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)

Books for August

August new releases on my radar:

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17158158Tammara Webber‘s HERE WITHOUT YOU (NA romance): The first book in Tammara Webber’s Between The Lines series ended up being one of my favourite reads of 2012, and I promptly glommed the next two towards the end of last year.  So it feels like quite a while since I’ve last had my BTL fix – I’m very much looking forward to this final book in the series.

Everyone has secrets.
Some are buried so deep, their existence is forgotten.
But a secret never told can turn into a lie.
And in love, a lie is one thing:
Poison.

Reid’s in love with Dori, though she hasn’t told her parents that she’s fallen hard for the guy they’d forbidden her to see. Now she’s leaving for college, and Reid’s promise not to push her to go public is wearing thin, especially when she can’t – or won’t – return those three important words he wants to hear.

Five years ago, Brooke and Reid were a Thing. That relationship is long gone, detonated amid allegations of cheating – but they still share a secret that would stun everyone they know and alter public perception of them both if it ever comes out. And it’s about to do just that.

Out Aug 6

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11431896Rae Carson‘s THE BITTER KINGDOM (YA fantasy): I didn’t love the first book, but the second intrigued me enough that I’ll probably spring for the third (I borrowed the first two from my trusty local library).  Judging by the early reviews of THE BITTER KINGDOM, this trilogy may be ending on a high. On a side note, I have to say that the UK cover is excellent, IMO.

The epic conclusion to Rae Carson’s Fire and Thorns trilogy. The seventeen-year-old sorcerer-queen will travel into the unknown realm of the enemy to win back her true love, save her country, and uncover the final secrets of her destiny.

Elisa is a fugitive in her own country. Her enemies have stolen the man she loves in order to lure her to the gate of darkness. As she and her daring companions take one last quest into unknown enemy territory to save Hector, Elisa will face hardships she’s never imagined. And she will discover secrets about herself and her world that could change the course of history. She must rise up as champion-a champion to those who have hated her most.

Out Aug 27 (UK release 19 Sept)

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15801763Sarah Rees Brennan‘s UNTOLD (YA urban fantasy): I’m not a fan of the change in cover design (I loved the original UNSPOKEN cover, and the revised covers scream generic UF to me), but if it helps these books sell better…*shrugs* I liked a lot about UNSPOKEN, and I’m hoping UNTOLD delivers.

It’s time to choose sides… On the surface, Sorry-in-the-Vale is a sleepy English town. But Kami Glass knows the truth. Sorry-in-the-Vale is full of magic. In the old days, the Lynburn family ruled with fear, terrifying the people into submission in order to kill for blood and power. Now the Lynburns are back, and Rob Lynburn is gathering sorcerers so that the town can return to the old ways.

But Rob and his followers aren’t the only sorcerers in town. A decision must be made: pay the blood sacrifice, or fight. For Kami, this means more than just choosing between good and evil. With her link to Jared Lynburn severed, she’s now free to love anyone she chooses. But who should that be?’

Out Aug 29

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17612868Lee Child‘s NEVER GO BACK (suspense): I’m a Jack Reacher fan, even if I’ve found the recent installments growing more formulaic and violence-heavy.  Intriguing blurb.

After an epic and interrupted journey all the way from the snows of South Dakota, former military cop Jack Reacher has finally made it to Virginia. His destination: a sturdy stone building a short bus ride from Washington D.C., the headquarters of his old unit, the 110th MP. It was the closest thing to a home he ever had.

Why? He wants to meet the new commanding officer, Major Susan Turner. He liked her voice on the phone. But the officer sitting behind his old desk isn’t a woman. Is Susan Turner dead? In Afghanistan? Or in a car wreck?

What Reacher doesn’t expect to hear is that Turner has just been fired from her command. Nor that he himself is in big trouble, accused of a sixteen-year-old homicide. And he certainly doesn’t expect to hear these words: ‘You’re back in the army, Major. And your ass is mine.’

Will he be sorry he went back? Or – will someone else?

Out Aug 29

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16156292Naomi Novik‘s BLOOD OF TYRANTS (fantasy): This is the penultimate book in the Temeraire series according to Goodreads.  I do think it’s time this series is wrapped up – it’s starting to feel a bit unwieldy and rambling in places – but I’ll still probably get around to reading it soon.

Shipwrecked and cast ashore in Japan with no memory of Temeraire or his own experiences as an English aviator, Laurence finds himself tangled in deadly political intrigues that threaten not only his own life but England’s already precarious position in the Far East. Age-old enmities and suspicions have turned the entire region into a powder keg ready to erupt at the slightest spark—a spark that Laurence and Temeraire may unwittingly provide, leaving Britain faced with new enemies just when they most desperately need allies instead.

For to the west, another, wider conflagration looms. Napoleon has turned on his former ally, the emperor Alexander of Russia, and is even now leading the largest army the world has ever seen to add that country to his list of conquests. It is there, outside the gates of Moscow, that a reunited Laurence and Temeraire—along with some unexpected allies and old friends—will face their ultimate challenge…and learn whether or not there are stronger ties than memory.

Out Aug 13

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12140024Kelley Armstrong‘s OMENS (UF): I can’t be the only one pleased that Kelley Armstrong is starting a new series.  I’ve skipped her newer MG/YA books, but I’ve high hopes for this one.

Twenty-four-year-old Olivia Taylor Jones has the perfect life. The only daughter of a wealthy, prominent Chicago family, she has an Ivy League education, pursues volunteerism and philanthropy, and is engaged to a handsome young tech firm CEO with political ambitions.

