Fiction Affliction: Diagnosing June Releases in Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance

Fiction Affliction is a monthly column written by Royal Street author Suzanne Johnson that examines upcoming releases by genre or sub-genre. Check back every day this week for coverage of June releases in science fiction, epic fantasy, and Young Adult paranormal. Today’s column examines new releases in URBAN FANTASY and PARANORMAL ROMANCE.

The Symptoms Chicks kick butt. ‘Nuff said.

The Diagnosis Forty-one new urban fantasy (24) and paranormal romance (17) books blaze into June, including new titles from old favorites and the ever-burning question: what guys are, uh, “hangin’ out” with Anita Blake these days?

The Cure In case your summer isn’t hot enough, there are some steamy anthologies from smokin’ authors, plus Kitty the Werewolf can fix all your problems in the midnight hour and beyond.


The Deadliest Bite, by Jennifer Rardin (June 2, Orbit)

I have two choices. Carve Brude’s name into Hell’s bile-encrusted gates, or lose my soul. After an assassination attempt on Vayl, I find myself pulled into a tangled web that takes the gang to Romania. So how will I save a ghost, rescue a demon, and cheat the Great Taker out of a soul he’s slavering for while defeating my nastiest foe yet so that Vayl can, at last, cherish a few precious years with his sons? With careful planning, major violence, and one (hopefully) final trip to Hell. The final book in the Jaz Parks series. Author Jennifer Rardin died on Sept. 20, 2010.

Mistification, by Kaaron Warren (June 2, Angry Robot)

Marvo is a stage magician whose magic is real. The magicians have always been with us, since the beginning of civilization. They fill our heads with the mist, keeping us from witnessing the stark reality of existence. But are things so bad that Marvo will bring it down on all of us, forever? As Marvo begins to understand those around him and his place in the world, he discovers his powers can be put to good or to evil. He only has to choose. U.S. release.

Hexed, by Ilona Andrews, Yasmine Galenorn, Allyson James, Jeanne C. Stein (June 7, Berkley)

Four new novellas from urban fantasy’s favorite authors. In “Ice Shards” by Yasmine Galenorn, a Finnish house sprite who lives with the D’Artigo sisters must journey to the frozen Northlands to confront the crazed shadow of her former lover she’s accused of murdering. In “Double Hexed” by Allyson James, Janet calls her plumber, Fremont, to help fix a faucet in a guest room, when all hell breaks loose—literally. In “Blood Debt,” Jeanne C. Stein’s bounty hunter-turned-vampire Anna Strong is visited by three witches who ask her to right an old magical wrong. Anna will have to live up to her name to make it through alive. And in “Magic Dream,” Andrews’ shapeshifting tigress Dali finds herself in deep water when she must challenge a dark being to a battle of wits.

Hexes and Hemlines, by Juliet Blackwell (June 7, Signet)

Lily gets called away from her vintage clothing store to give police a witch’s take on how the leader of a rationalist society could be murdered, surrounded by superstitions he discredited. Evidence points to dark witchcraft. Lily’s determined to use magic of her own to find the murderer before everyone’s luck runs out.

Chicks Kick Butt, anthology edited by Rachel Caine and Kerrie L. Hughes (June 7, Tor)

Chicks are awesome, and never more so than when they are kicking some serious vampire/werewolf/demon/monster butt. This anthology features strong, independent, intelligent heroines capable of solving their own problems and slaying their own dragons (or demons, as the case may be). Features L.A. Banks, Rachel Vincent, Karen Chance, Lilith Saintcrow, Cheyenne McCray, Susan Krinard, Jeanne Stein, Jenna Black, Elizabeth Vaughan, Carole Nelson Douglas, P.N. Elrod and Nancy Holder.

Hunt the Moon, by Karen Chance (June 7, Signet)

Cassandra Palmer recently defeated a god, which you’d think would buy a girl a little time off. But it doesn’t work that way when your new job description is Pythia, the world’s chief clairvoyant. Cassie is busier than ever, trying to learn about her power, preparing for her upcoming coronation, and figuring out her relationship with the enigmatic sexy master vampire, Mircea. But someone doesn’t want Cassie to become Pythia, and is willing to go to any lengths to make sure the coronation ceremony never happens. Fifth in the Cassie Palmer series.

