Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Words/Topics That Make Me Buy/Pick Up a Book

I've decided to jump on board with Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week the topic is: Top Ten Words or Topics That Make Me Buy or Pick Up a Book.




This is a fun one, you get to see my quirks here!

1. Gothic - yep, I'll give anything described as gothic a second glance or a more in-depth look over. It's not a guarantee I'll buy it but it's definitely one that catches my eye. 

2. Orphanages/hospitals/asylums - especially if they're abandoned! I can't explain it, but a story set in or concerning one of these settings is pretty much a guaranteed buy on my part.

3. Apocalyptic - whether it's an outbreak or a disaster (or a combination), I'm pretty much a sucker for apocalyptic and post apocalyptic tales

4. Dystopia - usually paired with number 3 as well! I don't really know why but I do know that it's a trend I'm very much on board with.

5. Mash up/Cross Genre - so these can be two very different things, but I particularly enjoy books that are a bit harder to pin down genre wise because they contain multiple elements. Sci fi/horror and mystery or fantasy and horror especially.

6. Victorian horror - ghosts especially! A lot of times this will have "gothic" in the description anyway, but I do so love horror set in the Victorian period.

7. Book/author comparisons - I read a LOT of debuts so seeing them compared to books and authors that I'm already familiar with is usually a pretty good selling point for me.

8. Horror - yep, I'm a horror fanatic. Anything horror will get my extra attention and consideration.

This was tough! I only managed to come up with 8. I guess there's less rhyme or reason to my reading choices than I thought. 


The Time of My Life by Cecelia Ahern

Hello, everyone! I'm a stop today on the TLC blog tour for Cecelia Ahern's latest, The Time of My Life.

Lucy Silchester's life is a bit of a mess - but she'd never admit it to anyone. It's been three years since her boyfriend dumped her she broke up with her boyfriend. She's working as an appliance manual translator but never told anyone that she doesn't speak Spanish. And her apartment is off limits to everyone who knows her. She says it's because it's her private space but that's not quite true. And so, Lucy's life has come calling. 

At first she ignores the appointment notices altogether, but life won't take no for an answer. Now she's forced to admit that something needs to change 'cause life isn't playing around anymore. 

I love, love, love Cecelia Ahern's books! Ever since P.S. I Love You, she's been tops on my regular must read list and she never disappoints.

The Time of My Life is signature Ahern but is also a tiny bit of a twist for her as well. So far we've had a couple of straightforward romantic tales in P.S. and Dear Rosie, then we had an imaginary friend in If You Could See Me Now, a land where lost things go in A Place Called Here, and a book that told the future in The Book of Tomorrow, so the extraordinary circumstances of life paying Lucy visits in the form of a tired and frumpy man are not unusual for Ahern. No, this time around I thought that the book had a little more attitude than I remember from earlier works. Maybe I'm imagining it, but The Time of My Life seemed a little more snarky.

Lucy is pretty fabulous and I admit that she's probably one of my favorites of Ahern's heroines to date. She frequently tells stories even to the reader, following up pieces of text with the words, "I lied." It starts to become obvious when she does it and it's amusing and a bit heartbreaking at the same time.

All in all, another excellent read from Ahern, with lots of laugh out loud moments and lots of heart!

To see what others on the tour thought, check out the official tour page here.

For more on Ahern and her work, visit her official website here. You can also like her on Facebook.



Monday, April 29, 2013

The Enchanted Life of Adam Hope by Rhonda Riley

Morning, all! I'm on the TLC blog tour for Rhonda Riley's The Enchanted Life of Adam Hope this morning.

So I've struggled coming up with my own synopsis on this one and I've decided simply to defer to the publisher's description. It's a once in a blue moon thing for me, but I'm coming up blank, especially in trying to decide which aspects are best left as surprises.

During World War II, with all of her male relatives at war or working at the cotton mill in her rural North Carolina town, teenager Evelyn Roe is sent to manage her family’s farm alone. While tending her land in the midst of a heavy rain, Evelyn rescues what she thinks to be a badly burned solider all but buried in the heavy red clay soil. As this stranger recovers at an alarmingly fast rate, it quickly becomes clear that he is not a man and perhaps not even one of us. With equal speed, Evelyn and this being, who becomes known as Addie and then Adam, fall deeply in love. The Enchanted Life of Adam Hope is the story of their profound connection, their children, and how both are tested by the world around them, the limits of time and the secret of Adam’s unusual origin and mysterious abilities.

This was semi miss for me. It was just a bit too odd for my taste, which I know sounds strange coming from me - I read odd stuff all the time. It is a strangely compelling read, I will give it that. I didn't love it but I didn't want to stop reading.

The Enchanted Life of Adam Hope has aspects of magical realism, something I'm always a bit iffy on anyway. Some of the most popular titles in that vein are books that I've not particularly enjoyed, while others, like Sarah Addison Allen, I can eat like candy. I wouldn't necessarily categorize Rhonda Riley's debut as magical realism, though. Yes, Adam's origins fit the bill as does his unique voice, and that's about it.

I was admittedly having pretty bad flashbacks of a book I absolutely loathed the entire time I was reading The Enchanted Life of Adam Hope. It's an issue that's all my own but I did find the book very reminiscent of two other books I've read - one, as I mentioned already, I quite simply hated (it's rare for me but it happens) and the other I enjoyed but was definite horror compared to this book club read.

I'm certain that this book will be rather well received amongst most readers and quite likely could have been for me if the timing had been right on the read. Unfortunately it just wasn't so. I couldn't manage to get my head in the right space for this book. I don't mean to be wishy washy. This was a hard post all around. What to say, how to say it... I still don't know. I can't seem to find adequate words this time around.

Rating: 3/5

To see other stops on the tour - and other more likely better voiced opinions - check out the official tour page here.

You can find Rhonda Riley on Facebook.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oKx7FIb6vas&feature=youtu.be




Sunday, April 28, 2013

New releases 4/30/13

Some of the new titles hitting shelves this week are:

NOS4A2 by Joe Hill

Scare Me by Richard Parker

The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Gailbraith

Dangerous Refuge by Elizabeth Lowell

Stolen by Michael Palmer

The Sisterhood by Helen Bryan

The Babylon Rite by Tom KNox

Necessary Evil by Ian Tregillis

Graveyard Child by M.L.N. Hanover

The Woman Upstairs by Claire Messud

Deadly Harvest by Michael Stanley

The Devil in Her Way by Bill Loehfelm

The Bronze Gods by A. A. Aguirre

The Body in the Piazza by Katherine Hall Page

The Eternity Cure by Julie Kagawa

The Ward by Jordana Frankel

The Program by Suzanne Young

The Last Academy by Anne Applegate

New on DVD:
Silver Linings Playbook
The Guilt Trip
Broken City

New reviews at Bookbitch.com:
Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight
Ex-Patriots by Peter Clines
London Falling by Paul Cornell

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Pre Pub Book Buzz: Broken Homes by Ben Aaronovitch

I'm bringing back Pre Pub Book Buzz -- or Books I'm Stoked About -- Saturdays! Why? Because there are always a ton of upcoming releases I can't wait to read and Saturdays are kind of a free day to do promote those.

