June Reads 2016

Allegiance_SinghJune was a slow reading month for me. I started off with what I think of as waiting room reads The Forgotten Child and A Baby and a Wedding by Lorhainne Eckhart. I picked them because they were free on Amazon, and, frankly, they weren’t particularly memorable. Sitting here, typing this, I can’t really remember what they were about except that it involved an autistic child, a doormat, and what I’ve seen another blogger aptly refer to as an Alpha-hole.  I’m just left with the overall impression that they sucked.

After that, I dived heart first into Allegiance of Honor and loved every moment of it. It was awesome! I could wish we’d Sighs_Robertsspent more time with the wolves, though, because for a book with an ensemble cast, it was definitely cat-centric.  Read my full review:  Allegiance of Honor by Nalini Singh.

Then there was a quick re-read of Stars of Fortune by Nora Roberts before I picked up her latest, Bay of Sighs. It was fine. This isn’t shaping up to be my favorite of her trilogies, but it was interesting. Mostly, I think, due to the mermaid. That’s new. The rest of the cast, not to mention the overall plot, is kinda deja vu.

Albion_TampkeFinally, I read Ilka Tampke’s debut novel, Skin, which for some unknown reason was re-titled Daughter of Albion here in the States. Skin, in my opinion, is much more apt. I enjoyed this one immensely and am eagerly awaiting the sequel. Historically speaking, we know what happens, but how do the characters cope with it?  Here’s my full review:  Daughter of Albion by Ilka Tampke.

After I finished it, my reader’s palette was still feeling a little atavistic so, instead of picking up Britt-Marie Was Here like I’d intended, I reached for The Tiger and the Wolf by new-to-me author Adrian Tchaikovsky. So far, it’s good.

What have you been reading?

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Allegiance of Honor by Nalini Singh

There may be a few minor spoilers, be warned.

Allegiance_SinghThe pacing was quite different from the other books in the series, so it took me a chapter or two to get into the rhythm, but after that, Allegiance of Honor was a treat for heart for all of us devoted to the characters of this series.  Ms. Singh describes this book as an ensemble cast, and it is, but there’s also a focus, though a soft one, on Lucas and Sascha.  On Naya.

But, as promised, there were scenes with just about everybody.  We got to meet the pupcubs and see Xavier reunited with his Nina.  Annie and Kaleb, finally, meet.  We see more of BlackSea, and of Faith’s brother.  I smell a romance there.  I’m also getting that vibe from certain members of BlackSea and the Alliance.  We’ll see. And, of course, there’s Anthony and Nikita.  Just what is going on there will be used to torture us for many books to come, I think.  The fun kind.

And, then there’s the Architect.  Who, by the way, I still think is Shoshana.  She’s been way too quiet for way too long not to be up to her neck in the Consortium.  And, as always, her overweening ambition is going come back and bite her in the ass.  The Architect has a rather long and bloody list of assassinations in their long range plans for world domination and, leaving aside the Changelings on that list, on the Psy will put her on the bad side of a particular powerful Clan and its extremely ruthless and cunning matriarch.  In the end, that final epic showdown, I think it might end up, at the heart, being Shoshona against Nikita.  There will be other players, of course, but they’ll be the epicenter.  Also, whether of not Shoshona is or is not the Architect, I have a feeling the Alliance chips are going to play into her Queen Bee delusion.  And isn’t it interesting that the Architect has so much respect for, and was so observant of, Zee Zen?  Truthfully, that part was just enough to poke a small hole in my Shoshona = Architect conviction.

I love this series and can’t wait for Wild Embrace in August.

Rating:  4.75 out of 5 stars

May Reads 2016

TangleofNeed_NaliniSinghThis month has, mostly, been occupied by my Psy-Changeling reread and am more than ready for Allegiance of Honor. Even after this third time reading Tangle of Need, I still think Adria got gypped. That one continues to irritate me.

Between visits with the leopards, the wolves, and the Psy (oh my!), I read a few other things.  I really enjoyed the latest in Lorraine Heath’s Hellions of Havisham series, The Earl Takes All.  Although, I do think Julia was way less pissed than she should have been.  She forgave Edward too easily.  Earl-Takes_HeathOnly Beloved, the last book in Mary Balogh’s Survivors Club, was another good one, and I also enjoyed her novella, Another Dream, in Once Upon a Dream.  Wulfric Bedwyn continues to be one of my favorite fictional gentlemen.  Less enjoyable was Eva Leigh’s The Temptations of a Wallflower, the third installment in her Wicked Quills of London series. I almost choked on some of the purple prose spouted by The Lady of Dubious Quality.Beloved_Balogh

Next was Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld. It didn’t take two chapters before things started going down hill. Sittenfeld’s Lizzie Bennett is, obviously an idiot, a condition to which I vehemently object in that character. I managed to stick it out until chapter 38 when Jasper’s last name was revealed. It kind of dashed my last hopes for Liz’s intelligence. However, on the bright side, Sittenfeld’s Mr. Bennett made me laugh every bit as much as his Austenian counterpart, but, alas, this was not enough to induce me to continue.

