Books for July

I’ve totally failed at blogging this summer.  I generally post much less frequently during summer – it’s that fatal combination of long summer evenings, the tennis (following Roland Garros/Queens/Wimbledon basically takes over my life for a few weeks), holidays, and ah, just summer being summer.  But I have to admit this year has been pretty abysmal blogging-wise, even by my low standards.

But enough self-flagellation – here are the new releases for July that I’ll be reading (or have read, in a few cases).

34748555JL Merrow’s SPUN! (contemporary romance): I love the ever-so-British feel of JL Merrow’s and this one promises to be a fun summer read.

With friends like these . . .

An ill-advised encounter at the office party leaves David Greenlake jobless and homeless in one heady weekend. But he quickly begs work from his ex-boss and takes a room in Shamwell with easygoing postman Rory Deamer. David doesn’t mean to flirt with the recently divorced Rory—just like he doesn’t consciously decide to breathe. After all, Rory’s far too nice for him. And far too straight.

Rory finds his new lodger surprisingly fun to be with, and what’s more, David is a hit with Rory’s troubled children. But while Rory’s world may have turned upside down in the last few years, there’s one thing he’s sure of: he’s straight as a die. So he can’t be falling for David . . . can he?

Their friends and family think they know all the answers, and David’s office party hookup has his own plans for romance. Rory and David need to make up their minds and take a stand for what they really want—or their love could be over before it’s even begun.

Out now

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29750595Kate Elliott’s BURIED HEART (YA fantasy): I’m so excited for this conclusion to her Court of Fives trilogy, and the book just appeared on my Kindle today.  Hurrah for pre-ordering magic.

The explosive finale to World Fantasy Award finalist Kate Elliott’s captivating, New York Times bestselling young adult series

In this third book in the epic Court of Fives series, Jessamy is the crux of a revolution forged by the Commoner class hoping to overthrow their longtime Patron overlords. But enemies from foreign lands have attacked the kingdom, and Jes must find a way to unite the Commoners and Patrons to defend their home and all the people she loves. Will her status as a prominent champion athlete be enough to bring together those who have despised one another since long before her birth? Will she be able to keep her family out of the clutches of the evil Lord Gargaron? And will her relationship with Prince Kalliarkos remain strong when they find themselves on opposite sides of a war? Find all the answers in this beautifully written and exciting conclusion to World Fantasy Award finalist Kate Elliott’s debut New York Times bestselling young adult trilogy!

Out now

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32855152Elizabeth Peters and Joan Hess’s THE PAINTED QUEEN (historical mystery): Speaking of being excited.  The very last Amelia Peabody book!  While there had been rumours of a final book, I had pretty much given up hope after several years, so confirmation of this was incredibly thrilling.  Joan Hess finished writing the novel based on a partially-written manuscript by Elizabeth Peters, so it may not be quite like the original, but I don’t really care…  I’m glad we see Amelia one last time.

Egypt, 1912—Amelia Peabody and her dashing archaeologist husband, Radcliffe Emerson, are once again in danger as they search for a priceless, stolen bust of legendary Queen Nefertiti and Amelia finds herself the target of assassins in this long-awaited, eagerly anticipated final installment of Elizabeth Peters’s bestselling, beloved mystery series

Arriving in Cairo for another thrilling excavation season, Amelia Peabody is relaxing in a well-earned bubble bath in her elegant hotel suite in Cairo, when a man with knife protruding from his back staggers into the bath chamber and utters a single word—“Murder”—before collapsing on the tiled floor, dead. Among the few possessions he carried was a sheet of paper with Amelia’s name and room number, and a curious piece of pasteboard the size of a calling card bearing one word: “Judas.” Most peculiarly, the stranger was wearing a gold-rimmed monocle in his left eye.

It quickly becomes apparent that someone saved Amelia from a would-be assassin—someone who is keeping a careful eye on the intrepid Englishwoman. Discovering a terse note clearly meant for EmersonWhere were you?”—pushed under their door, there can be only one answer: the brilliant master of disguise, Sethos.

But neither assassins nor the Genius of Crime will deter Amelia as she and Emerson head to the excavation site at Armana, where they will witness the discovery of one of the most precious Egyptian artifacts: the iconic Nefertiti bust. In 1345 B.C. the sculptor Thutmose crafted the piece in tribute to the great beauty of this queen who was also the chief consort of Pharaoh Akhenaten and stepmother to King Tutankhamun.

For Amelia, this excavation season will prove to be unforgettable. Throughout her journey, a parade of men in monocles will die under suspicious circumstances, fascinating new relics will be unearthed, a diabolical mystery will be solved, and a brilliant criminal will offer his final challenge . . . and perhaps be unmasked at last.

