Tag Archives: Diana Peterfreund

Books for November

I know I said October had a lot of new releases – well, I feel as though November has even more.

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13578466Sharon Shinn‘s ROYAL AIRS (fantasy): I am so excited about this one, you have no idea.  I loved TROUBLED WATERS, the first book in this series (though I recall reviews were slightly mixed) – I’m glad she’s decided to revisit this world.

“Master storyteller Sharon Shinn created the thrilling and enchanting world of Welce in her acclaimed novel “Troubled Waters.” Return with her to that elemental universe in this tale of secrecy, romance, and a battle for power…”

Josetta is a princess of one of the Five Families. But she is far from the throne, so she is free to spend her days working in the poorest sections of the city.

Rafe Adova, an outcast since he was born, lives the life of a career gambler in those slums. He has no ambition other than cheating at the card tables—until the night he decides to help a girl named Corene, who looks like she’s stumbled into the wrong bar. She, too, is a princess—sister to Josetta, who finds her with Rafe. He fascinates her.

Josetta has never encountered anyone like him—someone seemingly devoid of elemental blessings. He is drawn to her, though he thinks they are unlikely to ever meet again—but their connection grows strong when she nurses him back to health after he is assaulted by foreign mercenaries.

And when they learn the reason he’s being hunted, they know that the truth about his history could endanger not only their love but also their very lives…

Out Nov 4

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13544081Sharon Lee & Steve Miller‘s TRADE SECRET (SF): I actually have this book already, thanks to Baen’s policy of releasing ebooks the month before the hardcover publication. While it’s another Liaden Universe book, it’s not part of the Korval storyline (I think, anyway) – I remember liking Jethri’s story in BALANCE OF TRADE, so I’m glad we get to see what happens next.

Star-spanning galactic trader Jethri Gobelyn’s story continues in the seventeenth entry in the Liaden Universe series by master storytellers Sharon Lee and Steve Miller.

In a universe full of interstellar intrigue and burgeoning commerce, novice Terran trader Jethri Gobelyn, adopted by a Liaden clan after an ill-directed bow of honor insulted the scion of a major Liaden house, is alive and whole to tell the tale. Convinced that the adoption has saved his life and made his future, he settles into a comfortable and even elite routine, a Trader’s Ring his goal.

Even as Jethri’s initiation into the mysteries and joys of Liaden Festival bring him to manhood, he’s forced to face Necessity and the facts of life: his adoption has also invigorated a net of unfinished Balance far more complex and potentially deadly than a simple Terran blood feud. He must embrace his Terran birthright as well as his Liaden connections while leaving behind the safety of the great Liaden trade ship Elthoria to defend his honor and that of shipmates past and present. Forced to sit Second Board as a back-up pilot on a Liaden Scout ship, Jethri’s convinced he’s already at wit’s end—when several familiar faces threaten all that he knows of himself, and all that he wishes to do.

Out Nov 5

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15724097Julia Spencer-Fleming‘s THROUGH THE EVIL DAYS (mystery): How long has it been since the last JSF?  More than two years apparently – it says a lot that just reading the blurb below has me remembering Clare, Russ, and Millers Kill vividly.

On a frigid January night, Chief of Police Russ Van Alstyne and Reverend Clare Fergusson are called to the scene of a raging fire, that quickly becomes a double homicide and kidnapping. Which is the very last thing Russ needs…Currently he’s struggling with the prospect of impending fatherhood. And his new wife is not at all happy with his proposal for their long-delayed honeymoon: a week in an unelectrified ice-fishing cabin. The vestry of St. Alban’s Church has called for the bishop to investigate Clare’s “unpriestly” pregnancy. She has one week to find out if she will be scolded, censured, or suspended from her duties. Officer Hadley Knox is having a miserable January as well. Her on-again-off-again lover, Kevin Flynn, has seven days to weigh an offer from the Syracuse Police Department that might take him half a state away.

As the days and hours tick by, Russ and Clare fight personal and professional battles they’ve never encountered. In the course of this one tumultuous week the lives of the Millers-Kill residents readers have come to love and cherish change forever.

Out Nov 5

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18392843Viv Daniels‘ ONE & ONLY (NA): Viv Daniels aka Diana Peterfreund aka author-of-one-of-my-favourite-ever-series… I’m so looking forward to seeing what she does with her self-pubbed venture into the New Adult genre.  Especially as she wrote NA even before it was labelled NA.

One night they can’t forget…

Tess McMann lives her life according to the secrets she’s sworn to keep: the father who won’t acknowledge her, the sister who doesn’t know she exists, and the mother who’s content playing mistress to a prominent businessman. When she meets the distractingly cute Dylan Kingsley at a prestigious summer program and falls in love, Tess allows herself to imagine a life beyond these secrets. But when summer ends, so does their relationship — Dylan heads off to Canton College while Tess enrolls at the state university.

