Saturday, December 31, 2011

Review: Dead on the Delta by Stacey Jay

In a genre overrun with dark, tortured heroines, it is still rare to find those that are truly fucked up. Dark and tortured is often used as wallpaper, an interesting background but with little depth. One thing missing from these types of characters is the self-destructive behavior that can accompany a horrible past.  So, it is invigorating when an author takes into account how tragedy manifests in behavior and goes beyond the angry loner character with a taste for smart ass quips.

Dead on the Delta by Stacey Jay
Annabelle Lee, #1
ISBN13: 9781439189863
ISBN10: 1439189862 
Published May 31st 2011 by Pocket
Grade: B
Blurb: Once upon a time, fairies were the stuff of bedtime stories and sweet dreams. Then came the mutations, and the dreams became nightmares. Mosquito-size fairies now indulge their taste for human blood—and for most humans, a fairy bite means insanity or death. Luckily, Annabelle Lee isn’t most humans. The hard-drinking, smart-mouthed, bicycle-riding redhead is immune to fairy venom, and able to do the dirty work most humans can’t. Including helping law enforcement— and Cane Cooper, the bayou’s sexiest detective—collect evidence when a body is discovered outside the fairy-proof barricades of her Louisiana town.
But Annabelle isn’t equipped to deal with the murder of a sixyear- old girl or a former lover-turned-FBI snob taking an interest in the case. Suddenly her already bumpy relationship with Cane turns even rockier, and even the most trust-worthy friends become suspects. Annabelle’s life is imploding: between relationship drama, a heartbreaking murder investigation, Breeze-crazed drug runners, and a few too many rum and Cokes, Annabelle is a woman on the run—from her past, toward her future, and into the arms of a darkness waiting just for her. . . .

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Free Kate Daniels Novella!

If you're like me, you spent at least part of your holiday reading the new Kate Daniels novella, Magic Gifts.  Wait, what?  You hadn't heard?  Well, Ilona Andrews released it online as gift to readers and its free!  But it is only available for a limited amount of time, so get it while you can.  Two weeks after December 24th, it will no longer be offered.  (It's going to appear as a bonus at the end of Gunmetal Magic but that's not coming out till later in 2012.)  This is a fantastic series that gets better with every book.  SInce the next Kate Daniels book won't be out until 2013 (!!!), this should help take the edge off.

Magic Gifts - Ilona Andrews' blog

Sunday, December 18, 2011

2012 Book Pimpin

Too busy with the holidays to think about 2012?  Don't worry.  Nothing slows my book obsession down.  Here's a few books of note coming out next year to stick on your radar.

Blue Magic (Astrid Lethewood, #2) by A.M. Dellamonica
This powerful sequel to the A.M. Dellamonica's Sunburst Award–winning contemporary fantasy Indigo Springs starts in the small town in Oregon where Astrid Lethewood discovered an underground river of blue liquid—Vitagua—that is pure magic. Everything it touches is changed. The secret is out—and the world will never be the same. Astrid’s best friend, Sahara, has been corrupted by the blue magic, and now leads a cult that seeks to rule the world. Astrid, on the other hand, tries to heal the world.
Conflicting ambitions, star-crossed lovers, and those who fear and hate magic combine in a terrible conflagration, pitting friend against friend, magic against magic, and the power of nations against a small band of zealots, with the fate of the world at stake.
Blue Magic is a powerful story of private lives changed by earthshaking events that will ensnare readers in its poignant tale of a world touched by magic and plagued by its consequences.
Drops April 10, 2012

The Weird: A Compendium of Strange and Dark Stories by Jeff Vandermeer
From Lovecraft to Borges to Gaiman, a century of intrepid literary experimentation has created a corpus of dark and strange stories that transcend all known genre boundaries. Together these stories form The Weird, and its practitioners include some of the greatest names in twentieth and twenty-first century literature.
Exotic and esoteric, The Weird plunges you into dark domains and brings you face to face with surreal monstrosities. You won’t find any elves or wizards here...but you will find the biggest, boldest, and downright most peculiar stories from the last hundred years bound together in the biggest Weird collection ever assembled.
The Weird features 110 stories by an all-star cast, from literary legends to international bestsellers to Booker Prize winners: including William Gibson, George R. R. Martin, Stephen King, Angela Carter, Kelly Link, Franz Kafka, China MiĆ©ville, Clive Barker, Haruki Murakami, M. R. James, Neil Gaiman, Mervyn Peake, and Michael Chabon.
Drops May 8, 2012

