Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

Back in August, the teen book world was all abuzz about Lauren Oliver's Delirium, a dystopian title in which love has been cured. I thought it sounded super cool and made one of the Junior Junkies buy it on a bookstore trip. And have been waiting to borrow it. So when I had the opportunity to review Oliver's debut, Before I Fall, I jumped!

Samantha Kingston and her friends are popular. They can get away with just about anything. It's Cupid Day, a day they've all been waiting for. A day when popularity can be measured by the number of roses received. It's also the day Sam will die. But then Sam wakes up on Cupid Day again. The day starts the same as before, but as Sam's reactions change, the day begins to change as well. For Sam, every day will be Cupid Day until she gets it right. Save herself? Save her friends? Prevent the accident altogether? The options are endless and Sam's actions are the key.

I liked this book. I thought it had a lot of depth to the story. I've seen this sort of "what if" scenario in part before (and Sam even mentions Groundhog Day in the book), but this was a case where the author got it right.

One of the things I liked most was the way Oliver touches on sensitive subjects -- topics that are around us everyday and can easily become overwhelming or overly preachy. She handles them with ease and in a way that teen readers should appreciate.

As for Sam and her friends, it would be easy to paint the popular girls as the bad guys. And they aren't. They're teens and they're friends and they each have problems of their own. Oliver portrays them as whole characters rather than caricatures of Mean Girls, appropriate since they're the main characters of the book. Those kinds of flat stereotypes work fine with peripherals, but in this case they carry the story. The reader gets a chance to know them and connect with them, making them more real.

Lauren Oliver is definitely an author I'd like to see more of. You can bet I'll be snagging my sister's copy of Delirium as soon as I can, especially with its sequel, Pandemonium, due out next March.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Time travel Stephen King style

When Jake Epping is given the chance to go back to 1958, he sets his sites on changing a few things in hopes that they'll create a better future. His biggest goal is to prevent the Kennedy assassination in 1963. In order to do so, he'll have to live in the past, studying the facts known through history, and planning the best way to stop the president's death with the least ramifications. And his particular worm hole (or rabbit hole, as he refers to it), only comes out in 1958. Each entry is a complete reset, so if he fails, he'll have to start all over again in 1958.

This is somewhat the story behind Stephen King's latest, 11/22/63. I say somewhat because I'm not sure how to do it justice.

First off, this is an 849 page whopper. But, as has been my experience with King all along, size doesn't mean an intimidating read. I knew going in that I would want to set aside a fair chunk of time and this past holiday weekend was the perfect opportunity. Even with the Thanksgiving day feast preparations (for two, but a feast nonetheless), a little bit of holiday shopping (NOT on Black Friday), and a couple of movies, all in all it took me just four days to finish the book. And actually, my preference would have been even less time than that -- there were a couple of long sitdowns with the book, and that's what it really begged for. This is my way of saying that it looks long, but it doesn't take long -- even so, you're going to want to read it through once you start.

I am always in awe of King. I'm sure that his process is by no means effortless, but the finished product certainly seems so. He's a storyteller that I really think compares to no other (*fangirl*).

I will also say that this latest is definitely less horror than a non King reader would expect. If you think that you're not a fan of his typical work, this would be a great one to try. For longtime fans, there's a return to Derry and some great It references.

In other King news, the Bag of Bones tv movie premieres Dec 11 on A&E, Spring 2012 sees a new Dark Tower installment (DT world, but not part of the actual series to my understanding), and King's working on a Shining sequel as well. I also hear that King's son Owen has a novel in the works (he has a short story collection already out). And not to leave out Joe Hill, he seems to have a newly released Locke & Key out on shelves now.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

New Releases 11/29/11

Some of the new titles hitting shelves this week are (and it's pretty slim pickings):

The Scottish Prisoner: A Lord John Novel by Diana Gabaldon

The Lake of Dreams by Kim Edwards (pb)

The Drop by Michael Connelly (Harry Bosch)

Within the Flames by Marjorie M. Liu (Dirk & Steele)

Legend by Marie Lu

New on DVD:
Tucker & Dale vs Evil
5 Days of War
The Smurfs
One Day
30 Minutes or Less
Friends With Benefits

