Sunday, January 31, 2010

New Releases 02/02/10

Some of the new titles hitting shelves this week include:

City of Dragons by Kelli Stanley -- first in the new Miranda Corbie series

Drive Time by Hank Phillippi Ryan

Information Officer by Mark Mills

Conspirata by Robert Harris -- sequel to Imperium

Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah

Shadow Tag by Louise Erdich

Bellfield Hall: Or, the Observations of Miss Dido Kent by Anna Dean

Rescuing Olivia by Julie Compton

No Sleep Till Wonderland by Paul Tremblay -- follow up to The Little Sleep

Wake Up Dead by Roger Smith

New on DVD:
Doctor Who: The Waters of Mars
Love Happens

New reviews at Bookbitch.com:
City of Dragons

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Pre Pub Book Buzz -- Horns by Joe Hill

I love Joe Hill!

I love horror and he's one of the most fabulous (and there have been some others lately as well) new authors in the genre. It's really exciting for a reader like me who's always looking for a great new horror read.

I'm sure you've heard of Hill by now. I'm sure you've read Joe Hill by now. And if you haven't then shame, shame on you. You have no idea what you're missing.

Initially, the fact that Hill was the son of none other than Stephen King - the King of horror himself - was kept very under wraps. I'm pretty sure almost everyone is aware of it now and doesn't care. Hill has proven himself to be a fine writer with his own style and has already earned much deserved awards and accolades for his novel, short stories, and graphic novels.

I do think it's a credit to his father and mother that Hill was obviously raised in a household that nourished his creative talents. I think this must be the case in just about any family where folks and kids are in artistic industries. Just me, though.

Anyway, I am sure that I am just one of many who have been waiting for Hill's new book to hit shelves, and the time is almost here!

Here's what HarperCollins is saying about Horns:

Ignatius Perrish spent the night drunk and doing terrible things. He woke up the next morning with one hell of a hangover, a raging headache . . . and a pair of horns growing from his temples.

So begins a twisted, terrifying new novel of psychological, supernatural suspense called HORNS from Joe Hill, the bestselling author of Heart-Shaped Box and 20th Century Ghosts. By now you should have the ARE. HORNS is one of the most original and deliciously frightening novels of the supernatural I have EVER read...

Joe Hill has posted an interview on his page joehillfiction.com that I think you'll find quite interesting. It's all about Horns, Hill's work, his inspirations, and other fun tidbits. You can also see (another post) if Hill is going to be in your area for his tour (not mine, sadly).

Horns is due out on February 16, so get ready!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

When Life Gets in the Way

News and updates here, folks. Spent all day waiting in the hospital in Denver yesterday while Mike had his knee surgery. Fun stuff.

Needless to say, it's been a slow reading week here, in spite of my efforts. And I've been bad to myself.

Yesterday, after attempting to get to bed early (didn't matter because no amount of sleep makes up for getting up at 4am), I drove Mike to the hosp where his knee surgery was taking place. We had to be there at 6am and his surgery was scheduled for 7:45 -- first thing in the am. It was pushed back to 8:30 after I'd decided to take the time off and stay: if everything had gone according to best case scenario, we would have been leaving at 1. With a 45 min drive time, it just seemed more practical at the time to bite the bullet and take the time off (nevermind the fact that I'm pretty sure his mom hates me after freaking when she found out I wasn't staying at the hospital through the surgery).

Now, I was completely exhausted and had hoped that I might be able to nap in the waiting room (this came to play in the decision as well, as I was in no shape to drive). And let me say that whoever designed this waiting room made a big mistake. No nap possible in those chairs. Not at all.

I tried to read instead and just couldn't focus at all. That kind of sucks because I definitely had time to read a whole book while I was there : )

Anyway, everything was delayed a bit, but Mike came out of surgery ok and we made it home. Both of us were asleep by 8:30.

Last Surgeon Winner

Ok, by random number generator, the winner is Alicia (entrant #12 -- there were two Alicias).

So congrats, Alicia! I'm sending you an email right now.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

A Follow Up Post on a Must Read

I kicked off my Saturday Pre Pub Book Buzz posts with Kelli Stanley's latest, and first in her new series, City of Dragons, here.

Anytime I really enjoy an author's work, I am always excited when their new books hit shelves. A great first read catapults authors onto my Must Buy list and Stanley's place was cemented when I read her debut, Nox Dormienda (to read more about Nox, check out this post).

And it was with high expectations that I started City of Dragons over the weekend. Fortunately, the magnificent Stanley did not let me down -- not that I expected her to : )

City of Dragons was everything I'd hoped it would be, and much more. This first in the Miranda Corbie series is a gritty, fast paced mystery with an excellent plot that's full of twists. Set in 1940San Francisco, Corbie, a PI and former "escort" is in the wrong place at the wrong time when she finds a young Japanese man beaten in Chinatown. The police aren't too enthusiastic about the case so Miranda decides to take things into her own hands.

I won't repeat all of the synopsis info again, but I did want to do a follow-up post for you now that I've finished reading. I'll be sending a review for bookbitch.com later this week.

I don't think I can recommend this author highly enough. She really blows me away.

