In no order whatsoever, here’s my list of most anticipated reads for 2013!
This is by far my most anticipated book for 2013. The Mercy Thompson series is aces, the bee’s knees, the best thing since sliced bread and HBO original series. Mercy’s world is filled with complex characters, thoughtful world-building, and a feisty, intelligent heroine who sets a pretty high standard for the genre as a whole. This one is due out on MARCH 5, 2013.
I don’t even know where to begin with this one. The list of contributing authors is phenomenal. So much talent in one place…and when you throw in the magical world of the traveling carnival? Well, I can’t wait to see where these authors take us. The publication date is set for JULY 30, 2013.
I read the first book in Dawson’s Blud series, WICKED AS THEY COME, earlier this year and was immediately drawn into her highly original world of romance and adventure, where bunnies are ravenous blood suckers, blood is money, and a traveling carnival leader can easily steal your heart. The world-building in this series is very original – magical and macabre, and with such a sense of dark whimsy that it makes you smile while also creeping you out just a touch. If this world could be captured on film, it would be directed by Jean Pierre Jeunet or Terry Gilliam. The publication date is set for APRIL 30, 2013.
This is a great UF series with a wonderful heroine – Arcadia Bell. There are so many things that make this series unique – the love interest, Lon Butler, is a sexy 20 years older, divorced and with an adorable teenaged son named Jupe, the magic system is original and complex, and Bennett has a knack for creating wonderful moments between Cady, Lon, and Jupe that sing with the sort of authenticity that is usually only found at your own dinner table. The expected publication date is MAY 28, 2013.
I’ve waxed poetic on this series a million times. Jane is tough as nails. She has a mysterious past that even she is only beginning to understand. I love the action in this series coupled with the slow revelations in the overall story arc. I love the supporting cast of characters. I. Love. This. Series. Adding this to my list of most anticipated reads is a no brainer. The expected release date is APRIL 2, 2013.
Ok, this is one of my favorite new series this year. I loved the world Sandlin created with Penton, Alabama, an enclave of vampires living peacefully with their human familiars. Something about this tight knit crew of vamps just took hold of me and wouldn’t let me go. My favorite in the series is ABSOLUTION which features Mirren, the ultimate alpha male vampire. This next installment centers on Will, who really is kind of the source of the trouble raining down on Penton, so it’s only fitting that the third book in the trilogy features his story. The expected release date is FEBRUARY 5, 2013.
Speaking of Susannah Sandlin (who also happens to be Suzanne Johnson) and a great new series, let’s talk about the Sentinels of New Orleans. This is another of my favorite new series in 2012. I really enjoyed ROYAL STREET (#1), and just recently finished RIVER ROAD (#2). Mind = blown. Loved, loved, loved RIVER ROAD (review will post soon). Where to begin? DJ is a fantastically relatable heroine who throws potions instead of punches, there is a great love triangle that had me switching allegiances by book two, the world-building is wonderfully done, New Orleans isn’t just a backdrop, it’s a character, and the police procedural feel of RIVER ROAD had me hooked. Waiting with bated breath for this one to release! The expected publication date is AUGUST 13, 2013.
The first book in the Jessica McClain series, FULL BLOODED, was one of my favorites this year. Plus, it’s one kickass werewolf book. I loved the werewolf mythology that Carlson created. She also gave us an ending that left you reaching for the next book in the series only to find it wasn’t being released until APRIL 23, 2013. Well, dang.
I have a soft spot for these books. This really was the series that brought me back into the paranormal fold. And it pains me to admit this but it lost me about two books back. Honestly, I can’t stay away from Sookie too long. With book 13, Harris is finishing Sookie’s story and I have to be there to say goodbye. I plan to catch up in time to enjoy this one with everyone else. The expected publication date is MAY 7, 2013.
A book set 25 years before the start of the Parasol Protectorate and in the same world? Gail Carriger? Um, yes. I really want to read this one. The expected publication date is FEBRUARY 5, 2013.
This list could go on and on and on…but I’ll stop here.
