The Matador's Crown - Alex Archer *Genre* Urban Fantasy*Rating* 3*My Thoughts*In the 38th installment of the Rogue Angel series, our protagonist archaeologist Annja Creed, finds herself in Andalucia, Spain (Cadiz) where she settles in for a dig after being on the road for the previous two months. Annja enjoys archaeology and any time she gets to spend outside doing what she knows best, and away from her crazy TV show Chasing History's Monsters, is time away from fighting the bad guys and trying to stay one step ahead of trouble.Of course, Annja also loves to get involved in things that she should probably stay away from. Example: illegal artefact trafficking which leads to the inevitable belief that she has a moral obligation to stop it. So, when she naturally comes across a body in a hotel room next to hers, she realizes that there is definitely something fishy going on in Cadiz. This leads Annja to an encounter with bullfighter Diego Mantera, Ava Vital a dancer/former special ops/assassin, a less than above the board museum curator James Harlow, Police officer Cesar Soto, and a reunion of sorts, with Garin Braden who just happens to be in Cadiz at the same time as Annja. Garin, sometimes ally, sometimes nemesis of Annja, has his fingers in so many different angles, it's hard to deal with his apparent focus Annya and her Joan of Arc broadsword she carries. Apparently, Garin finds that Annja is a person of interest for both him and Roux that needs watching over. In The Matador's Crown, Garin and Annja once again join forces, albeit temporarily, and this encounter should lead to some interesting challenges for Annya in future novels.I find it interesting that I continue with this series knowing that there are still 10 or more books out there to read and I'm totally in the dark as to who is actually writing the stories. There is a bit of inconsistency in this story, but that shouldn't surprise anyone who has read the previous 38 novels!This series is truly hard to come by unless you choose to purchase each book via Amazon, or some place that offers them. Thankfully, there are libraries out there who have made an attempt to keep up on this series for readers like me who are obsessed and maybe a bit addicted.Published September 4th 2012 by Gold Eagle (first published September 1st 2012) 39. City of Swords (October 2012)40. The Third Caliph (January 2nd 2013)41. Staff of Judea (March 5th 2013)42. The Vanishing Tribe (May 7th 2013)43. Clockwork Doomsday (July 1st 2013)44. Blood Cursed (September 3rd 2013)45. Sunken Pyramid (November 2013)46. Treasure of Lima (January 2014)47. River of Nightmares (March 2014)48. Grendel’s Curse (May 2014)
Red - Alison Cherry Expected publication: October 8th 2013 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Spirit - Brigid Kemmerer *Genre* YA Paranormal*Rating* 3.5-4*My Thoughts* "The first day you meet, you are friends. The next day, you are brothers." proverb on Hunters arm.Spirit, the third novel in the Elemental series, takes us away from the Merrick brothers (Gabriel, Nick, Chris, and Michael) and focuses instead on 16 year old Hunter Garrity. Hunter is known as a fifth because of his ability to meld the spirit element (pure element) and his ability to control all four other elements. It also focuses on Kate Sullivan a girl with lots of secrets who comes to town and ends up entangled with the Merrick's and Hunter and may have her own skulls to bury deep into the woods. In all honesty, I liked this book more than I thought I would because of Michael Merrick. I adore him, as well as his girlfriend/firefighter Hannah. I like the fact that he opened up his doors for Hunter, and had the patience of a saint in dealing with Hunters angst, temper tantrums, and ulterior motives. I like the fact that he trusted Hunter enough to not only offer him a job, but to live under the same roof as the Merrick clan.For series regulars, Hunter first appeared in Storm alongside Gabriel. I was a bit surprised when it was announced that he would be a primary character in Spirit. Hunter is still smarting and hurting over the loss of his father and uncle. He ends up having to deal with a very no-nonsense grandfather who I would have liked to seen get his comeuppance for being a bastard towards Hunter and not trusting him. He also doesn't know who to trust; the Merricks or the Guides for whom his father belonged.I'm very surprised at the turn of events in this book, including the reappearance of psycho pyromaniac Calla Dean and her fate. I was even more so surprised at Kate's appearance and her characterization and what happens to her. After-all, you have Becca, Quinn, Layne, and Hannah who have stuck around and become part of the Merrick family of friends. I guess it can really get to the point where you have too many characters in a series.Kate and Hunter's relationship can be summoned up in two words: Sexual Tension. All you have to do is read two particular scenes (one in the carnival, and another in Hunter's Jeep) to know that these two sizzle together when not trying to bash in the other's head or to outsmart and outmaneuver the other. But, there is also the fact that Hunter isn't a dumb person, and understands that there is more to Kate than meets the eye. If you continue reading after the credits, you will find a short novella called Breathless (Elemental #2.5). It features Nick, Adam, and Quinn. I hope to have a review posted soon on that story as well.Next stop: Secret (Elemental #4) Expected publication: January 28th 2014 by Kensington Teen - This apparently is also Nick's story. We shall see!*Recvd via Netgalley 04/03/2013* Released: May 28th 2013 by K Teen
The Red Plague Affair - Lilith Saintcrow *Genre* Steampunk*Rating* 3.0*My Thoughts*The Red Plague Affair is book two in the Bannon and Clare series which features Archibald Clare (Mentath who relies on Logic and Reason) and Emma Bannon (Prime Sorceress who came from a very poor background). Both serve at the will of Britannia. While Clare is playing a game of catch me if you can with Dr. Francis Vance, Doctor of Art, Mentath & Thief that is taking a huge toll on his heart; Emma is tasked by Queen Victrix to not only seek out traitors to the crown, but to also find a doctor (John Morris) who apparently has created a new form of plague that ends up being unleashed on Londinium (London).The Red Plague, set in alternate Victorian era, flip flops POV's between chapters after Clare and Bannon finally manage to realize that they need to be working together in finding a way to stop the plague from spreading, while also discovering a cure before it's too late. Apparently, this story takes place 2 years after the Iron Wyrm Affair and I didn't find it necessary to go back to read that book, or to say that you should probably read the first book first. I think readers will come away seeing that Clare and Bannon are clearly two different characters who go about things in their own unique way. While Clare is more logic driven and older, Bannon is like an iron fist who crushes Victrix's opponents without much of a concern about how others will feel about her. I do think, however, that we do see a bit of Bannon's consciousness coming out when she wonders how much longer she can serve Victrix's desires. One of the questions from The Iron Wyrm Affair still chips away at my brain: What is Emma's relationship with Mikal (Shield) and what is the mystery surrounding his origins? Here's hoping that it is better explained in the next book in this series. There is also the point of debate in this book that I am jumping on like other reviewers: How is it that Clare and Vance could survive so long after being exposed to the Plague? What exactly did Bannon do to Clare when he was suffering from the plague? What did Mikal do to Bannon when she fell ill? Is Bannon and Queen Victrix on the outs? Who was the mysterious Prime who appeared in the book, but was never revealed & why is he stalking Emma? Are we headed for a twisted 3 way love triangle between Mikal, Emma, and Bannon?*Recvd via NetGalley 05/21/2013* Released: May 21st 2013 by Orbit
First Bite - Dani Harper 09/20/2013 Recvd via NetGalley - Expected publication: October 15th 2013 by Montlake Romance
The Last Academy - Anne Applegate *Genre* YA Paranormal*Rating* 2.5-3*My Thoughts* I hesitated in reading The Last Academy until now, because I don't normally read novels that center on characters that are so young. I also wasn’t encouraged by fellow reviewers & bloggers comments towards the story and characters. You are probably asking yourself, why then did you request it dummy? It is because I am addicted to reading, and thought this would be about ghosts and other possible paranormal characters. I would definitely say that The Last Academy aims more towards the middle grade student than the young adult market. For me, there was absolutely no way that I could connect to a character that is so young when I'm three decades older. I found myself rolling my eyes on more than a few occasions and that should have been my coup de grace to exit stage left. However, since I have NEVER not finished a book, I felt the need to find out how the book ended.14 year old Camden Fisher finds herself at the Lethe Academy boarding school after a freak accident leaves her in a state of disconnect from reality and angry with her best friend. Camden realizes that not everything is picture perfect and that she will face unusual challenges as a result. When Camden realizes that not everything is what it seems, she goes in search of answers which may or may not shock her to the core. Obviously, I am not going to say what happens to her that sent her to Lethe in the first place. If you choose to read this story, then I will say that there is no real surprise or mystery as to what happens to her if you paid CLOSE attention to the first chapter. (The synopsis also kind of spoils the story as well.)It takes a really long time for Camden’s mind to catch up with the reality of the situation and by then, she needs to make a choice of what to do next. By the way authors, if I read “In My Mind’s Eye” one more time over the next 10 years, I will charge you with my next psychiatrist visit. Every time I read those 3 little words, I wanted to take a shot of bourbon to kill the pain I was feeling from the repetitiveness of seeing this statement over and over again.The Last Academy has all