Sunday, August 31, 2008

New Releases 9/02

So I know that some of these are already on shelves, but week of 9/02 is the official release date of the following:

Stuff Dreams are Made of by Don Bruns - follow up to the hilarious Stuff to Die For.
14 by J.T. Ellison - sequel to All the Pretty Girls, equally fantastic and page-turning
The Gone Away World by Nick Harkaway - one for the strange pile and on my bedside table to read this week. I'm thinking Mike will be stealing this one from me!
The Heretics Daughter by Kathleen Kent - another one that I'll be reading this week
American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld - ah, yes. Also on my bedside table as we speak.
Immunity by Lori Andrews - loved it! Great forensic mystery/medical thriller.
Fickle by Patrick Manus - haven't quite finished this one. A mystery told all in blogs and comments. 
Book of Lies by Brad Meltzer - a thriller based around a puzzle of SUPER proportions (read it and see).
Murder on the Eiffel Tower by Claude Izner - a bit lighter fare. Fun and entertaining first in a new historical mystery series.
Sweetheart by Chelsea Cain - agh! I didn't have time to read this one, but will be shortly.

On DVD:
How to Rob a Bank
The Promotion

New reviews at Bookbitch.com:
Stuff Dreams are Made of
14
Murder on the Eiffel Tower
Immunity
Book of Lies
Running Scared by Cheryl Norman
Promenade of the Gods by Koji Suzuki

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Gustav and Duma Key Update

I wrote my Duma Key post yesterday morning and started reading last night. So far, I'm loving it! It reads like Lisey's Story, one of my favorites, and it's really sucking me in. Unfortunately, I was pretty beat yesterday and only read about 100 pages before I fell asleep at 2:30. I watched a dvd earlier in the evening (will have a post for that one 'cause it was GOOD!). 

I also realized that the last time I personally had to evacuate for a hurricane (we moved in 2005 and missed the last one), I was reading my brand spanking new copy of From a Buick 8. I didn't plan to be reading Duma Key during the Gustav mess, but you have to admit, it's a pretty interesting coincidence. 

Anyway, Gustav has been upgraded to a category 3 and is headed straight for my hometown. Our folks (both sets) are evacuating - looks like the junior junkies may get a side trip to Schlitterbahn out of it, though. And we may end up with guests if this thing is really bad. 

I'm trying to be optimistic, but let's face it, I'm kind of not only a glass half empty person, I'm a this is the last half glass of water in the world and what if it spills kind of person!

Can't help it. Katrina and Rita ravaged my home state and things still have not recovered. They're trying, but my own hometown is so different now. Rita hit it head on and was also a cat 3 storm. I'm just hoping the stupid thing freakishly blows away in the middle of the night and my sisters just get a few nice days off of school!

Plans for the Weekend

I've been a bad obsessive fan lately. Normally when a new King book hits shelves, I drop everything until I'm done reading. Not so this time. I just haven't had the opportunity to read it just yet. After Lisey's Story, I was super excited about this one. I even read the short story in Blaze, just not the book yet. I'm hoping I can do it this weekend, though. I have some reading to catch up on, but I think I can squeeze this one in. 

My other is planning on camping this weekend so I should have plenty of time to myself (if only he would take our roommate with him! then I can have peace and quiet). 

Other things on my list to do this weekend, around getting some work done, that is, are:

Babylon AD and/or Death Race. Babylon started this week and I've been waiting to see if it was actually going to come out here. I've found that too many movies lately are being relatively well advertised and then just not getting distribution in my area. It's maddening. I feel like I really can't get excited about any new movies because I may have to wait until they come out on DVD to see them. Just this past weekend, when I saw Mirrors, I saw previews for Quarantine and Blindness and I had to tell myself not to be surprised if neither of them plays anywhere near me. 

Movie rant:

Trailers for Pathology, Possession, War, Inc., Midnight Meat Train and so many others have been getting a good bit of play even in the theaters that haven't ended up carrying them. With the exception of Possession all of these are due out on dvd shortly. None of these were low budget. Pathology stars Heroes Milo Ventimiglia and was pushed back twice. War, Inc is the new John Cusack movie - hm, Bangkok Dangerous still appears to be coming out in theaters (new Nick Cage). Day of the Dead and George A. Romero's latest, Diary of the Dead never played around here, either.

So, will I be seeing Quarantine in October or will I have to wait until the dvd release? Good question. Is it too obscure - no big names in it. Dexter's sister, Jennifer Carpenter, stars. Is Blindess too smart to play around here? We lost our nearest artsy theater and the HUGE chain theater that was playing foreign and arty films has now elected to have half the screens devoted to, um, Disaster Movie instead of playing something a little smaller. It's super frustrating. 

Ok, rant done. So yeah, movies and books. That's the norm for me on the weekends. 

Friday, August 29, 2008

Looking for Something New?

Last year I managed to get in on Mira's summer thriller promo. JT Ellison's debut, All the Pretty Girls, just happened to be one of the titles in the box. It was also the last release in the box, hitting shelves in November of last year. Next Tuesday is the official date of the release of 14, the follow-up in the series. You can probably find it on shelves now (I think I just saw it at BN). 

Style-wise, if you're a fan of recent releases like Cody McFadyen's Smoky Barrett series or Chelsea Cain's Sweetheart you should be reading Ellison as well. 

Since All the Pretty Girls is the first in the series, I've decided to make it the focus of my review for this week.  

A ruthless serial killer has been stalking young women in the southeast. Dubbed the Southern Strangler, he has left a grisly trail of dead coeds in his wake. Each girl has had her hands removed, one of which will be found at the following crime scene, and each subsequent victim goes missing the same day the previous victim is found. When the body of the third victim is discovered in Nashville, Lieutenant Taylor Jackson is called to the scene. Her involvement with FBI agent John Baldwin leaves her privy to certain details of the case, even after it leaves her jurisdiction, and leads to a disturbing discovery. The killer has been e-mailing clues to a well-known reporter in the Nashville area – clues that could finally lead to the discovery of his identity. Meanwhile, Jackson has other problems to deal with including a rapist who has recently attacked the lead investigator on the Rainman case. To make matters even worse, there appears to be a leak within the Bureau and there are whispers of corruption amongst Nashville’s finest. Ellison writes like a pro – her details are dead on, her plot is engrossing, and her characters are engaging. This masterful debut is sure to keep readers up all night in suspense.

Look for my review of 14 at www.bookbitch.com next week. 

Thursday, August 28, 2008

You'll want to start this one now!

