Ashes of Honor by Seanan McGuire

Untitled-2A long-running series has to be something unusual to hold my attention. I read such a large variety of authors and styles that it’s easy for me to lose interest in something that doesn’t develop as time goes on. Seanan McGuire’s October Daye series has been one of the few that have consistently held my interest and had me hunting for each new volume on its release day. The newest book, Ashes of Honor, is one of the best so far.

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“It’s been almost a year since October “Toby” Daye averted a war, gave up a county, and suffered personal losses that have left her wishing for a good day’s sleep. She’s tried to focus on her responsibilities—training Quentin, upholding her position as Sylvester’s knight, and paying the bills—but she can’t help feeling like her world is crumbling around her, and her increasingly reckless behavior is beginning to worry even her staunchest supporters.

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Kitty Steals the Show by Carrie Vaughn

Kitty Steals the ShowI’ve been reading the Kitty Norville series since it first started coming out. What attracted me to it was Kitty’s unusual job (nighttime radio DJ and talk show host) as well as the character arc that allowed Kitty to grow from subservient werewolf to confident woman. I was also drawn to the cultures of the various supernatural races. Kitty Steals the Show gives readers a bit of a peek at the vampires’ Long Game, machinations that determine which vampires rule from the shadows.

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“Kitty has been tapped as the keynote speaker for the First International Conference on Paranatural Studies, taking place in London. The conference brings together scientists, activists, protestors, and supernatural beings from all over the world—and Kitty, Ben, and Cormac are right in the middle of it.

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Mockingbird by Chuck Wendig

MockingbirdOne of the hardest things for a writer to do is to create a main character who is not likeable, but is at least understandable. Chuck Wendig accomplished this in his first Miriam Black novel, Blackbirds and now continues with the sequel, Mockingbird. His novels are harsh and violent, but they’re also hard to put down.

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“Miriam is trying. Really, she is.

But this whole “settling down thing” that Louis has going for her just isn’t working out. She lives on Long Beach Island all year around. Her home is a run-down double-wide trailer. She works at a grocery store as a check-out girl. And her relationship with Louis—who’s on the road half the time in his truck—is subject to the piss and vinegar Miriam brings to everything she does.

It just isn’t going well. Still, she’s keeping her psychic ability—to see when and how someone is going to die just by touching them—in check. But even that feels wrong somehow. Like she’s keeping a tornado stoppered up in a tiny bottle.

Then comes one bad day that turns it all on her ear.”

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Blue-Blooded Vamp by Jaye Wells

Blue-Blooded VampI’m always sad to see a series come to a close. Over the course of time, I get to know the characters and take pleasure in walking their world with them. While I can certainly re-read the series, it isn’t the same as exploring it for the first time. Jaye Wells concludes her Sabina Kane story with Blue-Blooded Vamp, a novel full of action and peril.

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“Sabina Kane is on the hunt. Her prey: Cain, the father of the vampire race and the one who murdered her family and her friends. Unfortunately, Cain is hunting Sabina, too.

The one man who holds the key to defeating Cain is, of course, Abel. A mage with secrets to spare and, hopefully, the power to match it. Unfortunately, for Sabina, he’s in Rome and may not want to be found.

Sabina sets out for Italy with her friends, Giguhl and Adam Lazarus, to track down the only man who can get her the revenge she hungers for. But will he help her or oppose her? And just who is Abel, really? Worst of all, when Sabina figures out the goddess Lilith has a plan for her-she realizes this trip is getting deadlier by the minute. As they say: when in Rome-SURVIVE.”

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God Save the Queen by Kate Locke

God-Save-the-QueenPeople have been fascinated with the British monarchy for a long time. When Prince William got married last year, record numbers of viewers tuned in to watch, both in England and here in the States. So you have to wonder: what would England under an immortal ruler be like? Kate Locke has created a detailed and riveting look at a country headed by a vampiric matriarch in God Save the Queen, first in the Immortal Empire series.

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“Queen Victoria rules with an immortal fist.

The undead matriarch of a Britain where the Aristocracy is made up of werewolves and vampires, where goblins live underground and mothers know better than to let their children out after dark. A world where being nobility means being infected with the Plague (side-effects include undeath), Hysteria is the popular affliction of the day, and leeches are considered a delicacy. And a world where technology lives side by side with magic. The year is 2012 and Pax Britannia still reigns.

XandraVardan is a member of the elite Royal Guard, and it is her duty to protect the Aristocracy. But when her sister goes missing, Xandra will set out on a path that undermines everything she believed in and uncover a conspiracy that threatens to topple the empire. And she is the key-the prize in a very dangerous struggle.”

