Wednesday, December 12, 2018

My Favourite Books of 2018

Posted by: Nicole Luiken

These are my favourites of what I personally read this year. Since my hardcover budget is limited, many of the titles were not first published this year.

Favourite Fantasy Series

1/ Demon Cycle by Peter V. Brett.
I read The Warded Man last December and promptly glommed the rest of the series in early 2018, waited impatiently for the paperback release of The Core in July then had the pleasure of meeting the author at When Words Collide a week later. I love the inherent peril of this world where demons rise every night and how ordinary people fight back and become extraordinary.
2/ Elemental Assassin by Jennifer Estep
I read Spider’s Bite after attending some of Ms. Estep’s panels at last year’s When Words Collide conference. I’ve been acquiring the rest of the series a book or two at a time for most of 2018 and am now up to book 13. I really enjoy the combination of magic and high action.
3/ A Charm of Magpies by K.J. Charles
I zipped through this trilogy after hearing about the series on tor.com Magic plus historical romance, equals two of my favourite things. Also, the pacing was terrific.
4/ Clocktaur War by T. Kingfisher
The excellent first chapter of the Clockwork Boys had me one-clicking on this duology. Fantasy with humour: a motley crew of thieves, a paladin and a monk try to stop a war.

Favourite SF Series

1/ Murderbot Diaries by Martha Wells
I read All Systems Red last year and loved it. Since the rest of the series wasn’t yet out I then glommed all her Raksura books. This year I reread All Systems Red, then pounced on the next three Murderbot novellas the day they released. I love the contrast between Murderbot’s need to protect humans, even when their stupidity makes Murderbot grouchy, and Murderbot’s social anxiety.
2/ Lady Astronaut by Mary Robinette Kowal
Book one The Calculating Stars starts off with a bang: a meteor crash-lands on Earth and kicks off an ecological disaster. The novel then proceeds as an alternate-history 1950s space race. I had great sympathy for the heroine and the obstacles she faced to achieve her dream.

Favourite SF/Fantasy Novels

1/ Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik
Just as good as Uprooted. A lovely reimagining of two fairy tales. Try it.
2/ Magic Triumphs by Ilona Andrews
Conclusion to the excellent Kate Daniels series. All the usual things I love: great dialogue, strong characters, magic and action, plus Kate and Curran’s adorable child Conlan. And if you’re sad about the ending of the series, let me direct you to Magic and Iron (book one of the Iron Covenant - Hugh’s story) and Burn for Me (book one of Hidden Legacy).
3/ Six Wakes by Mur Lafferty
This is the first book I’ve read by this author. It came to my attention as a Hugo finalist. The first chapter utterly hooked me: six clones on a generation-ship waking to find their previous incarnations murdered, with no memory of the last few weeks. Lots of secrets.
4/ Putting the Fun in Funeral by Diana Pharaoh Francis
I actually dislike the title, but the book has all the wonderful things I’ve come to expect from Diana Pharaoh Francis: a strong heroine, and magic and action in equal measures to a steamy romance.

Favourite Young Adult SF/Fantasy

1/ Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
The book has a slightly slow start (though titled chapter one, it’s really a prologue), but once I met Inej and Kaz I was hooked and the rest of the motley crew for this magical heist novel were equally interesting. The world-building is strong, and the entire second half of the novel was full of nail-biting tension.
2/ Dread Nation by Justina Ireland
I adore the premise of this alternate-history novel: the zombie apocalypse happened during the U.S. Civil War. The main character’s voice was great, the plot harrowing, and the theme thoughtfully presented.

 Statistics

 This year I read:
267 books /novellas (so far), roughly half of which were published in 2018.
211 of these have at least an element of SF or fantasy, of the remaining 7 were Non-fiction , 7 were Mainstream Children’s, 6 were Mystery/Thriller, 3 were Historical Mystery, 6 were Romantic Suspense, 24 were Historical Romance, plus 1 Contemporary Romance
30 were Young Adult/Teen, 8 were Middle Grade
72 were written by men,  194 were written by women, 1 Non-binary
27 by POC, 22 by LGBQ
Note: There are some authors of whom I know only their names and may have inadvertently put in the wrong category. Nor are the numbers as balanced as I would like. Recommendations welcome! What are your favourites from this year?


Tuesday, December 11, 2018

What to buy this holiday for the book lover on your list?

