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.

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Books for May

May =  a mix of new releases I definitely want and those that I’m not quite sure about…

The definites:

21900150Julie Cross & Mark Perini‘s HALFWAY PERFECT (YA romance): I’m a big fan of Julie Cross’s YA sport romances – this one is a bit different but still sounds rather fun.

Bestselling author Julie Cross teams up with Ford model Mark Perini to pen a poignant and gritty YA novel about love and the dark side of modeling and the fashion industry.

Eve’s time as a fashion model nearly destroyed her-now she’s determined to build a career behind the camera lens. But landing a coveted photography internship brings her face to face with her dark past-and her ex.

While Eve is snapping pictures, up-and-coming male model Alex is launching his career-which, for him, involves maintaining a fake relationship with his (secretly) underage co-star, Elana.

But Alex is falling for Eve, and Eve won’t let herself get hurt again. If Alex can pull off a fake love with Elana, can he convince Eve to risk a secret affair with him?

Out May 5

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20698530Jenny Han‘s PS I STILL LOVE YOU (YA romance): Did I mention how much I liked Jenny Han’s TO ALL THE BOYS I’VE LOVED BEFORE when I read it last year?  No?  Well, I did – it had a charming and slightly quirky protagonist, it was about growing up and having a bit of romance, but most importantly, it was about sisterhood.  I’ve pre-ordered the sequel – that’s how much I really liked it.

Lara Jean didn’t expect to really fall for Peter.

She and Peter were just pretending. Except suddenly they weren’t. Now Lara Jean is more confused than ever.

When another boy from her past returns to her life, Lara Jean’s feelings for him return too. Can a girl be in love with two boys at once?

In this charming and heartfelt sequel to the New York Times bestseller To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, we see first love through the eyes of the unforgettable Lara Jean. Love is never easy, but maybe that’s part of what makes it so amazing.

Out May 26

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24744875Astrid Amara‘s SONG OF THE NAVIGATOR (SF M/M romance): Sometimes I really like her stories, other times they leave me a bit cold.  The blurb on this one has me intrigued though.

Worst Possible Birthday: Being sold into slavery by none other than your lover.

Tover Duke’s rare ability to move anything instantly across light-years of space makes him a powerful, valuable asset to the Harmony Corporation, and a rock star among the people of the colonies. His life is luxurious. Safe. Routine.

He has his pick of casual hookups passing through Dadelus-Kaku Station. His one brush with danger of any kind—the only bright spot in his otherwise boring life—is Cruz Arcadio, a dark-haired, hard-bodied engineer whose physical prowess hints he’s something much more.

When a terrorist abducts Tover, hurling him into a world of torture, exploitation and betrayal, it’s with shattering disbelief that he realizes his kidnapper is none other than Cruz. As Tover struggles to find the courage to escape his bondage, he begins to understand the only way to free his body, his mind—and his heart—is to trust the one man who showed him that everything about his once-perfect life was a lie.

Warning: This story contains descriptions of extreme violence and assault. It also contains graphic sexual depictions. It also has a lot of birds. And pirate movies from the future. And romance.

Out May 26

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17261670 (1)Josh Lanyon‘s WINTER KILL (M/M romantic suspense): I think Josh Lanyon has said this is more suspense than romance, but hey, a new Lanyon – I love his writing.

Clever and ambitious, Special Agent Adam Darling (yeah, he’s heard all the jokes before) was on the fast track to promotion and success until his mishandling of a high profile operation left one person dead and Adam “On the Beach.” Now he’s got a new partner, a new case, and a new chance to resurrect his career, hunting a legendary serial killer known as The Crow in a remote mountain resort in Oregon.

Deputy Sheriff Robert Haskell may seem laid-back, but he’s a tough and efficient cop — and he’s none too thrilled to see feebs on his turf — even when one of the agents is smart, handsome, and probably gay. But a butchered body in a Native American museum is out of his small town department’s league. For that matter, icy, uptight Adam Darling is out of Rob’s league, but that doesn’t mean Rob won’t take his best shot.

Out May 31

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And then the maybes:

  • THE WAY OF THE WARRIOR anthology (romantic suspense): Charity anthology (The Wounded Warrior Project) with a Suzanne Brockmann contribution. I’d buy this if it was sold in the UK – at the moment, the ebookstores are showing it as geographically-restricted.
  • Sarah Dessen‘s SAINT ANYTHING (YA romance): I had a bit of a Sarah Dessen glom when I first discovered her, and then her books started to feel a bit same-y (yes, these may be related).  I’ll probably borrow this one from the library.
  • Lisa Lutz‘s HOW TO START A FIRE (women’s fiction?): I don’t know – I’ve liked her offbeat Spellman mysteries, but this one sounds a bit too women’s fiction-y for me.

 

I think that’s it for my May new releases list – any others on your list?

Books for February

Not a massive number of new releases on my list this month, which means I can ramble on a bit more?

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17874997Suzanne Brockmann‘s DO OR DIE (romantic suspense): Pre-ebooks (yes, in those long ago days), the big decision when it came to new releases was whether I would (a) pre-order and get the online discount, but wait a bit longer to get my hands on them or (b) haunt my local bookstore on the off-chance they actually had them in on release date, and pay full price.

With Suzanne Brockmann’s Troubleshooter books, I usually went with option (b) – that was how much I loved them.  After the 16th (or so) book, she wrapped up that series (to be fair, it was probably about time) and ventured into a near-futuristic world, which was umm… a bust for me (to put it mildly), and I resigned myself to the fact that I was just not loving her books anymore.  And then she announced she was starting a Troubleshooters spin-off series – I guess I’m not the only one who didn’t love her new series?  So new protagonists etc but a (semi-)familiar world – I’m hoping this one has both the action-packed story, humour, and chemistry that her Troubleshooter books always brought to the table.

TL;DR version: I pre-ordered the ebook and am reading it right now.

Navy SEAL Ian Dunn went rogue in a big way when he turned his talents to a lawless life of jewel heists and con jobs. Or so the world has been led to believe. In reality, the former Special Ops warrior is still fighting for good, leading a small band of freelance covert operatives who take care of high-stakes business in highly unofficial ways. That makes Ian the hands-down choice when the U.S. government must breach a heavily guarded embassy and rescue a pair of children kidnapped by their own father, a sinister foreign national willing to turn his own kids into casualties. Shockingly, Ian passes on the mission… for reasons he will not–or cannot–reveal.

