I am so ready for the yearend holidays. Most people in my office are taking the week between Christmas and New Year off, and I’m no exception – I’m looking forward to having a few lazy days once the Christmas festivities are over! And happily, there will be quite a few December new releases to keep me company…
Jen Frederick’s DOWNED (NA romance): I had a lot of fun reading the first book in this series (especially with its nods to old-school romance tropes!), but haven’t yet made time to read its sequel. Still getting the third book though.
He’s the guy no one likes…
Despite winning two national championships, JR “Ace” Anderson was sent packing from his old school after losing the trust of his coach. At Southern U, he has a second chance to prove that his college legacy isn’t endless debauchery and selfishness. But his reputation precedes him, and his teammates offer a chilly welcome in the locker room. The one person who is willing to accept him is the very woman he should stay away from—his new coach’s daughter.
She’s the girl everyone loves…
Bryant Johnson’s only goal in life is to make others happy, even at her own expense. One look at her father’s new star quarterback, and she knows that Ace is her next project. With a reputation for being a “jerk whisperer”, Bryant has spent her last three years at college reforming sorry behavior and turning bad boys into the best boyfriends ever. In Ace, though, she’s met with surly resistance and a sizzling attraction she doesn’t expect. Fixing this wounded warrior will be her biggest challenge yet. Not falling for him will be even harder.
Between her big heart and his damaged one, a battle is ensuing. In this game of love, every defense will crumble.
Josh Lanyon’s THE CURSE OF THE BLUE SCARAB (M/M romance/mystery): While Lanyon is an autobuy author for me, her more recent releases have been of the hit-or-miss variety for me. So I’m feeling a bit nervous about this Edwardian-set story, which she describes as being “…very kooky”.
Who or what is responsible for the gruesome deaths of members of the secret society known as the Order of Osiris?
Dr. Armiston, an irascible, confirmed bachelor who believes in medicine not mysticism, is certain the deaths are only tragic accidents.
The members of the Order of Osiris suspect something more sinister is at work. They profess to believe an ancient curse has been visited upon their society. Handsome and mysterious Captain Maxwell requests Armiston’s help.
Tarot cards? Egyptology? Spiritualism? Armiston has little patience with the superficial and silly pastimes of the rich, but he does love a good puzzle. Or could it be that he is more drawn to young Captain Maxwell than he wishes to admit?
Either way, Armiston must solve the secret of the cursed sarcophagus very soon, for Captain Maxwell is the next slated to die…
Out Dec 9
The third title in Genevieve Cogman’s clever and exciting The Invisible Library series, The Burning Page is an action-packed literary adventure!
Librarian spy Irene has professional standards to maintain. Standards that absolutely do not include making hasty, unplanned escapes through a burning besieged building. But when the gateway back to your headquarters dramatically malfunctions, one must improvise. And after fleeing a version of Revolutionary France astride a dragon (also known as her assistant, Kai), Irene soon discovers she’s not the only one affected. Gates back to the Library are malfunctioning across a multitude of worlds, creating general havoc. She and Kai are tasked with a mission to St Petersburg’s Winter Palace, to retrieve a book which will help restore order.
However, such plans rarely survive first contact with the enemy – particularly when the enemy is the traitor Alberich. A nightmare figure bent on the Library’s destruction, Alberich gives Irene a tainted ‘join me or die’ job offer. Meanwhile, Irene’s old friend Vale has been damaged by exposure to Chaotic forces and she has no idea how to save him. When another figure from her past appears, begging for help, Irene has to take a good hard look at her priorities. And of course try to save the Library from absolute annihilation. Saving herself would be a bonus.
Out Dec 15 (UK)
Ilona Andrews’ ONE FELL SWEEP (urban fantasy): I’ve heroically restrained from reading the online serialised version (okay, it wasn’t that much of an effort – I’m too much in favour of instant gratification to really do serials).
Dina DeMille may run the nicest Bed and Breakfast in Red Deer, Texas, but she caters to very particular kind of guest… the kind that no one on Earth is supposed to know about. Guests like a former intergalactic tyrant with an impressive bounty on her head, the Lord Marshal of a powerful vampire clan, and a displaced-and-superhot werewolf; so don’t stand too close, or you may be collateral damage.
But what passes for Dina’s normal life is about to be thrown into chaos. First, she must rescue her long-distant older sister, Maud, who’s been exiled with her family to a planet that functions as the most lawless penal colony since Botany Bay. Then she agrees to help a guest whose last chance at saving his civilization could bring death and disaster to all Dina holds dear. Now Gertrude Hunt is under siege by a clan of assassins. To keep her guests safe and to find her missing parents, Dina will risk everything, even if she has and may have to pay the ultimate price. Though Sean may have something to say about that.
Out Dec 20
Jodi Taylor’s MY NAME IS MARKHAM (fantasy): I normally don’t buy standalone short stories, but I’ve totally loved Jodi Taylor’s time-travelling series this year. It’s such brilliant, hilarious, heart-warming fun, and this Christmas short sounds fantastic.
Like a smaller and much scruffier Greta Garbo – finally – Markham speaks!
It’s Christmas and time for the first (and almost certainly last) St Mary’s Annual Children’s Christmas Party – attendance compulsory, by order of Dr Bairstow. Discovered practising his illegal reindeer dance and poo-dropping routine, our hero, along with fellow disaster-magnets Peterson and Maxwell, is despatched to Anglo-Saxon England to discover the truth about Alfred and the cakes.
In his own words, our hero reveals Major Guthrie’s six-point guide to a successful assignment and the Security Section’s true opinion of the History Department. And of historians in general. And of one historian in particular.
And, just to be clear, it is time travel, for God’s sake. Forget all that pretentious ‘investigating major historical events in contemporary time’ rubbish.
This is history without the capital ‘H’. Because this is the way the Security Section rolls!
Out Dec 25 (the perfect Christmas morning read!)
Josh Lanyon’s SO THIS IS CHRISTMAS (M/M romance): Speaking of not buying shorts… it’s an Adrien English story! ‘Nuff said.
God Help You Merry Gentlemen…
Arriving home early after spending Christmas in jolly old England, sometimes amateur sleuth Adrien English discovers alarming developments at Cloak and Dagger Books–and an old acquaintance seeking help in finding his missing boyfriend.
Fortunately, Adrien just happens to know a really good private eye…
Out Dec 29
And one maybe:
- The fantasy anthology UNFETTERED II – while I’m trying to stop with the anthology buying, this is raising money for a good cause and also has some big-name contributors (including Jim Butcher, Seanan McGuire, Naomi Novik, amongst others)…
I should probably mention Eileen Wilks’ DRAGON SPAWN is also a December release – it’s the latest in her World of the Lupi series, and would normally be in my list above. However, I grabbed a copy when I saw it early on the shelves last week… and let’s just say it didn’t work for me. It’s basically half a story, with a very abrupt cliffhanger ending, which was disappointing especially when the story itself took a while to get going. I’ll still get the next book to see what happens next, but I’m starting to feel that this series is running out of steam.