Monday, November 30, 2009

Book Blogger Holiday Swap

This year, I read about a Book Blogger Holiday Swap that a couple of the bloggers I follow had signed up for. I didn't know about it last year, so this was my first year to participate. It was super fun. I got my Secret Santa giftee about two weeks ago and set about looking for a gift.

I checked out her blog -- www.lookatmybooks.blogspot.com -- and her wishlist, and picked a couple of titles based on that. Hopefully they turn out to be good choices, but she seems to read a lot of the same kinds of things that I do, so crossing fingers.

I'd wanted to get a head start since I'll be away next week and I got a note today (Saturday) that not only had she received the gift, but that she was my Secret Santa as well!

She picked out a really cool set of bookplates from Nifty Swank and bookmarks by Stephanie Schauer of Pretty {much} Art -- both of whom have Etsy sites I've linked to so you can look at their great collections -- and she got me the latest Cody McFadyen. How sweet is that?

The Holiday Swap was fun and I'm really glad that I participated. Now I have a new blog to follow, too!

Anywho, I'm pre-posting here and trying to get a week's worth in so my blog won't suffer from my being away. I've got some book posts coming and will tell you all about my trip to Charleston when I return!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

New Releases 12/01/09

Some of the new titles hitting shelves this week include:

U is for Undertow by Sue Grafton -- latest in the Kinsey Millhone series and it's great!

Cleaving: A Story of Marriage, Meat and Obsession by Julie Powell -- of Julie & Julia fame

Dying Scream by Mary Burton

The Darkness by Jason Pinter -- latest Henry Parker thriller

Garden of the Moon by Elizabeth Sinclair

Forty-Eight X: The Lemuria Project by Barry Pollack

Once Bitten by Clare Willis

Spy Games by Gina Robinson

The Paris Vendetta by Steve Barry -- the latest Cotton Malone thriller

Trial by Fire by JA Jance -- Ali Reynolds #5

New on DVD:
Paper Heart
Night at the Museum: Battle at the Smithsonian
Terminator: Salvation

New reviews at Bookbitch.com:
U is for Undertow
Betrayals by Lili St. Crow
The Sweethearts' Knitting Club by Lori Wilde

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Holy Moly! A Movie Post

Black Friday blows me away. I don't do the sales or the crowds. In fact, most years I vow not to leave the house. I think it comes from working in retail for so long. The months of November and December are black out months in retail, meaning you aren't supposed to make any time-off requests. Sometimes you luck out and get a manager who'll allow it, but you're either going to work Black Friday or Christmas Eve, or the day after Christmas. Or all three (usually my luck).

So I kind of relish my not having to do that anymore -- or at least for now. Who knows what the future will hold.

Today, however, with Mike out snowboarding all day I decided to head to the movies. I've been wanting to see The Road, but I figured I would wait for Mike to see it. So I headed out to see Ninja Assassin instead.

I'm not a huge martial arts/ninja fan, although I have seen most of the new films that have come out recently -- I'm a fan of Jason Statham even if I think he's a much better actor than his recent films illustrate. So you can imagine that I had some reservations about Ninja Assassin.

Perhaps that's why I enjoyed it so much! It was freaking great!

If you're considering seeing a movie this weekend, I highly suggest you check it out -- if you don't mind super gore, though. The blood in this movie is plentiful and the fight scenes are pretty excellent.

Like most ninja movies, it could definitely use more story development, but I have to say that I thought it did ok in this department. I've seen much, much worse. I found it interesting as well as visually stunning. And I do mean that. There is plenty for the eyes to feast on in this movie, not the least of which is the yummy Rain, starring as Raizo. Oh, man! Even if you're not a fan of these movies at all, you should check him out!

Yeah, I'm a dork. At least he's age-appropriate hotness unlike the New Moon boys.

I expected this to be a miss and I was pleasantly surprised that it was not. This is the latest release from Joel Silver's Dark Castle Entertainment, who was responsible for the atrocious RocknRolla (did I say that?). Course we could just as easily blame that mishap on Madonna (let's hope Guy Ritchie recovered for the upcoming Sherlock Holmes). Dark Castle also did the recent flop Whiteout, which I've not seen and so can't criticize. In their defense, they were responsible for Orphan this year, a movie that I rather enjoyed. So, you win some you lose some. (They have an upcoming film called The Apparition starring Ashley Greene -- Alice of the Twilight films -- in case you were interested).

As a horror fan, to see that the company that was dedicated to breathing new life into old William Castle films was now doing a ninja movie was a bit of a WTF?! moment. I also have to say that although the trailer adequately portrays the expected violence of the film, the movie itself was an unexpectedly entertaining movie that I think should be a win for Dark Castle, director James McTeigue, and star Rain. And yes, that is Naomie Harris, aka Selena of 28 Days Later, as Europol Agent Mika -- see, you didn't know there was a Europol story in there, did you?

For more Ninja Assassin related fun, here's a link to a CNN story with some video on both the star and the film. And if you did not see Rain on the Colbert Report (I didn't) then this should thoroughly entertain you. He's hotness in the film even if the Colbert clip is pretty dorky.

Go see it.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Because I'm a Little Crazy

My Christmas gifts should come with warning labels. I'm not joking. I did some heavy shopping on Tuesday. Heavy. I'll be feeling the pain later, but am trying not to think about how much money I spent right now. And I'm still hoping that I get some time in Charleston next week to do some souvenir shopping, too. Which means that my family might be getting extra kitschy stuff, too.

Why do my gifts need warning labels? Because I have a tendency to buy strange novelty items. In my defense, it's usually because I can't figure out what to get anyone. This year I ended up at the candy shop. I don't know. I was looking for one item in particular and ended up buying a ton of stuff for my family. See, my brother has gotten impossible to shop for. I usually end up getting him really cheesy, strange things. Last year it was wasabi gumballs, bacon mints, and bacon band-aids. This year the bacon fun continues. There are crazy bacon gifts out there! (Hint, hint, family -- I want the "Bacon is a Vegetable" tee, if you can find it!)

And that's just his stuff. My dad's gift is especially aromatic. Considering their pets are as bad as ours at ferreting out foodstuffs, I'm going to have to tell mom not to put it under the tree.

