Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday (63)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. So here's this week's WOW pick:

I don't plan on reading very many debut novels in 2016 because not very many have caught my attention so far. One that has caught my eye is Heidi Heilig's The Girl From Everywhere. I'm so happy we're getting several time travel novels this next year! This one sounds awesome! There's a time-traveling ship and it's the first of a duology! I also love that it approaches time travel differently. In order to travel to a certain time period, they have to have a map. I have an ARC of this one and I can't wait to read it!

The Girl From Everywhere
(The Girl From Everywhere #1)
Heidi Heilig
Release: February 16, 2016
Goodreads Amazon
Heidi Heilig’s debut teen fantasy sweeps from modern-day New York City to nineteenth-century Hawaii to places of myth and legend. Sixteen-year-old Nix has sailed across the globe and through centuries aboard her time-traveling father’s ship. But when he gambles with her very existence, it all may be about to end. The Girl from Everywhere, the first of two books, will dazzle readers of Sabaa Tahir, Rae Carson, and Rachel Hartman.

Nix’s life began in Honolulu in 1868. Since then she has traveled to mythic Scandinavia, a land from the tales of One Thousand and One Nights, modern-day New York City, and many more places both real and imagined. As long as he has a map, Nix’s father can sail his ship, The Temptation, to any place, any time. But now he’s uncovered the one map he’s always sought—1868 Honolulu, before Nix’s mother died in childbirth. Nix’s life—her entire existence—is at stake. No one knows what will happen if her father changes the past. It could erase Nix’s future, her dreams, her adventures . . . her connection with the charming Persian thief, Kash, who’s been part of their crew for two years. If Nix helps her father reunite with the love of his life, it will cost her her own.

In The Girl from Everywhere, Heidi Heilig blends fantasy, history, and a modern sensibility with witty, fast-paced dialogue, breathless adventure, and enchanting romance.
What book are you waiting on?

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

2016 Reading Challenges and Goals

We had a pretty exciting 2015 here at Goldilox and the Three Weres, and we've got some good stuff in store for 2016 as well. That includes expanding our reading horizons and trying new things. Here's a look at what reading challenges each of us are participating in and links if you'd like to sign up too. Share your goals and challenges with us in the comments.

Rose Red's Resolutions

Can you believe that 2015 is almost over already? How is it December? Seriously. Where did the time go?

I love when we start a new year! It’s when I get to start over on all of my reading challenges and goals. The year holds such potential because I’m not struggling with any challenges/goals and I'm not behind yet. In all reality, I don’t do a lot of actual organized reading challenges other than my yearly Goodreads reading challenge of 52 books. But I do set a number reading goals for myself at the first of each year and I'm doing that again for 2016.

This year I'm keeping my reading goals simple. Honestly, I just want to read a lot this year. I read almost 200 books in 2015 and I was so much happier because of it. My ultimate goal in 2016 is to read as many of my unread TBR books as possible and to keep up with the new releases I'm anticipating. All of the reading challenges I'm doing this year will help me to meet my goal. I'll talk about all of those challenges below.

At the end of each year my best friend and I have a tradition. We sit down and plan what we want to read the next year by making a list. Most years I don’t get all of the books on my list read but I’ve come close several times. For 2016, we're both making a list of 75 books to read because neither of came close to finishing our list of 100 books last year. Mine is a mix of older books, newer releases, rereads, and books I have pre-ordered for this next year. It also includes a few series I want to binge read.

This tradition has become its own little reading challenge for my best friend and I. We compete to see who will finish their list first or who can read the most from theirs. After we’ve made our lists, we usually print them out in checklist form so we can check each book we read off as we go. This year though, we're doing everything by Google spreadsheet which is going to save some trees. I've provided my list above. :)

The recent count in my TBR spreadsheet says that I own 235 unread books at the time of this posting. So I'm participating in the 2016 Rock My TBR Reading Challenge hosted by Sarah K for The YA Book Traveler. Basically, the challenge is to read at least one book off your TBR pile each month. If you do that, your TBR will be down twelve books by the end of 2016. I really like this challenge! Especially since I have a ginormous physical TBR pile. My personal goal for this challenge is going to be for me to read twenty-five of my unread books. I’d like to read more but I’m going to set that as the minimum because I can easily read two TBR books a month!

Another part of this challenge is to post a list of the TBR books you're hoping to get to this next year. Me being me, I have set up the above spreadsheet for this. I have one tab for the books I already own and another one for the physical books I have pre-ordered. As soon as a book crosses the threshold of my apartment, I consider it a TBR book. Between both lists, I have about seventy books listed so I shouldn’t run out of books to choose from that’s for sure!