the things that people expect from YA, MG novels: there is the ideological roommate who is truly hateful and therefore conflicts are inevitable between Camden and her. There is the spunky Brynn Laurent who apparently was a big deal in the tennis world before ending up in Lethe. Add Nora Alpert to the mix as the girl who befriends and sticks with Camden through a bunch of rough periods, including finding possible love with Mark Elliott and you basically have all the main characters.Clearly, I have feelings towards this story, but it basically revolves around the main character being so righteously indignant most of the time that she shredded my last nerve on numerous occasions. She’s really a pain in the ass if you want the truth. I didn’t really find anything positive to say about her until she finally started uncovering the truth about the teachers and why they're at Lethe, as well as her own fate. *Recvd via Netgalley* Released: May 1st 2013 by Point
Sworn to Raise - Terah Edun *Genre* Fantasy*Rating* 3.0*My Thoughts* Ciardis Vane is an orphaned gypsy girl who is known for her red dye that's made out of mountain plants and an elusive ingredient that she refuses to allow anyone access to. When a chance encounter with Lady Serena of the Companions Guild happens in her home town of Vaneis, Ciardis finds herself whisked away from her drab life where she is a laundress, into a whole new world of magic, intrigue, and court politics where only the strong survive.For the record, Companions are men & women that magically complement they’re patron or partner. Some have determined that companions are actually prostitutes, but I won't go that far. Companions often end up married to their patrons and bear them children based on what they are contractually obligated to do.Ciardis has no clue about her heritage until she arrives at the Companions Guild and finds out from the Head Archivist. She was orphaned and never really understood that her mother was known as a powerful Weathervane, or a person who can enhance a mages powers. Now, it is her turn to take her place among the past Weathervane's if she can survive her fellow students, court intrigue, and challenges she must face in order to complete her training.Sword to Raise had a lot of potential. Unfortunately, for me, it felt a bit disconnected and discombobulated in more than one area. As an example, Ciardis is walking with one character in a Maze challenge, when suddenly within one paragraph, another characters name appears in his place. Then you have the clothes she was wearing at the time. How she ends up going from wearing a tunic to a dress was beyond weird.I would have also liked to have more background on Lady Serena, Damias Lancer, and other girls who are being trained at the same time as Ciardis. I would have liked to see more training aspects as well. I think the idea of brushing over, or removing entire aspects of a persons life is wrong.I have Sworn to Release, so, I shall continue reading this series/trilogy to see if things get any better. Released: April 10, 2013
Sworn to Transfer - Terah Edun *Recvd via NetGalley* Published September 17th 2013

A Study in Silks

A Study in Silks - Emma Jane Holloway *Genre* Historical Fiction, Steampunk*Rating* 3.5*My thoughts*Emma Jane Holloway's "A Study in Silks," is the first novel in The Baskerville Affair trilogy, with the remaining novels (A Study in Darkness & A Study in Ashes) being released a month apart from the other. It is a steampunk, historical fiction, murder/mystery novel that is set in 1888 Victorian London. The main character is Evelina Cooper, the niece of Sherlock Holmes who does make an appearance along with Dr. Watson in the story. London is a place where Steam is the lifeblood of the city thanks to Robber Barons, pardon me, Steam barons who refuse to allow any other form of power, IE Electricity to interfere with their monopoly and their intent to spread it to the Continent. They penalize people who attempt to bypass their steam by Disconnection, intimidation, and embarrassment. This is a time where magic is illegal and people are arrested for witchcraft. Anyone claiming to use real magic is subjected to jail, execution, or a trip to her majesty’s lab for testing. Evelina is an interesting character in that she grew up in the circus and later was taken away by her more Society orientated grandmother Sherlock to be sent to school to learn how to become a proper English lady. Evelina has a lot of her uncle Sherlock's spunk and drive but not his hatred for magical things. Evelina has a unique relationship with magic and mechanical things and loves to create things using Deva's (nature spirits). She also knows that if this secret love gets out, she will be cast aside by English society and sent to the gallows or experimented on.Upon completion of school, Evelina found herself staying at the home of her best friend Imogen Roth and family while preparing for her first Season of society where ladies are expected to look for potential husbands. This leads to Evelina's curiosity getting the better of her when a maid is found killed and the mystery of whom was responsible sends Evelina into a race against the steam barons, a