Christmas Miracles by Mary Balogh

christmas-miracles-by-Mary-BaloghChristmas Miracles by Mary Balogh
Series: None
Genre: Historical Romance
Setting: Regency England at Christmastime
Published by Class Ebooks Editions, Ltd., 2015
E-book, purchased
170 pages
Grade: B+
Synopsis: CHRISTMAS MIRACLES brings together three previously published and long out-of-print novellas, each of which demonstrates how the wonder of the season can bring together two would-be lovers or two estranged lovers and create a bond between them that will last a lifetime and beyond.

In “The Wassail Bowl” an aristocrat has summoned his young son to a family house party but is disconcerted when his estranged wife and her illegitimate daughter arrive with him. When he expresses his displeasure, she picks up a large bowl of wassail from the hall table and dumps its sticky contents over his head. The only way for the story to proceed after that is up!

In “The Bond Street Carolers” a gentleman who hates Christmas is appalled when his ears are assailed on fashionable Bond Street by a group of inferior carolers–until, that is, he is rooted to the spot by the pure soprano voice of a young boy soloist. As a connoisseur of music and the arts, he must have the boy to sing at one of his concerts–but the child’s widowed mother will have nothing to do with what she sees as exploitation.

In “Guarded by Angels” an estranged couple are separately marooned at the same cottage by a snow storm and must spend Christmas together without coming to blows. But they have a great deal of assistance from their very different guardian angels.

Initial impressions

  • I really like Ms. Balogh’s Christmas stories and books. The stories have a common theme: people losing faith in themselves, each other and Christmas. How they find their way back to faith is the essence of the stories.

“The Wassail Bowl” — Rating: B+

  • This was my favorite story of the three. I love Mary Balogh Christmas stories which takes place in the country.
  • John, the Earl of Wyndham and his wife Antonia have lived separate lives for several years. The Earl orders his wife to send his son to come to Wyndham Park for Christmas. His wife comes with both her children–a boy and a girl. And the first thing she does when she arrives is to pour the rest of the wassail bowl over her husband’s head! That was very funny. (The story has a recipe for wassail and I can see it would have been very sticky!)
  • John and Antonia must talk and remember the love they had for each other and forgives themselves and each other for the hurts they caused. And because it is Christmas they will!

“The Bond Street Carolers” — Rating: B+

  • A boy is singing with a church choir on Bond Street. A gentleman notices the boy’s beautiful voice and invites him along with his mother and sister to his Christmas concert.
  • The mother, Fanny Berlinton–a widow who lives with her brother-in-law and his family–remembers Lord Heath when she made her coming out. He was considered a rake and she doesn’t want anything to do with him.
  • However, Lord Heath is a true connoisseur of music and feels the boy should have the opportunity to sing to an appreciative audience. He invites the church choir to perform a song and promises a donation. So, of course, young Matthew does sing at the concert! And Fanny and Lord Heath discover they have more in common than they thought.

“Guarded by Angels” — Rating: B

  • This was my least favorite story. There was a supernatural vibe to the story I didn’t like too well, but once I got further into the story I did enjoy it.
  • Elliott Nichols, Viscount Garrett and June Nichols, Viscountess Garrett have lived apart since early in their marriage. Elliott had come home from war damaged by all the killing and though June loved him he frightened her. They married, but June was too young and Elliott had too many demons.
  • This Christmas their relatives have conspired to get them to both come for Christmas. They are both on their way when they are caught in a sudden snowstorm and saved by a grandmother and grandson and invited to stay in their home.
  • Each is surprised to see the other, but they discover they aren’t the same people they were when they married. They celebrate Christmas in this small cottage with the two who saved them and get to know each other and love each other again.

And a few thoughts . . .

  •  Three short stories from Mary Balogh Christmas anthologies published in the 1990’s.
  • I do love the way she writes about Christmas and about young children. They are people in her stories–full of personality.
  • I especially enjoy Katie–Matthew’s younger sister in “The Bond Street Carolers”. Katie has decided Lord Heath would be a good papa, but she’s not sure he will cooperate: “This morning for a few minutes she had even been afraid that they were never going to see him again. She had found herself doing something dreadfully babyish. She had sucked her thumb.”
  • The stories make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

Have you read this book? How did you like it?

Author info

  • Mary Balogh‘s first book was published in 1985 and she’s been writing (over 70 novels and close to 30 novellas) ever since. The latest book is Only a Kiss, the 6th book in The Survivors’ Club series, published in September 2015.
  • She grew up in post-war Wales. She wanted to teach and travel so she took a 2-year contract in Saskatchewan, Canada. After a blind date with Robert Balogh she ended up marrying him and staying in Canada! She and Robert have three grown children. Her dream was to write, but that had to wait until their children were older.
  • When she’s not writing, she enjoys reading, music and knitting. She also enjoys watching tennis and curling.

Reading Challenges

  • 2015 Goodreads Challenge

Christmas Gifts by Mary Balogh

christmas-giftsChristmas Gifts by Mary Balogh
Series: None
Genre: Historical Romance–Regency England
Setting: Christmas in England
Published by Class Ebook Editions Ltd., 2015 (reprints of three out-of-print novellas)
E-book, purchased
168 pages
Overall Grade: A-
Synopsis: CHRISTMAS GIFTS brings together three previously published and long out-of-print novellas, each on the theme of Christmas gifts that will last forever because the gift, in essence, is love.

In “The Best Christmas Ever” a boisterous house party is in progress and all the children when asked are eager to tell what they want for Christmas. But one man feels sad, for his young child has not spoken since her mother died and he does not know if the gifts he has bought her will be what she really wants. Unknown to him, her one fervent wish is for a new mother for Christmas, and when she sees one of the guests she knows who that will be. But the lady concerned has an unhappy history with the child’s father.

In “The Porcelain Madonna” a gentleman becomes involved with helping an impoverished lady, who thinks of everyone’s happiness but her own. However, he has seen her gaze with longing at a porcelain madonna well beyond her means displayed in a shop window.

In “The Surprise Party” a man and woman who are antagonistic to each other find themselves landed with the care over Christmas of children who are related to each of them. They quarrel over which of them should undertake the task. It is not a happy situation until the children teach them the true meaning of Christmas, and of love, and they discover that they can do it together.

Initial impressions

  • I know why Mary Balogh is one of my favorite authors when I read these novellas. These stories show how we all hope Christmas will be.
“The Best Christmas Ever”  — Rating: A
  • This is such a lovely story. A little girl (5 years old) who hasn’t spoken since she saw her mother drown three years ago. Her father who loves her fiercely, but is so worried she might never speak again.
  • Each of the children at their grandparents’ home tell their wish for Christmas. Except for Anna who doesn’t speak, but still makes a wish for a mother.
  • On Christmas Eve Day she sees the woman whom she is sure will be her mother, but her father doesn’t cooperate very well since he knows Emma Milford from the past and is still angry with her.
  • This is my favorite story in this series.
“The Porcelain Madonna”  — Rating: B+
  • This is a lovely story about a gentleman who has lost faith in people, is cynical and dislikes Christmas. When he sees a shabbily dressed young woman gazing into a jewelry shop window he sees it as “…the perfect picture of Christmas sentimentality….”
  • He stops a street urchin from running off with her reticule, but when he is going to teach the boy a lesson she stops him. She doesn’t want the boy harmed.
  • “But of course she was beautiful, and of course she was educated, and of course she was impoverished, he thought scornfully. What else could he have expected? And she had been admiring, not a golden bracelet or a diamond necklet, but a porcelain Madonna….”
“The Surprise Party” — Rating: B+
  • The parents of three young children have died. It’s nearly Christmas when their maternal uncle and paternal aunt arrive to take care of them. However, the aunt and uncle dislike each other and neither really wants the children.
  • However, when they decide the children should have a real and happy Christmas, they begin to forget their enmity and discover love for their nephew and nieces.

