The last book haul of 2020. This was quite a year. In the month of December received 1 book from publishers, 11 books for Christmas, 1 book from giveaways, I grabbed 1 for free, I was approved for 1 on a Galley site, 1 from subscription boxes, 1 was preorders, and I purchased 3. I just have to add that I have already read the three books that I purchased. I count that as a win for me!
Received from Authors/Publishers
Crush by Tracy Wolff | (Crave #2) | Young Adult, Fantasy | Add to Goodreads
Everything feels off—especially me. I’ve returned to Katmere Academy, but I’m haunted by fragments of days I have no recollection of living and struggling to understand who, or what, I really am.
Just when I start to feel safe again, Hudson is back with a vengeance. He insists there are secrets I don’t know about, threatening to drive a wedge between Jaxon and me forever. But far worse enemies are at our doorstep.
The Circle is caught in a power play and the Vampire Court is trying to drag me out of my world and into theirs. The only thing Hudson and Jaxon agree on is that leaving Katmere would mean my certain death.
And not only am I fighting for my life, but now everyone else’s is at stake—unless we can defeat an unspeakable evil. All I know is that saving the people I love is going to require sacrifice.
Maybe more than I’m able to give.
Magic Lessons by Alice Hoffman | (Practical Magic #0.1) | Historical Fiction, Fantasy | Add to Goodreads
Where does the story of the Owens bloodline begin? With Maria Owens, in the 1600s, when she’s abandoned in a snowy field in rural England as a baby. Under the care of Hannah Owens, Maria learns about the “Unnamed Arts.” Hannah recognizes that Maria has a gift and she teaches the girl all she knows. It is here that she learns her first important lesson: Always love someone who will love you back.
When Maria is abandoned by the man who has declared his love for her, she follows him to Salem, Massachusetts. Here she invokes the curse that will haunt her family. And it’s here that she learns the rules of magic and the lesson that she will carry with her for the rest of her life. Love is the only thing that matters.
The Emperor’s Wolves by Michelle Sagara | (Wolves of Elantra #1) | Fantasy | Add to Goodreads
As an orphan scrounging in the lawless slums, young Severn Handred didn’t have the luxury of believing in anything beyond his own survival. Now he’s crossed the river and entered the heart of the empire: the city of Elantra. When Severn is spotted tailing some lawmen of the Hawks–a not insignificant feat to go otherwise undetected–the recruiter for the Imperial Wolves thinks he should join their ranks. The Wolves are a small, select group that work within the Halls of Law, reporting directly to the Eternal Emperor. Severn hopes to avoid the law–he certainly had no intention of joining it.
In order to become a wolf–even on probation–Severn must face the investigators most dreaded throughout the Empire: The Tha’alani, readers of minds. No secret is safe from their prying, no knowledge can remain buried. But Severn’s secret, never shared before, is not enough to prevent the Wolves from adopting him as one of their own. All men have secrets, after all. Severn’s first job will be joining a hunt, but between the treacherous politics of the High Court, the almost unnatural interest of one of the Lords, and those who wish long-held secrets to remain buried forever, the trick will be surviving it.
The World of Lore: Monstrous Creatures by Aaron Mahnke | (The World of Lore #1) | Folklore, Paranormal, Mythology | Add to Goodreads
They live in shadows – deep in the forest, late in the night, in the dark recesses of our mind. They’re spoken of in stories and superstitions, relics of an unenlightened age, old wives’ tales, passed down through generations. And yet, no matter how wary and jaded we have become, as individuals or as a society, a part of us remains vulnerable to them. Werewolves and wendigos, poltergeists and vampires, angry elves and vengeful spirits.
In this beautifully illustrated volume, the host of the hit podcast Lore serves as a guide on a fascinating journey through the history of these terrifying creatures, and explores not only the legends but what they tell us about ourselves. Aaron Mahnke invites us to the desolate Pine Barrens of New Jersey, where the notorious winged, red-eyed Jersey Devil dwells. Mahnke delves into harrowing accounts of cannibalism-some officially documented, others the stuff of speculation . . . perhaps. He visits the dimly lit rooms where séances take place, the European villages where gremlins make mischief, and Key West, Florida, home of a haunted doll named Robert.
The monsters of folklore have become not only a part of our language but a part of our collective psyche. Whether these beasts and bogeymen are real or just a reflection of our primal fears, we know, on some level, that not every mystery has been explained, and that the unknown still holds the power to strike fear deep in our hearts and souls.
