Monday, October 31, 2011

Where's My Bookmark: Frail by Joan Frances Turner

How are you this Halloween Monday? The weather is cooperating fabulously over here, though I do have tree trimmers next door, so lots of noise at the moment.

It's also my anniversary! 1 year (married -- we've been together for 7 years now). I've got dinner planned and we have anniversary cake! It's fresh, not frozen. The bakery where we got our wedding cake did a free anniversary cake for us. Yay! The fridge is full of milk, too. An absolute necessary when you consider cake, candy, Halloween...

I didn't get a whole lot of reading in this weekend. Mike and I have been busy, busy, busy. I also got a little sick and was somewhat out of it. So, I've still got one good sit down to go with Frail.

I read Joan Frances Turner's Dust two weeks back and knew that I would have to move on to book two shortly after. Frail takes place after Dust in the trilogy, but features a human protagonist.

Amy is one of the last living humans from Lepingville (same town Jessie is from in Dust) and she's decided it's time to move on. Traveling through the wasteland of neighboring towns on her way anywhere, she meets Lisa, an ex -- Lisa was human before the outbreak that turned everyone, human and zombie, into something other. Everyone but a handful of frails, those like Amy who were unaffected by the infection. Then Lisa and Amy are taken to a small town where exes are masters and frails have become all but slaves. The order of the world has been permanently swayed and Amy will have to cope if she is to survive. At least with an ex on her side, things are looking up a bit. But Amy is trailed by her own guilt and a creature that could be her imagination or something worse.

It's hard to tell at this point just where the trilogy is headed. Like Jessie in Dust, Amy is kind of losing her mind and the narrative reflects this. There are some return characters from Dust as well. Lisa, of course, but some of Jessie's old gang, too. And it's unclear just why Lisa is keeping secrets from Jessie's old pals.

As zombie reads (and reads in general) go, this series is original and well thought out. There are some really great aspects in terms of the zombie lore and the experiments that caused the outbreak in the first place. The conflict between zombies and humans and then ex humans and ex zombies is interesting, obviously paralleling common us vs them themes. It'll be interesting to see who will return in book three and where the story will end.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

New Releases 11/01/11

Some of the new titles hitting shelves this week are:

Zero Day by David Baldacci

Out of Oz by Gregory Maguire

Until Thy Wrath Be Past by Asa Larsson

I Am Half-Sick of Shadows by Allan Bradley (Flavia de Luce #4)

My Family Table: A Passionate Plea for Home Cooking by John Besh

Courting Darkness by Yasmine Galenorn (Sisters of the Moon #10)

Angel Town by Lilith Saintcrow (Jill Kismet #6)

The Tiger's Wife by Tea Obreht (pb)

The House of Silk: A Sherlock Holmes Novel by Anthony Horowitz

Hell and Gone by Duane Swierczynski

Angel Condemned by Mary Stanton

Crossed by Ally Condie

Last Breath by Rachel Caine (Morganville Vampire #11)

Reckoning by Lili St. Crow (Strange Angels #5)

Darker Still: A Novel of Magic Most Foul by Leanna Renee Hieber

New on DVD:
Water For Elephants
Crazy Stupid Love
Snow Flower and the Secret Fan

New reviews at Bookbitch.com:
The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab
The Fall by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Pre-Pub Book Buzz: The Time In Between by Maria Duenas

Maria Duenas's The Time In Between has some big shoes to fill based on the marketing info making its way around. The info I received begins:

Discover what 2 million readers already know

The Time In Between is a word-of-mouth phenomenon that catapulted Maria Deunas, a debut author, to the top of Spain's bestseller lists, and has been sold in twenty-five countries.

This breathtaking novel, which combines the storytelling powers of The Shadow of the Wind with the irresistible romance of Casablanca...

Really!? I have to say, I sincerely hope so! Here's more from the publisher's site:

Between Youth and Adulthood . . .

At age twelve, Sira Quiroga sweeps the atelier floors where her single mother works as a seamstress. At fourteen, she quietly begins her own apprenticeship. By her early twenties she has learned the ropes of the business and is engaged to a modest government clerk. But everything changes when two charismatic men burst unexpectedly into her neatly mapped-out life: an attractive salesman and the father she never knew.

Between War and Peace . . .

With the Spanish Civil War brewing in Madrid, Sira leaves her mother and her fiance, impetuously following her handsome lover to Morocco. However, she soon finds herself abandoned, penniless, and heartbroken in an exotic land. Among the odd collection of European expatriates trapped there by the worsening political situation back on the Continent, Sira reinvents herself by turning to the one skill that can save her: her gift for creating beautiful clothes.