Out now

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28960325Martha Wells’s THE HARBORS OF THE SUN (fantasy): This is the final book in her Three Worlds Raksura series, which is a bit bittersweet.  I’m glad that we get an ending to Moon’s story, but I’m going to miss this world.

A former friend has betrayed the Raksura and their groundling companions, and now the survivors must race across the Three Worlds to rescue their kidnapped family members. When Moon and Stone are sent ahead to scout, they quickly encounter an unexpected and potentially deadly ally, and decide to disobey the queens and continue the search alone. Following in a wind-ship, Jade and Malachite make an unlikely alliance of their own, until word reaches them that the Fell are massing for an attack on the Reaches, and that forces of the powerful Empire of Kish are turning against the Raksura and their groundling comrades.

But there may be no time to stage a rescue, as the kidnapped Raksura discover that their captors are heading toward a mysterious destination with a stolen magical artifact that will cause more devastation for the Reaches than anything the lethal Fell can imagine. To stop them, the Raksura will have to take the ultimate risk and follow them into forbidden territory.

The Harbors of the Sun, from celebrated fantasy author Martha Wells, is the thrilling follow-up to The Edge of Worlds, and the conclusion of a new Three Worlds duology of strange lands, uncanny beings, dead cities, and ancient danger.

Out now

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27422533Ilona Andrews’s WILDFIRE (paranormal romance): I don’t love this Hidden Legacy series as much as other people, but the books are fun reads, and I’m looking forward to this one.

Just when Nevada Baylor has finally come to accept the depths of her magical powers, she also realizes she’s fallen in love. Connor “Mad” Rogan is in many ways her equal when it comes to magic, but she’s completely out of her elements when it comes to her feelings for him. To make matters more complicated, an old flame comes back into Rogan’s life…

Rogan knows there’s nothing between him and his ex-fiance, Rynda Sherwood. But as Nevada begins to learn more about her past, her power, and her potential future, he knows she will be faced with choices she never dreamed of and the promise of a life spent without him.

As Nevada and Rogan race to discover the whereabouts of Rynda’s kidnapped husband and are forced to confront Nevada’s grandmother, who may or may not have evil motives, these two people must decide if they can trust in each other or allow everything to go up in smoke.

Out now

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34293313Rachel Caine’s ASH AND QUILL (YA fantasy): I have mixed feelings on this one.  I enjoyed the first couple of books (alt-world fantasy centred around libraries and books – what’s not to like?), and was looking forward to the conclusion of the trilogy.  Then it was announced that the series would be extended to five books, and  well, it kind of showed here.  Not enough story IMO, and drama for the sake of drama got a bit tiring after a while.  But I’m invested in the world and the characters, so I’ll still get the next book…

Held prisoner by the Burner forces in Philadelphia, Jess and his friends struggle to stay alive in the face of threats from both sides … but a stunning escape guarantees worse is coming. The Library now means to stop them by any means necessary, and they’ll have to make dangerous allies and difficult choices to stay alive.

They have only two choices: face the might of the Great Library head on, or be erased from life, and the history of the world, for ever.

Win or die.

Out now

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Maybes for the month:

Rachel Aaron’s A DRAGON OF A DIFFERENT COLOR (UF): I loved the first Heartstrikers book, but have stalled with the third book.  It’s sitting half-read on my Kindle, so I’m not sure when (or if) I’ll buy this fourth installment in the series.

Miranda Kenneally’s COMING UP FOR AIR (YA romance): A bit of a trend here.  Sport romances are my weakness and I loved the first few books in her Hundred Oaks series (also, her BREATHE, ANNIE, BREATHE was one of my favourite books of 2014), but I haven’t really connected with her more recent releases.  I’ll still get this at some point though.

Kalayna Price’s GRAVE RANSOM (UF): I don’t think this series has quite recovered from the long break between the third and fourth books yet.  I suspect I’d be a lot more invested in the characters if I started this series today.

Suzanne Brockman’s SOME KIND OF HERO (romantic suspense): Ah, I really don’t know here.  I loved her Troubleshooters books, but her recent spin-offs have not worked for me at all, and I regretted shelling out for hardcovers.  Now that she’s back to her Troubleshooters world, just maybe the old magic’s back?  I’ll probably wait for a price drop.

Sarina Bowen’s HELLO FOREVER (contemporary romance): Normally Sarina Bowen’s an autobuy for me, but the first book in this duology didn’t really work for me.  It was all a bit too neat and tidy, with the end conflict feeling rather manufactured.   I’ll hold fire for now, but will probably buy at some point.

Kylie Scott’s TRUST (NA romance): I’m feeling a bit burnt out on NA romance at the moment, but I do like Kylie Scott’s writing.

Books for July

There’s quite a few new releases on my radar this month.

22846823Miranda Kenneally’s DEFENDING TAYLOR (YA romance): I’ve always enjoyed Miranda Kenneally’s sports romance books (my very favourite being BREATHE, ANNIE, BREATHE, and the latest in her Hundred Oaks series is out this month.