The World of Lore: Wicked Mortals by Aaron Mahnke | (The World of Lore #2) | Folklore, Paranormal, Mythology | Add to Goodreads
Here are the incredible true stories of some of the mortals who achieved notoriety in history and folklore through horrible means. Monsters of this sort – serial killers, desperate criminals, and socially mobile people with a much darker double-life – are, in fact, quite real . . . including H. H. Holmes, the infamous Chicago serial killer; William Brodie, the Edinburgh criminal mastermind who inspired The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde; and Bela Kiss, a Hungarian tinsmith with a most disturbing hobby: collecting women in gasoline drums.
The Light of All That Falls by James Islington | (The Licanius Trilogy #3) | Fantasy | Add to Goodreads
The Light of All That Falls concludes the epic adventure that began in The Shadow of What Was Lost, the acclaimed fantasy blockbuster from James Islington.
The Boundary is whole once again, but it may be too late.
Banes now stalk Andarra, while in Ilin Illan, the political machinations of a generation come to a head as Wirr’s newfound ability forces his family’s old enemies into action.
Imprisoned and alone in a strange land, Davian is pitted against the remaining Venerate as they work tirelessly to undo Asha’s sacrifice – even as he struggles with what he has learned about the friend he chose to set free.
And Caeden, now facing the consequences of his centuries-old plan, must finally confront its reality – heartbroken at how it began, and devastated by how it must end.
The Crimson Campaign by Brian McClellan | (Powder Mage #2) | Fantasy | Add to Goodreads
Tamas’s invasion of Kez ends in disaster when a Kez counter-offensive leaves him cut off behind enemy lines with only a fraction of his army, no supplies, and no hope of reinforcements. Drastically outnumbered and pursued by the enemy’s best, he must lead his men on a reckless march through northern Kez to safety, and back over the mountains so that he can defend his country from an angry god. In Adro, Inspector Adamat only wants to rescue his wife. To do so he must track down and confront the evil Lord Vetas. He has questions for Vetas concerning his enigmatic master, but the answers might come too quickly. With Tamas and his powder cabal presumed dead, Taniel Two-shot finds himself alongside the god-chef Mihali as the last line of defence against Kresimir’s advancing army. Tamas’s generals bicker among themselves, the brigades lose ground every day beneath the Kez onslaught, and Kresimir wants the head of the man who shot him in the eye.
Sherlock Holmes and The Beast of the Stapletons by James Lovegrove | Mystery, Sherlockian | Add to Goodreads
1894. The monstrous Hound of the Baskervilles has been dead for five years, along with its no less monstrous owner, the naturalist Jack Stapleton. Sir Henry Baskerville is living contentedly at Baskerville Hall with his new wife Audrey and their three-year-old son Harry.
Until, that is, Audrey’s lifeless body is found on the moors, drained of blood. It would appear some fiendish creature is once more at large on Dartmoor and has, like its predecessor, targeted the unfortunate Baskerville family.
Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson are summoned to Sir Henry’s aid, and our heroes must face a marauding beast that is the very stuff of nightmares. It seems that Stapleton may not have perished in the Great Grimpen Mire after all, as Holmes believed, and is hell-bent on revenge…
Unquiet Spirits: Whisky, Ghosts, Murder by Bonnie MacBird | (Sherlock Holmes Adventures #2) | Historical, Mystery, Sherlockian | Add to Goodreads
The new novel from the author of Art in the Blood. December 1889. Fresh from debunking a “ghostly” hound in Dartmoor, Sherlock Holmes has returned to London, only to find himself the target of a deadly vendetta. A beautiful client arrives with a tale of ghosts, kidnapping and dynamite on a whisky estate in Scotland, but brother Mycroft trumps all with an urgent assignment in the South of France. On the fabled Riviera, Holmes and Watson encounter treachery, explosions, rival French Detective Jean Vidocq…and a terrible discovery. This propels the duo northward to the snowy highlands. There, in a “haunted” castle and among the copper dinosaurs of a great whisky distillery, they and their young client face mortal danger, and Holmes realizes all three cases have blended into a single, deadly conundrum. In order to solve the mystery, the ultimate rational thinker must confront a ghost from his own past. But Sherlock Holmes does not believe in ghosts…or does he?
The Devil’s Due by Bonnie MacBird | (Sherlock Holmes Adventures #3) | Historical, Mystery, Sherlockian | Add to Goodreads
It’s 1890 and the newly famous Sherlock Holmes faces his worst adversary to date – a diabolical villain bent on destroying some of London’s most admired public figures in particularly gruesome ways. A further puzzle is that suicide closely attends each of the murders. As he tracks the killer through vast and seething London, Holmes finds himself battling both an envious Scotland Yard and a critical press as he follows a complex trail from performers to princes, anarchists to aesthetes. But when his brother Mycroft disappears, apparently the victim of murder, even those loyal to Holmes begin to wonder how close to the flames he has travelled. Has Sherlock Holmes himself made a deal with the devil?