Between Love and Duty . . .

As England, Germany, and the other great powers launch into the dire conflict of World War II, Sira is persuaded to return to Madrid, where she takes on a new identity to embark upon the most dangerous undertaking of her career. As the preeminent couturier for an eager clientele of Nazi officers' wives, Sira becomes embroiled in the half-lit world of espionage and political conspiracy rife with love, intrigue, and betrayal.

The book's official release date is Nov 8. I was lucky enough to receive an ARC and have it at the top of my TBR stack for post Halloween reading. You can read an excerpt here. It's been a busy, busy couple of weeks around here, but I'm getting some reading time in. And it's my anniversary weekend. One year on Monday!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Where's My Bookmark: The Fall by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan

Let me kick off today's post by telling you that I am in desperate need of more sleep. Last night was rough -- I was up every few hours and definitely considered throwing in the towel and getting up at 4am. Bleh! Although, it would have been a chance to get in more reading time.

Still on the Halloween horror kick -- trying to get to as many this week as I can (considering the stack of potentials has kept growing even though the amount of time left is shrinking -- leftovers will stay in the TBR stack. Horror is good for any time of year!).

I did have the chance to read The Strain by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan before it was released. Which means that now that I'm cracking open book two, The Fall, it's been over two years since I was introduced to the story and the characters. Hmm. Could lead to some disastrous confusion.

Fortunately, that doesn't seem to be the case thus far. The Fall does pick up right where The Strain leaves off, with the team of oddly matched vampire hunters hiding out in Manhattan anticipating attack from The Master, or, as it turns out, one of his minions (trying not to give too much away for those who have yet to read The Strain, which reminds me -- Get on it! Book three comes out Tuesday, so you can read straight through!). The vampire plague has taken over and the government is only just starting to come up with a plan. It may be too late, though.

Here's a bit more about the book (from the HarperCollins page):

The vampiric virus unleashed in The Strain has taken over New York City. It is spreading and soon will envelop the globe. Amid the chaos, Eph Goodweather—head of the Centers for Disease Control's team—leads a band out to stop these bloodthirsty monsters. But it may be too late.

Ignited by the Master's horrific plan, a war erupts between Old and New World vampires, each vying for control. At the center of the conflict lies a book, an ancient text that contains the vampires' entire history . . . and their darkest secrets. Whoever finds the book can control the outcome of the war and, ultimately, the fate of us all. And it is between these warring forces that humans—powerless and vulnerable—find themselves no longer the consumers but the consumed. Though Eph understands the vampiric plague better than anyone, even he cannot protect those he loves. His ex-wife, Kelly, has been transformed into a bloodcrazed creature of the night, and now she stalks the city looking for her chance to reclaim her Dear One: Zack, Eph's young son.

With the future of humankind in the balance, Eph and his team, guided by the brilliant former professor and Holocaust survivor Abraham Setrakian and exterminator Vasiliy Fet and joined by a crew of ragtag gangsters, must combat a terror whose ultimate plan is more terrible than anyone has imagined—a fate worse than annihilation.

One of the things that does strike me about this series is the seemingly various incarnations of subtly reused scenes and situations from del Toro's Cronos. It could be my imagination, but it's definitely at the forefront while I'm reading. I'd have to rewatch Cronos to be sure, but must admit that I don't particularly care all that much if some of the imagery is repeated. It's just something I've noticed. If you've seen the film and read the books, you'll have to let me know if you had the same impression at any point.

I love the grittiness of this series. If you need to be told, the vampires in this series are truly horrific creatures -- there's nothing sweet or remotely romantic about them at all. The Strain trilogy is 100% horror and I love it. Paranormals and romance have their place in my particular mood reading, but straight up horror is on order for this week and these guys hit the spot.

Fortunately, the folks at HC have been kind enough to send along a copy of The Night Eternal, so I won't have to worry about keeping up with the final installment!

Happy reading!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

New Releases 10/25/11

Some of the new titles hitting shelves this week are:

A Crimson Warning by Tasha Alexander

The Night Eternal by Guillermo del Tor and Chuck Hogan

The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt by

The Litigators by John Grisham

1Q84 by Haruki Murakami

Dead of Night by Jonathan Maberry

Master of the House of Darts by Aliette de Bodard (Obsidian and Blood #3)

The Devil's Ribbon by D.E. Meredith

The Visitant by Kathleen O'Neal Gear & W. Michael Gear (reprint -- this book is awesome!)