For Heaven’s Eyes Only, by Simon R. Green (June 7, Roc)

After the murder of the Drood Matriarch, the family finds itself vulnerable to evil. This time, it’s a Satanic Conspiracy that could throw humanity directly into the clutches of the Biggest of the Bads. Fifth in the Eddie Drood/Secret Histories series.

Hit List, by Laurell K. Hamilton (June 7, Berkley)

Word has leaked to Anita Blake that hit men are headed for St. Louis, and that she, Jean-Claude and Richard are the targets. Twentieth title in the Anita Blake series.

Shadow Walker, by Allyson James (June 7, Berkley)

Stormwalker Janet Begay returns home only to have the ground collapse beneath her. Literally. After tumbling two hundred feet underground, Janet is rescued by her dragon boyfriend, Mick. But something dark touches Mick while in the sinkhole, and Janet might lose him forever unless she recruits the most unlikely of allies to stop the growing shadow. Third in the Stormwalker series.

Everdark, by Elle Jasper (June 7, Signet)

When Savannah tattoo artist Riley Poe is ambushed by an undead enemy, she inherits some of the traits of her attackers, and a telepathic link with a rampaging vampire. Now, she’s experiencing murder after murder through the victims’ eyes. And her new powers will not be enough to stop the horror, or the unending slaughter. Second in the Dark Ink Chronicles series.

Thistle Down, by Irene Radford (June 7, Daw)

Dusty Carrick lived in the small town of Skene Falls, Ore., her entire life. And, like many of the local children, she played with “imaginary” Pixie friends in Ten Acre Woods. But the Pixies are not imaginary, and Ten Acre Woods is their home. Now, the woods are in danger, and if it falls, the Pixies too will die. Only Thistle Down, exiled from her tribe and trapped inside a mortal woman’s body, can save her people, as long as she can convince Dusty Carrick to help before it’s too late.

The Pack, by Jason Starr (June 7, Ace)

The Pack is different. At its vortex is Simon Burns, a young man thrust by joblessness into a role that he clearly dreads: stay-at-home dad. As family tensions rise, Simon is drawn deeper into a circle of other playground dads. The companionship that first provides him with much-needed comfort takes a dangerous leap into the unknown. Before long, the discomforted dad realizes that he himself is changing in most disturbing ways.

Witches of East End, by Melissa de la Cruz (June 21, Hyperion)

The Beauchamp girls live in the fictional town of North Hampton, and are struggling to stop an arch-nemesis and restore the delicate balance between good and evil. De la Cruz weaves characters from her best-selling Blue Bloods young adult series into this new paranormal series for adults.

The Plain Man, by Steve Englehart (June 21, Tor)

Max August is not invulnerable, but he never ages, a gift he earned while studying alchemy. Now an alchemist, Max is using his abilities to fight the right-wing conspiracy known as the FRC. At the top of the FRC is a nine-member cabal, each member of which is a powerful force in one area of society. When Max learns two members of the cabal are en route to Wickr, a Burning Man-like festival in the American Southwest, he stages a plan to gather information and, he hopes, turn one member against the others.

The Banshee’s Walk, by Frank Tuttle (June 22, Samhain)

When Lady Erlorne Werewilk hires Markhat to identify who is stealthily mapping out the Lady’s estate by moonlight, Markhat anticipates the usual: greedy relatives or rapacious neighbors plotting a land grab. Before the first night is done, the house is visited by murder, mayhem, and the haunting wail of what may be a genuine banshee, come to herald not just one death, but the deaths of all within. Trapped in a house under siege, Markhat must gamble with an old enemy to unlock the secret that lies beneath the Lady’s lands.

Kindling the Moon, by Jenn Bennett (June 28, Pocket)

Being the spawn of two infamous occultists (and alleged murderers) isn’t easy, but freewheeling magician Arcadia “Cady” Bell knows how to make the best of a crummy situation. After hiding out for seven years, she’s carved an incognito niche for herself slinging drinks at the demon-friendly Tambuku Tiki Lounge. But she receives an ultimatum when unexpected surveillance footage of her notorious parents surfaces: either prove their innocence or surrender herself. First in a new series.

