Paranormal Picks: Julia’s Top 12 for 2012

December 11, 2011 Holiday, Paranormal Picks 16

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 were posted on Dec 4th, and Kristina’s will go up 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…

#12 The Calling by Kelley Armstrong

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Available on April 10, 2012 from HarperCollins

Description:

In The Calling, the sizzling second book in the Darkness Rising trilogy,New York Times bestselling author Kelley Armstrong pumps up the romance, danger, and suspense that left readers of The Gathering clamoring for more.

Maya Delaney’s paw-print birthmark is the sign of what she truly is—a skin-walker. She can run faster, climb higher, and see better than nearly anyone else. Experiencing intense connections with the animals that roam the woods outside her home, Maya knows it’s only a matter of time before she’s able to Shift and become one of them. And she believes there may be others in her small town with surprising talents.

Now, Maya and her friends have been forced to flee from their homes during a forest fire they suspect was deliberately set. Then they’re kidnapped, and after a chilling helicopter crash, they find themselves in the Vancouver Island wilderness with nothing but their extraordinary abilities to help them get back home. Plentiful action and romance in this second installment in the Darkness Rising series will keep readers enthralled to the very last page!

Why it’s a Paranormal Pick:

While I’ve fallen behind on The Women of the Otherworld, Kelley Armstrong’s YA series always rise to the top of my TBR pile.  With a 5Bat! review for THE GATHERING, it’s no surprise that THE CALLING is in my top 12 for the coming year.  Maya displayed the spunk and wit I like in a heroine, as well as a surprising amount of range for a Paranormal YA.  I can’t wait to pick up where I left off with her relationships, both romantic and otherwise, and I’m keeping my eyes peeled for more hints of Chloe and the gang from The Darkest Powers. 

#11 Angels’ Flight by Nalini Singh

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Available on February 28, 2012 from Berkley Sensation

Description:

In Angel’s Wolf a vampire becomes fascinated with the seductive angel who rules Louisiana. But all is not what it appears to be in her court.

In Angels’ Judgment a hunter must track one of her own gone bad, while surviving the deadly tests placed in her way by the archangels themselves. Unexpected backup comes from a stranger who might just be the most lethal threat of all…

Plus FIRST TIME IN PRINT

In Angels’ Pawn a vampire hunter faces off against two rival factions and the angel manipulating them both, and a vampire whose help is not entirely selfless…

And NEVER BEFORE PUBLISHED

In Angels’ Dance an angel trapped in the mountain stronghold of the Refuge finds herself under siege by a warrior angel from a martial court.

Why it’s a Paranormal Pick:

Though I’m rarely enough of a short story fan to anticipate an anthology alongside full-length novels, but I’ll take what I can get from the Guild Hunter series.  I re-read everything and anything featuring Elena and Raphael, and though I’ve only read ARCHANGEL’S BLADE once, it did wring five emotional stars from me.  I’m exci
ted to read ANGEL’S FLIGHT, in the hopes that the next full length couple will make an appearance…

#10 Lies & Omens by Lyn Benedict

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Available on April 24, 2012 from Ace

Description:

The Magicus Mundi is out of the closet and onto the evening news. Someone is stirring up the supernatural world against the mundane, and Sylvie may be the only one who can stop an all-out war between the two. That is, if she isn’t already too late.

Why it’s a Paranormal Pick:

Even without a quote on the cover, LIES & OMENS was going to be at the top of my 2012 TBR pile.  Sylvie Lightner stands out among the dark and twisty UF heroines as a character who has grown materially while remaining true to her initial character.  The revelations at the end of GODS & MONSTERS had me anticipating this book way back in May, I can’t wait for April!

#9 Shadow Bound by Rachel Vincent

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Available on May 22, 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:

I agreed with every one of Abigail’s five bats for BLOOD BOUND and am very interested to take a look at SHADOW BOUND.  I loved Liv and Cam so much, Kori and Jake have a very hard act to follow.  From the description, however, I can look forward to more of the dark, devil’s-bargain action of BLOOD BOUND, something I find irresistible.