The Iron Knight by Julie Kagawa

Destined by PC Cast (House of Night #9)

Another Pan by Daniel & Dina Nayeri

New on DVD:
Attack the Block
Captain America
Pearl Jam Twenty
Faces in the Crowd

New reviews at Bookbitch.com:
Dust by Joan Frances Turner
The Guardians by Andrew Pyper

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Pre-Pub Book Buzz: Crossed by Ally Condie

There are so many fabulous books hitting shelves in the coming month. Agh! Ally Condie's second in the Matched series is on my Must-Have List (along with a ton of others). I was completely blown away by Matched and am dying to know what comes next for the characters.

If you're a fan of dystopians (teen or otherwise) you need to read these. Parts of the plot reminded me a bit of old sci-fi classics like Logan's Run (yet another I hear they have plans to remake) and even--to a small extent--of George Lucas's THX, one that's way too trippy for my taste, but totally creepy in the big brother controls you manner of dystopian tales in general.

I featured Matched in its own Pre-Pub post here. As always, you can read my review at Bookbitch.com in the review archives--I lurved it completely!

Warning, I'm posting the synopsis of Crossed now and it does have spoilers if you haven't read Matched:

In search of a future that may not exist and faced with the decision of who to share it with, Cassia journeys to the Outer Provinces in pursuit of Ky - taken by the Society to his certain death - only to find that he has escaped, leaving a series of clues in his wake.

Cassia's quest leads her to question much of what she holds dear, even as she finds glimmers of a different life across the border. But as Cassia nears resolve and certainty about her future with Ky, an invitation for rebellion, an unexpected betrayal, and a surprise visit from Xander - who may hold the key to the uprising and, still, to Cassia's heart - change the game once again. Nothing is as expected on the edge of Society, where crosses and double crosses make the path more twisted than ever.

I can't do excerpts or else I'll die of anticipation waiting until November 1 to get my hands on the book, but if you're one of those folks who likes to sample, Entertainment Weekly has a trailer and the first two chapters of the book.

Friday, October 21, 2011

The Guardians by Andrew Pyper

More horror reading fun! I've decided that amongst all the various types of horror tales out there, a really well-done ghost story is probably my favorite. It's a slim lead, trust me. I have room for lots of favorite story types, but it's definitely the ghosts that get me most. And I find there are fewer of them for some reason.

Andrew Pyper isn't completely new to me. He's a Canadian author who's last book, The Killing Circle, was released here by Minotaur back in 2008. His latest, The Guardians, was limited to Canada and the UK when I originally came across it in some similar title searches. I was combing the internet for new, must-have horror reads for my TBR. So not only was I familiar with him, he kept popping up in the "people who like this might also like..." links, and came with some pretty great praise from John Connolly, Dennis Lehane, and Joanne Harris. You can see why I had to have it!

Ben, Trevor, Carl, and Randy have been friends for ages. They grew up together in the small town of Grimshaw, saw each other through their teens, played hockey together, and are permanently linked by what they saw and experienced in the old Thurman house. For them, the Thurman house was always a place to avoid. Empty and menacing, the house faced Ben's childhood home. Every once in a while, the kids saw something strange and inexplicable. But one day, something truly terrible happened and the four friends were the only witnesses. Ben never left Grimshaw. He watched the Thurman house tirelessly, serving as guardian and protector of the neighborhood, making sure that whatever lurked inside was never able to leave. But now Ben is dead and the Thurman house is awake again.

The Guardians is a great haunted house story that alternates between present and past. A spooky story for any time of year and a great one to add to your horror TBR. I did want a little more of the back story, to be honest. My only complaint. I could have spent a lot more time with Trevor and his friends, past or present.

As with my favorite haunted horror reads, atmosphere is a key component in The Guardians. You have to build the suspense and get the creepy hair-raising tension just right to make it a good ghost read. Pyper definitely got this right. I found myself getting chills in the middle of the afternoon and it was definitely due to more than our recent cold snap!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Sandman Slim by Richard Kadrey

Richard Kadrey has a new book out. Aloha From Hell, the third in the Sandman Slim series hit shelves yesterday -- just in time to make in on your Halloween reading lists (or anytime reading lists -- but it should be on your Must Buy list!).

I realize, though, that not only am I behind on the series, I've never done a Sandman Slim post before now. I think in my efforts to write two reviews (one for BB and a separate one for the blog), I get a bit bogged down. I will admit that EVERYTHING I read gets reviewed for the Bookbitch site. And I don't like to copy those. That way if you read both, you get something a little different on each site.

