Books for May

I feel like the month of May just flew past.  This is less an upcoming book releases post, more of a “hey, here are all the new releases that came out over May and what I thought of them”.

32758901Martha Wells’ ALL SYSTEMS RED (SF): This novella totally lived up to the promise of the initial excerpt we got a couple of months ago.  How could you not fall for a (self-named) MurderBot who really just wants to be left alone to watch the latest soap operas.  There’s definitely a second in the series, and a potential third and fourth – fingers crossed she sells them.

A murderous android discovers itself in All Systems Red, a tense science fiction adventure by Martha Wells that blends HBO’s Westworld with Iain M. Banks’ Culture books.

In a corporate-dominated spacefaring future, planetary missions must be approved and supplied by the Company. Exploratory teams are accompanied by Company-supplied security androids, for their own safety.

But in a society where contracts are awarded to the lowest bidder, safety isn’t a primary concern.

On a distant planet, a team of scientists are conducting surface tests, shadowed by their Company-supplied ‘droid — a self-aware SecUnit that has hacked its own governor module, and refers to itself (though never out loud) as “Murderbot.” Scornful of humans, all it really wants is to be left alone long enough to figure out who it is.

But when a neighboring mission goes dark, it’s up to the scientists and their Murderbot to get to the truth.

Out now

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30658022Jenny Han’s ALWAYS AND FOREVER, LARA JEAN (YA): I adored the first book, and was delighted when Jenny Han decided Lara Jean’s story wasn’t quite complete.  This is the last of the books, and it wraps up the now-trilogy quite nicely.  If I’m honest, I found ALWAYS AND FOREVER less successful than the previous two (there were times I wanted to give Lara Jean a bit of a shake), but overall, it caps off a lovely set of books that brings to life the rollercoaster of emotions that high school was.

Lara Jean’s letter-writing days aren’t over in this surprise follow-up to the New York Times bestselling To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and P.S. I Still Love You.

Lara Jean is having the best senior year a girl could ever hope for. She is head over heels in love with her boyfriend, Peter; her dad’s finally getting remarried to their next door neighbor, Ms. Rothschild; and Margot’s coming home for the summer just in time for the wedding.

But change is looming on the horizon. And while Lara Jean is having fun and keeping busy helping plan her father’s wedding, she can’t ignore the big life decisions she has to make. Most pressingly, where she wants to go to college and what that means for her relationship with Peter. She watched her sister Margot go through these growing pains. Now Lara Jean’s the one who’ll be graduating high school and leaving for college and leaving her family—and possibly the boy she loves—behind.

When your heart and your head are saying two different things, which one should you listen to?

Out now

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30753671Sharon Lee & Steve Miller’s THE GATHERING EDGE (SF): The twentieth book in the Liaden series… and it didn’t really work for me.  What I wanted was some sort of resolution (or at least progression) on the plot threads left dangling from previous books.  What I got was Theo and crew hanging around on their ship in space.  For a whole book.  YMMV, but I wish I’d waited for the next book and then read both THE GATHERING EDGE and the sequel in one go (because things have to happen in the next book, surely?).

The luck runs rough around Theo Waitley. Not only are people trying to kill her and capture the self-aware intelligent ship Bechimo to whom Theo is bonded, they’re also trying to arrest her crew members, and throw the dignity of an important passenger, the duly-constituted norbear ambassador Hevelin, into question.

No wonder Theo and her crew felt the need of a break, and retired to what Bechimo refers to as “safe space.” Unfortunately, safe space may not be so safe, anymore.  It seems that things are leaking through from another universe, and another time. In fact, whole spaceships are coming through.  One of those ships is a blasted battleship seemingly fleeing a long-lost war. What’s more, its crew may be members of Theo’s ancient ancestral line—her relatives. It’s certain that they are in dire need of help. Theo has a choice to make. It seems that Bechimo’s “safe space” is about to become deadly perilous.

Out now

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34593693Elizabeth Wein’s THE PEARL THIEF (historical YA): And here’s the first new release that I haven’t read yet.  I’m really looking forward to this, but it’s a matter of too many books, too little time, and I want to take the time to savour this one.  Also, I love the cover, BTW.

Sixteen-year-old Julie Beaufort-Stuart is returning to her family’s ancestral home in Perthshire for one last summer. It is not an idyllic return to childhood. Her grandfather’s death has forced the sale of the house and estate and this will be a summer of goodbyes. Not least to the McEwen family – Highland travellers who have been part of the landscape for as long as anyone can remember – loved by the family, loathed by the authorities. Tensions are already high when a respected London archivist goes missing, presumed murdered. Suspicion quickly falls on the McEwens but Julie knows not one of them would do such a thing and is determined to prove everyone wrong. And then she notices the family’s treasure trove of pearls is missing.

This beautiful and evocative novel is the story of the irrepressible and unforgettable Julie, set in the year before the Second World War and the events of Code Name Verity. It is also a powerful portrayal of a community under pressure and one girl’s determination for justice.

Out now

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8306741Megan Whalen Turner’s THICK AS THIEVES (YA fantasy): Speaking of books I want to savour!  I have the actual hardcover in my possession (and trust me, that is rare), but have not yet cracked open the pages.  Partly due to lack of spare time, but also, it’s been so long since I’ve read these books that I’m considering doing a series re-read before I dive into this.  We’ll see.

Deep within the palace of the Mede emperor, in an alcove off the main room of his master’s apartments,. Kamet minds his master’s business and his own. Carefully keeping the accounts, and his own counsel, Kamet has accumulated a few possessions, a little money stored in the household’s cashbox, and a significant amount of personal power. As a slave, his fate is tied to his master’s. If Nahuseresh’s fortunes improve, so will Kamet’s, and Nahuseresh has been working diligently to promote his fortunes since the debacle in Attolia.

