Monthly Archives: May 2017

Nell’s Gossip and Book Hunt 5/28/17

This weekly installment is intended to help readers find out the news in the book world.  Pull up a chair and get in on the fun.  This Sunday, I feature new releases.  If you know of any that sound good and I missed, please let me know!

There are seriously so many good books being released that I feel my Mount TBR will avalanche all around me any minute.  I am happy to read them all, as I’m sure we all are!

  •  This title is released by Harlequin, but if you know the name Jeaniene Frost, you know exactly the amount of adventure involved.

Title:  The Sweetest Burn
Author: Jeaniene Frost
Series:  Broken Destiny#2
Release date:
June 27, 2017
Genre: Fantasy/Suspense/Romance
Publisher’s Description: Conquering a supernatural realm turned out to be easier than getting over a broken heart. But her initial victory has made Ivy a target for revenge, forcing her to reunite with the dangerous—and dangerously sexy—Adrian. Ivy isn’t sure which will be harder: finding the hallowed weapon that will repair the crumbling walls between the demon and human realms, or resisting Adrian, who’s decided that come hell or high water, he will make Ivy his. 

At first, Adrian tried to resist his feelings for Ivy. Now, determined to break the curse that dooms their love, he’s vowed to save her and to have her. If only he can persuade her to forgive his past sins. But defying destiny—and surrendering to the smoldering desire between them—will bring consequences and sacrifices they never imagined…

  •  I love Bec MacMaster’s books.  The adventure and mystery is more of the story than the actual romance.  Her world of London Steampunk is so vivid and colorful that I feel like I’m right there with them.

Title: The Mech Who Loved Me
Author: Bec MacMaster
Series:  London Steampunk: The Blueblood Conspiracy #2
Release date: June 27, 2017
Genre: Steampunk Fantasy
Publisher’s Description:  Ava McLaren is tired of being both a virgin, and a mere laboratory assistant for the Company of Rogues. When a baffling mystery rears its head, it presents her with the opportunity to work a real case… and perhaps get a taste of the passion that eludes her.

Blue bloods are dying from a mysterious disease, which should be impossible. Ava suspects there’s more to the case than meets the eye and wants a chance to prove herself. There’s just one catch—she’s ordered to partner with the sexy mech, Kincaid, who’s a constant thorn in her side. Kincaid thinks the only good blue blood is a dead one. He’s also the very last man she would ever give her heart to… which makes him the perfect candidate for an affair.

The only rule? It ends when the case does.

But when an attempt on her life proves that Ava might be onto something, the only one who can protect her is Kincaid. Suddenly the greatest risk is not to their hearts, but whether they can survive a diabolical plot that threatens to destroy every blue blood in London—including Ava.

  •  A whole new series by Kathy Reichs? Who can say no to that! I love Temperance Brennan, but it’s time to meet Sunday Night.

Title:  Two Nights
Author: Kathy Reichs
Release date: June 30, 2017
Genre: Thriller/Mystery
Publisher’s Description:  Meet Sunday Night, a woman with physical and psychological scars, and a killer instinct. . . .
Sunnie has spent years running from her past, burying secrets and building a life in which she needs no one and feels nothing.
But a girl has gone missing, lost in the chaos of a bomb explosion, and the family needs Sunnie s help.
Is the girl dead?Did someone take her?If she is out there, why doesn t she want to be found?
It s time for Sunnie to face her own demons because they just might lead her to the truth about what really happened all those years ago.

  •  Don’t forget about the short story that Faith Hunter will be publishing in the new anthology released August 1, 2017.  The story is from Leo’s perspective.  If you don’t know who Leo is, pick up the Jane Yellowrock series that Faith writes.  You will not be sad because it is so very good.
  •  A new series crossover will be released from Susan Stoker on September 5, 2017.  This looks like another I’ll get hooked on.

Title:  Protecting Dakota
Author:  Susan Stoker
Series:  Sleeper SEALS Book 1 crossover with SEAL of Protection series 
Genre:  Contemporary Military Romance
Release date:  September 5, 2017

Publisher’s Description:  The Sleeper SEALs, are former U.S. Navy SEALs recruited by a new CIA counter-terror division to handle solo dark ops missions to combat terrorism on U.S. soil.