I'm not through my current read yet, and my Halloween stack is growing everyday! So, Sandman Slim. Can I just say that I was a bit blown away by this book? Because I was. I put Kadrey in the category with Mike Carey in the brilliantly dark urban fantasy series list.

James Stark spent eleven years living in hell. As the only human, he was tortured and enslaved, eventually becoming one of hell's assassins. But when Starks girlfriend is murdered in the land of the living, Stark kills his master and returns, hellbent on revenge. With Vidocq and magic on his side (yes, the French detective, Vidocq), Stark plans to track down those responsible and make them pay.

I love Stark. As a hero/anti-hero, he's really pretty fantastic. I'm also a big fan of Kadrey's use of the heaven/hell/fallen angel plot.

Dark -- dark, dark, dark. And funny. I have to say, if you like black comedy and urban fantasy, this is definitely a series you'll want to check out. And of course I've added Kill the Dead and Aloha From Hell to the top of the TBR stack now as well.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Where's My Bookmark: Dust by Joan Frances Turner

Oh, Monday! To come at the end of such a great weekend, I hope you don't turn out to be a real bummer.

We hit up Frightmare on Saturday night, something I've been saying we needed to do since last Halloween. It's huge -- it's a permanent building but the haunted house is only open in October (to the best of my knowledge). It's super elaborate with a ton of actors throughout -- and three separate sections.

We came home and watched part of the Stephen King marathon on AMC. Sunday, we picked pumpkins at Rock Creek Farms and went to see The Thing and then last night was the premiere of The Walking Dead. It was a super fantastic October weekend, if I do say so myself.

My read for the weekend was (is -- I've got less than 60 pages left) Joan Frances Turner's Dust, which I believe was the author's debut title. It caught attention for being from the zombie's perspective and it was only a matter of time before I got around to it. The sequel, Frail, hit shelves just recently.

In the book, Jessica was reborn the walking dead after a car accident that killed herself, her mother, and her father. Zombies are normal occurrences in Jessie's world, though no one knows exactly what started it. Rumor has it, and later evidence supports, that zombies have always been around, but that certain times saw increases in their appearance. This is one of those upswing times. Jessie gets in with a gang and life is a-ok until hoos (humans) start popping up in their territory, stinking like death and chemicals, but obviously still alive. When Jessie learns why, she realizes only the strongest can survive.

I struggled a bit with the beginning of the book. I can't lie. But it wasn't anything to do with Dust itself. I wasn't entirely sure I was in the mood to read a zombie book at the moment (was thinking maybe ghosts instead) and was considering setting it aside for later, until the whole NEW outbreak starts -- the chemical stench and human zombies. It only got better from there. I won't tell you any more about the plot, but if you like to make your own spoilers you can read the synopsis of Frail for a bit more info.

Be warned, Dust can be a little gross. Another reader had said that she couldn't eat while reading it, she was so grossed out. It's true, the story from a zombie's perspective does leave lots of room for icky and colorful descriptions. And it starts on page 1.

With about an hour left of reading to go on this one, I have to decide whether to move directly into Frail or hit the horror stack for another read. I usually like to space installments a bit, a quirk of mine, but I want to know where this one is headed. The temptation might be a little too big to overcome. We'll see!

Dust is book one of the Resurgam Trilogy. Frail, book two, is out now. Book three is in the works.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

New Releases 10/18/11

Some of the new titles hitting shelves this week are:

Double Dexter by Jeff Lindsay (#6)

Zone One by Colson Whitehead

Geek Girls Unite by Leslie Simon

Mercury Rises by Robert Kroese

Bonnie by Iris Johansen

I, Steve: Steve Jobs in His Own Words ed by George Beahm

The Lady of the Rivers by Philippa Gregory

Damned by Chuck Palahniuk

The Heroes by Joe Abercrombie (pb)

The Woman in Black: A Ghost Story by Susan Hill (reissue)

Beautiful Chaos by Kami Garcia

Seizure by Kathy Reichs (Virals #2)

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

New on DVD:
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
Bad Teacher

New reviews at Bookbitch.com:
Cold Magic by Kate Elliott
Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Pre-Pub Book Buzz: The Night Eternal by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan

Just in time for Halloween horror reading, the third book in The Strain series! Yay! I'm pretty much a fan of anything del Toro puts his mind to. And this is not the first time he's tackled vampires (Cronos) but as his first novel foray (with Hogan), I'd say the trilogy has been a pretty big success. I hope he considers another project of this kind in the future. I'm kind of in awe of his creative genius! (fangirl)

Here's the synopsis of The Night Eternal from the publisher's site (the book hits shelves Oct 25):

It’s been two years since the vampiric virus was unleashed in The Strain, and the entire world now lies on the brink of annihilation. There is only night as nuclear winter blankets the land, the sun filtering through the poisoned atmosphere for two hours each day—the perfect environment for the propagation of vampires.