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Review: Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

At BEA 2011, there was a lot of buzz about Tahereh Mafi's debut novel, Shatter Me but because YA is not really my genre, I didn't pay too much attention.  But the buzz continued to grow, reverberating around the blogosphere, with folks swooning left and right over this book and when I happened upon the author signing copies at the New York Comic Con, I snagged one, ready to see if it lived up to the hype.

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
Shatter Me, #1
ISBN13: 9780062085481
ISBN10: 0062085484
Published November 15th 2011 by Harper/HarperCollins
Grade: B/B-
Blurb: Juliette hasn't touched anyone in exactly 264 days.
The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette's touch is fatal. As long as she doesn't hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don't fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color.
The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war-- and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she's exactly what they need right now.
Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior.
In this electrifying debut, Tahereh Mafi presents a world as riveting asThe Hunger Games and a superhero story as thrilling as The X-Men. Full of pulse-pounding romance, intoxicating villainy, and high-stakes choices,Shatter Me is a fresh and original dystopian novel—with a paranormal twist—that will leave readers anxiously awaiting its sequel.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Book Pimpin 2012

My TBR pile just keeps getting larger and larger.  So why do I keep seeking out new and upcoming titles?  What drives me to see what's coming up on the horizon instead of being happy with what I have?  It's 'cause I'm a dreamer, some even say - a visionary.  
(Ok, nobody says that.  Yet.)  
Or maybe it's just that I'm just paranoid I'll miss out on a fabulous book.  Whatever it is that drives my crazy, the end result is what truly matters.  So, here they are - some more upcoming books for 2012.                                                                                                                                                                            
Hex Appeal by P.N. Elrod (editor), Jim Butcher, Carrie Vaughn, Ilona Andrews, and More!
In the magical world that lies hidden beneath our own, witches and conjurers exact sweet revenge on those who dare to cross them. They know just the right spell to punish an ex-boyfriend—and the perfect hex to bring rivals to their knees. But what if you’re the unlucky soul who falls victim to a conjurer’s curse? And if you had the power to cast a magic spell of your own, would you use it?
In this bewitching collection, nine of today’s hottest paranormal authors tell otherworldly tales featuring spell-spinners who cast deadly hexes—and stories of their hapless, and not-so-hapless, victims. Chock full of paranormal hijinx, this fantastic collection will hold readers spellbound—and enchant readers everywhere with its irresistible hex appeal!
Drops June 5, 2012

In this page-turning follow up to Moonshine, it’s summer in the city and most vampires are drunk on the blood-based intoxicant Faust. The mayor has tied his political fortunes to legalizing the brew, but Zephyr Hollis has dedicated herself to the cause of Faust prohibition--at least when she isn’t knocking back sidecars in speakeasies.
But the game changes when dozens of vampires end up in the city morgue after drinking Faust. Are they succumbing to natural causes, or have they been deliberately poisoned? When an anonymous tip convinces the police of her guilt, Zephyr has to save her reputation, her freedom and possibly her life. Someone is after her blood--and this time it isn’t a vampire.
Drops April 10, 2012

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Best Books of the Year Round-Up

So, as the year starts to come to a close,  Best of Lists start popping up everywhere.  Personally, I like reading Best of Lists.  Sometimes I agree with them, sometimes I wonder what the choosers were smoking, and sometimes, I discover a new-to-me author.  (They can also be a good source for holiday gifts.)  So, I thought I'd post some links to various lists around the web. Consider it my gift to you.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Review: Crossroads by Jeanne C. Stein

The Anna Strong series is one that I have always thought of as promising.  I'd enjoyed every book to some extent - they're diverting if not compelling - and I felt like this was a series that was on the verge of being really good.  So what do you do when you realize that you are already up to book 7 and still waiting?   

