Paranormal Picks: Abigail’s Top 12 for 2012

December 4, 2011 Holiday, Paranormal Picks 12

There are just a few weeks left of 2011, so of course the bloggers at All Things Urban Fantasy are already anxiously awaiting some of the biggest releases of 2012.  Over the next three weeks, we’ll each be listing our Top 12 for 2012 titles as part of a new feature officially launching in 2012 called Paranormal Picks (more about that later).  Abigail’s picks will be posted on Dec 4th, Julia’s on Dec 11th, and Kristina’s on Dec 18th. These 12 titles (and a few honorable mentions that are scant on details but big on expectations) make up our most coveted releases, so it goes without saying that we would LOVE to review them.  Please contact Abigail directly AllThingsUrbanFantasy AT gmail DOT com and we’ll get back to you right away.

And my Top 12 are…

 

Discount Armageddon (Incryptid, #1)

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery
Available on March 6, 2012 from DAW

Description:

Discount Armageddon introduces us to Verity Price, journeyman cryptozoologist, ballroom dancer, and former reality television star. She’s on assignment in Manhattan, researching the local cryptid community while she pursues her dance career. It’s a cushy assignment…at least until local cryptids start disappearing, and all signs start pointing to a man from the Covenant of St. George. But is Dominic De Luca really to blame? And if she casts her suspicions in the wrong place, is she going to survive the experience?

Why it’s a Paranormal Pick:

It’s about cryptozoology!  You know, Big Foot, Loch Ness, Chupacabra…and it’s written by Seanan McGuire who writes the October Daye urban fantasy series.  This is one of two new series to make my list and everything from the pin-up fun cover art to the series description has me hoping for a hit.

#11 Perception (Clarity, #2) by Kim Harrington

Perception (Clarity, #2)

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery
Available on March 1, 2012 from Scholastic Point

Description:

When you can see things others can’t, what do you do when someone’s watching you?

Everybody knows about Clarity “Clare” Fern. She’s the psychic girl in school, the one who can place her hands on something and see hidden visions from the past.
Only Clare would rather not be a celebrity. She prefers hanging back, observing. Her gift is not a game to her.

But then someone starts playing with her head . . . and heart. Messages and gifts from a secret admirer crop up everywhere Clare turns. Could they be from Gabriel, the gorgeous boy who gets Clare’s pulse racing? Or from Justin, Clare’s hopeful ex-boyfriend who’d do anything to win her back?

One thing is certain. Clare needs to solve this mystery, and soon. Because the messages are becoming sinister, and a girl in town has suddenly disappeared.

Why it’s a Paranormal Pick:

I absolutely loved CLARITY, the first book in this series, calling it “a refreshing mix of mystery, romance, and subtle supernatural secrets… the spiritual successor of Veronica Mars.”  Clarity won me over completely with her “razor sharp wit, and a lethal sarcasm.   She’s smart and resourceful and doesn’t make apologies to herself or anyone else for doing what needs to be done.” If PERCEPTION is even half as good as CLARITY, I’ll be adding the third book to next year’s Paranormal Picks.

#10 Royal Street (Sentinels of New Orleans #1) by Suzanne Johnson
SmileReceived for review

Royal Street (Sentinels of New Orleans #1)

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery
Available on April 10, 2012 from Tor Books

Description:

As the junior wizard sentinel for New Orleans, Drusilla Jaco’s job involves a lot more potion-mixing and pixie-retrieval than sniffing out supernatural bad guys like rogue vampires and lethal were-creatures. DJ’s boss and mentor, Gerald St. Simon, is the wizard tasked with protecting the city from anyone or anything that might slip over from the preternatural beyond.

Then Hurricane Katrina hammers New Orleans’ fragile levees, unleashing more than just dangerous flood waters.

While winds howled and Lake Pontchartrain surged, the borders between the modern city and the Otherworld crumbled. Now, the undead and the restless are roaming the Big Easy, and a serial killer with ties to voodoo is murdering soldiers sent to help the city recover.

To make it worse, Gerald St. Simon has gone missing, the wizards’ Elders have assigned a grenade-toting assassin as DJ’s new partner, and undead pirate Jean Lafitte wants to make her walk his plank. The search for Gerry and the killer turns personal when DJ learns the hard way that loyalty requires sacrifice, allies come from the unlikeliest places, and duty mixed with love creates one bitter gumbo.