One of my other goals for 2016 is to try and not add any more books to my TBR pile. So I'm participating in the 2016 Read the Books You Buy Challenge hosted by The Book Date. The percentage I'm shooting for is the 80-100% range with my ultimate goal being 100%. If I buy a physical book, I have to read it next year. No more of this stockpiling books when I already have so many unread ones. I actually think I will do well at this challenge considering a lot of my pre-orders for next year are books that continue series I’m caught up on.

The last reading challenge I'm doing is one of the challenges I did last year and had a grand time doing it the whole time! I still think it is rather ingenious. I’m going to be doing my 2016 TBR Jar Challenge inspired by the one created by Kat from Katytastic last year. I'm doing things a little differently this year now that I've done it once. I have selected sixteen bookish challenges and have written them on individual pieces of paper. I’ve put all of these strips of paper into a jar and each month I’m going to draw a challenge that I’ll have to complete before the next month begins. These challenges will add a degree of randomness to my TBR each month while letting me have the freedom to choose a book that fits my mood that will complete each one. This year I am doing one challenge per month for a total of twelve books. By having sixteen bookish challenges, I won't know what twelve I'm doing for 2016 until the end of the year. Sounds fun, right? AND each challenge will count as one of my books for the Rock My TBR challenge above.

As for the challenges I'm switching things up a bit, I used some from last year but I also got rid of a couple. I didn't enjoy some of the challenges plus I found a couple I really liked from PopSugar's 2016 Reading Challenge. The following are what went into my jar:
  1. Read A Book With 500+ Pages
  2. Reread A Favorite Book
  3. Read A Popular YA Book
  4. Read A Book That Someone Else Picks
  5. Read A Book Published In The Last 3 Years
  6. Read A Book With Magic
  7. Read A New-To-You Author
  8. Read A Book That Was Made Into A Movie
  9. Read A Series Finale
  10. Read A Book You Own And Haven’t Read Yet
  11. Read A Graphic Novel
  12. Read A Sequel
  13. Read A Book Published In 2016
  14. Read A Book That Is Guaranteed To Bring You Joy
  15. Read A Non-Fiction Book
  16. Read A Book Based On A Fairy Tale
So that’s what I’m doing for the TBR Jar Challenge this year. You all are more than welcome to join me in doing this challenge. :)

Are you doing any bookish challenges this year? Are any of you thinking of doing this challenge?

Gretl's Goals

For 2015 I unofficially resolved to read more Young Adult books, but I don't feel like I did a very good job keeping that resolution. So this year I'm making it official and resolving to read at least one YA book each month. I looked for a YA-focused reading challenge to help me along, but I didn't find one. Then I realized that I already own a whole bunch of YA books that I haven't read yet. (Those are really the only ones I'm bad about buying and saving for later.)

So I'm going to do the Rock My TBR Challenge too. (Link and details above in Rose Red's Resolutions.) I will not, however, be making a spreadsheet. They don't like me and the feeling is mutual. Here's a list of all the YA books on my (mostly digital) TBR pile:

The Mythos Academy series by Jennifer Estep - 6 books
The Lunar Chronicles series by Melissa Marr - 4 books
The White Rabbit Chronicles by Gena Showalter - 3 books
The Ruby Circle by Richelle Mead
Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Page
The Master Magician by Charlie N. Holmgren
The Wanderers by Kate Ormond
Black Widow: Forever Red by Margaret Stohl
I Am Princess X by Cherie Priest

So I've already got more than enough to read one book a month in 2016. I'd also really like to read The Mortal Instruments series and its spin-offs, especially with the TV show about to start. If I do, I'll probably buy those and add them to the list. If I finish with all those YA titles early in the year, I do have a few adult books on the TBR pile. Here's another list:

Burned by Karen Marie Moning
Gameboard of the Gods by Richelle Mead
Terminated by Rachel Caine
Immortal Hunter by Kait Ballenger
Bound to Danger by Katie Reus
Red Delicious by Kathleen Tierney
Extinction Agenda by Marcus Pelligrimas
Envy by J.R. Ward
Midnight by Ellen Connor
Double Cross by Carolyn Crane
Dhampir by Barb and J.C. Hendee
Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
The Given by Vicki Pettersson
From Russia With Claws by Jacey Conrad and Gia Corona
The Undead Single Moms Club by Molly Harper
The Bullet-Catcher's Daughter by Rob Duncan
Nuts by Alice Clayton
Magic Stars by Ilona Andrews
Fangs for the Memories by Molly Harper

Another part of my resolution is to review the ones that haven't already appeared on the blog. So watch for some of these #RockMyTBR titles coming up.

