Friday, February 29, 2008

Small Stuff

I got in my copy of Stephanie Meyer's upcoming adult title, The Host! I am so excited. Once upon a time, while I was still working at the bookstore, my boyfriend picked up the ARC of Twilight. I should have read it, but seeing as it was a teen book, I sent it straight to my sister, who absolutely loved it! She's been devouring books ever since and I just had to brag to her that I got this one. I'll be the cool sister and buy it for her - or maybe after I read it, I'll be really cool and let her read it before all of her friends have a chance. Wouldn't you have just died to be able to do that way back when!

Stephen King, my all-time favorite author, has a new short story collection coming in November. If you're not a fan of short stories, you should read the intro to Nightmares and Dreamscapes. At least I think it's that intro. Anyway, King talks about his appreciation of the short story and encourages readers to embrace them as well. The work that goes into one of these can be much more difficult that writing an entire novel. Makes sense, you have to get the whole story across and build your characters in just a few pages. I am newly appreciative of these. I used to feel a bit cheated when reading a short story. There was so little there and I always wanted more. I still feel that way in some cases, but short stories inspire short reading which makes them perfect for, say, a lunch break. One of my favorite new collections is 20th Century Ghosts by Joe Hill (King's son). I highly recommend the book and the author.

It was Joanne Harris who really changed my mind about short stories. Her collection Jigs and Reels was amazing. Another title that I highly recommend it. In the book, she provides a very short explanation about each tale's inspiration. The stories range from literary feel-good to gothic, supernatural, and the just plain weird.

Speaking of Harris. She just recently release her first teen fantasy - it was very good and plays on Norse mythology and Ragnarok. Her upcoming release, titled Lollipop Shoes in the UK and The Girl with no Shadow here in the states, is due out April 8. It's a follow-up to Chocolat.

The Other Boleyn Girl is out in theaters today and I will probably be heading over there shortly to see it. Not sure how I feel about Eric Bana playing King Henry. He's hot and Henry was, in the end, not. I have not read any of Philippa Gregory's titles. They flew off the shelves while I was at the store, though, and I am hoping that there is more historical merit to her tales than not. Either way, I am expecting a pretty damn good movie.

Finally, two of my favorite Brits have new books out (or shortly) in the UK. Sarah Rayne has just released The Death Chamber (due out April stateside) and Mo Hayder's Ritual is due out March 10 in the UK. These two ladies are masters at gruesome and shocking psychological suspense. I recommend starting with Hayder's Devil of Nanking.

Specialty stores are usually pretty good about ordering overseas titles. I ordered mine from Cynthia at High Crimes - she'll be moving to orders only March 15 and you should give her a call. Scottsdale's Poisoned Pen usually stocks Hayder and gets theirs in about a month after the UK releases. Incidentally, they do have copies of Lollipop Shoes, this is where I got mine.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Ghost of Mae Nak

As an extreme horror buff always on the lookout for new releases, I quickly fell in love with Tartan's Asia Extreme collection. I've been systematically working my way through the horror films, and this is my latest.

Ghost of Mae Nak is a Thai film based on an old Thai ghost story about a woman named Mae Nak. They go into the legend in the film so I won't recap it here (for those of you who might watch it), but if you want to read more, here's the wikipedia link to the story.

In the film, engaged couple Mak and Nak answer an ad in the paper for a start-up house that is up for sale. They agree to buy, but unbeknownst to them, the shady real estate agent is about to pull a fast one on them. Fortunately, he dies in a train accident before he can. The couple fix up the new house, but just days after the wedding they are robbed. Mak chases the criminals who, in turn, hit him with their car leaving him in a coma. While visiting Mak in the hospital, Nak swears that her husband has woken and cryptically told her to find Mae Nak. At this point, Nak has no knowledge of Mae Nak's tale and neither does the viewer. The ghost of Mae Nak appears to Mak in his dreams and she seems to be helping the couple what with her cruel revenge against the real estate agent and later the burglars. It soon becomes apparent, however, that she may be the cause of Mak's mysterious coma. Nak must find out what the ghost wants and try to appease the spirit in order to save Mak. 

The acting is fairly good and the translated subtitles hold a coherent storyline - if you watch many foreign films, especially the Asian ones, you know that there is often more than a little bit of the plot lost in the translation, leaving you with that sense that you just didn't get it. Effects are so-so. Some scenes are great and some are mediocre. Overall it was pretty good and, no, no one crawled on the floor or up the walls. 

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Mario Acevedo

The quirky humor and crazy antics of Felix Gomez are back March 11 in Acevedo's upcoming, The Undead Kama Sutra

So far Felix has been involved in investigating strange occurrences of nymphomania at Rocky Flats, disappearing porn stars in LA, and now he has to track down a manuscript that is said to increase a vamp's psychic energy. 

