Monday, February 28, 2011

A Chelsea Cain Weekend Reading Binge!

My TBR stack is a monster. I've got the best intentions with it, but obviously my eyes are bigger than my stomach in this case and I usually end up hoarding them away for the apocalypse. On average I would say I read 2-3 books a week. The books entering the house massively outnumber that! It's all good. Means I have lots to choose from and lots put away for a rainy day.

As you can see from this post on Chelsea Cain's debut, Heartsick, I never did get around to my initial binge read, but I remedied that this weekend. Only one new book since then, so I wasn't too much further in the hole.

Sweetheart had been patiently waiting and I finally snatched it up on Friday. What a ride!

This second in the series begins with the discovery of a body in Portland's Forest Park, a once-famous dumping ground for Gretchen Lowell. But since Lowell's been in prison and this body is definitely a bit fresh, there's no possible connection. Two more bodies are soon discovered and Detective Archie Sheridan finds himself facing down some pretty disturbing memories of his time with Gretchen and his search for the Beauty Killer. And when Gretchen escapes from prison, Sheridan is once again immersed in the Beauty Killer's twisted game. Meanwhile, Susan is not willing to let the current case slip by unsolved.

Obviously, as the title of the blog implies, I got in some good reading time this weekend. Sweetheart was a one-day, if not a one-sitting, read. I moved on to Evil at Heart on Saturday and will give you a breakdown tomorrow!

Eek, it was a dark and twisty reading weekend, but man it hit the spot! And with the fourth in the series, The Night Season, due out March 1, it was just in time!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

New Releases 3/01/11

Some of the new titles hitting shelves this week are:

Blood, Bones & Butter by Gabrielle Hamilton

Point by Thomas Blackthorne -- follow up to Edge

Mermaid by Carolyn Turgeon

Night Season by Chelsea Cain -- fourth in the Gretchen Lowell series

The Brothers of Baker Street by Michael Robertson -- second in the series

You Don't Love This Man by Dan DeWeese

Sing You Home by Jodi Piccoult

A Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss -- second in the series

Minding Frankie by Maeve Binchy

Iron Crowned by Richelle Mead

Where Shadows Dance by C. S. Harris -- Sebastian St. Cyr #6

Late Eclipses by Seanan McGuire -- October Day #4

New on DVD:
Love and Other Drugs
127 Hours

New reviews at Bookbitch.com:
Blood, Bones & Butter
Green-Eyed Demon by Jaye Wells
Sweetheart by Chelsea Cain

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Pre-Pub Book Buzz: One of Our Thursdays is Missing by Jasper Fforde

Thursday Next is back! Yes, that's right! Jasper Fforde's latest installment in the Thursday Next series is finally here and due out on shelves on March 8. And he's coming to Denver! Whoo hoo! All these exclamation points -- can't you tell that I'm excited. Fforde, by the way, is absolutely hilarious in person, so if you have a chance to go to one of his signings, do not let it pass you by.

So, here's a little about One of Our Thursdays is Missing from the publisher:

Once again, The New York Times bestselling author has a field day, gleefully bending satire, romance, and thriller with literary allusions galore. Fforde transports readers into a fantastic adventure through the landscape of a frisky and fertile imagination.

It is a time of unrest in the Bookworld. Only the diplomatic skills of ace literary detective Thursday Next can avert a devastating genre war. However, a week before the Peace Talks, Thursday vanishes. Has she simply returned home to the Realworld, or, is this something more sinister?

All is not lost however. Living at the quiet end of Speculative fiction is the written Thursday Next, who is attempting to keep her own small four-book series both respectful to her illustrious namesake and far from the grim spectre of being remaindered.

Despite her desire to stay away from the spotlight, written Thursday is asked by Jurisfiction to investigate a novel that has suffered an in-read breakup and deposited a narrative debris-field halfway across the Bookworld. It is not quite so straightforward: Someone has ground the ISBN numbers from the wreckage, and all of a sudden, the mysterious Men in Plaid want her dead.

