Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Primal Mirror, by Nalini Singh - Review

Title: Primal Mirror
Series: Psy-Changeling Trinity, #8
Author: Nalini Singh 
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: July 23, 2024
Reviewing: eARC via Netgalley
Reason for reading: As always, author love, series love

The Short Answer
This installment of the series resolves the Spider arc, as well as the recent arc of crisis in the PsyNet, although it's likely that future books will deal with political fallout and some world-rebuilding.  Character-wise, we get a new feline pack, with ties to DarkRiver and a few attendant cameos. I enjoyed the romance but I think the freaky plot stole the show, which is unusual for me. Still, four stars.

The Blurb
New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh takes us into a family dark with shadowy secrets, as the world of the Psy teeters on the edge of a final catastrophic collapse. . .

Daughter of two ruthless high-Gradient telepaths, Auden Scott is not the child her Psy parents wanted or expected, even before her brain injury. Her thoughts are scattered, her memories fuzzy—or just terrifyingly blank. The only thing she knows for certain is that she must protect her unborn baby . . . a baby she has no recollection of conceiving and who draws an unnerving depth of interest from her dead mother’s closest associates.

Leopard alpha Remi Denier is a man driven by the primal instinct to protect. Protect his pack, protect his allies . . . and protect the mysterious woman who has become a most unlikely neighbor. With eerie eyes that see too much and a scent that alters in ways disturbing and impossible, Auden Scott is the enemy . . . but nothing about this strange Psy is what it seems, and Remi’s feline heart is as fascinated by her as his human half.

Then Auden asks Remi to help her shatter the wall of secrets that is the Scott bloodline. What they unearth will reveal a nightmare beyond imagination. This time, the battle is to the death. . .

A Personal Aside 

In some ways, perhaps it's fitting that my return to the blogosphere is inspired by Nalini Singh.  Many years ago, I won an ARC of Hostage to Pleasure. Nearly a year into blogging - well past the average lifespan of a blog in those days; and not my first exposure to the Psy-Changelings, it WAS my first ARC, and also the beginning of so many things for this blog.  So hopefully this will also be a new beginning of sorts.  I've been reading like a madwoman lately and it's possible that I have some Things To Say.  More on that in future posts.

The Plot- Some Good, Some Meh

My first priority in any paranormal romance, is, well, the romance.  The characters. But just by the nature of the plot here, Auden's character was a little hard to pin down.  The Psy in the Psy-Changeling series have always had a certain alignment to some of the ways that autism spectrum disorder can commonly manifest, and over the years, Singh's bravery in making these challenges more explicit and inclusive has grown, perhaps starting with Last Guard, where Canto is confined to a wheelchair and Payal has a brain tumor disorder which requires both medication and (admittedly fictional) behavioral management.

The plot of this book is a little difficult to discuss without spoilering. There are a few pieces that come together, some from very early in the series, and some from the last 10 percent of Storm Echo.  Still, the realization of the horror that is being inflicted on Auden unfolds slowly, at least it did for me.  Given the readers' knowledge of prior books, we figure out what is happening before Auden and Remi do, but the plot device of her dual scent gives them a critical clue. 

Ever since the fall of Silence, at the intersection of the original series and the Trinity "chapter two" books, there has been an instability in the PsyNet which threatens the survival of all the Psy.  In Last Guard, the Anchor designation is introduced and their unification with each other and with the Ruling Coalition provide some new defenses against the ongoing failures, but even so, the destabilization accelerates.  Readers who have been finding this arc to be dragging on a bit will find a resolution in this book, as the original PsyNet finally fails.

Without spoilering, I think it's safe to say this is not the end of the series.  Therefore, fans can reasonably expect to learn more about how the Psy will survive their next evolution in future books... and that a significant portion of the population survives.  