My sisters, though, are getting non-edibles for the most part. I did get some small candy items from Powell's for them as well, though. And, I had to read one of the gifts before I could send it off. Shame on me! But, in my defense, it's for the one who is totally unwilling to borrow from me, telling me to buy my own any time I hand over a book. Yeah, that was my own you just took, by the way! So I figure I'm off the hook for reading her gift before shipping it over -- and she'll never know unless I tell her (or unless she reads it here!).

The book in question is James Dashner's The Maze Runner, a book that's part Running Man and part Cube (someone else made that comparison first and I can't for the life of me remember who, but I totally and completely agree with them).

Thomas can't remember much before landing in the Glade. The other boys inside have all experienced the same thing. Day by day, they've figured out how to survive. And the key is not to be caught outside the Glade at night, when the giant walls that surround them close. The maze outside is filled with creatures and traps. Only certain boys ever enter the maze and some of them never return. Thomas wants to be a Maze Runner more than anything. He's certain that he's been sent to the Glade to solve the maze. But just a day after Thomas arrives, the Box delivers another. And this time it's a girl. Now, time is running out for Thomas and the other boys. They must find a way out of the Glade before it's too late.

The Maze Runner is cool. The end is killer and according to Dashner, readers can't even imagine where the trilogy will go next, which is definitely enough to keep this on my radar. I'm really hoping the JJs enjoy this one as much as I did. It's intense and it's fun. Even better, if you have YA reading boys, this is the book for them! There's a lot of stuff out there that appeals to both boys and girls, I know, and this definitely fits into that category. I know from experience that that finding something to get guys interested can be a chore, and this book is really the perfect kind of read for any kid (young or age-challenged) who likes danger, adventure, monsters, and a little sci-fi.

Alrighty, I'm about to enter the overeating induced coma that's been threatening me all day. So, happy reading, and I hope you had a great Turkey Day!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Take a Deep Breath

Sometimes I feel like I'm just running and running and can't stop. And yet, I always have the prevailing sense that I'm not getting enough done. Yeah, I know.

As you probably all know from reading, I'll be starting a new job on Monday. I'm really looking forward to it, but I'm starting to get very nervous. And I'm trying to maximize the rest of my time off here. I jokingly told my sister that I wasn't going to sleep for the next week, that way I could have more time to get things done. Jokingly, but when I thought about it, that would have been another 56 hours. And since my sleep has been seriously lacking in the effectiveness department for the past few years (well, not totally true because I'm sure I'd be even more out of it if it was completely ineffective) that's a lot of time that I could use for other things.

And I'm scatterbrained over here, too! I spent most of today burning a hole in my bank account, I mean Christmas shopping. I ended up with a mess of unrelated stuff for everyone. Yeah, they're going to look at their gifts and wonder what I was thinking this year. I got home with it all and started boxing it up to wrap and then ended up in here doing this. Supper has not been started, but since I didn't eat until 3, I'm guessing that it's not going to be much of an issue.

And in the midst of it all, I have to stop, take a breath, and treat myself to some fun reads. Have to in order to keep my sanity. I even hit the bookstore yet again for another addition to the TBR stack (only I plan on taking this new book on the plane next week).

Yesterday I finished up a sweet romance title that was super fun to read. It was Lori Wilde's The Sweethearts' Knitting Club (just released on Tuesday, so run out and grab a copy). In the book, Wilde uses a real Texas town as the inspiration for the fictional Twilight, the setting for this and at least one more upcoming title, The True Love Quilting Club (I gotta say, I'm really looking forward to seeing these characters return).

Flynn MacGregor has always taken care of those around her, and has a history of neglecting her own dreams as a result. In high school, she fell hard for bad boy Jesse Calloway, but their budding romance was cut short when Jesse was arrested and sent to prison. Since then, Flynn has been on and off with the local sheriff, Beau Trainer. In spite of Beau's many requests, Flynn has managed to hold off on marriage, until now. Beau has finally given her an ultimatum, marry him or it's over. But just when she's finally ready to give in, Jesse returns to town and Flynn finds herself torn between the two.

Wilde is an award-winning and bestselling author with over 40 books to her name, and counting. Impressive, to say the least. And The Sweethearts' Knitting Club is fantastic. I mean it, fantastic! If you're looking for a heartwarming read that will truly make you forget your worries, this is it.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


I'm working on my list of Top Ten for the bookbitch, and it's super tough. Course it is every year. I keep a running list of books that stand out for me, and my method for narrowing it down this year was to limit the number of each genre/subgenre that appears on the list.

There were so many fantastic books, though, that I wanted to share the pre-narrowed list here with you. And aside from these, there were many, many other great reads this year that I hope to eventually showcase here on the blog. My intention is to share with you all of the books that I enjoy, so take this list as just a small example of 2009's amazing releases!

These are in no particular order, except possibly by the date that I read them:

Never Tell A Lie by Hallie Ephron (thriller -- debut)
Three Weeks to Say Goodbye by CJ Box (thriller)
Silent on the Moor by Deanna Raybourn (gothic mystery)
The Little Sleep by Paul Tremblay (PI mystery -- debut)
Patient Zero by Jonathan Maberry (horror)
The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan (teen horror -- debut)
The Tricking of Freya by Christina Sunley (lit fic -- debut)
In the Dark by Brian Freeman (thriller)
The Keeper of Light and Dust by Natasha Mostert (thriller)
Darling Jim by Christian Moerk (gothic/lit fic)
Strange Angels by Lili St. Crow (teen paranormal)
Bad Things by Michael Marshall (thriller)
The Unseen by Alexandra Sokoloff (horror)
The Rapture by Liz Jensen (thriller)
A Quiet Belief in Angels by RJ Ellory (mystery)
The Brutal Telling by Louise Penny (mystery)
Soulless by Gail Carriger (paranormal -- debut)
Audrey's Door by Sarah Langan (horror)
The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker by Leanna Renee Hieber (paranormal -- debut)
Vengeance Road by Rick Mofina (thriller)
The Cutting by James Hayman (thriller -- debut)
Lust Loathing and a Little Lip Gloss by Kyra Davis (mystery)
Bloody Good by Georgia Evans (paranormal)
Tempest Rising by Nicole Peeler (paranormal -- debut)
Under the Dome by Stephen King (horror)

As of today, I have read 150 books in 2009, so you can see how hard it would be to narrow the list of favorites to 25, and then to narrow that list to 10. Agh! And the year's not up yet. I expect that given the extra month, this list could grow by at least 5-10 more titles.

