Sunday, July 31, 2011

New Releases 8/02/11

Some of the new titles hitting shelves this week are:

Cold Vengeance by Lincoln Child and Douglas Preston (Pendergast #11)

Flowering Judas by Jane Haddam (Gregor Demarkian mystery)

Pinch Me by Adena Halpern

This Beautiful Life by Helen Schulman

Dead Man's Switch by Tammy Kaehler (1st Kate Reilly mystery)

The Sixes by Kate White

The Last Four Things by Paul Hoffman (2nd in the Left Hand of God trilogy)

Before Ever After by Samantha Sotto

A Blight of Mages by Karen Miller (Aug 4)

Rival to the Queen by Carolly Erickson (pb)

The Moonlight Brigade by Sarah Jane Stratford (second Millennial novel)

In a Treacherous Court by Michelle Diener

A Murder in Tuscany by Christobel Kent

The Magdalena Curse by F.G. Cottam

Retribution by Sherrilyn Kenyon (Dark Hunter #20)

Back of Beyond by CJ Box

Home Improvement: Undead Edition Charlaine Harries et al

Born to Die by Lisa Jackson (Montana #3)

Downpour by Kat Richardson (Greywalker #6)

The Wild Rose by Jennifer Donnolly (third following Wild Rose and Tea Rose)

Eternal by Gillian Shields

The Hand that Trembles by Kjell Eriksson

The Watchtower by Lee Carroll

Battle of the Network Zombies by Mark Henry (Amanda Feral -- mass market pb release)

New reviews at Bookbitch.com:
Smokin' Seventeen by Janet Evanovich
The Left Hand of God by Paul Hoffman
City of Ash by Megan Chance

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Pre-pub Book Buzz: The Watchtower by Lee Carroll

I'm a big fan of Carol Goodman and when I heard that she was teaming with her husband for a paranormal series, I did a little dance! I bought Black Swan Rising when it was released, and then lost it in the TBR stack. But found it again in May and read it as part of one of Literary Escapism's New Author Mini-Challenges. It was fantastic! So of course I was super excited to see that the second book would be coming in just a few months.

Well, that time is here! The Watchtower comes out this Tuesday (Aug 2) and I'm pre-ordering my copy.

Here's the synopsis on Amazon:

What secrets are hidden in her past . . . ?

Jewelry designer Garet James is still coming to terms with the astounding revelation in BLACK SWAN RISING that she is the last in a long line of women sworn to protect the world from evil. Now she has received a sign from Will Hughes, the 400-year-old vampire who once helped her defeat the evil threatening to destroy New York City. Hughes, tortured by his own violent history which is vividly reenacted here, has asked her to join him on a quest to rid himself of his curse of vampirism. While looking for Will in Paris, Garet encounters a number of mysterious figures-an ancient botanist metamorphosed into the oldest tree in Paris, a gnome who lives under the Labyrinth at the Jardin des Plantes, a librarian at the Institut Oceanographique, and a dryad in the Luxembourg Gardens.

Each encounter leads Garet closer to finding Will Hughes, but she realizes that she’s not the only one who’s trying to find the way to the magical world called the Summer Country. As Garet struggles to understand her family legacy, each answer she finds only leads to more questions—and to more danger.…

Yay! Seriously, Black Swan Rising was one of the best paranormals I've read in a while. I can't wait to get my hands on this one so I can continue the story!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Book Blogger Hop 7/29 - 8/1

In the spirit of the Friday Follow, the Book Blogger Hop is a place just for book bloggers and readers to connect and find new blogs that we may be missing out on! This weekly BOOK PARTY is an awesome opportunity for book bloggers to connect with other book lovers, make new friends, support each other, and generally just share our love of books! It will also give blog readers a chance to find other book blogs that they may not know existed! So, grab the logo, post about the Hop on your blog, and start HOPPING through the list of blogs that are posted in the Linky at Crazy-For-Books!!

The Hop lasts Friday-Monday every week, so if you don't have time to Hop today, come back later and join the fun!

This is a weekly event!

This week's question:

“Highlight one book you have received this week (for review, from the library, purchased at the store, etc.) that you can’t wait to dig into!”

I just received in my copy of Andrew Pyper's The Guardians, a UK haunted house book that's been getting great reviews.