I picked up the much anticipated by me Britt-Marie Was Here by Fredrik Backman and the very interesting sounding Daughter of Albion by Ilka Tampke, but I haven’t found the time to dive into them, yet.  That’s for June.

What have y’all been reading and loving lately?

Guild Hunter Q

Nalini Singh, one of my favorite authors, has recently been answering questions at Goodreads.  In her answers, she has revealed, and mercilessly teased and tortured us with, several things about the Guild Hunter series.

The next book, Archangel’s Heart, will be another Raphael and Elena novel and will expand on certain things Elena learned about her ancestry earlier in the series.  I know there’s a vampire in there somewhere.  And wouldn’t it be a kick in the pants if it was Dmitri?  Doubtful given Marguerite’s Moroccan ancestry, but the very idea makes me grin.  I’m now going to have to re-read the series, feverishly mining it for information about Elena’s family.  Archangel’s Heart will also delve into how the world will deal with having eleven Archangels Awake instead of the usual Ten of the Cadre.

When asked if angels can have children with other species, she replied:

GRQ_NSingh Now, in the comments, she implies she’s referring to Naasir, but the cryptic way she worded the update makes me wonder if she’s actually talking about something else entirely.

In answer to another question, she says there’ll be at least two more books in the series after Archangel’s Heart.  There may be more after that, depending on the story and the characters.

About the rest of the Seven.  She says that they’ll get their own books “only if it feels natural.”  Aodhan’s story will be told when he’s ready.  Now, whether or not that’ll be in his own book is a different question all together.

Most Anticipated Books of 2016, Part 1

Happy New Year, y’all. Here’s to hoping this new year is better than the last.

Now that we’ve said a farewell to 2015, and remembered, with nostalgia and/or exasperation all the books we experienced during it, we can, now, anticipate all the lovely voyages-by-page we’ll take in 2016. Here are a few of mine:

Only the Stones Survive by Morgan Llywelyn
Release Date: January 5, 2016

Ireland is an enchanted place where history and magic meet and meld to create wonderful stories and tales for winter nights before a fire, or in a pub with friends. And no one weaves Irish history into a tale quite like Morgan Llywelyn. Her Lion of Ireland is among my favorite books. As is her Etruscans. Both stories combine magic and mythology, legend and history, to make a spellbinding, wild ride for the imagination. I look forward to seeing what Ms. Llywelyn does with the Faere Folk and their history.

The Blurb:
Stones-Survive_Llywelyn
A novel of the untold history of the Túatha Dé Danann, the ancient gods and goddesses of Irish myth and legend.

For centuries the Túatha Dé Danann lived in peace on an island where time flowed more slowly and the seasons were gentle – until that peace was shattered by the arrival of invaders. The Gaels, the Children of Milesios, came looking for easy riches and conquest, following the story of an island to the west where their every desire could be granted. They had not anticipated that it would already be home to others, and against the advice of their druids, they begin to exterminate the Túatha Dé Danann.

After a happy and innocent childhood, Joss was on the cusp of becoming a man when the Gaels slaughtered the kings and queens of the Túatha Dé Danann. Left without a mother and father, he must find a way to unite what is left of his people and lead them into hiding. But even broken and scattered, Joss and his people are not without strange powers.

Morgan Llywelyn weaves Irish mythology, historical elements, and ancient places in the Irish landscape to create a riveting tale of migration, loss, and transformation.

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Other Broken Things by Christa Desir
Release Date: January 12, 2016

Desir is a new for me author, but the blurb sounds really good.

The Blurb:

Broken_DesirNat’s not an alcoholic. She doesn’t have a problem. Everybody parties, everybody does stupid things, like get in their car when they can barely see. Still, with six months of court-ordered AA meetings required, her days of vodka-filled water bottles are over.

Unfortunately her old friends want the party girl or nothing. Even her up-for-anything ex seems more interested in rehashing the past than actually helping Nat.

But then a recovering alcoholic named Joe inserts himself into Nat’s life and things start looking up. Joe is funny, smart, and calls her out in a way no one ever has.