In January, I'm continuing the Coastal Magic Featured Author Reading Challenge which started in October. The goal is to read seventeen books by Featured Authors in the seventeen weeks leading up to the con. I'm working on my ninth so I'm only four books behind. (Yikes!) Look for a wrap up post for this challenge in February. And for information about Coastal Magic Con, where Goldilox is a Featured Blogger, click the icon at the top of our sidebar.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Show Me Your . . . Gargoyles

Show Me Yours is our new discussion post where we ask for your book recommendations on a different subject each month.

I recently read my first book with a gargoyle as one of the main characters and I really enjoyed it! Did I mention that I had an obsession with Disney's Gargoyles TV series when I was a kid? I totally had a crush on Goliath so the whole time I was reading that gargoyle book, I had this image in my head:

 It also got me wanting to pick up more books with gargoyles in them. And I'm pretty open to anything. I was thinking about it and the only book other than Danielle Monsch's Stone Guardian I've read with a gargoyle in it was Patricia C. Wrede's The Enchanted Forest Chronicles. And that gargoyle doesn't really count because he was a wooden one that was mounted to a wall for all that he could talk. I'm kind of wanting more romancey books because we all want more gargoyle paranormal romances in our lives, right?

Or... maybe that's just me? The thing is I don't know where to start looking for good gargoyle books. So today I'm asking you to:
Show Me Your Favorite Gargoyle Books

We'll even show you ours to get it started.
Here are some recs from Gretl:

Heart of Stone (Negotiator Trilogy/Old Races Universe #1)Heart of Stone (Gargoyles, #1)The Gargoyle Gets His Girl (Nocturne Falls, #3)

The Negotiator Trilogy By C.E. Murphy 
When Alban, the gargoyle hero, becomes a suspect in a human murder he approaches a human attorney who gets drawn into the world of the Old Races. In Murphy's version of the gargoyle mythos Alban turns to stone during the day, leaving his human heroine unprotected. In addition to the gargoyle hero, this series has amazing supporting characters like a dragon crime boss and a pirate who's much older than she appears. This is a UF series with a strong romance plot - the same couple star in all three books.

The Gargoyles Series by Christine Warren
There are twelve stone guardians scattered throughout the world. When demons threaten humanity, the nearest one wakes to battle the evil, then returns to his sleeping stone form once the danger has passed. But their lore tells of guardians who found their true mates and lived out their lives as human. This series is more like a typical shifter PNR with fated mates, but I like the way it pits secret societies on both the light and dark sides against each other.

The Gargoyle Gets His Girl by Kristen Painter
The town of Nocturne Falls, where every day is Halloween, has a gargoyle statue in the middle of the town square. The tourists don't seem to notice that it's not always the same gargoyle. On Nick's first day as gargoyle security guard, he meets a beautiful Fae woman who accidentally binds him to her service. I thought the Fae elements were more prominent than the gargoyle ones in this book, but the history between the two races provided an interesting conflict.

I also recommend Painter's novella Queen of Hearts from the Sin City Collectors series. I really liked what she did with the gargoyle mythology in it. And I could list a few supporting gargoyles that are lots of fun and have their own novellas, like Alexandra Ivy's Levet and Beezle from the Rachel Morgan series.

What are your favorite Gargoyle books? Why do you think I should give them a chance?

If you have a genre or topic you'd like to see in a Show Me Yours post, let us know in the comments or send us a FB message.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Most Anticipated Books of 2016

We wanted to try to feature newness in our Most Anticipated list, rather than just tell you how excited we are about the next Kate Daniels book (because DUH) so here are our favorite standalones and series debuts for 2016.

(The Witchlands #1)
Susan Denard
Releases Jan. 5
Goodreads Amazon
On a continent ruled by three empires, some are born with a “witchery”, a magical skill that sets them apart from others.

In the Witchlands, there are almost as many types of magic as there are ways to get in trouble—as two desperate young women know all too well.

Safiya is a Truthwitch, able to discern truth from lie. It’s a powerful magic that many would kill to have on their side, especially amongst the nobility to which Safi was born. So Safi must keep her gift hidden, lest she be used as a pawn in the struggle between empires.

