Sunday, October 31, 2010

New Releases 11/02/10

Some of the new titles hitting shelves this week are:

Towers of Midnight by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson -- Wheel of Time book 13

Moonlight Mile by Dennis LeHane -- sequel to Gone Baby, Gone

Wolfsbane by Patricia Briggs

Edge of Sight by Roxanne St. Claire

Kind of Blue by Miles Corwin

Edge by Jeffery Deaver

Virals by Kathy and Brendan Reichs

New on DVD:
Toy Story 3

Friday, October 29, 2010

Wedding Weekend Festivities Begin

So the families are arriving today and I'm starting to pull out my hair. Let's hope there's enough there for some decent wedding pics on Sunday, right?

I haven't gotten all that much reading done, sadly. I'd hoped to allay some of the stress by reading through the week, but I've been too distracted of late. Hope all of you have had more luck.

Have a fantastic Halloween and I will see you all post ceremony next week!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Debut Horror From Down Under

Of course with Halloween just around the corner, I've been poking through my TBR stack for some season-friendly reading. 'Course horror is a year-round reading trend for me, but there is a lot of great stuff hitting shelves lately that I feel it's my duty to showcase for you!

One of these recent releases is Stephen M. Irwin's debut, The Dead Path. This creepy read has been on my Watch list for a few months now, so I can't tell you how happy I was to be curled up with it this weekend, double checking all of the locks and literally jumping at strange noises! Yep, it gave me chills.

In the book, recently widowed Nicholas Close heads back to his childhood home in Australia in the wake of his wife's tragic death. In truth, Nicholas knew the exact moment it happened. Unfortunately, another accident left him with the ability to see the dead -- the ability to see his wife's death happen over and over and over again.

On the night that he arrives at his mother's home, there is another death. This time a boy is taken near the local woods. His body is found and his killer confesses to the crime. Strangely, the event is strikingly similar to another killing from 1982 when Nicholas's own best friend was also taken in the woods. His killer was apprehended as well, but Nicholas can't help but think there's a larger connection and something strange going on in his hometown.

Oooh! Ghosts and murders and strange woods! I don't want to give too much away, but there's even more to it, obviously.

I loved this book. Irwin has an incredible talent for weaving a tale. His writing is an all encompassing experience, grabbing readers and bringing his story to life with the exactly right choice of words. To put it in perspective, I read just a portion of this in the airport 45 minute wait area while waiting for Mike's plane to arrive. Even with cars whizzing by on the interstate and my fellow waiters leaving and being replaced, I jumped when the phone rang! I'm always up for a horror read that does that!

For any readers who may be overseas, or later looking for more work by Irwin, you should know that The Dead Path was pubbed in the UK as The Darkening.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

New Releases 10/26/10

Some of the new titles hitting shelves this week are:

Dangerous to Know by Tasha Alexander -- latest in the Lady Emily series

Cat Coming Home by Shirley Rousseau Murphy -- latest Joe Grey mystery

Drink of Me by Jacquelyn Frank

Book of Secrets by Chris Roberson

Heaven's Spite by Lilith Saintcrow -- fifth Jill Kismet book

The Spirit Rebellion by Rachel Aaron -- second in the Legend of Eli Monpress

Autumn by David Moody

Misguided Angel by Melissa de la Cruz

Side Jobs by Jim Butcher

Ghost Town by Rachel Caine -- latest Morganville Vampires book

Crown of Crystal Flame by CL Wilson

Soul Stealers by Andy Remic -- second in the Clockwork Vampires series

New on DVD:
The Girl Who Played With Fire
Sex & The City 2

New reviews at Bookbitch.com:
Autumn by David Moody
Banished by Sophie Littlefield
The Countess by Rebecca Johns
The Dead Path by Stephen M. Irwin

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Pre Pub Book Buzz -- The Greyfriar (Vampire Empire Book 1) by Clay and Susan Griffith

Oh, I've seen things buzzing around about this book for months now! With the release practically around the corner (November 2), I've got to get a preorder in for it. (And don't you love the cover art?)

