Top Ten Tuesday: Most Anticipated Releases for the First Half of 2019

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Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, featuring a different top 10 theme each week. This week’s topic is Most Anticipated Releases for the First Half of 2019.

There are so many books on the way that have me jumping up and down in excitement! Here are the ten at the top of my list… three of which are by the same author. What can I say? I do love her books!

1) In An Absent Dream by Seanan McGuire

2) That Ain’t Witchcraft (InCryptids, #8) by Seanan McGuire

3) Middlegame by Seanan McGuire

4) Inspection by Josh Malerman

5) Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

6) Storm Cursed by Patricia Briggs

7) Unmarriageable by Soniah Kamal

8) Comics Will Break Your Heart by Faith Erin Hicks

9) The Island of Sea Women by Lisa See

10) The Book of Flora by Meg Elison

What books are you dying to read in 2019? Please share your links!

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Top Ten Tuesday: The best books I read in 2018

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Happy New Year! Welcome to 2019! 

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, featuring a different top 10 theme each week. This week’s topic is Best Books I Read In 2018.

According to Goodreads, I gave a 5-star rating to 73 books in 2018, and a 4-star rating to 83. That makes 156 books that I pretty much loved. Yowza, what a year! I don’t think I can limit myself to just 10 books here… so I’ll highlight a few, include a few others by category, and see how it all works out…

Here are (just a few of) my favorites from 2018:

1) Powerful family drama set in Alaska: The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah (review)

2) Two views of an an ancient classic: The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller and The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker (review)

3) Terrific historical fiction that I read because of my book group: The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See (review) and The Chilbury Lady’s Choir by Jennifer Ryan (review)

4) A surprising moving short novel by Stephen King:  Elevation (review)

5) Amazing woman-power science fiction:  The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal (review)

6) Action/adventure with THE BEST heroic duo: Hope Never Dies by Andrew Shaffer (review)

7) New books in beloved series:

8) Deliciously fun contemporary romance: 

9) Intriguing story collections:

10) A couple of classics that I finally read!

 

What were your favorite reads of 2018? Please leave me your link!

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Wishing one and all a terrific new year filled with wonderful books!

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Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Books By My Favorite Authors (that I still haven’t read)

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, featuring a different top 10 theme each week. This week’s topic is Books By My Favorite Authors That I Still Haven’t Read. Usually, when I love an author, I read everything he or she has written… but there are always some books that fall off the bookpile or get otherwise overlooked. My selection of books by favorite authors that I still need to read :

1. Epitaph by Mary Doria Russell: This is the sequel to Doc, which I truly loved. Mary Doria Russell is a brilliant writer (The Sparrow will always be near and dear to my heart), and I bought Epitaph as soon as it came out. Why haven’t I read it yet? No idea… other than me just being lame.

2. The Sumage Solution by G. L. Carriger: Gail Carriger is an absolute favorite of mine, and I’ve read every bit of her published work… except The Sumage Solution. Maybe it’s because of the contemporary setting, since I love Carriger’s steampunk Parasol-verse so very much… but I haven’t quite brought myself around to starting Sumage. And there’s a sequel on the way, so I’d better get to it.

3. The Old Man’s War series by John Scalzi: I haven’t read a single book by John Scalzi that I haven’t enjoyed… but so far, I’ve only read his stand-alone books. I keep swearing that THIS will finally be the year when I read Old Man’s War… but it just hasn’t happened yet, and we’re getting frighteningly close to the end of 2018.

4. Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik: I bought this the day it was released, and I’ve just gotten too overwhelmed by ARCs and library books to ever get around to starting. I loved Uprooted, so I’m really excited to start this one.

5. SO MANY  BOOKS by Stephen King: I always think of myself as a Stephen King fan, but it’s scary to think how many I’ve missed! Just looking at the unread King books on my shelves, I have Duma Key, Lisey’s Story, The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon, books 4 – 7 of The Dark Tower series, The Green Mile, a few short story collections… ugh, it never ends! I guess on the flip side, I’ll never run out of good options for when I want to be scared silly by a book.

6. Earlier works by Patricia Briggs: I adore the Mercy Thompson and Alpha & Omega series, and could read those books over and over again (and yes, I’ve gone back for re-reads already). I really should make a point of reading some of her other works too, although I think I’m resistant to leaving those familiar worlds and going more into straight-up fantasy rather than urban fantasy.

