A Few January Reads

I’m trying to keep to a every-Monday blogging schedule (bet no one noticed!), but I’ve to say that inspiration has really not struck today.

26036399The biggest book-related thought I have is wondering how I can fit in a Captive Prince re-read before the third and final book comes out next Tuesday – I am so excited about KINGS RISING.  Unfortunately, the conclusion is that I probably can’t, so I may have to hold off starting KINGS RISING until the weekend. #firstworldbookbloggerproblems

Recent reads have all been of the so-so variety… I just finished Jayne Ann Krentz‘s latest, SECRET SISTERS.  It was going pretty well… until it wasn’t.  Not wanting to spoil anyone who’s planning on reading it, but as reveal after reveal spilled out, I was left thinking ???!!!.  Let’s just say I’m glad I borrowed it from the library.

I also finished Lisa Kleypas‘s COLD-HEARTED RAKE (can you get any more generic title-wise?).  Not one of her best historicals, IMO.  Don’t get me wrong, I really liked it while I was reading it, but two weeks later, I’m struggling to remember the details.  I think the h/h setup for the second book  was probably its strongest point.

Actually, I lie about the so-so reads.  I really loved Harper Fox‘s M/M romance MARTY AND THE PILOT (ignore the cover), and it may be one of my favourite reads of 2016 (if we’re allowed to start talking favourites this early!).  It’s on the shorter side of category romance, but had so much story packed in.  Fox has a gift for conveying setting so easily, plus there was chemistry a-plenty between the two protagonists, and really, all the feels.   There is a required suspension of disbelief about a pretty major plot point, but I was happy to go along with the flow because I was enjoying myself so much.

So that’s me for this week – tell me about your latest reads?

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Books for December

It’s a quieter month for new releases (in comparison to the previous couple of months, that is), but I’m really looking forward to these new releases – hopefully I’ll get a few chances to sneak away and finish these before Christmas…

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25339379Mercedes Lackey‘s CRUCIBLE (fantasy): It wouldn’t be December without a new Lackey-edited anthology, and this time, she’s back to Valdemar!  Sorry, I had to add an exclamation mark as Valdemar will always be one of my favourite fantasy worlds.  I’ll be honest and say that I’ve found the stories in these anthologies a bit hit-or-miss, but it is the land of Heralds and Companions.

In March 1987, Mercedes Lackey, a young author from Oklahoma, published her first novel, Arrows of the Queen. No one could have envisioned that this modest book about a magical land called Valdemar would be the beginning of a fantasy masterwork series that would span decades and include more than two dozen titles.

Now the voices of other authors add their own special touches to the ancient land where Heralds “Chosen” from all walks of life by magical horse-like Companions patrol their ancient kingdom, dispensing justice, facing adversaries, and protecting their monarch and country from whatever threatens. Trained rigorously by the Herald’s Collegium, these special protectors each have extraordinary Gifts: Mindspeaking, FarSeeing, FarSpeaking, Empathy, Firestarting and ForeSeeing, and are bonded for life with their mysterious Companions. Travel with these astounding adventurers in these original stories.

Out now

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25761086Genevieve Cogman‘s THE MASKED CITY (fantasy): I thoroughly enjoyed Genevieve Cogman’s debut THE INVISIBLE LIBRARY when I read it earlier this year, and snapped up THE MASKED CITY as soon as it went on sale.  I’m halfway through the book at the moment, and liking this very fun take on alternate-Venice very much.

Librarian-spy Irene is working undercover in an alternative London when her assistant Kai goes missing. She discovers he’s been kidnapped by the fae faction and the repercussions could be fatal. Not just for Kai, but for whole worlds.

Kai’s dragon heritage means he has powerful allies, but also powerful enemies in the form of the fae. With this act of aggression, the fae are determined to trigger a war between their people – and the forces of order and chaos themselves.

Irene’s mission to save Kai and avert Armageddon will take her to a dark, alternate Venice where it’s always Carnival. Here Irene will be forced to blackmail, fast talk, and fight. Or face death.

Out now (UK only, sorry!  I think the US release for the first two books is scheduled for 2016)

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26009556LB Gregg‘s WITH THIS BLING (M/M contemporary romance): I was reminded of how much I liked LB Gregg’s writing when I finally got around to reading her recent(-ish) release HOW I MET YOUR FATHER.  I’m not normally a fan of May/December romances, but she made the relationship believable (and funny!), even when working within the constraints of a novella-length story.  So I’m looking forward to her latest installment in her Romano/Albright series.