Here's the synopsis from the Pyr book page:

In the year 1870, a horrible plague of vampires swept over the northern regions of the world. Millions of humans were killed outright. Millions more died of disease and famine due to the havoc that followed. Within two years, once-great cities were shrouded by the gray empire of the vampire clans. Human refugees fled south to the tropics because vampires could not tolerate the constant heat there. They brought technology and a feverish drive to reestablish their shattered societies of steam and iron amid the mosques of Alexandria, the torrid quietude of Panama, or the green temples of Malaya.

It is now 2020 and a bloody reckoning is coming.

Princess Adele is heir to the Empire of Equatoria, a remnant of the old tropical British Empire. She is quick with her wit as well as with a sword or gun. She is eager for an adventure before she settles into a life of duty and political marriage to a man she does not know. But her quest turns black when she becomes the target of a merciless vampire clan. Her only protector is the Greyfriar, a mysterious hero who fights the vampires from deep within their territory. Their dangerous relationship plays out against an approaching war to the death between humankind and the vampire clans.

Vampire Empire: The Greyfriar is the first book in a trilogy of high adventure and alternate history. Combining rousing pulp action with steampunk style, Vampire Empire brings epic political themes to life within a story of heartbreaking romance, sacrifice, and heroism.

Ok, really?! It's steampunk and vampires! And you know I'm all about steampunk these days. Jackie over at Literary Escapism was apparently able to snag an early copy. You can read her review here.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Book Blogger Hop October 22-25

In the spirit of the Friday Follow, the Book Blogger Hop is a place just for book bloggers and readers to connect and find new blogs that we may be missing out on! This weekly BOOK PARTY is an awesome opportunity for book bloggers to connect with other book lovers, make new friends, support each other, and generally just share our love of books! It will also give blog readers a chance to find other book blogs that they may not know existed! So, grab the logo, post about the Hop on your blog, and start HOPPING through the list of blogs that are posted in the Linky at Crazy-For-Books!!

The Hop lasts Friday-Monday every week, so if you don't have time to Hop today, come back later and join the fun! This is a weekly event!

Your blog should have content related to books, including, but not limited to book reviews.

This week's question comes from Becky who blogs at Becky's Barmy Book Blog:

"Where is your favorite place to read? Curled up on the sofa, in bed, in the garden?"

My answer: in bed (or in the tub -- I get a lot of reading done there as well).

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A Slew of Zombie Reads for Halloween

It's a zombie-tastic Halloween season this year! Whoa! Thought I'd put together a list of some of the recommended zombie reading for you guys.

First, if you didn't know, AMC's new show, The Walking Dead, premieres on Halloween.

Two oldies but goodies I have on my TBR stack for this month are: World War Z by Max Brooks and Breathers by S.G. Browne, both currently being adapted into film.

Some newbies in my TBR: Pariah by Bob Fingerman, Handling the Undead by John Ajvide Lindqvist, and John Dies at the End by David Wong.

On my wishlist: Dust by Joan Frances Turner and Rot & Ruin by Jonathan Maberry

And recently read: Autumn by David Moody and Married With Zombies by Jesse Petersen (sequel, Flip This Zombie, due out in Jan), and of course, Carrie Ryan's fantastic Forest of Hands and Teeth and Dead Tossed Waves.

And just for fun: Mark Henry's trash-mouthed fashionista zombie heroine, Amanda Feral, always makes for fun reading and the recently released Hungry For Your Love: An Anthology of Zombie Romance looks like a blast!

Not enough walking dead for you. Guess what?! Permuted Press is a publisher devoted to apocalyptic horror (and that means lots of zombies!).

Anywho, I'm working on getting my zombie fix this month. Hope this helps you guys out as well. I'm sure I'm forgetting a ton here, so if you've got a rec to add, feel free!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

A Supernatural Read You Shouldn't Miss!