There has been a mass extermination of humans, the best and the brightest, the wealthy and the influential, orchestrated by the Master—an ancient vampire possessed of unparalleled powers—who selects survivors based on compliance. Those humans who remain are entirely subjugated, interred in camps, and separated by status: those who breed more humans, and those who are bled for the sustenance of the Master’s vast army.

The future of humankind lies in the hands of a ragtag band of freedom fighters—Dr. Eph Goodweather, former head of the Centers for Disease Control’s biological threats team; Dr. Nora Martinez, a fellow doctor with a talent for dispatching the undead; Vasiliy Fet, the colorful Russian exterminator; and Mr. Quinlan, the half-breed offspring of the Master who is bent on revenge. It’s their job to rescue Eph’s son, Zack, and overturn this devastating new world order. But good and evil are malleable terms now, and the Master is most skilled at preying on the weaknesses of humans.

Now, at this critical hour, there is evidence of a traitor in their midst. . . . And only one man holds the answer to the Master’s demise, but is he one who can be trusted with the fate of the world? And who among them will pay the ultimate sacrifice—so that others may be saved?

Friday, October 14, 2011

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Now I know what all the fuss was about! Let me start by saying that I love how careful folks have been in penning the reviews that I've come across. Everyone has been keeping the spoilers in check for this book (and for a number of titles I've been hearing about lately -- Unbecoming of Mara Dyer for example). And I'm definitely not going to ruin the fun by posting any spoilers here!

Karou is a blue-haired, seventeen-year-old girl living in Prague. She's an art student by day with a secret she keeps from even her best friend. She's a whiz at languages and travels the world -- all thanks to the monsters who raised her. Brimstone, a ram-horned chimaera, and Karou's adopted dad, runs a shop with doors around the world. He collects teeth and pays in wishes and sometimes sends Karou out to do the dealing for him. But an unknown person has been watching the doors and leaving marks. And before long, everything Karou knows will change.

Whew! This is just an utterly fabulous read in every way. Taylor's fairy-tale fantasy is highly original, well-built, and will leave you completely breathless with anticipation of what will come next.

I have to say, this is one that lives up to the hype completely! Taylor is a fiction force to be reckoned with, folks, and you should all go out and find out for yourselves why.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

What the man of the house reads

It's nice having a husband who reads, having such a large collection of books, and being a former bookseller. It means that when he's bored, I can ask him what he might be in the mood to read and then comb the bookshelves for something appropriate.

So you know, he's a big fan of Terry Pratchett, loved the Dark Tower series, and raves about Christopher Moore.

I'd bought a new-ish trilogy at the Borders going out of business sale and slipped them onto hubby's bedside table. Lo and behold, he's been reading them for the past few weeks and really enjoying them. I know how to pick 'em!

The series is Simon Morden's Metrozone trilogy, released by Orbit earlier this year: Equations of Life, Theories of Flight, and Degrees of Freedom. There are excerpts on the author's page, but here's a bit about Equations to whet your appetite:

Samuil Petrovitch is a survivor. He survived the nuclear fallout in St. Petersburg and hid in the London Metrozone – the last city in England. He’s lived this long because he’s a man of rules and logic. For example: GETTING INVOLVED = A BAD IDEA.

But when he stumbles into a kidnapping in progress, he acts without even thinking. Before he can stop himself, he’s saved the daughter of the most dangerous man in London. And clearly: SAVING THE GIRL = GETTING INVOLVED.

Now, the equation of Petrovitch’s life is looking increasingly complex:


But Petrovitch has a plan – he always has a plan – he’s just not sure it’s a good one.

Apparently, there's lots of Russian cursing in the book :) Now, what I'll find for my SO to read when he's finished with these is the question! (Actually, that's in the bag. It's a surprise, though.)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Laini Taylor signing

Laini Taylor was in town this week and I headed over to the Boulder Bookstore for her signing Monday night. (She was at Tattered Cover's Highlands Ranch location last night as well.)