Caesar Romano’s catering career is doing better than he’d ever dreamed. And so is his love life—even if his boyfriend’s house in Staten Island is way too far from civilization for his liking. But then in short order, Caesar is duped into helping his cousin propose, is tricked by his best friend and business partner into appearing on live television, and is harassed by a thug-like personal trainer and his far too beautiful wife. In fact, Caesar is almost too busy to notice that something is troubling his PI boyfriend, Dan Albright.

Almost.

Laid-back, open, charming—that’s the impression hunky former NYPD Detective Dan Albright gives everyone. Caesar can add sexually adventurous and a bit of an exhibitionist. But he also knows that Dan is hiding something—something dark and a little dangerous—and when Dan’s silence over his mysterious past threatens to harm them both, it’s Caesar’s turn to save the day.

But then again, a break-in, a gallery party, an heirloom ring, a new suit, and a stalker with bad BO are all just a typical week for Caesar Romano.

Out Dec 7

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25241403KJ CharlesA SEDITIOUS AFFAIR (M/M historical romance): I love KJ Charles’s writing, and I’ve loved the previous stories in this series.  She always creates this sizzling chemistry between the main leads, and the historical setting isn’t just period wallpaper.  This book will be shooting right up to the top of my to-read list on release date.

K. J. Charles turns up the heat in her new Society of Gentlemen novel, as two lovers face off in a sensual duel that challenges their deepest beliefs.
 
Silas Mason has no illusions about himself. He’s not lovable, or even likable. He’s an overbearing idealist, a Radical bookseller and pamphleteer who lives for revolution . . . and for Wednesday nights. Every week he meets anonymously with the same man, in whom Silas has discovered the ideal meld of intellectual companionship and absolute obedience to his sexual commands. But unbeknownst to Silas, his closest friend is also his greatest enemy, with the power to see him hanged—or spare his life.

A loyal, well-born gentleman official, Dominic Frey is torn apart by his affair with Silas. By the light of day, he cannot fathom the intoxicating lust that drives him to meet with the Radical week after week. In the bedroom, everything else falls away. Their needs match, and they are united by sympathy for each other’s deepest vulnerabilities. But when Silas’s politics earn him a death sentence, desire clashes with duty, and Dominic finds himself doing everything he can to save the man who stole his heart.

Out Dec 15

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Also on my radar:

  • Ilona Andrews‘ surprise novella, MAGIC STARS.  No idea when the actual release date is (or even a plot synopsis), but I’m expecting (or hoping for?) a December one.  It has Derek and Julie, and that’s all I know.  Totally buying though.
  • Jayne Ann Krentz‘s SECRET SISTERS – she’s one of those authors I can’t just quit, even if I haven’t loved her recent romantic suspense books.  Probably one I’ll try and borrow from the library though.

A Bit of Everything

I’m starting to realise I actually read a lot last October, despite doing what I thought were 15-hour working days.  Here’s what else ended up on my Goodreads shelves (as always, additional commentary in italics).

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Angels of DarknessAngels of Darkness by Ilona Andrews (urban fantasy)

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

ANGELS was an anthology that was worth the money for me. Usually anthologies tend to have at least one author I’m indifferent to, but this one had the bonus of me liking (if not loving) all four contributors.

I loved the peek into Ilona Andrews’ new Alpha world – more please? It was definitely darker and scarier compared to their Kate/Curran books, more reminiscent of their The Edge universe somehow. Sharon Shinn’s Samaria novella – well, I’m a total Samaria fangirl and while this was not the strongest story ever, just being able to revisit the world made the story worth it for me. And I liked Meljean Brook’s Guardian contribution despite me having stalled out early in her series (I suspect I would have gotten a whole lot more out of this story if I had known the full backstory), while Nalini Singh’s novella was enjoyable even though I haven’t loved her latest Guild Hunter books.

I think this was one of the anthologies I was most excited about last year, especially as it had a Samaria story.  I didn’t regret splashing out on the trade paperback edition.

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Explosive Eighteen (Stephanie Plum, #18)Explosive Eighteen by Janet Evanovich (mystery)

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

It used to be I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the next Stephanie Plum book. Nowadays, I put in a library request and it sits unread until close to the due date.

I didn’t care for Smokin’ Seventeen but EIGHTEEN surprised me – and in a good way. Alongside the usual zany antics from Lula et al plus the usual Morelli-or-Ranger dilemma, there was actually a plot that made sense. Yes, the usual suspects turn up, but Stephanie has actually developed some skills – both in bounty-hunting and self-defense AND she may – just may – be taking responsibility for her own actions.

I’m cautiously optimistic about the next book (but I’m still getting it from the library).

Ha.  I have just put in my library reservation for NOTORIOUS NINETEEN, as it happens.  I will keep you posted on whether the slight upwards trend continues (probably in a year’s time at the rate I’m going).

