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Reviews of books in a series, with a focus on urban fantasy.
Other genres include mystery, paranormal romance, and crime thrillers.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Smokin' Seventeen to be 17th Stephanie Plum book by Janet Evanovich

The seventeenth Stephanie Plum book will be titled Smokin' Seventeen. Amazon has a page up for it, but all it tells us is the title, that it will be 320 pages, and that it will be released June 21, 2011. There is no blurb yet.

One For the Money, the movie, is supposed to be released in July, so it's possible both are going to come out within a short window of time.


Sunday, November 21, 2010

No Mercy (Dark-Hunters, Book 19) by Sherrilyn Kenyon


No Mercy is the nineteenth book in the Dark-Hunter series, and there are now three series that are placed in this world - Dark Hunters, Dream Hunters, and the Chronicles of Nick. Three I'm aware of, there could be more.

What I'm trying to say is that this is a complex world, and I think I've lost too many details from too many books. I have only read some of the Dream-Hunter stories, and I tried to read the first Chronicle of Nick book but I just couldn't handle it... too much teenage angst and attitude (I generally try to stay away from young adult for just that reason). But, I've read every
Dark-Hunter book, so it's not that I haven't read them, it's that I can't remember enough details from books I read years ago to tell me why this person has these powers, or why this couple is indebted to that person. I remember the gist of it, but not the specifics. And that was a problem for me when reading No Mercy.

I'm not really sure what to do about that - the options are to re-read the series (which I do not want to do), to give up and stop reading the series (don't really want to do that just yet, either), or to just keep plugging along and hope the author keeps giving enough hints in the prose to help us try to remember who these people are and why they are acting in the manner they are acting. For now I guess it's the third option.

As for the specifics of No Mercy -- we've met Dev before, he's one of the Bears at Sanctuary. If we've met Samia I don't remember it.  I liked both characters, and the various plots running along side the romance are all a continuation of the general overall story arcs that are happening. There is this huge tangled weave of love and hate and revenge and drama and... I have no idea how the author is ever going to straighten all of the tangles out.

The good parts - we get enough of Acheron to let us see how he's doing, and we get to see Aimee and Fang together some as well. We see a little of Savitar, and a little more of Thorn.

The bad parts... while it's not completely "same thing different book", it is just a little bit. How many ways can you have a Dark Hunter fall in love and take the risk of getting their soul back so they can be with their one true love? Ms. Kenyon has done a good job of keeping things fresh for the most part, but this is the 19th book in the series, after all.

Here is the blurb:

Live fast, fight hard and if you have to die then take as many of your enemies with you as you can. That is the Amazon credo and it was one Samia lived and died by. Now in contemporary New Orleans, the immortal Amazon warrior is about to learn that there’s a worse evil coming to slaughter mankind than she’s ever faced before.

Shapeshifter Dev Peltier has stood guard at the front of Sanctuary for almost two hundred years and in that time, he’s seen it all. Or so he thought. Now their enemies have discovered a new source of power- one that makes a mockery of anything faced to date.

The war is on and Dev and Sam are guarding ground zero. But in order to win, they will have to break the most cardinal of all rules and pray it doesn’t unravel the universe as we know it.

I finished reading No Mercy about ten or fifteen minutes ago, so this one is fresh on my mind. I have no idea what the last paragraph means.... the most "cardinal of rules"? I don't recall them doing anything that could unravel the universe as we know it. I remember Sam finding out that something couldn't be undone without unraveling the Universe, but there was never any chance of either Sam or Dev doing it. The most cardinal rule they broke was in falling in love with each other, as Sam isn't supposed to do that since she's a Dark Hunter - but that won't unravel the universe. Does anyone else know what that sentence means?

As for the writing elements: the romance portion of the plot was okay, nothing spectacular. The continuing plots are still headed towards some sort of resolution but at this point if it takes another dozen books to get there I'm not sure I'll last that long. It's time to wrap some of the long term stuff up, I think. The pacing had some serious issues for me, the prose and dialogue were fine, and character development was sufficient.