Jeers

  • No real jeers. I just like one of the stories a little better than others.

And a few thoughts . . .

  •  These are lovely stories of people who have lost faith in themselves and others, who are down on their luck or need the spirit that can come at Christmas to change their lives.

Have you read this book? How did you like it?

Author info

  • Mary Balogh‘s first book was published in 1985 and she’s been writing (over 70 novels and close to 30 novellas) ever since. The latest book is Only a Kiss, the 6th book in The Survivors’ Club series, published in September 2015.
  • She grew up in post-war Wales. She wanted to teach and travel so she took a 2-year contract in Saskatchewan, Canada. After a blind date with Robert Balogh she ended up marrying him and staying in Canada! She and Robert have three grown children. Her dream was to write, but that had to wait until their children were older.
  • When she’s not writing, she enjoys reading, music and knitting. She also enjoys watching tennis and curling.

Reading Challenges

I own the most books from these authors…

toptentuesday2Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme which I take part in occasionally. It’s a great meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish blog. Every week a new topic is presented. It’s not only fun to think about my list, but to read what other people come up with!

This week we write about the ten authors I own the most books from. I have broken the authors down by e-books, audio books and paper books.

When I look at my list several things occur to me:

  • Of course, one of the reasons I have so many books by certain authors is that they’ve written a lot of books.
  • I used to read a lot of romances so the authors from whom I have the largest number of books are romances. I’ve kept the paper books by my favorite authors.
  • I used to get a lot of my books from the library, but now I read my books as digital editions now and the library has fewer digital editions.
  • The library tended to have more mystery and more science fiction/fantasy than romance.
  • Over the years I gave away or sold my books to used bookstores–in the past I read lots of sci-fi, fantasy and mysteries so I don’t have as many books from long-time favorite authors such as Dick Francis and Tony Hillerman and Anne McCaffrey.

Top Ten Authors

1. Jayne Ann Krentz — ever since I discovered her she’s been a favorite (obviously!) and a comfort read author–especially her older books which I spent a lot of time in used bookstores to find!

  • e-books – 4
  • audiobooks – 0
  • paper books – 53

–aka Amanda Quick — I love these historical romances…especially the older ones.

  • e-books – 0
  • audiobooks – 1
  • paper books – 17

–aka Jayne Castle — Jayne Ann Krentz uses this pseudonym for her futuristic romances. I haven’t liked these books as well.

  • e-books – 0
  • audiobooks – 0
  • paper books – 7

–Total — 82

2. Nora Roberts — I haven’t read any Nora Roberts books for a while, but I do like a number of her books.

  • e-books – 3
  • audiobooks – 2
  • paper books – 38

–aka J. D. Robb — I especially enjoy the In Death series though I haven’t read any for a couple years.

  • e-books – 9
  • audiobooks – 1
  • paper books -28

Total — 81

3. Mary Balogh — I still buy and read Mary Balogh’s books. I love the way she writes. I’ve searched for her out-of-print Signet regencies through the years and found them in used bookstores and even on Ebay!

  • e-books – 12
  • audiobooks – 1
  • paper books – 58

Total — 71

4. Jo Beverley – Another favorite historical romance author. Her older books are easier to find and I think I have almost all of them.

  • e-books – 7
  • audiobooks – 0
  • paper books – 34

Total — 41

5. Linda Howard — Another author whom I love to read and re-read especially her older books.

  • e-books – 3
  • audiobooks – 0
  • paper books – 40

Total — 43

6. Lois McMaster Bujold — I love the Miles Vorkosigan series though I haven’t read one for a while. I need to read some. I have some of her other books and need to read them, too.

  • e-books – 5
  • audiobooks – 2
  • paper books -27

Total — 34

7. Patricia Briggs — I’ve bought and read all of Ms. Briggs’ older books from before she started her Mercy Thompson series.

  • e-books – 4
  • audiobooks – 0
  • paper books – 16

Total — 20

8. Robert Heinlein — I used to own a lot more of Heinlein’s books, but I gave a few of them to my kids.

  • e-books – 1
  • audiobooks – 0
  • paper books – 17

Total — 18

9. Ilona Andrews — I love Ilona Andrews writing.

  • e-books – 12
  • audiobooks – 0
  • paper books – 5

Total — 17

10.  Dana Stabenow — I used to read all of Ms. Stabenow’s books until one book stopped me reading any for quite a while. I’ve bought a number of her digital releases and hope to start reading her newer books again.

  • e-books – 10
  • audiobooks – 1
  • paper books – 5

Total — 16

Honorable Mention

Archangel
Sharon Shinn–Archangel

Sharon Shinn – I love her writing, but her digital editions have tended to stay expensive plus some of her older books weren’t digitized. When I looked at her books this week I saw more books of her books digitzed and some of the books I’ve searched for are now available as e-books at lower prices. Yay!

  • e-books – 1
  • audiobooks – 0
  • paper books – 12

Total — 13

What about you? Which authors do you own the most number of books?

July books on my radar…

Radar

Each month I write about the books I’ve noticed and think might be good. Sometimes they’re from favorite authors and other times I’m excited by a new author.

I don’t buy all the books (not during the month they’re released at least)–since I already have way too many books to read and sometimes these new books have high prices 😦

But the list I make each month helps me not forget books. The Goodreads links help me keep track of these books and I hope people reading my post may find some new books, too!

 

I have a lot of great looking books this month! The first book is one I missed last month.

June 24

I read the first book in this series last December. And I like Sarah Morgan’s writing…I’ve already bought this!

suddenly-last-summerSuddenly Last Summer

by Sarah Morgan

Series: O’Neil Brothers #2

Published by Harlequin HQN

Genre: Contemporary Romance

384 pages

Synopsis: Fiery French chef Élise Philippe is having a seriously bad day. Not only have the opening day plans for her beloved café fallen apart, but Sean O’Neil is back in town, and looking more delectable than ever. Last summer, they shared an electrifying night together…and the memories have Élise really struggling to stick to her one-night-only rule! Her head knows that eventually Sean will be leaving, so all she can do is try to ignore her heart before she spontaneously combusts with lust.