A soldier in the shadows offers escape, but Kamet won’t sacrifice his ambition for a meager and unreliable freedom; not until a whispered warning of poison and murder destroys all of his carefully laid plans. When Kamet flees for his life, he leaves behind everything—his past, his identity, his meticulously crafted defenses—and finds himself woefully unprepared for the journey that lies ahead.

Pursued across rivers, wastelands, salt plains, snowcapped mountains, and storm-tossed seas, Kamet is dead set on regaining control of his future and protecting himself at any cost. Friendships—new and long-forgotten—beckon, lethal enemies circle, secrets accumulate, and the fragile hopes of the little kingdoms of Attolia, Eddis, and Sounis hang in the balance.

Out now

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30245414Josh Lanyon’s THE MONET MURDERS (romantic suspense): I think Josh Lanyon’s at her best when she does the FBI agent thing, and hurrah, this is one of them.  There’s been a Kindle edition mix-up which means I’m still waiting for Amazon to push the correct version to my ereader, so I’m practising delayed gratification on this one.

All those late night conversations when Sam had maybe a drink too many or Jason was half falling asleep. All those playful, provocative comments about what they’d do when they finally met up again.

Well, here they were.

The last thing Jason West, an ambitious young FBI Special Agent with the Art Crimes Team, wants–or needs–is his uncertain and unacknowledged romantic relationship with irascible legendary Behavioral Analysis Unit Chief Sam Kennedy.

And it’s starting to feel like Sam is not thrilled with the idea either.

But personal feelings must be put aside when Sam requests Jason’s help to catch a deranged killer targeting wealthy, upscale art collectors. A killer whose calling card is a series of grotesque paintings depicting the murders.

Out now

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22303684Ilona Andrews’ WHITE HOT (paranormal romance): It’s been a while since the first Hidden Legacy book.  Despite that, I’ve only read good things about WHITE HOT.

The Hidden Legacy series by #1 New York Times bestselling author Ilona Andrews continues as Nevada and Rogan navigate a world where magic is the norm…and their relationship burns hot.

Nevada Baylor has a unique and secret skill—she knows when people are lying—and she’s used that magic (along with plain, hard work) to keep her colorful and close-knit family’s detective agency afloat. But her new case pits her against the shadowy forces that almost destroyed the city of Houston once before, bringing Nevada back into contact with Connor “Mad” Rogan.

Rogan is a billionaire Prime—the highest rank of magic user—and as unreadable as ever, despite Nevada’s “talent.” But there’s no hiding the sparks between them. Now that the stakes are even higher, both professionally and personally, and their foes are unimaginably powerful, Rogan and Nevada will find that nothing burns like ice …

Out May 30

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As for other May releases that have also caught my eye:

SWORDS AGAINST DARKNESS, edited by Paula Guran (fantasy): I’m a sucker for swords and sorcery-type stories, and this sounds like a promising curation of stories.

Sarina Bowen’s PIPE DREAMS (contemporary romance): I’ve read this, and while I normally love Bowen’s work, especially when it comes to sports romance, this one was one of the weaker ones for me.  Possibly because the narration uses flashbacks as part of the story, and I really don’t care for them.  I wasn’t onboard for one of the main plot points as well.  YMMV.

Joanna Chambers & Annika Martin’s ENEMIES LIKE YOU (romantic suspense): I loved the free prequel they released, but all the tension and promise kind of fizzled out for me when it came to the actual story.  Too much internalising, not enough action, and the twist was fairly obvious.

Lee Child’s NO MIDDLE NAME (suspense): This is a collection of Reacher short stories, most are previously-published but there’s one new novella.  A library request for me, I think, as I’ve probably read most of the shorts already.

Books for November

Happy… November?  It’s almost Christmas! *ducks and hides*

I had a look at my Goodreads to-read shelf for November, and the list seems shorter than in previous months.  Though that’s possibly a good thing as I decided to go though my Kindle in an attempt to clear out my books…  let’s just say I’m very glad that a virtual TBR pile takes up no physical space at all!

The November new releases that I’ll be getting:

28941103SHADOWED SOULS, edited by Jim Butcher and Kerrie L Hughes (urban fantasy): I know, I know.  I keep on saying I’m not a short story fan, and then I promptly run out to buy more anthologies.  This one has some UF big names – I’m most keen on the Jim Butcher, Seanan McGuire and Tanya Huff.

In this dark and gritty collection—featuring short stories from Jim Butcher, Seanan McGuire, Kevin J. Anderson, and Rob Thurman—nothing is as simple as black and white, light and dark, good and evil..

Unfortunately, that’s exactly what makes it so easy to cross the line.

In #1 New York Times bestselling author Jim Butcher’s Cold Case, Molly Carpenter—Harry Dresden’s apprentice-turned-Winter Lady—must collect a tribute from a remote Fae colony and discovers that even if you’re a good girl, sometimes you have to be bad…

New York Times bestselling author Seanan McGuire’s Sleepover finds half-succubus Elsie Harrington kidnapped by a group of desperate teenage boys. Not for anything “weird.” They just need her to rescue a little girl from the boogeyman. No biggie.

In New York Times bestselling Kevin J. Anderson’s Eye of Newt, Zombie P.I. Dan Shamble’s latest client is a panicky lizard missing an eye who thinks someone wants him dead. But the truth is that someone only wants him for a very special dinner…

And New York Times bestselling author Rob Thurman’s infernally heroic Caliban Leandros takes a trip down memory lane as he deals with some overdue—and nightmarish—vengeance involving some quite nasty Impossible Monsters .