There’s no such thing as an empty house…

Trevor, Randy, Ben and Carl grew up together in the small town of Grimshaw as many boys do — playing hockey and forging friendships that run deep. Twenty-four years later, when Ben commits suicide, the three remaining friends gather once again in their hometown. But going home means going back, and that’s not always easy. The three men are forced to confront their memories of a sinister crime that happened in an abandoned house in their neighbourhood — a crime that claws its way into the present, leaving its indelible mark on everyone.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

You may have seen his work, but do you know his name?

We watch a lot of movies in our house. A lot. Makes sense: I work with books and Mike works with movies. Last week we got in Adjustment Bureau and I have to say that I was really kind of blown away. But then I saw who was behind the original story and it clicked.

Philip K. Dick is very well-known amongst science fiction fans and readers. Amazingly, I've not READ any of his work to date. But I've seen most of the movies inspired by his work. (Actually, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep is in the TBR and Mike has read a few of the collections.) PKD is the man behind the stories that inspired Blade Runner, Screamers (one of my favorites), Total Recall, Minority Report, Impostor (another of my faves), A Scanner Darkly, and The Adjustment Bureau (we'll just forget about Paycheck and Next, shall we?).

In the midst of a slew of disappointing recent releases at the box office, I was genuinely impressed with Adjustment Bureau. Matt Damon plays David Norris, a young politician at the top of his game until a scandal loses him an election. That same night, he meets Elise Sellas, played by Emily Blunt, who inspires him and remains in his thoughts for months to come. Then a series of events brings them together once again... But there is a higher plan for Norris and a group of people who will stop at nothing to keep him and Elise apart.

It's a thoughtful movie about choice vs fate with a good bit of action, but also a surprising mix of humor that was unexpected based on the trailers. I loved the casting in this film as well. Who doesn't like Matt Damon? I find he has a great range, but really fell for him with his Bourne portrayal. Emily Blunt is also a big favorite in my house. I also really enjoyed Anthony Mackie and John Slattery in this movie.

I'll note there are some similarities between the Adjustment Team and Fringe's Observers, but I'm not sure that either are or aren't inspired by Dick or by one another (are the Observers based on Dick's "Adjustment Team," are Harry Mitchell (Mackie) and Richardson (John Slattery) inspired by the Observers portrayal in Fringe at all? Who knows? I won't pretend to. I will say that Adjustment Bureau is a movie I highly recommend this summer. A sleeper hit of sorts that I enjoyed immensely.

As an aside, I mentioned Screamers and Impostor are two of my other favorite adaptations of Dick's work. Most would say Blade Runner, which is fantastic, but I think these other two have been unfairly overlooked and would love if someone rents them based on my suggestion.

Dick has an enormous body of work and there are a ton of rumored projects in various stages of talks and production. And of course, there's the original source as well. Reprint editions of the novels and collections of short stories remain immensely popular in bookstores. If you're really driven, there's also a Library of America collection available -- almost 3,000 pages of selected works at your fingertips! (BTW, there are a couple of current collections with "The Adjustment Bureau," a Pantheon hardcover from 2002 titled Selected Stories of Philip K. Dick and a Citadel paperback from 2001 The Philip K. Dick Reader.)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

That Summer Evanovich Fix!

June means Janet these past few years. Or Stephanie. That's actually about to change, though. Mrs. E. has moved her Plum books to a new publisher beginning with the latest release, Smokin' Seventeen, and it looks like they have plans to release Explosive Eighteen in November. Having now read three of the Plum installments in the past month, I think the downtime might be what I need to gear up for another Plum adventure.

I'm not kidding. I love Janet Evanovich. Stephanie, Morelli, Lula, Ranger, Grandma Mazur -- the whole crew and their hijinks make for some of the most entertaining reading out there. The problem is that if you read them too close together, you start to notice there's not much going on.

In Smokin' Seventeen, Stephanie has a new stalker or two -- someone is leaving bodies behind on Vinnie's lot bearing the note, "For Stephanie." And her mother has decided that it's time for the clumsy bounty hunter to settle down, inviting the newly returned to the 'Burg Dave to dinner and more in hopes that he'll woo her daughter. But Stephanie still can't pick between Morelli and Ranger -- and certainly doesn't need a new man in the mix.