I started reading Lori Andrews's latest last night and it is sooo good! She's only 3 books into the series so now would be a great time to start reading. The series is a combination forensic mystery and medical thriller. Here's my review of Sequence as it appeared on BB's site:

Lawyer and scientific advisor Lori Andrews’ fiction debut is the first in a very promising series. Genetics expert Dr. Alex Blake has just begun a two-year stint with the Armed Forces Institutes of Pathology, or AFIP. Her goal is to use the AFIP resources and facilities to map the genes of the 1918 flu and use that information to create a super vaccine to protect against bioterrorism. AFIP’s new director, Colonel Jack Wiatt, has other plans. Angered that he has been passed over as head of the FBI, Wiatt discovers that AFIP has long been handing over responsibility for various investigations to the Bureau. As part of his own personal grudge against the Feds, he begins pulling cases back under AFIP’s jurisdiction. One of these cases is that of a serial killer who has been strangling women and tattooing their left breasts. Alex is temporarily ordered off her own project and onto what has been dubbed the Tattoo Killer Case. When a link is discovered between this case and the high profile murder of a technology company’s CEO, even the President himself steps in and applies pressure to the Institute. With Wiatt’s own career under scrutiny and increased pressure to AFIP to solve the case as quickly as possible, everyone is at risk of losing not only their jobs, but also their credibility. This intriguing first novel is packed with engaging characters and interesting facts. With an author who is able to draw from such a vast amount of experience, you can be sure that this series will never become boring.

So by book 3, I stand by my original assessment - they sure haven't gotten boring. Book 2 deals with possible Vietnam war crimes and book 3 (due out next Tues) deals with a strange outbreak of an infection that causes a deadly allergic reaction. I was up till the wee hours with this one. 

If you're a fan of Kathy Reichs, older Patricia Cornwell and Robin Cook, or Michael Palmer, you're going to love this series. It's an original spin on what's become a popular topic in mysteries and thrillers today. Alex is a great character that you'll just fall in love with. 

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Another Movie Post

I went to see Mirrors this weekend and left with mixed feelings. First off, I don't want to give a synopsis, but I will give you a brief one in a minute. I was pleasantly surprised that the previews themselves gave absolutely nothing away about this movie. I've complained about this issue before, and I can't understand why trailers are still cut in such a way that you get to see the whole gist of the movie in 2 minutes. I want just enough to convince me to see it and nothing more. That's what the trailer for Mirrors does. 

In the trailer, you see that something in the mirrors is plaguing Keifer Sutherland's family. That's all. What you don't see is that his house really has nothing to do with it. My impression was something like: Oh, family moves into new house and there's some ghost or something in the mirrors. Nope. 

Keifer plays Ben Carson, a cop with some issues and currently on leave. In the first few minutes of the movie, a security guard is killed in a building. Ben Carson then obtains a job at said building and this is when the crazy stuff starts to happen. That's all I'll tell you.

I loved most of the movie. I thought, wow, this could quite possibly be the best kept secret of this summer's movie madness. The revelation in the end, however, left a bit to be desired, for me. This should in no way deter anyone from seeing it. I won't explain exactly what it was that turned me off, but I will say that it's been an issue for me with some fairly popular (hell, the MOST popular) horror movies in the past. It's just a subject matter that leaves me open to more questions and unless there's a sequel/prequel in the works, I like to have my paranormal horror explained to my satisfaction. However, seeing as how the topic in question is quite popular with other horror moviegoers, realize that this just one of my quirks and if you're a horror fan I think you'll thoroughly enjoy this one. 

Effects are great, creepiness level is way up there, and there are plenty of jump out of your seat moments. The end is fabulous and unsettling as well!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Everyone's Favorite Serial Killer is Back!

No Spoilers (even if you haven't seen season 1)!

Not being one of those folk who has the funds to justify subscribing to Showtime, I spend a year waiting in antsy anticipation for Dexter and his next DVD release. Thank God my other is as determined as I am in terms of getting his hands on the show. He promised to buy the set for me and he came through! He had to go to a couple of places before finding it since everyone was sold out, but get it he did!

It took us two nights to watch all 12 episodes. Alas, now we will have to wait another year for season 3. 

Season 1 was based on Jeff Lindsay's hilarious debut, Darkly Dreaming Dexter. After that season, however, readers of the series should know that the show is no longer following Lindsay's storylines. Nope, season 2 goes off in its own direction. There are a few things that I wish they would have kept from the books, one event in book 2 specifically, but I'm guessing that even network television doesn't want to push it and go there. There's still time, though. 

Now, I know some have issues with the subject matter of the show. When season 1 was going to be played on CBS, family watchdogs were in an uproar about the show's glorification of a vigilante serial killer. I don't care. I love Dexter! 

If you're a tv on DVD person (no commercials and no waiting week to week to see if a new ep is on) Dexter is a real treat. Each season has one running storyline and even though there's only 12 eps each, it's easy to sit and watch big chunks and not feel too guilty about it - I doubt anyone can sit and watch one episode! Plus, since the show only followed one book even fans of both (like me) can be surprised with where the show is heading. Some character deviations are inevitable at this point, but I didn't have too much issue with season 2. I think my one resolved itself pretty well and added some interesting friction. 

Go rent it tonight! 

One negative, however, the E-Bridge technology special features which claim that you can watch complimentary episodes of other Showtime shows does not appear to work. I can't get it to work and I've found multiple postings online that say they couldn't get it to work either. And so, the only special feature is the inclusion of 2 episodes of Brotherhood. Apparently you can watch a free Dexter season 3 ep on the upcoming Brotherhood dvds. I think I'll wait a year rather than have a taste and then have to wait anyway. 

Monday, August 25, 2008

It's The End Of The World As We Know It

Even though I consider myself to be a HUGE King fan, I was apprehensive about embarking on the Dark Tower quest. I was a freshman in college when I finally broke down and read King's collaboration with Peter Straub, The Talisman. I thought that I wouldn't enjoy it as much as his other work because he wasn't the sole author. Talisman will be saved for a separate post, but it was the book that led me to the series. Why? Because Talisman was the first book that first showed me a glimpse into Roland's world. 

The Dark Tower is an epic dark fantasy/horror series that is basically a hero's quest. Roland Deschain exists in a world that is parallel to ours. It has been ravaged by war, nuclear holocaust, monstrous technology gone bad, human evil... It's very much a post-apocalyptic world, though. Roland, the last gunslinger, has been chasing his nemesis, the man in black, for a long time. He is eventually joined by three (and a half) companions in his quest to find the dark tower and reset the balance of his world.

Of course there's much more to the series than that. In fact, entire books have been written about the series over time. 

I began to read them just after book four, Wizard and Glass, came out in paperback. I can tell you The Gunslinger did not hook me initially, but I trudged through. It's a very western style novel, much different from King's other work. Originally published in 1982, it took King 12 years to finish this opening book to the series. 

Book 2, Drawing of Three, was slightly better. Published in 1987, it is here that Roland first meets the members of his party. This one was still a little rough for me. I can't explain why now, but I do remember it had a very 80s feel to it. Seeing as how it was only book 2, it was also still the beginning of the journey.

No, it wasn't until book 3, The Waste Lands, that I was really and truly hooked. The party is on the move and the action has well and truly begun.

Book 4, Wizard and Glass, is the most heavily fantasy based installment to the series. They begin right where book 3 leaves off (one of my favorite parts, but I won't ruin it). You also learn more about Roland himself in this book.

Book 5, Wolves of the Calla, finds the group working with actual people left over in this crazy land. They also meet up with Father Callahan from Salems Lot. Father Callahan reveals some quite interesting information about his own story - things that occurred after SL takes place.

Book 6, Song of Susannah, finds the group faced with some tough decisions about one of their own. They must travel between the dimensions in order to complete a series of tasks to help them along the way. A meeting with their own creator actually takes place and makes for some great reading. 