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Shadow Kin (The Half-Light City, #1)Shadow Kin by M.J. Scott (fantasy)

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I wasn’t quite sure if this was urban fantasy or not when I picked it up – answer: it’s not, despite the very UF-like cover. Which was a bonus, because I was in the mood for something different.

And this was different – to an extent. I liked the magic system, especially sunmages, but struggled with the incorporation of vampires and beastkin (i.e. shapeshifters/werewolves). I think the world-building suffered somewhat from the too-many-paranormal-creatures syndrome. The story is told in alternating POVs, which was slightly confusing as I really couldn’t tell the difference between the voices. I finally figured out that the symbols at the start of each section indicated the narrator, which helped – but I shouldn’t really need visual cues to tell POV.

However, good ending and I ended up liking this story well enough. I would probably get the next book to see how the writing and story develops.

I’ve not picked up the sequel actually.  I saw BLOOD KIN in the bookstore and was considering it, then I remembered the lack of distinct voices in the POV shifts in this book, and decided I didn’t really need to know what happens next.  Unless of course, one of you has read it and think it’s worth picking up?  

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Canyons of Night (The Arcane Society,#12, Looking Glass Trilogy,#3,  Harmony, #8)Canyons of Night by Jayne Castle (paranormal romance)

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Jayne Ann Krentz (and her various pseudonyms) used to be an autobuy for me – however, the only books of hers I regularly read nowadays are the Jayne Castle ones. I suspect it’s because the paranormal aspects that so annoy me when they appear in her historicals and contemporaries fit in nicely with her futuristic romances.

If you’ve read other Harmony books, you know exactly what to expect from CANYONS OF NIGHT. Hero meets heroine, they argue, then realise their talents dovetail perfectly together, and have a HEA (after getting rid of the bad guys). Having said that, I liked how Slade and Charlotte had a bit of a history, the chemistry between the two, and the small-town atmosphere. The suspense angle? Didn’t work for me.

And Rex the dust-bunny (for a change, belonging to the hero, not the heroine) and his fondness for sparkly objects? Love. Yep, I may be just reading this series for the dust-bunnies.

I know, I know.  This is futuristic romance-LITE, but I can’t help myself.  

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What Happened To GoodbyeWhat Happened To Goodbye by Sarah Dessen (YA romance)

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was engrossed in this book from start to finish. Sarah Dessen can be a bit hit-or-miss for me, and if you read too many in one go, her plots can start to feel slightly recycled. But WHAT HAPPENED TO GOODBYE was complicated in the way the best YAs are. The beginning chapters hinted at hidden mysteries in Mclean’s life – the different names, the must-orders from the restaurant’s menu… they all promised a good story and I wasn’t disappointed. Mclean’s relationship with her parents came across as realistic – love mixed in with resentment and confusion – and at the end, I admit to a few sniffles. This book left me with warm fuzzy feelings.

I slightly overdosed on Sarah Dessen when I first stumbled over her books and did a Dessen glom, but this reminded me of how good her books can be.

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Mastiff (Beka Cooper, #3)Mastiff by Tamora Pierce (YA fantasy)

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

A really long book that could have possibly done with some additional editing as it dragged in places. I’m glad to have Beka’s story completed (and the linkage between her family and Alanna’s explained!), though I would have liked to have spent more time with Beka’s friends and family who we met in the first book. [Slight spoiler – highlight to read: The twist at the end left me slightly bemused and sad – I suppose it was part of Beka’s growing up but, well.] All in all, I’ve liked this glimpse into Tortall’s history, but I’ll probably wouldn’t re-read the trilogy.

I tend to be a diehard Tortall fangirl, but this was not my favourite of the books, unfortunately.  On the other hand, the Mark Reads chapter-by-chapter reviews for her Alanna books are reminding me what a fantastic series that was.

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Quarter Share (Golden Age of the Solar Clipper, #1)Quarter Share by Nathan Lowell (SF)

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I read this following a suggestion when I asked for space opera recs, with the caveat this wasn’t exactly space opera with big battles etc, but focusing on the trading side of things.

And it’s a easy read – a coming-of-age academy-type story, but this time, the academy being a merchant spaceship. Interesting world, and I can see myself getting the next to follow Ishmael on his adventures.

I did buy the next book, but have stalled a couple of chapters in.

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Slow Ride (Fast Track, #5)Slow Ride by Erin McCarthy (contemporary romance)

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I liked SLOW RIDE more than the previous book The Chase, which perhaps isn’t saying too much.