New reviews at Bookbitch.com:
Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
Bliss by Lauren Myracle
The Lost Book of Mala R. by Rose MacDowell

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Pre-Pub Book Buzz: Everneath by Brodi Ashton

I've got another teen title for you in this week's pre-pub post. Everneath is another one my sister has her eye on and I think it looks super fun. Here's some info from Brodi Ashton's site:

Last spring, Nikki Beckett vanished, sucked into an underworld known as the Everneath, where immortals Feed on the emotions of despairing humans. Now she's returned- to her old life, her family, her friends- before being banished back to the underworld... this time forever.

She has six months before the Everneath comes to claim her, six months for good-byes she can't find the words for, six months to find redemption, if it exists.

Nikki longs to spend these months reconnecting with her boyfriend, Jack, the one person she loves more than anything. But there's a problem: Cole, the smoldering immortal who first enticed her to the Everneath, has followed Nikki to the mortal world. And he'll do whatever it takes to bring her back- this time as his queen.

As Nikki's time grows short and her relationships begin slipping from her grasp, she's forced to make the hardest decision of her life: find a way to cheat fate and remain on the Surface with Jack or return to the Everneath and become Cole's...

It sounds so Persephone! Everneath is the first in a trilogy and is due out January 24.

Friday, November 25, 2011

To add to your TBR: Deathless by Catherynne M. Valente

Whew. I got this one for my birthday this year. It's on my bedside table. Here's the description from Amazon:

Koschei the Deathless is to Russian folklore what devils or wicked witches are to European culture: a menacing, evil figure; the villain of countless stories which have been passed on through story and text for generations. But Koschei has never before been seen through the eyes of Catherynne Valente, whose modernized and transformed take on the legend brings the action to modern times, spanning many of the great developments of Russian history in the twentieth century.

Deathless, however, is no dry, historical tome: it lights up like fire as the young Marya Morevna transforms from a clever child of the revolution, to Koschei’s beautiful bride, to his eventual undoing. Along the way there are Stalinist house elves, magical quests, secrecy and bureaucracy, and games of lust and power. All told, Deathless is a collision of magical history and actual history, of revolution and mythology, of love and death, which will bring Russian myth back to life in a stunning new incarnation.

I love anything based in folklore and I really love folklore that goes beyond the standards that I'm readily familiar with. Plus, I'm not seeing a whole lot of stuff delving deeply into Russian folklore, so Catherynne Valente's latest was a super cool one to come across.

So that's a peek at my TBR stack and hopefully some intriguing reads to add to your own.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Morning, all! It's Turkey Day! Hope yours is fantastic and food and family filled!

To add to your TBR: A Matter of Blood by Sarah Pinborough

I've raved about Sarah Pinborough before, and it was with great anticipation that I ordered A Matter of Blood from the UK. Unfortunately, I brought the book on vacation and didn't get to it. And then it sat in my unpacked carry-on bag for a ridiculous amount of time. Ridiculous.

Sadly, in my lapse, the book is still only available via UK ordering sites. On a positive note, ordering from the UK is really pretty easy these days and there's a second book out. OHMYGOD, this is a 2010 release! I'm getting new bookshelves.

The recession has left the world exhausted. Crime is rising; financial institutions across the world have collapsed, and most governments are now in debt to The Bank, a company created by the world's wealthiest men. But Detective Inspector Cass Jones has enough on his plate without worrying about the world at large. His marriage is crumbling, he's haunted by the deeds of his past, and he's got the high-profile shooting of two schoolboys to solve - not to mention tracking down a serial killer who calls himself the Man of Flies. Then Cass Jones' personal world is thrown into disarray when his brother shoots his own wife and child before committing suicide - leaving Cass implicated in their deaths. And when he starts seeing silent visions of his dead brother, it's time for the suspended DI to go on the hunt himself - only to discover that all three cases are linked . . . As Jones is forced to examine his own family history, three questions keep reappearing: what disturbed his brother so badly in his final few weeks? Who are the shadowy people behind The Bank? And, most importantly, what do they want with DI Cass Jones?