7. More Jojo Moyes! I’ve loved so many of her books, and I actually own copies of these… so why haven’t I read them?

8. The Silk and Song trilogy by Dana Stabenow. I adore the Kate Shugak books — the characters, the crime drama, and the amazing Alaska setting. I really admire Stabenow’s writing and I enjoy historical fiction, so this trilogy (about the granddaughter of Marco Polo) should be right up my alley, despite the lack of Alaska! Seriously, the story sounds great — maybe a reading priority for 2019?

9. The Parasitology trilogy by Mira Grant: I loved the Newsflesh books SO much, and love everything she writes under her other (real) name (Seanan McGuire). I did actually read the first book in this trilogy, and thought it was really, really icky but also amazing… so I just need to return to the world of tapeworms and medical experiments gone haywire!

10. Yesternight by Cat Winters: I’ve read everything else by this author, and I think she’s so incredibly talented! I own a copy of Yesternight (I bought it as soon as it came out), and have every intention of reading it… so this is yet another book that I have no good reason for not having read yet, other than the good old “so many books, so little time” excuse.

What books are on your list this week? Please share your TTT link!

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Cover reveal: Storm Cursed by by Patricia Briggs!

Don’t mind me — I’m just sitting here being quietly blown away by the newly revealed cover for the upcoming Mercy Thompson book!

Storm Cursed is book #11 in this amazing series. The expected publication date is March 5, 2019… which can’t possibly get here soon enough!

Synopsis:

My name is Mercedes Athena Thompson Hauptman, and I am a car mechanic.

And a coyote shapeshifter.

And the mate of the Alpha of the Columbia Basin werewolf pack.

Even so, none of that would have gotten me into trouble if, a few months ago, I hadn’t stood upon a bridge and taken responsibility for the safety of the citizens who lived in our territory. It seemed like the thing to do at the time. It should have only involved hunting down killer goblins, zombie goats, and an occasional troll. Instead, our home was viewed as neutral ground, a place where humans would feel safe to come and treat with the fae.

The reality is that nothing and no one is safe. As generals and politicians face off with the Gray Lords of the fae, a storm is coming and her name is Death.

But we are pack, and we have given our word.

We will die to keep it.

I love this series so much! Can’t wait for March to get here… and meanwhile, I’ll be busy re-reading Mercy’s past adventures so I’ll be 100% ready to jump in once this gorgeous books finally lands in my hands.

Take A Peek Book Review: Burn Bright (Alpha & Omega, #5) by Patricia Briggs

“Take a Peek” book reviews are short and (possibly) sweet, keeping the commentary brief and providing a little peek at what the book’s about and what I thought.

 

Synopsis:

(via Goodreads)

In her bestselling Alpha and Omega series, Patricia Briggs “spins tales of werewolves, coyote shifters, and magic and, my, does she do it well” (USATODAY.com). Now mated werewolves Charles Cornick and Anna Latham face a threat like no other–one that lurks too close to home…

They are the wild and the broken. The werewolves too damaged to live safely among their own kind. For their own good, they have been exiled to the outskirts of Aspen Creek, Montana. Close enough to the Marrok’s pack to have its support; far enough away to not cause any harm.

With their Alpha out of the country, Charles and Anna are on call when an SOS comes in from the fae mate of one such wildling. Heading into the mountainous wilderness, they interrupt the abduction of the wolf–but can’t stop blood from being shed. Now Charles and Anna must use their skills–his as enforcer, hers as peacemaker–to track down the attackers, reopening a painful chapter in the past that springs from the darkest magic of the witchborn…

My Thoughts:

I love this series, and I love Anna and Charles as characters. I love their complicated relationship — as husband and wife, and as mated werewolves. I love their pack, and I love their interactions with Charles’s father Bran, the ruler of all werewolves of North America.

Despite my undying love for the Alpha & Omega books, Burn Bright felt a little weaker to me than some of the other books in the series. Perhaps it’s just that the story took a bit too long to really build momentum, or maybe it’s because Anna and Charles have been together long enough that their relationship here seems like more of a given, rather than something to be explored. In any case, while I enjoyed the story and my “reunion” with these beloved characters, the plot and pacing felt like a little bit less than what I’ve come to expect from this outstanding series.

Side note (without spoilers!): There’s a certain conversation early on in the book that has fans of this series (and the Mercy-verse as a whole) very up in arms. Yes, I also found it upsetting… but I guess I’m busy compartmentalizing and deciding that I’m going to ignore it, because otherwise it will make me feel differently about people I don’t want to feel differently about. Ugh, why???

Okay, beyond “the conversation” controversy riling up Briggs’s readers…

I raced through Burn Bright in about 24 hours, was very hooked by the end, and will absolutely read each and every book in the Alpha & Omega series (and Mercy Thompson too) for as long as Patricia Briggs chooses to keep writing them… which I hope will be for a long, long time.

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The details:

Title: Burn Bright
Author: Patricia Briggs
Publisher: Ace
Publication date: March 6, 2018
Length: 308 pages
Genre: Urban fantasy
Source: Purchased

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Gorgeous cover for new Alpha & Omega book!

Fresh from Facebook — here’s the cover of the upcoming new Alpha & Omega book by Patricia Briggs! Burn Bright will be released in March 2018. Doesn’t this look amazing?

 

Burn Bright is book #5 in the series, a spin-off from the Mercy Thompson series (which I adore as well), starring werewolf couple Charles and Anna. If you haven’t read these amazing books yet, you have from now until March to get caught up!

There’s no preorder link available yet on Amazon… but believe me, I’ll be pouncing on it as soon as it’s there.

SO EXCITED.

Check out the cover of Silence Fallen by Patricia Briggs!

I was so excited to see this on Facebook while I was away on vacation! As a big fan of the Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs, it makes me soooo happy to ponder the glories of this cover:

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Silence Fallen is book #10 in the series. The expected publication date is March 7, 2017… which can’t possibly get here soon enough!

Synopsis:

In the #1 New York Times bestselling Mercy Thompson novels, the coyote shapeshifter has found her voice in the werewolf pack. But when Mercy’s bond with the pack—and her mate—is broken, she’ll learn what it truly means to be alone…

Attacked and abducted in her home territory, Mercy finds herself in the clutches of the most powerful vampire in the world, taken as a weapon to use against alpha werewolf Adam and the ruler of the Tri-Cities vampires. In coyote form, Mercy escapes—only to find herself without money, without clothing, and alone in the heart of Europe…

Unable to contact Adam and the rest of the pack, Mercy has allies to find and enemies to fight, and she needs to figure out which is which. Ancient powers stir, and Mercy must be her agile best to avoid causing a war between vampires and werewolves, and between werewolves and werewolves. And in the heart of the ancient city of Prague, old ghosts rise…

Did you get chills? I got chills. I’m so scared for Mercy! This sounds amazing. Can’t wait!

Find Silence Fallen at:

Goodreads
Amazon
Barnes & Noble

And PS – If you haven’t read any of the Mercy books, start with Moon Called and then keep going! Such an amazing series.

Book Review: Fire Touched by Patricia Briggs

Fire TouchedI love this series, truly – madly – deeply. Why do I even bother writing reviews anymore? You know the bottom line is going to be READ THIS BOOK… or for those who haven’t had the pleasure of meeting Mercedes Athena Thompson Hauptmann yet, READ THIS SERIES.

There. Done.

Okay, a little more, perhaps? Fire Touched is the 9th book in the always outstanding Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs. Mercy is a coyote shapeshifter as well as a talented VW mechanic. She’s a woman who never backs down and stands up for herself, her family, her pack, and pretty much anyone who needs her protection — and this is what lands her and the pack in a huge mess in Fire Touched.

Mercy is married to Adam, Alpha of the Columbia Basin Pack — a werewolf pack, that is. Mercy has just finished recovering from the life-threatening events of the previous book, Night Broken, when a new danger emerges. There’s a giant troll on the Cable Bridge of the Tri-Cities, and the local police are smart enough to call in the pack for help. Mercy and a bunch of werewolves battle the big nasty creature (who seems to enjoy smashing cars like an overgrown toddler playing with Matchbox toys) and ultimately defeat him — but Mercy takes the unprecedented step of declaring the Tri-Cities the territory of the pack and warning the fae that the pack will offer sanctuary to all who need their help.

At the moment, this includes Aiden, who looks like a bedraggled 10-year-old, but is in fact centuries old, having been taken into the fae’s unreachable domain of Underhill as a child and kept there ever since. Aiden has escaped, and now has gifts — including the ability to burn with his touch — and the fae would very much like to get their hands on him. By offering sanctuary, Mercy and the pack have set themselves up in direct opposition to all of the fae, and have potentially set the stage for the werewolf vs. fae war that Bran Cornick, leader of all of the North American werewolves, has been working so hard to avoid.

As the story progresses, we see the implications of Mercy’s declaration more and more. The pack will be under siege from all who question their right to claim territory. There are still pack members who resent Mercy’s membership in the pack, seeing as she’s a coyote and not a wolf, and Adam has finally had enough of the sniping. He declares that all werewolves in his pack will treat Mercy with respect, and if they say or do anything further against her, he will end them. And he means it. Strangely, this finally seems to bring the pack into a united team. A dire and unintended effect of the declaration is a break with Bran. Bran can’t afford to turn this into a global war against the fae, as his priority is always the good of ALL werewolves, so he formally breaks with Adam’s pack.

Sob. I love Bran. I love Adam. No sundering! Please work it out, guys.

Okay, so what did I think of this book? Well, as I said, I just pretty much heart everything about this series, so of course I loved Fire Touched too. That said, though, it’s probably not the best of the best, even though it’s awfully darn good.

What was missing for me here was the emphasis on relationships that my favorites in the series have. Mercy and Adam are in a really good place in their marriage, and I’m happy for them, but we don’t actually spend much time in this book just seeing them together. The pack isn’t terribly present in Fire Touched. Yes, they’re in the big fight on the bridge with the troll, and yes, we see the pack meeting where Adam draws his line in the sand about the pack’s treatment of Mercy. But beyond that, the pack is mostly just background. I’ve come to adore so many of the pack members — Ben, Warren, Darryl, Honey — but they’re not central to the plot here, and I missed them.

A lot of Fire Touched was about the fae and the Grey Lords, and how Mercy and Adam deal with their bargains and deceits. It was engaging, but I missed the pack drama and politics. On the plus side, it was nice to see Thomas Hao and Margaret Flanagan again (and if you don’t know who they are, read the story “Fairy Gifts” from the Shifting Shadows collection).

The bad thing about reading a new Mercy Thompson book the second it comes out is the loooooong wait for the next one! Okay, I’m done with Fire Touched — now what? Patricia Briggs’s website shows that there will be a 10th Mercy book and a 5th Alpha & Omega book (yay!), but no date is listed for either, and I assume whichever is next will be published in 2017.

So hey! If you haven’t read any Mercy books, or if you’re behind, now’s a great time to dive in and catch up! Trust me, you won’t be sorry.

Want to know more about the worlds of Patricia Briggs? Check out a few of my previous reviews:

Night Broken
Frost Burned
Shifting Shadows
Dead Heat

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The details:

Title: Fire Touched (Mercy Thompson, #9)
Author: Patricia Briggs
Publisher: Ace Hardcover
Publication date: March 8, 2016
Length: 352 pages
Genre: Urban fantasy
Source: Purchased

Fire Touched has a cover!

I was so excited to see this on Facebook today! As a big fan of the Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs, I feel totally justified in having a blog post dedicated to the joy of this cover:

Fire Touched

Fire Touched is book #9 in the series. The expected publication date is March 8, 2016… which can’t possibly get here soon enough!

Find Fire Touched at:

Goodreads
Amazon
Barnes & Noble

And PS – If you haven’t read any of the Mercy books, start with Moon Called and then keep going! Such an amazing series.

Top Ten Tuesday: Top 10 All-Time Favorite Authors

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Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, featuring a different top 10 theme each week. This week’s topic is Top Ten All-Time Favorite Authors. I had a really hard time narrowing it down, and changed my mind about half a dozen times, but finally decided to focus on living writers whose works I continue to read (and hope to keep reading for a long time to come).

Here we go:

1. Diana Gabaldon (like there was any doubt about this one!)

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2. Mary Doria Russell

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3. Stephen King

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4. Patricia Briggs

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5. Jim Butcher

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6. Susanna Kearsley

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7. Christopher Moore

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8. Neil Gaiman

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9. Bill Willingham

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10. J. K. Rowling

Rowling[Note on images: Author photos scavenged from the interwebs; book photos taken by moi!]

I hate having to stop at just 10. This is just scratching the surface — and doesn’t even include some of the late greats, such as Douglas Adams, Kurt Vonnegut, and J. R. R. Tolkien. Ah well, I suppose that’s a list for another day!

Looking forward to seeing everyone else’s lists this week.

Share your links, and I’ll come check out your top 10!

If you enjoyed this post, please consider following Bookshelf Fantasies! And don’t forget to check out my regular weekly feature, Thursday Quotables. Happy reading!

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Do you host a book blog meme? Do you participate in a meme that you really, really love? I’m building a Book Blog Meme Directory, and need your help! If you know of a great meme to include — or if you host one yourself — please drop me a note on my Contact page and I’ll be sure to add your info!