Posted by: Ruth A Casie

Several years ago, our family started creating holiday wish lists so we know what everyone wants. But my friends are a challenge. I like to get them something unique, book lover worthy. Here is a wide price range of items that I may be picking from this year.
  1. Library book necklace  $6.80
  2. Bookshelf infinity scarf $18.61
  3. Book Tequila Mockingbird: cocktails with a Literary Twist $12.99
  4. Drink tea read book spoon $12.99
  5. Reading Book Lover Infinity love bracelet  $6.00
  6. Mug – Yes I do need all these books $16.99
  7. Book Lover’s Journal $12.88
  8. Jane Austen Books Coasters $19.99
  9. Reading light for books $23.99
  10. T-shirts for Book Lovers
  11. Bathtub caddy tray $40 – to hold your book, naturally
  12. Book mark and reading timer $9.95
  13. Book Darts Line Markers $7.49 - For the writer or for those times you want to note something
  14. Reader’s Paradise 1,000 piece puzzle $17.99
  15. Scented (leathery and woodsy fragrance) Books Candle $29.95
  16. Bookmark made from a flattened spoon $13.00 – Fell Asleep Here
  17. Custom Library Stamp $26 
  18. Literary Scarf $48 – evocative excerpts from Jane Eyre, Price and Prejudice or Alice in Wonderland
  19. Novel teas for reading and sipping $12.50
  20. 3D Book Keychain $6.83
  21. Book Lover Pencils $9.33
  22. Wooden page spreader (to read with one hand) $9.75
  23. Personalized wire bookmarks $7.50
  24. Book Spines Lunch Bag $24.99
  25. Book Wreath to adorn your door $27.00
  26. Book Lover Wine Glass Charms $16.95
  27. Literary Fortune Cookies $14.95
  28. Book Lover’s Scrabble $50.00
  29. Spellbook Billfold $29.95
  30. Banned Book heat reactive mug $12.00
  31. Library Card Yellow Socks $12.00
  32. Lightmark Reading Lamp Bookmark $12.99
  33. Mug – Talk Darcy to Me $15.95
  34. Bookish Earrings $18.00
  35. Lady MacBeth’s Guest Soap $3.95
  36. 100 Book Scratch Off Bucket List Poster $15.99
  37. At Home with Books Reading Journal $14.99
  38. Banned Book Socks $10.00
  39. Bodleian Hobbies Bookshelf Tie $30.00
  40. Book Light – Mini $33.50
  41. Wicked Witch of the East book mark $17.00
  42. Quotation Mark Earrings $9.00
  43. Literary Leggings $39.00

I have a few of these items. Some I received as gifts and others were gifts I gave myself. I hope this makes your holiday gift-giving a little easier.

Have a great holiday, everyone.

Monday, December 10, 2018

HERE BE NEWS for December 10, 2018

Posted by: Dani Harper, AUTHOR
All the latest 
from the authors at 
Here Be Magic



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In Case You Missed It:

Monday, December 3 - 

"HERE BE NEWS" - New releases, ebook sales, contests and giveaways, from the authors at Here Be Magic. 

Tuesday, December 4 -

"NEW EDIT PASS on FAERIE BLOOD and BONE WALKER" - Angela Korra'ti talks about edits and additions to new versions of her books, "Faerie Blood" and "Bone Walker".

Wednesday, December 5 -

"LESSONS LEARNED FROM NATIONAL NOVEL WRITING MONTH" - In November, author Maureen Bonatch drafted 50,000 words to a brand new story. How did she do it? Plus contests to enter.

Thursday, December 6 -

"7 REASONS TO BE THANKFUL AT THE HOLIDAYS" - Author Marie Harte's secret identity is owner/operator of Romance Junkies. This week she puts on her RJ hat to give readers a terrific contest to enter.

Friday, December 7 -
"PLAYING FAVORITES" - For writers, the rarest of the rare is the story that comes together as if the stars are aligned perfectly. For author PG Forte, that story was FINDERS KEEPERS, re-released this week.

Saturday, December 8 - 
This week's Bring It Back(list) feature is "CHRISTMAS-THEMED BOOKS BY LINDA MOONEY" - Sweet, sensuous, paranormal, horror or fantasy, there's something for everyone - and they're all on sale! 

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New Release on December 13th: 


RELEASES DECEMBER 13th
HUNTED
Coven of the Raven, Book 2
by Shona Husk

SPECIAL PRE-ORDER PRICE is 99¢
(Release Day Price will be $3.99)


People coming to the Uncommon Raven Agency for protection, are at the end of the line. 