These aren't the worst crimes in my TBR stack. Not by far. Jane Austen -- yeah. I have read 133 books so far this year and I'm not the only one with an ambitious and growing reading goal :) Lordy, I hope no one holds this week against me.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

To add to your TBR: Bitter Seeds by Ian Tregillis

Ian Tregillis's debut is actually a 2010 release that I discovered in a search for more steampunk reads. The cover art alone is enough to pique interest, but the synopsis is to die for:

It’s 1939. The Nazis have supermen, the British have demons, and one perfectly normal man gets caught in between

Raybould Marsh is a British secret agent in the early days of the Second World War, haunted by something strange he saw on a mission during the Spanish Civil War: a German woman with wires going into her head who looked at him as if she knew him.

When the Nazis start running missions with people who have unnatural abilities—a woman who can turn invisible, a man who can walk through walls, and the woman Marsh saw in Spain who can use her knowledge of the future to twist the present—Marsh is the man who has to face them. He rallies the secret warlocks of Britain to hold the impending invasion at bay. But magic always exacts a price. Eventually, the sacrifice necessary to defeat the enemy will be as terrible as outright loss would be.

PW gave it a good review and George R. R. Martin blurbed it. This is one of those cases where I feel guilty for not having come across the book sooner. I'm not certain what the hold up has been, but book two in the series was delayed, hopefully not due to lack of attention, so it's kind of a situation where waiting has paid off a bit: Bitter Seeds is due out in paperback in April 2012 and book two is set for release in July (hopefully). Tregillis did post this back in March, which sort of piles on more reader's guilt, and this earlier this month (note -- I didn't receive this book for review. I've not been sitting on promised promotion. I bought it and... my inner bookseller is cringing right now.)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

To add to your TBR: Harbor by John Ajvide Lindqvist

Like most book junkies, my TBR stack grows exponentially with the release of so many enticing new books. This week I'm going to do some promotional posts on a few books in my TBR that, for various reasons, I haven't had a chance to start.

First up is Harbor by John Ajvide Lindqvist. I had this one in my "must have" list as soon as I heard about it. Lindqvist is the author of Let Me In and Handling the Undead and is being hailed as the Swedish Stephen King -- in other words, a must read for any horror fan.

Here's the description from the publisher:

One ordinary winter afternoon on a snowy island, Anders and Cecilia take their six-year-old daughter Maja across the ice to visit the lighthouse in the middle of the frozen channel. While the couple explores the lighthouse, Maja disappears­either into thin air or under thin ice­leaving not even a footprint in the snow. Two years later, alone and more or less permanently drunk, Anders returns to the island to regroup. He slowly realizes that people are not telling him all they know; even his own mother, it seems, is keeping secrets. What is happening in their town, and what power does the sea have over the town's inhabitants?

Harbor hit shelves on October 11 and has been languishing in my TBR for over a month now. At 500 pages, it's not the most intimidating book I've come across this year, but due to a sharp cut in free time, it's been waiting patiently until I can devote my full attention to it.

Lindqvist's English website is still under construction, but here's his brief bio from online:

John Ajvide Lindqvist was born in 1968 in Sweden. After a career as magician and stand up comedian he finally became an author of horror stories. His books are published in 29 countries – among them China, USA, United Kingdom, Brasil, Denmark and, of course, Sweden.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Where's My Bookmark: Bliss by Lauren Myracle

I won't go into the whole mess, but I really thought the whole National Book Award debacle this year was in poor taste. I bought Lauren Myracle's Bliss quite some time ago. I'd intended to read it and pass it along to my sisters, and though I'm sure they would have read it long before now and returned it to me to spend time in my TBR stack, I couldn't part with it. Then with the whole Shine/Chime incident, I finally bumped Bliss up the stack (you may recall that Chime has been bumped up as well thanks to the alpha TBR Tackle, and is still waiting). When Danny Marks (aka adult urban fantasy author I read and find super hilarious!) mentioned Bliss in his October horror reading plans and then gave it a great review, it got bumped up to the top.

