Books for June

There isn’t a massive number of new releases that I’m looking forward to this month, but there are still a few I’m very excited about:

51xUYWmKjvL._SL160_ Jacqueline Carey’s “Naamah’s Kiss” (dark fantasy):  I adore Jacqueline Carey’s Kushiel books, and I’m excited that “Kushiel’s Mercy” isn’t the last time we get to visit that world.  She does say on her website though:

One word of warning: Readers hoping to find out what befell the cast of Kushiel’s Legacy may be disappointed. There are some scattered hints, but ultimately, I chose not to go into a lot of detail. For one thing, I didn’t want to burden the narrative with unnecessary backstory.  For another… I didn’t really want to know. I prefer to imagine them all frozen in time at the end of Kushiel’s Mercy, living eternally in the happily-ever-after moment.

And this is Moirin’s story; my impulsive heroine with a generous heart, a great capacity for delight, and a tendency to throw herself headlong into any situation, no matter how complicated or ill-advised it may be. Naamah’s child, unwittingly sultry, compelled by desire; a child of the Maghuin Dhonn, possessor of subtle magic, unable to understand why the rest of the world finds it so strange that she worships a bear.

I’m okay with that – new heroine, new story.

Excerpt here (out June 24)

 

1107 Josh Lanyon’s “Somebody Killed His Editor” (m/m romantic suspense):  Josh Lanyon was one of my favourite new-to-me authors of last year (am totally addicted to his Adrien English books), and this is the first book of a new series.

Blurb from his website:

For sixteen years Christopher (Kit) Holmes has enjoyed a successful career as a mystery writer, thanks to the popularity of elderly spinster sleuth, Miss Butterwith and her ingenious cat, Mr. Pinkerton.  But sales are down in everything but chick lit and Christopher’s new editor doesn’t like geriatric gumshoes.  It’s a pink, pink world for Kit.

Reluctantly the reclusive Christopher agrees to attend a mystery writer’s conference at a remote Northern California winery.  But no sooner does he arrive then the bridge to the outside world washes out. On his trek to the Blue Heron Lodge, Christopher discovers the body of a woman in the woods.  If nearly two decades of mystery-writing are anything to go by, the woman doesn’t appear to have died a natural death.

Thanks to the ongoing storm and washed-out bridge, local law enforcement is not able to come to the rescue. Déjà vu!  It’s practically like all those classic murder mysteries in isolated country manors that Christopher has been penning for sixteen years!  If only Miss Butterwith was on hand. Or even Mr. Pinkerton….

Excerpt here (out June 16)

 

51ExyI1mOxL._SL160_ Tanya Huff’s “The Enchantment Emporium” (urban fantasy"): Tanya Huff is one of those authors who appear to seamlessly switch between writing SF, high fantasy, and urban fantasy as the mood takes them.  I’ve loved her last few books, and am looking forward to this standalone book.

Alysha Gale is a member of a family capable of changing the world with the charms they cast. Then she receives word that she’s inherited her grandmother’s junk shop in Calgary, only to discover upon arriving that she’ll be serving the fey community. And when Alysha learns just how much trouble is brewing in Calgary, even calling in the family to help may not be enough to save the day.

Author’s livejournal, no excerpt (out now)

 

blade1 Ilona Andrews’ “Silent Blade” (romantic SF):  “Magic Strikes”, the third in the Kate Daniels UF series, was one of my favourite reads of the year so far, and I’m definitely picking up this short story, which sounds completely different from her previous work.

Old hatreds die hard. Old love dies harder.

On Meli Galdes’ home planet, the struggle for power is a bloody, full-contact sport—in business and on the battlefield. For years her lethal skills have been a valuable asset in advancing her family’s interests. She’s more than earned her right to retire, but her kinsmen have one last favor to ask.

Kill the man who ruined her life

Excerpt here (out now)

And the other books that I’m considering:

Janet Evanovich’s “Finger Lickin’ Fifteen” (mystery):  Has the Stephanie Plum series run out of steam?  I liked Fourteen better than Thirteen, even though the number of laugh-out-loud moments was definitely lower than the earlier books.  I do like Stephanie and Morelli though, and that’s possibly why I’m still reading this series in hardback. Out June 24 (excerpt here, PDF)

Laurell K Hamilton’s “Skin Trade” (urban fantasy):  Another series I’m slightly ambivalent about.  I think I have kicked the Merry habit, but I haven’t quite given up on Anita Blake yet.  Out now (excerpt here, PDF)

“Swordplay” edited by Denise Little (fantasy):  My misses probably outnumber the hits when it comes to short story anthologies, but one themed around swordsmen and swords calls to the romantic in me.  I love the minimalist cover as well.

