Books for April

Well.

I’m not quite sure where March went.  Or what I was doing.  Not much blogging, that’s for sure.  Not much reading either, I suspect.  Hopefully I break that streak in April.

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17404280Katherine Addison‘s THE GOBLIN EMPEROR (fantasy): I know I was not the only one anticipating this new book from Katherine Addison a.k.a. Sarah Monette, but I was surprised by the flood of (positive) reviews and mentions for this book.  I’m about halfway through and *whispers* it’s kind of living up to the hype.

On a side note, I think the cover is perfect for the book: at first glance, you see a typical fantasy palace – look again, and you see Maia, the (half-)goblin emperor peering out cautiously.  So fitting.

A vividly imagined fantasy of court intrigue and dark magics in a steampunk-inflected world, by a brilliant young talent.

The youngest, half-goblin son of the Emperor has lived his entire life in exile, distant from the Imperial Court and the deadly intrigue that suffuses it. But when his father and three sons in line for the throne are killed in an “accident,” he has no choice but to take his place as the only surviving rightful heir.

Entirely unschooled in the art of court politics, he has no friends, no advisors, and the sure knowledge that whoever assassinated his father and brothers could make an attempt on his life at any moment.

Surrounded by sycophants eager to curry favor with the naïve new emperor, and overwhelmed by the burdens of his new life, he can trust nobody. Amid the swirl of plots to depose him, offers of arranged marriages, and the specter of the unknown conspirators who lurk in the shadows, he must quickly adjust to life as the Goblin Emperor. All the while, he is alone, and trying to find even a single friend… and hoping for the possibility of romance, yet also vigilant against the unseen enemies that threaten him, lest he lose his throne – or his life.

This exciting fantasy novel, set against the pageantry and color of a fascinating, unique world, is a memorable debut for a great new talent.

Out now

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18006456Lynn Flewelling‘s SHARDS OF TIME (fantasy): I’ve a soft spot for this long-running fantasy series (the first book was out in 1996, according to Goodreads) – while I’ve found it uneven in places, I’ll be sad to see the end of the Nightrunner series.

Acclaimed author Lynn Flewelling brings her beloved Nightrunners series to a close—at least for now—with a thrilling novel of murder, mystery, and magic.

The governor of the sacred island of Korous and his mistress have been killed inside a locked and guarded room. The sole witnesses to the crime—guards who broke down the doors, hearing the screams from within—have gone mad with terror, babbling about ghosts . . . and things worse than ghosts.

Dispatched to Korous by the queen, master spies Alec and Seregil find all the excitement and danger they could want—and more. For an ancient evil has been awakened there, a great power that will not rest until it has escaped its otherworldly prison and taken revenge on all that lives. And only those like Alec—who have died and returned to life—can step between the worlds and confront the killer . . . even if it means a second and all too permanent death.

Out now

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18335221Jo Beverley‘s A SHOCKING DELIGHT (historical romance): Jo Beverley is an autobuy author for me, and this is her latest Company of Rogues regency. ‘Nuff said.

The man she shouldn’t want. The woman he shouldn’t marry…

David Kerslake, smuggling master from The Dragon’s Bride, is now Earl of Wyvern and must survive the ton as well as the Preventive Officers.

Lucy Potter, daughter of a wealthy merchant, is more interested in trade than in the men after her dowry. When forced to have a London season, she sets out to enjoy herself rather than to find a husband. But once she meets the notorious Earl of Wyvern, her resolve weakens, and when they kiss, it dissolves—even though her instincts warn he’s dangerous.

Wyvern has a dark secret, which means he must win a rich bride. Lucinda Potter seems ideal. Not for her beauty and her lively charm, but because at first meeting she seems unlikely to realize the truth.

As he comes to know her, however, as they spar and kiss, he realizes she’s too clever and honest by far. Marrying Lucy would mean living a lie with the woman he has come to love…

Out now

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20645592Allison Parr‘s IMAGINARY LINES (NA romance): I loved Allison Parr’s writing almost from the first page of her debut, RUSH ME, so I’m really looking forward to reading the latest in her New York Leopards series.

Also worth noting is that Carina Press is going after the sports romance niche in their April 14 release week – so other books I’m eyeing are Rebecca Crowley‘s LOVE IN STRAIGHT SETS (obviously – it’s tennis!) and Kate Willoughby‘s ON THE SURFACE (hockey).  And I already have the first Kat Latham book (rugby) – just need the time to read it…

Side-note: Was 2013 the year New Adult officially became a proper genre?

Tamar Rosenfeld has been in love with New York Leopards linebacker Abraham Krasner since they were twelve years old. She’d always considered it destiny that they’d end up together…until Abe was drafted and she professed her feelings in a moment of blind excitement. The sting of his rejection was like nothing she’d ever felt before, and it’s nothing she’ll ever forget.

Older and wiser, Tamar has landed a dream job as a reporter for one of New York’s premier athletic websites. Determined to stop being the safe, boring girl she’s felt like for most of her life, Tamar makes a list of all the things she wants to do and see in her new city, and Getting Over Abraham is priority number one.

But destiny has finally chosen to interfere. Just as Tamar’s decided to move on, Abe’s realized she’s the only woman for him. When he confides the truth, Tamar has to decide if she can put her crush behind her, or take a chance on the very man who’s been holding her back all these years.

Out April 14

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18742420KA Mitchell‘s BAD INFLUENCE (m/m romance): Is it just me or has it been ages since the last KA Mitchell release?  She’s another autobuy of mine, so despite me not loving the previous books in this (loosely-related) series, I’m still buying.

The young man the world knew as Jordan Barnett is dead, killed as much by the rejection of his first love at his moment of greatest need, as by his ultra-conservative parents’ effort to deprogram the gay away.

In his place is Silver, a streetwise survivor who’s spent the last three years learning to become untouchable…unless you’re willing to pay for the privilege. He shies away from anything that might hold him down long enough for betrayal to find him again.

Zebediah Harris spent time overseas, trying to outrun the guilt of turning his back on the young man he loved. Now, almost the moment he sets foot back in Baltimore, he discovers Silver on a street corner in a bad part of town. His effort to make amends lands them both in jail.

Trapped together in a cell, Silver sits on his mountain of secrets and plans a seductive form of revenge, but finds that using a heart as a stepping stone is no way to move past the one man he can’t forgive, let alone forget.

Warning: Contains a surly hero. May cause angst. A prolonged delay in sexual situations may cause frustration. Author recommends a steady dose of familiar friends and characters to alleviate those symptoms. No actual teenagers were used during the construction of the backstory.

Out April 15

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20504851KJ CharlesNON-STOP TILL TOKYO (romantic suspense): KJ Charles is probably better known for her A Charm of Magpies series (that would be in the historical/paranormal/mystery/m/m romance sub-genre – not as much a niche as you’d think…), so this looks like a new direction for her.  Having loved her writing in those aforementioned books, I’m looking forward to reading this.

A man with a past is her only hope for the future.

Kerry Ekdahl’s mixed heritage and linguistics skills could have made her a corporate star. Instead, she’s a hostess in a high-end Tokyo bar, catering to businessmen who want conversation, translation and flirtation. Easy money, no stress. Life is good—until she’s framed for the murder of a yakuza boss.

Trapped in rural Japan with the gangsters closing in, Kerry doesn’t stand a chance. Then help arrives in the menacing form of Chanko, a Samoan-American ex-sumo wrestler with a bad attitude, a lot of secrets, and a mission she doesn’t understand.

Kerry doesn’t get involved with dangerous men. Then again, she’s never had one on her side before. And the big, taciturn fighter seems determined to save her life, even if they rub each other the wrong way.

Then her friends are threatened, and Kerry has no choice but to return to Tokyo and face the yakuza. Where she learns, too late, that the muscle man who’s got her back could be poised to stab it.

Out April 29

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Other April new releases I want to read, but probably via the library:

  • GAMES CREATURES PLAY, edited by Charlaine Harris and Toni LP Kelner (urban fantasy): Their annual(?) anthology outing – a library book for me, as their previous anthologies tend to be more miss than hit for me.  But I still want to read the Mercedes Lackey, Seanan McGuire, and Brandon Sanderson contributions in this one.
  • Laini Taylor‘s DREAMS OF GODS AND MONSTERS (YA fantasy): Despite the overwhelming love out there for this series, it’s never quite clicked for me.  I’ll still read this final book to find out how it all ends.

Books for May

It doesn’t feel like May, does it?  Partly because it has been the gloomiest April ever, weather-wise, and I swear it still feels as though it’s winter.  Maybe it’ll stop raining in time for the Olympics.

But new releases always cheer me up – here are the ones I’m reading in May.

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Kristin Cashore‘s BITTERBLUE (fantasy): This is the final book in Kristin Cashore’s loosely-connected trilogy, and well, I loved it.  The reception has not been all positive – there appears to be a healthy mix of opinions on this book, but for me, it was the sort of story that held me completely enthralled.  Ms Cashore’s also put up some pre-BITTERBLUE letters on her blog (warning: spoilers for the first book GRACELING), which was a nice bonus!

Blurb:

Eight years after Graceling, Bitterblue is now queen of Monsea. But the influence of her father, a violent psychopath with mind-altering abilities, lives on. Her advisors, who have run things since Leck died, believe in a forward-thinking plan: Pardon all who committed terrible acts under Leck’s reign, and forget anything bad ever happened. But when Bitterblue begins sneaking outside the castle—disguised and alone—to walk the streets of her own city, she starts realizing that the kingdom has been under the thirty-five-year spell of a madman, and the only way to move forward is to revisit the past.

Two thieves, who only steal what has already been stolen, change her life forever. They hold a key to the truth of Leck’s reign. And one of them, with an extreme skill called a Grace that he hasn’t yet identified, holds a key to her heart.

Out now (excerpt)

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Charlaine Harris‘s DEADLOCKED (urban fantasy): The penultimate Sookie Stackhouse book, IIRC.  I’ve not felt the urge to run out and buy it yet – I’ve been holding off and waiting for reviews, and to be honest, it’s looking like the library for me.  Still, it is a Sookie book, so I’ll end up reading it eventually.

Blurb:

With Felipe de Castro, the Vampire King of Louisiana (and Arkansas and Nevada), in town, it’s the worst possible time for a body to show up in Eric Northman’s front yard—especially the body of a woman whose blood he just drank.

Now, it’s up to Sookie and Bill, the official Area Five investigator, to solve the murder. Sookie thinks that, at least this time, the dead girl’s fate has nothing to do with her. But she is wrong. She has an enemy, one far more devious than she would ever suspect, who’s out to make Sookie’s world come crashing down.

Out now (excerpt)

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Jordan Castillo Price‘s MNEVERMIND 1: THE PERSISTENCE OF MEMORY (m/m romance): Jordan Castillo Price is an autobuy author for me. I’ve no idea what this book is about, but I know it’ll be good.

Blurb:

Every day, Daniel Schroeder breaks his father’s heart.

While forgetting your problems won’t solve them, it does seem like it would make life a heck of a lot easier. Daniel thought so once. Now he knows better. He and Big Dan have always been close, which makes it all the more difficult to break the daily news: the last five years were nothing like his father remembers.

They’re both professionals in the memory field—they even run their own memory palace. So shouldn’t they be able to figure out a way to overwrite the persistent false memory that’s wreaking havoc on both of their lives? Daniel thought he was holding it together, but the situation seems to be sliding out of control. Now even his own equipment has turned against him, reminding him he hasn’t had a date in ages by taunting him with flashes of an elusive man in black that only he can see.

Is it some quirk of the circuitry, or is Daniel headed down the same path to fantasy-land as his old man?

Out now (excerpt)

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Carla Kelly‘s MARRIAGE OF MERCY (historical romance): It’s been a while since I’ve read a full-length Carla Kelly novel.  Or a newly-released one, come to that – I’ve been reading her re-released short story backlist mostly.  The author hates the title and wanted it called CHOOSING ROB INMAN – I’ve seen worse titles!

Blurb:

MARRYING THE WRONG GROOM… From riches to rags, Grace has had to swallow her pride and get a job as a baker.

But everything changes when she’s the beneficiary of a surprise inheritance. Her benefactor’s deal comes with a catch: give up her life of toil and live in luxury only if she marries his illegitimate son, a prisoner of war. It’s an offer she can’t afford to refuse. But her husband-to-be is dying, and he begs her to take one of his men instead-to marry purely out of mercy….

A marriage of convenience with a complete stranger…Could this arrangement ever work?

Out May 22 (excerpt)

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Lynn Flewelling‘s CASKET OF SOULS (fantasy): It has been a while since the last Nightrunner book, so I’m looking forward to this new one.  I remember when I read the first few books, and gay protagonists were such a ground-breaking concept – now, (almost) no one blinks.  Progress.  And she tells a good story.

Blurb:

More than the dissolute noblemen they appear to be, Alec and Seregil are skillful spies, dedicated to serving queen and country. But when they stumble across evidence of a plot pitting Queen Phoria against Princess Klia, the two Nightrunners will find their loyalties torn as never before. Even at the best of times, the royal court at Rhíminee is a serpents’ nest of intrigue, but with the war against Plenimar going badly, treason simmers just below the surface.

And that’s not all that poses a threat: A mysterious plague is spreading through the crowded streets of the city, striking young and old alike. Now, as panic mounts and the body count rises, hidden secrets emerge. And as Seregil and Alec are about to learn, conspiracies and plagues have one thing in common: The cure can be as deadly as the disease.

Out May 29 (excerpt)

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Nalini Singh‘s TANGLE OF NEED (paranormal romance): I’ll be honest – I’m not quite sure anything could top last year’s KISS OF SNOW, so I have much lower expectations this time around.  Also, cover-wise?  Not entirely sure what they were thinking when it came to the US cover.  Granted, the UK cover is a bit on the bland side, but I much prefer it to the US one – too much going on there!

Blurb:

Adria, wolf changeling and resilient soldier, has made a break with the past–one as unpredictable in love as it was in war. Now comes a new territory, and a devastating new complication: Riaz, a SnowDancer lieutenant already sworn to a desperate woman who belongs to another.

For Riaz, the primal attraction he feels for Adria is a staggering betrayal. For Adria, his dangerous lone-wolf appeal is beyond sexual. It consumes her. It terrifies her. It threatens to undermine everything she has built of her new life. But fighting their wild compulsion toward one another proves a losing battle.

Their coming together is an inferno…and a melding of two wounded souls who promise each other no commitment, no ties, no bonds. Only pleasure. Too late, they realize that they have more to lose than they ever imagined. Drawn into a cataclysmic Psy war that may alter the fate of the world itself, they must make a decision that might just break them both.

Out May 29 (excerpt)

And that’s it for me – any others on your radar?

Books for June

Here’s a much more timely post than I’ve managed for the past two months running.  However, is it just me or are June releases thin on the ground?

 

41JHNOwcdqL._SL160_The only book I have on my must-get list is Jacqueline Carey’s “Naamah’s Curse” (fantasy) – the second book of her latest Kushiel trilogy, this is an auto-buy for me. 

51Ezx8npQML._SL160_I thought the first book, “Naamah’s Kiss”, had a slightly different feel to Ms Carey’s previous Kushiel books, maybe because the narrator was Alban-born and had a more pragmatic worldview than the previous two narrators, but I was still pretty much swept along from the first page, and can’t wait to read the follow-up. 

I’m delighted the UK edition (cover on the left) is being released in the same month as the US one, else I’d be very tempted to shell out the cash for the US version. 

Out now US, June 24 UK (excerpt here)

 

51AQMVcQmPL._SL160_ I’ve already bought Sharon Lee & Steve Miller’s “Mouse & Dragon”, which officially hits the (physical) shelves June 1.  I’ve also seen their “The Dragon Variation” in-store – it’s an omnibus edition collecting “Local Custom”, “Scout’s Progress”, and “Conflict of Honors” into one volume.  I was tempted, but I do have slightly beaten-up paper copies of the three already, so decided to pass.  Though I have just noticed the ebook version is $6, which is really too good to pass up…

 

I grabbed Lynn Flewelling’s “The White Road” yesterday while browsing in the bookstore, and really, that was the last of the June releases on my list.

51sEN7yeML._SL160_ Janet Evanovich’s latest Stephanie Plum, “Sizzling Sixteen”, is out June 22 but I’m hesitant to buy hardcover because the recent books have been, well, lacking, shall we say?  Same with Laurell K Hamilton’s latest Anita Blake book, “Bullet”, which I’ve also seen out on shelves now, in its bright-red glory.  I’m holding out on both of these until I see more reviews.

I must be missing some June releases surely – what other books are you planning on getting this month?

A Tiny Book Haul

A really small one.  I mean, is it even a book haul if it’s only two books? 

I wasn’t really planning on getting any books, just killing some time in a bookstore… but when you find yourself reluctant to put a book down after reading the first few pages, that probably means something.

5120pOSEe9L._SL160_I picked up Holly Lisle’s “The Ruby Key” because the cover grabbed my attention, it’s sort of manga-like (to my untrained eyes, anyway!) and I was wondering if it was a graphic novel.  It’s not, but I started reading the first chapter and was promptly drawn into the world of Genna and her brother Dan.  The Kirkus Review quote on the back sealed the deal:

“[F]antasy fans will find both a satisfying adventure quest and the lively coming-of-age story of the reluctant heroine Genna.” 

I’m a complete sucker for coming-of-age stories.

I may have read some of Ms Lisle’s adult fantasy novels way back when, but nothing of hers recently.  Has anyone read this one yet?  It’s labelled the first book in the Moon & Sun series, and a couple of chapters in, I’m really liking it.  Genna is a very engaging lead character and the world-building very good.

51aq5G3nCmL._SL160_ And because I can never go to the till with just one book, I grabbed Lynn Flewelling’s latest Nightrunner novel, “The White Road”.  I was thinking of getting this in e-format, because I am rapidly running out of bookshelf space, but decided what the heck.

513BAuOK6lL._SL160_ Oh, and this made my jaw drop a bit when I spotted them on the new releases shelves.  Dorchester is re-releasing Dara Joy’s futuristic romance books – I haven’t seen this mentioned anywhere, but does this mean the long-running battle between Dorchester and Ms Joy has been resolved?  Or has Dorchester just decided that it’s going to cash in on the current appetite for paranormals and is going through its backlist to see what’s available regardless of its relationship with the writer?

Books for June

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

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

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

 

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

Excerpt here (out June 24)

 

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

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

 

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

Excerpts and other bonus information here

 

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

Excerpt here (out June 17)

 

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