Monday, January 31, 2011

It's Freezing Here!

Well it was an interesting weekend in Colorado weather. Friday was warm enough for me to turn off the heater and open the windows. Ah, how I miss it already. By Saturday the temps outside were much too cold to leave the heat off and it's just gotten gradually colder since.

I woke up this morning to the beginning of our two days of snow and literally freezing temps -- the highs for tomorrow and Wed are in the negatives. Bleh! Good thing I have a cabinet full of tea and a huge TBR stack to keep me busy when I'm not working.

I'd had plans to attend some author events this week, but I'm not sure if the roads will cooperate now. More on that later. I've got some snowy recs for you this week (recent reads of mine that will keep you busy in nasty weather!).

First up is Paula Brackston's The Witch's Daughter, which came out just a couple of weeks ago.

In the book, readers are introduced to Elizabeth Anne Hawksmith, a witch who has lived for over three centuries. Always on the run and always on guard, Elizabeth settles into a new home and meets Tegan, a teenage girl who shows promise as a potential protege. As Elizabeth begins to teach Tegan what she knows, she also tells the girl stories from her own past, stories meant to warn Tegan against an enemy that is always close behind. Elizabeth briefly called him savior, but Gideon Masters turned out to be a wicked man. His one desire is to have Elizabeth for his own, and he's willing to do whatever it takes to make that happen.

I loved the stories of Elizabeth's past lives. I could have read an entire book about each of them to be honest. This is not Brackston's debut, but it is her fiction debut here in the states. The Witch's Daughter was previously released overseas as The Book of Shadows. No word as of yet if any of her other current UK titles will make it our way, but I'd definitely like to see what she might have up her sleeve next. I only wish that Witch's Daughter had been a bit longer so that I could have spent more time with Elizabeth and her tale.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

New Releases 2/01/11

Some of the new titles hitting shelves this week are:

First Grave on the Right by Darynda Jones

Autumn: The City by David Moody

The Curse-Maker by Kelli Stanley -- follow up to Nox Dormienda

13 Rue Therese by Elena Mauli Shapiro

The Tudor Secret by C.W. Gortner -- first in the Elizabeth I Spymaster Chronicles

Revolution: The Year I Fell In Love and Went to Join the War by Deb Olin Unferth

Jane Goes Batty by Michael Thomas Ford

The Baker Street Letters by Michael Robertson (paperback release)

Fatal Error by JA Jance -- Ali Reynolds #6

The Pioneer Woman: Black Heels and Tractor Wheels by Ree Drummond

Blood Wyne by Yasmine Galenorn -- Sisters of the Moon #9

The Devotion of Suspect X by Keigo Higashino

New on DVD:
Let Me In
Never Let Me Go

New reviews at Bookbitch.com:
First Grave on the Right
Autumn: The City
The Curse-Maker

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Pre-Pub Book Buzz: A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

It's sunny out, but the temps aren't quite where I'd like them so I'm wrapped up with a throw and a hot cup of tea while I spend my weekend immersed in Deborah Harkness's A Discovery of Witches.

Here's what the publisher is saying about Harkness's latest:

On February 8, 2011, Viking is proud to publish A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES, the debut novel from history professor Deborah Harkness and the first book in the All Souls trilogy. A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES created a sensation at the 2009 Frankfurt Book Fair—translation rights have been sold in 33 countries so far—and has already captured the attention of over fifty book bloggers on both sides of the Atlantic. With rave reviews..., it’s clear that Deborah Harkness is a writer to watch.


A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES

begins on a late September afternoon when Diana Bishop, a bright, young historian studying amidst the ancient stacks of Oxford’s Bodleian library, calls up a medieval manuscript of alchemical illustrations. As soon as she picks it up Diana realizes that the book—Ashmole 782—is an enchanted object of untold power. As it turns out, Diana is not only a first-rate scholar of seventeenth- century chemistry but also a descendant of a long and distinguished line…of witches. She’s spent her adult life distancing herself from her supernatural destiny, and after a quick look at Ashmole 782 she sends the book back to the stacks and her magical history with it.