One of my absolute favorite things about her work is the obvious efforts that goes into make her settings as realistic and genuine as possible. I've never been to today's San Francisco, but Stanley paints such an amazing picture of the city and the 1940s era that I felt like I was right there with Corbie. And, having read the promo stuff on the book, I know that this is something that Stanley aims for in her stories. I'm here to tell you that she succeeds on all counts. So, treat yourself to a really great mystery and find a copy of City of Dragons (or Nox Dormienda)!

A reminder, City of Dragons is hitting shelves next Tuesday, February 2. Put it on your list. Reserve it at the library. Mark the date on your calendar!

And be sure to check out Kelli Stanley's site for tons of extras including a soundtrack, a fabulous contest, and info on Kelli's other works (and keep an eye out for the ITW anthology due out in June with a prequel story starring Miranda Corbie).

Happy Reading!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Mercy Me!

I met Lori Armstrong in '07 when her Julie Collins series was going strong (Blood Ties, Hallowed Ground, Shallow Grave, and Snow Blind). Now she's launched a new series with No Mercy, a South Dakota based mystery with a tough heroine.

Mercy Gunderson has spent twenty years in the Army and was part of a top-secret group of female officers training as rangers. Mercy, a sniper, has been through hell and back. Now on medical leave and picking up the pieces at the family ranch in the wake of her father's death, Mercy must decide whether to stay or go. When a body is discovered on her ranch, Mercy is reluctantly dragged into the investigation. But when her own nephew becomes the next victim, Mercy becomes determined to uncover the truth behind the killings.

Armstrong's new lead is a smart and sassy Army ranger with a dark and stormy past. In fact, the body county in this book starts before page 1. And Armstrong shows no mercy (sorry for the pun) where her main characters are concerned.

I loved how, the whole time I was reading, I felt transported to South Dakota ranch land. I also really enjoy the Native American elements in this book. I'll definitely have to go back and read the Julie Collins series while I wait for the next Mercy book, and I recommend you do the same!

Lori Armstrong will be in Longmont on Feb 3. Check here to see if she'll be in your area.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Winners of Drood and Black Hills

Hello, readers! By random number generator (and I did take into account those of you who indicated which book you would like to win when randomly generating -- which involved assigning two sets of numbers since there were two books) the winners are:

Book Lady

Black Hills

Congrats to you all!

I'll be sending each of you an email today. Please get me your mailing address asap so I can get the info to Hachette. Remember, the books will be coming directly from them.

New Releases 1/26/10

Some of the new titles hitting shelves this week are:

The Boleyn Wife by Brandy Purdy

Down River by Karen Harper

The Cougar Club by Susan McBride

Pride Mates by Jennifer Ashley

Original Sin by Allison Brennan

Dead by Midnight by Beverly Barton

Twice as Hot by Gena Showalter (sequel to Playing With Fire)

Queen Victoria Demon Hunter by A. E. Moorat

Blood Ties by Kaye Hooper

The Bricklayer by Hoah Boyd

Gator A-Go-Go by Tim Dorsey

New on DVD:
Saw VI
Whip It
Bright Star

New reviews at Bookbitch.com:
Original Sin
Sleepless by Charlie Huston
No Mercy by Lori Armstrong

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Pre Pub Book Buzz And Giveaway -- The Last Surgeon

If you're a fan of medical thrillers, then you most definitely recognize Michael Palmer as one of the foremost authors of the genre. His latest, The Last Surgeon, is set to hit shelves on February 16, but he's offering tons of fun extras before then.

First, here's a bit about the book product description from Amazon (and also featured on Michael Palmer's website):

Four murders.

Three accidents.

Two suicides.

One left…


Michael Palmer’s latest novel pits a flawed doctor against a ruthless psychopath, who has made murder his art form. Dr. Nick Garrity, a vet suffering from PTSD—post traumatic stress disorder—spends his days and nights dispensing medical treatment from a mobile clinic to the homeless and disenfranchised in D.C. and Baltimore. In addition, he is constantly on the lookout for his war buddy Umberto Vasquez, who was plucked from the streets by the military four years ago for a secret mission and has not been seen since.

Psych nurse Gillian Coates wants to find her sister’s killer. She does not believe that Belle Coates, an ICU nurse, took her own life, even though every bit of evidence indicates that she did—every bit save one. Belle has left Gillian a subtle clue that connects her with Nick Garrity.

Together, Nick and Gillian determine that one-by-one, each of those in the operating room for a fatally botched case is dying. Their discoveries pit them against genius Franz Koller--the highly-paid master of the “non-kill”—the art of murder that does not look like murder. As Doctor and nurse move closer to finding the terrifying secret behind these killings, Koller has been given a new directive: his mission will not be complete until Gillian Coates and Garrity, the last surgeon, are dead.

And, you can also enjoy a preview of The Last Surgeon here.

Now -- here's the super cool part -- one lucky blog reader will win a signed copy of the book, courtesy of the author. Sweet!

To enter, just leave a comment here with your email address before midnight Wednesday, January 27. I'll draw a name on Thursday and notify the winner so that I can send mailing info to the author on Thursday. Contest open to US only -- no PO boxes.

Good luck! And be sure to check back here the week of the book's release for my own review (I'll also be reviewing it for bookbitch.com).

