I’m back! I survived my overcommitted September intact, or as intact as I get these days. So even though it’s Tuesday, we’ll have a longer-than-usual Reader’s Choice giveaway, albeit with a slight change given my status among the unemployed, er, I mean, full-time-authors-who-don’t-make-a-living-wage-from-their-writing. There will now be one giveaway per month, still open internationally, and each person can enter once per week.
Here’s how Reader’s Choice works. Each week, let me know in the comments which of these sounds most promising to you, and you could win it—or any other book of your choice up to US$20! I will post the winner on the last day of each month.
Before we get to new releases, my Susannah Sandlin alter-ego is a sponsor in this month’s mega-giveaway from Night Owl Reviews, called “Cupcakes and Books Scavenger Hunt.” It’s a scavenger hunt with 34 authors, 128 winners and $850 in prizes! You can learn all about it here, and start playing!
And now for the new releases… The drought of the summer is over, and the onslaught of fall releases has begun. (Stay tuned for an announcement from me on Wednesday!) In the meantime, see what you think of theses….
Order of the Fallen (Grimm Chronicles #3) by M.J. Fletcher
Declared a member of the Fallen… she refuses to fall. …Jessica Grimm is one of the greatest warriors the Skeleton Key Guild has ever known. But betrayal and rejection has caused the Guild to turn their backs on her at a time she needs their help the most. A time she must face her greatest threat… the man who has orchestrated her destruction… Alexander Pope. With loyal friends and the enigmatic man who has stood beside her since the beginning, Merric Vale, Jess must race against time itself to save her family and finally defeat her worst enemy. Will she survive or will she lose everything and remain a member of the Fallen?
Aletheia (Seventh River #1) by Megan Tennant
Nearly two decades after the fall, the transcendent city of Iris is the only place rumored to have a cure to the disease that decimated the world. Beyond Iris, are the remnants of the old world, crawling with the Depraved. Infected with Lethe, they no longer remember the people or dreams they were once willing to fight for, and are left instead with familiar voices that whisper dark and unfamiliar words within their minds. Instinct is all that keeps the diseased struggling to exist another day. …Deep underground, below Iris, exists a compound, prison to the Nameless who traded their freedom for the cure to Lethe. It is here that 736 fights to protect those she loves. Not against the Depraved that she’s taught to fear, but against the society that saved her from that fate. She was willing to trade away her rights to regain the ability to form memories, but she won’t let the cult that cured her treat the lives of the Nameless like a resource to be used and discarded. At least, not without a fight….How much is 736 willing to sacrifice for revenge against her captors? For those she cares about? For freedom? Everything has a cost, what would you be willing to pay?
Alexandru’s Kiss (Magic, New Mexico #3) by S.E. Smith
Alexandru Carson has a major problem and it isn’t with the woman who captured him – it is the fact that he can’t remember anything but his name. Confused by his inability to remember, he doesn’t know where he is or how he ended up in the middle of a forest that feels bizarrely alien to him. If being lost wasn’t bad enough, his fascination with and attraction to his captor is making the situation even more frustrating as he tries to unravel the mystery of what happened. Ka’ya Stargazer is an outcast among her tribe. Born with the mark of the Huntress, she is feared for her ability as a warrior even while she is a prisoner to the tribe who shuns her. When she discovers an injured man on a scouting trip, she is forced to make a decision that will change her life forever.
Alexandru’s kiss leaves Ka’ya craving for more than her life as a warrior. Yet, even as they grow closer, there are powerful forces threatening to rip them apart. Will Alexandru accept Ka’ya’s claim on him, or will she lose him forever when he regains his memory and discovers he does not belong in her world?
The Magician’s Diary (Glass and Steele #4) by C.J. Archer
India and Matt thought all their problems would come to an end once they found Chronos. But the watch magician brings with him as many questions as answers, and a load of trouble. To fix Matt’s magic watch, they must find an old diary that once belonged to a doctor magician murdered decades ago. The hunt drags them into a sordid mystery involving two of London’s craft guilds. With old and new enemies determined to stop them, and long-held secrets unearthed, Matt and India must work together better than ever….But as the reason for India’s strangely strong magic is revealed, she wants to draw other magicians into the open, while Matt wants to hide magic to keep her safe. …Her plan backfires. His plan shatters. And danger comes to their door.