I will say that I did not love how this problem was solved.  Given all the buildup and the hopelessness that was created over multiple books, I found that the way the salvation hinged on something that to me seemed very very small. I think I would have preferred to see the "new way" built up for a bit of time before the primary PsyNet failed utterly.  On the other hand, my history teacher used to paraphrase the Constitution thus: "While evils are sufferable, men will suffer," meaning that well, change is hard. The devil you know, etc.  So perhaps its believable that the failsafe could not be activated until the primary net had...failed.

The Characters

When I turned the last page of this book, I had that happy glow that I always get from this series.  This is a couple that fights hard for their Happily Ever After, that overcomes an exceptionally creepy and horrifying villain - this is a very personal and amped up villainy compared to say, Payal's horrible family in Last Guard. Ming Le Bon aspired to this level of evil. 

Have to say I absolutely loved Remi's character progression, as he takes on more and more of the business of building his pack and becoming a good alpha. Absolutely loved it. I especially enjoyed the mentorship he was getting from Lucas; and factors like the delicacy of pack members moving from one pack to another. At the beginning of the story, Remi is a rising star, coming into his power, but still something of a junior player.

Auden on the other hand, enters the story on the verge of collapse. Pregnant, suffering from memory loss, blackouts, what might be conventionally described as psychotic breaks or possibly even schizophrenia, she doesn't trust herself. Remi's protective instincts are triggered, and as he strives to protect the woman and unravel the mystery of her illness, they catch feelings despite the timing being the worst ever.  

I would say this isn't my most favorite couple in the P-C universe.  Maybe I was just reading extra fast to get to the bottom of the villainous fuckery. Maybe Auden's struggle made their connection a little less believable for me (possibly a mental illness bias on my part that could stand some examination?).  I felt like the emotional connection was less intense than what I usually get from the series, but I'm calling that a 4-star rather my usual 5-star rating*. This is not a disappointment of a book. I think it's incredible that we are 23 books into this series, not counting novellas, and I for one am still loving it.  That is one hell of an accomplishment.  Don't stop, Nalini! 

Possible spoiler alert: If you enjoyed the speculative sci-fi elements of this story, I would recommend The Echo Wife, by Sarah Gailey. If you look up even the plot description, it will be a bit of a spoiler for Primal Mirror, but AFTER you've read Primal Mirror, if you liked it, go read this title, then tell me what you think.

*Most of the time I don't do star ratings. Too much pressure. But if I did, this series would be a whole long string of 5-stars.

Sunday, June 6, 2021

Measuring Up!

This is a thinly disguise brag post.

OK, it's not actually disguised.

Earlier this year, I saw a link to "The 27 Greatest Romance Novels to Read in Your Lifetime". OMG that's a hilarious title. The hubris! And yet, it was irresistible. I popped it into my "saved" articles on Facebook and just got around to reading it. Honestly, it's a great list! Here's the article, and here's my editorializing:

1. Pride and Prejudice,
by Jane Austen.  OK, it's like a law that you have to include this one in any romance list that claims to be canonical. I have tried more than once to get through this book and I just can. not. even. Basically I can only relate to the buffoonish father who wants nothing to do with society stuff and then I fall asleep. It's a no for me.

2. Jane Eyre
by Charlotte Bronte. I saw a snip of a PBS production when I was in middle school and fascinated by all things miserable, so I did manage to read this one. But I was like 11 and I didn't really get it. Nor was I ever tempted to read it again. So yes, but also no.

3. Shanna
by Kathleen E. Woodiwiss. YAAAAAAASSSS. I actually re-read this somewhat recently and could have sworn that I reviewed it here. Ah, good intentions.  This was literally the first romance I read that wasn't a category. Be still my heart. Yes, yes, and again yes.

4. Morning Glory
by LaVyrle Spencer. Oh yes. I went through a BIG LaVyrle Spencer phase, in real time when she was publishing. I agree this is the best of a really wonderful oevre. YES she deserves a pretentious French word.

5. Lord of Scoundrels
by Loretta Chase. Yes yes. So many good titles, but hard to go wrong with one that includes the heroine shooting the hero right in the first few chapters. 