Being back in Vermont—even temporarily—is surgeon Sean O’Neil’s worst nightmare. For Sean, returning home to the Snow Crystal Resort means being forced to confront the reasons and the guilt he feels about rejecting his family’s rural lifestyle years ago. But discovering that Élise has settled in Vermont and still sets his blood racing is a very welcome distraction! Thinking he can persuade her into a replay of last summer is tempting, but remembering how good they are together is going to make walking away more difficult than he could imagine…

July 1

One of my favorite urban fantasy series. The last book ended rather suddenly…so this book is an autobuy!

bloodshiftedBloodshifted

by Cassie Alexander

Series: Edie Spence #5

Published by St. Martin’s Paperbacks

Genre: Urban Fantasy

304 pages

Synopsis: Ambushed. Blindfolded. Kidnapped by vampires. Edie Spence must race against time to save herself and her baby—from the nightmare that flows through her veins…

As a nurse in the hospital’s secret Y4 ward, Edie has seen her share of daytimers. Once-ordinary humans who’ve tasted vampire blood, daytimers are doomed to serve their nighttime masters. Forever. And now Edie has to face something even more horrifying: she’s become one too…

BLOODSHIFTED

Abducted by the vampire, Raven, Edie is taken to the catacombs beneath the Catacombs, an ironically-named L.A. night club that supplies fresh blood and other favors for its vampire Masters. Edie has no intention of swapping her nurse’s uniform for a cocktail dress—not when her newborn infant needs her. But if she and Asher—her shapeshifter fiancé—can’t figure out a way to bleed Raven’s power, they may never get out of this plasma-soaked pleasure palace…undead or alive.

Sounds like the beginning of a good series. A phoenix who takes human form! I’ve read a number of books by Keri Arthur and enjoy her writing.

firebornFireborn

by Keri Arthur

Series: Souls of Fire #1

Published by Signet Select

Genre: Urban Fantasy

400 pages

Synopsis: . . .a brand new series featuring heroine Emberly Pearson—a phoenix capable of taking on human form, and cursed with the ability to foresee death…

Emberly has spent a good number of her many lives trying to save humans. So when her prophetic dreams reveal the death of Sam, a man she once loved, she does everything in her power to prevent that from happening. But in saving his life, she gets more than she bargained for.

Sam is working undercover for the Paranormal Investigations Team, and those who are trying to murder him are actually humans infected by a plague-like virus, the Crimson Death—a by-product of a failed government experiment that attempted to identify the enzymes that make vampires immortal. Now, all those infected must be eliminated.

But when Emberly’s boss is murdered and his irreplaceable research stolen, she needs to find the guilty party before she goes down in flames…

Mary Balogh is one of my favorite historical romance authors and I’m enjoying this series a lot.

the-escapeThe Escape

by Mary Balogh

Series: Survivor’s Club #3

Published by Dell

Genre: Historical Romance

416 pages

Synopsis: After surviving the Napoleonic Wars, Sir Benedict Harper is struggling to move on, his body and spirit in need of a healing touch. Never does Ben imagine that hope will come in the form of a beautiful woman who has seen her own share of suffering. After the lingering death of her husband, Samantha McKay is at the mercy of her oppressive in-laws—until she plots an escape to distant Wales to claim a house she has inherited. Being a gentleman, Ben insists that he escort her on the fateful journey.

Ben wants Samantha as much as she wants him, but he is cautious. What can a wounded soul offer any woman? Samantha is ready to go where fate takes her, to leave behind polite society and even propriety in her desire for this handsome, honorable soldier. But dare she offer her bruised heart as well as her body? The answers to both their questions may be found in an unlikely place: in each other’s arms.

Sounds like an interesting fantasy.

shattering-the-leyShattering the Ley

by Joshua Palmatier

Series: Unknown

Published by DAW Hardcover

Genre: Fantasy

496 pages

Synopsis: Erenthrall—sprawling city of light and magic, whose streets are packed with traders from a dozen lands and whose buildings and towers are grown and shaped in the space of a day.

At the heart of the city is the Nexus, the hub of  a magical ley line system that powers Erenthrall. This ley line also links the city and the Baronial plains to rest of the continent and the world beyond. The Prime Wielders control the Nexus with secrecy and lies, but it is the Baron who controls the Wielders. The Baron also controls the rest of the Baronies through a web of brutal intimidation enforced by his bloodthirsty guardsmen and unnatural assassins.

When the rebel Kormanley seek to destroy the ley system and the Baron’s chokehold, two people find themselves caught in the chaos that sweeps through Erenthrall and threatens the entire world: Kara Tremain, a young Wielder coming into her power, who discovers the forbidden truth behind the magic that powers the ley lines; and Alan Garrett, a recruit in the Baron’s guard, who learns that the city holds more mysteries and more danger than he could possibly have imagined . . . and who holds a secret within himself that could mean Erenthrall’s destruction — or its salvation.

I have the first book in this series…still to read, of course! An interesting world.

the-shadow-throneThe Shadow Throne

by Django Wexler

Series: The Shadow Campaigns #2

Published by Del Rey

Genre: Fantasy

544 pages

Synopsis: Anyone can plot a coup or fire an assassin’s bullet. But in a world of muskets and magic, it takes considerably more to seize the throne.

The ailing King of the Vordan lies on his deathbed. When he dies, his daughter, Raesinia Orboan, will become the first Queen Regnant in centuries—and a ripe target for the ambitious men who seek to control her. The most dangerous of these is Duke Orlanko, Minister of Information and master of the secret police. Having meticulously silenced his adversaries through intimidation, imprisonment, and execution, Orlanko is the most feared man in the kingdom.

And he knows an arcane secret that puts Raesinia completely at his mercy.

Exposure would mean ruin, but Raesinia is determined to find a way to break herself—and her country—out of Orlanko’s iron grip. She finds unlikely allies in the returning war hero Janus bet Vhalnich, fresh from a brilliant campaign in the colony of Khandar, and his loyal deputies, Captain Marcus d’Ivoire and Lieutenant Winter Ihernglass.

As Marcus and Winter struggle to find their places in the home they never thought they would see again, they help Janus and Raesinia set in motion events that could free Vordan from Orlanko’s influence—at the price of throwing the nation into chaos. But with the people suffering under the Duke’s tyranny, they intend to protect the kingdom with every power they can command, earthly or otherwise

July 8

I like stories about thieves. This fantasy sounds like it will be fun!

midnight-thiefMidnight Thief

by Livia Blackburne

Series: Midnight Thief #1

Published by Disney-Hyperion

Genre: Fantasy

368 pages

Synopsis: Growing up on Forge’s streets has taught Kyra how to stretch a coin. And when that’s not enough, her uncanny ability to scale walls and bypass guards helps her take what she needs.

But when the leader of the Assassins Guild offers Kyra a lucrative job, she hesitates. She knows how to get by on her own, and she’s not sure she wants to play by his rules. But he’s persistent—and darkly attractive—and Kyra can’t quite resist his pull.

Tristam of Brancel is a young Palace knight on a mission. After his best friend is brutally murdered by Demon Riders, a clan of vicious warriors who ride bloodthirsty wildcats, Tristam vows to take them down. But as his investigation deepens, he finds his efforts thwarted by a talented thief, one who sneaks past Palace defenses with uncanny ease.

When a fateful raid throws Kyra and Tristam together, the two enemies realize that their best chance at survival—and vengeance—might be to join forces. And as their loyalties are tested to the breaking point, they learn a startling secret about Kyra’s past that threatens to reshape both their lives.

