Sunday, December 31, 2017

New Releases 1/2/18

Some of the new titles hitting shelves this week are:

Beneath the Mountain by Luca D'Andrea

The Wolves of Winter by Tyrell Johnson

The Woman in the Window by A. J. Finn

In the Shadow of Agatha Christie ed by Leslie S. Klinger

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

Gunslinger Girl by Lydsay Ely

Between the Blade and the Heart by Amanda Hocking

Don't Cosplay With My Heart by Cecil Castellucci

New on DVD:
Battle of the Sexes
American Made

Monday, December 25, 2017

Merry Christmas!

Wishing all of you a very safe and happy holiday season! 

Hope you're enjoying great food, great company, and great reading!

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Christmas Reading List: Ghost Stories for Christmas

So today I'm changing it up just a little. There is this cool Victorian tradition of telling ghost stories on Christmas Eve, something I learned about and adopted a few years ago after the fabulous Laura Benedict released Haunted Holidays: 3 Short Tales of Terror. The little collection features a tale by Benedict herself as well as one by Carolyn Haines and one by Lisa Morton. All three are Christmas themed and all three are fantastic!

For tonight's reading, I'm diving into Michael McDowell's The Elementals. This is one I've had in my TBR for a while and tonight seems like the perfect night to read it. Plus, it's on the short side so I'll be able to read around our family Christmas Eve festivities.

If you're looking for some ghost stories of your own to read, the folks a Biblioasis have released a selection of classic shorts for just this purpose. Each is available in an illustrated paperback (about the size of your wallet) or eshort and includes Charles Dickens's "The Signalman", Edith Wharton's "Afterward", W. W. Jacobs's "The Toll House", E. F. Benson's "How Fear Departed the Long Gallery", A. M. Burrage's "One Who Saw", Marjorie Bowen's "The Crown Derby Plate", and M. R. James's "The Diary of Mr. Poynter".

I should note that all of these are in the public domain. I've no doubt you can find some if not all of them through Project Gutenberg if you so desire.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Christmas Reading List: A Lot Like Christmas by Connie Willis

Connie Willis is, apparently, a big fan of Christmas. So much so that she's put together a collection of short SFF Christmas tales for all of our reading pleasure.

Note, some savvy readers may say, "But Becky, she already had a collection so now there are two!" Technically yes, but A Lot Like Christmas is actually an expanded edition of the older collection.

Here's a bit about the book from Goodreads:

This new, expanded edition of Miracle and Other Christmas Stories features twelve brilliantly reimagined holiday tales, five of which are collected here for the first time.

Christmas comes but once a year--which is too bad, because the stories in this dazzling collection are fun to read anytime. They put a speculative spin on the holiday, giving fans of acclaimed author Connie Willis a welcome gift and a dozen reasons to be of good cheer.

Brimming with Willis's trademark insights and imagination, these heartwarming tales are full of humor, absurdity, human foibles, tragedy, joy, and hope. They both embrace and send up many of the best Christmas traditions, including the Christmas newsletter, Secret Santas, office parties, holiday pageants, and Christmas dinners (both elaborate and spare). There are Rockettes, the best and worst Christmas movies, modern-day Magi, Ghosts of Christmases Past, Present, and Yet to Come--and the triumph of generosity over greed. Like the timeless classics we return to year after year, these stories affirm our faith in love, magic, and the wonder of the season.

Stories included:
- Miracles
- All About Emily
- Inn
- All Seated on the Ground
- In Coppelius's Toyshop
- Adaptation
- deck.halls@bought/holly
- Cat's Paw
- Now Showing
- Newsletter
- Epiphany
- Just Like the Ones We Used to Know

Willis also includes her own lists of favorite Christmas movies, stories, and TV episodes, if you're looking to double down on the Christmas themed entertainment!

Friday, December 22, 2017

Christmas Reading List: The Usual Santas

Short stories are definitely the way to go when things get crazy and I've got two short story collections I'm diving into this week. The first is The Usual Santas a new mystery anthology out from Soho.

Here's a bit about the book from Goodreads:

Eighteen delightful holiday short stories by some of your favorite Soho Crime authors!

This captivating collection—which features bestselling, and award-winning authors—contains laughs aplenty, the most hardboiled of holiday noir, and heartwarming reminders of the spirit of the season.

Nine mall Santas must find the imposter among them. An elderly lady seeks peace from her murderously loud neighbors at Christmastime. A young woman receives a mysterious invitation to Christmas dinner with a stranger. Niccolò Machiavelli sets out to save an Italian city. Sherlock Holmes’s one-time nemesis Irene Adler finds herself in an unexpected tangle in Paris while on a routine espionage assignment. Jane Austen searches for the Dowager Duchess of Wilborough’s stolen diamonds. And other adventures that will whisk readers away to Christmases around the globe, from a Korean War POW camp to a Copenhagen refugee squat to the streets of Thailand.