One love they can’t ignore…

Two years later, a scholarship brings Tess to Canton and back into Dylan’s life. Their attraction is as strong as ever, but Dylan has a girlfriend…who also happens to be Tess’s legitimate half-sister. Tess refuses to follow in her mother’s footsteps, which leaves her only one choice: break the rules she’s always followed, or allow Dylan to slip away for a second time.

…And only one chance to get things right.

Out Nov 8

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18524333Julie Cross‘s RETURN TO SENDER (YA): Remember when I raved about LETTERS TO NOWHERE?  This is the follow up.  Fair warning: it’s going to be shorter than LoW – Julie Cross is doing shorter but more frequent releases to round off this series.  FYI I tweeted her to ask about the price point for this one and she reckoned $2.99, but with some $0.99 sales and potentially collecting these novellas in a couple of volumes at either $3.99 or $4.99.  I liked LoW so much that I’d probably pay full price.

If only summer could last forever…

Karen and Jordan might be out in the open with their relationship, but that doesn’t make it any easier for them to face events looming in the future. Like Jordan leaving for college halfway across the country. Or Karen’s win at a big international gymnastics competition setting the bar high for her future and adding pressure like she’s never experienced before.

But when Nina Jones (aka-US Gymnastics Dictator), makes plans for Karen and teammate Stevie to train at a gymnastics camp for a month—the same camp where Jordan coaches—romantic summer interludes replace their fears of being apart. Both Jordan and Karen know that when fall comes, some very tough decisions will have to be made, but for now, it’s stolen kisses, racing hearts, and whispered words.

Out now

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13431883Kelley Armstrong‘s WILD JUSTICE (suspense): If there’s a theme to this month’s releases, it appears to be long-awaited sequels finally turning up.  The last Nadia Stafford book was published in 2009 – I seem to recall talk of Kelley Armstrong considering self-pubbing this (though I could just be making that up), but it’s being released via the traditional route.

Protect the innocent. If there is any one principle that drives hit man Nadia Stafford, it’s this. In her own mind, when she was thirteen, she failed to protect her older cousin Amy from being murdered. Now she fails again, disastrously, when she botches a hit. To help her find her equilibrium, her mentor, Jack, brings her a gift: the location and new identity of the predator who killed her cousin and disappeared after the case against him failed.

Vengeance, justice? With the predator in her sights, nothing seems more right, more straightforward, more easy. But finding justice is never as simple as it seems.

Out Nov 26

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And that’s not all – other books I’m looking forward to:

  • Kelly Hunter‘s WHAT THE BRIDE DIDN’T KNOW (contemporary romance): I mentioned this last month’s list, as the M&B/Harlequin ebook release was last month, but the book goes on general sale 1 Nov.
  • Josh Lanyon‘s KICK START (m/m romantic suspense): I may think Josh Lanyon occasionally prices his self-pubbed works on the high side, but I’m a massive fan of his Dangerous Ground series, so I’m getting this for more Will & Taylor
  • Richelle Mead‘s THE FIERY HEART (YA UF):  The 4th installment in her Bloodlines series.  I’ll probably end up borrowing this from the library, as the previous books haven’t really blown me away.
  • A COSMIC CHRISTMAS 2 YOU edited by Hank Davis (SF anthology): It’s the Baen Christmas anthology – I suspect I’ll get this because of the familiar names on the list of contributors (including Wen Spencer and Sarah A Hoyt)

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Books for October

So many October new releases… seriously.

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12528745Karen Chance‘s TEMPT THE STARS (urban fantasy): A new Cassie Palmer!  It’s only been, oh, two years or so since the last one, although we did get a Dory book to tide us over.  I may need a bit of a refresher as to what’s been happening, but a new installment in one of my favourite UF series always makes me happy.

Being a goddess is a lot less fun than you might think. Especially when you’re only a half goddess, and you only found out about it recently, and you still don’t know what you’re doing half the time. And when you’ve just used your not-so-reliable powers to burglarize the booby-trapped office of a vampire mob boss.

Yeah, that part sucks.

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg for Cassandra Palmer, aka the Pythia, the freshly minted chief seer of the supernatural world. After all, Cassie still has to save a friend from a fate worse than death, deal with an increasingly possessive master vampire, and prevent a party of her own acolytes from unleashing a storm of fury upon the world. Totally just your average day at the office, right?

Out Oct 1

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17340100Jacqueline Carey‘s AUTUMN BONES (urban fantasy): I’m a fan of Jacqueline Carey’s writing and enjoyed the first in this series (though I now take back what I said about Norse mythology being uncommon!).  Fingers crossed that the love triangle thing is not played up in this book.

Fathered by an incubus, raised by a mortal mother, and liaison to the Pemkowet Police Department, Daisy Johanssen pulled the community together after a summer tragedy befell the resort town she calls home. Things are back to normal—as normal as it gets for a town famous for its supernatural tourism, and presided over by the reclusive Norse goddess Hel.