The plots are always fun, if not terrible complicated, but spending some time away from E can only make the heart grow fonder! They've become (and maybe they were always that way), one-sitting reads with growing margins and fonts the size of a pick up truck. And while I'm not tired of the exploding or demolished vehicles in Stephanie's wake, I would go ahead and pick Morelli and move on with that part of the plot. Still and all, I look forward to each new installment and seeing what Stephanie is up to next.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Where's My Bookmark: The Left Hand of God by Paul Hoffman

How was your weekend? I spent mine reading (of course), and watching movies (Insidious, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows pt 2, and Prince of Persia -- it was a Sunday night, we're lazy and eating dinner watch). And cooking. Did lots of that this weekend as well.

I finished up a couple of books this weekend (yay!) and managed to start one more before Sunday ended, Paul Hoffman's The Left Hand of God. I have to admit, I walked out of HP in the mood for more epic fantasy, so we'll see if Hoffman hits the spot!

This is the first in the trilogy (book two, The Last Four Things, is due out Aug 4) and I was hooked on the first page. Hoffman's imagery is amazing. I felt like I was there in the Sanctuary, running my hands on those rough walls! But I've only scratched the surface. I was able to read for just an hour before I fell asleep and now I can't wait for the work day to end so that I can get back to Cale's story!

Here's the description from Hoffman's website:

Listen. The Sanctuary of the Redeemers on Shotover Scarp is named after a damned lie, for there is no redemption that goes on there and less sanctuary…

In the Redeemer Sanctuary, the stronghold of a secretive sect of warrior monks, torture and death await the unsuccessful or disobedient. Raised by the Redeemers from early childhood like hundreds of other young captives, Thomas Cale has known only deprivation, punishment, and grueling training. He doesn’t know that another world exists outside the fortress walls or even that secrets he can’t imagine lurk behind the Sanctuary’s many forbidden doorways. He doesn’t know that his master Lord Bosco and the Sanctuary’s Redeemers have been preparing for a holy war for centuries—a holy war that is now imminent. And Cale doesn’t know that he’s been noticed and quietly cultivated.

Then, Cale decides to open a door.

It’s a door that leads to one of the Redeemers’ darkest secrets and a choice that is really no choice at all: certain death or daring escape. Adrift in the wider world for the first time in his young life, Cale soon finds himself in Memphis, the capitol of culture—and the den of Sin. It’s there that Cale discovers his prodigious gift: violence. And he discovers that after years of abuse at the hands of the Redeemers his embittered heart is still capable of loving—and breaking.

But the Redeemers won’t accept the defection of their special subject without a fight. As the clash of civilizations that has been looming for thousands of years draws near, a world where the faithful are as brutal as the sinful looks to young Cale to decide its fate.

The Left Hand of God is out in paperback now. It's my understanding that the trilogy has been doing very well in the UK and that this was one of those series that publishers were vying for.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

New Releases 7/26/11

Some of the new titles hitting shelves this week are:

In Search of the Rose Notes by Emily Arsenault

Touch of Frost by Jennifer Estep

Killing Kate by Julie Kramer

Northwest Corner by John Burnham Schwartz

Alex Van Helsing: Voice of the Undead by Jason Henderson

Stay by Allie Larkin (pb release)

Spell Bound by Kelley Armstrong

The Woodcutter by Reginald Hill

The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb by Melanie Benjamin

Eye of the Tempest by Nicole Peeler

Stormlord's Exile by Glenda Larke

Pirates of the Levant by Arturo Perez-Reverte (pb release)

Close Your Eyes by Amanda Ward

Love Lies Bleeding by Jess McConkey (aka Shirley Damsgaard)

Ghost Story by Jim Butcher (Dresden #13)

Wolfsbane by Andrea Cremer

Full Black by Brad Thor

It Looked Different on the Model by Laurie Notaro

The Butterfly Cabinet by Bernie McGill

Thick as Thieves by Peter Spiegelman

New on DVD:
Source Code
Dylan Dog: Dead of Night
Winter in Wartime

New reviews at Bookbitch.com:
In Search of the Rose Notes
Think of a Number by John Verdon

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Pre-pub Book Buzz: Tony and Susan by Austin Wright

Oh, I have big plans for this weekend. I've kicked it off with an iced cinnamon mocha from my favorite coffee shop, Scooters! (If you live somewhere with a Scooters, I highly recommend you check them out. I was doing iced coffees with a shot of cinnamon until I decided I needed a chocolate boost. Voila! Iced cinnamon mocha!).

Anyway, planning on seeing Harry Potter (finally) on IMax today. Then I'm attempting a rum and white wine chicken dish for supper that I'm hoping will be awesome! (My version of Tutti's Drunken Chicken.)

