September 2, 2014

So I went ahead and read the prologue & first chapter of Blue Lily, Lily Blue . . .

. . . because I hate myself love this series. And now I cannot handle my day. I am embedding it here, because I need someone else to read it so we can proceed to console one another. I mean the WORDS. And the RONAN.

A Lily Among Thorns Re-release!


You guys. Today marks the re-release of one of my all-time favorite historicals! Rose Lerner's wonderful A Lily Among Thorns has been out of print (woe, desolation) ever since the Dorchester fiasco. But, happily, Samhain picked it up and re-released it in ebook form with a few minor revisions and a new cover. A paperback edition will follow next year. For the curious, you can read the prologue and first chapter here. And for the even curiouser, you can read my original review here. As I frequently remark, Ms. Lerner's characters are people I would want to know and keep in my life. And Serena and Solomon are my very favorites. 

To celebrate the re-release, Rose has posted a free tie-in short story featuring Solomon's little sister and her husband. She's also running a Lily gift basket giveaway. So be sure to stop in to check out all the fun goodies.


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August 29, 2014

Review: Burn for Me by Ilona Andrews

So. I am going ahead and reviewing Burn for Me, even though it doesn't come out for two months (I know), because I just can't seem to wait that long to tell you how fun it is. I knew Ilona Andrews had two full-length releases out this year and I was super excited about this brand new series, but somehow the latest Kate always overshadows other titles in my mind. I also had it set in my head somehow that this one resided more on the paranormal end of the spectrum, which is fine, even though I tend not to respond quite as well to that genre. I trust this author implicitly. But I was really pleasantly surprised as I was reading to find out that (shirtless cover aside), though the romantic subplot plays a much more central role and proceeds more quickly than it does in the Kate Daniels novels, it is never overwrought and in no way overshadows the rich world-building, fast pace, and fantastic characters I've come to expect from Ilona Andrews.

Nevada Baylor prefers not to attract attention. Of any sort. In a world ruled by rigidly stratified magical practitioners known as Primes, Nevada operates as far below the radar as possible. After the death of her father, she took up the reins of the family PI business. Making sparing and judicious use of her ability to determine whether or not people are telling the truth, and utilizing every scrap of talent from each of her siblings, her cousins, her ex-military mother, and even her mechanic grandmother, she is determined to provide for them all and stay afloat. But when their parent company calls her in and blackmails her into taking a case no one with half a brain cell would touch, Neva knows her days are numbered. And when she inadvertently (and completely against her will) partners up with Mad Rogan—the most notorious and insane Prime of all—she figures she might as well take advantage of Rogan's legendary abilities before the whole thing goes up in flames. Rogan has his own reasons for trying to track down the rogue Prime that's taking the city by storm. And so together the two set out to save the city. Whether or not they can manage it without killing each other along the way is another question entirely.

Burn for Me is just a cracking good read. The action, mystery, romance, and humor are all entwined in just such a way as to make the reading of it a nonstop pleasure. My interest never flagged, and I liked Neva and Rogan every bit as much as I hoped I would. My favorite thing about Andrews heroines is how hard they try. How doggedly they love and protect the ones that are theirs. How desperately they cloak their secrets. And how ferociously they fight to save the world. I loved Nevada for the way she held her family together, ran her business, and managed to handle crazy, magnetic Rogan. The glimpses we get of Rogan's past are painful and fascinating; his history as a telekinetic Prime and as a forged weapon is both twisted and suffocating. Working together, these two amount to a lit flame. And it was no hardship at all tracking them on their wild course through the city, arguing, plotting, and working their way closer together. Neva is rightfully guarded around Rogan, while Rogan doesn't know the meaning of the word "boundary." The combination of the two is something of a compulsive delight. My favorite moments, of course, are when Neva's deceptively simple ability allows her insight into Rogan. For example:
I was suddenly so tired. My eyes were burning. My throat still hurt.

Mad Rogan raised his hand. A bottle of water landed into it. He handed it to me. "Rinse your mouth and eyes. Don't swallow."

I opened the bottle, gulped, swished the water inside my mouth, and spat. The scratching subsided.

The younger of the men reappeared in the warehouse door and nodded to us. We started toward him.

"Thank you for saving my grandmother," I said.

"You're no good to me if you're burying a relative instead of looking for Pierce. I did it for completely selfish reasons," he said.

Lie.
I hated that it had to end. And I am already awaiting the sequel with the usual ill concealed impatience.

Burn for Me is due out October 28th
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August 12, 2014

Tillerman Pretties


A couple of years ago, Atheneum Books put out these new editions of Cynthia Voigt's incomparable Tillerman Cycle and I swooned. I've never been over the moon for the past covers of these books, and my own set is a somewhat mismatched (but much beread and beloved) collection of mass market paperbacks. But this time—oh, this time they got it right. Something about these simple, slightly dreamy illustrations perfectly fits these stories of one family's struggle to survive and stay together. I require them.

As I never tire of talking about this series, have you read them? Which is your favorite? I waffle (don't I always?) between Dicey's Song, A Solitary Blue, and Seventeen Against the Dealer. Yeah. Yeah.

July 28, 2014

Dead Heat Cover

So a lot of times spin-off series fall somewhat flat for me. Either I'm so invested in those original characters that I have trouble shifting my loyalty as unswervingly to these previously side characters, or the story lines are just not as strong, or the genre shifts in a direction that just doesn't click for me as well, or what have you. But from the moment I picked up the introductory novella to Patricia Briggs' Alpha & Omega series, Anna and Charles were just in with me. And the three novels that followed only cemented that fact. It looked like we might not be getting another book for some time, which is why I was so thrilled to hear she'd gone ahead and written a fourth. Dead Heat is due out March 3rd of next year, and when I saw the cover all I could do was squee. Because Charles in human form. And because fourth book in a series I truly love.