He’s also older. A lot older.

Nat’s connection to Joe is overwhelming but so are her attempts to fit back into her old world, all while battling the constant urge to crack a bottle and blur that one thing she’s been desperate to forget.

Now in order to make a different kind of life, Natalie must pull together her broken parts and learn to fight for herself.

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We Are the Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson
Release Date: January 19, 2016

Another new to me author.  The title’s what caught my attention.  It sounds quirky and unusual.  Just the thing that perks up my interest.  I loved The Bees, remember.  Then I read the blurb at Goodreads and promptly clicked “want to read.”

The Blurb:

Ants_HutchinsonHenry Denton doesn’t know why the aliens chose to abduct him when he was thirteen, and he doesn’t know why they continue to steal him from his bed and take him aboard their ship. He doesn’t know why the world is going to end or why the aliens have offered him the opportunity to avert the impending disaster by pressing a big red button.

But they have. And they’ve only given him 144 days to make up his mind.

Since the suicide of his boyfriend, Jesse, Henry has been adrift. He’s become estranged from his best friend, started hooking up with his sworn enemy, and his family is oblivious to everything that’s going on around them. As far as Henry is concerned, a world without Jesse is a world he isn’t sure is worth saving. Until he meets Diego Vega, an artist with a secret past who forces Henry to question his beliefs, his place in the universe, and whether any of it really matters. But before Henry can save the world, he’s got to figure out how to save himself, and the aliens haven’t given him a button for that.

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The Golden Son by Shilpi Somaya Gowda
Release Date: January 26, 2015

When I first saw this on Amazon, I let out a loud gasp and did a little happy dance in my chair. I loved, completely and absolutely loved, Secret Daughter. It made it onto my best reads list for 2013. I’ll be eagerly awaiting this one, with plans to read it with a cup of cardamom tea and a box of tissues.

The Blurb:

Golden_Gowda
From the beloved author of Secret Daughter comes a moving new novel of a young man at the crossroads of life
Anil is the cherished son of a large family in rural India. As the eldest boy, he is expected to inherit the role of leader of his clan and arbiter of its disputes, dispensing wisdom and good advice. Leena is his closest companion, a fiercely brave girl who loves nothing more than the wild terrain they inhabit and her close-knit family. As childhood friends, they are inseparable-but as adulthood approaches, they grow apart.

Anil is the first person in his family to leave India, the first to attend college, the first to become a doctor. Half a world away in Dallas, Texas, he is caught up in his new life, experiencing all the freedoms and temptations of American culture: he tastes alcohol for the first time, falls in love, and learns firsthand about his adopted country’s alluring, dangerous contradictions. Though his work in a gritty urban hospital is grueling, Anil is determined to carve out his own life in America.

At home, Leena dreams of marriage, a strong and true love like the one shared by her parents, and leaves her beloved home to join her new husband’s family in a distant village.

Then things start to go wrong: Anil makes a medical mistake with tragic results, his first love begins to fray and a devastating event makes him question his worth as a doctor and as a friend. On a visit home, Anil rekindles a friendship with the woman who seems to understand him better than anyone else. But their relationship is complicated by a fateful decision made years earlier.

As the two old friends discover each other again, they must also weigh the choice between responsibility and freedom, and between loyalty and love.

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That Other Me by Maha Gargash
Release Date: January 26, 2016

I’m always interested in being introduced to new cultures when I read and this is one I’ve never read about.  And the plot sounds fascinating.

The Blurb:

Other_GargashFrom the #1 internationally bestselling author of The Sand Fish, Maha Gargash’s second novel is set in mid-1990s Dubai and Cairo and tells the story of how secrets and betrayals consume three members—an authoritarian father, a rebellious abandoned daughter, and a vulnerable niece—of a prominent Emirati family.

Majed, the head of the eminent Naseemy family, is proud to have risen into the upper echelons of Emirati society. As one of the richest businessmen in Dubai, he’s used to being catered to and respected—never mind that he acquired his wealth by cheating his brother out of his own company and depriving his niece, Mariam, of her rights.

Not one to dwell on the past—he sent Mariam to school in Egypt, what more could she want from him?—Majed spends his days berating his wife and staff and cavorting with friends at a private apartment. But he’s suddenly plagued by nightmares that continue to haunt him during the day, and he feels his control further slipping away with the discovery that his niece and his daughter are defying his orders.

Mariam despises Majed, and although she blames him for her father’s death, hers is a strictly-organized, dutiful existence. But when she falls for a brash, mischievous fellow student named Adel, he might just prove to be her downfall.