What I liked about this one? Tuesday and Kendall’s interactions – having female friendships amidst the testosterone-fueled atmosphere is always a nice contrast. And you felt that they were real friends. I also liked how Tuesday’s journalistic background was incorporated through the articles and gossip columns inserts – they were fun. And (not that I’m saying I have first-hand experience or anything – ahem), the drunken scenes came across as being spot on… [Slight spoiler – highlight to read: Although was alcoholism an actual problem for Tuesday? I’m not quite sure – and while I did think that Erin McCarthy was trying to tackle a serious issue, I’m not quite sure if it worked. Which probably means it didn’t.]

What I didn’t really care for: I did wonder why Kendall and Elec’s storyline had pivotal scenes in this book – this isn’t their story and really, it should have been wrapped up in the previous book. And while this series has a reputation for having some really steamy sex scenes (and I have loved the first few books), I felt this book had too many sex scenes scattered throughout that didn’t really advance the plot. However, it was interesting to see (very light) BDSM in a mainstream contemporary romance – a sign of the times?

Tuesday came across as a bit of a caricature at times, and too much on the laddish side – does anyone really ever describe themselves as “looking like ass”? Eh. And finally, the final argument was a bit OTT and I admit I lost respect for Tuesday at that point – drunk or not, she should have known better. I think it just came off as Diesel/Daniel being too nice for her.

So the jury’s still out on this series – I’ll still be reading the next, but not rushing out to buy.

I bought the next book FAST TRACK, but again stalled in the first couple of chapters – the hero came across as being incredibly condescending and the heroine had zero self-esteem.  Though I have seen relatively good reviews around, so I may return to the book at some point… 

Books for August

Books I am definitely getting this month:

51PzrTZeJGL._SL160_ Patricia Briggs’ “Hunting Ground” (urban fantasy):  Second in the Anna and Charles series. 

Mated to werewolf Charles Cornick, the son—and enforcer—of the leader of the North American werewolves, Anna Latham now knows how dangerous being a werewolf is, especially when a werewolf opposes Charles and his father is struck down. Charles’s reputation makes him the prime suspect, and the penalty for the crime is execution. Now Anna and Charles must combine their talents to hunt down the real killer—or Charles will take the fall.

51-LmgG6mDL._SL160_ (1)I get the impression that Patricia Briggs’ Mercy Thompson series is more popular, but I think that the first A&C book (“Cry Wolf”) was slightly hampered as Anna and Charles’ story actually starts in the novella “Alpha and Omega” (in the “On the Prowl” anthology), and those who picked up “Cry Wolf” without having read A&O may have felt a bit lost at first.  I think that’s a bit of a shame, but I’m not sure what either the publisher or the author could have done, apart from possibly including A&O as a freebie in the first novel?

41mzXiXT6dL._SL160_Anyway, I love Ms Briggs’ writing and she is most definitely an autobuy for me.  The other release she has coming out this month is the graphic novel “Homecoming” (above), which is a prequel to the Mercy books (and is a collection of the four graphic novels previously released).  And finally, while on the topic, here’s the UK cover for “Cry Wolf” (left), which I’ve just seen.

Out August 25 (excerpt here)

 

 

51fW2XRxrSL._SL160_ Diana Peterfreund’s “Rampant” (YA fantasy):  First in a new series.  I’m excited about this one.  And that was before the (really good) reviews started appearing.

The sparkly, innocent creatures of lore are a myth. Real unicorns are venomous, man-eating monsters with huge fangs and razor-sharp horns. And they can only be killed by virgin descendants of Alexander the Great.

Fortunately, unicorns have been extinct for a hundred and fifty years.

Or not.

Astrid Llewelyn has always scoffed at her eccentric mother’s stories about killer unicorns. But when one of the monsters attacks her boyfriend in the woods – thereby ruining any chance of him taking her to prom – Astrid learns that unicorns are real and dangerous, and she has a family legacy to uphold. Her mother packs her off to Rome to train as a unicorn hunter at the ancient cloisters the hunters have used for centuries.

However, at the cloisters, all is not what is seems. Outside, the unicorns wait to attack. And within, Astrid faces other, unexpected threats: from crumbling, bone-covered walls that vibrate with a terrible power to the hidden agendas of her fellow hunters to – perhaps most dangerously of all – her growing attraction to a handsome art student… and a relationship that could jeopardize everything.

Out August 25 (excerpt here)

 

51nYyUliH L._SL160_ (1) Jayne Castle’s “Obsidian Prey” (futuristic romance):  Sixth in the Harmony series.

I am such a sucker for Jayne Castle’s futuristics.  They’re my (not so) secret vice.  Even though (or perhaps because) the plot and h/h are totally predictable, they’re total comfort reads.  Even the Arcane Society* making an appearance in this one doesn’t upset me because there were already psychic powers from the start.