Anywho, you can check Bookbitch.com to see the narrowed list (like I said, I narrowed according to how many times the genre/subgenre was represented on the list already) tough and I hate cutting anything. Not sure when the finished lists will be posted, but I'll be submitting mine this evening (and hopefully not making major changes to it, though it's going to be hard!).

Monday, November 23, 2009

One Week Left

Oh, man. I have eaten a ridiculous amount today! Had lunch at a super yummy Indian buffet and then pizza for supper. I'm thinking salad until Thanksgiving! Probably not going to happen, though.

Seven days left until my trip to Charleston. Seven days left of "vacation." And I'm trying to make the reading most out of it! In the past three days I've finished three more books from the TBR stack and each of them was great. Friday morning, I wrapped up reading Joanna Challis's Murder on the Cliffs, a fun mystery featuring Daphne du Maurier as the main character. And best yet, it's the first in a new series.

Murder on the Cliffs begins with du Maurier taking a research trip looking for inspiration for her writing (she's looking to dig through records in a local abbey). She stumbles upon the body of a young woman and becomes determined to solve what she can only believe is murder in the most foul. Challis introduces a slew of characters, each of which inspires suspicion on the would-be authoress. The dead woman was a local girl with a questionable past. A girl who was set to marry the wealthiest and most eligible bachelors in the area. The fiance seems devastated, but his mother doesn't exactly try to hide her relief that the match has been thwarted, in spite of the terrible circumstances. Daphne herself gains an in with the family by befriending the troubled teenage daughter, Lianne, who was also present when the body was discovered.

See, characters who each have their own reasons to have wanted the woman dead, but who is the actual killer? And how could Daphne not be inspired? I'm a big fan of Rebecca -- it is by far one of my all-time favorite books and one of the definitive (in my mind) gothic reads. And it was super fun to see du Maurier in this light -- I've never read bio material on the author, but this twist on her works for me.

Anywho, happy reading folks! This one hits shelves Tuesday and I'd definitely recommend it to any mystery fans out there.

And, sorry if this seems short this evening. I have to admit that my concentration is elsewhere tonight. Hopefully I won't read this in the morning and decide to scrap it : )

Must apologize readers. I had in my review here (and on BB) that Murder on the Cliffs was Joanna Challis's debut title. Although I believe that Murder is her first official release here in the States, it is not her first published book. I'm having some trouble connecting to her official site, but according to her AuthorsDen page, Joanna's first book, Silverthorn was a 2004 Romantic Book of the Year finalist in Australia.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

New Releases 11/24/09

Some of the new titles hitting shelves this week include:

Overkill by Eugenia Lovett West -- 2nd in the Emma Streat series

Murder on the Cliffs by Joanna Challis -- a mystery featuring Daphne du Maurier

Delilah by India Edghill

Where Armadillos Go to Die by James Hime

The Red Velvet Turnshoe by Cassandra Clark -- 2nd in the Abbess Hildegard series

Pirate Latitudes by Michael Crichton

Breathless by Dean Koontz

Why My Third Husband Will Be a Dog: The Amazing Adventures of an Ordinary Woman by Lisa Scottoline

New on DVD:
Angels & Demons
Four Christmases
Funny People

New reviews at Bookbitch.com:
Murder on the Cliffs
Hangman Blind by Cassandra Clark
Captive of Sin by Anna Campbell
Under the Dome by Stephen King

Thursday, November 19, 2009


Man, Under the Dome was like a marathon in written word. And I loved it!

This 1,074 monstrosity really moves like you'd never believe. I don't think many, once starting the behemoth that is, would have a problem finishing it in less time than they imagine. It took me 5 days start to finish (about 4 days of dedicated reading -- I took Monday off to read my sister's Christmas present, but don't tell her).

In scope, the story probably goes in the categories with The Stand (for story heft) and Needful Things (for sheer size of cast, although I think UTD has more characters than Needful Things). There are some other similarities with those other two, and that's the human element. Something King does well, but all three of these stories share the aspect that pits townspeople/community against one another in a desperate situation.

As usual, I highly recommend the latest King. It didn't not disappoint, not that I expected it to. I'm thinking if the story hadn't moved so fast, I would have liked a little more time to savor it. Not sure when King will have a new book out, but happily, his website states that he has an idea for a new Dark Tower book. Sweetness! Either way, you might want to make Under the Dome last, but I really dare you to try.

And I'm off to the next read. What it will be, I haven't decided yet. This enforced vacation has been really nice in knocking out books, though. Since Friday, I've finished 4 and that's counting Under the Dome. Total page count of all the books, that's an average of 354 pages a day. Not too shabby, but I can do better!

A week and a few days to go before I begin work. We'll see what I can get read in that time, shall we? Off to catch up on some movies first, though.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Past Halfway

So after my day off from reading on Monday, I did make up yesterday. Honestly, if I hadn't taken that day off, you might be reading "DONE!" right here. Barring anything strange or tragic, I should finish Under the Dome today.

I was thinking, and I had prepared a blog that I trashed due to sensitive nature. I wanted to tell you my From a Buick 8 story, but it's hard to do ignoring the total circumstances.

See, being from Louisiana, unfortunately hurricane season and hurricane evacuations become a semi-normal part of your life. Post Katrina and Rita, I feel that there was a lot of assumption that the big one would never happen. That each warning was just an overreaction. And it was backed up by the fact that everyone would pick up and go and the storm that hit would not be as bad as predicted.

It made life really tough, and I'm not trying at all to downplay the effects any of these storms had on people in their paths. Folks lost their homes, their lives, their towns... But the attitude changed a bit after Katrina and Rita hit.

Back in '02, there was still a prevailing sense of ambivalence. Sadly, as a college student working in retail, there was the honest to goodness fear that I would be fired because corporate NY didn't care that my dad wanted me out of the track of a potentially life-threatening hurricane, or that I would lose at least a semester of school because the college felt the same way. And not to sound snotty, but I worked hard to have to worry that they would take it away from me because I didn't stay for a possibly hurricane and attend classes.

My dad took each storm seriously. We had baskets of hurricane food each year that we would dive into at the end of hurricane season, only to refill a few months later. Ritz crackers and SPAM galore! The car had to stay gassed up during hurricane season in case we had to evacuate quickly.