Largely abandoned by Majed as the daughter of a second, secret marriage, the vivacious Dalal has a lot to prove. The runner-up on “Nights of Dubai,” an American Idol-type reality show for Arab talent, Dalal is committed to being a singer despite the fact that it’s a disreputable career. When her efforts to become a celebrity finally begin to pay off, she attracts the attention of her father, who is determined to subdue Dalal to protect the family name. As Majed increasingly exerts his control over both Dalal and Mariam, both girls resist, with explosive consequences.

An exhilarating look at the little-known Khaleeji (Gulf-Arab) culture, That Other Me explores the ways social mores contribute to the collapse of one family.

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Because of Miss Bridgerton by Julia Quinn
Release Date: March 29, 2016

The Bridgertons are back! That’s all I need to know to put this book, solidly, in the “must have” column.

The Blurb:

Bridgerton_QuinnSometimes you find love in the most unexpected of places…

This is not one of those times.

Everyone expects Billie Bridgerton to marry one of the Rokesby brothers. The two families have been neighbors for centuries, and as a child the tomboyish Billie ran wild with Edward and Andrew. Either one would make a perfect husband… someday.

Sometimes you fall in love with exactly the person you think you should…

Or not.

There is only one Rokesby Billie absolutely cannot tolerate, and that is George. He may be the eldest heir to the earldom, but he’s arrogant, annoying, and she’s absolutely certain he detests her. Which is perfectly convenient, as she can’t stand the sight of him, either.

But sometimes fate has a wicked sense of humor…

Because when Billie and George are quite literally thrown together, a whole new sort of sparks begins to fly. And when these lifelong adversaries finally kiss, they just might discover that the one person they can’t abide is the one person they can’t live without…

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A House for Happy Mothers by Amulya Malladi
Release Date: May 3, 2016

I’ve read and loved all five of her books. A Breath of Fresh Air is an especial favorite. It makes me cry every time I read it. So I was thrilled when Amulya Malladi announced the publication of this sixth novel on her blog.

The Blurb:

Mothers_MalladiA stunning new novel—full of wit and warmth—from the bestselling author of The Mango Season.

In trendy Silicon Valley, Priya has everything she needs—a loving husband, a career, and a home—but the one thing she wants most is the child she’s unable to have. In a Southern Indian village, Asha doesn’t have much—raising two children in a tiny hut, she and her husband can barely keep a tin roof over their heads—but she wants a better education for her gifted son. Pressured by her family, Asha reluctantly checks into the Happy Mothers House: a baby farm where she can rent her only asset—her womb—to a childless couple overseas. To the dismay of friends and family, Priya places her faith in a woman she’s never met to make her dreams of motherhood come true.

Together, the two women discover the best and the worst that India’s rising surrogacy industry has to offer, bridging continents and cultures to bring a new life into the world—and renewed hope to each other.

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Britt Marie Was Here by Fredrik Backman
Release Date: May 10, 2016

A sequel to My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry, which I adored.  Sign me up.

The Blurb:

Britt-Marie_BlackmanFrom the bestselling author of the “charming debut” (People) A Man Called Ove and My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry, a heartwarming and hilarious story of a reluctant outsider who transforms a tiny village and a woman who finds love and second chances in the unlikeliest of places.

Britt-Marie can’t stand mess. She eats dinner at precisely the right time and starts her day at six in the morning because only lunatics wake up later than that. And she is not passive-aggressive. Not in the least. It’s just that sometimes people interpret her helpful suggestions as criticisms, which is certainly not her intention.

But at sixty-three, Britt-Marie has had enough. She finally walks out on her loveless forty-year marriage and finds a job in the only place she can: Borg, a small, derelict town devastated by the financial crisis. For the fastidious Britt-Marie, this new world of noisy children, muddy floors, and a roommate who is a rat (literally), is a hard adjustment.

As for the citizens of Borg, with everything that they know crumbling around them, the only thing that they have left to hold onto is something Britt-Marie absolutely loathes: their love of soccer. When the village’s youth team becomes desperate for a coach, they set their sights on her. She’s the least likely candidate, but their need is obvious and there is no one else to do it.

Thus begins a beautiful and unlikely partnership. In her new role as reluctant mentor to these lost young boys and girls, Britt-Marie soon finds herself becoming increasingly vital to the community. And even more surprisingly, she is the object of romantic desire for a friendly and handsome local policeman named Sven. In this world of oddballs and misfits, can Britt-Marie finally find a place where she belongs?

Zany and full-of-heart, Britt-Marie Was Here is a novel about love and second chances, and about the unexpected friendships we make that teach us who we really are and the things we are capable of doing.