Book 7, The Dark Tower, completed 22 years after The Gunslinger was published. The final book to the official series, and you will see if they will be successful. I love the ending. It was the cause of some complaint from readers, but I thought there couldn't possibly be a better one. 

I hope that I haven't given too much away for any of you. It's an epic series and is amazing in so many regards. You can really see how much King's style has changed over the years. The entire set was rereleased in hardcover and I replaced all of my old paperbacks at the time. The funny thing is, with so much time passing between books, King himself decided that Gunslinger needed a bit of a revamp when the new edition came out. I've not reread the series in the time since finishing it. One of these days I will, though.

Interestingly enough, many of King's other titles tie into the series. Once you begin to read the books you begin to make the many connections. I hope that even though the series is through, that we will be able to revisit the world occasionally through short stories and novels to come. 

My essential Dark Tower reading list:
Eyes of the Dragon
Little Sisters of Eluria (Everything's Eventual)
The Talisman
Dark Tower books 1-4
The Black House
DT book 5
Low Men in the Yellow Coats (Hearts in Atlantis)
DT books 6 & 7

In my mind, these are the essentials and this is the order in which they should be read. Some might not agree, but Eyes and Little Sisters are most definitely preludes to the series. Talisman will get you interested in the world. Black House is the sequel to Talisman and the unofficial book 5 (before book 5 was out). Father Callahan plays a big role in book 5 and so it is a good idea to read Salems Lot right before his intro, and there is a character in Low Men who plays a pretty big peripheral role in the final showdown. 

Other tie-ins are:
The Stand
Insomnia
It
Bag of Bones
Rose Madder
Cell (reportedly)
From a Buick 8
Regulators
Desperation (directly tied to Regulators)

There's at least one other short story that I know ties in, but I can't recall the title at this exact moment. Both of the guides outline all of the ties in full, however. 


Sunday, August 24, 2008

New Releases 8/26

Some of the titles hitting shelves this Tuesday include:

The Black Tower by Louis Bayard - an historical mystery featuring Vidocq, the father of the plain clothes detectives division in France and one of the first PIs and officers to use criminalistics and ballistics in his investigations. Half truth and half fiction, all fun.

Brides of the Impaler by Edward Lee - hardcore horror that plays on the classic legend of Dracula/Vlad Dracul

Covenant by John Everson - 2004 Stoker winner is available in paperback for the first time

Razor Girl by Marianne Mancusi - another great SHOMI title. Combination post apocalyptic/light cyper-punk/action adventure romance. Love it!

Devil Bones by Kathy Reichs - latest in the Tempe Brennan forensic anthropology series and on my "to buy immediately" list!

Promenade of the Gods by Koji Suzuki - dubbed the Japanese Stephen King, latest from the author of Ring.

First to Kill by Andrew Peterson - debut thriller on my TBR list

New on DVD:
Son Of Rambow - no this is not a cheesy kids movie but a UK comedy that looks like great fun
Redbelt
August
Heroes Season 2

New reviews up at Bookbitch.com:
Razor Girl
Brides of the Impaler
The Black Tower
Covenant
Promenade of the Gods 

Saturday, August 23, 2008

And another weirdo!

I absolutely hate it when I lose a book. I blame this one on my own other who loved it just as much as I did. It definitely warrants re-purchasing after I do some more turning-the-house-upside-down searching!

So, I wanted to include this one with my running them of post-apocalyptic titles because other than the infinitely weird category, this is the best place for it. It's been a while since reading it and it was well before my time as a reviewer (hardcover debut was January '05). Here's what ALA's Booklist review had to say:

Disconnected from his family--and the world at large--a nameless teenager leaves his London home and hitches a ride with a portly truck driver who ponders philosophy to pass the time. Their lives take a tragic turn at the checkpoint of a totalitarian state, where terrorists murder the driver and set fire to his cargo (a stash of books titled The Society of Others, penned by a freethinker named Vicino). Armed with a mysterious "list" and a single Vicino volume salvaged from the wreckage, the young narrator seeks temporary refuge with a quartet of dubious dissidents who "fight torture with poetry" but leave guns "lying about like other people leave umbrellas." He escapes their clutches only to find himself in further precarious straits: appearing on a state-run TV show, reading poetry at a stranger's wedding, and participating in a seminar hosted by an agnostic priest. Tony-nominated playwright and screenwriter Nicholson weaves social and political commentary into this thought-provoking page-turner about coming-of-age in a chaotic world. Mordant and wise, though perhaps too somber for some.

Now, if you look this on up on Amazon, you'll see the review above as well as PW's less than excited review of the same title. I really wish that I had something of substance to contribute. The best I can do is the cryptic entry from my book journal. Very good book with a very confusing ending. Could it be that in his journey he killed the unappreciative selfish part of himself? 

Why then, Becky, did you feel the overwhelming need to share this one? Well, I remember it as a very intriguing read - one that captured even Mike, and our reading tastes don't always mesh. It's definitely not one for everyone's taste. It's certainly thought provoking whatever your opinion of the story may be. I include it in the string of post-apocalyptic reads because the use of no names and no definite locations combined with the strange tale itself led me to imagine a world closer to what I imagine ours would be like after some terrible disaster or war.

And, this is yet another perfect example as to why I don't part with my books! This would have been a keeper all along anyway, not one that I keep on my shelf to remind me of a reading flop, but one that I would like to read and ponder over again. 

Friday, August 22, 2008

An Odd Bird

Still running with my apocalyptic story collection! I still have a few left! Course Brockmeier would also transition us very well into the strange and outright odd category of books that I've read!

When I received the ARC of Kevin Brockmeier's The Brief History of the Dead I knew hands down that it was going to be at the very least an interesting read. Getting new books is like getting a Christmas present early! I'll never complain about the number of books I have waiting for me because I know that there are some real gems in the pile and it's only a matter of time before I get to them. 

I remember reading Brief History and cracking up. In fact, we actually received a second copy and one of my co-workers snatched it up after hearing me rave about it. Here's some info:

When a person dies, they live on in the memories of others. Brockmeier has taken this to a whole new level, playing off some African beliefs where the soul exists on three planes. The city of the dead is filled with those people who, having passed on, exist in this interim world as long as someone living remembers them. For reasons unknown to its inhabitants, the city is quickly shrinking both in size and in population. Meanwhile, in the land of the living, Laura Byrd finds herself trapped, alone, at a research site in Antarctica. With no communication to the outside world, her fellow researches set off, days ago, to find help. Laura, left with dwindling supplies, is forced to make a decision. She can wait and see which kills her first, the hunger or the cold, or, she can trek across the ice and try to find help on her own. This is an incredibly engaging tale that is both hilarious and thought provoking. Surprisingly, though the topic would seem to be heavy reading material, this is a very quick read driven by Brockmeier’s clever and dark humor.

It's a strange book, to be sure. One that will probably not appeal to everyone. The funniest part, the part I can't really tell you, is when you figure out exactly what caused the catastrophe behind the whole thing. I suspected rather early and it made it that much more amusing! Hate to be cryptic, but you'll just have to find out what I'm talking about on your own. Be warned, it's not all roses and guffaws. There are some quite sad parts to this novel, as should be expected given the subject matter. It was never overwhelmingly so for me, however. 

