Posts tagged ‘Kim Harrison’

My Top 5 . . . urban fantasy series

So, last week I did my Top 6 favorite historical romances. This week, I’m focusing on urban fantasy. I decided to choose my favorite series, since, for me, a lot of uf’s appeal  is the development of a world, characters and plot lines over multiple books. The books are not listed in any particular rank order, however the book pictured for each series is my favorite from that series.


Iron Kissed by Patricia BriggsMercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs

What makes this series one of my favorites is Mercy. Her voice really carries the series, and she is such a sympathetic character.

Even though she is a supernatural character (she’s a Walker that shifts into a coyote,) there is always the feeling that she is the outsider among all the super powerful weres, vampires and fae.

She often has to rely on her brains, speed, and small size when going up against stronger and larger foes.

I also really like the world Patricia Briggs has created. There is always an element of politics between the different supernatural races which I find interesting.

And, of course, there’s also Adam and Sam. 😉

  • Patrica Briggs’ site


Dead to the World by Charlaine HarrisSouthern Vampire series by Charlaine Harris

I love Charlaine Harris’ mixture of humor, mystery and romance in this series. Some may call Sookie a Mary Sue, but I think her self-deprecating sense of humor make her incredibly likeable, and her “stranger in a strange land” perspective amid all the supernaturals make her easy to identify with.

It also doesn’t hurt that there are great secondary characters like Pam, Bubba, and Sam. The Southern Vampire series reminds me of a great ensemble tv series, where each supporting character really brings something unique to the story.

Another thing I  enjoy about the series is the brilliant audiobook productions, read by Johanna Parker. She really brings Sookie’s world to life, and gives each character a distinct voice. After listening to the last few releases in audiobook, I actually have gone back and started listening to the series from the beginning. I’ve even listened to the first in the series, Dead Until Dark, more than once, and it’s now become one of my 3 top “comfort listens”.

  • Charlaine Harris’ site.


Blood Rites by Jim ButcherThe Dresden Files by Jim Butcher

Looking back over my read book lists — I kept them well before I kept a blog — it looks like this is the very first urban fantasy series I read. And, boy, it was a great introduction to the genre!

I love Harry Dresden’s smart-ass sense of humor, which never feels arrogant or obnoxious. He’s a great combination of powerful wizard and that sad sack private detective who always falls for the “dame” — and gets him into deep trouble.

This is another series with a great supporting cast, including favorites like Thomas, Bob the Skull, and Butters. One cool thing about the Dresden Files is how these secondary characters have developed along with Harry.

Another strength of this series is Jim Butchers writing. He is a master at plotting and tension. I love how he leads the reader along, and builds the story to the big climax. Great stuff!

  • Jim Butcher’s site.


For a Few Demons MoreThe Hollows by Kim Harrison

My favorite thing about this series is the world Kim Harrison has created. It is so original and there’s always a sense of humor about it.

In the Hollows, Inderlanders (supernatural beings) have been living openly among mundane humans for about a generation. There are still moments of tension, but for the most part society has dealt with the “revelation” and made adjustments.

Rachel, Ivy and Jenks are such a great team, and have stuck together through the ups and downs over the course of the series. I love how they have not just been business partners, but also best friends and family to each other.

Kim Harrison hasn’t spared her characters, really putting them through the ringer sometimes. (If you read the series, you know what I’m talking about. I am still traumatized by when I think about it.) But, it’s always been things that have been necessary for the characters to grow.

  • Kim Harrison’s site.


Bitten by Kelley ArmstrongThe Otherworld series by Kelley Armstrong

Kelley Armstrong is one of the most confident writers I can think of. She really guides the reader through her often complex plots with clarity and ease.

The characters are extremely well drawn, and I love how they grow from book to book. The series will focus for 2 or 3 books on a character or characters, then shift to other protagonists who were previously secondary characters. In this way, the reader acquires a 360° perspective of the world KA has created.

Elena is still my favorite protagonist, however, and I enjoy her sarcastic edgy humor, as well as her no-nonsense attitude.

It was a toss up between the Bitten cover and the Men of the Otherworld cover, since they are just about tied for my favorite in the series. The tie-breaker for me was that the Bitten audiobook is another “comfort listen” for me.

  • Kelley Armstrong’s site.


OK, so a couple of things I notice that most of these books have in common: great secondary characters, a sense of humor (though without being “ha-ha funny” paranormals) and 3 of them — The Southern Vampire series, The Dresden Files, and The Otherworld series usually sport the best opening lines of any books I can think of, uf or otherwise.

Be sure to check out Kati’s posts, listing her favorite historical romances and contemporary romances over at her place, Katidom.

What are your top 5 urban fantasy series?

June 26, 2009 at 5:00 am 30 comments

May 2009 New Releases

I’m a little late getting this post out, but things have been so hectic lately, that I’ve been a little too brain-dead to post. I’m really excited about May’s releases, and have already requested quite a few of them from the library. The tricky part will be to remain patient while waiting for them to come in! 🙂

Here are May’s releases:


May 1, 2009: Blood from Stone (Retrievers series, book 6) by Laura Anne Gilman

Here is a book description from the author’s site:

Wren Valere’s job is driving her crazy. She’s still Manhattan’s most sought-after Retriever, but after last year’s deadly confrontation with the Silence, all this magic-user wants is a break. With her apartment going co-op and her relationship with the demon P.B. putting stress on her romance with partner Sergei, is Wren finally ready to settle down to a more stable existence?