But Olivia’s world is shattered when she learns that she’s adopted. Her real parents? Todd and Pamela Larsen, notorious serial killers serving a life sentence. When the news brings a maelstrom of unwanted publicity to her adopted family and fiancé, Olivia decides to find out the truth about the Larsens.

Olivia ends up in the small town of Cainsville, Illinois, an old and cloistered community that takes a particular interest in both Olivia and her efforts to uncover her birth parents’ past.

Aided by her mother’s former lawyer, Gabriel Walsh, Olivia focuses on the Larsens’ last crime, the one her birth mother swears will prove their innocence. But as she and Gabriel start investigating the case, Olivia finds herself drawing on abilities that have remained hidden since her childhood, gifts that make her both a valuable addition to Cainsville and deeply vulnerable to unknown enemies. Because there are darker secrets behind her new home, and powers lurking in the shadows that have their own plans for her.

Out Aug 20

 

Favourite UFs and a PR Question

I did this a while back, but never posted about it (probably because I was planning on making the page slightly prettier – yes, that didn’t happen).  But Angie and Jan posting their top ten favourite UF books reminded me that I’d collated my favourite books over the past six years and split them out by genre. Unfortunately, my UF list is kind of boring as it’s based on my annual favourites which obviously isn’t restricted by author – so it basically has the same four authors repeated over and over again.

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45713_900Speaking of favourite UF authors (note the neat segue), Seanan McGuire did an AMA at Reddit.  You can read the entire AMA thread here or just her responses (click on context for the question).  For Toby fans, this response to a question about Quentin’s parentage jumped out at me:

I’m not telling. 🙂 Quentin is a blind foster, which means that the identities of his parents have been concealed for a good reason. I will tell you, however, that the question of his parentage will be conclusively answered in the next book, Chimes at Midnight, which comes out in September.

I am so excited. And while we’re on CHIMES OF MIDNIGHT, you have seen the new cover, no?  Pretty.

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I didn’t realise Kelley Armstrong had a Tumblr.  She talks about a new 2013 novella in her Otherworld series a bit here.  It’s set after 13, and is titled “Brazen”.  Subterranean Press has done all her previous novellas in ebook format, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed that this will be the case as well.

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Nalini Singh put up a cute short story set in her Psy-Changeling world a while ago (I really need to blog more often).  Any thoughts on the secrecy and big build-up to her next Psy-Changeling release?  I get that it’s a big book (heck, it’s the Ghost reveal) and I love the Psy-Changeling books, but I’m on the fence around the drip-drip approach to revealing the cover, back cover description etc.  It’s not a specific gripe about HEART OF OBSIDIAN – any kind of PR campaign that is meant to make me more curious about the book normally has the opposite effect.

Books for July

It feels as though the first half of 2012 has just raced past.  Seriously.  But on the other hand, July releases – yay!  And gosh, these are good ones.

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Kalayna Price‘s GRAVE MEMORY (urban fantasy): This is the third book  in the Alex Craft books, and I’m hoping it’ll be just as good as the previous ones.  While we’re on the subject of Kalayna Price, I finally picked up her other series after resisting for a very long time (I’ve been feeling burnt out on shapeshifters and vampires) and well, I’m kinda hooked.  On paper, the Haven books sound like a complete mishmash of everything popular in UF – apart from the previously-mentioned shapeshifters and vampires, you also have mages and demons, portals, other worlds etc etc – but she makes it work.  It’s addictive.  Sorry.

Anyway, back to GRAVE MEMORY, here’s the back cover blurb:

When the dead need to talk, Alex Craft is always ready to listen…

As a Grave Witch, Alex solves murders by raising the dead—an ability that comes at a cost, and after her last few cases, that cost is compounding. But her magic isn’t the only thing causing havoc in her life. While she’s always been on friendly terms with Death himself, things have recently become a whole lot more close and personal. Then there’s her sometime partner, agent Falin Andrews, who is under the glamour of the Winter Queen. To top everything off, her best friend has been forever changed by her time spent captive in Faerie.

But the personal takes a backseat to the professional when a mysterious suicide occurs in Nekros City and Alex is hired to investigate. The shade she raises has no memory of the days leading up to his brutal ending, so despite the very public apparent suicide, this is murder. But what kind of magic can overcome the human will to survive? And why does the shade lack the memory of his death? Searching for the answer might mean Alex won’t have a life to remember at all…

Out now (book page)

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Justine Larbalestier and Sarah Rees Brennan‘s TEAM HUMAN (YA urban fantasy): It’s not exactly a secret that I’m a massive fan of SRB’s books – her writing is laugh-out-loud funny (as is her blog), her characters have heart, and she just tells plain good stories.  So it’s a given that I’m getting her collaboration with Justine Larbalestier, and what promises to be a unique take on vampires in the YA genre.

Blurb:

Just because Mel lives in New Whitby, a city founded by vampires, doesn’t mean she knows any of the blood-drinking undead personally. They stay in their part of town; she says in hers. Until the day a vampire shows up at her high school. Worse yet, her best friend, Cathy, seems to be falling in love with him. It’s up to Mel to save Cathy from a mistake she might regret for all eternity.

On top of trying to help Cathy (whether she wants it or not), Mel is investigating a mysterious disappearance for another friend and discovering the attractions of a certain vampire wannabe. Combine all this with a cranky vampire cop, a number of unlikely romantic entanglements, and the occasional zombie, and soon Mel is hip-deep in an adventure that is equal parts hilarious and touching.

