Books for November

It’s a strong month for new releases, which really means that I want some of these books RIGHT NOW. Fortunately for me (though not necessarily for my bank account), a lot of them are already out.

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17305016Juliet Marillier‘s DREAMER’S POOL (fantasy): Gorgeous cover aside (because it is truly one of the prettiest I’ve seen this year), a brand-new Juliet Marillier is always a cause for celebration.  Plus first in a new series – I’m excited to explore the new world she’s imagined here.

In exchange for help escaping her long and wrongful imprisonment, embittered magical healer Blackthorn has vowed to set aside her bid for vengeance against the man who destroyed all that she once held dear. Followed by a former prison mate, a silent hulk of a man named Grim, she travels north to Dalriada. There she’ll live on the fringe of a mysterious forest, duty bound for seven years to assist anyone who asks for her help.

Oran, crown prince of Dalriada, has waited anxiously for the arrival of his future bride, Lady Flidais. He knows her only from a portrait and sweetly poetic correspondence that have convinced him Flidais is his destined true love. But Oran discovers letters can lie. For although his intended exactly resembles her portrait, her brutality upon arrival proves she is nothing like the sensitive woman of the letters.

With the strategic marriage imminent, Oran sees no way out of his dilemma. Word has spread that Blackthorn possesses a remarkable gift for solving knotty problems, so the prince asks her for help. To save Oran from his treacherous nuptials, Blackthorn and Grim will need all their resources: courage, ingenuity, leaps of deduction, and more than a little magic.

Out now

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20893315Tanya Huff‘s THE FUTURE FALLS (urban fantasy):  Tanya Huff’s become an auto-buy author for me in recent years.  I’ve always read her SFF books back since, well, forever, but they used to be of the take-it-or-leave-it variety.  I’m not sure whether it’s my reading tastes or her writing style that have changed over the years (possibly both), but her books have been hitting all the right buttons for me lately.

When Auntie Catherine warns the family of an approaching asteroid, the Gales scramble to keep humans from going the way of the dinosaurs. Fortunately for the world, they’re wielding a guitar and a dragon.

The Gale family can change the world with the charms they cast, which has caused some supernaturally complicated family shenanigans in the past. So when NASA and Doomsday Dan confirm Auntie Catherine’s dire prediction, Charlotte “Charlie” Gale turns to the family for help.

But Allie is unavailable because the universe seems determined to have her produce the seventh son of a seventh son of a seventh son of a Gale.  And the Aunties can’t help because they’re tied to the earth – although they are happy to provide their delicious, trademark pies.  And in the end, all Charlie has is a guitar…

…and Jack. The Dragon Prince, and a Sorcerer.

But Charlie might like Jack just a little too much, and Jack might like Charlie a little too much in return. Actually, between Allie’s hormones, the Aunties trying to force her and Jack into ritual, the Courts having way too much fun at the end of days, and Jack’s sudden desire to sacrifice himself for the good of the many, Charlie’s fairly certain that the asteroid is the least of her problems.

The Gales are going to need more than pie to save the world from an incoming asteroid. But together there isn’t anything they can’t deal with – except possibly each other.

Out now

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15788727Meljean Brook‘s THE KRAKEN KING (fantasy):  I adore her steampunk Iron Seas series (in fact, it’s the only steampunk series that works for me), but I stayed away from the serial release of this story earlier this year.  I’d see all the 5-star reviews pop up for each installment and had to force myself to stay away from that one-click button because I knew I’d want all the stories in one go. (It’s the same with Ilona Andrews and their Innkeepers Chronicles – I’m  waiting for the full novel to be released later this year…)

A former smuggler and thief, Ariq—better known as the Kraken King—doesn’t know what to make of the clever, mysterious woman he rescues from an airship besieged by marauders. Unsure if she’s a spy or a pawn in someone else’s game, Ariq isn’t about to let her out of his sight until he finds out…

After escaping her fourth kidnapping attempt in a year, Zenobia Fox has learned to vigilantly guard her identity. While her brother Archimedes is notorious for his exploits, Zenobia has had no adventures to call her own—besides the stories she writes.

But when she jumps at the chance to escape to the wilds of Australia and acquire research for her next story, Zenobia quickly discovers that the voyage will be far more adventurous than any fiction she could put to paper…

Out now

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21840287ML Brennan‘s TAINTED BLOOD (urban fantasy): The second book was better than the first (which didn’t exactly suck), so I’ve high hopes for this book.  Fort’s family dynamics has been one of the more intriguing elements of this series so far, and this one looks to be all about family.