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The City of Mirrors by Justin Cronin
Release Date: May 24, 2015

Finally, the third and final book in Cronin’s The Passage Trilogy.  Testimony to just how awesome The Passage was, because I continue to anticipate The City of Mirrors even though The Twelve sucked.

The Blurb:

Mirrors_CroninIn life I was a scientist called Fanning.

Then, in a jungle in Bolivia, I died.

I died, and then I was brought back to life…

Prompted by a voice that lives in her blood, the fearsome warrior known as Alicia of Blades is drawn towards to one of the great cities of The Time Before. The ruined city of New York. Ruined but not empty. For this is the final refuge of Zero, the first and last of The Twelve. The one who must be destroyed if mankind is to have a future.

What she finds is not what she’s expecting.

A journey into the past.

To find out how it all began.

And an opponent at once deadlier and more human than she could ever have imagined.

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Allegiance of Honor by Nalini Singh
Release Date: June 14, 2015

All I really needed to be seized with an avid desire to read this was the word “pupcubs”, which Ms. Singh uttered in relation to this book during the Google Hangout she had back in October of last year. Sold! Everything, and everyone, else is icing.

The Blurb:

Allegiance_SinghThe “unparalleled romantic adventure”* of Nalini Singh’s New York Times bestselling series continues as a new dawn begins for the Psy-Changeling world…

The Psy-Changeling world has undergone a staggering transformation and now stands at a crossroads. The Trinity Accord promises a new era of cooperation between disparate races and groups. It is a beacon of hope held together by many hands: Old enemies. New allies. Wary loners.

But a century of distrust and suspicion can’t be so easily forgotten and threatens to shatter Trinity from within at any moment. As rival members vie for dominance, chaos and evil gather in the shadows and a kidnapped woman’s cry for help washes up in San Francisco, while the Consortium turns its murderous gaze toward a child who is the embodiment of change, of love, of piercing hope: A child who is both Psy…and changeling.

To find the lost, protect the vulnerable—and save Trinity—no one can stand alone. This is a time of loyalty across divisions, of bonds woven into the heart and the soul, of heroes known and unknown standing back to back and holding the line. But is an allegiance of honor even possible with traitors lurking in their midst?

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Archangel’s Enigma by Nalini Singh

Well, Archangel’s Enigma isn’t best book in this series but it certainly left me slavering for more.  There are spoilers here, be warned.

First, the THING keeping Andromeda and Naasir apart was a big disappointment.  There was no real conflict that I could see.  I liked her, and I’m still in love with Naasir, but that part was way overblown.  The resolution was a bit of an anti-climax.

Archangel's EnigmaBut with everything going on, though, with crazy bitch wannabe goddess Lijuan, Alexander’s Awakening, and whether Michaela is or isn’t, what really stole the show in Archangel’s Enigma was Illium…

and…

Aodhan?!  Chapter 26:

The twenty-three months Aodhan had been missing had been the most horrific period of Illium’s life . . . worse than when he’d lost his mortal lover. He’d survived losing her. He didn’t know if he’d survive losing Aodhan.

Never before had he seen the truth so clearly and it shook him.

I went motionless, my eyes widened and my mouth probably gaped a bit.  Then I gasped and squeaked out an “Oh My God!”.  I really want this.  Before this passage and the Rise later on, it wasn’t even on my radar, but now…

Please.  Pretty please.  This would be so cool.  And if it fulfills the last part of the prophecy, that would be icing.

Rating:  3.5 out of 5 stars

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NPR’s 100 Swoon-Worthy Romances

Back in June NPR asked us to tell them our favorite romance novels.  Last week, they posted the results:  Happy Ever After: 100 Swoon-Worthy Romances.  Oh, how many of these have I read?  This list is a trip down memory lane shrouded in a fog of nostalgia. I passionately adored some, and just as passionately loathed others.

Duke_JQWhen I read The Duke and I, the first of Julia Quinn’s hilariously entertaining Bridgerton series, I wanted Violet Bridgerton to adopt me.  The Bridgerton siblings had me in stitches and I adored Lady Whistledown.  I can’t tell you how happy I was when Ms. Quinn announced they were coming back in her next novel, Because of Miss Bridgerton.  You simply must read the first four books in the series if you haven’t already.

Judge_MacLeanNalini Singh’s Psy-Changling series made the list, as did Sarah MacLean’s Rules of Scoundrels, Outlander, Mary Balogh’s Bedwyns, and so many others.

