his entire family only to have his wife pin their murders on him. Made Ravin by The League, he is now a target for their assassins-in-training to hunt and kill. The average life expectancy for such beings is six weeks. But defying the odds is what this Gyron Force officer does best, and Bastien won’t rest until he lays his betrayers in their graves.

Ten years later, he has one chance to balance the scales of justice, provided he relies on his former wingman— the very sister of the woman who testified against him.

Major Ember Wyldestarrin joined the outlaw Tavali the day Kirovar fell into the hands of a tyrant, and she and her team were left on an outpost to die under the barrage of enemy…

And this final one for today is from V.E. Schwab. A Conjuring of Light is the third book in her Shades of Magic series, and it will be released on February 21st.

a conjuring of lightLondons fall and kingdoms rise while darkness sweeps the Maresh Empire—and the fraught balance of magic blossoms into dangerous territory while heroes and foes struggle alike. The direct sequel to A Gathering of Shadows, and the final book in the Shades of Magic epic fantasy series, A Conjuring of Light sees Schwab reach a thrilling culmination concerning the fate of beloved protagonists—and old enemies.

Do you like the change in the League cover design? Which one of these catch your eye?

Spotlight on...

Spotlight Wednesday – Dianna Love

Time again to check out some of our favorite authors who don’t maybe get the attention that they deserve. This week’s spotlight author is Dianna Love and her Belador series, which is a recommended read from Monica. This one is a little unique, actually, since the Belador series started out as a collaboration with the super-popular Sherrilyn Kenyon. But because Sherrilyn is one of the busiest, most prolific writers out there, the timing became difficult and Dianna decided to continue the series on her own.

The 7th book was released just last month, and it is called Rogue Belador. But going back to the beginning, the first book is called Blood Trinity. You can find an excerpt on Dianna’s site, along with excerpts from all of the following books, but let’s check out the one that started it all…

blood trinitySynopsis…

Atlanta has become the battlefield between human and demon. An outcast among Beladors, Evalle Kincaid has walked the line between human and beast her whole life. Her origins unknown, she’s on a quest to learn more about her past . . . and her future. When a demon claims a young woman in a terrifying attack and there’s no one else to blame, Evalle comes under suspicion and the only person who might help her is Storm, a sexy new agent with secrets of his own. Now she’s on a deadly quest for her own survival. Through the sordid underground of an alternate Atlanta where nothing is as it seems to the front lines of the city, where her former allies have joined forces to hunt her, Evalle must prove her innocence or pay the ultimate price.But saving herself is the least of her problems if she doesn’t stop the coming apocalypse. The clock is ticking and Atlanta is about to catch fire…

Other books in the series:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

dianna loveAbout Dianna Love: After spending many years traveling across country to create unusual marketing projects for Fortune 500 company, she’s now released her energetic muse on creating high-octane romantic thriller stories and urban fantasy. She is also the author of the romantic-suspense Slye Temp books.

. . .

Your turn, everyone. Who else is a fan of this series? What other authors or series do you think deserve a little more attention? Just hit the “Contact Me” button on the top menu and drop me a line, and we can turn the spotlight on another hidden jem.

Cover Lover

Cover Lover – 7 New Titles

Time for a little cover lover post, starting with this one from Sherrilyn Kenyon and her Chronicles of Nick series. Intensity will be released on April 24th.

intensityIt’s a demon-eat-demon world for Nick Gautier. Just when he thinks he’s finally gotten a handle on how not to take over the world and destroy it, Death returns with an all-star cast that is determined to end the Malachai reign and lineage forever. Worse? Death and War have found the one, true enemy Nick can’t find, and even if he did, it’s one he could never bring himself to banish or kill.

Now framed for murders he hasn’t committed, and surrounded by new friends who might be turncoats, Nick is learning fast how his father went down in flames.

The heat in New Orleans is rising fast, and Nick’s threat-level has gone into a whole new level of intensity. He’s learning fast that when War and Death decide to battle, they don’t take prisoners. The don’t negotiate. And they’re both immune to his biting sarcasm and Cajun charm. To win this, he will have to embrace a new set of powers, but one wrong step, and he will belong to the side of Darkness, forever.