PROTECTING DAKOTA

Dakota James’s life has become the stuff of nightmares. The leader of the Ansar al-Shari’a terrorist group has become obsessed with her, determined to take her as his wife. On the run, she’ll have to pin her hopes on the retired SEAL charged with finding and stopping Aziz Fourati before he can carry out plans to bomb more US airports.

Recently recruited to join a sleeper SEAL team tasked with fighting terrorism on US soil, Slade “Cutter” Cutsinger, with the help of some Special Forces friends, has located the one woman who can identify the deadly Ansar al-Shari’a leader. That was the easy part. Keeping her safe proves more difficult than anyone ever imagined.

When she and her new friend, Caroline, are kidnapped by the terrorist group, Dakota can only pray Cutter and the SEALs will reach them before they’re taken out of the country–and away from Cutter forever.

Title:  The Trouble with Twelfth Grave
Author: Darynda Jones
Series:  Charley Davidson 
Release Date:  October 31, 2017
Genre:  Urban Fantasy/Romance
Publisher’s Description:  Ever since Reyes escaped from a hell dimension in which Charley accidently trapped him, the son of Satan has been brimstone-bent on destroying the world his heavenly Brother created. His volatile tendencies have put Charley in a bit of a pickle. But that’s not the only briny vegetable on her plate. While trying to domesticate the feral being that used to be her husband, she also has to deal with her everyday life of annoying all manner of beings—some corporeal, some not so much—as she struggles to right the wrongs of society. Only this time she’s not uncovering a murder. This time she’s covering one up.

Add to that her new occupation of keeping a startup PI venture—the indomitable mystery-solving team of Amber Kowalski and Quentin Rutherford—out of trouble and dealing with the Vatican’s inquiries into her beloved daughter, and Charley is on the brink of throwing in the towel and becoming a professional shopper. Or possibly a live mannequin. But when someone starts attacking humans who are sensitive to the supernatural world, Charley knows it’s time to let loose her razor sharp claws. Then again, her number one suspect is the dark entity she’s loved for centuries. So the question becomes, can she tame the unruly beast before it destroys everything she’s worked so hard to protect?

 

 

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The Witches of Worm by Zilpha Keatley Snyder

Written in 1970, Witches of Worm introduces us to a very different kind of middle-grade. In this short book, Jessica is a twelve-year-old girl who “rescues” a cat she names Worm, only to discover the decision may lead to her own demise.

Title: The Witches of Worm 
Author: Zilpha Keatley Snyder 
Series: Stand-alone.
Publish Date: February 1, 1973
Genre: Middle-grade fantasy
Source: Purchased by the reviewer.

Publisher’s Description:

Jessica has read enough books to know that her cat Worm must be a witch’s cat. He’s cast a spell on her, but to whom can she turn? After all, no one will believe that Worm has bewitched her . . . or worse…

 


Kat Mandu says…

Maybe people who read this in the seventies wouldn’t have realized that the lead character of Witches of Worm, Jessica, is actually well on her way to becoming a sociopath. Seriously, this girl has some issues. She can lie well and displace the blame just as easily. Not to mention she says some pretty creepy stuff to Worm – threatening to abuse him, to stop feeding him, pinning the blame on him for all her silly, childish pranks. There are several incidences where she’s physically cruel to Worm, and also a mention of how she beats a dog with a stick and her friend Brandon had to stop her. And overall, she’s angry and bitter. If it hadn’t been for her regret at the end, I’d say she was definitely going to lead a very dark life.

However, she’s also very young and doesn’t exactly have the best role model in her life, as her mother is never around and when she is, she tries to be manipulative and emotional.

This story isn’t really about witchcraft or magic, like I originally thought it might be given the title. But it does make you wonder about the different devils in everyone, and how many are able to shove aside the guilt for their mistakes onto someone else. Really, that’s what this book is about. In it, Jessica does a lot of bad things – pull pranks on her paranoid landlord’s wife, shrink her mother’s dress on purpose, shove Brandon’s trumpet out a high window and break it. She then convinces herself that her creepy-looking cat is the culprit behind her evil acts. But really, she’s just messed up. A messed up kid, but messed up nevertheless.

