Sunday, February 28, 2010

New Releases 3/2/10

Some of the new titles hitting shelves this week include:

The Dream of Perpetual Motion by Dexter Palmer -- Steampunk awesomeness!

The Dead Travel Fast by Deanna Raybourn -- this is a stand alone

The Cold Room by JT Ellison -- latest in the Taylor Jackson series

Drink the Tea by Thomas Kaufman

Out of Body by Stella Cameron

From Away by David Carkeet

Secrets of the Old Oak Tree by Dolores J. Wilson

Frame Up by John F. Dobbyn

Our Lady of Immaculate Deception by Nancy Martin -- a sort of spin off from her Blackbird Sisters series

House Rules by Jodi Piccoult

Hush by Kate White

New on DVD:
2012
Where the Wild Things Are

New reviews at bookbitch.com:
The New Dead edited by Christopher Golden
Street Magic by Caitlin Kittredge
The Art of Eating In by Cathy Erway

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Pre Pub Book Buzz -- Prince of Mist by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Oh, I am just dying to get my hands on this book (one of many)!

Zafon is just a truly amazing author. I was completely blown away, as were many readers, by Shadow of the Wind, a book that placed Zafon firmly in my favorite authors category. In fact, I'm thinking that I'm going to have to order two copies of this one so that I can keep mine and get one for the JJs.

I think I had heard about this book before last week, but when my PW arrived with the full page ad, I started to get super excited. Prince of Mist doesn't technically hit shelves here in the States until May 4, but it was originally released in 1993 in Spain. In fact, Prince of Mist is just one of four teen books that Zafon wrote before The Shadow of the Wind was released in Spain in 2001.

Like Shadow and its prequel, Angel's Game, Prince of Mist is translated by Lucia Graves, so I expect it to be just as great of a read as the others.

Here's the synopsis from Amazon UK:

Max Carver's father - a watchmaker and inventor - decides to move his family to a small town on the coast, to an old house that once belonged to a prestigious surgeon, Dr Richard Fleischmann. But the house holds many secrets and stories of its own. Behind it is an overgrown garden full of statues surrounded by a metal fence topped with a six-pointed star. When he goes to investigate, Max finds that the statues seem to consist of a kind of circus troop with the large statue of a clown at its centre. Max has the curious sensation that the statue is beckoning to him. As the family settles in they grow increasingly uneasy: they discover a box of old films belonging to the Fleischmanns; his sister has disturbing dreams and his other sister hears voices whispering to her from an old wardrobe. They also discover the wreck of a boat that sank many years ago in a terrible storm. Everyone on board perished except for one man - an engineer who built the lighthouse at the end of the beach. During the dive, Max sees something that leaves him cold - on the old mast floats a tattered flag with the symbol of the six-pointed star. As they learn more about the wreck, the chilling story of the Prince of the Mists begins to emerge.

Visit the official Prince of Mist website for a trailer and more, and don't forget to mark this one on your calendars (or preorder if you're like me and can't wait).

Friday, February 26, 2010

A TV Post

I have this obsession with BBC. Yeah, it's an obsession. I pay more for my cable package (more than I can currently afford that is) so that I can have BBCA and watch all of my lovely BBC shows that I adore so much.

I know I've talked about it here before -- Doctor Who (returning in April folks!), Torchwood (series four in the works but no air dates so far), Top Gear (only the most fabulous car show ever! Yes, I'm a girl and I watch THIS car show -- you have to see it to believe it.), the list just goes on and on.

Lately, I've been watching the two newest additions to BBCA (we get choice picks from BBC in case you have never watched):

The Inbetweeners is a raunchy and hilarious comedy about a group of teenage boys, amazingly played by a group of mid-twenty-something men and they do it fabulously. It airs on Wednesdays and I've been watching without fail. I mean this show is fall out of your chair funny! You really have to see it to believe it.

The other is Survivors, a sci-fi show that airs on Saturday evenings and that I look forward to all week. In the show, a flu-like virus has wiped out most of the population. A handful of survivors has banded together and are trying to survive. It's cool. I mean really cool. Nevermind the fact that I love postapocalyptic plots like nothing else, this show is COOL! And I can't decide who my favorite survivor is. Abby would be the best choice, but Tom (Max Beesly) and Greg (Patterson Joseph -- from The Beach and Neverwhere) are tied for tops so far. They're both bad boys, sort of. Tom is definitely the antihero but Greg is showing some serious bad boy potential. The biggest thing is that you really don't know much about these characters so far. Tom was in prison and Greg just shows up in a Land Rover laden with supplies. The others have various back stories, but we're really just meeting them all and with the world ending, they can all reinvent themselves as they please. Which, of course, adds another dynamic to the show that I love.

Anyway, I thought I'd share. I missed Inbetweeners this week and was watching on OnDemand last night so it was fresh on my mind this morning. And the latest episode of Survivors is just one day away!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Finding Inspiration

Last fall I received a copy of Michelle Maisto's Gastronomy of Marriage, a food memoir studded with recipes and insights into a fellow foodie's kitchen.