Crossroads by Jeanne C. Stein
Anna Strong Chronicles, #7
ISBN13: 9780441020775
Published August 30th 2011 by Ace
Grade: C
Blurb: The death of Anna's old vampire mentor is causing ripples in the mortal world. His forensic report has brought up some anomalies and people are asking questions-questions that no vampire wants to answer. Anna needs to lie low, but the sudden discovery of a slew of drained bodies near the Mexican border brings an old flame back into her life and with him, a new challenge. Then, some stunning news from an unexpected source sends Anna and her friend Daniel Frey on a journey that may change both their lives-forever.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Yay! Another Curran Snippet!

As a thanks to readers for voting for her books in the Goodreads Reader's Choice Awards, Ilona Andrews posted another Curran POV snippet over at her blog.  I look forward to these snippets. It's cool to see Curran's take on events and it helps alleviate the wait between Kate Daniels books.  In this latest one, we get the scene where Jim explains to Curran that Kate has some serious daddy issues (and I don't mean the kind that can be solved with therapy.) If your interested, you can check out the snippet at Andrews' blog.

Curran POV

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Pimpin Books for 2012

Tangle of Need (Psy-Changeling, #11) by Nalini Singh
Adria, wolf changeling and resilient soldier, has made a break with the past—one as unpredictable in love as it was in war. Now comes a new territory, and a devastating new complication: Riaz, a SnowDancer lieutenant already sworn to a desperate woman who belongs to another.
For Riaz, the primal attraction he feels for Adria is a staggering betrayal. For Adria, his dangerous lone-wolf appeal is beyond sexual. It consumes her. It terrifies her. It threatens to undermine everything she has built of her new life. But fighting their wild compulsion toward one another proves a losing battle.
Their coming together is an inferno…and a melding of two wounded souls who promise each other no commitment, no ties, no bonds. Only pleasure. Too late, they realize that they have more to lose than they ever imagined. Drawn into a cataclysmic Psy war that may alter the fate of the world itself, they must make a decision that might just break them both.
Drops May 29, 2011

A Sliver of Shadow (Abby Sinclair, #2) by Allison Pang
Just when her new life as a TouchStone – a mortal bound to help OtherFolk cross between Faery and human worlds – seems to be settling down, Abby Sinclair is left in charge when the Protectorate, Moira, leaves for the Faery Court. And when the Protectorate’s away…let’s just say things spiral out of control when a spell on Abby backfires and the Faery Queen declares the Doors between their worlds officially closed. 
The results are disastrous for both sides: OtherFolk trapped in the mortal world are beginning to fade, while Faerie is on the brink of war with the daemons of Hell. Along with her brooding eleven prince Talivar and sexy incubus Brystion, Abby ventures to the CrossRoads in an attempt to override the Queen’s magic. But nothing in this beautiful, dangerous realm will compare to the discoveries she’s making about her past, her destiny, and what she will sacrifice for those she loves.
Drops February 28, 2012

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Check Out Some Marjorie M. Liu

Marjorie M. Liu is the author of the Dirk & Steele series as well as the Hunter Kiss series.  I've read both and I have to say that the Dirk & Steel novels are not quite to my taste (I do like the Hunter Kiss books).  However, that hasn't kept me from reading every book in the series anyway which is a testament to Liu's skill as a writer.  She writes a good paranormal romance with interesting characters and varied locales.  Right now, you can download for free, Tiger Eye, the first book in the Dirk & Steele series over at Amazon.  If you haven't read Liu before, here's a perfect opportunity.  As always, I have no idea how long the free offer will last, so get it while you can.