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Sleepless Nights

Hey, everyone. Sorry about my negligence posting since Monday. I was totally wrapped up in reading Charlie Huston's latest, Sleepless. No, I'm not kidding. Other than my tax stuff, work, and a brief sitdown watching Black Sheep (the New Zealand flick), I've been reading like a madwoman!

I started Sleepless Monday afternoon after I finished up work. I finished last night around 11:30 (after I said I was going to bed no later than 10!). It's a wicked smart read and an intense book that I have to guess may just be a bit inspired by Huston's own fears of the future. I know it certainly struck a chord with me.

Parker Haas has signed on as an undercover agent whose job is to track down illegal trafficking on Dreamer. 10% of the population has now been infected with SLP, a prion that attacks the brain and prevents sleep, eventually causing a miserable decline into death. Dreamer is the one drug out there that can provide the thing SLP sufferers crave the most. It's not a cure, but it can bring some measure of temporary relief. And it's in short supply. The effects of SLP are felt worldwide and have changed everything. America has become a warzone and criminals are quickly taking over. Amidst this, the sleepless find solitude in an online game called Chasm Tide. Trade in game artifacts has become one of the most profitable businesses, aside from trade in Dreamer, that is. When Parker stumbles upon the murder of a group of these Chasm Tide traders, he unwittingly becomes the target of a deadly plot that puts himself, and his family at risk.

Huston's latest is an intricate tale of crime, conspiracies, and global disaster. But it's also the story of a man standing up for what he believes in and doing his best to protect his family in a world that has taken a terrible turn. Parker Haas is an admirable creation and a character that readers will want to stand by from beginning to end.

All of Huston's world building and character development in Sleepless combine to make this a standout read of 2010. From Jasper to Parker and all of the sleepless (and non) in between, Sleepless leaves its mark. And, true to its title, it will definitely leave you sleepless!

For more on Charlie Huston, visit his website at www.pulpnoir.com and for an excerpt of the book, visit the Random House Sleepless page.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Wanna Win Something?

The lovely Valerie at Hachette has given me the go ahead to run a Dan Simmons contest. I'm offering up two (2) copies of each of his latest titles: Drood and the upcoming Black Hills.

Drood, as you may remember, is Simmons's eerie literary tale about Dickens's search for the criminal Drood. This is based on Dickens's final--and incomplete--manuscript, Drood. The tale is narrated by Wilkie Collins, one of Dickens's cohorts and fellow authors of the day.

Black Hills will be coming out next month. Here's some info from the Hachette page:

"When Paha Sapa, a young Sioux warrior, "counts coup" on General George Armstrong Custer as Custer lies dying on the battlefield at the Little Bighorn, the legendary general's ghost enters him - and his voice will speak to him for the rest of his event-filled life.

Seamlessly weaving together the stories of Paha Sapa, Custer, and the American West, Dan Simmons depicts a tumultuous time in the history of both Native and white Americans. Haunted by Custer's ghost, and also by his ability to see into the memories and futures of legendary men like Sioux war-chief Crazy Horse, Paha Sapa's long life is driven by a dramatic vision he experienced as a boy in his people's sacred
Black Hills. In August of 1936, a dynamite worker on the massive Mount Rushmore project, Paha Sapa plans to silence his ghost forever and reclaim his people's legacy-on the very day FDR comes to Mount Rushmore to dedicate theJefferson face."

And, here's a link to that same page, where you can read an excerpt of the book before it hits shelves.

Simmons is a local here and I'm really hoping that I have the opportunity to see him speak again. Last year on his tour for Drood, he made a stop over at the Tattered Cover and I was able to get my book signed (see this post). He also made a surprise appearance at another signing I attended in August. He's a super cool guy and each of his books is very, very different from the last.

To Enter:

To have your name entered to win a book, simply leave your email address here (so that I can contact you if you're a winner) = 1 entry

Blog about this contest and email me the link (or leave a link in the comments box) = 2 extra entries

Entries and links must be received by midnight Saturday, January 23. I'll randomly draw names on Sunday, January 24 and contact winners then so that I can get Hachette the winners' info on January 25.

US and Canada only. No PO Boxes. Books will be coming directly from Hachette.

Good Luck!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

New Releases 1/19/2010

Some of the new titles hitting shelves this week include:

The Murderer's Daughters by Randy Susan Meyers

Lullaby by Claire Seeber

Silencer by James W. Hall

The Vampire Maker by Michael Schiefelbein

Sleepless by Charlie Huston

Kisser by Stuart Woods -- Stone Barringon #17

The Endless Forest by Sara Donati

Rebels & Traitors by Lindsay Davis

The Burning Land by Bernard Cornwell -- Saxon Tales #5

The Book of Fires by Jane Borodale

The Queen's Governess by Karen Harper

Small Wars by Sadie Jones

Wolf at the Door by Jack Higgins

New on DVD:
Pandorum (highly recommend this one!)
Gamer (overstimulation to be sure, but a fun flick)
The Invention of Lying
Weeds Season 5
Smokin' Aces 2 (seriously?! the first one was bad enough!)
Damages Season 2
Blood Creek
Return to Cranford (Masterpiece Theater)
Defying Gravity Season 1

New reviews at Bookbitch.com:
The Murderer's Daughters
Overkill by Eugenia Lovett West
The Girl With Glass Feet by Ali Shaw

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Pre Pub Book Buzz - Original Sin

Bestselling author Allison Brennan is about to launch her brand new Seven Deadly Sins series with Original Sin, due out (officially) January 26.