 

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Books for May

So after the fantastic month that was April (no, I haven’t posted my thoughts on any of the April releases in detail, and yes, I still have the Ann Aguirre and Jo Beverley left to read), here are the May new releases I’m anticipating:

 

tagfinalcover First up, Diana Peterfreund’s “Tap & Gown”, the fourth and final book in her Secret Society Girl series.  It’s no secret that I adore these incredibly addictive books, and while part of me gets slightly teary-eyed at the thought of waving goodbye to Amy and the rest of her fellow Diggers, I cannot wait to find out what happens in Amy’s final year.

Re-reading the excerpt for this one has made me so ridiculously excited about “Tap & Gown” now.  Ack.  I’m going to take a deep breath and try to calm down. 

 

Excerpt here (out May 19)

 

51QU6s2W8DL._SL160_ I posted a bit about reading Catherine Asaro’s “Diamond Star” earlier, and yes, that’s a May release too.  Okay, that is so a typical Baen cover, but you know what?  Baen has such a great user-friendly digital publishing strategy ($6 ebooks for hardcover releases, no DRM, multiple formats), plus they provide lengthy excerpts (the first eight chapters for “Diamond Star” is online) and they have a large Free Library to try out new-to-you authors… I’m just going to ignore the covers. 

Anyway, I’m a big fan of Ms Asaro’s Skolian Empire books and getting this one was a no-brainer for me.  From her website:

…Del, the renegade prince who would rather be a rock singer than sit on the throne. The royal family wants him to stop, his friends want to use him, his label wants to own him, and his enemies want to kill him. Del just wants to sing—without starting an interstellar war.

Also, Ms Asaro collaborated with the band Point Valid to create a soundtrack accompanying the book, and some of the songs are available on the Diamond Star MySpace website (warning: music plays when you enter the site!).  It’s pretty cool as the lyrics are included in the text and I’m loving the fact I can listen to the actual music.

Excerpt here (out May 5, ebook available now)

 

51FTO0Y-nnL._SL160_ 51ZqOhK1ML._SL160_ Charlaine Harris’ latest Sookie Stackhouse, “Dead and Gone”, is also out in May.  This is the ninth book in the Sookie series, and while I’ve wondered whether the series is running out of momentum, that’s not going to stop me from getting this one.

And okay, my jaw just dropped when Amazon UK came up with the cover on the right – please do not say that is the UK cover for “Dead and Gone”?  That is just so wrong – it doesn’t capture the dark but offbeat feel of the series at all!

Excerpt here (out May 5)

 

51YNwr9vjNL._SL160_ Another book that has taken what feels like forever to be released is Eloisa James’ “This Duchess of Mine”.  I am an unashamed Eloisa James fangirl, and have been completely absorbed by her Georgian historical romance series. 

This, of course, is Jemma and Elijah’s book – finally.  I know Ms James’ habit of including an unresolved secondary romance is not everyone’s favourite, but the way she has woven the overarching storyline focusing on the Jemma-Elijah-Villiers conflict throughout the past four books has totally worked for me.  I am so invested in Jemma and Elijah getting their HEA (look, it’s a romance and therefore they will have one).

Excerpt here (out May 26)

 

And that’s not all the new releases I want.  Also due out is:

Jacqueline Carey’s “Santa Olivia”, which is something completely different from her Kushiel books.  The blurb says it is Ms Carey’s “… take on comic book superheroes and the classic werewolf myth”.  Okay, I’m not a massive fan of the former (though I expect Thea and Ana to be all over this?), but I love her writing and I will definitely be giving this a go.  Excerpt here (out May 29).

Richelle Mead’s “Succubus Heat”, fourth in her Georgina Kincaid series.  I’ve enjoyed the previous three in this UF series and the last one ended on a bit of a pivotal note, IIRC.  It’s the UK version of the cover below, btw.  Excerpt here (out May 26).