Not only has Daisy now gained respect as Hel’s enforcer, she’s dating Sinclair Palmer, a nice, seemingly normal human guy. Not too shabby for the daughter of a demon. Unfortunately, Sinclair has a secret. And it’s a big one.

He’s descended from Obeah sorcerers and they want him back. If he doesn’t return to Jamaica to take up his rightful role in the family, they’ll unleash spirit magic that could have dire consequences for the town. It’s Daisy’s job to stop it, and she’s going to need a lot of help. But time is running out, the dead are growing restless, and one mistake could cost Daisy everything

Out Oct 1

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16102412Diana Peterfreund‘s ACROSS A STAR-SWEPT SEA (YA fantasy): The companion book, FOR DARKNESS SHOWED THE STARS, was one of my standout reads of 2012, so I’m looking forward to revisiting Elliot’s world and reading Diana Peterfreund’s re-interpretation of THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL.  Speaking of which, I’ve never read it, though I’m pretty sure I downloaded a (public domain – free!) copy a while back – hmmm… to read or not to read?

Centuries after wars nearly destroyed civilization, the two islands of New Pacifica stand alone, a terraformed paradise where even the Reduction—the devastating brain disorder that sparked the wars—is a distant memory. Yet on the isle of Galatea, an uprising against the ruling aristocrats has turned deadly. The revolutionaries’ weapon is a drug that damages their enemies’ brains, and the only hope is rescue by a mysterious spy known as the Wild Poppy.

On the neighboring island of Albion, no one suspects that the Wild Poppy is actually famously frivolous aristocrat Persis Blake. The teenager uses her shallow, socialite trappings to hide her true purpose: her gossipy flutternotes are encrypted plans, her pampered sea mink is genetically engineered for spying, and her well-publicized new romance with handsome Galatean medic Justen Helo… is her most dangerous mission ever.

Though Persis is falling for Justen, she can’t risk showing him her true self, especially once she learns he’s hiding far more than simply his disenchantment with his country’s revolution and his undeniable attraction to the silly socialite he’s pretending to love. His darkest secret could plunge both islands into a new dark age, and Persis realizes that when it comes to Justen Helo, she’s not only risking her heart, she’s risking the world she’s sworn to protect.

In this thrilling adventure inspired by The Scarlet Pimpernel, Diana Peterfreund creates an exquisitely rendered world where nothing is as it seems and two teens with very different pasts fight for a future only they dare to imagine.

Out Oct 15

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18141373Allison Parr‘s RUNNING BACK (NA): Remember when I had a bit of a fangirl-y moment earlier this year about Allison Parr’s debut RUSH ME? Yes, me too.  Companion book alert, and this sounds promising.

Natalie Sullivan is on the verge of a breakthrough most archaeology grad students only dream of: discovering a lost city. Her research points to a farm in Ireland, but to excavate she needs permission from the new owner: the Michael O’Connor, popular NFL running back.

On TV Mike seems so charming and good-natured that Natalie figures getting his cooperation will be a breeze. So she’s not prepared to deal with the arrogant—and adamantly opposed—man she meets in person. Or the way one look from him sends shivers down her spine…

Determined to kick-start her career, Natalie travels across the Atlantic and finds herself sharing an inn with Mike, who has come to Ireland in search of his roots. She tells herself her interest is strictly professional, but the more she gets to know him, the harder it is to deny her personal attraction to the sexy sports star. And when Mike confides why he refuses to allow the dig, Natalie must decide if she can follow her heart without losing sight of her dreams.

Out Oct 21

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17900241Kelly Hunter‘s WHAT THE BRIDE DIDN’T KNOW (contemporary romance): Okay, sneaking this in as this is technically a November release – but Harlequin will release the ebook version on its site on 1 Oct.

Shh…it’s a secret!

Special ops expert Trig Sinclair is a man’s man, and that means he knows the cardinal rule of the bro code—no matter how dynamite Lena West is, as his best friend’s younger sister, she’s strictly off-limits!

But when a secret mission to Istanbul sees Lena and Trig pretending to be married (and sharing a bed!), he finds himself in a whole new world of sweet torture. But if Trig thinks playing the honor-bound hero is tough, it’s got nothing on how Lena feels when she discovers what her “groom” is really hiding…

Out Nov 1 (but Oct 1 on the Harlequin site)

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And that’s not all – other books I’m eyeing:

  • Julia Quinn‘s THE SUM OF ALL KISSES (historical romance): I still have the second Smythe-Smith book in my TBR pile, but Quinn is a safe bet for when I’m in the mood for a fun and witty romance, so I’ll probably end up getting this third book sooner rather than later
  • Diane Stanley‘s THE CUP AND THE CROWN (YA fantasy): The first book, THE SILVER BOWL, was one of those books that left me smiling, but I’ve actually been practising my self-restraint for a change and waiting for the second book to be released in paperback.  Which it will be on Oct 1.
  • Mary Kay AndrewsCHRISTMAS BLISS (contemporary romance): Is October too early for a Christmas story?  I may save this for a December read…
  • AD Robertson‘s CAPTIVE (romance): I received a review copy, so you’ll be reading more about this soon, but this is YA author Andrea Cremer writing under a different name – same world as her YA books, but with the “steamier” bits included apparently.  Is this a trend?