I'm going to give No Mercy a 7 of 10, and I'll leave the series at an 8 of 10.
  • Book Rating: No Mercy: 7 of 10
  • Series Rating: 8 of 10
1. Fantasy Lover (Julian & Grace)
1.5 Dragonswan
2. Night Pleasures (Talon & Sunshine)
3. Night Embrace
4. Dance with the Devil (Zarek & Astrid)
5. Kiss of the Night (Wulf & Cassandra)
6. Night Play (Vane & Bride)
7. Seize the Night (Valerius & Tabitha)
8. Sins of the Night (Alexion & Danger)
9. Unleash the Night (Wren & Maggie)
10. Dark Side of the Moon (Ravyn & Susan)
11. The Dream-Hunter (Arik & Geary)
12. Upon the Midnight Clear (Aidan & Leta)
13. Devil May Cry (Sin & Kat)
14. Dream Chaser (Xypher & Simone)
15. Acheron (Ash & Tory)
16. One Silent Night (Stryker & Zephyra)
17. Dream Warrior (Jericho & Delphine)
18. Bad Moon Rising (Fang & Aimee)
19. No Mercy (Dev & Sam)
20. Redemption (Sundown and Abigail)


Friday, November 19, 2010

Magic at the Gate (Allie Beckstrom Book 5) by Devon Monk


Magic at the Gate picks up right where Magic on the Storm left off. And it's a good thing, because Magic on the Storm left us with a cliffhanger ending.

As I've been reading some of the advice while doing NaNoWriMo this month, I saw advice that basically said to do horrible things to your character, so that people can admire them for being able to survive. I think Devon Monk took that advice and ran with it. Seriously, she's done some really horrid things to Allie. And the latest book is no exception.

Here's the blurb:

Allie Beckstrom's lover, Zayvion Jones, is a Guardian of the Gate, imbued with both light and dark magic and responsible for ensuring that those energies don't mix. But Zayvion lies in a coma, his soul trapped in death's realm.

To rescue him, Allie must follow the specter of her deceitful late sorcerer father, Daniel Beckstrom, who is more than familiar with death's domain. And when Allie discovers that the only way to save Zayvion is to sacrifice her very own magical essence, she makes a decision that may have grave consequences for the entire world.

I don't now that I can say a whole lot more than that without spoiling, other than to say I loved the ending this time. Adored it. Things are not settled, nor are they safe for the city... but the ending is about hope and friendship and it was a nice way to end it after everyone took the beating they take in the book. Still a bit of a cliffhanger, as there is a lot left unresolved, plus lots of smaller things that I can't wait to follow along with. But it was a good ending, considering there is still so much of this story left to tell.

As for the writing elements, the plot is genius, pacing is fine, prose and dialogue are both expertly done, character development continues to be stellar, and world-building is consistent with previous books, which means it is also well done and quite creative.

I'm giving Magic at the Gate a 9 of 10, and I'm raising the series from an 8 of 10 to a 9 of 10. I will again caution that I didn't care much for the first book in this series, but stuck with it because enough other people had said the later books were so good. I'm really glad I stuck with it, because this is a unique series with very creative worldbuilding, and with a fresh look at magic and magical systems.

Book Rating: Magic at the Gate: 9 of 10
Series Rating: Allie Beckstrom: 9 of 10

1. Magic to the Bone
2. Magic in the Blood
3. Magic in the Shadows
4. Magic on the Storm 
5. Magic at the Gate (Nov 2, 2010)
6. Magic on the Hunt (April, 2011)


Sunday, November 14, 2010

* Anxiously Awaiting as of mid-November 2010

I am currently reading Magic at the Gate, the fifth Allie Beckstrom book by Devon Monk. But I'm also participating in NaNoWriMo, so it's taking longer for me to get through a book. In fourteen days I've read Nalini Singh's Play of Passion, and half of Magic at the Gate. Considering that I usually read four or five books a week, that's not a lot. But I'm also at 41,000 words on my NaNoWriMo book, and I'm really enjoying the process. 

But, onto the Anxiously Awaiting list:

I've marked the new finds in red, in case you're just looking for the new stuff. If there is new information - a link to Amazon, a release date, or something has changed, then it's red.  I've also put an (e) next to the books that have an excerpt out, clicking the (e) will take you to my listing of excerpts.