This week I got in a copy of Cathy Erway's The Art of Eating In, a book about her experiences while Not Eating Out In NY -- that was the blog she began when she started her two years of not eating out in New York City. It was an experiment of sorts that emerged from the realization that although she enjoyed eating out, she also enjoyed cooking. And cooking in in NY was better for her budget.

The book is something of a companion piece to the blog -- one can follow the blog and read posts there and then pick up the book for an extra behind the scenes look at what else was going on while the blog was being written. Or if you were late discovering the blog (I came across it a few months back if I remember correctly) then you can read the book and then find the corresponding posts on the blog with recipes. And there are recipes in the book as well. Recipes I plan on trying.

It's still a food based memoir of sorts, but it's also a look at the food scene in New York from a different set of eyes. Sure, Cathy is cooking in for herself, friends, and family, but she also comments on the state of the various lesser known food movements -- lesser known to me anyway.

I'm not even sure if some of these things are going on in the Boulder/Denver area. Underground supper clubs and crazy cook offs are definitely something I'd like to look into. Her mention of various charcuterie and other classes she attends are definitely inspiration for me to seek out some of the same in my area. And her toying with no knead bread has ensured that I will be trying that very shortly. I wonder how high altitude effects it? Hopefully not at all -- note to self, find a high altitude baking class as first to attend : )

Not sure that I'll ever delve into urban foraging, short of berries I mean, and I will definitely not be embracing freeganism, I am enough of a germaphobe that it plagues my sense of safe and clean food -- yes, I eat raw fish, but no, I can't cook meat without washing my hands a million times in the process. Go figure. And I do eat cookie dough, but the idea of digging a day-old bagel out of a sack on the curb makes me cringe. I have a hard time eating yogurt but no problem eating a rare steak.

So, if you're a foodie like me. If you follow food blogs daily (I do, multiple ones) and if you get inspired to try new things in the kitchen, I definitely recommend checking out Erway's book and blog.

I'm thinking I won't be able to go whole hog for two years like Erway did, but I've been trying to cook in more now that I've got the produce delivery going on. And I'm seriously inspired to try something a little different. Will let you know how that turns out.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Street Magic -- Caitlin Kittredge

My final book in the League of Reluctant Adults Mini-Challenge (hosted by Literary Escapism). Yay! I finished a challenge (not that it was THAT challenging). But it was fun!

I have now read (if my count is correct) 13 of the League authors. And I've added new authors to my "Must Buy" list, and have already bought some.

DI Pete Caldecott is working a tough case. One little girl has been kidnapped and there are no clues. But then she receives a tip, from a man she'd thought dead for over 12 years. See, when Pete was 16, Jack Winter took her to the graveyard. Pete doesn't remember much of what happened, but Jack was dead and Pete was a mess for a while. Turns out Jack is very much alive and his tip leads right to the missing girl. Then two more children go missing and Pete must help Jack clean up in order to get his help on the case. Jack has the ability to see the dead and they have plagued him for years. His own solution has been turning to drugs. But no more. Pete will need him sober at with all his wits in order to solve this case. And Jack's unique magical abilities are definitely going to come in handy in more ways than one.

This is the first in Caitlin Kittredge's Black London series and it's fabulous! Dark and stormy with a twisty plot full or magic and creatures. It's a stand out in the urban fantasy genre for sure, at least for me. It felt fresh and new and quite unlike anything else I've read recently. And I really enjoyed the bits of Celtic folklore that I was able to pick out. I'm sure there's much more hiding in there as well. I'll have to read up on it.

Definitely highly recommending this one! Adding book two, Demon Bound, to my list to buy in March (I'll behave and wait another week to buy more books!).

Sunday, February 21, 2010

New Releases 2/23/10

Some of the new titles set to hit shelves this week are:

Heresy by S.J. Parris

The Infinites by John Banville

Split Image by Robert B. Parker -- latest in the Jesse Stone series

Black Hills by Dan Simmons

The Battle Sylph by L.J. McDonald

Battle of the Network Zombies by Mark Henry -- third in the Amanda Feral series

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin -- first in the Inheritance Trilogy

New on DVD:
Dead Snow -- Nazi zombie horror!
The Informant!
The Box
Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant
Everybody's Fine
Sorority Row

New reviews at Bookbitch.com:
The Last Surgeon by Michael Palmer
Nice Girls Don't Have Fangs by Molly Harper
Gone by Mo Hayder

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Pre Pub Book Buzz -- The Dead Travel Fast by Deanna Raybourn

I'm attempting to do some marathon reading today to make up for my Bioshock 2 hours. Yes, I admit that occasionally I become totally addicted to certain video games and have been mesmerized by Bioshock for the past week -- I've almost beat it, I think.

So after tearing myself away from it this morning, I sat down to read and clear out some of the TBR and review stacks.

I've just finished Deanna Raybourn's latest, The Dead Travel Fast, which is due out March 1. Raybourn, you may know, is the author of the amazing Lady Julia Grey novels, a series of Victorian mysteries with a delicious gothic tone. And The Dead Travel Fast takes that to yet another satisfying level.