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Another Apocalypse Wow Title!

It's a well known fact that my uber-idol Steve here hates cell phones. What a productive way of getting a point across, eh?

Like all of King's books, people seem to love 'em or not. I personally love this one. I mean it's two of my biggest horror passions, King and zombies! I love both and now my world is complete, sort of. 

I'm not really sure why I love zombies quite so much. I love end of the world, loss of major technology, survivors fending for themselves stuff. Add the flesh-eating walking dead to the mix and you've got a winner as far as I'm concerned. King sort-of revisits The Stand in a sense. Sure this is not quite the good vs evil epic that Stand was, but some of my favorite elements (mentioned above) are in both. 

I think what shocked me the most about this book in particular was how fast he got to the point. Usually there's this long intro to King's books. You know something bad is coming, but he kind of lulls you with an eerie normalcy and then wham! the shit hits the fan. Not so with Cell, by page two zombies are eating people! Of course, our hero of the piece is separated from his family and his goal is to trek across this newly zombie infested wasteland to find them. 

One of the things that I love about Stephen King (and yes, I've said it before) is the fact that as an author his style is constantly changing and evolving. This became an issue particularly with The Dark Tower series (and speaking of post-apocalypse, yep it's coming!). Readers who love his older work almost vehemently despise the newer titles. I love 'em all. I'm always excited to see what he's doing next and where he'll be taking me. Cell was a zombie extravaganza of the sort that only my favorite author can supply. It satisfied every expectation that I had, I just wish I could read it again for the first time. Now I can only hope that Eli Roth does the film adaptation justice! 

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

We all hope it won't come to this!

In keeping with my bleak and creepily timely theme, (see yesterday's post) I thought this was a great time to recommend R. Scott Reiss's Black Monday. Next time you hit the pumps, just remember this - at least there's still some gas to fill up with!

Here's my review from the Bookbitch's archive (yep, it's a treasure trove of book recs!):

When a microbe infects the world’s oil supply, one analyst predicts that we will have just 50 days to discover the cause and rectify the situation or there will be no turning back. Greg Gillette finds himself racing against time to discover the source of the microbe and, if possible, a way to reverse the effects. The U.S. quickly degenerates as food supplies and other resources become scarce and people turn against one another in an attempt to save themselves. Neighbors begin looting and even killing as they fight to survive. Martial law becomes the norm and death is the punishment for even crimes such as looting. As a doctor with the CDC, Greg believes the “outbreak” should be treated the same as any other. His superiors do not agree and Greg is forced to try and solve this thing on his own. This timely and creepy debut is guaranteed to keep you up all night - a definite must-read for any thriller fan.

Yikes! Again, not the typical post apocalyptic novel - no nuclear bombs, but germ warfare directed at one of our most important resources! It gave me chills to read this one people. Quite disturbing how people turn on each other in Reiss's debut. This one hit shelves last February and is not available in paperback just yet, not sure why. It's worth the read either way, though!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

It's a bleak, bleak future!

Last year I read and reviewed Lee Jackson's Redemption for the hardcover release. This year, Dorchester publisher is releasing the paperback and I wanted you all to be ready. The release date is set of September 30 - I know I'm jumping the gun here, but when I saw that it was coming out, it starting niggling at my brain.

Here's my review from the Bookbitch.com archives:

Benjamin Xavier Trinity is on his way to a government mandated job when he is waylaid by a snowstorm. He lands in Redemption, Montana, population 200. Carlene Ryton offers Ben a position as an all around handyman and café worker at the Grinnin’ Bear Café. Here, Ben endears himself to the townsfolk, doing favors and helping out wherever needed. The folks know he’s an ex-con, they just don’t know the whole truth behind his record. Ben is a convicted terrorist, a man whose past will forever hover around him like a black cloud. He was never given a chance to defend himself and never given a fair trial, but he will be forever marked by the most hate inducing crime known to man in this day and age. In this future America, gas and supply shortages are a regular occurrence as a result of the war, and Homeland Security has become the most powerful law-enforcing agency in the country. Ben defends his innocence, but is there anyone left who will listen in this bleak future? This harsh incarnation of America is not too far off the mark. Jackson’s tale reveals a slew of truly scary prospects that will burrow into readers’ consciences.

I'm a big fan of almost anything that takes place in this sort of setting. In fact, for some reason post-apocalyptic stuff is especially intriguing to me. Jackson's title is not quite PA, but it's definitely a rough future that's brought about by poor decisions. It creeped me out in all honesty. The idea that Americans have become so suspicious of one another that Trinity's plight has become a realistic issue (no, we're not quite that far gone, but you have to admit...). Anyway, mark 9/30 on your calendar, or pre-order it from Amazon - you know you want to!

Anyway, I think I might stay in this vein of recs for a bit. I read most of Marianne Mancusi's Razor Girl last night and it's a PA novel, so I'm in the mood!

And, I accidentally left it off of Sunday's post, but Dexter season 2 is out on DVD today! Couch potato land here I come!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Another Boulder Blog

I am a total foodie. I love to cook, I love to eat, I'm just a food junkie! I already shared with you guys the cupcake shop that recently opened in Boulder and here's another great local shop that I've just discovered. 

My other took me shopping for my birthday last month and one of the shops we stopped at was Oliv You & Me, a store specializing in olive oils from around the world. I was in heaven. Well, there was a sign next door advertising the Savory Spice Shop. It wasn't open at that point and I'm not sure of the exact date that they did open their doors, but I did notice that they were open last week when Mike and I had sushi on his lunch break. Course we didn't have enough time for me to go in and browse then so I had to wait. 

This morning when I sat down to eat, I turned on Food Network and Road Tasted with the Neelys was on. If you don't watch this show, it's a great 30 minute program where Pat and Gina Neely, BBQ masters from Tennessee, travel around the states and showcase different area businesses (formerly hosted by Jamie and Bobby Dean). This episode just happened to be in the Denver area and guess where they were - Savory Spice Shop. 

In spite of the fact that this weekend is freshman orientation at CU and we knew that there would be virtually NO parking, my other took me into town so that I could do some spice shopping. You can browse their selections online and have them shipped to you, but I wanted to go in and have a look around. I was again in total heaven! All they need now is a bakery that specializes in crazy homemade breads to open up next door and everything will be right in the world. 

Just to give you and idea of the kinds of things you can get at Savory, I left with:

Powdered Honey (to use in place of sugar - they also sell it in their popcorn pack)
Lodo Adobo Seasoning - for a grilled pineapple dip to top off jerk burgers
Extra Hot Jamaican Jerk Seasoning Blend (they also make a regular Jamiacan Jerk)
Piri Piri Spice Blend (ground jamaican peppers and other spices, and the jar includes instructions on making your own Piri Piri hot sauce!)
Ground Jalapeno pepper
Peppermint Vanilla Sugar (just imagine hot chocolate sweetened with this, yum! You can also buy an assortment of their own cocoa mixes)
Strawberry Extract
Harissa Spice Mix

They offer just about everything you can imagine ever needing from a spice shop. They also have recipes on their website - i.e. the jamaican jerk burgers with grilled pineapple dip that i'll be making for supper this evening (this is also what they made for Pat and Gina on Road Tasted). 