Iseult, a Threadwitch, can see the invisible ties that bind and entangle the lives around her—but she cannot see the bonds that touch her own heart. Her unlikely friendship with Safi has taken her from life as an outcast into one of reckless adventure, where she is a cool, wary balance to Safi’s hotheaded impulsiveness.

Safi and Iseult just want to be free to live their own lives, but war is coming to the Witchlands. With the help of the cunning Prince Merik (a Windwitch and ship’s captain) and the hindrance of a Bloodwitch bent on revenge, the friends must fight emperors, princes, and mercenaries alike, who will stop at nothing to get their hands on a Truthwitch.

27272506The Glittering Court
(The Glittering Court #1)
Richelle Mead
Releases April 5
Goodreads Amazon
A dazzling new fantasy series set in a mix of Elizabethan and frontier worlds that’s dripping with romance from Richelle Mead, #1 internationally bestselling author of Vampire Academy.

Big and sweeping, spanning the refined palaces of Osfrid to the gold dust and untamed forests of Adoria, The Glittering Court tells the story of Adelaide, an Osfridian countess who poses as her servant to escape an arranged marriage and start a new life in Adoria, the New World. But to do that, she must join the Glittering Court.

Both a school and a business venture, the Glittering Court is designed to transform impoverished girls into upper-class ladies capable of arranging powerful and wealthy marriages in the New World. Adelaide naturally excels in her training and even makes a few friends: the fiery former laundress Tamsin and the beautiful Sirminican refugee Mira. She manages to keep her true identity hidden from all but one: the intriguing Cedric Thorn, son of the wealthy proprietor of the Glittering Court.

When Adelaide discovers that Cedric is hiding a dangerous secret of his own, together, they hatch a scheme to make the best of Adelaide’s deception. Complications soon arise—first, as they cross the treacherous seas from Osfrid to Adoria, and later, when Adelaide catches the attention of a powerful governor.

But no complication will prove quite as daunting as the potent attraction simmering between Adelaide and Cedric. An attraction that, if acted on, would scandalize the Glittering Court and make them both outcasts in wild, vastly uncharted lands. . . .

26109041The Voodoo Killings
(Kinkaid Strange #1)
Kristi Charish
Releases May 10
Goodreads Amazon
For the first time since we launched Bitten by Kelley Armstrong, Random House Canada is thrilled to announce the debut of a new urban fantasy series. Kristi Charish's The Voodoo Killings introduces Kincaid Strange, not your average voodoo practitioner...

For starters, she's only 27. Then there's the fact that she lives in rain-soaked Seattle, which is not exactly Haiti. And she's broke. With raising zombies outlawed throughout the continental USA, Kincaid has to eke out a living running seances for university students with more money than brains who are desperate for guitar lessons with the ghost of a Seattle grunge rocker--who happens to be Kincaid's on-again, off-again roommate.

Then a stray zombie turns up outside her neighbourhood bar: Cameron Wight, an up-and-coming visual artist with no recollection of how he died or who raised him. Not only is it dangerous for Kincaid to be caught with an unauthorized zombie, she soon realizes he's tied to a spate of murders: someone is targeting the zombies and voodoo practitioners in Seattle's infamous Underground City, a paranormal hub. When the police refuse to investigate, the City's oldest and foremost zombie asks Kincaid to help. Raising ghosts and zombies is one thing, but finding a murderer? She's broke, but she's not stupid.

And then she becomes the target...As the saying goes, when it rains it pours, especially in Seattle.

23299512This Savage Song
(Monsters of Verity #1)
Victoria Schwab
Releases June 7
Goodreads Amazon
The city of Verity has been overrun with monsters, born from the worst of human evil. In North Verity, the Corsai and the Malchai run free. Under the rule of Callum Harker, the monsters kill any human who has not paid for protection. In the South, Henry Flynn hunts the monsters who cross the border into his territory, aided by the most dangerous and darkest monsters of them all—the Sunai, dark creatures who use music to steal their victim’s souls.

As one of only three Sunai in existence, August Flynn has always wanted to play a bigger role in the war between the north and the south. When the chance arises to keep an eye on Kate Harker, daughter of the leader of North Verity, August jumps on it.
When Kate discovers August’s secret, the pair find themselves running for their lives and battling monsters from both sides of the wall. As the city dissolves into chaos, it’s up to them to foster a peace between monsters and humans.

A unique, fast-paced adventure that looks at the monsters we face every day—including the monster within.

24452922Blood of the Earth
(Soulwood #1)
Faith Hunter
Release: Aug. 2
Goodreads Amazon
Set in the same world as the New York Times bestselling Jane Yellowrock novels, an all-new series starring Nell Ingram, who wields powers as old as the earth.