A maybe is Kim Harrison’s “Once Dead, Twice Shy” – when I read the short story setting up this novel in the anthology “Prom Nights from Hell”, I actually thought it felt like a first chapter of a novel.  Well, there you go.  My “maybe” is because it’s a hardcover.  Some further poking around Amazon UK indicates a possible paperback July release for the UK.  Excerpt here (out May 26).

And speaking of “Prom Nights from Hell”, a follow-up anthology is out this month, “Vacations from Hell” featuring contributions from Libba Bray, Cassandra Clare, Claudia Gray, Maureen Johnson, and Sarah Mlynowski (out May 26).

 

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The Second Quarter of 2008

In my January-March wrap up, I forgot to mention the major book-related event in January – I got my Sony Reader.  And Catherine Asaro’s “The Ruby Dice” was the first ebook I read on it.  It’s funny how that sticks in my mind.  I think the first 50 or so pages, my main thoughts were “Wow, I can actually read books on this thing” and “I hope I don’t break it”.  And then it became a non-issue and I forgot I was reading an ebook.  So yes, love love love my Sony Reader.

Anyway, continuing my rambling review of 2008…

 

April

Karen Chance’s “Embrace the Night” (UF) was one of my Top Five releases of 2008, with the other standout read being Eva Ibbotson’s “A Company of Swans” (YA romance, or at least it’s shelved in the YA section).  I’ve adored all the Ibbotson novels I’ve read to date, and this was no exception.  Lyrical writing, beautiful settings and characters she makes you care about. 

I also read the fifth book in Elizabeth Peters’ Vicky Bliss series “Night Train to Memphis” (mystery).  Ahh… John Smythe.  While I still love Amelia Peabody more, I totally understood why Vicky fans were jumping with joy at the prospect of a new VB book coming out later in the year.

Three other books I really liked were Lois McMaster Bujold’s “Passages” (fantasy, Book 3 of the Sharing Knife series), Barbara Michaels’ “Patriot’s Dream” (mystery), and Ann Aguirre’s “Grimspace” (SF romance).  The Barbara Michaels was unusual because it had two linked stories set in different timelines, one during the American Revolution and the other in contemporary times – while I loved the history focus, I didn’t think they intertwined with each other very well.

 

May

Two author gloms during this month, the first being Diana Peterfreund’s Secret Society Girl series, which I’ve already mentioned ad nauseum.  So I will restrain myself here.  Though does it qualify as a official glom if there were only two books in the author’s backlist at the time of said glom?

The second author was Mary Stewart (romantic suspense) and this definitely qualifies as a proper glom with me reading six Stewarts in May alone.  I finally decided to find out why so many bloggers love her novels, and gosh, I fell hard.  “Nine Coaches Waiting” became my favourite Stewart, until displaced by “The Ivy Tree” a month later.  I’m so fickle.

Anyway, between these two authors, I didn’t read much else during May – oh, I really liked Ilona Andrews’ “Magic Burns” (UF, Book 2 in the Kate Daniels series).  Which quite surprised me (in a good way!), because I hadn’t loved the first book in this series.  But I enjoyed MB, and can’t wait for the third.  I’m glad I like these books because – and this is going to sound really shallow – I like the covers for this series.  Heh.

 

June

And in June, I read a lot.  20 books in total – I’m not sure where I found the time actually.  Especially seeing Wimbledon was on at the same time.  Oh yeah, I remember now, it was a rather quiet time at work.  How things change.

I continued reading Mary Stewart’s backlist, five books this month including the aforementioned “The Ivy Tree”.  So good.  Even though I cheated and skipped ahead to the ending.  I know.  Curiosity killed the cat and all that.

Other standouts: Jacqueline Carey’s “Kushiel’s Mercy” (fantasy, Book 3 in the Imriel trilogy), a perfect ending to Imriel’s story.  I’m not quite sure how to describe it, but all I have to do it to read the opening lines of her books, and the way she writes, the cadence of her sentences, they instantly draw me into her world.  And I discovered Josh Lanyon’s Adrien English books (mystery / m/m romance) – he’s one of the best new-to-me writers I came across this year.  I love his writing and he has me totally invested in Adrien and Jake’s relationship.

 

So in the first half of the year, I read 83 books altogether.  It doesn’t feel like it, but I appear to have had more A reads during the first half of the year compared to the second.  I think November and December were good reading months for me, and the more recent reads are sticking in my mind.