As the hunt for answers takes her from the Council of Genres to Fan-Fiction and from Comedy to Vanity publishing, written Thursday realizes that Real Thursday had been investigating a plot fiendish enough to be killed for. But who is responsible?

Only a trip up the Mighty Metaphoric River and a visit to the hideously frightening Realworld can provide the answers.

With her clockwork butler Sprockett and her Designated Love Interest Whitby Jett, Thursday has to get grips with her inability to match up to her Namesake’s talent, and prove herself to the one person she respects more than anyone else: The real her…

Fans, or Ffans as we like to call them, will rejoice that their favorite character in the Fforde universe is back.

Yay! Now for all you out there who may not have read this series yet, you do have to read them in order. They are:

The Eyre Affair

Lost in a Good Book

The Well of Lost Plots

Something Rotten

Thursday Next: First Among Sequels

One of Our Thursdays is Missing

I suggest you go out and make your local bookstore very happy and buy them all -- or you can buy just the first two. And yes, you have to buy the first two -- I have to admit that even for a fan, Eyre Affair is so completely unlike anything else out there. You have to get into the Fforde groove, but then you won't want to stop, so you might as well buy the set : )

Learning to Swim Winner

By random selection, the winner of Sara J. Henry's excellent thriller debut, Learning to Swim, is:


Thanks to all who entered and contemplated entering. I've got more giveaways forthcoming, so stick around!

Friday, February 25, 2011

So Close the Hand of Death

Fast on the heels of JT Ellison's The Immortals comes her latest release, So Close the Hand of Death.

It's been just forty-eight hours since Taylor closed her last case and now The Pretender is setting his game back into motion. In an attempt to draw Taylor out, The Pretender has attacked one of her own. As she and Baldwin fly to North Carolina, though, The Pretender has unleashed a set of killers nationwide, each one copying a different killer. Then Taylor finally gets a lucky break, a clue that will finally lead to the unmasking of The Pretender. And now, Taylor is willing to do whatever it takes to end The Pretender's game once and for all.

Holy cow! I mean really, holy freaking cow! J.T. Ellison is amazing. The amount of planning that has gone into this series is so awesome! Tiny pieces of the puzzle have been introduced all along the way, until each one snowballs into a major plot point. I don't know what's in store next, but I do know that I can't wait!

Ok, now here's the really fun part (and my little surprise for you). I have a copy of So Close the Hand of Death to give away. You do have to read this series in order BUT, and here's a big but, this is technically the continuation of what was set in motion in 14, so if you've read that one, you're in good shape!

Leave me a comment here before Monday night (Feb 28) -- with your email. I'll randomly select a winner and announce on Tuesday! US only please.

Good luck and happy reading!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

New Paranormal Must Read!

There is a hot new voice in the paranormal world this month -- Darynda Jones! Her debut and first in the Charley Davidson series, First Grave on the Right, is a hilarious addition to the genre and definitely a must read for paranormal mystery and romance fans.

Charley is a grim reaper. Has been all her life. She can see and speak to the dearly departed and help them pass into the light. This ability has come in handy throughout the years -- she used to help her dad, a cop, with some of his more difficult cases, and now she runs her own PI firm, still consulting for the local police. When the ghost of a dead lawyer pops up in her apartment screaming murder, Charley is on the scene in no time. And so are the cops -- and two more dead lawyers! All three worked for the same firm and are convinced that one of their recent cases is the reason for their untimely deaths. The case in question -- a local man accused of, and convicted for, the murder of his nephew. Meanwhile, Charley has some personal issues affected her work, namely a sexy spectre that's invading her dreams -- both asleep and awake.

First Grave on the Right is the perfect opener for a new series: a great new heroine with a snarky sense of humor and a fun cast of supporting characters. Not to mention a well thought out plot and killer ending. It leaves you wanting more after you turn the last page. Another author to add to the must read list!

Second Grave on the Left is set for release in August and I can't wait!