And of course I have a massively ambitious TBR stack to get to. My copy of the upcoming edition of Austin Wright's Tony & Susan arrived just yesterday and I'm super excited!

Now Tony & Susan was originally published back on 1993. While the book was well-received, most believe that it didn't get the attention it deserved. I was 12, I'd not heard of it until reading of the rerelease this year. I'm intrigued by the premise of the book and can't wait to dive in:

Fifteen years ago, Susan Morrow left her first husband Edward Sheffield, an unpublished writer. Now, she's enduring middle class suburbia as a doctor's wife, when out of the blue she receives a package containing the manuscript of her ex-husband's first novel. As Susan reads, she is drawn into the fictional life of Tony Hastings. And as we read with her, we too become lost in Sheffield's thriller. As the Hastings' ordinary, civilized lives are disastrously, violently sent off course, Susan is plunged back into the past, forced to confront the darkness that inhabits her, and driven to name the fear that gnaws at her future and will change her life.

The rerelease of Tony & Susan is due out August 11.

Full weekend on my plate and I'll keep you guys posted. Happy reading!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Those Darn Zombies!

Zombie fiction is still rolling out with seemingly no end -- slowing some, but not ending. I got this one for my birthday and can't wait to read it. Thanks to the Permuted Press folks who mentioned it on Facebook and got my attention.

Last week, I dove into Mira Grant's second book in the Newsflesh trilogy, Deadline. In this second of the series, Shaun Mason and his team of journalists are back and their primary goal has become uncovering the conspiracy behind George's death (Shaun's sister). (If you haven't read Feed, you seriously need to.) The arrival of a "dead" CDC employee leads to a shocking discovery about the Kellis-Amberlee virus and the mutations that have been occurring: though everyone lives infected, the virus does not amplify until you're dead. Some, like Shaun's sister, have active viral mutations that, while not contagious, cause various issues within. The discoveries could change everything, if the After the End Times crew can find the evidence to back up their fears and expose everything live.

Such a fantastic series! And Mira Grant is big on researching outbreaks and contagions. You can listen to her here on the latest Orbit Podcast.

Grant's books are not light reads. There's a lot going on -- conspiracy, government policies, journalistic methods, and, of course, a zombie outbreak of epic and world-changing proportions. It's a genre bender in every way and a book that I highly recommend. Beware, though, the ending is a killer! Book three is due out next year.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Where's My Bookmark: Think of a Number by John Verdon

Morning all. Happy Monday! You know I can't stand Mondays, so here's hoping that this one turns out to be atypical and as non-Monday-ish as possible. Maybe it'll be like a Tuesday.

I'm preposting at the moment, so by now my bookmark has hopefully found a new home. The past few weeks have definitely been slow reading weeks, though, so who knows!

As I write this, I am quickly working my way through John Verdon's debut Dave Gurney thriller, Think of a Number. When it was released last July, Think of a Number brought with it blurbs and recommendations from some of the best in the thriller business. I'm not kidding. Authors the likes of Tess Gerritsen, David Baldacci, and Nelson DeMille (to name a few) all lent their names to promoting Verdon's first book. I'm midway through the book right now and it's easy to see why so many have rallied behind Verdon.

Dave Gurney is a retired cop with a reputation as one of the best. When an old college acquaintance contacts him requesting help with a mystery of his own, Gurney is curious enough to agree. Mark Mellery is an inspirational guru with some secrets in his past. Now someone is sending him threatening letters and Gurney believes it will escalate. Then Mellery is murdered and the cops on the case ask for Gurney's help in solving the crime.

The mystery is a puzzle in itself, a plot point that alone would drive just about any mystery/thriller fan to finish in order to figure it out. But that's just one part of what's so enjoyable about this book. The pacing, always key in any thriller, is perfect: Gurney's discovery of clues and revelations about the crime come about very organically -- nothing seems forced or premature. It's a well thought out story.

I should mention that this is the first in the series. This is good because Gurney and his wife, their relationship, even the issues with Gurney's son, which haven't been completely revealed at the point I am in the story, all of these are things that the reader is learning along the way, making Gurney a lead that you want to know more about. Someone you want to read and get to know through future installments.