When Nell Ingram met skinwalker Jane Yellowrock, she was almost alone in the world, exiled by both choice and fear from the cult she was raised in, defending herself with the magic she drew from her deep connection to the forest that surrounds her.

Now, Jane has referred Nell to PsyLED, a Homeland Security agency policing paranormals, and agent Rick LaFleur has shown up at Nell’s doorstep. His appearance forces her out of her isolated life into an investigation that leads to the vampire Blood Master of Nashville.

Nell has a team—and a mission. But to find the Master’s kidnapped vassal, Nell and the PsyLED team will be forced to go deep into the heart of the very cult Nell fears, infiltrating the cult and a humans-only terrorist group before time runs out…

But we also had to mention a few series releases that we're especially excited about.

The Bands of Mourning
(Mistborn #6)
Brandon Sanderson
Releases January 26
Goodreads Amazon
The #1 New York Times bestselling author returns to the world of Mistborn with the follow-up to Shadows of Self.

With The Alloy of Law and Shadows of Self, Brandon Sanderson surprised readers with a New York Times bestselling spinoff of his Mistborn books, set after the action of the trilogy, in a period corresponding to late 19th-century America.

Now, with The Bands of Mourning, Sanderson continues the story. The Bands of Mourning are the mythical metalminds owned by the Lord Ruler, said to grant anyone who wears them the powers that the Lord Ruler had at his command. Hardly anyone thinks they really exist. A kandra researcher has returned to Elendel with images that seem to depict the Bands, as well as writings in a language that no one can read. Waxillium Ladrian is recruited to travel south to the city of New Seran to investigate. Along the way he discovers hints that point to the true goals of his uncle Edwarn and the shadowy organization known as The Set.

Stars Above
(The Lunar Chronicles #0.5, 0.6, 1.5, 3.5, 3.6)
Marissa Meyer
Releases February 2
Goodreads Amazon
The enchantment continues....

The universe of the Lunar Chronicles holds stories—and secrets—that are wondrous, vicious, and romantic. How did Cinder first arrive in New Beijing? How did the brooding soldier Wolf transform from young man to killer? When did Princess Winter and the palace guard Jacin realize their destinies?

With nine stories—five of which have never before been published—and an exclusive never-before-seen excerpt from Marissa Meyer’s upcoming novel, Heartless, about the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland, Stars Above is essential for fans of the bestselling and beloved Lunar Chronicles.

The Little Android: A retelling of Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Little Mermaid,” set in the world of The Lunar Chronicles.
Glitches: In this prequel to Cinder, we see the results of the plague play out, and the emotional toll it takes on Cinder. Something that may, or may not, be a glitch….
The Queen’s Army: In this prequel to Scarlet, we’re introduced to the army Queen Levana is building, and one soldier in particular who will do anything to keep from becoming the monster they want him to be.
Carswell’s Guide to Being Lucky: Thirteen-year-old Carswell Thorne has big plans involving a Rampion spaceship and a no-return trip out of Los Angeles.
The Keeper: A prequel to the Lunar Chronicles, showing a young Scarlet and how Princess Selene came into the care of Michelle Benoit.
After Sunshine Passes By: In this prequel to Cress, we see how a nine-year-old Cress ended up alone on a satellite, spying on Earth for Luna.
The Princess and the Guard: In this prequel to Winter, we see a game called The Princess
The Mechanic: In this prequel to Cinder, we see Kai and Cinder’s first meeting from Kai’s perspective.
Something Old, Something New: In this epilogue to Winter, friends gather for the wedding of the century...

A Gathering of Shadows
(A Darker Shade of Magic #2)
V.E. Schwab
Releases February 23
Goodreads Amazon
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.

Time Siege
(Time Salvager #2)
Wesley Chu
Releases July 12
Goodreads Amazon
Having been haunted by the past and enslaved by the present, James Griffin-Mars is taking control of the future.

Earth is a toxic, sparsely inhabited wasteland­­the perfect hiding place for a fugitive ex­chronman to hide from the authorities.

James has allies, scientists he rescued from previous centuries: Elise Kim, who believes she can renew Earth, given time; Grace Priestly, the venerated inventor of time travel herself; Levin, James's mentor and former pursuer, now disgraced; and the Elfreth, a population of downtrodden humans who want desperately to believe that James and his friends will heal their ailing home world.