#8 Black Heart by Holly Black

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Available on April 3, 2012 from Margaret K. McElderry

Description:

Cassel Sharpe knows he’s been used as an assassin, but he’s trying to put all that behind him. He’s trying to be good, even though he grew up in a family of con artists and cheating comes as easily as breathing to him. He’s trying to do the right thing, even though the girl he loves is inextricably connected with crime. And he’s trying to convince himself tha
t working for the Feds is smart, even though he’s been raised to believe the government is the enemy.

But with a mother on the lam, the girl he loves about to take her place in the Mob, and new secrets coming to light, the line between what’s right and what’s wrong becomes increasingly blurred. When the Feds ask Cassel to do the one thing he said he would never do again, he needs to sort out what’s a con and what’s truth. In a dangerous game and with his life on the line, Cassel may have to make his biggest gamble yet—this time on love.

Why it’s a Paranormal Pick:

My biggest complaint about RED GLOVE was that it ended, but all will be forgiven when I’m able to pick up BLACK HEART this coming April.   The “intricate world and consistent voice” of this series is mesmerizing and my emotional investment in Cassel and Lila made the climax at the end of RED GLOVE an agonizing cliffhanger.   As I mentioned above for SHADOW BOUND, I’m a sucker for the type of devil’s-bargain situations that come hand and hand with organized crime and I can’t wait to see what Cassel has up his sleeve this time around.

#7 Biting Cold by Chloe Neill

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Available on August 7, 2012 from NAL Penguin

Description:

Turned into a vampire against her will, twenty-eight-year-old Merit found her way into the dark circle of Chicago’s vampire underground, where she learned there was more to supernaturals than met the eye—and more supernaturals than the public ever imagined. And not all the secrets she learned were for sharing—among humans or inhumans.

Now Merit is on the hunt, charging across the stark American Midwest, tailing a rogue supernatural intent on stealing an ancient artifact that could unleash catastrophic evil on the world. But Merit is also the prey. An enemy of Chicagoland is hunting her, and he’ll stop at nothing to get the book for himself. No mercy allowed. No rules apply. No lives spared. The race is on.

Why it’s a Paranormal Pick:

DRINK DEEP was one more great book in a series that has become a dark horse favorite.  I never would have guessed in SOME GIRLS BITE how much Merit was going to grow on me.  Neill ventures much and has gained my undivided attention for a heroine whose emotional growth is as riveting, if not more so, than her love life.  While I’m interested in the potential love triangle on the horizon, my main focus is Merit’s continued development as a vampire.  Neill has an unparalleled ability to write me into the shoes of a young woman coming to terms with immortality.  I can’t wait to read more Merit, whether she’s rescuing Chicago, mastering her new powers, or just enjoying  a night out on the town.

#6 Deadlocked by Charlaine Harris

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Available on May 1, 2012 from Gollancz

Description:

With Felipe de Castro, the Vampire King of Louisiana (and Arkansas and Nevada), in town, it’s the worst possible time for a body to show up in Eric Northman’s front yard — especially the body of a woman whose blood he just drank.

Now, it’s up to Sookie and Bill, the official Area Five investigator, to solve the murder. Sookie thinks that, at least this time, the dead girl’s fate has nothing to do with her. But she is wrong. She has an enemy, one far more devious than she would ever suspect, who’s out to make Sookie’s world come crashing down.

Why it’s a Paranormal Pick:

Whether it’s her Aurora Teagarden mysteries or the paranormal soap opera that is Sookie Stackhouse’s life, I’m consistently impressed by Charlaine Harris’s ability to keep me guessing.  I know Harris will have surprises in store, I just don’t know if it will be deadly consequences and life changing events for established characters or the deceptively simple plots that pack an amazing amount of action into each book.  Am I the only one who keeps hoping Quinn will come back

#5 Raven Cursed by Faith Hunter

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Available on January 3, 2012 from Roc

Description:

The vampires of Asheville, North Carolina, want to establish their own clan, but since they owe loyalty to the Master Vampire of New Orleans they must work out the terms with him. To come up with an equitable solution, he sends an envoy with the best bodyguard blood money can buy: Jane Yellowrock.