Think of a Number is now out in paperback. Book two, Shut Your Eyes Tight was released July 12.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

New Releases 7/19/11

Rebirth by Sophie Littlefield

The Bourne Dominion by Eric Van Lustbader

Portrait of a Spy by Daniel Silva

Thieves Get Rich, Saints Get Shot by Jodi Compton

The Taint of Midas by Anne Zouroudi

Ringer by Brian Wiprud

The Heretic's Wife by Brenda Rickman Vantrease

The Knowledge of Good and Evil by Glenn Kleier

The Key to Creation by Kevin J. Anderson (Terra Incognita book 3)

New on DVD:
Take Me Home Tonight
The Reef

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Pre-Pub Book Buzz: Wolfsbane by Andrea Cremer

Short and sweet today. There are some fantastic books on the horizon, but I just realized that Andrea Cremer's newest is almost here!

Last year, Nightshade blew me away. It was completely unexpected -- I had no idea it was going to be so great when I started it, nor did I have any idea what to expect in terms of the plot.

Now, it's almost time for the sequel to hit shelves. Wolfsbane is due out Jul 26 and I can't wait! This is a teen series, werewolves, but not the way you'd expect. I've not seen much on Wolfsbane just yet. To be honest, I was a little surprised it was already due out. Here's the little bit of description I've been able to find via the publisher and bookstore sites:

When Calla Tor wakes up in the lair of the Searchers, her sworn enemies, she’s certain her days are numbered. But then the Searchers make her an offer—one that gives her the chance to destroy her former masters and save the pack—and the man—she left behind. Is Ren worth the price of her freedom? And will Shay stand by her side no matter what? Now in control of her own destiny, Calla must decide which battles are worth fighting and how many trials true love can endure and still survive.

So the Breathless Reads are a year old now! That means that Ally Condie and Brenna Yovanoff have new books due out as well (November 1 and 15, respectively). I'm really, really enjoying the new trends in teen fiction, even if I only get to read a few of the titles each year. I know there are some big talked about books coming out and I hope I'll have chance to get to some of them (some are in the TBR already - Cailtin Kittredge's The Iron Thorn). Those that I can't get to always end up on the present list to buy for the JJs, though.

Anyway, Happy Saturday to you all. Hope it's a great one!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Thunderstorms and Ghost Stories

Hi, all! Been a while. Hope you're still hanging around.

It's been a crazy couple of weeks. Crazy for various reasons. My bday just passed -- I got a few books, but I also got some new yoga stuff and Fear 3. My reading speed ebbs and flows all on its own, but with stuff like video games to distract me, let's just say that I haven't hit the TBR as hard as I should have lately.

I did promise you a review of Christopher Ransom's The Haunting of James Hastings and here I am to deliver! We've had crazy, crazy rain and thunderstorms of late (the only bad thing is that they're rare and the change in pressure almost always brings on a headache -- so I get my rain, but I have to enjoy it through a dull ache). All that has been super horror reading weather and with a super horror read to go along with it, I thoroughly enjoyed it.

James Hastings is a Ghost. Not a ghost, ghost. A version of Ghost. Because of his resemblance to the mega rap star, James's job is to throw off paparazzi and make appearances when Ghost can't. But when James's wife dies in a freak accident, he decides it's time to retire. Embracing his old self but consumed by the loss of Stacey, a year goes by with James drinking away the time. Then things begin to change. A new neighbor moves in next door and with her, James becomes convinced that Stacey may never have left. Strange noises in the house, Stacey's clothes and shoes reappearing. And it all goes downhill from there.

I loved this book! Ghost stories are super fun and Ransom threw in some twists and surprises in the plot that brought this book to a whole new level. If you can get your hands on it, I highly recommend The Haunting of James Hastings: perfect rainstorm read, great summer chiller, and one that actually had me looking over my shoulder in the middle of the night!

Rumor has it, Haunting is being released in limited edition this year in the States by Cemetery Dance as Killing Ghost. I don't have a release date on that, but keep an eye out. CD does great editions and if you're not inclined to try and order a copy from the UK, that'll be your chance to get your hands on it.