James also has enemies. They include the full military might of benighted solar system ruled by corporate greed and a desperate fear of what James will do next. At the forefront of their efforts to stop him is Kuo, the ruthless security head, who wants James's head on a pike and will stop at nothing to obtain it.

Of course, we're also eagerly awaiting the latest releases in our favorite series:

The Dirt on Ninth Grave (Charley Davidson #9) by Darynda Jones
Releases January 12 Goodreads Amazon

Staked (Iron Druid #8) by Kevin Hearne
Releases January 26 Goodreads Amazon

Bitter Bite (Elemental Assassin #14) by Jennifer Estep
Releases February 23 Goodreads Amazon

Midnight Marked (Chicagoland Vampires #12) by Chloe Neill
Releases March 1 Goodreads Amazon

Fire Touched (Mercy Thompson #9) by Patricia Briggs
Releases March 8 Goodreads Amazon

Marked in Flesh (The Others #4) by Anne Bishop
Releases March 8 Goodreads Amazon

Shadow Rites (Jane Yellowrock #10) by Faith Hunter
Releases April 5 Goodreads Amazon

Ride the Storm (Cassandra Palmer #8) by Karen Chance
Releases April 5 Goodreads Amazon

Bright Blaze of Magic (Black Blade #3) by Jennifer Estep
Releases April 26 Goodreads Amazon

Allegiance of Honor (Psy-Changeling #15) by Nalini Singh
Releases June 14 Goodreads Amazon

The Curse of Tenth Grave (Charley Davidson #10) by Darynda Jones
Releases June 28 Goodreads Amazon

Forevermore (Darkest London #7) by Kristen Callihan
Releases June 28 Goodreads Amazon

The Sight (Devil's Isle #2) by Chloe Neill
Releases August 16 Goodreads Amazon

Wild Embrace (Psy-Changeling Novella Anthology) by Nalini Singh
Releases August 23 Goodreads Amazon

Which 2016 releases are you most excited for?

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Release Day Review: Outtakes From The Grave by Jeaniene Frost

Outtakes from the Grave
(Night Huntress #0)
Jeaniene Frost
Release: December 22, 2015
Goodreads Amazon
Cat and Bones fans, sink your teeth into this new outtakes compilation from New York Times bestselling author Jeaniene Frost!

Indulge your love of paranormal super couple Cat and Bones with this ultimate “director’s cut” collection of deleted scenes and alternate versions from the first four novels in the Night Huntress series, complete with author commentary on each selection. Includes: the original beginnings of Halfway to the Grave, One Foot in the Grave, At Grave’s End, and Destined for an Early Grave: a chapter written in Bones’s point of view; alternate versions of sections of Halfway to the Grave, One Foot in the Grave, and Destined for an Early Grave; the “white wedding” scene between Cat and Bones that never made it into the final books…and much more!

Review by Rose Red:

Before we get any further with this review, I want to say that if you haven't read the first four books in the Night Huntress series and the first Night Huntress World book, don't read this anthology. Save it until after you have finished Destined for an Early Grave and First Drop of Crimson. That way you won't be spoiled. You've been warned.
For me, 2015 will forever known as the year I binge read all the series I've been meaning to get to. That included the two series that belong to the Night Huntress World. I was obsessed. I read everything I could get my hands on! And I mean everything. I read all of the Night Huntress books, the two companion Night Huntress World books, and all three available books in the Dark Prince series plus all the novellas in a week. I couldn't get enough of Cat and Bones and Vlad and I was super sad when I ran out of books. So when I read on Jeaniene Frost's blog that she was compiling a collection of cut scenes from the first four books, I was ecstatic! Who wouldn't be? I'll take all of the Cat and Bones she'll give me!

I want to take a moment to thank the author for allowing me to read and review an ARC of this collection early. I spent every spare minute I could reading it around work and various holiday parties and obligations. It was fascinating! Intellectually I know that one small change can affect a whole series but this anthology really drove that point home. Some things could have gone in a very, very different direction in this series. That being said, can I just say how much these outtakes made me appreciate and love even more how the story really played out in the published books? Because it did.

I'm not going to review each outtake separately because... well...

 photo river_spoilers.gif

I liked some outtakes way more than others and one outtake, in particular, pissed me off just like Frost said it would in her introduction to it. That outtake is what really made me appreciate Frost's editors and how they helped the story end up playing out they way we all know it did in the print. I will say that once I accepted it (because it did go in a direction that is believable of the characters involved), I fell into how the story could have been. It would have been a much rougher ride and that's saying something for those of you who know what happens in these books.

