What do you want to read this week? It’s kind of a slow week, release-wise. Next week is going to be HUGE. Really. Huge.
If you’re new around these parts, you might wonder what Reader’s Choice Monday is. Below are the new releases from this week that I thought would most interest readers of this site. I tended to cut out a lot of hard sci-fi and YA and some indies whose covers kind of went down the rabbit hole with Alice. So, if you win a Reader’s Choice book this week and want one of these, great. BUT if you win and don’t want any of these, you can choose another book. Anything. Any format. Just pick your favorite of these books and, If you do win, you can pick anything at all. All I ask is that you select a book, print or digital, that costs less than US$15 so that I do not have to declare bankruptcy. Open internationally, of course, as long as you live somewhere Book Depository delivers.
Now, here’s what I considered the most interesting from among the new books releasing Feb. 23-28. If you’re an author and would like to have your book included, email me the relevant info! If one of your favorites didn’t make my cut, include it in your comments!
BRINK OF EXTINCTION, by Nicholas Ryan. Standalone dystopian/zombies. Out of the ashes of the zombie apocalypse, the world left behind is a cruel and brutal place. For many, the shadow of the great war against the undead hordes still looms large, putting strained friendships at risk, and leaving countless lives… on the brink of extinction.
DRAGON KNIGHT (The Collegium #3), by Jenny Schwartz. Kindle only. Dragon knight Gina Sidhe serves Earth’s only resident dragon, and she’s been issued with a quest. She must return with Lewis Bennett, President of The Collegium (the world’s magical order of peacekeepers), so that he may learn the Deeper Path of Magic from the dragon. A path that has been denied to Gina, and one she desperately wants. …But Lewis isn’t interested. He knows his magic has gone, burned out amid a terrible tragedy. Which makes his current task all the harder. He must restructure and repurpose The Collegium in the wake of a shocking and sly demon attack. He doesn’t have time for Gina’s quest, until she offers him the one thing he can’t have: a hidden route out of his Collegium life. …Because Lewis has his own quest, one secret and lethal, to save the world from a threat no one else believes in.
HERO RISING (Project Solaris #2), by Chris Fox. The war has begun, and we are losing. The grey men and their agents pursue us relentlessly. Our only hope is finding the mythical Hall of Records, where we hope to uncover the secrets of the Builders. Our journey begins in Cairo, and will take us further than anyone could imagine. If we succeed the human race has a chance. If not, our race will be extinguished.
A SPIRIT DISPLACED (Lansin Island #3), by Andrew Butcher. When Nick discovers an ancient godlike being wants him dead, his life becomes a lot more complicated. On top of that, other creatures he thought existed only in folklore are hunting his mother’s spirit and haunting his dreams. To protect his loved ones, he can no longer rely on his visions alone. He must learn to fight. …Juliet wants to help Nick, but her life is hectic enough as it is. After a brief and messed-up romance with a killer, she’s relieved to finally be on the sidelines. But her strong connection to the Spiritworld means she might be the only one who can help Nick’s mother. She has little choice but to enter the fray again. …Though fighting the creatures in the Spiritworld is risky, it’s their best chance to help Nick’s mother. They just have that other little problem: A demon wants Nick’s head on a plate …
TRAVELLER, by Abigail Drake. Former Junior Miss Kentucky Emerson Shaw won pageants using martial arts as her talent and Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War” as her guide, but a painful secret leads her to the University of York, and puts her in the path of tattooed and pierced bad boy, Michael Nightingale. …Michael is a Traveller, part of an ancient line of mercenary gypsies who protect the world from vicious monsters called the Moktar. When Emerson gets attacked, she has no choice but accept Michael’s offer of protection or face certain death. …Traveller society, full of outdated rules and ridiculous superstitions, isn’t a good fit for the headstrong Emerson. Traveller women aren’t allowed to fight. Traveller women aren’t allowed to win. Traveller women aren’t allowed to leave. But Emerson will do what she must, even if it means losing the one person who matters most. Note: Abigail Drake will be visiting the blog on March 1, and she’s awesome!
THE DOWRY BLADE, by Cherry Potts. Nine years after the loss of her sister, and near obliteration of her clan in an ill conceived raid, Brede, a plains’ nomad, is living unwillingly in the marshes. The sudden ending of a decade long drought, brings with it many changes; rumour has it that the rain was bought at the price of a King’s head, and the sword needed for such a sacrifice is missing….Change comes for Brede in the arrival of Tegan, a wounded mercenary….Brede’s discovery, first of the Dowry Blade and a stolen horse, and then of Tegan’s history, sets in train a journey to the capital in search of her missing sister and leads to an unexpected role in the Queen’s household, and a powerful lover.