The odd and sometimes dirty humor, and the amalgamation of all sorts of different characters typical of multiple genres - vamps, elves, aliens -  make this series one of the most original to pop up in recent years. Not at all typical urban fantasy, they are definitely paranormal mysteries with a dark twisted sense of humor. I would definitely recommend Acevedo to readers who enjoy Christopher Moore and vice versa.

Denver native Acevedo is planning a host of upcoming events, including a final appearance at High Crimes bookstore before it closes. He will also be attending next week's Left Coast Crime Convention (maybe I'll meet him). Check out his site www.marioacevedo.com for more events. For more insight into the mind that continues to bring you the strange and further tales of everyone's favorite undead PI, visit Acevedo's blog at http://www.biting-edge.blogspot.com/. And, as if that wasn't enough, check out the Felix Gomex lego book trailer. 


Tuesday, February 26, 2008

30 Days of Night

I had to do it. It's new release Tuesday and I just had to go out and get 30 Days of Night on dvd.

Based on the graphic novel by Steve Niles and Ben Templesmith, 30 Days of Night is about a small town in Alaska that is overrun by vampires during their one month of darkness. A few survivors manage to evade capture and try to hold out until the month is over and the sun will finally return.  What follows is a great survival flick with a supernatural twist. 

It's an interesting concept, one that makes me kind of want to read the graphic novels. If, like me, that's not your thing, there are various novelizations of the story including what follows the events that take place in the movie. 

For a vampire picture, this is one of the better ones to come out recently. Having not read the books just yet, I can't tell you if there is more backstory regarding the vamps themselves, but I hope so. There's certainly enough violence, gore, and surprises around the corner to make this a pretty darn good horror movie. If you pay close attention, you'll notice that, yes, that is Ben Foster playing the creepy stranger who precedes the vamps' arrival.

Marianne Mancusi's News Blues

Maddy Madison wants it all, great job, great guy, and an authentic designer bag. Unfortunately, as a producer for News 9 in San Diego, she's stuck writing pieces like 'Cosmetics that Kill,' and 'Handbags that Kill.' Every emmy worthy story she suggests is shot down for one reason or another, the great guy belongs to another woman, and the only designer bags she can afford are the ones that are sold over the border with glued on labels. Then, her parents drop a total bomb on her - they're getting a divorce. Her father has been having an affair with a woman younger than she is and they are going to have a baby. Her mother disappears on a world-wide shopping spree and Maddy is left babysitting her troubled sixteen-year-old sister. Maddy has a plan to get herself out of this rut, though. She's been handed the story of the century and she's going to be the one to break it , no matter what. She just may get the guy in the end as well.

Marianne Mancusi is just a great writer. A two-time Emmy award winning producer herself, she draws on her own knowledge of the industry to create a fun and amusing read that still deals with some pretty heavy issues. Other titles by Mancusi include Shomi's Moongazer and the teen vamp series that began with Boys That Bite.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Jason Pinter's The Guilty

The follow-up to last year's explosive debut featuring NYC reporter Henry Parker. Parker, easing back into his roll as a junior reporter after the incidents in last summer’s The Mark, is assigned to cover the high profile killing of pop superstar Athena Paradis after she is gunned down when exiting a New York City nightclub. Parker gets the scoop on the case when a cop informs him that the shooter left behind a message, a quote from one of Henry's own articles regarding guilt and innocence. Then, a cop is murdered at the press conference being held on Paradis's murder. NYC is thrown into a state of shock and fear when two more prominent citizens are murdered by the same shooter. The one lead in the case, the shooter's weapon. A Winchester '73, the gun that won the west. Consequently, the gun used by the infamous Billy the Kid. Henry is the first to draw the connection that puts himself directly in the line of fire.

The Guilty is a fantastic thriller with a fascinating plot and an unforgiving pace. With just two books under his belt, young Pinter has already proven himself to be a truly overwhelming new talent in the industry.

Interestingly enough, Pinter had already begun work on this book before the deal came through for The Mark. Fascinated by the mythos of one of America's most controversial criminals, and the man who later claimed that he was, in fact, Billy the Kid, The Guilty was meant to be a stand-alone until the Parker series was picked up. It turned out to be a great addition to the series, in my opinion, and from the teaser chapter of The Stolen that was featured in the back of my copy, book three promises to be just as intense! I can't wait.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Coming Tuesday, February 26

Just a few of the new releases hitting shelves this Tuesday that I am looking forward to:

Jason Pinter's The Guilty -second in the Henry Parker series - a great thriller!

Morag Joss's The Night Following - similar in theme and style to Half Broken Things

Michele Martinez's Notorious - third in the Melanie Vargas series
Kim Harrison's The Outlaw Demon Wails - sixth in the Rachel Morgan series
John Meaney's Bone Song - a combination of dark fantasy, mystery, and horror

30 Days of Night
Death at a Funeral

Why blog

So I am starting up a blogspot, joining the masses, to talk about books, movies, and whatever else strikes my fancy. Why? Because I want to. Simple as that. So, if you're here and wondering what's up, check back 'cause there will be more to come.