It’s also rather about forgiveness in a way.

I was intrigued by this story and all its weird interactions. I don’t really read stuff written this long ago unless it’s a “classic.” Or at least not kid’s books. So I give it a four because the plot really hooked me. 

 

Other recommendations…

…you might try  The Egypt Game, also by Zilpha Keadley Snyder, not to mention The Seance by Joan Lowery Nixon and A Gift of Magic by Lois Duncan.

The Fire Within by Chris D’Lacey

Squirrels and dragons mix in this delightful middle grade book. Catch up with us as we review our first read-along book, The Fire Within.

Title: The Fire Within 
Author: Chris D’Lacey
Series: The Last Dragon Chronicles 
Publish Date: March 2007
Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
Genre: Middle-grade fantasy
Source: Purchased by the reviewer

Publisher’s Description:

A magical adventure about the power of dragons…

When David moves in with Elizabeth Pennykettle and her eleven-year-old daughter, Lucy, he discovers a collection of clay dragons that come to life. David’s own special dragon inspires him to write a story, which reveals the secrets behind a mystery. In order to solve the mystery and save his dragon, David must master the magic of the fire within – not only with his hands but also with his heart.


Luna Lovebooks says…

Likes: First of all I may be a little biased because I have read this particular book a few times and it was one of my favorite when it first came out. Many other reviewers disliked this book because it is mainly about squirrels, but it is the first book in a series. I like that it teases and plays with the reader’s imagination as to whether dragons are real or if it is just a trick of the light. In reality it is a brilliant strategy. This story lays the foundation for the following six books. By focusing on the squirrel plot the author is able to forge the bond between Liz, Lucy, and David and allow the dragons to unfold. I like the message behind this story that nature is something that should be protected and cared for.

Dislikes: The word college is used too many times. Some of the sentences and dialogue is awkward (who asks if you’re late for college? – usually people ask if you are late for class when you are at that level).

I give this book 5 hrrrr’s. 

Our reviews in this series…

  • The Fire Within, Book 1
  • Icefire, Book 2 (Coming Soon…)
  • Fire Star, Book 3 (Coming Soon….)
  • The Fire Eternal, Book 4 (Coming Soon…)
  • Dark Fire, Book 5 (Coming Soon…)
  • Fire World, Book 6 (Coming Soon…)
  • The Fire Ascending, Book 7 (Coming Soon…)

Other recommendations…

I’d suggest other dragon reads – Eragon by Christopher Paolini, How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell, Seraphina by Rachel Hartman.

 

Owl and the Electric Samurai by Kristi Charish

Owl is back.  Captain was taken, can she get him back? She’s wanted (IAA), she’s working for people she doesn’t want to work (Naga and Dragon) for and she’s being hunted by mercenaries.  Another day in the life.  Of course it couldn’t be simple – all supernatural factions seem to have a hand in the pie.

I received an ARC or review copy of this book from the author/publisher. All opinions are my own.

Title:  Owl and the Electric Samurai
Author: Kristi Charish
Series: The Adventures of Owl #3
Narrator:  Christy Romano
Released:  May 8, 2017
Description:  The third exciting novel starring the unforgettable antiquities thief Owl—a modern-day “Indiana Jane” who reluctantly navigates the hidden supernatural world. From the pen of rising urban fantasy star Kristi Charish (Owl and the Japanese Circus) and for fans of Kim Harrison, Jim Butcher, Jennifer Estep, Jenn Bennett, and fantasy lovers everywhere.

The International Archaeology Association (IAA) is responsible for keeping all things supernatural under wraps. They’re also responsible for ruining the promising archaeology career of Alix Hiboux, better known as Owl.

Needless to say, Owl’s still a little sore about that.

Just to keep Owl’s life lively, the IAA has opened a bounty on the two designers of World Quest, the online RPG that is much, much more than it seems. Owl needs to locate the notorious gaming duo before the other mercenaries do. But finding the gamers won’t be easy since every clue points to them hiding out in the legendary lost city of Shangri-La. Not to mention that the last time Owl and the game designers spoke, their conversation didn’t exactly end on the best note…

Meanwhile, undercurrents of supernatural politics are running amok in Tokyo, dragging Owl and her friends into a deadly game of wits with an opponent who calls himself the Electric Samurai. The cost of losing? All-out civil war between two powerful supernatural factions

Nervous Nellie’s nervousness necessitates knowledge of the novel. In other words…spoilers.  *BEWARE*


Nervous Nellie says…

I listened to this book in audio as well as read print.  The narrator for the audio does a fantastic job.  She distinguishes voices and the inflection is spot on.