Thrones of Ash (Kingdoms of Sand #3) by Daniel Arenson
The Empire burns. …The halls of power lie in ruins. The emperor’s children, the sadistic Porcia and the cunning Seneca, battle for the throne. …Around them, their world crumbles. In a southern savanna province, a young queen rises up against the Empire. In northern misty forests, barbarian tribes gather for war. In Zohar, the eastern desert, the hero Epher Sela joins a rebellion against the vicious Empire. Meanwhile, past deserts and mountains at the edge of the world, an ancient evil awakens, threatening to undo all that humanity has built. …Legionaries, rebels, and priests clash, vying to rule crumbling kingdoms. Yet when victors emerge from the inferno, will they find only thrones of ash?
Iron Angels by Eric Flint and Alistair Kimble
A bizarre kidnapping case leads FBI Special Agent Jasper Wilde into the mysterious world of a strange religious cult, even stranger criminals and an ancient evil. Set in the Windy City of Chicago and in rusty, industrial East Chicago….A bizarre kidnapping case leads FBI Special Agent Jasper Wilde into the mysterious world of a strange religious cult and even stranger criminals. At the scene of the kidnapping itself, a frightening apparition is seen. Then, a hideously-mutilated corpse is found nearby. Something wicked has come to the normal-seeming Chicago suburbs. …It doesn’t take long before the FBI agents realize that something truly extraordinary is unfolding in northwest Indiana and that, whatever it is, the area s huge steel industry is somehow at the center. …Jasper is joined by Supervisory Special Agent Temple Black. Black has recently been put in charge of a new unit, the Scientific Anomalies Group, created to analyze and handle peculiar cases which might be on the periphery of national security. …Another cult is discovered, although this one seems to be opposed to the criminal activities taking place. Further investigation, however, just produces more in the way of mystery. The agents consult with scientists and theologians, but no one has any idea what might be producing the situation. …Until, finally, the cults erupt in open warfare. As the FBI agents race to intervene and finally put a stop to the horrors, they come to understand and accept that something very ancient and very evil has surfaced in the world or, perhaps, something that is very, very alien.
Revenant Winds (Tainted Cabal #1) by Mitchell Hogan
In a world devastated by a series of cataclysms over millennia, where the followers of different gods vie for ascendancy, mankind carves out a precarious existence among the remnants of a desolated past. Cities and civilizations are built atop mysterious and ofttimes menacing ruins, and the unforgiving wilderness beyond is filled with inhuman creatures and races from before the dawn of history. Sorcery is seen by some as a gift of the gods, and by others as their curse. And the demon-ravaged past has all but been forgotten. As a secret cabal schemes to awaken an evil thought defeated millennia ago, the lives of three unlikely heroes are fated to converge:…Aldric, a veteran priest and sorcerer, who seeks acceptance from the church that shuns him. On the brink of their approval, he receives a mission that brings him face to face with a long-buried evil….Niklaus, master swordsman, and slave to his goddess, who plots to split the veil between life and death and ascend to become her equal. …Kurio, the runaway daughter of a noble family, now turned to thievery, who stumbles across a disturbing secret that binds her future to infernal designs. ….Drawn toward a horrifying endgame by an unknown force, Aldric, Niklaus, and Kurio find themselves in a battle not only for their lives, but for the beliefs that have come to define them….A wrong decision, an overreaching ambition, or the failure of an already tormented faith, is all it will take to plunge mankind into an eternal dark.
Dark Legacy (Dark #27) by Christine Feehan
In a beautiful compound hidden away from the world, Emeline Sanchez tries to blunt the pain that has wracked her body ever since her terrifying ordeal in the labyrinth beneath the city—when she was forced to exchange blood with an evil master vampire. …Now, it’s his voice that haunts her…that calls to her in the dark…that never lets her rest. And while the children that she helped to free from his clutches struggle to heal, watched over by their Carpathian protectors, Emeline knows one thing: She must sacrifice herself to keep them all from harm…
The Brightest Fell (October Daye #11) by Seanan McGuire
For once, everything in October “Toby” Daye’s life seems to be going right. There have been no murders or declarations of war for her to deal with, and apart from the looming specter of her Fetch planning her bachelorette party, she’s had no real problems for days. Maybe things are getting better. Maybe not. Because suddenly Toby’s mother, Amandine the Liar, appears on her doorstep and demands that Toby find her missing sister, August. But August has been missing for over a hundred years and there are no leads to follow. And Toby really doesn’t owe her mother any favors. Then Amandine starts taking hostages, and refusal ceases to be an option.