Around the Web

51l53MP1AXL__SL160_ There’s a Jacqueline Carey interview up at Fantasy Book Critic (together with a review of her latest “Kushiel’s Mercy”.  I really liked the book, btw, thought it was a good conclusion to the Imriel trilogy, and as always, Ms Carey writes beautifully.

And there’s also an interview with Stephenie Meyer on the Times website.  This is from May, so before “The Host” was published.  Speaking of which, “The Host” is still sitting in my TBR pile.  Reviews have been unanimously positive, but I’m just not in the mood for an SF romance right now (which is what I’m assuming it is!).

PS: I’m writing the post using the rather cool Windows Live Writer, which is an application you install on your PC.  Still early days, but I’m liking this very much because it looks as though you’ll get all the functionality that you would when blogging online, but it’s faster to save, insert pictures, preview posts, etc.  I’ve been struggling with WordPress’s image editing lately and this may be the perfect solution.

Books for June

I’m v excited about some new releases due out this month.

First up is Jacqueline Carey‘s “Kushiel’s Mercy” (dark fantasy):  This completes the Imriel trilogy (previous books are “Kushiel’s Scion” and “Kushiel’s Justice”).  I admit I had doubts about Imriel as the protagonist for this trilogy, but they quickly faded as soon as I read the first book.  I can’t wait to see how she finishes off his story.

Excerpt here – warning: contains big spoiler for second book if you haven’t yet read it (out June 12)

 

Then there’s Diana Peterfreund‘s “Rites of Spring (Break)” (YA):  I read the first book in this series, “Secret Society Girl”, a couple of weeks back and immediately had a bit of a fan-girl squee about it.  I more or less zoomed through the second book (“Under the Rose”), and while I didn’t rate it as highly as the former (minor gripes – firstly, the novelty has worn off slightly, and secondly, I think there was more telling than showing), I still love the world Ms Peterfreund has created.  I can’t wait to read the third.  And surely she’s not teasing about the possible romance?

Excerpt here (out June 24)

 

Next is Lynn Flewelling‘s “Shadows Return” (fantasy):  I didn’t expect she would ever return to her her Nightrunners world, but am happy to be proven wrong!  This is the fourth book in the series (and her website says a fifth is scheduled for next year – yay!).  Okay, bear with me because it’s been a while since I’ve read them and my memory’s a bit sketchy, but these books basically revolve around the adventures of noble-cum-spy Seregil and his former-apprentice-now-lover Alec.  Think “saving the kingdom”-type fantasy.  Ms Flewelling writes a good story.

Various excerpts on Ms Flewelling’s Livejournal (out June 24)

 

Brandon Sanderson‘s “Mistborn: The Well of Ascension” (fantasy):  I am trying to rein in my spending (honest!), so I’ve been waiting for the paperback release of this book.  It’s the second in the Mistborn trilogy, which is a fantasy with an interesting almost-scientific magic system.  I did like the first book, and I’m impressed that I refrained from buying the hardcover.   I probably shouldn’t pat myself on the back yet though, because the third book “Mistborn: The Final Empire” is also out this month… (edited to correct: M:TFE is a re-release of the first book, the third book is out in October, which will help my wallet – thanks La Plume for the info!).

Excerpts and other bonus information here

 

And then there’s Janet Evanovich‘s “Fearless Fourteen” (mystery):  No, I haven’t yet managed to wean myself off Stephanie Plum (though I haven’t bought the St Patrick’s Day novella – it’s a step in the right direction, isn’t it?).  Despite the fact the Stephanie-Morelli-Ranger love triangle never goes anywhere (I’m a Morelli girl myself), I’m still a Plum addict.  It’s the offbeat humour that pulls me in – I almost always have at least one laugh-out-loud moment when reading Stephanie Plum.  I say “almost” because I thought the last book was actually a bit of a letdown.  So while I definitely am getting FF, it had better be good.

Excerpt here (out June 17)

 

Umm… and a maybe for Tanya Huff‘s “Heart of Valor” (military SF) – that’s Book 3 in the Confederation series.  But – and I know this sounds terrible – I can’t remember if I’ve already read it.  Arrrghhh.  I need to go and read a few pages in the bookstore.