As I write, I also have to admit that the new Stephen King is burning a hole through my bedside table -- but I plan on tackling the 800+ page beast Wednesday since I'll have a few days off of work. And I've got a massive migraine. And I just finished reading another teen Lauren book, Lauren Oliver's Before I Fall, so in my round about, twisty turny (wibbly, wobbly, timey, wimey) brain, that meant a teen horror was a good compromise.

Here's a bit about the book from the publisher's site:

When Bliss’s hippie parents leave the commune and dump her at the home of her aloof grandmother in a tony Atlanta neighborhood, it’s like being set down on an alien planet. The only guide naive Bliss has to her new environment is what she’s seen on The Andy Griffith Show. But Mayberry is poor preparation for Crestview Academy, an elite school where the tensions of the present and the dark secrets of the past threaten to simmer into violence. Openhearted Bliss desperately wants new friends, making her the perfect prey of a troubled girl whose obsession with a long-ago death puts Bliss, and anyone she’s kind to, in mortal danger.

I foresee Bliss being a super quick read. I'm pretty much entranced by Bliss's world. I love the fact that it takes place in 1969, which sets a great stage for some of the social issues that are part of the setting. The chapters are short and sweet and the story is moving along at a really quick pace.

Alrighty, readers. I'm going to do some TBR posts this week to give myself a chance to catch up on some reading, catch up on some work, and make sure the blog isn't idle while I'm doing so. Plus, with the year coming to a close I still wanted to give some face time to some books I haven't had a chance to get to just yet (maybe it'll give you some gift ideas).

Happy reading and happy turkey day planning!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

New Releases 11/22/11

Some of the new titles hitting shelves this week are:

Murder in the Making: More Stories and Secrets from Agatha Christie's Notebooks by John Curran

Agatha Christie An Autobiography by Agatha Christie (reissue)

Once Bitten by Stephen Leather

The Basement by Stephen Leather

Bad Blood by Kristen Painter (House of Comarre #3)

Saints Astray by Jacqueline Carey

Autumn: Disintegration by David Moody

Explosive Eighteenby Janet Evanovich

Micro by Michael Crichton and Richard Preston

Three-Day Town by Margaret Maron

Dead Man's Grip by Peter James

Swift Edge by Laura DiSolverio

If I Should Die by Allison Brennan

The Impossible Dead by Ian Rankin

Theft of Swords by Michael J. Sullivan

Unleashed by Nancy Holder and Debbie Viguie

Kiss of Frost by Jennifer Estep

The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler

New on DVD:
Super 8
Devil's Double
Sarah's Key

New reviews at Bookbitch.com:
V is for Vengeance by Sue Grafton
Blood Rights by Kristen Painter

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Pre-Pub Book Buzz: Unleashed by Nancy Holder and Debbie Viguie

I snagged a copy of Nancy Holder and Debbie Viguie's debut installment in their new Wolf Springs Chronicles while working Mountains and Plains this year. It had actually been on my radar, so it was pretty cool to come across it at the Random House table.

The premise reminded me a bit of that old Lou Diamond Phillips show, Wolf Lake, which sadly got canned pretty early on. I thought it was a cool show. It probably would get a fair shot these days. Ah well.

Anyway, in the book, Katelyn McBride is sent to live in Wolf Springs after her mother is killed in a fire. Her father has been dead for a few years and her paternal grandfather is her last living relative. For the California girl, the tiny Arkansas town is a nightmare. What's worse, her grandfather lives out in the woods, miles from town. Her new home comes with warnings never to go out alone at night and Kat soon learns why. A girl from the local high school was mauled to death not long before Kat arrived. Then another girl is killed.

Of course it's werewolves. But, the build up to the big reveal in this one is perfect. The right blend of suspense and backstory, and enough to leave you hanging (at a very unfair point in the story, I might add) in agonizing anticipation of the second installment.

Agh! Talk about keep you coming back for more. I am dying to know what happens next. I loved the menacing tone of this story. The air of the town and the secrets that it harbors (many of which the reader still doesn't know by the end of this first in the series).