I think my copy of The People Next Door is on it's way from the UK. Can't wait!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

New Releases 7/12/11

Some of the new titles hitting shelves this week are:

Homecoming by Cathy Kelly

Bloodline by Mark Billingham

Original Sin by Beth McMullen

Quiver by Holly Luhning

Eyes Wide Open by Andrew Gross

Misterioso by Arne Dahl

The Devil All the Time by Donald Ray Pollock

Texas Gothic by Rosemary Clement-Moore

The Last Werewolf by Glen Duncan

Blood Work by Kim Harrison

Dexter is Delicious by Jeff Lindsay

Iron House by John Hart

Quinn by Iris Johansen

The Things We Cherished by Pam Jenoff

Shut Your Eyes Tight by John Verdon

Then Came You by Jennifer Weiner

A Dance With Dragons by George R.R. Martin

Forever by Maggie Stiefvater

New on DVD:
Lincoln Lawyer

New reviews at Bookbitch.com:
Now You See Me by SJ Bolton
Killer Move by Michael Marshall
The Very Thought of You by Rosie Alison
The End of Everything by Megan Abbott

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

A Horror Great!

Oh, you all know that I'm a huge fan of the horror genre. Not so much all of the trends of the genre, but I'm willing to try just about all of it at some point to see what I might like. I can't explain my fondness except to say that I've loved scary stuff since I was a kid.

A couple years back, poking around a UK site (because they seem to have a much more thriving horror industry than we do these days), I came across James Herbert's then new release, The Secret of Crickley Hall. I absolutely had to have it! Thankfully, it was wonderful and I then added Herbert to my must read list -- where he's stayed since. I've been slowly working my way through his backlist, saving them for "rainy days," so to speak.

According to the web, Herbert has a new book due out next year, but for US folks, Crickley Hall is brand spanking new from Tor this week! I'm so excited about this release that I had to resurrect my 2007 review for you (so you'll all run out and buy it -- or order it):

It's been almost one year since young Cameron Caleigh went missing when his mother fell asleep in the park. One year of hoping, beyond all hope, that he will be found alive. Gabe Caliegh and his family have left their London home and taken up temporary residence in Crickley Hall, a home in the quiet village of Hollow Bay. Here, they hope to recuperate and begin to recover from their loss. Eve immediately dislikes the ugly and foreboding house and insists that they leave. At the request of her husband though, the family decides to give the house a chance. Strange noises from a hall closet and the sound of footsteps in the attic keep the family up all night and they all begin to suffer from violently real nightmares. The Caleighs discover that the house has a terrible and tragic past: In 1943, a great flood swept through the town of Hollow Bay killing sixty-three people. Of these, eleven were orphans sent to Crickley Hall to be cared for during the war. Their caretaker, Augustus Cribben, was a violent and demented man. Now, heavy rains, similar to those that caused the flood of 1943 have started again and the spirits of Crickely Hall have awakened. James Herbert is commonly known as the King of British horror. The title is well deserved and although this particular book has yet to be officially released in the states, it is available in many specialty stores as well as online. This is a great haunted house story that kept the cabin fever at bay during our most recent snowstorm.

I loved this book. I mean loved it! And I can't recommend Herbert enough to folks who are looking for fantastic, atmospheric horror. He's seriously one of the best in the genre.

Happy reading!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

New Releases 7/5/11

Some of the new titles hitting shelves this week (and holy cow there are a ton of them) are:

Turn of Mind by Alice LaPlante

Dominance by Will Lavender

The First Days by Rhiannon Frater

Steal the Show by Thomas Kaufman

The End of Everything by Megan Abbott

Chihuahua of the Baskervilles by Esri Allbritten

You're Next by Gregg Hurwitz

The Very Thought of You by Rosie Allison

A Spark of Death by Bernadette Pajer

Very Bad Men by Harry Dolan (7/7)

Talk Funny Girl by Roland Merullo

The Scarlet Contessa by Jeanne Kalogridis (paperback)

Never Knowing by Chevy Stevens

Sirensong by Jenna Black

A Kingdom Divided by Alex Rutherford

This Must Be the Place by Kate Racculia

The Silent Girl by Tess Gerritsen

Overbite by Meg Cabot

The People Next Door by Christopher Ransom (7/7 -- UK only)

Betrayal of Trust by JA Jance

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon -- 20th Anniversary Ed

No Rest For the Dead by David Baldacci et al (26 authors!)

House Divided by Mike Lawson -- Joe DeMarco #6

A Game of Lies by Rebecca Cantrell

The Secret of Crickley Hall by James Herbert

Your Friendly Neighborhood Criminal by Michael van Rooy

The Wild Hog Murders by Bill Crider

Left Hand of God by Paul Hoffman (paperback)

Titus Awakes by Mervyn Peake

Creep by Jennifer Hillier

New on DVD:
Wake Wood

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Pre-Pub Book Buzz: The People Next Door by Christopher Ransom

Who knew Boulder could be so scary? I am super excited about this release, and not just because it's set in Boulder. I read and loved Christopher Ransom's debut, The Birthing House, it was a seriously chilling horror debut and as a serious fan of horror, I'm always on the lookout for new authors doing something interesting in the genre.