In '02, Lili hit. We evacuated to north Louisiana where a church opened their doors to evacuees. I have to say, now that I'm further removed from the situation, that these were some of the nicest folks I have ever met. Not that I paid much attention as a barely 20 year old. I just wanted everything back to normal and I wanted to go back to school and back to work with no negative repercussions. And Lili hit my college town, causing damage and making people a little more alert to the possibility of a bad one.

I spoke to a friend of mine who sat out the storm and I was glad that I was safe in my temporary home with my cat, reading Stephen King. Which made everything go away, at least while I was buried in its pages.

From a Buick 8 landed on my doorstep just before the storm. I was still in the Stephen King book club, so it took a little longer for my copy to arrive than had I purchased it at the bookstore itself. But I was a broke college kid and it saved me some moula being in the club.

And this is what books do for me. They take me away. They let me experience things that I would never experience otherwise. They keep me turning pages late into the night, desperate to see what will happen next. They let me forget when the world could be literally coming down around me. They are total therapy for a worry-wort like me who imagines the absolute worst case scenario in each situation.

My mom and my sisters, when they had to leave the house for weeks during Rita, hit the bookstore. During snowstorms, much as I hated it as one who had to drive to work in the mess, the bookstore still had customers sitting in the comfy chairs and browsing the shelves. When I was in college and had a tough day, my mom would tell me to go buy a book on her. As an even broker teenager, just getting her drivers license, one of the two places I was allowed to drive was the library, where I would bring home a stack of books each week, returning to trade them in days later. My mom bribed me with books when my sisters were newborn and she didn't want the babysitter to be overwhelmed. I wasn't old enough to watch them on my own, but if I helped out, there would be a new book in it for me.

Anyway, I won't delete this one. I'll let it go as is. Everyone has their escape. I choose for mine to be in the form of the written word and bound pages of other people's imaginations.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Tuesday afternoon

Man, time just rolls by! It's already after noon here and I feel like I haven't gotten anything done -- in other words, I haven't had a chance to read my book! I did get stuff done, btw. Signed up for the Book Blogger Holiday Swap a couple of weeks ago and got my gift off today. Also sent my little sisters' presents and friend-Jen's box o' books.

I would have had an Under the Dome update ready for you today, but honestly, I barely touched it yesterday. Today is Mike's 28th and his friends are headed out of town for a family reunion and to search for wedding locations. Luckily, my b-day celebration dinner was a dinner in two parts -- pork roast for Mike and me and then jambalaya with the leftovers for company. So we had the celebration yesterday and I spent a lot of my time preparing the dinner.

Got the roast in the oven early (like 10am) so that it could cook down for the rest of the day. Did a cherry pie and then had to hit the grocery story for some dirty rice fixins. After all of that, I wrapped gifts and hit up the bookstore for more possible gifts (and shame on them for not having the one copy of the one book in the middle of the series that I needed -- they had multiple copies of the others in the series so it was a little weird). Anywho. I kind of felt like a chicken with my head cut off.

I also got good news about the job. I start Dec 1 and I'm supposed to be headed to Charleston for training that week. I'm super excited and really looking forward to it. That kind of lit a fire under me for holiday stuff, though, since next week is Thanksgiving and then I'm supposed to be gone for a week. Seemed like I should get presents out and shipped today, which involved getting them packaged yesterday.

By the time I sat down and had a minute to myself with nothing else to worry about, it was pretty much time for bed. And since the King weighs in at just under 4 lbs, I did some light reading in the tub and crashed.

So, errands are done for the day and I should have plenty of time to devote to my book this afternoon before Mike makes me watch Up!

Monday, November 16, 2009

I am Under the Dome!

I'm writing this Saturday evening as I take my first break from the so far totally amazing monstrosity that is Stephen King's latest masterpiece (hopefully, and he's not upset me yet in my 14 years of reading him) Under the Dome.

I was talking to my little sister and she was making fun of me (actually, she called me pathetic, how freaking mean from a 15 year old) for being in a reading slump thanks to my anticipation of the arrival of UTD. See, I have one major issue with King: he's like crack! Anytime I start reading him, all I want to continue reading is him. And anytime I know that a new one is coming out, I start to get all antsy and realize that nothing else hits the spot until I can get my grubby little hands on the new book.

And it happened, as usual, with this one. I pre-ordered, knowing full and well that it wouldn't arrive on the release date with shipping time. But I was ok with that until this afternoon. Here it is, Saturday and my book was still not set to arrive until the end of next week. And with it right within my reach at the bookstores.

I purposely passed up the display yesterday when I hit the store for early Christmas gifts, not even pausing to look at it since I knew mine was already paid for and in transit. But today was nasty out. I mean gray and cold and snowy off and on. Nasty. I'd watched a movie, watched and immediately rejected a second movie, and settled on watching The Mist while curling up in bed with the kitties, having spent much wasted time contemplating over my TBR stacks and NOT COMING TO ANY DECISION! Why, because I stubbornly wanted to read the new Stephen King, and only the new Stephen King (oh, trust me, Sue Grafton is next!).

I told my sister of my issue, and she laughed at me and told me to get over it (in addition to the whole pathetic thing), even though she said she understood where I was coming from, too. Hmm. Little hypocrite.

Anyway, the mailman had come and gone and I was disappointed that the book was not waiting on my doorstep when he left. But, we have a walking mailman and I'm guessing the behemoth was too much for him to carry on his route. At roughly 4:30, a thump, the dog going mad, and the doorbell. Yay! It was here!

I held off long enough to finish out the final 30 min of the movie and then tore in. Now, supper eaten and a phone call to check on Mike (out snowboarding and now stuck in traffic on the way home), I'm roughly 100 pages in and LOVING IT!

I'm predicting that it will not take me my self-imposed allotment of 1 week to finish considering my whole "vacation" status right now. I may have to forgo my bathtub reading with this one, however. (Don't laugh at me too hard over that one, I am a human ice cube and have to defrost regularly.) I did manage with The Stand back in freshman year of high school, but I was little less tightly wound back then and didn't mind hefting a book of its size. I'm too nervous about potentially losing feeling in my wrist and dropping my investment in the water this time around.

Alright. I'm back to reading now. I'll keep you posted (and we'll see if I can get most of it wrapped before you read this on Monday, shall we?).