THE WITCH WHO CAME IN FROM THE COLD, EPISODE 5: THE GOLEM, by Ian Tregillis. Digital only. As Gabe recalls the terrifying circumstances of the botched operation in Cairo, he and Jordan seek answers in Prague’s ancient Jewish Cemetery. Tanya, disturbed by Gabe’s accusations about Ice, looks for answers of her own…and finds more than she bargained for. Meanwhile Sasha makes an unexpected move in his real-life game of chess….This episode is brought to you by Ian Tregillis, who reminds you to be careful where you stick your nose….“The Golem” continues the 13-part serial, The Witch Who Came In From The Cold , presented by Serial Box. This espionage fantasy is brought to you by Lindsay Smith, Max Gladstone, Cassandra Rose Clarke, Ian Tregillis, and Michael Swanwick. Note: The entire series, since not yet released, is not eligible for the Reader’s Choice giveaway.
BEYOND RUIN (Beyond #7), by Kit Rocha. Adrian Maddox fled his royal life—and tragic past—in Sector One, choosing instead to join up with the O’Kanes. For years, he’s lived by one rule: love fast, love hard, and always be willing to walk away. He’s managed to guard his heart, keep it whole and untouched—until now….They couldn’t be more different—Dylan, the brilliant, burned-out doctor from Eden who drowns his pain with drugs and self-destruction. Scarlet, the sensuous, sexy rocker from Three, a woman unafraid to embrace the world. And Jade, the whore turned spy from Sector Two, who battled addiction and came out stronger than anyone he’s ever met….Separately, they make Mad long to open his heart, to tumble head-first into a sea of possibilities and wild love. Together, they make him burn, inside and out, with lust and unbearable, unimaginable pleasure….Then one fateful moment shakes their world to its foundations—and leaves the sectors on the verge of all-out war with Eden. It’s the biggest fight the O’Kanes have ever faced, and Mad and his lovers are at the dead center of it. They could end up with everything they never knew they wanted—or lose it all. Including their lives.
A GATHERING OF SHADOWS (Shades of Magic #2), by Victoria Schwab. Four months have passed since the shadow stone fell into Kell’s possession. Four months since his path crossed with Delilah Bard. Four months since Rhy was wounded and the Dane twins fell, and the stone was cast with Holland’s dying body through the rift, and into Black London….In many ways, things have almost returned to normal, though Rhy is more sober, and Kell is now plagued by his guilt. Restless, and having given up smuggling, Kell is visited by dreams of ominous magical events, waking only to think of Lila, who disappeared from the docks like she always meant to do. As Red London finalizes preparations for the Element Games—an extravagant international competition of magic, meant to entertain and keep healthy the ties between neighboring countries—a certain pirate ship draws closer, carrying old friends back into port….But while Red London is caught up in the pageantry and thrills of the Games, another London is coming back to life, and those who were thought to be forever gone have returned. After all, a shadow that was gone in the night reappears in the morning, and so it seems Black London has risen again—meaning that another London must fall.
RUNAWAY VAMPIRE (Argeneau #23), by Lynsay Sands. Dante Notte has heard it said that love hurts. He just wasn’t expecting it to run him over in an RV. Still, a punctured lung and broken ribs are nothing compared to the full-body shock he feels whenever he’s near the vehicle’s driver, Mary Winslow. He needs to keep her safe from their pursuers while he rescues his brother. Most challenging of all, he needs to claim this smart, stubborn woman as his life mate….The naked, injured, insanely gorgeous younger man who clambered into her RV insists they belong together. If Mary wasn’t feeling their incredible connection in every inch of her being, she wouldn’t believe it. But now that the men who took Dante’s twin are after her too, trusting her gut means risking her life for an immortal who’s the very definition of a perfect stranger.