11/30/10 Vicious Grace (Black Sun's Daughter Book 3) by M.L.N. Hanover
11/30/10 Silver Zombie (Delilah Street #4) by Carole Nelson Douglas
11/30/10 Counterfeit Magic (Women of the Otherworld Novella) by Kelley Armstrong
12/07/10 Killing the Cobra-Chinatown Trollop (Felix Gomez-Comic), Mario Acevedo, Alberto Dose
12/28/10 My Fair Succubi (Succubus Diaries Bk 3) by Jill Myles (e
12/28/10 Killing Rocks (Bloodhound Files Bk 3) by DD Barant
??/??/10 Blood Rock (Dakota Frost / Skindancer series book two) by Anthony Francis (e
01/03/11 Tempest's Legacy (Jane True Book 3) by Nicole Peeler 
01/04/11 Mercy Blade (Jane Yellowrock, Book 3) by Faith Hunter (e)
01/04/11 Home for a Spell (Bewitching Mystery, Book 7) by Madelyn Alt
01/25/11 Archangel's Consort (Guild Hunter Book 3) Nalini Singh (e)
02/15/11 Dreams of a Dark Warrior  (Immortals After Dark Series) by Kresley Cole
02/22/11 This Side of the Grave (Cat and Bones #5, Night Huntress series) by Jeaniene Frost
02/22/11 Pale Demon (The Hollows Rachel Morgan, Book 9) by Kim Harrison
03/01/11 River Marked (Mercy Thompson, Book 6) by Patricia Briggs
03/01/11 Blackout (Cal Leandros, Book 6) by Rob Thurman
03/01/11 Moon Cursed (Nightcreature Novels, Book 10) by Lori Handeland
03/01/11 Late Eclipses (October Daye, Book 4) by Seanan McGuire
03/15/11 Steel  by Carrie Vaughn
03/??/11 Demons at the Gates (Phoenix Chronicles, Book 5) by Lori Handeland
03/22/11 Invincible (Chronicles of Nick Volume 2) by Sherrilyn Kenyon
03/29/11 Master and Apprentice (Master of None series Book 2) by Sonya Bateman
04/05/11 Ghost Story (Dresden Files, Book 13) by Jim Butcher
04/05/11 Magic on the Hunt (Allie Beckstrom Book 6) by Devon Monk
04/26/11 Tangled Threads (Elemental Assassin, Book 4) by Jennifer Estep (e)
04/26/11 Mercy Burns (Myth & Magic Bk 2) by Keri Arthur
05/03/11 Dead Reckoning (Sookie Stackhouse Bk 11) by Charlaine Harris
05/31/11 Magic Slays (Kate Daniels, Book 5) by Ilona Andrews (e)
05/31/11 Kiss of Snow (Psy/Changeling #10, Hawke's book) by Nalini Singh
05/31/11 Shadow Fall (Shadowchaser book 3) by Seressia Glass
Smmr/11 Eye of the Tempest (Jane True Book 4) by Nicole Peeler
Smmr/11 Unnamed (Stephanie Plum #17) by Janet Evanovich 
Smmr/11 The Renfield Syndrom (Rhiannon's Law series book 2) by J.A. Saare (e)
06/??/11 Darkness Unbound  (Dark Angel series - new Risa books) by Keri Arthur (e)
06/07/11 Hit List (Anita Blake book 20) by Laurell K. Hamilton  
06/28/11 Kitty's Big Trouble (Kitty Norville Book Nine) by Carrie Vaughn
06/28/11 Crave The Moon (Nightcreature Novels, Book 11) by Lori Handeland
07/??/11 Eye Spy (Abby Cooper #9) by Victoria Laurie 
07/05/11 Vampire Instinct (Vampire Queen Book 7) by Joey W. Hill (e)
07/26/11 Spell Bound (Savannah) (Women/Otherworld Bk 12) Kelley Armstrong
08/??/11 Redemption (Dark Hunters #20) by Sherrilyn Kenyon
08/16/11 Kitty's Greatest Hits (Kitty Norville series) by by Carrie Vaughn  
FALL/11 Alpha and Omega series, Book 3 Patricia Briggs
Late/11  Vampire Queen's Return (Vampire Queen Book 8) by Joey W. Hill
Late/11 Unnamed (Justine Jones Disillusionist Book 3) by Carolyn Crane 
09/11/11 The Brightest Fell (October Daye, Book 5) by Seanan McGuire
10/01/11 Alpha (Dark Hunters, Daria's story) by Sherrilyn Kenyon
10/??/11 Unnamed Elemental Assassin, Book 5 by Jennifer Estep 
12/??/11 Virtual Virgin (Delilah Street #5) by Carole Nelson Douglas
??/??/11 Liquid Fire (Dakota Frost / Skindancer series book3 ) by Anthony Francis (e)
??/??/??  Darkness Rising (Dark Angel series - new Risa book #2) by Keri Arthur
??/??/12 Unnamed Jaime story (Women/Otherworld Bk 13) Kelley Armstrong
09/01/12 Daemon's Angel (Dark Hunters) by Sherrilyn Kenyon 
??/??/11 Supernaturals on Vacation (Anthology) 