Not likely.

Because when you’re good, trouble always finds you. Wren’s next assignment puts her on the wrong side of a child-snatcher — and a collision course with her past. But to save a friend—and protect her future — Wren must pull off the most important Retrieval of her life . . . and for once magic isn’t on her side.

Blood from Stone by Laura Anne Gilman

May 5, 2009: Hard and Fast (Fast Track series, book 2) by Erin McCarthy

Here is a book description from the publisher’s site:

An experiment in romance…

New to Charlotte, stock car racing country, graduate student Imogen Wilson meets Ty McCordle, a driver who inexplicably has her pulse racing.  After an encounter at the track with a woman whose main goal in life is to marry a driver, Imogen realizes she’s hit on the perfect thesis for her Sociology degree. If she follows The Rules on how to get a man, can she steer her way to into the hearts of the drivers and establish their dating—and mating—patterns?

That’s testing the limits of passion.

Although sexy and reckless Ty is the ideal test subject, she knows she can’t pursue him for the sake of science. Yet he’s the one who’s chasing after her, and Imogen realizes that she actually wants to be caught. A southern gentleman like Ty won’t fail to disappoint, will satisfy all her curiosity—and make all the risks worthwhile…

Hard and Fast by Erin McCarthy
  • Erin McCarthy’s site.
  • Excerpt for Hard and Fast (scroll down page.)


May 5, 2009: Dead and Gone (The Southern Vampire series, book 9) by Charlaine Harris

Here is the description from the author’s site:

Except for Sookie Stackhouse, folks in Bon Temps, Louisiana, know little about vamps—and nothing about weres.

Until now. The weres and shifters have finally decided to reveal their existence to the ordinary world. At first all goes well. Then the mutilated body of a were-panther is found near the bar where Sookie works—and she feels compelled to discover who, human or otherwise, did it.

But there’s a far greater danger threatening Bon Temps. A race of unhuman beings—older, more powerful, and more secretive than vampires or werewolves—is preparing for war. And Sookie finds herself an all-too human pawn in their battle.

Dead and Gone by Charlaine Harris
  • Charliane Harris’ site.
  • Excerpt on publisher’s site.


May 5, 2009: Daring Time by Beth Kery

Here is the description from the publisher’s site:

He sees her, wants her, needs her…

Chicago Detective Ryan Daire has many secrets: a love for Shakespeare, an appreciation for the all the finer things in life, and an absolute lack of restraint in the bedroom. Now he has an even bigger secret. In every shifting shadow of the sprawling mansion he’s recently inherited he can see her—tempting, ethereal, and untouchable. Hope Stillwater inhabited that mansion in 1906. Raw desire has formed a conduit between these two passionate souls who are separated by the barrier of time.

Now he has to have her.

Intoxicated by each other’s presence, Ryan and Hope are closer than ever to crossing that inviting boundary between two worlds. But there is one grave danger: Ryan’s job has put him on the trail of a depraved criminal in an investigation that’s risking Hope’s eternal fate and happiness. Now he must do whatever it takes to change history, protect Hope from harm, and set his own desires free.

Daring Time by Beth Kery


May 5, 2009: Darkborn (Darkborn trilogy, book 1) by Alison Sinclair

Here is a book description from the author’s site:

For the Darkborn, sunlight kills. For the Lightborn, darkness is fatal. Living under a centuries-old curse, the Darkborn and the Lightborn share the city of Minhorne, coexisting in an uneasy equilibrium but never interacting. When Darkborn physician Balthasar Hearne finds a pregnant fugitive on his doorstep just before sunrise, he has no choice but to take her in. Tercelle Amberley’s betrothed is a powerful Darkborn nobleman, but her illicit lover came to her through the daytime. When she gives birth to twin boys, they can see, something unheard of among the Darkborn. When men come for the boys, Balthasar is saved by the intervention of his Lightborn neighbor — and healed by the hands of his wife, Telmaine. Soon he finds himself drawn deeper into political intrigue and magical attacks, while Telmaine must confront a power she can no longer keep sheathed in gloves, a power she neither wants nor can control.

  • Alison Sinclair’s site.
  • Excerpt on publisher’s site.


May 14, 2009: Strange Angels by Lili St Crow (YA)

Here is a book description from the author’s site:

Dru Anderson has been “strange” for as long as she can remember. She travels from town to town with her father, hunting the things that go bump in the night and eat the unwary. It’s a weird life, but a good one–until it all explodes and a zombie busts into her new house. Alone, terrified, and trapped in an icy town, Dru’s going to need every inch of her wit and training to stay alive. Can she trust the boy who is just a little too adult–and just happens to get bit by a werwulf? Or the strange blue-eyed boy who tells her she’s heir to a long-forgotten power? Can she even trust her own instincts?Because Dru is not the first in her family to be killed by the darkness of the Real World. The monsters have decided to hunt back–and now Dru has to figure out who to trust, who to fight, and when to run. And not incidentally, she has to figure out how she’s going to get out of this alive.

And she has to do it in the next 24 hours, or it’s all over…

Strange Angels by Lili St Crow
  • Lili St Crow’s site.