6. Indigo
, by Beverly Jenkins. Not yet. I have a couple of Jenkins titles on my TBR and this is definitely high up there.

7. The Viscount Who Loved Me
, by Julia Quinn. Yep, Uh huh. Early readers of Alpha Heroes may recall several discussions of the whole Bridgerton series (here's the best overview), BEFORE Netflix and Shonda Rhimes got on board. (I mean, Netflix was mailing DVDs out at the time, remember that?)

8. Delaney's Desert Sheikh,
by Brenda Jackson. I have not read this one. A 30 book series you say? Hmmmmmm. Dare I? Certainly worth considering.

9. Dark Lover, by JR Ward. Oh hell yes. There are no less than 35 articles on this blog tagged with JR Ward, so uh, yeah. Yeah.

10. Bet Me, 
by Jennifer Crusie. Yep. Another favorite here at Alpha Heroes, and this title is often considered her best.

11. A Hunger Like No Other 
by Kresley Cole. This is the second book in the IAD series, but the first full-length one. I do like this series though I will admit that I am not 100% caught up. Hot sex, lots of mythology-based worldbuilding, and laugh-out-loud humor, this series is a yes from me.

12. Slave to Sensation,
by Nalini Singh. At this point, I'm thinking I need to call up the author of the article because we should be best friends. I love this series so hard and I'm still loving it. Fun fact, Hostage to Pleasure, the 5th book in this series, was the first ARC I ever got, reviewed here on the blog. 

13. Devil In Winter
, by Lisa Kleypas. OK yes, but with caveats - I know I've read this one but I don't really remember it. This doesn't mean a lot because there are hundreds of romances that I've read over the years and don't much remember. This is definitely a reader favorite but it didn't stand out that much to me personally. Maybe I should try a re-read.

14. Vision in White
, by Nora Roberts. Yes, I'm a Nora Roberts junkie. This is a lovely, super-duper extra romantic quartet. So, yes.

15. Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake
, by Sarah Maclean. I'm a little on the fence for this one. I really admire Sarah Maclean's voice of advocacy for the genre, but I've tried a few of her books, including this one, and they just didn't grab me that hard. Maybe? I feel like I could give this author another shot, idk.

16. The Duchess War
, by Courtney Milan. Oh hell yes. I even forced my slightly-snooty litfic-leaning bookclub to read this one. Chess champion heroine and reformist duke hero? I repeat, oh hell yes.

17. The Magpie Lord
by KJ Charles. In general, I am a little meh on m/m romance. I picked up a different title by the same author and remain a little meh. This author is much beloved, so I can't argue with the rec, but it's not for me.

18. Tangled
by Emma Chase. No idea! maybe I should try. It's a contemporary billionaire trope which I'm so/so on, but I won't rule it out.

19. Glitterland,
by Alexis Hall. Yes! This is a tear-you-up, rip-your-heart-out romance. A big part of my "meh" for m/m romance sub-genre stems from the fact that a lot of its early start was erotic m/m written by women, and seemingly for women. Much of it lacked authenticity and like a wallpaper historical, felt like a hetero romance with an extra penis and coming-out-of-the-closet angst for conflict (not to minimize those emotions- in this context I'm saying it felt rote). Not so with this book. Authentic and emotionally devastating. Big big yes from me.

20. Ante Up 
by Christina C. Jones. Not so far. Based on the track record of this list though, I might have to check it out.

21. An Extraordinary Union,
by Alyssa Cole. Very much yes. Not going to lie, this is a tough read. Back in the 80s when I was really diving into romance, the (American) Civil War setting were really appealing to me. Mostly Gone With the Wind inspired, they were all about genteel white southern women surviving the war. This one is... definitely not that. It pulls no punches about what slavery was like. An engrossing, important read that is also an amazing romance with an unforgettable heroine. Definitely yes.