ALSO INCLUDES STORIES BY

Tanya Huff * Kat Richardson * Jim C. Hines * Anton Strout * Lucy A. Snyder * Kristine Kathryn Rusch * Erik Scott de Bie *

Out now

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28953458Sharon Shinn’s UNQUIET LAND (fantasy): Her Elemental Blessings series has been a bit uneven for me (really liked the first, the second was so-so, and the third somewhere between the two), but Sharon Shinn remains an auto-buy for me.  And I really like the world-building in this series.

From the national bestselling author of Jeweled Fire and Royal Airs comes the latest novel in the Elemental Blessings series.

Leah Frothen has returned home. But she can scarcely catch her breath before she is summoned by regent Darien Serlast, the man who made her a spy. Leah is reluctant to take on a new assignment, but Darien has dangled the perfect lure to draw her in…

Leah finds she enjoys the challenges of opening a shop catering to foreign visitors, especially since it affords her the opportunity to get to know Mally, the child she abandoned five years ago.

But when the regent asks her to spy on ambassadors from a visiting nation, Leah soon learns that everyone—her regent, her lover, and even her daughter—have secrets that could save the nation, but might very well break her heart.

Out now

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28230419Karina Bliss’s FALL (contemporary romance): I really enjoyed the first book in this rockstar romance series, and her linked story in the You Had Me at Christmas anthology was one of the rare romance shorts that worked for me.

Keep Rage together at all costs…

Powerhouse PA Dimity Graham is off her game. Her career is everything to her and she never lets anything personal mess that up. So how can she explain getting busy between the sheets with Rage’s nice-guy drummer Seth Curran? She’s supposed to be keeping this band out of trouble, not getting into it. But before she can put everything back where it belongs, Seth needs her help.

Faking a relationship seemed like a good idea that night, right before they fell into bed together. But standing on New Zealand soil, facing the people he disappointed to pursue his dream, Seth doubts he and Dimity will convince anyone they’re hot and crazy for each other. To his surprise, Dimity is working her magic on everyone and they’re all convinced this is the real deal. The problem is, he’s almost convinced, too.

Out Nov 15

Maybes:

  • Juliet Marillier’s DEN OF WOLVES (fantasy): She’s normally an auto-buy for me, but I’ve not managed to get into these Blackthorn & Grim books.  This is the last of the trilogy and I’ll probably wait for the paperback edition.  Beautiful covers though.
  • Stephanie Burgis’s CONGRESS OF SECRETS (fantasy): I’ve enjoyed her short stories, but never read a full-length novel of hers yet – maybe this will be the first!  Again, fab cover.
  • Lee Child’s NIGHT SCHOOL (suspense): I haven’t yet weaned myself off the Jack Reacher books despite the recent less-than-suspenseful plots, though this may be one I get from the library.

 

 

Books for September

Now that summer’s almost over (yes, some denial here…), I’m hoping to settle back into more of a regular blogging schedule around here.  It’s been a busy few months – I’m not sure why, but when it’s still bright at nine in the evening, I feel as though I can cram more into my day?

I’ve also been reading a lot of books over the past couple of months…  Maybe I’ll actually talk about them at some point, but first, the new releases for September that I need to read.  All nine of them.

25615305Zen Cho‘s SORCEROR TO THE CROWN (fantasy): This one has had such good buzz.  I’ve been enjoying Zen Cho’s posts about her publishing journey on her blog – this is her debut novel.

In this sparkling debut, magic and mayhem clash with the British elite…

The Royal Society of Unnatural Philosophers, one of the most respected organizations throughout all of England, has long been tasked with maintaining magic within His Majesty’s lands. But lately, the once proper institute has fallen into disgrace, naming an altogether unsuitable gentleman—a freed slave who doesn’t even have a familiar—as their Sorcerer Royal, and allowing England’s once profuse stores of magic to slowly bleed dry. At least they haven’t stooped so low as to allow women to practice what is obviously a man’s profession…

At his wit’s end, Zacharias Wythe, Sorcerer Royal of the Unnatural Philosophers and eminently proficient magician, ventures to the border of Fairyland to discover why England’s magical stocks are drying up. But when his adventure brings him in contact with a most unusual comrade, a woman with immense power and an unfathomable gift, he sets on a path which will alter the nature of sorcery in all of Britain—and the world at large…

Out now

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25958273Deanna Raybourn‘s A CURIOUS BEGINNING (historical mystery): It’s been a while since I’ve read a Raybourn.  I stopped reading when she moved on from her Lady Julia books, but this start to a new series sounds intriguing.

In her thrilling new series, the New York Times bestselling author of the Lady Julia Grey mysteries, returns once more to Victorian England…and introduces intrepid adventuress Veronica Speedwell.

London, 1887. As the city prepares to celebrate Queen Victoria’s golden jubilee, Veronica Speedwell is marking a milestone of her own. After burying her spinster aunt, the orphaned Veronica is free to resume her world travels in pursuit of scientific inquiry—and the occasional romantic dalliance. As familiar with hunting butterflies as she is fending off admirers, Veronica wields her butterfly net and a sharpened hatpin with equal aplomb, and with her last connection to England now gone, she intends to embark upon the journey of a lifetime.

But fate has other plans, as Veronica discovers when she thwarts her own abduction with the help of an enigmatic German baron with ties to her mysterious past. Promising to reveal in time what he knows of the plot against her, the baron offers her temporary sanctuary in the care of his friend Stoker—a reclusive natural historian as intriguing as he is bad-tempered. But before the baron can deliver on his tantalizing vow to reveal the secrets he has concealed for decades, he is found murdered. Suddenly Veronica and Stoker are forced to go on the run from an elusive assailant, wary partners in search of the villainous truth.

Out now (Oct 1 in the UK)

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23664710Lee Child‘s MAKE ME (suspense): Lee Child’s Jack Reacher books are always on my autumn reading list.  Though this looks like another small town setting, which always makes me feel claustrophobic…

“Why is this town called Mother’s Rest?” That’s all Reacher wants to know. But no one will tell him. It’s a tiny place hidden in a thousand square miles of wheat fields, with a railroad stop, and sullen and watchful people, and a worried woman named Michelle Chang, who mistakes him for someone else: her missing partner in a private investigation she thinks must have started small and then turned lethal.