May 26, 2009: Dead Once, Twice Shy (Madison Avery series, book 1) by Kim Harrison (YA)

Here is a book description from the author’s site:

Everyone does it. Dies, I mean. I found this out for myself on my seventeenth birthday—which also happened to be the night of my prom—when I was killed in a car accident. It was a carefully planned scything, just a small moment in the battle between light reapers and dark, heaven and hell, choice and fate.

My name is Madison Avery, and I’m here to tell you that there’s more out there than you can see, hear, or touch. Because I’m seeing it, hearing it, touching it, living it.

Once Dead Twice Shy
  • Kim Harrison’s site.
  • Excerpt on on author’s site (scroll down.)

May 26, 2009: My Forbidden Desire (My series, book 2) by Carolyn Jewel

Here is a book description from the author’s site:

Torn Between. . .
Alexandrine Marit is a witch in mortal danager. An evil mage craves the powerful, mysterious talisman that supplies her magic, and the only person who can keep her alive is a dark and dangerous fiend called Xia. With his fierce animosity toward witches, he’s hardly the ideal bodyguard. Yet as days turn into nights, she can’t deny the white-hot passion between them.

Desire and Temptation . . .
Xia hates witches. They enslave and mercilessly kill his kind. But he’s been ordered to protect Alexandrine, who, to his surprise, has a spirit he admires and a body he longs to possess. With the mage and his henchmen closing in, Alexandrine and her protector must trust the passion that can unite them . . . or risk losing everything to the enemies who can destroy them both.

My Forbidden Desire by Carolyn Jewel
  • Carolyn Jewel’s site.

May 26, 2009: Tekgrrl (Elite Hands of Justice series, book 2) by AJ Menden

Here is a book description from the author’s site:

When she was 12, Mindy asked to go to The School like other gifted girls. Her parents sent her to another planet. Today, Mindy’s back on Earth. She’s a mechanical genius with the Elite Hands of Justice, America’s premier superhero squad. She’s been having headaches though, and it’s not just because her longtime crush is flirting with another teammate. It’s not because she’s pushing thirty. It’s also not because of the contrary actions of former teammate Simon Leasure. No, what’s burning her brain is a past she can’t remember, a past that has been erased. It’s a memory surging closer – in flying saucers. Her worst nightmare is returning, big time, and only she, her friends, and her one true love can stop it.

Tekgrrl by AJ Menden
  • AJ Menden’s site.

May 29, 2009: Santa Olivia by Jacqueline Carey

Here is a book description from the author’s site:

Loup Garron was born and raised in Santa Olivia, an isolated, disenfranchised town next to a US military base inside a DMZ buffer zone between Texas and Mexico. A fugitive “Wolf-Man” who had a love affair with a local woman, Loup’s father was one of a group of men genetically-manipulated and used by the US government as a weapon. The “Wolf-Men” were engineered to have superhuman strength, speed, sensory capability, stamina, and a total lack of fear, and Loup, named for and sharing her father’s wolf-like qualities, is marked as an outsider.

After her mother dies, Loup goes to live among the misfit orphans at the parish church, where they seethe from the injustices visited upon the locals by the soldiers. Eventually, the orphans find an outlet for their frustrations: They form a vigilante group to support Loup Garron who, costumed as their patron saint, Santa Olivia, uses her special abilities to avenge the town.

Aware that she could lose her freedom, and possibly her life, Loup is determined to fight to redress the wrongs her community has suffered. And like the reincarnation of their patron saint, she will bring hope to all of Santa Olivia.

Santa Olivia by Jacqueline Carey
  • Jacqueline Carey’s site.
  • Excerpt on author’s site.

For information on other future releases, check out my Upcoming Releases page. For information about other books that were released in January thru April 2009, check out my Released in 2009 page.

Did I miss any books coming out this month that you’re looking forward to?

May 6, 2009 at 6:00 am 16 comments

Just finished reading . . .

The weekend, and the days leading up to it were hectic! A lot of family activities, including the visit of my big sis and her partner from up north, my dad’s 83rd birthday, and furious knitting to finish a birthday gift for my niece’s boyfriend. At least the e-books and audiobooks were convenient to read/listen to while I was knitting, since I could enjoy them from my laptop (my iPod is still MIA,) with my knitting sharing lap space.

Because I’m so behind on my reviews, I decided to just do brief ones, so I don’t get overwhelmed (I’m still finishing my review for the Re-read Challenge, due tomorrow!)


White Witch, Black Curse (The Hollows series, book 7) by Kim Harrison AUDIOBOOK

I was in the middle of this book when my iPod went missing, so it’s taken me a while to accept reality and acknowledge that the only way I’d finish the book is to listen to it on my husband’s iPod when he wasn’t using it, and on my laptop when he was. It was a cumbersome process, but well worth it!

Here’s the book description:

Rachel Morgan, kick-ass witch and bounty hunter, has taken her fair share of hits, and has broken lines she swore she would never cross. But when her lover was murdered, it left a deeper wound than Rachel ever imagined, and now she won’t rest until his death is solved . . . and avenged. Whatever the cost.

Yet the road to hell is paved with good intentions, and when a new predator moves to the apex of the Inderlander food chain, Rachel’s past comes back to haunt her.