What books are you looking forward to reading in 2013?
Dating a demon, defeating evil, running a tiki bar: Arcadia Bell is a great occult mage in many respects. But then there’s the challenge of her boyfriend’s precocious teenage son…
Arcadia “Cady” Bell may have saved the Hellfire Club’s children from a local bogeyman, but she and her Earthbound demon boyfriend, Lon Butler, now face a more disturbing problem: his teenage son’s new demonic abilities. Jupe Butler can persuade you to do anything—or so he thinks. To test the limits of his newfound power, Cady invites the co-owner of Tambuku Tiki Lounge to be the teen’s guinea pig during an afternoon boat cruise. But when an angry storm whips the Pacific into a frenzy and Jupe puts them all in serious danger, will Cady’s magick trump a teenager’s excess confidence?
**A review copy of this book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.**
LEASHING THE TEMPEST by Jenn Bennett was the perfect little novella for me. With the right length and perfect pacing, it gave me a taste of the characters and added some development to the series; it made me feel like I was back home, and then it whet my appetite for more.
The Arcadia Bell series is one of my favorites. And what makes it one of my favorites is Jenn Bennet’s ability to really capture the chemistry and camaraderie between Lon, Cady, and Jupe. I love it when writers give the characters moments to just shoot the shit. It makes them more real to me and gives a better understanding of why two characters are together or why they want to actually spend time with one another. Bennett always gives her characters these moments and they’re always pitch perfect. The banter between Jupe, Lon, Cady and Kar Yee made me laugh out loud; it made me want to be on that boat with them…well, until all hell breaks loose.
There is magic and mayhem; great dialogue and a sweet moment between Lon and Cady. We learn more about Jupe’s knack and spend more time with Kar Yee. This is a great novella for fans of the series who want more Cady and Co. and can’t wait for the May 2013 release of BINDING THE SHADOWS. I would even go so far as to say that readers new to the series, who would like a taste of Arcadia, could read this one and not be lost yet get a sense of the relationships, writing style, and magic that makes up the series as a whole.
Whether you start here or with KINDLING THE MOON, book one, you need to start somewhere – Arcadia Bell is one of the best. And you have until May to get ready for the new release. So, what are you waiting for?
TITLE: Summoning the Night
SERIES: Arcadia Bell Series, Book #2
AUTHOR: Jenn Bennett
PUBLISHER: Pocket Books
PUBLICATION DATE: April 24, 2012
Arc received courtesy of author.
After narrowly escaping her fate as a sacrificial scapegoat, Arcadia Bell is back to normal. Or at least as ordinary as life can be for a renegade magician and owner of a tiki bar that caters to Earthbound demons. She’s gearing up for the busiest day of the year—Halloween—when a vengeful kidnapper paralyzes the community.
The influential head of the local Hellfire Club taps Cady to track down the fiendish bogeyman, and now that she’s dating red-hot Lon Butler, the Club’s wayward son, she can hardly say no. Cady and Lon untangle a gruesome thirty-year trail of clues that points to danger for the club members’ children. But locating the person behind the terror will require some metaphysical help from Cady’s loyal bar patrons as well as her potent new Moonchild powers—and she’d better figure it out before the final victim disappears and her own darkest secret becomes her biggest enemy.
I adore Arcadia Bell. Full stop. With this book, author Jenn Bennett creates a wonderful follow-up to her debut novel, Kindling the Moon. This series is a unique, complex, and fun addition to the urban fantasy genre. And it is a definite auto-buy for me.
My favorite part of the Arcadia Bell series is the cast of main characters. Arcadia is smart, funny, and multilayered. On one hand she is a tough and independent woman, a powerful magician that is just starting to understand her newfound and profound powers. One the other hand, she is wounded and vulnerable, just coming off a dramatic and hurtful realization about her parents, and starting to find her footing in her newly adopted family of her boyfriend Lon Butler, and his son, Jupe. Lon is a forty-something single father, almost 20 years older than Arcadia, and with a complicated past. Jupe is biracial and motherless. He and Arcadia share a common bond in that their mothers weren’t, well, very motherly (understatement alert).