Reacher has no particular place to go, and all the time in the world to get there, and there’s something about Chang . . . so he teams up with her and starts to ask around. He thinks: How bad can this thing be? But before long he’s plunged into a desperate race through LA, Chicago, Phoenix, and San Francisco, and through the hidden parts of the internet, up against thugs and assassins every step of the way—right back to where he started, in Mother’s Rest, where he must confront the worst nightmare he could imagine.

Walking away would have been easier. But as always, Reacher’s rule is: If you want me to stop, you’re going to have to make me.

Out now

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22095547Cindy Pon‘s SERPENTINE (YA fantasy): I love the cover.  Also, I read her Big Idea post over at Whatever, and was hooked.

SERPENTINE is a sweeping fantasy set in the ancient Kingdom of Xia and inspired by the rich history of Chinese mythology.

Lush with details from Chinese folklore, SERPENTINE tells the coming of age story of Skybright, a young girl who worries about her growing otherness. As she turns sixteen, Skybright notices troubling changes. By day, she is a companion and handmaid to the youngest daughter of a very wealthy family. But nighttime brings with it a darkness that not even daybreak can quell.

When her plight can no longer be denied, Skybright learns that despite a dark destiny, she must struggle to retain her sense of self – even as she falls in love for the first time.

Out now

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26084594KA Mitchell‘s PUT A RING ON IT (M/M romance): KA Mitchell’s pretty much an autobuy author for me.  And it’s been a while since her last book.

Kieran Delaney-Schwartz—adoptee, underachiever, and self-professed slacker IT guy—lives his under-the-radar life by the motto: Don’t try, don’t fail. His adopted siblings are all overachievers thanks to his driven, liberal parents, but Kieran has elected to avoid disappointing anyone by not getting their hopes up. He’s coasting through his early twenties when he’s hit head-on by Theo. The successful decade-older Broadway producer sweeps him off his feet for a whirlwind thirteen months that are pretty sweet until it all comes screeching to a halt on Valentine’s Day, with an unexpected proposal via a NYC Times Square Flash mob.

Now everyone wants in on the wedding, except the grooms…

Out now

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24453021Seanan McGuire‘s A RED-ROSE CHAIN (UF): New Toby always makes me happy.

Things are looking up.

For the first time in what feels like years, October “Toby” Daye has been able to pause long enough to take a breath and look at her life—and she likes what she sees. She has friends. She has allies. She has a squire to train and a King of Cats to love, and maybe, just maybe, she can let her guard down for a change.

Or not. When Queen Windermere’s seneschal is elf-shot and thrown into an enchanted sleep by agents from the neighboring Kingdom of Silences, Toby finds herself in a role she never expected to play: that of a diplomat. She must travel to Portland, Oregon, to convince King Rhys of Silences not to go to war against the Mists. But nothing is that simple, and what October finds in Silences is worse than she would ever have imagined.

How far will Toby go when lives are on the line, and when allies both old and new are threatened by a force she had never expected to face again? How much is October willing to give up, and how much is she willing to change? In Faerie, what’s past is never really gone.

It’s just waiting for an opportunity to pounce.

Out now

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17564519Rae Carson‘s WALK ON EARTH A STRANGER (YA fantasy): I quite liked Rae Carson’s previous trilogy, and this one sounds even better.

Lee Westfall has a secret. She can sense the presence of gold in the world around her. Veins deep beneath the earth, pebbles in the river, nuggets dug up from the forest floor. The buzz of gold means warmth and life and home—until everything is ripped away by a man who wants to control her. Left with nothing, Lee disguises herself as a boy and takes to the trail across the country. Gold was discovered in California, and where else could such a magical girl find herself, find safety?

Walk on Earth a Stranger, the first book in this new trilogy, introduces—as only Rae Carson can—a strong heroine, a perilous road, a fantastical twist, and a slow-burning romance.

Out Sept 22

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24876258Jim Butcher‘s THE AERONAUT’S WINDLASS (fantasy): Jim Butcher does something that’s not Dresden-related.  Okay, slightly unfair, as he did write the Codex Alera fantasy series… anyway, this looks like a take on steampunk?

 Jim Butcher, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Dresden Files and the Codex Alera novels, conjures up a new series set in a fantastic world of noble families, steam-powered technology, and magic-wielding warriors…

Since time immemorial, the Spires have sheltered humanity, towering for miles over the mist-shrouded surface of the world. Within their halls, aristocratic houses have ruled for generations, developing scientific marvels, fostering trade alliances, and building fleets of airships to keep the peace.

Captain Grimm commands the merchant ship, Predator. Fiercely loyal to Spire Albion, he has taken their side in the cold war with Spire Aurora, disrupting the enemy’s shipping lines by attacking their cargo vessels. But when the Predator is severely damaged in combat, leaving captain and crew grounded, Grimm is offered a proposition from the Spirearch of Albion—to join a team of agents on a vital mission in exchange for fully restoring Predator to its fighting glory.

And even as Grimm undertakes this dangerous task, he will learn that the conflict between the Spires is merely a premonition of things to come. Humanity’s ancient enemy, silent for more than ten thousand years, has begun to stir once more. And death will follow in its wake…

Out Sept 29

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25388580Kelley Armstrong‘s THE UNQUIET PAST (fantasy): I’ve no idea what this book is (looks like a shared-world series?), but I’ll give it a shot because, well, Kelley Armstrong.

You can only hide from the truth for so long.