Classics such as Pride and Prejudice and The Far Pavilions also made it.  And should be classics like Jude Deveraux’s A Knight in Shining Armor and Julie Garwood’s The Bride.  On the flip side, you guys know how much I hate Jane Eyre.

Dove_WoodiwissWhat about what wasn’t on the list (Heartbreakers: Why Some Books Didn’t Make The Final Romance List)?  Why was there nothing by Kathleen E. Woodiwiss on the list?  Sure, the classic The Flame and the Flower features an abusive asshole as hero and a too-stupidly-helpless-nitwit as heroine, but Shana does not.  Or Petals on the RiverThe Wolf and the DoveKadin_SmallCome on people.  Or Bertrice Small’s The Kadin?  I can’t stand Rosemary Rogers, so I’m happy her Sweet Savage Love wasn’t on the list.  Double standard, I know, but… 🙂

And what about Anya Seton’s Katherine?

I did add one series to my ever growing, already gargantuan TBR pile:  The Interitance Trilogy by N. K. Jemisin.  Never heard of these, but they sounded really good.

Shards of Hope by Nalini Singh

Warning:  There are spoilers galore in this post.  Read at your own peril if you’ve yet to read/finish the book.

Shards_SinghFinally, we get Aden’s story, and, boy is it a doozy.  There is a shadowy group consisting of Psy, changelings, and humans who are stealthily trying to destabilize the Post-Silence world in a bid for complete political and economic control of that world.  Showing that they have half-a-brain, they’ve realized that taking out Aden is the best way, other than the impossible assassination of Kaleb Krychek, to accomplish their goal.  I have my suspicions about the anonymous “architect” of this alliance.  Let’s just say we now know what Shoshanna Scott’s been up to in her silence (no pun intended!).  The thing with Nikita and contract was a blind, I think.

And, oh my God, Aden’s hidden ability is awesome.  I’d have loved to be able to see through any and all shields in order to have seen into the minds of his parents, and of Ming LeBon, in that moment.  Under their icy Silence, I bet they were as slack jawed as me.  Kaleb’s reaction made me laugh.  And the Beacon’s response brought a smirk to my face.

About Zaira, am I the only one who immediately thought “changeling” when reading about her “rage”?  The way it reacts to Aden says “mate” to me, and its antipathy to isolation and confinement of any kind made me think it was touch hungry, even touch starved.  Visions of Dorian and his frustrated aggression due to the latent nature of his cat danced in my head.  Initially, I thought a cat, maybe tiger, but her interaction with Miane made me wonder…

Her father did say she had changeling blood, enough to enhance her sense of smell, at least.  but someone in RainFire would have scented the changeling, wouldn’t they?  And the empaths would sense the animal, right? But still.

We get to see a little more into the elusive BlackSea changelings in this book, and I’m even more intrigued than before.  I think I see where Miane’s story will go, and if I’m right, it’ll be a lot of fun.  Possibly bloody, but fun.  The RainFire leopards also play a big part in the story, and we get just a peek into the BlackEdge wolf pack of Moscow.  Personally, I want to see into their neighbors, the StoneWater bears.

Oh, and Anthony and Nikita get even more interesting.

Shards of Hope is a wild read that has left me wanting more.  Can’t wait for the next book, or the promised anthology, whichever comes first.

Rating:  5 out of 5 stars

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Can’t Wait for Books of 2015 – Part 2

It is the blessing and bane of the existence of all readers.  The shear number of books there are to be read  My TBR pile is freaking huge.  An all you can read buffet.  Filled with everything from meaty, weighty tomes like The Luminaries and The Goldfinch, to mind bending mysteries such as Pattison’s Mandarin Gate and Soul of the Fire, to brain candy romances like Binding Ties and The Duke and the Lady in Red.  And there are more coming out every week.  Some, like tomorrow’s Shards of Hope, you can’t help but be more eager for than others.  Here are mine for the second part of the year (Part 1 is here):

Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee
Release Date: July 14, 2015

Is there a child in the whole of the United States who has graduated high school without reading Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird at some point?  For me it was in the 9th grade.  I won’t lie.  It didn’t wow me.  Frankly, I’m not at all sure why they make teenagers read this novel.  I’m not sure a fifteen year old has the maturity to fully understand the heart-breaking complexity of this story.  I know I didn’t.  If you haven’t read it since, then you should.  You’ll be amazed at how your perception has changed.  To Kill a Mockingbird is one of those novels that grows with you.  As you grow older, experience more, the book changes, revealing new depths.  This is why I’m so looking forward to this rediscovered sequel, Go Set a Watchman.