Next time around I'll probably be buying one of their curry packs and some more of their signature spice blends, along with some real cinnamon (as soon as I use up my store bought stuff). Their selection is fantastic, the employees were extremely nice and helpful, and the prices are really reasonable for good quality spices and signature mixes. If you're not in the Boulder/Denver area, check 'em out on the web and call in a phone order (like my dad did this morning after I told him about the store! We're a whole family of foodies.)

Bon Apetit! 

Sunday, August 17, 2008

New Releases 8/19

It's a pretty slow week for books I guess. Here's a few books hitting shelves this Tuesday:

Deadly Beautiful by Sam Baker - when Annie Anderson's best friend asks her to help track down her missing half-sister, Annie agrees with the hopes that the girl will be found alive this time. Follow-up to Fashion Victim.

Being Elizabeth by Barbara Taylor Bradford

Rough Justice by Jack Higgins

New on DVD:
Prom Night - sadly, no, this is not a remake of the old Jamie Lee Curtis film
Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day
The Life Before Her Eyes
Quid Pro Quo

New reviews up at Bookbitch.com:
Deadly Beautiful
The Face of Death by Cody McFadyen

Yep, it was a slow reading week for me as well. Still dealing with the whole lack of sleep thing. Going to read now and try and knock out a few today!


Saturday, August 16, 2008

I know it's based on a book but...

I discovered Kathy Reichs my sophomore year in college while I was working at Waldens. Deadly Décisions was just out in hardcover so I only had two others to catch up on, and I was totally enamored with everything forensics. In fact, at that point I had already decided that I wanted to go into forensic anthropology myself so I was thrilled that there was a mystery series about the very thing!

I've been a die-hard fan ever since. Tempe's story, her relationship issues, her family issues... The very nature of a continuing series, if it's done right, is that you get to know the characters inside and out. You're there for as much of their lives as the author allows and you end up feeling as if you "know" them. 

Imagine how happy I was when Bones started, then. Until I saw the first episode anyway. At this point I can't pinpoint exactly what it was about the show that just didn't hook me, but I'm pretty sure it's the fact that they really don't follow the books at all. For one, Temperance is the only character in both, (her ex does make an appearance in the first episode) and I kept trying to connect tv characters with book characters - wasn't working at all. 

I didn't give up totally, though. My mom is hooked and has been watching the series on dvd. I also read an interview with Reichs herself in which she states that the tv series is supposed to portray a much younger Tempe than the book series. So, I gave it another shot. 

This time something must have clicked (I have a sneaking suspicion it may be in part thanks to the fact that the show is now on season 3 and I have a certain amount of fear and trepidation attached to any FOX show these days - hey, they always cancel the ones I like!). Now, I'm totally obsessed. I've only got 2 discs left in season 2 and I am dying to see season 3. I've caught a few on tv, but out of sequence and without knowing all the back story from seasons 1 and 2. 

I'm a tv on dvd junkie! Next up for me, Dexter season 2. I also have to share the new Dead Like Me news. I could have died when I heard, but apparently they're making a straight to dvd movie and if it does well (drum roll) they may bring back the show! Yay! 

If you haven't already I suggest you jump on the bandwagon and join one of the rental mailings so you can start catching up on these series as well. And, if you're a fan of the Reichs books and had the same issue I did with the show, take it from me and give it another shot. How can you go wrong with David Boreanaz again anyway? 

Friday, August 15, 2008

Thanks for the nightmares Greg Mclean! A movie blog.

In the late 1970s, Sweets Lookout Billabong in the Finniss River became the scene of numerous saltwater croc attacks. Most of the attacks were attributed to one male croc measuring over 16 feet long. The croc, dubbed Sweetheart thanks to the location, was finally caught in 1979 and died shortly thereafter. 

Now, I have a massive phobia when it comes to water. I'll drink it and I am happy as a clam in my tub or in a nice clean pool. Natural bodies of water, though, you can forget it! I guess that's why water movies are the only ones that REALLY freak me out these days. 

Rogue, starring Radha Mitchell and Michael Vartan is about a group of tourists that take a crocodile tour in the Northern Territory of Australia. Of course the tourists are all enjoying the scenery until a giant croc comes out of nowhere and starts stalking them! John Jarratt also stars and is significantly less creepy this time. Another mentionable is Sam Worthington who you probably haven't heard of, but will soon.
 
The scenery in this film is absolutely breathtaking and the special features are very much worth the watch (especially the Northern Territories mini-doc which includes old documentary pieces about Sweetheart, who partially inspired this film - chilling but also fascinating).

I'll understand if you don't get as much of a kick out of this one as I did, but I was jumping out of my seat. The end leaves a little to be desired - I could have gone with a little more water stuff or maybe just a little more movie. At 90 minutes it did seem short. Other than that, I thought it was a great flick that wholeheartedly makes up for the train wreck that was Primeval (the movie with Orlando Jones, not the BBC tv show). Overall, a fun flick and a great creature feature. Greg Mclean also directed the film Wolf Creek which also takes its inspiration from actual events. That will have to be saved for another post, though. 

Thursday, August 14, 2008

So Fashion Forward!

I was totally dead on my feet yesterday. No, it's not that I was working THAT hard, it's that I can't seem to sleep at night. Sometimes it works out ok. I work at home and I'm a night owl so I usually start my work day around 9:30 and will work even in the wee hours. Course I always have to read before I got to bed, even if it means falling asleep just a few pages in. 

I've been working in the office a bit lately and that means working a more normal schedule, i.e. waking up during the day like the living do. Unfortunately, one of the reasons working at home is working for me right now is that with my crazy sleep deprivation problems, I can catch up on sleep and still get all of my work done. Not so with regular office hours. Normally, between the hours of about 2am and 7am I will wake up at least 3 times. You try getting any decent sleep when you're coming completely awake that many times in the night! Can't happen unless you can sleep later than 7. 

Anyway, so that's why I've been a bit out of it and neglecting my blog. I'm sorry! So, dead on my feet yesterday, I got home and crashed on my bed with Deadly Beautiful by Sam Baker (no I didn't fall asleep, I managed to stay awake, but I literally fell/crashed into bed with the book!). I read until Project Runway was on and then realized just how appropriate the pairing was for the evening! Like a great red and a steak.

In Deadly Beautiful, which follows Baker's previous novel, Fashion Victim, journalist Annie Anderson has traded in her crack reporting and sleuthing skills for a nice calm job at a fashion magazine. Yeah, right - her boss is slightly more reasonable than the fashionista boss in Devil Wears Prada, though. Anyway, Annie's working fashion week in Bryant Park when her best friend Lou finds out that her half-sister has gone missing in Japan. Scarlett Ulrich, Lou's sister, was one of the world's most famous child models thanks to a little Maplethorpe photo that appeared on the cover of a hot rock album in the 80s. Lou has kept her family a secret from everyone, including Annie, but it's clear that as much as she tries to deny it, Lou feels a strong sense of responsibility towards her little sister. Lou calls on Annie to use her talents to discover what has happened to Lettie and hopefully track her down. The problem is that Scarlett's just one of a handful of girls who have gone missing in Tokyo of late, and two bodies have already been found. 