I have to admit that I'm new to Laini Taylor. A lot of the blogs I read have been raving about The Daughter of Smoke and Bone and I had a chance to snag a copy at the trade show (and then do the happy dance). I've only just had a chance to start reading the book (and am loving it! I wish I could tap into the kind of creativity Laini Taylor has!). Stay tuned for a review on that one later.

The event was great. Taylor talked about her process, traveling (and inspiration), and mentioned a series of essays she wrote about the writing craft, which can be found here: http://notforrobots.blogspot.com/

And in addition to getting my copy of Daughter of Smoke and Bone signed, I also picked up a copy of her National Book Award nominated title, Lips Touch: Three Times, three novellas illustrated by Taylor's husband.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Resistance by Owen Sheers

Look what I found! Owen Sheers's Resistance has been on my must-read list for quite some time now. When I saw the trailer headline on IMDB last week, I knew it had to be one and the same.

This is a UK trailer, so I'm assuming the release date is also the UK date. Not sure when/if it will play in US theaters, but I do know I'll be putting it in my rental queue as soon as I have the option!

Here's a bit about the book if you aren't familiar with it (I don't think it made a big splash when it was released, but, like I said, it was on my radar and it did earn a starred review in PW):

1944. After the fall of Russia and the failed D-Day landings, a German counter-attack lands on British soil. Within a month, half of Britain is occupied.

Sarah Lewis, a 26-year-old farmer’s wife, wakes to find her husband Tom has disappeared. She is not alone. All the other women in the isolated Welsh border valley of Olchon also wake to find their husbands gone. With this sudden and unexplained absence the women regroup as an isolated, all-female community and wait, hoping for news.

A German patrol arrives in the valley, the purpose of their mission a mystery. When a severe winter forces the two groups into co-operation, a fragile mutual dependency develops. Sarah begins a faltering acquaintance with the patrol’s commanding officer, Albrecht Wolfram. But as the pressure of the war beyond presses in on them, the valley’s delicate state of harmony is increasingly threatened, before being broken completely, with devastating consequences.

I didn't realize it had been out for quite this long. Hopefully the film will get the book a bit more attention. I'm going to have to read it before I see the movie, but I have to say I'm very much looking forward to the flick now as well.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Where's My Bookmark: Cold Magic by Kate Elliott

One of the junior junkies has been RAVING about Kate Elliott's Cold Magic for weeks now. I did a little bookshelf reorganizing (and have Cold Magic on my TBR tackle list) so I pulled it down to crack open this weekend. The JJ is pleased.

At the moment, I'm only about 1/3 to 1/2 through -- I also hit up yoga so I'd have a little warmth over the COLD weekend, which did affect the amount of reading I got in. I can't help it! The cold makes me want to curl up and sleep until the warm weather comes back. Plus I was a little beat after class.

Here's a bit about the book from Kate Elliott's site (psst, if you follow the link, you can read an excerpt!):

Young Cat Barahal thinks she understands the world she lives in and her place in it. She lives with her aunt and uncle and cousins, and is best of friends with her beloved cousin Beatrice (Bee). The two young women attend the local academy in the city of Adurnam.

Unexpectedly drawn into a labyrinth of politics involving blood, betrayal, and old feuds, she’s about to find out that most of what she thinks she knows is very, very wrong.

And she’s going to have to make a run for her life if she wants to discover the truth, not just about her own family but about an ancient secret lying at the heart of her world.

Cold Magic is the first in the Spiritwalker trilogy. Book two, Cold Fire, was released just a few weeks ago.

I'm loving the set up in this story so far. Cat is feisty and strong-willed. Her parents both died under somewhat mysterious circumstances -- in fact, Cat's own parentage is somewhat mysterious considering she has access to all her father's journals from before she was born and there's no real mention of his relationship with her mother. Story there? We'll have to see.

My only complaint is the COLD SETTING! Agh. Could I have picked a worse weekend to read a book set in a world of ice or what!? Good thing my tea order from MODesTEA arrived Saturday! (Lavender Chamomile and a bright blue mug to drink it in.)