My recent Paul Cornell read and the upcoming Mike Shevdon release have me in the mood for another UK urban fantasy favorite, the latest Peter Grant installment from Ben Aaronovitch. Unfortunately I have absolutely no clue when this book is due out here in the States. I do know that it's slated for release on June 27 in the UK, so I may have to special order mine overseas.

Here's the description from Goodreads:

A mutilated body in Crawley. Another killer on the loose. The prime suspect is one Robert Weil; an associate of the twisted magician known as the Faceless Man? Or just a common or garden serial killer?

Before PC Peter Grant can get his head round the case a town planner going under a tube train and a stolen grimoire are adding to his case-load.

So far so London.

But then Peter gets word of something very odd happening in Elephant and Castle, on a housing estate designed by a nutter, built by charlatans and inhabited by the truly desperate.

Is there a connection?

And if there is, why oh why did it have to be South of the River?

If you haven't read the series, the titles (in order) are:


And I'm just going to throw this out there, but I totally see Jesse Williams as Peter Grant when I read these.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Ex-Patriots by Peter Clines + A Giveaway

After finishing up Ex-Heroes I was pretty anxious to get started reading the follow up, Ex-Patriots. Fortunately I didn't have to wait long. (I admit I did abandon a just-barely-started read so that I could dive into this second of the series as soon as it arrived.)

If you haven't read either book yet, now's your chance. Read to the bottom for a chance to win your own set of Peter Clines books (one copy of Ex-Heroes and one copy of Ex-Patriots).

It's now been two years since the Zombocalypse. Two years and the survivors in LA have made it this far thanks to the superheroes that have helped them. The Mount is secure and has even grown to include some of the old Seventeens and their followers who gave up the gang in the wake of the big battle just one year ago. Though they've lost allies and friends along the way, they're making it. That doesn't mean they aren't all a bit relieved when a group of military men and women arrives on their doorstep. But these aren't just any military, they're Project Krypton -- the government's own attempt to create super soldiers with the help of science. Stealth, St. George, Zzzap, and Cerberus travel to Yuma to meet the folks in charge of the project and base. But when they arrive, they find that all is not as it seems. 

Oh, bureaucracy and zombies! Gotta love it.

With Ex-Patriots, Clines has definitely managed to keep up the momentum and excitement of his debut. This second in the series also keeps the same format, switching between present and past, with the flashback chapters again alternating narrators as was the case in in Ex-Heroes. This time around, the past is all told from the perspective of the folks involved in Project Krypton, again serving as an origin story and leading up to the events that are taking place in the present timeline of the tale.

Guys, this series is a must for any zombie fiction fan! I don't really know how else to say it. If you're in need of some shambling, flesh-eating monster tales to quench your Walking Dead craving, you should be reading Peter Clines. If you're a fan of super heroes, if you're a fan of apocalypse settings, heck, if you're a fan of a darn good read, you should be reading Peter Clines. Can I just say if you have any sense, you should be reading Peter Clines?

Rating: 5/5

And now for the giveaway. Super easy. Fill out the rafflecopter below to enter to win a set of Peter Clines books (Ex-Heroes and Ex-Patriots) before May 12 (US only and no PO boxes, please).


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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

London Falling by Paul Cornell

London police officers Kevin Sefton, Tony Costain, and DI James Quill are running out of time. Operation Goodfellow, set to take down the king of London himself, mob boss Rob Toshak, has failed to turn up evidence and the big bosses are only willing to allow one last shot. Sefton and Costain have been working undercover within Toshak's organization and even they have nothing they can use. It all comes to a head on New Year's Eve when Toshak and his crew are arrested, but when Toshak dies under gruesome and mysterious circumstances - while in police custody and just moments after agreeing to confess - the team finds themselves with a new assignment. Convinced there's a mole within their station, Quill, Sefton, and Costain, along with analyst Lisa Ross, who has her own reasons for wanting to see Toshak go down, are given a new task: find the mole and solve Toshak's murder. What they find is beyond explanation. A witch - and serial killer - with the power to disguise herself as anyone and go anywhere she pleases, is their only suspect. And when all four are mysteriously gifted with the "sight" their job becomes that much weirder. 

This first in Cornell's new series is a bit hard to sum up in a coherent synopsis. There's a lot going on. Essentially, though, it's a paranormal mystery/horror set in London. It's also a wonderfully creative tale.

London Falling is a bit of a rough ride at the beginning, however. The reader is dropped into an already in progress story and bits of information are spread out as you go along. Toshak's crimes, Costain and Sefton's roles as undercovers, and the tension between Costain and Quill and Costain and Sefton are all clearly there but the background comes later.

Once the story gets rolling, though, it really is (and trust me, I'm not the only one saying it) impossible to put this book down. I stumbled through the first 150 pages in short spurts but beyond that it was essentially one sitting through to the end.

And the true revelations about the team and the sight become clear as you near the end of the story, setting us all up nicely for whatever will come in the next installment. I only wish I didn't have to wait! I would have liked to dive right into book two after the end of London Falling.

I find it interesting that a variation of this concept was initially meant to be a tv show. It would have been super cool to see, but Cornell's obviously able to do so much more with it in book form considering some of the limits involved in tv.

So there you have it, finally! I'd been anxiously awaiting the book and it definitely lived up to expectations. I can't wait to read more from Cornell! Check out last week's interview with the author and be sure to enter to win a copy of London Falling of your very own - you want it, you know you do!

Rating: 5/5

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Thought I'd Like More/Less Than I Did

I've decided to jump on board with Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week the topic is: Top Ten Books I Thought I'd Like More/Less Than I Did.




Ok, I'm going to do two lists. Here goes:

Books I thought I'd like more:

1. A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness - I did like this one but I didn't love it as much as everyone else seemed to. It was just a tad bit too melodramatic for me to get there. 

2. The Watchtower by Lee Carroll - considering how much I enjoyed the first installment of this trilogy and generally enjoy the books by the Carroll half of this husband and wife team, this was a surprising disappointment. 

3. Abandon by Blake Crouch - the synopsis on this one was definitely intriguing, but the book as a whole just didn't work for me. 

4. House of Leaves by Mark Danielewski - I might get tarred and feathered for this, but I kind of hated this book. It wasn't the quirkiness of it - that was cool - but overall I just did not like the story. Everyone else seems to really like it but I didn't. At all. 

5. The Keep by Jennifer Egan - this is another one that landed on a lot of lists and seemed to be pretty much loved all around, just not by me. On bad days I feel this is a testament to the fact that I may not be smart enough for books like this. In general I just think it wasn't for me.

6. Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman - yes, I know. I love this movie. It's one of my favorites. It's also one of the few cases where I have to say that the movie was much better than the book. At least the approach to the story was one I preferred in the movie. I also found the characters in the movie much more endearing.

7. Cloudland by Joseph Olshan - this one sounded like it was right up my alley but turns out it wasn't. Really an outstanding disappointment as a whole. Things I liked about the book took a big backseat to things that didn't work in the book. I felt bad saying I didn't like it, to be honest.

8. Dark Magic by James Swain - yet another that seemed right up my alley but just didn't work for me for a number of reasons.

9. Slights by Kaaron Warren - this was a solid DNF for me. It was just too weird. I struggled and fought through more than half of the book before abandoning it never to return.

10. Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells - I don't honestly know if I expected to like this one or not. I think because it was set in Louisiana and so many folks seemed to like it that I thought it was worth a shot. In truth, I didn't like either the book or the movie in the end. 

Books I thought I'd like less:

1. Following Polly by Karen Bergreen - I actually didn't know what to expect from this one and it turned out that I loved it!

2. Whiplash River by Lou Berney - this was another one that I wasn't at all sure what to expect. It was the second in a series, which worried me since I hadn't read the first. Turned out it was quite a fun read. 

3. Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin - this one's probably a surprising inclusion considering I'm such a nerd for the series. The truth of the matter is that I tried to read this book years ago and couldn't get past the first chapter. And now, well... that early attempt just wasn't the right time for me, clearly.

4. Wired by Liz Maverick - I was sent this book as part of a job interview. They said it was a new romance imprint and I immediately worried about how I'd receive the book. Turns out it - and the whole doomed Shomi line - was pretty awesome. 

5. The Iron King by Julie Kagawa - I have a history of being let down by books that have been really hyped up. By the time I came to this one, all three books in the initial series were out and I was certain that I'd be let down. I wasn't! It was fabulous and worth every ounce of hype in my humble opinion. 

6. Black and White by Jackie Kessler & Caitlin Kittredge - so this is another one that I just didn't know what to expect with, mainly because I hadn't heard anything at all about it. It was wonderful, folks, and deserves way more attention than I think it's gotten. 

7. Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier - I used to be part of this online book club that sent out samples of a different book each week. I'd come across Daughter and the rest of the Sevenwaters trilogy many times and passed them up based on the synopsis, but the sample intrigued me and I bought the book. I'm so glad that I did. Marillier is excellent and the synopsis of the book just did not do it justice. 

8. The Scent of Shadows by Vicki Pettersson - when the ARC of this book came out, there really wasn't much of a description on it at all. So yet again I had no clue what to expect. It really is the best way to go into a book, though!

9. Stretch: The Unlikely Making of a Yoga Dude by Neal Pollack - this one makes the list because I just don't read a whole lot of non-fiction at all. This is a yoga memoir. I laughed so freaking hard while I read this book! I read passages out loud to my husband and raved about this book to anyone who would listen. 

10. Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld - I didn't think this would turn out to be  my kind of read. It was another case where the book had generated a massive amount of buzz that I was sure it would turn out to be a disappointment for me. I was actually never planning to read it. I did finally pick it up while shelving one day and after reading a chapter (on the clock!) I decided I had to buy it. It was well worth the buy!

Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight

Good morning, everyone! Today I'm on the TLC blog tour for Kimberly McCreight's debut, Reconstructing Amelia.

Lawyer Kate Baron was late picking up her daughter. 

In the midst of a big meeting, Kate is called with the news that her daughter, Amelia, has been suspended, effective immediately. The news comes as a shock considering Amelia has always been a good kid. The reason behind the suspension is even more jarring for Kate: apparently Amelia was caught cheating. When Kate finally arrives, Amelia is dead. The police ruled it a suicide but weeks later Kate receives a text reading: Amelia didn't jump.

I stayed up LATE finishing this one! It's the first time in a long time that I've been able to delay passing out long enough to finish a book. And it was totally necessary! From the very start, Reconstructing Amelia grabs you and doesn't let go. I wish I could think of a better word than "gripping," but the book is just that, gripping.

The story alternates between Kate, present day, Amelia in the days leading up to her death, and Amelia's text conversations, and facebook posts. Interspersed throughout are flashbacks to Kate's actual pregnancy with Amelia and posts from the gRaCeFULLY blog, an unofficial and anonymous gossip blog focused on the students at Grace Hall.

The secrets that Kate learns about Amelia are the kind no parent wants to hear. Amelia is a good kid and Kate does her best as a mother, but her job and its demanding hours mean that Amelia spends a lot of time alone, which is exactly what leaves her prey to the events in the book.

I don't want to give too much away, so I'll leave it at that. This is an excellent thriller in the vein of Laura Lippman (for reasons that I can't really explain other than the fact that it involves high school girls, I thought Reconstructing Amelia reminded me a bit of Lippman's To the Power of Three). Definitely recommended. Note some folks have mentioned the issues discussed in the book and while they are certainly timely and terrible, it only made Reconstructing Amelia that much more of an intense read for me. It's strange to say that I enjoyed it but, quite frankly, this was truly a great read!

To see what others thought, check out the official TLC tour page here.

For more on Kimberly McCreight, visit her official website here. You can also like her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter.

Rating: 5/5


Monday, April 22, 2013

The Mermaid of Brooklyn by Amy Shearn

Morning, all! I'm a stop on the TLC blog tour this morning for Amy Shearn's latest, The Mermaid of Brooklyn.

Jenny Lipkin is worn out... and stressed out. No one in the house is sleeping thanks to Rose, the new baby, and husband Harry has been working super late hours thanks to slow business. One night, Harry calls to say he's stopping for cigarettes on his way home and disappears. Harry's mother is ready to call the police (who inform her that there's nothing they can do unless foul play is suspected) but Jenny suspects her hubs could be on a gambling bender - something he's been known to do. In a desperate moment, Jenny plans to launch herself off the Brooklyn Bridge. Fortunately, she changes her mind. Unfortunately, it's too late. But Jenny is saved by a rusalka - a mermaid - who helps her to find her way.

I knew I was going to love this book from the very first page. Amy Shearn has a great style and voice! (I'd include a passage but I think I'd be attempting to include the whole book!) On the very first page Jenny talks about her husband leaving and wonders why he didn't take the dog with him while also berating him mentally for not changing the hall lightbulb before he left.

In addition to the snarky components (that I'm always a sucker for - definitely says something about me), Shearn has a magical way of turning a phrase. Her writing is quite pretty (not purple!) and wonderfully illustrates Jenny's life and surroundings.

A lot of The Mermaid of Brooklyn is about family and motherhood. I don't have kids, but Jenny's narration as a whole is something I can personally sympathize with even when she talks babies. I laughed out loud more than once at her very real portrayal of mommyhood (all the dirty and stinky parts that folks sometimes gloss over). And I truly felt for her when she was at her worst.