Many, many thanks to Cheryl over at Cheryl's Book Nook for giving Jones's debut such a glowing recommendation! You were right, Cheryl! I loved it!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Ooh, I Missed One!

Are you a League fan? You need to be. The League of Reluctant Adults is a group of hilarious and talented UF and paranormal authors who all hang out in one place: here. So if you're a fan of authors the like of Jaye Wells, Nicole Peeler, and Mark Henry (and so many, many other cool ones I can't list them all), then you should check it out.

Anywho, I missed a new release on this week's list that I must tell you about! (I'm sure I missed plenty, but I NEED to tell you about this one.) The fourth book in Anton Strout's Simon Canderous series is out this week. You may recall I recently read Dead to Me on a plane trip to Charleston and had a great time! (With the book, not with the plane.)

The series, in order, is as follows:
Dead to Me
Deader Still
Dead Matter
Dead Waters

And don't forget, Jaye Wells's Green Eyed Demon and Molly Harper's How to Flirt With a Naked Werewolf are also out this week.

Monday, February 21, 2011

It's Monday

Ack. It's Monday. Again. Comes around every seven days, I know. I don't get Presidents Day off (though my migraine probably thought I did, otherwise it wouldn't have hit me yesterday afternoon and not let up until about 5am). Even my computer seems to think that it has today off. Or maybe it's just cold.

I have an idea that may make your Monday better -- a contest! I've got one copy of Sara J. Henry's fabulous debut, Learning to Swim, to give away courtesy of the publisher.

Learning to Swim officially hits shelves tomorrow and I have to tell you, as someone who was lucky enough to read an early copy, this book is really fantastic. It's a psychological thriller of sorts that will keep you guessing until the end. And I absolutely loved the heroine, Troy.

The book begins when Troy Chance sees a bundle thrown over the edge of a nearby ferry. Convinced it's a child, she dives into the water intent on saving the child. She finds a young boy, tied in a sweatshirt, and drags him to shore. Certain it was no accident, Troy isn't quite sure what to do next. She wraps him in warm clothes and takes him home, knowing that a trip to the police station will either return the boy to his parents -- who may have been responsible for the "accident" in the first place -- or land him in foster care. As the boy warms to Troy, he begins to tell her his shocking story. Now Troy knows that she must figure out what's going on before the boy will ever be safe.

I have to say, I was intrigued by the synopsis of this one, but when it arrived on the tail end of my reading JT Ellison's latest, So Close the Hand of Death, sporting a blurb by Mrs. Ellison herself... and Lisa Unger, and Michael Robotham (among others)... I couldn't get to it fast enough! This book should come with a warning, you'll want to finish it in one go. I found it incredibly hard to put down. Henry's certainly going to make a name for herself with this one and, happy dance, according to her website, Learning to Swim will be the first in a series! Book two is tentatively slated for early next year.

So what do you have to do to win a copy? Just leave me a comment here with your email addy before midnight Friday, February 25. That's all. (US only please)

Good luck and happy reading! (Check out an excerpt here.)

Sunday, February 20, 2011

New Releases 2/22/11

Some of the new titles hitting shelves this week are:

Green-Eyed Demon by Jaye Wells -- Sabina Kane book 3

American Vampire by Jennifer Armintrout

Pale Demon by Kim Harrison -- the Hollows series

This Side of the Grave by Jeaniene Frost

Gideon's Sword by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child -- first in a new series (Don't worry! Pendergast will be back!)

Georgia Bottoms by Mark Childress

Chocolate and Vicodin: My Quest for Relief From the Headache That Won't Go Away by Jennette Fulda

Learning to Swim by Sara J. Henry

The Paris Wife by Paula McLain

Shaken by J.A. Konrath -- latest Jack Daniels

Haunt Me Still by Jennifer Lee Carrell (paperback)

Darkest Mercy by Melissa Marr -- Wicked Lovely book 5

Kiss Me, Kill Me by Allison Brennan -- Lucy Kincaid book 2

Now You See Her by Joy Fielding

How to Flirt With a Naked Werewolf by Molly Harper

New on DVD:
Due Date

New reviews at Bookbitch.com:
Learning to Swim
So Close the Hand of Death by J.T. Ellison
I Think I Love You by Allison Pearson
Midnight Riot by Ben Aaronovitch
The Affinity Bridge by George Mann

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Pre-Pub Book Buzz: Green-Eyed Demon by Jaye Wells

Morning, folks! Trying to get back to routine (trying acupuncture today and hoping it might help with this extended bout of sleeplessness).

Yesterday was a necessary trip to the car dealership for routine maintenance - always love that - but I brought along a friend. While sitting in the sun waiting for hubby to pick me up to go get Snarf's, I was absorbed in Sabina Kane's latest adventures in Jaye Wells's Green-Eyed Demon (technically due out 2/22). As this is the third in the series, I hop you've been reading along, otherwise there may be SPOILERS!

If you want to start the series, here's my post on Well's debut, Red-Headed Stepchild.

When we last left Sabina in The Mage In Black, her sister had been kidnapped and Sabina, Giguhl, and Adam were concocting a plan to get her back. Now in Green-Eyed Demon, they've been sent to the Big Easy to track down Lavinia and her minions, and hopefully save Maisie from the Domina. But the queen vamp is in cahoots with a new enemy as well, The Caste of Nod, a group that bends all the previously known rules about Dark Races. With Halloween fast approaching, rumor has it Lavinia has something BIG planned and Sabina and friends are running out of time to save Maisie.

Love it! A little dirty humor, a lot of crazy action, and it's set in New Orleans this time around! (And Giguhl does manage to get some beignets.) I didn't finish this at the dealership, by the way. But I did finish it in one day. So far have resisted the pull of the first chap of book four since I know it will be a bit before it comes out.

You can read an excerpt of Green-Eyed Demon here at the Official Orbit page (and enter to win the series as well). You can read more about Jaye and Sabina and enter to win a fabulous prize pack over at Jaye's official page. And of course, there's an excerpt for book 4, Silver Tongued Devil, in the back of Green-Eyed Demon!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

It's Been a Long Week

I don't know how or why, but it seems like even though the days go by fast, the week itself drags on. Could be the much too cold weather broken by one day of warm sunshiney goodness that teases me into thinking winter might almost be over. Could also be the nights of not enough sleep and the days of mostly wishing I could take a nap. Or maybe it's just that Monday arrives much too quickly after a weekend's worth of down time.

Whatever it is, I can tell you that I am so ready for this cold weather to end. I heard the weatherman say we could see snow again soon -- bleh! Yesterday was so nice. The sun's staying out longer and I think it even hit 70 before we got slammed with cold again today. And no, it wasn't terribly cold, but it was one of those deceptively sunny mornings when I opened the door in my short sleeves and realized that I shouldn't have left my comfy bed!

I'm ready for beach reads and iced tea, salad weather and flip flops, and not feeling like I need to be in bed at 6pm!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

New Releases 2/15/11

Some of the new titles hitting shelves this week are:

Red Wolf by Liza Marklund

Tourquai by Tim Davys -- third in the Mollisan Town Quartet

Naming the Bones by Louise Welsh

A Heartbeat Away by Michael Palmer

Blotto, Twinks and the Ex-King's Daughter by Simon Brett

So Close the Hand of Death by JT Ellison -- 6th Taylor Jackson

Murder for Hire: My Life as the Country's Most Successful Undercover Agent by Jack Ballentine (paperback)

Desert of Souls by Howard A. Jones

Raven's Bride by Lenore Hart

Desires of the Dead by Kimberly Derting -- Body Finder #2

On Borrowed Time by David Rosenfelt

Outside In by Maria V. Snyder

New on DVD:
Waiting for Superman

Monday, February 7, 2011

Steampunk NAC Challenge -- The Affinity Bridge by George Mann

Ooh, I love it. Jackie's latest NAC mini-challenge over at Literary Escapism is giving me the perfect excuse to dive into my stack of steampunk I've been hoarding!

