April 10, 2013

Fate's Edge by Ilona Andrews (The Edge, Book 3)Although there are familiar elements, there is something quite distinct about this series. I really enjoyed this difference.

Kalder Mar grew up in the Mire, a swamp in just about the dodgiest part of the Edge, a land between the Broken (that would be our world) and the Weird (that would be a magic world, part-Faerie, part Renaissance-y steampunk fantasy). He’s a liar, thief and sometime spy who is really, really good with a sword and has an uncanny (magical) ability to make things happen if you bet him they can’t.

Audrey Callahan is the daughter of a con artist. Bitter and battered by the life her family taught her to live, she’s tried to keep on the straight and narrow, getting a real job in the Broken and taking care of herself. Her father persuades her to do one last con, and if she does, he’ll stay out of her life forever.

Tasked with retrieving the item that Audrey’s family stole, Kalder and Audrey cross paths and find themselves working together to make things right, with all the adventures that come with it.

Despite my rave review for book one in the series, book two languished on my TBR for two and a half years before I picked it up. I then promptly called Galaxy Books and made them ship me the rest of the series while I lay in bed languishing from illness. This is book three.

Fate’s Edge reminded me why I love Ilona Andrews. It’s filled with rich world building and engaging characters, and I devoured this book in one night despite drinking codeine-laced cough medication.

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April 4, 2013

Decadence has been busy updating the Black Dagger Brotherhood cheat sheets, and they’re finally done!

The updates include information up to and including Tohr’s book. Note that the cheat sheets have not been updated to include information from Lover At Last to avoid accidentally spoiling readers who have not yet had a chance to read the book.

We have also created dedicated pages for the cheat sheets. You should be able to see the pages from the black menu bar at the top of this screen. If you hover your mouse above the ‘BDB’ menu item, you should automatically see a list of subpages below it. (Let me know if this doesn’t work for you!)

Whenever we update or add information about the BDB, we will update the pages and then post a summary of the updates to make sure you don’t miss out on the info! So if you have links to the old cheat sheets, please update them to point to the overview page here. This page has a link to all the cheat sheets, reviews pre-release spoilers and other related posts about the BDB.

We hope you’ll find this new structure easier to use, and a huge THANK YOU to Decadence for the updates!

And now, here are the latest updates to the cheat sheets:

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April 1, 2013

The biggest news in the book industry this long weekend is Amazon’s plan to acquire Goodreads, a social media site for readers. No, this is not an April Fools’ joke.

Amazon is undeterred in its path to world domination, announcing its plan to acquire Goodreads, in what is sure to be a blow for readers who loved Goodreads precisely because it’s not affiliated with major players in the book industry. The deal is expected to close by June 2013.

Do I care? Maybe.

The thing is, Goodreads isn’t exactly the haven for readers that some think it is. There have been appalling reports and evidence of threatening behaviour on Goodreads that, I feel, Goodreads has failed to properly address or manage. In many ways, I’ve come to feel that Goodreads values authors more than they do readers. I use Goodreads as a reading journal, to ensure I don’t buy duplicate books, and to record reviews posted on Book Thingo. That’s about it. Rarely do I participate in Goodreads socially, and when I do, it’s almost always with readers I already have a relationship with via Twitter or through blogs.

Amazon’s acquisition of what I consider more of a tool than a community is therefore interesting because I’d like the tool not to break or do a worse job than it did before, but that’s about as passionate as I can manage to feel on the subject. Your mileage may vary.

What might happen to Goodreads in the future?

TechCrunch has a summary of the potential direction that Amazon might want to take Goodreads, and the two key areas seem to be around Kindle integration and improved algorithms for book recommendations. It’s too soon to tell if Amazon will screw around with the user-facing design of Goodreads to align it more tightly to the Amazon shop, but according to Forbes, doing so may not be in Amazon’s best interests, at least in the near future:

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Posted by Kat in Industry news (1 comment)
March 31, 2013

Tidbits about book 12 of the Black Dagger Brotherhood have been released by author J. R. Ward, and it’s going to be a little different from the previous books!

The King by J. R. Ward (Black Dagger Brotherhood, Book 12) - US edition

Black Dagger Brotherhood author J. R. Ward posted this video on her Facebook page from the Cincinnati signing confirming that the next book in the series will be called The King and definitely isn’t going to be about Xcor. It will be about Wrath and Beth having a baby.

Ward has hinted in the past that there were going to be novellas for Wrath and Beth as well as Rhage and Mary and their journeys to parenthood. With Lover at Last beginning its life as a novella, it looks like we may be able to hope for full-length novels for both couples, especially since she’s hoping to return to each couple by giving them their own books again.

The King will be released in around a year’s time in the US spring 2014.

Official spoilers from the signing were posted on Ward’s Facebook page here and it’s given us a lot to speculate on.