The story concerns Theodora Lestrange, an orphan raised by her grandfather and determined to earn her way as an author. When, just a short time after her grandfather's death, Theodora receives an invitation to visit a school friend at her family's castle in Transylvania, Theodora knows that this might be just what she needs to inspire her novel. And she couldn't be more right. The villagers' strange superstitions and the dark and crumbling castle are exactly what she needs to begin writing her book. And Count Andrei, her friend's supposed betrothed, is a dark and handsome man that would play the perfect role of hero in a gothic romantic horror. But when events at the castle begin to resemble fiction more than real life, Theodora must decide whether to flee or stay and see this story through to the end.

A totally satisfying read in so many ways. You all know that I absolutely adore gothic tales and from the beginning I knew that Raybourn would not let me down. A great interlude from the series and I hear that she's hard at work on a new Julia Grey book as we speak (I can't wait!).

So mark your calendars for March 1 -- Silent in the Grave, Silent in the Sanctuary, and Silent on the Moor are all available now.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Mark of the Demon - Diana Rowland

My fourth book in the League of Reluctant Adults Mini-Challenge (hosted by Literary Escapism). One more to go!

I picked up Diana Rowland's debut (before the challenge actually, but I hadn't had a chance to read it) thanks to the fact that it takes place in Louisiana. Yes, that was a major deciding factor for me. In fact, I think I saw Louisiana in the cover copy and didn't even read any further because when I grabbed it for the challenge I couldn't even remember anything about the description.

Yep, true confession of a junkie.

In the book, Kara Gillian, a detective with the Beaulac PD, has snagged her first major case: The Symbol Man. It's been three years since the last Symbol Man body was found and back then Kara was only a street cop. She's been obsessed with solving the case for years, though, thanks to her talent as a summoner and has become the resident expert on the files. See Kara is one of few who can communicate with demons from another plane. The thing about the Symbol Man case is that Kara can feel the arcane magic that surrounds the victims, so she knows that the killer is someone who shares at least some of her knowledge of summoning. What she doesn't know is who he is or what his ultimate goal is. Kara is joined by FBI agent Ryan Kristoff, a man who's specialty is in investigating ritual murders. Kara will be have to careful not to let too much of her knowledge of the arcane slip unless she wants her fellow authorities to start looking to her as a possible suspect.

I thought this was a pretty promising debut. First, as Charlaine Harris pointed out, it's a great mix of police procedural and urban fantasy, so a great blend of paranormal and mystery. I love that it's a darker book as well, along the lines of Allison Brennan's latest, Original Sin (I definitely recommend checking out both -- I think this is definitely a case where if you like one you'll like the other and then you'll have two new authors to add to your collections!). I did find that Kara comes across a little young in some spots, and by this I mean a little greener than her years of experience on the force might make her. But I also thought it was an endearing quality in the character as well: she's a kind of fun with an attitude and a penchant for donuts.

The second book in Diana Rowland's Kara Gillian series is due out later this month (Blood of the Demon, Feb 23). I'd suggest running to your local bookstore and grabbing both at the same time. I definitely did not want Mark of the Demon to end when I turned the last page!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Because Sometimes My Impatience Pays Off

I should be saving money these days. Somehow, though, the more I tell myself that, the more the urge to spend strikes. I've been fairly good about the book buying this month, but it's only just begun. My biggest haul was last week at the used bookstore and I applaud myself for bringing home some books that I was actually looking for and for only spending credit. But, I did just place an order for some new titles... I limited myself to three (to make the free shipping) and have told myself that under no circumstances am I to use the coupons I keep getting to hit the bookstore this month.

And then there are the three books I pre-ordered in December. Yeah, those don't count as this month's purchases, but they came in this month, so technically... But, I will say that I am super pleased that I treated myself since they are all UK books with no discernible US release date just as of yet.

The books in question are Claire Seeber's Bad Friends, Sarah Rayne's House of the Lost, and Mo Hayder's Gone. Rayne and Hayder's titles both hit shelves on Feb 4 and I received them last week courtesy of Cynthia at High Crimes, who will graciously take my orders even if they are three months down the line. She understands the obsessions of readers.

And I hear that Seeber has a new book hitting shelves there in April, called Never Tell. So I might just have to order that one as well. But I'll make sure I finish these others first so that I'm not adding to the current hoarding going on in this house.

But really I just couldn't resist them. I enjoyed Seeber's debut, Lullaby, so much that I figured it was worth the cost for another and I always order Rayne and Hayder as soon as they're available overseas (Rayne never has actual US releases and Hayder's are almost a year later than the UK dates).

See, I was lucky enough to snag a copy of Skin straight off the UK presses, but then it sat. Now this is because I schedule my review books according to release date so that (if I stay on track) my reviews are ready to post the week that the book is released, maximizing the potential of catching someone's eye while the book is available so that they'll run out and buy it themselves. Because I want all readers to find the books that they will fall in love with. And I fall in love so easily with a book for so many reasons. So I just have to share them.