Tess has always been tormented by waking visions that make her question her sanity. When the orphanage she lives in burns down, she decides to face her fears and find out once and for all what is wrong with her. She believes the truth must lie with her parents, and so, armed with only an address and phone number, Tess travels to a crumbling mansion in rural Quebec, where she discovers evidence of mistreatment of mental patients. She also makes an unlikely ally and gradually unearths her family’s sad history—and finally accepts the truth about her paranormal powers.

Out Sept 29

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And then the maybes:

  • Fran Wilde‘s UPDRAFT (fantasy): I’ve been hearing good things about this one.  Has anyone read this yet?
  • Mercedes Lackey‘s HUNTER (fantasy): I’ll always have a soft spot for some Lackey.
  • Holly Black & Cassandra Clare‘s THE COPPER GAUNTLET (YA fantasy): I read the first book, THE IRON TRIAL, recently – it was good fun, though a bit slow in parts.  And I’m a sucker for academy-type stories anyway.
  • Kelley Armstrong‘s LED ASTRAY (UF): More Armstrong, this time an anthology of mostly previously-published short stories, but with two new ones.  Which would be why I want the book…

Books for August

A belated new releases post (and WordPress has changed their posts interface – help!).  Not that many new releases this month that I want, for a change…

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9627755Stephanie Perkin‘s ISLA AND THE HAPPILY EVER AFTER (YA romance): I fell in love with ANNA when it was released way back when, so am thrilled that we are finally getting the final companion novel in this loosely-related trilogy of books.

From the glittering streets of Manhattan to the moonlit rooftops of Paris, falling in love is easy for hopeless dreamer Isla and introspective artist Josh. But as they begin their senior year in France, Isla and Josh are quickly forced to confront the heartbreaking reality that happily-ever-afters aren’t always forever.

Their romantic journey is skillfully intertwined with those of beloved couples Anna and Étienne and Lola and Cricket, whose paths are destined to collide in a sweeping finale certain to please fans old and new.

Out Aug 14

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18398797Kelley Armstrong‘s VISIONS (UF): Her Otherworld books were auto-buys for me; I’ve been more on the fence about her recent releases, but I did like the first book in this series, OMENS, when I read it last year.  

As #1 New York Times bestselling author Kelley Armstrong’s new Cainsville series continues, Olivia’s power to read omens leads to the discovery of a gruesome crime with troubling connections to her new hometown.

Omens, the first installment in Kelley Armstrong’s exciting new series, introduced Olivia Taylor-Jones, daughter of notorious serial killers, and Gabriel Walsh, the self-serving, morally ambiguous lawyer who became her unlikely ally. Together, they chased down a devious killer and partially cleared her parents of their horrifying crimes.

Their success, however, is short-lived. While Olivia takes refuge in the old, secluded town of Cainsville, Gabriel’s past mistakes have come to light, creating a rift between the pair just when she needs his help the most.

Olivia finds a dead woman in her car, dressed to look like her, but the body vanishes before anyone else sees it. Olivia’s convinced it’s another omen, a sign of impending danger. But then she learns that a troubled young woman went missing just days ago—the same woman Olivia found dead in her car. Someone has gone to great lengths to kill and leave this young woman as a warning. But why? And what role has her new home played in this disturbing murder?

Olivia’s effort to uncover the truth places her in the crosshairs of old and powerful forces, forces that have their own agenda, and closely guarded secrets they don’t want revealed.

Out Aug 19

19186417Lee Child‘s PERSONAL (suspense): The latest Jack Reacher is always on my to-read list, so no surprises here.  But I admit to liking the city-based Reacher stories more (yes, total city girl at heart!) and it looks like both Paris AND London make an appearance in this book.

Jack Reacher walks alone. Once a go-to hard man in the US military police, now he’s a drifter of no fixed abode. But the army tracks him down. Because someone has taken a long-range shot at the French president.

Only one man could have done it. And Reacher is the one man who can find him.

This new heartstopping, nailbiting book in Lee Child’s number-one bestselling series takes Reacher across the Atlantic to Paris – and then to London. The stakes have never been higher – because this time, it’s personal.

Out Aug 28

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20945757Ann Aguirre‘s I WANT IT THAT WAY (NA romance): It’s been a while since I’ve read an Aguirre, and the last one I read was her Sirantha Jax SFR series (which, come to think of it, I never ended up finishing).  But I like her writing, and this first book in her new series caught my eye. 

Nadia Conrad has big dreams, and she’s determined to make them come true—for her parents’ sake as well as her own. But between maintaining her college scholarship and working at the local day care to support herself, she barely has time to think, let alone date. Then she moves into a new apartment and meets the taciturn yet irresistible guy in 1B….

Daniel Tyler has grown up too fast. Becoming a single dad at twenty turned his life upside down—and brought him heartache he can’t risk again. Now, as he raises his four-year-old son while balancing a full-time construction management job and night classes, a social life is out of the question. The last thing he wants is for four noisy students to move into the apartment upstairs. But one night, Nadia’s and Ty’s paths cross, and soon they can’t stay away from each other.

The timing is all wrong—but love happens when it happens. And you can’t know what you truly need until you stand to lose it.

Out Aug 26

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

 

Books for September

This is one of those posts that fall into the “better late than never” category – here are the September new releases that I’m getting.

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Seanan McGuire‘s ASHES OF HONOR (urban fantasy): If you’ve been reading my blog for a while (or even for the past few weeks, come to think of it), you know I’ve been a big fan of Toby Daye ever since the first book.  Somehow Seanan McGuire gets better and better with each installment, and I’ve been so caught up in Toby’s story that it’s hard to believe this is the sixth book in the series already.  I’ve already finished ASHES OF HONOR – without wanting to spoil things, it’s oh-so-satisfying on so many levels.