I'm getting into my horror reads of the month, but first I had to post this one. A few weeks ago, I spent an absolutely fantastic day reading Camille DeAngelis's latest, Petty Magic: Being the Memoirs and Confessions of Miss Evelyn Harbinger, Temptress and Troublemaker.

Oh, how can I express to you just how fabulous Evelyn Harbinger is?! She has got to be one of my favorite characters of the year. I'm not kidding. I've read some fantastic books in 2010 and will be narrowing down my best of list very soon, but Evelyn stands out amongst the crowd as just a wonderfully imagined character.

In the story, Evelyn, a 149-year-old beldame (that's witch to the rest of us), still has a good time putting on a pretty facade and seducing single men. Though she can't keep it up for too long, which is unfortunate when she begins to fall for a man over a century her junior. See, in all her years, Evelyn has only once fallen in love. Jonah died after WWII and she can't help but think of him whenever she is around Justin. Meanwhile, Evelyn's sister has been accused of murdering her ex-husband, whose death occurred years ago. Though it will be tough after all these years, Evelyn and her family are determined to prove her innocence.

Petty Magic is funny and magical -- truly one of the best books you could read all year. This is DeAngelis's second release. Her first, Mary Modern, is something of a play on Frankenstein and Mary Shelley.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Weekend Reading Marathon

Wow! So this past weekend was a pretty successful one on the TBR front, especially since I didn't step foot in the bookstore and buy more : )

I was sorely tempted.

Here's the weekend breakdown -- Mike attending our friends' wedding festivities and me holding down the fort: two (yep, two) bad chick flicks (and as I write this, a third UK chick comedy waiting in the wings), dinner with a friend, one yoga class (one is better than none!), and three finished reads. Yep, three! Friday was my bad day as far as making a choice, but I finished one Saturday and two on Sunday (and since I'm preposting, the day's not quite over).

And what's that? No Naughty Bear! Not at all! In fact, I didn't spend all that much time channel surfing, playing Bejeweled, or sitting and staring at the bookshelves either. Well, not too much time staring at the bookshelves. I bought a new shelf on Friday and spent the evening reorganizing. It was productive staring for the most part!

Anywho, the first book knocked out of the stack this weekend was a new historical fiction about the Countess of Bathory. I kind of wasn't sure what to expect from this one. The Countess of Bathory, as you may know, has inspired horrific tales throughout the years (and a horrifically bad horror movie as well -- and why was it set in New Orleans, I'd really like to know?!).

Bathory, a seventeenth century Hungarian countess, was dubbed a vampire and said to have bathed in her servants' blood. Rebecca Johns's book, based on existing records of the time, paints a different picture of the Countess. In The Countess, Erzsebet Bathory was raised in a privileged household and married into her title. Her obsession with keeping an orderly home and making sure that she was viewed and respected as master led her to extreme punishment tactics with her servants.

Interestingly, Johns does touch briefly on the possibility that Bathory's own punishment may have been somewhat politically motivated, but I didn't really feel that it was a strong part of the book. It really is a fascinating look at a woman I didn't know much about, though. I also found it interesting, and maybe I was reading too much into it, that I felt as though there was a hint of perverse obsession with violence in Bathory's husband as well. It's not until he sees Bathory humiliatingly punishing a servant girl that he begins to show interest in his own wife. I don't know. Reminds me of another historic couple... (and I happen to know there's a book coming out about them soon).