I haven’t read many mysteries recently and this sounds good.

the-white-magic-five-and-dimeThe White Magic Five and Dime

by Steve Hockensmith with Lisa Falco

Series: Unknown

Published by Midnight Ink

Genre: Mystery

336 pages

Synopsis: Much to Alanis McLachlands surprise, her estranged con-woman mother has left her an inheritance: The White Magic Five & Dime, a shop in tiny Berdache, Arizona. Reluctantly traveling to Berdache to claim her new property, Alanis decides to stay and pick up her mother’s tarot business in an attempt to find out how she died.

With help from a hunky cop and her mother’s live-in teenage apprentice, Alanis begins faking her way trough tarot readings in order to win the confidence of her mother’s clients. But the more she uses the tarot deck, the more Alanis begins to find real meaning in the cards … and the secrets surrounding her mother’s demise.

Sounds like a good start to a series. And it’s a good cover!

the-kiss-of-deceptionThe Kiss of Deception

by Mary E. Pearson

Series: The Remnant Chronicles #1

Published by Henry Holt

Genre: Fantasy

492 pages

Synopsis: In this timeless new trilogy about love and sacrifice, a princess must find her place in a reborn world.

In a society steeped in tradition, Princess Lia’s life follows a preordained course. As First Daughter, she is expected to have the revered gift of sight—but she doesn’t—and she knows her parents are perpetrating a sham when they arrange her marriage to secure an alliance with a neighboring kingdom—to a prince she has never met.

On the morning of her wedding, Lia flees to a distant village. She settles into a new life, hopeful when two mysterious and handsome strangers arrive—and unaware that one is the jilted prince and the other an assassin sent to kill her. Deception abounds, and Lia finds herself on the brink of unlocking perilous secrets—even as she finds herself falling in love.

July 14

Courtney Milan is another favorite historical romance author. I like all her books. And she is self-published!

the-suffragette-scandalThe Suffragette Scandal

by Courtney Milan

Series: Brothers Sinister #4

Published by Courtney Milan

Genre: Historical Romance

? pages

Synopsis: An idealistic suffragette…

Miss Frederica “Free” Marshall has put her heart and soul into her newspaper, known for its outspoken support of women’s rights. Naturally, her enemies are intent on destroying her business and silencing her for good. Free refuses to be at the end of her rope…but she needs more rope, and she needs it now.

…a jaded scoundrel…

Edward Clark’s aristocratic family abandoned him to die in a war-torn land, so he survived the only way he could: by becoming a rogue and a first-class forger. When the same family that left him for dead vows to ruin Miss Marshall, he offers his help. So what if he has to lie to her? She’s only a pawn to use in his revenge.

…and a scandal seven years in the making.

But the irrepressible Miss Marshall soon enchants Edward. By the time he realizes that his cynical heart is hers, it’s too late. The only way to thwart her enemies is to reveal his scandalous past…and once the woman he loves realizes how much he’s lied to her, he’ll lose her forever.

July 15

Rachel Bach (wrote the Paradox science fiction series which I read and reviewed) and Rachel Aaron (wrote The Legend of Eli Monpress fantasy series) are the same author. This sounds like a very good new series. I can’t find out too much about the book–perhaps it’s self-published?

nice-dragons-finish-lastNice Dragons Finish Last

by Rachel Aaron

Series: Heartstrikers #1

Published by –self-published?

Genre: Fantasy

? pages

Synopsis: As the smallest dragon in the Heartstriker clan, Julius survives by a simple code: stay quiet, don’t cause trouble, and keep out of the way of bigger dragons. But this meek behavior doesn’t cut it in a family of ambitious predators, and his mother, Bethesda the Heartstriker, has finally reached the end of her patience.

Now, sealed in human form and banished to the DFZ–a vertical metropolis built on the ruins of Old Detroit–Julius has one month to prove to his mother that he can be a ruthless dragon or lose his true shape forever. But in a city of modern mages and vengeful spirits where dragons are seen as monsters to be exterminated, he’s going to need some serious help to survive this test.

He only hopes that humans are more trustworthy than dragons.

Another new series! I like the idea of the weakling prince trying to persevere.

half-a-kingHalf a King

by Joe Abercrombie

Series: Shattered Sea #1

Published by Del Rey

Genre: Fantasy

352 pages

Synopsis: “I swore an oath to avenge the death of my father. I may be half a man, but I swore a whole oath.”

Prince Yarvi has vowed to regain a throne he never wanted. But first he must survive cruelty, chains, and the bitter waters of the Shattered Sea. And he must do it all with only one good hand.

The deceived will become the deceiver.
 
Born a weakling in the eyes of his father, Yarvi is alone in a world where a strong arm and a cold heart rule. He cannot grip a shield or swing an axe, so he must sharpen his mind to a deadly edge.

The betrayed will become the betrayer.
 
Gathering a strange fellowship of the outcast and the lost, he finds they can do more to help him become the man he needs to be than any court of nobles could.

Will the usurped become the usurper?
 
But even with loyal friends at his side, Yarvi finds his path may end as it began—in twists, and traps, and tragedy.

A swashbuckling fantasy that recalls Three Musketeers? Sounds great!

traitors-bladeTraitor’s Blade

by Sebastien de Castell

Series: Greatcoats #1

Published by Jo Fletcher Books

Genre: Fantasy

370 pages

Synopsis: With swashbuckling action that recall Dumas’ Three Musketeers Sebastien de Castell has created a dynamic new fantasy series. In Traitor’s Blade a disgraced swordsman struggles to redeem himself by protecting a young girl caught in the web of a royal conspiracy.

The King is dead, the Greatcoats have been disbanded, and Falcio Val Mond and his fellow magistrates Kest and Brasti have been reduced to working as bodyguards for a nobleman who refuses to pay them. Things could be worse, of course. Their employer could be lying dead on the floor while they are forced to watch the killer plant evidence framing them for the murder. Oh wait, that’s exactly what’s happening.

Now a royal conspiracy is about to unfold in the most corrupt city in the world. A carefully orchestrated series of murders that began with the overthrow of an idealistic young king will end with the death of an orphaned girl and the ruin of everything that Falcio, Kest, and Brasti have fought for. But if the trio want to foil the conspiracy, save the girl, and reunite the Greatcoats, they’ll have to do it with nothing but the tattered coats on their backs and the swords in their hands, because these days every noble is a tyrant, every knight is a thug, and the only thing you can really trust is a traitor’s blade.

I’m looking forward to this book, but haven’t read the second book yet! I loved the first book, need to read the second and want the last book to come down in price.

the-book-of-lifeThe Book of Life

by Deborah Harkness

Series: All Soul’s Trilogy, book 3

Published by Viking Adult

Genre: Fantasy

576 pages

Synopsis: After traveling through time in Shadow of Night, the second book in Deborah Harkness’s enchanting series, historian and witch Diana Bishop and vampire scientist Matthew Clairmont return to the present to face new crises and old enemies. At Matthew’s ancestral home at Sept-Tours, they reunite with the cast of characters from A Discovery of Witches—with one significant exception. But the real threat to their future has yet to be revealed, and when it is, the search for Ashmole 782 and its missing pages takes on even more urgency. In the trilogy’s final volume, Harkness deepens her themes of power and passion, family and caring, past deeds and their present consequences. In ancestral homes and university laboratories, using ancient knowledge and modern science, from the hills of the Auvergne to the palaces of Venice and beyond, the couple at last learn what the witches discovered so many centuries ago.