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Linkage Time

It’s been a while since I last posted some links, so here are some links, both old and new:

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Filed under Links & News

Quick Links

Big news (or at least for Baen ebook readers) – Baen’s moving to Amazon (and potentially other third parties) as a distribution platform for the ebooks as of the 15th.

I have mixed feelings about this.  I’ve posted previously about how much I love their current ebook distribution model – ebooks released 2 weeks before the official street date, DRM-free, and for $6 even if it’s a hardback release (and potentially even cheaper if you buy as part of a bundle).  On the other hand, this model was always aimed to encourage ebook adoption, and now that ereaders are taking off in a big way, it makes monetary sense for Baen (and their authors) to move to a distribution system that gives them the widest audience.

I’ve not seen anything about release date changes (i.e. whether it will now tie-in with the official street date), but they will stay DRM-free.  Prices will rise (hardbacks from $6 to $10), so buy now is the message if you’re planning on any Baen ebook purchases.  Bundles stay, but will be on sale for a limited time period (i.e. pre-sale only).  E-ARCs also stay (though I’ve never bought any).

More info @ Baen’s Bar (logon required).  It kind of feels like the end of an era – I remember my very first ebook was from Baen (Catherine Asaro‘s RUBY DICE, because I’m sure you really want to know), and I was so on the fence as to whether ebooks would work for me.  Ha.

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Diana Peterfreund responds to a claim that the cover of FOR DARKNESS SHOWS THE STARS was white-washed (spoiler: it’s not).  It’s a measured response and worth reading.  And I was totally oblivious to the fact FOR DARKNESS was set in New Zealand. *blinks* It makes so much sense in retrospect.

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Jo Walton‘s insightful posts at Tor.com are a must-read for me – she either makes me think about old favourites from a different perspective or introduces me to books that sound right up my street.  Here’s the former - her take on Lois McMaster Bujold‘s CAPTAIN VORPATRIL’S ALLIANCE as well as a comparison between Aral and Miles.

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Patrick Rothfuss is running his annual Worldbuilders fundraiser for Heifer International - a chance to win books AND support a good cause.

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A snippet of Patricia Briggs’ upcoming novel FROST BURNED on her forum – it feels like a very long time since we’ve last seen Mercy.

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Sarah Rees Brennan has announced she’s doing a retelling of A TALE OF TWO CITIES.  This could be amazing.  I mean, seriously amazing.

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Kristin Cashore posted about how BITTERBLUE (very slowly) took shape.  I’m impressed.  Also, I can’t believe she actually wrote the story out by hand.  Several times.  And that her writing was still legible by the end.

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Good Books are like Buses (Almost)

Can I paraphrase that buses saying here – you know, good books are like buses, you wait for ages for one and then three come along at once.  And even better, the first two were impulse buys in bookstores – something I find myself doing fairly infrequently nowadays, so bonus!  Here are my thoughts on three YA books – one being a space opera adventure, the second a contemporary romance, and the third a futuristic romance.

The first serendipitous finding was Garth Nix‘s A CONFUSION OF PRINCES, which turned out to be an imaginative YA SF romp through space.  I hadn’t heard of this book before, though having done a quick blog search since, there appears to have been a spate of reviews when it was released earlier this year, which I obviously completely ignored. The engaging (and totally self-centred) narrator, Prince Khemli, made this book for me, and although I normally hate the foreshadowing device, having Khemli announce at the start that this is the story of how he has died three times adds a certain something.

Khemli may be a prince, but in an empire that has ten million princes and all of them vying to be the next Emperor, the title has less meaning than you would expect.  So Khemli needs to figure out just how he can put himself into contention for the Imperial throne – and solve various mysteries on the side, like just why has he, of all the millions of princes, has been assigned a Master of Assassins (head bodyguard, in other words) who is more than competent (not that he’s complaining)?

This is the kind of story where the protagonist manages to get himself slowly but surely entangled in what appears to be a no-win situation, and I had no idea how Khemli was going to pull it off until the very end.  Perhaps as a trade-off for the strong and charismatic first-person narrative, the secondary characters felt less well-drawn, and the love interest was probably the weakest part of this book (I found it difficult to believe that it was the forever kind of love), but all in all, an unexpectedly fun and enjoyable SF story that I finished in one go.  I’d love to read more set in this world, and also really need to get around to reading Garth Nix’s SABRIEL.