You can preorder the US hardcover of The King from Amazon and Book Depository. It comes out March 25, 2014.

Click here for more BDB cheat sheets and spoilers.

March 29, 2013

Congratulations to Lilian Darcy, Anne Gracie,  Barbara Hannay and Bronwyn Parry, whose books have been announced as finalists for this year’s RITA awards, and to Chris Taylor for her Golden Heart award nomination.

Anne Gracie is nominated in the Historical Romance category for Bride By Mistake, published by BerkleyBarbara Hannay is nominated in the Contemporary Single Title Romance category for her rural Australian romance Zoe’s Muster, published by the Michael Joseph.  Bronwyn Parry is nominated in Romantic Suspense category for Dead Heat, published by Hachette Australia. Category romance author Lilian Darcy is nominated in the Short Contemporary Series Romance category for A Marriage Worth Fighting For, published under Harlequin’s Special Edition imprint. (In Australia, this story is published under the Cherish imprint in a special 3-in-1 edition.)

A RITA award is the romance equivalent of the Oscar, and having four local authors in the running is an excellent achievement. Hannay and Parry’s nominations are particularly exciting as the books are both set in rural Australia and published locally.

For the Golden Heart awards, given to unpublished manuscripts, Australian writer Chris Taylor is nominated in the Romantic Suspense category for The Predator.

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March 26, 2013

Lover At Last by JR Ward (Black Dagger Brotherhood, Book 11) - Australian editionThe crack is back. This book will either allow you to exit the BDB world satisfied…or suck you right back in with a vengeance.

Click here for a round-up of all BDB-related posts on Book Thingo.

This is the book that most Black Dagger Brotherhood fans have been eagerly anticipating ever since the Butch/V bromance turned out to be strictly platonic (if you ignore the occasional voyeurism and ambiguous moments of male bonding). I’m going to try and do this with as few spoilers are possible, but I can’t guarantee not to let details slip, so consider yourself warned.

Blaylock and Qhuinn have been best of friends even before they transitioned (the BDB vampire equivalent of puberty), but between Qhuinn’s indiscriminate and rampant sexcapades, and Blaylock’s homosexuality and unrequited love for his best mate, it’s really all they can do to be in the same room without descending into the sort of delicious angst that has made this series so addictive. Bad timing and some ill-chosen words have led them to believe that their more-than-friends feelings will never be returned by the other.

Qhuinn and Layla are expecting a baby, and Blay is in a committed relationship with Saxton, but they’re all living in the Brotherhood mansion, and they keep running into each other. At the gym. Half naked. With bulging biceps. And rampant and spontaneous erections. (People prone to stiffies shouldn’t really be going commando.) As you do. In one of my favourite scenes—because, come on, how cracktastic is this?—Blay finds the Room of Requirement and indulges his wanksting in a spectacular way. (This is what happens when boys don’t go through puberty in the usual way.)

Blay is probably one of the most well-adjusted BDB characters, so it’s Qhuinn who has to undergo a big emotional journey in this book. In typical BDB fashion, he is filled with self-loathing, mostly over things over which he has no control. Qhuinn’s issues stem from his family’s rejection of him, to the point where his brother was involved in bashing him up almost to death. His desire for a traditional family, to be a father, and his inability to reconcile this dream with a possible relationship with Blay is the biggest hurdle in their relationship.

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March 19, 2013

An exciting, fast-paced and very, very sexy steampunk romance series.

I am now hooked on a new series, the Clockwork Agents by Kate Cross, and I’m cheating a bit and doing a two-in-one review, largely because what I liked in both books was the same. (I blame Mirna of Rendezvous books for another excellent recommendation.)

This steampunk series is set in Victorian England and is filled with interesting inventions, gadgets and robotics—Cross does a good job of integrating corsets, guns and gadgets. I especially liked the world building and the combination of steampunk and spy vs spy plot. I wouldn’t say it’s entirely historically accurate—they say fuck and shite!—but as this is a steampunk novel, I expected the authors to take some liberties.

Heart of Brass by Kate Cross (Clockwork Agents, Book 1)Heart of Brass features Lady Arden Grey, whose husband Luke disappears on a mission for the Wardens of the Realm, a covert organisation created to protect the British Empire. Seven years later, an assassin is sent to kill her in retribution for her killing of a Company agent (their rival spy organisation) and she recognizes him as her husband, who has no memory of who she is or any of his past. Arden is a strong, very resourceful heroine, who never lost faith in her husband, Luke, who starts off being a bit of a prick before he gets his memory back.