Feast: Harvest of Dreams, by Merrie Destefano (June 28, Harper Voyager)

Madeline MacFaddin spent blissful childhood summers in Ticonderoga Falls. And this is where she wants to be now that her adult life is falling apart. The dense surrounding forest holds many memories, and she’s always believed there was something living in these wooded hills. But Maddie doesn’t remember the dark parts—and knows nothing of the mountain legend that holds the area’s terrified residents captive.

Burn the Night, by Jocelynn Drake (June 28, HarperCollins)

After eons in exile, the naturi have broken their chains and now roam the Earth bent on revenge. It is the sworn duty of Mira, the Fire Starter, to protect the Nightwalker race—though even she may be powerless to withstand the horrific onslaught. As Mira and her brave lover, the vampire slayer Danaus, stand ready to do battle, thousands of winged shapeshifters darken the skies. The war of ultimate extermination has begun, and the battleground is Mira’s home turf. Sixth and final book in the Dark Days series.

The Shadow Men, by Christopher Golden and Tim Lebbon (June 28, Spectra)

Jim is happily married to Jenny, with whom he has a young daughter, Holly. Trix is Jenny’s best friend, practically a member of the family—although she has secretly been in love with Jenny for years. Then Jenny and Holly disappear—and leave behind a Boston in which they never existed. Only Jim and Trix remember them. Only Jim and Trix can bring them back. Fourth in the Hidden Cities series.

Raising Stony Mayhall, by Daryl Gregory (June 28, Del Rey)

In 1968, after the first zombie outbreak, Wanda Mayhall and her three daughters discover the body of a teenage mother during a snowstorm. Wrapped in the woman’s arms is a dead baby. But then his eyes open and look up at Wanda—and he begins to move. The family hides Stony and is able to keep his existence secret for years. Until one terrifying night when Stony is forced to run and he learns he is not the only living dead boy in the world.

Green-Eyed Envy, by Kasey Mackenzie (June 28, Ace)

Months have gone by since Marissa, a Fury, discovered some unwelcome truths about her past and managed to stop a supernatural war. Now the bodies of Bastai, shapeshifters also known as Cats, begin piling up in Boston’s magical underbelly. One common thread ties the victims together: all were old flames of FBI Agent Harper Cruz. And since Harper and Riss’s lover, Scott Murphy, enjoyed a one-night stand, the Fury has twice the incentive to crack the case before the killer’s gaze turns in Scott’s direction. Second in the Shades of Fury series.

Kitty’s Big Trouble, by Carrie Vaughn (June 28, Tor)

Kitty Norville’s recent run-in with werewolves traumatized by war has made her wonder how long the government has covertly used werewolves in combat. Have any famous names in history been supernatural? Then an interview with the right vampire puts her on the trail of Wyatt Earp, vampire hunter, and her investigations lead her to a clue about enigmatic vampire Roman and the mysterious Long Game. That, plus a call for help from a vampire ally, puts Kitty and her friends on the supernatural chessboard. And Kitty Norville is never content to be a pawn. Ninth in the Kitty Norville series.

Dark War, by Tim Waggoner (June 28, Angry Robot)

Meet Matt Richter, zombie private investigator. From his arrival at Nekropolis, Matt has found himself embroiled in disputes with the city’s vampire lords, shapeshifters, golems and other monstrosities. But nothing has prepared him for the Dark War. Third in the Nekropolis series. U.S. release.

The Affair of the Chalk Cliffs, by James P. Blaylock (June 30, Subterranean)

The longest Langdon St. Ives adventure in two decades, featuring a full-color wraparound dust jacket and twenty black-and-white interior illustrations by J. K. Potter. An outbreak of violent madness at the Explorers Club, the coincidental murders of a recluse scientist in North Kent and a lighthouse keeper on the chalk cliffs below Brighton, and the mysterious disappearance of Alice St. Ives, lead Langdon St. Ives, Jack Owlesby, and their resolute friend Tubby Frobisher into the very heart of danger, where they discover the great secret of the chalk cliffs at Beachy Head and a looming threat to the collective sanity of mankind.