DAWN OF ASH (Imdalind #6), by Rebecca Ethington. Underneath the deep red barrier Edmund has placed over the city, Prague is in ruins… Vilỳ hide in the darkened alleys, waiting to attack anyone who passes, while Edmund’s men roam the blood-soaked streets, scouring every crumbling building in a mad attempt to flush out Ilyan and his men. …Among the danger, Ilyan and Joclyn are trapped, unable to leave the city. trying to keep their people safe behind a powerful shield, unseen from Edmund and his scouts. …Wyn spends her days haunted by her daughter and watching Thom waste away from the mysterious curse slowly taking him. …Ryland has risen above his father’s control, ready to take his place as his brother’s second. However, Sain needs his help first for a simple assignment, or so he thinks. …Their safety is about to be shattered. …A mole behind those safe, Cathedral walls has begun whispering through the survivors that Joclyn is unstable, that her magic is an uncontainable force that will destroy them all in the end. …Determined not to let the rumors affect her, Joclyn battles ahead, only to have reality and sight intersect in an explosion that shatters the walls between future, past, and present, leaving her imprisoned in a seamless existence she must learn to control … before Edmund and Ovailia control her….Before Sain unfurls the plan he has been orchestrating for centuries.
THE POWER (Titan #2), by Jennifer L. Armentrout. With any great change, there is always strife, and the Covenant University has become the frontline between pure-bloods who want the Breed Order reinstated and the half-bloods who want the right to control their own destinies.
Fate has other plans….The violence is escalating and war between the races seems inevitable, and it couldn’t come at a worse time. Hyperion may be out of commission, but Josie and Seth know they have only earned a reprieve. Seth must get Josie fully prepared, which means controlling her newfound abilities, and they need to find the other demigods before the Titans do.
But the gods are sensing a greater threat….Only one thing is more dangerous than a bunch of starved Titans, and that’s an out-of-control Apollyon. The aether in Josie is drawing Seth in deeper, and when lust mixes with love and gives way to power, he knows being close to her is not only dangerous to her, but to everyone around them, but letting her go requires a level of selflessness that just isn’t Seth’s style….The paths taken in the past are becoming the roads of the future….Just as chaos breaks out, familiar faces from the past return, complicating the already strained bond between Josie and Seth, and when the danger from the Titans erupts with devastating consequences, the dark allure of power calls to Seth again, but this time Josie might not be able to pull him back….And when the struggle between power and love becomes the deadliest battleground, there may be no salvation.
BITTER BITE (Elemental Assassin #14), by Jennifer Estep. Which is stronger: blood ties or a battle-tested friendship? It’s not easy being queen bee of an underworld abuzz with crooks and killers. Wielding my potent Ice and Stone elemental magic will only get me so far—my real secret is my tight-knit makeshift family, a motley crew of cops and criminals, dwarves and playboys. My foster brother Finnegan Lane is my right-hand man, but when his suddenly not-dead relative comes back into the picture, I’m the one on the outside looking in. …It’s funny how life works: one minute your best friend is rock-steady, and the next he’s doe-eyed and buying into this whole loving-relative routine to the point of ignoring you. I’d like to be happy for Finn, I really would. But all of my instincts are telling me that beneath the syrupy sweet demeanor and old-fashioned charm, this sudden interloper is planning something. The whole shtick leaves a bitter taste in my mouth. This person might have avoided the grave once, but I’ll put anyone who hurts Finn in the ground—for good.
SINKING (Sinking #1), by Sarah Armstrong-Garner. Digital only. Jocelyn washes up on the shore of eighteenth century Ireland, alone, naked, and missing all of her memories. Taken in by a lonely old woman full of plots and schemes for the lovely yet enigmatic creature, Jocelyn knows only one thing. She longs for the sea with every ounce of her being. Yet it tried to kill her….Aidan Boyd loves two things. His ship and the sea. When Jocelyn is thrust upon his vessel in the midst of his superstitious crew, he finds himself intoxicated by her–willing to give up everything for her. He soon finds he cannot live without her….But something holds Jocelyn back. The whisper of another’s love. The embrace of water. Does she belong to this world? Or could Jocelyn possibly be from the sea?
THE ANTHRAX PROTOCOL, by James Thompson. In an excavation site in Mexico, a team of archeologists uncovers the lost tomb of Montezuma–and a deadly strain of anthrax as ancient as the Biblical plagues. One by one, the team falls violently ill, bleeding from their eyes and ears before succumbing to a slow, painful death. Whatever was buried with the Aztec chief is still active, infectious–and now airborne…It Spreads Quickly…In Austin, a young archeologist listens to the dying words of her mentor in Mexico–a warning to quarantine the site before all hell breaks loose. In Atlanta, the CDC’s Dr. Mason Williams leads an emergency squad on a life-or-death mission–into the hot zone. At Fort Detrick, an army officer sends a trained team to secure the anthrax–as a biological weapon. But time is running out. The disease is spreading rapidly across the border, into the airports, and across the globe, killing thousands. With no cure, no vaccine, and no way to contain it, there will be no hope for humanity–to survive
HORSE (Rolling Thunder Motorcycle Club #6), by Candace Bevins. Digital.