Acclaimed authors Justine Larbalestier and Sarah Rees Brennan team up to create a witty and poignant story of cool vampires, warm friendships, and the changes that test the bonds of love.

Out now (excerpt)

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Kelley Armstrong‘s THIRTEEN (urban fantasy): The FINAL book in her Women of the Otherworld trilogy.  Yes, that deserves capitals.  This was one of the very first UF series I started reading way back then.  This was when UF had yet to become mainstream – heck, I’m not sure if the term “urban fantasy” had yet been coined – and way before I started blogging.  I haven’t loved all the books in the series, but quite a few have made it onto my keeper shelf.  However, I do have a slight peeve with this release – only the hardcover has a bonus story, which means I’ll be waiting for my library reservation to come in.

Blurb:

A war is brewing—the first battle has been waged and Savannah Levine is left standing, albeit battered and bruised. She has rescued her half brother from supernatural medical testing, but he’s fighting to stay alive. The Supernatural Liberation Movement took him hostage, and they have a maniacal plan to expose the supernatural world to the unknowing.

Savannah has called upon her inner energy to summon spells with frightening strength, a strength she never knew she had, as she fights to keep her world from shattering. But it’s more than a matter of supernaturals against one another—both heaven and hell have entered the war; hellhounds, genetically modified werewolves, and all forces of good and evil have joined the fray.

Uniting Savannah with Adam, Paige, Lucas, Jaime, Hope, and other lost-but-not-forgotten characters in one epic battle, Thirteen is a grand, crowd-pleasing closer for Armstrong’s legions of fans.

Out July 24 (book page)

Ilona AndrewsGUNMETAL MAGIC (urban fantasy): I’ve realised it’s urban fantasy all the way for me this month.  It’s obviously one of those months.  So this isn’t quite a Kate & Curran book, but let’s face it – Andrea and Raphael are almost quite as fascinating.  Perhaps even slightly more fascinating, as they’re both grappling with that unresolved sexual tension thing.  I’m looking forward to reading their story.

Blurb:

Some people have everything figured out — Andrea Nash is not one of those people. After being kicked out of the Order of Knights of Merciful Aid, Andrea’s whole existence is in shambles. All she can do is try to put herself back together, something made easier by working for Cutting Edge, a small investigative firm owned by her best friend, Kate Daniels.

When several shapeshifters working for Raphael Medrano — the male alpha of Clan Bouda and Andrea’s former lover — die unexpectedly at a dig site, Andrea is assigned to investigate … and must work with Raphael. As her search for the killer leads her into the secret underbelly of supernatural Atlanta, Andrea knows that dealing with her feelings for Raphael might have to take a backseat to saving the world…

Out July 31 (excerpt)

Mostly Urban Fantasy

Here’s the rest of what I read last September, including the last book in Richelle Mead’s Succubus series.  Yes, an UF series finally wraps up.  As usual, reviews originally on Goodreads, with additional comments in italics.

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The Affair (Jack Reacher, #16)The Affair by Lee Child (suspense)

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A page-turner that kept me engrossed, which is exactly what I expect every time I open a Jack Reacher book. THE AFFAIR was set very early on in Reacher’s career – it was rather interesting to see Reacher when he was in the army (well, just about). Also, like the more recent books, another small-town setting – I think I prefer it when he does big cities, but that’s probably my city girl side coming out! One thing that did bother me slightly about this book was what struck me as lawlessness – everyone (including Reacher himself) seemed to run around killing without facing any consequences.

Lee Child is one of those authors who don’t necessarily write in chronological order series-wise (others include Lois McMaster Bujold, Catherine Asaro, and Elizabeth Peters).  I’ve mixed feelings about this – while I enjoy having a look at earlier events that played a part in shaping the main characters, another part of me  just wants to know what happens next.  

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Spell Bound (Women of the Otherworld, #12)Spell Bound by Kelley Armstrong (urban fantasy)

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I have to admit I wasn’t wowed by this installment, even as a long-time Otherworld (and Savannah) fan. I get the feeling we’re heading towards a big-bang climax to the series (with the final book out in 2012), and this had the “middle-book-trilogy” feel to it for me. None of the plot threads were really resolved in this book, though action-wise, my heart was speeding up towards the end.

I found it hard to empathise with Savannah – I’m not sure why, it certainly wasn’t that she was “immature”, as was constantly emphasised in the book. I have to say I didn’t really view her as being that, just more of someone who has strong powers and relies on them, as you would expect! I did like seeing more of the Cabals – I find them a fascinating construct – and also Savannah’s “other” family in this book.

So not a keeper, but I have to say I’m looking forward to seeing how Kelley Armstrong wraps up this series with the next and final book, Thirteen, because I have a feeling she was setting things up for this.

Speaking of UF series wrapping up… this wasn’t my favourite of the series, but I hope Kelley Armstrong pulls something special out of the bag for THIRTEEN (or 13 – I’m not entirely sure what the official title is!).

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Bloodlines (Bloodlines, #1)Bloodlines by Richelle Mead (YA urban fantasy)

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I picked up BLOODLINES with some trepidation, after Cassandra Clare’s revisit to her original trilogy where she basically undid the conclusion to her previous books.