If you're curious, wikipedia defines steampunk as: "... a subgenre of science fiction, alternate history, and speculative fiction... steampunk involves an are or world where steam power is still widely used -- usually the 19th century and often Victorian era Britain -- that incorporates prominent elements of either science fiction or fantasy."

It's super fun stuff. An amalgamation of genres and elements that mixes well with horror and mystery, I might add, as many of the titles I'm drawn to do contain bits of both. George Mann's The Affinity Bridge is a perfect example: a traditional mystery with zombies and dirigibles. Awesome!

Maurice Newbury and his assistant, Veronica Hobbes, would appear at first glance to be hard-working museum employees. And that they are. But Newbury and Hobbes are also responsible for investigating certain cases on behalf of the Queen herself. Newbury has been assisting his friend Sir Charles Bainbridge of Scotland Yard with a series of Whitechapel murders when Queen Victoria requests his assistance in a recent dirigible crash. Why the Crown has such an interest in an airship accident is not quite clear as of yet, but Newbury and Hobbes jump in without question. Their investigation soon leads to a shocking discovery and a surprising connection to Bainbridge's own case.

This is just the first in the series. The Osiris Ritual is out now and book three, Immortality Engine, is already available in the UK.

I thought Newbury and Hobbes were great characters. Definitely folks I want to see more of and obviously Affinity Bridge was meant to be an intro to more books on the two as Mann only begins to scratch the surface of their stories. And what's up with Victoria's sister? I'm going to have to tackle book two shortly. I'm really dying to know more! The zombie plague is still going strong, and there's the whole thing at the end that I certainly won't reveal. Fun, fun! Definitely recommended!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

New Releases 2/8/11

Some of the new titles hitting shelves this week are:

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

The Secret Lives of Dresses by Erin McKean

Someone's Watching by Sharon Potts

The Oracle of Stamboul by Michael David Lukas

The Girl Who Chased the Moon by Sarah Addison Allen (paperback)

I Think I Love You by Allison Pearson

Open City by Teju Cole

Amaryllis in Blueberry by Christina Meldrum

A Red Herring Without Mustard by Alan Bradley -- Flavia de Luce #3

The Secret Soldier by Alex Berensen

Cryer's Cross by Lisa McMann

Cloaked by Alex Finn

Agent X by Noah Boyd

New On DVD:
Tamara Drewe
Life as We Know It
You Again
My Soul To Take

New reviews at Bookbitch.com:
A Discovery of Witches
The Secret Lives of Dresses
Changeless by Gail Carriger

Friday, February 4, 2011

Steampunk NAC Challenge -- Changeless by Gail Carriger

Jackie's running another mini-challenge over at Literary Escapism. Looks like I'm in for a steampunk binge! Yay!

First book up: Changeless by Gail Carriger. This is the second in the Parasol Protectorate series that began with Soulless, which you can read more about here. Carriger's series is a mix of mystery, paranormal, steampunk, and hilariously witty humor. Very tongue-in-cheek, but always proper (or not). Goes down well with a nice cup of tea!

The new Lady Woolsey is on the trail of an affliction of normalcy. As muhjah to the Queen, Alexia is now officially assigned to nose around in odd cases that concern the Crown. She follows her husband to Scotland after deducing that whatever caused the short case of human-ness in London's paranormals recently coincided with the traveling of local packs, including the now Alpha-less Kingairs. Of course where Alexia goes trouble follows and she soon finds her very life at stake. But not enough to deter the soulless heroine or her wolfman. Not even when her sister and best friend decide to travel with her!

You have to read these in order. Anyone jumping into Changeless will-nilly will find themselves more than a bit befuddled. But they're quick reads, so it's no time at all to catch up. I have to say that I'm glad I've already got number three, Blameless, on hand after the end of this one, too. It's a doozy!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

If the Snow Doesn't Get You...