As with Nowhere But Home (see last week's Liza Palmer post), Shearn combines great humor and emotion in her latest, making The Mermaid of Brooklyn another hilarious and heartfelt read - definitely recommended for both moms and non-moms (or not-yet-moms).

To see what others thought, check out the rest of the tour stops here.

For more on Amy Shearn and her work (she's also the author of How Far Is the Ocean From Here, which is already in my TBR) visit her official website. You can also like her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter. There's also a fun Pinterest page for the book here.

Rating: 4/5


Sunday, April 21, 2013

New releases 4/23/13

Some of the new titles hitting shelves this week are:

A Spear of Summer Grass by Deanna Raybourn

The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker

The Time of My Life by Cecelia Ahern

Maya's Notebook by Isable Allende

The River of No Return by Bee Ridgway

Fly Away by Kristin Hannah

The Enchanted Life of Adam Hope by Rhonda Riley

The Hit by David Baldacci

Paris by Edward Rutherford

Hot Blooded by Amanda Carlson

A Murder at Rosamund's Gate by Susanna Calkins

Wedding Night by Sophie Kinsella

Let's Explore Diabetes with the Owls by David Sedaris

Frozen in Time by Mitchell Zuckoff

Fabio's Italian Kitchen by Fabio Viviani

Unbreakable by Elizabeth Norris

The Elite by Kiera Cass

Arclight by Josi McQuein

New on DVD:
Cold Prey II
Family Weekend
Gangster Squad
Mr. Selfridge
Promised Land
Wuthering Heights

New reviews at Bookbitch.com:
Darkfever by Karen Marie Moning
Nowhere But Home by Liza Palmer
Ex-Heroes by Peter Clines

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Pre Pub Book Buzz: The Arrivals by Melissa Marr

While I've yet to read the Wicked Lovely series, I have had the pleasure of reading Marr's debut adult release, Graveminder. I loved Graveminder. It was so fabulously excellent and I really wish that Marr would return to the world of that tale. So far, no go, but she does have a brand new adult release coming out soon. The Arrivals is set for release on July 2nd.

Here's a bit about the book from Goodreads:

Chloe walks into a bar and blows five years of sobriety. When she wakes, she finds herself in an unfamiliar world, The Wasteland. She discovers people from all times and places have also arrived there: Kitty and Jack, a brother and sister from the Wild West; Edgar, a prohibition bootlegger; Francis, a one-time hippie; Melody, a mentally unbalanced 1950s housewife; and Hector, a former carnival artist.

None know why they arrived there--or if there is way out of a world populated by monsters and filled with corruption.

Just as she did in Graveminder, Marr has created a vivid fantasy world that will enthrall. Melissa Marr's The Arrivals is a thoroughly original and wildly imagined tale about making choices in a life where death is unpredictable and often temporary.

Yep! Definitely on my "must have" list this year!


Thursday, April 18, 2013

Q&A with Paul Cornell + a Giveaway

I'm happy to be hosting Paul Cornell on the blog today! Paul's latest, London Falling, has just hit London Falling on my Pre Pub Book Buzz Saturday post not too long ago, so you know I've been chomping at the bit to get my hands on a copy! (Book review coming soon.)

Author photo courtesy of Rob Monk
Hi, Paul! Thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions for the blog. And congrats, by the way, on the recent Hugo nomination!

Thanks! 

Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got started as a writer.

I've never really had a proper job. Well, there was that half a day putting frozen meat through a saw, but apart from that, I have eaten a lot of oatmeal and kept trying to be a writer. I had to, having dropped out of an Astrophysics degree at University College London. Having no money for food is excellent training and motivation for the position of freelance writer. 

How would you describe London Falling?

It's a novel about what happens when a unit of modern undercover London police accidentally gain the power to see the monsters and the magic. After they've finished panicking, they decide the only way they're going to survive is to use (real) police methods against the supernatural. There's loads of cynical copper humour alongside the dark stuff, and I hope it gets quite emotional. If you like the voice I write Doctor Who in, this is much the same. 

What prompted the start of this particular series?

I wanted to write books that, in an adventurous, exciting way (hopefully) let me talk about the real world. Urban fantasy, and particularly the police procedural, really lets you get to grips with the systems of a modern city. 

You write for a lot of mediums/formats. How does writing a full-length novel or comic differ from writing for TV?

There are books to be written on that subject. A novel is a feat of memory, mainly, involving keeping motivations straight and plot points in place. Comics and television each have their own particular challenges, but they're about smallness (of space and budget), not hugeness. 

I’d imagine there are quite a few differences in creating your own concept from start to finish versus working in an established world like that of Doctor Who. What are some of the benefits and/or drawbacks in both kinds of writing and which do you prefer overall?

I prefer having my own world to play in. I love Doctor Who, it's the spine about which my career... revolves... like spines do... but I needed to create my own worlds away from it. I needed that so much. 

Just out of curiosity, who’s your favorite Doctor?

I needed that so much

In all your years of writing, do you have a favorite character? If so, why?

I'm very fond of Pete Wisdom, Chloe in Saucer Country, Ross in London Falling. Actually, Lex Luthor too. I like clever bastards who provide tasty plot reversals. 

Without spoilers, can you give us a hint of what we can expect in The Severed Streets?

Jack the Ripper is back, and this time he's only killing rich white men!

What else are you working on at the moment?

I'm writing Wolverine each month for Marvel, have some short stories on the go, and there are a couple of TV things on the horizon (one my own) which are very exciting for me. 

What sort of advice would you offer to someone embarking on a writing career today – as a novelist, comic, and/or screenplay writer?

I can do this in one sentence. 'It's your job to seek out harsh criticism of your work and change because of it.' I honestly think that's the whole game. Apply over years, and you too can grow mustard and cress at home. 

That was okay, wasn't it? Mixed metaphor, odd asides, bit too personal? Hello? Oh, they've switched the lights off. 

Haha! Again, big thanks, Paul! It was a pleasure to have you on today. And big thanks to the publisher for setting this up.

For more on Paul Cornell and his work you can find him on: Facebook, Goodreads, Twitter, Pinterest, and at www.paulcornell.com.

And now for the giveaway. Thanks to Tor I am offering up a copy of London Falling to one lucky winner here. To enter, please fill out the rafflecopter below. Open to US only (and no PO boxes, please). Giveaway ends midnight, April 30.



a Rafflecopter giveaway



Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Ex-Heroes by Peter Clines

You know, I've been hearing about how amazing Peter Clines's Ex-Heroes is for so long that you'd think I'd have posted about it by now myself. Sadly craziness chez moi has delayed it but here it is! (And I'm happy to say that in this case you can believe all of the hype -- Ex-Heroes is fabulous!)

It's been a year since the exes began making their appearance. No one calls them zombies -- instead, they are exes, as in ex- humans. A plague of them has taken over forcing those left alive to band together for survival. A group of them have made a home on an old movie lot in LA where they are protected by a group of superheroes: The Mighty Dragon, Gorgon, Cerberus, Zzzap, Regenerator, and Stealth. And it's fortunate that they have these heroes on their side because something much worse than the exes is rising in LA!