There are no mistakes in love.

Captain of the soccer team, president of the Debate Club, contender for valedictorian: Taylor’s always pushed herself to be perfect. After all, that’s what is expected of a senator’s daughter. But one impulsive decision-one lie to cover for her boyfriend-and Taylor’s kicked out of private school. Everything she’s worked so hard for is gone, and now she’s starting over at Hundred Oaks High.

Soccer has always been Taylor’s escape from the pressures of school and family, but it’s hard to fit in and play on a team that used to be her rival. The only person who seems to understand all that she’s going through is her older brother’s best friend, Ezra. Taylor’s had a crush on him for as long as she can remember. But it’s hard to trust after having been betrayed. Will Taylor repeat her past mistakes or can she score a fresh start?

Out now

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23510834Sharon Lee & Steve Miller’s ALLIANCE OF EQUALS (SF): This is my current book on the go, and it’s keeping me occupied (in between watching tennis points!).  Some of the plot threads from previous books appear to be coming to fruition in this one, so hurrah.

A new novel in the popular and exciting science fiction Liaden Universe® series. Over a half million Liaden Universe® books sold with an audience that keeps growing!

Beset by the angry remnants of the Department of the Interior, challenged at every turn by opportunists on their new homeworld of Surebleak, and somewhat low on funds, Clan Korval desperately needs to reestablish its position as one of the top trading clans in known space. To this end, Master Trader Shan yos’Galan, aboard Korval’s premier trade ship, Dutiful Passage, is on a mission to establish new business associations and to build a strong primary route that links well with existing Loops and secondary routes.

But reestablishing trade and preserving the lives of the few remaining members of the clan aren’t all of Korval’s problems. Matters come to a head as Dutiful Passage, accustomed to being welcomed and feted at those ports on its call-list, finds itself denied docking, and blacklisted, while agents of the DOI mount armed attacks on others of Korval’s traders, under the very eyes of port security systems.

Traveling with Dutiful Passage on this unsettling journey is Padi yos’Galan, the master trader’s heir and his apprentice. Padi is eager to make up for time lost due to Korval’s unpleasantness with the Department of the Interior. She is also keeping a secret so intense that her coming of age, and perhaps her very life, is threatened by it.

Out now

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29087455Sarina Bowen’s STEADFAST (contemporary romance): The first book in this trilogy, BITTERSWEET, came out last month, and it totally whetted my appetite for Jude’s story.  I could get on board with this trend of releasing books in quick succession…

She’s the only one who ever loved him—and the only one he can never have.

Jude lost everything one spring day when he crashed his car into an apple tree on the side of the road. A man is dead, and there’s no way he can ever right that wrong. He’d steer clear of Colebury, Vermont forever if he could. But an ex-con in recovery for his drug addiction can’t find a job just anywhere.

For Sophie Haines, coming face to face with the man who broke her heart is gut-wrenching. Suddenly, he’s everywhere she turns. It’s hard not to stare at how much he’s changed. The bad boy who used to love her didn’t have big biceps and sun-kissed hair. And he’d never turn up volunteer in the church kitchen.

She knows it’s foolish to yearn for the man who returned all the heartsick letters she wrote him in prison. But the looks he sends her now speak volumes.

No one wants to see Sophie and Jude back together, least of all Sophie’s police chief father. But it’s a small town. And forbidden love is a law unto itself.

Out July 12

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30651327Rachel Caine’s PAPER AND FIRE (YA fantasy): I had a good time with the first book in this series so bring on the second.  Also obviously – libraries.

LET THE WORLD BURN

With an iron fist, the Great Library ruthlessly controls the knowledge of the world, forbidding the personal ownership of books in the name of the greater good.

Jess Brightwell has survived his introduction to the sinister, seductive world of the Library, but his life and the lives of those he cares for have been altered for ever. Embarking on a mission to save one of their own, Jess and his band of allies suddenly find themselves hunted by the Library’s deadly automata and forced to flee Alexandria.

But Jess’s home isn’t safe any more. The Welsh army is coming, London is burning, and soon Jess must choose between his friends, his family, or a Library willing to sacrifice anything and anyone in the search for ultimate control …

Out July 21 in the UK (think the US version is out now)

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29536947JL Merrow’s BLOW DOWN (M/M contemporary romance): I find my experience with JL Merrow’s books a bit hit-or-miss, but her Plumber’s Mate series has definitely been on the hit side so far.

Death is what happens while you’re making other plans.

The Plumber’s Mate Mysteries, Book 4

The last thing newly engaged plumber Tom Paretski needs is to stumble over another dead body. He’s got enough on his mind already as the reality of his impending marriage sinks in. Not only is his family situation complicated, his heroism at a pub fire made him a local celebrity. Now everyone and their uncle wants a piece of his psychic talents.