However, Diana isn’t the only one who has noticed that the manuscript has resurfaced, and her discovery immediately sets the fantastical underworld stirring. It soon becomes apparent that Ashmole 782 is a coveted treasure that’s been lost for centuries and Diana is the first and only being that has met the terms of its spell. Soon she finds herself beset by members of all three magical species—daemons, witches, and vampires—who swarm upon Oxford, seeking the text. She finds a crucial ally in Matthew Clairmont, a dashing geneticist and a vampire, whose preeminence in his field has been achieved after years upon years upon years of study. The two team up despite an age-old enmity between their species, becoming closer over candlelit dinners, supernatural yoga classes, and a trip to Matthew’s ancestral home (well, castle) in southern France.


As their challenges grow, so do Diana’s powers, and together she and Matthew must battle the forces rallying against them to unlock the secrets of a manuscript whose pages promise clues to a mysterious past and uncertain future. Equal parts history and magic, romance and suspense, A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES is a mesmerizing and addictive read.


I've not made it quite halfway through this one yet, but I can definitely attest to it's "mesmerizing and addictive" tendencies! I'll keep you posted, but I can tell you right now that I love it! So watch for it, February 8, A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

What Does Tomorrow Hold?

Wouldn't you love to know what you could expect tomorrow? I know I certainly would -- sometimes. Blogging, I really take advantage of the delete key. I learned towards the end of high school that the rush of doing something last minute wasn't worth that extra time I could give myself to rethink something I'd written. If only I could have that extra time to think before I say or do something -- and if I knew what the end result would be...
That's the point of Cecelia Ahern's latest and newest to hit shelves this side of the pond. The Book of Tomorrow (previously released in the UK), is all about second chances. But it's also about secrets and family and living in the present as well.

Tamara was a rich girl with everything she ever wanted. Then one day she lost it all. Her father is dead and she and her mother have been forced to move to the country to stay with her aunt and uncle. When a traveling library passes by one afternoon, Tamara chooses a book to help kill some of the boredom. But the book isn't any normal book. Turns out it's a diary that begins to fill with Tamara's own handwriting, telling of things that will happen just one day in the future. Soon Tamara begins to realize that it is within her power to change things. But should she?

I've been a fan of Ahern's since I picked up P.S. I Loved You as a bookseller back in 2004. I fell in love with that book! Ahern's never disappointed me since. Ahern is truly chick-lit at it's best, with a touch of whimsy and usually a bit of magic mixed in. The Book of Tomorrow was still a little bit of a surprise, too, in that it was a little dark as well.

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Sworn by Gail Z. Martin

Have you read Gail Z. Martin? I hadn't before now. I have to tell you that if you're in the same boat I was before reading The Sworn, remedy it now. Now. Right this minute!

The Sworn is fifth in Martin's Winter Kingdom world. World. Not series. The first four books that take place in the Winter Kingdoms are part of the Chronicles of the Necromancer. The Sworn revisits those characters and the setting, but begins the new Fallen Kings Cycle.

Normally I wouldn't have jumped into this willy nilly. I'm a preparer. I like to have all the previous books down before I start a new title if I know that it's a continuation or part of an official series. But, Martin moved to Orbit for this one and I wasn't entirely sure until I started it that it was not the first in a unique series. Fortunately, true to the extras in the back of the book (and this post from the Orbit site), The Sworn is set up in a way that even a newbie like me can jump in without being lost. (A warning, though, the prologue to the book set me in the wrong direction. I know, I know. It's meant to catch readers up to speed, but it threw me off completely. If you're like me, though, trust me when I say you'll get it. It will make sense later.)

The Sworn begins six months after Chronicles of the Necromancer ends. Peace is not in the cards for the Winter Kingdoms. Signs point to war on the horizon, a War of Unmaking. A dark force that has been sleeping threatens to awaken and rise again and an enemy of the Winter Kingdoms would raise the dead as his army.