Sunday, October 9, 2011

New Releases 10/11/11

Some of the new titles hitting shelves this week are:

Harbor by John Ajvide Lindqvist

The Dark at the End by F. Paul Wilson

Resuscitation by D.M. Annechino

Practical Jean by Trevor Cole

Wishes and Stitches by Rachael Herron

Running Away to Home by Jennifer Wilson

The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides

Snuff by Terry Pratchett (Discworld)

As the Pig Turns by M.C. Beaton (Agatha Raisin series)

Phobos: Mayan Fear by Steve Alten

Devoted by Hillary Duff

The Death Cure by James Dashner

Awake at Dawn by C.C. Hunter

Deadly Cool by Gemma Halliday

Unforsaken by Sophie Littlefield (Hailey Tarbell #2)

New on DVD:
Horrible Bosses
Green Lantern
Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer

New reviews at Bookbitch.com:
The Death Cure
The Monster's Corner ed by Christopher Golden
Cemetery Girl by David Bell

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Pre-Pub Book Buzz: Practical Jean by Trevor Cole

I got an email from HarperCollins last week about Trevor Cole's Practical Jean (due out Oct 11) and I was dying to get my sticky little hands on it after reading the title info:

Jean Vale Horemarsh, the protagonist of award-winning Canadian writer Trevor Cole’s PRACTICAL JEAN is a small-town woman with the usual challenges of middle age. She’s content, mostly, with the life she’s built: a semi-successful career as a ceramics artist, a close collection of women friends (if you ignore the terrible falling out she had with Cheryl all those years ago), a comfortable marriage with a kind if unextraordinary man. There’s just one thing that makes Jean different from other women her age: She’s on a Dr. Kevorkian streak. Well, a version of it anyway.

After Jean saw her mother through the final devastating months of cancer, she realized her fondest wish was to protect her dearest friends from the indignities of aging and illness. That’s when her practical side kicked in. She decided she would arrange for each one of them to have one last amazing moment, whether a sexual tryst or a good fight (for a lover of conflict), and then…WHACK! It’s dirty job, Jean figures, but someone’s got to do it.

Jean’s mordant humor and skewed sense of compassion gives her fuddy-duddy character an edge and endears her to readers, as well as makes for a highly entertaining read. Part social satire, part dark comedy, PRACTICAL JEANis a hilarious mash-up of Arsenic and Old Lace and the Stepford Wives that will appeal to book club readers and lovers of offbeat fiction alike. It has already made a huge splash in Canada, garnering critical acclaim, two national award nominations, and hitting the Maclean’s bestseller list...

Seriously!? Arsenic and Old Lace and The Stepford Wives! That comparison alone is enough to interest me. I'm a big fan of dark comedy as well, so this is one that I'm definitely looking forward to.

Can I just say, I'm also a little in love with this cover treatment here! At least I was, until I saw the cover on the author's page. I still love the PS version, but I really like the twisted lady with all the knives, too. (I am absolutely in awe of designers when I come across a great cover treatment.) I never judge by cover alone, but who doesn't like a good cover?

I'll keep it short and sweet today. I'm pre-posting this, so it's late Friday night on my end and I have a book to get to :) Plus I'm super tired, so I know I'm really random and babble-y at the moment.

Happy reading!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Keeper of Lost Causes Rocks!

I used a very scientific method for choosing my current read: I took a picture of a stack of books and told my sister to pick one. Sure the one she chose was simply because it was the one she wanted me to send her next, but her pick has turned out to be pretty good. I made it just past the hundred page hurdle last night. It's a teen read. It doesn't come out until November. I'll post about it further down the line.

But... I always have past reads to post about and this is one that I should have put up the same week that I read it. (In my defense, it's only been two weeks and I did review it for the BB.) It was pretty freaking fabulous!

Jussi Adler-Olsen's The Keeper of Lost Causes is yet another of the hugely popular Scandinavian mystery/thrillers to be released on this side of the pond. I'd not actually heard anything about this one until about a week before it's release, and then it was everywhere! Shelf Awareness even did a devoted installment of their newsletter all about it. Of course my curiosity was thoroughly piqued and I had to have it.

Carl Morck has only been back on the job for a week after being shot in the line of duty. His attitude stinks and his patience is thin. The department has a great idea about getting him out of their hair, though. Local politicians are pushing for a measure that would add a new department devoted to cold cases: Department Q. And with the new department comes more funding. Morck is chosen to head up the new arm, relegated to an out-of-the-way office in the basement, and given a stack of case files and an assistant. The first case they begin working is a five-year-old missing person's involving a local politician who disappeared while on a day trip with her brother. No witnesses were ever found and the case was eventually unofficially deemed a suicide. As Morck and Assad unravel the clues and uncover new leads, they don't know that the woman in question is still very much alive. How much longer she can hold out is another thing entirely.

Not only was this a fantastic mystery, it's one of the best translations I've read in years! I can't wait for more from this series. Morck is yet another character recently added to my favorites list. He's kind of an ass, to be honest. Thing is, he's a bit brilliant in a not-so-bumbling-as-Columbo way. The kicker is that it's when he puts his mind to it, and often to show up a fellow officer. Much of Dept Q's early discoveries are thanks to Assad, who has way more of a backstory to be covered in subsequent books.