That being said there were several that I adored! I loved the interactions between everyone! It made me happy seeing everyone again! And that wedding outtake? PERFECT! Also, HOLY SEX SCENES, BATMAN! If you are of the crowd who thinks that there should have been more sex in the books, these outtakes are for you! Holy cow! Is it hot in here? I'm now very curious just HOW MANY sex scenes were cut from this series? I'm not complaining because we get a good share in the series but oh man! We could have had so much more!

Overall, I really enjoyed reading this and it was an eye opening experience. I love the published books even more now! I would recommend picking this up if you're a fan of the series.
I'm intrigued to see people's reactions to these outtakes because I foresee a lot of mixed feelings. If you do read this, I would caution you to keep in mind that these scenes were cut for a reason and that we have a series we love because they were. 

It was fun to see Cat and Bones and the gang again and it is a little something something that will help us in the wait for Into the Fire coming out next year! I can't wait to hear everyone's thoughts on this.

ARC provided by the author.


Monday, December 21, 2015

Review: Moves Like Jagger by Dakota Cassidy

Moves Like Jagger
(Wolf Mates #4)
Dakota Cassidy
Release: Dec. 20, 2015
Goodreads Amazon
Moves Like Jagger, the eagerly anticipated 4th book in the Wolf Mates series by USA Today bestselling author Dakota Cassidy is here. Return to Cedar Glen for a laugh-out-loud cast of characters and a mystery to solve. Love is in the air and danger is on the horizon in this holiday romp in the woods.

The weather outside is frightful, but the romance is so delightful in Cedar Glen!

Vivienne Hathaway is a cat shifter who's still learning about the ways of the paranormal. Sometimes she finds herself in a bit of a mess as she works out the kinks.

Like looking out from the inside of a dog crate.


And on her way to be spayed.


When she meets hot bear-shifter, Jagger Dubrov and Cedar Glen's local mobile veterinarian during a catch and release program designed to thwart the population of feral cats in his new hometown, Jagger mistakenly catches Viv, and it's all out holiday magic at first sight.

As Viv and Jagger begin a perfectly fine Christmas romance and get to know each other over eggnog and mistletoe, a problem lurks. Someone’s hunting pets and killing the wildlife in Cedar Glen, a strictly forbidden practice. And that someone? They also want Viv dead.
Moves Like Jagger features Vivienne, who was introduced in the first Wolf Mates book, An American Werewolf in Hoboken (she's the heroine JC's best friend) and has just moved to Cedar Glen. She's snarky and charming and loves 90's boy bands. When she meets the hero Jagger, the town's new vet, they bond over their love of animals, which made me like them both a little more, and some odd but endearing banter.

The first half of the book is basically a whirlwind romance that keeps getting interrupted by Jagger's vet calls. I was surprised that it took the villain so long to show up, especially since this is a shorter book. (It comes in at just over a hundred pages, much like book three, Gotta Have Faith.) I knew right away who that villain was and more or less what they were up to, so there wasn't much mystery for me. However, it turns out that this is only part of Vivienne's story. The next book will follow her and another character as they search for the man who embezzled her family's fortune.

Moves Like Jagger was a fun story for me, if not a perfect one. I'm not normally one to go out of my way to read seasonally appropriate books, but I really enjoyed reading about snow on the ground and characters hanging Christmas lights, especially since it's been unseasonably warm here lately. I love the town of Cedar Glen, a refuge for misfit shifters, and the eccentric characters that live there. I'm looking forward to checking in on them all again in the future.

I also think you could pick up this book if you're looking for a holiday rom-com, even if you haven't read the earlier books in the series. Everything you need to know going in about the town and the characters is explained. Some of the previous couples appear and others are mentioned, but it's not especially spoilery.

Recommended for fans of: Paranormal Rom-Coms

ARC provided by the author


Friday, December 18, 2015

Gretl's Best of 2015

2015 was not the greatest reading year for me. It looks like I'm just barely going to make my goal for Goodreads. And I wound up returning a lot of library books unread because I had too many ARCs to read at the same time. (Seriously, why does everything I want to read have to come out on the same day?)

But I read some really good stuff this year as well, tried new things and discovered some new favorite authors. Here are some of the highlights.

Overall Best of 2015

Of Silk and Steam (London Steampunk, #5)Silver on the RoadMenagerie (Menagerie, #1)AliceDead Heat (Alpha & Omega, #4)

It's tough, but if I have to choose, these are my top 5 of 2015. I rated them all 4 1/2 or 5 stars.