Baker draws on her own experience as a fashion journalist to take her readers on a thrilling ride from the runways of Bryant Park to the famed hostess clubs of Tokyo. Her novel is a revealing look at the not so pretty side of the fashion industry that is neatly wrapped up in a great mystery. Though this is technically a follow-up to Victim, it can be read all by its lonesome without any problem. Personally, though, I'm planning on getting myself a copy of Baker's debut so that I can read more about Annie.

Fun stuff, especially since I finished reading it during the commercial breaks in Project Runway!

Busy, Busy, Busy

So I've been helping out at the office lately - normally I work from home - which means that my bad sleeping habits are wreaking havoc on me. Anyway, I'm off to the office. I'll be posting this evening. Sorry I've been neglecting my blog of late!

Florida calls!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Agh! I forgot to post!

Sorry guys, I was trying to get some work done this morning and I ended up forgetting to post!

Anyway, it's time for another one of my older favorites to make its appearance here! This time, I've chosen Alexandra Sokoloff's chilling and atmospheric debut, The Harrowing. I have to say, when I first heard about this book I just absolutely had to have it. I'm a sucker for all things horror, especially debuts. This is one of the best by far.

Now first off, I have to say that I have been lucky enough since reading this and Sokoloff's second book, The Price, to actually meet the author. She was at Left Coast Crime this year and she was one of many authors I was just thrilled to finally see in person. She spoke on the "Where Stories Come From" panel where she admitted that she is not a self-described horror author. In fact, I would agree with her that her titles are more inclusive than simple horror. Sokoloff tackles many issues in her stories, but in a world of growing subgenres and cross-overs, the simple fact is this: ultimately her books give me chills (not many do these days) and The Harrowing is a pretty damn creepy and original take on a classic ghost story.

Here's a bit about the book:

It is Thanksgiving break at Baird College and everyone is returning home for the holiday. Everyone, that is, but five misfits in Mendenhall dorm. They are a jock, a brain, a loner, a musician, and a phony. These five have one thing in common though - each one of them feels like they don’t belong. When the teens discover an old Oija board in the common room, they awaken a new entity in Mendenhall. This ghost calls itself Zachary and is all at once charming and terrifying. Who is Zachary and what does he want? As the teens dig deeper into this mystery they come to realize that Zachary is not what he seems. Alexandra Sokoloff’s debut is a hauntingly original and eerie spin on the standard ghost story.

Sokoloff is a fresh new talent in the literary world regardless of where you want to shelve her. Her stories are original and engaging and perfect for a great rainy day of reading!

Monday, August 11, 2008

A Colorado Restaurant Review

I had decided that I would use this blog to share books and movies that I love with others. After all, the best part of being a bookseller was introducing people to something new. I review for Bookbitch.com and if I dislike something that I've read, you'll read about it there. I don't see a need to slam a book on this page simply because I didn't enjoy it. 

I have to break from my mold for a moment to give a bad review, though, and this one on a restaurant no less. See, I have no other place to express this opinion and my experience was such that I think it warrants sharing. 

Here goes!

Saturday I accompanied Mike to Colorado Springs where he was helping a friend of ours move some stuff into his new apartment. Afterwards we headed over to the Craft Lager Festival. Now, I'm not a beer drinker in the least, but I put my brave face on and at least tasted everything. It was fun and some of them weren't that bad to a girly drinker like me.

Since we were in CO Springs I wanted to take advantage of the trip and eat at Edelweiss, a German restaurant that I had heard about but had never had the chance to go to. The set up at the restaurant was a little odd and after a couple of minutes of confused wandering, a waitress found us and sat us. Our own waiter was in training and was a bit of a goober, but was doing fine for a beginner. Our food was quite tasty and the prices, though high, were reasonable for the large portions that were served. Overall, my experience here would have been fine were it not for a conversation that I overheard between the person in charge (owner or manager, I'm not sure) and another patron.

See, a man got up to ask about a charge on his bill. It was a three top, he, his wife, and a person I assumed was their teenage daughter (they also had a baby with them). They ordered drinks (not free water, but actual $2.25 drinks) and he and his wife shared an entree. These things are ginormous and I know that they can't be the first people to have opted for sharing. The restaurant charged them. I'm not sure what they charged, whether it was a couple of bucks extra or an entire entree extra. Nowhere on the menu or anywhere else that I could see was there anything indicating that guests sharing an entree would be charged and extra fee. Nowhere that I have ever eaten before, have I ever seen this happen. The patron in question pointed this out to the person in charge who tried to justify the extra charge by saying that even though they only ordered one entree, they asked for a second empty plate and someone has to wash that plate and the waitress waited on the whole table. 

Is anyone else here utterly flabbergasted at this point? It seriously ruined my dinner. Again, had I not heard this, I would have no complaints. I did hear it, though, and frankly I will never be returning to the restaurant. Any business that treats its customers like this doesn't deserve any business at all. This restaurant claims to have been in business for over 40 years. Again, if this policy was posted anywhere, at least they would have a leg to stand on. It would still be an unreasonable policy in my opinion, but at least if it were clearly posted, you couldn't say you didn't know. I personally just wanted to get out of there as quickly as possible and hated the fact that I, by being there and eating, was going to be adding to their profits. 

There was a bit more to the convo. The PIC appeared to basically be accusing the patron of being a cheapskate rather than someone who had a valid complaint. The PIC also didn't seem to believe that no other restaurant anywhere in the universe charges patrons for an empty plate. It's not as if the whole table came in and ate free bread, drank water, and left. It was simply the sharing between two people of one $20 entree, plus whatever their daughter ordered and their drinks as well. The restaurant wasn't getting ripped off by having a table taken up by people who didn't place an order. They were still coming out on top by making their profit off the food that was served. 

From now on, I am confident enough in my own cooking skills that if I have a craving for hearty German fare, I can make it in my own kitchen and use as many plates as I want for no extra charge. I will not be returning to Edelweiss nor will I be recommending this restaurant to anyone that I know. 

Curiouser and Curiouser

Wow, in keeping with my apparent desire to read across Scotland... Just kidding. I only just realized that Craig Russell and Stuart MacBride are both from Scotland. Interesting because Russell's current series takes place in Hamburg. 

I think I already posted about the books I came home with from NYC, but in case I didn't, Craig Russell was a great rec that I received at The Mysterious Bookshop in NYC, and one of the books had a blurb from Mo Hayder, how cool!

I did manage to finish Breaking Dawn last night. I only had about an hour's worth of the book left! Blood Eagle and it's companion, Brother Grimm, have been in my stack to read since that trip in June. I ordered book 3, Eternal, as well and figured that I should read at least the first book before that one comes in, right? 

I'm not too far into it just yet - one body (which is a second) has been discovered and I have a feeling another will shortly. About a quarter in - lots of reading planned for this evening : )

Anyway, I'll tell you more about the book once I've finished. I was curious, though, about the fact that there seems to be another UK fan in Boulder - this person has no qualms about parting with their books because I keep coming across them at The Bookworm. First off, I am really curious as to who this person is. I mean maybe they have a whole cache of favorites they could recommend to me (and you all know how much I would love that!), but the other thing that got me curious is the fact that they are trading them in at the used bookstore. These imports are not cheap! Blood Eagle cost me $20 and it's a mass market. Granted, Cynthia at High Crimes seems to be able to get them in a little cheaper. I think Eternal is costing me $15. 