Another thing I really enjoyed about this book was the fact that the teens seemed real. That might be my adult perspective -- obviously the real test is a teen's opinion -- but I definitely put this one up there with other teen titles I've enjoyed in my beyond teen years. And it still reminds me of Wolf Lake :)

Friday, November 18, 2011

Blood Rights by Kristen Painter

Thank goodness for funk buster books! Whew! I was starting to get worried after last week's terrible reading debacle, traveling aside. I'm not sure that November will recover, but at least the end of the month should be better than the beginning if Kristen Painter's Blood Rights is any indication (and since there are two follow up books, I take it as a given that they'll be just as good as this first in the series and not return me to the blahness.)

The series takes place in the future -- 2067 -- the various paranormals that fill the series include shifters, fae, and of course, vampires. Descended from some of the most famous mad men and women throughout history (Bathory, Tepes, even Rasputin), each house has a specific powers and a hierarchy of power. The vampires are served by comarre, an exclusive group of highly trained people whose blood rights are sold to those in power.

Blood Rights: House of Comarre book 1 begins with the death of the House of Tepes Elder, Lord Algernon. His comarre, Chrysabelle, is suspected of the murder and has disappeared. Tatiana, a power hungry Tepes with her own agenda, must find Chrysabelle or be accused of the murder herself. Unbeknownst to Tatiana, Chrysabelle has fled to New Florida and sought the protection of her aunt, a comarre who won her freedom in a battle to the death. But when Chrysabelle's aunt is kidnapped, she'll need the help of a cursed vampire, a ghost, and a shifter to get her back.

Worldbuilding! Worldbuilding aplenty! Painter even says that it's an aspect about urban fantasy that she loves, and that's clear in the intricate and carefully put together world she's built for the House of Comarre series. The beings and their backgrounds, the characters and their individual stories, the plot that's the driving force of the book and the subplots that are weaved around it, Painter has done it all so very well!

I have to say that I do love all the characters, but Fi is by far my favorite. And the various beings, the whyspers, the comarre, the shadeaux, etc, are completely intriguing. I look forward to finishing out the trilogy and learning more about them as well as seeing where the entire arc of the story is headed.

Blood Rights and Flesh and Blood are both available now. Book three, Bad Blood, officially hits shelves 11/22. And they're Orbit, so you know they're good!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Don't miss Miss Peregrine's!

Can I set some New Year's resolutions this early? My first would be to get a little better about keeping the blog current with my actual reading.

One of my bday wishlist items this summer was Ransom Riggs's fabulous debut, Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children. This is by far the most original book I've read in a long, long time. Riggs collected vintage images and built his odd tale around a selection that appear within the pages of the book.

Sixteen-year-old Jacob Portman used to believe all the amazing stories his grandfather told him. Tales of an island in Wales and a strange group of children who lived in a home run by Miss Peregrine. Jacob's own grandfather was sent to the home to be kept safe during the war. Jacob knows the stories can't be real and now that he's a teen, he's much too old for his grandfather's peculiar stories. But when his grandfather is killed, Jacob witnesses the unimaginable. For him, the only possible way to explain what he's seen is to travel to Wales and see Miss Peregrine's for himself.

I loved everything about this book! Riggs's chosen images work incredibly well integrated into the story. The characters are wonderful and the story is wholly original -- quite unlike anything I've ever come across to be totally honest.

If you've read it, or plan to read it (you must, you must!), be forewarned the end will leave you wanting more. The good news is that there IS more to come! Riggs confirmed in August that there is a sequel in the works (happy dance!).

Ransom Riggs falls firmly in the category of super cool in my book. If you have time, check out his blog and his various videos and pics. He's got a wonderful eye for the eerie.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Abandoning Reads

I'm back! I took a trip last week to visit the family. As usual, I packed more than I could realistically read. Unfortunately, this particular time I seem to have packed some stinkers. It's hard to tell.

I used to be able to read through anything. I was the master at ignoring everything around me. I'm not sure when that began to change, but it has -- significantly. Airports and airplanes should be two of the best places to read. You spend so much time tied to one spot that the distraction of fiction (or non, depending on your taste) is a relief. I can't tune things out anymore, though. Walking traffic, unintelligible and garbled announcements, random pieces of conversations all around me... all of it invades my reading space.