But saying no is not an option. Especially not to Phoebe Kruger, Ian’s bespectacled, beautiful, and unexpectedly brash new attorney. Determined to see the abducted children set free, she not only gets Ian on board but insists on riding shotgun on his Mission: Impossible-style operation, whether he likes it or not.

Though Phoebe has a valuable knack for getting out of tight spots, there’s no denying the intensely intimate feelings growing between Ian and Phoebe as the team gears up for combat. But these are feelings they both must fight to control as they face an array of cold-blooded adversaries, including a vindictive mob boss who’s got Ian at the top of his hit list and a wealthy psychopath who loves murder as much as money. As they dodge death squads and play lethal games of deception, Ian and Phoebe will do whatever it takes to save the innocent and vanquish the guilty.

Or die trying.

Out now

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18143924Sharon Lee‘s CAROUSEL SUN (urban fantasy): Or small-town fantasy.  I mentioned this in my January new releases because Baen releases the ebook a month early, so although technically a February release, I’ve already read this.  I was looking forward to this follow-up to CAROUSEL TIDES – I had a couple of minor niggles around pacing and voice (which I mentioned in the comments to Laura’s GR review – and will get my own review up at some point…), but overall a decent read and I really like the unusual (for a UF) setting.

 A gripping contemporary fantasy thriller from master storyteller Sharon Lee, award-winning co-creator of the highly-popular Liaden Universe® saga.

When magic meets mundane, sparks fly: these are exciting times in Archers Beach, Maine! A unprecedented Early Season has united townies and carnies in an effort to expand into a twelve-month resort, recapturing the town’s former glory.

Kate Archer, owner-operator of the vintage wooden carousel, is caught up in the excitement—and is quite possibly the cause of it. Because Kate leads a double life, as carny, and as Guardian of the land. Her recent return to the home she had forsaken has changed the town’s luck—for the better—and energized the trenvay—earth and water spirits who are as much citizens of the Beach as their mundane counterparts.

But the town’s new energy isn’t the only change afoot. Joe Nemeier, the local drug lord, whose previous magical consultant was vanquished by Kate, has acquired a new ally—and this one plays with fire.

Out now

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085286-fc222Diana Wynne Jones & Ursula JonesTHE ISLANDS OF CHALDEA (MG fantasy): I had to double-check the publication date on this as I think the US version is out later in April, but yes, the UK version looks to be pubbed end of February.  This is the book that Diana Wynne Jones was in the midst of writing when she passed away, and I believe her sister finished it.  So I’m not entirely sure it will be “proper” DWJ – but the plot sounds totally DWJ and I cannot wait to read it.

The brand new and final novel from the magical and whimsical pen of ‘the Godmother of Fantasy’, Diana Wynne Jones; co-authored with her sister Ursula Jones.

Aileen was supposed to grow up magical – just like the other women in her family. Unfortunately, she’s just found out that the magic seems to have skipped a generation… but that’s not her biggest problem right now.

In her world, there are four Islands of Chaldea. The largest and most magical island has been cut off from the other three for decades – and is slowly draining the magic from them.

But now a prophecy has come to light. Someone from Aileen’s island will gather a man from each of the three islands, bring down the magical barrier, and unite them with the fourth island again. And according to the king, that someone is Aileen’s Aunt – who insists on dragging Aileen along. AND the boy Aileen is sure she’ll marry (one day); AND the local boy with more brawn then brain. Someone seems to want to stop them too… someone with an interest in keeping the Islands apart. But still, with magic on their side, nothing can go wrong. Right?

Out Feb 27 (UK)

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Other books I’m interested in:

Tell me about your February new releases list – any must-gets I’m missing?

Books for April

First up, Andrea K Höst‘s YA fantasy HUNTING is out (yes, the book that I’ve been going on about for the past couple of months) – with a Smashwords 50% off coupon valid until 12 April (bonus: Smashwords allows you to download your ebook in multiple formats).  I’m really enjoying HUNTING as it happens to have a lot of my favourite themes (girl-in-disguise, academy-type setting) wrapped up in a murder mystery with a sprinkling of romance… but then you wouldn’t really expect anything else, would you?

On to April new releases…

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15998118Sophie Kinsella‘s WEDDING NIGHT (contemporary romance): I never thought I’d be looking forward to a Kinsella book (I think I’d filed her and her Shopaholic novels under chick-lit, which doesn’t often work for me), but after unexpectedly enjoying her 2012 release I’VE GOT YOUR NUMBER, I’m definitely planning on reading this.

Lottie is tired of long-term boyfriends who don’t want to commit to marriage. When her old boyfriend Ben reappears and reminds her of their pact to get married if they were both still single at thirty, she jumps at the chance. There will be no dates and no engagement—just a straight wedding march to the altar! Next comes the honeymoon on the Greek island where they first met. But not everyone is thrilled with Lottie and Ben’s rushed marriage, and family and friends are determined to intervene. Will Lottie and Ben have a wedding night to remember or one to forget?

Out April 23

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16006196KA Mitchell‘s BAD ATTITUDE (m/m romance): KA Mitchell’s recent releases have been a bit uneven for me.  But you know, KA Mitchell.  I’ve certainly still giving this a go.

As the openly gay middle son of the most powerful family between Manhattan and Miami, Gavin Montgomery knows his role—look good in a tuxedo and don’t make waves.

Waves are the least of his worries when he tries and fails to keep a friend from jumping off a high bridge. His last thought as he falls in too is that someone else will have to take over as family disappointment…until he’s pulled from the water by a man with an iron grip, a sexy mouth and a chip on his shoulder the size of the national deficit.

Police rescue diver Jamie Donnigan finally has life the way he wants it. Okay, he could have done without losing his father, quitting smoking and watching his friends drift into couplehood. At least he’s managed to escape that particular trap.

When Gavin’s father turns Jamie’s routine rescue into a media circus, he figures if he’s going to suffer for his good deed, he might as well enjoy a roll in the sack. But Jamie’s not immune to Gavin’s cultivated charm…and all the risks that come along with giving in to it.

Warning: Includes above the recommended daily allowance for snark, attitude, stubbornness and a variety of scorching hot sex (even for this author).

Out April 23

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15703332Jaclyn Moriarty‘s A CORNER OF WHITE (YA fantasy):  I fell in love with Jaclyn Moriarty’s Ashbury/Brookfield Australian YA novels, not least because she pulled off the epistolary-style delivery beautifully, so I’m looking forward to reading her new series.  Which sounds very different to the Ashbury/Brookfield books, but hopefully just different-different (as opposed to different-bad).