But when a group of local campers are attacked by something fanged, Jane goes from escort to investigator. Unless she wants to face a very angry mast vampire, she will have to work overtime to find the killer. It’s a good thing she’s worth every penny.

Why it’s a Paranormal Pick:

Hearing Faith Hunter read excerpts from CAT TALES at DragonCon this September just fanned the flames lit by MERCY BLADE’s cliff hanger ending.  Jane and Beast are at the cusp of major changes, both in their love and professional lives, and I have a hard time deciding which has me more more excited.  This series has gained momentum with each book and I can’t wait to see what unfolds with Rick, Bruiser and Leo.

#4 Oracle’s Moon by Thea Harrison

SmileReceived for review

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Available on March 6, 2012 from Berkley

Description:

When Grace Andreas’s sister, Petra, and her husband are both killed, Grace inherits the Power and responsibilities of the Oracle of Louisville, as well as her sister’s two young children–neither of which she is prepared for. Then Khalil, Demonkind and Djinn Prince of House Marid, decides to make himself a part of the household both as guardian and counterpoint to Grace’s impudence towards the Elder Races.

Why it’s a Paranormal Pick:

Has it really been less than a year since DRAGON BOUND was published?  And yet, in that short amount of time, I’ve managed to read DRAGON BOUND twice as well as the other two Elder Races books published thus far.  Harrison doles out “interesting mythology, snappy dialogue, and smoking chemistry”, a killer trifecta of everything I love in Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance.  The sleep-deprived, single-mom Grace tugged at my heartstrings in SERPENT’S KISS, and I can’t wait to read her happily-ever-after with the not-of-this-world Khalil. 

#3 A Perfect Blood by Kim Harrison

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Available on February 21, 2012 from HarperCollins

Description:

Ritually murdered corpses are appearing across Cincinnati, terrifying amalgams of human and other. Pulled in to help investigate by the FIB, former witch turned day-walking demon Rachel Morgan soon realizes a horrifying truth — a would-be creator is determined to make his (or her) own demons. But it can’t be done without Rachel’s blood.

As a bounty hunter, Rachel has battled vampires, witches, werewolves, demons, and more. But humanity itself might be her toughest challenge.

Why it’s a Paranormal Pick:

While I talk about enjoying how much Sookie and Merit have grown, no one can hold a candle to the metamorphosis of Rachel Morgan.  Kim Harrison is the gold standard by which I judge all other authors; she’s unmatched in her ability to develop supporting character
s that touch my heart, main characters that never stop growing, and organic plot lines that continually surprise me.  And speaking of surprises, I didn’t expect Pierce to be sidelined so decisively in favor of an old enemy in PALE DEMON, so I’m beyond excited to read what all of these incredible characters will be up to next.

#2 Horizon by Sophie Littlefield

SmileReceived for review

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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:

AFTERTIME ended on such a decisive high-note, I wasn’t sure where book two could possibly go.  No one was more surprised than I to find that REBIRTH exceeded all of my expectations and then some as Cass once again displays her scars and her strengths in a killer continuation of the series.  The Aftertime books are all the more impressive for being in a sub-genre that I normally don’t love, but Sophie Littlefield has forever changed my expectation of what post-apocalyptic fiction can be.

#1 Fair Game by Patricia Briggs

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Available on March 6, 2012 from Ace

Description:

They say opposites attract. And in the case of werewolves Anna Latham and Charles Cornick, they mate. The son-and enforcer-of the leader of the North American werewolves, Charles is a dominant alpha. While Anna, an omega, has the rare ability to calm others of her kind.

Now that the werewolves have revealed themselves to humans, they can’t afford any bad publicity. Infractions that could have been overlooked in the past must now be punished, and the strain of doing his father’s dirty work is taking a toll on Charles.