Skin sat so long (shame on me because I always say it's worth the extra cost as long as I read it before it's available here) that it was actually due out on shelves in the US before I finally got to it. But get to it I did and it was a total one sitting read. Just amazingly tense and a wicked quick plot. And after the ending of Skin, no way was I going to wait another year to find out what was going to happen. I preordered Gone and when it arrived, I pounced. Literally. I think I did a happy dance first because it was here. It landed on my doorstep Saturday afternoon and by midafternoon V-Day, I was halfway through. And I would have finished it, too, if Bioshock 2 hadn't gotten in the way for a couple of hours.

Anyway, it was a slight delay, but only just.

Gone is the latest in the Jack Cafferey series and I know that I've been spotty about posts regarding the rest of the books. I think it will be ok to deviate and jump straight to this one and then revisit the others at a later date, though. Why? Because the books can very much be read as individual books. The series comes in with more character development and the crazy clues and hints of what's to come. But each book is a complete tale in and of itself. Until you get to the end and realize that it's going to lead directly into the next book. Gone was no different. Flea's dad appears and says that something is coming. Cryptic, much?

So you can read Gone as a new case. A car jacker takes a car from a woman, realizing later that there is a kid in the backseat. Caffery is certain that it's the car the jacker wants and the kid is an inconvenience, that she'll be dumped someplace public so that she can go home to her family safe and sound. But when Flea Marley approaches Caffery with her own theory, things start to get hairy. Flea believes that this jacker has done the deed before. And she's starting to think that there is something about the kids after all. Which turns this into a kidnapping case with a possible pedophile involved. With the latest victim still out there, Jack knows that time is running out. And then another attempt is made. Jack must figure out the connection before the guy tries again, and Jack is certain that he will try again. But this one is clever and the Walking Man warns Jack of that. It's only later that this will become undeniable clear.

I love that Hayder is always planning ahead. The reader never knows what might be important and what might not be (I secretly think that everything is important because everything has possibility in a Mo Hayder book). For example, what was a peripheral case in Skin became the main plot in Gone. Characters who seemed unimportant become major players. And who knows what will come out of Gone for use later on. All I know is that each new Hayder book is a creepy treat. An engaging and thrilling read that always keeps me guessing and rooting for Jack, and now Flea, to solve the case and come out alright in the end. And they both have so much baggage that needs to be dealt with.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Pre Pub Book Buzz - The New Dead ed Christopher Golden

Get the ultimate zombie fix with this new anthology from some of horror's best and brightest stars!

I'd meant to post this Saturday, but if you read how hectic the day was, well... So here it is today. And, it's hitting shelves tomorrow. So I barely squeaked by!

Here's the promo description from Christopher Golden's New Dead site:

The hungry dead have risen. They shamble down the street. They hide in back yards, car lots, shopping malls. They devour neighbors, dogs and police officers. And they are here to stay. The real question is, what are you going to do about it? How will you survive? How will the world change when the dead begin to rise?

Stoker-award-winning author Christopher Golden has assembled an original anthology of never-before-published zombie stories from an eclectic array of today's hottest writers. Inside there are stories about military might in the wake of an outbreak, survival in a wasted wasteland, the ardor of falling in love with a zombie, and a family outing at the circus. Here is a collection of new views on death and resurrection. With stories from Joe Hill, John Connolly, Max Brooks, Kelley Armstrong, Tad Williams, David Wellington, David Liss, Aimee Bender, Jonathan Maberry, and many others, this is a wildly diverse and entertaining collection...the Last Word on the New Dead.

And here's the table of contents, so you know what you're in for:

"Lazarus" by John Connolly
"What Maisie Knew" by David Liss
"Copper" by Stephen R. Bissette
"In the Dust" by Tim Lebbon
"Life Sentence" by Kelley Armstrong
"Delice" by Holly Newstein
"Closure, LTD" by Max Brooks
"The Wind Cries Mary" by Brian Keene
"Family Business" by Jonathan Maberry
"The Zombie Who Fell From the Sky" by M.B. Homler
"My Dolly" by Derek Nikitas
"Second Wind" by Mike Carey
"Among Us" by Aimee Bender
"Ghost Trap" by Rick Hautala
"The Storm Door" by Tad Williams
"Kids and Their Toys" by James A. Moore
"Shooting Pool" by Joe R. Lansdale
"Weaponized" by David Wellington
"Twittering from the Circus of the Dead" by Joe Hill

The book hits shelves tomorrow (2/16) and there will be nation-wide signing events featuring the authors. For a full list, visit the link listed above.

I started reading this one over the weekend and so far it's a truly excellent collection. "In the Dust" and "Delice" are two of my favorites so far -- "Delice" is based on the infamous LaLaurie's of New Orleans and I love the setting in "In the Dust." "What Maisie Knew" is surprisingly disturbing. I've not read David Liss before, but given what I know of his books (or maybe what I don't know) this one came as a bit of a surprise. And I totally love the way "Lazarus," "Copper," and "Life Sentence" end.