But (surprisingly?) BLOODLINES was an enjoyable return to an already-familiar world – perhaps because the main characters in the original Vampire Academy trilogy weren’t a looming presence, we got to get to know the new protagonists without constantly making unfair comparisons to Rose, Lissa, Dmitri, et al.

By the end of this book, I could see Sydney beginning to unbend, and I would look up the next book, The Golden Lily, when it releases. Not a must-read, but a decent one.

Only one thing… no more love triangles please?

Spin-offs from established series appear to be getting increasingly popular – I thought Richelle Mead delivered a good story in this one.  Admittedly, I wasn’t massively into the original VA series, so I didn’t miss Rose and the original gang – others may feel differently.

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Succubus Revealed (Georgina Kincaid, #6)Succubus Revealed by Richelle Mead (urban fantasy)

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It is sometimes just so satisfying to read a final book in a series, especially when it is a perfect wrap-up.

I loved how Richelle Mead managed to resolve the insurmountable hurdles keeping Georgina and Seth apart, and though there were parts which were somewhat predictable and corny, this book was a good one. Great plotting – I really liked how seemingly unrelated events and characters in other books ended up playing an important part in this book. I admit to some tears being shed towards the end, and can I just say the final courtroom scene rocked.

I remember reading the first book back in 2007 and really liking the world Richelle Mead created (gosh, that was a bit of a rambling review).  It’s been a good series. 

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One Salt Sea (October Daye, #5)One Salt Sea by Seanan McGuire (urban fantasy)

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The best way to start a month is to read an October Daye book, IMO. I really liked this one – sleep deprivation was a fair price to pay on my part. Maybe a tad bit too much info-dumping in the story, but really, I savoured every word on each page and every bit of the world-building. I LOVE this series and this was a hugely satisfying instalment as we get to spend more time with Toby and her people (Quentin! Raj!) and more is revealed about Toby’s world. Yeah, sorry, nothing concrete to say – just some giddy fangirl gushing.

Speaking of good series, this is a fantastic one.  Admittedly, the early books were a bit patchy in places, but I think Seanan McGuire has hit her stride – this is probably my favourite UF series at the moment.

Awards and Other Links

The 2012 Hugo award nominees were announced last week – I feel as though I haven’t really read enough SFF last year to be able to comment knowledgeably (same with the RITAs, I admit).  The most interesting aspect (to me) is that Seanan McGuire (aka Mira Grant) had four nominations in different categories – wow.

Of the Best Novel nominations, I have James A Corey‘s LEVIATHAN WAKES in my TBR pile, and Hilcia recommends – I plan on starting it soon-ish (by the way, Hils got two Hugo nominees right, so I’m impressed!).  She also recommends China Miéville‘s EMBASSYTOWN – this has less appeal to me at the moment.  On the other hand, I’ve never read any of his works, so I could be missing out!  I’m probably not going to read George RR Martin‘s A DANCE WITH DRAGONS, as it’s the fifth in a long-ish series, and I don’t see myself reading the first four.  Similarly with Mira Grant‘s DEADLINE (despite my love for Seanan McGuire’s October Daye books), I’ve not read the first in the trilogy, so I’m not planning on picking that up.  That leaves Jo Walton‘s AMONG OTHERS, and again the premise doesn’t appeal to me (though I do like the articles she writes at Tor.com).

So that’s that for me and the Best Novel nominees – I’d love to hear your opinions on them if you’ve read any (or even if you haven’t!).

As for the Short Story nominees, they’re all available online and John Scalzi (who is one of them) has kindly provided links.  I need to check them out.

And finally, I have to say I’ve never heard of any of the John W Campbell nominees before this, which makes me feel as though I’ve been living under a rock.

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While we’re on the SFF theme, Fantasy Cafe has been hosting a Women in SF&F Month, with some great contributions from authors and readers alike.  I did the link-clicking thing and came across this list of female SF authors by Jessica @ Sci-Fi Fan Letter.  It’s a good resource, though I’m not looking to actively read books written by female authors.  If anything, I probably read too many female authors (by-product of being a romance reader, possibly?) – if I wanted to aim for more gender diversity, I would have to consciously try and read more books written by males.  Having said that, Jessica’s point was that while there are a lot of females writing SF, you may not always guess that from award nominee listings.

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And the pre-13 release buildup for Kelley Armstrong‘s final Otherworld book continues – remember when I had a bit of a moment about the free story only available in the hardcover versions?  She announces an e-only pack [ETA: new link], probably released in June – it’ll be $1.99 for this:

Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue

This is the promotion I’ll be running (me, not my publishers) for the bonus pack. With the e-book pack, you’ll receive:

1) something old – Stalked (the 10,000* word Elena & Clay honeymoon story reprinted from My Big, Fat Supernatural Honeymoon)

2) something new – a still-untitled 10,000* word Eve story set before Thirteen

3) something borrowed – first 50 pages of Thirteen/13

4) something blue – Xaviere is doing fun “police lineup” style character bookmarks, one for the gals (Elena, Paige, Eve, Jaime, Hope, Savannah) and one for the guys (Clay, Lucas, Kristof, Jeremy, Karl, Adam). The characters are dressed in blue (hey, I had to get it in there somehow!) I’m doing a limited print run of both. If you email me your receipt for the purchase of the bonus pack, I’ll mail you a pair of bookmarks, at least one of them signed. Because the bookmarks are a limited edition, I do have to “cap” this promo, but it’ll be a high cap, likely 1500, which shouldn’t be a problem if the only way to hear about it is through me

I’m on the fence – it’s nice in the sense she doesn’t have to do it and you know, I love Eve, but as I’ve already have MY BIG FAT SUPERNATURAL HONEYMOON, it’s really $2 for a short story.  I think I’ll wait and see.