The Countess showed, I think, a lot of restraint for Johns. Honestly, the book could have gone so many different ways, playing on the legend of Bathory. All in all, I think it stands on its own feet among other fictional historic bios. Johns's style kept me captivated and Bathory's story is truly fascinating.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

New Releases 10/19/10

Some of the new titles hitting shelves this week are:

First of State by Robert Greer -- a prequel to the CJ Floyd series

Crescendo by Becca Fitzpatrick -- sequel to Hush, Hush

Nightshade by Andrea Creamer

The Rebel Prince by Celine Kiernan -- third in the Moorehawke Trilogy

Chasing the Night by Iris Johansen

Worth Dying For by Lee Child

The Templar Salvation by Raymond Khoury

All Jacked Up by Lorelei James

All Clear by Connie Willis

New on DVD:

New reviews at Bookbitch.com:
Sandman Slim by Richard Kadrey
The Sleepwalkers by Paul Grossman
The Perfect Love Song by Patti Callahan Henry
The Cold Ones by J.T. Ellison

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Pre Pub Book Buzz -- Hull Zero Three by Greg Bear

So I've been using my Saturdays here to post about books that aren't out on shelves yet. Books that I'm particularly jazzed about. Sometimes, I've had the opportunity to read them ahead of time and am able to post my own review here. Most of the time, though, it's a preview for all of us.

Such is the case with Greg Bear's latest, Hull Zero Three. Now, I've not heard much about this one just yet, though it is due out on shelves November 22. But, Orbit in all their fabulousness, posted the first three chapters as a teaser on Tuesday. You can check that out here. And, here's the synopsis from Bear's own website:

A starship hurtles through the emptiness of space. Its destination-unknown. Its purpose-a mystery. Now, one man wakes up. Ripped from a dream of a new home-a new planet and the woman he was meant to love in his arms-he finds himself wet, naked, and freezing to death. The dark halls are full of monsters but trusting other survivors he meets might be the greater danger.

All he has are questions-- Who is he? Where are they going? What happened to the dream of a new life? What happened to Hull 03?

All will be answered, if he can survive the ship.

HULL ZERO THREE is an edge-of-your-seat thrill ride through the darkest reaches of space.

I'm totally intrigued! Sounds slightly in line with Pandorum, no? Well, we'll just have to wait and see. Given the fact that I've enjoyed each Orbit book I've tried, I've no doubt this will be a favorite!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

It's beginning to look a lot like...

Oh, man! I can't believe how fast this year has gone by! And with Halloween, and the wedding, looming in just weeks...

I'm already starting to think Thanksgiving dinner (I seem to collect potential recipes for a month and then whittle them down) and I'm seeing Christmas stuff advertised already. Agh!

I'm also seeing some Christmas themed books hitting shelves, including Patti Callahan Henry's The Perfect Love Song, which hit shelves today.

To go along with the release, Callahan Henry is offering up a super cool contest. Using the lyrics provided in the book, fans can try their hand at writing their own perfect love song. The winner gets a $250 gift card!

Contest begins today and ends December 31, 2010. For more, visit the author's official contest page at: http://patticallahanhenry.com/content/contest.asp

In the book, Jimmy Sullivan writes a song. A love song for his girlfriend Charlotte. A song that's all about undeserved love. When folks start hearing the song played at Jimmy's band's shows, they dub it the perfect Christmas Song, something that gets Jimmy national attention. But as Jimmy's fame grows, he risks losing everything he holds dear.

The Perfect Love Song is a holiday novella that continues a tale begun in When Light Breaks.

Monday, October 11, 2010

When indecision hits!

I know I've talked before about some of my reading hangups, the ones that especially show my eccentric TBR tendencies.

Each weekend begins with a sense of promise -- a stack of books I'm determined to make my way through, taking advantage of the two and half days of seemingly no responsibility. (But really, who ever has a weekend with nothing to do? It takes maximum effort to take a weekend off since it's time you can be using to finish up things that couldn't be done during the work week.) And then by the time Sunday night rolls around, I'm struck with the overwhelming disappointment that I, in fact, got nothing at all accomplished.


I would tell you how I spent my weekend (embarrassingly, countless hours playing Naughty Bear), but one of the massive ways that I waste time on these particular weekends is by trying to decide what book to read next. I know! I get so stuck on making a decision, that I can't make a decision! By the time I settle on a read, I've wasted precious weekend time off that I can't get back. Argh! It's the same indecision that causes me to pack more books than I can carry on any trip I take, swapping books in my carry on as I'm walking out the door for the airport.