I've had to seriously consider certain things in choosing traveling reads. Nothing too heavy or cerebral will do. Nothing that requires more than the absolute minimum concentration, in other words. And I did take this very seriously in choosing the four books I took along.

After zero progress reading en route, I arrived home. Now, normally we're spending time running around busy, busy, busy, but this trip was a little different. We're in the midst of the school year so all of my sisters were gone during the day. And my mom ended up having day surgery while I was in. I had hours in which to read all on my own. But... yeah.

I'm well aware that choosing the wrong book at the wrong time will heavily affect how I feel about the book. My sister had a couple of things I wanted to borrow that I refused to read because of this very thing. I set aside two books without even hitting the hundred page hurdle. One was a very popular book that I decided I just couldn't focus on at the time. The second was interesting, but the writing was a bit off and I couldn't see sticking with it for 400 pages.

Agh! I know plenty of readers out there who have come to terms with abandoning reads. I haven't gotten to that point. I have definitely been burned, expecting a book to redeem itself after sticking through to the end and finding that not to be the case. It's just so frustrating to devote any amount of time only to decide to give it up.

Oh well. I'm back. I'm reading a good one (actually the fourth book I brought along and never cracked open because of time spent on the others).

So what's up with you, fellow readers? What did I miss? Are you still hanging around after such a rambling post? I was disappointed to find that my few prepped posts for while I was gone never went up. I knew I was forgetting something :)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

News from Angry Robot

I got this email notification today from the folks at Angry Robot (in case you haven't checked them out, they publish some fantastic fiction! I highly recommend doing some browsing and buying of their titles.)


Like most successful publishers, Angry Robot generally only accepts submissions through literary agencies. Earlier this year, however, the company ran a pilot programme to see how many unpublished - but talented - authors there were without representation. During March, Angry Robot invited all un-agented authors to submit completed manuscripts as part of an "Open Door Month". Over 990 novels were submitted during that period.

Today, Angry Robot are delighted to announce the first acquisitions from the first Open Door Month. Two new authors, each with a minimum two book deal, have now joined the Angry Robot family.

Cassandra Rose Clarke was the first signing to come through this process. Her two novels for Angry Robot show the versatility of this important new talent.

'The Mad Scientist's Daughter' is the heartbreaking story of the journey from childhood to adulthood, with an intriguing science fictional twist. And 'The Assassin's Curse' is a fantastical romp, starring Ananna, a no-nonsense lady pirate, born into pirate royalty.

Clarke said: "I'm beyond excited to have Angry Robot publishing my first-ever novel, and not only because of the delightful coincidence that my novel involves a robot who is, on occasion, angry. Angry Robot's reputation is stellar and their author list incredibly impressive - I'm humbled to be included amongst their ranks!"

We take a somewhat darker turn with a pair of books from Lee Collins - 'The Dead of Winter' and 'She Returns From War'. Both novels follow Cora Oglesby, a bounty hunter with a reputation for working supernatural cases.

Collins said: "As excited as I am at the prospect of rubbing shoulders with Angry Robot's outstanding authors, publication was really a secondary goal of my submitting to them. My primary reason was the hope, however slim, of cybernetic augmentation."

Both deals were negotiated by Angry Robot's editor, Lee Harris, who stated: "There is an enormous amount of talent out there, waiting to be discovered, and I am thrilled we have found two great new talents as part of our search."

Both authors' debut novels will be published by Angry Robot in autumn 2012, with their second books scheduled for spring 2013.