Two of the best elements in any horror story are atmosphere and plot and Ransom nailed both of them fantastically.

His second book, review coming soon, The Haunting of James Hastings, was released in the UK and is said to be a Cemetery Dance release set for later this year. The latest, The People Next Door, is due out July 7 in the UK. Note for us US folks, Book Depository is great for international orders. I also highly recommend Cynthia with High Crimes, and online mystery store that I order many of my UK titles through.

So onto the book. From Ransom's website:

Mick Nash’s summer is off to a bad start. The Last Straw, his once thriving sports bar, is deep in the red. His wife Amy is overweight and bullied by her students. Teen son Kyle has just met alcohol and is willing to steal anything to impress the right girl, while young daughter Briela is gripped by tantrums and recurring nightmares that foretell an approaching menace.

When an idyllic day on a nearby lake ends in a near-death experience, Mick finds himself on the cusp of a terrorizing mystery with the power to change his fortunes forever -- or destroy everything he holds dear.

First there are visions . . .

Resuscitated by unknown forces, recuperating at home, Mick is assailed by horrific visions from the other side. A warning from a deceased friend is only the first in a series of disturbing new insights and visitations, opening frightening doors to new opportunities and leaving Mick increasingly paranoid about the newest addition to the neighborhood.

Then there are neighbors . . .

Overnight transplants to the health and outdoor living mecca of Boulder, Colorado, the Renders have taken up residence in the gaudy spec home behind the Nash acreage. Wife Cassandra offers uncanny solutions to Amy’s suburban doldrums, and husband Vince becomes instrumental in rescuing the Last Straw from financial ruin. Teen goddess June entices Kyle into ever more dangerous thrills, while ten-year-old Adolph has a narcotic influence on Briela.

But there’s something abnormal about the Renders, and every favor has its price. The Nash family's new neighbors keep strange hours and intervene at the most inappropriate times. Wounds from common household accidents heal too quickly, and the Renders seem to thrive on the misfortune of others. While the Renders turn dangerously more native with each passing day, Mick’s investigations into their past uncovers a hidden trail of treachery, violence, and a pact with unholy forces.

Eventually there are victims . . .

Struggling to extract his family from the Renders’ influence, unable to keep friends and adversaries of the two families from meeting with untimely fates, Mick becomes convinced that a new breed of evil has settled in his utopian home town. As their summer turns into a crash course in survival, the Nash family must confront the forces that have driven them apart, and uncover the terrifying truth about the people next door. What they find may have the power to change the way we look at our neighbors -- and our own family members -- forever.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Historical Copycats

When I was a student, I became temporarily obsessed with the Jack the Ripper case. I mean, who doesn't? (I was a Criminal Justice student and my research was for a paper I was writing.) Since that time, I've come across some additional crazies that have confounded folks historically, but I think Jack's appeal is that there really is no way to prove who he was. And I don't think that anyone wants to know his real identity. I think everyone wants to come up with their own theory and if it's every truly solved, that will end.

Anyway, I bring up Jack because I've just finished reading S.J. Bolton's latest, which features a modern-day Jack the Ripper copycat. And now I'm starting Holly Luhning's Quiver, a book with an Elizabeth of Bathory theme. So I'm amidst historic copycats at the moment : )

Now You See Me is about a London cop, Lacey Flint, who literally stumbles onto a stabbing. Lacey, who's moonlighting in an effort to get the attention of a specific division she hopes to work for after her training period is up, wasn't supposed to be there. The victim, a woman who dies in Lacey's arms, is only later tied to Jack the Ripper -- when a reporter receives a modern version of the famous "Dear Boss" letter. As the connections fall into place, though, Lacey realizes that she herself may soon be deemed a suspect. Now it's up to Lacey to catch the killer or risk having her own secrets exposed.

I loved it! Lacey as a character was fantastic. She's got secrets -- secrets from those around her, but also secrets she hides from the reader. The Jack the Ripper theory is excellent and plausible and the twist in the plot, because almost every great thriller has one, is a little expected in some ways, but works oh, so well!

Definitely on my recommended list! I have high hopes for Quiver as well and will keep you posted.