22. Acting on Impulse
, by Mia Sosa. I haven't read this one. I did read "The Worst Best Man," which got rave reviews, but I thought it was just OK. I couldn't put my finger on what didn't work for me though. I guess I'll say I'm on the fence for this title, but it's not high on my list.

23. Hate to Want You
by Alisha Rai. Yes yes! The article incorrectly refers to this book as Rai's debut, which it is not. Rai has a number of erotic titles that precede this trilogy.  The Hate To books are Rai's debut with Avon though, and they are STEAMY. Come for the diversity and that GORGEOUS cover, but stay for the off-the-charts chemistry. Oh yeah.

24. Long Shot by Kennedy Ryan
. Meh. I'm not big on New Adult or sports romance, so I'm not feeling super inspired by this one. Call it a "probably not."

25. The Kiss Quotient
by Helen Hoang. Definitely yes! often called the "reverse Pretty Woman" story, with a hired-escort hero and a wealthy, non-neurotypical heroine. A truly lovely and tender romance. (I reviewed this for RT in 2018 and rated it a Top Pick). Yes from me!

26. Red, White & Royal Blue
, by Casey McQuiston. Surprise, yes! despite my usual meh on m/m, this was a delightful fantasy about two princes - one literal, one American - navigating an enemies-to-lovers relationship in the public spotlight. Imagined in a near-future where gay relationships are a little more common but still politically delicate, the characters make this one sing.  So -- yes.

27. A Lady's Guide to Celestial Mechanics
, by Olivia Waite. Uh. I read this for a bookclub but I honestly don't remember a thing about it. I didn't hate it. Most of the bookclub enjoyed it. I hate to end the list on a whimper but here we are.

So if you're following along, that's 19 read, 3 probably not, 4 maybes, and 1 definite need to read.

What do you think of this list?


Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Coastal Magic 2022, Yes Please!

Hey everybody! Have you missed book cons? I have. SO MUCH!! Between COVID, and some personal stuff, and the demise of RT, it's been A REALLY LONG TIME since I've been to a book con. I had two of them scheduled for 2020, and of all the things that I didn't get to do last year, those really hurt. Even so, this year still feels a bit too soon for crowded cons. But next year? Yeah.... next year...

So I'm crossing my fingers, and making a plan to head to THE BEACH next February for COASTAL MAGIC'S TENTH ANNIVERSARY CONFERENCE. Did I mention BEACH? in FEBRUARY? And BOOKS? Yeah. Sign me up.

Literally, you can now sign up! Check out the many-splendored Featured Author listing to see the fantastic lineup. These authors span a variety of genres, and whether they’re auto-buy faves already, or “new to you” authors just waiting to become your next binge read, there’s something for just about everyone.

I haven't been to CMC before, but I'm jumping in this year -- the 10th anniversary, how cool is that? ANNND I am ridiculously pleased to have been asked to be a Featured Blogger (I hope they'll be gentle with me). So, I’ll be doing monthly author spotlights with a few of these amazing writers (my fellow Featured Bloggers will be doing some, as well, so be sure you’re following each of us, and you won’t miss any!) This is going to be a fantastic way to get to know the authors a bit BEFORE our weekend together. I just miiiiiiiiiiiiiiight be reprising my #5Words game with some fresh blood... uh, I mean, new players. Yeah, new players. We'll see if they are up for the challenge!

You can check out the website at http://CoastalMagicConvention.com if you want to learn a little more about the event. Things will update as new information is released between now and next February. You can also join the Facebook Authors & Attendees group if you’d like to interact with some of the authors and other readers you might see there.  

If reading challenges (either on your own or with a group) are your thing, there’s a group for that!! With a suggested schedule of reading, planned author interactions, points to earn and prizes to win, our Reading Challenge group is definitely the place to be. You can read all about how the challenge works on the website, HERE! Also hit up the website for all the usual social media suspects!