*Why, oh why, are paranormal storylines appearing in her previously-straight contemporaries (Jayne Ann Krentz) and historicals (Amanda Quick)?

Two hundred years after the closing of the energy Curtain that allowed interplanetary travel – cutting off all contact to Earth – the planet Harmony is thriving. Thanks to an abundant supply of amber, which powers not only electrical machines for everyday use but also psychic abilities in the colonists, Harmony has created a stable, progressive community. But when that stability is threatened, resolving an ancient family feud and a fresh lover’s quarrel might be the planet’s only hope.

Three months ago, Lyra Dore suffered a heartbreak and a hostile takeover – both at the hands of the same man. A descendant of her ancestors’ fierce rival. Cruz Sweetwater charmed his way into Lyra’s heart and gained access to her pet project, an amethyst ruin. Then he took over the project and took off. When Cruz walks back into her life and requests a private meeting, Lyra convinces herself he’s there to crawl and beg forgiveness. Wrong again – he just needs her help. With the project he stole from her.

Five innocent men are trapped inside a chamber in the amethyst ruin, and Lyra is the only one who can reopen the door. Reluctantly she agrees to help. Then Cruz wants her to apply her talents to the rest of the ruin – because no one else can work it. Lyra and Cruz are both harboring psychic secrets. Unknown – and dangerous – powers pulse within the amethyst ruin, and the closer Lyra gets to them, the more at risk she becomes. And now she must decide whether to trust her guts or her heart.

Out August 25 (no excerpt, but some book info here)

 

41CUcSmVuOL._SL160_ Richelle Mead’s “Blood Promise” (YA urban fantasy):  Fourth in the Vampire Academy series. 

The previous book “Shadow Kiss” ended on a bit of a cliffhanger, to put it mildly.  Which pretty much means I will be getting this book to see how Ms Mead resolves things, although seeing that there are two more books in this series, I probably shouldn’t be expecting everything to be neatly tied up in this one.

Note the blurb has SPOILERS for the previous book.

Rose Hathaway’s life will never be the same.

The recent attack on St. Vladimir’s Academy devastated the entire Moroi world. Many are dead. And, for the few victims carried off by Strigoi, their fates are even worse. A rare tattoo now adorns Rose’s neck, a mark that says she’s killed far too many Strigoi to count. But only one victim matters . . . Dimitri Belikov. Rose must now choose one of two very different paths: honoring her life’s vow to protect Lissa—her best friend and the last surviving Dragomir princess—or, dropping out of the Academy to strike out on her own and hunt down the man she loves. She’ll have to go to the ends of the earth to find Dimitri and keep the promise he begged her to make. But the question is, when the time comes, will he want to be saved?

Now, with everything at stake—and worlds away from St. Vladimir’s and her unguarded, vulnerable, and newly rebellious best friend—can Rose find the strength to destroy Dimitri? Or, will she sacrifice herself for a chance at eternal love?

Out August 25 (excerpt here)

 

As for other August releases:

51aYDnO6uTL._SL160_ I’ve already bought (and read) Sherwood Smith’s “Treason’s Shore” (fantasy), which brings her Inda quartet to an end.  I’m still gathering my thoughts on this book, but Ms Smith has also posted an epilogue of sorts on her website, which explains exactly what happens to the main characters after the end of the book.  With Ms Smith’s books, I always get the impression she is retelling a story she knows (as opposed to coming up with one, if that makes sense), and getting such a detailed epilogue just adds to that impression.

51FZmYs7C0L._SL160_ I’ll probably get Moira J Moore’s “Heroes at Risk” (fantasy, fourth in the Heroes series, out August 25), but I have to say Ms Moore probably has the worst luck in covers.  I thought the cover of the third book was a turn for the better (even though it was completely misleading), but I am left slightly speechless at this one.  It doesn’t even have the saving grace of being similar to any of the previous ones in the series.

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And finally, out August 27 is “Love Bites”, a follow up anthology to last year’s “The Mammoth Book of Vampire Romance”, and also edited by Trisha Telep. 

I’ve noticed most of these have August 25 release dates – which means I’ve the next couple of weeks to tackle some of my TBR pile books!

The Third Quarter of 2008

Ploughing on with my year in review posts (I’m beginning to regret starting this!), here’s July to September:

 

July

A fairly quiet month reading-wise.  I enjoyed Naomi Novik’s “Victory of Eagles” (historical fantasy, Book 5 of the Temeraire series) – how can you not like Temeraire?  Ms Novik’s take on dragons and the Napoleonic Wars era remains fresh, and I recall shedding some tears during this one.  That was probably expected, seeing how the previous book ended, but all’s well and I look forward to seeing what Will and Temeraire get up to next.