Secrets in Death (In Death #45) by J.D. Robb
The chic Manhattan nightspot Du Vin is not the kind of place Eve Dallas would usually patronize, and it’s not the kind of bar where a lot of blood gets spilled. But that’s exactly what happens one cold February evening….The mortally wounded woman is Larinda Mars, a self-described “social information reporter,” or as most people would call it, a professional gossip. As it turns out, she was keeping the most shocking stories quiet, for profitable use in her side business as a blackmailer. Setting her sights on rich, prominent marks, she’d find out what they most wanted to keep hidden and then bleed them dry. Now someone’s done the same to her, literally—with a knife to the brachial artery….Eve didn’t like Larinda Mars. But she likes murder even less. To find justice for this victim, she’ll have to plunge into the dirty little secrets of all the people Larinda Mars victimized herself. But along the way, she may be exposed to some information she really didn’t want to know…
Godsgrave (Nevernight Chronicles #2) by Jay Kristoff
Assassin Mia Corvere has found her place among the Blades of Our Lady of Blessed Murder, but many in the Red Church ministry think she’s far from earned it. Plying her bloody trade in a backwater of the Republic, she’s no closer to ending Consul Scaeva and Cardinal Duomo, or avenging her familia. And after a deadly confrontation with an old enemy, Mia begins to suspect the motives of the Red Church itself. When it’s announced that Scaeva and Duomo will be making a rare public appearance at the conclusion of the grand games in Godsgrave, Mia defies the Church and sells herself to a gladiatorial collegium for a chance to finally end them. Upon the sands of the arena, Mia finds new allies, bitter rivals, and more questions about her strange affinity for the shadows. But as conspiracies unfold within the collegium walls, and the body count rises, Mia will be forced to choose between loyalty and revenge, and uncover a secret that could change the very face of her world.
Highland Dragon Warrior (Dawn of the Highland Dragon #1) by Isabel Cooper
The war may be over, but so long as English magic controls the Highlands, not even a dragon laird can keep his clan safe. What Cathal MacAlasdair needs is a warrior fierce enough to risk everything, yet gifted enough to outwit an enemy more monster than man. What he needs is Sophia….Alchemist Sophia Metzger traveled to Loch Arach in search of knowledge. She never dreamed she’d learn to do battle, ride through the stars on the back of a dragon, or catch the eye of a Highland laird. But as her quest turns to sizzling chemistry and inescapable danger, she’ll soon discover the thrill of being caught in a dragon’s claws.
Ashes Reborn (Souls of Fire #4) by Keri Arthur
The clock is ticking as Emberly – a phoenix capable of taking human form – races to take revenge against the sadistic and mysterious Rinaldo. The elusive rebel leader threatens to keep killing until he is given all of the research about a plaguelike virus derived from vampire blood….Forced to reach out to the Paranormal Investigations Team for help, Emberly and her partner, Jackson, must decide who to trust as they follow the trail of dead bodies. When classified information is leaked and their safe house is ambushed, Emberly’s suspicions are confirmed – someone at PIT has betrayed them….A final battle looms and Emberly will need to command all her powers – or watch the world turn to ash…
White Trash Zombie Unchained by Diana Rowland
Angel Crawford has finally pulled herself together (literally!) after her disastrous dismemberment on Mardi Gras. She’s putting the pieces of her life back in order and is ready to tackle whatever the future holds….Too bad the future is a nasty bitch. There’s a new kind of zombie in town: mindless shamblers, infectious and ravenous….With the threat of a full-blown shambler pandemic looming, and a loved one stricken, Angel and the “real” zombies scramble to find a cure. Yet when Angel uncovers the true reason the plague is spreading so quickly, she adds “no-holds-barred revenge” to her to-do list. …Angel is busting her ass dealing with shambling hordes, zombie gators, government jerks, and way too many mosquitos, but this white trash chick ain’t giving up. Good thing, since the fate of the world is resting on her undead shoulders.