Brennan, author of the Predator Trilogy (The Prey, The Hunt, and The Kill), The No Evil trilogy (Speak No Evil, See No Evil, and Fear No Evil), The Prison Break trilogy (Killing Fear, Tempting Evil, and Playing Dead), and Sudden Death, Fatal Secrets, and Cutting Edge is now delving into the paranormal and I simply can't wait!

Fortunately I don't have to. I've been following Brennan's Murderati and Facebook posts on this new release, crossing my fingers that I could get my hands on a copy, and now I have! I'll be reading over the weekend (possibly even starting it tonight if I have time!) and plan to review next week -- just in time for the release.

Until then, here's the synopsis from Allison's website:

A coven of witches well versed in the black arts unleash the Seven Deadly Sins on earth - as incarnate demons with an agenda. Raised a witch in her mother's powerful coven, Moira O'Donnell ran away when she learned her mother planned to sacrifice her to be "mediator" between the underworld and all united covens. Forsaking her power after her lover was killed by magic, she must stop her mother from controlling the Seven Deadly Sins or the balance of power between the worlds will shift forever to the dark side.

The first three installments in the series are due out this year, with Carnal Sin set for a summer release and Mortal Sin set for a fall release. And if you're as excited about this book as I am, you can check out an excerpt from the book at Random House's Original Sin page here.

For more on Allison Brennan and this series, don't forget to check out her website (link above) where you can sign up for her newsletter, and mark your calendar for January 26 (I expect this one will be available a few days early in some stores, so keep an eye out for it next week!).

Friday, January 15, 2010

A Modern Fairy Tale

There's a reason that Ali Shaw's debut book, The Girl With Glass Feet, is already being nominated for awards: it's quite simply a magical and beautifully told story. The book, originally released last year in the UK, hit American shelves on January 5.

Time is running out for Ida Maclaird: she is turning to glass. Her one hope lies on the tiny island of St. Hauda's Land, where a passing comment made in one fleeting moment, overheard on her summer trip there, has led Ida to believe that one man might be able to help her. As Ida searches for the elusive Henry Fuwa, she meets and begins to fall in love with Midas Crook, a man whose own emotions are delicate and guarded thanks to his parents' own failings. Meanwhile, Ida gets help from a man who was once in love with her own mother. Small island connections, strange creatures, and a superb atmosphere give this book a definite classic fairy tale feel, something that was no doubt intentional (and very successful) on the part of Shaw.

As a first book from a young author, I think The Girl With Glass Feet is not only a phenomenal debut, but shows promise of great things to come from Ali Shaw.

For an excerpt, visit the official Girl With Glass Feet page at Henry Holt. You can find Ali Shaw online here.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Military Thrillers

You know, it's been a while since I've read anything that could solidly be called military suspense or a military thriller. I do have a small collection of certain authors on my bookshelf, mostly Nelson DeMille, after a high school english teacher recommended The Charm School to me, though.

In truth, I've picked up Tom Clancy a few times, but never actually read any of his work. Hunt For Red October has been perpetually on my TBR list. My grandmother has a copy, so it's just a matter of borrowing it from her, really.

I think I'm intimidated by the genre. I'm certainly intimidated by political and military movies. I try them all and a lot of them go completely over my head (because it's buried in the sand, but that's a different matter).

But when the amazing Susan Schwartzman asked me if I would be interested in reviewing A.J. Tata's new book, Rogue Threat, there was really no hesitation on my part: she's never steered me wrong with a book recommendation and I'd like to think that I'm pretty open in my reading tastes.

I spent New Year's Eve reading Rogue Threat and really had a fun time with it. In fact, the teaser in the back of the book for the next Threat book has me all but drooling on myself. Tata is a military man himself and his knowledge is evident in the reading of this book. I really like Matt Garrett, too. He's a twenty-first-century action hero if ever there was one!

The plot involves missing aerial drones, a terrorist organization that is targeting high traffic landmarks, and a conspiracy that continues from Tata's debut, Sudden Threat. Although reading these out of order may spoil some of the suspense of the Garrett brothers' first appearance, this one can be read on its own with minimal, "Should I already know this?" moments.

Matt Garrett, a paramilitary operative with the CIA, is still recovering from his mission in the Philippines, a mission that cost him his only brother. But an enemy from the past has resurfaced and is heading a twisted plot, with revenge against Matt as his number one priority. Government conspiracies, double agents, and nice technothriller aspects combine to make this series, and Tata, a welcome addition to the genre.

I think Tata may have me reaching once again for more books in this genre, the way Nelson DeMille did ten years ago! I'm not joking. It takes literally just a couple pages for the action to get underway in this book and it doesn't let up until you turn the final page. And then that teaser! The promise of more about the Garretts is enticing enough for me to have to track down a copy of Sudden Threat while waiting for the new book to be released.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Another Rec From My Reading Weekend

I am not a coffee drinker. I think I had my fill when I was a kid. Seriously, I'm from the South. We don't do the whole, coffee stunts your growth thing. We wean children onto coffee with that magical concoction called coffee milk. By the age of 10, I was done.