I liked Tanya Huff’s “The Heart of Valor” (military SF, Book 3 of the Confederation series).  This surprised me slightly, because while I enjoy her urban fantasy books, her SF books had never really captured my imagination.  This one did, to the extent I bought the next book in hardcover.

I also read Sherwood Smith’s “The Fox” and “King’s Shield” (fantasy, Book 2 and 3 of the Inda series).  This is slightly different from her other books, as it isn’t YA, though I think it’s set in the same universe.  I had a hard time getting into “The Fox”, primarily because it’s been around two years since I had read “Inda” (Book 1), and I struggled with the large cast of characters and multiple plotlines.  However, by the end of “The Fox”, I was taken enough to buy “King’s Shield” in hardcover – here’s hoping I remember enough when “Treason’s Shore” (fourth and final book) comes out in August 2009.

The last book I really liked is Suzanne Brockmann’s “Into the Fire” (romantic suspense, Book 13 of the Troubleshooters series).  I wasn’t quite sure going in, since the Jules/Robin arc had been wrapped up in the previous book (and Jules/Robin is up there with Sam/Alyssa for my favourite Brockmann couple), but I really liked this one.  Though I will say it probably fell victim to the “everyone-who-has-ever-been-mentioned-pops-in-and-says-hi” curse.  And I will be getting “Dark of Night” when it comes out in January (whoops, missed it off my January releases list) – while I’ve been unable to avoid DoN spoilers, I’m not that invested in the Sophia arc to have a strong opinion as to what the HEA should be.

 

August

Another quiet reading month, with the highlight being Patricia Briggs’ “Cry Wolf” (urban fantasy).  I liked it so much that I was moved to declare if I could only ever read one author for the rest of my life, it would be Patricia Briggs.  Not that I actually want to be in a situation where I had to read only one author, mind you.  But still.  I loved revisiting Ms Briggs’ Mercy universe from a different angle.

I won a copy of Julia Spencer-Fleming’s “I Shall Not Want” (romantic suspense, Book 6 in the Russ/Clare series) at Keishon’s earlier in the year, and finally got around to reading and reviewing it.  I really liked the small-town feel and how Clare’s faith was blended seamlessly into the book, definitely a new series for me to follow.

Other books I read and liked during August were Neil Gaiman’s “Stardust” (fantasy, reviewed for the TBR challenge here) and Linda Howard’s “Death Angel” (romantic suspense).  “Death Angel” got mixed reviews in blogland and I can get why, but Ms Howard made the rather unsympathetic main characters and the whole second chance at life scenario (which would normally make me roll my eyes and close the book) work for me.

Oh, and I was thrilled to find a 1958 paperback in pristine condition at a secondhand bookstore, it even had a promotional postcard in it and everything.  Don’t laugh.  Anyway, while I didn’t love the story that much (Josephine Tey’s “One Shilling for Candles”, mystery), I intend to read a few more books from Ms Tey’s backlist.

 

September

Speaking of quiet reading months, I only managed to finish five books in September (though I more than made up for this in October).  That is shockingly low for me, but on the bright side, I did enjoy the books I read.

Jayne Castle’s “Dark Light” (futuristic romance) was a solid fluffy romance (and no, that’s not an oxymoron).  If you read a Jayne Castle, you always know what you’re going to get, and that makes for a great comfort read.  I also read Nalini Singh’s “Hostage to Pleasure” (paranormal romance, Book 5 of the Psy/Changeling series) and Ann Aguirre’s “Wanderlust” (SF romance, book 2 of the Jax series), both again worth the time.

And I read Cassandra Clare’s “City of Bones” and “City of Ashes” (YA urban fantasy, Books 1 and 2 of the Mortal Instruments trilogy).  I was a bit on the fence after reading CoB, but bought CoA when I had to grab something in five minutes (hey, you know you need reading material).  And I was very glad I did because I totally loved CoA and did a bit of a squee here.

 

So that was July, August, and September 2008 – my reviews of the first half of 2008 are here and here.

You Can Never Have Too Many Books…

I’m still around three-quarters of the way through Stephenie Meyer’s “Breaking Dawn” (am rather entertained despite the rather jaw-dropping storyline – more on this later), but yesterday was release day for some books I’ve been anticipating…

Elizabeth Peters’ “The Laughter of Dead Kings” (mystery): The long-awaited Vicky Bliss is out!  Definitely the next book I’m reading.

Ann Aguirre’s “Wanderlust” (SF romance): Ms Aguirre is running a contest – go buy her book in the next week or so, and enter to win $200 of free books.

