Read & Loved:
Feel the Burn by G.A. Aiken
Kachka is beautiful, if you like them fierce—and of course I do. But she keeps complaining about how spoiled and decadent I am, and how a feared Daughter of the Steppes has no time for foolish dragons. I think she likes my eye patch, though. It is quite dashing. With death always at our tails, we take our passion like we take our allies. As they say, love the barbarian you’re with…
My Thoughts: Feel the Burn came out right before I went to Asia and it was a life savor not only on my flight out but pretty much the entire trip. I spent a few hours devouring it on my first flight and let me tell you, I have no idea how she continues to do what she does. Aiken (aka Shelly Laurenston) has created this incredibly intricate world that I never word have predicted when I picked up Dragon Actually way back when. Each book builds on the one before it (this is definitely not a stand alone) and they consistently have satisfying relationships/HEAs along with enough political intrigue and twists to make your head spin.
Magic Stars by Ilona Andrews
Scarred, solitary Derek Gaunt has separated from his Pack, and is truly a lone wolf. With no family he answers to no one; but is fiercely loyal to a chosen few. So, when several of those close to him are murdered, he’ll stop at nothing to hunt their killer through the magic-drenched streets of Atlanta.
Never one to be left on the sidelines, equally determined—some might say stubborn—Julie Lennart-Olsen soon joins in his pursuit; and what began as revenge turns into a race to save the city. Their search pits them against powers they never imagined and magic so old, it predates history. It may cost Derek his life, but there are things for which even he would risk everything.
My Thoughts: If you like urban fantasy and you're not reading Ilona Andrews than I'm not sure what to tell you. I've lost touch with a number of series I loved (looking at you Dark Series...) but Andrews is a writing team that consistently knocks it out of the park. Kate and Curran are one of my favorite couples ever and the direction they're starting to take here, focusing on Julie and Derek, is just as good. Magic Stars. Go, buy now (ONLY IF YOU'VE READ THE OTHER ONES FIRST OF COURSE), thank me later.
Lost to the Desert Warrior by Sarah Morgan
"Walking into the lion's den unprotected, Princess?"
For Layla, princess of Tazkhan, her arranged marriage means one thing—a lifetime of cruelty and captivity. Such an unendurable prospect drives her to throw herself at the mercy of Sheikh Raz Al Zahki—her family's greatest enemy!
Raz demands one thing in return for the safe haven Layla is seeking—this brooding desert king wants to make her his queen! Her freedom might be secured, but now her heart is at risk, for soon she's lost to the scorching heat of their marriage bed. However, it will take more than fire to thaw her guarded husband….
My Thoughts: I picked Lost to the Desert Warrior up for cheap during Harlequin's anniversary sale, almost exclusively because Sarah Morgan somehow manages to make even the most ridiculous sounding plot line work. And she does. Again. Somehow Raz is strong and sympathetic rather than the typical alpha-hole and even in her ignorance of what she's really getting herself into, Layla is ready to do what's necessary and stay true to who she is while protecting her loved ones.
I'm Looking Forward To:
Marked in Flesh by Anne Bishop
For centuries, the Others and humans have lived side by side in uneasy peace. But when humankind oversteps its bounds, the Others will have to decide how much humanity they’re willing to tolerate—both within themselves and within their community...
Since the Others allied themselves with the cassandra sangue, the fragile yet powerful human blood prophets who were being exploited by their own kind, the delicate dynamic between humans and Others changed. Some, like Simon Wolfgard, wolf shifter and leader of the Lakeside Courtyard, and blood prophet Meg Corbyn, see the new, closer companionship as beneficial—both personally and practically.
But not everyone is convinced. A group of radical humans is seeking to usurp land through a series of violent attacks on the Others. What they don’t realize is that there are older and more dangerous forces than shifters and vampires protecting the land that belongs to the Others—and those forces are willing to do whatever is necessary to protect what is theirs...
My Thoughts: Still an auto-buy series. I'm waiting for Bishop to do something "Bishop-y" and ruin my joy but it hasn't happened yet so I'm still hanging in there. Release Date: March 8, 2016.
The Undoing by Shelly Laurenston
But things are turning very bad, very quickly because a vengeful, ancient goddess has come into the world with just one thing on her mind–ending it. And the only way they can hope to stop her is if the Crows join forces with their one-time enemies, the Protectors. A Viking Clan created to do nothing but kill every Crow they see.
Thankfully, Protector Ski Eriksen is a peace loving kind of guy. Because the woman he is desperately trying to get close to is the beautiful and not-very-chatty Jace. Battling Nordic clans? Unkillable goddesses? Jace’s mean-spirited dog? None of these things would ever get in the way of a true Viking!
My Thoughts: The second book in Laurenston's new "Call of Crows" series, it picks back up a world she debuted in her old e-release Hunting Season. I felt a little like the first book was big on plot at the expense of the main HEA, but all in all her writing still makes me happy and the world/supporting characters are fun to read about. Release Date: March 29, 2016.
So I just realized these last picks are months away - sorry!
I do have some more recent releases I'm looking forward to so I'll try to feature those soon. What are you guys reading/loving right now?