I think part of my anti-coffee thing is actually an anti-coffee shop thing thanks to the heat. I can't drink hot things. I seem to have less of a tolerance than the rest of the world and don't enjoy burning my tongue on hot beverages that I've just paid for. And without milk or cream (or ice) there's no way to cool it down to a tolerable temperature. Coffee shops rarely leave enough room in the cup for me to do this, powdered creamer is useless, and the little creamer containers are too time consuming to be worth it.

And then Mike told me about kid's temp. You can order any drink at a kid-friendly temperature. Finally, I can drink coffee shop prepared drinks. But I now don't want to.

Nah, I became a tea girl ages ago and don't plan on giving it up. My coffee shop experience with tea has not be fantastic either. No one can make iced tea! Giving me hot tea and a cup of ice is only going to result in lukewarm, watered down tea.

So I make my own. I have a whole cabinet that's almost entirely devoted to tea. Green tea, white tea, red tea, black tea, herbal tea -- I drink it all. And it's my morning drink of choice. It warms me up, but doesn't so much wake me up, unfortunately. I can drink pitchers of iced tea. And when I was in South Carolina, sweet tea! So good. Even better, sweet mint tea! Makes me think of warm weather, sunny afternoons, and hammocks. Nice things to think about as cars crunch by over the ice outside.

Let's face it, for me, a glass of tea -- hot or cold -- is kind of the best pick me up, warm me up, book accompaniment I can think of. I think this means my family's English roots and my Southern roots are strongest of them all : )

To the book!

Next week, a brand new to us (that's the States) UK author's debut book is hitting shelves and I had the pleasure of spending my Saturday curled up reading it. The book is Claire Seeber's Lullaby, a thriller drawing comparison to other UK suspense authors the likes of Nicci French, Minette Walters, and Ruth Rendell.

In Lullaby, Jess and her family are spending a nice day together at an art showing when Jess turns around and realizes that she's lost her husband and baby. No big deal. She checks all around the gallery, the coffee shop, and anywhere else she can think of and can find no sign of them. With her purse strapped to the stroller, she has no way of even calling until a stranger offers up his phone. And her husband is not answering. Jess goes home and begins calling around, searching for her husband, hoping he had some appointment that he forgot about. Nothing. The police aren't worried just yet because its only been a matter of hours, but Jess is absolutely frantic. And then her worst nightmares come true. Jess's husband has been found, beaten in an alley. And still, no sign of their baby.

I read this book in one afternoon! Edge of your seat and, in my humble opinion, a book that just can't be put down. Secrets and lies unfold with each new chapter! A chilling and spectacular read.

Lullaby hits shelves on Jan 19 here in the US, but debuted in the UK in 2007. Seeber has one other book on shelves overseas, Bad Friends (which I've just ordered from Cynthia at High Crimes) and a third book, Never Tell, due out overseas in April.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Watch It From the Beginning

Blogging today took a bit of a back seat. Sorry. I got started with work bright and early. Otherwise, today was a very a pretty productive day. I wish every day was this good. Well, barring my sinus headache, that is.

We just got back from dinner with friends and I am totally stuffed. About to hit the tub with my latest read and defrost before going to bed (I'm an icicle after just a few minutes outside). And man, I'm totally beat!

While we were visiting, our friends put on an episode from the first season of Lost. I've actually been watching since the start, but fell behind this latest season. As soon as it hit DVD, though, I was first in line to catch up. Mike watched them a week later and starting hounding our friends, who had never watched the show. Well, they've started now and they're as hooked as we are.

If you haven't watched, now's as a good a time as any to start. The new (and final, I might add) season begins on Feb 2 and I'm really hoping that they play straight through to the end. None of this weird hiatus stuff that the networks are doing these days. I want a new episode every week until the final one airs! And I want everything wrapped up to my satisfaction!

Not a show you can just pick up and start in the middle. Fortunately, for folks who haven't started (or have lots of time on their hands) you can watch them all on DVD now and be ready and prepped when the new season airs. I'm caught up on 5 after some marathon viewing just a couple of weeks ago now, but I realize after watching just one ep of season 1 tonight that I really am LOST when it comes to all the innuendo and hidden clues that appear at the start.

Agh! There are whole websites devoted to what is going on on this show! And spoilers for season 6. Crazy! I'm going nuts over the promo poster, which I won't post here just in case. Apparently, everything in there is totally intentional. (Here's a link if you're curious.) I just want to know! JJ Abrams and his teams are taking over the world one tv show at a time!

Anyway. How about you guys? Any Lost fans out there? Are you dying to know what happens next? Are you all caught up? I was trying to post the trailer for the new series here, but I can't get it to work right. I'm techtarded. So here's another link for your viewing fun.

Monday, January 11, 2010

A Reading Rec From My Weekend Reading List

I always have a stack of books on my bedside table. In fact, it seems to grow exponentially! My goal, as each weekend approaches, is to spend the two days off relaxing as much as possible. Inevitably, I always set a reading goal that is nearly impossible to achieve.