Not all of the series I keep up with have another book listed as coming out. The authors have stated there will be more, but to my knowledge they haven't said when, or given a title name. I've listed those series below.
* Meredith Gentry series by Laurell K Hamilton (taking a year off)
* Diesel/Unmentionables series by Janet Evanovich 

Below are series I follow, but it is unclear whether there will be more books in the series:
* Bronwyn the Witch series by Candace Havens
* Nadia Stafford series by Kelley Armstrong
* Nature of Desire series by Joey W. Hill

* Daughters of Arianne series by Joey W. Hill
* Felix Gomez series Mario Acevedo
* Spellman series by Lisa Lutz 
* Anya Kalinczyk / Embers series by Laura Bickle
* Dexter series by Jeff Lindsay
* Caruthers Sisters series by Candace Havens
* Nikki Heat series by Richard Castle
* The Edge series by Ilona Andrews

You can read an excerpt of many of these books, to see my list of excerpts please go here

If someone wants to send me an ARC of one of the books on my Anxiously Awaiting list, I will read it within a day or two of it arriving (assuming I'm home and I'm not sick or anything), and will get a blog post up of it as soon as I've finished reading it. You may send me a digital version at chained lightning at g mail dot com, or to send a hard copy you may contact me at that email address to ask for a shipping address. If you have an ARC you would like to send that is not on my Anxiously Awaiting list I will attempt to read and review it in a timely manner but it may not be placed topmost in my TBR pile. Feel free to email me to see if I'd be interested in reading something, as well. I've found a few authors this way that I may not have read had I not received a review copy -- and now I'm hooked on a few of those series, just waiting for the next book.


Thursday, November 11, 2010

* Excerpts, First Chapters, and Sneak Peeks

Some of the books on my Anxiously Awaiting list have excerpts available at the author's or publisher's websites.

I would love to have an ARC for any of the books on this list, or on my Anxiously Awaiting list. See my Review Policy for more information about sending books for review.

Simon and Schuster have a page up for Vicious Grace (Black Sun's Daughter Book 3) by M.L.N. Hanover, but so far just a blurb. 11/30

Simon and Schuster have a page up for 11/30/10 Silver Zombie (Delilah Street #4) by Carole Nelson Douglas, but just a blurb so far. 11/30

McMillan has a page up for Killing Rocks (Bloodhound Files Bk 3) by DD Barant, but so far just a blurb. 12/28

Nicole Peeler has a page up for Tempest's Legacy (Jane True Book 3), but so far just a blurb. She's posted a video of her reading from the book here. 12/29

Sherrilyn Kenyon has a page up for Invincible (Chronicles of Nick Volume 2), with a note that an excerpt will be up in the middle of 2010. (release date 02/01/11)

Kim Harrison has a page up for Pale Demon (The Hollows Rachel Morgan, Book 9) with a note than an excerpt is coming late 2010. (release date 2/22/11)

Jeaniene Frost has a page up for This Side of the Grave (Cat and Bones #5, Night Huntress series) with the beautiful cover and a blurb. 02/22/11

Kresley Cole has a page up for Dreams of a Dark Warrior  (Immortals After Dark Series) with a blurb - 02/15/11

Seanan McGuire has a page up for Late Eclipses (October Daye, Book 4) with a blurb - 03/01/11

Rob Thurman has a page up with cover art and blurb for Blackout, the sixth Cal Leandros Book 3/1/11

Nalini Singh has a page up for  Kiss of Snow (Psy/Changeling #10, Hawke's book) but no excerpt yet. She posted the back cover blog here. (5/31/11)

Sherrilyn Kenyon has a page up for Redemption (Dark Hunters #20), with an blurb but no excerpt yet.  August/2011

In case you haven't read them yet, there are also some excerpts up for books released in 2009, and so far in 2010: