Thursday, 31 January 2013

Mel's Random January

January is over and we're well into 2013 now! It was a month of snow in the UK which look very pretty but seemed to cause complete travel chaos. But look how pretty!
My back garden during the snow!
I still haven't got back into the full swing of blogging, but I am back and after loosing a week to a cold and a busy period at work, I am finally feeling the reading love again... I'm still not sure if I will get back to daily posts in February but I do have a couple of cool events coming up including Nocturnal Book Reviews Anti-Hero Blog Hop (still time to sign up here!) and Sarah-Jane Lehoux's blog tour for Masquerade. Should be a good month coming up!

But how was the reading situation in January?


The Legacy (The Declaration #3) - Gemma Malley (British Books Challenge)
Changeling (The Order of Darkness #1) - Philippa Gregory (British Books Challenge)

Sealed With A Curse (Weird Girls #1) - Cecy Robson
Crimson Frost (Mythos Academy #4) - Jennifer Estep
'Til The World Ends - Julie Kagawa, Ann Aguirre & Karen Duvall
She Returns From War - Lee Collins

Sarahs Review
Magic Burns (Kate Daniels #2) - Ilona Andrews
Clockwork Angel (Infernal Devices #1) - Cassandra Clark

Other Posts:
Waiting on Wednesday: Masquerade - Sarah-Jane Lehoux

So updating the challenges -
British Books Challenge - 2 Read

Best of the Bunch: She Returns From War was different from anything else I've read for a while and I liked the changes to the series!

Honorable Mentions: Crimson Frost & Sealed with a Curse were both fun, easy reads!

So what was your month like?

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Waiting on Wednesday - Masquerade

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

Masquerade - Sarah-Jane Lehoux
Publisher: Mundania Press
Released 26th February 2013
Never trust a liar, especially when they’re telling the truth
Starting over isn’t easy, especially when the world isn’t ready for you to change. Sevy, thief turned assassin turned mercenary, isn’t having any fun adjusting to a normal, law-abiding life. Luckily for her, an old partner in crime arrives with an irresistible proposition: a getaway to a tropical island, an adventure of a lifetime, and an amazing friendship ready to blossom into an even more amazing romance.
Things are looking up for Sevy. That is, until a pack of maniacal fairies with a taste for human flesh arrive on the scene.
Now she must unravel a web of magical intrigue hidden behind the outwardly idyllic atmosphere of the islands of Belakarta. Nothing is as it seems, and no one can be trusted. Trapped under the spell of a handsome and mysterious stranger, Sevy must fight fairies and tricksters to regain her freedom.
Or spend an eternity as a sorcerer’s plaything.

I really enjoyed the first book with Sevy in, Thief so I'm really looking forward to this adventure with Sevy! 

Monday, 28 January 2013

Early Review: She Returns From War

She Returns From War
Lee Collins

Publisher: Angry Robot – Release Date 7th February 2013

E-Arc Courtesy of Netgalley & Angry Robot

Four years after the horrific events in Leadville, a young woman from England, Victoria Dawes, sets into motion a series of events that will lead Cora and herself out into the New Mexico desert in pursuit of Anaba, a Navajo witch bent on taking revenge for the atrocities committed against her people.

She Returns From War is the second book featuring Cora Inglesbury, supernatural hunter in the 1800s – think a female Dean Winchester in the Wild West! However, rather than following the action from Cora’s point of view, the whole story is told from Victoria Dawes viewpoint. Victoria is a young woman who vows revenge on the supernatural creatures that caused her parents death and searches out Cora to help. However, Cora’s past has caught up her and Vicky gets stuck in the middle...

One of things I loved about this story is that it doesn’t feel like time has stood still for Cora. This is set a number of years after The Dead of Winter and some things have changed. Cora is still a hard woman, but fair. There is never any idea that she is some special warrior – just some-one who works hard, has some skills and some luck. Victoria is a little naive but determined. Both women feel natural – real rather than stereotype heroines. The action is exciting and well-paced. The story flowed together seamlessly and felt more coherent than the first book. I liked the hints of native American magic which adds to the world already established.

This really is a fresh air in the world of supernatural hunters – the ending (which I don’t want to spoil but is a real surprise!) really brings one story to an end and starts a new one showing that Lee Collins isn’t afraid to move things forward. This really highlights that he is an author to watch! Many others would have been content to keep the series going in a continual loop for a few more books but Lee takes risks and I am very much looking forward to see what he writes next!

Recommended for fans of Kate Griffin and Chris Holm. 9 out of 10

Sunday, 27 January 2013

My Book Haul / Showcase Sundays

This is Books, Biscuits and Tea's Showcase Sunday where I share my lovely book hauls each week. Have a look back at Vicki's link up to see what everyone is up too!

It was another icy week in London with the snow from last week causing all-sorts of traffic and commuting hassles. Added to which I was struck by a cold at the start of week so my reading suffered as I just wanted to sit on the train and focus on making sure my nose didn't drip at all. As a result I only finished one book - Changeling by Philippa Gregory at the start of the week and am only half through Pantomime by Laura Lam at the moment. Luckily it was a slow week on the book front as well and I only received one from Netgalley!

Devil May Care - Patricia Eimer
Publisher: Entangled Select
Weddings are hell…
After a month of planning not one, but two, demonic weddings, all Faith Bettincourt—the youngest Crown Princess of Hell—wants is to spend some quality time with her angelic boyfriend, Matt. But when a ghost from Matt’s past walks through Faith’s apartment door, her preoccupation with the weddings from Hell is all that’s keeping her from turning his ex, in all her devious angelic glory, into a down throw pillow.
Which is about when Matt’s zealous mother declares war on Faith’s family.
Now Faith will stop at nothing to stop the craziness and make sure the impending nuptials go off without a hitch. All she’s got to do is rescue one of the grooms and go up against an army of so-called do-gooders, and everything will go back to normal. Or as normal as it can be where the Devil's spawn is concerned. With any luck, she might just be able to resuscitate her love life while she's at it.

I read the first book in this series, Luck of the Devil last year and had a lot of fun with it so when I saw this on Netgalley, I couldn't resist!

So what have you picked up this week?

Friday, 25 January 2013

Early Review: 'Til The World Ends

‘Til The World Ends
Julie Kagawa, Ann Aguirre & Karen Duvall

Publisher: Harlequin Luna: Released on 29th January 2013

E-Arc courtesy of Netgalley & Harlequin Luna

This is a collection of three stories all set at shortly after the end of the world – with each story focused on a very different apocalypse so I really need take this review one story at a time.

Dawn of Eden by Julie Kagawa
Before The Immortal Rules, there was the Red Lung, a relentless virus determined to take out all in its path. For Kylie, the miracle of her survival is also her burden-as a doctor at one of the clinics for the infected, she is forced to witness endless suffering. What's worse, strange things are happening to the remains of the dead, and by the time she befriends Ben Archer, she's beginning to wonder if a global pandemic is the least of her problems.... 

This is a prequel to the fantastic Immortal Rules. Set at the start of the zombie plague, this focuses on Kylie, a young doctor who continues to help those infect with the Red Lung disease, until Ben Archer turns up at her clinic and the dead suddenly don’t stay dead for long. The relationship between Kylie and Ben is a joy to read as they are thrown together in the most terrifying of circumstances and try to build something together. Theirs is a really tender relationship, really heart warming. Although for a YA book, there is a rather hot scene at one point! The writing is absorbing and captivating – it was impossible to stop reading until the end!

Thistle & Thorne by Ann Aguirre
After a catastrophic spill turns the country into a vast chemical wasteland, those who could afford it retreated to fortresses, self-contained communities run by powerful corporations. But for Mari Thistle, life on the outside-in the Red Zone-is a constant struggle. To protect her family, Mari teams up with the mysterious Thorne Goodman. Together, they'll face an evil plot in both the underworld of the Red Zone and the society inside the fortresses that could destroy those on the outside...for good. 

This was just a wonderful ride through a post-apocalyptic wasteland with thief Mari forced to work with mysterious Thorne in order to save her family and over throw the leader of the underworld in their zone. As ever Ann Aguirre creates realistic characters that aren’t invincible but smart enough to play to their strengths. Mari and Thorne think their away obstacles and problems, while the Red Zone and the enclosed fortress worlds are wonderfully described and I really felt like this was just the beginning of Mari’s story. Hopefully Ann will revisit this world at some point!

Sun Storm by Karen Duvall
Sarah Daggot has been chasing storms since she was a child. But after the biggest solar flares in history nearly destroy the planet, she becomes a Kinetic, endowed by her exposure to extreme radiation with the power to sense coming storms-in the cosmos and beyond. And she's not the only one. Sarah believes the Kinetics are destined to join forces and halt the final onslaught of the sun. She'll vow to keep trying to convince the one missing link in their chain of defense, the enigmatic Ian Matthews, up until the world end.

Sarah has the ability to predict the devastating sun storms that are ravaging the planet but when Ian turns up in her home town she finds herself in the midst of a battle for the survival for the world. There was enough action in this short story to fill a whole novel. However, I felt that Sarah wasn’t someone I felt much for – she seemed to believe people very quickly. There were plenty of occasions when characters were just info-dumping to her, bringing her up to-date and she kept changing her mind based on what they said. I’d rather she was shown what was happening more rather than just listening. It made her seem quite gullible. I liked the idea of the dangerous sun storms and the mutations for those few who survived but overall I just didn’t connect with the main character.

The Dawn of Eden and Thistle and Thorn were both excellent and well worth a read, but I was less enthused with Sun Storm

Recommended for fans of Suzanne Collins and Jennifer Estep. 8 out of 10

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Changeling Review

Changeling (The Order of Darkness #1)
Philippa Gregory

Publisher: Simon and Schuster

Italy, 1453. Seventeen-year-old Luca Vero is brilliant, gorgeous—and accused of heresy. Cast out of his religious order for using the new science to question old superstitious beliefs, Luca is recruited into a secret sect: The Order of the Dragon, commissioned by Pope Nicholas V to investigate evil and danger in its many forms, and strange occurrences across Europe, in this year—the end of days. Isolde is a seventeen-year-old girl shut up in a nunnery so she can’t inherit any of her father’s estate. As the nuns walk in their sleep and see strange visions, Isolde is accused of witchcraft—and Luca is sent to investigate her, but finds himself plotting her escape.     

If I didn’t know Philippa Gregory was the other of some of the best selling adult historical books, I wouldn’t be able to guess from this book. She has adjusted to writing YA books with a hint of supernatural with aplomb. Luca works for a mysterious Order within the Roman Church and along with his clerk, Brother Peter and servant Frieze, travels the country investigating unnatural events that could mean the end of the world is coming. Isolde has just lost her father and has been sent to the Abbey by her brother, just when the nuns are struck with visions and stigmata.

I have to admit that Isolde and Luca are decent enough characters – Luca has a very logical mind which helps him see through stories and hearsay while Isolde has a very modern viewpoint on women. However, my favourite characters by far are Frieze and Ishraq, their servants. Frieze might come across as simple at first but he is fiercely loyal and quite sharp. He manages to spot some details that may have otherwise passed Luca by. Similarly Ishraq, a Moor despite being raised in Italy has been brought up with numerous skills that reflect her culture. She is dedicated to Isolde, but not being Christian has a different way of looking at things to the other characters. Both of them seemed to have more layers to them than what they were sharing.

The story feels a little like two shorter stories joined together with one story focused on the visions and events at the Abbey and the second on a captured werewolf in a small village. Both mysteries have an intriguing hook to them, but the solutions are quite easy to figure out as there are no red herrings or alternatives offered. This disappointed me as I would have liked to try to figure out what was going on! Overall, I liked Frieze and Ishraq, but found the plot a little simplistic. Still I would be curious to see where the next book takes these characters.

Recommended for fans of Mary Hooper and Alison Weir. 7 out of 10

Monday, 21 January 2013

The Legacy (The Declaration #3) Review

The Legacy (The Declaration #3)
Gemma Malley

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Copy Courtesy of Bloomsbury

When a Pincent Pharmaceutical van is ambushed by the rebel group known as the Underground, its contents come as a huge surprise – not drugs, but corpses in a horrible state. It appears that the pharmaceutical company’s top drug, Longevity – which is supposed to eradicate disease and ensure eternal life – isn’t living up to its promises. Now a virus is sweeping the country, killing hundreds in its wake, and Longevity is powerless to fight it. But when the unscrupulous head of Pincent claims that the Underground is responsible for releasing the virus, it’s up to Peter, Anna, and their friends to alert the world to the terrifying truth behind Longevity before it’s too late.

If The Declaration was Anna’s book and The Resistance was Peter’s, then The Legacy is Jude’s book. For most of the story Anna and Peter are hidden away in Scotland bringing up their children in safety with Anna completely embracing the role of Motherhood. Jude meanwhile is living with the Resistance in London and is frustrated at how Pip is keeping secrets from him.

I loved the idea of a world where children are illegal as people live forever and resources are limited. Youth and new ideas are scary and people no longer have relationships – the idea of marriage that lasts forever doesn’t appeal to most people after all. The Legacy pulls all the ideas from the first two books together and wraps it up the only way it can. As a result there was nothing startling about this book – I managed to anticipate the direction of the story, but it was an enjoyable ride. Jude was a relatable hero with doubts, hopes and dreams – I actually preferred him to Peter who seems far too Alpha male to sympathise with. I also admit to being fed up with Anna who doesn’t drive any of the action and continues to be more a victim than a heroine.

Gemma Malley’s writing again was wonderful to return too – smooth and inviting. I really enjoyed the way she would add some other characters point of view occasionally to give the story a wider scope. This was the accumulation of three books and as such had a wide cast of characters – at least one character should intrigue most people. This was a satisfying end to a brilliantly imagined ‘what-if’ scenario and would appeal to those who like dystopian fiction.

Recommended for fans of Sarah Crossan and Suzanne Collins. 7 out of 10

Sunday, 20 January 2013

My Book Haul / Showcase Sundays

This is Books, Biscuits and Tea's Showcase Sunday where I share my lovely book hauls each week. Have a look back at Vicki's link up to see what everyone is up too!

This week has been snowed filled here in's settled and looks very pretty - even if it is very cold! I've also made the decision that while I won't be placing myself on a book buying ban at the moment, I need to restrict the number of books coming into the flat! At the minimum I need to ensure my floor will  support me as well as all the books! So I'm going to try and make sure that the number of books coming into the flat is less than the number of books I read that week.
This week I finished reading Sealed With A Curse by Cecy Robson - a great new UF series starting there (Review here), She Returns from War by Lee Collins - Buffy meets the Wild West and a lot of fun! and Grave Dance by Kalayna Price - another strong UF series that I loved! That's three books down and only two review books arrived so I'm on track at the moment!

Received For Review

The Fault In Our Stars - John Green
Publisher: Penguin
Diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 12, Hazel was prepared to die until, at 14, a medical miracle shrunk the tumours in her lungs... for now. Two years post-miracle, sixteen-year-old Hazel is post-everything else too; post-high school, post-friends and post-normalcy. And even though she could live for a long time (whatever that means), Hazel lives tethered to an oxygen tank, the tumours tenuously kept at bay with a constant chemical assault.
Enter Augustus Waters. A match made at Cancer Kid Support Group, Augustus is gorgeous, in remission, and shockingly to her, interested in Hazel. Being with Augustus is both an unexpected destination and a long-needed journey, pushing Hazel to re-examine how sickness and health, life and death, will define her and the legacy that everyone leaves behind.

After what happened with Mum I know this is going to be a hard book to read but I also know it's one I have to read.

Black Feathers - Joseph D'Lacey
Publisher: Angry Robot (Published March 2013)
The Black Dawn, a time of environmental apocalypse, and generations into the future in its aftermath, the Bright Day. In each era, a child undertakes a perilous journey to find a dark messiah known as The Crowman. In their hands lies the fate of the planet as they attempt to discover whether The Crowman is our saviour… or the final incarnation of evil.

Angry Robot publish some of the more intriguing books I've read over the last couple of years and the idea of a story set over two vastly different time periods sounds interesting...

So what have you picked up this week?

Friday, 18 January 2013

Crimson Frost Review

Crimson Frost (Mythos Academy #4)
Jennifer Estep

Publisher: Kensington

E-Arc courtesy of Netgalley and Kensington

I should have known that my first official date with Logan Quinn was destined to end in disaster. If we’d gotten into a swordfight, or been ambushed by Reapers, I’d have been more prepared. But getting arrested mid-sip at the local coffee hangout? I didn’t see that one coming. I’ve been accused of purposely helping the Reapers free Loki from his prison—and the person leading the charge against me is Linus Quinn, Logan’s dad. The worst part is that pretty much everyone at Mythos Academy thinks I’m guilty. If I’m going to get out of this mess alive, I’ll have to do it myself...

After the tense ending of Dark Frost, with the release of evil god Loki, it felt like a long wait for Crimson Frost when we could catch up with Gwen, Logan and the other students at Mythos Academy. But it was worth the wait with the stakes raised once again when Gwen is put on trial for releasing Loki by the Protectorate which is lead by none-other than Logan’s father. While under house arrest, Gwen will have to figure out the Reapers evil plans are while trying to convince the good guys that she’s on their side!

From the first page the plot picks up and never lets up as Gwen and friends find themselves having to explain their actions so far in the series and fight to be taken seriously. It was tense and exciting with Gwen shocked and surprised. It felt like Gwen has continued to develop and grow with her accepting her responsibilities and deciding to take action. I have to admit I was the edge of my train seat for most of the book. Gwen’s relationship with Logan has finally moved forward and I loved the way Gwen’s friends stuck by her even though everyone else seems to turn on her – Carson, Daphne, Logan and Oliver are all characters I would love to count among my own friends! Plus bonus points for making Grandma Frost kick-ass this time round!

The Reaper threat has become more real as the books progressed and there is no shying away from the threat that Gwen and friends are in – although they do seem to be very lucky whenever they are attacked as Reapers seem pretty incompetent fighters compared to these students! Overall, Crimson Frost really drives the overall arc of the series forward and is one exciting read. Fast-paced, tense and with great characters, Mythos Academy series is a must have, with this instalment one of the best so far.

Recommended for fans of Richelle Mead and Chloe Neill. 9 out of 10

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Sealed With A Curse Review

Sealed With A Curse (Weird Girls #1)
Cecy Robson

Publisher: Signet Eclipse

E-Arc courtesy of Netgalley and Signet Eclipse

Celia Wird and her three sisters are just like other twenty-something girls—with one tiny exception: They're the products of a curse that backfired and gave each of them unique powers that make them, well, a little weird…
The Wird sisters are content to avoid the local vampires, werebeasts, and witches of the Lake Tahoe region—until one of them blows up a vampire in self-defense. Everyone knows vampires aren't aggressive, and killing one is punishable by death. But soon more bloodlust-fueled attacks occur, and the community wonders if the vampires of Tahoe are plague-ridden. Celia reluctantly agrees to help Misha, the handsome leader of an infected vampire family. But Aric, the head of the werewolf pack determined to destroy Misha's family to keep the area safe, warns Celia to stay out of the fight. Caught between two hot alphas, Celia must find a way to please everyone, save everyone, and—oh, yeah—not lose her heart to the wrong guy or die a miserable death. Because now that the evil behind the plague knows who Celia is, he's coming for her and her sisters. 
This Wird girl has never had it so tough.

I’m in trouble. I had an idea that in 2013 I wasn’t going to buy any books that weren’t in series I was already reading or authors I already love – I have enough books in my TBR pile to give me plenty of new to me authors to keep me happy all year. Then I picked this up at Netgalley and it’s exactly the reason why I take a chance on debut authors! This was a blast to read – fast paced, exciting and some great romantic tension that felt natural.

Celia Wird and her sisters are different. They have certain abilities and powers that makes them stand out even in the supernatural world that they have just been pulled into. Celia is a Tigeress with the ability to shift through the ground as well. She is also the oldest and a fierce protector of her younger siblings. In fact the relationship all the sisters share is strong and unbreakable – they would do anything for each other. Although I do think they all underestimate Emme, the youngest. There is a shared history between them which is only hinted at and it intrigues me.

Finding themselves involved with vampires infected with bloodlust, the Wird girls also run into the local werewolves. Celia finds herself forming an instant connection with their leader, Aric. I don’t usually like the instant attraction plot as it is overused in a lot of stories but Cecy Robson makes it feel fresh with neither Celia or Aric loosing what makes them strong individuals even as they grow close. The other sisters also find some hot wolves and I would love to know more about their relationships as well.

As well as strong relationships between the sisters and the wolves, there are some fabulous action scenes with the sisters holding nothing back. There were some great set-pieces that had me breathless and not able to read fast enough – I would love to see some of them on the big screen! Overall this was a exciting and thrilling adventure and introduction to the world

Recommended for fans of Karen Chance and Amanda Carlson. 9 out of 10. 

Monday, 14 January 2013

Guest Review: Clockwork Angel

Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices #1)
Cassandra Clark

Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books

Magic is dangerous—but love is more dangerous still.
When sixteen-year-old Tessa Gray crosses the ocean to find her brother, her destination is England, the time is the reign of Queen Victoria, and something terrifying is waiting for her in London's Downworld, where vampires, warlocks and other supernatural folk stalk the gaslit streets. Only the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the world of demons, keep order amidst the chaos. Kidnapped by the mysterious Dark Sisters, members of a secret organization called The Pandemonium Club, Tessa soon learns that she herself is a Downworlder with a rare ability: the power to transform, at will, into another person. What’s more, the Magister, the shadowy figure who runs the Club, will stop at nothing to claim Tessa's power for his own. Friendless and hunted, Tessa takes refuge with the Shadowhunters of the London Institute, who swear to find her brother if she will use her power to help them. She soon finds herself fascinated by—and torn between—two best friends: James, whose fragile beauty hides a deadly secret, and blue-eyed Will, whose caustic wit and volatile moods keep everyone in his life at arm's length . . . everyone, that is, but Tessa. As their search draws them deep into the heart of an arcane plot that threatens to destroy the Shadowhunters, Tessa realizes that she may need to choose between saving her brother and helping her new friends save the world. . . . and that love may be the most dangerous magic of all.

I'm never quite sure what to make of prequels. They invariably offer an interesting background to later events, and there is definitely a certain frisson to seeing the younger version of later heros/heroines, or indeed their ancestors. However, unless you have read the original series recently, or are lucky enough to have an excellent memory for book plots (like Mel!) they can often prove frustrating. There are people I know I should remember, but can't, and events happen that I know are significant to later-occurring books, but just can't remember what!

However, if I had not known that Clockwork Angel was a prequel to Cassandra Clare's highly readable Mortal Instruments series, you would be reading a review with very little negativity at all. Whilst most definitely of the YA genre, with plenty of teenage angst and belief in their own invincibility, Clockwork Angel is a rampantly engaging book. A supernatural Victorian London is always a good setting for a novel, full of soot and fog and dark street corners. Add into the mix an unknowingly supernatural heroine, two very troubled but dashing heros, some dastardly villains and an author with flair, and Clockwork Angel is easy to consume in a day.

Yes, the action sequences, whilst edged with peril and adrenaline, are not as graphic and absorbing as you are treated to by authors such as James Barclay. There are also a few storyline 'hints' that to an experienced reader are almost clangers. These don't detract from the overall readability though, and if you enjoy the YA genre, I'm sure you will enjoy Clockwork Angel too. One for fans of Becca Fitzpatrick and Jana Oliver, 7.5 out of 10

Sunday, 13 January 2013

My Book Haul / Showcase Sunday

I went back to work this week, just trying to get some normality back. I even managed to read a couple of books on the commute to work so I am going to try and write reviews for them this week. In the meantime I haven't done a book haul post for a month and even with everything going on, I did end up with quite a few new books over Christmas and New Year, so here's my first Showcase Sunday of the year.
This is Books, Biscuits and Tea's Showcase Sunday where I share my lovely book hauls each week. Have a look back at Vicki's link up to see what everyone is up too!

Christmas Presents

A Song of Ice and Fire Box Set - George R.R. Martin
Publisher: Voyager
One of my closest friends bought me this box set after I adored the first book in the series, A Game of Thrones. I'm really excited about reading the rest of the books - although it will mean some weight-lifting on the train with the size of these books!

Grimm Tales - Philip Pullman
Publisher: Penguin
In this beautiful book of classic fairy tales, award-winning author Philip Pullman has chosen his fifty favourite stories from the Brothers Grimm and presents them in a'clear as water' retelling, in his unique and brilliant voice.
From the quests and romance of classics such as 'Rapunzel', 'Snow White' and 'Cinderella' to the danger and wit of such lesser-known tales as 'The Three Snake Leaves', 'Hans-my-Hedgehog' and 'Godfather Death', Pullman brings the heart of each timeless tale to the fore, following with a brief but fascinating commentary on the story's background and history. In his introduction, he discusses how these stories have lasted so long, and become part of our collective storytelling imagination.