Apex (Hunter #3) by Mercedes Lackey
Being a member of the Elite Hunter Command imperils Joy in more ways than one. In their latest clash with Othersiders, the army of monsters nearly wiped them out. Apex City is safe . . . for now. But within the city barriers, Joy must wage a different kind of war….The corrupt and powerful PsiCorps is determined to usurp the Hunters as chief defenders of Apex City and Joy is now squarely in their crosshairs. Unused to playing political games, she has very few people she can truly trust—not even Josh, her first friend in Apex City, who broke up with her when it became too dangerous for a Psimon to be dating a Hunter….Then Josh comes to Joy for help. He fears that Abigail Drift, the head of PsiCorps, will soon use him in her twisted experiments designed to empower PsiCorps and render Hunters superfluous—a scheme that’s already killed off dozens of Psimons. Joy manages to smuggle Josh to safety, but he cannot evade Drift forever . . .As Joy faces ever more powerful Othersiders, she is helped by the most surprising ally imaginable—the same Folk Mage she once met in battle on the train to Apex City. But can Joy trust the most cunning and treacherous of all Othersiders? In the thrilling to Mercedes Lackey’s #1 New York Times’ bestselling trilogy, Joy must risk everything to end a brutal war . . . before she loses all she’s ever loved.
The Salt Line by Holly Goddard Jones
In an unspecified future, the United States’ borders have receded behind a salt line–a ring of scorched earth that protects its citizens from deadly disease-carrying ticks. Those within the zone live safe, if limited, lives in a society controlled by a common fear. Few have any reason to venture out of zone, except for the adrenaline junkies who pay a fortune to tour what’s left of nature. Those among the latest expedition include a popstar and his girlfriend, Edie; the tech giant Wes; and Marta; a seemingly simple housewife. ….Once out of zone, the group find themselves at the mercy of deadly ticks–and at the center of a murderous plot. They become captives in Ruby City, a community made up of outer-zone survivors determined to protect their hardscrabble existence. As alliances and friendships shift amongst the hostages, Edie, Wes, and Marta must decide how far they are willing to go to get to the right side of the salt line.
A Secret History of Witches by Louisa Morgan
An ancient and dangerous power is being handed down from mother to daughter through some of the most consequential historic events of the last two centuries….After Grandmére Ursule gives her life to save her tribe, her magic seems to die with her. Even so, her family keeps the Old Faith, practicing the spells and rites that have been handed from mother to daughter for generations. Until one day, Ursule’s young granddaughter steps into the circle, and magic flows anew….From early 19th century Brittany to London during the Second World War, five generations of witches fight the battles of their time, deciding how far they are willing to go to protect their family, their heritage, and ultimately, all of our futures.
Immortal Architects (The Interminables #2) by Paige Orwin
Edmund Templeton, a time-manipulating sorcerer, and Istvan Czernin, the deathless spirit of WWI, are the most powerful agents of the magical cabal now ruling the US East Coast. Their struggle to establish a new order in the wake of magical catastrophe is under siege: cults flourish and armies clash on their borders. Perhaps worst of all the meteoric rise of a technological fortress-state threatens their efforts to keep the peace….As if that weren’t enough, a desperate call has come in from the west. A superstorm capable of tearing rock from mountains is on its way, and it acting unlike any storm ever seen before. Who better to investigate than two old friends with the sudden need to prove themselves?
Snowspelled (Harwood Spellbook #1) by Stephanie Burgis
In nineteenth-century Angland, magic is reserved for gentlemen while ladies attend to the more practical business of politics. But Cassandra Harwood has never followed the rules…Four months ago, Cassandra Harwood was the first woman magician in Angland, and she was betrothed to the brilliant, intense love of her life. Now Cassandra is trapped in a snowbound house party deep in the elven dales, surrounded by bickering gentleman magicians, manipulative lady politicians, her own interfering family members, and, worst of all, her infuriatingly stubborn ex-fiancé, who refuses to understand that she’s given him up for his own good. But the greatest danger of all lies outside the manor in the falling snow, where a powerful and malevolent elf-lord lurks…and Cassandra lost all of her own magic four months ago. To save herself, Cassandra will have to discover exactly what inner powers she still possesses – and risk everything to win a new kind of happiness. A witty and sparkling romantic fantasy novella that opens a brand-new series for adults from the author of Kat, Incorrigible, Masks and Shadows and Congress of Secrets.