With more than one million copies sold in the United States and appearing in thirty-eight foreign editions, A Discovery of Witches and Shadow of Night have landed on all of the major bestseller lists and garnered rave reviews from countless publications. Eagerly awaited by Harkness’s legion of fans, The Book of Life brings this superbly written series to a deeply satisfying close.

July 29

I read C. L. Wilson’s first series– –and this sounds very good.

the-winter-kingThe Winter King

by C. L. Wilson

Series: Unknown

Published by Avon

Genre: Fantasy

594 pages

Synopsis: Wynter Atrialan, the Winter King, once lived in peace with his southern, Summerlander neighbors, but when the prince of Summerlea steals Wynter’s bride and murders his young brother, Wynter calls upon a dangerous Wintercraig magic called the Ice Heart and marches against Summerlea.

After three bitter years of battle, a victorious Wynter arrives at Summerlea’s royal palace to issue his terms of surrender. The prince of Summerlea stole Wynter’s bride and slew Wynter’s Heir. He wants the loss replaced. The Ice Heart is consuming him. Wynter hopes holding his own child in his arms will rekindle the warmth in his heart before he becomes the monster of Wintercraig legend, the Ice King.

The Summer King has three very precious daughters whom he loves dearly. Wynter will take one of them to wife. She will have one year to provide him with an Heir. If she fails, he will send her to face the mercy of the mountains and claim another princess for his wife. And so it will continue until Wynter has his Heir or the Summer King is out of daughters.

The plan is perfect—except for one small detail. The Summer King has a fourth daughter. One of whom he is not so fond. And she is a fiercely passionate creature, with a temper as volatile as the forces of her weathergift, the power of storms.

 

The books I plan to buy this month

Suddenly Last Summer by Sarah Morgan

Bloodshifted by Cassie Alexander

The Escape by Mary Balogh

The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson

The Suffragette Scandal by Courtney Milan

The Winter King by C. L. Wilson

What new books do you plan to get in July?

My summer reading list

toptentuesday2The Broke and the Bookish blog hosts Top Ten Tuesday.

The books I’m excited about reading this summer–a mix of books published this summer and books I already own and want to read–more than just ten!

New Books

Suddenly Last Summer by Sarah Morgan (June 24)

  • I read the first book (Sleigh Bells in the Snow) in this series around Christmas last year. Sarah Morgan is a favorite author of mine.magicbreaks

Bloodshifted by Cassie Alexander (July 1)

  • I finished the last book (Deadshifted) in this series about a month ago and am looking forward to this book since the last book ended in a cliffhanger.

The Escape by Mary Balogh (July 1)

  • Mary Balogh is an auto-buy author and I’m enjoying this historical romance series.

The Suffragette Scandal by Courtney Milan (July 14)

  • Courtney Milan is another historical romance author I like a lot. Her books are very well written.

Magic Breaks by Ilona Andrews (Aug 5)

  • The Kate Daniels series is one of my very favorite series and this is my most anticipated book of the summer!

My TBR Books

Earth Star by Janet Edwards

  • I loved the first book (Earth Girl) in this series.medair

Sweet Disorder by Rose Lerner

  • I bought this book when it came out in March, but still haven’t read it. 😦  Rose Lerner is also a favorite historical romance author.

Medair by Andrea K. Höst

  • I’m loving Andrea K. Höst’s writing and I’ve had this book (actually two books–The Silence of Medair and Voice of the Lost) for a while so I hope to read it this summer.

Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas

  • I really like the first book in this series so I need to get busy and read this one!

Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge (audiobook)

  • I’ve had this audiobook for a long time and have heard lots of great things about it.

Extras

the-apple-orchardThe Apple Orchard by Susan Wiggs (Library e-book)–if the library book comes in this summer

  • I love the cover of this book–it sure looks like summer! I have it on hold and hope I’ll get it sometime this summer.

River Road by Jayne Ann Krentz (Library e-book)–if the library book comes in this summer

  • This book came out in January and I’ve wanted to read it. I finally found it at my library so again I’ve got it on hold.

Harlequin books–light reads for summer

  • I enjoy reading Harlequin books sometimes. They’re great books for summer reading and I’ve found some good authors.

 

What books are you excited to read this summer?

Re-Read Challenge

my-reading-challenges

reread2014

 

This challenge is hosted by Lianne at Caffeinatedlife.net.

I have some books I’ve been wanting to re-read so this is a perfect challenge. I don’t do a lot of re-reading so we’ll see how well I do with this challenge…

I hope to re-read 10+ books in 2014 and have been collecting them on my Kindle reader. If I reach this goal I will be a “Re-reading champ!”

Some of the books I hope to re-read in 2014 (I will add and/or delete as the year goes on!):

1. The Beekeeper’s Apprentice by Laurie King

2. A Monstrous Regiment of Women by Laurie King

3. Naked in Death by J. D. Robb

4. Glory in Death by J. D. Robb

5. Fledgling by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller

6. Graceling by Kristin Cashore

7. Rising Tides by Nora Roberts

8. A Promise of Spring by Mary Balogh

9. Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase

10. Untie My Heart by Judith Ivory

 

 

 

Ten New Books for Summer 2013

toptentuesday2

I published this and then realized I forgot to add a shout out and link to The Broke and Bookish blog who sponsors this weekly meme.

Top Ten Tuesdays have a new topic each week asking each blogger to write about their top ten favorites for that topic. This week was the top ten books on our summer TBR list. I interpreted this as the top ten books published this summer I’m most excited about.

 

June books

trailofdead

Trail of Dead by Melissa F. Olson…this is book 2 of the Scarlett Bernard series. I read and enjoyed the first book in the series--Dead Spots–and reviewed it in May.

shapeshifted

Shapeshifted by Cassie Alexander…this is the third book in the Edie Spence series and I enjoyed the first two books a lot!

roaring-midnight

Roaring Midnight (The Gardella Vampire Chronicles) by Colleen Gleason…this book takes place in the Roaring 20s and since I liked the original Gardella books and since a book in the Roaring 20s sounds fun…

July books

Magic-Rises_md

Magic Rises by Ilona Andrews…these books about Kate and Curran are one of my favorite series. When I finally get this book it will be one of the highlights of my summer!

CarniePunk (anthology) by Rachel Caine, Jennifer Estep, Kevin Hearn, Seanan McGuire & Rob Thurman…these authors are such good writers and have written some of my favorite books so I think this would be a great anthology.

a-time-of-dying

A Time of Dying by Hailey Edwards…the first book in this series is one of my favorite books of the year so far. This is the third book in the series. I reviewed the first book–A Hint of Frost–just a couple weeks ago (though I read it in January).