In the third Generation V novel, Fortitude Scott proves that working with family can be deadly…

Former film student Fortitude Scott is finally gainfully employed. Unfortunately, said employment happens to be with a group of sociopathic vampires—his family. And as much as Fort is loath to get too deep into the family business, when his brother, Chivalry, is temporarily unable to run the territory, it’s up to Fort to keep things under control.

So when the leader of a powerful faction of shifters turns up murdered, Fort finds himself tracking down a killer while navigating dangerous rivalries, longtime grudges, and hidden agendas. Even with the help of his foxy kitsune sidekick, Suzume, he’ll need to pull out all the stops to hunt for the paranormal assassin.

But as he calls on fairies, witches, and ghouls for help, he discovers that the problem is much bigger than a single dead werebear. The supernatural community is preparing for a massive shift in power within the Scott family leadership—and Fort has landed right in the middle of the gathering storm.…

Out now

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21880559Josh Lanyon‘s FAIR PLAY (m/m romance):  Okay, I admit it – I love sequels.  Stand-alones are great, but when you get further books to learn more about the characters you fell in love with?  Nothing better.

Fifty years ago, Roland Mills belonged to a violent activist group. Now, someone is willing to kill to prevent him from publishing his memoirs.

When ex-FBI agent Elliot Mills is called out to examine the charred ruins of his childhood home, he quickly identifies the fire for what it is–arson. A knee injury may have forced Elliot out of the Bureau, but it’s not going to stop him from bringing the man who wants his father dead to justice.

Agent Tucker Lance is still working to find the serial killer who’s obsessed with Elliot and can’t bear the thought of his lover putting himself in additional danger. Straightlaced Tucker has never agreed with radical Roland on much–“opposing political viewpoints” is an understatement–but they’re united on this: Elliot needs to leave the case alone. Now.

Tucker would do nearly anything for the man he loves, but he won’t be used to gain Elliot access to the FBI’s resources. When the past comes back to play and everything both men had known to be true is questioned, their fragile relationship is left hanging in the balance.

Out Nov 10

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Hot sexy fit man leaning against treeViv Daniels‘ HEAR ME (paranormal NA): A surprise Christmas story from Viv Daniels (a.k.a. Diana Peterfreund)?  Count me in.

Listen… the bells have stopped ringing.

Once upon a time, Ivy belonged to Archer, body, heart, and soul. They spent long summer days exploring the forest, and long summer nights exploring each other. But that was before dark magic grew in the depths of the wilderness, and the people of Ivy’s town raised an enchanted barrier of bells to protect themselves from the threat, even though it meant cutting off the forest people—and the forest boy Ivy loved—forever.

And there’s a naked man lying in the snow.

Three years later, Ivy keeps her head down, working alone in her tea shop on the edge of town and trying to imagine a new future for herself, away from the forest and the wretched bells, and the memory of her single, perfect love. But in the icy heart of winter, a terrifying magic blooms—one that can reunite Ivy and Archer, or consume their very souls.

Out Nov 14

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21857389NIGHT SHIFT (urban fantasy): And to round off the month, novellas from Nalini Singh, Ilona Andrews, Milla Vane (a.k.a. Meljean Brook), and Lisa Shearin.  Lisa Shearin’s contribution looks to be part of her new-ish series, which I haven’t read, so it’ll be a good taster.  There’s been buzz about Milla Vane’s barbarian romance, so I’m looking forward to seeing how it pans out… and I don’t think I need to say anything about the first two authors.

Four masters of urban fantasy and paranormal romance plunge readers into the dangerous, captivating world unearthed beyond the dark…

New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh delivers a smoldering story with Secrets at Midnight , as the scent of Bastien Smith’s elusive lover ignites a possessiveness in him that’s as feral as it is ecstatic. And now that he’s found his mate, he’ll do anything to keep her.

In #1 New York Times bestselling author Ilona Andrews’ novella,Magic Steals , when people start going missing, shapeshifting tigress Dali Harimau and jaguar shifter Jim Shrapshire must uncover the truth about the mysterious creatures responsible.

From Milla Vane—a warrior princess must tame The Beast of Blackmoor to earn a place among her people. But she quickly discovers that the beast isn’t a monster, but a barbarian warrior who intends to do some taming himself.

It’s seer Makenna Frazier’s first day on the job at Supernatural Protection and Investigations, and her first assignment is more than she bargained for when bodyguard duty for a leprechaun prince’s bachelor party goes every which way but right in national bestselling author Lisa Shearin’s Lucky Charms.

Out Nov 25

Catching Up

I’m back!  Well, not that I was actually away, though it may have appeared to be the case – I’ve just been spending way too much time watching tennis.  And with the Olympics coming up, I suspect this rather infrequent posting schedule is set to continue for a while.  Bear with me.