Why it’s a Paranormal Pick:

Long before there was a cover (thank you Cliff Nielsen for another stunner), or even an official description for this book, I started hearing buzz about Suzanne Johnson’s urban fantasy debut.  The more I heard, the more I wanted: a story steeped in real and fantastically fictional New Orleans featuring an in over her head heroine tracking down a supernatural serial killer.  Oh yeah.

#9 Girl of Nightmares (Anna, #2) by Kendare Blake

Girl of Nightmares (Anna, #2)

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery
Available on August 7, 2012 from Tor Teen

Description:

In this follow-up to Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas begins seeing Anna everywhere: sometimes when he’s asleep, and sometimes in waking nightmares. But something is very wrong. These aren’t just daydreams. Anna seems tortured, torn apart in new and ever more gruesome ways every time she appears.

Cas doesn’t know what happened to Anna when she disappeared into Hell, but he knows she doesn’t deserve whatever is happening to her now. Anna saved Cas more than once, and it’s time for him to return the favor.

Why it’s a Paranormal Pick:

Another Tor title that blew me away was ANNA DRESSED IN BLOOD, “a gorgeously chilling ghost story full of strong but subtle characterizations, evocative prose, and atmospheric descriptions.”  I don’t read a ton of male POV stories, but Cas, a teenage ghost hunter who travels the country with his mother searching for the ghost who killed his father, is one of my favorite protagonists—male or female—ever.  “He’s very realistic not just as a teenager, but as a teenage guy, albeit one who is wise beyond his years. He is an astute judge of character, ridiculously clever and witty without ever feeling the need to constantly remind others of that fact.”  I can’t wait to read more of Blake’s writing and slip back into Cas (and Anna’s) lives in GIRL OF NIGHTMARES.

#8 Timeless (The Parasol Protectorate, #5) by Gail Carriger

Timeless

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery
Available on March 4, 2012 from Orbit

Description:

Alexia Tarabotti, Lady Maccon, has settled into domestic bliss. Of course, being Alexia, such bliss involves integrating werewolves into London High society, living in a vampire’s second best closet, and coping with a precocious toddler who is prone to turning supernatural willy-nilly. Even Ivy Tunstell’s acting troupe’s latest play, disastrous to say the least, cannot put a damper on Alexia’s enjoyment of her new London lifestyle.

Until, that is, she receives a summons from Alexandria that cannot be ignored. With husband, child, and Tunstells in tow, Alexia boards a steamer to cross the Mediterranean. But Egypt may hold more mysteries than even the indomitable Lady Maccon can handle. What does the vampire Queen of the Alexandria Hive really want from her? Why is the God-Breaker Plague suddenly expanding? And how has Ivy Tunstell suddenly become the most popular actress in all the British Empire?

Why it’s a Paranormal Pick:

It’s the last Parasol Protectorate book!  This is an utterly delightful series that introduced me to the wonderful genre hybrid that is paranormal steampunk.  The series is a firm favorite especially since the previous book, HEARTLESS, was “the best installment since the debut.”  I love everything from “the absurdly charming characters, to the outlandishly entertaining plot, and the endlessly witty—and thoroughly British—writing.  Never a dull page, never a flat line, and never a wasted opportunity for preposterous frivolity.”  I’m sad to see the series end, but I’m dying to see how big a bang Alexia goes out with…and of course I’ve already got the spin-off series on my wishlist.

#7 Fever (The Chemical Garden, #2) by Lauren DeStefano
SmileReceived for review

Fever (The Chemical Garden, #2)

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery
Available on February 21, 2012 from Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing

Description:

Rhine and Gabriel have escaped the mansion, but danger is never far behind.

Running away brings Rhine and Gabriel right into a trap, in the form of a twisted carnival whose ringmistress keeps watch over a menagerie of girls. Just as Rhine uncovers what plans await her, her fortune turns again. With Gabriel at her side, Rhine travels through an environment as grim as the one she left a year ago – surroundings that mirror her own feelings of fear and hopelessness.

The two are determined to get to Manhattan, to relative safety with Rhine’s twin brother, Rowan. But the road there is long and perilous – and in a world where young women only live to age twenty and young men die at twenty-five, time is precious. Worse still, they can’t seem to elude Rhine’s father-in-law, Vaughn, who is determined to bring Rhine back to the mansion…by any means necessary.