I guess it's just one of the many curses of being a book junkie. So many books, so little time : )

Sunday, October 10, 2010

New Releases 10/12/10

Some of the new titles hitting shelves this week are:

Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl

Banished by Sophie Littlefield

The Sleepwalkers by Paul Grossman

The Half-Made World by Felix Gilman

American Assassin by Vince Flynn

The Scorch Trials by James Dashner -- sequel to The Maze Runner

Great House by Nicole Krauss

The Prostitutes' Ball by Stephen Cannell -- Shane Scully #10

Dark Prophecy by Anthony Zuiker and Duane Swierczynski -- A Level 26 thriller

The Charming Quirks of Others by Alexander McCall Smith -- Isabel Dalhousie series

Booky Wook 2: This Time It's Personal by Russell Brand

Our Kind of Traiter by John Le Carre

Fatal Terror by F. Paul Wilson -- Repairman Jack

Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly

The Tenth Song by Naomi Ragen

Ghost in Trouble by Carolyn Hart

Forbidden Places by Penny Vincenzi

Christmas at the Forbidden Bookshop ed Otto Penzler

The Secrets Sisters Keep by Abby Drake

The Perfect Love Song by Patti Callahan Henry

New on DVD:
Jonah Hex
How to Train Your Dragon
Coffin Rock
Four Boxes

New reviews at Bookbitch.com:
The Scorch Trials
Clementine by Cherie Priest
The Debutante by Kathleen Tessaro
Petty Magic by Camille DeAngelis
Alpha by Rachel Vincent

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Pre Pub Book Buzz -- The Half-Made World by Felix Gilman

Oh, I love steampunk. Even better, I've got a steampunk dystopian westerns on my bedside table for review this week. Sweet!

I love the idea of weird westerns, a sub genre that I think hasn't been played up enough lately, but surely goes hand in hand with the new steampunk trend. King's Dark Tower series can sort of be considered weird western. The failed Jonah Hex was definitely one. Technically, Firefly was also weird western.

So what is weird western you ask? Well, Wikipedia describes it as western plus any other genre. Yep. That's it. It goes on to say usually fantasy or horror, which is great in my book. So Felix Gilman's The Half-Made World, due out October 12, definitely fits the bill according to the tag line that came in my promo a few weeks ago: steampunk western dystopian for fall.

Here's a little bit more about the book:

The world is only half-made. What exists has been carved out amidst a war between two rival factions: the Line, paving the world with industry and claiming its residents as slaves; and the Gun, a cult of terror and violence that cripples the population with fear. The only hope at stopping them has seemingly disappeared--the Red Republic once battled the Gun and the Line, and almost won. Now they're just a myth, a bedtime story parents tell their children, of hope.

To the west lies a vast, unchartered world, inhabited only by the legends of the Hill People, immortal and powerful, who live at one with the earth and its elements. Liv Alverhyusen, a doctor of the new science of psychology, travels to edge of the made world to a spiritually protected mental institution to study the minds of those broken by the Gun and the Line. In its rooms lies an old general of the Red Republic, the one man whose shattered mind just may hold the secret to stopping the Gun and the Line. And either side will do anything to understand how.

My copy literally just arrived so I've not had a chance to dive in yet, but I'm really chomping at the bit to get to it.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Book Blogger Hop October 8-11

Book Blogger Hop

In the spirit of the Friday Follow, the Book Blogger Hop is a place just for book bloggers and readers to connect and find new blogs that we may be missing out on! This weekly BOOK PARTY is an awesome opportunity for book bloggers to connect with other book lovers, make new friends, support each other, and generally just share our love of books! It will also give blog readers a chance to find other book blogs that they may not know existed! So, grab the logo, post about the Hop on your blog, and start HOPPING through the list of blogs that are posted in the Linky at Crazy-For-Books!!