“Enchantment Place” (fantasy):  An anthology edited by Denise Little – the theme being magical malls where you can buy anything.  I’m a sucker for these anthologies, even though I can’t remember the last time I read a short story and thought “must go read that author”.  I don’t think I’m a short story kind of person.  But yeah, couldn’t resist.

Richelle Mead’s “Storm Born” (urban fantasy):  Another release I missed off my August list (I did think it was looking a bit sparse).  I like Ms Mead’s Succubus series and this is the first book in a new series.  Err… no idea what it’s about, but am willing to give it a go!

Jayne Castle’s “Dark Light” (futuristic romance):  The last of the August releases I was planning to get.  I’ve done pretty well this month!

 

ETA: Slightly misleading post, I meant to say the Peters, Aguirre, and Castle books were released this week.  The other two are slightly older releases (still August ones though, I think!) that I bought as well.  And I also forgot to say that I got them at BooksOnBoard using the promo code New_R3lease – this gets you 25% off the purchase price for new releases August 25th to September 30th, and is valid until this Friday!

Books for August

First off, I finally got my hands on Patricia Briggs’ “Cry Wolf”, so that’s my weekend reading sorted  🙂

For some reason, there doesn’t seem to be that many August releases that I’m excited about. 

The ones that I’m looking forward to:

41TGpsujA5L__SL160_ Jenna Black’s “The Devil You Know” (urban fantasy): I really liked the first Morgan Kingsley book (“The Devil Inside”), and I’m been impatiently waiting for the second to come out.  In Ms Black’s world, humans can act as willing or unwilling hosts for demons, and if it’s the latter, Morgan exorcises them. 

Excerpt here (out now – yes, I should really have included this in my July releases post).

 

 

51m7ywGSRaL__SL160_ Ann Aguirre’s “Wanderlust” (SF romance): Another second book.  And I also liked the first book (“Grimspace”) enough to blog about.  I spot a pattern.  Anyway, looking forward to reading more about Jax.  And March.

Excerpt here (out August 26).

 

 

 

51DCrO5r3SL__SL160_ Jayne Castle’s “Dark Light” (futuristic romance): Ms Castle a.k.a Krentz’s futuristic romances are my secret vice, dust-bunnies and all.  This is the fifth book in her Ghost Hunters series and I suspect it will be a completely predictable read if you’ve read any other of her books.  But it wouldn’t be a JAK otherwise.

No excerpt that I can find, but back-cover blurb here (out August 26).

 

And then there are the ones that are maybes for me:

Stephenie Meyer’s “Breaking Dawn” (YA fantasy): After “Eclipse”, I’m holding off and waiting for the reviews before deciding whether to get the hardcover.

Rachel Caine’s “Gale Force” (urban fantasy):  Seventh book in her Weather Warden series.  I’m hesitant about this one because I’m pretty sure it kicks off another three-book plot arc.  Maybe I’ll just wait until the ninth book comes out and I can read all three in one go, because I really really hate the cliffhanger endings in this series!

John Scalzi’s “The Last Colony” (SF):  Third book set in his “Old Man’s War” universe.  I’ve liked the first two and have been waiting for the paperback release of this one… an ebook release would be even better.  What are the chances, I wonder?

 

So that’s three definite buys for August – surely there must be more!  What must-buys have I missed off?

Books for August

August is a good month for books – books I want:

21x6agburdl__aa_sl160_.jpgStephenie Meyer‘s “Eclipse”: Third book in her YA vampire series.  I love Bella and I *love* Edward.  “Twilight” and “New Moon” are the first and second books in this series respectively – if you haven’t read them, go and try “Twilight” at least.  Even if you don’t do YA and hate vampires.  Really.  “Eclipse” excerpt here.

21kbd5cz2yl__aa_sl160_.jpgRachel Caine‘s “Thin Air”: Sixth book in her Weather Wardens series.  Right, the first book “Ill Wind” completely captivated me – people with the power to control weather, a secret group of weather wardens who work to avert natural disasters, and a very cute and yummy Djinn called David.  It was a great start to the series, and then… arrrgghhh.  I really really hate non-conclusive endings, and that’s how most of the later books have ended – with a major plot twist or reveal in the last few pages.  I’m going to get “Thin Air” because it’s meant to wrap up loose threads from the previous books.  And then I’m going to see how it ends, because I’m not 100% sure I want to continue with this series.  I love Ms Caine’s writing, but I just don’t like her plots.  Sigh.  Excerpt here.

Staying with the fantasy books, Gail Dayton‘s “The Eternal Rose”: The third in a trilogy.  The first two books in this series was published by Luna, but they decided not to continue with the series.  Thankfully, it was picked up by Juno.  While it’s not ground-breaking fantasy by any means, it’s an enjoyable and fast-paced fantasy series.  Err… alternative lifestyle warning:  There is polygamy in a sense here; Kallista, the lead female character is “married” to about five others (both male and female).  