Following the success of the project, Angry Robot expects to run a similar Open Door period in spring 2013, details of which are to be confirmed at a later date.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

New Releases 11/15/11

Some of the new titles hitting shelves this week:

V Is For Vengeance by Sue Grafton (Kinsey Millhone #22)

The Lover by Laura Wilson

The Feng Shui Detective Goes West by Nuri Vittachi

Kill Alex Cross by James Patterson

Tricks of the Trade by Laura Anne Gilman

The Space Between by Brenna Yovanoff

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

The Pledge by Kimberly Derting

New on DVD:
Larry Crowne

New reviews at Bookbitch.com:
Frail by Joan Frances Turner
Running Away To Home by Jennifer Wilson

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Pre-Pub Book Buzz: The Lover by Laura Wilson

I was fortunate enough not only to be able to attend the Denver Publishing Institute, but to attend while the fabulous Gladys Topkis was still part of the program. As a total book junkie and a mystery fanatic, I was thrilled to learn that Topkis's daughter had started a company focused on bringing overseas and out of print mysteries to the US.

I love Felony & Mayhem's mission and I especially love being able to promote their titles, which is why it was super cool to receive a review copy of Laura Wilson's The Lover. Wilson has a few books available here in the States, but this is her first to be released from F&M.

Here's the synopsis from the back of the book:

It's the fall of 1940, and London is being destroyed by the Blitz. Every night, its citizens cram into shelters, basements, subway stations -- anything to avoid the bombs. And every morning, they awake to scenes of fresh devestation. But some of those citizens don't wake up. In many cases, it's the bombs that are to blame. But for a handful of the dead, there seems to have been a more immediate cause. The victims were all prostitutes, like the victims of another notorious serial killer. Jack the Ripper may be long gone, but it's clear that someone is following in his footsteps. Based on the true story of the "Blackout Ripper."

There are many cool things about Felony & Mayhem, but two of my favorites are their classification icon system and their recommendations. Each book is categorized according to an icon: British, Espionage, Foreign, Vintage, etc. Wilson's The Lover is classified Historical. And on the back of the books is a little recommendation. For Wilson's, the rec reads -- Who's Likely to Like This? Fans of Barbara Vine, Daniel Silva, and Christopher Hyde.

The Lover was released in the UK in 2004. The F&M edition hits shelves November 16.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Where's My Bookmark? Undecided.

Where's my bookmark today? It's in the last quarter of Sue Grafton's V is for Vengeance. I'll be out a few days on vacation and I haven't decided what books to bring! Agh, the agony of a book junkie!

I'm thinking Wicked to get me kicked off on the series finally. So far that's the only strong possibility. I keep waffling between some things that have been in the TBR for a while.

Oh well, I'm off to visit the junior junkies and I know they have some things I want to borrow!

See you when I'm back, and Happy Reading to you all!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

New Releases 11/08/11

Some of the titles hitting shelves this week are:

11/22/63 by Stephen King

The Boy in the Suitcase by Lene Kaarberbol

Fighting to Survive: As the World Dies, Book Two by Rhiannon Frater

Breaking Point by Dana Haynes

The Ionia Sanction by Gary Corby

Hot Water by CJ Lyons and Erin Brockovich

The Time In Between by Maria Duenas

A Corpse's Nightmare by Phillip DePoy

Them Or Us by David Moody

The Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson (Mistborn #4)

The Strip by JJ Salem

The Atlas of Love by Laurie Frankel (pb)

Chosen by Chandra Hoffman (pb)

The Brothers of Baker Street by Michael Robertson (pb)

The Betrayal of Trust by Susan Hill (Simon Serrailler #6)

The Prague Cemetery by Umberto Eco

A Burial at Sea by Charles Finch

Coffin Man by James M. Doss

And So It Goes: Kurt Vonnegut: A Life by Charles J. Shields

Past Continuous by K. Ryer Breese

Inheritance by Christopher Paolini (Inheritance Cycle book 4)

Kill You Last by Todd Strasser

New on DVD:
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows:Part 2
The Change-Up

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Pre-Pub Book Buzz: V Is For Vengeance by Sue Grafton

Sweet! It's time for another Kinsey Millhone installment and I'm diving into the ARC as we speak. Happy dance! Happy Dance!

I started reading this series when I was a senior in high school, over a decade after Sue Grafton started writing the series to begin with. I'd start one at night and stay up until about 2 or 3 to finish and then bring it back and borrow the next in the series and do the same thing. That was back when I could function on just a few hours' sleep and still go to school, make decent grades, and work a part time job. Yeah.