This is an urban fantasy that has plenty of suspense, mystery and adventure.  No sex though there is a relationship between Owl and Ryan.  No cats were hurt in the reading or writing of this book.  There are some parts that are somewhat graphic with dismemberment.  There are Elves, Vampires, Zombies, Naga, Dragon and assorted other supernaturals involved.

Things are kind of hairy again with Owl.  It seems like she can never relax.  She has to find the video game masters because she’s afraid that if IAA get hold of them, they’ll be toast.  She has to find the Electric Samurai suit or she is toast.  Her elven friend may or may not be trusted.  Ryan acts weird – besides being an incubus.  Captain was taken, but he’s returned with his tail in a bunch, but otherwise unharmed.

I feel defensive of Owl through the book because it feels like Ryan isn’t always on her side.  Granted, she is a thief, but still.  Also, granted that Owl is not always the most mature and is heavily motivated by money and treasure.  I also feel like she’s often put between a rock and a hard place.  Her skills are used and somewhat abused, as is Owl herself.  She is one smart cookie and a tough one at that.

I can tell you that I love this series.  I usually don’t take to anti-heroes or “black hats” and that is what I’d categorize Owl as.  She is a thief and steals artifacts for other beings to use for their benefit, BUT if it is too dangerous, Owl will be sure it doesn’t fall into the wrong hands.

The writing is smooth and the action is fast.  It’s an easy read – I didn’t have to struggle to figure out motivations or hidden clues.  I could relax and take the ride without fear of missing any symbolic references or clues.

 

Darklands: Requiem by Lyn I. Kelley

Good versus evil is just the beginning for this purgatory-like novel.

I received an ARC or review copy of this book from the author/publisher. All opinions are my own.

Title: Darklands: Requiem
Author: Lyn I. Kelley
Series: Darklands, Book 1 
Publish Date: August 26, 2015
Publisher: Lulu Publishing Services
Genre: YA Dark Fantasy
Source: Provided by the author & Wordslinger

Publisher’s Description:
Webb Thompson awakes, disoriented and fearful. He sees green grass and a black, boiling sky spread out before him. He finds his little sister nearby, unconscious. When he reaches her side, Sundown is alive. But now they have other problems: where are they, how did they get there, and what is that growling noise? Webb and Sundown have awakened in the Dark Lands-a world between life and death where sacred souls battle malevolent evil for control of the living realm, a battle of which mere mortals know nothing. How did Webb and Sundown come to this place? Are they living? Are they dead? Or are they something else? Webb and Sundown will soon discover mystical abilities within themselves, abilities they will need to practice and perfect because evil is growing. His name is the Dark Man, an ancient evil, but one new to the Dark Lands. His very presence threatens to destroy the fabric of the Dark Lands, the living world and of time itself. The battle lines have been drawn. The war is soon to begin. . .


Luna Lovebooks says…

Likes: There was something truly unique about this book but at the same time there was something familiar about it. I can’t put my finger on it exactly, but I truly enjoyed this book. The characters are diverse and believable. Sundown and Webb must deal with not only the fact they are now in a purgatory like world but also that they are part of some big good versus evil plot.  The world building is fantastic. Many interesting characters/creatures/and features that are unique to this story.

Dislikes: There is very little back story to the characters and it leaves some questions – like why does Webb have so much pent up anger? Granted he has just found out that he has died but the anger seems deeper than that. While the world building is amazing; there is a lot of information that make the majority of the book an information dump while the reader gets acquainted with the surroundings. Some of the elements were predictable and some of the names for the evil creatures comical.

Overall this a good start to a YA series and I give it 4 Maurdians. 

 

Other recommendations…

Recommendations: The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson, The Uncommitted by Margaret Goss, and Wizard Bound by Christian Boustead.