The first in a rousing, funny, genre-busting trilogy from bestseller Jaclyn Moriarty!

This is a tale of missing persons. Madeleine and her mother have run away from their former life, under mysterious circumstances, and settled in a rainy corner of Cambridge (in our world).

Elliot, on the other hand, is in search of his father, who disappeared on the night his uncle was found dead. The talk in the town of Bonfire (in the Kingdom of Cello) is that Elliot’s dad may have killed his brother and run away with the Physics teacher. But Elliot refuses to believe it. And he is determined to find both his dad and the truth.

As Madeleine and Elliot move closer to unraveling their mysteries, they begin to exchange messages across worlds — through an accidental gap that hasn’t appeared in centuries. But even greater mysteries are unfolding on both sides of the gap: dangerous weather phenomena called “color storms;” a strange fascination with Isaac Newton; the myth of the “Butterfly Child,” whose appearance could end the droughts of Cello; and some unexpected kisses…

Out now

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16160071Carla Kelly‘s HER HESITANT HEART (historical romance): If you read Carla Kelly’s blog, you’ll know she gripes a lot about the covers and titles that Harlequin give her.  This time around, I don’t think she has anything to complain about.

Tired and hungry after two days of traveling, Susanna Hopkins is just about at the end of her tether when her train finally arrives in Cheyenne. She’s bound for a new life in a Western garrison town. Then she discovers she doesn’t even have enough money to pay for the stagecoach! Luckily for her, the compassionate Major Joseph Randolph is heading in the same direction.

As a military surgeon, Joe is used to keeping his professional distance. But, despite Susanna’s understated beauty, he’s drawn to this woman who carries loss and pain equal to his own and has a heart that is just as hesitant and wary…

Out April 23

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12905418Suzanne Brockmann‘s HEADED FOR TROUBLE (romantic suspense): I’ve a soft spot for her Troubleshooters books, so will most likely be getting this (I’m pretty sure this is a mixture of previously-published and new short stories).  Speaking of these books, Suzanne Brockmann mentions she’s working on a trilogy related to her Troubleshooters series in her latest newsletter (sorry, can’t find it online) – does that mean her paranormal/futuristic suspense series is on hold?  I didn’t care for the first book, FWIW.

New York Times bestselling author Suzanne Brockmann, whom USA Today calls “the reigning queen of military suspense,” breaks out a rapid-fire collection of pulse-pounding, heart-tugging stories and novellas featuring the intrepid men and women of Troubleshooters Inc., fiction’s hottest ultimate counterterrorism squad.

• Tough-as-nails Troubleshooters operative Sam Starrett learns the agony of loving someone in danger—and the hell of waiting on the home front—as his wife, Alyssa, hurtles into a foreign hotspot that’s about to boil over.

• Navy SEAL Frank O’Leary’s ill-fated holiday reunion with his older brother takes a turn for the better—when a chance encounter on a rainy New Orleans street gives Frank a reason to be thankful after all.

• In a maze of tunnels deep beneath a military base in Germany, Jules Cassidy, Alyssa Locke, and their comrades in arms match wits with terrorists on a mission with explosive consequences.

Plus more never-before-released adventures featuring Jenk, Izzy, Gillman, Lopez, Kenny, Savannah, and other members of SEAL Team 16—along with Suzanne Brockmann’s exclusive interviews with her beloved characters.

Looking for the best kind of trouble? You’ve found it!

Out April 30

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16074560Deanna Raybourn‘s A SPEAR OF SUMMER GRASS (historical romance): I am a bit on the fence about this because of mixed reviews, but I have the prequel novella “Far in the Wilds” on my Kindle, so will read that before deciding one way or other.

Paris, 1923

The daughter of a scandalous mother, Delilah Drummond is already notorious, even amongst Paris society. But her latest scandal is big enough to make even her oft-married mother blanch. Delilah is exiled to Kenya and her favorite stepfather’s savannah manor house until gossip subsides.

Fairlight is the crumbling, sun-bleached skeleton of a faded African dream, a world where dissolute expats are bolstered by gin and jazz records, cigarettes and safaris. As mistress of this wasted estate, Delilah falls into the decadent pleasures of society.

Against the frivolity of her peers, Ryder White stands in sharp contrast. As foreign to Delilah as Africa, Ryder becomes her guide to the complex beauty of this unknown world. Giraffes, buffalo, lions and elephants roam the shores of Lake Wanyama amid swirls of red dust. Here, life is lush and teeming-yet fleeting and often cheap.

Amidst the wonders-and dangers-of Africa, Delilah awakes to a land out of all proportion: extremes of heat, darkness, beauty and joy that cut to her very heart. Only when this sacred place is profaned by bloodshed does Delilah discover what is truly worth fighting for-and what she can no longer live without.

My Auto-buy Authors: The 2012 Romance Edition

Auto-buy Authors definition: You don’t have to know anything about their latest book, you just buy.  As soon as the release hits the shelves.

My auto-buy authors have changed a lot over the years, partly as my genre preferences have changed, but also because the internet has opened my eyes to numerous new-to-me authors out there.  You can probably guess at my list from either my monthly new releases posts (they’re always on there!) or my sidebar with authors I’ve blogged about, but I thought it would be interesting to pull both past and present together in a single post.  And then I decided to break it down by genre, else it would be a bit of an epic post.

So first up, romance.

Historical romance

There was a time when historicals made up the majority of my reading, now it is very rare that I run out to buy one on the day of release.  So the authors I still buy: Eloisa James (true fangirl here), Jo Beverley (primarily for her Georgian settings), Julia Quinn, possibly Lisa Kleypas (if she ever returns to historicals).

Old favourites who I’ve stopped buying: Amanda Quick, Judith McNaught, Julie Garwood , Mary Jo Putney, Stephanie Laurens. Their recent releases (recent being relative here) feel as though they’ve lost the magic that their early books had.

Authors who have sadly passed away: Georgette Heyer – I’ve all her books, both romances and mysteries; Elizabeth Mansfield – I’ve a lot of her books and her backlist is being released in e-format (yay!); Eva Ibbotson, though I don’t think of her as “traditional” historical romance

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Contemporary romance

It’s not a genre that I read a lot, but if you include category romances in this subgenre, Kelly Hunter was my 2011 discovery.  And I used to read Lynne Graham as my guilty pleasure, but either my tastes have changed or her writing has.   Oh, Suzanne Brockmann – though does it count as an auto-buy if you only like certain series?  Her new paranormal/suspense series is not working for me.

I used to love Jayne Ann Krentz and Linda Howard.  Past tense being the operative word – I liked JAK’s straight contemps, but her recent releases with paranormal themes just leave me cold.  And it’s been years since I’ve loved a new Howard.  Who else?  I follow Erin McCarthy’s stockcar racing series, but don’t read all her books, so I wouldn’t really count her as an autobuy author.

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M/M romance

Josh Lanyon.  I’ve only started reading m/m romance in the past few years, but he is one of my all-time favourite authors regardless of genre.  Other auto-buy authors?  KA Mitchell. Harper Fox. Jordan Castillo Price.

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Paranormal romance

Ummm… it’s a lot more series-specific here.  Nalini Singh‘s Psy-Changeling books. Meljean Brook‘s Iron Seas series – I abandoned her Guardians series a couple of books in (okay, one and a half books in) and have yet to go back.  Though seeing I’ve really liked her steampunk romance book, I should give it another go.  Ilona Andrews for their Edge series (I classify the Kate Daniels books as UF).

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Fantasy romance

Drawing a blank here.  I think I lean more towards romantic fantasy, which I’ll save for the fantasy post (which I suspect will be longer).  There is Elizabeth Vaughan, but I wouldn’t call her an auto-buy author.

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YA romance

I’ve loved both of Stephanie Perkins‘ books, so I’m guessing she probably counts as an auto-buy now.  I enjoy Sarah Dessen’s books though they do come across as a bit same-y after a while, and the one Jennifer Echols book I’ve read, but I don’t think that qualifies them as auto-buys for me.  This is probably the subgenre I read least.

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I think that’s it for romance – how do your auto-buys compare to mine?

Unexpectedly Good Reads (Pun Not Intended)

More books I read during June – some good ones in here.  As usual, reviews originally posted on Goodreads, but now with some additional comments added.  I feel like I should come up with a name for these posts.

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The Demon's Surrender (Demon's Lexicon Trilogy #3)The Demon’s Surrender by Sarah Rees Brennan (YA urban fantasy)

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

One-word summary? WOW.

THE DEMON’S SURRENDER was everything I expected and more (and trust me, I had pretty high expectations after The Demon’s Covenant).

Sarah Rees Brennan is not afraid of taking her characters to very dark places, which just makes it all the more satisfying when they triumph – a heart-wrenchingly wonderful sort of book. And I was hooked from the very first chapter – my heart was in my mouth so many times and the twisty fast-moving plot (my internal commentary was along the lines of “Could it be? Nah! It is! Nooooo!”) kept me reading well into the early hours of the morning.

If I could have had anything more in SURRENDER, it would be more POVs (and more Jamie!), but that’s really a reflection of the fact I fell in love with the story and the world and just wanted to know EVERYTHING and more. Alan and Nick and Mae and Jamie were as fantastic as they have been in previous books. As for Sin – I admit I had doubts about her as the main narrator initially – I’m not sure why I ever doubted now, she was the perfect narrator and I was cheering her on throughout.

SURRENDER is, well, it’s action-packed, full of feeling – you laugh and weep with the characters – and I closed the book feeling thoroughly satisfied. And as a bonus, it’s set in London. What could be better?

Gosh, I can’t believe I didn’t post this on my blog last year.  Or perhaps I did and can’t remember?  Ummm.  Great trilogy, and yeah, this ended up on my 2011 favourites list.  I can’t wait to read Sarah Rees Brennan’s next release.

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A Very Dutiful DaughterA Very Dutiful Daughter by Elizabeth Mansfield

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

A fun read, but not a memorable one. The Big Misunderstanding came across as very contrived, and I didn’t really warm to the h/h.

Not one of Elizabeth Mansfield’s best, IMO.

Someone asked me on Goodreads which Mansfields I would recommend.  With the caveat that it’s been a while, here are four I really liked: The Phantom LoverHer Man of AffairsPassing Fancies, and Love Lessons

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When Tony Met Adam (Troubleshooters, #12.5)When Tony Met Adam by Suzanne Brockmann (m/m romance)

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I really really liked this one – and it definitely got bonus points for letting me revisit the Troubleshooters gang (loved Sam!). While heavy on the social commentary as per usual Brockmann style, it felt relevant to the characters’ lives and plot line. And she pulled off the impossible and managed to redeem Adam.

This book left me with a smile on my face – you’ll obviously get a lot more from this story if you’ve read the previous books, but I think I would go as far as saying this would work even for new readers.

Another June read that ended up on my favourites of 2011 list – in hindsight, June was a really good reading month for me.  This was a e-only novella, IIRC.  

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Bad Company (Bad in Baltimore, #1)Bad Company by K.A. Mitchell (m/m romance)

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I loved KA Mitchell’s previous book, No Souvenirs, and had high expectations going into this one, but I didn’t really connect with the story.

I didn’t get the whole “he’s my best friend” thing after being parted for goodness knows how many years. And I guess I never really felt the relationship – part of it is the GFY element (meh), but it just never rang true.

I’ll still get KA Mitchell’s next book, but this isn’t one of her better ones, IMO.

Yeah, this one just fell a bit flat for me.  The second book in this series was much better though – think I read it towards the end of the year?  Maybe. 

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Magic Slays (Kate Daniels, #5)Magic Slays by Ilona Andrews (urban fantasy)

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I think I over-anticipated this one somewhat.

It took me a while to really get into the book with a couple of false starts, but once the pace picked up, I was engrossed until the end. The book struck me as more plot-driven than character-driven, and this meant I wasn’t as invested as I could have been. I do like that the authors aren’t afraid to put their characters in dangerous situations – there is always the risk something bad is going to happen and it lends a bit of an edge to the story.

Overall, a satisfying read, though I didn’t love it as much as previous books in the series.

I had to glance through the book description because I really couldn’t recall the storyline.  Which probably sums up my feelings about this book – it was a good read, but not a memorable one.

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Drums, Girls & Dangerous Pie Drums, Girls & Dangerous Pie by Jordan Sonnenblick

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book made me cry. Sigh.

It’s a satisfying, but quick read – so much story and character packed into a short book.

I could have sworn I read this based on a recommendation from Angie, but I’m coming up blank on a review search.  Hmmm… did anyone else review this during the first half of last year?