The next book won’t be a surprise for those who have seen my recent Goodreads updates as I’ve been busy adding the rest of Miranda Kenneally‘s books to my To Read shelf.  CATCHING JORDAN was another impulse purchase, but this time what tipped me into buying the book was that I recalled seeing positive reviews around the blogosphere for this YA romance centred around American football.

Despite knowing next to nothing about American football*, CATCHING JORDAN really worked for me – I loved that Jordan was so passionate about her sport, I loved her positive relationships with her guy friends on the football team (and her eventual realisation that girl friends were equally as good), and I loved her close family ties (there may have been a few sniffles at the end as Jordan and her father figured each other out).  And while there was potential for too much annoying obliviousness when it came to the “right” love interest, it didn’t drag on for too long, and the eventual romance was swoon-worthy.  I want more, and I’m looking forward to reading the companion book STEALING PARKER.

*Or perhaps because of that – I’ve noted some reviews that feel the sports element wasn’t that realistic.

And the third – Diana Peterfreund‘s FOR DARKNESS SHOWS THE STARS.  This wasn’t an impulse buy – I’d been planning to read it ever since it was released back in June.  But I was never quite in the mood for post-apocalyptic YA fiction until now (and if I’m really honest, I don’t think I was really in that mood – I just wanted to get a book off my TBR pile).  So I cracked open FDSTS and started reading Elliot and Kai’s correspondence to each other… and didn’t surface for air until the very last page, which was when I heaved a sigh of pure satisfaction.

I adored this re-interpretation of Jane Austen’s PERSUASION – FDSTS was a perfect translation of not just the romance, but also the unstoppable march of change, to this strange new world of Luddites and Posts.  While the basic bones of the plot owed its inspiration to Austen, Elliot and Kai’s own story had quite a few twists – some which I suspected, and others that caught me by surprise (yet made complete sense in retrospect).

I understood Elliot’s strong sense of duty as part of her inherited obligations as a Luddite. I understood Kai’s frustration with the status quo for Posts and his need for something different.  With an excess of stubbornness and pride on both sides, the scene was set for a memorable love story. But FDSTS was also so much more than just a romance.  I loved the thought that had gone into creating a distant future that could be, providing a backdrop against which age-old money and power conflicts played out.   And there were some scenes… picturing Kai and Donovan’s daredevil stunts when reading the cliff scene made me feel as though I had vertigo, and I think I was actually holding my breath as I read Kai’s final letter to Elliot.

So a good run of books – and getting even better as Lois McMaster Bujold‘s CAPTAIN VORPATRIL’S ALLIANCE has hit the e-shelves at Baen *happy dance*

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Books for June

It’s that time of the year when I write blog posts while keeping an eye on the tennis on telly.  Wimbledon remains my favourite Grand Slam, but there is something to be said for Slams that are held in your time zone.

Summer is well and truly here (and that is not a sentence I thought I would use anytime soon).  And here are the June books I want.

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HEX APPEAL edited by PN Elrod (urban fantasy): PN Elrod has come up with some pretty good urban fantasy anthologies previously, and HEX APPEAL looks to be no different.  With contributors including Ilona Andrews and Jim Butcher, this is very much on my to-buy-asap list.

Blurb:

Fall under the intoxicating spell of their hex appeal…

In the magical world that lies hidden beneath our own, witches and conjurers play deadly games. They know just the right spell to kill a man with one kiss—or raise him back again. And they’re not afraid to exact sweet revenge on those who dare to cross them. But what if you’re the unlucky soul who falls victim to a conjurer’s curse? And if you had the power to cast a magic spell of your own, would you use it?

In this bewitching collection, nine of today’s hottest paranormal authors tell all-new, otherworldly tales. Spellbinding stories featuring bigfoot, albino vampires, professional wizards, resurrected boyfriends and even a sex droid from the twenty- third century named Silicon Lily. But as our conjurers are about to discover, it’s all fun and games until someone gets hexed. And sometimes, even the best spun spells can lead to complete and utter mayhem.

Includes stories from: Ilona Andrews, Jim Butcher, Rachel Caine, Carole Nelson Douglas, P. N. Elrod, Simon R. Green, Lori Handeland, Erica Hayes, Carrie Vaughn

Out June 5

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Erin McCarthy‘s JACKED UP (contemporary romance): I haven’t loved the last couple of installments in this stock-car racing series as much as the first three, but I’m willing to give this one last go.

Blurb:

She’s holding tight. He’s hanging loose.

Eve Monroe is a stock-car PR pro who puts her career first—until an on-track wardrobe malfunction reveals more than the sexy smile of her race-car brother’s jack-man, Nolan Ford. The video’s become an internet sensation, and it’s Eve’s job to calm the sponsors and put a spin on the unexpected exposure. It may be purely a public relations job, but now that Eve’s seen what’s under Nolan’s crew suit, it’s gotten a little personal—and after a few dates she has Nolan pretty revved up. If only she’d learn to relax and enjoy it…

And they both have the same drive.