In the case of this past weekend, I would have to say that I feel pretty good about my accomplishments. I finished two books and still had time to start a third as well as finishing off two Masterpiece DVDs from the rental queue (an adaptation of Wilkie Collins's Woman in White and Shadow in the North, the second Sally Lockhart mystery based on the books by Philip Pullman).

One of the books that I started this weekend was Eugenia Lovett West's Overkill, second in her Emma Streat series. Before I can tell you about that one, however, you know that I always have to introduce you to a series in order. So, without further adieu, here is a bit about the first Emma Streat installment, Without Warning:

When Emma Streat's husband is killed in a hit-and-run accident, Emma is devastated. Now in her forties with her children grown and gone, the retired opera singer will have to figure out how to start all over, alone. But when she discovers a strange note in her husband's office, and adds that to his odd behavior before the accident, Emma becomes convinced that there is something fishy going on. As she digs deeper, a dark web of deceit and conspiracies reveals itself and Emma has to wonder just what her husband may discovered and how far someone was willing to go to keep him quiet.

Without Warning is a strong and entertaining start to this new series. I consider it to be something of a melding of subgenres. It's a bit darker and more serious than the cozy you might think it is. From the beginning, I suspected that this was the case, but when West threw political intrigue and government conspiracies in the mix. Wow! Talk about a surprise! Not only was I not expecting that, but West definitely kept me guessing til the very end -- always a great aspect of any mystery! And Emma is a feisty and smart lead character that readers are going to absolutely adore.

Without Warning was released in 2007 and Overkill hit shelves this past fall. Eugenia Lovett West is currently working on the third installment to the Emma Streat series as we speak.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

New Releases 1/12/10

Some of the new titles hitting shelves this week include:

Mr. Shivers by Robert Jackson Bennett (technically 1/15)

Beyond the Night by Joss Ware -- first in the Envy series

Skin by Mo Hayder -- #4 in the DI Jack Caffery series (US release)

The Swan Thieves by Elizabeth Kostova -- new from the author of The Historian

All the Duke's Pleasures by Tracy Anne Warren

Alice I Have Been by Melanie Benjamin

The Betrayal of the Blood Lily by Laura Willig -- #6 in the Pink Carnation series

Sleepless by Charlie Huston

The First Rule by Robert Crais -- new in the Joe Pike series

Saving CeeCee Honeycut by Beth Hoffman

Treasure Hunt by John Lescroart

New on DVD:
The Hurt Locker
Post Grad
Halloween II
Big Fan
Top Gear Seasons 11 & 12

New reviews at Bookbitch.com:
Beyond the Night
Mr. Shivers
Rogue Threat by A.J. Tata
Double Black by Wendy Clinch
The Lock Artist by Steve Hamilton

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Pre Pub Book Buzz -- Mr. Shivers

When Robert Jackson Bennett's Mr. Shivers hits shelves on January 15th, I want you all to be prepared. It's a strange mix of horror and literature in a dust-bowl setting that will have you turning pages late into the night -- or at least I have been.

This is yet another Orbit release that proves, again, just how devoted this company is to releasing great new genre fiction. I honestly have had no complaints about any Orbit title that I've picked up. (See my Jesse Bullington post, Nicole Peeler post, and my Gail Carriger post for just a few of the latest Orbit titles I've reviewed).

Mr. Shivers begins with a man named Connelly chasing down a real-life boogeyman. The man, a stranger with scars on his face, killed Connelly's daughter. As the scarred man, some call him Shivers, moves west, he leaves a trail of death and sorrow in his wake. Connelly is soon joined by others who share his vengeful mission, all of whom are prepared to lose their own lives if that is what it takes.

Robert Jackson Bennett's style is thoughtful and engaging. An odd tale that has earned him a starred review from Publishers Weekly as well as additional praise from online reviewers. I've read a few so far and everyone seems to be saying the same thing I am: we couldn't put it down. Some are even calling him a mix of Steinbeck and King. All I can say is that the elements work and the book is a great one that will appeal to fans of many genres.

Like the trains that Connelly and his traveling mates hitch rides on, Mr. Shivers transports readers, but in this case to another world. A world where anything is possible in the darkest hours. A world where even death is fragile.

For more on Robert Jackson Bennett, check out his blog shufflingandmuttering.blogspot.com or visit the official Mr. Shivers website, where you can see the trailer and much more.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Putting in an order for some sleep

I'm a total old lady. Total. Mike tells me all the time. And this weather outside does not help. Winter months make me feel like I should be in bed by 5:00. In fact, I find myself looking out the window as the sun is setting at 4:30 thinking that it's much later than it really is out.

Needless to say, it is way past my bedtime as I write this. Mike had his MRI tonight. Not sure when the results are going to be in, but since we know he needs surgery anyway, it's not really a big deal. It was kind of strange that his appt was for 9:45, though. Guess radiology keeps more reasonable hours for the working class folk who need their services. Interesting. Wouldn't it be strange if you could go get your teeth cleaned 24/7? It'd be useful sometimes.