... the zombies will! Actually, with the exception of the cold seeping through the walls, the snow hasn't been as bad as I'd expected it to be. Course it won't be going anywhere anytime soon since it's not really warm enough out to melt.

I've still got a growing stack of zombie reads in the TBR (yay!), but just had to bump David Moody's Autumn: The City up to the top when it arrived. Moody, you may remember, is the UK author who grabbed not only readers' and publishers' attention but movie maker Guillermo del Toro as well when he first released Autumn online for free and then published Hater on his own as well.

Hater marked the author's US debut and was followed very quickly by it's sequel Dog Blood and the publication of Autumn, which was released Stateside in October. In the book, a mass infection has wiped out most of the population, leaving very few survivors. Then the dead begin to rise and as time goes by they become more drawn to those survivors and more aggressive as well.

With Autumn: The City, a new group of survivors is introduced. With transportation and communication lines down, they're essentially trapped within the city itself. Hiding in offices and other city buildings, they scavenge for food and fight to survive. When a soldier joins their ranks, they finally begin to see a bit of hope on the horizon, but the future of mankind is still uncertain.

The series is very reminiscent of Survivors, which was a favorite of mine when it made it's way over on BBCA. Sad to see it go, but as I've mentioned before I'm a sucker for the apocalypse (which, as with Survivors, does not always involve zombies, though I'm a sucker for them as well). The human element is such that while we want to believe that hard work and persistence will pay off, no one can deny that stress and limited resources would cause more chaos. The question that comes into play is whether the survivors can get through that and figure out a way to make it through or if they -- and not the dead -- will be their own downfall in the end.

I thought I'd read an article about what zombies represent in popular fiction, but I can't find the exact one I was thinking about. Instead, have fun with this article from the New York Times and this one from the Huffington Post, both from last December.

Anywho, the horde of zombie related fiction is still hitting shelves, so if the apocalypse does come (and I survive), I'll still have plenty to read on the subject!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

I Could Use a Spa Vacation

When I woke up this morning for work, the temp outside was a reported -10. Not kidding. Last check it had bumped up to 5 with a 40% chance of more snow on the way and only single digit highs again tomorrow. My sister has no sympathy and points out that I'm the one who moved to Colorado in the first place. Well, yes. That's true. But not too many places have year round ideal temps for me so...

I have to say that when Kelli Stanley's latest, The Curse-Maker, landed on my doorstep, I couldn't have been more thrilled. Ancient Roman England and a murder mystery in Bath (where I've actually been!) made the perfect setting for an escapist evening and I dove in with great anticipation.

For those of you who are familiar with Stanley (and if you've been reading here for a while, then you should be) The Curse-Maker is a return to the series that began with Nox Dormienda. It's also a big moment for Stanley because now both of her series are being published by St. Martins. (Curse-Maker can be read as a stand-alone and makes a great introduction to Arcturus and Stanley's Roman Noir world if you can't find a copy of Nox.)

Arcturus and his wife Gwyna are headed to Bath for a little holiday together, courtesy of Governor Agricola, when they come across a body in one of the town's sacred springs. Since the waters of Bath are supposed to be known for their healing powers, a dead man in said waters is pretty bad for business. The townsfolk request Arcturus's help in the matter and his wife encourages his involvement, which turns out to be too much for the physician and investigator to resist. But the tense situation and the superstitious locals are growing more impatient by the minute and Arcturus soon finds himself at the center of a vast conspiracy.

I've probably said it before, but with Stanley's great devotion to careful research and her attention to every detail, I find myself completely transported when I read one of her books. Whether it's first-century Londinium or 1940's San Francisco, I'm amazed at how effective her words are in carrying me off to those places. And I loved that the whole cast of characters in Curse-Maker seemed so real by the time I turned the final page.

The Curse-Maker is new out on shelves as of today. I recommend tracking down a copy for your TBR stack if you're a fan of historical mysteries and/or noir!

And Kelli Stanley's been busy busy busy lately, folks as this year will also see a return to the Miranda Corbie series as well.