Also, if you haven’t already heard, she has another new novella coming out with Subterranean Press – FORBIDDEN will be released in December.

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And finally, a couple of links I tweeted earlier this week:

The Vorkosiverse is a feast of relationships, not just romances. I love how cousins Miles and Ivan interact as evil brothers who nonetheless trust each other unconditionally. The way marriages mature and change. The way the boy emperor, Gregor, grows into his insanely demanding role. Cordelia, Aral, Gregor, Mark—there are so many marvelous characters who are defined as much by their relationships as by their actions.

Free Extras for Physical Books? And Other Links

Kelley Armstrong‘s announced that the THIRTEEN hardcover (the final Otherworld book) will have a free Clay/Elena short story.  The short story won’t be in the ebook edition nor will it be released as a separate ebook, but will be included in a future anthology (she mentions 2016).

I’m quite not sure how I feel about this.  Ms Armstrong outlines her reasoning in her post – basically wanting to give her readers an extra for spending the additional money on getting the hardcover as opposed to the ebook, and also doing something special because it is the last book in the series.  I understand the latter argument, but the first one doesn’t really make sense – why would buying a hardcover edition be better for the author than buying an ebook?*

I get that publishers are still essentially experimenting with this ebook thing, and figuring out acceptable pricing points etc.  And there’s a precedent for including bonus material with new editions (Meljean Brook‘s mass market paperback release of THE IRON DUKE has a brand-new novella included – I am sort of tempted, but trying to wait until it comes out as a standalone e-short** and there are different reasons as to why it’s not included in the e-edition of the mass market).  But it’s frustrating that readers that choose to read ebooks don’t get access to the same material that people who buy the hardcover.

I suspect that I’ll probably end up borrowing the THIRTEEN hardcover from the library in order to read the Clay/Elena short.  And if I do, I’m in two minds about whether I end up buying the ebook on release date – unless the reviews are glowing, I can probably hold off until I get it from the library.  Which really  is not a win-win scenario.

*Royalties and bestseller lists are the two things that come to mind – on the first, I’ve read author posts that say they get more money from ebooks compared to paper editions, and on the second, surely e-sales count towards your rankings (agree this is more shrouded in mystery, but I have never really bought into the “buy during the first week of sales, don’t buy before this date, buy only from these retailers…” kind of mantra).

**Yes, I finally got around to reading THE IRON DUKE after winning a copy of the second book, HEART OF STEEL, in January.  I really liked it.  Amazing inventive world-building.  I will hopefully get around to writing a separate blog post about it.

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Right, that first item turned out to be longer than I expected it to be – I didn’t realise I felt that strongly about it.  Anyway, the next piece of news that caught my eye – Richelle Mead announced that she’s sold a new paranormal series (adult).

I really liked her Georgina Kincaid Succubus books (better than her Vampire Academy series, IMO), so am looking forward to this one:

NYT bestselling author Richelle Mead’s GAMEBOARD OF THE GODS, the first novel in her new adult paranormal series, Age of X, featuring an unlikely pair charged with investigating mystical phenomena in a futuristic world that was nearly destroyed by religious extremists…

Sounds really interesting.

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And finally, I liked this Austen v. Heyer blog post by Sherwood Smith at the Book View Cafe.  Apart from the fact that I’ve never heard the phrase “Silver Fork novel” before, she explains why Jane Austen’s romances are so different to Georgette Heyer’s – fascinating stuff.

Books for December

Ah yes, I do have a blog.

*dusts off cobwebs*

I have to say I have no idea where the latter part of this year went.  It’s Christmas this weekend!  How on earth did that happen?  I have ummm… six months of reading to add to my list of books read this year.  I am off work until the New Year though, so there is hope.

So – December books?  Good month.

UNDER THE VALE AND OTHER TALES OF VALDEMAR (fantasy anthology): It’s December!  And we get another Valdemar anthology.  No matter how much I moan about the latest books, I will always cave and buy them.  Because you know – white horses Companions, Heralds, magic Gifts… go ahead, make fun of me, but Valdemar is always going to hold a special place in my heart.

Blurb:

Under the Vale is the latest collection of short stories set in the world of Valdemar.

The Heralds of Valdemar are an ancient order, drawn from all across the land, from all walks of life, and at all ages, these unusual individuals are Gifted with abilities beyond those of normal men and women. They are Mindspeakers, FarSeers, Empaths, ForeSeers, Firestarters, FarSpeakers, and more. Sought and Chosen by mysterious horselike Companions, they are bonded for life to these telepathic, enigmatic creatures. With their Companions, the Heralds of Valdemar ride circuit throughout the kingdom protecting the peace and, when necessary, defending their land and monarch.

Now readers can travel to the world of Valdemar with Tanya Huff, Mickey Zucker Reichert, Fiona Patton, Rosemary Edghill, Judith Tarr, and others in these original stories, including an all-new novella from Mercedes Lackey.

Out now

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KA Mitchell‘s BAD BOYFRIEND (m/m romance):  I wasn’t wild about the first book in this series, BAD COMPANY, but I do like KA Mitchell’s writing, so I’m giving this series another shot.  This one sounds nice and angsty, which probably means I’ll like it.  I’m so easy.