This was a Christmas present from my guest reviewer, Sarah as she knows how much I love Fairy tales. Plus the cover looks great - I'm really looking forward to reading this soon!

The Revenge of Eli Monpress - Rachel Aaron
Publisher: Orbit
Eli Monpress is vain. He's cocky. And he's a thief. 
But he's a thief who has just seen his bounty topped and he's not happy about it. The bounty topper, as it turns out, is his best friend and master swordsman, Josef. He's been keeping secrets from Eli. Apparently, he's the only prince of a rather feisty country, and he's been ordered to come home to do his duty. This means throwing over personal ambitions like proving he's the greatest swordsman who ever lived. 
Family drama aside, Eli and Josef have their hands full. The Spirit Court has been usurped by the Council of Thrones and someone calling herself the Immortal Empress is staging a massive invasion. But it's not just politics - the Immortal Empress has a specific target in mind: Eli Monpress, the greatest thief in the world.

Competition Wins

Cold City - F. Paul Wilson
Publisher: Tor Books
We join Jack a few months after his arrival in New York City. He doesn’t own a gun yet, though he’s already connected with Abe. Soon he’ll meet Julio and the Mikulski brothers. He runs afoul of some Dominicans, winds up at the East Side Marriott the night Meir Kahane is shot, gets on the bad side of some Arabs, starts a hot affair, and disrupts the smuggling of preteen sex slaves. 

I won this from the lovely Melissa at Books and Things. It's not a series I've ever read but as it's the first in a prequel trilogy I'm sure I can pick it up! 

Glimmers - Barbara Brooke
A simple touch and suddenly, Paige is in the past - living someone else's life, seeing the world through their eyes, and feeling their deepest emotions. Paige used to think memories only existed in one's mind. But now, she knows better. She can't explain how or why, but she has glimmers: special moments that have remained behind - clinging to a letter, a ring, even a worn-out pair of boots. 
When Paige returns from each glimmer, a small part of her has changed. Who is this gourmet cook, fashion designer, feisty lover? And how is she supposed to explain this to her family without them thinking she has completely lost her mind?
Paige thought her new talent was a gift, until…she was suddenly transported into her sister’s memory, and caught a glimmer of her secret life. 

I won this over at Supernatural Snark as I thought it sounded quite intriguing and different.

This Case Is Gonna Kill Me - Phillipa Bornakova
Publisher: Tor
 What happens when The Firm meets Anita Blake? You get the Halls of Power—our modern world, but twisted. Law, finance, the military, and politics are under the sway of long-lived vampires, werewolves, and the elven Alfar. Humans make the best of rule by “the Spooks,” and contend among themselves to affiliate with the powers-that-be, in order to avoid becoming their prey. Very loyal humans are rewarded with power over other women and men. Very lucky humans are selected to join the vampires, werewolves, and elves—or, on occasion, to live at the Seelie Court. 
Linnet Ellery is the offspring of an affluent Connecticut family dating back to Colonial times. Fresh out of law school, she’s beginning her career in a powerful New York “white fang” law firm. She has high hopes of eventually making partner.
But strange things keep happening to her. In a workplace where some humans will eventually achieve immense power and centuries of extra lifespan, office politics can be vicious beyond belief. After some initial missteps, she finds herself sidelined and assigned to unpromising cases. Then, for no reason she can see, she becomes the target of repeated, apparently random violent attacks, escaping injury each time through increasingly improbable circumstances. However, there’s apparently more to Linnet Ellery than a little old-money human privilege. More than even she knows. And as she comes to understand this, she’s going to shake up the system like you wouldn’t believe...

 I won this from Book Chick City during their October All Hallows Eve event and it arrived just before Christmas when I had forgotten all about it!