Nolan’s sure that the spontaneous birthday bash he’s throwing for Eve in Las Vegas should loosen her up. It does more than that. Somewhere between cocktails and a smoking-hot motel-room derby, Eve and Nolan wake up hitched, thanks to a post-sex-high detour to a Vegas chapel. A hangover marriage to a virtual stranger isn’t good for anyone’s image, so Eve plans to play the happy wife long enough to satisfy the press, and then quietly part ways. Now all she has to do is convince her new personal jack-man. But Nolan has plans of his own…

Out June 5 (excerpt)

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Diana Peterfreund‘s FOR DARKNESS SHOWS THE STARS (YA dystopian SF): There’s been a lot of buzz about this post-apocalyptic retelling of Jane Austen’s PERSUASION, and seeing that I loved Diana Peterfreund’s Secret Society Girl books, I’m definitely getting this.

Blurb:

Generations ago, a genetic experiment gone wrong—the Reduction—decimated humanity, giving rise to a Luddite nobility who outlawed most technology.

Elliot North has always known her place in this world. Four years ago Elliot refused to run away with her childhood sweetheart, the servant Kai, choosing duty to her family’s estate over love. Since then the world has changed: a new class of Post-Reductionists is jumpstarting the wheel of progress, and Elliot’s estate is foundering, forcing her to rent land to the mysterious Cloud Fleet, a group of shipbuilders that includes renowned explorer Captain Malakai Wentforth—an almost unrecognizable Kai. And while Elliot wonders if this could be their second chance, Kai seems determined to show Elliot exactly what she gave up when she let him go.

But Elliot soon discovers her old friend carries a secret—one that could change their society . . . or bring it to its knees. And again, she’s faced with a choice: cling to what she’s been raised to believe, or cast her lot with the only boy she’s ever loved, even if she’s lost him forever.

Inspired by Jane Austen’s Persuasion, For Darkness Shows the Stars is a breathtaking romance about opening your mind to the future and your heart to the one person you know can break it.

Out June 12 (book page)

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Julia Quinn‘s A NIGHT LIKE THIS (historical romance): Julia Quinn is a bit of a comfort read for me.  You always know what you’re getting with a Quinn – delightful romance with sparkling dialogue, if a bit on the frothy side.  Her latest release doesn’t appear to be a departure from this tried-and-tested formula.

Blurb:
Anne Wynter’s job as governess to three highborn young ladies can be a challenge – in a single week she finds herself hiding in a closet full of tubas, playing an evil queen in a play and tending to the wounds of the oh-so-dashing Earl of Winstead. After years of dodging unwanted advances, he’s the first man who has truly tempted her, and it’s getting harder and harder to remind herself that a governess has no business flirting with a nobleman.

Daniel Smythe-Smith might be in mortal danger, but that’s not going to stop the young earl from falling in love. And when he spies a mysterious woman at his family’s annual musicale, he vows to pursue her. But Daniel has an enemy, one who has vowed to see him dead. And when Anne is thrown into peril, he will stop at nothing to ensure their happy ending…

Out June 7 (excerpt)

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Link Love

I know, I’ve been AWOL here recently.  I’ve quite a few links to share (some probably woefully out-of-date) – here’s what’s caught my attention over the past week or so:

And… I think that’s it!  I should post more frequently, huh?

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Books for February

Compared to the one new January release I wanted, there are a few more new releases this month that I’m planning to get…

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Jo Beverley‘s A SCANDALOUS COUNTESS (historical romance): Jo Beverley remains on my auto-buy list – despite me not falling in love with her more recent releases, they’re still solid readable historicals.  And they’re not wallpaper historicals by any means – she has a knack for bringing the time period to life in her books.

Back cover blurb:

Georgia, Countess of Maybury has it all, but then her husband is killed in a duel and she loses her homes, most of her possessions, and her reputation as well. Innocent of all charges, she returns to the beau monde determined to regain all through a second brilliant marriage, but a scarred ex-naval officer threatens to tempt her in a different direction…

Out Feb 7 (excerpt)

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BRAVE NEW LOVE, edited by Paula Guran (YA dystopian romance): An anthology of 15 stories from a mix of authors I recognise (and love) and some new-to-me names.  I’m probably most excited about the Diana Peterfreund contribution, but there are a couple of other authors in there that I’m keen to read too.

ETA: Diana Peterfreund makes a good point about other reasons why this anthology should be standing out from the crowd (apart from the excellent line-up, of course ;-) ).  Some of you may remember the uproar last year when an editor of a YA anthology asked Jessica Verday to rewrite her short story featuring a same-sex romance, and change the m/m relationship to a m/f one (FYI Ms Verday has since released her original story as a standalone e-book).  