Anyway, you see what I'm saying. I can't recall the actual price in the books - they're pretty beat up and I prefer mine in better shape, even used. I suspect they're not pricing them according to import prices though. I mean the trade-in credit would be $10 on what they see as a mm paperback - and the purchase price would be such as well, compared to the $3.50 that most books go for there. 

It just makes me wonder. Ah, well. Back to work so that I can throw myself into Jan Fabel's investigation later with no guilt.

Oh, and if you're a BBC fan (no surprise that I am, right?) I did watch the premier episode of Primeval this weekend. It has the same cheesy effects as the rest of the BBC shows, but the story is pretty interesting. I find that the longer I watch, the easier it is for me to get past the effects. Jekyll was another great one (one season only and out on DVD) if you're a big tv watcher. 

Sunday, August 10, 2008

New Releases 8/12

Some of the new titles hitting shelves this week are:

The Mercedes Coffin by Faye Kellerman - latest in the Peter Decker/Rina Lazarus series. I've started it, but didn't finish in time for this week's reviews. So far, it's living up to my high expectations. It's about a cold case that is reopened after 15 years when a new similar murder occurs. I'll keep you posted!

It's a Crime by Jacqueline Carey - who knew there were two? This is not the Kushiel Carey, but another Jacqueline Carey.

Everything Under the Sky by Matilde Asensi - author of The Last Cato, another Da Vinci Code-like thriller with a historical based puzzle. I haven't read Everything just yet but did enjoy Cato.

Takeover by Lisa Black - a new forensic mystery with lots of police procedural traits. Entertaining by not very different just yet.

Tethered by Amy MacKinnon - a dark and moody thriller along the lines of Sharp Objects by Jillian Flynn. Really liked this one.

Bitten to Death by Jennifer Rardin - 4th in the urban fantasy/espionage Jaz Parks series

New on DVD: 
Smart People

New reviews at Bookbitch.com:
Tethered
Takeover
Bitten to Death
I'm Watching You by Mary Burton

Saturday, August 9, 2008

So very late in the day!

So sorry I am late today, I went to a beer festival! For those of you who know me, you know that I am not a beer drinker, but it was a chance to get out of the house and do something different. It was fun!
Needless to say I did not get all of my reading done today. As you all know, I am taking a break from review books just long enough to finish reading the Twilight saga. I'm about halfway through the fourth tome and am really enjoying it.

As soon as it's finished, I will be turning my attention to a few books that have been in my TBR stack for a while. I haven't had much of a chance to tackle them and am hoping that I can squeeze quite a few in this week. We shall see if I am successful.

One of those books is Cold Granite by Stuart MacBride. When I was in NY a couple of months ago, I made a visit to Otto Penzler's mystery bookstore. I wanted a chance to browse some imported titles by authors that I hadn't had the opportunity to read. As you all know, I love discovering new authors. Plus, I was still (and am now) in the mood for something along the Mo Hayder lines.

One of the men working in the store recommended Stuart MacBride to me. Unfortunately, they didn't have the first book, Cold Granite, in stock. He was apologetic but did say that I should start from the beginning with this series. When I saw that I would have a bit of free reading time coming up, I ordered the book from Cynthia at High Crimes.

Here is the STARRED review from PW:

Relentless rain reflects the tormented mood that permeates MacBride's impressive debut set in Aberdeen, Scotland. Det. Sgt. Logan MacRae, back from a lengthy convalescence caused by a crazed suspect's knife attack, is plunged straightaway into the investigation of a brutally murdered child. To make matters worse, the victim's family learns of the death from a reporter before the police have a chance to inform them. Angered and embarrassed by the press leak, Logan, aided by WPC Jackie Watson, vows to expose the source within the precinct. Enter Colin Miller, flashy journalist, who befriends Logan, causing suspicious stares from Logan's superiors. More children go missing, and soon the populace of Aberdeen is screaming for blood. Further inciting the rabble, a notorious defense attorney earns acquittal for a habitual child molester. As a result, a hapless, ruined scholar–turned–street sweeper becomes a scapegoat for the chilling fear that grips the community. Logan must eliminate the distractions caused by the sensational publicity and summon his barely restored strength to anticipate the killer's next move. MacBride allows his characters their humanity, while weaving intriguing subplots in this edge-of-your-seat page-turner.

So far there are four titles in the series. This one is topping my stack at the moment so that I can race through the others and be ready for the release of #4 this fall.

Friday, August 8, 2008

A Bonus!

Katherine Neville's The Eight has been on my TBR list for quite some time now. For those of you who aren't familiar with the title here's the synopsis from Neville's website:

New York City, 1972—A dabbler in mathematics and chess, Catherine Velis is also a computer expert for a Big Eight accounting firm. Before heading off to a new assignment in Algeria, Cat has her palm read by a fortune-teller. The woman warns Cat of danger. Then an antiques dealer approaches Cat with a mysterious offer: He has an anonymous client who is trying to collect the pieces of an ancient chess service, purported to be in Algeria. If Cat can bring the pieces back, there will be a generous reward.

The South of France, 1790—Mireille de Remy and her cousin Valentine are young novices at the fortresslike Montglane Abbey. With France aflame in revolution, the two girls burn to rebel against constricted convent life—and their means of escape is at hand. Buried deep within the abbey are pieces of the Montglane Chess Service, once owned by Charlemagne. Whoever reassembles the pieces can play a game of unlimited power. But to keep the Game a secret from those who would abuse it, the two young women must scatter the pieces throughout the world. . . .

The Eight was originally published in 1988. In October, Random House will be releasing Neville's long awaited sequel, The Fire, and to get readers ready they have made The Eight available for download online (for free) until 8/18.

The crazy popularity of Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code proves that readers really love thrillers that involve history and puzzles and The Eight is one of the first. This is a great opportunity for anyone who hasn't read The Eight to finally do so. I've bumped my copy up to the top of my list and will keep you guys posted. I hope you all take advantage of the freebie, even if it's just to read enough to decide if you want to run out and buy the physical one! Remember the download is only available until 8/18 so hit the link above and visit Katherine Neville's page for your chance to read The Eight for free.

Boy, I am Tired!

Not much to say this morning. Am heading into the office again and will be spending my day researching other potential cookbooks. I'm totally beat thanks to our sitting down to watch National Treasure II when I knew I should be reading or sleeping! I finally crashed at 2am only to wake up the requisite 3 times in 5 hours.

I did manage to start Breaking Dawn last night. Another bad idea considering the fact that I had to be up this morning! Not too far into it just yet. I'm hoping that between my lack of sleep and Pineapple Express I can squeeze in most of the book this evening.

I'm super excited about it even though I've been reading a ton of mixed reviews. It's kind of sad really. Anytime a book is this highly anticipated, someone is always complaining. It happened with HP 7, I distinctly remember people criticizing the end. I also remember people complaining about Stephen King's final Dark Tower book, a series that I absolutely love to death. In both cases I thought the endings were fine. In fact, in Steve's case, I thought the ending was the absolute most perfect ending I had ever read - the only way to possibly end such an epic series.

I don't think that I'll have any complaints about Dawn. All of my sisters have read it (well, they did have a whole week to start before I did!). None of them has complained about it. I'm anxious to see everything wrapped up. I've joined the bandwagon and become a Stephenie Meyer fan. I think this happened as soon as I started reading The Host (my first of hers). I thought it was a very unique book - not a true sci-fi although there are aliens. It had romance elements, but it was so much more than you can easily categorize. Of course the Twilight saga is very much a teen romance series. I love being able to lose myself for a little while in Bella and Edward's world, and that's really, for me, the best thing you can get from a really good book!

In response to some of the things that I have read recently about BD, like I said, someone is always going to complain. I've purposely avoided reading Twilight reviews. I've decided not to review them myself, at least for now. I feel that the market is probably saturated with them and even with all the hype my sisters managed to keep everything a secret from me. All I knew going in was that it was a teen vampire romance. That's all. I was a little surprised that I was able to go into it with no real expectations thanks to that and I think anyone else who decides to pick the books up and try them should have the same advantage.

*Soapbox time*

There, you have a warning, but I'll keep it short.

I will say this, I take issue with people who are overly critical of books to which they are not the intended audience. I don't like it one bit when adults come in and tear apart a beloved teen or kid's book. It's really not fair. You can say that amongst the millions of readers out there, you were not a fan. That's perfectly fine. I really just don't like it when people start talking about how unrealistic it is (um, vampires, that's all I have to say) or that it's too simplistic (teens for the most part are not looking for deep, thought-provoking social commentary, although I wouldn't say that there isn't anything thought provoking about the books). The worst one I heard, and I will keep it to myself, was a very ADULT complaint. It had no place even being mentioned in terms of a teen book in my opinion.

Anything that gets kids this excited about a book is a good thing to me and adults who don't like it should just quietly step aside and allow the teens to enjoy it for what it is.

Ok, I'm done. Off to work now!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

A List I Can Handle

So remember how I complained about the 1001 list while also wondering aloud (in writing) just who decides what ends up there in the first place? Well, the Book Maven (a PW blogger) had a blog yesterday linking to NeilB's list of the 100 Best Novels of the English Language, and he even explains how he generated the list! Plus, I don't look like the uncouth person that I really am, because I've actually read some of them. So, you can hit the link above and read for yourself how he came up with his list.

Of the list, the bold titles are the ones that I have read and the italicized titles are the ones that I plan to read. As an "avid" reader according to the Big Read report (someone who reads 50 books or more a year) I could probably finish the list in one year, but I have to admit that there are some on here that I just don't want to read.

1. Nineteen Eighty-Four George Orwell
2. The Great Gatsby F. Scott Fitzgerald
3. The Grapes Of Wrath John Steinbeck
4. The Catcher in the Rye J.D. Salinger
5. Catch-22 Joseph Heller
6. One Hundred Years Of Solitude Gabriel García Márquez
7. Gone with the Wind Margaret Mitchell
8. Ulysses James Joyce
9. On The Road Jack Kerouac
10. The Lord of the Rings J.R.R. Tolkien
11. To Kill a Mockingbird Harper Lee
12. Pride and Prejudice Jane Austen
13. Wuthering Heights Emily Brontë
14. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe C.S. Lewis
15. Great Expectations Charles Dickens
16. War and Peace Leo Tolstoy
17. Lolita Vladimir Nabokov
18. Animal Farm George Orwell
19. Crime And Punishment Fyodor Dostoyevsky
20. Anna Karenina Leo Tolstoy
21. Lord Of The Flies William Golding
22. Brideshead Revisited Evelyn Waugh
23. Midnight’s Children Salman Rushdie
24. Love In The Time Of Cholera Gabriel García Márquez
25. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Douglas Adams
26. Jane Eyre Charlotte Brontë
27. The Hobbit J.R.R. Tolkien
28. To the Lighthouse Virginia Woolf
29. Middlemarch George Eliot
30. Rebecca Daphne du Maurier
31. Dune Frank Herbert
32. Brave New World Aldous Huxley
33. A Prayer For Owen Meany John Irving
34. Watership Down Richard Adams
35. The Sound and the Fury William Faulkner
36. Little Women Louisa May Alcott
37. Invisible Man Ralph Ellison
38. Anne Of Green Gables LM Montgomery
39. Emma Jane Austen
40. Memoirs Of A Geisha Arthur Golden
41. Beloved Toni Morrison
42. Of Mice And Men John Steinbeck
43. The Heart of Darkness Joseph Conrad
44. Les Miserables Victor Hugo
45. The Wind in the Willows Kenneth Grahame
46. The Da Vinci Code Dan Brown
47. Tess Of The D’Urbervilles Thomas Hardy
48. Winnie the Pooh A.A. Milne
49. Birdsong Sebastian Faulks
50. Captain Corelli’s Mandolin Louis de Bernieres
51. Slaughterhouse Five Kurt Vonnegut
52. Life of Pi Yann Martel
53. A Clockwork Orange Anthony Burgess
54. The Count Of Monte Cristo Alexandre Dumas
55. A Passage to India E.M. Forster
56. Moby Dick Herman Melville
57. A Suitable Boy Vikram Seth
58. The Stand Stephen King
59. Possession A.S. Byatt
60. Madame Bovary Gustave Flaubert
61. A Tale Of Two Cities Charles Dickens
62. The Trial Franz Kafka
63. I, Claudius Robert Graves
64. The Handmaid’s Tale Margaret Atwood
65. The Secret History Donna Tartt
66. His Dark Materials Philip Pullman
67. The Harry Potter Series J.K. Rowling
68. The Brothers Karamazov Fyodor Dostoyevsky
69. Don Quixote Miguel de Cervantes
70. Sons and Lovers D.H. Lawrence
71. The Pillars Of The Earth Ken Follett
72. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man James Joyce
73. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Mark Twain
74. The Kite Runner Khaled Hosseini
75. An American Tragedy Theodore Dreiser
76. Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland Lewis Carroll
77. Bleak House Charles Dickens
78. The Time Traveller’s Wife Audrey Niffenegger
79. A Fine Balance Rohinton Mistry
80. The Sun Also Rises Ernest Hemmingway
81. Nostromo Joseph Conrad
82. Under the Volcano Malcolm Lowry
83. The Golden Notebook Doris Lessing
84. The Heart is a Lonely Hunter Carson McCullers
85. The Stranger Albert Camus
86. Native Son Richard Wright
87. Gravity’s Rainbow Thomas Pynchon
88. The Poisonwood Bible Barbara Kingsolver
89. Perfume Patrick Süskind
90. Things Fall Apart Chinua Achebe
91. David Copperfield Charles Dickens
92. Charlie And The Chocolate Factory Roald Dahl
93. Pale Fire Vladimir Nabokov
94. Persuasion Jane Austen
95. Atlas Shrugged Ayn Rand
96. The Tin Drum Gunter Grass
97. Vanity Fair William Makepeace Thackeray
98. Atonement Ian McEwan
99. Light in August William Faulkner
100. The Secret Garden Frances Hodgson Burnett