Whispers in the Dark (Wolffe Peak #2) by Gwen Knight
This kitty doesn’t want to play with the big bad wolf. Maddie hates werewolves. Has since the day Axel left and broke her heart. But a dark shadow looms over her ranch, one that threatens everything she holds dear. To protect her sisters, she’d do just about anything. Even if that means trusting the wolf who tore out her heart. This wolf only has eyes for her. Axel has made many mistakes in his life, but the worst was abandoning his mate—the only woman he’s ever loved. When the body of one of his pack-mates turns up on Maddie’s ranch, Axel realizes she’s in far more danger than ever. She needs him, even if she refuses to admit it. He walked away once, but now he’s been given a second chance. And this time, he won’t screw it up.
Blood of a Phoenix (Nix #2) by Shannon Mayer
I thought that going after those who’d destroyed my life would help me move on. At the very least, that it would ease the thirst for vengeance singing in my blood. I was wrong. With my guns at my side, I continue to search for ways to punish the one man who took everything from me. The man who killed my family. Death is far too good for him. I want to make him suffer, to take from him everything he loves. To that end, I need a code breaker, one who deals in magical glyphs. But in the hunt for her, I discover there are far more secrets to my life, and my blood, than I ever could have imagined. Secrets that are burning their way out of the past and the shadows. A promise dangled in front of me by the enemy of my enemy is too sweet to ignore. And I will cast all my cards on the table for the one chance that the promise he offers is true….That my son is alive….God help those who stand between my boy and me.
The King’s Daughter by Stephanie Churchill
In this gripping sequel to The Scribe’s Daughter, a young woman finds herself unwittingly caught up in a maelstrom of power, intrigue, and shifting perceptions, where the line between ally and enemy is subtle, and the fragile facade of reality is easily broken….Irisa’s parents are dead and her younger sister Kassia is away on a journey when the sisters’ mysterious customer returns, urging Irisa to leave with him before disaster strikes. Can she trust him to keep her safe? How much does he know about the fate of her father? Only a voyage across the Eastmor Ocean to the land of her ancestors will reveal the truth about her family’s disturbing past. Once there, Irisa steps into a future she has unknowingly been prepared for since childhood, but what she discovers is far more sinister than she could have ever imagined. Will she have the courage to claim her inheritance for her own?
Treasured by a Tiger (Eternal Mates #14) by Felicity Heaton
Despised by his tiger shifter pride as an abomination, Grey has ventured far from home, deep into the bowels of Hell in search of answers about the machinations of Archangel, the mortal hunter organisation who held his twin captive. With no knowledge of the realm, and little skill with the local languages, he quickly finds himself at a dead end—until he crosses paths with a beautiful hellcat female who rouses his darkest most dangerous instincts….Lyra has been a fool, falling for the charms of a male whose only desire was to make a fast buck by selling her. Shackled and collared, her strength muted by magic, she awaits her time on the stage at a black-market auction, but before it can come, all hell breaks loose and she seizes a chance to escape—and runs straight into a majestic warrior who steals her breath away and tempts her like no other as he battles alone to free everyone….When Lyra offers her services as a translator to repay Grey for saving her, will he be strong enough to resist the needs she awakens in him and spare himself the pain of her inevitable rejection when she discovers the truth about him? And when the powerful male in charge of the slave ring starts a bloody hunt for Lyra, can she escape another collar and find the courage to trust the tiger who is capturing her heart?
The Jaguar Tycoon by Biana D’Arc
It all started at dinner… Mark is the larger-than-life billionaire Alpha of the secretive Jaguar Clan. Business tycoon and man about town, he’s the guest of honor at a huge society dinner in lower Manhattan. Shelly is at the dinner to network and possibly find some clients for her architectural design business. She comes from old money, but her family has fallen on hard times in recent decades and she likes to work for her living. A violent beginning to a magical destiny… When a man she’d been chatting with starts shooting at Mark, Shelly is dragged to a back room for questioning. When Shelly and Mark meet face to face, something changes forever. Her fate tangles with his as he introduces her to a world she never knew existed. A world where men turn into huge predatory cats and magic is real. Can the Alpha’s dream come true? Commissioning Shelly to design a community on the private island Mark just purchased is a way to keep her close. It’ll be up to the Alpha jaguar to convince her that they are meant to be, and to keep her safe from his enemies. Or will it be her keeping him safe? Stranger things have happened…
Now, what do you want to win this week? Leave a comment, and remember—you’ll have another chance to enter with a new group of books next Monday. Enter weekly for extra entries, and the winner will be announced at the end of each month.