Noah Kelly takes the cases no other bodyguard will, the ones where demons are hunting the victim. Trouble is, he’s never managed to stop a demon from killing. Not even to save the girlfriend whose murder he was acquitted of four years ago. Since then he’s been determinedly single as he tries to find a way to stop demons and ease his guilt. 

Rachel Jarrett knew she was in trouble when the divorce lawyer she’d been dealing with is found dead—his limbs torn off. She runs, desperate to flee her husband, and finds herself at the Uncommon Raven Agency in the hands of a man with his own secrets. When she tells Noah what she’s seen he doesn’t laugh. He talks about possession. 

For Noah, falling into bed with a client was always going to be bad news, but when her ex is a demon it could be fatal.

BUY LINKS: https://www.books2read.com/u/38rKJ7 

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Bring It Back(list) Feature:



Christmas-Themed Books by Linda Mooney



Click titles for excerpts and buy links:

(Sale excludes Linda's new release "The 13th Gift of Christmas")

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Sales, Contests and Events:



Our authors often take part in hosted giveaways and events, or sponsor their own.
Here are some of the latest! 
.....

7 REASONS TO BE THANKFUL THIS HOLIDAY SEASON! 

Romance Junkies is offering readers a chance to win these 7 amazing books:

  1. The Art of Running in Heels by Rachel Gibson
  2. Set the Night on Fire by Laura Trentham
  3. Leopard's Run by Christine Feehan
  4. First Earl I See Tonight by Anna Bennett
  5. Seal's Honor by Megan Crane
  6. Dragonfire by Donna Grant
  7. The Only Thing by Marie Harte
You can enter the Rafflecopter on HERE BE MAGIC at


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Ends December 13th!
WINTER WONDERLAND ROMANCE READER SCAVENGER HUNT

Hosted by Night Owl Reviews, this annual event just keeps getting bigger and better.
Lots of authors = lots of prizes to be won, such as Amazon gift cards, SpaFinder.com gift cards, Sephora.com gift cards and eBooks, eBooks, eBooks.

Grand prize is a KINDLE FIRE HD 8 with ALEXA

Check it out here:
https://www.nightowlreviews.com/v5/Blog/Articles/Winter-Wonderland-2018-by-Night-Owl-Romance

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MAKE YOUR MONTH MORE MERRY!

Enter to win your choice of a Kindle Fire or Echo Dot in this author-sponsored contest at https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/e226730a29/?

https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/e226730a29/?
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DECEMBER eBOOK SALE on the GRIM SERIES


EBOOKS ON SALE UNTIL DEC. 31st.

Fantasy Romance, Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy

by DANI HARPER

The fae are cunning, powerful and often cruel.

The most beautiful among them are often the most deadly. Hidden far beneath the mortal world, the timeless faery realm plays by its own rules—and those rules can change on a whim. Now and again, the unpredictable residents of that mystical land cross the supernatural threshold…

In this enchanting romance series from Dani Harper, the ancient fae come face-to-face with modern-day humans and discover something far more potent than their strongest magic: love.



Book 1 STORM WARRIOR is now $1.99 
plus just 99¢ each for 

Sale runs until December 31st, 2018
https://www.amazon.com/gp/bookseries/B00XM2L6XS

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You could win Amazon gift cards, payments to your PayPal, ebooks, print books, swag bags, and more!
Link

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Bring It Back(list) - Christmas-Themed Books by Linda Mooney

Posted by: Linda Mooney

Titles include Breath of Christmas (a sweet contemporary fantasy romance), Sand Castle (a sweet contemporary romance), Silent Night Final Night (a paranormal horror with romantic elements), Tickle My Candy Cane (a sensuous romance), and Winter's Fyre (a sensuous fantasy romance).
(Excludes "The 13th Gift of Christmas")

Click titles above for excerpts and buy links.

Friday, December 7, 2018

Playing Favorites

Posted by: PG Forte

Authors often refer to their books as their babies—especially when asked to say which one is their favorite. “How could I pick? It would be liking choosing between two of my children!” And, in most cases, that's exactly how it feels to me, too. But there are always exceptions. 
There are some books where it seems like the stars aligned just right. The words flow; the story pieces fit together without obvious holes, and without any needless MacGuffins; the characters talk to you like they’re supposed to.
In short, everything works. Even the cover art comes together like it should.
Finders Keepers (which re-released earlier this week) was one of those books. The story was one that I actually dreamed. When I woke up, and went over the story in my head, I was surprised to realize that, unlike most dream stories, this one actually held together. Well, it was science fiction, so even the odder dream elements (things like Sally’s hair, or Caleb’s too-youthful appearance) made sense given the premise.
Here’s a brief excerpt from Chapter One that sets up the story:

Detective Aldo Nash could almost hear his brain humming as it worked to categorize the myriad scents tingeing the cool night air: cedar and sea spray, dry asphalt, cooling car engine, and most potent of all, the warm, aroused flesh of the man Aldo had pinned beneath him.
Aldo slid practiced hands over the slim, partially clad form, and the man moaned softly in response, his whole body writhing instinctively closer as he arched into Aldo’s touch. Aldo pulled in another heady lungful and smiled in contentment. On nights like these, he purely loved his job.
He couldn’t say working undercover for the Oakland PD had exactly been a lifelong dream, but Aldo’s brief stint in the army had left him uniquely qualified for it all the same, and largely unqualified for anything else. When the USA was formally dissolved following the economic collapse of the 2020s and what was left of the military was fully privatized, the idea of patriotism lost its meaning. Losing Kyle on top of that had left Aldo with no clear idea of what he wanted to do with his life.
After giving college a try, Aldo had signed up for the police academy on a whim. Unexpectedly, he found his niche. Now he derived a lot of satisfaction from knowing he was helping to prevent future crimes from happening, rather than hoping to solve those that had already occurred. He got to be proactive, stay one step ahead of the bad guys rather than the other way around. But the bottom line was proficiency. He was damned good at what he did.
Not to take away from any natural ability to dissemble he might have inherited from his late actress mother, but most of his success was due, in no small part, to all the experimental drugs he’d been given by the military. His consciousness had been purposely and methodically expanded, and his brain reconfigured to the point where he could easily exert control over his brain waves and sympathetic nervous system.
In a world where just about every criminal, from the capo dei capi of large, multinational drug cartels to the lowliest of hood-grown thugs, had their own psi-ops tech on speed dial, that kind of advantage was a definite point in Aldo’s favor. No matter how skillful said techs might be at worming their way into other people’s minds and tunneling through their thoughts, with him they could only read what he wanted them to read.
Of course, there were also things about his job he didn’t like. The hours were murder since, apparently, crime rarely slept and when it did, its schedule was crap. The regular debriefings with their in-no-way-optional mind-scrubs were a major headache. Literally. Worst of all, the company he was forced to keep generally sucked, and not in that good kind of way.
That wasn’t the case at the moment, however. No, when it came to his present company, Aldo had absolutely no cause for complaint. Tonight’s operation had him working in tandem with a new partner, an agent on temporary loan from some alphabet agency; Aldo wasn’t sure which one. He hadn’t asked. He didn’t care. As far as he was concerned, it didn’t matter. They were all pretty much the same, and the agent would be gone soon either way. Unless Aldo had missed his guess—a possibility he considered most unlikely—his new partner had been chosen for this assignment based solely on his looks. And Aldo was certainly not unhappy with those either.
He had no idea how much of the other man’s appearance was due to surgical alteration or chemical enhancement, but that was something else he sure as hell didn’t care about. Hot was hot, and Special Agent Caleb Mitchell was just about the hottest thing Aldo had seen in a good long while.
Standing at a hair under six feet, Caleb was just a couple of inches shorter than Aldo. He had fair hair, full lips, broad shoulders atop a dancer’s slim build, and everything about him, from his features to his proportions, was a little too perfect to be real. If the man had a flaw anywhere, Aldo had yet to find it, and not for any lack of searching. Even though they were both pushing forty, only Aldo looked his age. Special Agent Mitchell had obviously been the recent recipient of some highly classified and no doubt heavily restricted cell de-aging therapy, giving him the appearance of a man a good two decades younger than his current chronological age, the lucky bastard.
On second thought, maybe it was Aldo who’d lucked out; he got to look at the bastard, after all.


FINDERS KEEPERS
SFR, Futuristic, Erotic, Menage
by PG Forte
$3.99
Sometimes finding what you want is the easy part.

Caleb is a bionic soldier with little-to-no memory of his past. Aldo's an undercover cop who's searching for the man who got away. Then there's Sally, an ER physician who used to be married to Aldo's late partner, Davis. Sally's just looking for a reason to keep on getting up every day.

This holiday season, chance will bring them together and give them an opportunity to help one another find what they each want most. But every gift comes with a price. And keeping what they've found once they've found it? Yeah, that's gonna be the hard part.

 Available at:  Amazon  |  Apple  |  B&N  |  Kobo
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