It’s been almost a year since October “Toby” Daye averted a war, gave up a county, and suffered personal losses that have left her wishing for a good day’s sleep. She’s tried to focus on her responsibilities—training Quentin, upholding her position as Sylvester’s knight, and paying the bills—but she can’t help feeling like her world is crumbling around her, and her increasingly reckless behavior is beginning to worry even her staunchest supporters.

To make matters worse, Toby’s just been asked to find another missing child…only this time it’s the changeling daughter of her fellow knight, Etienne, who didn’t even know he was a father until the girl went missing. Her name is Chelsea. She’s a teleporter, like her father. She’s also the kind of changeling the old stories warn about, the ones with all the strength and none of the control. She’s opening doors that were never meant to be opened, releasing dangers that were sealed away centuries before—and there’s a good chance she could destroy Faerie if she isn’t stopped.

Now Toby must find Chelsea before time runs out, racing against an unknown deadline and through unknown worlds as she and her allies try to avert disaster. But danger is also stirring in the Court of Cats, and Tybalt may need Toby’s help with the biggest challenge he’s ever faced.

Toby thought the last year was bad. She has no idea.

Out now (author’s book page)

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Meljean Brook‘s RIVETED (paranormal romance): This is the third book in her Iron Seas series.  I hesitated a long time before I picked up the first book, THE IRON DUKE, because I stalled a couple of books into her other series (I do need to give them another go one day), but I really shouldn’t have.  Her steampunk world is so intricately crafted (Hilcia referred to these books as social science fiction, which is an excellent description) and she gives good romance.

A century after a devastating volcanic eruption forced Iceland’s inhabitants to abandon its shores, the island has become enshrouded in legend. Fishermen tell tales of giant trolls guarding the land and of seductive witches who steal men’s hearts. But the truth behind the legends is mechanical, not magic—and the mystery of the island a matter of life and death for a community of women who once spilled noble blood to secure their freedom.

Five years ago, Annika unwittingly endangered that secret, but her sister Källa took the blame and was exiled. Now Annika serves on the airship Phatéon, flying from port to port in search of her sister and longing to return home . . . but that home is threatened when expedition leader David Kentewess comes aboard

Determined to solve the mystery of his own origin, David will stop at nothing to expose Annika’s secrets. But when disaster strikes, leaving David and Annika stranded on a glacier and pursued by a madman, their very survival depends on keeping the heat rising between them—and generating lots of steam…

Out now (excerpt)

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Sarah Rees Brennan‘s UNSPOKEN (YA paranormal): I’ve such love for Sarah Rees Brennan’s stories and this first book of the Lynburn Legacy trilogy sounds like a must-have.  I mean, modern YA Gothic?  Count me in, especially if the story’s laced with her unique brand of humour, which never fails to make me laugh out loud.

Kami Glass loves someone she’s never met . . . a boy she’s talked to in her head ever since she was born. She wasn’t silent about her imaginary friend during her childhood, and is thus a bit of an outsider in her sleepy English town of Sorry-in-the-Vale. Still, Kami hasn’t suffered too much from not fitting in. She has a best friend, runs the school newspaper, and is only occasionally caught talking to herself. Her life is in order, just the way she likes it, despite the voice in her head.

But all that changes when the Lynburns return.

The Lynburn family has owned the spectacular and sinister manor that overlooks Sorry-in-the-Vale for centuries. The mysterious twin sisters who abandoned their ancestral home a generation ago are back, along with their teenage sons, Jared and Ash, one of whom is eerily familiar to Kami. Kami is not one to shy away from the unknown—in fact, she’s determined to find answers for all the questions Sorry-in-the-Vale is suddenly posing. Who is responsible for the bloody deeds in the depths of the woods? What is her own mother hiding? And now that her imaginary friend has become a real boy, does she still love him? Does she hate him? Can she trust him?

Out now (author’s book page)

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Lee Child‘s A WANTED MAN (suspense): I’m always excited about a new Jack Reacher (and admit that I am planning to see the movie, despite the Tom Cruise thing).  I think the recent Reacher books have been a bit hit or miss (and have amped up the violence), but Lee Child’s still an auto-buy author for me.

Four people in a car, hoping to make Chicago by morning. One man driving, eyes on the road. Another man next to him, telling stories that don’t add up. A woman in the back, silent and worried. And next to her, a huge man with a broken nose, hitching a ride east to Virginia.

An hour behind them, a man lies stabbed to death in an old pumping station. He was seen going in with two others, but he never came out. He has been executed, the knife work professional, the killers vanished. Within minutes, the police are notified. Within hours, the FBI descends, laying claim to the victim without ever saying who he was or why he was there.

All Reacher wanted was a ride to Virginia. All he did was stick out his thumb. But he soon discovers he has hitched more than a ride. He has tied himself to a massive conspiracy that makes him a threat—to both sides at once.

In Lee Child’s white-hot thriller, nothing is what it seems, and nobody is telling the truth. As the tension rises, the twists come fast and furious, keeping readers guessing and gasping until the explosive finale.

Out Sept 25 (excerpt)

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Finally, there are a number of books I’ve been eyeing:

  • The annual(?) anthology edited by Charlaine Harris and Toni LP Kelner – this one is titled AN APPLE FOR THE CREATURE and has an Ilona Andrews contribution.  I’ve requested this from my library because I can’t justify buying a hardcover when I really only want to read one story
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  • I really liked Joanne Dobson‘s Karen Pelletier mystery series, which was set in a New England college campus.  She’s co-authoring a new series called Wartime in New York, and the first is out this month (FACE OF THE ENEMY) – I’m always a sucker for historical mysteries.
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  • I read Rae Carson‘s YA fantasy debut THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS earlier this year and liked it well enough, though I think the positive hype led me to have overly-high expectations.  The second, THE CROWN OF EMBERS, is out this month and while I do want to read it, I will most probably wait for the paperback.
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  • There’s a Christmas anthology called MISCHIEF AND MISTLETOE (less than 100 days to Christmas!) coming out this month – I wanted to get it until I realised it was around £8.  Contributors are the historical romance authors who blog at Word Wenches, including Jo Beverley and Mary Jo Putney, so again, I’ll probably get it when it drops to a lower price point.