Possessed - Niki Valentine
Publisher: Sphere
Emma's life has always been a struggle, and now she's been accepted at a prestigious music school, she is determined to excel. But when the impossibly chic twins, confident Sophie and quieter Matilde, come crashing into her life - surrounding her with champagne and parties - they demand Emma's full attention. 
Then shy Matilde commits suicide and shockingly, her identical twin Sophie flourishes. Now odd things are happening to Emma: blackouts, waking up in strange places, bizarre dreams. Something, or someone, is consuming Emma's mind. Terrified, Emma begins to doubt everything and everyone around her, especially the beautiful Sophie...

I'll be honest - I'm not sure where this came from. It arrived in the post with no note or anything.

Seraphina - Rachel Hartman
Publisher: Random House
Four decades of peace have done little to ease the mistrust between humans and dragons in the kingdom of Goredd. Folding themselves into human shape, dragons attend court as ambassadors, and lend their rational, mathematical minds to universities as scholars and teachers. As the treaty's anniversary draws near, however, tensions are high. Seraphina Dombegh has reason to fear both sides. An unusually gifted musician, she joins the court just as a member of the royal family is murdered—in suspiciously draconian fashion. Seraphina is drawn into the investigation, partnering with the captain of the Queen's Guard, the dangerously perceptive Prince Lucian Kiggs. While they begin to uncover hints of a sinister plot to destroy the peace, Seraphina struggles to protect her own secret, the secret behind her musical gift, one so terrible that its discovery could mean her very life.

Changeling - Philippa Gregory
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Italy, 1453. Seventeen-year-old Luca Vero is brilliant, gorgeous—and accused of heresy. Cast out of his religious order for using the new science to question old superstitious beliefs, Luca is recruited into a secret sect: The Order of the Dragon, commissioned by Pope Nicholas V to investigate evil and danger in its many forms, and strange occurrences across Europe, in this year—the end of days. Isolde is a seventeen-year-old girl shut up in a nunnery so she can’t inherit any of her father’s estate. As the nuns walk in their sleep and see strange visions, Isolde is accused of witchcraft—and Luca is sent to investigate her, but finds himself plotting her escape. 
     Despite their vows, despite themselves, love grows between Luca and Isolde as they travel across Europe with their faithful companions, Freize and Ishraq. The four young people encounter werewolves, alchemists, witches, and death-dancers as they head toward a real-life historical figure who holds the boundaries of Christendom and the secrets of the Order of the Dragon.

Black Heart Loa - Adrian Phoenix
Publisher: Pocket Books
Kallie Rivière, a Cajun hoodoo apprentice with a bent for trouble, learned the meaning of those ominous words when hoodoo bogeyman Doctor Heron targeted her family for revenge. Now, while searching for her still-missing bayou pirate cousin, Kallie finds out the hard way that someone is undoing powerful gris gris, which means that working magic has become as unpredictable as rolling a handful of dice. The wards woven to protect the Gulf coast are unraveling, leaving New Orleans and the surrounding bayous vulnerable just as an unnatural storm—the deadliest in a century—is born. As the hurricane powers toward the heart of all she loves, Kallie desperately searches for the cause of the disturbing randomness, only to learn a deeply unsettling truth: the culprit may be herself. To protect her family and friends, including the sexy nomad Layne Vallin, Kallie steps into the jaws of danger . . . and finds a loup garou designed to steal her heart—literally.

Touch of the Demon (Kara Gillian #5) - Diana Rowland
Publisher: Daw Books
Kara Gillian is in some seriously deep trouble. 
She’s used to summoning supernatural creatures from the demon realm to our world, but now the tables have been turned and she’s the one who’s been summoned. Kara is the prisoner of yet another demonic lord, but she quickly discovers that she’s far more than a mere hostage. Yet waiting for rescue has never been her style, and Kara has no intention of being a pawn in someone else’s game. 
There’s intrigue to spare as she digs into the origin of the demonic lords and discovers the machinations of humans and demons alike. Kara is shocked to discover that she has her own history in the demon realm, and that the ties between her and the demonic lords Rhyzkahl and Szerain go back farther than she could have ever imagined. But treachery runs rampant among all the lords, and she’s going to have to stay sharp in order to keep from being used to further their own agendas. The lords have a secret that dates back to earth’s ancient history, and it could have devastating repercussions for both worlds.
Yet more than anything else, Kara’s abilities as a homicide detective will be put to the test—because this time the murder she has to solve is her own.

So what has everyone else been up to this week...?