C'mon, folks. Even Nathan Fillion blurbed Peter Clines! Nathan freaking Fillion!

Clines is the latest in a growing list of authors to be snatched up by one of the big six soon to be five after his books were released by the folks over at Permuted Press (remember David Wong's John Dies at the End?). PP released Clines's first two installments in the series (Ex-Heroes and Ex-Patriots) as well as the stand alone 14 - which I also hear is mind blowingly amazing. Crown's Broadway Paperbacks has reissued book one and has a new edition of book two, Ex-Patriots, due out next week. Books three and four are both due out later this year.

This first in the series alternates between the present, or one year after the ex infestation, and the onset of the outbreak. The flashback portions also provide a bit of our heroes' backstories as well as set up for the uber bad they begin to discover they're up against.

It's true that this is a bit of a Heroes meets Walking Dead love child and I'd be willing to bet money that fans of either or both will be able to at least temporarily fill the void left by both shows with Clines's gruesome superheroes vs zombies series (at least until Walking Dead returns this fall). I particularly enjoy the twisted sense of humor injected into the tale (points for celebrity kills in LA, yeah).

Rating: 5/5

Watch for an Ex-Heroes and Ex-Patriots giveaway here on the blog very soon!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Nowhere But Home by Liza Palmer + a Giveaway

Morning, everyone. I'm on the TLC blog tour for Liza Palmer's latest this morning! (And I get to give away a copy, too - stick around to the bottom for dets.)

I'm going to head this one up by saying that I was super excited to dive into Nowhere But Home. Last year I read Palmer's More Like Her. It was my first time reading this author and I was totally blown away. More Like Her set the bar high and my expectations even higher for Nowhere But Home and I have to say that Palmer did not let me down!

Queen Elizabeth "Queenie" Wake has known her share of disappointment. In their little town of North Star, the Wakes were always looked down on. BJ Wake's reputation was legendary - in fact, she always said her daughters' fathers could have been any number of men - and Queenie and her sister paid the price in more ways than one. Their mother was absentee at best and neglectful at worst until she was killed by a spurned wife. Queenie left North Star as soon as she could and never really looked back. 

After she's fired from her latest job though, Queenie decides it might be time to head home. At least until she can figure things out. Surely things can't be as bad as they were when she was in high school? Unfortunately for Queenie, the townspeople's prejudices against the Wakes have not lessened. But a surprising job opportunity and the chance to reconnect with her sister and nephew might just be enough to overcome those snide comments and nasty looks. 

I loved Queenie Wake! She's got spunk! She's fired for telling someone they can't put ketchup on their eggs for goodness sake, then she takes a job cooking death row inmates their final meals. She's got this great strength to go along with the attitude as well, but with a little layer of self doubt that makes her more human. She - and her sister - struggle with the idea that they may not be allowed happiness in their life. It really makes you quite literally ache for them, waiting for the Wake women to get the peace they deserve (and shove it in everyone's face!).

Liza Palmer has a great way of making even the most serious subjects somewhat lighter, if not light hearted. Here you have two women who were orphaned as teens and left to deal with an entire town's scorn for no reason other than their last name. This could easily become a sad and sappy tale of woe is me, but it's not. Not at all. Instead, it's a story of two women somwhat sarcastically overcoming the odds together and a lot of Southern comfort food to help them (and others) along. It's a story of knowing who your friends are and brushing off the pain that others can inflict upon you. And overall it's a story of family (and football... and food. Oh, I said food already!).

I don't want to belittle the book at all because I really think it's wonderful (as was More Like Her), and while the subject isn't quite as shocking as that of More Like Her, this latest from Palmer is an equally emotional read. In fact, I dare you not to laugh and cry alongside these characters. But I promise you'll do more laughing than crying as you rally behind the Wake sisters and their story.

Rating: 5/5

To see what others on the tour have to say, check out the official TLC tour schedule here.

For more on Liza Palmer and her work, visit her website and check out her blog. You can also like her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

And now for the giveaway! One lucky winner will receive a copy of Liza Palmer's Nowhere But Home courtesy of the publisher. To enter, be sure to fill out the rafflecopter below. US only please (and no PO boxes). Contest ends midnight 4/28/13. Good luck!



a Rafflecopter giveaway




Monday, April 15, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Authors That Deserve More Recognition

I've decided to jump on board with Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week the topic is a rewind - a past topic of our choice. Since I've only just jumped on board, there are TONS for me to choose from but I've settled on Authors That Deserve More Recognition.




And though there are WAY more than ten, the first ten I've come up with are:

1. Christopher Ransom - Ransom's debut horror release did come out here in the States but his subsequent titles have been UK only thus far (excepting the Cemetery Dance rerelease of The Haunting of James Hastings aka Killing Ghost). He's a local author for me and our local indie sometimes stocks the UK titles but everyone else is left ordering them from the UK. 

2. Sarah Pinborough - another UK author who is probably bigger here than I realize. While her initial US publisher (Leisure a Dorchester imprint) may be no more, she does have a brand new title available here (A Matter of Blood) through Penguin's Ace imprint and a ton of releases in the UK.

3. Mo Hayder - another author who's probably much more popular than I realize (in certain circles) and another Brit as well. She writes really, really dark stuff! Watch for Poppet due out April 30.

4. Alexandra Sokoloff - she has a unique style and her books are most definitely un-putdownable. Her latest releases are part of Harlequin's Nocturne series and she has some new self pubbed stuff out as well. Her debut, The Harrowing, was the one that hooked me and will remain my all time favorite.

5. Michael Marshall Smith - yep, another Brit. Lots of the authors I read note him as one of their influences and everything I've read by him has been fantastic (I still have a few backlist titles in my TBR as well). 

6. Mike Shevdon - okey doke, this is the final Brit on the list, I swear. Shevdon is the author of the Courts of the Feyre series published by Angry Robot. It is one of my favorite urban fantasy series (a must read for fans of Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere) and it uses odd bits of UK history and folklore within each story. Book four, The Eighth Court is due out May 28.

7. Mark Henry/Danny Marks - As Mark Henry, this author writes some of the raunchiest, most hilarious zombie fiction I have ever read. As Danny Marks, he's just made his teen debut with the dark and twisted Velveteen. I love his snarky attitude and witty prose but he also writes darn good stories!

8. Natasha Mostert - it's been a while since Mostert's last release and I don't know when her newest is due out, but each new book, while completely different from her last, is guaranteed to be an odd treat. Her site lists Dark Prayer due out this year. (And I didn't lie - she does live in London but hails from South Africa.) 

9. Laura Benedict - you could probably best describe Laura Benedict's style as Southern Gothic. Her tales are weird and dark and oh, so good! All of her titles are available through Gallowstree Press, run by Laura and her husband.