Monday, May 24, 2021

The Promised Queen, by Jeffe Kennedy - Review

Title: The Promised Queen
Series: The Forgotten Empires (book 3)
Author: Jeffe Kennedy
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Release Date: May 25, 2021
Reviewing: e-ARC via NetGalley
Reason for reading: Love this author

The Short Answer:
The Promised Queen caps off a trilogy of fresh, engrossing worldbuilding. Eschewing the sea of vampires and shifters, Kennedy reaches into the mythology of earth magic and shapes it into something vital, feminine, and powerful. The romance is positively gravitational between the protagonists -- slow, inexorable, profound, unbreakable. Highly recommend - but start at the beginning of the trilogy.

The Blurb:
Claim the hand that wears the ring, and the empire falls.

Conrí, former Crown Prince of Oriel, claimed the hand that wears the Abiding Ring, but the prophecy remains unfulfilled. Queen Euthalia of Calanthe returned to her island kingdom, but broken in mind and body. With the blood of war unleashing ancient terrors, Calanthe isn’t the haven it once was. Lia must use her magical bond with Calanthe to save their people while Con fights to hold off the vengeful Emperor Anure and his wizards. Con and Lia will have to trust in each other—and in love—to fend off ultimate disaster.

In The Promised Queen, the thrilling finale to the Forgotten Empires trilogy, the fate of the world hangs in the balance as Con, Lia, and their allies sacrifice everything in a final bid to destroy the corrupt empire.

More Details:

I am longtime fan of Jeffe Kennedy's, across the several genres in which she writes. When I first started blogging, I received an ARC for a fantasy romance, and that's when I realized the it's a) an under-represented subgenre and b) I love it a lot.  Since then of course, more authors have come along but I think there's a reluctance among SFF authors to take on the Romance mantle as well, for reasons that should be obvious. Not Kennedy. Ever since publishing The Mark of the Tala in 2014, she's been penning traditional swords-and-sorcery fantasy WITH all the things romance readers demand -- deep emotional engagement, fiery characters, and a happily-ever-after. The Promised Queen follows a newer format with a traditional SFF trilogy carrying the plot-driven conflict, and a romance the spans the three books. I want to be clear: I AM HERE FOR THAT. This book realizes the HEA, but it takes all three books, so know that going in.

Now. I love the Twelve Kingdoms series and its several spinoffs.  A lot. But this new trilogy -- it's crisper, it's fresher, and it absolutely sings. Kennedy takes on something like the Land King myth, where the prosperity of the land is tied to the health of its ruler, and breathes new, feminine life and imagination into it. When The Orchid Crown opens, the world is under the thumb of a ruthless and evil conqueror Anure. He has stripped the lands of their rightful rulers, taking their places in attempt to harvest the power they are entitled to, with the help of some wizards in the tradition of Arthur's Merlin.

Euthalia still rules her own land, but the sword of her betrothal to Anure hangs over her head and that of her domain. There's an expiration date on her freedom, but she's become an expert at extending it. Here's where the worldbuilding is so cool: her magic, her very physiology, is entwined not only metaphorically with the land, but also literally. She is a bit alien, a bit weird, and Kennedy doesn't shy away from exploring some aspects that defy conventional definitions of beauty. (There is also some cool stuff to explore here around how image and façade might enhance your power, but comes at a cost).

Traditional SFF are often coming-of-age stories, with young protagonists who grow into their powers and agency, whether they are political, realistic, or magical, over the course of the story. In fact, I think a large percentage of fantasy published before  2010 or so would be considered YA if they were published today.  What I absolutely LOVE about many fantasy romances is that the protagonists discover magical, political, and sexual potency in a big beautiful tangle of emotion and drama, all the while taking down the bad guys. This trilogy delivers on all of that and I can't get enough.

As the final book in a trilogy, The Promised Queen needs to deliver on three books' worth of tension building. There are three books' worth of skirmishes, torture and atrocities to resolve. And when I was thinking about how to discuss that resolution, it occurred to me that the showdown scenes happened kind of fast. In term of page time, it was about three chapters in the third book, so arguably only three out something like 75 chapters.  That's not much.  Is it enough?