The Manifestations of Sherlock Holmes by James Lovegrove | (Sherlock Holmes) | Historical, Mystery, Sherlockian | Add to Goodreads
A collection of Sherlock Holmes short stories from acclaimed author James Lovegrove. Including a brand-new Cthulhu Casebooks story.
The Devil’s Dust by James Lovegrove | (Sherlock Holmes) | Historical, Mystery, Sherlockian | Add to Goodreads
It is 1884, and when a fellow landlady finds her lodger poisoned, Mrs Hudson turns to Sherlock Holmes.
The police suspect the landlady of murder, but Mrs Hudson insists that her friend is innocent. The companions discover that the lodger, a civil servant recently returned from India, was living in almost complete seclusion, and that his last act was to scrawl a mysterious message on a scrap of paper. The riddles pile up as aged big game hunter Allan Quatermain is spotted at the scene of the crime when Holmes and Watson investigate. The famous man of mind and the legendary man of action will make an unlikely team in a case of corruption, revenge, and what can only be described as magic…
The Mask of Mirrors by M.A. Carrick | (Rook & Rose #1) | Fantasy | Add to Goodreads
Nightmares are creeping through the city of dreams…
Renata Viraudax is a con artist who has come to the sparkling city of Nadezra — the city of dreams — with one goal: to trick her way into a noble house and secure her fortune and her sister’s future.
But as she’s drawn into the elite world of House Traementis, she realizes her masquerade is just one of many surrounding her. And as corrupt magic begins to weave its way through Nadezra, the poisonous feuds of its aristocrats and the shadowy dangers of its impoverished underbelly become tangled — with Ren at their heart.
The Marriage Code by Brooke Burroughs | Romance | Add to Goodreads
In Brooke Burroughs’s endearing debut novel set in vibrant India, enemies turned allies encounter obstacles in an unexpected multicultural romance only to discover that in the end, love is love.
Emma has always lived her life according to a plan. But after turning down her boyfriend’s proposal, everything starts to crumble. In an effort to save the one thing she cares about—her job—she must recruit her colleague, Rishi, to be on her development team…only she may or may not have received the position he was promised. (She did.)
Rishi cannot believe that he got passed over for promotion. To make matters worse, not only does his job require him to return home to Bangalore with his nemesis, Emma, but his parents now expect him to choose a bride and get married. So, when Emma makes him an offer—join her team, and she’ll write an algorithm to find him the perfect bride—he reluctantly accepts.
Neither of them expect her marriage code to work so well—or to fall for one another—which leads Emma and Rishi to wonder if leaving fate up to formulas is really an equation for lasting love.
The Lady Jewel Diviner by Rosalie Oaks | (Lady Diviner #1) | Historical Mystery | Add to Goodreads
Diamonds, Death, and Devonshire tea…
Miss Elinor Avely’s proper upbringing cannot prepare her for the tiny, spinster vampire who crashes into her sitting room and demands to be fed with a sheep.
Elinor already has enough troubles without having to catch ruminants. First, her secret gift for divining jewels has landed her in scandal, exiling her from London society. Second, a nobleman of dubious repute wants her to find a cache of smuggled jewels, hidden somewhere along the Devon coastline. Last – and worst – she is invited to cream tea at the local manor. And while the autocratic and magnificent Earl of Beresford might be there (and perhaps the jewels themselves too), Beresford is the last person Elinor wants to meet over cream tea.
When a dead body is discovered along the cliffs, of course, such delicate considerations become secondary. Fortunately, Elinor now has a small vampiric chaperone – even if said spinster has a habit of appearing stark naked – and together they are ready to risk the hard questions.
Where are the jewels hidden? Who killed the smuggler? And just when is the cream tea being served?
In a Holidaze by Christina Lauren | Holiday Romance | Add to Goodreads
One Christmas wish, two brothers, and a lifetime of hope are on the line for hapless Maelyn Jones in In a Holidaze, the quintessential holiday romantic novel by Christina Lauren, the New York Times bestselling author of The Unhoneymooners.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year…but not for Maelyn Jones. She’s living with her parents, hates her going-nowhere job, and has just made a romantic error of epic proportions.
But perhaps worst of all, this is the last Christmas Mae will be at her favorite place in the world—the snowy Utah cabin where she and her family have spent every holiday since she was born, along with two other beloved families. Mentally melting down as she drives away from the cabin for the final time, Mae throws out what she thinks is a simple plea to the universe: Please. Show me what will make me happy.