Around the Web

It feels as though every single publishing house is giving away free ebooks – not complaining though!  As part of their 10th anniversary celebrations, Eos is giving away “Flight of the Night Hawks” by Raymond Feist.  I can’t remember the last time I read a Feist book, though I distinctly remember being completely obsessed by the “Daughter/Servant/Mistress of the Empire” trilogy in school. 

Jacqueline Carey has posted an except of “Kushiel’s Mercy” on her website.  Three more months to go!

Suzanne Brockmann has put up the cover of her upcoming book “Into the Fire” (July 2007).  Ummm… now that Jules has his HEA, I’m less excited about the Troubleshooter series.  From her newsletter:

The book features former Troubleshooter Vinh Murphy, who’s been down and out since his wife, Angelina, was shot and killed in 2004’s HOT TARGET.

I’m not going to tell you too much about the book just yet — I’ll have the cover blurb for you in my April enewsletter — but the heroine is a new character — an old friend of Murphy’s named Hannah Whitfield. (In fact, Hannah introduced Murphy to Angelina, way back when…)

INTO THE FIRE also includes a subplot with Navy SEAL Izzy Zanella, as well an in-depth look at how Angelina’s death impacted Murphy’s fellow operatives at Troubleshooters Incorporated — particularly team leader Lawrence Decker.

Other point of view characters include Troubleshooters Sophia Ghaffari and Dave Malkoff. And of course, Izzy’s posse — Jenk, Lopez and Gillman — are major secondary characters in the book, too.

The Year in Review – Part 3

My favourite books of 2007 – roughly in reading order:

** Patricia Briggs‘ “Blood Bound” (urban fantasy) – The second book in her Mercy series didn’t disappoint.  I’ve just finished the third (“Iron Kissed”) and can safely say this is one of my all-time favourite series.  It stands out from the hundred and one werewolf urban fantasy series out there.

** Elizabeth Peters‘ “The Falcon at the Portal” and “He Shall Thunder in the Sky” (mystery) – I loved the entire Amelia Peabody series, but these two books are my favourite because of the romance.  Rambling series review here.

** Kelley Armstrong‘s “No Humans Involved” (urban fantasy) – I love all her books and the seventh book in her Otherworld series is no exception.  Review here.  Her Nadia Armstrong book, “Exit Strategy”, nearly made it onto this list as well…

** Jacqueline Winspear‘s “Maisie Dobbs” (mystery) – Set in 1930s London, this is the first book in her Maisie Dobbs historical mystery series.  I love the post-WWI setting and all the period detail – Ms Winspear really brings the era to life.  Series review here.

** Jacqueline Carey‘s “Kushiel’s Justice” (dark fantasy) – This is the second book in her Imriel trilogy, but definitely doesn’t suffer from the “middle-child” syndrome.  I posted some thoughts about it here, but appear to have spent more space ranting about the spoiler on the copyright page than actually talking about the book.

** JK Rowling‘s “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” (YA fantasy) – Well, this just had to be on my list!  I thought it wrapped up the series perfectly.

** Suzanne Brockmann‘s “Force of Nature” and “All Through the Night” (romantic suspense) – I’m a big Jules fan, and I’m glad he finally got his HEA.  Apart from that, I thought FoN was classic Brockmann, with a great ending.  Review of ATTN here.

** Eva Ibbotson‘s “The Secret Countess” and “The Morning Gift” (YA romance) – Jennie’s review inspired me to buy the former, and I’m so glad I did.  It’s the perfect feel-good story.  Review of “The Secret Countess” here.  “The Morning Gift” is just as good – I don’t think I could pick the one I like better (some initial thoughts on it here).

** Diana Gabaldon‘s “Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade” (historical mystery) – She’s one of my favourite authors, and Lord John’s one of her most fascinating characters.  I don’t think think anyone else out there writes the way she does.

** Nalini Singh‘s “Caressed by Ice” (paranormal romance) – Third in her Psy-Changeling series, this was the one that wowed me.  I don’t think I reviewed it (lazy me!), but I loved the romance and the world-building.

** Lisa Kleypas‘ “Mine Till Midnight” (historical romance) – Ms Kleypas is a relatively new-to-me author, but now one of my auto-buys.  I liked how Cam wasn’t a typical hero and loved his story.