The Blurb:

Watchman_Lee

An historic literary event: the publication of a newly discovered novel, the earliest known work from Harper Lee, the beloved, bestselling author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning classic, To Kill a Mockingbird.

Originally written in the mid-1950s, Go Set a Watchman was the novel Harper Lee first submitted to her publishers before To Kill a Mockingbird. Assumed to have been lost, the manuscript was discovered in late 2014.

Go Set a Watchman features many of the characters from To Kill a Mockingbird some twenty years later. Returning home to Maycomb to visit her father, Jean Louise Finch—Scout—struggles with issues both personal and political, involving Atticus, society, and the small Alabama town that shaped her.

Exploring how the characters from To Kill a Mockingbird are adjusting to the turbulent events transforming mid-1950s America, Go Set a Watchman casts a fascinating new light on Harper Lee’s enduring classic. Moving, funny and compelling, it stands as a magnificent novel in its own right.

goodreads-badge-add-plus-7d89c09d2df9777b38fbd808bb3ffb1aArchangel’s Enigma by Nalini Singh
Release Date: September 1, 2015

It’s Naasir, need I say more?  And didn’t I tell y’all that Archangel Alexander would show up at some point?  He’s been mentioned too much for him not to.

Archangel's EnigmaThe Blurb:

Naasir is the most feral of the powerful group of vampires and angels known as the Seven, his loyalty pledged to the Archangel Raphael. When rumors surface of a plot to murder the former Archangel of Persia, now lost in the Sleep of the Ancients, Naasir is dispatched to find him. For only he possesses the tracking skills required—those more common to predatory animals than to man.

Enlisted to accompany Naasir, Andromeda, a young angelic scholar with dangerous secrets, is fascinated by his nature—at once playful and brilliant, sensual and brutal. As they race to find the Sleeping archangel before it’s too late, Naasir will force her to question all she knows…and tempt her to walk into the magnificent, feral darkness of his world. But first they must survive an enemy vicious enough to shatter the greatest taboo of the angelic race and plunge the world into a screaming nightmare…

goodreads-badge-add-plus-7d89c09d2df9777b38fbd808bb3ffb1aThe Gilded Hour by Sara Donati
Release Date: September 1, 2015

I adored Donati’s Wilderness novels, so I was completely psyched to learn she’d written something else under that pseudonym.  While a little bummed that it’s not another Wilderness book, I still can’t wait to read it.

The Blurb:

24611868The international bestselling author of Into the Wilderness makes her highly anticipated return with a magnificent epic about the transcendent power of courage in 19th-century New York…

The year is 1883, and although young surgeon Anna Savard and her cousin, Sophie, have become successful physicians, they never recovered from the losses they suffered as children. So when Anna encounters a child who’s lost nearly everything, she must decide whether she’s willing to let go of the past and let love into her life. Meanwhile, Sophie’s memories of being left alone in the world propel the young obstetrician to help a desperate mother—and catapult her into the orbit of a very dangerous man.

Vividly drawing on historical events, Sara Donati has written a captivating, emotionally gripping novel that proves she is an author at the height of her powers.

goodreads-badge-add-plus-7d89c09d2df9777b38fbd808bb3ffb1aAbove the Waterfall by Ron Rash
Release Date: September 15, 2015

Ron Rash has become one of my favorite authors.  I just love his smooth, slow southern style.  Each passage just drips with it.  Those honeyed vowels.  Like a cool sip of sweet tea, at times laced with a splash of bourbon.

The Blurb:

Waterfall_RashThe New York Times bestselling author of Serena—the basis of the movie starring Academy Award-winner Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper—illuminates lives shaped by violence, passion, and a powerful connection to the land in this haunting tale set in contemporary Appalachia.

Les, a long-time sheriff nearing retirement, contends with the ravages of poverty and crystal meth on his small Appalachian town. Nestled in a beautiful hollow of the Appalachians, his is a tight-knit community rife with secrets and suspicious of outsiders.

Becky, a park ranger, arrives in this remote patch of North Carolina hoping to ease the anguish of a harrowing past. Searching for tranquility amid the verdant stillness, she finds solace in poetry and the splendor of the land.

A vicious crime will plunge both sheriff and ranger into deep and murky waters, forging an unexpected bond between them. Caught in a vortex of duplicity, lies, and betrayal, they must navigate the dangerous currents of a tragedy that turns neighbor against neighbor—and threatens to sweep them all over the edge.