Sunday, November 15, 2009

New Releases 11/17/09

Some of the new titles hitting shelves this week are:

Betrayals by Lili St. Crow -- 2nd in Saintcrow's amazing teen series and I've been waiting on the edge of my seat to see what happens next!

Shadowlands by Alyson Noel -- 3rd in the Immortals series for teens

I, Alex Cross by James Patterson

Crocodile Tears by Anthony Horowitz -- latest in the teen Alex Rider series

The Wrecker by Clive Cussler

New on DVD:
Train -- the torture porn remake of Jaime Lee Curtis's Terror Train
Star Trek
My Sister's Keeper

New reviews at Bookbitch.com:
Magic to the Bone by Devon Monk
The Archangel Project by C. S. Graham
The Sad Tale of the Brothers Grossbart by Jesse Bullington
Without Warning by Eugenia Lovett West

Friday, November 13, 2009

Just Because They Can

... doesn't always mean that they should, but I think in this case, I'm cool with it.

What am I talking about? Hollywood's penchant for remakes these days. Sure, I wish that they would release more original work, or at least there are plenty of adaptations that can be made that aren't remakes of something else.

I'm not happy at all about Nightmare on Elm Street, although I will be seeing it. I don't think it warranted a remake since the original is still pretty cool. Other recent remakes in the horror genre have not been my cup of tea -- My Bloody Valentine (not made cooler by 3-d folks) and Friday the 13th (which just as easily could have been # infinity in the franchise). And don't get me started on Rob Zombie's Halloween movies. I love the originals.

But there are a couple of remakes coming out that I am pretty psyched about. One of them is the upcoming Wolfman starring Anthony Hopkins and Benecio del Toro. It looks fantastic. I am super stoked about this one because I really don't think that werewolves are getting enough respect these days. And how much more respect can you give them than to have Sir Anthony Hopkins and yummy Benecio del Toro?

The other remake that I'm kind of excited about (I have fond childhood memories of the original but even I have to admit that new special effects are going to be a great benefit to the tale) is Clash of the Titans. You can compare them yourselves, here's a link to the 1981 trailer for the film starring Harry Hamlin as Perseus, and here is the admittedly super cool trailer for the 2010 adaptation starring *sigh* Sam Worthington as Perseus. I mean, how can a girl argue with a remake starring Sam Worthington? It's just not possible to complain about that.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Jobless, Hopefully Temporarily

Yep, it's now official. Sad thing is, I don't think I can really go that long without income considering Mike's current job status -- working but not earning just yet. I'm kind of ping-ponging between really down and sort of ok. I have some meditative cds a friend sent me to help and I think I may have a project ahead of me putting together happy Itunes playlists.

I've gotten some reading done in the past few, though. Which is not unusual for me. It's the best way to take my mind off of stuff. I'm cooking, too. Again not unusual, but I'm trying to make better use of fridge items rather than hit the store very often. And I'm sort of trying to act as a test kitchen for mom, finding some dishes that she can easily make with little effort for the whole family. I had hoped to be able to try out Thanksgiving recipes in preparation for a holiday feast, but not sure that'll work out.

So far my kitchen exploits have been as follows (and all successful, I might add): Chicken with Orange Butter, Beets, and Greens (beet greens that is. I don't usually use them, but they worked out really well in this recipe so I'll be saving them from now on.), traditional English beef roast with roasted veggies, gravy, and Yorkshire puddings -- those were semi-successful since I had them on the top rack of the oven and the puffed up so big that they were sticking to the top oven coils. Disaster was averted, but only half of them cooked up correctly. The other half were still good, just not as pretty.

Leftover roast became a really great beef stew that I did in the slow cooker. Topped it off with some horseradish sour cream and watched some Dexter. For tonight, I've got Vegetable Lentil Soup started in the slow cooker -- that thing's super easy to use when you don't actually have to be anywhere!

I also have a ton of pecans that I'm trying to find creative ways to use, so if you have some pecan recipes, send them along. Last weekend, I baked Pecan Sandies while watching Australia (great flick, btw, and the first Baz Luhrmann film without any real musical scenes).

Book post coming, but if you want to try out the sandies recipe, I'm including it here. I actually combined two recipes -- one ages old and from my grandmother, and the other from I'm not sure where. They turned out great, though.

Pecan Sandies

1 cup pecans
2 cups a-p flour
1 cup butter, softened
2/3 cups powdered sugar
2 tsps vanilla extract
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
Raw sugar for dusting

Toast the pecans at 350 for about 10 minutes (watch them to make sure they don't burn). Cool.

Grind the nuts together with 1/4 cup of the flour to make a fine sandy texture.

In a bowl, beat together the butter and sugar (until creamy). Add the vanilla and mix well. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, salt, and baking powder. Add to the sugar mixture, mixing until just combined. Stir in the pecan/flour mixture, just until combined. Press the dough into a ball, cover, and chill.*

Preheat oven to 325 F. Shape the dough into 1-inch balls and place about 1 inch apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Press the cookies with the back of a spoon to flatten a bit. Sprinkle with raw sugar and bake, about 20 minutes. Allow the cookies to cool a bit on the cookie sheet before transferring to wire racks.

*My instructions, both recipes, say to chill at least 3 hours. I found the dough to be very hard after that amount of time. In fact, I HAD to roll them in my hands order to get the dough loose enough to form into balls. One set of instructions actually said to roll out with a rolling pin, but the dough was way to hard so I reverted to the other recipes' instructions. I would suggest letting the dough chill at least 30 minutes, possibly an hour. You'll want the dough firm enough to form into cookies, but not so hard that you hurt your hands rolling them!

The raw sugar was my other variation. It gave it a nice little crunchy bite on the tops of the cookies. You can actually roll the cookies in powdered sugar if you prefer, as that's what they did with my grandmother's recipe.

So, enjoy! I still have two boxes of pecans left, so I'm sure I'll be making these again soon.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

New Olive Editions

I've never read Sylvia Plath. Never had to and, as I've admitted before, I read so much new stuff that I've not squeezed any "classics" into my reading schedule for quite some time. Some days I wish I could go back to school full time so that I could read and study more of these.

If I could, I would love to take a Gothic Lit class, if such a thing exists. I think that would be fun.

That's besides the point. I guess it's time for me to read The Bell Jar because I actually received a copy of it in the mail the other day from Harper Perennial. Yep. How could I not now that I actually have a copy, right?