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Blackbirds by Chuck Wendig

BlackbirdsAngry Robot Books, based in England, often bills itself as a purveryor of SF, F, and WTF fiction. It’s that last category that often intrigues me the most. And nothing fits that better than Chuck Wendig’s novel Blackbirds. It’s edgy, in-your-face, and brutal… and it also tells a great story.

“Miriam Black knows when you will die.

Still in her early twenties, she’s foreseen hundreds of car crashes, heart attacks, strokes, suicides, and slow deaths by cancer. But when Miriam hitches a ride with truck driver Louis Darling and shakes his hand, she sees that in thirty days Louis will be gruesomely murdered while he calls her name.

Miriam has given up trying to save people; that only makes their deaths happen. But Louis will die because he met her, and she will be the next victim. No matter what she does she can’t save Louis. But if she wants to stay alive, she’ll have to try.”

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Silver-Tongued Devil by Jaye Wells

Silver-Tongued DevilThere’s a heck of a lot of paranormal fantasy out there, as you’re no doubt aware. More and more crop up every week as the genre gets more and more crowded. While I’m open to reading just about anything, it takes something unusual to keep me reading beyond book one. JayeWells’sSabina Kane novels attracted me early on, and Silver-Tongued Devil is just as good as the series’s first book.

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“Now that the threat of war has passed, Sabina Kane is ready to focus on the future. Her relationship with Adam Lazarus is getting stronger and she’s helping her sister, Maisie, overcome the trauma of her captivity in New Orleans. Even Giguhl is managing to stay out of trouble thanks to the arrival of Pussy Willow and his new roller derby team. But as much as Sabina wants to feel hopeful about the future, part of her doesn’t believe that peace is possible.

Her suspicions are confirmed when a string of sadistic murders threatens to stall treaty negotiations between the mages and the vampires. Sabina pitches in to find the killer, but her investigation soon leads her down dark paths that have her questioning everyone she thought she could trust. And the closer she gets to the killer, the more Sabina begins to suspect this is one foe she may not be able to kill.”

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Discount Armageddon by Seanan McGuire

Untitled-10I’ve been following Seanan McGuire since her first October Daye novel came out several years back. I was impressed with the complexity of her Faerie world and the strong characters that she created. Her second urban fantasy series, the InCryptid novels, debut this month with Discount Armageddon, and readers can expect to see the same level of detail coupled with a laugh-out-loud sense of humor.

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“Ghoulies. Ghosties. Long-legged beasties. Things that go bump in the night… The Price family has spent generations studying the monsters of the world, working to protect them from humanity-and humanity from them. Enter Verity Price. Despite being trained from birth as a cryptozoologist, she’d rather dance a tango than tangle with a demon, and is spending a year in Manhattan while she pursues her career in professional ballroom dance. Sounds pretty simple, right? It would be, if it weren’t for the talking mice, the telepathic mathematicians, the asbestos supermodels, and the trained monster-hunter sent by the Price family’s old enemies, the Covenant of St. George. When a Price girl meets a Covenant boy, high stakes, high heels, and a lot of collateral damage are almost guaranteed. To complicate matters further, local cryptids are disappearing, strange lizard-men are appearing in the sewers, and someone’s spreading rumors about a dragon sleeping underneath the city…”

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Kitty’s Greatest Hits by Carrie Vaughn

Kitty's Greatest HitsI’ve been following Carrie Vaughn’s Kitty Norville series since book one. I enjoyed the way the author presented her characters and painted a world coming to grips with the supernatural. Up until now, though, I’ve never had a chance to read any of the short stories that are set in this storyline. In Kitty’s Greatest Hits, readers can find all of these tales in one volume.

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“Kitty Norville, star of a New York Times bestselling series, is everybody’s favorite werewolf DJ and out-of-the-closet supernatural creature. Over the course of eight books she’s fought evil vampires, were-creatures, and some serious black magic. She’s done it all with a sharp wit and the help of a memorable cast of werewolf hunters, psychics, and if-not-good-then-neutral vampires by her side. Kitty’s Greatest Hits not only gives readers some of Kitty’s further adventures, it offers longtime fans a window into the origins of some of their favorite characters.

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Kitty’s Big Trouble by Carrie Vaughn

Kitty's Big TroubleThe Kitty Norville books have been a favorite of mine since the series first debuted. I like the way the supernatural world and the real world learn to deal with each other, because it seems like one of the more realistic portrayals out there. And with the newest installment, Vaughn brings the story close to home for me–specifically, to San Francisco, for a dip into Chinatown’s mythical underworld.

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“Kitty Norville is back and in more trouble than ever. Her recent run-in with werewolves traumatized by the horrors of war has made her start wondering how long the United States government may have been covertly using werewolves in combat. Have any famous names in our own history been actually supernatural? She’s got suspicions about William Tecumseh Sherman. Then… an interview with the right vampire puts her on the trial of Wyatt Earp, vampire hunter.

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