White Witch, Black Curse by Kim HarrisonThis was definitely a book that is impossible to read if you haven’t read the previous books in the series, but very rewarding if you have. Rachel pursues the killer of her lover, and (as usual) the process reveals much about who she is and where she goes from here. It felt like a transitional book, wrapping up old business and creating new relationships and situations for future Hollows’ books.

I loved the re-introduction of Pierce, whom I find a really intriguing character. I really liked him in the short story, “Two Ghosts for Sister Rachel” from the Holidays are Hell anthology, and am glad that he will be around in the future. One thing I found interesting was that a lot of the storylines from Hollows short stories figured prominently in WWBC. Not just “Two Ghosts”, but also “Dirty Magic” from Hotter Than Hell and “Undead in the Garden of Good and Evil” from Dates from Hell. The book is enjoyable without reading these stories, but I definitely got more out of the book because I had read 2 of them. While listening to WWBC, I kept wanting to stop and read “Dirty Magic” which I had started but never finished, knowing I would have more understanding of “apex predator” Mia, a fascinating character who was introduced in the short story. I never did stop and read it, but will definitely go back to my tbr shelf and read it now.


Smooth Talking Stranger (Travis family series, book 3) by Lisa Kleypas. 3/26/9 AUDIOBOOK

Much anticipated, I was thrilled when I saw it offered in audiobook format at Audible before its release on March 31st.

Here is the book description:

Ella Varner has it all–a successful career as an advice columnist, a handsome boyfriend, and a circle of friends in Austin. When anyone has a problem, Ella knows the answers.

But one night she receives a call that changes everything. And as Ella’s world is turned upside-down, she meets a man who is the opposite of everything she ever wanted . . . a man who will offer her the most irresistible challenge she has ever known . . .

Smooth Talking Stranger by Lisa KleypasWhile I was listening to this book, I could not stop. There’s just something about Lisa Kleypas’ contemporaries that are utterly compelling and truly distinctive. However, as I thought about the book over the weekend, I realized it was one of those books that just isn’t going to “stick” with me like Blue-Eyed Devil and Sugar Daddy have.

I had to really work hard to recall details about the book. It happens that way for me, sometimes. What I do remember, however, is loving Jack’s intensity and drive, especially once he knew that Ella was the one for him. Ella, OTOH, faded a little for me. I wasn’t really crazy about some of the decisions she made regarding Luke’s father, and she tended to adapt to boyfriend Dane’s lifestyle (and then Jack’s) rather than develop her own, which rankled a bit.

However, overall it was a really good romance, though it may have suffered a bit for my exceptionally high expectations of a Kleypas romance.


Wolf Signs by Vivan Arend 3/27/9 E-BOOK (Novella)

I saw this novella over at Amy C’s Romance Book Wyrm, and really liked the premise.

Here’s the book description:

Robyn Maxwell doesn’t care that her brother has to cancel out on their backcountry ski trip. She can do it alone. The fact she’s deaf doesn’t make her survival skills any weaker. The chance to get away from it all and relax in the Yukon wilderness is just what she’s been craving.

Meeting wilderness guide Keil at the cabin starts cravings of another kind. Keil’s one hot hunk of ripped, tasty male. Now she has to deal with raging hormones as well as strange questions about wolves and mates and challenges to the death.

Keil was trying for a nice reflective retreat before challenging for the Alpha position of his Alaskan pack. He wasn’t planning on meeting the woman destined to be his mate, or finding out she’s not aware she has the genes of a wolf.

Between dealing with his accident-prone younger brother, a deaf mate with an attitude and an impending duel to the death, his week — and his bed — is suddenly full.

Far from the relaxing getaway any of them had in mind . . .

Wolf Signs by Vivian ArendFor me, this had the elements of an enjoyable paranormal: sexy weres, steamy chemistry between the protagonists, and a little bit of drama with pack politics.

The format meant that things moved swiftly (it was under 130 pages.) At times things were resolved very conveniently (like Robyn’s brother, Tad’s acceptance of Robyn’s new mate) which of course was a necessity, due to the novella’s brevity.

On the whole, a good read, and I’d love to read more about the world Vivian Arend created in Wolf Signs. (Maybe a mate for Tad or Keil’s brother, TJ?)

  • Vivian Arend’s site.
  • Excerpt for Wolf Signs (scroll down.)


Irresistible Forces by Brenda Jackson 3/28/9 EBOOK

This was a Kimani Romance category romance I downloaded free (scroll down, on right) from eHarlequin, in celebration of their 60th Anniversary. I haven’t read much category romance in the last few (15?) years, but this was one that intrigued me.
Here’s the book description:

One week of mind-blowing sex on a beautiful Caribbean island. Of all the business proposals financial tycoon Dominic Saxon has heard, Taylor Steele’s is definitely the most tempting. All Taylor wants in return is for Dominic to father her baby. No strings, no commitments . . . just a mutually satisfying arrangement. Make that very satisfying. For a man with no intention of marrying again, it sounds ideal.

Taylor wants a baby, not a relationship. And sexy, intelligent Dominic seems like a man with perfect genes. Turns out, Dominic has perfect everything. Their “procreation vacation” is a whirlwind of sensual ecstasy. But when it’s over, will either of them be able to say goodbye?