One of the answers that came to me is that it's often the case in real life when there is something terrifying, monstrous, mountainous, that seems impossible to overcome. We might spend 60 chapters or so trying to figure out how to delay the inevitable, to hold on to the tenuous peace we have rather than risk the treacherous journey to the other side. But then, when we get that push, when the fuse is lit, it turns out that maybe that mountain, while not exactly a molehill, is not actually a match for our own efforts, once we put our mind to it. 

Another answer is this:  maybe it doesn't have to be so goddamn bloody and gory. Maybe we don't need a Red Wedding. Maybe we don't need an army of orcs. Maybe a gentler, cleverer, more magical way can be just as effective. And where the romance part of the fantasy romance comes in, crushing the bad guys into oblivion is not the only barrier to Euthalia and Conri's happiness: there is also emotional work to be done.  And the resolution of these obstacles is just as satisfying and probably even more wrenching.

As a longtime reader, I can say Kennedy's worldbuilding chops keep getting better and better, more original and yet true to the best traditions of both the fantasy and the romance genres, and all executed flawlessly.  When she's describing costumes, jewelry, architecture, landscape, or people, imagery leaps vividly to mind. The pacing is on point. Secondary characters fairly pull at the leash to get their own arc, but never distract. And the emotional pull always delivers. If you've read the first two books, you don't need my endorsement to go get this one, it's probably already preordered. But if you were waiting to get an idea of how good the whole trilogy is... well, now you know. Go get it.

Thursday, October 1, 2020

Thursday Thirteen, Edition 38

 So, 2020, amirite? fffffff*ck.

Anyway, it's Thursday and I've been pondering what a winter quarantine is going to look like and thinking back over the last few months, and thought I would put down some Thoughts. I've learned a few new things, and others I already knew and I'm doubling down.

Thirteen Things I've Learned from Quarantine

1. Everyone thinks they are being VERY careful. Even though there's a huge range of how people have adapted to the pandemic. Everyone is sure they are being just careful enough, and everyone else is either crazy over the top or crazy irresponsible. But if you're at a public, indoor location without a mask, be aware that I am judging the FUCK out of you.

2. Bras are not as necessary as I always thought.

3. I'm working full time, 100% remote, and without the judgment of co-workers, I am perfectly happy to wear the same 3 pairs of pants pretty much indefinitely.

4. I never liked getting take-out. If I'm going to leave the house and pay restaurant prices, I want to eat there.  I have learned that I am right about this. Take-out might be better than cooking, but it's a distant second to dining out. I really miss restaurant dining. #doubledown

5. You can get used to on-line meetings.  I may never love them, but they are a reasonable second-choice to in-person.

6. I have tested the limits of inactivity and have found that yes, even I crave some minimum amount of physical activity.

7. If I'm going to be on camera, I should put on some lipstick. Mom was right.

8. But not if I'm going somewhere, because masks+lipstick are not good.

9. Contemporary romcoms pair best with the apocalypse, for me anyway. I have re-named the genre "pre-apocalyptic fantasy."

10. I don't actually need to go to Target every week.

11. The pleasure of an old-fashioned phone call.  I'm still stupidly reluctant to take a call or to "dial" someone up.  But after an awkward minute or two, it all just flows and I wonder why I'm being so weird about it.

12. You know how so many people are taking up cooking and breadmaking? I still don't enjoy cooking. #doubledown

13. Putting away laundry the same day it comes out of the dryer.  Now that I'm home all the time, there's no reason not to-- yeah no, just kidding, I still don't do that.

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Thursday Thirteen, Edition 37

I think it's 37, anyway.  We'll go with it.