21z8dijkull__aa_sl160_.jpgAn anthology with some of my favourite authors – “On the Prowl” (Patricia Briggs, Eileen Wilks, Karen Chance, and Sunny).  I think I’ve probably said this about a million times already, but I really love the first three authors.  If I were asked who I wanted to see in an urban fantasy anthology, those would have been the three names I’d have picked.  Though maybe I’d have liked Charlaine Harris as well, and oh, Kelley Armstrong. Anyway, I’m very much looking forward to this book – excerpts from Patricia Briggs and Eileen Wilks‘ stories are up.

21axwdc9d6l__aa_sl160_.jpgSarah Monette‘s “The Mirador”: The third in her dark fantasy series (btw, yes, I’ve noticed the “3” theme in this post!).  I think I’ve posted the link before, but excerpts from the book are up on her website.  The series revolves around two main characters, Felix and Mildmay, and they take turns to narrate the story.  I love these books – they’re dark, edgy, and compelling. 

21x46wfwrll__aa_sl160_.jpgThat’s it for the fantasy – on the historical front, I want Diana Gabaldon‘s “Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blades”.  A spin-off from her Jamie and Claire books, this book focuses on Lord John, a secondary character in the “Outlander” series.  I’ve no idea when it’s set relative to the J&C story timeline though (and no idea when the next J&C book will come out – I just wish she’ll write faster!).  Excerpt here.

31u4dkjygml__aa_sl160_.jpgAnd finally, I want Suzanne Brockmann‘s “Force of Nature”.  Mainly to see what happens to Jules – he better get his HEA soon.  Oh, and just one more, Jayne Castle‘s “Silver Master”.  Jayne Ann Krentz’s futuristic romances are my guilty pleasure.

I did say August was a good month for books 🙂

Upcoming Historical Romances…

I tend to post a lot about fantasy and mystery books, so here are some historicals for a change.

0345476913_01__aa_scmzzzzzzz_.jpgMary Jo Putney has a third Guardian novel “A Distant Magic” coming out in August.   Oh err… wait, that’s a fantasy, isn’t it?  But it’s set in Regency times (probably), and so counts as a historical in my book!  I loved Ms Putney’s Fallen Angels series, but I’m not entirely convinced by her fantasy books.  I’ll still get this though.  I’m also slightly confused as I thought I read somewhere she was writing fantasy as MJ Putney, and romance as Mary Jo Putney, but this cover has her full name – hmm… maybe I just made that up!  It’s a beautiful cover anyway.

Julie Anne Long‘s final book in her Three Sisters trilogy “The Secret to Seduction” is out in May.  I like her writing and think that it’s faintly reminiscent of Julia Quinn.  I remember loving her first couple of stand-alone books, “To Love a Thief” and “The Runaway Duke”, but not so much the books in this trilogy.  I’m keen to find out the resolution to the overall story though, so this is on my Buy list.

0451221494_01__aa_scmzzzzzzz_v46673742_.jpgJo Beverley has “Lady Beware” coming out in  June – the blurb:

Lady Thea Debenham thinks her only problem is a stained ball gown, but in the deserted corridors of her home she meets Vile Viscount Darien. Her life will never be the same.

This is part of her Regency-set Company of Rogues world.  I’m definitely getting this – her books have such rich detail and bring the historical background to life.  Her Malloren series, set in Georgian times, is just as good.  I really like stories set in the Georgian period (incredibly masculine men dressed to the nines in lace and jewels – what’s not to love?), but for some reason, it seems to be much less popular than the Regency era.

And Jayne Ann Krentz aka Amanda Quick has “The River Knows” coming out in April.  It’s hardcover, so I’m probably not getting this – I’ve stopped buying her hardcovers now, as unfortunately it can be a bit hit-and-miss sometimes.  However, I’m hopeful as it doesn’t sound like one of her Arcane Society novels, which I just don’t get on with!  I loved her Amanda Quick books way back when, so maybe this will be similar to her early writing style.

0515143553_01__aa_scmzzzzzzz_v44905602_.jpgAnd okay, let’s sneak this in – she (under her Jayne Castle pseudonym) is also releasing a fourth Ghost Hunter book “Silver Master”.   Yes, I know – coff-tea and all (this is the series that uses “coff-tea”, isn’t it?) but I like them!  I’m definitely getting this one.  On a side note, did you know Ms Krentz was apparently one of the pioneers of paranormal romance – “Sweet Starfire” (1986) was the first futuristic romance…