Irresistible Forces by Brenda JacksonTaylor is a career woman who has decided she wants a baby, but not a husband, or even a short-term lover who could provide one. She makes a business proposal to successful businessman, Dominic Saxon, whom she knows is also interested in children, but not romance.

Their week of baby-making become much more complicated than Taylor and Dominic bargain for when they both find themselves falling for the other, in direct contradiction to their agreement.

While I missed a more meaty story (which is impossible in a 250 page category) Irresistible Forces was enjoyable and extremely sensual. I loved reading Dominic’s perspective, especially when it came to the love scenes. Overall, a satisfying read!

  • Brenda Jackson’s site.


I hope you had a fun weekend, and have a great week!

Are you looking forward to reading any books this week?

March 30, 2009 at 2:15 pm 16 comments

It’s out!

Downloaded it this morning from Audible. Can’t wait to crank up the iPod!

White Witch, Black Curse by Kim Harrison

Here is the audio excerpt from the Audible site. Here is the print excerpt from Harper Collins.

February 24, 2009 at 11:44 am 15 comments

February 2009 Book Releases

Wow, February is a really big book release month.

There’s something for everybody: romance, urban fantasy, parnormal romance, m/m, and romantic suspense. There are actually so many this month, I’m keeping my comments to a minimum (for once!)

Here are the ones I’m really looking forward to:


Too Good To Be True by Kristan HigginsFebruary 1, 2009: Too Good to be True by Kristan Higgins

I read Kristan Higgins’ Just One of the Guys, last year, and immediately got a hold of the rest of her backlist. Her contemporary romances are sweet, funny, and have a great cast of characters. I’ve been excitedly waiting for this, her next book.

Here is a book description from the author’s site:       

When Grace Emerson’s ex-fiancé starts dating her younger sister, extreme measures are called for. To keep everyone from obsessing about her love life, Grace announces that she’s seeing someone. Someone wonderful. Someone handsome. Someone completely made up. Who is this Mr. Right? Someone…exactly unlike her renegade neighbor, Callahan O’Shea. Well, someone with his looks, maybe. His hot body. His knife-sharp sense of humor. His smarts and big heart.

Whoa. No. Callahan O’Shea is not her perfect man! Not with his unsavory past. So why does Mr. Wrong feel so…right?

  • Kristan Higgin’s site.
  • Too Good To Be True excerpt.


Pride by Rachel VincentFebruary 1, 2009: Pride (The Shifters series, book 3) by Rachel Vincent            

I’ve really enjoyed this series, and I’m looking forward to seeing how this story arc is resolved. While probably not necessary to read these in order, I’d recommend it. The nice thing about this series is that the next book in the series, Prey, will be out in July!  


Here is a book description from the author’s site:               

Here’s hoping cats do have nine lives

I’m on trial for my life. Accused of infecting my human ex-boyfriend—and killing him to cover up the crime. I’m not guilty. But tell that to the panel of Alphas sitting in judgment. Infecting a human is one of three capital offenses recognized by the Pride—along with murder and disclosure of our existence to a human.

I’m two for three. A goner. 

On top of that, Marc is in danger of being tossed from the Pride, then we discovered a rogue stray terrorizing the mountainside, hunting a wild teenage tabbycat. I think I can protect her from both the ambitious rogue and the scheming of the territorial council. 

If I survive my own trial…

ETA: Rachel Vincent has a contest going on at her blog! Enter before February 4, 2009 to win signed copies of ALL THREE Shifters novels.


Scandal by Carolyn JewelFebruary 3, 2009: Scandal by Carolyn Jewel

I saw this book over at KatieBab’s Babbling About Books, and More! and immediately added it to my booklist. (I’ve since reserved a library copy!)

Here is the description from the author’s site:

The earl of Banallt is no stranger to scandal. But when he meets Sophie Evans, the young wife of a fellow libertine, even he is shocked by his reaction. This unconventional and intelligent woman proves to be far more than an amusing distraction — she threatens to drive him to distraction. Unlike the women who usually fall at Banallt’s feet, and into his bed, Sophie refuses to be seduced. And soon Banallt desires her more than ever — and for more than an illicit affair.

Years later, the widowed Sophie is free, and Banallt is determined to win the woman he still loves. Unfortunately, she doesn’t believe his declaration of love and chivalrous offer of marriage — her heart has already been broken by her scoundrel of a husband. And yet, Sophie is tempted to indulge in the torrid affair she’s always fantasized about. Caught between her logical mind and her long-denied desire, Sophie must thwart Banallt’s seduction — or risk being consumed by the one man she should avoid at all costs…


Bone Crossed by Patricia BriggsFebruary 3, 2009: Bone Crossed (Mercy Thompson series, book 4) by Patricia Briggs

Among the large number of eagerly anticipated books, this is one I’m looking forward to most.

Here is the description from the author’s site:

In a world where “witches, vampires, werewolves, and shape-shifters live beside ordinary people” (Booklist), it takes a very unusual woman to call it home. By day, Mercy Thompson is a car mechanic in Eastern Washington. By night, she explores her preternatural side. As a shape-shifter with some unusual talents, Mercy’s found herself maintaining a tenuous harmony between the human and the not-so-human on more than one occasion. This time she may get more than she bargained for.

  • Patricia Briggs’ site.
  •  Bone Crossed excerpt on author’s site.