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.

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 March

Though I was bemoaning the lack of new releases in February, March more than makes up for it.  Seriously.  Here are the books I’m getting this month:

 

51srWbCExCL._SL160_ Deanna Raybourn’s “The Dead Travel Fast” (historical mystery): I’m a big fan of her Silent books, and while I’m ever-so-slightly disappointed that this new book isn’t the latest installment in that series, it sounds just as wonderfully gothic and fascinating:

A husband, a family, a comfortable life: Theodora Lestrange lives in terror of it all.

With a modest inheritance and the three gowns that comprise her entire wardrobe, Theodora leaves Edinburgh — and a disappointed suitor — far behind. She is bound for Roumania, where tales of vampires are still whispered, to visit an old friend and write the book that will bring her true independence.

She arrives at a magnificent, decaying castle in the Carpathians replete with eccentric inhabitants: the ailing dowager; the troubled steward; her own fearful friend, Cosmina. But all are outstripped in dark glamour by the castle’s master, Count Andrei Dragulescu.

Bewildering and bewitching in equal measure, the brooding nobleman ignites Theodora’s imagination and awakens passions in her that she can neither deny nor conceal. His allure is superlative, his dominion over the superstitious town, absolute — Theodora may simply be one more person under his sway.

Before her sojourn is ended — or her novel completed — Theodora will have encountered things as strange and terrible as they are seductive. For obsession can prove fatal…and she is in danger of falling prey to more than desire.

Out now (excerpt here)

 

51hl6F3qqL._SL160_ Lisa Lutz’s “The Spellmans Strike Again” (mystery): I became addicted to this off-the-wall series last year – I liked the first book well enough, but it was the second book that hooked me.  They’re hilarious with heart, and as a reader, I’m very invested in Izzy and her family.  “The Spellmans Strike Again” is the fourth in the series and here’s the blurb:

At the ripe old age of 32, former wild child Isabel "Izzy" Spellman has finally agreed to take over the family business. Let’s just say the transition won’t be a smooth one.

Her first priorities as head of Spellman Investigations are to dig up some dirt on the competition—slippery ex-cop Rick Harkey—and to track down a stolen screenplay called The Snowball Effect. Next, faced with a baffling missing-persons case at the home of an aging millionaire, Izzy hires an actor friend to infiltrate the mansion as an undercover butler. Only he enjoys the role a little too much.

Meanwhile, Izzy is being blackmailed by her mother, who threatens to distribute photographic evidence of Prom Night 1994 unless Izzy commits to regular blind dates with promising professionals—an arrangement that doesn’t thrill Connor, an Irish bartender on the brink of becoming ex-boyfriend #12.

At Spellman headquarters, it’s business as unusual. Doorknobs and light fixtures are disappearing every day, Mom’s been spotted crying in the pantry, and a series of increasingly demanding Spellman Rules (Rule #27: No Speaking Today) can’t quite hold the family together. Izzy also has to decipher weekly "phone calls from the edge" from her octogenarian lawyer Morty, as well as Henry Stone’s mysterious interest in rekindling their relationsh … well, whatever it was.

Just when it looks like things can’t go more haywire, little sister Rae’s internship, researching pro bono legal cases leads the youngest Spellman to launch a grass-roots campaign that could get an innocent man out of jail—or land her in it.

Out March 16 (excerpt here)

 

41xrXP7zSL._SL160_ Patricia Briggs“Silver Borne” (urban fantasy): I’ve already pre-ordered it (and yes, I’ve gone for the UK paperback, even though I’m madly envious about those who get the US hardcover version – I’ll just lust over the cover online).  It’s a close call between the Mercy series and the Anna & Charles one for me at the moment, but Mercy just edges it, so to say I’m madly excited about this fifth book is probably an understatement.

Being a mechanic is hard work. Mercy Thompson, for instance, just spent the last couple of months trying to evade the murderous queen of the local vampire seethe, and now the leader of the werewolf pack – who’s maybe-more-than-just-a-friend – has asked for her help. A book of fae secrets has come to light and they’re all about to find out how implacable – and dangerous – the fae can be. OK, so maybe her troubles have nothing to do with the job. But she sure could use a holiday…

Out March 30 (excerpt here)

 

51VgbfEvzTL._SL160_ Megan Whalen Turner’s “A Conspiracy of Kings” (YA fantasy): Speaking of wildly excited, I cannot wait to get my hands on the latest book in MWT’s Thief series (or whatever the “official” series name is).  I completely appreciate that I’ve only had to wait a year or so (probably less, actually) whereas die-hard fans have been waiting years for this, but still!  Just reading the blurb gives rise to this massive sense of anticipation:

Sophos, under the guidance of yet another tutor, practices his swordplay and strategizes escape scenarios should his father’s villa come under attack. How would he save his mother? His sisters? Himself? Could he reach the horses in time? Where would he go? But nothing prepares him for the day armed men, silent as thieves, swarm the villa courtyard ready to kill, to capture, to kidnap. Sophos, the heir to the throne of Sounis, disappears without a trace.

In Attolia, Eugenides, the new and unlikely king, has never stopped wondering what happened to Sophos. Nor has the Queen of Eddis. They send spies. They pay informants. They appeal to the gods. But as time goes by, it becomes less and less certain that they will ever see their friend alive again.

Across the small peninsula battles are fought, bribes are offered, and conspiracies are set in motion. Darkening the horizon, the Mede Empire threatens, always, from across the sea. And Sophos, anonymous and alone, bides his time. Sophos, drawing on his memories of Gen, Pol, the magus—and Eddis—sets out on an adventure that will change all of their lives forever.