Lilith Saintcrow‘s Wastland King is up next. It is part of her Gallow and Ragged series, and it is due out on June 28th.

wasteland kingThe thrilling conclusion to New York Times bestselling author Lilith Saintcrow’s dark fantasy series where the faery world inhabits diners, dive bars and trailer parks.

The plague has broken loose, the Wild Hunt is riding, and the balance of power in the sidhe realms is still shifting. The Unseelie King has a grudge against Jeremiah Gallow, but it will have to wait. For he needs Gallow’s services for a very delicate mission — and the prize for success is survival itself.

In order to save both Robin Ragged and himself, Gallow will have to do the unspeakable…

Dragon Spawn is up next. It is part of the World of the Lupi series from Eileen Wilks, and it has a release date of December 6th.

dragon spawnLily learns she was right. Tom Weng—a powerful sorcerer allied with the Old One who keeps trying to take over the world—is still alive. But that’s not the worst. Weng is a dragon spawn, the product of a botched hatching given a human form in an attempt to keep him from going mad. A failed attempt.

Meanwhile, Lily’s husband Rule is facing a Challenge to the death. Then there’s the possible reappearance of another sorcerer. But none of that matters when their enemy strikes out of nowhere in the worst way possible. Lily must face a nightmare and return to a place she never wanted to see again. The place where she died…

A novella set in Seanan McGuire‘s October Daye world will be released on August 2nd, and it is called Full of Briars.

full of briarsFull of Briars is a novelette set between Chimes at Midnight and The Winter Long, narrated by Quentin as he faces that most terrifying moment in a young squire’s life: the meeting between his parents and his knight.

The second book of the Viking Warriors series from Asa Marie Bradley, Viking Warrior Rebel, will be released on October 4th.

viking warrior rebelImmortal Valkyrie Astrid Idrisdotter almost killed an innocent bystander during her last mission. The only way to redeem herself is to escort the Viking queen’s brother back home for the royal wedding. But when she arrives at the exclusive clinic where the brother has convalesced, she discovers that he’s been kidnapped by Loki’s genetically manipulated monsters. Finding their lair requires resources Astrid does not have. Desperate, she turns to an ex-lover for help. A man whose piercing eyes notices too much, including the secrets and insecurities she works so hard to hide. The one man immune to her looks and charm, her two greatest weapons.

Undercover FBI agent Luke Holden poses as a nightclub owner while investigating rogue government operations that genetically manipulate people in order to create super soldiers. Suspecting a connection between the Viking queen and these labs, he’s had his eye on the Norse warriors for a while. Especially on irresistible Astrid who he can’t stop thinking about even though her jade-green eyes takes the color of Nordic fjords when she sees him. Perhaps because he handled their one night of passion badly, but he can’t reveal that real reason he ran out on her the next morning was to pursue an informant’s tip.

These two combatants must find a way to work together in order to defeat their common enemy–without killing each other first. And when the war with Loki’s creatures escalate, they both have to make a hard choice between duty and love.

Nora Roberts will wrap up her Guardian’s Trilogy on December 6th with the release of the third book, Island of Glass.

island of glassAs the hunt for the Star of Ice leads the six guardians to Ireland, Doyle, the immortal, must face his tragic past. Three centuries ago, he closed off his heart, yet his warrior spirit is still drawn to the wild. And there’s no one more familiar with the wild than Riley—and the wolf within her…

An archaeologist, Riley is no stranger to the coast of Clare, but now she finds herself on unsure footing, targeted by the dark goddess who wants more than the stars, more than the blood of the guardians. While searching through Irish history for clues that will lead them to the final star and the mysterious Island of Glass, Riley must fight her practical nature and admit her sudden attraction to Doyle is more than just a fling. For it is his strength that will sustain her and give her the power to run towards love—and save them all…

And this final one for today is a young adult release from Bree Despain. The Immortal Throne is the third book from the Into the Dark trilogy, and it will be released on October 1st.

the immortal throneIn the final installment of the Into the Dark trilogy, Haden and Daphne are stuck in separate realms, racing time to save each other and fulfill their destinies before the monstrous Keres destroys everything they know.

Both the Chronicles of Nick and World of the Lupi books are on my TBR pile, and both of them are ones that I have high hopes to start soonish. Are any of these on your must read list?