And it's dark. The crime in question is completely twisted and the lead up to the end is intense. Amazingly, the reader knows the missing woman is alive, which gives the book something of an urgent pacing. Consider yourself warned -- you will be up late with this one!

(Note: pubbed as Mercy in the UK)

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Indecisive? Horror suggestions for October

I am having a massive attack of can't make up my mind and it's killing me! There are so many fabulous books to read and I'm in total Halloween/horror mode at the moment, but think I might want something lighter as an interlude. Agh!

If you're like me, horror season is pretty much year round. But something about October and Halloween makes me crave it even more. Here are some suggestions to help you out:

The Exorcist 40th Anniversary Edition by William Peter Blatty -- can't go wrong with a classic, and it's newly polished and released for a fresh audience

Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan's Strain trilogy -- books one and two (The Strain and The Fall) are out now. Book three, The Night Eternal, is due out October 25

John Ajvide Lindqvist's latest (author of Let Me In and Handling the Undead), Harbor, is due out in hardcover 10/11

If you haven't read Max Brooks's World War Z yet, now is the time. With the feature film in production, you can read it before it's released on the big screen.

Rhiannon Frater's second As the World Dies installment isn't due out until Nov 8, but book one, The First Days is out now.

Everyone's all about Chris Bohjalian's The Night Strangers and if you're in the mood for the apocalypse, Colson Whitehead's Zone One is due out 10/18.

Jonathan Maberry also has a new one out in time for Halloween: Dead of Night hits shelves on 10/25

Now would also be a good time to tackle Joan Frances Turner's debut, Dust. The sequel, Frail, is new out this week

Two others on my radar this season are Christopher Buehlman's Those Across the River and Alma Katsu's The Taker (not sure that one's technically horror, but I want it)

And the Saw folks take a stab at the literary scene with Black Light, also out this week

David Moody has new installments to both his Hater and Autumn series due out in November, so this month would be a good time to catch up on prior installments.

Are you on total overload yet? How about one more. You know I'm dying to see The Woman in Black (the new film starring Daniel Radcliffe) and Vintage has put out a new edition of the book it's based on! That's due out 10/18 (the book, the movie is due out in Jan)

Whew! I know there's a ton more. What are you guys reading this month?

Monday, October 3, 2011

Hi, Monday!

Hey, readers. Hope you had a fabulous weekend. I did :)

I was at Mountains and Plains working work's exhibitor's table and I had a fantastic time. From a work standpoint, talking to indie booksellers and such was really awesome. I think I got some really useful feedback I can put to good use, too.

From a reading standpoint -- tradeshows are book heaven! Holy moly! And so many book people in one place. It was freaking awesome!

I saw some really exciting upcoming releases and did the happy dance more than once considering the ones I was able to snag. I'll be sure to tell you all about them.

On that note, I happen to know where you can get a copy of Alice Hoffman's upcoming book (officially released tomorrow), The Dovekeepers. Fellow blogger Susan Tunis over at In One Eye, Out the Other... is giving away a copy and has extended the entry deadline. Head over and enter your name. She's raved about the book and I saw it again at M&P this weekend as a rep pick from that publisher.

Anywho, I'm going start a new book now. Happy reading!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

New releases 10/4/11

Some of the new titles hitting shelves this week are:

Cemetery Girl by David Bell

Mary Boleyn: The Mistress of Kings by Alison Weir

Black Light by Patrick Melton, Marcus Dunstan, and Stephan Romano

Floating Staircase by Ronald Malfi

The Exorcist: 40th Anniversary Ed by William Peter Blatty

The Carrier of the Mark by Leigh Fallon

Falling Together by Maria De los Santos

Cell 8 by Anders and Hellstrom

Variant by Ross Wells

Silence by Becca Fitzpatrick (Hush, Hush #3)

Shock Wave by John Sandford

The Night Strangers by Chris Bohjalian

Cook Like a Rockstar by Anne Burrell

The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman

A Touch of Crimson by Sylvia Day

The Forgotten Waltz by Anne Enright

Down These Strange Streets ed George R. R. Martin

When She Woke by Hillary Jordan

The Outlaw Album by Daniel Woodrell

Crashers by Dana Haynes (pb)

New on DVD:
Scream 4
Fast Five
Phase 7

New Reviews at Bookbitch.com:
The Exorcist
The Carrier of the Mark
The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen
Soul Thief by Jana Oliver