Tiger Eye     

Friday, November 25, 2011

Link Love

I don't know about you but I find holidays exhausting.  Sometimes fun, sometimes... eh, not so much but always exhausting. Hopefully you all don't have to work today (like me), and can take some time to recover. After the gluttony of yesterday, you may feel like you never want to eat again so here's some links to feed your mind while your body is still digesting.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Review: Hounded by Kevin Hearne

Urban fantasy has really taken off as a genre in the last several years.  I used to search for books to read, now there is a glut.  It's become hard to find books that don't follow the standard UF pattern.  The majority of them are female authors writing about female protaganists who kick ass.  Not that there is anything wrong with that.  Most times, that is what I am looking for.  But it was a bit refreshing to pick up Kevin Hearne's debut novel in which the protagonist is a dude - slinging the snark and walking the walk.  (I am thankful that this is one of the few places where this is a unique take as opposed to the rest of the dude-oriented world.)

Hounded by Kevin Hearne
Iron Druid Chronicles, #1
ISBN13: 9780345522474
ISBN10: 0345522478
Published May 3rd 2011 by Del Rey
Grade: B
Blurb: Tempe, Arizona is as far removed from paranormal activity as is possible. And that's where Atticus O'Sullivan, rare book salesman, herb peddler, and 2,000 year old Druid - the last of his kind - has decided to set up shop. He's been on the run, guarding a very powerful sword from a very angry ancient Celtic god for over two millennia now.
But while these years have been good to him - Atticus has become more powerful than he could have possibly imagined - The Morrigan, a very old god of death, has predicted death and doom for our hero, and it's up to Atticus, with help from a pride of werewolves, and a gorgeous bartender with a secret of her own, to stay alive, hopefully for another thousand years.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

A Taste of Nalini Singh

Can't wait for the next volume in Nalini Singh's Psy/Changeling series to come out?  Well, suck it up, kids 'cause Tangle of Need won't be out until the end of May.  In the meantime, head on over to Singh's blog where you can read some deleted/extra scenes from the series.  She's posted seven from Kiss of Snow plus a few others.  While not as good as a full-fledged novel, they are a tasty snack to keep you going until the meal is finally delivered.  While you're there, you can also check out some free short stories, most of which are set in the Psy/Changeling world.
Deleted/Extra Scenes
Free Short Stories

Friday, November 18, 2011

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Quick & Dirty Reviews: Two Entertaining Reads

In book two of the Death Works series, hero Steven de Selby has stepped into the job of Mortmax Industries' Australian Regional Manager, aka Death.  Steven never wanted the job, happy to tred water as a psychopomp but due to the catastrophic events in book one, his only choice was to sink or swim.  He chose to swim but despite the rebuilding of the company that must be done, Steven continues his slacker ways.  Though snarky and entertaining at times, I got to the point where I wanted him to start acting a little more responsible. Especially since there are new threats to not only the company but the entire world, plus once again someone is trying to kill Steven. As in the first book, the romantic relationship between Steven and Lissa is somewhat underwhelming, especially since this is supposed to be a death defying love.  I’m not sure what these two see in each other… besides the fact that Steven finds Lissa hot.  And I have no idea what she sees in him.  Which isn’t to say that Steven is hateful; he just doesn’t seem all that bright.  He is often amusing though, so he’s got that going for him and I do enjoy Jamieson’s take on the business of death, from its corporate structure to the nuts and bolts of ushering the recently deceased to their final resting place.  It’s a flawed but fun and original read.  If you haven't read Death Most Definite, start there before reading this book.  While this book can work as a stand alone, you'll get much more out of it if you read the proceeding book.  
Obtained: via