Books for March

I know.  This is really rather late for a new releases post.  But there are so many March releases that I have been anticipating – well, it’s been hard to drag myself away from the actual books.  Added to that is the fact I am totally glomming Andrea K Host‘s fantasy novels (I’ve just finished the last of her backlist *sigh*) – let’s put it this way, at least it still is March…

So the books I’ve been waiting for:

Patricia BriggsFAIR GAME (paranormal romance): Yes, me and everyone else.  It’s a toss up as to whether I like the Anna & Charles books better than the Mercy Thompson ones – and having read this one, I still can’t decide.  I like the Omega twist on the kick-ass UF heroine stereotype, and I love how Patricia Briggs gives us a very different relationship to the Mercy/Adam one.  But we’ve had three more books to get to know Mercy better and I feel more invested in her story… good thing I don’t actually have to choose.

Blurb from Goodreads:

They say opposites attract. And in the case of werewolves Anna Latham and Charles Cornick, they mate. The son-and enforcer-of the leader of the North American werewolves, Charles is a dominant alpha. While Anna, an omega, has the rare ability to calm others of her kind.

Now that the werewolves have revealed themselves to humans, they can’t afford any bad publicity. Infractions that could have been overlooked in the past must now be punished, and the strain of doing his father’s dirty work is taking a toll on Charles.

Nevertheless, Charles and Anna are sent to Boston, when the FBI requests the pack’s help on a local serial killer case. They quickly realize that not only the last two victims were werewolves-all of them were. Someone is targeting their kind. And now Anna and Charles have put themselves right in the killer’s sights…

Out now (excerpt)

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Seanan McGuire‘s DISCOUNT ARMAGEDDON (urban fantasy): It’s no secret that I’m a diehard fan of Seanan McGuire’s Toby Daye books, and when she started talking about a new UF series, I was incredibly excited.  With the Toby books moving to a yearly release schedule (the twice-yearly releases were such a plus!), I’m hoping her Incryptid books fill the gap.  They do sound great and from the A-Z countdown posts on her livejournal, I’ve a feeling the world-building will be just as complex and thorough as the Toby world.

Blurb from Goodreads:

Ghoulies. Ghosties. Long-legged beasties. Things that go bump in the night… The Price family has spent generations studying the monsters of the world, working to protect them from humanity-and humanity from them. Enter Verity Price. Despite being trained from birth as a cryptozoologist, she’d rather dance a tango than tangle with a demon, and is spending a year in Manhattan while she pursues her career in professional ballroom dance. Sounds pretty simple, right? It would be, if it weren’t for the talking mice, the telepathic mathematicians, the asbestos supermodels, and the trained monster-hunter sent by the Price family’s old enemies, the Covenant of St. George. When a Price girl meets a Covenant boy, high stakes, high heels, and a lot of collateral damage are almost guaranteed. To complicate matters further, local cryptids are disappearing, strange lizard-men are appearing in the sewers, and someone’s spreading rumors about a dragon sleeping underneath the city…

Out now (book page)

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Naomi Novik‘s CRUCIBLE OF GOLD (historical fantasy): While I thought the previous Temeraire book meandered somewhat (that never-ending journey through the wilds of Australia!), there is something about the world and writing that always pulls me in as soon as I start reading.  More globe-trotting for Will and Temeraire – this time, they’re in South America.  It’ll be a whole new world for me as I’ve no idea what was happening there during this era in history – I’m looking forward to reading her take on it.

Blurb from Goodreads:

Naomi Novik’s beloved series returns, with Captain Will Laurence and his fighting dragon Temeraire once again taking to the air against the broadsides of Napoleon’s forces and the friendly—and sometimes not-so-friendly—fire of British soldiers and politicians who continue to suspect them of divided loyalties, if not outright treason.

For Laurence and Temeraire, put out to pasture in Australia, it seems their part in the war has come to an end just when they are needed most. But perhaps they are no longer alone in this opinion. Newly allied with the powerful African empire of the Tswana, the French have occupied Spain and brought revolution and bloodshed to Brazil, threatening Britain’s last desperate hope to defeat Napoleon.

And now the government that sidelined them has decided they have the best chance at negotiating a peace with the angry Tswana, who have besieged the Portuguese royal family in Rio—and thus offer to reinstate Laurence to his former rank and seniority as a captain in the Aerial Corps. Temeraire is delighted by this sudden reversal of fortune, but Laurence is by no means sanguine, knowing from experience that personal honor and duty to one’s country do not always run on parallel tracks.

Nonetheless, the pair embark for Brazil, only to meet with a string of unmitigated disasters that force them to make an unexpected landing in the hostile territory of the Incan empire, where they face new unanticipated dangers.

Now with the success of the mission balanced on a razor’s edge, and failure looking more likely by the minute, the unexpected arrival of an old enemy will tip the scales toward ruin. Yet even in the midst of disaster, opportunity may lurk—for one bold enough to grasp it.

Out now (excerpt)

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Jordan Castillo Price‘s THE STARVING YEARS (m/m urban fantasy): Jordan Castillo Price is an autobuy author for me, even when the blurb sounds slightly out there.  That’s probably the definition of an autobuy author, isn’t it?  Blind trust that they’ll deliver the story…

Blurb from Goodreads:

Imagine a world without hunger. In 1960, a superfood was invented that made starvation a thing of the past. Manna, the cheaply manufactured staple food, is now as ubiquitous as salt in the world’s cupboards, pantries and larders.

Nelson Oliver knows plenty about manna. He’s a food scientist—according to his diploma, that is. Lately, he’s been running the register at the local video rental dive to scrape together the cash for his exorbitantly priced migraine medication.

In a job fair gone bad, Nelson hooks up with copywriter Javier and his computer-geek pal Tim, who whisks them away from the worst of the fiasco in his repurposed moving truck. At least, Nelson thinks the those two are acquainted, but they’re acting so evasive about it, he’s not sure how they know each other, exactly. Javier is impervious to Nelson’s flirting, and Tim’s name could appear in the dictionary under the entry for “awkward.” And with a riot raging through Manhattan and yet another headache coming on, it doesn’t seem like Nelson will get an answer anytime soon. One thing’s for sure, the tension between the three of them is thick enough to cut with a knife…even one of those dull plastic dealies that come in the package with Mannariffic EZ-Mealz.

Out now (excerpt)

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Kaje Harper‘s THE REBUILDING WORLD (m/m romance): Kaje Hunter was a new discovery for me last year, and I think I’ve finished her (sadly short) backlist, so yay for a new release.

Blurb from Goodreads:

A few excruciating minutes pinned in a burning building cost Ryan Ward his job as a firefighter, the easy camaraderie of his coworkers, his girlfriend, and damn near cost him his left leg. Giving up, though, isn’t an option. Compared to the alternative, choosing a new profession, going back to school, and renting a room from the college groundskeeper are simple.