** Sharon Shinn‘s “Reader and Raelynx” (fantasy) – Fourth in her Twelve Houses series.  I think I would read anything Ms Shinn writes.  Fangirl gush aside – I thought this wrapped up her Twelve Houses series very well… but I’m still hoping for one more.   

** Eloisa James‘ “An Affair Before Christmas” (historical romance) – I loved this one.  I haven’t yet done a review (am waaaaay behind), but I thought it was better than the first book (“Desperate Duchess”) in this series.  Loved the Georgian setting, her writing, the cast of characters… everything about this book really!

Previous posts:

  • Part 1 – Quick look at the first third of the year
  • Part 2 – I ramble on about reading stats for the year

Around the Web

kushiels_mercy_cov.jpgJacqueline Carey has posted the cover for her upcoming book “Kushiel’s Mercy”.  This is the last book in the Imriel trilogy and is out in June 2008.  The cover’s lovely, and possibly the best in the series so far.  Very lush and evocative.  I like how the model’s eyes are hidden, also the hint of bondage in the scarves wrapped around her wrists.  And the rich detail in the background tapestry.  All very suited to the story, IMO.  Also, Ms Carey mentions (in her November update) that she is working on a new trilogy set in the same world.

I can’t say much about it until Kushiel’s Mercy is released next summer for fear of divulging spoilers, but suffice to say that it will definitely take place a few generations later and feature a whole new cast of characters, as well as a return to a female protagonist.

How fantastic is that!  I’m a bit torn about the fact that it is a change of cast – on one hand, I think it’ll be great to see what happens a few hundred years down the line, but I will miss Phedre and Joscelin.  And Imriel.

In other Jacqueline Carey news, she also has a rather interesting interview up at Writers Unboxed (the interview was done by Juliet Marillier, another fantasy writer – I have one of Ms Marillier’s books sitting in my TBR pile, but for some reason or other, have not gotten around to reading it yet).

This is me procrastinating

Am off on hols tomorrow and I still haven’t packed.  I’m such a procrastinator. 

I realised I hadn’t done a wrap-up of books read in July yet, and so obviously, writing this post became a lot more interesting than packing.  I belong to the school of thought that as long as you turn up at the airport with your passport and your plane ticket (e-ticket in this case), that’s all you need – you can buy anything else you need when you arrive…

Anyway, my July reading – 19 books read in total, probably slightly more than average.

Apart from Harry Potter (obviously), I really liked Jacqueline Carey‘s “Kushiel’s Justice”.  Despite being the second book in her Imriel trilogy (dark fantasy), it didn’t suffer from the “middle child” syndrome, and I was completely captivated right from the start. 

This book follows Imriel, one of the secondary characters from Ms Carey’s first Kushiel trilogy.  A royal prince and son of a traitor, he’s meant to enter into a marriage of state.  However, he falls passionately in love with Sidonie, the crown princess, probably the most “wrong” person ever for historical and political reasons.  So this book deals with his conflict between duty and love, and trespassing against their universal precept of “Love as thou wilt”.  

Don’t start with this book if you’re new to the series (start with Phedre and Jocelyn’s story – the first Kushiel trilogy), but this was a really good book.  Her world is just so fascinating and rich, and despite me wanting to see more of Phedre and Jocelyn, I just enjoyed re-visiting Terre d’Ange.

Ohhhh, I have to rant though.  Right, I’ve this err… slightly weird habit of reading the copyright page.  Not always, but I do read it – I like reading all the bits of random information on this page, such as who the copyright belongs to, the typeface used (especially if it’s slightly unusual), the cover artist, etc, etc. (I did say it was a weird habit.)

And right at the bottom of the copyright page, there’s sometimes a bit of library catalogue info (in this book “Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data”, whatever that means – I don’t pretend to be an expert) – and there was a MAJOR spoiler in this summary.  And I mean MAJOR.  It pretty much gave away the plot.  OMG.  And the summary was provided by the PUBLISHER.  I had read the first few chapters, and then flipped back to the copyright page (as you do), and read that sentence.  And I just thought WTF???!!!

Anyway.  It was still a good book though.  But really.

Heh, didn’t mean to ramble – moving quickly on… 

Another book I really liked in July was Kelley Armstrong‘s “Exit Strategy”.  It’s her contemporary suspense debut, and the heroine is Nadia Stafford, a contract killer.  I know – first-person from the perspective of a hit-err.. woman could be a bit icky and weird, but it’s not!  It works and it was a very interesting perspective.  I hope she writes more Nadia books.