It's one of the latest "modern classic" to get the Olive Edition treatment. And I really love the look of them. They're $10 mass markets (to fit in your pocket, as their ad says) with bright, eye-catching covers. They're intriguing. Probably under the assumption that you already know something about the books.

This latest set includes Thomas Pynchon's The Crying of Lot 49, Eric Schlosser's Fast Food Nation, and The Bell Jar. I did some poking around and found last year's titles for you as well. They are Jonathan Safran Foer's Everything Is Illuminated, Milan Kundera's The Unbearable Lightness of Being, and Michael Chabon's The Mysteries of Pittsburgh.

The books are P.S. Editions and with the exception of Pynchon's book, come with extras such as biographical info and other reading recommendations.

I guess I'm going to have to make an honest effort to get to my growing collection of "old stuff everyone says I should read" now. Undoubtedly it'll be like reading all the new stuff I want to read and some will be hits and some will be misses. I kind of like that these editions are not necessarily the most well-known books by some of these authors, nor are they all particularly old. I kind of wonder which books they'll do next just so I can see what they continue to pick as modern classics.

Monday, November 9, 2009

What a Nasty Pair They Are!

I started reading Jesse Bullington's debut, The Sad Tale of the Brothers Grossbart, over the weekend and I've had Terry Gilliam on the brain ever since!

Imagine if the Brothers Grimm, as imagined by the visual genius that is Gilliam, were a nefarious duo leaving a bloody path of bodies in their wake as they travel from Germany to the Middle East. This is The Sad Tale of the Brothers Grossbart. As they travel, they are met with strange creatures, demons, and folks as dirty and backhanded as they are, and even worse. And, they are treated to some strange tales along the way (which of course brings to mind the Brother Grimm collecting stories).

It's funny when characters as unlikable as the Grossbarts become the characters that you root for. And it's strange, too. As bad as the pair are, their adventures make for such a train wreck of a read that you really want to see what's going to happen on the next part of their journey -- and so out of necessity of story, you have to hope that they CAN and DO continue, which usually means killing off innocent bystanders while wreaking mayhem and havoc.

You may find yourself hoping that their deeds will redeem the brothers in some way, but they don't. It's kind of one of those stories where you find yourself laughing and then checking to see if anyone saw because you get an instant twinge of guilt.

And, as I said before, Bullington's written word seriously brings to mind the strange worlds Gilliam portrays in his various films. I'm not sure if Bullington is a fan of Gilliam, but since I am, this is a super cool accomplishment in my book.

On another note, I am thinking that I am seriously maladapted for cold weather. I mean, I knew this already, but I am a freaking ice cube these days. Not to mention the tendency to hoard food (came in handy when the blizzard struck a few years back) and the severe temptation to hibernate (or sit in the bathtub continuously refilling with hot water). I am not joking here. To make matters worse, we've had a few power outages lately, in part thanks to the snow and mostly thanks to the poorly maintained tree trimming in our area.

I have to say, when the power was out for over 5 hours the other night (possibly brought on by watching GI Joe: Rise of the Cobra, I'm just saying...) it was nice to have a distraction like Brothers Grossbart on hand to hang on to some semblance of sanity before passing out. Not sure my sound mind has completely returned as of yet, with the job situation playing a big part, but I'm sure it'll be back soon (well, hoping it will be back soon, that is).

Sunday, November 8, 2009

New Releases 11/10/09

Some of the new releases hitting shelves this week are:

The Murdered House by Pierre Magnan

Under the Dome by Stephen King -- over 1,000 pages of Stephen King goodness!

New York by Edward Rutherford

Ice: A Novel by Linda Howard

New Releases on DVD:
The Ugly Truth
The Accidental Husband
The Echo

New reviews at Bookbitch.com:
Stuff to Die For by Don Bruns
Xombies: Apocalypse Blues by Walter Greatshell

Friday, November 6, 2009

National Bookstore Day

November 7 is National Bookstore Day! The slogan, "Read Locally."

Participating stores will be offering promotions, discounts, and activities including author signings and contests. For a list of stores taking part, check here.

I kind of wish this were bigger. We have one of the two big locals in my area participating, which begs the question, why not the other? I also see on the list that there are NO stores for Louisiana. Not a single one. I know there are indy stores in Louisiana, though they are few and far between (we had none that I can think of in my hometown or where I went to college -- or in between for that matter -- other than the used stores).

I spur of the moment shop anywhere, but when I'm traveling, if I know there are big indy stores in the area, I have to make a trip. I go to Murder by the Book in Houston and drove out to Poisoned Pen while touring ASU one summer. We hit up stores in Nashville and of course, bookstore mecca, New York City is amazing.

If you're a reader, support your indies by making a special trip and buying something great. A fantastic resource you can use to find out which store is closest to you is Indiebound. They have lists of recommended titles, and you can search the stores in your area. So, even if none of your locals are on the list for November 7, you should head out and browse anyway.

Thursday, November 5, 2009


Argh! Job hunting sucks. I am getting some reading done, but I'm so distracted worrying.

Anywho, I'm beat tonight. Just plugged myself into the tv for an extended period of time and I feel like my brain is in need of more of a vacation than even that allowed. I've started a couple of different reads in the past few days and am having a hard time getting into any of them, most likely because of my mood. Sucks.

I think I'm in need of something totally different to dig me out of the rut, or prevent the rut from happening: it's really only been the past two days (and I did manage to finish one book this afternoon), but I can feel a blah mood about to hit, which means that nothing will hit the spot. I'm thinking that leaving my comfortable, but admittedly pretty expansive, reading box for a bit might be just what the doctor ordered. I'll have to keep you posted. I have a book in mind for the mission, but we'll have to see if it works before I tell you guys and gals what it is.

In the meantime, I'm turning tonight's post into a tv one. Yep, you heard me. A tv post tonight. It was going to be a "I'll be seeing you tomorrow with a real post" post, but I changed my mind. I'm a bit inspired, not by what I watched tonight, but by my latest TV on DVD conquest, Battlestar Galactica.

I know, some of you are rolling your eyes because I took so long, and others are rolling their eyes because they haven't watched it yet. We started last weekend with the first disc in the first season, which is actually the three hour mini-series remake that came out in 2003. The original show began in 1978 (if Wikipedia can be trusted, cause I certainly wasn't around back then).