Hired to find a missing necklace, Tom and his fiancé, private investigator Phil Morrison, wind up trying to unmask a killer—and there’s no shortage of suspects, up to and including the local bishop himself.

As Tom and Phil try to uncover the truth, they find themselves pulled in all directions by the conflicting pressures of their families and their own desires. But the murderer they’re up against is a ruthless schemer who won’t hesitate to kill again. If Tom and Phil aren’t careful, their love—and all their plans for the future—could be blown down like a house of straw.

Warning: Contains a bishop of questionable Christian charity, a necklace of questionable taste, and a plumber of questionable nationality who may be running out of time.

Out July 12

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27804510Megan Derr’s THE PIRATE OF FATHOMS DEEP (M/M fantasy romance): I’m not usually one for fluffy romance, especially fluffy fantasy romance, but the first book in this series somehow hit the right buttons for me.

High Commander Lesto Arseni is the most feared man in the Harken Empire. None but the High King dares risk his wrath—and a pirate who once punched him in the middle of the imperial pavilion. A pirate who later snuck away with Lesto to an empty room, touched him in ways far more memorable. And then immediately bolted like a man who’d gotten what he wanted.

Shemal just wants to live a normal life, leave his pirating days behind him and prove that he’s respectable now. The last thing he needs is the two idiots who show up wanting his help with the noble they’ve kidnapped—the very man Shemal had been hoping to prove himself to, the man he hasn’t forgotten since Shemal punched him a year and a half ago.

Out July 13

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So, that’s my list – what’s on yours?

Recent Summer Reading

So it’s still technically summer, though the British weather appears to think otherwise.  The summer lull has meant that I’ve flown through quite a few books recently – here are some of them.

25686927I bought Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy‘s HIM as soon as it arrived on the virtual shelves, and they totally hit it out of the park (or whatever the relevant hockey analogy is) with Wes and Jamie’s story.  It was funny and sexy and really, the perfect “best friends to lovers” romance.  Loved the sports/summer camp angle, the supporting characters (I’m kind of hoping for a sequel for a couple of them now), and the relatively low level of angst (I know – I surprise myself).  One of my favourites of the year, most definitely.

25777000On the fantasy romance side, I tried a new-to-me author, Melissa McShane‘s SERVANT OF THE CROWN, after reading Sherwood Smith’s review (the pretty cover didn’t hurt either).  This wasn’t an entirely successful read for me.  I loved the protagonist’s passion for books, and which reader could hate a plot that centres around a library, right?  However, I found the prose a bit clunky (continual mentions of how Alison turned blotchy when embarrassed or how she freezes up when complimented on her beauty started jarring after a while), and the world-building was kind of sketchy.  There were hints of some really interesting bits, for example, I’d loved to have seen a bit more about how family bonds influenced history and society, but on the whole, everything felt a bit wallpaper-y.  I’ll still try another book by McShane though.

25090918And libraries appear to be the new thing in fantasy – I also read Rachel Caine‘s INK AND BONE, which is the start of a new series (trilogy?) set in an alternate-history version of our world, where original printed versions of books are incredibly rare (also see Genevieve Cogman‘s THE INVISIBLE LIBRARY, which I thoroughly enjoyed).  I hesitated over picking up INK AND BONE because my experience with Caine’s previous works is that she loves her cliffhangers, but eventually caved, because well, LIBRARIES.  And this was a good adventure romp, with some magic and err… library-ing packed in for good measure.  I thought the world she created was really imaginative – Jess, the main protagonist, is a book smuggler-turned-scholar trainee, who’s trying to get a place at the Great Library of Alexandria. Academy-type stories are like my catnip, and this was one of them.  The weakest element for me was Jess’s eventual romance (I’m picky!) – it was a bit insta-love to me, and I much preferred the friendships that developed over the course of the book.  But I’m looking forward to see where the story goes next.

So that’s me – how’s your summer reading going?

Books for March

March is a good month for new releases.  I’m sort of overwhelmed, but in a good way.

 

Patricia Briggs“River Marked” (urban fantasy): The sixth Mercy Thompson book and the series is still going strong.  The (rather skimpy, admittedly) blurb for this book implies we’re learning more about Mercy’s background, which has been left as a bit of a mystery to date.  I’m excited about this one.

Although the UK cover?  The only word I have is “unfortunate”.  I could have lived with the previous UK covers, but this change in cover art style halfway through the series is bugging me.  Okay, I really want the Dan Dos Santos US covers, though I suppose the one consolation is that these are still paperback releases in the UK (for the moment anyway!).

Goodreads blurb:

Car mechanic Mercy Thompson has always known there was something different about her, and not just the way she can make a VW engine sit up and beg. Mercy is a shapeshifter, a talent she inherited from her long-gone father. She’s never known any others of her kind. Until now.

An evil is stirring in the depths of the Columbia River—one that her father’s people may know something about. And to have any hope of surviving, Mercy and her mate, the Alpha werewolf Adam, will need their help…

Out March 1 (excerpt)

 

Seanan McGuire‘s “Late Eclipses” (urban fantasy): See, this is what I mean by a good month.  Not only a new Briggs, but also a new McGuire.  Seanan McGuire’s Toby Daye series is one of the UF series I completely fell in love with last year, and it sounds as though the stakes are getting higher by the book.  I can’t wait.

Goodreads blurb:

Two years ago, October “Toby” Daye believed she could leave the world of Faerie behind. She was wrong. Now she finds herself in the service of Duke Sylvester Torquill, sharing an apartment with her Fetch, and maintaining an odd truce with Tybalt, the local King of Cats. It’s a delicate balance—one that’s shattered when she learns that an old friend is in dire trouble. Lily, Lady of the Tea Gardens, has been struck down by a mysterious, seemingly impossible illness, leaving her fiefdom undefended.

Struggling to find a way to save Lily and her subjects, Toby must confront her own past as an enemy she thought was gone forever raises her head once more: Oleander de Merelands, one of the two people responsible for her fourteen-year exile. But if Oleander’s back, what’s her game? Where is she hiding? And what part does Toby’s mother, Amandine, have to play?

Time is growing short and the stakes are getting higher. For the Queen of the Mists has her own agenda, and there are more players in this game than Toby can guess. With everything on the line, she will have to take the ultimate risk to save herself and the people she loves most—because if she can’t find the missing pieces of the puzzle in time, Toby will be forced to make the one choice she thought she’d never have to face again…

Out March 1 (author’s book page)

 

Jo Beverley‘s “An Unlikely Countess” (historical romance): I have a thing for Jo Beverley’s historical romances, which is probably evident from this blog.  I’m liking this, and not just because of the Georgian historical setting – I love the first sentence of the blurb!  And heroines named Prudence remind me of Georgette Heyer‘s “The Masqueraders”, which is one of my favourite Heyers.

Blurb:

A hero called Cate, who’s not at all effeminate, and a heroine called Prudence, who isn’t particularly prudent. They meet one dark night in Yorkshire, both impoverished and at their limit, so how do they end up as Earl and Countess of Malzard. And can they survive the trouble that brings?

Out March 1 (excerpt)

 

Suzanne Brockmann‘s “Breaking the Rules” (romantic suspense): It’s been a pretty long time in coming, this one.  The 16th, and final (for a while at least), book in her Troubleshooters series, this means all loose ends get wrapped up for once!  I’m not sure if Suzanne Brockmann kickstarted the whole Navy SEALs trend in contemporary romance, or just caught the wave at the right time, but looking back at these books as a whole, this has been one of the best military romantic suspense series out there, IMO.

Goodreads blurb:

Izzy Zanella didn’t need another reason to butt heads with his Navy SEAL teammate and nemesis, Danny Gillman. Then he met Danny’s beautiful younger sister, Eden. When she needed it most, he offered her a place to stay, a shoulder to cry on—and more. And when she got pregnant with another man’s child, he offered her marriage. But Eden’s devastating miscarriage shattered their life together—and made the intense bad blood between Izzy and Danny even worse.

Now Eden’s back, on a mission to rescue her teen brother, Ben, from their abusive stepfather. Winning legal custody is her only chance, if she and Izzy can prove their broken marriage is still in one piece. But they’re not alone: when Danny and his girlfriend Jenn offer to help, he and Izzy agree to bury the past and fight for Ben’s future.

As they plan their strategy, Izzy and Eden grapple with the raw passion that still crackles between them—while Danny and Jenn confront new depths in their own rocky relationship. But events take a terrifying turn after Ben befriends a girl fleeing a child prostitution ring. When the young runaway seeks refuge with Eden and Izzy, her pursuers kidnap Ben—and a deadly standoff begins. Now, they must all pull together like never before, and strike back swift and hard, to protect their unconventional little family and everything they hold most precious.

Out March 22 (excerpt)

 

And finally, two UF anthologies that have caught my attention, primarily because of various contributors – “After Hours: Tales from the Ur-Bar” (edited by Joshua Palmatier and Patricia Bray), which has a Seanan McGuire story:

Science fiction and fantasy readers have long shown an affinity for a good “bar story”. Now some of today’s most inventive scriveners have decided to tell their own tall tales-from an alewife’s attempt to transfer the gods’ curse to Gilgamesh, to Odin’s decision to introduce Vikings to the Ur-Bar, from the Holy Roman Emperor’s barroom bargain, to a demon hunter who may just have met his match in the ultimate magic bar, to a bouncer who discovers you should never let anyone in after hours in a world terrorized by zombies.

and “Those Who Fight Monsters: Tales of Occult Detectives” (edited by Justin Gustainis), with contributors including Tanya Huff, Rachel Caine, Carrie Vaughn, and Lilith Saintcrow:

Those Who Fight Monsters: Tales of Occult Detectives, is your one-stop-shop for Urban Fantasy’s finest anthology of the supernatural. 14 sleuths are gathered together for the first time in all-original tales of unusual cases which require services that go far beyond mere deduction!

Those Who Fight Monsters: Tales of Occult Detectives brings together popular characters from many Urban Fantasy paranormal investigative series, for your enjoyment.

 

So, that’s my March new releases list, any others you’re looking to get?

Me = Bad Blogger

Real life completely gets in the way. 

Ah, anyway, bank holiday weekend – hurray!  Dawdling home, I decided to stop by the library (rare occurrence, trust me) and came out with these two books:

210vUxkSmML._SL160_ John Scalzi’s “The Last Colony” (military SF):  I have the first two books in this very loose trilogy (or is it a series now that “Zoe’s Tale” is out?), but for some reason, never quite got around to getting this one.

51HPCf2rreL._SL160_

The other book I grabbed was the UF anthology “Many Bloody Returns”, edited by Charlaine Harris and Toni Kelner.  I don’t *think* I have this – I say think because I have pretty much lost track of the anthologies I own!  Apart from the named authors on the cover (Charlaine Harris herself, Jim Butcher, and Kelley Armstrong), other MBR contributors I recognise are PN Elrod, Rachel Caine, and Tanya Huff.

So plenty to read this weekend.  But… Roland Garros also gets underway tomorrow!  I will definitely be watching – anyone else?

Busy Busy Busy

I’ve had an incredibly mad week at work.  Though we are expecting some major announcements next week (job cuts anyone?), so I’m guessing that being busy is better than sitting around doing nothing.  Errmm.  Let’s see.

So anyway, I missed Keishon’s TBR Challenge this week.  For the first time ever.  Am slightly annoyed with myself, seeing that I had the book picked out and everything, but it just didn’t happen.

I have so far read a grand total of four books in February and there is only one more week in this month.  I’m doing rather dismally.

I have bought the anthology “The Mammoth Book of Paranormal Romance” though, and in the interest of actually providing some useful information on my blog this week (as opposed to having a general moan), here’s the link to its Table of Contents, listing author and story.  Plus a few pages of Carrie Vaughn’s contribution.

And because this is something I like to know, of the stories I’ve read so far written by authors I’m familiar with:

  • Ms Vaughn’s story is very possibly set in the same world as her Kitty books, but there’s no crossover
     
  • Kelley Armstrong’s “Paranormal Romance Blues”: Otherworld setting, and Cassandra and Aaron make a cameo appearance
     
  • Ilona Andrews’ “Grace of Small Magics”: New world (love the title!)
     

And ummm… that’s it.  I did say I really hadn’t read that much this month. 

Okay, I skimmed the others:

  • Rachel Caine’s story features Joanne and David (and its title is “Blue Crush: A Weather Warden story”)
     
  • I didn’t recognise any of the characters in Meljean Brook’s contribution so it may or may not be a Guardian story (this is so helpful)
     
  • Sherrilyn Kenyon’s story mentions Avalon, so it must be set in her Lords of Avalon series which I haven’t read
     
  • Maria V Snyder’s story has a contemporary setting, so it’s not set in her Study world
     
  • Mary Jo Putney’s story “The Tuesday Enchantress” (love this title too) has “A Guardian Story” as the subtitle, but a contemporary setting so I’m slightly confused.  Possibly featuring a descendant from her historical series.

 

Any other questions, feel free to ask.

Books for October

New releases coming out this month that I want:

21fgq6xgwpl__aa_sl160_.jpg21q3wnel84l__aa_sl160_.jpgLisa Kleypas‘ “Mine Til Midnight” (historical romance) – While I wasn’t hugely keen on her contemporary debut “Sugar Daddy” (I say that, but I’m probably still going to get its sequel), I loved her Wallflowers quartet.  So I’m obviously going to get Cam Rohan’s story.  Oh, this is the first time I’ve seen the UK cover (on the left) – I’ve to say this time around, I prefer the US one (right).  The UK one looks a bit too boring, and IMO, doesn’t really fit the title as well – it may look better in person, though!  I’ve seen an earlier version of the US cover, where the dress is white, instead of the deep blue, and I thought that was even prettier.  I would have loved to have that cover.  Maybe blue sells better!  Excerpt here.