Demons Prefer Blondes, by Sidney Ayers (June 1, Sourcebooks Casablanca)

Hairstylist Lucia Gregory has serious problems. Who knew opening an antique chest would cause mirrors to implode and shampoo bowls to erupt like geysers. But that’s the least of her worries. Overnight, she turns into a sexpot. Men, including her gay coworkers, throw themselves at her feet. Only one man is immune—Rafael Deleon, a broodingly sexy man who’s the demon protector of Limbo. He’s sent to retrieve the chest before it’s opened, but he’s too late and all hell breaks loose. Literally.

Virgin, by Cheryl Brooks (June 1, Sourcebooks Casablanca)

Zetithians have a feline gene that gives the males remarkable sexual prowess. Refugee Dax is no exception, but as a virgin, he has no idea how to use his skills. His fumbling attempts at romance fail to tempt the beautiful Ava, but he is determined to learn the art of love. Let the seduction begin. Seventh in the Cat Star Chronicles series.

Heart of the Highland Wolf, by Terry Spear (June 1, Sourcebooks Casablanca)

Ian McNeill, laird of Argent Castle, finds his capital squandered through unwise investments and the wolf clan’s ancestral home in danger of being forfeit for nonpayment of taxes. When a movie producer contacts him with the notion of using his castle as a set, Ian has no choice but to agree. But when one American werewolf romance author, Julia Wildthorn, slips into the castle under the guise of being with the movie company, she and Ian tangle. Seventh in the Heart of the Wolf series.

Nightfall, by Ellen Connor (June 6, Berkley)

Growing up with an unstable father who preached about the end of the world, Jenna never thought his predictions would come true. Or that he would have a plan to save her, one that includes a strong, stoic man who kidnaps and takes her to a remote cabin in the Pacific Northwest. Skilled and steadfast, the ex-Marine named Mason is ready for the prophesied Change, but Jenna proves tough to convince. To fight for their future, they must learn to trust the passion that will see them through the bitter winter and the violence of a new Dark Age. First in a new Dark Age Dawning series.

Storm Kissed, by Jessica Andersen (June 7, Signet)

When sexy Nightkeeper Dez goes rogue, the bounty hunter enlisted to catch him is Reese, his former lover. The sexual energy between them is hotter than ever, but the life-and-death stakes attached to the chase may pull them apart for good. Sixth in the Final Prophecy series.

Frostbound, by Sharon Ashwood (June 7, Signet)

As a snowstorm locks down the city, someone beheads the wrong girl. Vampire-on-the-lam Talia Rostova thinks it was meant to be her. And now she’s the prime suspect in her own botched murder and the prisoner of her smoking-hot-neighbor: a hellhound. And the hot-blooded Lore was bred to serve and protect, so he’s not freeing Talia until he’s sure she’s the prey and not the hunter. Fourth in the Dark Forgotten series.

Vampire in Atlantis, by Alyssa Day (June 7, Berkley)

The most unexpected of all allies to Poseidon’s warriors has proven to be the fiercest: Daniel, a vampire and Night Guild mage. But even the strongest alliance can be destroyed when a vampire’s oath crosses paths with a maiden’s quest, and an 11,000-year-old desire is reborn. Seventh in the Warriors of Poseidon series.

Forgotten Sea, by Virginia Kantra (June 7, Berkley)

Fallen angel Lara Rho is desperate to prove herself a seeker by rescuing the restless sailor Justin Miller. He’s no angel, but she is irresistibly drawn to him, and is soon drawn into an adventure of danger and discovery. Fifth in the Children of the Sea series.

Hunter’s Fall, by Shiloh Walker (June 7, Berkley)

Nessa lost her memory following a near-death experience. Dominic is a Hunter dealing with his own problems with memory and sanity. When the two are put together to battle the forces of darkness (while trying to restore what they’ve lost) their all-consuming passion becomes an even greater unknown. Thirteenth in the Hunters series.

Deeper Than Midnight, by Lara Adrian (June 28, Dell)

At 18, Corinne Bishop’s world changed when she was stolen and held prisoner by the malevolent vampire Dragos. After years of captivity and torment, Corinne is finally rescued by the Order, a cadre of vampire warriors. Assigned to safeguard Corinne on her trip home is a golden-eyed Breed male called Hunter. Bonded to Corinne by their mutual desire, Hunter must decide how far he’ll go to end Drago’s reign of evil, even if it means shattering Corinne’s heart. Ninth in the Midnight Breed series.