This collection features favorite Soho authors like Helene Tursten, Sujata Massey, Stuart Neville, Cara Black, and more. A perfect read for any mystery fan!

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Christmas Reading List: The Deal of a Lifetime by Fredrik Backman

Yesterday's pick was a little longer, but Fredrick Backman's The Deal of a Lifetime is certainly short enough to squeeze in between meal planning and shopping - or baking and snacking! It's quite the perfect accompaniment for tea and cookies, in my opinion.

Here's a bit about the book from Goodreads:

It all begins with a father telling a story to his son on Christmas Eve. But this isn’t your typical Christmas story. The father admits to his son that he’s taken a life but he won’t say whose—not yet.

One week earlier, in a hospital late at night, the man met a five-year-old girl with cancer. She’s a smart kid—smart enough to know that she won’t beat cancer by drawing with crayons all day, but it seems to make the adults happy, so she keeps doing it.

As the man tells his son about this plucky little girl, he slowly reveals more about himself: while he may be a successful businessman, idolized by the media and his peers, he knows he failed as a parent. Overwhelmed by the responsibility of fatherhood, he took the easy way out and left his wife and little boy twenty years ago to pursue professional success. Now he is left wondering if it’s too late to forge a relationship with his son, who seems to be his opposite in every way—prizing happiness over money, surrounded by loving friends in a cozy town where he feels right at home.

Face to face with the idea that something is missing, the man is given the unexpected chance to do something selfless that could change the destiny of the little girl in the hospital bed. But before he can make the deal of a lifetime, he needs to find out what his own life has actually been worth in the eyes of his son. And so, he seeks him out and tells him this story…

If you haven't read Fredrik Backman yet, this is your chance to find out what all the fuss is about!

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Christmas Reading List: Seven Days of Us by Francesca Hornak

Day three of my Christmas reading, leading up to the big day itself is Seven Days of Us by Francesca Hornak. If you're looking for a dysfunctional family read, this is the one for you.

Here's a bit about the book from Goodreads:

It's Christmas, and for the first time in years the entire Birch family will be under one roof. Even Emma and Andrew's elder daughter--who is usually off saving the world--will be joining them at Weyfield Hall, their aging country estate. But Olivia, a doctor, is only coming home because she has to. Having just returned from treating an epidemic abroad, she's been told she must stay in quarantine for a week...and so too should her family.

For the next seven days, the Birches are locked down, cut off from the rest of humanity--and even decent Wi-Fi--and forced into each other's orbits. Younger, unabashedly frivolous daughter Phoebe is fixated on her upcoming wedding, while Olivia deals with the culture shock of being immersed in first-world problems.

As Andrew sequesters himself in his study writing scathing restaurant reviews and remembering his glory days as a war correspondent, Emma hides a secret that will turn the whole family upside down.

In close proximity, not much can stay hidden for long, and as revelations and long-held tensions come to light, nothing is more shocking than the unexpected guest who's about to arrive... 

I don't know about you, but this book sounds super fun and I can't wait to dive in!

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Christmas Reading List: Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe by Melissa de la Cruz

It's the second day of my Christmas Reading List and I'm featuring this little gem by Melissa de la Cruz - and it's another retelling!

Here's a bit about the book from Goodreads:

Darcy Fitzwilliam is 29, beautiful, successful, and brilliant. She dates hedge funders and basketball stars and is never without her three cellphones—one for work, one for play, and one to throw at her assistant (just kidding). Darcy’s never fallen in love, never has time for anyone else’s drama, and never goes home for Christmas if she can help it. But when her mother falls ill, she comes home to Pemberley, Ohio, to spend the season with her dad and little brother.

Her parents throw their annual Christmas bash, where she meets one Luke Bennet, the smart, sardonic slacker son of their neighbor. Luke is 32 and has never left home. He’s a carpenter and makes beautiful furniture, and is content with his simple life. He comes from a family of five brothers, each one less ambitious than the other. When Darcy and Luke fall into bed after too many eggnogs, Darcy thinks it’s just another one night stand. But why can’t she stop thinking of Luke? What is it about him? And can she fall in love, or will her pride and his prejudice against big-city girls stand in their way?

This latest from de la Cruz is for adults but it's also a slim little read, perfect for hectic holiday reading!

Monday, December 18, 2017

Christmas Reading List: The Afterlife of Holly Chase by Cynthia Hand

Hi, all! I've been quiet of late - lots to try and catch up on before the year is out! Plus, now, I'm apparently sick. Yay!

I think I might have mentioned before, but I generally avoid holiday themed books. I almost never get to them before the holiday in question and then it seems like I'm supposed to wait another year for the holiday to roll around before I try again. Well, this year I'm aiming to get to some Christmas-themed books and I'm going to share one of those titles with you each day leading up to Christmas.