I'm a bit addicted to these books. I love Kinsey. I love the 80's timewarp. I love Grafton's plotting.

If you haven't read them, you should start form the beginning, but it's actually not really necessary. I can't promise that you can jump in at any point without any confusion, but I can't think of any that are heavily reliant on the backstory in order to enjoy them.

So without further ado, I give you V Is For Vengeance (from Grafton's website):

A spiderweb of dangerous relationships lies at the heart of V is for Vengeance, Sue Grafton's daring new Kinsey Millhone novel.

A woman with a murky past who kills herself—or was it murder? A spoiled kid awash in gambling debt who thinks he can beat the system. A lovely woman whose life is about to splinter into a thousand fragments. A private detective, Kinsey Millhone, whose thirty-eighth-birthday gift is a punch in the face that leaves her with two black eyes and a busted nose.

And an elegant and powerful businessman whose dealings are definitely outside the law: the magus at the center of the web.

V hits shelves November 14.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Back to basics?

I won't even pretend to be totally with it today. I am well and truly on my way to complete exhaustion. I'm stressed over stuff: I'm traveling next week and trying to wrap things up before I'm gone. (No worries, folks, the man of the house and his trusty sidekick will be here guarding the books.) I slipped on some ice yesterday before yoga -- and then went to yoga -- and now am really sore. I don't think it's anything major, but I really wish I could crawl in bed and sleep through today.

I have some review titles to catch up on, one of which is a travel-ish memoir by travel writer Jennifer Wilson, Running Away to Home: Our Family's Journey to Croatia in Search of Who We Are, Where We Came From, and What Really Matters. That's a mouthful.

Basically, Wilson and her family wanted more. They live their day to day lives with a feeling that something is missing and decide that moving to Croatia for a year might be just what the doctor ordered. Their decision coincides with the massive economic problems that began in '08, which makes it a pretty timely decision as well. Cost of living in Croatia, even for two technically unemployed (I believe Wilson continued writing pieces and worked on the book) people with two kids is much, much less expensive than US living.

Of course, the goal was also to learn more about their heritage. Wilson's ancestors traveled to the States from the tiny village of Mrkopalj, which is where their twenty-first century family relocates back to. There are interesting tidbits about Croatia's history, but mostly it's a year in the life of this family and their experiences.

I'm loving it. Wilson and her family acclimating to life in another country, making new friends, experiencing a different way of living. I wouldn't do it. It would be too hard for me to cut ties for even a year, but that's why I'm reading about someone else doing it. So even if I personally won't be making the sacrifices and changes Wilson family made in picking up and relocating to their ancestral country, I am inspired by their trip and the stories that they share in this book. It makes me long for a time when I could have talked to my own grandparents and learned more about my family.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Sherrilyn Kenyon's The Guardian -- a trailer

This is a short one today. As I mentioned, we've been so busy it's been nuts and I don't see it getting any better for a couple of months -- but it should get less stressful (should. Crossing fingers.) I'll tell you all what's up in just a few days. In the meantime, I got an email this week about Sherrilyn Kenyon's The Guardian, the latest in her Dream Hunter series. The book hit shelves this week and there's a nice new book trailer to tease you with:

And here's a bit about the book as well:

As a Dream-Hunter, Lydia has been charged with the most sacred and dangerous of missions. She’s to descend into the Nether Realm and find the missing god of dreams before he betrays the secrets that could kill all of them. What she never expects is to be taken prisoner by the Realm’s most vicious guardian.

Seth’s time is running out. If he can’t hand over the entrance to Olympus, his own life and those of his people will be forfeit. No matter the torture, Seth hasn’t been able to break the god in his custody. Then there’s the beautiful Dream-Hunter Lydia: She isn’t just guarding the gates of Olympus—she’s holding back one of the world’s darkest powers. If she fails, an ancient curse will haunt the earth once more and no one will be safe. But evil is always seductive...

For more on the series, visit the official site here http://www.officialsanctuary.com/. For more on Sherrilyn, visit her website at www.sherrilynkenyon.com

Now let's see if I can make it through today running on fumes and totally out of it. Work to do!