August books

seduction-in-silk

Seduction in Silk by Jo Beverley…Ms. Beverley is an autobuy author for me. I love her historical romance books. This one is set in the Georgian era of the Malloren world–which started a number of years ago when Ms. Beverley wrote about the Malloren family.

arrangement

The Arrangement (Survivor’s Club) by Mary Balogh…this is the second book in Ms. Balogh’s Survivor’s Club series. She is also an historical romance autobuy author for me.

dragonwriter

Dragonwriter: A Tribute to Anne McCaffrey and Pern by Todd McCaffrey, David Brin, Lois McMaster Bujold, & Mercedes Lackey…I read the Pern books many years ago and loved them. I’m interested to see what these very good authors have to say.

May 2013 Books On My Radar

I don’t have too many books I’m excited about this month. This may change as I discover new books from other bloggers.

May 7

 

This book is a hardcover so both the book and e-book are expensive so even though this is the final Sookie Stackhouse book I won’t buy it until the e-book is less expensive…or I will try to find it at the library. It’s hard to believe this is the last in the Sookie series. I’ve been reading them for years. I wonder what Charlaine Harris is doing next.

Dead Ever After
by Charlaine Harris
Series: Sookie Stackhouse #13
Published by Ace, hardcover
Genre: Urban Fantasy

Synopsis: THE FINAL SOOKIE STACKHOUSE NOVEL There are secrets in the town of Bon Temps, ones that threaten those closest to Sookie—and could destroy her heart….

Sookie Stackhouse  finds it easy to turn down the request of former barmaid Arlene when she wants her job back at Merlotte’s. After all, Arlene tried to have Sookie killed. But her relationship with Eric Northman is not so clearcut. He and his vampires are keeping their distance…and a cold silence. And when Sookie learns the reason why, she is devastated.

Then a shocking murder rocks Bon Temps, and Sookie is arrested for the crime.


But the evidence against Sookie is weak, and she makes bail. Investigating the killing, she’ll learn that what passes for truth in Bon Temps is only a convenient lie. What passes for justice is more spilled blood. And what passes for love is never enough…

This e-book costs less than the paperback version so I’ve pre-ordered the book.

Heart of Iron
by Bec McMaster
Series: London Steampunk series, book 2
Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca, paperback
Genre: Steampunk
448 pages
Synopsis: In the mist-shrouded streets of London’s dreaded Whitechapel district, werewolves, vampires, and a clockwork army are one step away from battle…

No One to Trust
Dangerous. Unpredictable. That’s how people know the hulking Will Carver. And those who don’t like pretty words just call him The Beat. No matter how hard Will works to suppress his werewulfen side, certain things drive him beyond all control. And saucy Miss Lena Todd tops the list.
Lena makes the perfect spy against the ruling Echelon blue bloods. No one suspects that under the appearance of flirtatious debutante lies a heart of iron. Not even the ruthless Will Carver, the one man she can’t wrap around her finger and the one man whose kiss she can never forget. He’s supposed to be protecting her, but he might just be her biggest threat yet…

I already downloaded an e-book copy of this from Smashwords where it was free (for a limited time)

Tarnished Knight
by Bec McMaster
Series: London Steampunk series, book 1.5
About 51,000 words
This was available as an e-book (Apr 1, 2013). I didn’t know there was a book 1.5 until I went to Ms. McMaster’s website as I was writing this post.
Synopsis:After a vicious vampire attack left him struggling to leash the dark urges of the craving virus, John ‘Rip’ Doolan, thinks he’s finally starting to master the darkness within. The only thing that threatens to shatter his hard-won control is Esme, his closest friend and the only woman he’s ever wanted. If the stubborn beauty ever realized precisely what was going through his mind, their friendship would be ruined…

Again, this is a hardcover so even though I enjoy these mysteries I will wait to buy it or look for it at the library.

Murder in Chelsea
by Victoria Thompson
Series: Gaslight Mystery, book 15
Published by Berkley, hardcover
Genre: Historical Mystery
304 pages
Synopsis: Sarah Brandt is shattered when she learns that a woman has inquired at Hope’s Daughters Mission for Catherine, the abandoned child she has taken as her daughter. The woman claims she was Catherine’s nursemaid, now acting on behalf of the girl’s mother to reunite them.

Unwilling to simply hand Catherine over to a complete stranger, Sarah asks Malloy to investigate. But when he goes to interview the woman at her tenement in Chelsea, he finds she has been murdered.

May 15

This is a reprint of one of Ms. Kelly’s earlier books from 1989. So far, an e-book version is not shown.

Miss Chartley’s Guided Tour
by Carla Kelly
Series: n/a
Published by Camel Press
Genre: Historical Romance
250 pages
Synopsis: To all appearances, Miss Omega Chartley is a schoolteacher on holiday. In fact she is a gentlewoman fallen on hard times, left at the altar eight years earlier and forced to make her own way in the world after the loss of her family fortune.

Omega’s modest tour of England is cut short when she comes to the aid of a runaway. Jamie Clevenden has fled the clutches of a brutal uncle, and Omega is determined to help him escape the law, as represented by Bow Street Runner, Mr. Timothy Platter.

 May 28

As I write this the kindle e-book price is still set at the hardover price so I won’t buy this book right now.

The Proposal
by Mary Balogh
Series: The Survivor’s Club, book 1
Published by Dell, paperback release of hardcover published in 2012
Genre: Historical Romance
384 pages
Synopsis: Gwendoline, Lady Muir, has seen her share of tragedy. Content in a quiet life with friends and family, the young widow has no desire to marry again. But when Hugo, Lord Trentham, scoops her up in his arms after a fall, she feels a sensation that both shocks and emboldens her. Hugo is a gentleman in name only: a war hero whose bravery earned him a title, a merchant’s son who inherited his wealth. He is happiest when working the land, but duty and title now demand that he finds a wife. Hugo doesn’t wish to court Gwen, yet he cannot resist her guileless manner, infectious laugh, and lovely face. He wants her, but will she have him? The dour ex-military officer who so gallantly carried Gwen to safety is a man who needs a lesson in winning a woman’s heart. But through courtship and seduction, Gwen soon finds that with each kiss, and with every caress, Hugo captivates her more—with his desire, with his love, and with the promise of forever.

The kindle e-book is a little less than the mass market paperback so I’ve already pre-ordered this book!

Once Upon a Tower
by Eloisa James
Series: Fairy Tale series, book 5
Published by Avon, paperback
Genre: Historical Romance
416 pages
Synopsis: To win her love. . . As an extremely wealthy laird, Gowan Stoughton, Duke of Kinross, can have any of the maidens at the ball he attends. The only problem is they are all English and Gowan is not so certain they are suitable. He is accustomed to the hard-working lasses from his Highlands, not these dainty noblewomen who spend their days drinking tea or some other such nonsense. But then he makes the acquaintance of Lady Edith Gilchrist. Utterly bewitched by the emerald-eyed beauty with lush golden locks, he knows he must have her.