A rollicking, occasionally lurid, adventure yarn with a plethora of action, explosions and gadgets.  To some extent, it reads like a movie.  With some nice use of language and grandiose settings, this is an entertaining read that in some ways feels familiar, evoking comparison to television’s The Wild Wild West and The Avengers.  In particular, the dynamic between the two leads, Books and Braun, is reminiscent of Steed and Mrs. Peel, a give and take between two people of opposite character that is spotted with sophisticated banter.   As agents of the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences, the two are forced to work together to protect the British empire from the nefarious Phoenix Society.  What makes the pairing unique is that the intellectual, orderly, prim inventor is the man while the woman is the bold, take charge, guns a blazin’ colonial.  Though there is some slight romantic tension, this is essentially a period adventure smorgasborg – with secret societies, megalomaniacal madmen, last minutes rescues, fisticuffs, contraptions, and sword fights (at the opera, no less.)  There is even a villainous orgy – one of the few outright missteps in the novel. 
With all that, why am I only giving the book a B?  Well, as much as I enjoyed all the individual elements of this tale, it didn’t quite gel for me as a whole.  To be honest, I’m not sure why.  Intellectually the book was exciting but I never hooked into emotionally.  I had no problem setting the book down for a spell and I was in no rush to get back to it.  That doesn’t mean I won’t be reading the next book in the series,  currently being written.  As a first book in a new series, I’m more than happy to overlook my little nigglings.  There is a lot of potential here.
Obtained: via    

Sunday, November 13, 2011

A Little Love For Meljean Brook

Hey!  Meljean Brook's Heart of Steel was chosen as one of Amazon's best romance books of the year.  Good for her!  After you've checked out the list, you can download the Kindle version of Wild & Steamy, a novella collection that contains an Iron Seas story - and it's free!  (Not sure how long that will last so get it while you can.)

I think Brook is one of the best out there.  Her world building is phenomenal as is the depth of her characterization.  Each time I reread one of her books, I discover something new, no matter how many times I've already read it.  Brook started out writing fanfic and posting it to various online forums.  Enter editor Cindy Hwang from Berkely.  While tooling around the internet, Hwang came across some of Brook's fanfic.  Impressed, she read everything of Brook's that she could find, including a chapter from an original piece Brook had posted on her website.  That, coupled with the strength of Brook's fanfic, led Hwang to contact Meljean about her work and the rest is history.

After hearing this story, I, of course, had to track down some of that fanfic.  The wait between her books is too long.  (Well, not really.  I'm just an impatient, greedy pete.)   She has a shipper story about Batman and Wonder Woman that is adult (and I don't mean that as code for porn-y, although it is very sexy) and richly layered.   It was marvelous and pressed my buttons in a good way.  But if porn-y is what you are looking for, there is also Sloppy Seconds, a very funny bedroom story involving Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman.

So because I am all about sharing, I'm posting a couple of links.  No need to thank me, I'm all about the love.

In Darkest Light
Sloppy Seconds
Iced Mocha

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Book Pimpin

Usually, I pimp without comment, preferring to let the books speak for themselves but, I must tell you, that I am so very excited to read the first two books on this week's list.  I read books one, two, and three in Rachel Aaron's Eli Monpress series last spring and just loved them.  This was one of those series where each book was better than the last and so when I saw on Goodreads that the next book would be out August 23, 2011, I was so friggin happy that I wouldn't have to wait more than a couple of months to get the next installment.  (When it comes to books, I can be a little... impatient.)  Turns out the Goodreads publication date was incorrect and I was left in limbo... until now.  The Spirit War will be out next June!  If you haven't been reading this series, go out and get yourself the first three books.  They are fun, exciting, adventurous capers with a strong ensemble cast.    

The second book that has me in a bit of a tiz is Kate Locke's God Save the Queen.  Locke also writes under the names Kathryn Smith and Kady Cross and made a big splash earlier this year with The Girl in the Steel Corset.  I was only vaguely aware of her writing until I had the pleasure of seeing her on a steampunk panel at the NY Comic Con.  She was incredibly entertaining and my interest ratched up a couple of notches.  Plus Queen Victoria is a vampire!  So check 'em out and make sure to take a gander at some more upcoming books after the jump.  