There’s also a side plot with Arden helping out Scotland Yard in investigations using her special gadgets—she’s an inventor—and solving a mystery as to who is murdering young girls. I don’t think this side plot was necessary, though, and in some ways it detracted from the main story of Arden and Luke figuring out who brainwashed him and trying to help him get back his memories. That story was meaty enough to not need a distraction. There are also a few things I found a bit convenient—like how they have a master surgeon who has a magic elixir that can fix everything, but we don’t know what it is. I hope that’s explained when she gets her own novel.

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March 18, 2013

Lots of excerpts from Lover At Last. Thank you, J. R. Ward! UPDATED 21/3/2013: More links….

Click here for a round-up of all BDB-related posts on Book Thingo.

Lover At Last by JR Ward (Black Dagger Brotherhood, Book 11) - US edition Lover At Last by JR Ward (Black Dagger Brotherhood, Book 11) - Australian editionDecadence pointed out, in the comments to Friday’s post, that Black Dagger Brotherhood author J. R. Ward is counting down to the release of Lover At Last by posting (very brief) teasers from the book. So if, like us, you’re eagerly awaiting March 26, make sure you check the Facebook fan page for new tidbits.

Or not, if you want to remain unspoiled. :D

Here are the excerpts posted so far:

‘you will give yourself to me—’
‘Your sex life is out of control.’
Hunter and prey
Someone passes out
Eight is a lucky number
Someone else passes out
Perving at the gym
Thin mints

If you haven’t already pre-ordered the book, you can do so here: BooktopiaGalaxyFishpondAmazonBook Depository.

March 15, 2013

New excerpt from Lover At Last. Everyone with me now: Squee!

Click here for a round-up of all BDB-related posts on Book Thingo.

Lover At Last by JR Ward (Black Dagger Brotherhood, Book 11) - Australian editionLover At Last by JR Ward (Black Dagger Brotherhood, Book 11) - US editionBlack Dagger Brotherhood series author J. R. Ward has posted an excerpt of the upcoming BDB book, Lover At Last, on her Facebook page. Qhinn/Blay fans will be happy.

Not to brag or anything (okay, to brag a little, because I can’t help it), I have an ARC of the book and I just passed the section quoted, and let me just say that it leads to some cracktastically wangsty scenes. (Thanks to Jen for brainstorming the term ‘wanksty’ with me.)

Tell me you’ve pre-ordered this book!!! If not, you can do so here: Booktopia, Galaxy, Fishpond, Amazon, Book Depository.

Dark Lover by J. R. Ward (Black Dagger Brotherhood, Book 1) - Australian/UK editionLover Eternal by J. R. Ward (Black Dagger Brotherhood, Book 2) - Australian/UK editionLover Awakened by J. R. Ward (Black Dagger Brotherhood, Book 3) - Australian/UK editionLover Revealed by J. R. Ward (Black Dagger Brotherhood, Book 4) - Australian/UK editionLover Unbound by J. R. Ward (Black Dagger Brotherhood, Book 5) - Australian/UK editionLover Enshrined by J. R. Ward (Black Dagger Brotherhood, Book 6) - Australian/UK edition
Lover Avenged by J. R. Ward (Black Dagger Brotherhood, Book 7) - Australian/UK editionLover Mine by J. R. Ward (Black Dagger Brotherhood, Book 8)Lover Unleashed by J. R. Ward (Black Dagger Brotherhood, Book 9) - Australian/UK editionLover Reborn by J. R. Ward (Black Dagger Brotherhood, Book 10) - Australian/UK editionLover At Last by JR Ward (Black Dagger Brotherhood, Book 11) - Australian editionThe Black Dagger Brotherhood - An Insider's Guide
March 14, 2013

Frost Burned by Patricia Briggs (Mercy Thompson, Book 7)Mercy Thompson fans who have been eagerly anticipating this book will love the complicated twists of the plot, and romance readers will absolutely adore Adam.

I may have mentioned (a few hundred times) that Patricia Briggs is one of my most recent author finds. Yes, I’m late to the Mercy Thompson party, but believe me, I’ve made up for lost time! At book seven—not counting the Alpha and Omega spin-off books—this series is just as exciting and perhaps even more romantic as when it all began.

The story starts off deceptively gently, with Mercy having some bonding time with her new stepdaughter, Jesse. When they’re involved in a car accident, Mercy is puzzled and then increasingly alarmed when she can’t get in touch with Adam or anyone else in the pack.

It turns out that Adam and most of the pack have been ambushed. Ben, who managed to escape, tells Mercy what happened, and Mercy has no choice but to tap every resource and contact she can draw on for help. This includes using Marsilia’s shiny new Mercedes AMG to transport a bleeding werewolf—and that’s just for starters.

Readers who love Mercy’s narrative voice won’t be disappointed with Frost Burned. The first part of the story is dominated by Mercy trying to work out what’s going on around her and making the best of a bad situation. Her choices between bad and worse provide fodder for snark as well as tension.

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