Blurb:

After Eli Wright came out, his parents threw him out. In the five years since, he’s made his own way, lived by his own rules, determined to never change himself—not for anyone. He’s not against finding Mr. Right, but Mr. Right Now will do just fine.

Quinn Maloney’s reward for ten years of faithfully keeping his closeted boyfriend’s secrets? A hell of a wake-up call to go with his morning coffee. Not only did Peter have affairs, he went straight to marry his pregnant girlfriend—and Quinn was to never reveal their history.

With the baby’s baptism looming and Quinn expected to put on a polite front, he decides he’s had enough of playing the peacekeeper. One wink from a much younger, eyeliner-wearing guy in a bar, and Quinn’s found a perfectly outrageous date for the occasion.

The date goes better than he ever imagined. And so much worse, as Eli convinces everyone they’re madly in love. That wasn’t part of the plan, but the more Quinn learns about the man behind the makeup, the more he wishes it was true.

Warning: Contains an absolute bastard of an ex-boyfriend. Not responsible for sudden uncontrollable urges to punch him in the teeth. Also not responsible for any overheating or sudden urges brought about by explicit sex with a little BDSM thrown in.

Out now

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Eloisa JamesWINNING THE WALLFLOWER (historical romance): I don’t exactly hide the fact I’m an Eloisa James fangirl.  This novella is probably to help promote her new release (see below!), but it’s most definitely on my list of things to read this month.

Blurb:

It could only happen in a fairy tale.

Lady Lucy Towerton:
Plain and tall. (According to the lady herself.)
Titled and irreproachably proper. (According to her fiancÉ.)

Until, overnight, she becomes

Lady Lucy Towerton:
Heiress. (Thanks to an aged aunt’s bequest.)
Belle of the ball. (So say the fortune hunters of the ton.)

In charge of her own destiny (finally!), Lucy breaks her engagement and makes up her mind never to be proper again…

Out now

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Eloisa JamesTHE DUKE IS MINE (historical romance): After a bit of a rocky start, I’m now absorbed by this series of fairy-tale retellings.  I’m looking forward to this version of The Princess and the Pea.

Blurb:

He is a duke in search of a perfect bride. She is a lady—but a long way from perfect.

Tarquin, the powerful Duke of Sconce, knows perfectly well that the decorous and fashionably slender Georgiana Lytton will make him a proper duchess. So why can’t he stop thinking about her twin sister, the curvy, headstrong, and altogether unconventional Olivia? Not only is Olivia betrothed to another man, but their improper, albeit intoxicating, flirtation makes her unsuitability all the more clear.

Determined to make a perfect match, he methodically cuts Olivia from his thoughts, allowing logic and duty to triumph over passion…Until, in his darkest hour, Tarquin begins to question whether perfection has anything to do with love.

To win Olivia’s hand he would have to give up all the beliefs he holds most dear, and surrender heart, body and soul…

Unless it’s already too late.

This sexy, witty version of The Princess and the Pea turns the classic fairy tale into an enticing, funny, and moving romance

Out Dec 27

 

Also, I have been on a ebook shopping spree – here are some that I’ve purchased recently.  The majority are short stories or novellas, which has suited my reading mood perfectly:

  • Kelly Hunter‘s WISH (contemporary romance): Kelly Hunter sucked me back into to the category romance genre this year and I totally glommed her entire backlist.  This is a brand-new novella that she’s self-published.
  • Tanya Huff‘s FEBRUARY THAW (fantasy): I really liked her first e-collection of backlist short stories, I’m thrilled she’s released another one.
  • Kelley Armstrong‘s HIDDEN (urban fantasy): If you’re not willing to splash out on the Subterranean Press paper versions, the ebook’s a good alternative.  I have to say it’s the shipping that puts me off – if I lived in the US, I would probably own quite a few SubPress editions already.
  • Carla Kelly‘s CHRISTMAS COLLECTION (historical romance): Estara brought this to my attention, and it kicked off a mini-Carla Kelly glom for me.  I tend to forget how much I like her writing in between reads, if that makes sense.
  • Carla Kelly‘s MARIAN’S CHRISTMAS WISH (historical romance):  Spurred on by the previous collection, I bought this re-release and well, really liked it.  Perfect for this time of the year as well.

And actually, that’s a nice Christmassy note to end with – I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas!

 

Books for September

I can’t believe it’s officially autumn already.  And therefore time for new releases – a couple of much-anticipated sequels plus (unusually for me) two books by new-to-me authors that have piqued my curiosity…

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Seanan McGuire‘s “One Salt Sea” (urban fantasy): You knew I was going to start off with this, surely?  I cannot wait to get my hands on the fifth Toby Daye book.  It seems like only yesterday I unexpectedly fell in love with Seanan McGuire’s addictive mix of Faerie and San Francisco – I’m glad Ms McGuire is such a prolific writer!

Blurb:

October “Toby” Daye is settling into her new role as Countess of Goldengreen. She’s actually dating again, and she’s taken on Quentin as her squire. So, of course, it’s time for things to take a turn for the worse.

Someone has kidnapped the sons of the regent of the Undersea Duchy of Saltmist. To prevent a war between land and sea, Toby must find the missing boys and prove the Queen of the Mists was not behind their abduction. Toby’s search will take her from the streets of San Francisco to the lands beneath the waves, and her deadline is firm: she must find the boys in three days’ time, or all of the Mists will pay the price. But someone is determined to stop her-and whoever it is isn’t playing by Oberon’s Laws…

Out Sept 6 (author’s website)

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MJ Scott‘s “Shadow Kin” (dark fantasy): Here’s an interesting one – new-to-me (and debut?) author that I came across while perusing the September open thread at Dear Author.  I read the excerpt on the author’s website and was hooked – it certainly looks promising, I love the concept of wraiths and sunmages.  And you know, a cover blurb by Patricia Briggs

Blurb:

Imagine a city divided. On one side, the Night World ruled by the Blood Lords and the Beast Kin. On the other, the elusive Fae and the humans protected by their steadfast mages. A city held together by nothing more than a treaty-and even then, just barely…

I was born of a Fae mother, but I had no place among her kind. They called me soulless. An abomination. Perhaps they’re right…I am a wraith, a shadow who slips between worlds. I was given into the srevice of the Blood Lord Lucius, who raised me to be his most feared assassin. Still, I’m nothing more than a slave to my master and to the need that only he can fulfill…

Then Lucius orders me to kill Simon DuCaine, a powerful sunmage. In the blaze of Simon’s magic, my own disappears. Instead of seeking revenge, he shows me mercy. He wants to free me. But that’s one thing my master and his kind will never allow. And even if I thought I could trust Simon, stepping from the shadows into the light isn’t as simple as it sounds…

Out Sept 6 (excerpt)

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Enthralled: Paranormal Diversions” edited by Melissa Marr and Kelley Armstrong (YA urban fantasy): Apart from Melissa Marr and Kelley Armstrong, there’s a Sarah Rees Brennan story (total fangirl here), as well as some authors (Kami Garcia, Jessica Verday, Jackson Pearce) I’ve been meaning to read but have not quite gotten around to buying their books.  Which is one of the reasons I always convince myself to buy anthologies…

Blurb:

A journey may take hundreds of miles, or it may cover the distance between duty and desire.

Sixteen of today’s hottest writers of paranormal tales weave stories on a common theme of journeying. Authors such as Kelley Armstrong, Rachel Caine, and Melissa Marr return to the beloved worlds of their bestselling series, while others, like Claudia Gray, Kami Garcia, and Margaret Stohl, create new land-scapes and characters. But whether they’re writing about vampires, faeries, angels, or other magical beings, each author explores the strength and resilience of the human heart.

Suspenseful, funny, or romantic, the stories in Enthralled will leave you moved.

Out now

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Rae Carson‘s “The Girl of Fire and Thorns” (YA fantasy): Second new-to-me author coming up – however, this time, I unfortunately can’t remember how this book landed on my radar.  I haven’t been reading as much straight fantasy as previous years (I think – I have been shamefully neglecting my list of books read so far, it’s on my to-do list!) so this appeals.  Anyway, cool title, even cooler back cover blurb… and cover blurb by Tamora Pierce (yes, I’m easy).

Blurb:

Once a century, one person is chosen for greatness.

Elisa is the chosen one.

But she is also the younger of two princesses, the one who has never done anything remarkable. She can’t see how she ever will.

Now, on her sixteenth birthday, she has become the secret wife of a handsome and worldly king—a king whose country is in turmoil. A king who needs the chosen one, not a failure of a princess.

And he’s not the only one who needs her. Savage enemies seething with dark magic are hunting her. A daring, determined revolutionary thinks she could be his people’s savior. And he looks at her in a way that no man has ever looked at her before. Soon it is not just her life, but her very heart that is at stake.

Elisa could be everything to those who need her most. If the prophecy is fulfilled. If she finds the power deep within herself. If she doesn’t die young.

Most of the chosen do.

Out Sept 20 (PDF excerpt)

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Lee Child‘s “The Affair” (suspense): Lee Child’s Jack Reacher books are pure page-turning fun (though Tom Cruise as Reacher?  That is just plain wrong).  Anyway, the latest in the Reacher series is out end of this month, and it looks as though it’s one of the earlier ones, series chronological order-wise.  Not many authors tend to umm… skip around chronologically (Catherine Asaro does this rather well), and while I’m not keen on the fact that this means we don’t see further progression in the series arc, it’s usually interesting to revisit characters knowing what happens down the road for them.

Blurb:

In 1997, Reacher’s orders are: go undercover, keep your distance, monitor the investigation.

The local sheriff is Elizabeth Deveraux, a beautiful woman and an ex-Marine MP. She has all the skills she needs, but she’s making no progress. Why not? Is there a reason she doesn’t want the killer identified? And there’s constant pressure from the Pentagon, too. Shadowy figures from the world of politics want the killer unmasked—but only if he’s a civilian. Any other result would be a catastrophe.

Reacher and Deveraux can’t get near the base. There’s a shadow force in the woods, enforcing a quarantine zone around the fence. But side by side they piece together the evidence—and their partnership becomes more than professional. Eventually the army’s official investigation produces a cast-iron prime suspect—and so does Reacher’s undercover search.

But Reacher’s answer is not the same as the army’s.

If he keeps quiet, will he be able to live with himself? And if he speaks out, will the army be able to live with him?

Out Sept 29 (excerpt)

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Stephanie Perkins‘ “Lola and the Boy Next Door” (YA): Last but definitely not least, the companion novel to “Anna and the French Kiss”, which you know, I loved.  Judging from the excerpt, Lola promises to be just as fun.