Nevertheless, Charles and Anna are sent to Boston, when the FBI requests the pack’s help on a local serial killer case. They quickly realize that not only the last two victims were werewolves-all of them were. Someone is targeting their kind. And now Anna and Charles have put themselves right in the killer’s sights…

Why it’s a Paranormal Pick:

The short story that introduced Anna and Charles, ALPHA & OMEGA, has the distinction of being the first one that I ever loved enough to buy and re-read again and again.  I’ve owned copies of it on every eSoftware I’ve used (eReader, Nook, and Kindle), as well as having a paper copy on my shelf.  Owning multiple copies has come in handy, however, as this is a series that I’ve come back to enjoy over and over again.  There is something about this relationship that stands up to multiple readings.  Anna and Charles are each characters of distinct strengths and vulnerabilities, and I don’t think I’ll ever tire of how they grow together as a couple. FAIR GAME is one more book that I’ll be able to revist the next time I have the urge to go back to ALPHA & OMEGA and start all over again.

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:

Two Weeks’ Notice (Revivalist #2) by Rachel Caine – August 7, 2012 by Roc

Ashes of Honor (October Daye #6) by Seanan McGuire – September 2012 by DAW

Gunmetal Magic (Kate Daniels #5.5) by Ilona Andrews – July 31, 2012 by Ace

Endgame (Sirantha Jax #6) by Ann Aguirre – September 2012 by Ace

The Shattered Dark (McKenzie Lewis #2) by Sandy Williams – November 2012 by Ace

 

 

What are your top Paranormal Picks for 2012?

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

  1. Kristin

    I think I love you, Julia! No, really, my husband understands!!! Based on your picks and reasons, I will put every book I've never heard about directly on my TBR list!!!!

    I'm glad you noticed Rachel Caine's Revivalist series! I was hesitant on it but it's Rachel so I had to read it – LOVED IT!! Can't wait for next one!!!

  2. My keeper shelf

    I pretty much have all of those on my 2012 TBR list too. I really can't wait for A Perfect Blood, I might take the day off work so that I have complete silence to read it!!

  3. Abigail

    I'm so glad we're each adding own own top picks. There are way too many titles coming out that deserve the attention. This way we basically get to feature 36 titles. THE SHATTERED DARK by Sandy Williams hadn't been announced yet when I made my list, but I'm dying to read it too, and of course Patricia Briggs and Ilona Andrews could be writing the phone book and I'd pre-order it…can't wait!

  4. Julia

    @Ahz1 – I love browsing other people's wishlists, it's a great way to pick up books that I've missed. Goodreads has really come in handy when planning for 2012, can't wait!

    @Kristin – I'm so excited to find a TBR-twin, we'll have to compare notes as these books come out (Especially TWO WEEKS' NOTICE, thus far I'm the only Revivalist fan at the blog).

    @My Keeper Shelf – I keep haunting Netgalley in the hopes that they'll post copies for pre-review (that's how I snagged a copy of PALE DEMON). A day off work sounds perfect, too, as I'm pretty sure I won't be able to do anything else once I get my hands on A PERFECT BLOOD.

    @Stephanie – Every time Briggs and Harrison have a new book coming out, I find myself re-reading their back catalog (and falling in love all over again). I'm so excited for more Anna and Charles, but when will we get Sam's HEA?

  5. Julia

    @Abigail – I'm always curious to see where we'll overlap, it's funny that it doesn't happen more often. One more list to go, can't wait to see Kristina's picks!

  6. pk

    Great list and for sure you can't list everything good coming out but I thought "Tangle of Need" (Nalini Singh) would be on the list. I love her Psy/Changling series!

  7. Julia

    @Kristina – Thanks! Can't wait to see your list :-)

    @PK – You read my mind! TANGLE OF NEED was actually on the list, but it got bumped below the 12 line (and since it had a cover and a description, I figured it didn't fit in the 'Honorable Mention' category). LOTHAIRE, BY A THREAD, and DISCOUNT ARMAGEDDON were all on my "2012" shelf, too, along with the untitled Edge and Guild Hunter books.

  8. Erin O'Riordan

    I don't follow most of these series, but I will be very excited when the next Sookie Stackhouse novel comes out…even if it is the second-to-last one (sniff).

    Erin of Pagan Spirits

  9. Julia

    @Erin – I'm really not ready to let go. I am ok with any of the big changes that come along, just because I know there's always another book around the corner. I'm not ready to let her go "static", what could possibly be a HEA that would be worth no more Sookie books?!