First up, The Afterlife of Holly Chase by Cynthia Hand. Here's a bit about the book from Goodreads:

On Christmas Eve five years ago, Holly was visited by three ghosts who showed her how selfish and spoiled she'd become. They tried to convince her to mend her ways.

She didn't.

And then she died.

Now she's stuck working for the top-secret company Project Scrooge--as the latest Ghost of Christmas Past.

Every year, they save another miserly grouch. Every year, Holly stays frozen at seventeen while her family and friends go on living without her. So far, Holly's afterlife has been miserable.

But this year, everything is about to change. . . .

As you can tell, this is a YA retelling of A Christmas Carol and it's been getting good reviews so far. It was even recommended on one of the Bookriot podcasts I listen to - but my foggy cold filled head won't let me remember which. So you should listen to them all!

The Afterlife of Holly Chase is out now if you want to read along with me!

Monday, December 4, 2017

What I'm Reading: The Paris Secret by Karen Swan + a Giveaway

Good morning, everyone! Today I'm a stop on the TLC blog tour for Karen Swan's The Paris Secret.

Apologies, readers, my work load has been such that I haven't been able to finish reading this one, much as I've been dying to! So rather than my usual homemade synopsis, here's a bit about the book from Goodreads:

Somewhere along the cobbled streets of Paris, an apartment lies thick with dust and secrets: full of priceless artworks hidden away for decades.

High-flying Fine Art Agent Flora from London, more comfortable with the tension of a million-pound auction than a cosy candlelit dinner for two, is called in to asses these suddenly discovered treasures. As an expert in her field, she must trace the history of each painting and just who has concealed them for so long.

Thrown in amongst the glamorous Vermeil family as they move between Paris and Antibes, Flora begins to discover that things aren't all that they seem, while back at home her own family is recoiling from a seismic shock. The terse and brooding Xavier Vermeil seems intent on forcing Flora out of his family's affairs - but just what is he hiding?

A few years ago, a story broke about an abandoned apartment in Paris packed full of art and other sundries. The apartment had been locked up since WWII and untouched until three years after the owner's death. And of course upon hearing the story I was immediately intrigued. (You can read bit about it here.) And I wasn't the only one, Karen Swan was inspired by that very same story in writing The Paris Secret

With the exception of a few details, Swan's imaginings of the story behind the apartment are much different than the reality. The story is set around Flora Sykes, who has been brought in to research and determine the value of items discovered within the apartment. The daughter of a former chief auctioneer at Christie's, Flora has art in her blood. But Flora doesn't really expect to find any real treasures. And yet, that's pretty much exactly what she finds! And the stories behind those treasures...

At one point, Flora muses over the fact that no one ever discovered the apartment was abandoned in all the time before it was opened. It's a thought I had as well - the building (real and fictional) must have had excellent security! In fact, the boon begins with the apartment being broken into (again different from the real story, which I understand was that the owner's death prompted opening of the apartment). 

I love Swan's version. I love the rich and vibrant details of the story and the art. And I love the mystery she's built around an already fascinating tale, making it completely her own!

And now for the giveaway! I've got one copy to give away to one lucky reader here. To enter, simply fill out the Rafflecopter below before Monday, December 18. Open US only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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

For more on Karen Swan you can like her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter.

Purchase Links: HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Sunday, December 3, 2017

New Releases 12/5/17

Some of the new titles hitting shelves this week are:

Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughan

Persepolis Rising by James S. A. Corey

The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden

Insidious Intent by Val McDermid

Year One by Nora Roberts

Alive in Shape and Color ed by Lawrence Block

Three Daughters of Eve by Elif Shafak

Not Safe After Dark by Peter Robinson

Plague Land by Alex Scarrow

New on DVD:
Despicable Me 3
Better Watch Out
American Assassin

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Pre Pub Book Buzz: Unbury Carol by Josh Malerman

Oh, what!? There's a new Josh Malerman coming out! Well, it's a few months down the line, but I can't possibly contain my excitement any longer.

Here's a bit about the book from Goodreads:

Carol Evers is a woman with a dark secret. She has died many times . . . but her many deaths are not final: They are comas, a waking slumber indistinguishable from death, each lasting days.

Only two people know of Carol’s eerie condition. One is her husband, Dwight, who married Carol for her fortune, and—when she lapses into another coma—plots to seize it by proclaiming her dead and quickly burying her . . . alive. The other is her lost love, the infamous outlaw James Moxie. When word of Carol’s dreadful fate reaches him, Moxie rides the Trail again to save his beloved from an early, unnatural grave.

And all the while, awake and aware, Carol fights to free herself from the crippling darkness that binds her—summoning her own fierce will to survive. As the players in this drama of life and death fight to decide her fate, Carol must in the end battle to save herself.

The haunting story of a woman literally bringing herself back from the dead, Unbury Carol is a twisted take on the Sleeping Beauty fairy tale that will stay with you long after you’ve turned the final page.

Unbury Carol is due out from Del Rey in April.