10. Stephen M. Irwin - this Aussie has just two titles out so far and they're both brilliant and creepy! The Dead Path made my faves of 2010 list and The Broken Ones made my faves of 2012 list. 

Honorable mentions and why they didn't make the top ten: 

Catherine McKenzie - I adore her work. Her first three releases all hit shelves here in the States in 2012 and I suspect she's doing just fine (and will be even bigger as more titles are released).

John Harwood and Camille DeAngelis - are both wonderful. Harwood is an Aussie who writes creepy gothic tales and DeAngelis has a fabulous voice. Both are on the honorable mentions, though, because readers have short memories and both authors have very long breaks between releases. Which of course doesn't make them any less worthy of the HUGE readership I believe they deserve. (Harwood has a new book, The Asylum, due out May 21.)

James Renner - it's perhaps a bit early to include Renner on the list. His Man From Primrose Lane was an excellent book and was his debut fiction release. It's rumored to be in production as an upcoming film to star Bradley Cooper, which I'd hope would gain both the author and the book more attention. 

James A. Moore - deserves to be on this list with his rather large and wonderful backlist. So why is he simply an honorable mention? Because Angry Robot has apparently just signed him for a new epic fantasy series. It's a break from the horror backlist of his past but I've no doubt it'll be equally fabulous!

Gordon Dahlquist - my last but certainly not least honorable mention has two (three in the UK apparently) backlist adult releases (that are amazing!) and one fairly brand spanking new teen release (equally amazing!) that I hope will gain him the attention he deserves. Only time will tell.

The Clover House Winner!

The winner of Henriette Lazaridis Power's The Clover House is:

Commenter 2: Petite

Thanks for entering, everyone! I have two new giveaways going up this week so be sure to check back and try your luck again!

Taken by Erin Bowman

So far I'm doing pretty well on the two challenges I signed up for this year, as well as my overall reading goal. To be honest, I'm not all that concerned with my total reading numbers but I am definitely trying to make progress on the TBR mountain as a whole!

My April Debut Author Challenge pick is Erin Bowman's Taken, which officially hits shelves tomorrow. 

Almost fifty years ago, a group of kids woke to find themselves trapped together in a walled village. There were no adults - they would soon find that there was in fact no one over the age of seventeen - and with the exception of siblings, none of them knew one another. They'd assumed that some tragic event left them alone in their town and with no memories. From that point forward, they called their town Claysoot and did their best to make a life for themselves. One of the things they'd soon discover was the Heist, the disappearance of any male on his eighteenth birthday. A few brave souls would attempt to breach the wall over the years, but their charred remains were always discovered within days of their climb. 

Gray and his brother Blaine have only ever known life in Claysoot. Gray has planned everything carefully, avoiding situations that will make his own Heist harder. When Blaine is taken, Gray makes a startling discovery, one that will force him to attempt what no one before him has been able to do - climb the wall and survive. 

I'm on the fence about this one. It was a fun enough read, but nothing felt all that amazing or stand out about it. Instead, it was similar in a lot of ways to a variety of futuristic, dystopian releases of late, some of which have been more exciting and others that haven't. 

For me Taken was middle of the road. Bowman's writing is fine and the story is interesting enough to keep a reader going, but it's all a bit expected. There aren't any surprises - I could see just about everything in the story coming along the way.

Rating 3/5



Sunday, April 14, 2013

New releases 4/16/13

Some of the new titles hitting shelves this week are:

Good People by Ewart Hutton

London Falling by Paul Cornell

Hemlock Grove by Brian McGreevy (movie tie in)

Follow Her Home by Steph Cha

The Carrion Birds by Urban Waite

Promise of Blood by Brian McClellan

When the Devil Doesn't Show by Christine Barber

The Movement of Stars by Amy Brill

Some Kind of Peace by Camilla Grebe & Asa Traff (paperback)

You by Austin Grossman

The Famous and the Dead by T. Jefferson Parker

Taken by Erin Bowman

Dead Silence by Kimberly Derting

Game by Barry Lyga

From Ashes by Molly McAdams

New on DVD:
Django Unchained

New reviews at Bookbitch.com:
Tuesday's Gone by Nicci French

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Pre Pub Book Buzz: The Other Typist by Suzanne Rindell

I'm bringing back Pre Pub Book Buzz -- or Books I'm Stoked About -- Saturdays! Why? Because there are always a ton of upcoming releases I can't wait to read and Saturdays are kind of a free day to do promote those.

One of the titles I've been hearing a lot about this season is Suzanne Rindell's debut, The Other Typist

Here's a bit about it from Rindell's own website:

Rose Baker seals men’s fates.

With a few strokes of the keys that sit before her, she can send a person away for life in prison. A typist in a New York City Police Department precinct on the lower east side, Rose is like a high priestess. Confessions are her job. The criminals admit to their transgressions, and Rose records their crimes. It is 1923, and while she may hear every detail about shootings, knifings, and murders, as soon as she leaves the interrogation room she is once again the weaker sex, best suited for filing and making coffee.

It is a new era for women, and New York City is a confusing time for Rose. Gone are the Victorian standards of what is acceptable. All around her women bob their hair short like men, they smoke, they go to speakeasies. But prudish Rose is stuck in the fading light of yesteryear, searching for the nurturing companionship that eluded her childhood and clinging to the Victorian ideal of sisterhood.

When glamorous Odalie, a new girl, joins the typing pool, despite her best intentions Rose falls under Odalie’s spell. As the two women navigate between the sparkling underworld of speakeasies by night, and their work at the station by day, Rose is drawn fully into Odalie’s high stakes world. And her fascination with Odalie turns into an obsession from which she may never recover.

So far, this debut is being hailed as Hitchcock and Highsmith meets The Great Gatsby (Kirkus Reviews). I don't know about you, but this sounds to me like an absolute must have this spring!

The Other Typist is due out May 7, but I discovered that BN.com has a free e preview up right now. You can find that here if you'd like a little sample of what's to come. 

Friday, April 12, 2013

The Hedge Knight by George R.R. Martin

My husband has joked of late that I'm a bit obsessed with Game of Thrones (and George R.R. Martin's Song of Ice and Fire series). I'd say I'm an enthusiastic fan, but I guess some would argue obsessed is an appropriate term as well.

It's fortunate really that I only got into the series over Christmas of 2011, because I managed to spread books 1-4 out through 2012 and have just book 5 to go. After that I'll be in the same boat as everyone else, waiting for the next installment to be released. With just two books to go you'd think things would be winding down but I'm certain this is not the case. I don't think anyone can predict where Martin will be taking us in this saga.

And of course I'm watching the show as well. It's a strange kind of torture, having already read book three, sitting next to my husband and waiting to see how he'll react to all the craziness that I know is to come. I'm already anticipating the end of the season and the long wait to the next as well. Why, oh why can't I just enjoy it while it's on?!