Out March 23 (excerpt here)

 

51NsvV6rNNL._SL160_ Anne Bishop’s “Shalador’s Lady” (fantasy): I’m getting this one because I’m a long-time Black Jewels fan, but I will admit her more recent books have not quite done it for me.  Still, I do want to see where this storyline goes (this book is the sequel to last year’s “The Shadow Queen”) and I’ve been hearing good things about this one.  The blurb:

For years the Shalador people suffered the cruelties of the corrupt Queens who ruled them, forbidding their traditions, punishing those who dared show defiance, and forcing many more into hiding. And even though the refugees found sanctuary in Dena Nehele, they have never been able to call it home.

Now that Dena Nehele has been cleansed of tainted Blood, the Rose-Jeweled Queen, Lady Cassidy, makes it her duty to restore the land and prove her ability to rule. She knows that undertaking this task will require all her heart and courage as she summons the untested power within her, a power capable of consuming her if she cannot control it.

And even if Lady Cassidy survives her trial by fire, other dangers await. For the Black Widows see visions within their tangled webs that something is coming that will change the land—and Lady Cassidy—forever…

Out now (excerpt here)

 

51MD6vXXEIL._SL160_ Richelle Mead’s “Succubus Shadows” (urban fantasy): Ms Mead’s Vampire Academy YA series seem to be getting more attention nowadays, but I read her Succubus books first.  A lot has happened since the first book – heck, a lot happens in each book, and I really want to know what happens next. 

Georgina Kincaid has formidable powers. Immortality, seduction, shape-shifting into any human form she desires, walking in heels that would cripple mere mortals—all child’s play to a succubus like her.

Helping to plan her ex-boyfriend’s wedding is a different story. Georgina isn’t sure which is worse—that Seth is marrying another woman, or that Georgina has to run all over Seattle trying on bridesmaid dresses. Still, there are distractions. Georgina’s roommate, Roman, is cluttering her apartment with sexual tension. Then there’s Simone, the new succubus in town, who’s intent on corrupting Seth.

But the real danger lies in the mysterious force that’s visiting her thoughts, trying to draw her into a dark, otherworldly realm. Sooner or later, Georgina knows she’ll be too weak to resist. And when that happens, she’ll discover who she can trust, who she can’t—and that Hell is far from the worst place to spend eternity…

Out March 18 UK,  March 30 US (excerpt here)

 

And the maybes? 

Jenna Black’s fifth book in her Morgan Kingsley series, “The Devil’s Playground” (urban fantasy, out March 23) – this series has been a bit hit or miss for me, with more misses than hits recently.  I have heard this is the final book in the series (though I can’t remember where now, and could be completely wrong), so I may get it to see how it all pans out.

Lee Child’s latest Jack Reacher book (suspense), “61 hours”, is out in the UK on March 18.  I usually end up buying these books sooner or later, though the recent ones haven’t grabbed me the way the earlier ones did.

“Warriors”, a fantasy anthology edited by George RR Martin and Gardner Dozois, with some excellent contributors, including Diana Gabaldon and Naomi Novik.  The reason I’m hesitating on this one is the price, it’s showing up as £21 on The Book Depository.  And as much as I love those two authors, that’s a bit too pricey for me – fingers crossed for a UK edition.

Books for March

I’m not exactly in a reading slump right now, but the pile of half-read books is steadily increasing.  Granted, four of them are anthologies, but the last book I finished was err… about two weeks ago.  Anyway, that may change, because I’m currently a few chapters into Robin McKinley’s “The Blue Sword” and it’s not bad so far (apologies, can’t remember who rec’d it!).

This also probably won’t stop me from getting a few books this month:

21dqhxvfhtl__aa_sl160_.jpgAnne Bishop‘s “Tangled Webs” (dark fantasy) – I suspect I’ll probably finish this in a single sitting.  This is set in her Black Jewels world and I think it’s Surreal who’s one of the major characters.  I was in the bookstore today (no, I didn’t get anything) and saw the omnibus edition of her original Black Jewels trilogy.  I was sooooo tempted.  Especially since I seem to have misplaced book 1.  We’ll see how I feel after I read “Tangled Webs”.  Excerpt here.

21eebmda3vl__aa_sl160_.jpgKelley Armstrong‘s “Personal Demon” (urban fantasy) – Latest instalment in her Otherworld series.  I’m excited that she’s switching to a new protagonist, even though I don’t remember Hope too well.  I think it keeps the series fresh, like when she switched from Elena to Paige.  Excerpt here.

21cehxehh2l__aa_sl160_.jpgLee Child‘s “Nothing to Lose” (thriller/suspense) – One of the few completely-no-romance series I read.  Jack Reacher slowly grew on me – he’s like the ultimate ex-military loner.  Oh, and the action/suspense/mystery is always good too.  Excerpt here

217i1qwlwal__aa_sl160_.jpgLisa Kleypas‘s “Blue-Eyed Devil” (contemporary romance) – Okay, this is a maybe for me.  I mean, I’ll definitely get it, but perhaps not in hardcover.  I wasn’t blown away by her first contemp, “Sugar Daddy”, but I think that had more to do with the plot structure than the writing.  I wasn’t hugely keen on the first half of “Sugar Daddy” focusing on Liberty’s childhood.  I’ll probably wait and see what the reviews say on this one.  This is the UK cover, by the way.  Very different from the US one.  Excerpt here

21egdyk2x5l__aa_sl160_.jpgAmanda Quick‘s “The River Knows” (historical romance) – Amanda Quick a.ka. Jayne Ann Krentz used to be an autobuy for me way back when.  Not so much recently, which is why I’m wavering over the paperback release for this one.  Anyone read it yet?  Umm… can’t find an excerpt for this one.