Blurb:

Budding designer Lola Nolan doesn’t believe in fashion . . . she believes in costume. The more expressive the outfit — more sparkly, more fun, more wild — the better. But even though Lola’s style is outrageous, she’s a devoted daughter and friend with some big plans for the future. And everything is pretty perfect (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the dreaded Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, return to the neighborhood.

When Cricket — a gifted inventor — steps out from his twin sister’s shadow and back into Lola’s life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door.

Out Sept 29 (excerpt)

Books for July

The July new releases on my To Buy pile (and in a couple of cases, my Bought pile):

Kalayna Price‘s “Grave Dance” (urban fantasy):  I bought the first book in this series (“Grave Witch”) on an impulse and liked it enough to buy “Grave Dance”.  After reading Dance, I am now officially hooked on this new UF series – a phrase I didn’t think to find myself uttering anytime soon, not with the glut of urban fantasies flooding the market.

But the world of Alex Craft, grave witch, is just different enough to be refreshing and yes, although there’s the dreaded love triangle as implied in the back cover blurb below – I’m willing to sit back and watch Alex work through her tangled professional and love life.  I need to know what happens next…

Blurb:

Whoever said dead men tell no tales obviously never met Alex Craft.

After a month spent recovering from a vicious fight with a sorcerer, grave witch Alex Craft is ready to get back to solving murders by raising the dead. With her love life in turmoil thanks to the disappearance of Fae Investigation Bureau agent Falin Andrews and a shocking “L” word confession from Death himself, Alex is eager for the distractions of work. But her new case turns out to be a deadly challenge.

The police hire Alex to consult on a particularly strange investigation in the nature preserve south of Nekros City. The strange part: There are no corpses, only fragments of them. A serial killer is potentially on the loose, and Alex has no way to raise a shade without a body, so she’ll have to rely on the magic of others to find leads. But as she begins investigating, a creature born of the darkest magic comes after her. Someone very powerful wants to make sure the only thing she finds is a dead end—her own.

Out now (excerpt)

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“Naked City: Tales of Urban Fantasy” edited by Ellen Datlow (urban fantasy): I have this love-hate thing with anthologies.  I get so ridiculously excited about the ideas, the themes, the contributors, and then I actually get my hands on the book, realise I need to be in the right mood for short stories, and the anthology ends up languishing half-read on my bedside table.

This one?  Yes, I’ve splurged on the hardcover and have read the Jim Butcher (whetted my appetite nicely for the next Harry Dresden), the Patricia Briggs (good, but sort of creepy), and the Delia Sherman (surprisingly delightful)… fingers crossed I make it through the whole book!

Blurb:

In this thrilling collection of original stories some of today’s hottest paranormal authors delight, thrill and captivate readers with otherworldly tales of magic and mischief. In Jim Butcher’s ”Curses” Harry Dresden investigates how to lift a curse laid by the Fair Folk on the Chicago Cubs. In Patricia Briggs’ “Fairy Gifts,” a vampire is called home by magic to save the Fae who freed him from a dark curse. In Melissa Marr’s “Guns for the Dead,” the newly dead Frankie Lee seeks a job in the afterlife on the wrong side of the law. In Holly Black’s “Noble Rot,” a dying rock star discovers that the young woman who brings him food every day has some strange appetites of her own.

Featuring original stories from 20 authors, this dark, captivating, fabulous and fantastical collection is sure to have readers coming back for more.

Out now

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Kelley Armstrong‘s “Spell Bound” (urban fantasy): The penultimate book in Kelley Armstrong’s Otherworld series… it feels sort of funny writing that, because I’ve been faithfully buying her latest Otherworld  release every year ever since I stumbled upon her books years ago.  I’ve mixed feelings – I’ve grown fond of the Otherworld characters and will miss reading about them.  On the other hand, I’m glad that there is an End and this series isn’t going to meander on and on, losing that special something – unlike others I could name!

So, anyway, “Spellbound” is Savannah’s book (and I love Savannah) and oh, it had better be good after that cliffhanger ending in the last one…

Blurb:

Savannah Levine is in terrible danger, and for once she’s powerless to help herself. At the conclusion of Waking the Witch, Savannah swore that she would give up her powers if it would help a young girl. Little did she know that someone would take her up on that promise.

And now, witch hunting assassins, necromancers, half-demons, and rogue witches all seem to be after her. The threat is not just for Savannah; every member of the Otherworld might be at risk. While most of her fellow supernaturals are circling the wagons at a gathering of the council in Miami, Savannah is caught on the road, isolated from those who can protect her and unable to use her vast spell casting talent, the thing she counts on most. In a story that will change the shape of the Otherworld forever, Spell Bound gathers Elena, Clay, Paige, Lucas, Jaime, Hope, and others, who soon learn that the greatest threat to supernaturals just may come from within.

Out July 26 (book page on author’s site)

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Jim Butcher‘s “Ghost Story” (urban fantasy): And finally the latest Harry Dresden (yes, I’m aware it’s an all UF new releases month for me).  So autobuy series, because you know, addictive storytelling.  I just wish he would crack the relationship element in his writing because everything works for me except for that.

Blurb:

When we last left the mighty wizard detective Harry Dresden, he wasn’t doing well. In fact, he had been murdered by an unknown assassin.

But being dead doesn’t stop him when his friends are in danger. Except now he has no body, and no magic to help him. And there are also several dark spirits roaming the Chicago shadows who owe Harry some payback of their own.

To save his friends — and his own soul — Harry will have to pull off the ultimate trick without any magic…

Out July 29 (excerpt)