In the sequel to Lauren DeStefano’s harrowing Wither, Rhine must decide if freedom is worth the price – now that she has more to lose than ever

Why it’s a Paranormal Pick:

While not a paranormal pick per say, I am including two dystopian titles on my list and the first is everyone’s favorite teen polygamy tale!  WITHER was super creepy and totally engaging as it followed a teen girl kidnapped and sold into a polygamous marriage in a dystopian future where human lifespans are less than a fourth of what they are now.  “Have you ever read a book that was so good it made you uncomfortable at times?  Because it felt too real?  To unsettling?  That’s WITHER.  It’s like THE SECRET GARDEN meets Sister Wives, the latest in a string of superb dystopian books.”  The story was “equal parts deplorable and fascinating…everything I hoped and feared it would be.”  I absolutely have to know what happens to Rhine next in FEVER.

#6 Pandemonium (Delirium, #2) by Lauren Oliver
SmileReceived for review

Pandemonium (Delirium, #2)

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery
Available on March 6, 2012 from HarperTeen

Description:

I’m pushing aside the memory of my nightmare,
pushing aside thoughts of Alex,
pushing aside thoughts of Hana and my old school,
push,
push,
push,
like Raven taught me to do.
The old life is dead.
But the old Lena is dead too.
I buried her.
I left her beyond a fence,
behind a wall of smoke and flame.

Lauren Oliver delivers an electrifying follow-up to her acclaimed New York Times bestseller, delirium. This riveting, brilliant novel crackles with the fire of fierce defiance, forbidden romance, and the sparks of a revolution about to ignite.

Why it’s a Paranormal Pick:

My second and last dystopian pick for this list is the sequel to one of my favorite books of 2011.  I’ve given this to more people than any other book since THE HUNGER GAMES.  DELIRIUM was, in a word, magnificent.  The premise in this trilogy is simple but oh so powerful: Love is a deadly disease…but a mandatory surgery can keep you safe from ever contracting it.  Full of infuriating societal details and horrifying acceptance by the population as a whole, DELIRIUM started a story that is still resonating with me nearly a year after reading it…the ending left me devastated, but you couldn’t pay me enough money to keep me away from PANDEMONIUM.

#5 Shine (Shade, #3) by Jeri Smith-Ready

Shine (Shade, #3)

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery
Available on May 1, 2012 from Simon Pulse

Description:

No other love has burned so bright

Life can change in an instant, and no one understands that better than Aura. It’s been almost a year since h
er boyfriend tragically died. She’s finally letting go of Logan’s violet-hued ghost, but not her search to uncover the truth about her past.As the first in a generation that can see ghosts, Aura is convinced that she has a connection to the Shift. She’s trusted Zachary, ever patient and ever by her side, with all that she knows. But when the government threatens his life in an attempt to learn Aura’s secrets, she will stop at nothing to protect herself and the one she loves…even if that means betraying her own heart.

Why it’s a Paranormal Pick:

Jeri Smith-Ready’s Shade trilogy captivated me with SHADE, and then did the unheard of by following it up with SHIFT, and even better sequel. “There are a few elusive books that leave you with a blissful smile on your face when you finish them.  A feeling of pure contentment.  Not necessarily because the ending is perfectly happy, or even that the good guys fully defeated the bad guys. But just because it’s the exact right way that this book needed it end.  Well that’s SHIFT.  A beautiful story that is haunting in ways that have nothing to do with the ghosts inside.” This is my favorite ghost story ever.  It is unlike anything else I’ve ever read, deeply romantic and heartbreaking all at once.  If SHINE follows the trend of SHIFT, I may need to add a sixth bat to my rating scale when I review it.

#4 Sins of the Demon (Kara Gillian, #4) by Diana Rowland

Sins of the Demon (Kara Gillian, #4)

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery
Available on January 3, 2012 from DAW

Description:

The homicide beat in Louisiana isn’t just terrifying, it’s demonic. Detective Kara Gilligan of the supernatural task force has the ability to summon demons to her aid, but she herself is pledged to serve a demonic lord. And now, people who’ve hurt Kara in the past are dropping dead for no apparent reason. To clear her name and save both the demon and human worlds, she’s in a race against the clock and in a battle for her life that just may take her to hell and back.

Why it’s a Paranormal Pick:

All three previous installments in the Kara Gillian series have received 4/5 bats from me.  That just doesn’t happen, but there is something remarkable about this series: “It’s got phenomenal world building, a tough yet venerable heroine, a captivating love triangle, and a increasingly compelling metanarrative that just gets juicier with each book.”  I don’t often go for police procedurals, but this series is the one big exception.  I love Kara and her Demonic Lord Rhyzkahl…I still have tons of questions about them and the world they live in, but Rowland has so perfectly plotted out her books that I have complete confidence in her pacing and ultimate endgame for this series.  With SECRETS OF THE DEMON, I’ll just be that much closer.