For a sneak peak, you can visit the St. Martins site for the book (http://us.macmillan.com/thenewdead) and read some of these stories yourself.

I'm up for more zombie reading this evening (spent yesterday playing Bioshock 2 and didn't get anything done except for dinner - and most of Mo Hayder's latest, actually. So a pretty productive, lazy day.).

Happy Reading!

New Releases 2/16/10

Some of the new titles hitting shelves this week include:

The Last Surgeon by Michael Palmer

Horns by Joe Hill

Ruby's Spoon by Anna Lawrence Pietroni

Letters to My Daughter by George Bishop

The New Dead ed Christopher Golden

Hester by Paula Reed

The Man From Beijing by Henning Mankell

New On DVD:
Law Abiding Citizen

Contest Winners

We've got Horns winners. I know I delayed and I do apologize. I tried to go computer free for V-Day and was mostly successful.

Anyway, congrats to: Erikaleigh and DonnaS!


Saturday, February 13, 2010

I Owe You Blogs

Agh. It's Saturday night and I know I owe you a pre-pub post (and I have just the book in mind). I'm going to try to get to it tonight, but we're having company over for seafood gumbo.

Being from Louisiana, it's really tough to get through some of the homesickness that comes from being away. It's Mardi Gras weekend down there right now and since LA is part of my territory for work, I spend a lot of time researching different events and local history groups and such. So I found out that my hometown was having a gumbo cookoff today as part of the Mardi Gras festivities and I decided that I had to make one too.

Well the gumbo is fine, but I decided to stick to my Louisiana theme and make a Louisiana Syrup Cake, which uses Steens Cane Syrup. If you have never had Steens, you really don't know what you're missing. It's this amazing, thick syrup -- kind of like molasses but it has a flavor all it's own. I've never made this cake before, but I thought it would go well with the gumbo and would be a nice thing to make for Mike since tomorrow is V-Day.

I had one bottle of Steens brought that we brought back with our haul last summer. It wasn't opened. Man I was really anticipating this cake. I mean my mouth was watering! Well, the bottle was stuck to the shelf, but I couldn't figure out why. After pulling for a couple of seconds, I heard it come loose with a sucking sound. And then Steens went pouring everywhere! The bottom of the bottle broke off, still attached to the shelf. Even now, hours later, we're still finding pools of syrup.

So this has been my day. Steens syrup disaster. Followed by a replacement cake that suffered from high altitude disease (exploding and then imploding), which also caused a mess.

But the gumbo is ready and we're just waiting for our company to arrive. So like I said, I owe you some blogs. If I'm not totally beat, I'll make 'em up tonight. If not, I'll get 'em done in the morning.

And excuse my no doubt blatantly present typos here. I'm hurrying a bit.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Michael Palmer News

I featured Michael Palmer's latest, The Last Surgeon, in one of my Pre Pub Book Buzz posts a couple of weeks ago to go along with the contest for an autographed copy of the upcoming book courtesy of Palmer.

I have some news for all of you now regarding the book and various events that Palmer will be hosting. Here's the various details from Michael Palmer's email:

Book launch party and benefit fundraiser for THE LAST SURGEON:
Michael Palmer will be hosting the event on February 16th, 2010 to benefit the Massachusetts General Hospital Home Base Project
The party will be held at the Paradise Rock Club in Boston -- an evening full of books, auctions, music, great food, and appearances by some of the country's best writers, including Lee Child, Tess Gerritsen, Gary Braver, Lisa Gardner, Joseph Finder, Andre Dubus III, Mark Vonnegut, William Martin, Sandra Lee, and Hank Phillippi Ryan.

If you are from the New England area, I [Palmer] would be thrilled if you could attend. All ticket proceeds and a portion of the book sales will benefit the Home Base PTSD Program. It's a great event for a great cause. You can purchase tickets by visiting
LiveNation.

For those who can't make it, I encourage you to help spread the word. Between today and February 16th, 2010, I'll be conducting a little fundraiser of my own via social media. It's free to participate and a great way to help out. Here's how it works:

1. I'll donate $1 to the Mass General Hospital Red Sox Homebase PTSD Foundation for every additional Facebook fan
(
http://www.facebook.com/michaelpalmerthrillers) I acquire until book launch on February 16th, 2010. I encourage you to spread the word and to suggest for your friends to become fans-- it's an easy way to help a great
cause.


2. For you Twitter users, I'll also be donating an additional $1 for all followers who adopt THE LAST SURGEON Twibbon. If you have a Twitter profile, simply click here (
http://twibbon.com/cause/HomeBase-PTSD-Fundraiser/Join) to get started. I would love it if you could help out in some way to support this event.