These are complicated characters that continue to develop in this second book. And their conflicts are real. Not manufactured. The May-September romance between Lon and Arcadia produces very real doubts for her about the future of their relationship. She also feels a certain amount of fear about her new family. Having come from one that was not close, she starts to feel the weight of responsibility that comes with being a part of Lon and Jupe’s lives. These are issues that are based in the real world and that are relatable. They are not supernatural problems, but problems that can be complicated by the supernatural. And I appreciate the primary focus on character development as we see Arcadia and friends grow, and their futures together become more complex.
And speaking of futures, I do hope Lon and Arcadia are in it for the long haul. With the introduction of a new character, Hajo, I feel a further complication surfacing. But Lon and Arcadia are officially my favorite UF couple. Their chemistry is palpable and sexy. And it makes me smile. Here is just one example of the wonderfully flirtatious banter between the two after Arcadia has found a picture of Lon when he was a teenager:
“There’s several photo albums’ worth of the same thing at home,” he said.
He nodded and gave up the fight, returning his attention to the pile of papers in front of him. “I can’t believe Jupe hasn’t forced them on you already.”
“Any from the time you were in the seminary?” I asked.
“That sexy Jesus thing again?” he teased without looking up. “You’re a filthy girl, you know that?”
I think it’s this kind of humor that makes the Arcadia Bell world fun. There are also fantastic pop cultural references that make me laugh:
“It’s just that getting someone’s name tattooed on you is like a death sentence,” I finally said. “There’s a good chance you’re going to end up with a tattoo that you’ve got to get changed from Winona to Wino.”
And Jupe. I really think Bennett channeled her inner teenage boy to hit the right note with him. And he is fantastic. The relationship with his father is a unique one and I love moments like these when discussing a Halloween ride:
“Is it scary?” I asked. “I’m not a fan of people jumping out at me.”
“Nah, it’s kind of lame.” His eyes darted to the side.
“That’s not what you said three years ago,” Lon said.
“I was just a kid, and thanks for bringing that up, assbag.”
“Father Assbag,” Lon calmly corrected.
There is also a solid mystery here. Children of Hellfire Club members are being abducted which is similar to a series of abductions and murders that happened years earlier. Arcadia is called on to use her powerful skills to help track down the killer before more children lose their lives. While the killer definitely pinged my radar, the accomplices and the reason behind the kidnappings were a surprise.
Finally, Bennett sets up a good premise for the third book with the tempting Hajo, Arcadia’s past coming back to haunt her, the Hellfire Club, and the power of the Moonchild coming into full effect.
Summoning the Night gets four howls for the originality in its characters and their development, its humor, and its strong mystery.
And don’t forget to enter my giveaway for your chance to win a signed copy of either Kindling the Moon or Summoning the Night!
Five Authors and the Five Books that Inspire Them –
Five by Five, May 7th – 11th:
Jenn Bennett is the Atlanta-based author of the wonderful Arcadia Bell series. She is also a visual artist, a Tiki bar expert, and a dark fairytale enthusiast. Now, this totally explains the inspiration for Cady Bell and her world. If you have not read this series, please do. Jenn has a knack for creating characters you really care about, living in a world you want to explore.
Here are five things I love about the Arcadia Bell series:
1. Diversity? Why, yes.
A forty-something, divorced love interest with a biracial teenage son, who has a married same-sex couple as caretakers when dad isn’t around? This is fantastic. This is real. This is my world. These are people I know. Drop some magic into this, some fantastic paranormal elements, and you have an urban fantasy I can relate to. I’ve been known to go off on a rant about the lack of diversity in the genre as a whole, but Jenn Bennett rectifies this by embracing diversity in her world and I can’t tell you how much I love it.
He’s so damn cute. What a cool kid. Jenn channeled her inner teenage boy and created an endearing character that you want to spend more time with. A movie buff myself, I want to hangout with this kid, give him a camera, and help him produce a remake of some horror classic.