Echoing the lapsarian beauty of William Faulkner and the spiritual isolation of Carson McCullers, Above the Waterfall demonstrates the prodigious talent of an author hailed as “a gorgeous, brutal writer” (Richard Price); “one of the best American novelists of his day” (Janet Maslin, New York Times). Lyrical and evocative, tragic and indelible, it is a breathtaking achievement from a literary virtuoso.

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Library of Souls by Ransom Riggs
Release Date: September 22, 2015

Can’t wait to see what Jacob does with his awesome powers.  What thrilling adventures will he and his fellow Peculiars have next?

Library-of-Souls_RiggsThe Blurb:

Time is running out for the Peculiar Children. With a dangerous madman on the loose and their beloved Miss Peregrine still in danger, Jacob Portman and Emma Bloom are forced to stage the most daring of rescue missions. They’ll travel through a war-torn landscape, meet new allies, and face greater dangers than ever. . . . Will Jacob come into his own as the hero his fellow Peculiars know him to be? This action-packed adventure features more than 50 all-new Peculiar photographs.

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After You by Jojo Moyes
Release Date: September 29, 2015

I loved Me Before You.  It made me cry, so I’ll definitely have a box of tissues ready.

The Blurb:

after-youA NOTE FROM JOJO MOYES ABOUT HER EXCITING NEW NOVEL, AFTER YOU:

Dear Reader,

I wasn’t going to write a sequel to Me Before You. But for years, readers kept asking and I kept wondering what Lou did with her life. In the end the idea came, as they sometimes do, at 5:30 in the morning, leaving me sitting bolt upright in my bed and scrambling for my pen.

It has been such a pleasure revisiting Lou and her family, and the Traynors, and confronting them with a whole new set of issues. As ever, they have made me laugh, and cry. I hope readers feel the same way at meeting them—especially Lou—again. And I’m hoping that those who love Will will find plenty to enjoy.

—Jojo Moyes

goodreads-badge-add-plus-7d89c09d2df9777b38fbd808bb3ffb1aBlood Kiss by J. R. Ward
Release Date: December 1, 2015

Back to basics and, hopefully, the Brotherhood we all fell in love with the first time we read Dark Lover.  Frankly, the original series was getting boring.  I don’t really care about the Band of Bastards, and I care even less for Assail, so I’m looking forward to this new series.  Here’s hoping.

The Blurb:

The legacy of the Black Dagger Brotherhood continues in a spin-off series from the #1 New York Times bestselling author…

blood-kissParadise, blooded daughter of the king’s First Advisor, is ready to break free from the restrictive life of an aristocratic female. Her strategy? Join the Black Dagger Brotherhood’s training center program and learn to fight for herself, think for herself…be herself. It’s a good plan, until everything goes wrong. The schooling is unfathomably difficult, the other recruits feel more like enemies than allies, and it’s very clear that the Brother in charge, Butch O’Neal, a.k.a. the Dhestroyer, is having serious problems in his own life.

And that’s before she falls in love with a fellow classmate. Craeg, a common civilian, is nothing her father would ever want for her, but everything she could ask for in a male. As an act of violence threatens to tear apart the entire program, and the erotic pull between them grows irresistible, Paradise is tested in ways she never anticipated—and left wondering whether she’s strong enough to claim her own power…on the field, and off.

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Nalini Singh Guild Hunter #8 Has a Title and a Blurb

I just broke out into my mental happy dance!  According to Nalini Singh’s blog, the next Guild Hunter novel will be called Archangel’s Enigma.  Who’s it about?  Naasir!  I cannot adequately describe how happy this makes me.  I fell head over heals in love with him in Archangel’s Shadows.

Here’s the blurb:

New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh returns to her world of dark passion and immortal power—and to one of the most seductive and impenetrable heroes ever to stalk the Guild Hunter landscape…

“Oh, Naasir. So weird, so bloodthirsty, so unique and wonderful…I have fallen for him…”—Fiction Vixen

Naasir is the most feral of the powerful group of vampires and angels known as the Seven, his loyalty pledged to the Archangel Raphael. When rumors surface of a plot to murder the former Archangel of Persia, now lost in the Sleep of the Ancients, Naasir is dispatched to find him. For only he possesses the tracking skills required—those more common to predatory animals than to man.

Enlisted to accompany Naasir, Andromeda, a young angelic scholar with dangerous secrets, is fascinated by his nature—at once playful and brilliant, sensual and brutal. As they race to find the Sleeping archangel before it’s too late, Naasir will force her to question all she knows…and tempt her to walk into the magnificent, feral darkness of his world. But first they must survive an enemy vicious enough to shatter the greatest taboo of the angelic race and plunge the world into a screaming nightmare…

I can’t wait!