If you cannot attend [the launch], I'd appreciate it very much if you could help pass along this message to contacts that might be of interest. Tweet about it, post it to Facebook or your blog-- many thanks for helping spread the word.
Palmer's cause is a really great one and I'd encourage all of you readers out there to do what you can. Attend the launch if you're in the area. Blog about this to spread the word. And friend Michael at Facebook!
I started reading this one last night so that I can review it for the Bookbitch site in time for the release on Tuesday, February 16. I must have read half of it in one sitting before realizing that I'd need to tear myself away and get some sleep. I've been a fan of Palmer's work since I was a teen and stumbled across Extreme Measures. I've been a fan of medical thrillers since then and all thanks to that book. 
Anyway, I'll have a post for you as soon as I've finished reading. Mark your calendars, Feb 16!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Nice Girls Don't Have Fangs -- Molly Harper

My third book in the League of Reluctant Adults Mini-Challenge (hosted by Literary Escapism).

I picked up Molly Harper's Nice Girls Don't Have Fangs while browsing at the bookstore one night. You know, money to burn (not) and space in the ever growing TBR stack up for grabs! Who am I kidding? Spur of the moment shopping is my forte. I'll gladly splurge on books and eat bologna and ramen for a month if that's what it takes!

Jane Jameson was just fired. And after all of her efforts to make the children's section at the Half-Moon Hollow library great. But that doesn't matter. To add insult to injury, her severance is a gift certificate for $25 at the local Shenanigans. After enough electric lemonade to leave her totally toasted, Jane lucks into meeting Gabriel Nightengale. But on Jane's drive home, her car gives out, leaving Jane to make it home on foot. Then, as if the night wasn't a total wash already, some bonehead local mistakes her for a deer and shoots her! Jane awakens to find that Gabriel did come to her rescue, but she was already a goner. So now she's a vampire, unable to keep down solid food and looking for a new job with some major limitations. On the bright side, her skin has never been better. But how does a newly undead break the news to her folks? As Jane navigates her way through her new existence, someone else has made it their goal to make things as hard for Jane as possible. But when Jane is framed for murdering a fellow vamp, telling her parents that she's changed to an all liquid diet is no longer the toughest part of her new life.

I love it! Funny and fun. Definitely a must for Charlaine Harris fans. And yet another author added to the "Must Buy" list. Make that the "Must Buy Immediately" list.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Want a Copy of Joe Hill's Horns?

That's right! How cool is it that I get to run a Joe Hill contest?

This contest is also courtesy of the fantastic Katrina and she's letting me give away two (2) copies (US residents only and no PO Boxes).

I'm starting this one tonight to review later this week. If you read my Pre Pub post from Jan 30, though, you know how excited I've been about this book. And I really hope that I've succeeded in getting it added to some of your "To Buy" lists as well.

Alright, leave me a comment here (with your email addy) before midnight Saturday (2/13) to get your name entered. I'll announce winners the following morning and send email notifications as well.

And, if you blog about the giveaway and send me a link, I'll add your name in as a second entry.

Good luck, readers!


Bricklayer Winners

Alrighty, used the Random Number Generator.

First winner is: Cheryl

Second winner is: Sharon

I'll be emailing both of you to get your preferred mailing info so that I can send it along to the folks at wiredset for your copies.

Thanks for playing and I'll be announcing ANOTHER contest this afternoon. So stay tuned!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Contest Reminder

Just a reminder, folks, today is the last day to get your name entered for one of two copies of Noah Boyd's debut thriller, The Bricklayer. For contest details, visit this post.

Greywalker - Kat Richardson


My second book in the League of Reluctant Adults Mini-Challenge (hosted by Literary Escapism). And yep, Kat Richardson is also from Seattle!

Greywalker hit shelves in 2006, launching the Harper Blaine series. There are now four books in the series (Poltergeist, Underground, and Vanished). Book five in the series, Labyrinth, is due out in October.

After being attacked on the job, PI Harper Blaine is technically dead for two whole minutes. When she wakes up, she finds that she's seeing some strange things. Sure that it's a side effect of her injury, she returns to the hospital where she's told that she's not entirely wrong. Turns out Harper is a Grewalker: able to see and walk in the world between ours and death. But Harper hasn't learned how to control her ability and has a tendency to slip at inopportune moments, something that could cause more than a little trouble in her day to day life. Meanwhile, Harper has been hired to work two cases. In the first, she's supposed to track down an organ for a man who claims it belonged to his family and went missing after shipping to Seattle. Her second case seems like a simple missing persons at first: find a local college kid who's been avoiding his mother for the past 6 weeks. Neither case is that simple, however, and both will force Harper to further develop her Greywalker ability or possibly die trying.

I enjoyed my first Kat Richardson and am going to be picking up book two shortly. I did think, though, that there were some first book issues, mainly in that there is so much to establish with a new series that is different from what's out there. I didn't find that the story necessarily suffered for it -- it wasn't slow or bogged by details -- but I did find myself wishing there was more on the Grey and Greywalking in this first book. It's a series, it'll all be there eventually : ) I also found myself much more interested in one of Harper's cases than the other. Might have been my current reading mood, though, so I'll leave that for you to decide.

Overall, an interesting read and definitely some new elements in the genre.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

New Releases 02/09/10

Some of the new titles hitting shelves this week are:

Embrace the Night Eternal by Joss Ware -- second in the Envy Chronicles

The Wives of Henry Oades by Johanna Moran

Token of Darkness by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes

Perfect on Paper: The (Mis)adventures of Waverly Bryson by Maria Murnane

Coming of the Storm by Kathleen O'Neal Gear and Michael Gear -- first in the Battle for America series

Brava, Valentine by Adriana Trigiani

Devils in Exile by Chuck Hogan

The Postmistress by Sarah Blake

The Midnight House by Alex Berenson

A Dark Matter by Peter Straub

New on DVD:
Couples' Retreat
The Stepfather
The Time Travelers Wife
Endgame

New Reviews at Bookbitch.com:
Embrace the Night Eternal
Token of Darkness
Perfect on Paper
Succubus Blues by Richelle Mead

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Pre Pub Book Buzz - Hester by Paula Reed



I received an email from Unbridled about a week ago about a cross-promotion they were doing with St. Martins Press. They're sort of calling it "Dueling Scarlet Letter sequels." How fun!

Now, Scarlet Letter was not one of my favorite high school reading list books. I have a friend who's an English grad student and she's always tried to spin Hawthorne in a way that would appeal to me. Unfortunately, I think the damage was done all those years ago.

But I might have been wrong. The upcoming release of Paula Reed's Hester, which continues the story of Hester Prynne and daughter Pearl, has inspired Unbridled to launch a concurrent publicity plan for one of their backlist titles, Angel and Apostle by Deborah Noyes.

Noyes's book hit shelves in 2006 and also continues the story begun in The Scarlet Letter. Here's the synopsis from Unbridled:

At the end of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s classic novel, The Scarlet Letter, we know that Pearl, the elf-child daughter of Hester Prynne, is somewhere in Europe, comfortable, well set, a mother herself now. But it could not have been easy for her to arrive at such a place, when she begins life as the bastard child of a woman publicly humiliated, again and again, in an unrelentingly judgmental Puritan world.

With a brilliant and authentic sense of that time and place, Deborah Noyes envisions the path Pearl takes to make herself whole and to carve her place in the New World. Beautifully written with boundless compassion, Angel and Apostle is a heart-rending and imaginative debut in which Noyes masterfully makes Hawthorne’s character her own.


Reed's book hits shelves on February 16. Here's the synopsis from Reed's website:

Upon the death of her demonic husband, Hester Prynne is left a widow, and her daughter is left a wealthy heiress. Together they travel to England where Hester seeks a quiet life-only to find herself drawn into the circle of the most powerful Puritan of all time, Oliver Cromwell.

From the moment Hester donned the famous scarlet letter, it instilled in her the power to see the sins and hypocrisy of others, an ability not lost on the Lord Protector of the Commonwealth. To Cromwell, Hester's sight is either a sign of sorcery or a divine gift that Hester must use to assist the divinely chosen in his scheming to control England. Since sorcery carries a death sentence, Hester is compelled against her will to use her sight to assist Cromwell. She soon finds herself entangled in a web of political intrigue, espionage, and forbidden love.

Sweeping, engaging historical fiction, Hester will carry readers away to seventeenth century England with a deeply human story of family, love, history, desire, and the human ideal.

Two books inspired by one classic. Two very different takes on the futures of the characters involved. Undoubtedly two great reads just based on reviews thus far. I've been reading Noyes's release and can tell you that her lyrical writing makes for a totally engrossing read. Pearl as a strong-willed child growing up and being given more of a voice is a very appealing to even me, who has admitted to grudgingly making my way through Scarlet Letter over ten years ago.

And thanks to Noyes and Reed (and my sister who actually enjoyed reading Scarlet Letter in her own English class just last year, and my friend the English major) I'm thinking that Hawthorn might deserve another look now that I'm older and more mature (and now that I'll be choosing to read it on my own).

Deborah Noyes, according to her bio, has written multiple books for both children and adults. Her latest book, Captivity, is due out from Unbridled in June.

Paula Reed is an English teacher here in Colorado with a collection of historical romance novels already released.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

An Ender Post

Ever come across those books that are total institutions? Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game is like that. This insanely popular book was released in 1985 but was originally a short story published in 1977 in Analog Science Fiction and Fact, a sci-fi mag that's been running (albeit with a few name changes) since 1930.

Ender's Game won the Nebula for Best Novel in '85 and the Hugo in '86 and was nominated for the Locus in '86. Later books in the series have also been nominated and won multiple awards throughout the years.

Interestingly enough, Ender's Game and Bean's parallel story, Ender's Shadow, were both reprinted in YA editions (unchanged as far as I can tell) in 2002. Just a neat bit of trivia that shows the popularity of this series.

Now, I've not read Ender's Game yet. And I've had plenty of time to do so, not to mention the slew of major recommendations from friends. I think I've always been a bit intimidated by the series. I mean, I've read longstanding series before, but something about this one has always somewhat thrown me. I mean, what if I'm just not smart enough to GET it?

No need to fear any longer! For newbies to the series like me and old fans alike, Orson Scott Card and Jake Black have written The Authorized Ender Companion: The Indispensable Guide to the Universe of Ender's Game.

Cool, right?

The book is set up in an encyclopedic format with everything from plot synopsis of the various books, character bios, events, tech, and timelines. So if you're reading Bean's tale, Ender's Shadow and it's been a while since you last read Ender's Game, you can just flip through the companion and give yourself a refresher as you go.

Another really cool thing about this companion are the essays and the "Friends of Ender" chapter. The essays include illustrations of the tech in the series as well as an in-depth look at building an Ender screenplay. And then there's the "Friends" chap, where readers and fans from all over the country share their love of the series.

So if you're curious about the books, but haven't tried them, now is the perfect time! And, in addition to the main series timeline, there are some parallel books (mentioned above) as well as a handful of short stories. The companion can tell you exactly what to read when -- but start with Ender's Game first. It's like a Dummies guide for readers like me!

I am a Geek!

I really am. Really. In real life, I could totally benefit from a preview and delete like on my blog.

I just got home from the Lori Armstrong signing in Longmont. It was fun. There weren't many people there, so I'm sure the author remembers clunky me, but it was fun. The signing was hosted by High Crimes whose owner, Cynthia, who can sometimes be best described as my dealer (yeah, I need my regular book fix and even being broke can't really stop me for long -- I've only got two books on order right now, but I keep hoping for a lotto win so I can get more). And I got to meet fellow blogger Vickie, whose blog I hit every morning before I start my day.

As a total book junkie, I love it when authors I read come to town. They're totally my celebrities. But, awkward social person that I am, I either don't say anything or I walk away wondering why I bothered to open my mouth.

Yeah, I'm one of those. Too late now. Either way, I went. I added one to the crowd. And I bought a book for my friend (I'll send it to you in MD, Jen!).

Lori's touring for her latest mystery, -- first in a new series, I should add -- No Mercy, which I blogged about last week. It's a great read that's definitely left me wanting more, so I'll be moving on to her Julie Collins series shortly. From what I hear, Julie is a hot-headed girl who shoots tequila and cusses. Sounds like my kind of PI! I've got two of the five books in the series already, so I'm set for a couple of days at least : )

And for romance fans, Lori Armstrong also writes as Lorilei James. These are erotic westerns, readers. Very different from her Lori Armstrong books. In fact, the Lorilei James website comes with an under 18 warning! Yowza!

Anyway. I'm glad that Lori made the trip out to Colorado for her tour. And I'm super glad that Cynthia hosted a stop. Lori's in Wyoming tomorrow, so if you're in the area be sure to check out her appearances page for all of the details. And support your favorite authors and local bookstores by attending a signing! Even if you make an ass of yourself like I do.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Another Giveaway!

Hey, folks! So I have some great news for you guys and gals. Katrina at Wiredset.com is letting me host two giveaways. The first (starting today) is for Noah Boyd's The Bricklayer, a new thriller debut that hit shelves late last month.

Here's some info on the book from the promo material:

“Non-stop action and non-stop authenticity make this a real winner.”
— Lee Child

“Noah Boyd brings his FBI experience to this dazzling thriller. The pace is frenetic, the action is unique, and the drama intense. We have a new American hero in Steve Vail.”
— Patricia Cornwell

“Patricia Cornwell highly recommended this thriller to me and she was right on. The Bricklayer has terrific pace, surprises galore, and snappy dialogue in the appropriate places. Even better, it has a real hero. Move over Jack Reacher, here comes The Bricklayer.”
— James Patterson



Steve Vail isn’t looking for trouble. And he certainly isn’t looking to be a hero. But when someone starts killing high-profile enemies of the FBI and demanding millions to end the deadly spree, Vail is the only one with the skills, smarts, guts—and disregard for the rules—to do what needs to be done.

...
THE BRICKLAYER, Noah Boyd (a pseudonym for a former FBI agent), introduces Steve Vail, a sexy, tough guy who hates authority almost as much as he loves catching killers. The suits can’t control him. Criminals can’t outsmart him. And readers won’t be able to resist him...

Boyd draws on his twenty years as an FBI agent tracking serial killers to write a thriller that sizzles with authenticity. Through Boyd’s insider perspective, readers get a rare look into the criminal mind—and a behind-the-scenes tour of FBI politics and procedures.

Witty, sexy, and filled with sophisticated and harrowing action scenes,
THE BRICKLAYER has enough plot twists to keep readers engrossed all the way to its jaw-dropping, surprise ending—and leave them gasping for more.

With a Lee Child blurb, who wouldn't be scrambling to get their hands on a copy? To read and excerpt and find out more about The Bricklayer, visit HarperCollins's official page here.

Contest Details:

I've got two (2) copies to giveaway so leave me a comment here before midnight on Monday, February 8 if you'd like to enter to win (US only, please), and remember to include your email (so I can get in touch with you if you win).

The books will be coming direct from the publicity team, so I'll be contacting winners via email (in addition to announcing here) to get their preferred mailing addresses (no PO boxes) on Tuesday, February 9.

And so as not to totally overwhelm you, check back in a few days for another super cool giveaway.