But anyway. If you read yesterday's post, then you know that I just finished up the latest Mo Hayder that has been patiently waiting on my TBR. I had it shipped from the UK and then set it down long enough that it's due out here in the US. But, the good thing is that I pre-ordered (yes, I'm broke, but it's Mo Hayder!) her new book, Gone, which hits shelves over the pond on Feb 4. So that means that I only have to wait a couple months (adding ship time) to find out what happens next. And Skin sure has a doozy of an ending. But, then again, Hayder's books usually do.

It struck me, though, that I never introduced you to the DI Caffery series. So here goes. First installment is the brutal (they're all brutal, who am I kidding?) Birdman.

London detective Jack Caffery is on duty when the bodies of five women are discovered in a construction yard. Each woman shows signs of drug abuse, and each woman has a bird sewn into her chest. Though others believe they may have a suspect in hand, Caffery is not convinced. He's allowed a small window of time to follow his own leads, but it comes at a price.

Caffery is one of my favorite lead characters right now. He fights daily with what he knows is right by law and what he believes is right by justice thanks in part to his obsession with his own brother's disappearance and the man he believes to be responsible.

I've mentioned Hayder before in terms of violence in fiction, and I maintain my belief that while she certainly shocks and disturbs readers, it's done in such a way that it fits so completely into the story. It's hard to describe, especially in my current state of unrest, but think Seven or Silence of the Lambs. There are plenty for whom neither of these are appealing. But for others, they are some of the best thrillers out there.

I highly, highly recommend Hayder to thriller fans everywhere, with the understanding that this are not for the faint of heart. But if you can handle Harris, I think you'll love Hayder.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Many Apologies

So sorry for my bleak post. Things are just wearing on me right now.

I wanted to make a peace offering so here's some random book news I've been collecting. You might have heard some of it, but hopefully it'll all be new to you.

So, I heard that Ken Follett's Pillars of the Earth is being adapted into a tv mini series produced by Ridley Scott. I haven't read Pillars yet, although I do own the massive tome. One of these days, maybe even before the show airs.

Matthew McFadyen, my Mr. Darcy, is going to be in Pillars, but he's also playing Sheriff of Nottingham in the new Ridley Scott Robin Hood. Not sure how I feel about this one since I really loved Robin Hood Prince of Thieves in 1991. I mean, seriously who could play a better Nottingham than Alan Rickman?

Rumor has it that Stephen King may be working on a sequel to The Shining. I read this report and think it may be nothing more than the author's musings, but it would be cool if it happens.

There's a tv show (TNT) based on Tess Gerritsen's Jane Rizzoli books with Angie Harmon as Rizzoli and Sasha Alexander as Maura Isles (this one is confirmed).

And there are supposed to be all new Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre adaptations in the works thanks to the revived attention from Twilight fans. I'd hoped this meant big screen, but we'll just have to wait and see.

And speaking of Bronte and Twilight, have you seen the gorgeous new editions of Bella's favorite classics from HarperTeen. They're quite pretty. Here's Wuthering Heights for you.

Finally, since I just finished the latest Mo Hayder, Skin, which is due out here in the states next Tuesday, I figured I would include the fact that Gone (the next DI Jack Caffery book) is due out in the UK on Feb 4. I've put a preorder in with Cynthia at High Crimes, cause that's what junkies do!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

It's a Grey Morning Readers

I'm beat. Totally beat. This weather is draining me terribly. I know everyone out there starts the, you live in Colorado, what do you expect? It gets cold there.

Yes, it gets cold in Colorado. And it snows in Colorado. AND I HATE IT!

You also have to realize that the part of Colorado I live in boasts 300 days of sunshine a year. And that winters since we moved here have been fairly mild on average. We've had subzero temps and blizzards, and plenty of regular snow, but the sun usually comes out and melts everything within a day or so and then it starts all over again.

This icky, gray, ice won't melt and the sun won't shine days are dragging me down. To top it off, every year I swear that I will not freeze in my own house to save money. And every year I make a valiant effort (that fails miserably) to save money on the heating bill by lowering temps to barely livable conditions.

That may be an exaggeration, barely livable, but 65 is only comfortable if you're wrapped in a blanket and that's just not practical throughout the day.

And did I mention that it's not working? Our bill is going up exponentially. I've tried telling the gas company that there is a problem and that by next month we'll have a $500 bill, at least half of which is gas at this rate.

Like they give a crap. He actually said if the gas portion reaches $150 then there's something to worry about. I checked the meter and after 7 days, we're almost at the gas usage we had for the entire month of December.

Now, before you start saying, but Becky it's been much colder outside so you're just using things like the heater more. I've looked at two comparable months and the change in gas is just as bad. It seems to be compounding each month, as if they're reading a base measurement that never changes. Therms used each month from Aug forward were as follows:


Like I said, these are 30 day readings and after just 7 days, we're already at 148 for this upcoming month.

Now tell me there's not something hinky going on here. Tell me it's normal for two people to have a gas usage that's almost doubling each month, winter or not. At this rate, I can't afford to run my heater anymore, no matter how low I set the temperatures. And considering the fact that I turned it off two days in a row during the "warmest" parts of the afternoon and my usage is still compounding thus, I apparently can't afford not to run it either.