The Hop lasts Friday-Monday every week, so if you don't have time to Hop today, come back later and join the fun! This is a weekly event!

Your blog should have content related to books, including, but not limited to book reviews.

This week's question comes from Suko who blogs at Suko's Notebook.

What's your favorite beverage while reading or blogging, if any? Is it tea, coffee, water, a glass of wine, or something else?

My answer: Tea of course! Iced tea, hot tea, milky tea, it doesn't matter. Tea it is!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

And the story behind the story is just as fascinating...

I may have asked before, but do you read the Author's Notes? The acknowledgments, dedications, introductions, forewords, afterwords? You should. You learn some fascinating things. Further readings, inspirations, or just seeing who is important to the person who created the work you've just enjoyed. It's a peek inside their lives. Just a peek, and it may not hold any meaning for anyone except those closest to them, but I love it either way.

And when you find out where a story came from, I think it's completely rewarding.

On a recent business trip (so odd to say that), I had the pleasure of reading Kathleen Tessaro's latest, The Debutante.

The Debutante is the story of a young woman trying to leave behind a relationship and move on with her live. She travels to London where her aunt gives her a job helping to catalog the contents of an old estate called Endsleigh House, the owner of which has just passed away, leaving no heirs. Cate is fascinated by the house and the story of the owner, particularly the part that involves Baby Blythe, a debutante (and sister of the recently deceased) who disappeared decades ago. In her search of the house, Cate comes across a shoebox containing a collection of items: a pair of shoes, a framed portrait of a soldier, and an expensive Tiffany bracelet. Cate suspects the items, cleverly hidden behind a collection of children's books, must have belonged to the long missing Baby Blythe, and she becomes obsessed with learning the story.

In reading Tessaro's note after the book, I was fascinated by the inspiration for the story. Two events in UK history that prompted the beginnings of The Debutante. What's more, there's even a story behind the shoebox itself. I won't tell you what it is, but the shoebox served as a catalyst in shaping The Debutante and the events that inspired the story really do prove that truth is stranger than fiction!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Brief But Interesting Pub News

So just some things I've come across on the web today:

Katherine Heigl to star in the movie adaptation of Gabaldon's Outlander? Could be. She's up next in One for the Money as the beloved Stephanie Plum. I think if she can pull it off and please the multitude of Janet E fans, she might be capable of anything. Here's the article with the teensy Outlander nod.

Tim Burton to direct Abe Lincoln. What?! I certainly hope so. Rumor has it that Burton is set to produce the film version of Seth Grahame-Smith's Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.

I checked out the American remake of Let the Right One In this weekend. More on that in another post, but I hadn't realized that it was a Hammer film. Hammer, a horror production co that's been defunct for a while now has been revived. Let Me In is just the first of the new films slated to hit screens in the coming months AND (and this is a big and for horror fans) they've teamed up with Random House to release a line of horror novels as well! Sweet! Here's more. Seems to be the UK division of RH, but we can hope the books make it across the pond, no?

(movie news hiding in here) I don't know about you, but I'm particularly fond of John Carpenter's The Thing. Something about creepy creatures in the snow... Anywho, there's a prequel set for release next year. We'll have to see how it turns out, but I'll be in line to see it for sure (if it gets theater distribution, that is).

Saturday, October 2, 2010

New Releases 10/05/10

Some of the new titles hitting shelves this week are:

And Then There Was One by Patricia Gussin

Kill the Dead by Richard Kadrey

The Debutante by Kathleen Tessaro

Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin

Desperate Souls by Gregory Lamberson

Innocent Monster by Reed Farrel Coleman

By Hook or By Crook by Ed Gorman & Martin Greenberg

Lord of Emperors by Guy Gavriel Kay (reissue)

Velocity by Alan Jacobson

Voltaire's Calligrapher by Pablo de Santis

Petty Magic by Camille deAngelis

The Dead Path by Stephen M. Irwin

New on DVD:
Nightmare on Elm Street
Four Boxes