The next thing she knows, tires screech and metal collides, everything goes black. But when Mae gasps awake…she’s on an airplane bound for Utah, where she begins the same holiday all over again. With one hilarious disaster after another sending her back to the plane, Mae must figure out how to break free of the strange time loop—and finally get her true love under the mistletoe.
Jam-packed with yuletide cheer, an unforgettable cast of characters, and Christina Lauren’s trademark “downright hilarious” (Helen Hoang, author of The Bride Test) hijinks, this swoon-worthy romantic read will make you believe in the power of wishes and the magic of the holidays.
All Down But Nine by Kat Ross | (Lingua Magika #2) | Steampunk, Fantasy | Add to Goodreads
HARD TO CATCH. HARDER TO KEEP.
Lee Merriweather has fled across the line into Pedro Braga’s jurisdiction, an untamed desert too vast for even the ruthless Guardia Territorial to keep any semblance of order. The Carnarvons want him dead or alive – and with Lee’s attitude, the first seems most likely.
The trail south runs straight through two thousand miles of badlands. To find him, Ruth and Sebastian must survive sabotage, bloodthirsty bandits, and fresh horrors at the Reverend Jolly’s church in New Jerusalem. The hardships draw them into a passionate affair, but loyalties are put to the test when they finally reach the capital of Aguadulce and all hell breaks loose.
Ruth has privately vowed to stop Sebastian from killing Lee, even as the young savant seems bent on his own destruction. And he’s just a pawn in a game with higher stakes than anyone realizes. One that goes beyond empires. One that encompasses worlds.
The phantoms are the key. But can Ruth uncover the truth in time to save them all?
The Island of Dr. Moreau by H.G. Wells | Classic, Science Fiction | Add to Goodreads
A lonely island in the Pacific. The sinister scientist who rules it. And the strange beings who dwell there…
This is the scenario for H. G. Wells’s haunting classic, one of his most intriguing and visionary novels. Living in the late nineteenth century and facing the impact of Darwin’s theory of evolution, Wells wrote this chilling masterpiece about the characteristics of beasts blurring as the animals turn into men. Dr. Moreau, a scientist expelled from his homeland for his cruel vivisection experiments, finds a deserted island that gives him the freedom to continue torturous transplantations and create hideous creatures with manlike intelligence. But as the brutally enforced order on Moreau’s island dissolves, the true consequences of his experiments emerge, and his creations revert to beasts more shocking than nature could devise.
A genius of his time, H. G. Wells foresaw the use of what he called the “atom bomb,” the practice of gene-splicing, and men landing on the moon. Now, when these have become part of everyday life, his dark fable serves as a compelling reminder of the horrors that reckless experiments with nature can produce.
Sherlock Holmes & the Christmas Demon by James Lovegrove | Historical, Mystery, Christmas | Add to Goodreads
The new Sherlock Holmes novel from the New York Times bestselling author of The Age of Odin and Firefly – Big Damn Hero.
It is 1890, and in the days before Christmas Sherlock Holmes and Dr John Watson are visited at Baker Street by a new client. Eve Allerthorpe – eldest daughter of a grand but somewhat eccentric Yorkshire-based dynasty – is greatly distressed, as she believes she is being haunted by a demonic Christmas spirit.
Her late mother told her terrifying tales of the sinister Black Thurrick, and Eve is sure that she has seen the creature from her bedroom window. What is more, she has begun to receive mysterious parcels of birch twigs, the Black Thurrick’s calling card…
Eve stands to inherit a fortune if she is sound in mind, but it seems that something – or someone – is threatening her sanity. Holmes and Watson travel to the Allerthorpe family seat at Fellscar Keep to investigate, but soon discover that there is more to the case than at first appeared. There is another spirit haunting the family, and when a member of the household is found dead, the companions realise that no one is beyond suspicion.
The Princess and the Rogue by Kate Bateman | (Bow Street Bachelors #3) | Regency Romance | Add to Goodreads
A princess in disguise is forced to live with a rogue in order to protect her from danger in this fun, sexy regency romance.
Bow Street agent Sebastien Wolff, Earl of Mowbray, doesn’t believe in love―until a passionate kiss with a beautiful stranger in a brothel forces him to reconsider. When the mysterious woman is linked to an intrigue involving a missing Russian princess, however, Seb realizes her air of innocence was too good to be true.
Princess Anastasia Denisova has been hiding in London as plain ‘Anna Brown’. With a dangerous traitor hot on her trail, her best option is to accept Wolff’s offer of protection―and accommodation―at his gambling hell. But living in such close quarters, and aiding Wolff in his Bow Street cases, fans the flames of their mutual attraction. If Anya’s true identity is revealed, does their romance stand a chance? Could a princess ever marry a rogue?
How many books did you add to your TBR this month?