True to epic fantasy form, there are a ton of characters and subplots for almost each of them. It's clear that each is connected, some from the previous books and some yet to be brought together. The only way to sum it up easily for you here is obviously cryptic and I do apologize for that. Can't be helped, though. It's an intricately plotted story and a picture of amazing world building.

Ah. I loved it. Martin's Winter Kingdoms are filled with vampires and werewolves and magic and ghosts. I can't wait to find out what happens next. Fortunately, I have four books to go back to in the meantime : )

In order:

Chronicles of the Necromancer:
The Summoner
The Blood King
Dark Haven
Dark Lady's Chosen

The Fallen Kings Cycle:
The Sworn
The Dread (2012?)

Happy reading!

Delirious Winner!

And by random number generator, the winner is:

Tetewa

Congrats and thanks to everyone who entered!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

New Releases 1/25/11

Some of the new titles hitting shelves this week are:

The Sworn by Gail Z. Martin -- first in the Fallen Kings Cycle, fifth in the Winter Kingdoms world

The Fallen Blade by Jon Courtenay Grimwood -- first in the Vampire Assassin trilogy

The Fates Will Find Their Way by Hannah Pittard

Little Princes by Conor Grennan

The Book of Tomorrow by Cecelia Ahern -- US release

Merciless by Mary Burton

Delirious by Daniel Palmer -- which I'm giving away here

The Anatomy of Ghosts by Andrew Taylor

Death's Disciples by J Robert King

Harbinger of the Storm by Aliette de Bodard -- second in the Obsidian and Blood series

The Cypress House by Michael Koryta

A Cup of Friendship by Deborah Rodriguez

Death's Sweet Embrace by Tracey O'Hara -- second in the Dark Brethren series

The Headhunter's Daughter by Tamar Myers -- follow up to The Witchdoctor's Wife

New on DVD:
Red
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest
Red Hill

New Reviews at Bookbitch.com:
Little Princes
The Sworn
The Book of Tomorrow
Delirious

Thursday, January 20, 2011

2011 Edgar Noms Are Up

The 2011 Edgar Nominations have been posted. How many have you read? I've got some work cut out for me considering there are so many great nominees that I've not yet read!

Best Novel:

Caught by Harlan Coben
Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin
Faithful Place by Tana French
The Queen of Patpong by Timothy Hallinan
The Lock Artist by Steve Hamilton
I'd Know You Anywhere by Laura Lippman

Best First Novel

Rogue Island by Bruce DeSilva
The Poacher's Son by Paul Doiron
The Serialist: A Novel by David Gordon
Galveston by Nic Pizzolatto
Snow Angels by James Thompson

Best Paperback Original:

Long Time Coming by Robert Goddard
The News Where You Are by Catherine O'Flynn
Expiration Date by Duane Swierczynski
Vienna Secrets by Frank Tallis
Ten Little Herrings by L.C. Tyler

Best YA:
The River by Mary Jane Beaufrand
Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King
7 Souls by Barnabas Miller and Jordan Orlando
The Interrogation of Gabriel James by Charlie Price
Dust City by Robert Paul Weston

Mary Higgins Clark:
Wild Penance by Sandi Ault
Blood Harvest by S.J. Bolton
Down River by Karen Harper
The Crossing Places by Elly Griffiths
Live to Tell by Wendy Corsi Staub

For the rest of the noms, visit the Edgar Nominations site here. The awards will be presented on April 28 at the 65th annual banquet.

Congrats to all the noms.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Delirious by Daniel Palmer -- And a Giveaway!

Next Tuesday, Daniel Palmer's debut novel, Delirious, will hit shelves. Now normally I'd wait till you can actually get the book to start telling you how great it is, but I have a copy to give away! And I have a link to another chance to win as well. How's that sound?

If Palmer's name sounds familiar, that's because it is. Daniel Palmer is the son of bestselling author Michael Palmer. I've been reading Michael Palmer's work since I was fifteen and the movie Extreme Measures prompted me to seek out the book it was based on. It's still my favorite for turning me onto this great author. So of course when I saw that his son was joining the family business, so to speak, I was super excited. I'm a firm believer that talent like this can definitely run in the family.

Daniel definitely didn't disappoint, proving with his debut that he's truly inherited his father's gift for suspense. Delirious is an intense techno-thriller that leaves you guessing until the very end.

Charlie Giles is kind of an overconfident ass. He's been out for number one for so long that he's forgotten how to be anything else. As the founder of a startup company that's created InVision, the latest in entertainment technology, he's become incredibly successful, and when SoluCent buys out Charlie's company, keeping Charlie and his most trusted employees on to run the division, it seems like nothing can bring Charlie down. Except maybe himself. See Charlie's family has a history of mental problems and when strange things start happening, Charlie has to wonder if he could be responsible. He's fired for surfing porn and making threats, actions he doesn't remember. He's become incredibly paranoid and is convinced someone is out to get him -- which is either true or a sign that he's losing his mind. And now he's on the run trying to clear his own name in hopes that he can figure out what's going on.

I love the twists in this book. With Charlie as narrator, the reader sees what he sees. And since he's not sure if he could be going crazy, neither is the reader. It makes for a great manipulation of the plot and definitely ratcheted up the suspense for me. Daniel Palmer is definitely one to watch. Delirious is a great thriller and I see many greats to come from this author.

Now comes the part I'm sure you've all be waiting for. How can you win a copy of Delirious? Well first, Palmer is giving away copies himself. Visit his Facebook page here for details.

For me... just leave me a comment here with your email address to enter. Super easy. (US only, please.) I have one signed advance copy to give away, courtesy of Daniel Palmer. I'll leave the contest open through this weekend and will draw a name Monday morning.

Delirious officially hits shelves on Tuesday, Jan 25, so mark your calendar!

Good luck and happy reading, folks!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Senseless Winner!


And the winner is:

Kay

Congrats, Kay! I'll be sending an email your way.

Thanks to the rest of you for reading and for entering. I do have some other giveaways coming up. I'm thinking next one will start tomorrow. Dets to come!

Monday, January 17, 2011

A WOW Debut!

It's hard for me to get motivated to do much when it's cold and nasty out. Fortunately one of the few things that I can always get up the energy to do is read. Yep. So having a stack of fabulous fiction on hand at all times is pretty much a requirement in my house (it's rubbing off on my husband as well).

Last week I dove into Erin Kelly's debut, The Poison Tree. Now, I'm a huge fan of UK psychological suspense. Something in their school of writing is just so different from other books in terms of tone and style and Kelly's book is no different.

Fans of Ruth Rendell, Minette Walters, and Nicci French will truly enjoy Erin Kelly. (And at risk of throwing too many names at you, I'll add two more: Claire Seeber and Sophie Hannah. I've linked to a few of the ones I've posted on in past years in case you're interested in taking a look.)

The Poison Tree is the story of three friends, one magical summer, and the tragic event that changes their lives forever. Karen Clarke meets Biba Capel by accident one afternoon, but that afternoon changes everything for Karen. Biba and her brother Rex live in a world that is unlike anything Karen has ever imagined. They are free and open and basically everything Karen is not. But she wants to be part of their lives at almost any cost. As they spend more and more time together, however, Karen learns that there are secrets hidden in the siblings' pasts. It all comes to an end with one horrible afternoon. Ten years later, it is Karen who is picking up Rex from prison. As she and her daughter welcome Rex back into their lives, she reflects back on the path that led to this present. But can she continue to keep the secrets that she's harbored for over a decade?

My synopsis does this book no justice. Agh! It's one of those cases where I really don't want to give too much away, but the plot is quite complex to be summed up in just a paragraph. Suffice it to say it's fantastic! And just when you think you have it all figured out, Kelly adds another wrinkle to the mix.

Erin Kelly is definitely being added to my Must Read list after a debut like this one.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

New Releases 1/18/11

Some of the new titles hitting shelves this week are:

The Witch's Daughter by Paula Brackston

The Kensei by Jon Merz

Caribou Island by David Mann

Shadowfever by Karen Marie Moning

Tick Tock by James Patterson

Call Me Irresistible by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

The Girl in the Green Raincoat by Laura Lippman -- a Tess Monaghan novella

The Orchid Affair by Laura Willig (1/20)

The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown (1/20)

Heartstone by CJ Sansom

These Things Hidden by Heather Gudenkauf

New on DVD:
Buried
The Virginity Hit
Takers

New reviews at Bookbitch.com:
The Witch's Daughter
The Poison Tree by Erin Kelly
Across the Universe by Beth Revis

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Love of Books

I saw this quote from Anthony Doerr posted in today's Shelf Awareness and completely fell in love with it. I wanted to share:

...It is the weather in which one reads a book that interpenetrates the paper. It is the mood one is in, the mindset one carries, the hunger in one’s gut, the quality of the sunlight falling across the page. It is the little coffee stain on page 29, the twelve bright stars scratched ecstatically across page 302...

Who doesn't feel like that? I know I do. Doerr, author of Memory Wall: Stories, The Shell Collector, Four Seasons in Rome and About Grace, has summed up the reading experience beautifully.

The quote comes from a post on the Northwest Book Lovers Voices blog here. And is also posted on Simon and Schuster's page for Doerr here.

It's been ages since I read About Grace (2004 actually), but I remember being completely transported by Doerr's words.

And now, in this still snowy and maddeningly cold weather, with lack of sleep hanging over my head, I'm in between books and on the edge of starting a new experience with a new author (or an old favorite). Last night I was in England with a woman carrying a dark secret. Earlier this week, I was in a spaceship heading for a new world. I'm not sure where my reading travels will take me next, but I'm sure it will be fantastic.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Senseless by Mary Burton -- A Review and Giveaway

Did I mention that Mike and I got stuck driving in that wonderful (i.e. yucky, terrible, horrible) snowstorm that hit just before New Year's? Yeah, it was a blast, let me tell you.

We actually thought we were lucky. We'd stopped in Amarillo overnight and made it all the way to Colorado Springs before the snow literally just starting coming down in torrents. No visibility and traffic backed up for miles. What should have been about a 90 minute drive at that point (and this was after 18 hours on the road and an uncomfortable hotel stopover -- with the dog) ended up taking us between 3 and 4 hours. It was dark and freezing by the time we made it home.

Fortunately, because we'd started early enough, much of the snow driving was in daylight. Nice for many reasons, not the least of which bring that the roads would have been much worse at night.

Another good reason, I was sitting in the passenger seat and got in some good reading time as a distraction! I read half of Mary Burton's latest, Senseless.

It's been about six months since Eva Rayburn was released from her ten year prison stint for a murder she can't remember committing. Now in her late twenties, she's trying to get her life back on track and save up enough money to go back to college while keeping her past a secret from those around her. But when a body is discovered behind a homeless shelter where Eva sometimes volunteers, the police start looking at her as a possible suspect. The shelter was torched and the victim burned with a four pointed star, both clues pointing right back at Eva's own crime ten years ago when her sorority house burned to the ground and a fellow student was murdered. Eva walked away with her own four pointed scar and no memory of that night. Now she must figure out the truth behind the terrible events of her past in order to uncover the secrets behind her present.

Senseless is packed with suspense and Burton really did keep me guessing until the end. I'm curious to see what comes next for the characters. Eva's sister is the focus of Merciless, officially due out January 25.

And guess what! I've got a copy of Senseless to give away to one of my readers! Leave me a comment (with your email addy) here before midnight, Monday, January 17 to enter. I'll draw a name next Tuesday and email the winner. (US only, please.)

Good luck and happy reading!