Ravenous by Sharon AshwoodFebruary 3, 2009: Ravenous (The Dark Forgotten series, book 1) by Sharon Ashwood

I’ve heard so much buzz around the blogs on this one. I’ve become pickier about the new UF series I start, but this one stands out. I’ve already got it on request from the library.

Here is a book description from the author’s site:

One kiss is all it takes to lose your soul…

Holly Carver is a small-time witch who busts ghosts for tuition money, but ends up wrangling a demon when a haunted house job goes bad.

Her Undead business associate, Alessandro Caravelli, suspects the demon is somebody’s not-so-secret weapon. The supernatural community is at war, and Holly’s unpredictable magic holds the key to hell’s doorway. Soon Holly is on everyone’s “must have” list, and not in a good way.

Alessandro wants her for more than magic. A lover with six centuries of experience, the vampire is walking seduction, but he’s also a predator. Every moment he spends guarding Holly, every second he spends falling under her witch’s spell, he becomes more and more of a threat himself. As Holly’s sharp-tongued grandma warns her: vampires are like a box of rich chocolate—they seem so tempting, but over-indulgence is a killer…


Undone by Rachel CaineFebruary 3, 2009: Undone (Outcast Season: Book 1 of 4) by Rachel Caine      

This new series is set in the same world as Rachel Caine’s Weather Warden’s series.        

Here is a book description from the publisher:

Once she was Cassiel, a Djinn of limitless power. Now, she has been reshaped in human flesh as punishment for defying her master-and living among the Weather Wardens, whose power she must tap into regularly or she will die. And as she copes with the emotions and frailties of her human condition, a malevolent entity threatens her new existence…


Kiss of Fate by Deborah CookeFebruary 3, 2009: Kiss of Fate (A Dragonfire Novel, book 3) by Deborah Cooke.

I really liked book 1 in this series, and have book 2 on my TBR shelf. I’m thinking of reading books 2 & 3 back to back. The series focuses on a group, or Pyr of dragon shifters (yeah, I love the dragons) and their destined mates. Each book follows a different couple, but there is a larger story arc that connects the series.

Deborah Cooke also writes historical romance and urban fantasy under the name Claire Delacroix.

Here is a book description from the author’s site:

Haunted by dreams of a lover who takes the form of a mythical dragon, Eileen Grosvenor searches for the truth.  She never expects to find a real dragon shape shifter, let alone one who who awakens her passion and ignites memories of her own forgotten past.

Erik Sorensson is focused on leading the Pyr to triumph against the Slayers at all costs, even the sacrifice of his own life. When an ancient relic that can turn the tide of the battle reveals itself again, Erik knows he has to retrieve it from Eileen’s possession. But he’s shocked by an incredible firestorm when he tries to claim the relic — a firestorm that forces him to confront the truth about Eileen’s identity. Her presence touches him in unexpected ways, reminding him of mistakes he’s determined to not make again, and Erik is forced to make a choice…duty or love.

Only by unlocking the secrets of the past can Erik and Eileen fulfill the final prophecy of the Pyr — but can they face their deepest fears and claim their destined love in time to defeat the Slayers?


Mortal Sins by Eileen WilksFebruary 3, 2009: Mortal Sins (World of the Lupi, book 5) by Eileen Wilks.

I’m so glad that Lily is the protagonist for this book in the series. I like Cynna (protag for part of book 3 and for the entirety of book 4), but I’ve been wanting more of Lily’s and Rule’s story.

One of the few Asian American heroines in a series, I love how Lily’s culture and family dynamics come to play in the series (I can relate. lol) Her grandmother (with some supernatural abilities of her own) is one of my favorite characters.

I’m also really curious, too, to find out some more about Rule’s history in this installment.

Here is the book description from the author’s site:

FBI agent Lily Yu is in North Carolina with her lover and mate Rule Turner, lu nuncio of the Nokolai werewolf clan, where he is to take custody of his son from the boy’s grandmother. It’s a purely personal trip until Rule, in wolf form, finds three bodies in a shallow grave. They carry the stench of death magic, which makes the murders a federal crime. Lily takes charge of the investigation, and soon realizes that nothing adds up—not the motives, not even the accused killer, who’s behind bars when death strikes again.

But murder, however bizarre, is an everyday affair for Lily, who was a homicide cop before being recruited into the FBI’s Magical Crimes Division. A more personal shock arrives in the person of Rule’s son’s mother. Why is she challenging Rule’s long standing plan to bring his son to live among the Nokolai?

But family must take a back seat when the violence escalates, and there’s no rhyme or reason for the killer’s next strike—a killer who may not even be of this world…

  • Eileen Wilks’ site.
  • Mortal Sins  excerpt on author’s site.


Mexican Heat by Josh LanyonFebruary 6, 2009: Mexican Heat (Crimes and Cocktails series, book 1) by Josh Lanyon and Laura Baumbach (M/M)

Josh Lanyon’s books are always winners for me. I’ve heard great things about this one!

This is for the ebook. The trade paperback is already released.