Here it is Thursday again and I'm going to squeak in under the January wire with 13 books I'm looking forward to this year!  A lot of these are series-oriented, because once you start a good series, half the fun is the anticipation for the next book.  Without further ado, here is the list:

2020's Thirteen Most Anticipated Books:

  1. Crush the King, Jennifer Estep: the first two books in this series were amazing! Maybe I was just ready for some high fantasy, but I love these characters and the world-building.
  2. The Empire of Gold, S. A. Chakraborty: high fantasy in the swords & sorcery tradition, but rather than another Brit/Euro-centric take, this series is fueled by Arabian mythology.
  3. Smoke Bitten (Mercy Thompson) by Patricia Briggs. This series is an auto-buy for me.
  4. Harvest of Sighs, Sierra Simone: I binged this author so hard last year, and this series slayed me.  Cannot wait for more.
  5. Wicked Bite, Jeaniene Frost. This one released last week and features Ian, Bones' sire from the can't-get-enough Night Huntress series (also known as Cat and Bones, because Cat and Bones are amazing)
  6. Chaos Reigning, Jessie Mihalik: this space-opera romance trilogy took the Romlandia by storm, me included.  I love these smart, powerful women and how they triumph in a society that in spite of being centuries in the future, bears a marked resemblance to romance's beloved Regency era. Plus ça change, and all that.
  7. Deal with the Devil, Kit Rocha.  First of all, Kit Rocha.  Second of all, post-apocalyptic mercenary librarians. POST-APOCALYPTIC. MERCENARY. LIBRARIANS. Need I say more? I think not.
  8. The Fiery Crown, Jeffe Kennedy: Last year's Orchid Throne was the start of a new world, and as much as I loved the connected Twelve Kingdoms/Uncharted Realms/Dasnaria books, this world is so rich and intriguing, I'm dying for the next installment.
  9. Wolf Gone Wild, Juliette Cross: I can't get enough of Cross's broody dark heroes, and this new series promises a little touch of humor which makes it even better.  Already out, I haven't got to it yet but looking forward to it!
  10. Alpha Night, Nalini Singh: The Psy-Changeling series is another auto-buy.
  11. A Heart of Blood and Ashes, Meljean Brook, uh, I mean, Milla Vane. I've been waiting so long for something new by this author! To be honest, I'm not sure how I feel about a barbarian hero, but I'm willing to find out.
  12. Dragon Unleashed, Grace Draven: I haven't liked everything I've read by this author, but I really loved Phoenix Unbound, the first in this sort of "alternate-history-Roman-Empire with magic" series; plus I was very intrigued by Halani's character.
  13. From the Grave, Kresley Cole: the conclusion to the only YA series I've ever loved, this book has been delayed several times.  The series has been suspended over a cliff for so long, I can't stand it! I have so many questions, it's hard to believe they can all be wrapped in one book, but if anyone can do it, it's Cole.

Bam.  Thirteen.  That should get your 2020 New Releases juices flowing.

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Thursday Thirteen - 2020 style!

I am happy to report that the Thursday Thirteen Linkup is still alive and kicking! Let me start 2020 out on a roll with two posts in less than a week! Woo hoo!

January is all about lists.  Last weekend, I gave you my list of the best of 2019.  Here is a Thursday 13 rundown of other 2019 retrospectives in the #RomBkBlog world:

  1. Under The Covers
  2. Miss Bates Reads Romance
  3. Kini's list at Smexy Books
  4. Angela's list at Smexy Books
  5. Lots of SFF in the mix at Reading Reality
  6. Wendy The Super Librarian
  7. Ellie Reads Fiction
  8. Shallow Reader (don't believe the blog name!)
  9. Book Binge
  10. Ana's list at Love In Panels
  11. I Heart Romance
  12. Kaetrin's list at Dear Author
  13. And just to round things out, here is the GoodReads list for Romance.
I'm definitely seeing a few titles on repeat throughout these lists that I'll need to check out.  Also, how could I have missed Sapphire Flames on my own list?  Jeeze.

I hope you enjoyed this list! I recommend you head on over to this week's Thursday Thirteen linkup and check out a few participants.  This is not a book-focused meme (except here at Alpha Heroes!) so who knows what tidbits you'll pick up to brighten your week!


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