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Radleys by Matt Haig

Ah, dysfunctional families with vampires. That's The Radleys in a nutshell. This was my first read by Matt Haig and I found it entirely enjoyable. The blurbs compared it to American Beauty, a film I was admittedly not that fond of, but the comparison is somewhat appropriate.

The book is a look inside a week at the Radleys home. An unusual week because the two elder Radleys, Helen and Peter, have been keeping a big secret from their now teenage children, Rowan and Clara. Both kids know there's something wrong, but when Clara decides to forgo meat, she kicks off a chain reaction that will blow the Radleys' secrets out of the water.

The Radleys are, of course, vampires. Notes from the Abstainer's Handbook are included : )

Haig's family of bloodsuckers are achingly normal. Their issues and worries are at heart the same worries and issues we all have, with a twist. Rowan in particular was a favorite character of mine. He kind of shines as the hero in my eyes.

The Radleys is quirky, paranormal fiction with heart and humor. Vampires living amongst us, taking out the trash, attending dinner parties, dating...

Sunday, January 9, 2011

New Releases 1/11/11

Some of the new titles hitting shelves this week are:

Mercy Kill by Lori Armstrong -- yay! Second in the Mercy series

Timeless by Alexandra Monir

Across the Universe by Beth Ravis

Best Laid Plans by Lynn Schnurnberger

The Sentry by Robert Crais

The Inner Circle by Brad Meltzer

The Borderlands by T. Jefferson Parker -- Charlie Hood series

Clara and Mr. Tiffany by Susan Vreeland

New on DVD:
The Social Network
Piranha

New reviews at Bookbitch.com:
Senseless by Mary Burton
Flip This Zombie by Jesse Petersen
Nocturne by Syrie James
The Radleys by Matt Haig
Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
Fade to White by Wendy Clinch

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Pre Pub Book Buzz -- Across the Universe by Beth Revis

So I wanted to tell you today about Across the Universe by Beth Revis, the latest teen release gathering much buzz amongst readers. The book hits shelves on Tuesday and I think it sounds completely fabulous!

Here's the official synopsis:

A love out of time. A spaceship built of secrets and murder.

Seventeen-year-old Amy joins her parents as frozen cargo aboard the vast spaceship Godspeed and expects to awaken on a new planet, three hundred years in the future. Never could she have known that her frozen slumber would come to an end fifty years too soon and that she would be thrust into the brave new world of a spaceship that lives by its own rules.

Amy quickly realizes that her awakening was no mere computer malfunction. Someone-one of the few thousand inhabitants of the spaceship-tried to kill her. And if Amy doesn't do something soon, her parents will be next.

Now Amy must race to unlock Godspeed's hidden secrets. But out of her list of murder suspects, there's only one who matters: Elder, the future leader of the ship and the love she could never have seen coming.

See?! Aren't you excited? I know I'm dying to read it so I'll bet you are, too.

For more on Revis and Across the Universe (and for access to a sneak peek at the book) visit Revis's official site (link above) or the official book site here. And if Penguin's latest teen releases are any indication (The Replacement, Matched, and Nightshade -- just to name a few), Revis's debut is going to be rockin' awesome!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

PC Cast Contest and Awakened Trailer


Hey, folks! I received some info on a cool new contest you might be interested in hearing about.

St. Martins Press is giving away a trip to Tulsa to meet and lunch with House of Night authors P.C. Cast.

The lucky winner will receive a 3-day, 2-night trip to Tulsa, Oklahoma for two people which includes airfare, hotel accommodations, a tour of Tulsa and lunch on Saturday, April 30th, 2011 at the Chalkboard Restaurant with the authors. In order to enter the promo, they must answer three questions about the series.

All you have to do is visit the official website and take the quiz to enter. Here's the link for more dets and to enter: http://www.houseofnightseries.com/tulsatrip.html and official rules.

But wait, there's more! St. Martins is also giving away a whole set of the House of Night series books at the House of Night Facebook page.

Pretty sweet, right? You have until the end of Jan 29th to enter for the trip. Good luck!