Until he realizes he’s falling in love with his housemate, and things take a turn for the complicated.

John Barrett knows about loss. After moving twice to stay in touch with his kids, he could only watch as his ex-wife whisked them away to California. Offering Ryan a room seems better than rattling around the empty house, but as casual friendship moves to something more, and a firestorm of emotions ignites, the big old house feels like tight quarters.

It’s nothing they can’t learn to navigate, though. But when dead bodies start turning up on campus—and one of the guys is a suspect—their first taste of real love could go up in smoke.

Out now (excerpt)

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Nicole Kimberling, Josh Lanyon, Ginn Hale, and Astrid Amara‘s IRREGULARS (m/m romance): A shared-world anthology with some of my favourite authors?  I didn’t have to think twice.    I think this is Josh Lanyon’s only new release this year (sadface).  As for Ginn Hale, I’ve loved the novellas she’s written – I still have THE RIFTER serial and WICKED GENTLEMEN in my TBR pile (I know, I know – I really need to get to them).  And I read a couple of Astrid Amara’s books last year and moved her to my authors-to-keep-an-eye-on list.

Blurb from Goodreads:

It’s a secret international organization operating in cities on every continent. It polices relations between the earthly realm and those beyond this world, enforcing immigration laws, the transfers of magical artifacts, and crimes against humanity.

The agents who work for the NATO Irregular Affairs Division can’t tell anyone what they do, or how hard they work to keep us safe. It brings a colorful collection of men together:

Agent Henry Falk, the undead bum. Agent Keith Curry, former carnivore chef turned vegetarian; Agent Rake, Babylonian demon with a penchant for easy living; and Agent Silas August, uncompromising jerk.

Four cities, four mysteries, four times the romance. Is your security clearance high enough to read on?

Out now  (excerpt – PDF)

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Suzanne Brockmann‘s BORN TO DARKNESS (romantic suspense): This is the first book in Suzanne Brockmann’s new series set in the near-future.   I had mixed feelings when she announced the Troubleshooter series was coming to an end and she was starting a new one with paranormal elements – while it was perhaps time to draw things to a close, I wasn’t quite sure on the need to introduce the woo-woo stuff.  But the short story prequel (SHANE’S LAST STAND) had the trademark Brockmann goodness, so I’m quite looking forward to this now.

Blurb from Goodreads:

Dishonorably discharged, former Navy SEAL Shane Laughlin is down to his last ten bucks when he finally finds work as a test subject at the Obermeyer Institute, a little-known and believed-to-be-fringe scientific research facility. When he enters the OI compound, he is plunged into a strange world where seemingly mild-mannered scientists—including women half his size—can kick his highly skilled ass.

Shane soon discovers that there are certain individuals who possess the unique ability to access untapped regions of the brain with extraordinary results—including telekinesis, super strength, and reversal of the aging process. Known as “Greater-Thans,” this rare breed is recruited by OI, where they are rigorously trained using ancient techniques to cultivate their powers and wield them responsibly.

But in the depths of America’s second Great Depression, where the divide between the haves and the have-nots has grown even wider, those who are rich—and reckless—enough have a quick, seductive alternative: Destiny, a highly addictive designer drug that can make anyone a Greater-Than, with the power of eternal youth. The sinister cartel known as The Organization has begun mass-producing Destiny, and the demand is epidemic. But few realize the drug’s true danger, and fewer still know the dirty secret of Destiny’s crucial ingredient.

Michelle “Mac” Mackenzie knows the ugly truth. And as one of the Obermeyer Institute’s crack team of operatives, she’s determined to end the scourge of Destiny. But her kick-ass attitude gets knocked for a loop when she finds that one of the new test subjects is none other than Shane, the same smoldering stranger who just rocked her world in a one-night stand. Although Shane isn’t a Greater-Than like Mac, as an ex-SEAL, he’s got talents of his own. But Mac’s got powerful reasons to keep her distance from him—and reasons that are just as strong to want him close. She’s used to risking her life, but now, in the midst of the ultimate war on drugs, she must face sacrificing her heart.

Out March 20 (excerpt)

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Harper Fox‘s SCRAP METAL (m/m romance): Last but definitely not least, Harper Fox has a new release.  She does such great angst-y romantic relationships, and this sounds like no exception.

Blurb from Goodreads:

One year ago, before Fate took a wrecking ball to his life, Nichol was happily working on his doctorate in linguistics. Now he’s hip deep in sheep, mud and collies. His late brother and mother had been well suited to life on Seacliff Farm. Nichol? Not so much.

As lambing season progresses in the teeth of an icy north wind, the last straw is the intruder Nichol catches in the barn. He says his name is Cam, and he’s on the run from a Glasgow gang. Something about the young man’s tired resignation touches Nichol deeply, and instead of giving him the business end of a shotgun, he offers Cam a blanket and a place to stay.

Somehow, Cam quickly charms his way through Nichol’s defenses and into his heart. Even his grandfather takes to the cheeky city boy, whose hard work and good head for figures help set the farm back on its feet.

As the cold Scottish springtime melts into summer, Nichol finds himself falling in love. When tragedy strikes, Cam’s resolutely held secret is finally revealed and Nichol must face the truth. He’s given his heart away, and it’s time to pay the price.

Out March 27 (excerpt)

Right, that’s it – I am off to read now!  Have I missed any of your March must-gets?

Books for June

Yes, a woefully late post.  But there were so many good books coming out in the first half of June and only so much time… so well, reading won out over blogging.

So here are this month’s new releases that have been taking up my time:

Suzanne Brockmann‘s “When Tony Met Adam” (m/m romance): The final (short) story in Suzanne Brockmann’s Troubleshooters universe (unless she chooses to return to this series in the future) – I believe this was first provided as a freebie for the “Breaking the Rules” virtual signing earlier this year, and now has been released in ebook format.

Blurb:

Tony Vlachic, a ruggedly handsome Navy SEAL, has kept his sexuality a secret for years under the threat of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”. That is, until he meets Adam Wyndham, a charismatic yet troubled film star. Tony knows that by approaching Adam in front of his teammates he’s jeopardizing his military career. And Adam, nursing a broken heart, has no interest in a relationship. Still, neither man can deny their instant attraction.

Tony didn’t become a SEAL by accepting rejection, and his pursuit of Adam leads to one unforgettable night. But the next morning, Tony is ordered to ship out to Afghanistan, and he’s forced to leave Adam with too much left unsaid. As Tony enters a dangerous war zone, Adam, back in Los Angeles, struggles with the demons of his past, while dealing with the very real possibility that Tony could be killed in action. Half a world apart, both men must face their feelings for each other—and decide if what they’ve found is worth risking everything in the name of love.

Out now (book page on author’s website)

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Karen Chance‘s “Hunt the Moon” (urban fantasy): Karen Chance is an autobuy author for me, and it has been way too long since she’s had a new book out (18 months, not that I’m counting or anything).  This is book #5 in her Cassie Palmer series, so probably not a good place to jump in, but if you can make it past the breakneck speed of her first couple of books, this world of clairvoyants, vampires, and mages, with a time-travelling twist is a good one.

Blurb:

Cassandra Palmer recently defeated a god, which you’d think would buy a girl a little time off. But it doesn’t work that way when your job description is Pythia-the world’s chief clairvoyant. Cassie is busier than ever, trying to learn about her power, preparing for her upcoming coronation, and figuring out her relationship with the enigmatic sexy master vampire, Mircea.

But someone doesn’t want Cassie to become Pythia, and is willing to go to any lengths to make sure the coronation ceremony never happens- including attacking her mother before Cassie is even born.

Out now (excerpt)

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Sarah Rees Brennan‘s “The Demon’s Surrender” (YA urban fantasy): Now I was going to save my commentary on each of these books for a separate post, because this post is going to be long enough as it is, but I’m going to have to say that (a) I stayed up until 3am reading this book (b) this is possibly the BEST book I’ve read this year.  When I think back to how lukewarm I was about the first book, I am so glad I picked up the second book and SURRENDER  just wraps up the trilogy in the most perfect way.  Sarah Rees Brennan is not afraid of taking her characters to very dark places, which just makes it all the more satisfying when they triumph – a heart-wrenchingly wonderful sort of book.  I loved.

Blurb (with SPOILERS for the previous books):

The Goblin Market has always been the center of Sin’s world. But now the Market is at war with the magicians, and Sin’s place is in danger. Thrown out of the Market she loves, Sin is thrown together with brothers Nick and Alan – whom she’s always despised.

Alan has been marked by a magician and is being tortured so that the magicians can get to Nick. As Sin watches Alan struggle to protect the demon brother he loves, she begins to see him in a new light – but she and Mae are locked in a fierce rivalry over who will inherit the leadership of the Goblin Market, and a decisive battle with the Aventurine Circle is looming. Mae’s brother, Jamie, is holed up with the magicians, his loyalties in question. And Nick – well, who knows what a demon might do to save his brother? How far will Nick go to save Alan – and what will it cost them all?

Out now (excerpt)

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Josh Lanyon‘s “Come Unto These Yellow Sands” (m/m romance): Another autobuy author for me (I did say it was a good month).  I open a Josh Lanyon book expecting a good read, and am rarely disappointed.

Blurb:

Sometimes the adventure chooses you.

Lover of fine poetry and lousy choose-your-own-adventure novels, Professor Sebastian Swift was once the bad-boy darling of the literati. The only lines he does these days are Browning, Frost and Cummings. Even his relationship with the hot, handsome Wolfe Neck Police Chief Max Prescott is healthy.

When one of his most talented students comes to him bruised and begging for help, Swift hands over the keys to his Orson Island cabin—only to find out that the boy’s father is dead and the police are suspicious. In an instant, the stable life Swift has built for himself hangs on finding the boy and convincing him to give himself up before Max figures out Swift’s involvement in the case.

Max enjoys splitting an infinitive or two with his favorite nutty professor, but he’s not much for sonnets or Shakespeare. He likes being lied to even less. Yet his instincts—and his heart—tell him his lover is being played. Max can forgive lies and deception, but a dangerous enemy may not stop until Swift is heading up his own dead poet’s society.

Out now (excerpt)

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Deanna Raybourn‘s “The Dark Enquiry” (historical mystery): I’m looking forward to returning to this Victorian-era mystery series, even though the last book left me slightly unsettled.

Blurb:

Partners now in marriage and in trade, Lady Julia and Nicholas Brisbane have finally returned from abroad to set up housekeeping in London. But merging their respective collections of gadgets, pets and servants leaves little room for the harried newlyweds themselves, let alone Brisbane’s private enquiry business.

Among the more unlikely clients: Julia’s very proper brother, Lord Bellmont, who swears Brisbane to secrecy about his case. Not about to be left out of anything concerning her beloved—if eccentric—family, spirited Julia soon picks up the trail of the investigation.

It leads to the exclusive Ghost Club, where the alluring Madame Séraphine holds evening séances…and not a few powerful gentlemen in thrall. From this eerie enclave unfolds a lurid tangle of dark deeds, whose tendrils crush reputations and throttle trust.

Shocked to find their investigation spun into salacious newspaper headlines, bristling at the tension it causes between them, the Brisbanes find they must unite or fall. For Bellmont’s sake and more, they’ll face myriad dangers born of dark secrets, the kind men kill to keep….

Out June 21 (excerpt)

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Jacqueline Carey‘s “Naamah’s Blessing” (fantasy): This book wraps up Jacqueline Carey’s third D’Angeline trilogy.  I have to admit that Moirin’s story hasn’t grabbed me as much as the previous two trilogies, but I’ll be getting this just to see how her story ends.

Blurb:

Returning to Terre d’Ange, Moirin finds the royal family broken. Wracked by unrelenting grief at the loss of his wife, Queen Jehanne, King Daniel is unable to rule. Prince Thierry, leading an expedition to explore the deadly jungles of Terra Nova, is halfway across the world. And three year old Desirée is a vision of her mother: tempestuous, intelligent, and fiery, but desperately lonely, and a vulnerable pawn in a game of shifting political allegiances.

As tensions mount, King Daniel asks that Moirin become Desirée’s oath-sworn protector. Navigating the intricate political landscape of the Court proves a difficult challenge, and when dire news arrives from overseas, the spirit of Queen Jehanne visits Moirin in a dream and bids her undertake an impossible quest.

Another specter from the past also haunts Moirin. Travelling with Thierry in the New World is Raphael de Mereliot, her manipulative former lover. Years ago, Raphael forced her to help him summon fallen angels in the hopes of acquiring mystical gifts and knowledge. It was a disastrous effort that nearly killed them, and Moirin must finally bear the costs of those bitter mistakes.