#3 Horizon (Aftertime, #3) by Sophie Littlefield
SmileReceived for review

Horizon (Aftertime, #3)

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery
Available on January 24, 2012 from Luna

Description:

Of living things there were few….but they carried on.

Cass Dollar is a survivor. She’s overcome the meltdown of civilization, humans turned mindless cannibals,
and the many evils of man.

But from beneath the devastated California landscape emerges a tendril of hope. A mysterious traveler arrives at New Eden with knowledge of a passageway North—a final escape from the increasingly cunning Beaters. Clutching this dream, Cass and many others decamp and follow him into the unknown.

Journeying down valleys and over barren hills, Cass remains torn between two men. One—her beloved Smoke—is not so innocent as he once was. The other keeps a primal hold on her that feels like Fate itself. And beneath it all, Cass must confront the worst of what’s inside her—dark memories from when she was a Beater herself. But she, and all of the other survivors, will fight to the death for the promise of a new horizon…

Why it’s a Paranormal Pick:

If 4/5 reviews for a series are uber rare, than 5/5 reviews for all the books in a series are unheard of.  In fact it’s only happened for one series: Aftertime by Sophie Littlefield.  When I reviewed it, I said, “AFTERTIME is hands down the best zombie book I’ve read all year.” Well it’s still the best zombie book I’ve read…unless you count the sequel, REBIRTH: “You need to read this book.  You will be disturbed, you will be compelled, and you will not be the same.” If you love The Walking Dead, stagger as fast as you can to the nearest book store and buy this series…if you haven’t seen The Walking Dead…still stagger as fast as you can.  My expectations for HORIZON, the conclusion to this trilogy, are at a record high and I know I won’t be disappointed.

#2 Shadow Bound (Unbound, #2) by Rachel Vincent

Shadow Bound (Unbound, #2)

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery
Available on June 1, 2012 from Mira

Description:

If you live in the dark long enough, you begin to forget the light…

KORI DANIELS is a shadow-walker, able to travel instantly from one shadow to another. After weeks of confinement for betraying her boss, she’s ready to break free of the Tower syndicate for good. But Jake Tower has one final job for Kori, one chance to secure freedom for herself and her sister, Kenley, even if that means taking it from someone else…

The job? Recruit Ian Holt—or kill him.

Ian’s ability to manipulate the dark has drawn interest from every syndicate in the world, most notably an invitation from Jake Tower. Though he has no interest in organized crime, Ian accepts the invite, because he’s on a mission of his own. Ian has come to kill Tower’s top Binder: Kori’s little sister.

Amid the tangle of lies, an unexpected thread of truth connecting Ian and Kori comes to light. But with opposing goals, they’ll have to choose between love and liberty….

Why it’s a Paranormal Pick:

It’s no surprise that the sequel to my favorite urban fantasy debut of 2011 is going to make my list.  “Comprehensive and inventive worldbuilding, strong yet flawed characters, surprising and fast paced plot, and a dash of romance are what I always hope for in urban fantasy.  BLOOD BOUND gave me all that and more.”  The only bad thing about the Unbound series that I can see is that it’s only planned as a trilogy.  I’m a longtime fan of Rachel Vincent, but the Unbound series offers “a much darker, much grittier story that breaks way outside the box… may have just set a new standard for the genre.” If SHADOW BOUND is as stunningly good as BLOOD BOUND, three books won’t be nearly enough.

#1 Sacrificial Magic (Downside Ghosts, #4) by Stacia Kane

Sacrificial Magic (Downside Ghosts, #4)

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery
Available on March 27, 2012 from Del Ray

Description:

When Chess Putnam is ordered by an infamous crime boss—who also happens to be her drug dealer—to use her powers as a witch to solve a grisly murder involving dark magic, she knows she must rise to the challenge. Adding to the intensity: Chess’s boyfriend, Terrible, doesn’t trust her, and Lex, the son of a rival crime lord, is trying to reignite the sparks between him and Chess.

Plus there’s the little matter of Chess’s real job as a ghost hunter for the Church of Real Truth, investigating reports of a haunting at a school in the heart of Downside. Someone seems to be taking a crash course in summoning the dead—and if Chess doesn’t watch her back, she may soon be joining their ranks.

As Chess is drawn into a shadowy world of twisted secrets and dark violence, it soon becomes clear that she’s not going to emerge from its depths without making the ultimate sacrifice.