Alright. I'm sorry. I need some light therapy in the form of a beach and a tropical drink with the sun shining overhead and a little bit of senility to make me believe that life is all good and my efforts are worthwhile.

And there I go again. Like I said, light therapy.

Regular post tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Sweet Dreams!

I had the pleasure of diving into Joss Ware's Beyond the Night over the weekend and had some pretty strange apocalypse dreams as a result! I guess that's what I get for reading this sort of thing before bed.

Have I mentioned that I love apocalyptic stuff? Lurve it! And this one has romance and zombies to boot! No, not zombie romance, a romance with zombies. In a post-apocalyptic future. And it rocks! Even better, it's the first in a series with books two and three (Embrace the Night Eternal and Abandon the Night) both hitting shelves in the coming months (Jan 12, Feb 9, and March 9, respectively). And I've just read that Ware is working on a fourth book to be released in 2011. Awesome!

And where did I read this, you might ask? On Julie James's blog, where she's giving away Joss Ware's new book. Here's the link if you want to enter. The tidbit about the fourth Envy book is in the comments section: Ware joined in the discussion about the books and shared that yummy little piece and more.

So, here's a bit about Beyond the Night, though I swear it won't do it justice!

Dr. Elliot Drake and his friends were exploring caves in Sedona when the world ended. All of them lost consciousness only to awake and find that fifty years have passed. And they've not aged one bit. That was six months ago. Now they've found a group of teens that may finally lead them to Envy, the largest known society of survivors. Their hope is to find someone who has lived through the event and can explain to them what has happened.

Jade has only ever known this world. When she meets Elliot, nicknamed "Dred," she is sure that he is hiding a dark secret. But she never suspects the truth. Jade has fought to survive this long and she's not planning on stopping long enough to let this man into her heart. In a world where everything seems lost, though, hope may be the one thing they have left.

Ooh, I really liked this book. I started it Saturday night and finished it Sunday just after noon. And then I wanted to rush into the next one! Ware has created a captivating world with incredible detail. Beyond the Night is a great balance of romance, paranormal, and post-apocalypse zombie-ridden future.

And you know what? Readers are eating up the apocalypse! I've heard it said that zombies will never overtake vampires because zombies just aren't sexy, but I can tell you that books with zombies can be very sexy. Joss Ware has done it, and she's not alone. Romatic Times Book Reviews devoted part of their January issue to post-apocalyptic fiction, discussing the trend in sci-fi/fantasy, romance, and even in teen fiction as well. As far as I'm concerned, this is one trend that can stick around 'cause I doubt I'll ever get tired of it. Throw zombies in the mix and I'm a happy camper!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

New Releases 1/05/2010

Some of the new titles hitting shelves this week are:

The Lock Artist by Steve Hamilton -- fantastic thriller! Insanely readable.

The Girl With Glass Feet by Ali Shaw

Double Black by Wendy Clinch -- first Ski Diva mystery

Gutshot Straight by Lou Berney -- a debut crime caper

Impact by Douglas Preston

Iron River by T. Jefferson Parker

Noah's Compass by Anne Tyler

Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier

New on DVD:
Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs
The Final Destination

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Pre Pub Book Buzz -- The Swan Thieves

Oh, man. I've been chomping at the bit for this book ever since turning the final page on The Historian in '05. I loved The Historian book! I adored The Historian book! I wanted so much more like The Historian book! So you can imagine my excitement and anticipation now that Kostova's new book's release is upon us.

If you've read The Historian -- a fantastic historical thriller and gothic puzzle of a book about a girl who ends up tracking Dracula as she searches for her missing father (A very basic nutshell that does not do it justice, trust me.) -- then you've probably been in the same boat as me for a while. But it does take time to create great art, right?

Kostova spoke about The Swan Thieves at BEA last year and you can watch the YouTube video here. And, in November The Book Case posted this interview with Kostova, all great teasers for what's to come on Jan 12.

Here's the product description from Hachette:

Psychiatrist Andrew Marlowe, devoted to his profession and the painting hobby he loves, has a solitary but ordered life. When renowned painter Robert Oliver attacks a canvas in the National Gallery of Art and becomes his patient, Marlow finds that order destroyed. Desperate to understand the secret that torments the genius, he embarks on a journey that leads him into the lives of the women closest to Oliver and a tragedy at the heart of French Impressionism. Kostova's masterful new novel travels from American cities to the coast of Normandy, from the late 19th century to the late 20th, from young love to last love. THE SWAN THIEVES is a story of obsession, history's losses, and the power of art to preserve human hope.

Are you dying to read it yet? Be sure to check out Hachette's site for an excerpt of the book, and stay tuned 'cause I'll be delving into the tome very shortly!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year!

It's 2010. Crazy how fast '09 went by.

In '09 I:

  • lost weight, and then gained some back -- definitely looking to remedy that in '10
  • was "laid off" of one job and started a new one -- goal in '10 is to keep it and to be great at it!
  • saved no money -- um, yeah... we'll work on that in '10 as well


  • read a total of 164 books. Hm, 10 less than '08. Ah, well. Not too shabby by any means.
So, here's hoping 2010 will be fabulous for all of us!