Anywho, thanks to the popularity of the show there's a boom in the GRRM market and a ton of reprints/rereleases hitting shelves, including graphic novels and new series tie in editions of the Song of Ice and Fire titles, the recent Tuf Voyaging trade paperback release, a mass market of Fevre Dream, and the paperback editions of Dreamsongs v I and II, which I recently purchased thanks to the inclusion of one of the Song of Ice and Fire novellas (I no doubt will make it through GRRM's backlist at some point - and have started Wild Cards as well - but my craving for all things Game of Thrones led to my tracking down the three existing novellas and anxiously awaiting the fourth that will be part of the upcoming Dangerous Women anthology in December.)

I've skimmed through some of Dreamsongs v II thus far but have only read one essay and the novella in question. A review of the anthology will come later (but know that it's fabulous and includes all kinds of pieces from throughout Martin's career, including a Twilight Zone episode screenplay and retrospective essays by the author).

For other enthusiastic newbies to the series, the novellas are The Hedge Knight (now out in Dreamsongs v II), The Sworn Sword (can be found in Legends II anthology ed by Robert Silverberg) and The Mystery Knight (found in the Warriors anthology ed by GRRM and Gardner Dozois).

The novellas take place about 80+ years before Song of Ice and Fire and feature the adventures of Dunk and Egg. There is apparently a fourth Dunk and Egg tale that is yet to be published (The She-Wolves). (The novella in Dangerous Women is not a Dunk and Egg tale.)

In The Hedge Knight, Dunk has been in service of a hedge knight called Ser Arlan of Pennytree. Unfortunately Ser Arlan has passed away. Faced with the prospect of finding another knight in need of a squire or selling off Ser Arlan's things, Dunk instead decides to take his place as a hedge knight himself, traveling to nearby Ashford Meadow to take place in the upcoming tourney to be held there. Proving he has what it takes to be a knight - and that he indeed has the right to take part in the tourney - is Dunk's first challenge. He is joined by a misfit named Egg and reluctantly takes the child on as his own squire. Thus begins their adventures.

Fans of the series will recognize many of the names included but it takes a much better recall of small details than I possess to draw more connections than that. They are there, however. I came across them in a Song of Ice and Fire wiki devoted to the novellas, which you can find here.

For the most part, I simply enjoy returning to the wonderfully rich world of Westeros! And this allows me to delay diving into the final currently available volume of the series a bit longer.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

All Seeing Eye by Rob Thurman

It always amazes me how little I get to read while traveling. I get all jazzed up and over pack books that I think I'm going to read on the plane and in the loooong waits at the airport and yet something about the uncomfortable seats, the inevitable exhaustion, and the constant distraction ruins my reading plans. It takes a really captivating book to beat those terrible odds, let me tell you! Rob Thurman's All Seeing Eye did manage to do the trick, however, thankfully :)

Jackson Lee has a gift. Well, it's not so much a gift as it is a curse considering it began with seeing the final moments of his young sister's life. When Jackson touches an item he can see things about the owner, their secrets, their lies, the things they want no one else to see. It's how Jackson makes a living. When the government gets wind though, things take a turn for the worst. Seems a top secret project has resulted in a strange series of accidents that have begun to spiral out of control. And when Jackson isn't quite on board, the government is totally willing to use force to get his help... regardless of the cost. 

Thurman is best known for her urban fantasy series featuring Cal Leandros. All Seeing Eye is a little bit different than you'd expect. It's got supernatural elements but none of the elves or creatures that inhabit her other series. Nope, this is a straight up thriller with ghosts. And it's dark. I've only read Nightlife by Thurman before now and I remember being a bit surprised by how dark that one was as well. It's a nice element in my opinion. Plus it made All Seeing Eye that much more creepy of a read - and you all know how much I love a good creepy read!

Here with Jackson Lee, Thurman explores some truly gruesome sites as he tries to track down a killer that only he can find. And when I say gruesome, I do mean gruesome! There's no word yet if this is to become a series but I would definitely love to see more of this character and his ability. I can only begin to imagine the kinds of cool storylines Thurman could come up with. For a taste, check out this excerpt from Thurman's blog.

And the super cool trailer:



Rating: 4/5

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books I Read Before I Blogged

I've decided to jump on board with Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week the topic is: Top Ten Books I Read Before I Was a Blogger.




Goodness! I know I'll miss some but here are ten off the top of my head (this is tough considering I've been reading pretty heavily since about third grade and I started blogging back in February 2008. That's still a considerable amount of books up for consideration to narrow down to ten!):

1. Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton - funnily enough, my grandmother bought me my copy while we were on a trip to New Orleans the year the movie was due out. If I'm not mistaken it was on display at the zoo of all places. I had my nose buried in it for the remainder of the trip! I also became a big Michael Crichton fan as well.

2. The Stand by Stephen King - I've told the story many times but to recap it was the end of freshman year in high school and I lugged that hardcover around for a week until I finished. 

3. The Ragwitch or Shade's Children by Garth Nix - I'm cheating and listing two here because it would be the first Garth Nix I read and I honestly can't recall which it was! Whichever it was, it hooked me and I could never understand why no one else had never read him. Thank goodness for Sabriel!

4. Jinn by Matthew B. Delaney - his one and only release! I came across a review of this book in Entertainment Weekly while stripping magazines at work. It piqued my interest and even though it turned out to be what seemed to me an inaccurate review, I loved the book anyway!

5. Naomi by Doug Clegg - I wasn't too sure about this one when I first started it, but after an afternoon of porch reading in the rain I was a die hard fan. Clegg is a must read for horror fans in my personal opinion. 

6. The Briar King by Greg Keyes - this was one of my first official epic fantasy reads and I couldn't get enough. I was a little picky though and Keyes kind of stayed my top fantasy read for a really long time. 

7. Icebound by Dean Koontz - it's tough to pick just one Koontz title considering I read through what seemed like his entire backlist over the course of one summer. This one got me through a summer of mono. (And yes, it took me at least a month to read!)

8. Jigs & Reels by Joanne Harris - one of the most amazing writers ever and an absolutely wonderful collection of short stories. If you think you aren't a fan of shorts, I highly suggest giving Harris's stories a try. 

9. The Spirit Ring by Lois McMaster Bujold - what can I say? This is an amazing book and one that I think is sadly out of print. 

10. Wizrd by Steve Zell - I don't remember anything about this book except that to this day it stands out as a favorite from when I was a teen. 

The Forever Knight by John Marco

Good morning, readers! I'm on the TLC book tour for John Marco's The Forever Knight this morning.

Lukien was once reknowned as the Bronze Knight. Armed with his own Akari, he's become all but immortal. But with war behind him and no king to protect, Lukien is in need of a mission. It's suggested that he take on the mantle of knight-errant. He reluctantly agrees to do so and decides his first task will be to help his young friend Cricket recover her memories. Their journey will be a dangerous one and even Lukien's Akari (the spirit that protects him) believes it's a bad idea, but the Bronze Knight is determined to succeed and protect Cricket along the way.