Why it’s a Paranormal Pick:

My number one pick was a complete no brainer.  I’m terribly, terribly addicted to the Downside Ghosts series, and you should be too.  “After devouring the first two Downside Ghosts books in all their addictive, screwed up goodness, I had crazy, impossibly high hopes for CITY OF GHOSTS, and Stacia Kane didn’t disappoint in this action packed, scary cool, emotionally naked urban fantasy that I can still feel racing through my veins.”  Once again, I’m jonesing for my next Chess and Terrible fix in SACRIFICIAL MAGIC…and the book after that…and the book after that…

Honorable Mention:

These are the titles releasing later in 2012 that have neither covers nor descriptions yet, but they are the next installments or spin-offs of my favorite series, so even sight unseen, I’m already dying to read them:

Stalking the Others (H&W; Investigations, #4) by Jess Haines – July 3rd 2012 by Kensington

Iced (Fever World, #1) by Karen Marie Moning – October 30th 2012 by Delacorte Press

Before I Wake (Soul Screamers, #6) by Rachel Vincent – July 2012 by Harlequin Teen

Shadows Before the Sun (Charlie Madigan #4) by Kelly Gay – July 31st 2012 by Pocket Books

Untitled (The Edge, #4) by Ilona Andrews – November 29th 2012 by Ace

Outpost (Razorland, #2) by Ann Aguirre – September 2012 by Feiwel & Friends

Even White Trash Zombies Get the Blues by Diana Rowland – July 3rd 2012 by DAW

Etiquette & Espionage (The Finishing School, #1) by Gail Carriger – 2012 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

What are your top Paranormal Picks for 2012?

12 Responses to “Paranormal Picks: Abigail’s Top 12 for 2012”

  1. JenM

    Fair Game by Patricia Briggs is my #1 for 2012. I'm hopelessly addicted to the AlphaΩ series. The other one is Andrea's book in the Kate Daniels series – Gunmetal Magic might be the title, but I don't think it's official yet.

  2. Kristin

    I guess I'm too mainstream but I'm waiting for A Perfect Blood (The Hollows #10) b/c w/ new insight into Trent, I need to know what's going on! (I still miss Kist)

    I agree with JenM – the other book I've been waiting for is Fair Game (Alpha & Omega #3) ~ it's been too long since the last one!!!

  3. Julia

    You guys are both on my wavelength! We don't compare lists before we post (though I obviously get a peak at Abigail's today), but it's always funny seeing where we differ and where we overlap.

  4. Rain Maiden

    I'm loving this feature. I look forward to seeing Julia's and Kristina's picks. Insurgent by Veronica Roth is one of my biggies in 2012.

  5. Paige Cuccaro

    #10 Royal Street, by Suzanne Johnson, sounds awesome! Definitely adding that to my TBR pile. Great list. Looking forward to see what Julia and Kristina pick.

  6. Abigail

    Jenn, Kristin, & Julia – I love Patrica Briggs, and if the next Mercy book was coming out in 2012, it would definitely have made my list. I do love Anna and Charles too, but it didn't quite crack my top 12…if it was a top 15, oh yeah.

    And as for The Hollows, I'm embarrassingly behind…I took a loooonnnngggg break after Kistin and haven't been able to get back to it, plus Ivy drives me INSANE! I'll have to leave it to you, Julia :)

    Patti & Rain Maiden – I loved DIVERGENT, and INSURGENT would have been my 3rd dystopian pick if I'd had room to add it, great debut.

    Paige – Doesn't it? I'm super psyched to start it!

  7. Brenda Demko

    I'm waiting for Untouched by Sara Humphreys(Amoveo Legend #2), Hunted,(Dark Protectors #3) by Rebecca Zanetti, Bloodright,(Blood Moon Rising #2) by Karin Tabke, Biting Cold by Chloe Neill(CLV #6), Stone Cold Revenge (Stone Cold #2)by Jess Macallen, and Lover Reborn by J.R. Ward (BDB #10). I can't wait to read these! You're list looks really good too!

  8. Abigail

    Brenda – I bet Chloe Neill's next title shows up on either Julia or Kristina's list…that's another series which I need to catch up on.

  9. bookworm#23

    nevermind!!!!!!! i just got extra excited cuz i just saw that its out on the 27th!!!! whhooooo hoooo!!!! does anyone know when the next real vampires have curves comes out?

  10. Abigail

    Bookworm#23 – Yep, Real Vampires Hate Skinny Jeans (Glory St. Clair, #8)by Gerry Bartlett hits shelves on April 3, 2012!