He must free her from her tower. . .
“Edie” had the misfortune of being dreadfully ill at her debut ball and barely remembers what Gowan looks like. Even worse, she accepted his proposal the following day. Edie’s only true passion is playing music—until Gowan writes a scandalous letter and stirs the most irresistible desire. Yet when they marry, Edie realizes her husband needs a lesson and locks herself in a tower. Somehow Gowan must find a way to enter the tower and convince his new bride that she belongs in his arms.

…………………………..

What books are you looking forward to this month? What books have I missed?

Top Ten Tuesday–Top Ten Most Vivid Book Worlds/Settings

Note: I had trouble finishing up this post this morning after the terrible events in Boston yesterday. One of my daughters ran in the Boston Marathon a couple years ago so this brought back memories of my happiness for her that day with the horror of seeing those bombs go off  blanketed over those happy memories. Plus I have a nephew and his wife who just moved from Boston. My hearts go out to all the people injuried or killed yesterday, their families and to all of Boston. My thoughts are also with the police, FBI and everyone working to catch the person or person who did this: I hope they are caught very soon and put on trial very soon.

My topic this week is apropos: Sometimes I want to escape this world reality and become immersed in a book’s world or setting. That’s one reason I read.

…………………………

This week  on Top Ten Tuesday we have a rewind–where we can pick a topic we missed the first time around or one we want to revisit. Since I have only done Top Ten Tuesday for about a month I have lots of past topics to choose from. I chose the Top Ten Most Vivid Book Worlds/Settings.

Lord of the Rings (and The Hobbit) by J. R. R. Tolkien
The world Tolkien created is one of the first fantasy worlds I learned about. It is certainly the richest and most complex world I had encountered at that time (as a teenager) and Tolkien has influenced many fantasy authors. I wanted to go to Middle Earth and the Shire after I read The Hobbit! I’ve always felt I could see the big trees walking. We had a  Beech tree in our yard when we lived in Ohio that I could see walking away from our yard.

 

Mary Poppins by P. L. Travers
My mother read the Mary Poppins books to me when I was a child before the movie was made by Disney. We both loved them so much and were so excited when the movie came out. I loved to hear about Jane , Michael, the twins and Mary Poppins. As a child I wanted to know how these children lived their lives and I envied them having a nanny! I tried reading the books to my children and either I was too early or too late, because they weren’t interested. Sad, but true!

Skinwalkers by Tony Hillerman
Tony Hillerman wrote about the Navajo Indians in the Four Corners area of Arizona and New Mexico and occasionally Colorado and Utah. I love this area of the United States and Tony Hillerman brought it alive for me. I started these books when I was a teenager and at first I thought he must be a Navajo to write the way he did. It doesn’t surprise me he won many awards for his writing or the Navajo Tribe’s Special Friends of the Dineh Award. The protangonists in this book are both Jim Chee and Joe Leaphorn of the Navajo Tribal Police. I especially like this book because it does have both characters. Both are Navajos, but they approach their lives and their investigations very differently. Jim Chee is studying with his uncle to become a yataalii (a wiseman or shaman). He is more mystical in his approach to the world than Joe Leaphorn is. Leaphorn is skeptical of the many Navajo traditions, but he does take rumors of Navajo witchcraft and other mysteries seriously. Tony Hillerman also wrote books about each character separately. Hillerman’s descriptions of the American Southwest, the weather, the people especially the Navajo Indians are all clear and strong in his books and I am swept away to the Southwest when I read these books.

Doomsday Book by Connie Willis
I read this book a number of years ago and it has stayed with me. It was a very emotional read and I also convinced one of my daughters and  my husband to read it. They loved it, too. We’ve gone on to read a number of Connie Willis books, but this is still our favorite. Kivrin travels back in time (she thinks she is going to 1320), but the technician in 2048 makes a mistake and she arrives in 1348 England during the Black Plague. One of the interesting things for me is that she doesn’t immediately realize what year she has arrived since calendars and clocks aren’t common things during that time. The Church kept their church calendar which is how people knew what time of the year it was (that and the seasons, of course!) and the church rang bells during the day. It wasn’t until people began dying that she began suspect what had happened and then she finds she can’t return to 2048 right then and maybe won’t get back at all. This wasn’t an easy read for me. Many people die and the setting was so vivid to me. I felt I was there having to watch all these people die along with Kivrin. The characters were so vivid and as in life there were heroes and villains both in 1348 and 2048 (where an epidemic also occurs).

Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley
The setting is a 1950 English village. The main character is 11 year old Flavia de Luce who is fascinated by chemistry and poison. She is also a neglected child, a prodigy of sorts and when she finds a murdered man decides to investigate. I felt part of the 1950 English village. Alan Bradley as a first time 70 year old author has written such a good series. The other books in this series are also very good. Flavia is such an interesting character and the 1950’s is a great setting.

Fledgling by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller
I like the world Sharon Lee and Steve Miller have created with all their books. They show the long history of the Liaden Universe. The Liadens are so interesting with their careful manners and complex language and I like that they aren’t perfect. In fact, there are some villains as well as the heroes. The Clan Korvel is the family followed throughout the books. Fledgling is a departure that doesn’t take place on Liad and seems not to be part of the series at first. If you read the earlier books it slowly dawns on you who some of the characters must be. The authors have created a new culture on a new planet which is very interesting. I feel like I could know these people! Each culture they introduce in their books are diverse and unique to me.

A Christmas Bride by Mary Balogh
I like Mary Balogh’s books very much…especially her older Regency books. The Christmas books and stories she writes really evoke the English winter countryside at Christmas during the Regency era. They involve families and the adults are active in their children’s lives. There is often snow and they play in the snow, have snowball fights, go sledding or go ice skating. They bring in a yule log and greenery and decorate the house. They attend Christmas Eve services and sing carols. I realize it may be an idealized setting, but it is lovely for the Christmas season especially. It makes me feel I am there!

Secrets of the Night by Jo Beverley 
This is part of Jo Beverley’s Malloren series. They are historical romances which take place in England during the Georgian era. This is one of my favorites by Jo Beverley, but really I love all her books–the Georgian Mallorens, the Regencies and the Medievals. The Marquis of Rothgar is a character in all the books and is a very powerful person in Great Britain. In this book one of his brothers is kidnapped and Rothgar is incensed. He’s determined to find out who did this and why and them make them pay for it. Rothgar is a friend of the King and the Prince of Wales. Jo Beverley does a good job showing how powerful Rothgar is and the influence he wields both inside and outside his family. I like the romance in these books, but I also like how I feel part of the Georgian period and the politics of the time.

The Warrior’s Apprentice by Lois McMaster Bujold
This is not the first book in the Vorkosigan series, but it is the first one with Miles nearly grown. He’s physically handicapped on a planet where the warrior class rules. Miles is a brilliant strategist, very intelligent, but his body betrays him. Miles can’t pass the physical for the military academy so he leaves his planet–Barrayer–to try to cope with the fact he can’t be the warrior he wants to be. This is an adventure story, but Ms. Bujold also does a great job showing Miles coming to terms with his handicap, growing up and discovering just what he can do. The people around him are also vivid. Miles begins to come into his own. The world Ms Bujold creates a unique world with people I would like to meet (at least some of them!)

Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire
This is the first book in the October Daye series. I love the way this series starts. October (Toby) works as a private investigator. She is half human and half fae and has spent 14 years as a fish after a PI assignment went bad! After that, she doesn’t want anything more to do with magic, but of course, she’s drawn back into that world. The San Francisco setting and Toby’s job sucked me into her world…the human world and the fae world in the middle of it all.

April 2013 Books

April 1

This is free right now for the Kindle (I’m not sure about other sites)
Far in the Wilds
by Deanna Raybourn
Prequel Novella (54 pages)
Published by Harlequin Mira
Genre: Historical 
Synopsis: Kenya, 1918 
Ryder White is Canadian by birth but African by choice. He is more at home in the wilds of the savannah, shooting and sleeping his way across the continent, than amongst the hedonistic colonists of Kenyan society. 

In a landscape where one false move can cost a man his life, Ryder’s skill as a guide is unparalleled, but only the rich or royal can afford his services. When a European prince hires Ryder to help him hunt an elusive leopard Ryder thinks it’s just another well-paying job with yet another spoiled voyeur. But this perilous journey is full of dangers that may change Ryder forever….

Ryder returns in A Spear of Summer Grass, where he encounters a woman from a very different world, to explore beauty and darkness and what is truly worth fighting for.

April 2

The Good, the Bad, and the Witchy
by Heather Blake
Series: A Witchcraft Mystery, #3
Published by Signet
Genre: Cozy Mystery 
Synopsis: Darcy Merriweather is Enchanted Village’s newest resident Wishcrafter—a witch who can grant wishes for others. But as Darcy prepares a celebration for a magical florist, she discovers that every rose has its thorns…

When magical florist Harriette Harkette decides to throw a lavish eightieth birthday party for herself, she hires Darcy’s Aunt Ve’s personal concierge service, As You Wish, to plan the soiree. But turning eighty isn’t all Harriette is celebrating—the Floracrafter has recently created the midnight black Witching Hour rose, the first all-natural rose of that color.

Darcy works hard on planning an extravagant celebration that will make Harriette feel like the belle of the ball. But when cake delivery boy Michael Healey—a former employee at Harriette’s greenhouse—is found dead, the celebration takes a turn. Now Michael’s ghost has imprinted on Darcy, meaning that they’re bonded until she can untangle the thicket surrounding his murder—and what exactly it has to do with the Witching Hour rose….

Blood Trade
by Faith Hunter
Series: Jane Yellowrock Novel, book 6
Published by Roc
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Synopsis: Jane Yellowrock is a shape-shifting skinwalker who’s always up for a fight—even if it means putting her life on the line…

The Master of Natchez, Mississippi has a nasty problem on his hands. Rogue vampires—those who follow the Naturaleza and believe that humans should be nothing more than prey to be hunted—are terrorizing his city. Luckily, he knows the perfect skinwalker to call in to take back the streets.

But what he doesn’t tell Jane is that there’s something different about these vamps. Something that makes them harder to kill—even for a pro like Jane. Now, her simple job has turned into a fight to stay alive…and to protect the desperately ill child left in her care.

Assassin’s Gambit
by Amy Raby
Series: The Hearts and Thrones #1
Published by Signet
Genre: Fantasy Romance
Synopsis:Vitala Salonius, champion of the warlike game of Caturanga, is as deadly as she is beautiful. She’s a trained assassin for the resistance, and her true play is for ultimate power. Using her charm and wit, she plans to seduce her way into the emperor’s bed and deal him one final, fatal blow, sparking a battle of succession that could change the face of the empire.

As the ruler of a country on the brink of war and the son of a deposed emperor, Lucien must constantly be wary of an attempt on his life. But he’s drawn to the stunning Caturanga player visiting the palace. Vitala may be able to distract him from his woes for a while—and fulfill other needs, as well.
Lucien’s quick mind and considerable skills awaken unexpected desires in Vitala, weakening her resolve to finish her mission. An assassin cannot fall for her prey, but Vitala’s gut is telling her to protect this sexy, sensitive man. Now she must decide where her heart and loyalties lie and navigate the dangerous war of politics before her gambit causes her to lose both Lucien and her heart for good.…

Emilie and the Hollow World
by Martha Wells
Series: Book 1
Published by Strange Chemistry
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Synopsis: While running away from home for reasons that are eminently defensible, Emilie’s plans to stow away on the steamship Merry Bell and reach her cousin in the big city go awry, landing her on the wrong ship and at the beginning of a fantastic adventure.

April 16

Taken
by Erin Bowman
Series: Taken #1
Published by Harper Teen
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Synopsis: There are no men in Claysoot. There are boys—but every one of them vanishes at midnight on his eighteenth birthday. The ground shakes, the wind howls, a blinding light descends…and he’s gone. They call it the Heist.

Gray Weathersby’s eighteenth birthday is mere months away, and he’s prepared to meet his fate–until he finds a strange note from his mother and starts to question everything he’s been raised to accept: the Council leaders and their obvious secrets. The Heist itself. And what lies beyond the Wall that surrounds Claysoot–a structure that no one can cross and survive.

Climbing the Wall is suicide, but what comes after the Heist could be worse. Should he sit back and wait to be taken–or risk everything on the hope of the other side?

Bronze Gods

by A. A. Aguirre
Series: Apparatus Infernum Novel #1
Published by Ace
Genre: Steampunk Fantasy 
Synopsis: Janus Mikani and Celeste Ritsuko work all hours in the Criminal Investigation Division, keeping citizens safe. He’s a charming rogue with an uncanny sixth sense; she’s all logic–and the first female inspector. Between his instincts and her brains, they collar more criminals than any other partnership in the CID. 

 
A Counterfeit Betrothal/The Notorious Rake
by Mary Balogh
Series: n/a
Published by Dell

Genre: Historical Romance
Synopsis:  A COUNTERFEIT BETROTHAL–Lady Sophia Bryant has no intention of marrying anytime soon. Her one desire is to reunite her parents, who have been estranged for fourteen years. Surely, if she happens to announce her betrothal—even a false one—they will be forced to see each other. Devilishly handsome Lord Francis Sutton seems perfect for such deceit, always agreeable to games of passion in which he has nothing to lose. The trap is set—if only Lady Sophia can keep her foolish heart from falling prey to her brilliant snares.

THE NOTORIOUS RAKE–Lord Edmund Waite is everything that Lady Mary Gregg despises: lewd, lascivious, mocking—the most incorrigible and successful rogue around. A bluestocking like her would never tempt a man whose taste runs to pretty playthings—so Mary is startled to find herself the object of Lord Edmund’s desires. Even more surprising is her reaction to his shocking advances. She may be a lady, but this man knows so well how to make her feel like a woman.

A Spear of Summer Grass
by Deanna Raybourn
Series: n/a
Published by Harlequin Mira
Genre: Historical Fiction  
Synopsis: Paris, 1923
The daughter of a scandalous mother, Delilah Drummond is already notorious, even amongst Paris society. But her latest scandal is big enough to make even her oft-married mother blanch. Delilah is exiled to Kenya and her favorite stepfather’s savannah manor house until gossip subsides.

By the time I was done with my list I had more books to be excited about this month than I thought I was going to have!  What books are making you excited for the month of April?