Horse is one of the first non-wolf shifters to be patched into the RTMC after the rule change. He’s a Grizzly Bear, and his old pawnshop has become the MC’s new gun store in a mutually beneficial arrangement….Gabby is a rabbit shifter with a complicated history. Rabbits live in Faerie, but her parents chose to escape to the human realm so they could be together. Tragedy struck twice though, and she was taken to The Summerlands at fifteen to be raised by extended family. She’s grown now and has chosen to come back, even though it means she’s alone in this world….Bears are loners who are used to getting their way. Rabbits are sexual, social creatures who need a wide variety of partners in their lives if they go outside their own species….And Gabby’s past is on a trajectory to keep her from the future she wants
BROKEN SILENCE (Black Hills Wolves #42), by Jennifer Kacey. More than a decade before, when Paul was nothing but a child, fate dealt him a hand he couldn’t win. Silenced him forever for speaking out against the former Alpha, stole his destiny, and robbed him of his place in the pack….Presley Ginger, a tiny human female, couldn’t have been further from what he expected to walk into the bar and alter his future. But he couldn’t tell her anything about his wolf or his shift. Nothing. Bound by a direct order from the enforcer to keep her in the dark, his need for her would never see the light of day. Then the moon rose above him in the presence of his mate and changed everything….For years, in the background is where he stayed, unable to find his voice. Until his rainbow-haired mate showed up in the Black Hills—with the answer in her hands.
HYBRIDS, by Geri Glenn and Shelly Morgan. Their mother was the Angel of Protection. Their father was a soldier of the Underground. No one ever thought a demon could love an angel, but when their parents met, it was love at first sight. They fought their attraction until it was too much to take. When God, and the Devil himself, found out about the pregnancy, they fled to protect themselves and their unborn child. But when the pain of labor was over, instead of one baby, there were two; hybrid twins….Cyrus and Joey are fraternal twins and the product of this forbidden love between ultimate good, and ultimate evil. When their parents are slain immediately following their birth, the twins are given refuge inside of a convent by a kind, but no-nonsense, priest with a penchant for slaying demons. The priest trained the twins from a young age to kill off an entire race that they themselves descend from….Now, nineteen years later, Cy and Joey leave the convent for the first time to investigate a series of rapes and murder happening at a college campus hours from the only place they’ve ever known or called home. Trying to navigate in this new world of school, parties, and the allure of the opposite sex, the twins quickly learn that being human isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. As they struggle with the feelings that come with falling in love, they both fight a battle from deep within. Will their love be enough? Will their own personal vendettas pull them in the wrong direction? But the question that plagues them most – are they good, or evil?
CINDER’S WOLF: A SHIFTER RETELLING OF CINDERELLA (Shifter Fairy Tales #2), by Sylvia Frost. A sexy, stand alone shifter fairy tale retelling of Cinderella. …Billionaire Rex West may be known to the world as a Wall Street wonder, but he’s got a secret. In order to live among humans, this werewolf has trapped his inner beast in a gilded cage of control and lost any hope of finding his mate. Until he meets her… Curvy Cynthia Cinders has one focus– save her cleaning and organizing business and move out of her stepmother’s house. So when she gets an invitation to a masquerade, she’s more interested in landing an investor than playing princess. But this prince isn’t just a prince, and he has plans for Cynthia…
CHANCE ON LOVE (Katan Wolves #0.5), by Nancy Corrigan. Digital. Sean Reynolds is content wielding his dominant personality as the public face of Kagan Industries. Pack leadership–and all the responsibilities that go with it–doesn’t interest him. But when alpha-in-waiting Nic Kagan skips town, there’s no one to take on his aging father’s spirit wolf. No one but Sean….Sean wants none of it, but with his wolf growling in eagerness to fill that void, he heads for the bar in an attempt to drink the beast into submission….He’d like to ignore the sultry blonde shifter burning up the dance floor with moves that make him painfully aware of the full moon. But when she abruptly disappears, his wolf sends him in hot pursuit. Following the scent of a female he can see in his bed not for a single night, but for a lifetime…NOTE: The Kagan Wolves series is set in the same world as the Royal Pride series.
Okay, so which one floats your boat this week? Let’s see if everyone picks the new Jennifer Estep!