Out June 29 (excerpt)

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And the maybes: Janet Evanovich‘s “Sizzling Seventeen” (out June 21) will probably be a library borrow – I can’t convince myself to pay hardcover prices for the Stephanie Plum books anymore and I no longer have the must-read-immediately urge.  And two urban fantasy anthologies I want: “Hexed” (out now) purely because of the Ilona Andrews story, and “Chicks Kick Butt” (also out now), this one mainly because of the Karen Chance contribution, but there are a few other familiar names.

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?

Books for July

June was a bit of a quiet month for new releases, but July more than makes up for it.  In no particular order, here are the books I’m planning on getting:

 

41ryYv9FPTL._SL160_ Kelley Armstrong’s “Waking the Witch” (urban fantasy): I am loving the bright red UK cover and what they did with the title.  Not that the US cover isn’t good, but it’s a bit same-y kick-ass urban fantasy heroine IMO. 

Anyway, putting covers aside, I’m looking forward to the eleventh(!) book in Kelley Armstrong’s Otherworld series, and not just because Savannah is the narrator (yes, she’s one of my favourite characters, and I don’t think we’ve ever had a story from her perspective before).  This was one of the first UF series I started reading, and I have a soft spot for these books – I’m looking forward to revisiting old friends.

Out July 27 (PDF excerpt)

 

51AK4c-YWL._SL160_ Naomi Novik’s “Tongues of Serpents” (fantasy): Speaking of old friends, the next Temeraire book is also out in July, or at least, it is in the States.  This may have to be an import for me.

I’ve been hooked on this series ever since the first one, “His Majesty’s Dragon” (or “Temeraire”, depending on which version you got) came out back in 2006.  I think the focus of the books have moved somewhat from the Will/Temeraire relationship (let’s face it – Temeraire is the most adorably precocious dragon evah!) to the wider historical intrigue and political twistiness of the times, but you know, alternate historical fantasy with dragons still works.  The last book ended on a bit of a tearjerker note, and now Will and Temeraire are off to Australia – I can’t wait to find out what they get up to.

Out July 13 US, September 2 UK (excerpt)

 

51stXKvCx2L._SL160_ Jennifer Echols’ “Forget You” (contemporary YA): Jennifer Echols’ “Going Too Far” caught me by surprise earlier this year, and while I have yet to have an in-depth glom of her backlist (any recs most appreciated, btw), I’m planning on getting her new release.

The blurb on Ms Echols website is certainly piquing my curiosity:

WHY CAN’T YOU CHOOSE WHAT YOU FORGET…AND WHAT YOU REMEMBER?

There’s a lot Zoey would like to forget. Like how her father has knocked up his twenty-four-year old girlfriend. Like Zoey’s fear that the whole town will find out about her mom’s nervous breakdown. Like darkly handsome bad boy Doug taunting her at school. With her life about to become a complete mess, Zoey fights back the only way she knows how, using her famous attention to detail to make sure she’s the perfect daughter, the perfect student, and the perfect girlfriend to ultra-popular football player Brandon.

But then Zoey is in a car crash, and the next day there’s one thing she can’t remember at all—the entire night before. Did she go parking with Brandon, like she planned? And if so, why does it seem like Brandon is avoiding her? And why is Doug—of all people—suddenly acting as if something significant happened between the two of them? Zoey dimly remembers Doug pulling her from the wreck, but he keeps referring to what happened that night as if it was more, and it terrifies Zoey to admit how much is a blank to her. Controlled, meticulous Zoey is quickly losing her grip on the all-important details of her life—a life that seems strangely empty of Brandon, and strangely full of Doug.

Out July 20 (excerpt)

 

519ZABKkb9L._SL160_ Eloisa James’ “A Kiss at Midnight” (historical romance): I don’t normally jump up and down at the thought of fairytale retellings, but ah, this is an Eloisa James.

It’s her take on Cinderella, and while I can count the number of historical romances I’ve read this year on the fingers of one hand, there is something about Ms James’ writing that does it for me every time.  I’ve been a bit spoilt with her gorgeous Georgian-set Desperate Duchesses series, and this sounds like a Regency from what I gather, but still.  Definitely on my list.

Out July 27 (excerpt)

 

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PN Elrod’s “Dark and Stormy Knights” anthology (urban fantasy): I’m not entirely sure how PN Elrod manages to secure some if her headline contributors, but coming up with excellent themes may have something to do with that.  I mean, this one sounds excellent:

They’re the last defenders of humanity, the lone wolf bad boys— and girls—who do dark deeds for the right reasons. Modern day knights who are sexy, funny, mad, bad and dangerous to know because they do what most of us only dream about…and get away with it.

And when we have Ilona Andrews (a Kate Daniels story) and Jim Butcher (a Dresden story from the POV of John Marcone – interesting) amongst the authors, count me in.

Out July 20 US, Sept 5 UK

 

51TwmuLctEL._SL160_ Eoin Colfer’s “The Atlantis Complex” (children’s fantasy): I’m a big fan of Eoin Colfer’s Artemis Fowl series and have enjoyed every single book – not often you can say that about a series spanning hmmm… six books to date?

Artemis has committed his entire fortune to a project he believes will save the planet and its inhabitants, both human and fairy. Can it be true? Has goodness taken hold of the world’s greatest teenage criminal mastermind?

Captain Holly Short is unconvinced, and discovers that Artemis is suffering from Atlantis Complex, a psychosis common in guilt-ridden fairies. Symptoms include obsessive-compulsive behavior, paranoia, multiple personality disorder and, in extreme cases, embarrassing professions of love to a certain feisty LEPrecon fairy.

Unfortunately, Atlantis Complex has struck at the worst possible time. A deadly foe from Holly’s past is intent on destroying the actual city of Atlantis. Can Artemis escape the confines of his mind—and the grips of a giant squid—in time to save the underwater metropolis and its fairy inhabitants?

Artemis Fowl has lost his mind… Just when the world needs him most.

Out July 20 (PDF excerpt)

 

And finally, because that isn’t enough new books for a month, I will also probably get Ellen Crosby’s “The Riesling Retribution”, the fourth in her Wine Country mystery series that I stumbled across late last year.  I didn’t quite want to shell out for the hardcover, but the paperback is out at the end of July.   And quite possibly Suzanne Brockmann’s new standalone “Infamous” (out July 27) – it’s been a while since she’s released a non-Troubleshooters book.  She describes it as a “paranormal-cowboy romantic suspense”

Oh, and yes, Nalini Singh’s latest Psy-Changeling book “Bonds of Justice” should very much be on this month’s list of books to get, but for some random reason, I still have her previous book on my TBR pile.  Must go read now.