Read my first Rachel Gibson books – for some reason, I’ve never read her before, but I did like her books.  “Daisy’s Back in Town” in particular, I think I was just in the right mood for the Secret Baby plot.  Yes, I know it’s cliched but I enjoyed it. 

Unlike Stephanie Laurens‘ Big Secret plot in “What Price Love?”.  I decided to read the Cynster book that had been sitting in my TBR pile and *sigh* regretted it.  I did find the horse-racing world interesting (lots of nuggets of info), but oh dear, the heroine, Priss, really irritated me in this book.  Her twin brother has accidentally been caught up in this major race-fixing plot, and she needs information from Dillon but she doesn’t want to tell him why.  Aarrgghhh.  Tell him already!  Yes, I understand you not wanting to tell him the first time you meet him, but now that he’s made it blatantly clear that he’s going to help you out – just tell him, dammit.   

And the purple prose.  I ended up skimming through the love scenes.  Which isn’t a very good sign for a romance, is it?  I knew it was not working when Priss and Dillon had their first kiss, and instead of being all caught up in the moment, I ended up counting the number of pages it took to describe a kiss (five, if you’re interested).  And IMO, the book could have been ended much sooner – once the plot was foiled, I’m afraid I lost interest in the last bit, where Priss was abducted by the mysterious Mr X.  I used to love Stephanie Laurens, but I think I’m going to stop buying her books for a while.

Err… I’m going to stop here, because it’s been a super-long post.  I’ll finish up my thoughts on my other July reads at some point.  And I’m going to go and pack.  Really.  Probably won’t be updating much in the next couple of weeks, but I suspect I’ll be lurking here and there…

New Books

You know the saying about waiting forever for a bus and then three come along at once?  Or something like.  Anyway, for the past couple of weeks, while I wouldn’t exactly say that I’ve run out of books to read, none of the books in my TBR pile appealed to me. 

And then today, my latest Amazon parcel arrived.  Hurrah!  This is a long-delayed delivery – the estimated delivery date was for the beginning of the month, and I’ve no idea why it took so long to arrive. 

Here’s what was in the parcel:

Jacqueline Carey‘s “Kushiel’s Justice” – this was on the list of books I was going to buy back in June.  Hmmm… looking at that list, I still haven’t gotten hold of the Julia Quinn book or the Lois McMaster Bujold one.

21qjehhpghl__aa_sl160_.jpgAnd Kelley Armstrong‘s “Exit Strategy” – the first in her new series.  The main character is a contract killer for a Mafia family, so rather different to her long-running Otherworld series.  It’ll be interesting to see how it compares to the Otherworld books as there are no paranormal elements in these books.

Also Elizabeth Peters‘ “Devil May Care”, which I got as part of my quest to finish her backlist.  It sounds like a classic Peters book based on the backcover blurb – a young heroine, an eccentric aunt, and a haunted house…

Errr… a children’s book by John Flanagan, “The Burning Bridge” – I don’t even have the excuse of saying it’s a YA book because it’s not really YA.  Yes, I read children’s books.  This is the second in a fantasy series about a boy called Will, who’s been apprenticed into the Rangers, a sort of scout-cum-spy group for the King of Araluen.  “The Ruins of Gorlan” is the first book, and while the “Ranger’s Apprentice” series is aimed squarely at the younger reader, it’s still a fun read for me!

21mya2utbyl__aa_sl160_.jpgAnd an impulse buy, Camille Bacon-Smith‘s “Daemon Eyes”.  My impulse buys obviously aren’t limited to bookstore browsing.  This was an Amazon rec, i.e. you might like this because you previously bought X.  I can’t remember the exact reason Amazon gave for recommending it now, but seeing that the story is about an investigation agency for occult cases, I’m not too surprised it was rec’d to me!  It’s a two-in-one omnibus, with the two books originally published in 1996 and 1998, so way before the current trend for paranormal books, actually. 

I’m so spoilt for choice – I’ve no idea what I’m going to read first.  If only all my dilemmas were like this 😀

PS:  Yes, I know I’ve been tagged for a couple of things – the Rockin’ Girl Blogger by Erin, and the Blogging Meme by Kailana at Twisted Kingdom.  I’m not ignoring you – I need time to think about them!