maniacal sorcerer named Dr. Magnus, and two different men who may hold her heart strings (Tobias Bancroft and Niccolo her best friend from the circus.) It is hard for me to choose between Tobias and Nick as the better suitor for Evie since I am a person who doesn’t really care for triangles of any sort. Obviously, each character has his positives and negatives and both characters left a lasting impression on Evie with their final actions in this novel.I’m also wondering how much of a role Sherlock is going to play in this book. Personally, I would love to make it more about Evie, but I won’t fall on my own sword in an effort to besmirch or deny that I like this world and its characters.A Study of Silk is a rather LONG novel in that it has 560 pages. I felt as though it could have been around 100 pages shorter! It took me awhile to get into the story because there is so much going on. Yet, it isn’t a repetitive story. Evie isn’t the only character who gets a chance to tell her story which in this case, isn’t a bad thing because you need to have these other characters point of view in order to understand what is happening around and to Evie.*Recvd 05/28/2013* Expected publication: September 24th 2013 by Del Rey
Black Horizon - James Grippando 09/19/2013 Recvd via Edelweiss Expected publication: March 4th 2014 by Harper
The Dream Thieves - Maggie Stiefvater *Genre* YA Paranormal*Rating* 4.0*MY thoughts shortly*Of course there would be a cliffhanger!*Recvd via NetGalley 07/31/2013 Expected publication: September 17th 2013 by Scholastic Press
Mind of Winter - Laura Kasischke *Recvd 09/16/2013 via Edelweiss* Expected publication: March 25th 2014 by Harper (first published August 22nd 2013) *Synopsis Per Edelweiss via Harper Collins*On a snowy Christmas morning, Holly Judge awakens, the fragments of a nightmare-something she must write down-floating on the edge of her consciousness.Something followed them from Russia. On another Christmas morning thirteen years ago, she and her husband Eric were in Siberia to meet the sweet, dark-haired Rapunzel they desperately wanted. How they laughed at the nurses of Pokrovka Orphanage #2 with their garlic and their superstitions, and ignored their gentle warnings. After all, their fairy princess Tatiana-baby Tatty-was perfect. As the snow falls, enveloping the world in its white silence, Holly senses that something is not right, has not been right in the years since they brought their daughter-now a dangerously beautiful, petulant, sometimes erratic teenager-home. There is something evil inside this house. Inside themselves. How else to explain the accidents, the seemingly random and banal misfortunes. Trixie, the cat. The growth on Eric's hand. Sally the hen, their favorite, how the other chickens turned on her. The housekeeper, that ice, a bad fall. The CDs scratched, every one. But Holly must not think of these things. She and Tatiana are all alone. Eric is stuck on the roads and none of their guests will be able to make it through the snow. With each passing hour, the blizzard rages and Tatiana's mood darkens, her behavior becoming increasingly disturbing and frightening. Until, in every mother's worst nightmare, Holly finds she no longer recognizes her daughter.
The Collection - Shannon Stoker Expected publication: February 11th 2014 by William Morrow & Company The Collection: A Registry Novel by Shannon Stoker On Sale Date: February 11, 2014, Ship Date: January 22, 2014 9780062271747, 0062271741 A William Morrow Paperback OriginalIt's a brave new world in America-a world where young women are breeders, and the prettiest go to the highest bidders. In this sequel to The Registry, Mia Morrissey has escaped to a refuge far from American soil, but the threat of the Registry still loomsMia's made it to Mexico with Carter and Andrew-but it's not the Promised Land they hoped it would be. Carter is grieving after his father's death, and Andrew is distant. When the young men are captured by rebel forces, they become reluctant recruits in the underground militia, rather than be deported to certain death. Grant, the "husband" back home who bought Mia to be his lawfully wedded his wife, has been instructed to stand down by the Registry. But he nonetheless persists in his pursuit, and approaches Carter with a deal to swap his father, presumed dead, for Mia. Before Carter can act on this proposal, Mia is able to orchestrate their escape from the militia. The three of them disappear into Guatemala, where they join a group of American refugees. There Mia finally meets her covert ally "S," the young woman who helped her escape the Registry and another runaway-Frank and Al's daughter, Steffy. When Mia confesses her role in Andrew's and Steffy's fathers capture, they're appalled. Driven by the need to redeem herself, Mia vows to go back-and destroy the Registry.
Innocent Blood (The Order of the Sanguines #2) - James Rollins, Rebecca Cantrell Expected publication: December 10th 2013 by William Morrow
Insanity - Susan Vaught Expected publication: February 18th 2014 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens
The Haven - Carol Lynch Williams Expected publication: March 4th 2014 by St. Martin's Griffin