Not very many things have caught my eye around the internets recently – though a free Archers Beach story by Sharon Lee @ Splinter Universe was one of them.  I haven’t read it yet, but as I really enjoyed CAROUSEL TIDES, which was set in the same universe, I’m expecting to like it.  And also looking forward to the upcoming sequels.

I also liked this interview with Kristin Cashore @ Helen Lowe’s blog – she talks more about BITTERBLUE, and there are some excellent questions and equally fantastic answers.

And as for what I’ve been reading – I finished Lisa Shearin‘s Raine Benares fantasy series.  Confession: I stalled a few years ago in the middle (or so I thought) of the third book, but as the sixth and final book in the series had just been released, I wanted to know how it ended and decided to re-visit the book that had been giving me trouble.  So I dived back into THE TROUBLE WITH DEMONS and was surprised to find out that I had actually stopped in the second chapter.  I could have sworn I was much further in.  Oh well.

I’ll get around to posting reviews eventually, but while the books were generally an easy read, they wouldn’t be a re-read for me.  I’ve been pondering why I’ve failed to connect with the series – it has a lot of things going for it, not least the modern urban fantasy-like take on the traditional sword-and-sorcery fantasy genre.  I think it probably boils down to what I see as lack of character growth or development in Raine.  Five books in, and she’s still in the same place mentally (generally long-winded internal debate around the lines of “arrrghhh, I’ll be evil and corrupted forevermore if I use the Sarghred’s powers” followed by “but I have to protect the weak and defenceless” – major paraphrasing but you get the idea) as she was in the first books.  At least the dreaded love triangle was resolved in the fourth book.

I also read Veronica Roth‘s DIVERGENT (SF YA), primarily because of all the hype around the release of the second book.   I can see why it’s getting a lot of attention, and I was certainly fascinated by her dystopian world.  Ultimately though, the story fizzled out for me towards the end – I wasn’t invested enough in the main characters and the romance felt a bit forced to me.  I’ll probably get around to reading the sequel, but am in no rush.

So a pretty quiet couple of weeks when it comes to reading – I’ve not fallen in love with any new books, but haven’t hated any either.  What about you – any recs or rants?

How Many Books…

I used to be the sort of person who only ever read one book at a time (then again, I also never ever had a TBR pile – I blame book blogging).

Now at the moment, I’m reading:

Catherine Asaro’s “Diamond Star” (SF, part of her Skolian Empire series):  I picked this up at Baen’s Webscription ebook store (I love Baen’s pricing policy, btw – $6 for an ebook, even when it’s in hardcover).  I’m about one-third through at the moment, and have mixed feelings.  I definitely want to finish it, but I’ve got a really really bad feeling that Del’s going to mess things up for himself and something’s going to go badly wrong before the payoff at the end? 

Lisa Shearin’s “The Trouble with Demons” (fantasy, Book 3 in the Raine Benares series):  I started this a couple of nights ago when I was looking for an excuse to put down “Diamond Star” for a while, and wanted a light easy read.  However, I’m finding it slightly difficult to get into this because – and I am being picky – there are some phrases that I feel are repetitive, and now that I’ve noticed, they sort of jump out at me.  It’s like when someone says don’t think of pink elephants and then all you can think of are pink elephants.  So I’m putting Raine and Tam and Mychael aside for a bit.

Also, I’ve sort of started JD Robb’s “Salvation in Death” (futuristic romantic suspense) and Mike Shepherd’s “Intrepid” (military SF) – “sort of” meaning I’m at least one chapter in but haven’t yet committed fully to the book  ;-)  There are also the anthologies I picked up last month, I’m still slowly making my way through them (and a massive collection of Agatha Christie short stories).

And finally *deep breath* I just bought Kelley Armstrong’s “The Awakening” (YA urban fantasy, 2nd in her Darkest Powers trilogy), and well, had to start reading it on my way home – hey, there were delays on the line! 

My plan of attack?  Finish the Kelley Armstrong, then the Catherine Asaro (I think I just need to get on with it!) – and then re-evaluate where I am…

How many books do you normally have on the go?

Books for April

217jwo36r2bl__aa_sl160_.jpgETA: I’m rubbish – I completely forgot about Jo Beverley‘s “A Lady’s Secret” (historical romance).  Seeing it in the bookstore today was a nice surprise!  It’s set in the Georgian era, and I’m pretty sure it’s part of her Malloren family series.  I’m also getting her two-in-one traditional regency reissues, “Lovers and Ladies”, when it appears on the shelves.  Ms Beverley blogged a bit about “A Lady’s Secret” on Word Wenches, btw. 

Excerpt here .