21b06k0uiql__aa_sl160_.jpgCharlaine Harris‘ “An Ice Cold Grave” (urban fantasy) – The third book in her Harper Connelly series – hmm… the first two books were titled “Grave Surprise” and “Grave Sight” respectively, but I guess they decided to take a different tack with this one.  Despite the paranormal aspects of this series (Harper can see how someone died), this series reminds me more of Ms Harris’ Lily Bard mystery series than the Sookie Stackhouse books.  The mood of the Harper Connelly and Lily Bard books tends towards the grim and depressing, while the Sookie books are lighter in tone and are more cheery.  Excerpt here

The Christmas anthology “An Enchanted Season” (paranormal romance) – Okay, I admit that I want this for one reason only – Nalini Singh‘s contribution.  Until I read “Caressed by Ice”, I wasn’t really too bothered about this – I was vaguely aware of the planned anthology, but wasn’t planning on getting it.  Then I read CBI, loved it, and now I want Tamsyn and Nate’s story.  Excerpt here.  Oh, and the other authors are Maggie Shayne, Erin McCarthy, and Jean Johnson. 

21tizhfgb4l__aa_sl160_.jpgSharon Shinn‘s “General Winston’s Daughter” (YA fantasy) – A new Sharon Shinn 🙂 With an excellent cover.  It is hardcover, unfortunately, but you can’t have everything…  Her website very informatively – not – says that it’s set in a world like 19th century Britain.  Luckily, there is a bit more information on Amazon:

When seventeen-year-old heiress Averie Winston travels with her guardian to faraway Chiarrin, she looks forward to a reunion with her father, who is a commanding general, seeing her handsome fiancé Morgan once more, and exploring the strange new country. What she finds is entirely different. Although the Chiarizzi appear to tolerate the invading army, rebels have already tried to destroy them; Morgan is not the man she thought he was; and she finds herself falling in love with Lieutenant Ket Du’kai, who himself comes from a conquered society. Can the irrepressible Averie remake herself in this new world? Sharon Shinn’s newest romance has an epic sweep, piquant humor, social commentary, and love to spare—just the thing when you want to lose yourself in another world.

One of her other YA fantasy novels, “Summers at Castle Auburn”, is amongst my all-time favourites, so I’m looking forward to this one.

And a couple of maybes:

Rachel Caine‘s “Midnight Alley” (YA urban fantasy) – Third book in her Morganville Vampires series.  I think I’m going to wean myself off this series.  It’s not a bad series or anything like that – Ms Caine tells a good story, but for some reason, I’m not completely hooked.  And it’s not as though I’m running out of books to read.  Hmm… maybe I just don’t like the premise of this series – a university town ruled by the vampire mafia.  Excerpt here.

Tara Janzen‘s “On the Loose” (romantic suspense) – Seventh book in her Steele Street series.  It’s been a while since the last book in this series came out, and though I liked the first few books in this series, I thought the last couple of books, well, weren’t great to put it mildly.  I think I’ll wait for the reviews on this one.  Excerpt here.

September books I want

A bit late with this one, but anyway, here are the books coming out this month that I’m planning on getting / have bought.  Not that many this month, really.

21ypizlafbl__aa_sl160_.jpg“Caressed by Ice” by Nalini Singh (Paranormal romance) – Despite the rather awful cover, I’ve been looking forward to this one.  It’s the third in her Psy-Changeling series, and the first where the hero is a Psy, not a Changeling.  Bought this one today – excerpts here.

0345496876_01__aa_scmzzzzzzz_v24223295_.jpg“Empire of Ivory” by Naomi Novik (Historical fantasy) – I so want this one.  It’s the fourth book in her Temeraire series.  Excerpt here.  The first Temeraire book (think dragons in the Napoleonic Wars era, if you haven’t read or heard about them before) was one of my favourite books last year, and since the publisher did that trick of issuing three books really closely together, it feels like ages since the third one came out.

Books that I’m in two minds about:

21e3wi-1eml__aa_sl160_.jpg“Fairyville” by Emma Holly (Paranormal romance) – My interest in this one is more for the author, than for the story.  I’m just not into stories about fairies or the fey, but I liked the last Holly book I read, “Prince of Ice”.  Hmmm… actually, I think I still have “The Demon’s Daughter” in my TBR pile – maybe I should finish that first.

21zr2bmht0rl__aa_sl160_.jpg“The Devil’s Right Hand” by Lilith Saintcrow (Urban fantasy) – I’ve read the first two books in this series, but two things are holding me back: first, I can’t warm to the heroine, and second, the previous two books did the cliff-hanger ending thing.  Which I really really don’t like.  So a maybe for me.

21p3-21kjxl__aa_sl160_.jpg“Many Bloody Returns” (urban fantasy anthology) –  In a nutshell: vampires and birthdays.  I want this because contributors include Charlaine Harris (Sookie), Kelley Armstrong (Cassandra’s the narrator!), Rachel Caine (Morganville Vampire short story), Tanya Huff (Henry, I presume), and Jim Butcher.  I’m hesitating because it’s hardcover, and reeeaally expensive for a relatively slim book – I think I saw it for £14 today.  Sigh – I think I’ll wait for the paperback version.