The Spirit War (The Legend of Eli Monpress, #4) by Rachel Aaron
Eli Monpress is vain. He's cocky. And he's a thief.
But he's a thief who has just seen his bounty topped and he's not happy about it. The bounty topper, as it turns out, is his best friend, bodyguard, and master swordsman, Josef. Who has been keeping secrets from Eli. Apparently, he's the only prince of a rather feisty country and his mother (a formidable queen who's every bit as driven and stubborn as he is) wants him to come home and do his duty, which means throwing over personal ambitions like proving he's the greatest swordsman who ever lived.
Family drama aside, Eli and Josef have their hands full. The Spirit Court has been usurped by the Council of Thrones and someone calling herself the Immortal Empress is staging a massive invasion. But it's not just politics --- the Immortal Empress has a specific target in mind: Eli Monpress, the greatest thief in the world.
Drops June 5, 2012

God Save the Queen (The Immortal Empire, #1)by Kate Locke
Queen Victoria rules with an immortal fist.
The undead matriarch of a Britain where the Aristocracy is made up of werewolves and vampires, where goblins live underground and mothers know better than to let their children out after dark. A world where being nobility means being infected with the Plague (side-effects include undeath), Hysteria is the popular affliction of the day, and leeches are considered a delicacy. And a world where technology lives side by side with magic. The year is 2012 and Pax Britannia still reigns. 
Xandra Vardan is a member of the elite Royal Guard, and it is her duty to protect the Aristocracy. But when her sister goes missing, Xandra will set out on a path that undermines everything she believed in and uncover a conspiracy that threatens to topple the empire. And she is the key-the prize in a very dangerous struggle.
Drops July 3, 2012

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Book News

      • Looking for a place where you can explore all aspects of the weird?  Well, look no further., a site devoted to all things weird, launched this past week.  The brainchild of Ann and Jeff VanderMeer, the website was created by Luis Rodrigues with Angela Slatter acting as managing editor and promises to be "your non-denominational source for The Weird".  The first week kicks off with interviews with Neil Gaiman and Kelly Link along with some other tasty weird bits

      • The Roddenberry Foundation has provided a 5 million dollar gift to Gladstone Institutes, a biomedical research organization dedicated to scientific discovery and innovation in preventing and curing cardiovascular and neurological diseases and viral infections.
      • In more STAR TREK news, IDW Publishing and the Comic Book Defense League are co-sponsoring a "Be A Redshirt" contest.  The winner, along with their favorite comic-book retailer, will be featured on a limited edition cover of an upcoming STAR TREK comic.  AND in the tradition of redshirts, the winner will get to die while saving the retailer from a phaser blast.  You can read more about the contest here.  The contest began last Wednesday.  I can't find an end date so if your thinking of entering better do it quick.  The winner will get to keep the original art plus receive 100 copies of the comic.

      • The estate of the late Philip K. Dick has filed suit against Media Rights Capital and others involved with the Matt Damon movie THE ADJUSTMENT BUREAU.   The suit says that MRC tried to avoid bonus payments to the estate by declaring that ADJUSTMENT TEAM, Dick's original story, was already in the public domain, having been published in Orbit magazine in 1954.  BUT the Dick estate says that Orbit published the story without authorization and the author had no knowledge of the publication.

      Sunday, November 6, 2011

      Review: Child of Fire by Harry Connolly

      There's something exciting about discovering a new series that already has several books out.  No anxiously awaiting for the next book to be released - it's already been published and if you want to go on a glom - you can!  That's how I feel about Harry Connolly's Twenty Palaces series.  I'd never paid much attention to the series before.  I thought it was an action/crime drama or something but at Comic Con, I saw it displayed on the Del Ray table with all the other urban fantasy and took a closer look.  I walked out of there with a copy and I'm glad I did.  

      Child of Fire by Harry Connolly
      Twenty Palaces series, #1
      ISBN13: 9780345508898
      ISBN10: 0345508890
      Published September 29th 2009 by Del Rey
      Grade: A
      Blurb:  Ray Lilly is living on borrowed time. He’s the driver for Annalise Powliss, a high-ranking member of the Twenty Palace Society, a group of sorcerers devoted to hunting down and executing rogue magicians. But because Ray betrayed her once, Annalise is looking for an excuse to kill him–or let someone else do the job.
      Unfortunately for both of them, Annalise’s next mission goes wrong, leaving her critically injured. With the little magic he controls, Ray must complete her assignment alone. Not only does he have to stop a sorcerer who’s sacrificing dozens of innocent lives in exchange for supernatural power, he must find–and destroy–the source of that inhuman magic.