3. Lon and Cady Sitting in a Tree
Arcadia is just…cool. Smart and funny; clever with her magic, independent, tough, and loyal. Lon is just…cool. Sexy, older, pirate mustache and all, strong, silent type. These two together is just right. They have a chemistry that jumps off the page. I count them as one of my favorite UF couples. Please, Jenn, don’t break them up! Ever. That is not meant to sound threatening. Nope. Not at all.
4. What a Wonderful World
Arcadia lives in a world of magic and demons. Demons that look like you and me, called Earthbounds, and those living in the Aethyric plane. Earthbound demons have special abilities like reading minds, sensing or manipulating emotion. Arcadia is a magician with strong powers and the ability to call and banish demons back to the Aethyric plane. She also has come into new powers which she is just starting to understand. This is a wholly unique world and an totally original magic system.
5. She Makes Me Laugh
There is great, clever writing in the Arcadia Bell series. And a lot of the humor is spot on. From the back and forth between Lon and Jupe, Jupe and Cady, to worrying about losing a vintage Zippo lighter when investigating a booby-trapped grave site, Jenn has a knack for finding the funny in tough situations while also creating humorous dialogue that feels authentic and unforced.
(I’m reading book two now so stay tuned for a review of Summoning the Night!)
So, without further ado…Jenn Bennett!
Five Books I Love Oh-so-dearly
I write urban fantasy slash paranormal romance. Horror-tinged, demonic, sexy, funny, weird occult stuff. You might imagine that a list of my five most influential books would be dark and dangerous. Well, some of it is. Kind of. Because if you’ve read my books, you also know that my work is very character-driven. Less about action and the apocalypse and more about the experience of getting to know the people who inhabit my worlds through an unravelling mystery. Maybe knowing more about where I come from as a reader will help you to understand the strange—but charming, yes?—world of Arcadia Bell.
5. Henry and June by Anaïs Nin
For those of you who don’t know, Anaïs was a French-Cuban writer who is famous for her affair with Henry Miller. She’s been accused of being egotistical and a whore. She published erotica in a time when it wasn’t hitting the bestseller lists. She lived her life as she wanted, independently, boldly, and without shame. This book is taken from her unexpurgated diaries (the sex isn’t censored). It made me want to have a torrid affair with a literary giant and then out-write him.
Next week I am hosting something I call, “FIVE BY FIVE.” Five of my favorite authors will be stopping by the blog during the week to discuss five of the most influential books of their reading lives – one author a day. I love this kind of thing because I think we can sometimes be surprised and enlightened when we learn what books have inspired our favorite writers. And what is book blogging all about if not recommending good books? I hope you will stop by next week and see what Delilah S. Dawson, Nicole Peeler, Carolyn Crane, Jenn Bennett, and Eileen Wilks put on their top five lists! There will also be a few giveaways so stay tuned (and spread the word!).
As a special treat to close this week and help start the next week off right, Nalini Singh has generously offered a signed copy of ARCHANGEL’S BLADE to a lucky reader! She is one of my favorite authors, and if you have not read the Guild Hunter series, please do. It is fantastic!
The severed head marked by a distinctive tattoo on its cheek should have been a Guild case, but dark instincts honed over hundreds of years of life compel the vampire Dmitri to take control. There is something twisted about this death, something that whispers of centuries long past…but Dmitri’s need to discover the truth is nothing to the vicious strength of his response to the hunter assigned to decipher the tattoo.
Savaged in a brutal attack that almost killed her, Honor is nowhere near ready to come face to face with the seductive vampire who is an archangel’s right hand, and who wears his cruelty as boldly as his lethal sensuality…the same vampire who has been her secret obsession since the day she was old enough to understand the inexplicable, violent emotions he aroused in her.
As desire turns into a dangerous compulsion that might destroy them both, it becomes clear the past will not stay buried. Something is hunting…and it will not stop until it brings a blood-soaked nightmare to life once more…
Please enter for a chance to win a personalized signed copy of Archangel’s Blade by Nalini Singh!