Of Silk and Steam by Bec McMaster
I loved this book so much I read it twice before release day. This was the last book in the London Steampunk series and it certainly went out on a high note.
Read our review.

Silver on the Road by Laura Anne Gilman
Something different from my usual UF. Let's call it a magical-historical western fantasy. Gilman was also a new-to-me author, but I'm definitely going to check out some of her other books.
Read my Goodreads review.

Menagerie by Rachel Vincent
A completely different kind of shifter story. Not what I expected, but totally fascinating. Dark, but also hopeful and empowering.
Read my review.

Alice by Christina Henry
Alice returned from Wonderland very different than when she went in. She wound up in an asylum with an axe-murdering neighbor. This is what happens when they escape.
Read my review.

Dead Heat by Patricia Briggs
I've never met a Patricia Briggs book I didn't like, and the Alpha and Omega series is definitely my favorite. It had been a long time since I had seen Charles and Anna, but they were worth the wait.
Read Rose Red's review.

Series Debuts


These are probably the books I would be quickest to recommend even though they're not necessarily my highest rated. (I gave them all 4 stars.) Some truly unique and wonderful worlds on this list and I'm excited to see every one of these series continue.

Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho
A young woman with magical talent runs away with the Royal Sorcerer. Feels like of some of my favorite steampunk series, but with dragons instead of dirigibles.
Read my RTFB post.

Wake of Vultures by Lila Bowen
This is another Magical Western. I didn't know I liked them until this year. It's also another adult book with a teen heroine, which seemed to be a trend this year. Nettie struggles with issues of race, gender and sexuality while first breaking horses and later battling monsters.
Read my Goodreads review.

The Aeronaut's Windlass by Jim Butcher
A sci-fi adventure disguised as Steampunk. Some really impressive airship battles, political intrigue and chapters from the cat's POV. I loved the diverse cast of characters and the sort of post-apocalyptic world. There's still so much I want to know about them both.
Read my Goodreads review.

The Drafter by Kim Harrison
I'm disappointed that more people didn't read this one. I loved Peri, though she's very different from Rachel Morgan. She's a double agent with no memory of her mission. And I loved Harrison's vision for near-future Detroit.
Read my Goodreads review.

Urban Fantasy

Vision in Silver by Anne Bishop
We've loved The Others series from the beginning. This installment doesn't have quite as much action, but ups the intrigue. We learn about The Others outside the courtyard and the war brewing with humans in faraway countries.
Read our review.

Deadly Spells by Jaye Wells
Another series that I love and can't recommend enough. This is the best one yet with some more of the backstory coming to light and Kate finally making some relationship progress.
Read Goldilox's review.

Dark Debt by Chloe Neill
Reminded me why I loved Chicagoland Vampires from the very beginning. Merit's gang is mostly back together and we finally get some answers from Morgan.
Read my Goodreads review.

Crucible Zero by Devon Monk
The world has changed from the first two books in the House Immortal series, but all of Matilda's friends are still there. This final installment really takes the action to the next level.
Read my review.


Grave Phantoms by Jenn Bennett
The couple we've all been waiting for since the series began. I loved Bo and Astrid!

Soulbound by Kristen Callihan
I love an enemies to lovers story. Adam and Eliza certainly started off wrong, but they unite in their quest to escape Mab, and eventually grow to understand each other. I liked getting to know them too, as both characters were not who I thought they were.
Read Rose Red's review.

The Bourbon Kings by JR Ward
Like your favorite prime time soap in book form. I totally understand why it's already been optioned for TV. I could not put this one down.
Read my review.


Rebel Mechanics (Rebel Mechanics, #1)Cold Burn of Magic (Black Blade #1)

Rebel Mechanics by Shanna Swendson
A young governess is torn between her new employer and a group of machine-building rebels in an alternate New York where the British still rule because the aristocracy wields magic. I wanted the next book as soon as I finished it.
Read my Goodreads review.

Hit by Delilah S. Dawson
This is the book that had me in tears in the middle of the McDonald's PlayPlace. Patsy Klein becomes an indentured assassin for the bank that's just taken over the government in this pre-dystopian adventure.
Read my review.

Cold Burn of Magic/ Dark Heart of Magic by Jennifer Estep
The Black Blade series has everything I love about Elemental Assassin but with swords. I love this world and the characters in it, especially the monsters.
Read Rose Red's review.

The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black
A modern day fairy tale set in a magical town where the monsters only eat the tourists. This story wound up in a totally different place than I expected. It even has a well-done love triangle, which is something I never say.
Read my review.

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