BRAVE NEW WORLD, while not the anthology in question, had the same editor and was pulled from the schedule.  From Diana Peterfreund’s blog:

“… what ended up happening was that the anthology lost half its line up and the editor was removed from the project. We got a new editor, and a new line-up (an AMAZING line up, if I say so myself), and the publisher pledged to donate the proceeds to a homeless shelter for LGBT youth.  The new anthology includes several LGBT stories. I’ve read them, they’re great.”

Which is really rather cool and while NOT the reason why I’ll be getting this anthology (that would be for the stories), is the reason why I bought the UK edition today (yep, it’s already out here in the UK).

Back cover blurb:

Young love has always had its challenges, but even so, the world falling apart at its seams is a pretty big obstacle. This stellar collection of YA dystopian tales explores survival of the fittest in terms of love, passion, and humanity. When the survival of the human race is at stake, what will it take for the bond between two people to hold strong together?

Featuring some of the most well known and best-selling names of the dystopian genre, as well as the hottest up-and-coming authors, this anthology includes works from Jeanne DuPrau (City of Ember), Kiera Cass (The Selection), William Sleator (Interstellar Pig), Jesse Karp (Those That Wake), Diana Peterfreund (Secret Society Girl), Carrie Vaughn (The Kitty Norville Series), and Carrie Ryan (New York Times bestseller The Forest of Hands and Teeth).

Out Feb 14

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Lisa Kleypas‘s RAINSHADOW ROAD (contemporary romance): I’m guessing I’m not the only person looking forward to this release.  It’s been a while since a new Kleypas made an appearance, and while I was not blown away by the first in this series (the novella CHRISTMAS EVE AT FRIDAY HARBOUR), I’m willing to give this series another go because hey, that was a novella.

However, I’ve heard that this can be classified as magical realism though, and that gives me a slight pause for thought because (a) I’ve never quite figured out what is magical realism exactly (I know Sarah Addison Allen‘s books are often mentioned in this category – but (confession time) I’ve never read any of her books despite the glowing reviews) and (b) if magical realism means random woo-woo elements (like Jayne Ann Krentz’s Arcane Society books), well, I may just go away and sulk in a corner.  I’m reserving judgement until I’ve read this one though!

Back cover blurb:

Lucy Marinn is a glass artist living in mystical, beautiful, Friday Harbor, Washington. She is stunned and blindsided by the most bitter kind of betrayal: her fiancé Kevin has left her. His new lover is Lucy’s own sister. Lucy’s bitterness over being dumped is multiplied by the fact that she has constantly made the wrong choices in her romantic life. Facing the severe disapproval of Lucy’s parents, Kevin asks his friend Sam Nolan, a local vineyard owner on San Juan Island, to “romance” Lucy and hopefully loosen her up and get her over her anger. Complications ensue when Sam and Lucy begin to fall in love, Kevin has second thoughts, and Lucy discovers that the new relationship in her life began under false pretenses. Questions about love, loyalty, old patterns, mistakes, and new beginnings are explored as Lucy learns that some things in life—even after being broken—can be made into something new and beautiful.

Out Feb 28 (excerpt)

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Lisa Lutz‘s TRAIL OF THE SPELLMANS (mystery): And the best is saved for last!  I am madly excited about this one  as I’ve loved the previous books in this series.  I’m wondering where Lisa Lutz takes Izzy this time around – and if they’re anything like the previous books, I’m expecting hilarious times.  Also, all the covers of the series have been redesigned – while I liked the previous covers (especially the UK ones), I think the new graphics are really clever and suit the story better.

(Rather long) back cover blurb:

For the first time in Spellman history, Isabel Spellman, PI, might be the most normal member of her family. As always, the Spellman clan has yet to settle into any kind of status quo. Mom, Olivia, has taken on an outrageous assortment of extracurricular activities, seemingly without motive. Dad, Albert, has a secret. Her brother and sister, David and Rae, are at war, but neither will reveal the source of the conflict. And Izzy’s niece, Sydney, keeps saying banana even though she hates bananas. That’s not to say that Izzy isn’t without her own troubles. Henry Stone keeps wanting “to talk,” a prospect Isabel evades by going out with her new drinking buddy, none other than Gertrude Stone, Henry’s mother. While domestic disturbances abound, there is one source of sanity in the Spellman household: Demetrius Merriweather, now employee of the month for 18 months straight (the entire tenure of his employment).

Things aren’t any simpler on the business side of Spellman Investigations. First, parents hire the firm to follow their daughter. Rae is assigned the case, only to fake the surveillance reports. Then a math professor hires Izzy to watch his immaculate apartment while he unravels like a bad formula. A socialite has Isabel follow her husband, despite a conspicuous lack of suspicion. A man in a sweater vest hires the firm to follow his sister, who turns out to be the socialite. Isabel wants to get to the bottom of all this, but her father erects a Chinese wall to protect the clients’ wishes. As the questions pile up, Izzy won’t stop hunting for the answers-even when they threaten to shatter both the business and the family.