The Forever Knight is technically the fourth title featuring Lukien of The Bronze Knight series, but it is also the start of a new series featuring the character. So while Forever exists within an established world, it serves as a great jumping off point for new readers and one that longtime fans and newbies can enjoy equally. Per Marco's website:

While the book is ostensibly a continuation of the first trilogy, it also takes Lukien in a fresh direction, removing him from the familiar setting of the original books. The story introduces many new characters and bloody adventures, sending Lukien off on a violent, magic-laced mission of vengeance.

Now while there was little confusion on my part in beginning with The Forever Knight, I realized that the review copy strangely comes with much more backstory in the way of the synopsis, details that don't seem to appear in the official cover copy. There's some backstory provided in the book as well, but the nutshell (bear in mind I've not read the first three books as of yet) is that Lukien was raised alongside King Akeela and later became commander of Akeela's Royal Chargers. Lukien also fell in love with the king's wife, Cassandra, who is dead when The Forever Knight begins. Lukien has what's called an Akari, a spirit named Malator who protects him and heals him and seems to dwell in his sword. Malator teases Lukien along the way with ominously evasive information causing Lukien to question just about everything he does. Though Malator has some good reason for doing so as Lukein seems to rarely listen to him and frequently places himself in mortal danger. The knight longs to return to his lost love but she's insisted he must find his own destiny, which is why Lukien now resides in Jador.

Then there's Cricket. Cricket came to Jador with no memory of her past. No one knows why she can't remember but she knows enough to tell them that she came from a kingdom called Akyre and that her name is Cricket.

Which brings us to The Forever Knight. Akyre is ruled by a menacing king who seems hell-bent on conquering all of the Bitter Kingdoms. Lukien and Cricket hear rumors of an army of dead men that surrounds Akyre and soon come to realize that the mission is going to be much more dangerous than they'd originally believed.

There are monsters and madmen, lots of gruesome deaths, and tons of danger along the way. Cricket is a curious character and the story of her past is intriguing in and of itself, but Lukien clearly has a long way to go in terms of becoming who he is meant to be. Malator's comments thus add another interesting element to that part of the story as well.

My only issue with The Forever Knight is that it seemed rather short. I like a good meaty fantasy and would have loved for this one to be at least twice as long as it was. Not a bad thing in my opinion and obviously there are three previous titles to pad out my TBR and satisfy this craving!

The previous Lukien novels are:

The Eyes of God
The Devil's Armor
The Sword of Angels

And according to John Marco's website there are more Lukien stories in the works, too. For more on that and Marco's other works, check out his blog here. You can also follow him on Twitter.

To see the more stops on the tour check out the official TLC tour page here.

Rating: 4/5



Monday, April 8, 2013

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Everyone has managed to keep Shatter Me pretty much under wraps and I am certainly not going to be the one to spoil it, so in lieu of my usual composed synopsis, I'm going to go with the publisher's description here:

"You can't touch me," I whisper.

I'm lying, is what I don't tell him.

He can touch me, is what I'll never tell him.

But things happen when people touch me.

Strange things.

Bad things.

No one knows why Juliette's touch is fatal, but The Reestablishment has plans for her. Plans to use her as a weapon.

But Juliette has plans of her own.

After a lifetime without freedom, she's finally discovering a strength to fight back for the very first time—and to find a future with the one boy she thought she'd lost forever.

So you know when everyone is talking about a book (or a movie or a show) and you come to expect it to be so completely amazing that it can't possibly live up to those serious expectations. Yeah. That was my unfortunate experience with Tahereh Mafi's massively buzzed about debut, Shatter Me. I did enjoy it quite a bit. I simply wish that I'd been able to go into it without any kind of expectations at all. I didn't go gaga over it - and I'd definitely expected that I would.

Mafi does some really cool things with this book. First, the story is told completely from Juliette's perspective and in first person. The sort of inner monologue with the scratched out text was an element I particularly enjoyed. I know some readers have said they found this distracting but I thought it was neat. Her prose has something of a stream of consciousness thing going on (though not quite as weird or rambly as I've seem stream of consciousness get).

I liked Juliette. I loved the world. I'm intrigued by where Mafi will take the story next.

Shatter Me is a futuristic dystopian read that starts in one place and ends up in a very unexpected and surprisingly completely different place. That's about all I'm going to say until I have a chance to read and review the follow up, Unravel Me

Sunday, April 7, 2013

New Releases 4/9/13

Some of the new titles hitting shelves this week are:

The Best of Us by Sarah Pekkanen

The Perfect Ghost by Linda Barnes

The Mystery of Mercy Close by Marian Keyes

Dangerous Refuge by Elizabeth Lowell

Sidney Sheldon's The Tides of Memory by Tilly Bagshawe

Sleight of Hand by Phillip Margolin

Midnight at Marble Arch by Anne Perry

Palisades Park by Alan Brennert

Lifetime by Liza Marklund

Hawk Quest by Robert Lyndon

Unintended Consequences by Stuart Woods

Blood of Dragons by Robin Hobb

Don't Go by Lisa Scottoline

Secrets From the Past by Barbara Taylor Bradford

And Then I Found You by Patti Callahan Henry

The Ashford Affair by Laura Willig

Tapestry of Fortunes by Elizabeth Berg

The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer

The Flame in the Mist by Kit Grindstaff

Dead River by Cyn Balog

Zom-B City by Darren Shan

New on DVD:
Hyde Park on Hudson

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Pre Pub Book Buzz: The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

I'm bringing back Pre Pub Book Buzz -- or Books I'm Stoked About -- Saturdays! Why? Because there are always a ton of upcoming releases I can't wait to read and Saturdays are kind of a free day to do promote those.

This week I'm highlighting Neil Gaiman's upcoming release, The Ocean at the End of the Lane, which hits shelves June 18. Here's a bit about the book from Goodreads:

THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE is a fable that reshapes modern fantasy: moving, terrifying and elegiac - as pure as a dream, as delicate as a butterfly's wing, as dangerous as a knife in the dark, from storytelling genius Neil Gaiman. 

It began for our narrator forty years ago when the family lodger stole their car and committed suicide in it, stirring up ancient powers best left undisturbed. Dark creatures from beyond the world are on the loose, and it will take everything our narrator has just to stay alive: there is primal horror here, and menace unleashed - within his family and from the forces that have gathered to destroy it. 

His only defense is three women, on a farm at the end of the lane. The youngest of them claims that her duckpond is an ocean. The oldest can remember the Big Bang.

Just last week, The Tattered Cover announced that Gaiman will be coming to Denver as part of his tour for Ocean. Squee!!! If you're in or around Denver on June 25 you have got to come check it out. Here are the dets: http://www.tatteredcover.com/event/neil-gaiman-ocean-end-lane

HarperCollins also released this little audio bit from Gaiman about The Ocean at the End of the Lane. It's a super cool listen that will whet your appetite until the book is released.