Actually, I have to correct myself. We didn't start with the mini-series. We started with Caprica, the film prequel that was released earlier this year on DVD and has its own series starting in January. BSG is about, in a nutshell, a war with a race of machines (called Cylons) that has culminated in the destruction of much of the human race. Now, the Battlestar Galactica, an almost decommissioned ship that was turned into a museum showcasing what was believed to be the end of the war with the Cylons, has been forced back into service and carries some of the last human survivors, headed for the mythical planet Earth.

Yeah, I have to say, I was pretty blown away by how intricate the story is, and really, really loved the whole Earth addition. Let me break in here and admit, once again, I'm science-fiction geek, but I don't understand a lot of it, so it always makes me a bit apprehensive and then I'm always psyched that I'm not totally lost. Something about throwing a political based story in a spaceship on the big screen and somehow I get it. Regular old political movies go totally over my head, as does most actual science-fiction reading.

Ok, now Caprica takes the story back over 30 years to the creation of the Cylons. Yep, technology gone bad, man playing God, all that fun stuff. It's escapism at its finest with some pretty deep messages about love and betrayal and stuff. I don't normally analyze things that deeply, so you'll have to forgive me for not portraying my point very elegantly. I'll just say this: right now, I need a little distraction and with BSG over and all out on DVD, I can sit back and enjoy hours of endless episodes.

And yes, as you can see from my tv posts lately, Syfy channel and BBC are my biggies for TV adventureland these days. I'll have to weigh in on the new V later since I missed most of the first episode.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Dark Secrets in Suburbia

So there's a new Libby Fischer Hellmann title out on shelves. It's Doubleback, the follow-up to last year's Easy Innocence, the first thriller to feature Georgia Davis.

I've been looking forward to this one since I turned the final page on Easy Innocence. It was my first by read by Hellmann and I swear I read most of it in one night: between the hours of 11pm and 2am. Oh, man! What a great read!

I was lucky enough to get an ARC of this one and did review it for the BB. Here's that review from the archives:

When a teenage girl is found beaten to death in the woods, the police figure they’ve got an open and shut case. A local man, a convicted sex offender, was found standing over the body, covered in blood and holding a baseball bat. Georgia Davis has been hired by the man’s sister to find the real killer. The man in question is mentally challenged and, according to his sister, has never shown any signs of violence. Georgia also believes the man to be innocent based on the alarming rate at which the cops have been moving the case to court. Georgia, a cop on suspension, investigated a case only two years prior where a group of teens had been participating in a hazing ritual in the same place this girl was found. Her investigation turns over some rather disturbing information about these teens and their extra-curricular activities. She’s also ruffling some pretty important feathers and someone will do just about anything to make sure she keeps her mouth shut. Easy Innocence is a quick and intense mystery with a clever plot and a tough heroine. Georgia Davis one I hope we see more of soon. Highly recommended.

So I picked up Doubleback at the office yesterday and will jump into it as soon as I have a chance. Like I said, I'm really, really looking forward to it. Hellmann should be right up there with Linda Barnes on your reading list. Smart and spunky female PI with a nose for trouble. That's Hellmann's Georgia Davis. And the story in Easy Innocence is dark and troublesome. The wonderful cover should be a clue in that regard.

Libby Fischer Hellmann is also the author of the Ellie Foreman series, which includes:

An Eye For Murder
A Picture of Guilt
An Image of Death
A Shot to Die For

Check out Libby's page for more, including appearance dates. If you're near The Book Stall in Winnetka, IL (which I'm not, but I really wish I was) check out Libby, Marcus Sakey, and the fabulous Laura Caldwell.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Read Before You Watch

I know by now that most of you have to have seen the trailer for the upcoming Martin Scorsese film based on Dennis Lehane's Shutter Island, but in case you haven't (like my mom) then here's a link for you.

No, go watch it.

Ok, doesn't it look cool??!!

This has been in my TBR stack for a while. I'd read some reviews of the book that really intrigued me. With the movie coming out, the book had moved up the stack but I was starting to think that I wouldn't make time for it before the movie came out (it's set for release in February now).

I do that quite a bit: say that I'm going to read the book before the movie hits and then never get around to it. And this is definitely one, if the movie stays true to the book (which I think Scorsese will) that you'll want to read before you watch. It is ah-mazing.

I've tried Lehane before and I think that Shutter Island is a bit more approachable in style -- or my taste has changed sufficiently since trying him nine years ago that I'm more open to him. Possibly a combination of both. Much of what I've read implies (or flat out states, in some cases) that fans of Lehane's Kenzie & Gennaro series are not as fond of Shutter Island as they are of the series, or of Mystic River for that matter. Regardless, I am here to tell you that Shutter Island is a fast and super edge-of-your-seat thriller/mystery that needs to be on your "To Be Read" list -- before February. Trust me!

I'll save you a synopsis this time around since I want you to watch the trailer -- and that says it all. And I'll give you a little warning, you may be in for more of a thrill ride should you jump into the book without reading other reviews first. I know some people are adamant about this with all of the books that they read, but I like to see what others are saying even if I've already started the book. This is one case where you might feel a bit overly prepared if you seek out reviews, however.

I'll leave it up to you.

If you want to try before you buy, HarperCollins does have a pretty lengthy excerpt up here. It didn't take me but a few pages to become completely engrossed.

For more on Lehane and his other works. Visit his site at www.dennislehanebooks.com. And, if you want to read some reviews, mine is up at bookbitch.com under Latest Reviews this week. You can also find the review from The Bookbitch herself in the BB archives (this is the main one that convinced me to read it).

Monday, November 2, 2009

The Lighter Side of Spooky

As part of my Halloween reading, I delved into Mary Ann Winkowski and Maureen Foley's debut, The Book of Illumination.

Now, although I enjoy just about anything paranormal, I have never tuned in to The Ghost Whisperer. Mary Ann Winkowski, it turns out, is the real life "ghost whisperer" inspiration for the show, and she's also a producer.

I wasn't sure, initially, if The Book of Illumination would be exactly my cup of tea. I did find the synopsis of the book rather intriguing, though, and was looking for some Halloween reads, so I decided it was time to try. I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised to find that this was a quick and easy read. It is not horror, though the description wouldn't really lead you to think that it is anyway, but just in case I might accidentally be leading you to believe this, I want to reassure you that it is not. In fact, it is more along the lines of a cozy mystery with paranormal elements.