Mystical Warrior, by Janet Chapman (June 28, Pocket)

Trace Huntsman’s peaceful life has headed to hell in a handbasket since Fiona Gregor moved into the vacant apartment above his house. Kidnapped centuries earlier and transformed into a red-tail hawk, Fiona is human once more and must learn how to be a modern woman. But damned if Trace is going to be the one to teach her. Fiona longs to overcome the painful memories of her tragic past—to let down her guard and become a mother again. But so far her handsome landlord is not exactly thrilled with the stray animals—and suitors—that keep following her home. Third in the Midnight Bay series.

Lure of the Wicked, by Karina Cooper (June 28, Avon)

Naomi West was plucked from one prison and placed undercover in another: the gilded cage that is Timeless, New Seattle’s premier spa and resort, where owner Phinneas Clarke—the most seductive man Naomi has ever met—may be hiding a killer. She’s an agent of the Holy Order, trained to hunt the guilty and render justice. But while she’s tracking down a rogue agent on a killing spree, Phin is determined to uncover her most damning—and dangerous—secrets. Whatever the cost. Second in the Dark Mission series.

Taken by Fire, by Sydney Croft (June 28, Bantam)

A product of genetic manipulation, Melanie Milan shares a body with her malevolent sister, Phoebe. A sleek predator, Phoebe puts their body through the wicked underbelly of sex for thrills—when she’s not igniting her pyrokinetic skills for an evil organization bent on taking over the world. Melanie rarely gets out to play—much less fall in love. But that changes when rival ACRO agent Stryker Wills shows up, with a mission to terminate the woman who torched his partner. Sixth in the ACRO series.

Crave the Moon, by Lori Handeland (June 28, St. Martin’s)

Gina O’Neill will do anything to hold onto the ranch that has been in her family for generations. Enter Mateo Mecate, an archeologist who believes the ranch holds an important key to Aztec history. When Gina and Matt delve into the secrets of this ancient place, they awaken something unspeakably evil—an ancient shapeshifter with vengeance on its mind.

Black Heart Loa, by Adrian Phoenix (June 28, Pocket)

Kallie Rivière, a Cajun hoodoo apprentice with a bent for trouble, learned the meaning of those ominous words when Doctor Heron targeted her family for revenge. Now, while searching for her still-missing bayou pirate cousin, Kallie finds out the hard way that someone is undoing powerful gris gris. To protect her family and friends, including the sexy nomad Layne Vallin, Kallie steps into the jaws of danger.

Lord of Shadows, by Alix Rickloff (June 28, Pocket)

It has been seven years since Lady Sabrina Douglas cloistered herself with the Sisters of High Danu, but the questions remain. She is Other—a mixture of Fey and mortal—quietly using her powers to heal. Until she saves a half-drowned man, his soldier’s body a roadmap of scars, his fathomless eyes filled with loneliness. A man with no memory, Daigh MacLir seeks his past, even as unknown threats fill him with monstrous rage and inhuman abilities. But as a desperate game of hunter and hunted is played out from ballrooms to bedrooms, what Daigh discovers is more chilling than anyone could possibly imagine. Second in the Heirs of Kilronan trilogy.

Naamah’s Blessing, by Jacqueline Carey (June 29, Grand Central)

Returning to Terre d’Ange, Moirin finds the royal family broken. Wracked by unrelenting grief at the loss of his wife, Queen Jehanne, King Daniel is unable to rule. Prince Thierry, leading an expedition to explore the deadly jungles of Terra Nova, is halfway across the world. And 3-year-old Desirée is a vision of her mother: tempestuous, intelligent, and fiery, but desperately lonely, and a vulnerable pawn in a game of shifting political allegiances. Newest in the Kushiel’s Legacy series.

Urban fantasy author Suzanne Johnson finds demonic romance vaguely unsettling. Her new urban fantasy series, scheduled to begin with the release of Royal Street in April 2012 by Tor Books, is set in New Orleans during and after Hurricane Katrina. Find Suzanne on Twitter.


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