Once again, it’s up to her to pull the Spellmans back from the brink.

Out Feb 28 (excerpt)

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I’ve Been Reading…

That blogging urge, it comes and goes.  But why have a blog if I don’t actually blog? So let’s talk books, specifically books I’ve bought and read recently:

 

51cK3p09dL._SL160_Diana Peterfreund’s “Morning Glory”: The first book I’ve bought via my Kindle!  I did the Kindle sampling thing, and liked (surprise, surprise), so hit the Buy It Now button.  Seconds later, the entire book was on my Kindle.  So the same way I remember Catherine Asaro’s “The Ruby Dice” as being the first ebook I read, “Morning Glory” is now the first ebook I’ve downloaded wirelessly onto my reader.

I know, I’m a geek.  Moving on swiftly…

It’s slightly strange reading a book knowing that it’s a novelisation – I read a scene and then wonder how it gets played out on screen.  I think it’ll wear off soon, I’m only a couple of chapters in at the moment.  Ms Peterfreund says on her blog that “Morning Glory” has a similar, snarky tone to her Secret Society Girl series – I’m tending to agree at the moment.

 

511JdeLKGvL._SL160_ Sharon Shinn’s “Troubled Waters”: Ahhhh.  I really enjoyed this one – I find it so easy to completely immerse myself in Sharon Shinn’s writing.

Estara asked if this was similar to her Twelve Houses fantasy books – answer is yes, IMO, though this reviewer thinks “Troubled Waters” is less action-packed.  Certainly I thought this book was more akin to Twelve Houses than her previous two YA fantasy releases (“General Winston’s Daughter” and “Gateway”), which – and I’m not sure whether this is because they were specifically YA books or not – were more “issue” books to me.  Don’t get me wrong – I liked them, but I felt the way the messages in the books were conveyed was just a bit too heavy-handed.  Do YA books have to include a message?  Discuss*.

Back to “Troubled Waters”, I tend to love elemental-type magic systems, so was fascinated by the elemental/corporeal blessings incorporated here.  I’m stating my bias upfront, because I don’t know whether another reader would find the emphasis on the blessings slight overkill, but it worked for me.  And it’s Shinn, so yes, there’s a rather lovely romance.

Jennie’s review @ Dear Author is pretty reflective of my thoughts, though I probably found Zoe more sympathetic from the start, and would grade the book a notch higher.  I would so love to read more stories set in this world, though we may have to wait longer as I think her next project is an urban fantasy (I am very curious about how this will pan out, I suspect it will be a very good read).

Something else: In the short book intro on her site,  Ms Shinn mentions her favorite scene, which was actually one that stuck in my mind – it’s interesting she says

It doesn’t do anything to advance the plot, but it’s just so sweet, and it really illustrates the power of the blessings.

Completely agree, and when reading it, I actually thought that scene would make a great short story or teaser for the book.

 

612xamlJyjL._SL160_Mercedes Lackey’s “Intrigues”: I read “Intrigues” just before “Troubled Waters” (yes, making good progress on my October must-reads) and it was interesting to compare the two.

The worlds and writing styles are very different, but the plots are essentially similar: Young girl/boy slowly discovers his/her place in the world with the help of conveniently-placed friends and conveniently-discovered skills (albeit the Lackey story is spread over three books as opposed to the one book for Shinn).  What I was pondering were characters – how Ms Shinn avoids Zoe falling into the Mary-Sue trap, whereas Ms Lackey’s Mags so obviously is one.  Oh, and if you’re talking heavy-handed messages, Lackey is the writer for this.

Don’t get me wrong, I know it sounds as though I’m picking on the Lackey book, but it was a decent read, even though I really shouldn’t have bought the hardcover.  I am a complete sucker for white Companions and anything Herald-related.  And even the annoyance of Mags’ dialect being spelt out all the way through (“… ye’ll be wantin’ me t’ find ye a silk‘n’velvet blanket ‘cause wool just don’t show off yer coat good ‘nough” – ack) didn’t negate the secret thrill of meeting one of Vanyel’s descendants in this book.

Err okay.  Must. Grow. Up.

 

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*That was slightly tongue-in-cheek.  Only if you really want to.  I’m well aware this is a topic raised now and again in blogland.

My personal take?  Books are like food.  You have M&S Percy Pigs on one end (i.e. zero nutritional value, but you know, still good) or umm… blueberries (superfood!) at the other.  I’m inclined to think YA books tend to be more heavily-clustered at the superfood end (oh, this is a bad analogy and I am really not sure where I am going), but better a good message than a bad one.

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Around the Web

So many links, so little time… 

Here’s what caught my attention around the internets lately:

And that’s it for now!

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Filed under Links & News