Books for August

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I did say August was a good month for books 🙂

Books, Books and More Books

Well, Amazon appears to have got its act together, and has been flooding my mailbox with books I ordered back in January.  I also stopped by the bookstore (before the Amazon parcels started arriving on a daily basis), so I do have plenty to read – errr… 27 books to be exact.

New books in my TBR pile:

The Dead Girls’ Dance (Rachel Caine) – YA paranormal.  Second in Rachel Caine’s YA series (she also writes the Weather Warden books) – the first book sort of ended on a cliffhanger, which, unfortunately, is becoming all too common in her books.  I do think she’s got a knack for coming up with unique ideas, her heroines are very likeable and her male characters completely yummy, but I’m really starting to dislike the way she ends her books.  So I’m hoping that this book doesn’t continue the trend…

0060833254_01__aa_scmzzzzzzz_v44251814_.jpgWarrior Angel (Margaret and Lizz Weis) – Paranormal romance.  I ordered this online as soon as I heard Margaret Weis was writing a paranormal romance.  I loved her SF and fantasy books, especially the “The Star of the Guardians” SF series, which had the most bittersweet romance ever, the related “Mag Force” trilogy (actually, I really wish she would write more stories in that universe), and on the fantasy front, “The Rose of the Prophet” series, which she co-wrote with Tracy Hickman…  And then I read the online reviews for this book and now I’m not too excited about reading this.  Sigh.

The Scent of Shadows (Vicki Pettersson) – Urban fantasy.  As I said in my last post, this book has been generating good buzz online, and I’m looking forward to reading this.  Since the tagline is “The First Sign of the Zodiac”, I’m guessing that there are twelve books planned for this series?

Coupon Girl (Becky Motew) – Chick-lit, I’m thinking, based on the cover and blurb.  Huh.  This is one of the books I ordered back in Jan, and now have no idea where or how I heard of it.

1841493996_02__aa_scmzzzzzzz_v46734812_.jpgFool Moon (Jim Butcher) – Urban fantasy, second in the Dresden Files series.  I read the first book “Storm Front”, but it didn’t really grab me.  After reading and loving his Codex Alera fantasy books, I decided to give this series another go.  I think the problem with the first book was that I didn’t really connect with the main character, Harry Dresden (Chicago’s first (and only) wizard private investigator), which is not good, especially if the story is written in first-person POV.

Command Decision (Elizabeth Moon) – Military SF, fourth in the Vatta’s War series.  I’ve read the first three books in this series, and I like them enough to buy the fourth (rather obviously).  I like Ms Moon’s books, but I don’t love them – again, possibly due to the fact I don’t love her characters.  They’re very readable though, and a decent way to spend an afternoon.

0441014895_01__aa_scmzzzzzzz_v45599629_.jpgMagic Bites (Ilona Andrews) – Urban fantasy.  This is her debut novel (or rather their debut novel?  I think it’s a husband-and-wife team).  I bought this due to online reviews and err… the cover.  I’m a sucker for covers. 

Disappearing Act (Margaret Ball) – SF.  This was a complete impulse buy in the bookstore – I was looking for another author, saw the cover (one of Baen’s SF-ish ones) and, well, I like Lois McMaster Bujold’s books (okay, I love her Vorkosigan books) and they’re published by Baen as well, as is Catherine Asaro… so I grabbed it.  Talk about tenuous connections.  And as if I don’t have enough books to read already…

And as to what I’m reading now – I used to be the kind of person who only ever read one book at the time.  For some reason, that’s now gone out of the window, and what I read appears to be dependent on whatever book is in the room where I am.  Unless it’s a really good book, in which case I finish it in one sitting!

So books that I’m reading:

  • I’m a couple of chapters into “Magic Bites”, but it hasn’t really grabbed my attention. 
  • I’m also a couple of chapters into “Fool Moon”, which I’ll probably finish before “Magic Bites”.
  • I read the first chapter of “The Dead Girls’ Dance” last night, but I’m not in the mood for teenage angst at the moment, so it’s being put aside for now.
  • I started Elizabeth Hoyt’s “The Raven Prince” the other night, but fell asleep, and I suspect this will be a book I’ll finish in one go, so I’m waiting until I’ve a good long period of free time to start it again – maybe tonight!
  • And I’ve two more stories left in the “Dragon Lovers” anthology, which I’ve found slightly disappointing, as I said the other day.  I’m not sure when I’ll return to it…

So really, five books on the go at the moment.  Hmmm… it’s probably also dependent on my mood, and I’m lucky because I’ve so many books that I can pick and choose exactly what I want to read!