Here is a book description from the author’s site:

Tough, street-smart SFPD Detective Gabriel Sandalini is willing to do whatever it takes to bring down West Coast crime boss Ricco Botelli –including a dangerous, deep undercover gig as one of Botelli’s hired guns. But Gabriel’s best laid plans may come crashing down around him when he falls hard for Antonio Lorenzo, the sexy, suave lieutenant of a rival Mexican drug lord.  Turns out Antonio may have a few secrets of his own: secrets that could destroy both men and the fragile bond between them.

  • Josh Lanyon’s site.
  • Mexican Heat excerpt (scroll down.)


White Witch, Black Curse by Kim HarrisonFebruary 24, 2009: White Witch, Black Curse (The Hollows series, book 7) by Kim Harrison

I haven’t yet read a bad book in this series. Actually, I will probably be listening to the audiobook on this one, since I usually use my Audible points when a new Hollows book comes out. The productions are always excellent.

In WW,BC Rachel seeks answers for the shocking death that occurred at the end of For a Few Demons More.

Here is a book description from the publisher’s site:

Some wounds take time to heal . . . and some scars never fade.

Rachel Morgan, kick-ass witch and bounty hunter, has taken her fair share of hits, and has broken lines she swore she would never cross. But when her lover was murdered, it left a deeper wound than Rachel ever imagined, and now she won’t rest until his death is solved . . . and avenged. Whatever the cost.

Yet the road to hell is paved with good intentions, and when a new predator moves to the apex of the Inderlander food chain, Rachel’s past comes back to haunt her.


  • Kim Harrison’s site.


kitty-raises-hellFebruary 24, 2009: Kitty Raises Hell (Kitty Norville series, book 6) by Carrie Vaughn

It’s so great that Carrie Vaughn is coming out with back-to-back releases a month apart. In January, Kitty and the Dead Man’s Hand was released, and now instead of having to wait another year for the next one, we get Kitty Raises Hell.

Since I haven’t yet read KatDMH —I’m waiting for my library request to arrive — I HAVE NOT read this description. (Just in case something is revealed below to ruin it.) You’ve been warned!

Here is a book description from the author’s site:

Sometimes what happens in Vegas doesn’t stay in Vegas. 

Kitty and Ben flee The City That Never Sleeps, thinking they were finished with the dangers there, but the sadistic cult of lycanthropes and their vampire priestess have laid a curse on Kitty in revenge for her disrupting their rituals. Starting at the next full moon, danger and destruction the form of fire strikes Kitty and the pack of werewolves she’s sworn to protect. 

She enlists the help of a group of TV paranormal investigators – one of whom has real psychic abilities – to help her get to the bottom of the curse that’s been laid on her. Rick, the Master vampire of Denver, believes a deeper plot lies behind the curse, and he and Kitty argue about whether or not to accept the help of a professional demon hunter – and vampire – named Roman, who arrives a little too conveniently in the nick of time. 

Unable to rely on Rick, and unwilling to accept Roman’s offer of help for a price, Kitty and her band of allies, including Vegas magician Odysseus Grant and Kitty’s own radio audience, mount a trap for the supernatural being behind the curse, a destructive force summoned by the vengeful cult, a supernatural being that none of them ever thought to face.

  • Carrie Vaughn’s site.


Made to be Broken by Kelley ArmstrongFebruary 24, 2009: Made to be Broken (Nadia Stafford series, book 2) by Kelley Armstrong.

This is Kelley Armstong’s sleeper series. It seems to get lost beside the popularity of her Otherworld series, and her new YA series, Darkest Powers. I really loved book 1 in the Nadia Stafford series, Exit Strategy, and am so glad she’s returned to Nadia’s story.

Here is a book description from the author’s site:

Nadia Stafford isn’t your typical nature lodge owner. An ex-cop with a legal code all her own, she’s known only as “Dee” to her current employers: a New York crime family who pays her handsomely to bump off traitors. But when Nadia discovers that a troubled teenage employee and her baby have vanished in the Canadian woods, the memory of a past loss comes back with a vengeance, and her old instincts go into overdrive.

With her enigmatic mentor, Jack, covering her back, Nadia unearths sinister clues that point to an increasingly darker and deadlier mystery. Now, with her obsession over the case deepening, the only way Nadia can right the wrongs of the present is to face her own painful ghosts—and either bury them for good, or die trying. Because in her book, everyone deserves a chance. And everyone deserves justice.


Well, lot’s of great stuff this month! For information on other future releases, check out the Upcoming Releases.

Are there any books coming out that I missed that you’re looking forward to?

January 28, 2009 at 1:55 pm 15 comments

Cool free reads (and listens) on the interwebs


I am always looking for ways to satisfy my book habit. I can’t afford everything I want, so when I can find a deal, I’m a happy girl. Free is best, cheap is good, I’ll pay for the rest.

Here are some cool things that fall into the “Free is best” category:

Shadow Unit

Writer Emma Bull (War for the Oaks) had a vision of writing a TV series based on shows like Criminal Minds, X-Files, and The Avengers. She brought in authors Will Shetterly, Sarah Monette, and Elizabeth Bear as collaborators. The Shadow Unit is the result. This is a print-version of a fictional TV series.

Short Stories by Ann Aguirre

Grimspace author Ann Aguirre has a number of short stories available at her site, including one featuring Marsh, from the Sirantha Jax series.

The Bespelled and The Bridges of Eden Park, short stories by Kim Harrison

Kim Harrison’s last couple of books in the Hollows series, have included an extra short story with the mass market paperback release. I bought The Outlaw Demon Wails audio download at Audible, and am unlikely to buy this new book. However, publisher Harper Collins has made the original short story, The Bespelled available thru their, “Browse Inside” feature. Once you click on the widget below, use the drop down menu and scroll down to “Other Back Matter” and click on the link.

Browse Inside this book
Get this for your site

The same feature is available for For a Few Demons More, at this link. The original short story The Bridges of Eden Park can be found by following the directions above.

eHarlequin free reads

eHarlequin has a Free Reads section, as well as an Online Reads Library. One notable short story is by Eyes of Crow author, Jeri Smith-Ready, entitled The Wild’s Call

Selene by Lilith Saintcrow

This online novel is set in the Dante Valentine world and features sex witch Selene, who is introduced in the Dante Valentine series.

The Harrow: Original Works of Fantasy and Horror

Steampunk romance author and Yaoi expert Dru Pagliasotti (Clockwork Heart) edits The Harrow, a “peer-reviewed online literary magazine devoted to publishing original and complete works of fantasy and horror.” 

The Unfeasibly Tall Greek Billionaire’s Blackmailed Martyr-Complex Secretary Mistress Bride

For a read that celebrates and pokes fun at category romance, check out TUTGBMCSMB. Read here at Tumperkin’s Isn’t it Romance? blog to find out more about the multi-author extravaganza. Many of the contributor’s blog over at the great Desert Island Keepers.

Real-life Romance: Black Heels to Tractor Wheels

One Saturday, I was cruising thru my blog list, and Christine’s blog mentioned Ree Drummond’s Confessions of a Pioneer Woman blog. I found myself completely sucked in by this incredible site that documents her life as a wife, mom, photographer (incredible pictures!), and of course, pioneer woman. One feature that kept me reading for hours is Black Heels to Tractor Wheels, which is, according to Ree, “the rip-roaring true story of how I met my husband, Marlboro Man, and how I went from spoiled city girl to domestic ranch wife in the blink of an eye.” Only start this if you have lots of time. It’s addictive.

Audiobook and Podcast coolness:

Pride and Prejudice podcast

An excellent unabridged reading of Jane Austen’s book can be downloaded at iTunes or directly thru Switchpod.

Bloodfever by Karen Marie Moning

The first book in the Fever series introduces Mac, Barrons, and the Sidhe seers world. Just before book 3, Faefever was released, Bloodfever was made available thru a free podcast. (Damn. Widget. Can’t. Make. It. Work. *sigh*) Here’s the link to the Prologue and Chapter 1. Links to the rest of the podcasts are in sidebar.

Secret World Chronicle

From the SWC site: “Famed fantasy and sci-fi author Mercedes Lackey and newcomer Steve Libbey have joined forces to create a superhero-themed braided novel podcast series called The Secret World Chronicle.”

This is a projected 8 novel project. “Books” 1 & 2 are available now. Book 1, The Invasion and Book 2, The Hunt.

Octavia Butler’s Kindred audiodrama

Ground-breaking African-American science fiction writer Octavia Butler is my favorite SF author. Her incredibly original time travel novel Kindred has been produced by Seeing Ear Theater as an audiodrama, featuring Alfre Woodard.

Are there any book or audio freebies that you know about?

ETA: If you like Sci Fi and Speculative fiction, publisher Tor has free stories here, (inlcuding stories by Cory Doctorow, Emma Bear, and John Scalzi. And, if you register on their site, their newsletter will include links to (really good!) free ebooks from time to time. 

December 3, 2008 at 1:57 pm 5 comments

Jax: Alpha-female heroine?

A couple of months ago I won a Wanderlust ARC from the Smart Bitches. I was thrilled, since I had just finished the first book in the Jax series, Grimspace, and loved it.
Here is Wanderlust’s back cover description:
Sirantha Jax is a “jumper,” a woman who possesses the unique genetic makeup needed to navigate faster-than-light ships through grimspace. Jax has worked for Farwan Corporation her entire career. But now word’s out that the Corp deliberately crashed a passenger ship, and its stranglehold on intergalactic commerce has crumbled–which meands that Jax is out of a job.
She’s also broke due to being declared dead a little prematurely. So when the government asks her to head up a vital diplomatic mission, Jax agrees to do it. Her madate: journey to the planet Ithiss-Tor and convince its inhabitants to join the Conglomerate.
But Jax’s payday is light-years away. First she’ll have to contend with Syndicate criminals, a stormy relationship with her pilot, man-eating aliens, and her own grimspace-weakened body. She’ll be luck juyst to make it to Ithiss-Tor alive…

Continue Reading September 19, 2008 at 12:24 pm 16 comments

Vintage pin-up girl reading
Urban Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult, Mystery, M/M, Fantasy, Speculative Fiction, audiobooks, it just goes on and on...
A little bit more about me.

Renee's book recommendations, favorite quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists (read shelf)

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Pleasure and Purpose

Pleasure and Purpose (Order of Solace, book 1) by Megan Hart

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September 20, 2011:
Tempted by His Target
Tempted by His Target by Jill Sorenson

October 4, 2011:
Angels of Darkness
Angels of Darkness with stories by Meljean Brook, Ilona Andrews, Nalini Singh, and Sharon Shinn


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