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Books I want to get this month:

21yskqc-xpl__aa_sl160_.jpgElizabeth Vaughan‘s “Dagger-Star” (fantasy romance) – I loved her Chronicles of the Warlands trilogy, and am looking forward to this one, which is set in the same world but with a different cast of characters, from what I can gather.  I think it’ll be interesting to see the Warlands from a different perspective.  The cover’s very… bright.  Striking.  I’m pretty sure it’ll stand out on the shelves due to colour alone. 

Excerpt here (out April 1).

21isv88habl__aa_sl160_.jpg2100kwwr5rl__aa_sl160_.jpgKaren Chance‘s “Embrace the Night” (urban fantasy) – Third book in the Cassandra Palmer series.  I really like this series – my thoughts on the second book “Claimed by Shadow” are here.  I’ve uploaded both the UK and US covers – UK on the left, US on the right.  Same picture, it’s just that they’ve gone for monochrome in the UK and changed the position and fonts used for the title and author’s name.  No idea why. 

Excerpt here (out April 1).

214p7q1lg5l__aa_sl160_.jpgLois McMaster Bujold‘s “Passages” (fantasy) – Third in her Sharing Knife series.  After my little fangirl squee over “Legacy”, I’m obviously going to get “Passages” now.  Not blown away by the cover, but I don’t think it’ll be the deciding factor for people buying this book. 

Umm… can’t find an excerpt, but blurb here (out April 22). 

 21uv5nuemnl__aa_sl160_.jpgLisa Shearin‘s “Armed and Magical” (fantasy) – Second in her Raine Benares series.  I wasn’t completely blown away by the first book “Magic Lost, Trouble Found”, but I thought the ending was clever and that this series had potential.  I love the cover too – it captures Raine’s attitude perfectly, IMO. 

Excerpt here (out April 29 – so I suppose this is technically a May book).

31okquwm16l__aa_sl160_.jpgElizabeth Peters‘ “Night Train to Memphis” (mystery) – Heh.  This is not a new release, but a re-issue.  It’s the one Vicky Bliss book I haven’t yet read (until the new one comes out in September!).  I have been searching everywhere for this one, so I’m super-happy they’re reissuing it (out 24 April).

I’m wondering about:

21je5llnizl__aa_sl160_.jpgSherry Thomas‘ “Private Arrangements” (historical romance) – I can’t remember the latest book that got so much buzz in blogland.  Maybe Joanna Bourne’s “The Spymaster’s Lady”?  Which err… is sitting in my TBR pile.  And has been since Jan.  Sigh.  I’ll probably get this one too, but not just yet.  I like the cover, but to me, it conveys this medieval feel.  And I’m pretty sure it’s set in the late 1800s.

So much for my August books

After listing all the books I want this month, I stopped by the bookstores today and couldn’t find a single one.  Yes, I know it is only the 5th of August, and most of them are coming out later in the month – but you know, wishful thinking…

Though I did see both Lois McMaster Bujold’s “The Sharing Knife: Legacy” and Julia Quinn’s “The Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheever” – both of which I cannot buy because I’ve ordered it from Amazon.  Aarrgghhh.  Especially since the only reason I ordered them from Amazon was that I couldn’t find them in the shops.  Double aaarrgghhh.  And it always always happens this way.  Ordering a book from Amazon is almost a guarantee I’ll see it the next time I go to the bookstore.

I didn’t leave empty-handed though (err… not that I usually do).  I picked up three books:

21j38ns2bvfl__aa_sl160_.jpgBrandon Sanderson‘s “Mistborn” – First in a fantasy trilogy.  I’ve been meaning to get this ever since I read his debut novel “Elantris”, which I really liked.  I forgot this was coming out in mass-market this month, so it was a pleasant surprise to see this sitting in the New Releases section.  There is actually a back cover blurb from Romantic Times (“An exceedingly satisfying book!”), so I’m guessing there is some romance in here as well.

21fvdx2y0dl__aa_sl160_.jpgLisa Cach‘s “A Babe in Ghostland” – Paranormal romance, ummm… I’m guessing almost chick-lit based on the cover?  Not normally the kind of book I’d pick up, but Rosario has been really liking it, and the first few pages I read in the store intrigued me.

21scz5daanl__aa_sl160_.jpgLisa Shearin‘s “Magic Lost, Trouble Found” – Fantasy.  I think this is her first novel.  And I err… liked the cover.  No, really, that wasn’t the whole reason I bought it – I think I’ve read an interview with her somewhere and she talked about why she renamed her book.  One sec – off to Google…  Yes, the original title was “Thief of Souls”, which rings a bell – I think she said that she was advised to change that to something lighter to suit the feel of the books more.  Or I be completely making that up because I really can’t find the original site.  Anyway, it sounds interesting – the heroine is a sorceress with the ability to find things, hence the title.  Her website has an excerpt.