It is also the first in a series that I will be looking forward to continuing.

Anza O'Malley is a single mom with an exceptional gift: she can see and speak with earthbound spirits. Her focus of late, however, has been to take care of her son and work on her career as a bookbinder. When Sylvia, a friend of a friend and also in the bookbinding business, calls with a request for help, though, Anza is reluctant to turn down the request. Sylvia has been working to restore a collection of books. Her employer, recently deceased, left many of the tomes in the hands of the Anathaeum and Sylvia has been fortunate enough to be able to follow the collection. One of the most interesting pieces in the collection is an illuminated manuscript that Syliva believes might be the long lost Book of Kildare, a rare and very valuable illustrated text. Anza discovers that the book, and subsequently the Anathaeum itself, are haunted by the spirits of two monks who bear some responsibility for the book itself. Before Anza can help them, though, the book is stolen. Now Anza must help to recover it before it is lost forever.

The book is said to be inspired by Winkowski's own experiences. All I know is that The Book of Illumination makes for a very light and easy read. Winkowski and Foley make a good writing team and I'll be looking forward to following Anza's story in the future.

As of now, the follow-up title, The Ice Cradle, is due out next fall.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Jamie's Food Revolution

Ok readers, don't ignore the regular new release post below, but I felt that thanks to my choppy appearance here lately, that I owed you a little something extra. So I wanted to share a breakfast recipe with you, based on one of Mr. Oliver's.

Now, if you have purchased or skimmed through Jamie Oliver's latest cookbook, then you know that his latest mission is to get more folks in the kitchen, cooking for themselves. Not to stop eating out altogether, but to cook in your kitchen more often.

And in the opening of the book, he asks that people pass on at least one recipe from each chapter, and to encourage others to do the same. Oliver has a ton of recipes at his website, but unfortunately not the one that I wanted to share with you here. I would have preferred linking to it, but instead, since I had to adapt it for my own kitchen staples, I'll tell you what I did.

I'm not a huge breakfast person -- well, I am if someone wants to come fix a good ol' traditional Southern (or Irish for that matter) breakfast for me with eggs, bacon, biscuits and gravy, hash browns, and iced tea (yes, I prefer mine with iced tea). I rarely get all this going myself. If I'm feeling particularly awake, I might fry up some eggs with some grits. As much as I love bacon, I can't keep it in the house. We eat it as soon as I buy it and next time I think to buy it, it's gone within the next few days.

I can now make an omelet thanks to Mr. Oliver. I probably mentioned that before, but I'm proud of it. And I can now poach eggs, so I tend to have breakfasty (i.e. eggs) stuff for dinner more often than breakfast itself.

Lately I'm on the yogurt route. I'm not particularly fond of this baby food style item, but I do like some of the more exotic flavors (coconut, yum!) and the new whips, which have much more substance.

And I've been trying to make myself eat oatmeal. My problem here is that I'm also trying to count calories, or at least eat healthier, and though there are "diet" oatmeals out there, they taste too much like cardboard for my liking.

In fact, I like my oatmeal with milk and tons of brown sugar! But, I'm trying to use fruit instead or, or with less sweeteners. And here comes the recipe. In Jamie's Food Revolution, there are some Get Into Oatmeal recipes. I've tried two thus far and have to admit that they're pretty tasty. We won't even try to figure the calories, though. I made Ellie Krieger's oatmeal, which is pretty fantastic even though I have to add brown sugar and nuts to it, so I know it's really easy to go from a 200 cal breakfast to a 400 cal one.

Any which way you look at it, though, docs say that oatmeal is good for you. So, try this one if you're feeling up to it.

The recipe is Dark Chocolate & Seville Orange Marmalade Oatmeal

Prepare your oatmeal to your liking -- if you've never made oatmeal, use quick cook oats, follow the measuring directions on the package, and cook them on the stovetop (using either water, milk, or even soy milk). Jamie says to stir often to give it "a smooth, creamy" texture.

Now, I didn't actually have the ingredients that Mr. Oliver recommends, which are a good quality bittersweet chocolate with 60% cocoa solids at minimum, and the Seville Orange Marmalade. What I did have in my kitchen was Dutch Cocoa Powder from a local spice shop and some regular old Smuckers brand marmalade. But I was pretty impressed with the results.

So, since I made a single serving, I sprinkled a little over a tablespoon of my cocoa into my oatmeal. Then, because I wanted a little cinnamon flavor, I added about a teaspoon of cinnamon sugar mixture to the bowl (obviously the original is supposed to be more bitter with the sweet of the orange as contrast). Then, I added a heaping spoonful (heaping tablespoon) of my regular old marmalade to the oatmeal and stirred it all up.

I've no doubt that Oliver's recipe, when followed to the T is fabulous, but this was my way of working with what I had already in the pantry on this 1st of November -- cause no one wants to run to the grocery story before making breakfast, right? So if you happen to have the ingredients called for, let me know how it turns out. I'll seek them out and try it as it's supposed to be one day, but I'm glad I had somewhat comparable ingredients in my pantry stocks.

And I recommend checking out both the website and the new cookbook (and older ones, too, because I have a couple of those) for more fantastic recipes.

Hope you had a great Halloween and remembered to turn back your clocks today for Daylight Savings Time!

New Releases 11/03/09

Some of the new titles hitting shelves this week are:

Stuff to Spy For by Don Bruns -- third in the series, following Stuff to Die For and Stuff Dreams are Made Of

Traffyck by Michael Beres -- follow up to Chernobyl Murders

Magic in the Shadows by Devon Monk -- 4th in the Allie Beckstrom series

Beauty's Curse by Traci E. Hall -- latest in the Boadicea series

May Earth Rise by Holly Taylor -- conclusion to the Dreamer's Cycle

Ford County by John Grisham

Kindred in Death by JD Robb -- 29th in the series

The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver

Rainwater by Sandra Brown

New on DVD:
G.I. Joe: Rise of the Cobra
The Taking of Pelham 123
I Love You, Beth Cooper
Aliens in the Attic
Food, Inc

New reviews at Bookbitch.com:
The Book of Illumination by Mary Ann Winkowski and Maureen Foley
A Twisted Ladder by Rhodi Hawk
Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane